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Cosmology of Pythagoras

Pre-socratic philosophers were the earlier Greek Philosophers. They tried to explain the nature of ultimate reality other than what was previously considered in mythological context. In myths and earlier historical context, ultimate reality was  termed as religious-the God or Goddesses or the characters significant in Greek texts.

Pre-socratic concept of Materialism

Presocratic came up with the idea of defining the nature of ultimate reality in Materialistic concept. They give the material substance as the ultimate cause of creation. According to them, the matter is the cause of all material substance of this universe. Different materialistic elements have been chosen by the Greek Philosophers to determine the nature of Ultimate Reality.  Thales gave his theory to water as the ultimate cause. Anaximenes like Thales has said air as the material cause of all. Anaximander has contradicted materialistic views. He believed that there is something above all material substances and that is the ultimate cause behind the creation of all. Anaximander called it boundless, unlimited, formless and vague. He is able to define the qualities but failed in giving the proper name to it.

Pythagoras Theology

All these Philosophers belong to Miletius school who tried to define the Ultimate Reality. Pythagoras like other philosophers also believed that there is some principle behind the creation of all. Pythagoras is considered as the disciple of Anaximander. Pythagoras has said that the world is rhythmic and in harmony so its ultimate cause should also have something related to it. Numbers is the first principle of this universe according to Pythagoras. From numbers, arises points; from points, arises lines; from lines,plane figure; from plane figure, solid figure; from solid figure, sensible bodies, the elements of which are four- fire , water , earth and air; these elements interchange and turn into one another completely, and combine to produce a universe animate, intelligent, spherical, with the Earth at its centre, the Earth itself is spherical and in round shape.
Everything in this universe can be classified in numbers. There is nothing in this world which cannot be explained in terms of numbers. Though Pythagoras also failed to tell exactly how a number is possible for the creation of this whole world, he was satisfied in telling that the creation of this universe can also be credited to numbers.

Historically, Pythagoras meant much more than the mathematical theory of pythagoras Theorem of Right Triangles. The Pythagoras Theorem is considered as a source of inspiration for the Plato and Aristotle. Followers of Pythagoras are called Pythagoreans.

Pythagoras Philosophy

transmigration of soul.jpg

Pythagoreans also accepted the idea of soul and transmigration. They were the first philosophers to fully accept the idea of soul and its transmigration.  Pythagorean schools taught the precepts such as :

  • To abstain from eating Beans, also follow Non-Vegetarianism.
  • Not to pick up what has fallen.
  • They regarded men & women equally.
  • They enjoyed a common way of life.

Pythagoras believed that there are three types of people in this world. Just like three strangers in a match of Olympia. The one who is a salesman, the second who is observer/audience and the third is a player. The same is in life where we may always come across these three types of person. This was the view held by Pythagoreans.

Nature of numbers

According to Pythagoras, numbers were the first principle. Everything has originated from the number. Pythagoras claimed that everything can be classified into two categories- odd-even, feminine-masculine, rational-irrational, limited-unlimited, one-many, right-left, rest-motion, straight-crooked, light-darkness, Good-evil, square-oblong.

All things of the Universe has a numerical attribute.

One- Number of Reason.
Two-First even, or female number, number of opinions.
Three-First true male number, number of harmonies.
Four- Number of Justice or retribution.
Five- Marriage
Six- Number of creation.
.Ten – Number of the Ultimate Universe.

According to Pythagoras, mathematics is important in the human beings life. Particularly numbers are the basic things in the mathematics. Numbers are related to everything i.e, incorporeal and non-corporeal world. All things are numerable and can be counted. Pythagoreans has introduced many important concepts in Mathematics- Prime Number, Composite Number, Even, Odd, Pythagoras-Theorem, Pentagram, Polygon and Theory of Propositions.

Astronomical Concepts

Pythagoras cosmo

Pythagoreans were also an astronomer. According to their theory, the Earth, Moon, the Sun and Planets move around the unseen Natural fire, in the 5th Century BC. This astronomical belief was taken to be true for a longer period of time.  Until the Copernicus gave his theory of revolution of planets orbiting around the big star i.e., Sun in a circular path and at a uniform speed.

Author: Madhvi

A philosopher, Writer, Traveler, PhD Scholar, Vegan and pet-lover.

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