John Fowles

John Fowles - The Aristos -  Time in itself, absolutely, does not exist; it is always relative to some observer or some object. Without a clock I say 'I do not know the time' . Without matter time itself is unknowable. Time is a function of matter; and matter therefore is the clock that makes infinity real.

Philosophy - The Aristos (The Best)
On Truth, Reality and Beauty

John Fowles Pictures / Quotes

Time in itself, absolutely, does not exist; it is always relative to some observer or some object. Without a clock I say 'I do not know the time' . Without matter time itself is unknowable. Time is a function of matter; and matter therefore is the clock that makes infinity real. (John Fowles, The Aristos)

The ordinary man and woman live in an asphyxiating smog of opinions foisted on them by society. They lose all independence of judgement and all freedom of action. They see themselves increasingly as limited special functions, as parts of a machine, with neither need nor right to perform any other than their role in the economic structure of society. The civic sense becomes atrophied. It is the job of the police to prevent crimes, not yours and mine; it is the job of the town councilor to run the town, not yours and mine; it is the job of the underprivileged to fight for their rights, not yours and mine. Thus more and more live in cities, and yet more and more become decitizenised. What began in the suburbs reaches right to the city's heart.
(John Fowles, The Aristos, 1964)


Introduction: John Fowles: 'The Aristos'

John Fowles is both a fine philosopher and a beautiful novelist. I was given his book 'The Aristos' (meaning the best) by my father back in about 1980 when I was 20 years old. My father, who died in 1991, was a beautiful philosophical man (who I miss very much) and I remember he said to me at the time that he thought I would relate to Fowles' ideas on philosophy and society. Back then I was very immersed in playing field hockey and did not care much for philosophy, but in hindsight the book did affect me, caused me to think more about the truth of our society and the problems we face. I regret that it was only after my father died that I became more interested in philosophy, which ultimately led me to the Wave Structure of Matter (which he would have found interesting - see summary at top of page).
Anyway, I hope you find his philosophy interesting and enjoy the following quotations from John Fowles 'The Aristos'

Geoff Haselhurst

PS - I had good intentions of writing up more of his quotes - there are only a few below. But the book is short and well worth purchasing (he was pretty astute about society and its problems).

My chief concern, in The Aristos, is to preserve the freedom of the individual against all those pressures-to-conform that threaten our century; one of those pressures, put upon all of us, but particularly on anyone who comes into public notice, is that of labeling a person by what he gets money and fame for- by what other people most want to use him as. To call a man a plumber is to describe one aspect of him, but it is also to obscure a number of others... By stating baldly what I believe I hope to force you to state baldly to yourself what you believe. I do not expect agreement. If I wanted that I should have written in a very different form and style, and wrapped my pills in the usual sugar coating. I am not, in short, pleading a case. (Fowles, The Aristos, 1964)

In every field of human endeavor it is obvious that most of the achievements, most of the great steps forward have come from individuals - whether they be scientific or artistic geniuses, saints, revolutionaries, what you will. And we do not need the evidence of intelligence testing to know conversely that the vast mass of mankind are not highly intelligent - or highly moral, or highly gifted artistically, or indeed highly qualified to carry out any of the nobler human activities. Of course, to jump from that conclusion that mankind can be split into two clearly defined groups, a Few that is excellent and a Many that is despicable, is idiotic. The graduations are infinite; and if you carry no other idea away from this book I hope you will understand what I mean when I say that the dividing line between the Few and the Many must run through each individual, not between individuals. In short none of us are wholly perfect; and none wholly imperfect. (Fowles, The Aristos, 1964)

The book you are about to begin is written in the form of notes. This is not laziness on my part, but an attempt to suppress all rhetoric, all persuasion through style... I do not want my ideas to be liked merely because they are likeably presented; I want them to be liked in themselves. ... I believe in the essential sanity of man, and what follows is a memorial to that belief. (Fowles, The Aristos, 1964)

Only in an infinitely proliferating cosmos can both order and disorder coexist infinitely; and the only purposeful cosmos must be one that proliferates infinitely. It was therefore not created, but was always. ... What is easier to believe? That there was always something or that there was once nothing? ... Christianity says that creation has a beginning, middle and end. The Greeks claimed that creation is a timeless process. Both are correct. All that is created and is therefore individual has a beginning and an end; but there is no universal beginning and end. (Fowles, 1964)

Geoff - The Metaphysics of Space and Motion and the WSM describes a perpetual finite universe within an Infinite Eternal Space. Space has always existed, as have the Wave-Motions which flow through this Space. Creation, like the Particle and the boundary, are human constructions which do not physically exist.

I am a poet first; and then a scientist. This is a biographical fact, not a recommendation. (Fowles, 1964)

The whole has no favourites. (Fowles, 1964)

11. Humanity on its raft. The raft on the endless ocean. From his present dissatisfaction man reasons that there was some catastrophic wreck in the past, before which he was happy; some golden age, some Garden of Eden. He also reasons that somewhere ahead lies a promised land, a land without conflict. Meanwhile, he is miserably en passage; this myth lies deeper than religious faith. (Fowles, 1964)

19. The old myth that his raft, his world, is especially favoured and protected now seems ridiculous. He has seen and understood the message from the distant supernovae; he knows the sun is growing larger and hotter and that his world will one day be a white-hot ball in a sea of flames; and he knows that the hydrogen bombs waiting and closer at hand. Inwards and outwards the prospect before him is terrifying. (Fowles, 1964)

23. Hazard has conditioned us to live in hazard. All our pleasures are dependant upon it. Even though I arrange for a pleasure; and look forward to it, my eventual enjoyment of it is still a matter of hazard. Wherever time passes, there is hazard. You may die before you turn the next page. (Fowles, 1964)

32. The whole is not a pharaonic cosmos; a blind obsession with pyramids, assembling, slaves. Our pyramid has not apex; is not a pyramid. We are not slaves that will never see the summit, because there is no summit. Life may be less imperfect in a hundred years' time than it it today; but it will be even less imperfect a hundred years after that. Perfectibility is meaningless because whatever we enter the infinite processes we can look forward with a wind of nostalgia for the future, and imagine a better age. It is also evil, because a terminus of perfection breeds a cancer of the now. For perfectibilitarians, perfect ends tomorrow justify very imperfect means today. (Fowles, 1964)

33. We build towards nothing; we build (Fowles, 1964)





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Biography: Geoffrey Haselhurst, Philosopher of Science, Theoretical Physics, Metaphysics, Evolution. Our world is in great trouble due to human behaviour founded on myths and customs that are causing the destruction of Nature and climate change. We can now deduce the most simple science theory of reality - the wave structure of matter in space. By understanding how we and everything around us are interconnected in Space we can then deduce solutions to the fundamental problems of human knowledge in physics, philosophy, metaphysics, theology, education, health, evolution and ecology, politics and society.

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