Thursday, February 26, 2015

The idea of Being

It is an oddity that a notice in an Italian street should read not that so and so was born or died in this particular house but that: ‘While walking down this street lost in thought, Antonio Rosmini conceived the “Idea of Being”, which became the foundation of his philosophical system.’

Rosmini himself wrote about it: At the age of 18 I was walking alone wrapt in thought along the street called Terra, which as you know lies between the tower and the bridge over the Leno; and while various thoughts were going through my mind, I noticed that the explanation of a mental concept is to be found in a wider concept, and this wider concept in one of a still wider application; and thus ascending from concept to concept I found that I arrived at the most universal of all ideas, being; and when I tried to take away the idea of being, I found I had nothing left.

I thus became persuaded that the idea of being is the ultimate in every concept, the principle of all thought. The conviction that I had found a truth gave my soul serenity and joy, and I gave praise to the Father of light. 

From pages 43/4 of John Michael Hill's biography of Antonio Rosmini: Persecuted Prophet. 
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