Seizing The Essence

A Value Cosmology for the Modernist

by Hamilton Priday



Book Details

Language : English
Publication Date : 12/20/2007

Format : Softcover
Dimensions : 6x9
Page Count : 160
ISBN : 9781425777319
Format : E-Book
Dimensions : 6x9
Page Count : 160
ISBN : 9781462827824

About the Book

SEIZING THE ESSENCE is about the dynamics of Value that form man´s concept of reality.  Human beings don’t just passively experience the things and events that represent this journey through life, they construct them intellectually from the sense of value that is intrinsic to all cognizant individuals.  We don’t simply enjoy the finer things in life, we aspire to them; and when awed by the experience of great beauty or magnificence, we want to identify with its source.  As the created agents of this source, we intellectualize its value by experiencing it as differentiated reality.  Making value aware as representational objects in a relational world affirms the absolute value of our uncreated Essence.

The author believes that one of the tragedies of our materialistic age is that we have mistaken our differentiated, amoral existence for ultimate reality, with the result that we have lost much of our value-sensibility.  With the possible exception of artists and musicians, the mindset of most people today has been shaped by objectivists who insist that man is totally a product of biological and cultural evolution.  Although fueled by Darwin’s Origin of the Species, in truth this ideology is the outcome of a 2000-year battle between Aristotelian empiricism and Platonic idealism that scientists claim to have won only in the last century.  In their zeal to renounce religion and spirituality, the objectivists have thrown the baby out with the bathwater.  “Selfness” is today regarded as a myth of dubious origin, and material reality is believed to be primary to one’s awareness of it.

In SEIZING THE ESSENCE, the author makes the case that the mind/matter duality of Descartes and Kant has not been overcome by Science, that all knowledge is proprietary to the self, and that physical reality is an intellectual construct of Value which is the individual´s perspective of Essence.  Since traditional logic is relational by fiat, the author bases his cosmology on a principle first postulated by the 15th century logician Nicholas of Cusa which deals with a "not-other" that is the coincidence of all otherness.  Instead of trying to describe the ineffable, Cusa´s theory affords the philosopher a dialectic handle by which to relate finite experience to the Oneness of Essence.  This leads logically to a cosmology in which physical existence is a virtual reality created largely by man, who is the cognizant agent of his estranged Essence.

Contrary to previous theories of "nature´s essences", there is but one Essence, and it is the uncreated source of differentiated experience.  Starting with the fundamental premise that Essence is absolute and immutable, the book unfolds an ontology whereby value can be understood as the essential link between the autonomous self and its uncreated source.  The central message of this book is that, although values drive mankind, it is man´s free choices that determine the course of history.

Essentialism is a new and original philosophy that embraces the spirituality of Judeo-Christianity and Eastern mysticism, yet is grounded in a metaphysical cosmology that is non-dogmatic, logically plausible, and far more vital to contemporary man.  In addition to chapters describing our “real world” mentality, man’s historical search for the “stuff of reality”, a Cosmology of Essence, and the autonomous self, the author offers "A Modernist´s Guide to Values" complete with a strategy for achieving an “authentic society”.  Included in the Appendix is an extended glossary of names and special terms that are relevant to the Philosophy of Essence.

About the Author

Hamilton (“Ham”) Priday received his baccalaureate in biology/chemistry from Ursinus College in 1953, taking courses in logic and philosophy as electives. On completing his military obligation to the Korean War, he studied music theory and arranging at the Philadelphia Conservatory before launching a 30-year career in technical writing and industrial advertising. In 2002 he opted for retirement to pursue a life-long interest in philosophy. This has culminated in a metaphysical thesis that lays the groundwork for a valuistic philosophy which he believes can foster an “authentic society”.