What is Matter and What Does It Mean?July 2, 2021
Everything that exists independently of consciousness. Definitions in different formats are given below:
1. Etymology: It is derived from the idiom of self, which expresses its inner meaning in our language, and to express the meaning of the essence.(..) The element that creates something. The ‘object (hyle)’ to which human labor is directed in Greek philosophy, Latin materia, materies (material). It is also synonymous with the word substance. It is designed as the main, basic building material of the universe. In metaphysical assumptions, it has been suggested that the universe is made of such a substance that occupies space and can take any form. It was understood by dialectical analysis in the 19th century that matter did not exist, apart from concrete forms, as an unchanging fundamental substance, as in the metaphysical understanding. Matter exists only in an infinite variety of concrete forms.
2. The First Age: In ancient slave societies such as India, China, etc., it was claimed that the universe was made of a basic material, and thus the concept of ‘matter’ emerged within the understanding of ‘a material from which everything was made’. In the oldest Chinese thoughts, sensations are reflected from matter; sweet, bitter, salty, sour impressions such as water, fire, earth, wood, civilized etc. It was known that it emerged from materials and that there were positive and negative (positive and negative) primitive particles in the universe (See T. I. Oizerman, Zur Geschichte der vormakscheb Philosophie, Berlin 1960, p. 14).
In the Vedas, which are the oldest Indian texts, it is claimed that all beings in the universe are composed of earth, fire, water and air substances. The Lokayata and Butavada teachings of ancient Indian materialism are tied to these foundations in the Vedas. According to the doctrine of ‘matter’, which is believed to have been put forward by the mythological hero Brihaspati, the atoms of each material element, which have existed since primordialism, combined in various proportions to form beings. When the living being dies, this compound dissolves and its atoms mix with the atoms of nature.
3. Antiquity: The Greeks of Antiquity claimed that there is a substance in the ‘root’ (Arkhe) of existence. While asserting this, it did not even occur to them to think of a divine and spiritual principle. The first Greek thinkers were naturalists who observed nature and tried to deduce the making of nature from nature. Thales, who was identified as the first thinker in the history of philosophy, thought that this substance was ‘water’. He had observed that it was water that animates everything in the universe, he conceived matter (Hyle) together with a power (Zoe) that animates it, yet this power resides in the water itself. That is why his teachings and those of other Miletians who followed him are called ‘living materialism’.
Anaximander, following Thales, thought that in the infinite variety of beings, the first matter could not be directly perceptible, and he named this substance ‘aperion’ in the infinite, unlimited and indefinite sense. He could move into many existential states as well as water, so it was not right to connect him to a certain substance like water. The aperion design, which appeared in many forms of being by moving endlessly, was a very advanced stage in terms of transferring the concept of matter from concrete to abstract. Furthermore, Anaximander is observing the fundamental law of dialectics by asserting that the aperion “contains all its oppositions”. According to him, these ‘opposites’ are the reason for the existence of various facts and events; hot-cold-, dry-wet etc. it always comes out of the aperion, and that’s how beings come into being.
Thales’ student Anaximenes wanted to re-concrete Anaximandros’ aperion and named it ‘air’, he tried to explain the occurrence of various beings by the sparseness and frequency of air (Aer). According to Anaximenes, this air is a living air, just as our breath keeps us alive, so air keeps the universe alive (Psyche). As it is seen, Anaximenes has also put forward the concept of a spirit (Psyke) in the sense of vitality and material. However, the future adventure of this spirit did not even cross the mind of Anaximenes. The French thinker George Cogniot, who gave a valuable work under the name of ‘Ancient materialism’, rightly says: ‘The gods did not make the air, but the gods of the air did’.
After Anaximenes, Heraclitus claimed that the first substance was fire, because according to him, fire moves much more than water and air. Heraclitus, with brilliant insight and sternly says: “Matter has neither a beginning nor an end. It is an integral part of the rhythmically occurring movement. This order, which is the same for all beings, was not created by gods or humans. As long as this fire, which has no beginning and no end, burns, this order has always existed and will exist forever. According to Heraclitus, natural events constantly transform into their opposites, opposites are one and the same thing, one changes and becomes the other. The most beautiful ‘harmony’ (Harmonia) arises from this fight of opposites. According to him, this conflict is the law of the universe. According to Heraclitus, “man’s soul is also a substance and is one of the transition states of fire.