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On Quality and Quantity
Do not look too low; on kairos and chronos
What is quality? What is quantity?
Yet, they are not the same. When true contemplation starts, it is possible to come to the true essence or quality of a thing.
Kairos and Chronos
Both words signify time in the ancient Greek conceptions and are used in Scripture. But they signify different aspects. They are also used in the New Testament, but their meaning can be lost through translation.
Kairos means the opportune moment. Chronos signifies the length of time.
Chronos can be summarised as the time passing on your clock. It signifies a length of time, such as an amount of days.
Now for a time of about forty years He put up with their ways in the wilderness. Acts 13:18
One of the problems with this, is that it tells little information. It is too low to tell you something about action, or when to do something. When I tell you that one hour has passed, this signifies nothing. When I tell you one hour has passed since you’ve put food in the oven, it tells you how to act.
and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15)
Kairos on the other signifies an exact moment. It shows an opportunity. An opportunity cannot be measured in length of time, but can be seen from the patterns.
Both are time, but show a different order. Chronos is linear, Kairos is circular.
Quantity united in quality
Quality is necessary to unite quantity. You measure (need numbers), to unite something. You count (quantity) apples (quality). Quality precedes quantity (in ontology, in the chain of being). Quality is necessarily higher.
One of the great problems we now suffer, is that we think if we measure enough, we can reach quality through quantity. If we measure enough apples, then we will come to the essence of an apple. If we read enough books (to explore all the knowledge), then we will come to the essence of all knowledge. There is some truth in these statements (we need to start from some conception of an apple, we need some starting information), but it is not enough.
From quantity to quality necessitates a jump (of faith so to speak). Even if you measure everything there is, you will never approach the essence of something. Beauty is immeasurable, because it contains an indefinite amount of detail.
Measure all apples, and the essence of an apple will seem jump away. There is simply too much detail to measure. What exactly will you quantify?
So in essence, quality and quantity are completely different categories acting on different plains.
The same point continues when trying to extract information. Quantity necessitates a lower existence than quality. Quality is more immaterial (more subtle so to say). To quantify, is to bring into this world. Our world is a place of change, whereas the world of forms is unchangeable. 1
There are thus two ways to come to knowledge. By contemplating an object (a single one), or by measuring all objects of a kind (which is in fact impossible).
The same way is possible when thinking about something. It is in fact possible to contemplate an object for an indefinite amount of time. You first check the patterns in which it participates, then you go and think about how it participates in conjunction with patterns or objects. You go out on a walk for an hour, and then think about this object. Or you draw out all the possible relations and images that are possible to derive from it. The amount of information to extract from a single object is a lot.
When you are contemplating something, then you are getting at the essence of the thing, instead of the exterior form.
I encourage you to take a single sentence from the Bible (or something else), and try to analyse it for an hour. You will see that there is a wealth of information hidden in it.
You can measure all the faces you want, but what does that say about the essence them.
Statistics assumes that by measuring as much facts, you will get closer to the essence of what is being measured. It looks too low, according to me. That’s why it fails to account for difficult concepts such as consciousness.
Kairos and Chronos are two different aspects on different planes. Quality unites quantity and by contemplation a single object, it is possible to reach higher in the ontology.
I’m thinking of doing a series on platonic philosophy