Do good to yourself...

Watercolour and ink, 76 x 56cm, 2015


Quod quid erat esse (Thomas Aquinas).  ‘That which each thing already was in its thingness, before it became actual.  Anything – a window, a table – was already what it is before it is actual, and it must already have been in order to become actual.’1

The thing is essentially what it is before its actualisation which introduces difference and contingency and can be thought as the negation of the thing.  Hegel does not incriminate actuality itself for the negation of the essence of the thing but instead our sense perception which grasps the thing in its immediacy, or its actuality.  This is the negation for Hegel which must be negated.

The logic of Quod quid erat esse can be applied to the Christian notion of the soul.  The soul was in itself what it already and always was before it was corrupted and perverted by becoming actual.  Christian guilt is the lamenting of the actualisation of the human soul.

‘The road to hell is paved with good intentions.’  The human soul can only recover its truth by recourse to the cause of its corruption, actuality.  Instead of the maxim of natural goodness ‘do unto others as you would them do unto you’, ‘do good to yourself with as little evil as possible to others’.2

1 Heidegger, Martin, 1988: he Basic Problems of Phenomenology, Indiana University Press; Revised Edition, p.85

2 Derrida, Jacques, 1976: Of Grammatology, The John Hopkins Press Ltd, London, p.196

all content © Mark Gerard Brogan