Translate

25.9.12

 Nachman of Uman deals with the question which bothered philosophers: "How does multiplicity come from One." This was originally answered by Plotinus  [the founder of Neo Platonism] and then developed in Christian thought by pseudo Dionysus. [The reason Plotinus is not sufficient in this question for people of Jewish or Christian background is that there is no problem of potential multiplicity in the Nous. But for Torah based people, we have to have absolute simplicity in the One.] The one person who addressed this question straight on was the medieval prescholastic thinker, John Scotus Eurigena (c.800 - c.877). This indicates that  Nachman was familiar with Medieval Pre-Scholastic thought. [This is not news in Breslov. Everyone know he borrowed from medieval kabalists. and was familiar with philosophy.]
The problem which bothers me here is: Did  Nachman know that this question bothered Christian thinkers for about a thousand years until finally they just gave up on Neo-Platonic thought during the 1200's and decided to switch to Aristotle?" However neat and clean Aristotle is for all the problems that bothered the Neo-Platonic philosophers for a thousand years, still for people that want to continue with Neo-Platonic thought like the Ari [Isaac Luria] and  Nachman and the Rambam {Maimonides} himself this seems to present difficulties.
 Just  two of the problems for people in Neo-Platonic thought. Problem (1): For the personal God of the Torah, there does not seem to be any reason to create the physical world. If people here are mere reflections of a higher person in the Mind of God then why bother creating this flawed world? [And the Ramchal (Moshe Lutzato) does not much good here. No reason why God could no bestow good on people without there being the option of bad. If I had no chose but to accept a million dollars tomorrow would that make it worthless to me?]-  Problem (2) The reality of Divine idea introduces multiplicity in God -- a big "no."
I admit, a lot of the problems that bothered the Neo-Platonic people like the pre scholastic Christian thinkers never bothered me much because I accepted the Neo-Platonic system of Isaac Luria which deals pretty well with a lot of the basic problems. [Or maybe not as Rav Nelkenbaum pointed out to me at the Mir  in New York, Issac Luria  does not really deal with the "Why?" but the "How?"]  Rav Nelkenbaum did not put it that way but that is what he meant. At any rate, with "shevirat hakelim" שבירת הכלים [breaking of the vessels] you get a whole bunch of answers for the Neo Plato people.
Of course, Christians ever since the 1200's have an extreme aversion to anything which smacks of neo Platonism. I don't think they are right about this. As many problems the neo Platonics had, still the move towards Aristotle and Nomalism has not done any better and has lead to plainly anti-Torah philosophies and false philosophies. I mean the one thing that characterizes post Renaissance philosophy is its reliance on circular reasoning starting with Hume and ending up with the modern trash that goes by the name of philosophy.
The delicate balance that  Nachman walked between Neo Platonic thought and Maimonides shows he wanted to preserve Divine simplicity and divine ideas.{even though creation ex-nihilo is not a proof of  Nachmans'  type of thought. For that is a theme in Neo platonic thought also.)


It is strange that Reb Nachman asks the question of the Philosophers and then uses their answer and at the same time as he uses their answer he disparages them for asking the question.-The Platonic Forms along with the whole scheme of Emanation of Plotinus.