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Empedocles – Philosophy and thought

Born in Agrigento (Sicily) between 484-481 BC.
He states that all nature and the cosmos are composed of 4 original elements: the 4 roots of earth, water, air, fire.
Their original union, in which everything was indistinct and formless (the Sphere) was gathered in a potential force enclosed in itself Love, from which an opposite force was generated that tended to separate, divide, create distinct forms, the Hatred from which the multiple forms of the universe and of nature originate that we are able to see and understand thanks to the intellect.
Everything tends to original recomposition and to overcome its state of lack, therefore it is driven by Love, by the desire to reunite everything with everything, of every part with totality. From this desire for reunion, life and the multiple forms of natural entities are generated, an eternal and unchanging cycle of Love and Hate that contend for unity and difference. The immutable and eternal manifests itself in the changeability. When a human life disappears, the 4 roots that made it up separate and re-enter the cycle of transformations. Death is only a change of state or form, not a nothingness, not an end, but a transformation.
The myth of Eros mentioned by Plato in the Symposium is a reference to the philosophy of Empedocles.
Eros son of Poros (wealth, fullness) and Penìa (poverty, lack) tries to fill this contradiction by pushing human beings to union with others, pushes living things to attract each other to fill the original void and has to deal with Thanatos (death), the moment in which the full realization of the project of union takes place.
Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalysis will analyze the profound meaning of this myth, highlighting how deeply our mind is animated by these two principles: to love and self-canceling or canceling the other in the self, to achieve perfect fusion and union with the other or with the object of one’s desire. The relationship between the constructive principle of pleasure and that of destruction.


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