The Constant and the Contingent in Human Thought and Life

A. E. Garvie

The business of philosophy is “to think things together,” so far as the reality of things and the capacity of thought allow. That reality presents many contrasts, physical, ethical, metaphysical, light and darkness, life and death, good and evil, right and wrong, the One and the many, the Infinite and the finite, the Eternal and the temporal, and what we mention as last, but not least, for our immediate purpose, Being and Becoming, the Constant and the Contingent. The contrasts need not be regarded as contradictions, negations one of another, as thought the Eleatics with their emphasis on Being, or the Heraclitics with their preference for Becoming. To our immediate scrutiny all stands and all flows may be irreconcilable oppositions; but Einstein is teaching us that there is relativity in all our interpretations of reality. We need not with Indian thought declare Brahma alone real, and all else Maya, illusion.