Communicating substantiality

(Tinkering with a thesis by Michael Bolin, contested by Fr. Waldstein)

I) What comes to be exists in another.

Proof: No substance comes to be, but either is or is not. But all non-substances exist in another.

Objection: But an accidental form either is or is not too – something either works as a house or it doesn’t.

Response: A house is a number of substances with the right position and relation, and one can be closer or further to some number. But a substance is not a number of substances with the right position and relation, therefore etc.

All accidental forms arise from taking a part or whole of a substance and moving it to another place, bringing it into the proximity of other substances, etc. Accidental forms thus have a clear relation to a process. But it’s just because they are this checklist of substance + right position + right relation to other substance that the accidental form can be realized in stages whereas the substantial form can’t be.

II) But we need some sort of account of substances coming to be. We see it happen.

III) An S-form necessarily comes to be whenever the appropriate A -form comes to be.

But how does the S-form necessarily come to be from the A-forms? It can’t come to be by just being them, since this would make it accidental; nor because it is actualized by them, since this would make it in potency to them, when in fact it is their act.

Thus A-forms have an order to S-form, but they cannot actualize this form. S-Forms must be actualized by another. The accidental form has an order to an end that it cannot actualize by itself.

Perhaps substantial form is most comparable to hearing a broadcast. Put the right accidental forms in place (wires, tuning knobs, antenna, electro-guts), and you’ll necessarily hear the broadcast, but not because the broadcast is identical to that form or because the form you make causes the broadcast to occur. You use the language of “taking part in” or “participating” to indicate what your accidental form does with respect to the broadcast. Obviously, as soon as you start thinking about how radios actualize broadcasts, the metaphor goes lame and ceases to apply.

IV) But natural things are essentially mobile, in development, evolving, temporal, changing.

All nature can account for is the accidental form that is open to participating in what might be called the broadcast of substantiality. There is a realm outside of nature which is essentially the communication of existence, without which nothing in nature can exist of itself.

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