Urstoff


If you speak German, then you know the meaning of the word “urstoff”. You might also quarrel with the definition I list. I understand  urstoff as the primary stuff of the universe. Stuff that has persisted and undergone change.

Ionian philosophy attempted to figure out the urstoff of all things, the basic element that is still with us but changed.

I call much stuff, stuff. As did Babe Ruth with babe, stuff is a good catch all. Ruth just said, “Hi Babe,” no matter whether it was you or me.  At any rate, I warmed up to urstoff.

The Ionian civilization of long ago differed as to the character of urstoff, but held it to be material. As Frederick Copleston writes in A History of Philosophy Volume One, for the Ionians urstoff was a de facto material kind of  thing. “The antithesis between spirit and matter had not yet been grasped.” Therefore he reasons they could hardly be called materialists.

I think the same de facto could be on its way for future generations. Do we as the song goes live in a material world and one day we will know no other?

I feel I am a bit of both stuff, true urstoff, always changing.