Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Rationality in a Work of the Classical Period

Rationality always been a dominant subject or a predominant mode of thinking and acting in the Persianate world (or many other parts of the world for that matter), however, occasionally one comes across works from the past that were devoted to the topic. In a book entitled Aiin Akbari (which is the third volume of Akbar Nameh (The Book of Akbar), its author, Abolfazl 'Allami (1551-1602), Akbar Shah's minister, is preoccupied with the question of rationality. 

He believes rational person has fourteen qualities (as rendered by H. S. Jarrett):

1) intellect
2) pleasure
3) pain
4) desire
5) aversion
6) effort
7) merit
8) demerit
9) thinking
10) number
11) quantity
12) individuality
13) conjunction
14) disjunction

         Photo is from Here

The author goes on to explain that the first nine of these qualities are interconnected, and others including number, quantity, individuality conjunction, disjunction, and sound, compliment them. 

He also categorizes and attributes these qualities according to the elements of air, fire, water, earth, and odor; a predominate way of categorizing phenomena in the classical period. 

No wonder the author strove, as a minister, more than anything else to encourage his king, Akbar, to pursue peace and tranquility.