After all, the hypostasis of the good is only an unfortunate incident in a great accomplishment, which is the discernment of the good. I have dwelt chiefly on this incident, because in academic circles it is the abuses incidental to true philosophy that create controversy and form schools.
They had become ontological entities, whereas originally they had represented the rational functions of life. This hypostasis of the rational, by which the rational abdicates its meaning in the effort to acquire a metaphysical existence, had already been carried to its extreme by the Neo-Platonists.
Finally, this ancient question, debated for years, demanded an answer: was Christ hanged on the cross, or was it the Trinity which had suffered as one in its triple hypostasis, on the cross at Calvary? And mechanically, like a lesson long ago learned, he proposed the questions to himself and answered them.
Of these reinterpretations the first was that attempted by Plato, and afterward carried out by the neo-Platonists and Christians into the notion of a supernatural spiritual hierarchy; above, a dialectical deity, the hypostasis of intellect and its ontological phases; below, a host of angels and demons, hypostases of faculties, moral influences, and evil promptings.
Rare jargon we made of it; talking of cosmothetie idealism or hypothetical dualism, of noetic and dianoetic principles, of hylozoism and hypostasis, and demonstrating the most undemonstrable propositions by appeals to the law of contradiction or of excluded middle.
Query XX. p. 302. Why not as is felt to be for the interest of science in all the physical sciences retain the same term in all languages? Why not 'usia' and homoüsial, as well as 'hypostasis', hypostatic, homogeneous, heterogeneous, and the like; or as Baptism, Eucharist, Liturgy, Epiphany and the rest? Query XXI. p. 303.
The hypostasis of philosophical terms is an abuse incidental to the forthright, unchecked use of the intellect; it substitutes for things the limits and distinctions that divide them. So physics is corrupted by logic; but the logic that corrupts physics is perhaps correct, and when it is moral dialectic, it is more important than physics itself. Mr. Russell's ethics is ethics.
In the same manner the "Wisdom of God" and the "Word of God" became distinct personages. This was the germ of the process which has engendered the Sephiroth of the Cabbala, the Æons of Gnosticism, the hypostasis of Christianity, and all that dry mythology, consisting of personified abstractions, to which Monotheism is obliged to resort when it wishes to pluralize the Deity.
"No, because all communities have at least three, in honour of the holy and triple Hypostasis." "Do you mean to say that the number of bells a monastery or church can have is limited by rule?" "Formerly it was. There was a pious hierarchy of ringing: the bells of a convent could not sound when the bells of a church pealed.
Intent though it vaults high must have something to spring from, or it would lend meaning to nothing. The minimal sensuous term that subsists serves as a clue to a whole system of possible assertions radiating from it. It becomes the sign for an essence or idea, a logical hypostasis corresponding in discourse to that material hypostasis of perceptions which is called an external thing.