CREDOS: Western thought — I

Man has always sought to understand the world he lives in and find out where it all came from. Mythological stories form the most basic and earliest attempts in coming up with an acceptable explanation. Stories of creation are present in all mythologies for in many ways myths were an attempt to create a framework from within which man could understand his world. Myths have been used to explain anything and everything, from how the seasons change to natural disasters. The forefathers of western thought, the Greeks not only had an extensive mythological universe but they also successfully developed a rational means of understanding the world. They were in many ways the creators of the sciences and the developers of analytic thought.

The first recorded person to question the origination of substances and matter was the Greek philosopher, Thales of Miletus. Fragments of his work dated to around 600 B.C. prove him to have been a philosopher interested in science, mathematics, philosophy, and history. Aristotle in his Metaphysics acknowledges Thales as being the first person to try explaining the origin of the world in a scientific manner. Thales argued that water was the primal essence of everything. To modern readers this may sound like an absurd thought but aside from the truth value of the claim itself, it is still worth paying close attention to. Within this single assertion by Thales lies the notion of and belief in rationality.