Matter is the potentiality, and form is the actuality. God is pure form (no physical matter) and we humans are combinations of matter and form, or potential and actual.
Both Judaism and Christianity adopted Aristotle’s teaching that we are matter and form, but renamed it body and soul. However, the concept of the form existing beyond the demise of the matter continued beyond Aristotle’s teachings and populated most major religions.
But there’s another point here that piques my interest. The fact that Aristotle believed in two states of being: potential and actual. When looked at in conjunction with the multiverse theories of today, you can see that Aristotle named these states of being very well. Every time we make a choice, we end up creating one or more potential realities. That means, we are always in a state of potentiality. The only time we can be in a state of actuality is when we forego the physical world for one of pure spiritualism. That’s because only outside of the physical world does time cease to be a factor, and without time, there is no potentiality. Without time, everything just is. All realities exist, all potentials are realized, and we (every aspect of us) is now an actuality.
It boggles my mind, yet I understand it so well. I’m sure that in another reality, a potential reality, there’s a me that doesn’t understand it all, or doesn’t even care about it; but in this reality, this me thinks this is utterly awesome.
Science lists five possible types of multiverses:
The flat repeating multiverse. This is described as a patchwork quilt view of reality. Each square of space-time extends only as far as light has traveled since the big bang (or 13.7 billion light-years). The next square beyond that is another, separate universe of multiverses. So, within our square would be an infinite number of each of us, some living lives very similar to our own, while others would have taken completely different paths.
The bubble universes. The main bubble is where we all started. However, as choices are made, smaller bubbles break out along the surface of this main bubble. Major breaks in the space-time line result in large separate bubbles being created, while less influential choices result in smaller collections of surface bubbles.
Parallel universes or braneworlds. This theory comes from the string theory world. Each brane is a layer that floats just out of reach of the next brane. Each brane is a self-contained universe which may or may not be similar to our own.
Daughter universes. This theory is part of the quantum mechanics world. It says that every possibility is created and becomes a reality. For example, if you reach a crossroads where you can go right or left, the present universe gives rise to two daughter universes: one in which you go right, and one in which you go left.
Mathematical universes. Scientists have debated whether mathematics is simply a useful tool for describing the universe, or whether math itself is the fundamental reality, and our observations of the universe are just imperfect perceptions of its true mathematical nature. If the latter is the case, then perhaps the particular mathematical structure that makes up our universe isn’t the only option, and in fact all possible mathematical structures exist as their own separate universes.
So, our universe is probably just one of an infinite number of universes making up our reality. And whether it’s a bubble, a brane, a patchwork square, a daughter, or an equation, in this reality, Aristotle expressed it first.