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PARMENIDES by Plato, Part 04

And if greater or less than things which are commensurable with it, the one will have more measures than that which is less, and fewer than that which is greater?

And so of things which are not commensurate with it, the one will have greater measures than that which is less and smaller than that which is greater.

But how can that which does not partake of sameness, have either the same measures or have anything else the same?

And not having the same measures, the one cannot be equal either with itself or with another?

It appears so.
But again, whether it have fewer or more measures, it will have as many parts as it has measures; and thus again the one will be no longer one but will have as many parts as measures.

And if it were of one measure, it would be equal to that measure; yet it has been shown to be incapable of equality.

It has.
Then it will neither partake of one measure, nor of many, nor of few, nor of the same at all, nor be equal to itself or another; nor be greater or less than itself, or other?

Well, and do we suppose that one can be older, or younger than anything, or of the same age with it?

Why not?
Why, because that which is of the same age with itself or other, must partake of equality or likeness of time; and we said that the one did not partake either of equality or of likeness?

We did say so.
And we also said, that it did not partake of inequality or unlikeness.

Very true.
How then can one, being of this nature, be either older or younger than anything, or have the same age with it?

In no way.
Then one cannot be older or younger, or of the same age, either with itself or with another?

Clearly not.
Then the one, being of this nature, cannot be in time at all; for must not that which is in time, be always growing older than itself?

And that which is older, must always be older than something which is younger?

Then, that which becomes older than itself, also becomes at the same time younger than itself, if it is to have something to become older than.

What do you mean?
I mean this:-A thing does not need to become different from another thing which is already different; it is different, and if its different has become, it has become different; if its different will be, it will be different; but of that which is becoming different, there cannot have been, or be about to be, or yet be, a different-the only different possible is one which is becoming.

That is inevitable.
But, surely, the elder is a difference relative to the younger, and to nothing else.

Then that which becomes older than itself must also, at the same time, become younger than itself?

But again, it is true that it cannot become for a longer or for a shorter time than itself, but it must become, and be, and have become, and be about to be, for the same time with itself?

That again is inevitable.
Then things which are in time, and partake of time, must in every case, I suppose, be of the same age with themselves; and must also become at once older and younger than themselves?

But the one did not partake of those affections?
Not at all.
Then it does not partake of time, and is not in any time?
So the argument shows.
Well, but do not the expressions "was," and "has become," and "was becoming," signify a participation of past time?

And do not "will be," "will become," "will have become," signify a participation of future time?

And "is," or "becomes," signifies a participation of present time?
And if the one is absolutely without participation in time, it never had become, or was becoming, or was at any time, or is now become or is becoming, or is, or will become, or will have become, or will be, hereafter.

Most true.
But are there any modes of partaking of being other than these?
There are none.
Then the one cannot possibly partake of being?
That is the inference.
Then the one is not at all?
Clearly not.
Then the one does not exist in such way as to be one; for if it were and partook of being, it would already be; but if the argument is to be trusted, the one neither is nor is one?

But that which is not admits of no attribute or relation?
Of course not.
Then there is no name, nor expression, nor perception, nor opinion, nor knowledge of it?

Clearly not.
Then it is neither named, nor expressed, nor opined, nor known, nor does anything that is perceive it.

So we must infer.
But can all this be true about the one?
I think not.

Suppose, now, that we return once more to the original hypothesis; let us see whether, on a further review, any new aspect of the question appears.

I shall be very happy to do so.
We say that we have to work out together all the consequences, whatever they may be, which follow, if the one is?

Then we will begin at the beginning:-If one is, can one be, and not partake of being?

Then the one will have being, but its being will not be the same with the one; for if the same, it would not be the being of the one; nor would the one have participated in being, for the proposition that one is would have been identical with the proposition that one is one; but our hypothesis is not if one is one, what will follow, but if one is:-am I not right?

Quite right.
We mean to say, that being has not the same significance as one?
Of course.
And when we put them together shortly, and say "One is," that is equivalent to saying, "partakes of being"?

Quite true.
Once more then let us ask, if one is what will follow. Does not this hypothesis necessarily imply that one is of such a nature as to have parts?

How so?
In this way:-If being is predicated of the one, if the one is, and one of being, if being is one; and if being and one are not the same; and since the one, which we have assumed, is, must not the whole, if it is one, itself be, and have for its parts, one and being?

And is each of these parts-one and being to be simply called a part, or must the word "part" be relative to the word "whole"?

The latter.
Then that which is one is both a whole and has a part?
Again, of the parts of the one, if it is-I mean being and one-does either fail to imply the other? is the one wanting to being, or being to the one?

Thus, each of the parts also has in turn both one and being, and is at the least made up of two parts; and the same principle goes on for ever, and every part whatever has always these two parts; for being always involves one, and one being; so that one is always disappearing, and becoming two.

And so the one, if it is, must be infinite in multiplicity?
Let us take another direction.
What direction?
We say that the one partakes of being and therefore it is?
And in this way, the one, if it has being, has turned out to be many?


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