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PARMENIDES by Plato, Part 08

Then the one will be equal to both itself and the others?
Clearly so.
And yet the one, being itself in itself, will also surround and be without itself; and, as containing itself, will be greater than itself; and, as contained in itself, will be less; and will thus be greater and less than itself.

It will.
Now there cannot possibly be anything which is not included in the one and the others?

Of course not.
But, surely, that which is must always be somewhere?
But that which is in anything will be less, and that in which it is will be greater; in no other way can one thing be in another.

And since there is nothing other or besides the one and the others, and they must be in something, must they not be in one another, the one in the others and the others in the one, if they are to be anywhere?

That is clear.
But inasmuch as the one is in the others, the others will be greater than the one, because they contain the one, which will be less than the others, because it is contained in them; and inasmuch as the others are in the one, the one on the same principle will be greater than the others, and the others less than the one.

The one, then, will be equal to and greater and less than itself and the others?

And if it be greater and less and equal, it will be of equal and more and less measures or divisions than itself and the others, and if of measures, also of parts?

Of course.
And if of equal and more and less measures or divisions, it will be in number more or less than itself and the others, and likewise equal in number to itself and to the others?

How is that?
It will be of more measures than those things which it exceeds, and of as many parts as measures; and so with that to which it is equal, and that than which it is less.

And being greater and less than itself, and equal to itself, it will be of equal measures with itself and of more and fewer measures than itself; and if of measures then also of parts?

It will.
And being of equal parts with itself, it will be numerically equal to itself; and being of more parts, more, and being of less, less than itself?

And the same will hold of its relation to other things; inasmuch as it is greater than them, it will be more in number than them; and inasmuch as it is smaller, it will be less in number; and inasmuch as it is equal in size to other things, it will be equal to them in number.

Once more then, as would appear, the one will be in number both equal to and more and less than both itself and all other things.

It will.

Does the one also partake of time? And is it and does it become older and younger than itself and others, and again, neither younger nor older than itself and others, by virtue of participation in time?

How do you mean?
If one is, being must be predicated of it?
But to be (einai) is only participation of being in present time, and to have been is the participation of being at a past time, and to be about to be is the participation of being at a future time?

Very true.
Then the one, since it partakes of being, partakes of time?
And is not time always moving forward?
Then the one is always becoming older than itself, since it moves forward in time?

And do you remember that the older becomes older than that which becomes younger?

I remember.
Then since the one becomes older than itself, it becomes younger at the same time?

Thus, then, the one becomes older as well as younger than itself?
And it is older (is it not?) when in becoming, it gets to the point of time. between "was" and "will be," which is "now": for surely in going from the past to the future, it cannot skip the present?

And when it arrives at the present it stops from becoming older, and no longer becomes, but is older, for if it went on it would never be reached by the present, for it is the nature of that which goes on, to touch both the present and the future, letting go the present and seizing the future, while in process of becoming between them.

But that which is becoming cannot skip the present; when it reaches the present it ceases to become, and is then whatever it may happen to be becoming.

And so the one, when in becoming older it reaches the present, ceases to become, and is then older.

And it is older than that than which it was becoming older, and it was becoming older than itself.

And that which is older is older than that which is younger?
Then the one is younger than itself, when in becoming older it reaches the present?

But the present is always present with the one during all its being; for whenever it is it is always now.

Then the one always both is and becomes older and younger than itself?

And is it or does it become a longer time than itself or an equal time with itself?

An equal time.
But if it becomes or is for an equal time with itself, it is of the same age with itself?

Of course.
And that which is of the same age, is neither older nor younger?
The one, then, becoming and being the same time with itself, neither is nor becomes older or younger than itself?

I should say not.
And what are its relations to other things? Is it or does it become older or younger than they?

I cannot tell you.
You can at least tell me that others than the one are more than the one-other would have been one, but the others have multitude, and are more than one?

They will have multitude.
And a multitude implies a number larger than one?
Of course.
And shall we say that the lesser or the greater is the first to come or to have come into existence?

The lesser.
Then the least is the first? And that is the one?
Then the one of all things that have number is the first to come into being; but all other things have also number, being plural and not singular.

They have.
And since it came into being first it must be supposed to have come into being prior to the others, and the others later; and the things which came into being later, are younger than that which preceded them? And so the other things will be younger than the one, and the one older than other things?

What would you say of another question? Can the one have come into being contrary to its own nature, or is that impossible?

And yet, surely, the one was shown to have parts; and if parts, then a beginning, middle and end?

And a beginning, both of the one itself and of all other things, comes into being first of all; and after the beginning, the others follow, until you reach the end?

And all these others we shall affirm to be parts of the whole and of the one, which, as soon as the end is reached, has become whole and one?

Yes; that is what we shall say.
But the end comes last, and the one is of such a nature as to come into being with the last; and, since the one cannot come into being except in accordance with its own nature, its nature will require that it should come into being after the others, simultaneously with the end.

Then the one is younger than the others and the others older than the one.


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