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PARMENIDES by Plato, Part 09


That also is clear in my judgment.
Well, and must not a beginning or any other part of the one or of anything, if it be a part and not parts, being a part, be also of necessity one?

Certainly.
And will not the one come into being together with each part-together with the first part when that comes into being, and together with the second part and with all the rest, and will not be wanting to any part, which is added to any other part until it has reached the last and become one whole; it will be wanting neither to the middle, nor to the first, nor to the last, nor to any of them, while the process of becoming is going on?

True.
Then the one is of the same age with all the others, so that if the one itself does not contradict its own nature, it will be neither prior nor posterior to the others, but simultaneous; and according to this argument the one will be neither older nor younger than the others, nor the others than the one, but according to the previous argument the one will be older and younger than the others and the others than the one.

Certainly.
After this manner then the one is and has become. But as to its becoming older and younger than the others, and the others than the one, and neither older. nor younger, what shall we say? Shall we say as of being so also of becoming, or otherwise?

I cannot answer.
But I can venture to say, that even if one thing were older or younger than another, it could not become older or younger in a greater degree than it was at first; for equals added to unequals, whether to periods of time or to anything else, leave the difference between them the same as at first.

Of course. Then that which is, cannot become older or younger than that which is, since the difference of age is always the same; the one is and has become older and the other younger; but they are no longer becoming so.

True.
And the one which is does not therefore become either older or younger than the others which are

No.
But consider whether they may not become older and younger in another way.

In what way?
Just as the one was proven to be older than the others and the others than the one.

And what of that?
If the one is older than the others, has come into being a longer time than the others.

Yes.
But consider again; if we add equal time to a greater and a less time, will the greater differ from the less time by an equal or by a smaller portion than before?

By a smaller portion.
Then the difference between the age of the one and the age of the others will not be afterwards so great as at first, but if an equal time be added to both of them they will differ less and less in age?

Yes.
And that which differs in age from some other less than formerly, from being older will become younger in relation to that other than which it was older?

Yes, younger.
And if the one becomes younger the others aforesaid will become older than they were before, in relation to the one.

Certainly.
Then that which had become younger becomes older relatively to that which previously had become and was older; it never really is older, but is always becoming, for the one is always growing on the side of youth and the other on the side of age. And in like manner the older is always in process of becoming younger than the younger; for as they are always going in opposite directions they become in ways the opposite to one another, the younger older than the older and the older younger than the younger. They cannot, however have become; for if they had already become they would be and not merely become. But that is impossible; for they are always becoming both older and younger than one another: the one becomes younger than the others because it was seen to be older and prior, and the others become older than the one because they came into being later; and in the same way the others are in the same relation to the one, because they were seen to be older, and prior to the one.

That is clear.
Inasmuch then, one thing does not become older or younger than another, in that they always differ from each other by an equal number, the one cannot become older or younger than the others, nor the other than the one; but inasmuch as that which came into being earlier and that which came into being later must continually differ from each other by a different portion-in this point of view the others must become older and younger than the one, and the one than the others.

Certainly.
For all these reasons, then, the one is and becomes older and younger than itself and the others, and neither is nor becomes older or younger than itself or the others.

Certainly.
But since the one partakes of time, and partakes of becoming older and younger, must it not also partake of the past, the present, and the future?

Of course it must.
Then the one was and is and will be, and was becoming and is becoming and will become?

Certainly.
And there is and was and will be something which is in relation to it and belongs to it?

True.
And since we have at this moment opinion and knowledge and perception of the one, there is opinion and knowledge and perception of it?

Quite right.
Then there is name and expression for it, and it is named and expressed, and everything of this kind which appertains to other: things appertains to the one.

Certainly, that is true.

Yet once more and for the third time, let us consider: If the one is both one and many, as we have described, and is, neither one nor many, and participates in time, must it not, in as far as it is one, at times partake of being, and in as far as it is not one, at times not partake of being?

Certainly.
But can it partake of being when not partaking of being, or not partake of being when partaking of being?

Impossible.
Then the one partakes and does not partake of being at different times, for that is the only way in which it can partake and not partake of the same.

True.
And is there not also a time at which it assumes being and relinquishes being-for how can it have and not have the same thing unless it receives and also gives it up at; some time?

Impossible.
And the assuming of being is what you would call becoming?
I should.
And the relinquishing of being you would call destruction?
I should.
The one then, as would appear, becomes and is destroyed by taking and giving up being.

Certainly.
And being one and many and in process of becoming and being destroyed, when it becomes one it ceases to be many, and when many, it ceases to be one?

Certainly.
And as it becomes one and many, must it not inevitably experience separation and aggregation?

Inevitably.
And whenever it becomes like and unlike it must be assimilated and dissimilated?

Yes.
And when it becomes greater or less or equal it must grow or diminish or be equalized?

True.
And when being in motion it rests, and when being at rest it changes to motion, it can surely be in no time at all?

How can it?
But that a thing which is previously at rest should be afterwards in motion, or previously in motion and afterwards at rest, without experiencing change, is impossible.

Impossible.
And surely there cannot be a time in which a thing can be at once neither in motion nor at rest?

There cannot.
But neither can it change without changing.
True.
When then does it change; for it cannot change either when at rest, or when in motion, or when in time?

It cannot.
And does this strange thing in which it is at the time of changing really exist?

What thing?
The moment. For the moment seems to imply a something out of which change takes place into either of two states; for the change is not from the state of rest as such, nor, from the state of motion as such; but there is this curious nature, which we call the moment lying between rest and motion, not being in any time; and into this and out of this what is in motion changes into rest, and what is at rest into motion.

So it appears.
And the one then, since it is at rest and also in motion, will change to either, for only in this way can it be in both. And in changing it changes in a moment, and when it is changing it will be in no time, and will not then be either in motion or at rest.

It will not.
And it will be in the same case in relation to the other changes, when it passes from being into cessation of being, or from not-being into becoming-then it passes between certain states of motion and rest, and, neither is nor is not, nor becomes nor is destroyed.

Very true.
And on the same principle, in the passage from one to many and from many to one, the one is neither one nor many, neither separated nor aggregated; and in the passage from like to unlike, and from unlike to like, it is neither like nor unlike, neither in a state of assimilation nor of dissimilation; and in the passage from small to great and equal and back again, it will be neither small nor great, nor equal, nor in a state of increase, or diminution, or equalization.

True.
All these, then, are the affections of the one, if the one has being.

Of course.

But if one is, what will happen to the others -is not that also to be considered?

Yes.
Let us show then, if one is, what will be the affections of the others than the one.

Let us do so.
Inasmuch as there are things other than the one, the others are not the one; for if they were they could not be other than the one. Very true.

Very true.
Nor are the others altogether without the one, but in a certain way they participate in the one.

In what way?
Because the others are other than the one inasmuch as they have parts; for if they had no parts they would be simply one.

Right.
And parts, as we affirm, have relation to a whole?
So we say.
And a whole must necessarily be one made up of many; and the parts will be parts of the one, for each of the parts is not a part of many, but of a whole.

 

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