Saturday, October 19, 2002

Here's a little snippet from old Parmenides...It makes a lot more sense than it seems at first...

One path only is left for us to speak of: that it is. On this path there are a multitude of indications that what-is, being ungenerated, is also imperishable, whole, of a single kind, immovable and complete. Nor was it once, nor will it be, since it is, now, all together, one and continuous. For what coming-to-be of it will you seek? How and from where did it grow? I shall not permit you to say or to think that it grew from what-is-not, for it is not to be said or thought that it is not. What necessity could have impelled it to grow later rather than sooner, if it began from nothing? Thus it must either fully be, or be not at all. Nor will the force of conviction ever allow anything, from what-is, to come-to-be something apart from itself; wherefore Justice does not loosen her shackles so as to allow it to come-to-be or to perish, but holds it fast.
"The decision on these matters depends on this: either it is or it is not. But it has been decided, as is necessary, to let go the one as unthinkable and unnameable (for it is no true path), but to allow the other, so that it is, and is true. How could what-is be in the future? How could it come-to-be? For if it came-to-be, it is not, nor is it if at some time it is going to be. Thus, coming-to-be is extinguished and perishing unheard of.

"Nor is it divisible, since it all alike is. Nor is there any more of it here than there, to hinder it from holding together, nor any less of it, but it is all a plenum, full of what-is. Therefore, it is all continuous, for what-is touches what-is.

"Moreover, unchanging in the limits of great bonds, it is without beginning or end, since coming-to-be and perishing were banished far away, and true conviction drove them out. Remaining the same, in the same place, it lies in itself, and thus firmly remains there. For mighty Necessity holds it fast in the bonds of a limit, which fences it about, since it is not right for what-is to be incomplete. For it lacks nothing. If it lacked anything, it would lack everything.

8c"Since, then, there is an ultimate limit, it is completed from every direction like the bulk of a perfect sphere, evenly balanced in every way from the centre, as it must not be any greater or smaller here than there. For neither is there what-is-not, which could stop it from reaching its like, nor is there a way in which what-is could be more here and less there, since it all inviolably is. For equal to itself in every direction, it reaches its limits uniformly.

3"The same thing is there for thinking of and for being. 4Look upon things which, though absent, are yet firmly present in thought (for you shall not cut off what-is from holding fast to what-is, since it neither disperses itself in all directions throughout the order of the Cosmos, nor does it gather itself together). 8bIt is the same thing, to think of something and to think that it is, since you will never find thought without what-is, to which it refers, and on which it depends. For nothing is nor will be except what-is, since it was just this that Fate did shackle to be whole and unchanging; wherefore it has been named all things that mortals have established, persuaded that they are true: 'to come-to-be and to perish', 'to be and not to be' and 'to shift place and exchange bright colour'.

I'm not sure who translated this. It wasn't me. Check the web page to the side.


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