Greek Pre-Socratic Philosopher
Greek Pre-Socratic Philosopher
Earth's sweat, the sea.
There (in the sphere) are distinguished neither the swift limbs of the sun, no, nor the shaggy earth in its might, nor the sea, -- so fast was the god bound in the close covering of Harmony, spherical and round, rejoicing in his circular solitude.
Fools! for they have no far-reaching studious thoughts who think that what was not before comes into being or that anything dies and perishes utterly.
There are these alone; but, running through one another, they become men and the tribes of beasts. At one time they are all brought together into one order by Love; at another, they are carried each in different directions by the repulsion of Strife, till they grow once more into one and are wholly subdued. Thus in so far as they are wont to grow into one out of many, and again divided become more than one, so far they come into being and their life is not lasting; but insofar as they never cease changing continually, so far are they evermore, immovable in the circle.
For before this I was born once a boy, and a maiden, and a plant, and a bird, and a darting fish in the sea.
There is no discord and no unseemly strife in his limbs.
For from what does not exist at all it is impossible that anything come into being, and it is neither possible nor perceivable that being should perish completely; for things will always stand wherever one in each case shall put them.
These [elements] never cease changing place continually, now being all united by Love into one, now each borne apart by the hatred engendered of Strife, until they are brought together in the unity of the all, and become subject to it.
For these (elements) are equal, all of them, and of like ancient race; and one holds one office, another another, and each has his own nature. . . . For nothing is added to them, nor yet does anything pass away from them; for if they were continually perishing they would no longer exist. . . Neither is any part of this all empty, nor over full. For how should anything cause this all to increase, and whence should it come? And whither should they (the elements) perish, since no place is empty of them? And in their turn they prevail as the cycle comes round, and they disappear before.
This thou mayest see in the heavy-backed shell-fish that dwell in the sea, in sea-snails and the stony-skinned turtles. In them thou mayest see that the earthy part dwells on the uppermost surface of the skin.
For they prevail in turn as the circle comes round, and pass into one another, and grow great in their appointed turn.
Thou shalt break the power of untiring gales which rising against the earth blow down the crops and destroy them; and, again, whenever thou wilt, thou shalt bring their blasts back; and thou shalt bring seasonable drought out of dark storm for men, and out of summer drought thou shalt bring streams pouring down from heaven to nurture the trees; and thou shalt lead out of Hades the spirit of a man that is dead.
A man of wise mind could not divine such things as these, that so long as men live what indeed they call life, so long they exist and share what is evil and what is excellent, but before they are formed and after they are dissolved, they are really nothing at all.
For they two (Love and Strife) were before and shall be, nor yet, I think, will there ever be an unutterably long time without them both.
Two branches do not spring from his back, he has no feet, no swift knees, no fruitful parts; but he was spherical and equal on every side.
And many a fire there burns beneath the ground. [On the volcano]
God is a circle whose center is everywhere, and its circumference nowhere.
Upon her do thou gaze with thy mind, nor yet sit dazed in thine eyes; for she is wont to be implanted in men's members, and through her they have thoughts of love and accomplish deeds of union, and call her by the names of Delight, and Aphrodite; no mortal man has discerned her with them (the elements) as she moves on her way. But do thou listen to the undeceiving course of my words.
Blessed is he who has acquired a wealth of divine wisdom, but miserable he in whom there rests a dim opinion concerning the gods.
Hear first the four roots of all things: bright Zeus, life-giving Hera (air), and Aidoneus (earth), and Nestis who moistens the springs of men with her tears.
But come, examine by every means each thing how it is clear, neither putting greater faith in anything seen than in what is heard, nor in a thundering sound more than in the clear assertions of the tongue, nor keep from trusting any of the other members in which there lies means of knowledge, but know each thing in the way in which it is clear.
But for base men it is indeed possible to withhold belief from strong proofs ; but do thou learn as the pledges of our Muse bid thee, and lay open her word to the very core.
Joining one heading to another in discussion, not completing one path (of discourse) . . . for it is right to say what is excellent twice and even thrice.