Chapter 10

The Multiplicity of the Whole Icon

December 22, 2021

1.aa.

But if the One exists, what will happen to the Others?

The Others are not the One, but they participate in the One in a certain 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.

The parts are related to a whole. A whole is one made up of many. The parts will be parts of the one, for each of the parts is not a part of many, but of a whole.

If anything were a part of many, being itself one of them, then:

  • it will surely be a part of itself, which is impossible.
  • it will be a part of each one of the other parts, if of all; for if not a part of some one, it will be a part of all the others but this one.

Thus, it will not be a part of each one.

If not a part of each, one it will not be a part of any one of the many and not being a part of any one, it cannot be a part or anything else of all those things of none of which it is anything.

Then the part is not a part of the many, nor of all, but is of a certain single form, which we call a Whole. It is one perfect unity framed out of all.

If, then, the others have parts. They will participate in the whole and in the one.

Then the others than the one must be one perfect whole, having parts.

The same argument holds of each part, for the part must participate in the one. If each of the parts is a part, this means that it is one separate from the rest and self-related. Otherwise it is not each.

But when we speak of the part participating in the one, it must clearly be other than one; for if not, it would not merely have participated, but would have been one; whereas only the itself can be one.

Both the whole and the part must participate in the one; for the whole will be one whole, of which the parts will be parts; and each part will be one part of the whole which is the whole of the part.

The things which participate in the one will be other than it.

The things which are other than the one will be many. For if the things which are other than the one were neither one nor more than one, they would be nothing.

But, seeing that the things which participate in the one as a part, and in the one as a whole, are more than one, must not those very things which participate in the one be infinite in number?

In being part of the One, they are not one. They are not part of the one at the very time when they are a part of it.

They do so then as multitudes in which the one is not present?

If we were to abstract from them in idea the very smallest fraction, that least fraction, if it is not part of the one, be a multitude and not one.

If we continue to look at the other side of their nature, regarded simply, and in itself, they will, as far as we see them, be unlimited in number.

Yet, when each several part becomes a part, then the parts have a limit in relation to the whole and to each other, and the whole in relation to the parts.

The result to the others than the one is that the union of themselves and the one appears to create a new element in them which gives to them limitation in relation to one another; whereas in their own nature they have no limit.

Then the others than the one, both as whole and parts, are infinite, and also partake of limit.

Then they are both like and unlike one another and themselves.

Inasmuch as they are unlimited in their own nature, they are all affected in the same way.

And inasmuch as they all partake of limit, they are all affected in the same way.

But inasmuch as their state is both limited and unlimited, they are affected in opposite ways. And opposites are the most unlike of things.

Considered, then, in regard to either one of their affections, they will be like themselves and one another; considered in reference to both of them together, most opposed and most unlike.

Then the others are both like and unlike themselves and one another?

They are the same and also different from one another, and in motion and at rest, and experience every sort of opposite affection, as may be proved without difficulty of them, since they have been shown to have experienced the affections aforesaid?

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