Chapter 12

Knowledge Arising From the Illusion Icon

December 20, 2021

*Superphysics note: Here, Parmenides calls the Illusion as not

2.a. What is the consequence if the One is not?

“The One is not” is different and opposed to “the not One is not.”

If largeness is not, if smallness is not, or anything of that sort, does he not mean, whenever he uses such an expression, that ‘what is not’ is other than other things?

So when he says ‘If one is not’ he clearly means, that what ‘is not’ is other than all others.

When he says ‘one,’ he says something which is known; and secondly something which is other than all other things.

It makes no difference whether he predicate of one being or not-being, for that which is said ’not to be’ is known to be something all the same, and is distinguished from other things.

Then if one is not, what are the consequences?

  • First, there is a knowledge of It, otherwise the phrase ‘if one is not,’ would not be known.
  • Second, the Others differ from it, otherwise it could not be described as different from the others.

Difference, then, belongs to It as well as knowledge. In speaking of the One as different from the Others, we speak of a difference in the One, and not in the Others.

The illusory One is the One that is not One. It is Something and is represented by the words ’that,’ ’this,’ ’these,’ and the like. The Something is an attribute of ’this’, for the One, or the Others than the One, could not have been spoken of, nor could any attribute or relative of the One that is not have been or been spoken of, nor could it have been said to be anything, if it did not partake of ‘some,’ or of the other relations just now mentioned.

Being, then, cannot be ascribed to the one, since it is not; but the one that is not may or rather must participate in many things, if it and nothing else is not; if, however, neither the one nor the one that is not is supposed not to be, and we are speaking of something of a different nature, we can predicate nothing of it. But supposing that the one that is not and nothing else is not, then it must participate in the predicate ’that,’ and in many others.

it will have unlikeness in relation to the others, for the others being different from the one will be of a different kind.

And are not things of a different kind also other in kind?

And are not things other in kind unlike?

And if they are unlike the one, that which they are unlike will clearly be unlike them?

Then the one will have unlikeness in respect of which the others are unlike it?

And if unlikeness to other things is attributed to it, it must have likeness to itself.

If the one have unlikeness to one, something else must be meant; nor will the hypothesis relate to one; but it will relate to something other than one? But that cannot be.

Then the one must have likeness to itself?

Again, it is not equal to the others; for if it were equal, then it would at once be and be like them in virtue of the equality; but if one has no being, then it can neither be nor be like?

But since it is not equal to the others, neither can the others be equal to it?

And things that are not equal are unequal?

And they are unequal to an unequal?

Then the one partakes of inequality, and in respect of this the others are unequal to it?

And inequality implies greatness and smallness?

Then the one, if of such a nature, has greatness and smallness?

And greatness and smallness always stand apart?

Then there is always something between them?

And can you think of anything else which is between them other than equality?

No, it is equality which lies between them.

Then that which has greatness and smallness also has equality, which lies between them?

Then the one, which is not, partakes, as would appear, of greatness and smallness and equality?

Further, it must surely in a sort partake of being?

It must be so, for if not, then we should not speak the truth in saying that the one is not. But if we speak the truth, clearly we must say what is. Am I not right?

Since we affirm that we speak truly, we must also affirm that we say what is?

Then, as would appear, the one, when it is not, is; for if it were not to be when it is not, but (Or, ’to remit something of existence in relation to not-being.’) were to relinquish something of being, so as to become not-being, it would at once be.

Then the one which is not, if it is to maintain itself, must have the being of not-being as the bond of not-being, just as being must have as a bond the not-being of not-being in order to perfect its own being; for the truest assertion of the being of being and of the not-being of not-being is when being partakes of the being of being, and not of the being of not-being—that is, the perfection of being; and when not-being does not partake of the not-being of not-being but of the being of not-being—that is the perfection of not-being.

Since then what is partakes of not-being, and what is not of being, must not the one also partake of being in order not to be?

Then the one, if it is not, clearly has being?

And has not-being also, if it is not?

But can anything which is in a certain state not be in that state without changing?

Then everything which is and is not in a certain state, implies change?

And change is motion—we may say that?

And the one has been proved both to be and not to be?

Therefore is and is not in the same state. Thus the one that is not has been shown to have motion also, because it changes from being to not-being?

But surely if it is nowhere among what is, as is the fact, since it is not, it cannot change from one place to another?

Then it cannot move by changing place.

Nor can it turn on the same spot, for it nowhere touches the same, for the same is, and that which is not cannot be reckoned among things that are?

Then the one, if it is not, cannot turn in that in which it is not?

Neither can the one, whether it is or is not, be altered into other than itself, for if it altered and became different from itself, then we could not be still speaking of the one, but of something else?

But if the one neither suffers alteration, nor turns round in the same place, nor changes place, can it still be capable of motion?

Now that which is unmoved must surely be at rest, and that which is at rest must stand still?

Then the one that is not, stands still, and is also in motion.

But if it be in motion it must necessarily undergo alteration, for anything which is moved, in so far as it is moved, is no longer in the same state, but in another?

Then the one, being moved, is altered?

And, further, if not moved in any way, it will not be altered in any way?

Then, in so far as the one that is not is moved, it is altered, but in so far as it is not moved, it is not altered?

Then the one that is not is altered and is not altered?

And must not that which is altered become other than it previously was, and lose its former state and be destroyed; but that which is not altered can neither come into being nor be destroyed?

And the one that is not, being altered, becomes and is destroyed; and not being altered, neither becomes nor is destroyed; and so the one that is not becomes and is destroyed, and neither becomes nor is destroyed?


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