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Your suggestion, Stranger, we think excellent; so do as you suggest. [893b] Athenian
Come then,—if ever we ought to invoke God's aid, now is the time it ought to be done. Let the gods be invoked with all zeal to aid in the demonstration of their own existence. And let us hold fast, so to speak, to a safe cable as we embark on the present discussion. And it is safest, as it seems to me, to adopt the following method of reply when questions such as this are put on these subjects; for instance, when a man asks me—“Do all things stand still, Stranger, and nothing move? Or is the exact opposite the truth? Or do some things move [893c] and some remain at rest?” My answer will be, “Some things move, others remain at rest.”3 “Then do not the standing things stand, and the moving things move, in a certain place?” “Of course.” “And some will do this in one location, and others in several.” “You mean,” we will say, “that those which have the quality of being at rest at the center move in one location, as when the circumference of circles that are said to stand still revolves?” “Yes. And we perceive that motion of this kind, which simultaneously turns in this revolution both the largest circle and the smallest, distributes itself [893d] to small and great proportionally, altering in proportion its own quantity; whereby it functions as the source of all such marvels as result from its supplying great and small circles simultaneously with harmonizing rates of slow and fast speeds—a condition of things that one might suppose to be impossible.” “Quite true.” “And by things moving in several places you seem to me to mean all things that move by locomotion, continually passing from one spot to another, and sometimes resting [893e] on one axis4 and sometimes, by revolving, on several axes. And whenever one such object meets another, if the other is at rest, the moving object is split up; but if they collide with others moving to meet them from an opposite direction, they form a combination which is midway between the two.” “Yes, I affirm that these things are so, just as you describe.” “Further, things increase when combined and decrease when separated in all cases where the regular constitution5 of each persists; but if this does not remain, then both these conditions cause them to perish. And what is the condition which must occur
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