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[57a]

Once again let us reason out their character in this way. Whenever any of the other Kinds is caught within fire it is cut up thereby, owing to the acuteness of its angles and of the line of its sides, but when it has been re-composed into the substance of fire it ceases to be cut; for the Kind that is similar and uniform is in no case able either to cause any change in, or to suffer any affection from, a Kind which is in a uniform and similar state1; but so long as, in the course of its passage into another form, it is a weaker body fighting against a stronger, it is continually being dissolved. And again, [57b] whenever a few of the smaller corpuscles, being caught within a great number of larger corpuscles, are broken up and quenched, then, if they consent to be re-compounded into the shape of the victorious Kind, they cease to be quenched, and air is produced out of fire, and out of air water; but if they fight against combining with these or with any of the other Kinds, they do not cease from dissolution until either they are driven out to their own kindred, by means of this impact and dissolution, or else they are defeated and, instead of many forms, assume one form similar to the victorious Kind, and continue dwelling therewith as a united family. Moreover, it is owing to these affections [57c] that they all interchange their places; for while the bulk of each Kind keeps apart in a region of its own2 because of the motion of the Recipient, yet those corpuscles which from time to time become dissimilar to themselves and similar to others are carried, because of the shaking, towards the region which belongs to those corpuscles whereto they have been assimilated.

Such are the causes which account for the generation of all the unmixed and primary bodies. But within these four Kinds other classes exist, whereof the cause must be sought in the construction of each of the two elemental triangles, each such construction having originally produced [57d] not merely a triangle of one definite size, but larger and smaller triangles of sizes as numerous as are the classes within the Kinds. Consequently, when these are combined amongst themselves and with one another they are infinite in their variety; and this variety must be kept in view by those who purpose to employ probable reasoning concerning Nature.

Now, unless we can arrive at some agreed conclusion concerning Motion and Rest, as to how and under what conditions they come about, [57e] our subsequent argument will be greatly hampered. The facts about them have already been stated in part; but in addition thereto we must state further that motion never consents to exist within uniformity. For it is difficult, or rather impossible, for that which is to be moved to exist without that which is to move, or that which is to move without that which is to be moved; but in the absence of these there is no motion, and that these should ever be uniform is a thing impossible. Accordingly, we must always place rest in uniformity,


1 The affinity of “like to like” was an axiom in early Greek thought; Cf. Lysis215 C ff.,Sympos. 186 A ff.

2 The elements are conceived as having their proper abodes in concentric strata of space, one above another—earth in the center, water next, then air, and fire at the circumference of the World-Sphere.

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