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In general this god is the better, as both Plato and Aristotle conceive. The creative and conserving element of Nature moves toward him and toward existence while the annihilating and destructive moves away from him towards non-existence. For this reason they call Isis by a name derived from ‘hastening’ (hiemai) with understanding,1 or being borne onward (pheromai), since she is an animate and intelligent movement; for the name is not a foreign name, but, just as all the gods have a name in common2 derived from two words, ‘visible’ (theaton) and ‘rushing’ (theon), in the same way this goddess, from her understanding3 and her movement, we call Isis and the Egyptians call her Isis. So also Plato4 says that the men of ancient times made clear the meaning of ‘essence’ (ousia) by calling it ‘sense’ (ista). So also he speaks of the intelligence and understanding as being a carrying and movement of mind hasting and being carried onward; and also comprehension and good and virtue they attribute to those things which are ever flowing and in rapid motion, just as again, on the other hand, by means of antithetical names they vilified evil: for example, that which hinders and binds fast and holds and checks [p. 145] Nature from hasting and going they called baseness, or ‘ill-going’ (kak-ia), and helplessness or ‘difficulty of going’ (apor-ia), and cowardice or ‘fear of going’ (deil-ia), and distress or ‘not going’ (an-ia).5

1 Cf. 351 f, supra.

2 Cf. Plato, Cratylus, 397 d.

3 Cf. 351 f, supra.

4 Ibid. 401 c.

5 Cf. 376 d, infra. It is impossible to reproduce these fanciful derivations in an English translation. Most of them may be found in Plato, Cratylus, 401 c-415 e. Note that Plutarch would connect the abstract suffix -ία with the shorter stem of εἶμι ‘go.’

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