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On Generation and corruption   


passing-away are always to be continuous, there must be some body

always being moved (in order that these changes may not fail) and

moved with a duality of movements (in order that both changes, not one

only, may result). Now the continuity of this movement is caused by

the motion of the whole: but the approaching and retreating of the

moving body are caused by the inclination. For the consequence of

the inclination is that the body becomes alternately remote and

near; and since its distance is thus unequal, its movement will be

irregular. Therefore, if it generates by approaching and by its

proximity, it-this very same body-destroys by retreating and

becoming remote: and if it generates by many successive approaches, it

also destroys by many successive retirements. For contrary effects

demand contraries as their causes; and the natural processes of

passing-away and coming-to-be occupy equal periods of time. Hence,

too, the times-i.e. the lives-of the several kinds of living things

have a number by which they are distinguished: for there is an Order

controlling all things, and every time (i.e. every life) is measured

by a period. Not all of them, however, are measured by the same

period, but some by a smaller and others by a greater one: for to some

of them the period, which is their measure, is a year, while to some

it is longer and to others shorter.

And there are facts of observation in manifest agreement with our

theories. Thus we see that coming-to-be occurs as the sun approaches

and decay as it retreats; and we see that the two processes occupy

equal times. For the durations of the natural processes of

passing-away and coming-to-be are equal. Nevertheless it Often happens

that things pass-away in too short a time. This is due to the

'intermingling' by which the things that come-to-be and pass-away

are implicated with one another. For their matter is 'irregular', i.e.

is not everywhere the same: hence the processes by which they

come-to-be must be 'irregular' too, i.e. some too quick and others too

slow. Consequently the phenomenon in question occurs, because the

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