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On Generation and corruption   


'irregular' coming-to-be of these things is the passing-away of

other things.

Coming-to-be and passing-away will, as we have said, always be

continuous, and will never fail owing to the cause we stated. And this

continuity has a sufficient reason on our theory. For in all things,

as we affirm, Nature always strives after 'the better'. Now 'being'

(we have explained elsewhere the exact variety of meanings we

recognize in this term) is better than 'not-being': but not all things

can possess 'being', since they are too far removed from the

'originative source. 'God therefore adopted the remaining alternative,

and fulfilled the perfection of the universe by making coming-to-be

uninterrupted: for the greatest possible coherence would thus be

secured to existence, because that 'coming-to-be should itself

come-to-be perpetually' is the closest approximation to eternal being.

The cause of this perpetuity of coming-to-be, as we have often said,

is circular motion: for that is the only motion which is continuous.

That, too, is why all the other things-the things, I mean, which are

reciprocally transformed in virtue of their 'passions' and their

'powers of action' e.g. the 'simple' bodiesimitate circular motion.

For when Water is transformed into Air, Air into Fire, and the Fire

back into Water, we say the coming-to-be 'has completed the circle',

because it reverts again to the beginning. Hence it is by imitating

circular motion that rectilinear motion too is continuous.

These considerations serve at the same time to explain what is to

some people a baffling problem-viz. why the 'simple' bodies, since

each them is travelling towards its own place, have not become

dissevered from one another in the infinite lapse of time. The

reason is their reciprocal transformation. For, had each of them

persisted in its own place instead of being transformed by its

neighbour, they would have got dissevered long ago. They are

transformed, however, owing to the motion with its dual character: and

because they are transformed, none of them is able to persist in any

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