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On Generation and corruption   


'being' is necessary: and if it is eternal, its 'being' is

necessary. And if, therefore, the 'coming-to-be' of a thing is

necessary, its 'coming-to-be' is eternal; and if eternal, necessary.

It follows that the coming-to-be of anything, if it is absolutely

necessary, must be cyclical-i.e. must return upon itself. For coming

to-be must either be limited or not limited: and if not limited, it

must be either rectilinear or cyclical. But the first of these last

two alternatives is impossible if coming-to-be is to be eternal,

because there could not be any 'originative source' whatever in an

infinite rectilinear sequence, whether its members be taken

'downwards' (as future events) or 'upwards' (as past events). Yet

coming-to-be must have an 'originative source' (if it is to be

necessary and therefore eternal), nor can it be eternal if it is

limited. Consequently it must be cyclical. Hence the nexus must be

reciprocal. By this I mean that the necessary occurrence of 'this'

involves the necessary occurrence of its antecedent: and conversely

that, given the antecedent, it is also necessary for the consequent to

come-to-be. And this reciprocal nexus will hold continuously

throughout the sequence: for it makes no difference whether the

reciprocal nexus, of which we are speaking, is mediated by two, or

by many, members.

It is in circular movement, therefore, and in cyclical

coming-to-be that the 'absolutely necessary' is to be found. In

other words, if the coming-to-be of any things is cyclical, it is

'necessary' that each of them is coming-to-be and has come-to-be:

and if the coming-to-be of any things is 'necessary', their

coming-to-be is cyclical.

The result we have reached is logically concordant with the eternity

of circular motion, i.e. the eternity of the revolution of the heavens

(a fact which approved itself on other and independent evidence),'

since precisely those movements which belong to, and depend upon, this

eternal revolution 'come-to-be' of necessity, and of necessity 'will

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