“It is all one to me where I begin;
for I shall come back again there.”
Parmenides, On The Order
Parmenides of Elea, a poet-philosopher, willingly challenged Heraclitus on his premise of continual change. Parmenides’ poem “On Nature,” which has come to us in the form of fragments, presents one of the first examples of a reasoned argument that change is impossible and that reality is singular, undivided and homogenous. Parmenides, in “The Way of Truth,” the first section of his poem “On Nature,” wrote of his rendezvous with a goddess who taught him how to make a distinction between an inquiry into what is, and an inquiry into what is not.
Parmenides believed that to think of something is to give it a manifestation of existence. For example, a phoenix does not exist in the material world, but it has a place in our thoughts and imagination. Hence, to think of the phoenix implies its existence even though it never existed except in Greek mythology and the legends of ancient Egypt. Similarly, if we can visualize something that will exist in the future, then it must already exist in our minds. If we remember something or someone who is no longer with us, then they continue to be present at the moment we thought of them.
I confess that I was amazed to meet a philosopher who had divine revelation. Nevertheless, Parmenides started a dialogue on the connections between thoughts, words and things. It is a debate that has ignited the thoughts of every key thinker down through the centuries.
Perhaps, some credit should go to the goddess.
“We can speak and think only of what exists. And what exists is uncreated and imperishable for it is whole and unchanging and complete. It was not or nor shall be different since it is now, all at once, one and continuous…”
20 thoughts on “The Philosopher & The Goddess”
Oh goodness, the Ancients were so clever. The photo is lovely, by the way. I am always so taken by your words that I forget to compliment you on your beautiful photos.
They were indeed clever! What I find the most interesting is their humanity. They were all flesh and blood – just had a little more brain matter. 🙂
Thoughts are things indeed. I always have a problem with those who say that “It’s only a thought, it can’t hurt you”. I wish I believed that. Even if what we are thinking isn’t true it is real for us in that moment and for that moment, thoughts can definitely hurt us. The interconnection between our mental and physical processes are proven so we need to take care of our thinking. Thoughts are indeed powerful.
I agree wholeheartedly. Thoughts can definitely hurt us and change the course of our destiny.
“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
Quite profound. The knowledge in here is no less than a magic wand that offers us not just unimaginable powers to create or eliminate absolutely anything in existence or not but to change the course of future.
Well said – “but to change the course of future.” Gives an elegant nuance to our lives.
Parmenides, what a great “thinker”. I have to confess that I don’t understand some of what he is saying. I will have to think on this.
Philosophy is not an easy subject. BTW, wait for the next post about the student of Parmenides.
I feel whatever you believe in, and think upon is very real in that time. And if we cease to believe in something, it really does feel as if it no longer exists. Our minds are capable of some intriguing manifestations! And for some this can be a real problem! A very interesting subject. Parmenides must have been an interesting man, the kind I think I could sit down and discuss things like that for some time!! 😀
Thank you so much for adding your wisdom to this dialogue. He would certainly liven up the conversation.
Can you imagine if Parmenides lived in this age, how many people would follow his twitter feed?
Just stopping by to say hello, dear Rebecca. I’ve been reading through your latest articles and I must say you have opened my eyes on the subject of philosophers. As you say, philosophy is not an easy subject, and I have had to read and re-read some of the material. You have certainly awakened in me the desire to learn more, so another subject to add to my fast-growing list. Isn’t it wonderful to have the wisdom and knowledge of our forefathers at our fingertips. Blessings dear friend. Have a wonderful week.
Oh Lizzie, you always make my day pure sunshine. Your comments and presence give me an amazing lift!
I am learning as I go along and can identify with Socrates when he said, “The only thing I know is that I know nothing.” And that is a pretty good place to be – many more adventures out there.
to conceive and to do … very different
to dream and to see… .very different
Not sure I go along with his premise.
To me, it seems a little far fetched, however what really surprised me is that it would it would take the rise of modern philosophical logic in the late 19th and early 20th centuries before negative existential claims would be fully understood. I have much to learn and consider that I’m the “grasshopper.”
safe travels 🙂
Indeed, yes! 🙂
Mea Culpa my dear. I am SO behind on catching up on your blog I deeply apologize. I really need my brain to truly appreciate the beautiful and thoughtful posts that you share with us. A truly inspiring life-long learner you are.
I’ll catch up – I promise!
And I promise that I will keep up with you!!! We are on the grandest of adventures…
Every time I read one of these posts, I feel as though we’ve been re-inventing the wheel ever since the Ancient Greeks… what a beautiful name Pasrmenides is….
We have been revisiting all the ideas, over and over. Yet, we still make progress, little by little. My concern is that I remain open to progress. I always like the following quote because I find when I am tired, I pause for a moment before moving on. That is when it is good to have kindred spirits along the way.
“When we are tired, we are attacked by ideas we conquered long ago.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche
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