‘This World Is An Image’

‘Now as to the whole universe or world order [kosmos]—let’s just call it by whatever name is most acceptable in a given context—there is a question we need to consider first. This is the sort of question one should begin with in inquiring into any subject. Has it always existed? Was there no origin from which it came to be? Or did it come to be and take its start from some origin? It has come to be. For it is both visible and tangible and it has a body—and all things of that kind are perceptible. And, as we have shown, perceptible things are grasped by opinion, which involves sense perception. As such, they are things that come to be, things that are begotten. Further, we maintain that, necessarily, that which comes to be must come to be by the agency of some cause. Now to find the maker and father of this universe [to pan] is hard enough, and even if I succeeded, to declare him to everyone is impossible. And so we must go back and raise this question about the universe: Which of the two models did the maker use when he fashioned it? Was it the one that does not change and stays the same, or the one that has come to be? Well, if this world of ours is beautiful and its craftsman good, then clearly he looked at the eternal model. But if what it’s blasphemous to even say is the case, then he looked at one that has come to be. Now surely it’s clear to all that it was the eternal model he looked at, for, of all the things that have come to be, our universe is the most beautiful, and of causes the craftsman is the most excellent. This, then, is how it has come to be: it is a work of craft, modeled after that which is changeless and is grasped by a rational account, that is, by wisdom. Since these things are so, it follows by unquestionable necessity that this world is an image of something’.

TIMAEUS Translated by Donald J. Zeyl. In Plato; Cooper, John M.; Hutchinson, D. S. (2011-08-25). Complete Works (Kindle Location 35278). Hackett Publishing. Kindle Edition. Plato; Cooper, John M.; Hutchinson, D. S. (2011-08-25). Complete Works (Kindle Locations 35549-35558). Hackett Publishing. Kindle Edition.

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