Gaia is the word for "unity-of-life-processes". The experiment here is to unify the various threads of voice and sense of self together into an undivided unity. Spirituality, economics, politics, science and ordinary life interleaved.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Taosim and Quantum Physics in Plato’s Timaeus

In my last post I blogged about the Platonic version of the Tao. Here then are two versions of the same passage that are subtly different, representing for me the yang and yin, the hard and the soft, of Plato's classicism.

Here is the particular Jowett 1871 translation, which captures all the logic and none of the theurgy:

First then, in my judgment, we must make a distinction and ask, What is that which always is and has no becoming; and what is that which is always becoming and never is? That which is apprehended by intelligence and reason is always in the same state; but that which is conceived by opinion with the help of sensation and without reason, is always in a process of becoming and perishing and never really is. Now everything that becomes or is created must of necessity be created by some cause, for without a cause nothing can be created. The work of the creator, whenever he looks to the unchangeable and fashions the form and nature of his work after an unchangeable pattern, must necessarily be made fair and perfect; but when he looks to the created only, and uses a created pattern, it is not fair or perfect.

And here is the version I examined in the previous entry, the wave-like, lucid and poetic 1965 translation of Desmond Lee:

We must in my opinion begin by distinguishing between that which always is and never becomes from that which is always becoming and never is. The one is apprehensible by intelligence with the aid of reasoning, being eternally the same, the other is the object of opinion and irrational sensation, coming to be and ceasing to be, but never fully real. In addition, everything that becomes or changes must do so owning to some cause; for nothing can come to be without a cause. Whenever, therefore, the maker of anything keeps his eye on the eternally unchanging and uses it as his pattern for the form and function of his product the result must be good; whenever he looks to something that come to be and uses a model that has come to be, the result is not good.

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