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Melissos... the Profound 5th Century BC Philosopher

artist rendering of small bust of man and open book ... an original inkwell philosophical analysis

The ultimate principal as defined by Melissos

(1st edition - March 2008) by A.O. Kime
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While little is known of Melissos or his writings - his surviving works often referred to as 'fragments' - the focus here is on one theory in particular... that voids are impossible. The following tries to explain how his theory, along with a contention of Plotinus, might lead to the first (ultimate) principal.

(the following is from the 2001 book STD LEX © by A.O. Kime)

If attempting to understand the fundamental nature of metaphysics is an important goal, and indeed it should be, it must be shown that something is wrong with the established methodology in how we attack the questions, why the true path was missed as Kant suggested was a possibility. However, with great anticipation, that could be the case as envisioned long ago by two relatively obscure philosophers. They arrived at related conclusions but each used a different logic that highly compliments one another.

Melissos (5th century BC) effectively reasoned an absolute void was impossible, something had to exist everywhere. Plotinus (205-270 AD) reasoned best the existence of an ultimate principal which Melissos alluded to. If one were to consider them together, it would lead to the conclusion of an ULTIMATE PRINCIPAL EVERYWHERE. In my estimation therefore, the life force. This profound concept perhaps has few believers but should be reconsidered. I think it was a beginning but a path ignored. Accepting the existence of a life-force will have a profound effect on theories about space and ultimate reality. But then again, the existence of a life-force must be proven. I'll get to that later...

Throughout the course of time, various hypotheses, postulates and theories, perhaps all those necessary to set a new course had been put forth, perhaps hundreds, each of which could have been embraced as part of the whole. But again, you must know the nature of man too; new concepts would have been summarily dismissed due to political, religious and social connotations, professional jealousy included.

There certainly must have been other similarly expressed conjectures like these (the full texts below), by other philosophers, either lost forever or not heretofore considered but these two did survive yet still don't constitute any integral part of scientific thinking. It certainly wouldn't be part of church dogma.

This 'ultimate principal everywhere' (life-force) should be a viable hypothesis for consideration. It COULD be advanced to a postulate (claimed to be true, existent or necessary).

Nothing much is known about Melissos, the General of Samos who defeated the Athenian fleet in 440 BC but this is what he put forth... (full text))

"--- nor is anything empty. For what is empty is nothing. What is nothing, then, cannot be.

Nor does it move; for it has nowhere to betake itself to, but is full. For if there were empty space, it would betake itself to empty space. But, since there is no empty space, it has no place to betake itself to.

And it cannot be dense and rare; for it is not possible for what is rarefied to be full as what is dense, but what is rare is ipso facto emptier than what is dense.

This is the way in which we must distinguish between what is full and what is not full. If a thing has room for anything else, and takes it in, it is not full; But if it has no room for anything and does not take it in, it is full.

Now, it must needs be full if there is no empty space, and if it is full, it does not move.

If what is real is divided, it moves; but if it moves, it cannot have body; for, if it had body it would have parts, and would no longer be one."

It's important his observations be fully understood (not particularly easy) and considered with that of Plotinus below. Whether Plotinus possessed knowledge of the religion and philosophy of India, that of Hindu origin, his ideas were thought to be similar as he was credited to have begotten Neoplatonism, nonetheless he offered this (in part)...

"There must be something prior to all, simple, and different from the things which are posterior to it, self-existent, unmingled with the things which come from it, and yet able in another way to be present with the others, being really one, not something else first then secondarily one, of which it is false even that it is one; but of the One no description nor scientific knowledge is possible. Indeed it must be said to be beyond 'being'; for if it were not simple, without any composition and synthesis, and really one, it would not be a first principal. And it is wholly self-sufficient by virtue of its being simple and prior to all things. What is not first needs that which is prior to all things. What is not simple demands those simple elements which are within it, that it may be composed of them. Such a One must be unique, for if there were another such both together would constitute a larger unit. For we hold that they are not two bodies nor is the Primary One a body. For no body is simple, and a body is subject to generation; it is not an ultimate principal. The ultimate principle is unoriginated, and being incorporeal and really one it is able to stand first." --

It should be reasonable to conclude that 'the One' (ultimate principal) must also be the 'life-force', and according to Melissos, it would be everywhere. I could go on about this but it wouldn't take us any farther, not this kind of logic. All this may prove, by man's standards, is that there SHOULD BE an ultimate principle and it SHOULD BE the life-force. From then on, he would be lost.

An important point about this, institutionalized dogma was much to blame for any such notion like this to have been forsaken, and now, to accept this radical position as THE basis is to admit fault, 25 centuries based on faulty doctrines. No way, Jose! ... William Pepperell Montague (1873-1953) expressed his viewpoint about religious dogma and the church's resistance to finding the truth within the science of metaphysics. He demonstrated their tenacity against new ideas and the extent of their wrath.

It can easily be demonstrated that religious institutions have, for centuries, impeded the progress of mankind more than any other factor. Any such revelation of a 'life-force' today, as during the Spanish Inquisition, their reaction would be the same. Fortunately now, the Catholic Church lacks their past Inquisition power to burn someone alive at the stake for heresy. A most dreadful legacy.

It seems curious, a revelation of a life-force would increase religious tendencies, not diminish them. Nonetheless it has been condemned by the churches for centuries that are quick to judge it deism, and those who believe, deists, fearing a resurgence of mystics but their real fear is a shrinking congregation. Where is the threat from recognizing a life-force? It doesn't mean there isn't a God, it should prove there is, and it would have no effect on the story of Jesus. The life-force is only God's tool-of-trade, certainly not His competitor.

The sciences have been a phenomenal Godsend giving us all the wonderful things we have, they also had a liberating effect on society. While not all what science accomplished has been welcomed, most of it has, giving us an abundance of everything to improve our standard of living. I've had no problem with what science has done.

However since science has continually rejected the notion of a life-force and has never really acknowledged it before, they soon will. There will also come a day when we realize our sciences are really only 'earthly sciences', that they don't apply to the higher order of things, not when it comes to metaphysical phenomenon. Well that's okay; we can't fault science for material successes, why they'd like to stay on the same train.

Early symbolic logic and Aristotle's syllogistic scheme got us started but Graham Wallas (1858-1932) in his 'Test of Thought' said... "Aristotle's formal syllogistic scheme seems to us now so poor and clumsy that any insistence upon it is a hindrance rather a furtherance to thought."

I can continue with this common type of thinking and although not encompassing, it will help squeeze out a little more from what earthly logic is capable of. But from the minds of Melissos and Plotinus, one should ascertain that the necessary axiom has not yet been conceived for quantum physics in respect to an ultimate principle and the absence of voids. It shouldn't be too hard to realize our concept of time is wrong also. The absence of voids (within which the ultimate principle is present) would explain why equations fail, because emptiness does effectively weigh... (for reasons alluded to later).

I repeatedly admit, quantum physics and further successes with their super symmetry model, that is, the super-force structure, those protons, neutrons, electrons, quarks, neutrinos and their interrelating electromagnetic fields, may yet, first, yield this Holy Grail and be considered another Rosetta stone. I wonder, will this ultimate principle be the once illusive 'top quark‘; will it be recognized as the ultimate principle? Although seemingly fundamental, it has to be shown to be enduring and pervasive yet it has not. Perhaps it is then, but an endurance race, between quantum physics and the philosopher.

The true nature of metaphysics simply cannot be recognized within our conventional dimension of thought. The answers will be found, not through complex mathematical theories but by using a different thought process. If man's adopted rules of inference were adequate, answers would have been found by now, that's why metaphysics is not now conceivable to academia.

Answers will be found by perceiving within the correct realm, which begins (in part), if a beginner would, studying nature in minute detail, ants for example (unscientific myrmecology) or any creature, try to comprehend and connect to their alien realities, this is metaphysics 101.

The essence (properties) of metaphysics is ethereal of course and the ultimate (primary) basis for both matter and spirit. From that somehow the life-force is capable of manifesting itself into semi-corporeal particles with virtually no mass, although its influence can affect mass, like electricity, which can mimic it. Einstein was preoccupied with the idea 'if it is beautiful, it must be true', I agree and while the existence of a life-force can be scientifically determined, the ultimate reasoning will also. They’ll find true reality is sweet, a good enough reason.

To most folks comprehending the true meaning of eternity is a difficult task, people can easily envision time not ending but envisioning time having no beginning is a killer. Why? That’s because we associate with boundaries, beginnings. That also pertains to the universe, in the plural and endless in every direction.

I find it curious, and noteworthy, that the dictionary is reluctant to make any inference whatsoever to the word 'beginning' in its definition of either eternity, eternal or always. It mentions 'end' or 'endless' but won't touch 'beginning'. Under pressure perhaps, lexicographers knew it would have connotations to every religion and indeed it would. The significance of 'no beginning' is a key principle of metaphysics and therefore our present concept of time cannot be applicable to the cosmos, except in relative terms. Our concept of time is merely a manmade means of measurement. Our concept of time has no features and cannot even be considered a possible candidate for that dubious '4th dimension'. This dimensional scheme is flawed for purposes beyond its current use, if you want a 4th dimension, a hypercube, under the same scheme it would be motion, although Zeno the Stoic suggested 'time was the extension of motion'.

The eleven (11) dimensions set forth in 1919 by Theodor Kaluza were originally thought by many to be internally consistent but produced nothing so his concept was discarded. Men keep trying but along the wrong lines.



For a different view on instincts and the frame-of-mind see Instincts and for a philosophical analysis of light see
The Quest for the Nature of Light

While the above statement "It should be reasonable to conclude that 'the One' (ultimate principal) must also be the 'life-force' —" may seem in conflict with Plotinus' 'the One' being God Almighty, there is no effective difference.

While the above 'fragment' of Melissos' known works have been transcribed in different ways, often with substituted terms, this one seems best as it enables one to capture what Melissos was trying to convey. It takes deep reflection however... extremely deep (as if to 'trance' oneself). Upon success a whole new awareness opens up.

A.O. Kime

Matrix of Mnemosyne... the place of smoke signals from the spirit world

Last modified: 03/05/16