|c. 500 BC
Clazomenae, Ionia, Persian Empire
(now Urla, İzmir, Turkey)
|c. 428 BC
(now Lapseki, Çanakkale, Turkey)
The first of the Presocratic philosophers to reside at Athens was Anaxagoras of Clazomenae (a significant Greek city in Ionian Asia Minor), a Greek philosopher of the 5th century B.C.E. (born c. 500–480).
He advanced the idea of “everything-in-everything” as a scientific theory and asserted that nous (intellect or mind) was the driving force behind the cosmos.
He was both renowned and despised for his scientific theories, which included the notions that the sun is a mass of red-hot rock, the moon is composed of material, and the stars are made of fiery stones. He was the first to provide an accurate explanation of eclipses.
According to Anaxagoras, the cosmos’ initial condition consisted of a combination of all its constituent parts (the basic realities of his system). The combination is sufficiently blended so that no one ingredient stands out, but it is not completely uniform or homogeneous.
Here is some of the wise Anaxagoras Quotes that you can read in English, hindi, Spanish and any other language by changing the language via using the translator tool on the top left corner.
Wise Anaxagoras Quotes
The visible world only reveals a fraction of what is beyond it.
Both Mind and God are one and the same.
There is a rational justification for everything. The moon is not a god but rather a large rock, and the sun is a rock that is extremely hot.
It is not I who have misplaced the Athenians; rather, it is the Athenians who have misplaced me.
If mine and thine were removed out of the language of men, there would be a significant reduction in the amount of noise they make.
The journey to Hades begins exactly the same no matter where you are.
The Greeks have an incorrect way of thinking about coming into being and passing away, because nothing comes into being or passes away; rather, everything is mingled with and separated from the things that already exist. Consequently, it would be accurate for them to term the process of coming-to-be and passing-away mixing together and dissociating respectively.
All other things contain some of everything, but because mind is limitless and self-governing, it is not combined with anything else and exists entirely on its own.
There is always something smaller and something larger; there is neither a smallest among the little nor a largest among the large.
Only the intellect can be more accurate in drawing conclusions from observations. Philosophy is therefore more significant than science in several aspects.
There is a portion of everything in everything.
There is a natural explanation for everything. The sun is a hot rock, and the moon is a large rock, not a god.
The study of the Sun, Moon, and sky is what life is all about.
The moon receives its illumination from the sun.
From every location, the journey to Hades is the same.
I have not lost the Athenians; rather, it is they who have done so.
The Sun is a somewhat larger lump of burning stone than Greece.
The stars were created when the forces of spinning tore red-hot masses of stones away from the Earth and threw them into space.
And because the portions of both the large and the small are the same in amount, in this way as well everything would be in everything; nor can they be separate, but everything has a portion of everything. And since the portions of both the large and the small are the same in amount. Because there is no such thing as the smallest, nothing can be divided off or come into existence on its own; rather, just as they were in the beginning, all things are currently combined. But within each and every item, there are numerous things, and the quantity of these things is the same, regardless of whether the thing being separated is greater or smaller.
The germ of everything else can be found in every other thing.
Anaxagoras founded his explanation of the natural universe on three tenets of metaphysics, all of which might be interpreted as having their origins in the following Eleatic preconditions: There is no becoming or passing away, everything is included within everything else, and there is no greatest or least amount.
No Becoming or Passing-Away Philosophy
Eleatic theory’s central assumption is that what-is-not cannot be.
Using this argument, Parmenides argued that the concepts of coming into existence and dying are disproved since, respectively, true coming into existence entails a change from what is to what is not, and genuine destruction entails a change from what is to what is not.
What-is, according to Parmenides, “is without start or stop, because coming into being and passing away have travelled very far away, and real trust drove them out”
This principle is accepted by Anaxagoras, who replaces apparent generation and destruction with combination and separation (or dissociation) of elements to explain seeming generation and destruction:
The Greeks do not understand how things come into existence and disappear since everything is entwined with and separated from what already exists. Therefore, it would be accurate to describe becoming as being mixed together and dying as being detached.
Everything in Everything Philosophy
All things were together.
In everything there is a share of everything.
As we have seen, Anaxagoras’ adherence to Eleatic principles disqualifies the possibility of actual coming into existence or dying. Additionally, it excludes genuine qualitative shifts.
When a warm liquid seems to cool, it turns from hot to cold; similarly, when a youngster eats food like milk and bread, those foods appear to change into flesh, blood, and bone.
However, Anaxagoras disputes these assertions since they imply that in a liquid, the hot ceases to exist and the cold emerges, and that bread and milk perish while flesh, blood, and bone develop. His response is to assert that everything is in everything at all times, in addition to saying that “all things were together” in the initial combination.
If there is already blood and bone in the milk and bread, the child’s growth can be attributed to the ingredients’ accumulation and assimilation into the child’s body’s substance rather than to the bread and milk’s transformation into something else.
Furthermore, if the liquid contains both hot and cold components, neither the hot nor the cold will vanish into nothing as the liquid cools (or even from what is not cold). The best explanation of this can be found in Anaxagoras B10, a quotation that can be found in the following section:
When Anaxagoras learned the old adage that nothing at all originates from that which is not, he abandoned coming-to-be and replaced it with dissociation. Because he made the stupid claim that everything is mingled with everything else, but that as things mature, they become detached. Because of the small size of the components, hair, nails, veins and arteries, sinew, and bone are all contained in the same seminal fluid, but as they grow, they gradually separate from one another. He questions how flesh can grow from non-flesh and hair can originate from non-hair. He insisted on this regarding both bodies and colours. Because he claimed that white is in black and black is in white. He also established the same rules for weights, contending that light and heavy might be combined, and vice versa. (DK 59 B10; the quotation is from an anonymous scholiast on a book by Gregory of Nazianzus from the fourth century CE.
No Smallest or Largest Philosophy
The Everything-in-Everything premise is not always true, notwithstanding B1’s assertion that “all things were together” prior to the first rotation.
If motion imparted by nous causes separation within an initial mixing of everything with everything, it is possible that over time, components will become separated from one another (as they are in Empedocles during the triumph of Strife, when the four roots are completely separated).
In order to uphold his adherence to the No Becoming tenet, Anaxagoras must block this. Pure bone would appear (as a new entity), replacing and destroying the combination that had previously existed, in some region that had separated to contain, say, nothing but bone. He dismisses this idea by asserting that there is no smallest (and no largest).
If a component’s density has no lower bound, the nous-induced rotating motion will not be strong enough to entirely remove any ingredient from any part of the mixture. These are Anaxagoras’ assertions:
Because what-is cannot not be, there is no smallest of the little or the large, but there is always a larger of both. And [the large] has the same extent (plêthos) as the little, yet each item has a different size in proportion to itself.
All things will be included in everything because the shares of the large and small are equal in number. It is also impossible for anything to exist in isolation because everything has a share in everything. Since a least cannot exist, neither could anything be divided from one another nor come into existence on its own; instead, everything is still connected as it was in the beginning.