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23 June 2021

Thales’ water

In Aristotle’s Metaphysics, the first philosophers were three wise men from Miletus, today a Turkish city and back then an important commercial and cultural hub in the Egeus. Thales, Anaximander, and Anaximenes dedicated themselves to finding an arche, a unique, fundamental, incorruptible principle, something which would remain the same as matter eternally changes, and which would explain the nature of all natural phenomena then known. An eternal principle from which things were born and in which they decay. And for Thales, that was water. Everything is made of water, but his water is not to be understood as sole and simple element in the sea, rivers, and rain. Thales’ water is a superior principle in comparison to the simple, tangible elements: Thales water is, a principle, is an arche, the always identical force that generates the multiplicity of substances and the same constant transformation of those substances, i.e. a state of constant becoming. Do not be wasteful of water, for if you are, you are being wasteful of yourself.