Chronology as a Whole

The man nods slowly and then begins to speak...

Yes, motion and change seem to be popular topics around here. In terms of our friend Diodorus, he correctly noted that any discussion of change involves a model that we have reached by reason. We may perceive a thing over here at one time, and then perceive it over there at another time, but how we relate them is more complicated. Even that statement hides complexity! At the latter perceptive moment we are relying on a memory of the former! At any rate, we must consider how to relate things. We must even consider how to delineate and categorise those things. Connecting the dots is not as easy as it seems. Do not rush to say that one denies motion, as though you had dominion over that word.

In fact, Diodorus brought forth an alternative to the typical ways we define a term. Lesser philosophers just cry about whether a term has an inherent meaning, or whether a term is defined by agreement. Diodorus inserted a third challenger - the term is defined by the intent of the speaker. There is so much more to say about this great soul; given that his works seem lost, absent some great revelation via the scrolls of Herculaneum, are we damned? It is said, "With this character's death, the thread of prophecy is severed." Are we in a benighted era?

If we go over the testimonia and fragments, you'll see that he was a very Zeno-like figure. He came up with many tricky scenarios, thereby revealing that his opponents' models of reality were all ridiculous. As will be revealed in this room, we can say there is motion, but things are not moving. If you have spoken to others in this temple, perhaps you already see the truth of this. Recall Zeno's arrow, at which point is it "in motion"? Motion may have occurred, but it was never standing in its own right or otherwise experienced. The reality is that the term "in motion" only makes sense when the chronology is take as a whole, beautiful and complete. For at any given moment the thing is in its place, and it is not at the place it is supposedly going to - the fact that it is "going to" somewhere only makes sense when our scope is broadened, and our ontology expanded.

For, as is said, take a ball and throw it on a roof. When does the ball touch roof? If it is in the air, it has not touched the roof. If it is on the roof, it has already in contact. There is no midpoint where it is in some sort of special flux between flying and resting, just like there is no point where a wall collapses - it is either standing or rubble. I sense your soul rebels at these facts, but they are significant.

Let me try to put you back on track. You will die, yes? But if so, you will die either when you are living or when you are dead. Surely it doesn't happen when you are alive, for then you are alive and not dead! Yet, surely it does not happen when you are dead, for at that point to die would bring about a second death. Maybe this a riff on the Sorites paradox, but it remains that each particular moment you would identify is complete and lacks internal motion. Instead, we broaden our scope, whereupon we realise motion is something that has occurred. It is only appreciated by those who appreciate the Whole.

There is so much left unsaid here today, I must work on my exhibit further. Consider that Helen has three husbands. Ask when a wall is falling. Tell me how a thing can come to be and then perish. Listen - on this last point - tell me. This thing exists, it is here at this point in time and space. It cannot come to be, for at the point prior to its existence it is not and therefore is not coming from there. And wherever you would have it perish, yet it remains in that moment where you originally pointed at it. It will not even budge an inch! For how can you tell me it is where it is not?

The man scoffs and sighs to himself, then smiles at you.

At any rate, Zeno took a particular approach, and Diodorus significantly expands his repertoire in significant ways. I have only scratched the surface with what I have said today. All would do well to further explore the issues raised by Zeno and Diodorus. They are eristics, striking down those who rebel against the Philosopher Kings, Parmenides and Melissos. By their grace we do not succumb to incoherence and we need not fear those who would obstruct our path to the truth.

With that, the man appears lost in thought. Eventually he perks up and suggests that you either head to the general exhibit on change, or retire to the guesthouse. You decide to...


  1. Thank the professor for his time and move on to the general exhibits...
  2. Wish the professor goodbye then head off to the guesthouse...