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The necessity that each of the simple bodies should have a natural movement may be shown as follows. They manifestly move, and if they have no proper movement they must move by constraint: and the constrained is the same as the unnatural. Now an unnatural movement presupposes a natural movement which it contravenes, and which, however many the unnatural movements, is always one. For naturally a thing moves in one way, while its unnatural movements are manifold. The same may be shown, from the fact of rest. Rest, also, must either be constrained or natural, constrained in a place to which movement was constrained, natural in a place movement to which was natural. Now manifestly there is a body which is at rest at the centre. If then this rest is natural to it, clearly motion to this place is natural to it. If, on the other hand, its rest is constrained, what is hindering its motion? Something, which is at rest: but if so, we shall simply repeat the same argument; and either we shall come to an ultimate something to which rest where it is or we shall have an infinite process, which is impossible. The hindrance to its movement, then, we will suppose, is a moving thing-as Empedocles says that it is the vortex which keeps the earth still-: but in that case we ask, where would it have moved to but for the vortex? It could not move infinitely; for to traverse an infinite is impossible, and impossibilities do not happen. So the moving thing must stop somewhere, and there rest not by constraint but naturally. But a natural rest proves a natural movement to the place of rest. Hence Leucippus and Democritus, who say that the primary bodies are in perpetual movement in the void or infinite, may be asked to explain the manner of their motion and the kind of movement which is natural to them. For if the various elements are constrained by one another to move as they do, each must still have a natural movement which the constrained contravenes, and the prime mover must cause motion not by constraint but naturally. If there is no ultimate natural cause of movement and each preceding term in the series is always moved by constraint, we shall have an infinite process. The same difficulty is involved even if it is supposed, as we read in the Timaeus, that before the ordered world was made the elements moved without order. Their movement must have been due either to constraint or to their nature. And if their movement was natural, a moment’s consideration shows that there was already an ordered world. For the prime mover must cause motion in virtue of its own natural movement, and the other bodies, moving without constraint, as they came to rest in their proper places, would fall into the order in which they now stand, the heavy bodies moving towards the centre and the light bodies away from it. But that is the order of their distribution in our world. There is a further question, too, which might be asked. Is it possible or impossible that bodies in unordered movement should combine in some cases into combinations like those of which bodies of nature’s composing are composed, such, I mean, as bones and flesh? Yet this is what Empedocles asserts to have occurred under Love. ‘Many a head’, says he, ‘came to birth without a neck.’ The answer to the view that there are infinite bodies moving in an infinite is that, if the cause of movement is single, they must move with a single motion, and therefore not without order; and if, on the other hand, the causes are of infinite variety, their motions too must be infinitely varied. For a finite number of causes would produce a kind of order, since absence of order is not proved by diversity of direction in motions: indeed, in the world we know, not all bodies, but only bodies of the same kind, have a common goal of movement. Again, disorderly movement means in reality unnatural movement, since the order proper to perceptible things is their nature. And there is also absurdity and impossibility in the notion that the disorderly movement is infinitely continued. For the nature of things is the nature which most of them possess for most of the time. Thus their view brings them into the contrary position that disorder is natural, and order or system unnatural. But no natural fact can originate in chance. This is a point which Anaxagoras seems to have thoroughly grasped; for he starts his cosmogony from unmoved things. The others, it is true, make things collect together somehow before they try to produce motion and separation. But there is no sense in starting generation from an original state in which bodies are separated and in movement. Hence Empedocles begins after the process ruled by Love: for he could not have constructed the heaven by building it up out of bodies in separation, making them to combine by the power of Love, since our world has its constituent elements in separation, and therefore presupposes a previous state of unity and combination.

These arguments make it plain that every body has its natural movement, which is not constrained or contrary to its nature. We go on to show that there are certain bodies whose necessary impetus is that of weight and lightness. Of necessity, we assert, they must move, and a moved thing which has no natural impetus cannot move either towards or away from the centre. Suppose a body A without weight, and a body B endowed with weight. Suppose the weightless body to move the distance CD, while B in the same time moves the distance CE, which will be greater since the heavy thing must move further. Let the heavy body then be divided in the proportion CE: CD (for there is no reason why a part of B should not stand in this relation to the whole). Now if the whole moves the whole distance CE, the part must in the same time move the distance CD. A weightless body, therefore, and one which has weight will move the same distance, which is impossible. And the same argument would fit the case of lightness. Again, a body which is in motion but has neither weight nor lightness, must be moved by constraint, and must continue its constrained movement infinitely. For there will be a force which moves it, and the smaller and lighter a body is the further will a given force move it. Now let A, the weightless body, be moved the distance CE, and B, which has weight, be moved in the same time the distance CD. Dividing the heavy body in the proportion CE:CD, we subtract from the heavy body a part which will in the same time move the distance CE, since the whole moved CD: for the relative speeds of the two bodies will be in inverse ratio to their respective sizes. Thus the weightless body will move the same distance as the heavy in the same time. But this is impossible. Hence, since the motion of the weightless body will cover a greater distance than any that is suggested, it will continue infinitely. It is therefore obvious that every body must have a definite weight or lightness. But since ‘nature’ means a source of movement within the thing itself, while a force is a source of movement in something other than it or in itself qua other, and since movement is always due either to nature or to constraint, movement which is natural, as downward movement is to a stone, will be merely accelerated by an external force, while an unnatural movement will be due to the force alone. In either case the air is as it were instrumental to the force. For air is both light and heavy, and thus qua light produces upward motion, being propelled and set in motion by the force, and qua heavy produces a downward motion. In either case the force transmits the movement to the body by first, as it were, impregnating the air. That is why a body moved by constraint continues to move when that which gave the impulse ceases to accompany it. Otherwise, i.e. if the air were not endowed with this function, constrained movement would be impossible. And the natural movement of a body may be helped on in the same way. This discussion suffices to show (1) that all bodies are either light or heavy, and (2) how unnatural movement takes place.

From what has been said earlier it is plain that there cannot be generation either of everything or in an absolute sense of anything. It is impossible that everything should be generated, unless an extra-corporeal void is possible. For, assuming generation, the place which is to be occupied by that which is coming to be, must have been previously occupied by void in which no body was. Now it is quite possible for one body to be generated out of another, air for instance out of fire, but in the absence of any pre-existing mass generation is impossible. That which is potentially a certain kind of body may, it is true, become such in actuality, But if the potential body was not already in actuality some other kind of body, the existence of an extra-corporeal void must be admitted.

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