Apeiron

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The apeiron is a cosmological theory created by Anaximander in the 6th century BC.

Anaximander's work is mostly lost. From the few extant fragments, we learn that he believed the beginning or first principle (arche, a word first found in his writings, and which he probably invented) is an endless, unlimited mass (apeiron), subject to neither old age nor decay, which perpetually yields fresh materials from which everything which we can perceive is derived.

The apeiron was never defined precisely, and it has generally (e.g. by Aristotle and Augustine) been understood as a sort of primal chaos. It embraced the opposites of hot and cold, wet and dry, and directed the movement of things, by which there grew up all of the host of shapes and differences which are found in the world.

Out of the vague and limitless body there sprung a central mass -- this earth of ours, cylindrical in shape, poised equidistant from surrounding orbs of fire, which had originally clung to it like the bark round a tree, until their continuity was severed, and they parted into several wheel-shaped and fire-filled bubbles of air.

Man himself and the animals had come into being by like transmutations. Mankind was supposed by Anaximander to have sprung from some other species of animals, probably aquatic.

But as the measureless and endless had been the prime cause of the motion into separate existences and individual forms, so also, according to the just award of destiny, these forms would at an appointed season suffer the vengeance due to their earlier act of separation, and return into the vague immensity whence they had issued. Thus the world, and all definite existences contained in it, would lose their independence and disappear in the "indeterminate." The blazing orbs, which have drawn off from the cold earth and water, are the temporary gods of the world, clustering round the earth, which, to the ancient thinker, is the central figure.


See also: Apeiron is the name of a popular video game.de:Apeiron it:Apeiron ja:アペイロン

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