“The Pre-Socratic Monists”
(The Pre-Socratics are having a debate over what substance makes up everything in the universe. The master and student, Thales and Anaximander, take center stage in the conversation.)
Anaximander: And there you have it. Everything is made up of apeiron. And that apeiron takes on different forms to make everything. Any questions?
Thales: Are… are you for real, child? You can’t even see apeiron!
Anaximander: Perhaps. But that’s because no one has developed an instrument to measure it. Quick! Let’s build something that can detect the stuff!
Thales: That makes no sense! How can you go ahead and measure something that you don’t even know exists? Even the priests know that there is no proof that suggests something like that is real.
Anaximander: Maybe that’s because the priests are lying to us!
Thales: Really? You would chase a conspiracy theory, all because you believe that the priests are wrong?
Anaximander: You’re one to talk! You think that water makes up everything?
Anaximander: Even if there’s proof that not everything consumes the stuff?
Thales: Sure they do! You just can’t tell that it’s made up of it. Water simply takes on a different form to make everything.
Anaximander: And how is that different from my argument then?
Thales: (pause) Because I said water.
Anaximenes: (interrupts) Oh, both of you old-timers just don’t get it. Everything has to be made up of something that is both detectable and not detectable!
Thales: Oh, by the gods, who is this kid?
Anaximander: Sigh… one of my students. Unfortunately.
Thales: Hah! The sandal’s on the other foot!
Anaximander: Anaximenes, what do you mean…
Anaximenes: I’m saying that to account for everything that is both tangible and intangible, there has to be a substance that works as both!
Thales: And you believe that such a thing exists?
Anaximenes: Certainly! It’s air!
Thales and Anaximander: (stare at each other, then at Anaximenes) Seriously?
Anaximenes: Well yeah. We know there’s tangible evidence for it by the rustling of the leaves, and it’s intangible because none of us have ever been able to contain it. The air just takes a different form to make everything.
Thales: And how is that different from our arguments?
Anaximander: Yeah! Wait, we agree on something?
Thales: Not really.
Anaximenes: Oh come on. At least I’m not like that occultist over there that believes that everything is made up of numbers.
Pythagoras: Soon. One day, I will slay all of you.
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