Exploring the Reason Behind the One: An Essay Sample on Philosophy

Published: 2023-01-29
Exploring the Reason Behind the One: An Essay Sample on Philosophy
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Philosophers
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1875 words
16 min read

Philosophy is a discipline that gives its students a chance to question nature and reason it out to come with a solution. Most philosophers are such as Socrates and Aristotle are known for their analytical thinking and explanation of situations using the general knowledge of human. With the freedom of using facts to come up with a hypothesis, philosophers Proclus and Parmenides have presented their arguments on what has been long in question, "why is the one the starting point?" The one exists as itself and cannot be like any other form or itself. Moreover, it cannot be equal to another or itself. Parmenides book goes further to explain that the one cannot be whole or part, and brings out facts that heightened understanding about the one and why the one is the starting point.

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Many explanations have been put forward to explain what the one is supposed to look like and how is it the way it is. Due to this, the discussion starts shall start basing facts as proposed by Proclus theology. Proclus suggests that diversity partakes in a particular way in the union, for if it participates in no way, any given whole would never be one of its elements be one (Dillon & Gerson, 2004). Therefore, the one as diversity has to be in unity with itself so that it can be called the one. Furthermore, if the multiplicity does not partake in agreement, all its components would be infinite, and there is nothing that can be made by unlimited elements (Dillon & Gerson, 2004). This explanation indicates that the one is dependent on its self and its components participate in the union. Therefore, the one is a central thing that exists in its kind and engages in union with itself (Dillon & Gerson, 2004). Generally, the explanation of the one as indicated in Proclus is that its components act in unison. However, every living creature is made of parts that work differently to meet a particular goal, for instance, a tree would have root hairs that absorb water and transport it through cells and tissues that are different, but still in the same tree. This shows that a single tree cannot be the one since it has components that are participating differently, towards different goals, although in the same process. Thus, the one has to have parts that are participating in unison, which is uncommon among the natural setting (Plato & Scolnicov 2003). Therefore, the one becomes so central as it exists as the only thing that is different from the others and can only be one. Thus, the one only participates in respect of every individual component of it. Thereby, the one is the starting point of oneness, and its components join in unity concerning its components.

Parmenides describes the one as a thing that is not similar to others or to itself (Parmenides, pg. 374). The reason why the one has to be different from others, and it is because if it is the same as another, then they are many, and if it is the same as itself, it would be many, and one cannot tell which is the other. Therefore, this specialty that the one is only itself shows that it is the only that is existing in that form. Furthermore, it cannot be like or unlike any other or itself (Plato & Scolnicov 2003). This is due to the reason that, if it has similar characters with the other, they are the same, and naturally, the same is different from one in this context. If the one looks like it then, it would not be one, there would be other things that look the same. Therefore, the one is distinctively the one as it is the only thing that has nothing similar or dissimilar to it (Plato & Scolnicov 2003). If it were dissimilar from any other, it would mean that there may be more than one. Therefore, the one has no quality that is similar, or different from the others or it; it is just itself. This shows that the one is not comparable to anything else, or itself. Therefore, the one is dominant in its way, and there is nothing that is like, or different from it, which is different from every other thing. The one marks what human cannot be and what anything else can be; it is the only thing with that quality.

The one cannot be equal or unequal to itself or another. This is because, if it is identical, it would be of the same measure to which is equivalent to. If the one is more or less greater than other objects, it would mean that it is more significant than those that are less, and fewer than the greater ones. If a thing does not partake of the same, it cannot be of the same measures or anything else (Plato & Scolnicov 2003). Therefore, it is not also equal to itself since it is not of the same standards since that would mean that it has many parts that measure, which denies it the qualification of being the one (Plato & Scolnicov 2003). Since the one takes no measure of many or few, it is never equal o another or itself, or higher or less than it or another. This shows that the one has no equal or measure. This indicates that it is the only in that state, a state that seems only available to it, making it so vital due to its unique form. Therefore, it is the starting point of all other things since no other thing can be equal or unequal to it.

The one cannot be older or younger than anything else, nor have the same age as anything else. This is because, if it has the same period as the other, it shall mean that it partakes as the likeness and the equivalence of time. Having said that the one does not take likeliness equality, then it is evident that the one cannot be older, younger than anything else, or same as its age. Generally, the one has to be distinct in a way that it is not bound to time. This means that if it were different, it would be different from the things in the past that has changed with time, separate from the current things that are also evolving, and distinct from the things that are anticipated to come forth in the future (Plato & Scolnicov 2003). Therefore, the one does not change with time as it would mean that it is not the one anymore. Thus, the one remains the central part of the time as it does not change with change in time, which makes it stay the one.

The one is described as neither a part nor a whole. When something is a part, it is said to be a part of the whole. Similarly, a whole is said to be made of many parts to make it whole. The one is neither a part or whole since if it was a whole, and a whole is made of different components, then it would mean that it is not one anymore, it is whole. Therefore, since the one is not made of parts, it has no beginning, middle, or the end since those are the common parts (Plato & Scolnicov 2003). Moreover, something that has no parts has no shape. This is explained that, if it had a shape, it could be either round or straight. A circular object is the one whose edges are at equal distance with the center, while a straight object is the one whose center stands in the way between the two edges. Mostly, things that have parts are said to be straight or curved. If the one were made up of various elements, it would generally be many and not the one. Therefore, the crucial part of the one is that it exists as one, with no shapes or sections, be seen as a whole. Therefore, since no other thing can exist in this state, the one is said to be very important as it marks goes beyond the imagination of an object or a thing that human can see.

In conclusion, Proclus and Parmenides explain that the one can only exist as it and not any other thing or itself. Proclus shows that the one is diversity whose components exist in unison and participate in unity. From this explanation, John Dillon and Lloyd Gerson explain that if the parts in the one do not participate in harmony, then each component would participate in diversity, which means that the elements would turn to infinity. There is nothing as high as infinity. Therefore the one cannot exist in infinite parts that do not participate in unity. Thus, the one exists as a diversity that joins in unison. However, Parmenides illustrate the one as a thing that has no shape, age, parts, or even similar to another or itself. The one has no parts. Parts are described as sections of a whole object. Rendering to this explanation, the one can only be itself and not a part of a whole being. Generally, a whole thing is made up of various elements, which means that it can only be described as many in one, making it less of the one that is in the discussion. The one in this discussion is the completeness of itself without being part of or a whole object, thus making the one domination of all existence.

Moreover, the one is not bound to time. This means that it is not older or younger than any other thing, which makes it more distinct. More so, it is not even older or younger than itself, making the only one with such a quality. If the one had an equal age with another thing, then it would mean that it is similar to another object, thus, stripping it its quality as the one. Moreover, the one is not similar or different from any other thing, or itself. This is because, if it were same as other objects, it would not be the one anymore; it would be many. Also, if it is different from the others, it means that other things can be compared to it. The one has is not like or unlike any other item, or itself. This is because, if it were similar to another element, then they would be many, and if it was unlike, it means that other things can be compared with it. Therefore, the one only exists as itself, not equal or unequal to any other object. Thus it is the starting point of all existence, as all the other things are either similar or dissimilar to others. Having understood that the one can only exist as itself with no measure or comparison, it is, therefore, relevant to say that the one is a being of great essential, which marks the beginning of all existence. Thus there is nothing that is below or above the one; it is the starting point of everything.


Dillon, J. M., & Gerson, L. P. (Eds.). (2004). Neoplatonic Philosophy: Introductory Readings. Indianapolis, IND: Hackett Publishing.

Plato, P., & Scolnicov, S. (2003). Plato's Parmenides. Berkeley, CAL: University of California Press.

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