Ancient Atomism & The Evolution of Truth

Truth changes as it evolves.


The more we study the way the universe works, the more answers we find to life’s ultimate questions. What may seem like a ridiculous or crazy idea today, could be considered a law of science in the future.

Democritus (c. 460 BC-c. 370 BC) concluded that when you cut an object into pieces, eventually, there is a point when we would reach the ultimate particles that cannot be broken or split. He named them “atoms”. This is how he formulated his atomic theory of the universe, which affirmed that atoms unless disturbed, are always moving forward in space on a constant velocity. Nevertheless, there are several “suspects” when it comes to atomism. Another known theorist is Leucippus (5th century BC), who is recognised as the earliest greek to develop the idea that everything is made of indivisible elements called atoms.

Both of these theories survived, and became later redefined by Isaac Newton (1642-1727) into what is known today as “Newton’s first law of motion”, or “law of inertia”. The three physical laws are now the core principles behind classical mechanics. Newton added in his findings regarding the law of inertia, that objects that at resting, if left undisturbed on a constant velocity, would remain at rest. 

Truth evolves. Some achieve the impossible because they dare to imagine the impossible. Many of the greatest minds in history were seen as psychotic. In the case of Isaac Newton, he didn’t attribute the theory of atomism to neither of the mentioned above theorists. He firmly believed that Mochus (1391-1271 BC) the Phoenician, was biblical Moses; and therefore attributed it to him even though he left no written record of atomism. Instead, it is claimed that his teachings were passed verbally from generation to generation. Nowadays, we have people who trace atomism back to Mochus/Moses, and some, just like Newton, believe they were the same person. This is known today as ancient atomism.

Truth never ceases to evolve. Why? Because as humans, we are a curious species. We like to search for answers. In today’s world, scientists  know that atoms can be split through the use of quantum mechanics, even though Democritus claimed it was impossible.There is a more open and advanced general perspective to it all.   In 1917, Ernest Rutherford managed to split an atom, and discovered protons in the process. So really… What are the limits of possibility? I personally think that what saved those who were seen as mad, was the ability to prove their “madness” with empirical evidence.

So in a way, science is medicine for the imaginative mind.

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