“There are many incidents which can eviscerate the stalwart and bring the mighty down. In order to survive, the ample soul needs refreshments and reminders daily of its right to be and to be wherever it finds itself.”
Maya Angelou (
Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now,
Early Greek natural philosophers argued over the significance of air, water, earth and fire in attempts to discern the fundamental element that made everything else in the natural world possible. These early thinkers began to make a break with the more widely accepted beliefs represented by Greek mythology that had personified the forces of nature as deities, such as Gaea, Mother Earth and her grandsons: Zeus, god of thunder and Poseidon, god of the sea. Yet both ancient Greek “dramatists” and “scientists” shared in an evocative world view in their attempts to navigate the course of humanity in the grand scheme of things.
The play below will be read in class. I wrote the mini play to introduce students to three natural philosophers from Miletus (circa 600 to 500 B.C.): Thales, Anaximander and Anaximenes. As natural philosophers, these men were concerned with the natural world and it’s transformations and were dedicated to the proposition that there had to be a basic substance that created all things. In this regard, they relied on their reason and their senses, rather than mythology. Because they tried to understand nature by studying it directly, they took the first steps in scientific reasoning.