The greatest activity in the greatest stillness

In the Centre of Spiral Galaxy NGC 5033

In the Centre of Spiral Galaxy NGC 5033

BERNARD: It is evident to me that from the aforesaid [teachings I] can, all my life long, draw food for thought and can discourse at length [about them] and can continually make progress [with respect to understanding them]. Nevertheless, we desire to be led by a sensible image—especially [regarding the questions] how Eternal [Being] is all things at once and how the whole of eternity is within the present moment—so that when we leap forth, having left this image behind, we may be elevated above all sensible things.

CARDINAL: I shall try [to show you such an image]. I will take [the example] of boys [playing with] a top—a game known to us all, even in practical terms. A boy pitches out a top; and as he does so, he pulls it back with the string which is wound around it. The greater the strength of his arm, the faster the top is made to rotate—until it seems (while it is moving at the faster speed) to be motionless and at rest. Indeed, boys speak of it as then at rest.

Nicholas of Cusa, De possest (‘On Actualised-Possibility’), 1460, in A Concise Introduction to the Philosophy of Nicholas of Cusa, Trans., Jasper Hopkins, The Arthur J. Banning Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1986, 914-954, 18

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