Anaxagoras was another philosopher who could not agree that one particular basic substance, water, for instance, could transform into everything.
He was born in Ionia, modern day Turkey in 500 BC, and moved to Athens aged 40. Therefore, he becomes the first philosopher we know of to live in the city that soon would produce some of the greatest philosophers in history.
Something of Everything
Anaxagoras held that nature is built up of an infinite number of minute particles invisible to the eye. Moreover, everything can be divided into even smaller parts, but even in the minutest parts there are fragments of all other things. The whole exists in each tiny part.
Anaxagoras called these minuscule particles which have something of everything in them Seeds.
“The seed of everything is in everything else.”
Remember that Empedocles thought that it was Love that joined the elements together in whole bodies and Strife that separated them. Anaxagoras also imagined ‘order’ as a kind of force, creating animals and humans, flowers and trees. He called this force mind or intelligence, Nous.
With today’s science, we know that every cell of the human body carries a blueprint of the way all the other cells are constructed.
So there is Something of Everything in every single cell.
Everything Has a Natural Explanation
Anaxagoras believed that this Something of Everything could also explain how the universe was created. He argued that the cosmos was a thorough mixture of all its ingredients, although this mixture was not entirely uniform. Some ingredients are present in higher concentrations than others and varied from place to place. Therefore, he stated, the same Seeds that created the universe also created the Earth.
“Everything has a natural explanation. The moon is not a god, but a great rock, and the sun a hot rock.”
Unfortunately, Anaxagoras was too far ahead of time. He was later accused of atheism and ultimately forced to leave the Athens and he died in 428 BC.