For straitened are the powers that are spread over their bodily parts, and many are the woes that burst in on them and blunt the edge of their careful thoughts! They behold but a brief span of a life that is no life, and, doomed to swift death, are borne up and fly off like smoke. Each is convinced of that alone which he had chanced upon as he is hurried every way, and idly boasts he has found the whole. So hardly can these things be seen by the eyes or heard by the ears of men, so hardly grasped by their mind! Howbeit, you, since you have found your way here, shall learn no more than mortal mind has power.
(Empedocles of Acragas, fr. 2)
When little Plato went to the sea shore, he loved to build little lands of sand. Buildings, walls, canals, cisterns. A god in charge of his own tiny world.
They were always the best lands, always perfectly designed. Attention to detail in every respect.
And then the tide washed each of them away, and all that was left was Plato. He would go back every day throughout the long, hot Summer. Starting again, building again. Watching them wash away, again.
And I shall tell you another thing. There is no substance of any of all the things that perish, nor any cessation for them of baneful death. They are only a mingling and interchange of what has been mingled. Substance is but a name given to these things by men.
(Empedocles, fr. 8)