and explicitly rational Aer,44 and Heraclitus and the Stoics with their divine Logos. Life is the first stage, and that is where Thales ended. The mind is the second stage. Anaximander’s divinity is intelligible but too abstract; therefore, Anaximenes chooses Aer to bring Thales closer to Anaximander. Aer is as Apeiron-like as possible but, as it were, more tangible than Apeiron, though less tangible than water. Still, Anaximenes himself recognizes that there is a finer element than Aer, namely fire, and the latter element will be later chosen as the material embodiment of God by Heraclitus and the Stoics. In this, like in Anaximander, rationality is abstracted from its this-worldly setting, which is aer, and transferred to another substrate. Anaximenes was, in that respect, more consistent by couching rationality on the cosmic scale in the same setting as in humans, in aer. This may be considered as sowing seeds of philosophy of man, which would make the Milesian philosophy not as entirely immersed in grand issues of ontology and cosmogony as commonly understood.

For Anaximenes, the condensation-rarefaction mechanism becomes the underlying physical process. In that, everything in the world becomes a manifestation of divine Aer, everything is to some extent divine. Theology becomes semi-pantheistic (or semi-transcendent). God is Aer, aer in purest form, and is clearly separate from the world by being present at its peripheries. But the world never loses its divine origin. The world is, as it were, a less divine side of God. If theology is stressed, Anaximenes’ God is transcendent; if physics is accentuated, his God is immanent. However, because physics is the other side of theology, the condensation-rarefaction mechanism has its theological counterpart in the mechanism of increase or decrease of divine purity, of God’s unmediated presence. Since theology and physics are intertwined, God’s transcendence is not absolute because God in a large measure is also immanent. 44 The ascription of rationality to Aer by Diogenes is sometimes considered to be a direct proof that Anaximenes did the same, Leo Sweeney, Infinity in the Presocratics (The Hague: Nijhoff, 1972), p. 68.