HERACLI TUS

Th e Com p let e Fr a gm en t s
Tr a n s la t ion a n d Com m en t a r y
and
Th e Gr eek t ext
Willia m Ha r r is
Pr of. Em er it u s
Mid d lebu r y College
PREFACE
Heraclitus was born at Ephesus, apparently from a noble family
connected with religious rites, but early retired from their social
position and devoted himself to study and the development of
his philosophical ideas. There are no specific dates to attach to
his life, but he must have flourished about somewhere about
500 B.C. He is said to have written his thoughts out in a prose
document, a very early use of prose for philosophy, of which
only fragmentary quotations have survived as citations from
later authors over the next fifteen hundred years. There is al-
most nothing more which we know about Heraclitus' personal
life and identity.
This paper contains all the fragments which can authoritatively
be ascribed to Heraclitus, following the listing in Diels-Kranz
"Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker" 5 ed. l934, and reprints.
The interpretative commentary is designed to explicate the of-
ten difficult wording of the Greek, rather than summarize the
body of philological study which has been devoted to Heraclitus
over the last two hundred years. The Greek is absolutely neces-
sary for serious study of Heraclitus, and this edition with all the
fragments in a topical order lets us look at Heraclitus in one, au-
thentic location.
The thought of this Greek philosopher, whom Aristotle first
called "The Obscure", has exerted an important influence on
modern thinking about a wide variety of subjects, including reli-
gion, the nature of the universe, the concept of the continuum,
and other points some of which have not yet been sufficiently
fathomed. I encourage you to proceed with slow and careful
reading .
THE WAY OF THE LOGOS
1. Although this Logos is eternally valid, yet men are unable to
understand it -- not only before hearing it, but even after they
have heard it for the first time. That is to say, although all things
come to pass in accordance with this Logos, men seem to be
quite without any experience of it - - - at least if they are judged
in the light of such words and deeds as I am here setting forth
according to its nature, and to specify how it behaves. Other
men, on the contrary, are as unaware of what they do when
awake as they are when asleep. (1)
rcc öe Ac ¸cc rcc ö ec trc¸ otet o¸c terct ¸t tctrot o t0oo#ct
kot #oc c0et q okcc cot kot okcc cotre¸ rc #oo rct.
¸ttcµe tot ¸oo #o trot koro rct Ac ¸ct rc töe o#et octctt
ect koct #etoo µetct kot e#e ot kot e o¸ot rctcc reot c kct ot
e¸o ötq¸ec µot koro çc ctt ötooe ot e kocrct kot çoo ¸ot
c ko¸ e _et. rcc¸ öe o AAcc¸ ot0oo #cc¸ Aot0o tet c kc co
e¸eo0e tre¸ #ctcc ctt c koc#eo ckc co ec öctre¸
e#tAot0o tctrot
As soon as one starts to deal with the Greek and the sub-
meanings of the original wording, the above translation
becomes cloudy and perhaps weak. Yet it will serve as an
entry text to serve as ancilla to the Greek, which has the
true way into understanding the mind of Heraclitus.
It is interesting that Aristotle in discussing this passage,
raises the grammatical question of whether the word "al-
ways" (aiei) goes with what is before it "the eternal Logos"
or after it as "always fail to understand...". Arist. Rhetor.
1407b. But this is just the first of myriad questions about
this fecund passage which has occupied the best classical
and philosophical wits for centuries. Distinguishing things
"according to the nature" sounds much like Aristotle's ap-
proach to data, starting from observation and use, rather
than from ideal pattern; but is better aligned with use of
the word Phusis by the early philosophers.
2. We should let ourselves be guided by what is common to
all. Yet, although the Logos is common to all, most men live as if
each of them had a private intelligence of his own.
rcc öe Ac ¸cc ö´ ec trc¸ ¸ctcc ¸o ccctt ct #cAAct o¸ töt ot
e _ctre¸ çoc tqctt (2)
3. Men who love wisdom should acquaint themselves with a
great many particulars.
_oq ¸oo ec µo Ao #cAAo t t crcoo¸ çtAccc çcc¸ o töoo¸
et tot (35)
Heraclitus stresses particulars and Fact, but in the next
statement he maintains that accumulations of fact do not
confer Wisdom or gnomé. Why this odd difference of
point of view? Because both are relevant and important;
information is of course essential, but as it is assembled it
becomes a static corpus and possible encumbrance to the
Thinker and philosopher, even as a full philological
documentation of opinions on these Fragments of
Heraclitus can obscure the words of the statements.
4. Seekers after gold dig up much earth and find little.
_occct ct öt¸q µetct ¸q t #cAAqt coc ccccct kot
ecotckcctctt cAt¸ct (22)
What could be a better description of Mining, whether
gold or uranium ? ---- or the continuing processes of seri-
ous scientific research? Much labor, often no or few re-
turns, that is the nature of the investigation of new ideas.
5. Let us not make arbitrary conjectures about the greatest
matters.
µq etkq #eot ro t µe¸t crot ccµµoAAo µe0o
But the world is replete with arbitrary views, not only in
the world of history, politics and theology, but forever in
Academe where it they work against the nature of the
search after truth. (47)
6. Much learning does not teach understanding, otherwise it
would have taught Hesiod and Pythagoras, Xenophanes and
Hecataeus.  #cAcµo0t q tc ct e _ett cc ötöo cket. Hct cöct
¸oo ot eöt öo¸e kot Uc0o¸c oqt oc rt¸ re Zetcço teo re kot
Ikorot ct (40)
Anyone who has spent time in higher-education will be
painfully aware of the "learned views" which go nowhere
and shed no light at all. All those "possible points of
view..." which fills the pages of learned Journals crowd the
path to Understanding. Yet knowing much is also
something Heraclitus stresses, so we are caught between
the jaws of ignorance and encyclopediasm.
7. Of those whose discourses I have heard there is not one
who attains to the realization that wisdom stands apart from all
else.
c kccot Ac ¸cc¸ q kccco ccöet¸ oçtktet rot e¸ rcc rc o cre
¸tto ckett c rt ccçc t ecrt #o trot ke_ootcµe tct(108)
The problem of distinguishing Knowledge from Wisdom is
with us forever. Our college courses teach knowledge of
many things, but the wisdom which comes from education
seems to be more of a personal and even spiritual nature
than a result of accumulation and accreditation. Can stu-
dents be denied a top grade because they lack wisdom, or
is this considered an transcendental factor couched in
mental talent or taught by experience in life?
8. I have searched myself.
eöt¸qco µqt eµeocrc t(101)
These two words speak volumes. Self-examination is the
hardest thing to do, something Freud had to learn slowly
and he spent much of his life doing just this. It is not a
simple truism that the unsearched life is not life at all.
9. It pertains to all men to know themselves and to be
temperate.
ot0oo #ctct #o ct µe recrt ¸tto ckett e ocrcc¸ kot cooctet t
(116)
10. To be temperate is the greatest virtue. Wisdom consists in
speaking and acting the truth, giving heed to the nature of
things.
coçoctet t ooerq µe¸t crq kot ccçt q oAq0e o Ae ¸ett kot
#cet t koro çc ctt e#ot ctro¸(112)
The Greek word sophrosune is hard to define, since it
comes from the adjective saos "safe" and phron "mind".It
points to a mind which is well centered and thoughtful,
balanced and poised for intelligent judgments. English
"temperate" from Latin temperatus as "moderate" is much
more complicated, going back to Latin tempus "time, the
right time, season", and the English core of the word
points to being in touch with an external situation,
whether season, social setting, or proper time for a given
action. But the English word has other associations, such
as Temperance as avoidance of alcohol, Temper as ire and
anger, Bach's well adjusted harpsichord playing well-tem-
pered variations, and even the blacksmith carefully
drawing the temper of overly hard quenched steel. The
Greek has none of these external associations, it is self-
centered and a business of the mind, which when held in a
sane stance, will be the proper tool for thought.
11. The things of which there can be sight, hearing, and
learning ---- these are what I especially prize.
c cot c]t¸ okcq µo 0qctc roc ro e¸o #ocrtµe o(55)
At first H. seems to be putting special emphasis on
authentic observation, what the Greeks termed "aut-
opsia" or direct fact-finding, something one himself sees.
But he continues with the argument..... but.....
12. Eyes are more accurate witnesses than ears.
cç0oAµct ¸oo ro t o rot okotµe creoct µo orcoe¸ (101a)
Visual information is more direct than hearing, by which
he surely means "hearsay" rather than acoustic percep-
tion, but again .....
13. Eyes and ears are bad witnesses to men having barbarian
souls.
kokct µo orcoe¸ ot0oo #ctctt c 0oAµct kot o ro µooµo_occ¸
]c_o¸ e_c trot(107)
.......the best direct observation is worthless without the
right mental grasp. One thinks of 17th c. drawings of plan-
ets as seen in a telescope, in which the rings were seen as
separate brackets rather than a ring seen from an oblique
angle. Until the mind is prepared, even the best optical ob-
servations are liable to misrepresentation. And in the case
of "grossly uneducated minds" of the barbaroi, seeming
facts based on eye, ear or hearsay are of little importance
per se.
14. One should not act or speak as if he were asleep.
cc öet o c#eo ko0ec öctro¸ #ctet t kot Ae ¸ett73)
We know about the curious phenomenon of Sleep
Walking, but Heraclitus turns to something much more
serious, which is Quasi-Sleep-Talking. The conscious and
rational part of the mind is turned off as in sleep, but the
words continue to flow; we go through motions and ac-
tions as if we were awake, but it is a kind of conditioned
reflex. To really think about something is quite different
from thinking that it is alright, that it will serve.
15. The waking have one world in common,
......rct ¸ e¸oq¸coc ctt e to kot kcttct kc_cµct et tot (89)
Each sleeper turns away to a private world of his own.
Heraclitus precedes Jung in his notion of the sleep-world
as a private chamber of the unconscious mind, a place
which has an unclear connection with the waking world.
Yet this is real to the sleeper, it is a world too..... but per-
sonal and private one.
16. Death is what we see when awake , when we are asleep it is
dreams.
0o torc¸ ecrtt c kc co e¸eo0e tre¸ c oe cµet c kc co öe
ec öctre¸ c #tc¸ (21)
This curious remark must mean that the world of the liv-
ing is continually in process of dying, everything we see in
our daily lives is either coming into being or going out of
being into death. But in our dream world, there is no death
because dreams are unreal and do not face the problem of
going out of being. One step further on this path might
lead to Plato and his eternal idea world, imperishable and
permanent, still taught in coursework in Academe, but al-
ready invalidated in the later 4th century.
17. Nature loves to hide itself
çc ct¸ öe..... ko0´ HookAetrct....... koc #rec0ot çtAet (123)
Anyone who has worked in scientific research knows well
the thousand ways in which things disappear again and
again just as they began to seem clear. It seems to be an
almost intentional trickiness of the situation that layer af-
ter layer of camouflage must be removed before we can
find what we are looking for. But this is not just in Science,
it is the same in all phases of human thought and investi-
gation.
18. The lord whose oracle is at Delphi neither speaks nor
conceals, but gives signs.
c o to¸ cc rc µotretc t ecrt rc et úeAçct ¸ ccre Ae ¸et ccre
koc #ret oAAo cqµot tet(93)
Unfortunately the English "give signs" is quite different
from the Gr. semainein, since it is used for hand signals,
the directional indications of the policeman at the corner,
or the "signing" system of communication of the deaf. The
Greek word can be used for indicating with a word, an ex-
pression or a thought, and here it is used for the act of
giving an interpretation. But if I translate "the oracle gives
interpretations" that is again in the wrong direction , since
it will be taken as speaking and oral messaging. The real
point Heraclitus is making seems to be this:
The Oracle responds with indirect information rather than
words, he intimates things rather than indicating them. So
going to ask the oracle a question will give you a puzzle of
some sort, relevant indirectly rather than a response to
your question.
19. Unless you expect the unexpected you will never find
truth, for it is hard to discover and hard to attain.
eot µq e A#qrot ote A#tcrct cck e¸ecoq cet ote¸eoec tqrct
ect kot o #coct (18)
Einstein is recorded as stating that his sole original interest
was in the phenomenon of light, which on the basis of faith
he felt to be supremely important. This unexpected insight
coupled with his lifelong dogged determination, is what
brought him finally in the direction of his major conclu-
sions about light.
THE IDEA OF THE CONTINUUM
20. They do not step into the same rivers . It is other and
still other waters that are flowing.
#croµct ct rct ctt ocrct ctt eµµot tccctt. e reoo kot e reoo
c öoro e#tooet . (12)
This is the classic statement of the Continuum for which
Heraclitus is so famous then and now, that little comment
is necessary. But the words which follow directly (see be-
low) are most strange. On first thought they would seem to
be a scribe's addition of something quite different, a scrap
which he had to fit in somewhere. Given the river and wa-
ters, this might be a good place for this insertion! But
could it be that souls themselves derive from the contin-
uum, that since they are in similar process of continual
change, that they can be best described in terms of
Heraclitus' river-imagery? Best watch this carefully and
suspend judgment here....
(and souls take their spirit from the waters)
( kot ]c_ot öe o#c ro t c ¸oo t oto0cµto trot.¹
21. You cannot step twice into the same river, for other
waters and yet others go ever flowing on. They go forward and
back again.
#croµo t ¸oo ccr e crtt eµµq tot öt¸ ro t ocro t. ....
ckt ötqct kot #o Att ccto ¸et.....kot #oc cetct kot o #etct (91)
These two statements pose clearly the problem of the
continuum as inherent in the nature of things. It is not the
same river obviously since the water has all moved along
downstream. Nor is it the same YOU, since each instant
your physical nature has replenished and recreated parts
of itself. This may seem contrary to our "common-sense"
notions of daily living, but fits well with the idea of modern
social relativity, in which the normal state is one of mo-
tion. Yet the common view of many people is that all is
static, even our lives and bodies.....of course quite
wrongly. One might ask the Oracle at Delphi if the Logos is
in continual change too, a changing master-plan which
suits the changing world which it informs.
22. Cool things become warm, the warm grows cool, the
moist dries, the parched becomes moist.
]c_oct 0e oerot 0eoµct ]c _erot c ¸oct ocot terot
kooçoAe ct tcrt ¸erot (126)
Here is a possibly trace of the above notion about souls
taking their nature from the rivers, spirits somehow
alembicated from the liquids. It seems hardly necessary to
refer to the Second Law of Thermodynamics with its
statement about the even flow of heat, in a milieu of con-
stant energy transfer. We know that the flow of heat is
from hot to cool is normally in one direction, however
Heraclitus had already added a consideration (above)
about a two way equation in the words "They go forward
and back again (..kot #oc cetct kot o #etct¹.
23. It is in changing that things find repose.
µeroµo AAct oto#oc erot (84a)
In a world in which motion is the normal state, there may
be an apparent but temporary state of what we see as
static "repose". In other words there is a seeming "repose"
but only as a by-product of the process of continual
change. Perhaps this is something of which we get a psy-
chological snapshot, like a single motion picture "frame"
in a slurry of moving images. In other words, there may
possible be static Moments in the Continuum.
24. Time is a child moving counters in a game; the royal
power is a child's.
otot #ot ¸ ecrt #ot ¸ot #eooec ot. #otöc¸ q µoctAqt q (52)
This is a brilliant figure. The word "child" in Greek is ne-
pios, referring to a child who cannot yet speak, hence a
very young child indeed. This mere-infant is randomly
moving pieces on a checker board, and Heraclitus intu-
itively feels that this randomizing activity is the "ruling
power" of the world. Is this not the key to biological evo-
lution randomly moving genes in an infinity of time....?
The Greek word basileia does mean Kingdom or Royal
Power, but there may be another interpretation, which I
offer tentatively. In the ancient chess/checkers game
which dates far back to ancient Persia, the termination of
the game by stalling the king is called "checkmate", which
is understood to be Iranian for "shah + mata" or "king-
dead". Note the Skt. mrtas "dead" as cognate with Lat.
mort-, mortalis etc. Could this fragment mean that the
child who moves pieces continually without knowing what
he is doing, will eventually arrive at a checkmate?
Perhaps far-fatched to us, but a theoretical statistician
would have no problem with this at all.
25. War is both father and king of all, some he has shown forth
as gods and others as men, some he has made slaves and others
free.
#c Aeµc¸ #o trot µet #orq o ecrt #o trot öe µoctAec ¸ kot
rcc¸ µet 0ecc¸ e öet¸e rcc¸ öe ot0oo #cc¸ rcc¸ µet öcc Acc¸
e#ct qce rcc¸ ö’ eAec0e occ¸(53)
Especially in the Post Industrial Age when war has become
far more than squadrons of men crossing borders to pilfer
a neighboring tribe, we have come to think of War with
fear, horror and emotional distaste. So it will seem surpris-
ing to read Heraclitus' words on Polemos as the king. It
would be nice to find him couching another meaning with a
philosophical content, but that is hardly possible, since the
words are quite clear. But suspend judgment here, and let
us read on to the next paragraph which carries the figure
of War further along.
26. It should be understood that war is the common
condition, that strife is justice, and that all things come to pass
through the compulsion of strife.
etöe tot _oq rct #c Aeµct ec tro ¸ctc t kot öt kqt e ott kot
¸ttc µeto #o tro kor´ e ott kot _oeo t(80)
For Heraclitus war is the upsetting factor which moves
static situations into unwilling change. We try to write
laws which will last forever, find again and again they have
a short half-life. War goes further and destroys the bal-
ance of law, initiating even further rates of change than
economic development and social change. The history of
the West might unfortunately be written as the history of
western warfare. And a great deal of advance in technol-
ogy, from gunpowder to atomic energy, has its origins in
the requirements for war based devices. Heraclitus is
speaking of war as accelerator of change, but that notion
verges instantly into the realm of political warfare for
which we have been paying high costs for a long time.
27. Homer was wrong in saying, "Would that strife might
perish from amongst gods and men" . For if that were to occur,
then all things would cease to exist.
The three statement above take War as a normal state
since it is changing in itself and also changing relationships
between states and people. Strife, war and even disease
are, in Heraclitus' terms, essential components of the hu-
man universe. Despite our attempts, usually puerile and
futile, to live in a world of equanimous peacefulness, there
is an unrest and dissent which constantly emerges. It may
be change of attitude, opinion, or it may be the shifts in the
stock market, in national boundaries, in the armies which
march from here to there bringing in change. This may
not be optimal, but it has been part of the historical scene
from the start, and does not seem inclined to go away in
these early years of the new millennium.
ON NATURE
Something must be said at the start about that word
"Nature", which is a poor and misleading translation of the
Greek. Phusis (physis) in Greek is a word which traces its
ancestry back to the Indo European root *bhu- which
means "be, become" and is cognate with words spread
throughout the European tongues, with many examples
from Latin "fui" to modern English "be". In Greek the
word was used to outline the idea of "coming into being" or
being as the end result of a process of generation. Being
and Becoming are quite different notions, as are Sein and
Werden in German.
The Greeks saw Physis as the process by which things
came into being, how they became what they turned out to
be, and in their usage the word became a key term for the
evolving world which they saw all around them. This is
quite different from the Hebrew god making the world by
design in a week of work, it sees the world as a long pro-
cess of becoming and it is the becoming-ness which char-
acterizes their idea of the world in which they lived.
The Romans who had studied their Greek philosophers
well needed a Latin translation for the un-Roman aspi-
rated -ph- and lipped -u- sound of Ph-y-sis. The started
with the Latin verb "nascor", put a noun ending onto the
past participle "natus" and came up with Natura as natural
for Physis. To an educated Roman the new term Natura
meant phusis exactly.
English has other meanings galore. We speak of a man's
"nature" as his character, we say "naturally" when we
mean logically, and we rejoice in the pleasures of Nature in
the park, garden and woodlands. So when we discuss a
group of Heraclitus' thoughts which are neatly labeled un-
der the title ON NATURE, we are starting off on the wrong
foot, unless we specifically equate Nature with Physis in
all its philosophical contexts. We do however want a famil-
iar English word for a title, so On Na t u r e will have to
suffice. Now we can proceed to the fragments!
28. There is exchange of all things for fire and of fire for all
things, as there is of wares for gold and of gold for wares.
#coc ¸ otroµctµq ro #o tro kot #c o o#o trot c kcc#eo
_occcc _oq µoro kot _oqµo rot _occc ¸(90)
This is nothing less than a brilliant intuitive statement, al-
though without scientific or mathematical proof, of the
idea behind Einstein's E=MC sq. Fire is the nearest thing
the Greek could imagine for our idea of Energy. Although
static electric forces were incidental in the Greek world,
fire did seem to have some of the dissolving and combin-
ing capacities which we refer to as Energy. Fire is of
course one form of energy, and perceiving fire as a build-
ing force under aegis of the sun's fire, as well as a destroy-
ing force in the flames of the hearth, is not only intuitive; it
is largely correct.
The figure of the marketplace is striking as an explanatory
equation: As Money and Products represent a two-way
equation, so Energy and Mass Objects also stand in a two-
way relationship. Some may find this interpretation diffi-
cult to see, but a) it fits the Greek words closely, and b)
unless we go this way, what meaning does this fragment
have at all? Strange as it sounds, this is no hocus-pocus of
an ancient vein of alchemy, it is a rational statement
couched in terms of a Greek proportional equation. On
the left side are A <----> B, which are seen as parallel in
their operation to C <---> D. In the marketplace of the
Universe, Item A can be transformed into Item B and
back again ---- just as Products can be turned into Dollars,
and Dollars to Products again.
How Heraclitus happened to think this through is startling,
but there are many key points in Greek pre-Science which
anticipate modern investigations. Lucretius as summa-
rizer of Epicurean science lists a few of them, probably a
surprise to the Latin student of Roman poetry: The Law of
Conservation of Energy; The Law of Conservation of
Matter; A clear statement of animal Evolution; Molecular
interlocking. All this should come as no surprise for ther
awakened, Heraclitus had already said that there is a
Logos behind everything which we continually miss see-
ing.
29. This universe, which is the same for all, has not been
made by any god or man, but it always has been is, and will be
an ever-living fire, kindling itself by regular measures and going
out by regular measures.
kc cµct rc töe rct ocrct o#o trot cc re rt¸ 0eo t ccre
ot0oo #ot e#ct qcet oAA´ q t oet kot e crtt #c o oet ¸oct
o#rc µetct µe roo kot o#ccµettc µetct µe roo(30)
Here is an interesting caution to modern science which is
now pressing hard on the origin of the Universe at a spe-
cific place and moment in time, the Original Coming-Into-
Being of the world as the Big Bang. Heraclitus' comment is
that it has always been there and always will bbe, but the
forms and stages are constantly changing. One suspects
that if confronted by Big Bang theory, he would have said
that the out-blowing of energy from a single specific point
in ancient time must be the turning point of an in-burning
of energy toward single point before that moment. Why
assume a start, when we find everything continually turn-
ing from one state to another without pause or interrup-
tion? Is the idea of an Origin a catchword in our common
vein of thinking?
30. He calls it: craving and satiety.
koAet öe ocrc ---- _oqcccµccc tqt kot kc oc¸ (65)
One might compare a chemical situation which actively
absorbs material into solution, until it reaches the point of
saturation at which time is can absorb no more. The
solution is thirsty, then at a certain level it becomes
saturated, or satiated.
31. It throws apart and then brings together again; it
advances and retires.
#croµo t ¸oo ccr e crtt eµµq tot öt¸ ro t ocro t
ckt ötqct kot #o Att ccto ¸et kot #oc cetct kot o #etc(91)
We seems to have two separate fragments sutured to-
gether here, the first is the usual statement of the contin-
uum in the river, while the second line has a very different
meaning, which goes well with the previous Frag. 30. as an
example of elements coming together in a combinatory
process, and then dissociating. This could be called with
our familiar word Synthesis, but balanced with an oppos-
ing Diathesis.
32. The transformations of fire -- first, sea; and of sea, half
becomes earth and half the lightning-flash.
#coc¸ roc#ot #oo rct 0o Aocco 0oAo ccq¸ öe rc µet
q µtcc ¸q rc öe q µtcc #oqcrq o

33. When earth has melted into sea, the resultant amount is
the same as there had been before sea became earth.
¸q 0o Aocco öto_e erot kot µeroe erot et¸ rct ocrct Ac ¸ct
c kctc¸ #oc c0et q t q ¸ete c0ot ¸q(31)
These last two citations seems to indicate a clear state-
ment of the conservation of mass despite change of state.
We know that there are no difference in actual mass, but
the general effect of Heraclitus' direction is correct. But
the split of sea into half earth and half energy (as lighten-
ing) is unclear, a statement which does not fit our way of
understanding conversions of state.
34. Fire lives in the death of earth, air in the death of fire,
water in the death of air, and earth in the death of water.
¸q t #c o rct ¸q ¸ 0o torct kot oqo ¸q t rct #coc¸ 0o torct
c öoo ¸q t rct oe oc¸ 0o torct ¸q rct c öorc¸
and water is the death of earth, and air is the death of water, and
fire of aer. and so in reverse
c rt ¸q ¸ 0o torc¸ c öoo ¸ete c0ot kot c öorc¸ oe oo 0o torc¸
¸ete c0ot kot oe oc¸ #c o kot e µ#oAtt(76)
This is a classic statement of the Greek four-element
universe, the conversion opf state being called a death
since one part disappears as the other comes into being.
Here the process is cited as reservible, probably a
Heraclitan addition.
35.
The thunderbolt pilots all things through all things.
ro öe #o tro ctokt ¸et keooctc ¸(64)
I think of the experiments which were done some years
ago to try to determine the nature of the original atmo-
sphere of the earth, by subjecting a sealed mix of carbon
dioxide, nitrogen, oxygen and hydrogen to a very high
voltage electric bombardment for a period of time. Some
felt that this was the process by which the amino acids
were being produced as a firsdt step toward the phe-
nomenon of Life. Heraclitus has a sense of lightening,
which we know as a half million volt electric flash, as be-
ing a dominant creative force in our world, somehow.
Neither the modern experiment, not Heraclitus' intuition,
can be proved, but both are extremely interesting!
36 The sun is , as H. states, not only new each day, but
forever continually new.
c qAtc¸ ct µctct (ko0o#eo c H. çqct¹ tec¸ eç´ qµeoqt
e¸rt t oAA´ oet te c¸ ccte_o ¸ (6)
This is Aristotle's comment from Meteor. 355a, an excel-
lent remark on two counts. First the sun which we see each
morning is in some part not the same sun as yesterday,
considering the enormous amount of conflagration on the
sun's surface, the volumes of hydrogen being continually
converted, and the energy dispersed outward as light. Also
since we are in a continual state of change and flux, so
must the sun be changing, and the notion that it is exactly
the same Sun tomorrow morning shining on the same
Earth as today is really an illusion.
37. The sun is the breadth of a man's foot.
#eot µe¸e0cc¸ qAtcc.--- ec oc¸ #cöc¸ ot0oo#et cc (3)
This is a primitive attempt to state a trigonometric view of
a far object seen in reference to a near object. From the
single point of the eye's fovea, looking past the two sides
of a foot at about four feet distance, a triangle can be
imagined reaching out to the sun. If the sides of the foot
line up approximately with the edges of the sun's image,
we would have the angular components of a trigonometric
problem. But without more data as to distance, we won't
be able to estimate the sun's distance from the earth. But
this is the beginning of a process which would take many
years to work out the germ of the trigonometric process.
38. If there were no sun, the other stars would not suffice to
prevent its being night.
et µq q Atc¸ q t e teko ro t o AAot o croot ecçoc tq ot q t
(99)
Heraclitus sees the difference between the light levels of
sun and stars, and indirectly infers that the phenomenon
we call Day or Hemera is generated by the sun's enormous
heat-light. Moon reflects a weak light from the sun, some-
thing not known to Heraclitus, but he realizes that when
the moon does not show, it is sheer night. He uses the
Greek term euphrone for night as "the kindly one", prob-
ably a euphemism for humans' general fear of the dark.
39. The boundary line of evening and morning is the Bear;
and opposite the Bear is the boundary of bright Zeus.
qcc ¸ kot e c#e oo¸ re oµoro q o okrc¸ kot otrt ct rq ¸ o okrcc
cc oc¸ ot0ot cc útc ¸. (120)
40. The fairest universe is but a heap of rubbish piled up at
random. ....
.o c#eo co oµo etkq ke_cµe tct c ko AAtcrc¸ (c ¹ kc cµc¸ (124)
This is a problem involving infinite randomization finally
yielding an entropic state, which we have learned to accept
as our designed world. We are looking at the pleasantly
solid and static world around us from the wrong end of the
process, it is all a snapshot of randomized garbage taken at
our specific moment in time.
41. Every beast is driven to pasture by a blow
#o t e o#erct #Aq¸q t te µerot (11)
A great statement of a a great truth. I am thinking not only
of my students who constantly resist new and hard ideas
by their very nature, but of my own learning curves.
Every thing I have every learned which has turned out
worth learning, has been learned with infinite difficulty
and often much pain and often approached unwillingly.
What is the blow which drive the beast to pasture and why
must he be driven? It is because every live state tries to
preserve its homeostatic identity as an in-built system of
self-preservation, and the only way to effect change is by
application of an external force. We can speak of a natural
laziness of spirit, or an unwillingness to try new ways., re-
membering that you can drive a horse to water you can
not make him drink.
ON THE SPIRITUAL
42. You could not discover the limits of soul, even if you
traveled by every path in order to do so; such is the depth of its
meaning.
]c_q ¸ #et ooro tot cck ot e¸ec octc #o cot e#t#coecc µetc¸
c öct. cc ro µo0ct Ac ¸ct (45)
43. Soul is the vaporization out of which everything else is
composed; more-over it is the least corporeal of things and is in
ceaseless flux, for the moving world can only be known by what
is in motion. (.)
44. Souls are vaporized from what is moist.
kot ]c_ot öe o#c ro t c ¸oo t oto0cµto trot(12)
This connects with the ancient views of Soul as a gaseous
substance of sorts, as in Sanskrit atman "soul" from verb
at- "breathe", Lat. anima as compared with Gr. cognate
anemos "wind", Lat. spiritus from spirare "to breathe".
Although the word "gas" was only coined by 17 c. physi-
cists from Greek chaos, the idea of such a state was always
present, and the ancients connected it with something
which we still cannot define exactly. Heraclitus sees the
vapor arising from a moist object in the morning sunlight
as analogous to Soul, and we had perhaps best leave it at
that, a tentative perception. A modern speculation might
try to go one step further and see Soul as a kind of super-
gas, a spiritual plasma.
45. Soul has its own inner law of growth.
]c_q ¸ ecrt Ac ¸c¸ e ocrct oc ¸ot(115)
Since as above Soul is without limit, infinite expansion is a
natural possibility, as seen from the inside of the soul's
identity.
46. A dry soul is wisest and best. The best and wisest soul is
a dry beam of light.
oc q ]c_q ccçoro rq kot oot crq
oc¸q ¸qoq ]c_q ccçoro rq kot oot crq (118)
These two versions of the same idea have an essential dif-
ference. The first sees soul as a dry emanation from water,
as noted above. But the second goes one step further and
sees soul as even dryer, in fact a beam of light. This takes
soul into the realm of pure energy as a modern physicist
would see it, which will be as Light. This is quite different
from many views of Soul as a spirit or a mental configura-
tion, whereas Heraclitus stays with a physical description
pushed to the ultimate level of rarifaction.
47. Souls take pleasure in becoming moist.
]c_q tct re o]tt q 0o torct c ¸oq tct ¸ete c0ot.
But there is a second part to this quotation:
...we live in the death of them (souls) and they in the our death
¸q t q µo ¸ rct eket tot 0o torct kot ¸q t eket to¸ rct q µe reoct
0o torct (77)
It would seem that just as souls lose their identity by re-
verting to moisture, in similar fashion we lost our identity
by reverting to become souls, and inversely souls can lose
their identity as soul, by becoming human beings. This is a
very complicated equation which cannot be solved by a
modern way of thinking, but apparently it is within the
range of dark Heraclitean thought.
48. A drunken man has to be led by a boy, whom he follows
stumbling and not knowing whither he goes, for his soul is moist.
otq o c kcrot µe0cc0q t o ¸erot c#c #otöc¸ otq µcc
cçoAAc µetc¸ cck e#ot ot c kq µot tet c ¸oqt rqt ]c_qt
e _ot (117)
Now we have the drunkard contaminating the "gaseous"
part of his being with liquid and alcohol, and led home by a
boy who may be uneducated and simple, but is at least dry.
In a very different perspective, Lao Tzu saw the drunkard
as spiritually neutral and relaxed, so he was unhurt when
he fell off the wagon carrying him home.
49. It is death to souls to become water, and it is death to
water to become earth. Conversely, water comes into existence
out of earth, and souls out of water.
]c_q tctt 0o torc¸ c öoo ¸ete c0ot c öort öe 0o torc¸ ¸q t
¸ete c0ot ek ¸q ¸ öe c öoo ¸t terot e¸ c öorc¸ öe ]c_q (36)
50. Even the sacred barley drink separates when it is not
stirred.
c kckeot ött crorot (µq¹ kttcc µetc¸ (125)
This is probably an example of the previous statement,
showing how a solid of lighter weight will separate and rise
to the top of a liquid when it is left to settle. The usual ex-
ample in Greek is the separation of olive oil and water,
used as a figure for personal incompatability.
Interestingly, this is still the way ground diamond dust is
separated out for size, by letting it settle out in timed in-
tervals in a container of olive oil.
51. It is hard to fight against impulsive desire. Whatever it
wants it will buy at the cost of the soul.
0cµo t µo _ec0ot _oAe#ct. . c ¸oo ot 0e Aqt ]c_q ¸ otet rot
(85)
Here is probably the earliest statement of the power of ad-
vertising in a market economy. The phrase "purchasing at
the cost of soul (genitive of price!)" is a curious phrase,
something parallel to making large credit card purchases
at the cost of solvency and financial integrity!
52. It would not be better if things happened to men just as
they wish.
0cµo t µo _ec0ot _oAe#ct. c ¸oo ot 0e Aqt ]c_q ¸
otet rot(110)
Taking this as connected with the above, we are warned to
be cautious about wishes, since our greatest danger is not
having what we need but getting what we wish for. The
Grimm story of the three wishes ending up with a sausage
on the nose is a good folk example. It often happens that
things we carefully plan out with infinite care, like the
Garden City concept of ideal housing, World Peace and
the League of Nations, have a tendency to somehow to go
wrong.
53. It is better to hide our ignorance.
oµo0t qt ¸oo o µettct koc #ret.---- koc #rett oµo0t qt
koe ccct (95)
Plutarch who gives us this line adds that it is harder to do
so over wine! The modern proverb runs: "Better to keep
quiet and be thought a fool, that open your mouth and re-
move all doubt."
54. A foolish man is a-flutter at every word. (87)
µAo¸ o t0oo#c¸ e#t #otrt Ac ¸ot e#rcq c0ot çtAet
One must stop and think about things and not go into wild
enthusiasm or confused thought! Pythagoras had said: Be
not taken by uncontrollable laughter, this may be a social
notion rather than a word of counsel. Some oriental cul-
tures suspect that undue laughing indicates too much loss
of anima.For example, American have a tendency to smile
automatically, which we find a friendly a disarming ges-
ture, while the French find this foolish and objectionable.
55. Fools, although they hear, are like the deaf. To them the
adage applies that "when present they are absent".
o¸c terct okcc cotre¸ koçct ctt ect koct. ço rt¸ ocrct ct
µoorcoet #ooec tro¸ o#et tot(34)
In a day when we try to desribe any physical or mental
deficiency as being "challenged", this sounds rude and un-
thinking. But it is unrealistic to avoid using the ancient
and traditional words "deaf" or "retarded", and Heraclitus
has none of our modern over-sensitivity. For Heraclitus it
is simpler: You talk to a deaf man and he doesn't answer;
you talk to a fool and he says "uh!". Same reachion for
both, of course for entirely different reasons. But for all of
us, when discussing the nature of the Logos, we tend not to
be really present at all. Q.E.D.
56. He said: Bigotry is the sacred disease, and self-conceit
tells lies.
rq t öe ct qctt t eoot tc cct e Ae¸e kot rqt c ooctt
]ec öec0ot(46)
The word "oiesis" does not translate into English well. It
comes from a Greek verb originally meaning "thinking",
but is often used for "self-thinking", which we would call
"self-conceit", and this is in a way the core of bigotry.
Whichever words we use, we must keep the core meaning
clear in our minds.
The Hippocratic Father of Medicine had made a point
about Sacred Diseases when discussing epilepsy, which
had previously been dubbed god-given and sacred, by
stating that there are no diseases which are of divine ori-
gin, that disease is organic and treatable as such. This was
a major step forward for the ars medicina. Heraclitus here
cleverly comments on this special kind of mental "disabil-
ity" by using a Hippocratic term, thereby inferring that
Bigotry is a disease capable of cure like any other malady.
But no cure seems to have been devised for it in modern
times. How do we cure bigotry, how do we exorcise it...?
57. Most people do not take heed of the things they find, nor
do they grasp them even when they have learned about them,
although they think they do.
cc çocteccct rctocro #cAAct ckccct e¸kcoecctt ccöe
µo0c tre¸ ¸tto ckccctt. e ocrctct öe öcke ccct (17)
Heraclitus had said this before, but here adds a critical de-
tail: They don't understand, but they actually think they
do, the ultimate error and blindness.
58. If all existing things were smoke, it is by smell that we
would distinguish them.
It #ot ro ¸e tctrc ro c #ro ko#tc¸ ¸e tctrc ot te¸
öto¸tc tet (7)
59. In Hades souls perceive by smelling.
ot ]c_ot ccµo trot ko0´ o töqt(98)
We humans depend on sight for about 85 percent of our
inputs, while dogs use smell for most of their perception,
they think in terms of smell with a frontal lobe highly de-
veloped for that function. Now Heraclitus rightly sense
that in a world of smoke and smell, we would use scent
rather than sight. Just so in the dark we can use infra-red
with special sensors to "see", in medicine we use Roentgen
rays to "see" within, and by refracting electron images we
can "see" things invisibly small. In short, perception is
highly relative!
Hades is of course dark, but there is even a ancient folk-
etymology for the name, as a- "not" and the verbal stem
id- "see".
60. Corpses are more fit to be thrown out than dung.
te kce¸ ¸oo kc#ot ot ekµAqrc reoct (96)
He sees the emptiness of Greek funeral ritual, a cadaver
lacks the one basic human quality of Life, hence is just a
dead thing and nothing more. Much religion concerns it-
self with relationships between the living and the dead, an
intuitive but not entirely rational concern, since all know
the difference between the two states. When one of the
philosopher Kant's friends died, Kant never mentioned
him again, because in fact he had ceased to exist. Ceasing
to be alive is a fact which no ritual will cure.
ON THE DIVINE
61. Human nature has no real understanding, only the divine
nature has it.
q 0c¸ ¸oo ot0oo #etct µet ctk e _et ¸to µo¸ 0et ct öe e _et
(78)
It seems clear that Heraclitus meant by "theion" or divine
something different by from the deities of Greek mythol-
ogy and the state formal religion of the poleis . From the
following passages, it appear he has a notion of the divine
as existence of a world-mind, a "nous" which encompasses
everything in the universe.
62. Man is not rational, there is intelligence only in what
encompasses him.
(The Greek is not in Diels Kranz...)
He must mean that Man is not automatically endowed with
"reason" or logic, which is slowly built up in a society by
small increments. The history of science and mathematics
points to this kind of evolutionary process of the mind.
There is pattern and reason in everything around us inthe
world, and what intelligence we have is drawn from our
perception of the encompassing world.
63. What is divine escapes men's notice because of their in-
credulity.
o#tcrt qt ötoçc¸¸o tet µq ¸t¸to ckec0ot (86)
As in #61, the divine is not readily apparent, learning is a
matter of mental perception of a higher power, but not
religion in the usual sense.
64. Although intimately connected with the Logos which
orders the whole world, men keep setting themselves against it,
and the things which they encounter every day seem quite
foreign to them.
o t µo Atcro ötqteko ¸ c µtAcc ct Ac ¸ot ro t ro c Ao
ötctkcc trt rcc rot ötoçe octrot kot ct ¸ ko0´ q µe oot
e¸kcocc ct roc ro ocrct ¸ ¸e to çot terot (72)
Since Greek Logos means something like Pattern rather
than Reason, then our incapacities at grasping larger and
larger patternings is one of the limiting factors of Mind.
We tend to ignore in our daily lives the shape of the Big
Bang origins, as well as the furious whirl of electrons in a
seemingly solid body. Man lives in smaller patterns. In the
Greek of the Septuagint, at Genesis we find Logos again,
often mistranslated as The Word (of God presumably).
Surely it means sheer Pattern, patterns without material,
which is remedied by creating objects with mass to flesh
out the patternful world in the week of creation.
65. As in the nighttime a man kindles for himself (haptetai) a
light, so when a living man lies down in death with his vision ex-
tinguished, he attaches himself (haptetai) to the state of death;
even as one who has been awake lies down with his vision extin-
guished and attaches himself to the state of Sleep.
o t0oo#c¸ et ecçoc tqt ço c¸ o #rerot eocro t (o#c0oto t¹
o#ccµec0et¸ c ]et¸ ¸o t öe o #rerot re0teo rc¸ ec öot
(o#ccµec0et¸ c ]et¸¹ e¸oq¸coo¸ o #rerot ec öctrc¸ (26)
66. Immortals become mortals, mortals become immortals;
they live in each other's death and die in each other's life.
o0o torct 0tqrct 0tqrct o0o torct ¸o tre¸ rct eket tot
0o torct rct öe eket tot µt ct re0teo re¸(62)
It seems Heraclitus believes in two separate worlds, which
can inferace to each other by the process of death. This is
different from the Indian idea of reincarnation, where
death here moves the perfect person to another world for-
ever, or returns an imperfect one to our world for recy-
cling. This statment of Heraclitus seems a two way pro-
cess, for us it is unfamiliar as an idea and not easy to com-
prehend.
67. There await men after death such things as they neither
expect nor have any conception of.
ot0oo #cc¸ µe tet o#c0otc tro¸ o cco cck e A#ctrot ccöe
öcke ccctt (27)
This seems a partial answer to the previous entry. We
have guessed for ages about what lies beyond, relating
partial stories from near-death experiences, from trances
and visions. But by flatly stating that the other side is not
only less knowable than we imagine, but less knowable
than we CAN imagine, we let the whole matter rest in
peace.
68. They arise into being-ness and become guardians of the
living and the dead.
e t0o ö´ ec trt e#ott croc0ot kot çc Aoko¸ ¸t tec0ot e¸eort
¸o trot kot tekoo t (63)
69. A man's character is his guardian divinity.
q 0c¸ ot0oo #ot öot µot (119)
The daimon is a familiar concept to the Greek but
not at all clear to us. On the one hand Socrates' dai-
mon which speaks to him privately advising against
something as a caution, is too similar to Jung's voice
of the unconscious mind or Super Ego, to be set
aside without serious consideration. Romans spoke
of the "genius" as a private personal deity, virtually
an alter ego to a man, so closely matched to the
man's personality as to be likely to steal altar
offerings from the crooked man's altar (Petronius).
And in later usage the word becomes the Demon of
medieval theology, ending up as a TV character
named Damon, the child of the devil.
For Heraclitus none of this later development exists, he is
thinking of a personal psychic shadow which reflect the
itentity and character of the real man whom it matches.
70. Greater dooms win greater destinies.
µc oct µe ¸cte¸ µe ¸cto¸ µct oo¸ Ao ¸_otccct (25)
The words meros and moira both are both derived from
the verb mer-omai/ mer-esthai "divide out, allot, asign". It
seems Heraclitus is playing on a supposed inner relation-
ship between the two words, but there should be a further
meaning in mind.
Moros is used for disaster, for death. Moira is Fate, often
used in positive terms as the eventual working out of fore-
told destiny, also in terms of what a person or nation has
actually done in life. So the gist of this line would seem to
suggest that grand calamities have a way of being involved
with grand evolutions of the patterns of Moira, as fateful
and to a certain
degree fated. This is a difficult line with the inbuilt pun
and an unsure meaning, but it has a wonderful ring to it,
like St. Thomas' Dies Irae......dies illa.
71. The most reliable man understand reliable things and
guards them. And Justice will overtake fabricators of lies and
false witnesses.
öcke ctro ¸oo c öcktµo rorc¸ ¸tto cket çcAo ccet kot
µe trct kot út kq koroAq ]erot ]ecöo t re krcto¸ kot µo o-
rcoo¸ (28)
The man of right opinions grasps reliable information.
And there is a supervening World Justice which is watch-
ing everything that goes on down here. It will eventually
overtake fabricators of false information, just as he says
in another context: The sun if it goes out of course, it has
to pay for the error.
72. Fire in its progress will catch all things by surprise and
judge them.
#o tro ¸o o rc #c o e#eA0ct kottet kot koroAq ]erot (66)
If fire is the ultimate Energy Force which is responsible for
the entire universe, then any lower level minor infraction
of truthfulness will have to pay its penalty to the force at
the top, at the highest level. Those of us who are
concerned with the deterioration of the ionosphere
through irresponsible use of active gasses which consume
ozone, would say that we are to be judged on the highest
level by the e highest energy source (pur) which reaches us
here as UV radiation ----- quite in the spirit of Heraclitus'
warning.
73. How can anyone hide from that which never sets?
rc µq öc tct #cre #o ¸ o t rt¸ Ao0ct … (16)
Clearly Heraclitus is aware of the earth's rotation as a ball,
in the face of a sun which is simply always there. For mil-
lennia the world did really slide back in astronomical
knowledge. But more important is the consideration of
being only intermittently aware of something which is ab-
solutely permanent and eternal.
74. (When visitors unexpectedly found Heraclitus warming
himself by the cooking fire, he said " Here, too, are gods. "
Again, Fire is special, as near to the concept of energy as
could be found in the Greek world. For our use an electric
current is a clearer manifestation of energy, but still only
manifestation.
75. They cleanse themselves with others' blood, as if
someone were to wash himself by walking in shit were to cleanse
himself with shit. It would seem madness to observe such a man
who is acting this way. And they pray to images, much as if they
were talking to temple edifices, for they do not know what gods
and heroes are.
ko0ot octrot ö´ o AAot ot µort µtottc µetct c tct et rt¸
#qAct eµµo¸ #qAo t o#ctt ¸ctrc. µot tec0ot ö ´ ot öckct q et
rt¸ ocrct ot0oo #ot e#tçoo cotrc cc ro #cte ctro. kot rct ¸
o¸o Aµoct öe rccre ctctt. ec _ctrot ckct ct et rt¸ öc µctct
Aec_qtec ctrc cc rt ¸tto ckot 0ecc ¸ ccö´ q ooo¸ ctrtte ¸
etct(5)
Heraclitus is violently repulsed by the thoughtless and
useless rituals which are commonly performed in the
name of religion, sometimes employed here with animal
sacrifice as a soul cleansing process. He actually points to
three offenses, a) blood sacrifice, b) worship of statues
and religious figures, and c) worship of the temple itself
(oikos) as the house of God.
Some modern anthropologists feel that rituals like animal
sacrifice, even headhunting in Borneo and the veneration
of fetish objects worldwide, have deep meaning in the
structure of their societies and should not be viewed as
mere superstition. Heraclitus would deny their views
saying that these practices remove men from the real
spiritual powers which they fail to recognize. Note that
Judaism and Islam following the OT, forbid statues and
images in religious service, but objects like the wailing wall
and the holy stone at Mecca have crept back into use as
symbols. Catholics crossing themselves entering a church
fall if ever so unconsciously under class c) above. The
majority of ordinary men and women do have a need for a
real object on which to focus their devotions, for
Heraclitus an error.
76. ....with night-walkers, magicians, bacchantes, revelers,
and participants in the mysteries . What are regarded as
mysteries among men are unholy rituals.
......tckrt#c Act¸ µo ¸ct¸ µo k_ct¸ Aq tot¸ µc crot¸.. ro ¸oo
tcµt¸c µeto kor´ ot0oo #cc¸ µccrq oto otteoccrt µcec trot
(14)
Heraclitus stakes a bold stand against the ubiquitous
Mystery religion of ancient Greece! We must remember
that the Mystery religions appeared early in Greece in the
Homeric Hymns, and occupied a major position in Greek
religious life. A fragment of Sophocles speaks of those who
enter the mysteries before they die as thrice happy beings.
The formal state religions and the world of ancient
mythology were of little importance to the masses who
were deeply involved with the Mysteries, their rites and
rituals and even their apparent mushroom based drug sub-
cultures. Much of the Mystery consciousness filtered into
early Christianity, while later Christian apologists cen-
sored all mention of Mystery information so well that we
have only sketchy information of their hold on society.
77. Their processions and their phallic hymns would be dis-
graceful exhibitions were it not that they are done in honor 0f
Dionysos. But Dionysos in whose honor they rave and hold
revels, is the same as Hades.
et µq útctc cot #cµ#qt e#ctcc trc kot c µtect o tcµo
otöct ctctt ototöe croro et o¸ocr´ ot. . o crc¸ öe At öq¸ kot
útc tccc¸ c reot µot tctrot kot Aqtot ¸ccctt (15)
A close reading of the Bacchae of Euripides will show what
Heraclitus is criticizing in the Dionysiac cult world, while
the reference to Hades must point to underground rituals
which we are less aware of now. Hades as "Hell" in the
Christian sense, is of course not involved here.
78. The Sibyl with raving mouth utters solemn, unadorned,
unlovely words
.......ctµcAAo..µottcµe tot crc µort o¸e Aocro kot okoAA-
o #tcro kot oµc otcro ç0e¸¸cµe tq......(92)
The citation comes from Plutarch in an essay on Pythian
oracles. He had been speaking of the beauty of Sappho po-
etry and here compares it with the raving of the manic or-
acles of the Sibyl, adding "but she reaches out over a
thousand years with her voice because of the god within
her". The Delphic oracle is now discovered by competent
geo-archaeologists to stand over a fissure in the rock for-
mation which allows gasses to escape into the oracular
chamber. Toxified by rising gas, the Sibyl loses control
over her conscious mind, perhaps exploring an uncon-
scious level of perception with a social messaging output.
COUNSELS
80. Thinking is common to all.
¸ctc t ecrt #o ct rc çocte ett (113)
These five words despite their verbal simplicity, have a
profound meaning which I can only adumbrate here. If
there IS a world Logos, and the world runs in time with it,
then there must be an overall pattern of mind or Nous of
the universe, which everything participates in. Therefore
everything in some measure or other must be running in
time with this world sense.
Heraclitus connects intellectually with various threads
from other parts of the world and other ages. To Buddhist
thinkers the above fragment is the familiar zen topic, that
the Buddha Nature is everywhere, in every stick and
stone, even in the toilet paper in the outhouse. This
Buddha-Mind is common to all.
It was years ago that Sri Auribindo wrote a book on
Heraclitus who he felt was cognate to much Indian think-
ing, probably historically under the influence of Indian
sources as well as being spiritually parallel. *
Heraclitus' thinking has a remarkably broad base.
Aristotle spoke of him often and it was he who coined the
phrase "ho skoteinos" or The Dark One". But it was the
Alexandrian academicians who perpetrated the notion of
Heraclitus as an inexplicable mystic, a dealer in uninter-
pretable riddles. Christian apologists derided his words
which were beyond their range of understanding, but in
the post-Renaissance world Heraclitus has exerted a great
influence on many fields.
Buckminster Fuller said years ago in the days of his
popular image, that everything connects, that Thought of
the universe is everywhere, and that it is the world-
thought that we all participate in --- an exoteric thought
from a man who was primarily an engineer. He planned a
gigantic model of planet Earth with computer controlled
lights to respond to any local pattern input, but always to
be seen on the surface of the planetary display. This is a
probably minor version of what Heraclitus was thinking
about, earth rather than universe bound.
* ISBN 817058163X, pub. Sri Aur. Pub. Co, India
81. Men should speak with rational mind and thereby hold
strongly to that which is shared in common ---- as a city holds on
to its law, and even more strongly. For even more strongly all
human laws are nourished by the one divine law, which prevails
as far as it wishes, suffices for all things, and yet somehow stands
above them.
¸ct tc ot Ae ¸ctro¸ tc_cot ¸ec0ot _oq ro t ¸cto t #o trot
c koc#eo tc µot #c At¸. kot #cAc tc_cocre oo¸ roe çctrot
¸oo #o tre¸ ct ot0oo #etct tc µct c #c e tc¸ rcc 0et cc.
kooret ¸oo rcccc rct c kccct e0e Aet kot e¸ooket #o ct kot
#eot¸t terot (114)
Pindar echoes this thought in Pythian 8, where Dike or
justice stands as a deity above the law of men, but this was
going to be a hard point to hold in the face of the oncom-
ing Peloponnesian War. Perhaps the only example of re-
spect for the high authority of divine law was the sanctity
of the Treasuries in the international sanctuary at Delphi.
But this may have been more a matter of the convenience
of secure international banking rather than respect.
82. The people should fight for their law as for their city wall.
µo _ec0ot _oq rct öq µct c #eo rcc tc µcc c kcc#eo ret ¸ec¸
(44)
Athens may have thought it was safe behind the Long Wall,
but fortifications ceased to have serious value after the
sixth century. In the earlier period Tyrtaius could point
to the wall as the last defense between survival and wan-
dering hungry and homeless of the fields. But despite
changes, the verbal notion of fighting for your walls per-
sisted, much as we say fighting for your country, now cu-
riously re-named the "homeland".
83. Law involves obeying the counsel of one.
tc µc¸ kot µccAq t #et 0ecr0ot e tc¸
Certainly this is not advice to follow the orders of the leader,
something the Greek were never inclined to do. It is certainly
the Heraclitean "One" which he is speaking of, the One which
comprises everything else. which must be followed as if the
leader of the universe..
84. One man is worth ten thousand if he is first-rate.
et ¸ µct µc otct eot o otcrc¸ q t(49)
Of course "first-rate" is a very rough translation of aristos,
which in Homer had meant something like the samurai
search after absolute excellence in the battle. But later
aristos came to be identified with the old and conservative
upper class at Athens, and it is in this sense that Theognis
uses the word for his own nasty purposes. Since this is one
of the few places (see following) where Heraclitus uses the
word, we have little to compare it with for usage, so best
let the word "first-rate" stand for the nonce.
Again that shadowy prophet of the l970's, Buckminster
Fuller maintained that if one in a hundred thousand is do-
ing creative thinking in a society, that is enough since his
thought will permeate society and will eventually benefit
all, even to the point of carrying the society economically.
85. The best of men choose one thing in preference to all
else, immortal glory in preference to mortal good, whereas the
masses simply glut themselves like cattle.
otoec trot et otrt o#o trot c t o otcrct kAe c¸ oe toct 0t-
qro t . c t öe #cAAct kekc oqtrot c koc#eo krq teo (29)
This does sound like a remark tainted somewhat by class
consciousness. But it may not be the social classification
of Athenian post-Solonic democracy which he is thinking
of, but the vulgar crowd who can't hear the doctrines of
the Logos and the One.
Even in a democracy as well conceived originally as that of
the United States, the level of average understanding on
topics above bread-and-butter survival is not very high.
How many Americans understand the Constitution and its
relevance to personal civic rights, or to our responsibili-
ties in international warfare? Is the meaning of the
Monroe Doctrine still understood?
86. Gods and men honor those slain in battle.
ooqtço rcc¸ 0ect rtµo ct kot o t0oo#ct(24)
Clement of Alexandria cites this presumably for a
Christian purpose, to compare with the notion of peace
and forgivingness. How it was originally said is not at all
clear in Heraclitan terms. But it does have the approval of
Pericles'
Funeral Speech and the Gettysburgh Address.
87. Even a man who is most in 'repute' (reputable?) knows
and maintains only what is 'reputed', and holds onto that
information. But certainly the justice of Dike will apprehend
fabricators and false-witnesses of Lies.
öcke ctro ¸oo c öcktµo rorc¸ ¸tto cket çcAo ccet. kot µe t-
rct kot út kq koroAq ]erot ]ecöo t re krcto¸ kot µo orcoo¸
(28)
This is a classic statement on the unreliability of information.
But there are problems with the Greek words, which don't
match with the above translation, so we should give them a
closer look. Start with the Greek "dokein" meaning "to
seem", so the first word in this quotation "dokeonta" will
mean "things as they seem". But remember Plato's caution
about Seeming and Being, in his words there is a critical
difference between "to einai" or being, and "to dokein
einai" or seeming-to-be. So here "the things as they seem"
(dokeonta) will be something like reputed information,
unconfirmed popular opinion, often nothing more than
hearsay.
But the man of Repute (dokimotatos) whose name comes
from the same root "dok-", should be something quite dif-
ferent. He is one whom popular reputation confirms as a
reliable source of information. So the above quotation
addresses a serious problem: The man who is thought to
have the best of Opinions, is one who recognizes various
opinions and stores them up as information, may be
working with nothing more than the current catchwords of
the times.
But there is another level to this situation. There exists a
superior level of Dike or TRUTH, which eventually
catches up with the fabricators of lies and the false-wit-
nesses. Society proceeds by a process like hearsay for
most of us, for the scientist or the serious philosopher,
each item of hearsay must be tested and proved by the
best tools we have at the time. It is no surprise to find that
this has happened at various times in the history, it has
happened and will happen again. But we can learn to be
cautious, to examine situations for the flaws while they are
in process, and thus hope to avoid costly mistakes which
lead us into situations of irretrievable dishonor.
88. To extinguish hybris is more needed than to extinguish a
fire.
c µott _oq cµettc tot µo AAct q #cokotq t(43)
The Greek word "hubris" is used so often in classical
criticism that it has become a standard word in
English vocabulary. In Homer it is used for sheer
violence and outrage, but later it is used more for-
mally to mark a man's failing to understand that he is
a man, and not confuse his role with that of a god. A
little catechism seems to run like this: Hubris leads
to blindness or Ate, which makes a person blind to
his proper role, then he incurs envy of the gods
(phthonos), at which point he is open to Nemesis
which is both a) ruin and getting his dues b) getting
what is allotted by fate to him. This formula figures
regularly in Greek drama and Heraclitus although
earlier thinkers must have had some of this in mind.
We often translate Hubris as "Overweening Pride" which is
fairly close to the meaning of the Greek word, but there is
an interpretative problem. The word Pride has so many
associations in a traditionally Christian Western world,
that we had best keep it apart from hubris. Pride is a
Christian sin, hubris is a Greek fatal error. If we do not
solve the verbal the problem here, at least we can point it
out some of the inconcinnities. I must note that if Gr. hy-
bris or hubris is anything like "overweening pride", then
we seem not to have devised a fire extinguisher suitable
for this purpose yet.
89. It is weariness to keep toiling at the same things so that
one becomes ruled by them.
koµorc ¸ ecrt rct ¸ ocrct ¸ µc_0et t kot o o_ec0ot
#c Aeµct (84b)
We are beginning to understand this in the business and
manufacturing Western world, as people break down at
repeated tasks. The industrial Revolution was based
wrongly on repetition and specialization, we are going to
have to learn lessons about variegation of work tasks
soon, or pay heavily in medical and psychological costs.
OF course this applies equally to things of the mind, to
repetition of errors in judgment, to legal and theological
dogmata which outline their original purposes.
90. Dogs bark at a person whom they do not know.
kc te¸ ¸oo koroµoc ¸ccctt o t ot µq ¸tto ckoct (97)
This is a wonderful figure of the barking dog, who is also
the man or woman railing convulsively at what is not
known, mainly because it is not known. The line is
applicable to all sort of human situations, whether politics,
academics, religion or the idea of Progress. We have seen
this in exacerbated form since the start of the Industrial
Revolution, but the question is whether this going to go on
forever?
91. What sort of mind or intelligence have they? They
believe popular folk-tales and follow the crowd as their
teachers, ignoring the adage that the many are bad, the good are
few.
rt ¸ ocro t tc c¸ q çoq t… öqµot octöct ct #et 0ctrot kot öt-
öocko Aot _oet otrot cµt Aot cck etöc re¸ crt ´´ c t #cAAct
kokct cAt¸ct öe o¸o0ct ´´ (104)
Again Heraclitus suspect that the level of popular intelli-
gence is low, that the masses will follow conventional
sources of information without a critical eye. But a ques-
tion remains as to how much he believes in the agathic
Upper Classes as preservers of truth in a post-Solonic new
Athenian society. The right wing poet Theognis is the ex-
ample of abuse of this notion.
92e Men (he says) are deceived in their knowledge of things
that are manifest, even as Homer was who was the wisest of all
the Greeks.
e¸q#o rqtrot (çqct t¹ ct o t0oo#ct #oc¸ rqt ¸to ctt rot
çoteoo t #ooo#Aqcto ¸ Oµqoot c ¸ e¸e terc ro t IAAq tot
ccço reoc¸ #o µrot. (56)
93. Homer deserves to be thrown out of the contests and
flogged and Archilochus too.
rc t öe O µqoct e çocke o ¸tct ek ro t o¸o tot ekµo AAec0ot
kot o o#t ¸ec0ot kot Ao_t Ac_c¸ c µcto¸ (42)
This attack on Homer, who we consider the prime Greek
author and in many ways the cultural mainstay of later
Hellenic thought, is surprising and we are left largely in the
dark as to Heraclitus' reasons. It must be that Homer and
the first poet Archilochus simply antedate the new philo-
sophical spirit of the 5th century, since there is no way to
harmonize their writing with the new cosmic interests and
Heraclitus' preoccupations with the Logos and the One.
the world of the Persian Wars.
It may be that Homer was so much a part of everyone's
thinking, that social conservatives could try to refute the
oncoming new idea by saying: "That's not in Homer.... so
it must be some newfangled notion.....". We have a paral-
lel situation when fundamentalists deny the truth of any-
thing that is not specifically mentioned in the Bible. And
Homer was in many ways the cultural bible of ancient
Greece.
94. Hesiod distinguishes good days and evil days, not
knowing that every day is like every other.
.Hctc öot roc µet o¸o0o¸ #ctccµe tot ro¸ öe çoc Ao¸ .o ¸
o¸tccc trt çc ctt q µe oo¸ o#o co¸ µt ot cc cot (106)
The superstitious Romans developed their dies fasti and
dies nefasti into a calendar so complex than half the years
was inertized as non-work days in one way or another. In a
time of severe overpopulation this might have some rea-
son, but that was probably not the thought in mind. In fact
the day of rest or Sabbath is a psychologically and medi-
cally reasonable invention.
But Heraclitus' indiction of Hesiod is probably more fac-
tual, since Heraclitus sees day and night as the same basic
secondary factor. The gradation of day into night also
points to a single graduated phenomenon, and this may
have been what Heraclitus was indicating as evidence for
one continuous process.
95. The Ephesians had better go hang themselves, every
man of them, and leave their city to be governed by youngsters,
for they have banished Hermadorus, the finest man among
them, declaring: "Let us not have anyone among us who excels
the rest. There should be such a one, let him go and live
elsewhere."
o ¸tct Içect ct¸ qµqöct o#o ¸¸oc0ot #o ct kot rct ¸ otq µct¸
rqt #c Att koroAt#et t c trtte¸ I oµc öooct o töoo e ocro t
ctq tcrct e¸e µoAct ço tre¸ --- q µeot µqöe e t¸ ctq tcrc¸
e cro et öe µq o AAq re kot µer´ o AAot (121)
Read this one with care! When Robert Oppenheimer
warned us about the dangers of atomic power, he was re-
moved from his files and from authority and banished to
an administrative position at Princeton. Just so in many a
college the brightest minds are pruned off in the tenure
review and driven into exile, since the egalitarian aca-
demic society feels uncomfortable with excellence. We all
are aware of the ultra-conservative role of the ancient
Philistines, but we fail to see that the Ephesians are still
with us everywhere.
96. May you have plenty of wealth, you men of Ephesus, in
order that you may be punished for your evil ways (125a)
µq e#t At#ct c µo ¸ #Acc rc¸ Içectct tt´ e¸eAe ¸_ctc0e
#ctqoecc µctct
97. After birth men have the wish to live and to accept their
dooms; then they leave behind them children to become dooms
in their turn.
¸etc µetct ¸o ett e0e Accct µc occ¸ r´ e _ett µo AAct öe
oto#oc ec0ot kot #ot öo¸ koroAet #ccct µc occ¸
¸ete c0ot(20)
The Old Testament had said that the sins of the father are
transferred to the sons in a social setting by generations.
But as we know more about the workings of society, are we
going to find inherited characteristics or socially enforced
modes of behavior, whether good or bad, which become
patterns for future generations. I think Heraclitus' term
"doom" means nothing more than "dominant pattern", as
in "Greater dooms win greater destinies" (above) . Always
when dealing with Greek texts always remember that
translated words are only approximations and leave a trail
of questions behind.
THIS PARADOXICAL UNIVERSE
98. Opposition brings concord. Out of discord comes the
fairest harmony.
rc otrt ¸cct ccµçe oct kot ek ro t ötoçeoc trot koAAt crqt
o oµctt ot (8)
With music, you cannot have harmony with one pitch. The
Greeks were fascinated by the mathematical ratios of the
motion of the planets, and conceived of an idea they called
Harmony of the Spheres, which Pythagoras mentions in
the Counsels long before Heraclitus. The odd thing is that
Greek music was that it was not harmonic from the little
we know about it; the music accompaniments to the choral
odes in drama were monophonic with timbres arising from
different partials of the many voices, not unlike Gregorian
chant. But this fragment seems to be thinking of harmony
in our sense!
Of course this fragment needs only indirectly to refer to
music. Heraclitus had already stated in his doctrine of op-
posites the pairs of opposite factors which constitute our
universe. Here is a critical rubric to that doctrine, that
there is a fitting-together, a Harmony or concord between
the poles of the pairs, on the highest level of interpreta-
tion.
99. It is by disease that health is pleasant, by evil that good
is pleasant, by hunger satiety, by weariness rest.
tcc cc¸ c ¸tet qt e#ct qcet q öc kot o¸o0c t A tµc¸ kc oct
ko µorc¸ oto #occtt (111)
This Doctrine of Opposites is critical to Heraclitus' think-
ing and turns up again and again in different words
throughout these pages. This should be taken as a set of
formal word-thought pairs seen as variants based on a
single concept, and it is the resolutions of these pairs into
points that he seems interested to pursue. Of course we
know in ordinary and daily terms that day and night are
quite different, but that does not mean they are entirely
different kinds of phenomena. Heraclitus' whole outlook
verges towards simplification of entities: Pairs are one
concept, just as the material of our universe is really One
Thing operating in some indefinite way behind the scenes.
There things only seems mysterious because we are not
attuned to perceiving them!
100. Men would not have known the name of Justice (dike)
if these things had not occurred.
út kq¸ c tcµo cck ot q töecot et roc ro µq q t (23)
The question here is what he meant by the word
"tauta" as "these things". It would seem that injus-
tice was being discussed, and Heraclitus reasoned
that were there no injustices, then the concept of
Justice as dike would never have arisen. Diels-Kranz
takes it this way in the German translation, but with
a question mark. But if tauta were originally touto
"this thing", then it could mean that the concept of
Dike is primary, and could not have been conceived
or invented if the idea did not exist in the first place.
But this is not firm and based on a change of the text,
never a good idea. Yet in Greek neuter plurals can be
used for single things.....
101. Sea water is at once very pure and very foul: it is drinkable
and healthful for fishes, but undrinkable and deadly for men.
0o Aocco c öoo ko0ooo rorct kot µtooo rorct t_0c ct µet
#c rtµct kot corq otct ot0oo #ct¸ öe o #crct kot cAe 0otct
(61)
Speaking of sea water, he understands that values are
relative to persons and situations, that much of our
information about the world is relative under the general
heading of the Logos.
102. Donkeys would prefer hay to gold.
c tcc¸ ccoµor´ ot eAe c0ot µo AAct q _occc t (9)
And many if not most men would prefer gold to wisdom,
which is what Heraclitus is intimating. In our Post
Industrial world it is increasingly clear that knowledge is
mainly appreciated if it contributes to income. Our col-
leges are veering more and more toward "the practical",
which is not unreasonable in a highly competitive society
where the bottom line seems to rule absolutely. The real
danger is to forget the world of ideas, and this is nowhere
more critical than in science, where funded research
comes first, while pure research is left in the files.
103. Pigs wash in mud, and domestic fowls in dust or ashes.
Columella VIII 4 si modo credimius Ephesio Heraclito qui ait sues
caeno, cohortales aves pulvere vel cinere lavari.(37)
But there are reasons for this, skin protection against insect
bites by a thick layer of died mud or birds suffocating them with
particulate matter. We have gone the wrong road with DDT.
It is no surprise to find the Roman agricultural writer
Columella aware of the sayings of Heraclitus, since by his
time the old Hellenic culture had been absorbed into a
synthesizing Greco-Roman way of thinking. In this
process much was gained in the distribution of Hellenic
ideas throughout the vast Mediterranean world, but a
good deal of the edge and inventiveness of the Greeks was
lost in the process. Americans are in many ways much like
Romans in their sense of practical wisdom, and although
always appreciative of Hellenism, they tend to be
somewhat cautious if not leery of the implications of the
abstract realms of Hellenic thinking.
104. The handsomest ape is ugly compared with
humankind; the wisest man appears as an ape when compared
with a god --- in wisdom, in beauty, and in all other ways.
#t0q kc¸ c ko AAtcrc¸ otc_oc¸ ot0oo #ot ¸e tet ccµµo AAett
ot0oo #ct c ccço rorc¸ #oc¸ 0ect #t 0qkc¸ çotet rot kot
ccçt ot kot ko AAet kot rct ¸ oAAct ¸ #o ctt
(82, 83)
Both the above quotations are from Plato. Locke has put it that
the difference between the highest and lowest human mind is not
great, but it does seem that the diversity of these two extremes
can be extreme. This may be in partly the result of effort,
opportunity and luck.
105. Man is regarded as childish by a spirit (daemon), just as
a boy is by a man.
 otqo tq #tc¸ q kccce #oc¸ öot µctc¸ c kcc#eo #ot ¸ #oc¸ ot-
öoc ¸(79)
106. To God all things are beautiful, good, and right. Men,
on the other hand, deem some things right and others wrong.
ro t µet 0eo t koAo #o tro kot öt koto o t0oo#ct öe o µet
o ötko c#etAq octt o öe öt koto(102)
The Christian apologists attacked Heraclitus on the
grounds that he dismissed the difference between good
and bad, hence was basically immoral. His thought was of
course an extension of the doctrine of opposites, up and
down, high and low. This even finds a place in Euclid's ge-
ometry: That which is equal can only be deduced by
proving the impossibility of it being more or less, so
"equality" is a center point in a more/less continuum be-
tween polar ends.
107. Doctors cut, burn, and torture the sick, and then
demand of them an undeserved fee for such services. They are
treating the same things, the (good) cures and diseases.
c t ¸cc t t oroct re µtctre¸ kot ctre¸ ....e#otre ctrot µqöet o ¸-
tct µtc0ct Aoµµo tett. .....roc ro eo¸o¸c µetct ro o¸o0o kot
ro¸ tc ccc¸. (58)
This sounds at first reading like the typical ancient (and
modern) attack on the medical profession. Cf. Petronius:
medici nihil aliud sunt quam consolatio animi. But the sec-
ond phrase gets the Hericlitan meaning clearly: The cure
and the disease are part of the same phenomenon which
they are treating.
Ancient writings are full of remarks about doctors, a trait
which has not disappeared in our time. Certainly
Heraclitus is thinking of the fact that we are, to paraphrase
his words, driven with a blow to the doctor. What we want
is not what we need and in medicine sometimes not what
we get in a world where the cure may be worse than the
disease!
108. The way up and the way down are one and the same.
c öc¸ o to ko ro µt o kot ocrq (60)
Again the relative opposites with opposed poles, and great
similarity at the slope of the continuum which stretches
between them. Burns: You take the high road...etc.
109. In the circumference of the circle the beginning and
the end are common.
¸ctct oo_q kot #e oo¸ e#t kc kAcc #eotçeoet o¸ (103)
Aristotle noted the circle as the perfect motion for this
very reason that it is circular, i.e. without ends and limits.
In the final analysis everything curves, although we hu-
mans prefer straight lines with finite ends, perhaps echo-
ing our lives. No wonder that recycling of souls has taken
such a firm hold on many societies. Compare in another
setting the Indian figure of the snake swallowing its own
tail, and mathematical statements of the same figure in a
different matrix.
110. Into the same rivers we step and do not step. We exist
and we do not exist.
#croµct ¸ rct ¸ ocrct ¸ eµµottcµe t öe kot cck eµµottcµet
et µet öe kot ccr et µet (49a)
This presses the figure of the river one step further. It is not
only a different river, but the WE is different from day to day,
and furthermore the WE fluctuates between being and not be-
ing. This posits a continuum between what IS and what is NOT,
which Parmenides has tried to answer by saying: Deal with what
is as IS, and what is not, as IS NOT. Whether the problem has
been solved to date, is and also is not clear.
111 For the wool-carder the straight and the winding way
are one and the same.
¸toçet ot c öc¸ ec0et o kot ckcAtq µt o ecrt kot q ocrq (59)
112. Joints are at once a unitary whole and not a unitary
whole. To be in agreement is to differ, the concord-ant is the
discord-ant. From many things comes oneness, and out of
oneness come the many things.
ccto ]te¸ c Ao kot cck c Ao ccµçeoc µetct ötoçeoc µetct
ccto töct öto töct ek #o trot e t kot e¸ e tc¸ #o tro (10)
This quote is from Aristotle de Mundo 5.396b where he is
discussing anatomy and the parts of the body as assembled
from separate design into a unitary whole. He goes into
biological details carefully before reaching the above
quoted sentence. So when he says "Joints" he is referring
to parts of the body, although Heraclitus was thinking ab-
stractly and taking the remark in a double sense.
This is becoming an important matter of discussion in the
left rim of modern medicine. Are we right in thinking of
organs as individual parts, like parts in a car, which can be
replaced with the proper part? Do organs have individual
functions? Chinese medicine long ago, lacking even pre-
cise information about the parts which they refused to dis-
sect, saw that a body is a unitary whole, in which each part
works with and depends on the simultaneous function of
all the other parts. The organs are symbiotic and
synergistic. It is wonderful that some can be actually
replaced from cadavers, but that is child's work compared
to the original design and operation of a complete living
animal.
But Heraclitus adds to his basic One/Many theory in this
sentence an appeal to music, since the words di-aiedon and
sun-aieidon are formed from the verb aeid-ein "to sing".
The poets are aeidoi or "singers" but that is on the basis of
Greek poetry being sung with choral or instrument
accompaniment.
113. It is one and the same thing to be living and dead, awake
or asleep, young or old. The former aspect in each case becomes
the latter, and the latter becomes the former, by sudden unex-
pected reversal
rocrc r´ e tt ¸o t kot re0tqkc ¸ kot e¸oq¸coc ¸ kot ko0ec öct
kot te ct kot ¸qootc t. ro öe ¸oo µero#ecc tro eket to ecrt
koket to µero#ecc tro roc ro (88)
We have no problem with the young becoming old, or with
the living become dead, but the reversal which Heraclitus
states is not as clear. He must be referring to Indian
metempsychosis, which is not surprising since there are
many Indian traits which run through his thinking. But
Indian reincarnation has a structure of its own in Hindu
and Buddhist thought, and that is different from what we
have here.
Heraclitus and especially Pythagoras must have had ex-
perience in India, as Sri Auribindo and many Indian schol-
ars have asserted. Western scholars have long refused to
believe that the Greeks derived much from the East, but
this is changing with new work in archaeology, the history
of metals and agriculture, and the study of motifs in
design. More is to be seen!
114. Hesiod, whom so many accept as their wise teacher, did
not even understand the nature of day and night, for they are
one.
ötöo koAc¸ öe #Aet crot Hct cöc¸. . rcc rct e#t crotrot
#Aet cro etöe tot c crt¸ qµe oqt kot ecçoc tqt cck e¸t t-
ocket. e crt ¸oo e t (57)
115. The name of the bow is life, but its work is death.
ro t cc t rc ¸ot c tcµo µt c¸ e o¸ct öe 0o torc¸ (48)
A trick with words for the Greek speaker: There are two
words which are identical, one is "bow" which kills, the
other is "life". But behind the scene lies a Heraclitan pair
of opposites, life and death having the same word in fact!
This might make a better Shakespearean style pun than a
point in a philosophical discourse.
116. The hidden harmony is better than the obvious.
o oµctt q oçotq¸ çoteoq ¸ koet rrot (54)
This is a wonderful perception, good for thought in life, in
scientific research ( e.g. DNA vs. physical appearance) and
incidentally in music where the dissonance and deceptive
cadence gives us something more that straight harmonic
progressions by the book.
117. People do not understand how that which is at
variance with itself agrees with itself. There is a harmony in the
bending back, as in the cases of the bow and the lyre.
cc cctto ctt c ko¸ ötoçeoc µetct e ocro t c µcAc¸e et. #oAt t-
roc#c¸ (ecrtt¹ .o oµctt q c kcc#eo rc ¸cc kot Ac oq¸ (51)
Apparently he is thinking of the bent archery bow going
through a cycle of motion as the string is pulled back, then
it goes forward through the centerline to hurl the arrow,
then returns to centerline. This is exactly the same for the
string of the lyre, except this has a frequency of cycles
which we can hear and call a musical tone, whereas the
bow's frequency is 1Hz initially and perhaps a few addi-
tional cycles to disperse the total of the string's energy.
118. Listening not to me but to the Logos, it is wise to
acknowledge that all things are one.
cck eµcc oAAo rcc Ac ¸cc okcc cotro¸ c µcAc¸et t ccçc t
ecrtt e t #o tro et tot (50)
This is an iteration of the topic! At the start of the 20th
century this would have seemed a piece of academic tom-
foolery, but as the century ends and we are confronted by
whole-istic or holistic experiences on every side, it does
seem that Heraclitus was hinting at something of impor-
tance.
119. Wisdom is one and unique; it is desires and yet does
not desire the name of Zeus.
e t rc cc çct µcc tct Ae ¸ec0o. cck e0e Aet kot e0e Aet Zqtc¸
c tcµo (32)
Heraclitus seems quite clear about keeping philosophy
and religion in two separate camps, often censuring popu-
lar religious practices as foolish or even evil, yet at the
same time recognizing that there is something in thought
which calls for a higher kind of Mind. Whether this is to be
identified with Zeus or God is questionable, sometimes he
sees the connection, sometimes not. But this is not on the
level of American separation of Church and State, which
has political roots back from the Reformation and English
State Religion abuses for centuries.
120. Wisdom is one ---- to know the intelligence which steers
all things through all things.
¸oo e t rc cc çct e#t croc0ot ¸to µqt c re q ekcµe otqce
#o tro öto #o tro (41)
We had this phrase before, the steering of all things
through all things, a wonderful insight into the multiple in-
terlocking avenues by which things (more complex than
we had thought) can contrive to happen. The modern
world knows at last in the field of genetics that there is
something doing the steering of complex webs of chemi-
cal-electrical exchanges, we know there is some Logos or
Pattern, but we can not yet imagine what it actually is.
121. God is day and night, winter and summer, war and
peace, satiety But he undergoes transformations, just as (fire)
when combined with incenses, is named according to the
particular aroma which it gives off.
c 0ec¸ qµeoq ecoctq _etµot 0eoc¸ #cAeµc¸ etoqtq
kc oc¸ Atµc ¸. oAActcc rot öe c kcc#eo /pu` r [ c kcrot ccµ-
µt¸q t 0co µoctt ctcµo ¸erot ko0´ q öctq t eko crcc (67)
There are two problems with this quotation. In the second
line something is clearly missing after "like", on grammat-
ical grounds. The best suggestion seems to depend on
there being originally two words which had phonetic simi-
larity ( c kccper pu`r ). By haplography or single reading
of two similar syllables, the "pur" following "per" was
omitted, and thus the sentences lost its subject #c o as
Fire. With this not unreasonable emendation, we get a
meaning for the sentence, and this has been widely ac-
cepted.
However now that we have a readable sentence, we don't
know what it means! In the first line we were talking about
complementary opposites as Heraclitus often does. But
then he says that a change is made, as when fire is com-
bined with incense, as an example of mutual combinatory
change. The fire lights the incense and disappears as fire,
as the incense material emits smoke and eventually turns
to pure smoke as cake or liquid disappear. So fire and in-
cense, here for the sake of the argument seen as comple-
mentary opposites, both disappear. So far so good, but
the closing phrase is even harder to grasp: It (the smoke?)
is named according to the aroma of each. The word q öctq
is used by the Ionian philosophers for "flavor, taste", which
we can extend to "aroma" based on our knowledge of the
human apparatus for distinguishing smell. So we have a
meaning here too.
But what the meaning actually is remains unclear. Best
way is to see "each" as referring to "each kind of incense"
since it can't refer to fire. Now we can summarize and say:
At altar ceremony, there will be odorless fire, which com-
bines with odorless incense cake, producing in combina-
tion something else as an aroma, which arises from the
specific nature of the incense being used. In other words,
two odorless things, seen here as often as a pair can
combine to produce something else. Summarizing the
summary: a) fire and b) incense #5 ---> odor #5.
I am not satisfied, perhaps there is something else to this quo-
tation, if so it will be up to someone else to ponder the words
further and see what can be elicited.
122. The sun will not overstep his measures; if he were to do
so, the Erinnyes, fiends of Justice, would seek him out for
punishment
q Atc¸ ¸oo cc_ c #eoµq cerot µe roo ...... Iottce¸ µtt út kq¸
e#t kccoct e¸ecoq cccctt. (94)
There is a natural order to things, a hard Necessity which
orders data. This might be seen as a higher level of Natural
Law than we are accustomed to think of in our social-
based thinking, since we believe more and more since the
17th century investigators that Science is the tool to con-
trol and convert the process of nature for human use.
We have in this last century succeeded in forcing electrons
out of their natural measures by means of overpowering
forces, releasing giant forces which we are not in a position
to regulate or utilize properly. If cracking uranium can be
seen as overstepping the measure of its natural life span,
the Erinnyes may soon be in order to seek us out for pun-
ishment. The following quotation seems to offer a com-
ment on this situation.
123. ...the seasons which carry all things along. (100)
..........o oo¸ ot #o tro çe occct.
This is cryptic. This comes to us via Plutarch's discussion
in the Quaestiones Platonicae 8,4 under Periodous as ro-
tations, and was talking about the sun which measures out,
regulates and designates the changes and "seasons, which
carry all things". Heraclitus must have been thinking of
Time as one of the major functions of all phenomena, a
better thought that Plutarch probably realized.
124. Even sleepers are workers and collaborators in what
goes on in the universe
rcc¸ ko0ec öctro¸ .....eo¸o ro¸ et tot....kot ccteo¸cc¸ ro t et
ro t kc cµot ¸t¸tc µetot (¯5¹
Since everything in the world is a part of the total kosmos,
a passive participant is just as much a participant as an ac-
tive one. Compare the Zen notion, that doing nothing is
also doing something, that being is being a part of the
whole, in which there is no need to do anything special.
And this is found elsewhere, as Jesus' remark: "Consider
the lilies of the field, they do not spin....."
125. Of things which involve sight, hearing and knowledge,
these I especially respect.
c kccot c ]t¸ okc q µo 0qct¸ roc ro e¸o #ocrt µeo
Heraclitus had spoken above about the value of seeing
something yourself (autopsia), about eyes and ears being
good witnesses, about eyes being better witnesses than
ears, all which he sums up neatly here. But he adds one
critical element to the list: Mathesis or "understanding",
which can stand as a very apt and meaningful final remark
to conclude this long list of the scattered fragmentary re-
marks of the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, who is after all
much more logical and intelligent than Aristotle thought,
when he dubbed him c ckcrettc ¸. as Heraclitus the
Obscure.
It is finally Mathesis as active understanding which makes
the difference between trying to grasp the shape and the
sense of the Kosmos, as against missing the search in an
uneventful hypnotic cloud of sleep. There is plenty of
room for the sleepers, but the real need is for the thinkers
like Heraclitus
The Greek font is Payne Italic from
www.linguistssoftware.com

PREFACE

Heraclitus was born at Ephesus, apparently from a noble family connected with religious rites, but early retired from their social position and devoted himself to study and the development of his philosophical ideas. There are no specific dates to attach to his life, but he must have flourished about somewhere about 500 B.C. He is said to have written his thoughts out in a prose document, a very early use of prose for philosophy, of which only fragmentary quotations have survived as citations from later authors over the next fifteen hundred years. There is almost nothing more which we know about Heraclitus' personal life and identity. This paper contains all the fragments which can authoritatively be ascribed to Heraclitus, following the listing in Diels-Kranz "Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker" 5 ed. l934, and reprints. The interpretative commentary is designed to explicate the often difficult wording of the Greek, rather than summarize the body of philological study which has been devoted to Heraclitus over the last two hundred years. The Greek is absolutely necessary for serious study of Heraclitus, and this edition with all the fragments in a topical order lets us look at Heraclitus in one, authentic location. The thought of this Greek philosopher, whom Aristotle first called "The Obscure", has exerted an important influence on modern thinking about a wide variety of subjects, including religion, the nature of the universe, the concept of the continuum, and other points some of which have not yet been sufficiently fathomed. I encourage you to proceed with slow and careful reading .

THE WAY OF THE LOGOS
Although this Logos is eternally valid, yet men are unable to understand it -- not only before hearing it, but even after they have heard it for the first time. That is to say, although all things come to pass in accordance with this Logos, men seem to be quite without any experience of it - - - at least if they are judged in the light of such words and deeds as I am here setting forth according to its nature, and to specify how it behaves. Other men, on the contrary, are as unaware of what they do when awake as they are when asleep. (1) tou` de lovgou tou` d' eovnto~ aiei axuvnetoi givnontai avnqrwpoi kai prov s qen h akou` s ai kai akouv s ante~ to prw` t on. ginomevnwn gar pavntwn kata ton lovgon tovnde, apeivroisin eoivkasi peirwvmenoi kai epevwn kai evrgwn toiouvtewn /oJkoivwn egw dihgeu`mai kata fuvsin diarevwn evkaston kai fravzwn o{kw~ evcei. tou~ de avllou~ anqrwvpou~ lanqavnei oJkovsa egerqev n te~ poiou` s in o{ k wsper okov s a eu{ d onte~ epilanqavnontai As soon as one starts to deal with the Greek and the submeanings of the original wording, the above translation becomes cloudy and perhaps weak. Yet it will serve as an entry text to serve as ancilla to the Greek, which has the true way into understanding the mind of Heraclitus. It is interesting that Aristotle in discussing this passage, raises the grammatical question of whether the word "always" (aiei) goes with what is before it "the eternal Logos" or after it as "always fail to understand...". Arist. Rhetor. 1407b. But this is just the first of myriad questions about this fecund passage which has occupied the best classical and philosophical wits for centuries. Distinguishing things "according to the nature" sounds much like Aristotle's approach to data, starting from observation and use, rather than from ideal pattern; but is better aligned with use of the word Phusis by the early philosophers.

1.

We should let ourselves be guided by what is common to all. Yet, although the Logos is common to all, most men live as if each of them had a private intelligence of his own. tou` de lovgou dæ eovnto~ xunou` zwvousin oi polloi w~ idivan evconte~ frovnhsin (2)

2.

3.

Men who love wisdom should acquaint themselves with a great many particulars. crh gar eu` mavla pollw`n iJstora~ filosovfou~ avndra~ { ei`nai (35) Heraclitus stresses particulars and Fact, but in the next statement he maintains that accumulations of fact do not confer Wisdom or gnomé. Why this odd difference of point of view? Because both are relevant and important; information is of course essential, but as it is assembled it becomes a static corpus and possible encumbrance to the Thinker and philosopher, even as a full philological documentation of opinions on these Fragments of Heraclitus can obscure the words of the statements. Seekers after gold dig up much earth and find little. cruson oiJ dizhvmenoi gh`n pollhn oruvssousi kai euJrivskouisin olivgon (22) What could be a better description of Mining, whether gold or uranium ? ---- or the continuing processes of serious scientific research? Much labor, often no or few returns, that is the nature of the investigation of new ideas.

4.

5.

Let us not make arbitrary conjectures about the greatest matters. mh eikh` peri tw`n megivstwn sumballwvmeqa

But the world is replete with arbitrary views, not only in the world of history, politics and theology, but forever in Academe where it they work against the nature of the search after truth. (47)

Much learning does not teach understanding, otherwise it would have taught Hesiod and Pythagoras, Xenophanes and Hecataeus.  polumaqivh novon evcein ou didavskei. Hsivodon gar an edivdaxe kai Puqagovrhn au`ti~ te Xenofavnea te kai Ekatai`on (40) Anyone who has spent time in higher-education will be painfully aware of the "learned views" which go nowhere and shed no light at all. All those "possible points of view..." which fills the pages of learned Journals crowd the path to Understanding. Yet knowing much is also something Heraclitus stresses, so we are caught between the jaws of ignorance and encyclopediasm.

6.

7.

Of those whose discourses I have heard there is not one who attains to the realization that wisdom stands apart from all else.

oJkoswn lovgou~ hvkousa oudei~ afiknei`tai e~ tou`to, wJste ginwvskein o{ti sofovn esti pavntwn kecwrismevnon(108) The problem of distinguishing Knowledge from Wisdom is with us forever. Our college courses teach knowledge of many things, but the wisdom which comes from education seems to be more of a personal and even spiritual nature than a result of accumulation and accreditation. Can students be denied a top grade because they lack wisdom, or is this considered an transcendental factor couched in mental talent or taught by experience in life?

It is not a simple truism that the unsearched life is not life at all. or proper time for a given action. the right time. It pertains to all men to know themselves and to be temperate.8. it is selfcentered and a business of the mind. which when held in a sane stance. social setting. Temper as ire and anger. will be the proper tool for thought. balanced and poised for intelligent judgments. To be temperate is the greatest virtue. . season".It points to a mind which is well centered and thoughtful. such as Temperance as avoidance of alcohol. whether season. giving heed to the nature of things. 10. something Freud had to learn slowly and he spent much of his life doing just this. Self-examination is the hardest thing to do. I have searched myself. The Greek has none of these external associations. and the English core of the word points to being in touch with an external situation. kai sofivh alhqeva levgein kai poei`n kata fuvsin epaivonta~(112) The Greek word sophrosune is hard to define. swfronei`n areth megivsth. English "temperate" from Latin temperatus as "moderate" is much more complicated. edizhsavmhn emewutovn(101) These two words speak volumes. Bach's well adjusted harpsichord playing well-tempered variations. Wisdom consists in speaking and acting the truth. and even the blacksmith carefully drawing the temper of overly hard quenched steel. anqrwvpoisi pa`si mevtesti ginwvskein eJwutou~ kai swronei`n (116) 9. But the English word has other associations. going back to Latin tempus "time. since it comes from the adjective saos "safe" and phron "mind".

.. by which he surely means "hearsay" rather than acoustic perception.. what the Greeks termed "autopsia" or direct fact-finding. 13. something one himself sees. Until the mind is prepared. drawings of planets as seen in a telescope. but. in which the rings were seen as separate brackets rather than a ring seen from an oblique angle.. souls.. Eyes and ears are bad witnesses to men having barbarian kakoi mavrture~ anqrwvpoisin ojqalmoi kai w`ta barbacrou~ yuca~ ecovntwn(107) . seems to be putting special emphasis on authentic observation.these are what I especially prize. The things of which there can be sight... o{swn oyi~ akoh mavqhsis... even the best optical observations are liable to misrepresentation.. ofqalmoi gar tw`n w{twn akribevsteroi mavrture~ (101a) Visual information is more direct than hearing.. But he continues with the argument.... hearing. but again . ear or hearsay are of little importance per se...11. and learning ---. And in the case of "grossly uneducated minds" of the barbaroi. One thinks of 17th c.the best direct observation is worthless without the right mental grasp. Eyes are more accurate witnesses than ears. . 12. seeming facts based on eye... tau`ta egw protimevw(55) At first H.

we go through motions and actions as if we were awake. but the words continue to flow. still taught in coursework in Academe. The conscious and rational part of the mind is turned off as in sleep. but already invalidated in the later 4th century.. it is a world too. imperishable and permanent. The waking have one world in common.. there is no death because dreams are unreal and do not face the problem of going out of being.. ou dei` w|sper kaqeuvdonta~ poiei`n kai levgein73) We know about the curious phenomenon of Sleep Walking. that it will serve. which is Quasi-Sleep-Talking. when we are asleep it is dreams. but personal and private one. But in our dream world. 15. .. To really think about something is quite different from thinking that it is alright. Death is what we see when awake . a place which has an unclear connection with the waking world..14. .. 16. everything we see in our daily lives is either coming into being or going out of being into death.. Heraclitus precedes Jung in his notion of the sleep-world as a private chamber of the unconscious mind.. One should not act or speak as if he were asleep. qavnato~ estin oJkovsa egerqevnte~ oJrevomen.toi`~ egrhgorovsin e{na kai koinon kocsmon ei`nai (89) Each sleeper turns away to a private world of his own. oJkovsa de euJdonte~ u{pno~ (21) This curious remark must mean that the world of the living is continually in process of dying. but Heraclitus turns to something much more serious. Yet this is real to the sleeper.. One step further on this path might lead to Plato and his eternal idea world. but it is a kind of conditioned reflex.

the directional indications of the policeman at the corner. or the "signing" system of communication of the deaf. The real point Heraclitus is making seems to be this: The Oracle responds with indirect information rather than words. but gives signs.. kruvptesqai filei` (123) Anyone who has worked in scientific research knows well the thousand ways in which things disappear again and again just as they began to seem clear. So going to ask the oracle a question will give you a puzzle of some sort. kaqæ Hrakleiton.. The lord whose oracle is at Delphi neither speaks nor conceals.. an expression or a thought. since it will be taken as speaking and oral messaging. it is the same in all phases of human thought and investigation.. But if I translate "the oracle gives interpretations" that is again in the wrong direction .. The Greek word can be used for indicating with a word. he intimates things rather than indicating them. oute levgei oute kruvptei alla shmaivnei(93) Unfortunately the English "give signs" is quite different from the Gr. ou| to manteiovn esti to en Delfoi`~. oJ avnax.. semainein.. and here it is used for the act of giving an interpretation.. It seems to be an almost intentional trickiness of the situation that layer after layer of camouflage must be removed before we can find what we are looking for... relevant indirectly rather than a response to your question. since it is used for hand signals. Nature loves to hide itself fuvsi~ de. .17. 18. But this is not just in Science.

e{tera kai e{tera u{data epirrei`. It is other and still other waters that are flowing..Unless you expect the unexpected you will never find truth. 19. (and souls take their spirit from the waters) ( kai yucai de apo tw`n uJgrw`n anaqumiw`ntai. this might be a good place for this insertion! But could it be that souls themselves derive from the continuum. which on the basis of faith he felt to be supremely important. This unexpected insight coupled with his lifelong dogged determination. Given the river and waters. (12) This is the classic statement of the Continuum for which Heraclitus is so famous then and now. On first thought they would seem to be a scribe's addition of something quite different. ean mh evlphtai anevlpiston ouk exeurhvsei. that since they are in similar process of continual change. anexereuvnhton eon kai avporon (18) Einstein is recorded as stating that his sole original interest was in the phenomenon of light. that little comment is necessary. for it is hard to discover and hard to attain.) 20. that they can be best described in terms of Heraclitus' river-imagery? Best watch this carefully and suspend judgment here. is what brought him finally in the direction of his major conclusions about light. But the words which follow directly (see below) are most strange. potamoi`si toi`sin autoi`sin embaivnousin.. .. THE IDEA OF THE CONTINUUM They do not step into the same rivers . a scrap which he had to fit in somewhere.

. ..21. but fits well with the idea of modern social relativity. a changing master-plan which suits the changing world which it informs. karfalevon notivzetai (126) Here is a possibly trace of the above notion about souls taking their nature from the rivers. however Heraclitus had already added a consideration (above) about a two way equation in the words "They go forward and back again (. the warm grows cool.. yucron qevretai.kai provseisi kai avpeisi). uJgron auaivnetai..kai provseisi kai avpeisi (91) These two statements pose clearly the problem of the continuum as inherent in the nature of things. They go forward and back again. since each instant your physical nature has replenished and recreated parts of itself. in a milieu of constant energy transfer. We know that the flow of heat is from hot to cool is normally in one direction. qermon yuvcetai.. the parched becomes moist. even our lives and bodies. This may seem contrary to our "common-sense" notions of daily living. the moist dries. spirits somehow alembicated from the liquids.. You cannot step twice into the same river. Yet the common view of many people is that all is static. One might ask the Oracle at Delphi if the Logos is in continual change too... potamw`i gar out evstin embh`nai di~ tw`i autw`i.. 22.of course quite wrongly.. It is not the same river obviously since the water has all moved along downstream. in which the normal state is one of motion. for other waters and yet others go ever flowing on.. skivdnhsi kai pavlin sunavgei.. It seems hardly necessary to refer to the Second Law of Thermodynamics with its statement about the even flow of heat. Cool things become warm. Nor is it the same YOU. .

It is in changing that things find repose.23..? The Greek word basileia does mean Kingdom or Royal Power. In other words. This mere-infant is randomly moving pieces on a checker board. mortalis etc. In other words there is a seeming "repose" but only as a by-product of the process of continual change. metabavllon anapauvetai (84a) In a world in which motion is the normal state. like a single motion picture "frame" in a slurry of moving images. the royal power is a child's. Time is a child moving counters in a game. aiwn pai`~ esti paivzwn perreuvwn. The word "child" in Greek is nepios. and Heraclitus intuitively feels that this randomizing activity is the "ruling power" of the world. there may possible be static Moments in the Continuum. Note the Skt. which is understood to be Iranian for "shah + mata" or "kingdead". which I offer tentatively. the termination of the game by stalling the king is called "checkmate". mrtas "dead" as cognate with Lat. there may be an apparent but temporary state of what we see as static "repose". paido~ hJ basilhivh (52) This is a brilliant figure. mort-. Is this not the key to biological evolution randomly moving genes in an infinity of time. Could this fragment mean that the child who moves pieces continually without knowing what he is doing. referring to a child who cannot yet speak.. Perhaps this is something of which we get a psychological snapshot. will eventually arrive at a checkmate? 24. but there may be another interpretation. hence a very young child indeed.. . In the ancient chess/checkers game which dates far back to ancient Persia.

26. It should be understood that war is the common condition. but that is hardly possible. and that all things come to pass through the compulsion of strife. pavntwn de basileuv~ kai tou~ men qeou~ evdeixe tou~ de anqrwvpou~. horror and emotional distaste. Heraclitus is speaking of war as accelerator of change. The history of the West might unfortunately be written as the history of western warfare. But suspend judgment here.Perhaps far-fatched to us. And a great deal of advance in technology. since the words are quite clear. povlemo~ pavntwn men pathvr esti. some he has shown forth as gods and others as men. some he has made slaves and others free. kai ginovmena pavnta katæ evrin kai crewvn(80) For Heraclitus war is the upsetting factor which moves static situations into unwilling change. but a theoretical statistician would have no problem with this at all. that strife is justice. It would be nice to find him couching another meaning with a philosophical content. We try to write laws which will last forever. War is both father and king of all. kai divkhn evrin. and let us read on to the next paragraph which carries the figure of War further along. So it will seem surprising to read Heraclitus' words on Polemos as the king. find again and again they have a short half-life. but that notion . 25. tou~ men douvlou~ epoivhse tou~ d’ eleuqevrou~(53) Especially in the Post Industrial Age when war has become far more than squadrons of men crossing borders to pilfer a neighboring tribe. eidevnai crh ton povlemon eovnta xunovn. War goes further and destroys the balance of law. from gunpowder to atomic energy. initiating even further rates of change than economic development and social change. we have come to think of War with fear. has its origins in the requirements for war based devices.

opinion. in Heraclitus' terms. to live in a world of equanimous peacefulness. war and even disease are. Strife. Phusis (physis) in Greek is a word which traces its ancestry back to the Indo European root *bhu. there is an unrest and dissent which constantly emerges. and in their usage the word became a key term for the evolving world which they saw all around them. Despite our attempts. Being and Becoming are quite different notions. in the armies which march from here to there bringing in change. usually puerile and futile. then all things would cease to exist. it sees the world as a long pro- . but it has been part of the historical scene from the start. which is a poor and misleading translation of the Greek. For if that were to occur. "Would that strife might perish from amongst gods and men" .verges instantly into the realm of political warfare for which we have been paying high costs for a long time. In Greek the word was used to outline the idea of "coming into being" or being as the end result of a process of generation. how they became what they turned out to be. and does not seem inclined to go away in these early years of the new millennium. 27.which means "be. essential components of the human universe. ON NATURE Something must be said at the start about that word "Nature". or it may be the shifts in the stock market. It may be change of attitude. The three statement above take War as a normal state since it is changing in itself and also changing relationships between states and people. The Greeks saw Physis as the process by which things came into being. in national boundaries. become" and is cognate with words spread throughout the European tongues. Homer was wrong in saying. as are Sein and Werden in German. This is quite different from the Hebrew god making the world by design in a week of work. with many examples from Latin "fui" to modern English "be". This may not be optimal.

Fire is of course one form of energy. The Romans who had studied their Greek philosophers well needed a Latin translation for the un-Roman aspirated -ph. Now we can proceed to the fragments! There is exchange of all things for fire and of fire for all things. We do however want a familiar English word for a title. we are starting off on the wrong foot. of the idea behind Einstein's E=MC sq. unless we specifically equate Nature with Physis in all its philosophical contexts. purov~ antamoibh ta pavnta kai pu`r apavntwn o{kosper crusou` crh`mata kai crhma`twn crusov~(90) This is nothing less than a brilliant intuitive statement. garden and woodlands. and perceiving fire as a building force under aegis of the sun's fire. fire did seem to have some of the dissolving and combining capacities which we refer to as Energy. 28.sound of Ph-y-sis. although without scientific or mathematical proof. .cess of becoming and it is the becoming-ness which characterizes their idea of the world in which they lived. as there is of wares for gold and of gold for wares. as well as a destroying force in the flames of the hearth. put a noun ending onto the past participle "natus" and came up with Natura as natural for Physis. and we rejoice in the pleasures of Nature in the park. so On Nature will have to suffice. Fire is the nearest thing the Greek could imagine for our idea of Energy. Although static electric forces were incidental in the Greek world. The started with the Latin verb "nascor". it is largely correct. We speak of a man's "nature" as his character. So when we discuss a group of Heraclitus' thoughts which are neatly labeled under the title ON NATURE. is not only intuitive. To an educated Roman the new term Natura meant phusis exactly.and lipped -u. we say "naturally" when we mean logically. English has other meanings galore.

kovsmon tovnde. which are seen as parallel in their operation to C <---> D. Molecular interlocking. In the marketplace of the Universe. but there are many key points in Greek pre-Science which anticipate modern investigations.The figure of the marketplace is striking as an explanatory equation: As Money and Products represent a two-way equation. kindling itself by regular measures and going out by regular measures. has not been made by any god or man. and b) unless we go this way. All this should come as no surprise for ther awakened.just as Products can be turned into Dollars. allæ h`n aei kai evstin pu`r aeivzwon. How Heraclitus happened to think this through is startling. what meaning does this fragment have at all? Strange as it sounds. Some may find this interpretation difficult to see. Heraclitus had already said that there is a Logos behind everything which we continually miss seeing. ton auton apavntwn. This universe. this is no hocus-pocus of an ancient vein of alchemy. On the left side are A <----> B. 29. and will be an ever-living fire. but it always has been is. A clear statement of animal Evolution. The Law of Conservation of Matter. aptovmenon mevtra kai aposbennuvmenon mevtra(30) . and Dollars to Products again. Item A can be transformed into Item B and back again ---. Lucretius as summarizer of Epicurean science lists a few of them. which is the same for all. probably a surprise to the Latin student of Roman poetry: The Law of Conservation of Energy. it is a rational statement couched in terms of a Greek proportional equation. so Energy and Mass Objects also stand in a twoway relationship. but a) it fits the Greek words closely. ouvte ti~ qew`n oute anqrwvpwn epoivhsen.

but balanced with an opposing Diathesis. when we find everything continually turning from one state to another without pause or interruption? Is the idea of an Origin a catchword in our common vein of thinking? 30. 31. 30. the first is the usual statement of the continuum in the river. which goes well with the previous Frag. or satiated. it advances and retires. the Original Coming-IntoBeing of the world as the Big Bang. as an example of elements coming together in a combinatory process. and then dissociating. kalei de auto ---. potamw`i gar out evstin embh`nai di~ tw`i autw`i skivdnhsi kai pavlin sunavgei. The solution is thirsty. . Heraclitus' comment is that it has always been there and always will bbe. until it reaches the point of saturation at which time is can absorb no more. It throws apart and then brings together again.Here is an interesting caution to modern science which is now pressing hard on the origin of the Universe at a specific place and moment in time. then at a certain level it becomes saturated. One suspects that if confronted by Big Bang theory. while the second line has a very different meaning. but the forms and stages are constantly changing. He calls it: craving and satiety. Why assume a start. This could be called with our familiar word Synthesis. kai provseisi kai avpeis(91) We seems to have two separate fragments sutured together here.crhsoumusuvnhn kai kovro~ (65) One might compare a chemical situation which actively absorbs material into solution. he would have said that the out-blowing of energy from a single specific point in ancient time must be the turning point of an in-burning of energy toward single point before that moment.

33.The transformations of fire -. probably a Heraclitan addition. and air is the death of water. zh`i pu`r ton gh`~ qavnaton kai ahr zh`i ton puro~ qavnaton. a statement which does not fit our way of understanding conversions of state. When earth has melted into sea. We know that there are no difference in actual mass.first. u{dwr zh`i ton aevro~ qavnaton. to de h{misu prhsthvr ` 32. gh` ton u{dato~ and water is the death of earth. . sea. qalavssh~ de to men h{misu gh`. and fire of aer. water in the death of air. o{koio~ provsqen h`n h genevsqai gh(31) These last two citations seems to indicate a clear statement of the conservation of mass despite change of state. Fire lives in the death of earth. half becomes earth and half the lightning-flash. but the general effect of Heraclitus' direction is correct. puro~ tropai prw`ton qavlassa. kai metrevetai ei~ ton auton lovgon. Here the process is cited as reservible. 34. the conversion opf state being called a death since one part disappears as the other comes into being. the resultant amount is the same as there had been before sea became earth. But the split of sea into half earth and half energy (as lightening) is unclear. and of sea. air in the death of fire. gh` qavlassa diacevetai. and so in reverse oJti gh`~ qavnato~ u{dwr genevsqai kai u{dato~ aevra qavnato~ genevsqai kai aevro~ pu`r kai evmpalin(76) This is a classic statement of the Greek four-element universe. and earth in the death of water.

by subjecting a sealed mix of carbon dioxide. Also since we are in a continual state of change and flux. not only new each day. allæ aei nevo~ sunecw`~ (6) This is Aristotle's comment from Meteor. The sun is the breadth of a man's foot. ta de pavnta oiakivzei keraunov~(64) I think of the experiments which were done some years ago to try to determine the nature of the original atmosphere of the earth. 36 37. can be proved. but forever continually new. the volumes of hydrogen being continually converted. and the notion that it is exactly the same Sun tomorrow morning shining on the same Earth as today is really an illusion. not Heraclitus' intuition. an excellent remark on two counts. Heraclitus has a sense of lightening.euvro~ podo~ anqrwpeivou (3) . oJ h{lio~ on movnon (kaqavper oJ H. but both are extremely interesting! The sun is .35. as H. fhsi) nevo~ efæ hJmevrhi e~tivn. nitrogen. somehow. The thunderbolt pilots all things through all things. considering the enormous amount of conflagration on the sun's surface. First the sun which we see each morning is in some part not the same sun as yesterday. states. which we know as a half million volt electric flash. 355a. oxygen and hydrogen to a very high voltage electric bombardment for a period of time. so must the sun be changing.--. and the energy dispersed outward as light. as being a dominant creative force in our world. Some felt that this was the process by which the amino acids were being produced as a firsdt step toward the phenomenon of Life. peri megeqou~ hliou. Neither the modern experiment.

. But this is the beginning of a process which would take many years to work out the germ of the trigonometric process. But without more data as to distance. 40. He uses the Greek term euphrone for night as "the kindly one". If there were no sun. probably a euphemism for humans' general fear of the dark. . and indirectly infers that the phenomenon we call Day or Hemera is generated by the sun's enormous heat-light. something not known to Heraclitus.. it is sheer night. The boundary line of evening and morning is the Bear. a triangle can be imagined reaching out to the sun.w{sper savrma eikh` kecumevnon oJ kavllisto~ (oJ) kovsmo~ (124) 39. 38.This is a primitive attempt to state a trigonometric view of a far object seen in reference to a near object. looking past the two sides of a foot at about four feet distance. we won't be able to estimate the sun's distance from the earth. .. If the sides of the foot line up approximately with the edges of the sun's image. (120) The fairest universe is but a heap of rubbish piled up at random. we would have the angular components of a trigonometric problem. e{neka tw`n avllwn avstrwn eufrovnh an h`n J (99) Heraclitus sees the difference between the light levels of sun and stars. hou`~ kai eJspevra~ tevrmata hJ avrkto~ kai antivon th`~ avrktou ou`ro~ aiqrivou Diov~. . From the single point of the eye's fovea. but he realizes that when the moon does not show. Moon reflects a weak light from the sun. and opposite the Bear is the boundary of bright Zeus. ei mh h{lio~ h`n. the other stars would not suffice to prevent its being night.

remembering that you can drive a horse to water you can not make him drink.. 41. and the only way to effect change is by application of an external force. We are looking at the pleasantly solid and static world around us from the wrong end of the process. or an unwillingness to try new ways. which we have learned to accept as our designed world.This is a problem involving infinite randomization finally yielding an entropic state. I am thinking not only of my students who constantly resist new and hard ideas by their very nature. We can speak of a natural laziness of spirit. Every beast is driven to pasture by a blow pa`n eJrpeton plhgh`i nevmetai (11) A great statement of a a great truth. but of my own learning curves. it is all a snapshot of randomized garbage taken at our specific moment in time. has been learned with infinite difficulty and often much pain and often approached unwillingly. Every thing I have every learned which has turned out worth learning. . What is the blow which drive the beast to pasture and why must he be driven? It is because every live state tries to preserve its homeostatic identity as an in-built system of self-preservation.

and we had perhaps best leave it at that. You could not discover the limits of soul. kai yucai de apo tw`n uJgrw`n anaqumiw`ntai(12) This connects with the ancient views of Soul as a gaseous substance of sorts. yuch`~ peivrata iwn ouk an exeuvroio. Lat. the idea of such a state was always present. cognate anemos "wind"."breathe". for the moving world can only be known by what is in motion. 44.ON THE SPIRITUAL 42. spiritus from spirare "to breathe". a tentative perception. a spiritual plasma. and the ancients connected it with something which we still cannot define exactly. Although the word "gas" was only coined by 17 c. as in Sanskrit atman "soul" from verb at. more-over it is the least corporeal of things and is in ceaseless flux. even if you traveled by every path in order to do so. A modern speculation might try to go one step further and see Soul as a kind of supergas.) 43. pa`san epiporeuovmeno~ oJdon. such is the depth of its meaning. anima as compared with Gr. physicists from Greek chaos. (. . Souls are vaporized from what is moist. Lat. Heraclitus sees the vapor arising from a moist object in the morning sunlight as analogous to Soul. ou{tw baqun lovgon (45) Soul is the vaporization out of which everything else is composed.

The first sees soul as a dry emanation from water. This takes soul into the realm of pure energy as a modern physicist would see it. yuch`~ esti lo`go~ eJauton auvxwn(115) Since as above Soul is without limit. whereas Heraclitus stays with a physical description pushed to the ultimate level of rarifaction. in fact a beam of light. 47. But the second goes one step further and sees soul as even dryer. as noted above.. which will be as Light. yuch`isi tevryin h qavnaton uJgrh`isi genevsqai. as seen from the inside of the soul's identity. Soul has its own inner law of growth. Souls take pleasure in becoming moist. infinite expansion is a natural possibility.. A dry soul is wisest and best. auvh yuch sofwtavth kai arivsth augh xhrh yuch sofwtavth kai arivsth (118) These two versions of the same idea have an essential difference.we live in the death of them (souls) and they in the our death zh`n hJma`~ ton ekeivnwn qavnaton kai zh`n ekeivna~ ton hJmevteron qavnaton (77) . But there is a second part to this quotation: .45. The best and wisest soul is a dry beam of light. This is quite different from many views of Soul as a spirit or a mental configuration. 46.

so he was unhurt when he fell off the wagon carrying him home. This is a very complicated equation which cannot be solved by a modern way of thinking. 48. Interestingly. Conversely. by becoming human beings. in similar fashion we lost our identity by reverting to become souls. showing how a solid of lighter weight will separate and rise to the top of a liquid when it is left to settle. A drunken man has to be led by a boy. but apparently it is within the range of dark Heraclitean thought. ek gh`~ de u|dwr givnetai ex u{dato~ de yuchv(36) 50. and souls out of water. u{dati de qavnato~ gh`n genevsqai. and it is death to water to become earth. The usual example in Greek is the separation of olive oil and water. It is death to souls to become water. uJgrhn thn yuchn evcwn (117) Now we have the drunkard contaminating the "gaseous" part of his being with liquid and alcohol. stirred. this is still the way ground diamond dust is . anhvr o{kotan mequsqh`i. and led home by a boy who may be uneducated and simple. 49. whom he follows stumbling and not knowing whither he goes. water comes into existence out of earth. but is at least dry. In a very different perspective. yuch`isin qavnato~ u{dwr genevsqai. Even the sacred barley drink separates when it is not oJ kukewn diivstatai (mh) kinouvmeno~ (125) This is probably an example of the previous statement. Lao Tzu saw the drunkard as spiritually neutral and relaxed. and inversely souls can lose their identity as soul. ouk epaivwn o{kh baivnei. a`getai upo paido~ anh`bou sfallovmeno~. used as a figure for personal incompatability.It would seem that just as souls lose their identity by reverting to moisture. for his soul is moist.

we are warned to be cautious about wishes. The Grimm story of the three wishes ending up with a sausage on the nose is a good folk example. World Peace and the League of Nations. that open your mouth and remove all doubt. The phrase "purchasing at the cost of soul (genitive of price!)" is a curious phrase. yuch`~ wneivtai(110) Taking this as connected with the above. qumw`i mavcesqai calepon. Whatever it wants it will buy at the cost of the soul. It often happens that things we carefully plan out with infinite care.separated out for size. oJ gar an qevlhi. amaqivhn gar avmeinon kruvptei. It is hard to fight against impulsive desire. by letting it settle out in timed intervals in a container of olive oil. 53. qumw`i mavcesqai calepon. . have a tendency to somehow to go wrong. yuch`~ wneivtai (85) Here is probably the earliest statement of the power of advertising in a market economy. 52. like the Garden City concept of ideal housing. something parallel to making large credit card purchases at the cost of solvency and financial integrity! 51. It is better to hide our ignorance. It would not be better if things happened to men just as they wish.kruvptein amaqivhn krevsson (95) Plutarch who gives us this line adds that it is harder to do so over wine! The modern proverb runs: "Better to keep quiet and be thought a fool. oJ gar an qevlhi.---." . since our greatest danger is not having what we need but getting what we wish for.

favti~ autoi`si marturei` pareovnta~ apei`nai(34) In a day when we try to desribe any physical or mental deficiency as being "challenged". But it is unrealistic to avoid using the ancient and traditional words "deaf" or "retarded". Same reachion for both. are like the deaf. although they hear.For example. American have a tendency to smile automatically. of course for entirely different reasons. when discussing the nature of the Logos. while the French find this foolish and objectionable. and Heraclitus has none of our modern over-sensitivity. But for all of us. which we find a friendly a disarming gesture. Q. and self-conceit tells lies. He said: Bigotry is the sacred disease. 56. this sounds rude and unthinking. axuvnetoi akouvsante~ kwfoi`sin eoivkasi. Fools. To them the adage applies that "when present they are absent". 55. you talk to a fool and he says "uh!". Some oriental cultures suspect that undue laughing indicates too much loss of anima. we tend not to be really present at all. (87) blax avnqrwpo~ epi panti lovgwi eptohvsqai filei` One must stop and think about things and not go into wild enthusiasm or confused thought! Pythagoras had said: Be not taken by uncontrollable laughter. A foolish man is a-flutter at every word. For Heraclitus it is simpler: You talk to a deaf man and he doesn't answer. thvn de oivhsin iJeran novson evlege kai thn o{rasin yeuvdesqai(46) .D.54.E. this may be a social notion rather than a word of counsel.

? 57. eJwutoisi de dokevousi (17) Heraclitus had said this before. the ultimate error and blindness. It comes from a Greek verb originally meaning "thinking". The Hippocratic Father of Medicine had made a point about Sacred Diseases when discussing epilepsy. we must keep the core meaning clear in our minds.. which had previously been dubbed god-given and sacred. which we would call "self-conceit". But no cure seems to have been devised for it in modern times. but they actually think they do. This was a major step forward for the ars medicina. but here adds a critical detail: They don't understand. nor do they grasp them even when they have learned about them. If all existing things were smoke. Whichever words we use.. and this is in a way the core of bigotry. Heraclitus here cleverly comments on this special kind of mental "disability" by using a Hippocratic term. ri`ne~ diagno`ien (7) . thereby inferring that Bigotry is a disease capable of cure like any other malady. 58. although they think they do. Ei panvta gevnoito ta ovpta kapno~ gevnoito. oude maqovnte~ ginwvskousin. Most people do not take heed of the things they find. that disease is organic and treatable as such. by stating that there are no diseases which are of divine origin. How do we cure bigotry. but is often used for "self-thinking". ou frone'ousi toiau`ta polloiv.The word "oiesis" does not translate into English well. how do we exorcise it. oJkovsoi egkureu`sin. it is by smell that we would distinguish them.

but there is even a ancient folketymology for the name. 60.59. . Much religion concerns itself with relationships between the living and the dead. they think in terms of smell with a frontal lobe highly developed for that function. since all know the difference between the two states. while dogs use smell for most of their perception. and by refracting electron images we can "see" things invisibly small. aiJ yucai osmw`ntai kaqæ a|idhn(98) We humans depend on sight for about 85 percent of our inputs. Kant never mentioned him again. Just so in the dark we can use infra-red with special sensors to "see"."not" and the verbal stem id. Corpses are more fit to be thrown out than dung."see". Now Heraclitus rightly sense that in a world of smoke and smell. because in fact he had ceased to exist. as a. hence is just a dead thing and nothing more. When one of the philosopher Kant's friends died. perception is highly relative! Hades is of course dark. in medicine we use Roentgen rays to "see" within. nevkue~ gar koprivwn ekblhtovteroi (96) He sees the emptiness of Greek funeral ritual. a cadaver lacks the one basic human quality of Life. an intuitive but not entirely rational concern. Ceasing to be alive is a fact which no ritual will cure. we would use scent rather than sight. In short. In Hades souls perceive by smelling.

The history of science and mathematics points to this kind of evolutionary process of the mind. (The Greek is not in Diels Kranz. the divine is not readily apparent. What is divine escapes men's notice because of their incredulity. a "nous" which encompasses everything in the universe. hvqo~ gar anqrwvpeion men oik evcei gnwvma~. 63. apistivhi diafuggavnei mh gignwvskesqai (86) As in #61. which is slowly built up in a society by small increments. learning is a matter of mental perception of a higher power. there is intelligence only in what encompasses him. it appear he has a notion of the divine as existence of a world-mind. . Human nature has no real understanding. There is pattern and reason in everything around us inthe world. Man is not rational.ON THE DIVINE 61. From the following passages. 62. but not religion in the usual sense. only the divine nature has it. and what intelligence we have is drawn from our perception of the encompassing world... qei`on de evcei (78) It seems clear that Heraclitus meant by "theion" or divine something different by from the deities of Greek mythology and the state formal religion of the poleis .) He must mean that Man is not automatically endowed with "reason" or logic.

mortals become immortals. at Genesis we find Logos again. Surely it means sheer Pattern. patterns without material. w|i mavlista dihnekw`~ oJmilou`si lo`gwi tw`i ta o|la dioikou`nti.Although intimately connected with the Logos which orders the whole world. As in the nighttime a man kindles for himself (haptetai) a light. men keep setting themselves against it. and the things which they encounter every day seem quite foreign to them. Man lives in smaller patterns. In the Greek of the Septuagint. often mistranslated as The Word (of God presumably). avnqrwpo~ en eufrovnhi favo~ avptetai eautw`i. 66. as well as the furious whirl of electrons in a seemingly solid body. zw`n de avptetai teqnew`to~ eu{dwn (aposbesqei~ ovyei~). which is remedied by creating objects with mass to flesh out the patternful world in the week of creation. they live in each other's death and die in each other's life. 64. ton de ekeivnwn bivon teqnew`te~(62) . qnhtoi aqavnatoi. We tend to ignore in our daily lives the shape of the Big Bang origins. tau`ta autoi`~ xevna faivnetai (72) Since Greek Logos means something like Pattern rather than Reason. he attaches himself (haptetai) to the state of death. zw`nte~ ton ekeivnwn qavnaton. (apoqanwvn) aposbesqei~ ovyei~. Immortals become mortals. kai oi|~ kaqæ hJmevran egkurou`si. touvtwi diafevrontai. even as one who has been awake lies down with his vision extinguished and attaches himself to the state of Sleep. so when a living man lies down in death with his vision extinguished. aqavnatoi qnhtoiv. then our incapacities at grasping larger and larger patternings is one of the limiting factors of Mind. egrhgorw~ avptetai eu{donto~ (26) 65.

for us it is unfamiliar as an idea and not easy to comprehend. 67. to be set aside without serious consideration. anqrwvpou~ mevnei apoqanovnta~ a{ssa ouk evlpontai oude dokevousin (27) This seems a partial answer to the previous entry. or returns an imperfect one to our world for recycling.It seems Heraclitus believes in two separate worlds. evnqa dæ eovnti epanivstasqai kai fuvlaka~ givnesqai egerti zwvntwn kai nekrw`n (63) 68. 69. we let the whole matter rest in peace. On the one hand Socrates' daimon which speaks to him privately advising against something as a caution. virtually . This is different from the Indian idea of reincarnation. but less knowable than we CAN imagine. But by flatly stating that the other side is not only less knowable than we imagine. A man's character is his guardian divinity. There await men after death such things as they neither expect nor have any conception of. from trances and visions. Romans spoke of the "genius" as a private personal deity. h`qo~ anqrwvpwi daivmwn (119) The daimon is a familiar concept to the Greek but not at all clear to us. We have guessed for ages about what lies beyond. This statment of Heraclitus seems a two way process. is too similar to Jung's voice of the unconscious mind or Super Ego. which can inferace to each other by the process of death. relating partial stories from near-death experiences. They arise into being-ness and become guardians of the living and the dead. where death here moves the perfect person to another world forever.

Thomas' Dies Irae. 70. kai mevntoi kai Divkh katalhvyetai yeudw`n tevktona~ kai mavrtura~ (28) 71. Greater dooms win greater destinies. for death.dies illa. allot.. like St. but it has a wonderful ring to it.. For Heraclitus none of this later development exists.. mo`roi me`zone~ me`zona~ moi`ra~ la`gcanousi (25) The words meros and moira both are both derived from the verb mer-omai/ mer-esthai "divide out. as fateful and to a certain degree fated. . asign". Moros is used for disaster.. fulavssei.. but there should be a further meaning in mind. This is a difficult line with the inbuilt pun and an unsure meaning. Moira is Fate. The most reliable man understand reliable things and guards them. dokevonta gar oJ dokimwvtato~ ginwvskei .an alter ego to a man. often used in positive terms as the eventual working out of foretold destiny. ending up as a TV character named Damon. It seems Heraclitus is playing on a supposed inner relationship between the two words. And in later usage the word becomes the Demon of medieval theology. he is thinking of a personal psychic shadow which reflect the itentity and character of the real man whom it matches. also in terms of what a person or nation has actually done in life. So the gist of this line would seem to suggest that grand calamities have a way of being involved with grand evolutions of the patterns of Moira. the child of the devil. And Justice will overtake fabricators of lies and false witnesses. so closely matched to the man's personality as to be likely to steal altar offerings from the crooked man's altar (Petronius).

Fire in its progress will catch all things by surprise and judge them. he said " Here. " . at the highest level.The man of right opinions grasps reliable information. just as he says in another context: The sun if it goes out of course. It will eventually overtake fabricators of false information. And there is a supervening World Justice which is watching everything that goes on down here. pavnta gavr to pu`r epelqon krinei` kai katalhvyetai (66) If fire is the ultimate Energy Force which is responsible for the entire universe.quite in the spirit of Heraclitus' warning. 72. How can anyone hide from that which never sets? to mh du`non pote pw`~ avn ti~ laqoiv… (16) Clearly Heraclitus is aware of the earth's rotation as a ball. (When visitors unexpectedly found Heraclitus warming himself by the cooking fire. then any lower level minor infraction of truthfulness will have to pay its penalty to the force at the top. Those of us who are concerned with the deterioration of the ionosphere through irresponsible use of active gasses which consume ozone. it has to pay for the error. too. are gods. would say that we are to be judged on the highest level by the e highest energy source (pur) which reaches us here as UV radiation ----. in the face of a sun which is simply always there. 74. For millennia the world did really slide back in astronomical knowledge. 73. But more important is the consideration of being only intermittently aware of something which is absolutely permanent and eternal.

For our use an electric current is a clearer manifestation of energy. Fire is special. but objects like the wailing wall and the holy stone at Mecca have crept back into use as symbols. Catholics crossing themselves entering a church fall if ever so unconsciously under class c) above. maivnesqai d'æ an dokoivh. kai toi`~ agavlmasi de toutevoisin. have deep meaning in the structure of their societies and should not be viewed as mere superstition. forbid statues and images in religious service. It would seem madness to observe such a man who is acting this way. a) blood sacrifice. He actually points to three offenses. Some modern anthropologists feel that rituals like animal sacrifice.Again. as near to the concept of energy as could be found in the Greek world. And they pray to images. as if someone were to wash himself by walking in shit were to cleanse himself with shit. sometimes employed here with animal sacrifice as a soul cleansing process. for Heraclitus an error. They cleanse themselves with others' blood. eiv ti~ auton anqrwvpwn epifravsaito ou{tw poievonta. The majority of ordinary men and women do have a need for a real object on which to focus their devotions. . 75. Note that Judaism and Islam following the OT. kaqaivrontai dæ avllwi aivmati miainovmenoi o{ion eiv ti~ phlon emba~ phlw`i aponivzoito. Heraclitus would deny their views saying that these practices remove men from the real spiritual powers which they fail to recognize. and c) worship of the temple itself (oikos) as the house of God. for they do not know what gods and heroes are. b) worship of statues and religious figures. much as if they were talking to temple edifices. but still only manifestation. even headhunting in Borneo and the veneration of fetish objects worldwide. euvcontai okoi`on ei ti~ dovmoisi leschneuvoito ouv ti ginwvskwn qeouv~ oudæ hvrwa~ oitinev~ eisi(5) Heraclitus is violently repulsed by the thoughtless and useless rituals which are commonly performed in the name of religion.

Their processions and their phallic hymns would be disgraceful exhibitions were it not that they are done in honor 0f Dionysos. Much of the Mystery consciousness filtered into early Christianity. What are regarded as mysteries among men are unholy rituals.. . ta gar nomizovmena katæ anqrwvpou~ musthvria anierosti mueu`ntai (14) Heraclitus stakes a bold stand against the ubiquitous Mystery religion of ancient Greece! We must remember that the Mystery religions appeared early in Greece in the Homeric Hymns. and participants in the mysteries . magicians.. wJuto~ de Aivdh~ kai Diovnuso~. o{tewi maivnontai kai lhnaivzousin (15) A close reading of the Bacchae of Euripides will show what Heraclitus is criticizing in the Dionysiac cult world. revelers. while later Christian apologists censored all mention of Mystery information so well that we have only sketchy information of their hold on society. But Dionysos in whose honor they rave and hold revels. . Hades as "Hell" in the Christian sense.... . and occupied a major position in Greek religious life. bacchantes. while the reference to Hades must point to underground rituals which we are less aware of now. anaidevstata eivrgastæ an.with night-walkers. is of course not involved here..nuktipovloi~ mavgoi~ bavkcoi~ lhvnai~ muvstai~. is the same as Hades. 77. ei mh Dionuvswi pomphn epoiou`nto kai u{mneon a`isma aidoivoisin. .. A fragment of Sophocles speaks of those who enter the mysteries before they die as thrice happy beings. The formal state religions and the world of ancient mythology were of little importance to the masses who were deeply involved with the Mysteries. their rites and rituals and even their apparent mushroom based drug subcultures.76...

and the world runs in time with it. unlovely words . COUNSELS 80. The Sibyl with raving mouth utters solemn.. unadorned. Toxified by rising gas. . which everything participates in..sibulla. then there must be an overall pattern of mind or Nous of the universe. He had been speaking of the beauty of Sappho poetry and here compares it with the raving of the manic oracles of the Sibyl. the Sibyl loses control over her conscious mind. The Delphic oracle is now discovered by competent geo-archaeologists to stand over a fissure in the rock formation which allows gasses to escape into the oracular chamber... perhaps exploring an unconscious level of perception with a social messaging output. If there IS a world Logos.. Therefore everything in some measure or other must be running in time with this world sense... xunovn esti pa`si to fronevein (113) These five words despite their verbal simplicity.. adding "but she reaches out over a thousand years with her voice because of the god within her".78..(92) The citation comes from Plutarch in an essay on Pythian oracles. have a profound meaning which I can only adumbrate here.... Thinking is common to all.mainomevnwi stovmati agevlasta kai akallwvpista kai amuvrista fqeggomevnh.

earth rather than universe bound. Buckminster Fuller said years ago in the days of his popular image. This Buddha-Mind is common to all. probably historically under the influence of Indian sources as well as being spiritually parallel.Heraclitus connects intellectually with various threads from other parts of the world and other ages. but in the post-Renaissance world Heraclitus has exerted a great influence on many fields. and that it is the worldthought that we all participate in --. but always to be seen on the surface of the planetary display. pub. India . Co. in every stick and stone.an exoteric thought from a man who was primarily an engineer. * ISBN 817058163X. Pub. that Thought of the universe is everywhere. even in the toilet paper in the outhouse. Sri Aur. * Heraclitus' thinking has a remarkably broad base. that the Buddha Nature is everywhere. This is a probably minor version of what Heraclitus was thinking about. Christian apologists derided his words which were beyond their range of understanding. that everything connects. a dealer in uninterpretable riddles. But it was the Alexandrian academicians who perpetrated the notion of Heraclitus as an inexplicable mystic. Aristotle spoke of him often and it was he who coined the phrase "ho skoteinos" or The Dark One". He planned a gigantic model of planet Earth with computer controlled lights to respond to any local pattern input. To Buddhist thinkers the above fragment is the familiar zen topic. It was years ago that Sri Auribindo wrote a book on Heraclitus who he felt was cognate to much Indian thinking.

For even more strongly all human laws are nourished by the one divine law. and even more strongly. mavcesqai crh ton dh`mon uJper tou` novmou .as a city holds on to its law. But despite changes. oJkosper teivxeo~ (44) Athens may have thought it was safe behind the Long Wall. which prevails as far as it wishes. . o{kwsper novmwi povli~. the verbal notion of fighting for your walls persisted. kai polu iscurotevrw~ trevfontai gar pavnte~ oi anqrwvpeioi novmoi uJpo eJno~ tou` qeivou. but fortifications ceased to have serious value after the sixth century. The people should fight for their law as for their city wall.81. Perhaps the only example of respect for the high authority of divine law was the sanctity of the Treasuries in the international sanctuary at Delphi. but this was going to be a hard point to hold in the face of the oncoming Peloponnesian War. and yet somehow stands above them. Men should speak with rational mind and thereby hold strongly to that which is shared in common ---. But this may have been more a matter of the convenience of secure international banking rather than respect. kratei` gar tosou`ton o{koson eqevlei kai exarkei` pa`si kai perigivnetai (114) Pindar echoes this thought in Pythian 8. 82. where Dike or justice stands as a deity above the law of men. much as we say fighting for your country. suffices for all things. xun novwi levgonta~ iscurivzesqai crh tw`i xunw`i pavntwn. now curiously re-named the "homeland". In the earlier period Tyrtaius could point to the wall as the last defense between survival and wandering hungry and homeless of the fields.

whereas the masses simply glut themselves like cattle. we have little to compare it with for usage. ei{~ moi muvrioi ean avristo~ h`i(49) Of course "first-rate" is a very rough translation of aristos. klevo~ aevnaon qnhtw`n . something the Greek were never inclined to do. 85. . But later aristos came to be identified with the old and conservative upper class at Athens. The best of men choose one thing in preference to all else. It is certainly the Heraclitean "One" which he is speaking of. One man is worth ten thousand if he is first-rate. Law involves obeying the counsel of one. the One which comprises everything else.. Buckminster Fuller maintained that if one in a hundred thousand is doing creative thinking in a society. so best let the word "first-rate" stand for the nonce. 84. Again that shadowy prophet of the l970's. immortal glory in preference to mortal good. Since this is one of the few places (see following) where Heraclitus uses the word. and it is in this sense that Theognis uses the word for his own nasty purposes. novmo~ kai boulh`i peivqestqai eJno~ Certainly this is not advice to follow the orders of the leader.83. even to the point of carrying the society economically. which must be followed as if the leader of the universe. that is enough since his thought will permeate society and will eventually benefit all. But it may not be the social classification of Athenian post-Solonic democracy which he is thinking of. but the vulgar crowd who can't hear the doctrines of the Logos and the One. oJi de polloi kekovrhntai o{kwsper kthvnea (29) This does sound like a remark tainted somewhat by class consciousness. aireu`ntai en anti apavntwn oJi avristoi. which in Homer had meant something like the samurai search after absolute excellence in the battle.

Even a man who is most in 'repute' (reputable?) knows and maintains only what is 'reputed'. But certainly the justice of Dike will apprehend fabricators and false-witnesses of Lies. and holds onto that information. the level of average understanding on topics above bread-and-butter survival is not very high. So here "the things as they seem" (dokeonta) will be something like reputed information. to compare with the notion of peace and forgivingness. How it was originally said is not at all clear in Heraclitan terms. so we should give them a closer look. fulavssei. 87. . How many Americans understand the Constitution and its relevance to personal civic rights. so the first word in this quotation "dokeonta" will mean "things as they seem". in his words there is a critical difference between "to einai" or being. and "to dokein einai" or seeming-to-be. unconfirmed popular opinion. Gods and men honor those slain in battle. or to our responsibilities in international warfare? Is the meaning of the Monroe Doctrine still understood? 86. Start with the Greek "dokein" meaning "to seem".Even in a democracy as well conceived originally as that of the United States. But remember Plato's caution about Seeming and Being. arhifavtou~ qeoi timw`si kai avnqrwpoi(24) Clement of Alexandria cites this presumably for a Christian purpose. kai mevntoi kai Divkh katalhvyetai yeudw`n tevktona~ kai mavrtura~ (28) This is a classic statement on the unreliability of information. dokevonta gar oJ dokimwvtato~ ginwvskei . But there are problems with the Greek words. which don't match with the above translation. But it does have the approval of Pericles' Funeral Speech and the Gettysburgh Address. often nothing more than hearsay.

This formula figures regularly in Greek drama and Heraclitus although earlier thinkers must have had some of this in mind. Society proceeds by a process like hearsay for most of us. But there is another level to this situation. it has happened and will happen again. for the scientist or the serious philosopher. and thus hope to avoid costly mistakes which lead us into situations of irretrievable dishonor. which makes a person blind to his proper role. then he incurs envy of the gods (phthonos). There exists a superior level of Dike or TRUTH. fire. . It is no surprise to find that this has happened at various times in the history. So the above quotation addresses a serious problem: The man who is thought to have the best of Opinions. But we can learn to be cautious. each item of hearsay must be tested and proved by the best tools we have at the time. is one who recognizes various opinions and stores them up as information. which eventually catches up with the fabricators of lies and the false-witnesses. at which point he is open to Nemesis which is both a) ruin and getting his dues b) getting what is allotted by fate to him.But the man of Repute (dokimotatos) whose name comes from the same root "dok-". He is one whom popular reputation confirms as a reliable source of information. to examine situations for the flaws while they are in process. In Homer it is used for sheer violence and outrage. 88. and not confuse his role with that of a god. but later it is used more formally to mark a man's failing to understand that he is a man. may be working with nothing more than the current catchwords of the times. should be something quite different. To extinguish hybris is more needed than to extinguish a u{brin crh sbennuvnai ma`llon h purkaihvn(43) vJ The Greek word "hubris" is used so often in classical criticism that it has become a standard word in English vocabulary. A little catechism seems to run like this: Hubris leads to blindness or Ate.

We often translate Hubris as "Overweening Pride" which is fairly close to the meaning of the Greek word. If we do not solve the verbal the problem here. hubris is a Greek fatal error. at least we can point it out some of the inconcinnities. but there is an interpretative problem. kuvne~ gar katabau`zousin w|n an mh ginwvskwsi (97) v This is a wonderful figure of the barking dog. whether politics. that we had best keep it apart from hubris. mainly because it is not known. The line is applicable to all sort of human situations. We have seen this in exacerbated form since the start of the Industrial Revolution. kamatov~ esti toi`~ autoi`~ mocqei`n kai avrcesqai povlemon (84b) We are beginning to understand this in the business and manufacturing Western world. then we seem not to have devised a fire extinguisher suitable for this purpose yet. academics. who is also the man or woman railing convulsively at what is not known. we are going to have to learn lessons about variegation of work tasks soon. hybris or hubris is anything like "overweening pride". The word Pride has so many associations in a traditionally Christian Western world. 89. to repetition of errors in judgment. but the question is whether this going to go on forever? . It is weariness to keep toiling at the same things so that one becomes ruled by them. Dogs bark at a person whom they do not know. The industrial Revolution was based wrongly on repetition and specialization. to legal and theological dogmata which outline their original purposes. or pay heavily in medical and psychological costs. OF course this applies equally to things of the mind. Pride is a Christian sin. as people break down at repeated tasks. 90. religion or the idea of Progress. I must note that if Gr.

exhpavthntai (fhsivn) oi avnqrwpoi pro~ thn gnw`sin twn fanerw`n. the world of the Persian Wars. is surprising and we are left largely in the dark as to Heraclitus' reasons. The right wing poet Theognis is the example of abuse of this notion. since there is no way to harmonize their writing with the new cosmic interests and Heraclitus' preoccupations with the Logos and the One. . But a question remains as to how much he believes in the agathic Upper Classes as preservers of truth in a post-Solonic new Athenian society. oligoi de agaqoiv ææ (104) Again Heraclitus suspect that the level of popular intelligence is low. who we consider the prime Greek author and in many ways the cultural mainstay of later Hellenic thought. paraplhsiw`~ Omhrwi o{~ egevneto tw`n Ellhvnwn sofwvtero~ pavmtwn. even as Homer was who was the wisest of all the Greeks. that the masses will follow conventional sources of information without a critical eye. the good are few. 91. 92e Men (he says) are deceived in their knowledge of things that are manifest. It must be that Homer and the first poet Archilochus simply antedate the new philosophical spirit of the 5th century. ignoring the adage that the many are bad. Homer deserves to be thrown out of the contests and flogged and Archilochus too. (56) 93.What sort of mind or intelligence have they? They believe popular folk-tales and follow the crowd as their teachers. tiv~ autw`n novo~ h frhvn… dhmwn aoidoi`si peivqontai kai didaskavlwi creivwntai omivlwi ouk eidovte~ oti ææ oJi polloi kakoiv. tovn de Ojmhron evfaske avxion ek tw`n agwvnwn ekbavllesqai kai rJapivzesqai kai Arcivloco~ oJmoiw~ (42) This attack on Homer.

avllh te kai metæ avllwn (121) 95. so it must be some newfangled notion. every man of them.wJ~ agnoouvnti fuvsin hJmevra~ apavsa~ mivan ou`san (106) The superstitious Romans developed their dies fasti and dies nefasti into a calendar so complex than half the years was inertized as non-work days in one way or another. .. . In fact the day of rest or Sabbath is a psychologically and medically reasonable invention." avxion Efesivoi~ hbhdon apavgxasqai pa`si kai toi`~ anhvboi~ thn povlin katalipei`n.hJmewn mhde eJi~ onhvisto~ evstw. Hesiod distinguishes good days and evil days... ei de mhv. o{itine~ EJrmovdwron avndra eJwutw`n onhviston exevbalon favnte~ --. and this may have been what Heraclitus was indicating as evidence for one continuous process. The gradation of day into night also points to a single graduated phenomenon.". In a time of severe overpopulation this might have some reason.. that social conservatives could try to refute the oncoming new idea by saying: "That's not in Homer. There should be such a one. but that was probably not the thought in mind. We have a parallel situation when fundamentalists deny the truth of anything that is not specifically mentioned in the Bible.Hsiovdwi tas men agaqa~ poioumevnwi. 94. ta~ de fauvla~. and leave their city to be governed by youngsters. for they have banished Hermadorus. let him go and live elsewhere. declaring: "Let us not have anyone among us who excels the rest.It may be that Homer was so much a part of everyone's thinking. But Heraclitus' indiction of Hesiod is probably more factual. since Heraclitus sees day and night as the same basic secondary factor. The Ephesians had better go hang themselves. .. And Homer was in many ways the cultural bible of ancient Greece... the finest man among them. not knowing that every day is like every other.

but we fail to see that the Ephesians are still with us everywhere. 96. then they leave behind them children to become dooms in their turn. kai pai`da~ kataleivpousi movrou~ genevsqai(20) The Old Testament had said that the sins of the father are transferred to the sons in a social setting by generations. Efesioi. he was removed from his files and from authority and banished to an administrative position at Princeton. I think Heraclitus' term "doom" means nothing more than "dominant pattern". inæ exelevgcoisqe ponhreuovmonoi 97. genovmenoi zwvein eqevlousi movrou~ tæ evcein. which become patterns for future generations. you men of Ephesus. We all are aware of the ultra-conservative role of the ancient Philistines. May you have plenty of wealth. .Read this one with care! When Robert Oppenheimer warned us about the dangers of atomic power. as in "Greater dooms win greater destinies" (above) . ma`llon de anapauvesqai. Always when dealing with Greek texts always remember that translated words are only approximations and leave a trail of questions behind. since the egalitarian academic society feels uncomfortable with excellence. are we going to find inherited characteristics or socially enforced modes of behavior. in order that you may be punished for your evil ways (125a) mh epivlipoi uJma`~ plou`to~. After birth men have the wish to live and to accept their dooms. But as we know more about the workings of society. Just so in many a college the brightest minds are pruned off in the tenure review and driven into exile. whether good or bad.

. on the highest level of interpretation. not unlike Gregorian chant. you cannot have harmony with one pitch. and conceived of an idea they called Harmony of the Spheres. Here is a critical rubric to that doctrine.THIS PARADOXICAL UNIVERSE Opposition brings concord. the music accompaniments to the choral odes in drama were monophonic with timbres arising from different partials of the many voices. Heraclitus had already stated in his doctrine of opposites the pairs of opposite factors which constitute our universe. by weariness rest. 98.imo~ kovron. But this fragment seems to be thinking of harmony in our sense! Of course this fragment needs only indirectly to refer to music. by hunger satiety. The odd thing is that Greek music was that it was not harmonic from the little we know about it. that there is a fitting-together. which Pythagoras mentions in the Counsels long before Heraclitus. to antivxoun sumfevron kai ek tw`n diaferovntwn kallivsthn aJrmonivan (8) With music. Out of discord comes the fairest harmony. kavmato~ anavpausin (111) 99. nou`so~ uJgieivhn epoivhsen hJdu kai agaqovn. by evil that good is pleasant. The Greeks were fascinated by the mathematical ratios of the motion of the planets. a Harmony or concord between the poles of the pairs. It is by disease that health is pleasant. l.

Diels-Kranz takes it this way in the German translation. and could not have been conceived or invented if the idea did not exist in the first place. and it is the resolutions of these pairs into points that he seems interested to pursue. There things only seems mysterious because we are not attuned to perceiving them! 100. Sea water is at once very pure and very foul: it is drinkable and healthful for fishes. This should be taken as a set of formal word-thought pairs seen as variants based on a single concept. Divkh~ ovnoma ouk an hvidesan ei tau`ta mh h`n (23) The question here is what he meant by the word "tauta" as "these things". then the concept of Justice as dike would never have arisen. qavlassa u{dwr kaqarwvtaton kai miarwvtaton icquvsi men povtimon kai swthvrion anqrwvpoi~ de avpoton kai olevqrion (61) . But if tauta were originally touto "this thing". then it could mean that the concept of Dike is primary. Men would not have known the name of Justice (dike) if these things had not occurred.This Doctrine of Opposites is critical to Heraclitus' thinking and turns up again and again in different words throughout these pages. just as the material of our universe is really One Thing operating in some indefinite way behind the scenes. It would seem that injustice was being discussed. Yet in Greek neuter plurals can be used for single things. 101. but with a question mark. but undrinkable and deadly for men.. and Heraclitus reasoned that were there no injustices. but that does not mean they are entirely different kinds of phenomena.... Of course we know in ordinary and daily terms that day and night are quite different. Heraclitus' whole outlook verges towards simplification of entities: Pairs are one concept. But this is not firm and based on a change of the text. never a good idea.

. We have gone the wrong road with DDT. It is no surprise to find the Roman agricultural writer Columella aware of the sayings of Heraclitus. Pigs wash in mud. skin protection against insect bites by a thick layer of died mud or birds suffocating them with particulate matter. cohortales aves pulvere vel cinere lavari. where funded research comes first. he understands that values are relative to persons and situations. but a good deal of the edge and inventiveness of the Greeks was lost in the process. that much of our information about the world is relative under the general heading of the Logos.Speaking of sea water. 102. The real danger is to forget the world of ideas. ovnou~ surmatæ an elevsqai ma`llon h crusovn (9) And many if not most men would prefer gold to wisdom. 103. In this process much was gained in the distribution of Hellenic ideas throughout the vast Mediterranean world. which is what Heraclitus is intimating. which is not unreasonable in a highly competitive society where the bottom line seems to rule absolutely. while pure research is left in the files. and although always appreciative of Hellenism.(37) But there are reasons for this. Columella VIII 4 si modo credimius Ephesio Heraclito qui ait sues caeno. and domestic fowls in dust or ashes. they tend to be somewhat cautious if not leery of the implications of the abstract realms of Hellenic thinking. and this is nowhere more critical than in science. Our colleges are veering more and more toward "the practical". Americans are in many ways much like Romans in their sense of practical wisdom. Donkeys would prefer hay to gold. In our Post Industrial world it is increasingly clear that knowledge is mainly appreciated if it contributes to income. since by his time the old Hellenic culture had been absorbed into a synthesizing Greco-Roman way of thinking.

good.The handsomest ape is ugly compared with humankind. Locke has put it that the difference between the highest and lowest human mind is not great. the wisest man appears as an ape when compared with a god --. 83) Both the above quotations are from Plato. hence was basically immoral. 106. just as a boy is by a man.  anhr nhvpio~ hvkouse pro~ daivmono~ o{kosper pai`~ pro~ androv~(79) To God all things are beautiful. but it does seem that the diversity of these two extremes can be extreme. and right. high and low. so "equality" is a center point in a more/less continuum between polar ends. . Man is regarded as childish by a spirit (daemon). deem some things right and others wrong. 104. in beauty. Men. This even finds a place in Euclid's geometry: That which is equal can only be deduced by proving the impossibility of it being more or less. piqhvko~ oJ kavllisto~ aiscro~ anqrwvpwn gevnei sumbavllein anqrwvpon oJ sofwvtato~ pro~ qeon pivqhko~ fanei`tai kai sofivai kai kavllei kai toi`~ alloi`~ pa`sin (82. His thought was of course an extension of the doctrine of opposites. up and down. tw`i men qew`i kala pavnta kai divkaia. on the other hand. opportunity and luck. and in all other ways.in wisdom. 105. This may be in partly the result of effort. avnqrwpoi de aJ men avdika upeilhjasin aJ de divkaia(102) The Christian apologists attacked Heraclitus on the grounds that he dismissed the difference between good and bad.

etc.taujta ergazovmenoi. Doctors cut. the (good) cures and diseases. .. But the second phrase gets the Hericlitan meaning clearly: The cure and the disease are part of the same phenomenon which they are treating. Petronius: medici nihil aliud sunt quam consolatio animi. and great similarity at the slope of the continuum which stretches between them. burn. a trait which has not disappeared in our time.. Burns: You take the high road.. (58) This sounds at first reading like the typical ancient (and modern) attack on the medical profession. and then demand of them an undeserved fee for such services. ta agaqa kai ta~ novsou~.. Cf.107. Certainly Heraclitus is thinking of the fact that we are.epaitevontai mhden avxion misqon lambavnein. oJi gou`n iJatroiv tevmnonte~ kaivonte~ .. What we want is not what we need and in medicine sometimes not what we get in a world where the cure may be worse than the disease! 108. oJdo~ avnw kavtw miva kai wuthv (60) Again the relative opposites with opposed poles. The way up and the way down are one and the same. and torture the sick... Ancient writings are full of remarks about doctors. . to paraphrase his words.. They are treating the same things. In the circumference of the circle the beginning and the end are common. driven with a blow to the doctor. xunon arch kai pevra~ epi kuvklou perifereiva~ (103) 109..

No wonder that recycling of souls has taken such a firm hold on many societies. and furthermore the WE fluctuates between being and not being. sumferovmenon diaferovmenon. i. and what is not. perhaps echoing our lives. Whether the problem has been solved to date. which Parmenides has tried to answer by saying: Deal with what is as IS. For the wool-carder the straight and the winding way are one and the same. potamoiv~ toi`~ autoi`~ embainomevn de kai ouk embainomen.e. It is not only a different river. ek pavntwn eJn kai ex eJno~ pavnta (10) 111 112. without ends and limits. the concord-ant is the discord-ant. suna`idon dia`idon. as IS NOT. Compare in another setting the Indian figure of the snake swallowing its own tail. gnafeivwi oJdo~ euqei`a kai skolihv miva estiv kai hJ auth (59) v Joints are at once a unitary whole and not a unitary whole. Into the same rivers we step and do not step. sunavyie~ o{la kai ouk o{la . and out of oneness come the many things. . is and also is not clear. From many things comes oneness. although we humans prefer straight lines with finite ends. and mathematical statements of the same figure in a different matrix. To be in agreement is to differ. ei`men de kai out ei`men (49a) This presses the figure of the river one step further. 110.Aristotle noted the circle as the perfect motion for this very reason that it is circular. but the WE is different from day to day. In the final analysis everything curves. This posits a continuum between what IS and what is NOT. We exist and we do not exist.

396b where he is discussing anatomy and the parts of the body as assembled from separate design into a unitary whole. 113. saw that a body is a unitary whole. So when he says "Joints" he is referring to parts of the body. It is one and the same thing to be living and dead. in which each part works with and depends on the simultaneous function of all the other parts. tavde gar metapesovnta ekei`nav esti. which can be replaced with the proper part? Do organs have individual functions? Chinese medicine long ago. by sudden unexpected reversal tautov tæ evni zw`n kai teqnhkov~ kai egrhgorov~ kai kaqeu`don kai nevon kai ghraiovn. It is wonderful that some can be actually replaced from cadavers. awake or asleep. kakei`na metapesovnta tau`ta (88) . since the words di-aiedon and sun-aieidon are formed from the verb aeid-ein "to sing". and the latter becomes the former. although Heraclitus was thinking abstractly and taking the remark in a double sense.This quote is from Aristotle de Mundo 5. This is becoming an important matter of discussion in the left rim of modern medicine. lacking even precise information about the parts which they refused to dissect. The organs are symbiotic and synergistic. Are we right in thinking of organs as individual parts. But Heraclitus adds to his basic One/Many theory in this sentence an appeal to music. He goes into biological details carefully before reaching the above quoted sentence. The poets are aeidoi or "singers" but that is on the basis of Greek poetry being sung with choral or instrument accompaniment. young or old. The former aspect in each case becomes the latter. but that is child's work compared to the original design and operation of a complete living animal. like parts in a car.

. tw`i ou`n tovxwi ovnoma bivo~. He must be referring to Indian metempsychosis. Western scholars have long refused to believe that the Greeks derived much from the East. didavkalo~ de pleivstwn Hsivodo~. evsti gar e{n (57) 115. Heraclitus and especially Pythagoras must have had experience in India. but the reversal which Heraclitus states is not as clear. for they are one. did not even understand the nature of day and night. The name of the bow is life. But Indian reincarnation has a structure of its own in Hindu and Buddhist thought. as Sri Auribindo and many Indian scholars have asserted. but this is changing with new work in archaeology. or with the living become dead. which is not surprising since there are many Indian traits which run through his thinking. o{sti~ hmevrhn kai eufrovnhn ouk egivnwsken. . and the study of motifs in design. but its work is death. the history of metals and agriculture. one is "bow" which kills. But behind the scene lies a Heraclitan pair of opposites. life and death having the same word in fact! This might make a better Shakespearean style pun than a point in a philosophical discourse. whom so many accept as their wise teacher. and that is different from what we have here.We have no problem with the young becoming old. the other is "life". Hesiod. tou`ton epivstantai pleivsta eidevnai. evrgon de qavnato~ (48) A trick with words for the Greek speaker: There are two words which are identical. More is to be seen! 114.

DNA vs. physical appearance) and incidentally in music where the dissonance and deceptive cadence gives us something more that straight harmonic progressions by the book. There is a harmony in the bending back. aJrmonivh afanh~ fanerh`~ kreivttwn (54) This is a wonderful perception. ou sunia`sin o{kw~ diaferovmenon eJwutw`i oJmologevei. in scientific research ( e. then it goes forward through the centerline to hurl the arrow. it is wise to acknowledge that all things are one. The hidden harmony is better than the obvious. ouk emou` alla tou` lovgou akouvsanta~ oJmologei`n sofovn estin eJn pavnta ei`nai (50) This is an iteration of the topic! At the start of the 20th century this would have seemed a piece of academic tomfoolery. as in the cases of the bow and the lyre. This is exactly the same for the string of the lyre.g. Listening not to me but to the Logos. good for thought in life. 117. but as the century ends and we are confronted by whole-istic or holistic experiences on every side. then returns to centerline.aJrmonivh o{kosper tovxou kai luvrh~ (51) Apparently he is thinking of the bent archery bow going through a cycle of motion as the string is pulled back. . it does seem that Heraclitus was hinting at something of importance.116. whereas the bow's frequency is 1Hz initially and perhaps a few additional cycles to disperse the total of the string's energy. except this has a frequency of cycles which we can hear and call a musical tone. palivntropo~ (estin) . 118. People do not understand how that which is at variance with itself agrees with itself.

war and peace. sometimes he sees the connection. sometimes not. but we can not yet imagine what it actually is.to know the intelligence which steers all things through all things. epivstasqai gnwvmhn oJtevh ekubevrnhse pavnta dia pavntw (41) We had this phrase before. povlemo~ eirhvnh. just as (fire) when combined with incenses. kovro~ limov~. oJ qeo~ hmevrh eujrovnh. a wonderful insight into the multiple interlocking avenues by which things (more complex than we had thought) can contrive to happen. Wisdom is one ---. But this is not on the level of American separation of Church and State. winter and summer. God is day and night. Whether this is to be identified with Zeus or God is questionable. 120. it is desires and yet does not desire the name of Zeus. we know there is some Logos or Pattern. yet at the same time recognizing that there is something in thought which calls for a higher kind of Mind. The modern world knows at last in the field of genetics that there is something doing the steering of complex webs of chemical-electrical exchanges. ouk eqevlei kai eqevlei Zhno~ ovnoma (32) Heraclitus seems quite clear about keeping philosophy and religion in two separate camps. 119.Wisdom is one and unique. ceimwn qevro~. satiety But he undergoes transformations. the steering of all things through all things. is named according to the particular aroma which it gives off. alloiou`tai de o{kosper ªpu`rº. oJkotan oummigh`i quw`masin. 121. onomavzetai kaqæ hJdonhvn ekavstou (67) . gar eJn to sovfon. often censuring popular religious practices as foolish or even evil. eJn to sovfon mou`non levgesqa. which has political roots back from the Reformation and English State Religion abuses for centuries.

there will be odorless fire. two odorless things. the "pur" following "per" was omitted. which combines with odorless incense cake. we get a meaning for the sentence.There are two problems with this quotation. With this not unreasonable emendation. By haplography or single reading of two similar syllables. as the incense material emits smoke and eventually turns to pure smoke as cake or liquid disappear. which we can extend to "aroma" based on our knowledge of the human apparatus for distinguishing smell. both disappear. here for the sake of the argument seen as complementary opposites. So fire and incense. which arises from the specific nature of the incense being used. as when fire is combined with incense. Summarizing the summary: a) fire and b) incense #5 ---> odor #5. as an example of mutual combinatory change. producing in combination something else as an aroma. In the second line something is clearly missing after "like". Best way is to see "each" as referring to "each kind of incense" since it can't refer to fire. and thus the sentences lost its subject pu`r as Fire. seen here as often as a pair can combine to produce something else. taste". and this has been widely accepted. but the closing phrase is even harder to grasp: It (the smoke?) is named according to the aroma of each. Now we can summarize and say: At altar ceremony. if so it will be up to someone else to ponder the words further and see what can be elicited. But then he says that a change is made. However now that we have a readable sentence. . So we have a meaning here too. perhaps there is something else to this quotation. on grammatical grounds. we don't know what it means! In the first line we were talking about complementary opposites as Heraclitus often does. But what the meaning actually is remains unclear. So far so good. The word hJdonhv is used by the Ionian philosophers for "flavor. The best suggestion seems to depend on there being originally two words which had phonetic similarity ( o{kosper pu`r ). I am not satisfied. The fire lights the incense and disappears as fire. In other words.

. fiends of Justice. 122. . releasing giant forces which we are not in a position to regulate or utilize properly. since we believe more and more since the 17th century investigators that Science is the tool to control and convert the process of nature for human use. if he were to do so... (94) There is a natural order to things. which carry all things". a hard Necessity which orders data...wvra~ aiJ pavnta fevrousi. regulates and designates the changes and "seasons.. This might be seen as a higher level of Natural Law than we are accustomed to think of in our socialbased thinking...the seasons which carry all things along. We have in this last century succeeded in forcing electrons out of their natural measures by means of overpowering forces. 123. the Erinnyes.4 under Periodous as rotations. If cracking uranium can be seen as overstepping the measure of its natural life span. Erinue~ min Divkh~ epivkouroi exeurhvsousin. .. the Erinnyes may soon be in order to seek us out for punishment. and was talking about the sun which measures out... This is cryptic...The sun will not overstep his measures. a better thought that Plutarch probably realized. The following quotation seems to offer a comment on this situation. (100) . would seek him out for punishment h{lio~ gar ouc uJperbhvsetai mevtra .. Heraclitus must have been thinking of Time as one of the major functions of all phenomena. This comes to us via Plutarch's discussion in the Quaestiones Platonicae 8...

Compare the Zen notion. all which he sums up neatly here. about eyes and ears being good witnesses.. about eyes being better witnesses than ears. o|koswn ovyi~ akovh mavqhsi~ tau`ta egw protivmew Heraclitus had spoken above about the value of seeing something yourself (autopsia).. There is plenty of room for the sleepers. as Heraclitus the Obscure. And this is found elsewhere.com .linguistssoftware..Even sleepers are workers and collaborators in what goes on in the universe tou~ kaqeuvdonta~ . which can stand as a very apt and meaningful final remark to conclude this long list of the scattered fragmentary remarks of the Greek philosopher Heraclitus. 125. as Jesus' remark: "Consider the lilies of the field. but the real need is for the thinkers like Heraclitus The Greek font is Payne Italic from www. that doing nothing is also doing something. when he dubbed him oj skoteinov~. a passive participant is just as much a participant as an active one.kai sunergou~ tw`n en tw`i kovsmwi gignovmenwn (75) Since everything in the world is a part of the total kosmos. in which there is no need to do anything special. hearing and knowledge. It is finally Mathesis as active understanding which makes the difference between trying to grasp the shape and the sense of the Kosmos.ergavta~ ei`nai... as against missing the search in an uneventful hypnotic cloud of sleep... 124." Of things which involve sight. who is after all much more logical and intelligent than Aristotle thought..... these I especially respect. that being is being a part of the whole. But he adds one critical element to the list: Mathesis or "understanding". they do not spin..

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