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PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Mon Jun 24, 2013 6:21 am

XCI (D. 75) Marcus Aurelius: [Heraclitus says, I think, that men asleep are laborers and co-workers in what takes place in the world.]

The emperor in his meditations cites from memory, without great concern for accuracy. Hence XCI is at best a free paraphrase, and some editors count it only as a reminiscence of 1.3: 'men are forget- ful of (do not notice) what they do asleep' (so Marcovich, p. 10).
It seems more likely that Marcus here, like Plutarch in VI (D. 89), is recalling some statement on the sleeper otherwise lost, so that XCI would form a pendant to VI: in sleep a man turns away from the common world of the waking, but he is never altogether 'out of touch'. But the indication here is too vague to add anything substan- tial to our understanding of Heraclitus' conception of sleep.

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Mon Jun 24, 2013 6:27 am

XCIII (D. 88) The same . . . : living and dead, and the waking and the sleeping, and young and old. For these transposed are those, and those transposed again are these.

As a basis for the interpretation for XCIII, I recall the two comple- mentary principles enunciated above:

(1) the reversibility of the process of death, by analogy with the alternation of sleeping and waking and with the return of the seasons of the year, and

(2) the generalization of the notion of death, conceived as any change of state in which something old gives way before something radically new. The first thesis, implied by XCII, is here stated explicitly. The correspond- ing generalization or relativization of the concept of death, which seems implicit in both XCII and XCIII, is more directly documented by CII (D. 36), if we take the reference to the 'death' of water and earth quite literally. Both the literal interpretation of CII and the generalized notion of death are entailed by the panpsychism I have attributed to Heraclitus on the basis of XXXI (D. 113) and XXXV (D. 45).
(By the usual hermeneutical circle, this attribution is now confirmed by its application to XCII, XCIII, and CII.) And of course some unity between life and death, including some positive evaluation of the negative term, follows from Heraclitus' central conception of the harmonie or fitting together of opposites, as was seen in the dis- cussion of LXXVIII (D. 51) and LXXIX (D. 48). What remains to be shown is how these various doctrines are connected in a coherent
view of life-beyond-death for the human being or for the psyche.

It is natural to begin by a comparison with the Pythagorean doctrine of transmigration, for this must have served as point of departure for Heraclitus' own view of the afterlife. The Pythagorean doc- trine satisfies my principle of reversibility by positing a process of rebirth (in a new body) as the converse of dying (when the psyche leaves its previous body). It also involves a relativization of the notion of death, insofar as birth and death are both interpreted as a change of state for the psyche rather than as radical coming-to-be and passing- away.

To this extent, there is a genuine affinity between Heraclitus' thought and the mystic view of the soul, which justifies the affinity of language already noted. But the Pythagorean doctrine implies a basic disparity between the destiny of the deathless psyche and that of the mortal body, and hence a fundamental dualism between the realms of the animate (or deathless) and inanimate (or mortal). It is precisely here that Heraclitus' view diverges in virtue of his monism, which in this context means his panpsychism, and his extension of the notion of death to any radical change of state. The statement of CII (D. 36), that the psyche which dies is reborn as water and the water which dies is reborn as earth, can be seen as a generalization of the doctrine of transmigration for the whole cycle of elemental transformations, in which every stage is simultaneously a death and a rebirth. (Thus Heraclitus has extended the Pythagorean cycle of rebirth to the general Milesian conception of elemental coming-to-be and passing-away expressed in the fragment of Anaximander.) Since the Pythagoreans themselves had emphasized the continuity between different forms of life — human, animal, vegetable — their view could be formulated by Plato as the claim that 'all nature is akin' (Meno 81C9).

The panpsychism of Heraclitus is perhaps best understood as an insistence upon taking this claim literally, together with a will- ingness to draw the most radical consequences from it for the inter- pretation of human destiny. As XCIII indicates by the parallel to waking and sleeping, youth and age, and the claim that all these are 'the same', the alternation of psychic death and rebirth in a new form, by which the dead become the living and 'these are transposed as those', is then only a special case of the general law of nature with its rhythmic alternation between opposite poles, as in the mutual succession of night and day, the annual tropai of the sun and seasons. This was perfectly understood by Plato, who introduces the doctrine of the rebirth of souls from the dead in the Phaedo as a conclusion from the more general theory concerning 'all animals and plants and all things that have a coming-to-be (genesis)9, a theory which argues in impeccable Heraclitean form that in every case 'they come to be as opposites from opposites, and in no other way' (Phaedo 70D—E).

Now the natural objection to this generalized view of immortality and the reversibility of death — an objection which the mystic doc- trine of reincarnation seeks to avoid — is that it is always something new that is reborn, and not the same entity as before. Just as yester- day and tomorrow are not the same day, and last summer and next summer are not the same season, so it will never be the same man who, after growing old, becomes young again, nor will it be the same human being who can hope to be reborn after his death. And there- fore, this objection runs, there is a crucial disanalogy between these cases and phenomena like sleeping and waking, where the psyche undergoes a fundamental change of state but remains one and the same throughout. The analogy articulated in XCIII thus fails to take account of the central feature of personal identity, the fact of psycho- physical continuity established both by memory and by bodily per- sistence between the man awake and his former self asleep, as between the waking man now and his earlier waking state. But there is no com- parable identity or continuity between the man living and the man dead (except for the persistence of his bodily components in their slow return to the elements), and none at all between the old man and some future state of youth.

Consequently, the principle of reversibility posited by the analogy to sleep fails utterly in the case of death and aging. Any hope of survival or revival which rests upon this analogy must be fallacious, and can offer no real consolation either for our individual death or for our experience of diminution in old age.
This objection is a crucial one, and the answer to it will bring out more clearly the radical nature of Heraclitus' thought about life and death. For his answer must take the form of a fundamental denial of the notions of personal and psychic identity as ordinarily conceived.

I think there is no doubt that Heraclitus would confidently reject the charge of fallacy and would insist that the alleged disanalogy is a snare and a delusion. In reality, neither our bodies nor our psyches are, in the strict sense, ever one and the same from one moment to the next: they are continually undergoing radical transformation, dying and being reborn again at every instant. Once more Plato has rendered Heraclitus' thought with complete fidelity, in the passage already cited from the Symposium (207D—208B, above, p. 167). But let the old riddler speak for himself.
'As they step into the same rivers, other and still other waters flow upon them' (L, D. 12). The identity of the river is one of form and physical continuity, but not of material identity or preservation of the same content. And as the reference to men stepping in makes clear, this coexistence of continuity with massive change is understood in terms of the human experience of a world that is funda- mentally stable but never really the same. If you look for strict identity, 'you cannot step twice into the same river'.298 That is to say, the lack of identity between one day or one summer and the next is exactly paralleled by the lack of identity between one moment of our experience and another moment of our experience of 'the same thing'.

Even in the case of personal continuity between the sleeping and waking man, between the dream self and the everyday self, the relationship is one of psychic contiguity or contact, not strict identity: the waking 'touches' (haptetai) the sleeping in memory, as the living sleeper touches the dead in dreaming (XC, D. 26). Thus there is just as much, and just as little, unity and identity between a man and his dreams, between a man and his past self and past experience, as between a man and his offspring (see XCV and XCVIII below), or between a man and his lasting fame (XCVII); and just as much and as little identity between one elemental form and its successor, or be- tween the river today and the river tomorrow.

Still, the objection has not been fully answered. For if we understand (as I think we must) the Heraclitean river-of-flux doctrine in the way that has just been indicated, the objector may respond as follows. Even if there is no such thing as absolute identity over time for individual persons or objects, nevertheless there are different grades of relative identity. In the case of persons, there is first the phenomenon of physical continuity (from time to time and from place to place) for a body of the same general form, with massive overlap of the same material constituents from one interval to the next — the kind of identity over time which human beings share with physical objects such as stones or trees, and which lasts beyond their death as long as the body remains more or less intact.

And there is also the fact of psychological continuity with the same self in the past and in the future. This psychic continuity, which we tend to think of as distinctly human (though it must be shared to some extent by other animals as well) connects me with my past self not only by explicit memories but also by the entire pattern of habits, skills, preferences, nostalgias, phobias, and recurrent moods — by the entire pattern of my personality as a legacy from childhood and adolescence, down to my delightful or irritating experiences of yesterday or of five minutes ago. On the other hand, this same psychic continuity con- nects me with my future self not only by the persistence, more or less unchanged, of this elaborate pattern from the past, but also by the constant projection of myself into the future, by way of hopes and fears for tomorrow, by long- and short-run plans for actions, ambitions for future achievements and rewards, forboding of future losses (including the death of those dear to me, and also my own death), a whole range of prepared responses for coming contingencies of all sorts.

Now the importance of the first concept, the thought of physical or bodily continuity beyond death, is reflected in all the immense variety of ancient funeral cult and grave adornment, but most strikingly in the Egyptian practice of mummification, designed precisely to preserve the recognizable form of an individual body. On the other hand, the psychic continuity beyond death is presupposed, in some sense, by all concern with the future of one's fame and of one's fam- ily, including perhaps the concern for one's own burial — as if one were to be among the spectators — and for future remembrance in the regular tending of one's grave. But in this perspective the most striking expression of a concern for future psychic continuity, corre- sponding in principle to the practice of mummification for the pres- ervation of bodily identity, is the Pythagorean doctrine of a recollec- tion of previous existences, with the corresponding importance in the eschatology of the South Italian gold tablets of the promise of a drink from the waters of Memory, the cool drink from the lake of Mnemosyne in the world below, that will permit the dead to retain the essential psychic contact with his personal past in the future state that awaits him.

Such is our ordinary, pre-philosophic concept of personal identity or individual survival in its double form, bodily and psychic. Quite distinct is our notion of generic or specific identity, as when one horse or one tree is replaced by another, or when parents are replaced by children who become parents in turn in successive generations. It is this notion of generic survival, or replacement in kind, that is exemplified by the sequence of days and of seasons, and in a different way also by the waters that are continually being replaced within a given river.300

Finally, there is a third, and again different notion of replacement or survival in which the principle of generic identity or likeness of kind is given up, as when plants are consumed by animals, or when dung and corpses are reabsorbed into the earth and the elements, or when one element such as water yields to another element such as earth, according to Heraclitus' own doctrine. Here there is a certain notion of physical continuity from one state to the next, and a regular sequence of stages, but no sense in which any likeness of kind or definite form is preserved.

Our objection against Heraclitus' view of the interchange of living and dead, young and old in XCIII can now be reformulated as the claim that he systematically blurs the distinction between these three kinds of 'survival', characterized by

(1) some preservation of psychic or bodily individuality,

(2) the maintenance or recurrence of the same generic form, and

(3) regularity in the sequence of changes, with some continuity between stages but no preservation of individual or even generic identity.

What men ordinarily desire is individual survival in the first sense, which is promised to them in some measure by the various grave cults of antiquity, and even by the dismal Homeric pic- ture of the psychai as phantoms of men in the world below, but which finds its most perfect fulfillment in the mystic promise of future bliss (whether pagan or Christian). It is the second form, generic survival or replacement by another individual of the same kind, which is repre- sented in the desire for offspring and in the practice of naming a male child after the grandfather or some other older relative. However, if Heraclitus' generalization of the notion of death is taken seriously, so that the death of water and the birth of earth are to be regarded as strictly parallel to the death and birth of an individual human being,
this has the effect of reducing the first two forms of survival to the
third. But the third form of continuity in change is mere transformation, the production of something new with the annihilation of what has gone before, so that neither individual survival nor likeness of kind is maintained.

To this natural objection I believe the true Heraclitean response will be: 'You have entirely misunderstood my doctrine. Yes, I do reduce all sorts of change and survival to one type, but it is to the sec- ond and not to the third: to likeness of kind and identity of struc- ture, which the river illustrates by preserving its form while all the individuating matter has been replaced: the river as a concrete indi- vidual is ever dying and being reborn, as "other and again other waters" are ever pouring in.

And this identity of pattern holds generally for nature as a whole: it includes the constant structure of the year, within which the seasons change, as well as the constant unit of the night-and-day, within which the relative length of the night and of the day will vary according to the seasons. So even if (as I am will- ing to grant) Anaximander or some other theorist was right to sup- pose that the formation of the world will be balanced in time by its destruction, so that the ruling principle of fire will eventually consume all things in a regular exchange between itself as fire and itself as cosmos, even so the unity of the whole pattern will be preserved, within which all the parts must change and recur with likeness of kind.

In short, the only identical individual is the cosmic process as a whole, with its cycle of recurrence over the longest year, whatever time and pattern this cycle of transformations may take; but its unity of structure is guaranteed by the regular recurrence of the same forms, by likeness of kind, as defined by the permanent tension and rhythmic alternation between opposites at every level: from individual birth and death to the daily lighting and quenching of the sun; from the birth and death of the elements to the eternal kindling and extinction of cosmic fire. This is the sense of personal identity and personal survival which I have come to recognize: the unity of all things in the wise one alone, which I found when I set out in search of myself.'

Thus it is the recognition of this common pattern in the part and the whole, this universal law of polar tension and the regular pendulum swing back and forth between opposites, the endless recurrence of 'everliving fire' in the same forms, which provides the only con- solation there is or could be for human aging and death. Perhaps the greatest surprise that awaits us at our death is that things will not be very different, since we are and always have been familiar with the experience of continually dying and continually being reborn.

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Mon Jun 24, 2013 6:32 am

XCIV (D. 52) Lifetime (aion) is a child at play, moving pieces in a game. King- ship belongs to the child.

My own solution to this most enigmatic of Heraclitean riddles is indicated by the translation of pesseuon as 'moving pieces in a game', where this is understood as an echo of 'things transposed' (meta- pesonta) in XCIII (D. 88). What was there said to be moved back and forth was 'living and dead, and the waking and the sleeping, and young and old'. Such reversals constitute the very principle of cosmic order. More specifically, these three pairs define the structure of human experience as an alternating pattern of being kindled and going out. On my view the fundamental thought is not the childlike and random movements of the game (as some interpreters have supposed) but the fact that these moves follow a definite rule, so that after one side plays it is the other's turn, and after the victory is reached the play must start over from the beginning. The rules of the pessoi-game thus imitate the alternating measures of cosmic fire.

My interpretation assumes a continuity of thought and imagery between XCIII (D. 88) and XCIV (D. 52). This continuity would be guaranteed if we could be sure that the game oipessoi envisaged in XCIV involved the use of dice, like modern tavli or backgammon (as Marcovich suggests, p. 494). For the verb metapesein for 'trans- positions' in XCIII has the literal sense of 'fall out otherwise' and could immediately suggest the fall of a die. But whether or not we bring dice into this game the verb metapesein will remain relevant to XCIV, since it is a synonym of other verbs (metatithenai and meta- ballein) that typically describe moving pieces on a board.

If we agree, then, to take the back-and-forth movement of XCIII (with its cosmic and human applications) as a clue for understanding the p^sso/-game in XCIV, we are left with three puzzles to unravel:

(1) Why is the player named aion 'lifetime'?

(2) Why is he called 'a child at play' (pais paizon)?

(3) Why is the child described as a king?

Any answer to (2) is likely to seem conjectural; the first and third puzzles admit of rather straightforward solutions.

(1) Aion has the sense Vitality', '(human) life', as when Pindar calls the soul 'the image of [the man's] aion' (fr. 116 Bowra). On this sense is based the standard usage of the word for 'lifetime', 'duration (of a life)', which, under the influence of the cognate adverb aiei ('always', 'forever') eventually makes aion a synonym for 'time' (chronos). Finally, in Plato's Timaeus and thereafter, aion acquires the technical sense of timeless 'eternity' as contrasted with temporal duration. This later technical sense is irrelevant here. But the whole range of other meanings, from human lifetime to larger temporal periods, are all properly suggested by the name of the player whose game includes both the movements of human life and death and the back-and-forth reversals of the cosmos.

(3) It is obvious why the player possesses 'kingship', since the game is a cosmic one, and the player must be lord of the universe, like the pilot who 'steers all things' according to LIV (D. 41) and CXIX (D. 64). Now the only other text where this ruling principle is called 'king' is LXXXIII (D. 53), where War is 'father of all and king of all', appointing some as gods, others as men, some slave, others free. If we bear in mind the equation-by-transposition of mortals and immortals in XCII, we see that the games played by Lifetime and by War have the same structure. Just as the bow, whose work is death, is named 'life' (bios), so the king of conflict and destruction can be called 'life- time' (aion).

(2) The hardest question is why the king, designated 'father' in LXXXIII (D. 53), appears here as a child at play, 'playing the child'. The triple occurrence of the stem 'child' (pais9paizon9paidos) does not seem fully explained by the fact that pessoi is a children's game.

At the risk of yielding to free association, I propose some connec- tion with the theme of father-son transpositions in the cycle of gener- ations developed in XCV (D. A19) and XCVIII (D.20).303 The 'ever- lasting child' (taking aion pais together, with a play on aei on or aeizoon 'everliving', as in XXXVII, D. 30) remains forever youthful, even infantile, throughout his 'lifetime', playing his endless game and maintaining his eternal kingship by a series of births and deaths across the generations, by the endless begetting of children. The father thus sees the 'kingship' — the initiative, the first move in the game — pass to his son, who becomes a father in turn and is confronted with the same game.

Also possible here is the commentators' suggestion of arbitrary or random movement, as in the cast of the dice: a truly childish game not guided by mature intelligence or reasonable plan. This would present a paradoxical counterpart to the insistence elsewhere on the wisdom of the cosmic principle that is more than a match for Zeus (CXVIII, D. 32). This notion of a witless or arbitrary ruler might be understood as a parallel to CXXV (D. 124): as the finest kosmos or adornment is produced by random sweepings, so the wise balance of the universe emerges from the thoughtless movements of a child at play.


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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Mon Jun 24, 2013 6:35 am

XCVA (D. A19) Plutarch: [A generation is thirty years according to Heraclitus, in which time the progenitor has engendered one who generates.]

XCVB (D. A19) Censorinus: [Heraclitus is the authority for calling thirty years a generation, because the cycle of life lies in this interval. He calls the cycle of
life until nature returns from human seed-time to seed-time.]


There has been some confusion over the literal meaning of this state- ment, a confusion which goes back to an ancient variant and which, despite its careful correction by Frankel and Kirk, has not been eliminated from the most recent commentaries.304 The confusion lies in counting the generational period of thirty years from the birth of the grandfather to the birth of his grandson, i.e. as a cycle of two generations by any normal count, instead of from a father's begetting of a son to the son's becoming a father in turn. It is the latter interval, from one begetting to the next, that is described by both Plutarch and Censorinus; and the period of thirty years corresponds to a natural cycle of human generations, as will be seen in a moment. There is no reason to take seriously the other interpretation, even though the mistake is as old as Philo.

The error is a natural one, since the text reflected in Plutarch describes the father-son relationship as repeated indefinitely, so that the father becomes the grandfather as the son begets in turn. Thus a man becomes a grandfather thirty years after he becomes a father. From this mention of the third generation some ancient author, per- haps Philo himself, drew the biologically correct but humanly un- interesting observation that thirty years is the earliest age at which one can become a grandfather! Since no Greek male was the father of a legitimate child at the age of 15, this theoretical doubling of the time required for puberty is quite irrelevant to the thought of XCV. A generation is the interval between parents and children, not be- tween grandparents and grandchildren.

Thirty years may seem an arbitrary number, but there is good evi- dence for the social and historical reality of this figure, which scholars sometimes use as a basis for calculating dates from genealo- gical lists. Thus it is Hesiod's advice that a man should marry around the age of thirty (Works and Days 696f.); and three centuries later Plato specifies that the age of marriage should be between 25 and 35, or 30 and 35. In a careful anthropological study of one of the most archaic societies of Greece today, the semi-nomadic Sarakatsani shepherds of the Zagori mountains in northwest Greece, J.K. Campbell reports that the sons are normally married at about the age of 30. Now in a traditional society, where marriage is quite deliberately undertaken in view of procreation, a man who marries around the age of thirty can generally expect to become a father within a year. Of course the first child may not be a son. But if it is, and if the son marries in turn at thirty, the situation described by Heraclitus will be realized. Hesiod and Plato indicate that this happened quite often in ancient Greece, as it does today (or did yesterday, since the study relates to 1945—55) among the Sarakatsani, where 58 out of 123 sons married at the age of 30 of 31, and most of the others married within a year or two of that age.

The human significance of this period, where the son assumes in turn the role of father, can be seen in Campbell's description of a con- cretely observed society.

Although the late date of marriage of brothers is not unconnected with the duty of first discharging obligations towards the sisters before a man acquires a family of his own, it is not a simple correlation. It is also related to the balance of power between father and son. If a man marries at the age of 30 and his first son is born a year later, this son will in turn reach the age of 30 when his father is in his early sixties, an age at which he becomes physically incapable of the strenuous life that the executive head of a shepherd family necessarily leads . . . He must, then, bow to the inevitable, arrange the marriage of his son and in a short time (at the birth of his first grandchild) hand over control; for, as we have stressed, it is not compatible with the values of this com- munity for a married man with a child to be still under parental control and not master in his own house. But fathers do not normally hand over control until they have to. (Honour, Family, and Patronage, pp. 83f.)

The life and values of contemporary Sarakatsani shepherds are not those of the citizens of Ephesus in 500 B.C. But in the rude conditions of existence for their joint families, they illustrate in a very striking way the succession of power and vitality, the exchange between age and youth, father and son, in the endless, repetitive game played by Lifetime (aion).

For the connections between this human cycle of 30 years and the cosmic cycle of 10,800 years in the 'great year', see above on XLIII (D. A13 and A5). The conflict and succession of generations is the central human instance of the pattern of opposition and exchange be- tween the old and the new, between life and death: the pattern of renewal by destruction and recurrence. The father dies, and is replaced by his son, who buries his father but continues his life, biologically and also ritually in the tendence of his grave. 'Mortals are immortal, immortals mortal.

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Mon Jun 24, 2013 6:37 am

XCVI (D. 25) Greater deaths (moroi) are allotted greater destinies (moirai).

Formally speaking, this is another gem of artful construction in miniature. Of the five words of XCVI, the first four begin with the same letter. The first and fourth are cognates and near-synonyms (moroi, moirai), masculine and feminine noun-formations from the root of meiromai 'to receive as one's share'; here they correspond syntactically as subject and object of the verb. The second and third words represent the same adjective, structured syntactically by agree- ment with the corresponding noun (mezones, mezonas). Thus the syntactic pattern is a-a-b-b, but in meaning and morphology it is a^b-b-a2. The tight antiphonal symmetry is relieved by the longer and phonetically unrelated final word lanchanousi, whose meaning is closely akin to the root of moros and moira: '(receive as) one's share or portion'. At first sight the fragment is a mystifying tautology: 'greater portions have allotted to them greater shares'.

Though etymologically sound, this trivial reading cannot suffice. The meaning of moros as 'portion' or 'lot' survives only in a few technical uses; from Homer on, the term acquires the literary sense of 'doom' or 'violent death'. The cognate moira does have a wide range of uses in which the etymological value is preserved: 'part', 'share', 'fraction', hence 'allotted region', 'territory', or 'share of esteem', 'social class'. But moira in poetry characteristically refers to the personal fate of a man, his allotted share of life delimited by the moment of death. Thus Moira is personified as goddess (after Homer, goddesses) of Fate, where 'fate' is understood in reference to death. Taking the words in this literary sense we get as a second reading: 'the magnitude of one's death determines the magnitude of one's destiny or share of life'.

There are two natural interpretations of this statement, neither of them entirely satisfactory. There may be an allusion here to the mystic promise of something beyond the grave, a fate 'far better for the initiated' or purified souls than for the others, who suffer punish- ment or 'lie in the mire'.
Such an allusion comes as a surprise, for the Heraclitean doctrine of survival seems to point to a single destiny of elemental psychic recurrence for all alike. The only hint so far of possible differences in destinies beyond the grave lies in the threat that Justice will lay hands on those who fabricate lies or testify to them (LXXXVII, D. 28B); and the lies in question seem to relate to the fate of the soul after death. It is not clear how this conception of justice, with the hint there of punishment and here of reward, can find a place within the monistic pattern of Heraclitus' thought. This is, perhaps, the most difficult problem for the interpretation of his philosophy as a coherent system. I return to it in the commentary on CIX.

There is a second, less mysterious interpretation, which poses similar problems for Heraclitus' monism but which does explain how one's destiny can be determined by one's death or moros. This view, which interprets the greater destinies by reference to the traditional Greek glorification of an heroic death in battle, has been accepted by Diels and many other commentators, since it appears to be confirmed by Heraclitus' own remarks about the pursuit of glory (in XCVII, D. 29) and the honor bestowed on those who die in battle (in C, D. 24).

The glory won by risking one's life in single combat is the theme of the Iliad; and Tyrtaeus speaks in similar terms of the warrior who defends his city in the hoplite phalanx. Great is the share of honor for him who dies fighting in the forefront: he is lamented 'by young men and old alike; the whole city mourns him with terrible grief. His tomb and his children are pointed out among men, and his children's children and his race thereafter. Never will his noble fame (kleos) perish, nor his name, but even when he lies under the earth he becomes immortal (athanatos), he whom furious Ares destroys as he excells in bravery, standing firm in combat, fighting for the sake of his land and his children' (Tyrtaeus, fr. 9. 23-34; cf. frs. 6-7).

Now Heraclitus is not one to follow the poets or to take the mob as his master. But he has chosen his terms in such a way as to suggest this traditional glorification of the hero's death.311 The classical exaltation of military death, echoed in Horace's ode pro patria mori, is part of the fundamental ideology of civic solidarity on which the city-state depended for its very existence. And Heraclitus has expressed his own endorsement of such a view in other texts, as when he speaks of 'holding fast to what is shared by all' (XXX, D. 114) and 'fighting for the law as for the city wall' (LXV, D. 44).

Both mystic and military interpretations are surely relevant, but neither can render the full content of this tantalizing sentence. The initial appearance of tautology, reinforced by the extraordinary for- mal symmetry, strongly suggests that the greater rewards are some- how immanent in the quality of the death as such.

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Tue Jun 25, 2013 1:51 pm

XCVII (D. 29) The best choose one thing in exchange for all, everflowing fame among mortals; but most men have sated themselves like cattle.

XCVIII (D. 20) Once born they want to live and have their portions (moroi); and they leave children behind born to become their dooms (moroi).

These two fragments belong together on thematic grounds; both deal with the ends men choose in living. And there is a formal reason for combining them. The understood subject of XCVIII is almost certainly hoi polloi 'most people', mentioned in the last clause of XCVII; so that it is plausible to read the former as a direct continuation of the latter. Taken as a continuous text, XCVII—XCVIII provide a com- mentary on XCVI, recalled here by the word play on moros.

XCVII—XCVIII give us two opposing conceptions of life and immortality: the choice of the noblest (hoi aristoi), like Achilles in love with imperishable fame (kleos); in contrast to the desires and satisfaction of 'most men', who are compared to cattle or beasts of burden (ktenea). The terms of heroic choice recall the cosmic value of fire which, like gold, serves as payment for all things (XL, D. 90): 'one thing in exchange for all'. The choice of the cattle-men is described in terms of 'satiety' koros. (For this theme compare LXVII, D. I l l ; CXX, D. 65; and CXXIII, D. 67.)

If my arrangement is correct, this same choice of beast-like satisfaction is described in XCVIII by reference to the sequence of generations. The cycle of generations is here reinterpreted as a cycle of births (ginomena . . . genesthai) equivalent to so many deaths (moroi: both terms repeated in each clause of XCVIII).

Achilles is the paradigmatic hero precisely because, when con- fronted with a clear choice between long life (aion) or undying fame {kleos) to be paid for by an early death, he unhesitatingly pursues the course of honor and death in combat.313 Heraclitus has generalized this choice as an option between two forms of death and survival: a flaming ardor for 'one thing in exchange for all', or the animal satis- factions of a portion of life continued across the generations by pro- creation. The latter course is not only common to cattle and sheep;
it is in a larger sense the pattern of death and immortality for all things, in the river of everflowing change and recurrence. The former, distinctively human choice is exemplified by (but scarcely limited to) the continuous stream of glory which flows from a heroic death in battle.

The stylistic detail of XCVII—XCVIII merits attention. We have seen how 'one thing in exchange for all' in XCVII establishes a formal parallel between the aim of a noble life and the omnivalent principle
of fire. The phrase which follows immediately, 'everflowing fame among (literally, of) mortals', is marked by a curious syntactic ambiguity and a famous literary parallel. In his encomium on the glorious dead of Thermopylae, Simonides spoke of 'the tomb which is an altar . . . a funeral offering which all-conquering time will not efface', and of Leonidas 'who left behind a great adornment of excel- lence (aretds kosmon) and everflowing fame (aenaon te kleos)',314 Leonidas and his men would furnish a splendid example of what Heraclitus meant by the choice of 'the best' or 'the noblest ones' (hoi aristoi).

The syntactic ambiguity (pointed out by Bollack-Wismann) lies in the construction of the phrase 'everflowing fame of mortals' with the preceding clause. The natural reading is to take this phrase as spelling out the 'one thing' which the best will choose 'in exchange for all'. But that construction (which must be included in the total meaning of XCVII) makes the genitive thneton 'of mortals' curiously superflu- ous, not to say clumsy. The use of the genitive seems to be motivated by its formal parallel with the preceding panton '(in place) of all things'. That parallel suggests that 'the best' are related to 'mortals' as 'the one' (or glory, or fire) is related to 'all things', so that these noblest ones become themselves 'the ever renewed glory' which is produced from, and worth the price of, the totality of 'mortal beings'. Thus taking 'everflowing fame' in apposition with the subject (hoi aristoi) rather than with the object of choice, we see these heroes as eternally rejuvenated from among the dying ('out of the mortals', with the partitive construction), since it is precisely by such deaths that mortals become immortal — at least in the traditional sense illus- trated in Tyrtaeus and Simonides, and perhaps in another sense yet to be specified.

The composition of XCVIII contains a ring effect, suggesting a cycle of recurrence, produced by the repetition of the same verb as first and last word in the sentence: genomenoi. . . genesthai. This repetition is my excuse for rendering the verb twice, first 'born (as children)' and then 'become (dooms)'. The double occurrence of moroi also highlights the multivocity of this term, which was implicit in XCVI. In its first occurrence here 'to have (one's) moros' seems to mean 'to get one's share of life', to obtain one's place in the sun. But from XCVI and the literary use of moros elsewhere, we know that these portions of life are really 'dooms' or 'deaths'. In their animal pursuit of satiety (koros), by trying to get their share of life most men gain their share of death. Instead of leaving behind like Leonidas 'an adornment of excellence and everlasting fame', they leave behind children who will contest their power and control their property, first occupying their portions of life and then following them into the grave.

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Tue Jun 25, 2013 1:53 pm

XCIX (D. 103) Porphyry: [According to Heraclitus, the beginning and the end
(peras) are shared in the circumference of a circle.]


This is one of those remarks which, like CIII (D. 60: 'the way up and down is one and the same') might be equally appropriate in other Heraclitean contexts: to mark the diurnal recurrence of the sun (from darkness to darkness), the cycle of the year, the cosmic seasons, the transformations of elements into one another, and so on. I connect it here with the cycle of generations seen as a cycle of mortality, in order to mark the pattern of ring composition {genomenoi. . . genesthai) in XCVIII, and hence to characterize the cyclical form of immortality-through-dying defined in XCVI—XCVIII. (On my arrangement, Heraclitus reverts to the nobler form of immortality in C, thus returning by a larger ring structure to the thesis posed in XCVI and the first sentence of XCVII.) In this symmetrical pattern of periodic recurrence the immortality of mankind does not differ in principle from that of beasts or even elements, as we have seen, since they too 'have their shares (moroiy in the universal life of nature.

This generational cycle, in which like is regularly replaced by like, offers a mundane equivalent to that 'terrible, grievous wheel' of re- birth from which the mystic initiate hoped to escape.316 For Herac- litus there is no escape. But there must be some alternative destiny represented by the choice of glory in XCVII (D. 29). Our understand- ing of his psychology and eschatology will not be complete until we can make sense of this nobler destiny within the context of Herac- litus' monism.

There are two linguistic features of Porphyry's citation in XCIX which suggest literal authenticity, and which might offer a preliminary clue for the solution of our problem. One is the term peras for the
end point or limit of the circle.317 The only other occurrence of this word in the fragments is in the statement on the logos of the soul, so deep that we cannot find its limits (peirata) even if we travel over every path (XXXV, D. 45). So the endless cycle of XCIX may allude to another endlessness of the psyche, based on its own logos which need not be cyclical in the same sense. The second hint of verbal accuracy in XCIX is the old Ionic form xynos for 'shared', 'common'. The use of this thematic term should be a hint that the circle in ques- tion is precisely the common pattern of cosmic order.

But the concept of 'what is common' has two dimensions: objectively, it is the universal structure of unity, symmetry and recurrence; subjectively, it is the apprehension of this structure. Thus 'thinking is shared (xynos) by all' (XXXI, D. 113), and men of understanding (noos) 'hold fast to what is shared by all', in their thought as in their speech and action (XXX, D. 114). If the soul has its own mode of endlessness, that must consist precisely in the firm grasp of cosmic order by which the few with understanding are distinguished from the many, who exemplify but do not comprehend the universal pattern.

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Tue Jun 25, 2013 1:53 pm

C (D. 24) Gods and men honor those who fall in battle (areiphatoi, 'those who are slain by Ares').

One commentary on C has already been provided by Tyrtaeus' des- cription of the extraordinary honors that men heap upon the grave and memory of him 'whom Ares has destroyed' (above, p. 232). What C adds to this traditional thought is honor from the gods as well. If we translate this according to the 'transpositions' of XCII and XCIII, we can say: honor among the dead as well as among the living, honors in the larger fate of the psyche and not only at the grave and in the memory of men.

The parallel between gods and men recalls LXXXIII (D. 53), where war, as king of all, appoints 'some as gods, others as men'. It seems likely that the exceptional status of those who die sur le champ d'honneur is somehow connected with the fact that the god Ares who destroys them can himself be identified with King Polemos, the uni- versal power of conflict and opposition.
This link to LXXXIII makes of C more than a banal restatement of traditional Greek respect for those who die in battle. But it does not yet explain how the special honors given by the gods are to be inte- grated within a general theory of the psyche and its destiny.


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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Tue Jun 25, 2013 1:54 pm

CI (D. 115) To the soul (psyche) belongs a report (logos) that increases itself.

This statement would be of great interest for the theory of the psyche if we could be sure that it comes from Heraclitus. Unfortunately, the language is not distinctive enough to guarantee authenticity; and the textual attestation is weak.319 There is a suspicious resemblance to the definition of psyche which Aristotle cites (and refutes) as 'the number which moves itself'.
However, since there is a reference to the logos of soul in XXXV (D. 45), and since the notion that the psyche grows or feeds itself with the body is attested in Hippocratic writings,321 it is just possible that CI is after all a quotation from Heraclitus.

With all due caution, then, I conjecture (1) that the self-augmenting power of the psyche is part of what is meant by the 'deep logos' of the soul in XXXV (D. 45), and (2) that this power of self-expansion is manifested in the exhalation or 'boiling up' of heated vapor. (See CXIII below, and commentary on CII.) Heraclitus would thus conceive the psyche as Homer conceived wrath, 'which increases like smoke within the breasts of men' (Iliad XVIII. 110). This expanding logos of the soul would be something quite different from the logos or measure of the sea, which remains constant despite its transformations (XXXIX, D. 3IB).

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Tue Jun 25, 2013 1:56 pm

CII (D. 36) For souls (psychai) it is death to become (be born as) water, for water it is death to become earth; out of earth water arises (is born), out of water soul (psyche).

In another example of ring composition CII ends where it began, with the word psyche. The shift from the plural (psychai) to the singular prevents the repetition from being too mechanical; but this shift is probably motivated by a difference in connotation. The plural form at the beginning suggests the soul or life-breath of individual men, which, in popular belief, abandons the body at death and passes as a phantom to the world below. But the singular form points to psyche as a constituent of the natural order, like earth or water. (Compare the generic singular in XXXV, D. 45.) Heraclitus thus replaces the Homeric picture of the descent of human psychai into the under- world with his own account of the elemental 'way down' to water and earth, after which the same stages are repeated in reverse order as a 'way up'. As we have seen, the language of birth and death seems to allude here to a mystical cycle of rebirth, as in the Pythagorean doctrine. Only the transition downward to water and earth is described as death (as well as birth); the return upwards is described only as birth or becoming.

Given the careful symmetry of this and similar fragments, the strong asymmetry here is scarcely accidental. Insofar as the ways up and down are 'one and the same' (CIII, D. 60), every birth can also be described as a death. But there is another sense in which the way down is more truly the path of mortality, the quenching of fire, whereas the way up is in this same sense the path of life and rekindling. We thus have a foothold, within Heraclitean psycho- physics, for the dualism required by a distinguished destiny for noble deaths.

There is an obvious parallel between the sequence of stages here and the passage from sea to earth and back again described in XXXVIII and XXXIX (D. 31A and B). What is new (besides the sub- stitution of 'water' for 'sea') is the description of these transitions in terms of death and birth, and the presence of psyche at beginning and end of the series. These two points are connected. For Heraclitus everything is a form of life, and there can be no fundamental discontinuity between the realm of the psyche and the realm of elemental transformation. CII makes this clear by integrating the psyche within a series of physical transformations.

What physical form does Heraclitus associate with the soul? CII says only that psyche passes into, and reappears out of, water. From this it has been generally inferred, on the strength of the parallel with XXXVIII-XXXIX, that the psyche must be identified with the principle of fire whose 'reversals' are described in those fragments.

The inference is surely a curious one, given the evidence before us.
For fire vanishes into smoke and ashes, but not into water.

And if fire can burst forth from many things, water is not one of them. What we expect to find emerging from and returning to watery form is some type of vapor, steam, cloud, or air, the product of water by evaporation and the source of rain or moisture by condensation. That this is what Heraclitus has in mind here is confirmed by the other texts that speak of psyche as alternatively 'moist' (CVI, D. 117; CVIII, D. 77) and 'dry' (CIX, D. 118). For of course air, wind and vapor may in fact be either dry or humid; whereas this contrast makes no sense if applied to fire or flame. Hence psyche changes to water by pre- cipitation or condensing, just as water changes to earth by further condensation. The relevant parallel is to the series of elemental transformations ascribed to Anaximenes and attested for Anaxagoras:

psyche here occupies the place of aer, wind and cloud in the standard sequence.323 By his substitution of 'soul' for 'air', Heraclitus has reshaped the element physics of Milesian cosmology as a doctrine focussed on the human principle of life and mortality.

As proxy for the elemental power of the atmosphere, psyche in CII corresponds somehow to the prester or lightning storm of XXXVIII (D. 31A), which emerges from sea in what appears to be an upward path of elemental change. This suggests not that psyche and prester are physically identical but that there must be some analogy between the human soul and the flash of lightning in the sky. The force of this analogy will be brought out in CIX (D. 118).

As was noted, most modern commentators have interpreted the parallel between CII and XXXVIII-XXXIX as showing that Heraclitus identified the soul with elemental fire. This mistake follows directly from the assumption that in both cases Heraclitus is expound- ing a theory of three (and only three) elemental forms. But this assumption, for which there is no ancient authority, is without any basis in the texts except precisely as a misreading of XXXVIII and CII, taking them both as the expression of a complete theory of elemental transformation. The misreading, which goes back as far as Zeller, is itself the result of an erroneous conception of Heraclitus as a prosaic cosmologist or physikos.^^ Zeller took over this misconception from Aristotle and Theophrastus; but neither one committed the modern mistake of identifying psyche as fire in Heraclitus. Aristotle described the soul as a vaporous 'exhalation' (anathymiasis), which means some- thing like smoke of steam or mist (CXIIIA below). The Theophrastean doxography in Diogenes is silent on this point; but in the remote echoes of this doxography in Aetius and Philo the soul is defined respectively as anathymiasis and pneuma ('breath, wind').325 So the Stoics attributed to Heraclitus the view that 'souls steam up (are exhaled, anathymiontai) from moisture' (CXIIIB). The respectable ancient evidence is thus unanimous in confirming the natural inter- pretation of CII, with the psyche understood as a kind of atmospheric vapor emerging from water.

It is in fact the prevalent view in early thought, in Greece as elsewhere, that the 'soul' or spirit of a man is a kind of vital breath, inhaled from birth (or from the moment of creation, in the case of Adam) and 'expired' at death. Thus an interlocutor of Socrates reports that most men will suppose that, when the psyche leaves the body at death, 'it is scattered like wind {pneuma) or smoke' (Phaedo 70A). It was just this commonplace view of the soul as an atmos- pheric substance like breath that was developed in quasi-scientific form in the school of Ionian natural philosophy from Anaximenes to Diogenes of Apollonia.

The cyclical movement of CII parallels the movement between light and darkness, waking and sleeping in XC (D. 26), as well as the cycle of generations in XCV (D. A19) and XCVII-XCVIII (D. 29 and 20); it contains no hint of any higher psychic path such as will be suggested in CIX-CXII.

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Tue Jun 25, 2013 1:59 pm

CIII (D. 60) The way up and down is one and the same.

CIII calls out for some context which it does not provide. I have placed it here as a comment on the cyclical destiny of the psyche which is at the same time a passage through higher and lower elemen- tal forms.327 Both psychological and elemental interpretations of CIII are well entrenched in the ancient commentary.328 And there is no need to choose between them, since elements and psyche are so many different phases or aspects of a single reality, the kindling and quenching of cosmic fire.

There is a still simpler, more literal interpretation (proposed by Calogero and developed by Kirk, p. 112) which takes the statement to mean only that every uphill path can equally well be described as downhill, depending upon where one is standing; just as it is one and the same road that runs from Philadelphia to New York and from New York to Philadelphia. This literal reading of CIII is presupposed by both the psychological and elemental interpretations.

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Tue Jun 25, 2013 2:00 pm

CIV (D. 43) One must quench violence (hybris) quicker than a blazing fire.

CIV is the only fragment where fire is presented in negative terms, as a purely destructive force. This may simply reflect the fact that Heraclitus is exploiting the familiar literary conceit 'to quench hybris'. But perhaps there is more at stake.

In form this fragment recalls two others: LXXXVIII (D. 96) 'Corpses are more to be thrown out than dung', and XXX (D. 114) 'One must hold fast to what is shared by all, as a city holds to its law, and even more firmly.' This common comparative pattern suggests that, beyond the traditional warning against hybris, CIV is designed to express a more distinctly Heraclitean thought. As an enemy attack on the city wall threatens all the inhabitants of the city, so a house on fire threatens the whole neighborhood with destruction. And just as the defense of the civic law is seen (in LXV, D. 44) to be as vital as the defense of the wall, so here the suppression of hybris — the sup- pression of that violence which disregards the law and endangers the community — is seen to be more urgent than the quenching of a fire raging out of control. In alluding to the dangerous power of fire, Heraclitus thus implicitly qualifies his praise for the principle of war and conflict when it appears as wanton violence. Like strife, fire itself can become purely destructive if it threatens civic unity and the common interests of all (to xynon panton in XXX).

The formal parallel to the aphorism on corpses suggests that there may also be some hidden connection between the fire of hybris and the destiny of the soul. This hint will be pursued in the commentary on CV .

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Tue Jun 25, 2013 2:03 pm

CV (D. 85) It is hard to fight against passion (thymos); for whatever it wants it buys at the expense of soul (psyche).

As Reinhardt remarked, CV seems to presuppose a customary phrase about 'buying something with the psyche' where the meaning is 'paying for it with one's life', as in the purchase of freedom or glory. But this sense of the phrase leads to paradox. For to pay with one's life for something noble (as in the decision of Achilles to avenge Patroclus) is an action we expect Heraclitus to approve of. Why should one struggle against thymos if the consequences of yielding to it are so noble? And how can this threat to one's life explain why resistance is so difficult?

The beginning of an answer might be found if Heraclitus is alluding precisely to the anger {thymos) of Achilles, which was paid for by the death of Patroclus. (See the reference to Achilles' refusal to 'quench his wrath' at Iliad IX.678.) But this line of thought is ruled out by most commentators, who take thymos not as 'anger' but as 'desire' or 'appetite' generally, what Plato and Aristotle call epithymia. On this view, the loss of psyche is a result of sensual indulgence, as in drink: 'the gratification of desire implies the exchange of dry soul-fire for moisture', said Burnet, referring for support to CVI (D. 117), CVIII (D. 77), and CIX (D. 118).

This modern view must be mistaken, however, for it flies in the face of the classical understanding of thymos as 'manly spirit' or 'anger', to be sharply distinguished from sensual appetite (epithymia), as in the tripartite psychology of Plato's Republic. When Aristotle and Plutarch cite CV they always take thymos in this sense, just as Plato does in the two passages where he apparently echoes our text.333 We could believe that the ancients misunderstood Heraclitus here only if we had some reason to suppose that the sense of thymos in his Ionic dialect differed substantially from the Attic usage familiar to Plato and later writers. But the opposite is the case, as we can see from Herodotus. Although he does show some trace of the older, wider use of the word in Homer (where thymos could mean 'heart' or 'spirit' in general, the organ of mind and intelligence as well as desire), in most instances Herodotus' use of thymos corresponds closely to that of Plato.

I conclude that our ancient sources understood Heraclitus perfectly when they took thymos to mean 'anger'. The picture of aggressive rage as a difficult adversary to fight against is vivid and striking; and hence the success of Heraclitus' phrase. The imagery of combat would be much less apposite if we took thymos as sensual desire.

This leaves us with the question how yielding to anger is to be con- nected with loss of psyche. And (beyond a possible allusion to the death of Patroclus) the answer must depend upon the Heraclitean view of psyche as a kind of breath or vapor. (See above on CII, D.36.)
Anger and psyche are thus related by the fact that both can be understood in terms of anathymiasis, the boiling up of some sort of steaming vapor.335 Anger is so difficult to resist precisely because its expression, the passionate act of self-affirmation in righteous rage or indignation, resembles so closely the principle of vitality as such, the fiery affirmation of one's own life. But just as fire and strife must be quenched when they threaten the common good (CIV, D. 43), so the spirit of anger can lead to crime and destruction if allowed to rage unchecked. As Democritus said (in what is a continuation rather than a negation of Heraclitus' thought), 'although it is hard to fight against anger (thymos), it is the task of a man to prevail over it, if he has good sense' (fr. 236).

The tendency of anger to lead to acts of hybris or wanton violence explains how it works its will 'at the expense of psyche', by damage to the agent's own vital interests and to the life of others in an out- burst of destructive rage. But Heraclitus' thought should probably also be spelled out in psychophysical terms: we must prevent the fire of wrath and hybris from consuming our own life-breath. Yielding to irrational anger may thus be seen as a kind of suicide by self- conflagration. This would imply that there is another 'death' for the psyche, distinct from but comparable to the dissolution into water: an excess of unthinking ardor that wastes the psyche in vain, instead of risking it deliberately in a noble cause. It may be raised as an objection to this view that it spoils the neat one-to-one correlation between different stages on the elemental way up and down and some linear scale of nobler and baser destinies for the soul: it now turns out that not every passage of the psyche into a more fiery condition will be a 'greater share', a fate which a wise hero might choose.

On this reading of CV, fire can be a force of irrational destruction in the soul as well as in the city. But what the psychophysical theory loses in simplicity it gains in subtlety and realism. For a man of spirit, anger is indeed a greater temptation than drink or sensuality, just because its ardor resembles that of courage and nobility of soul. Thus the wrathful man will see his own motiv- ation in terms of honor or justice even when pursuing a course of blind destruction.

I note, by way of anticipation, that there need be no contradiction between this conception of anger as irrational ardor of the psyche and CIX (D. 118); for the latter distinguishes the wisest and best soul by its dryness and clarity, not by its heat.

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PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Thu Jun 27, 2013 8:44 am

CVI (D. 117) A man when drunk is led by a beardless boy, stumbling, not per- ceiving where he is going, having his soul (psyche) moist.

CVI may almost do without a commentary: the reader scarcely needs reminding that the joke about the man who has drenched his soul with drink is also to be taken literally, as a reference to psychic dis- solution or partial 'death' into the watery element (CII, D. 36). I note only the resonance here with the language of other fragments. The man led by a beardless (anebos) boy recalls the Ephesians of LXIV (D. 121), who should be 'hanged to a man (hebedon) and leave their city to the boys (aneboi)': those citizens stumble like drunken men, and a drunkard is worse than a child. So likewise the verb epaion ('not) perceiving (where he goes') echoes by inversion the definition of temperance or 'sound thinking', sophronein in XXXII (D. 112):
'to act and speak . . . perceiving (epaiontes) things according to their nature'. As Bollack-Wismann point out, the participial constructions develop a kind of causal analysis in three stages: the man has lost con- trol of his body, because he has lost his perception, because the lucidity of his psyche has been weakened by fluids.

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"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

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PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Thu Jun 27, 2013 8:45 am

CVII (D. 95) Plutarch: [As Heraclitus says, it is better to hide one's folly (amathie), but that is difficult in one's cups and at ease.]

Bywater and Burnet accepted the reference to drinking as Heraclitean; if so, CVII would be appropriate here after CVI. But if (as most editors have supposed) the mention of wine is due solely to Plutarch's own adaptation of the saying, it will be difficult to give any definite point or context to CVII, which then reduces to a three-word saying of proverbial form: '[it is] better to hide [one's] folly'. It is true that the term for 'folly', amathie, echoes by negation the kind of 'learning from experience' (mathesis) that most men lack (IV, D. 17) and for which Heraclitus has a high regard (XIV, D. 55). The notion of 'hiding' also recurs in X (D. 123), where physis or the nature of things is said to love to hide itself, and in LXXXVI (D. 86), where incredibility or incredulity (apistie) escapes being recognized. But I do not see how such verbal resonance sheds any light on CVII.

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PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Thu Jun 27, 2013 8:46 am

CVIII (D. 77) Porphyry: [Hence Heraclitus said it was delight, not death, for souls to become moist.]

Porphyry is following an allegory of Numenius, a neo-Pythagorean philosopher of the second century A.D. Although this passage is often cited as a 'fragment' of Numenius, it is in fact a paraphrase by Porphyry which may have only the most tenuous connection with Herac- litus' own words. Hence some commentators would disregard CVIII entirely, as an unreliable echo of other fragments. However, Numenius' version of XCII (D. 62), preserved by Porphyry in the very next sentence, does retain some of Heraclitus' original wording.
So it is also possible that the old poetic word terpsis 'delight', which occurs once in Herodotus, may represent Heraclitus' own description for the experience of the soul's becoming moist. (The fact that Numenius offers an allegorical exegesis of terpsis, as 'the fall of the souls into generation', suggests that the word itself is part of the text he is commenting on.) This fits well with, but does not sub- stantially add to, the idea of the soul moistening itself with drink attested in CVI (D. 117).

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PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Thu Jun 27, 2013 8:53 am

CIX (D. 118) A gleam of light is the dry soul, wisest and best.


The transformations and deformations of CIX make one of the stranger stories in the twisted course of Heraclitean scholarship. Before discussing its meaning we must deal with an old problem con- cerning the text.

It is as certain as anything of this sort can be that the first three words of Heraclitus' sentence were auge xere psyche 'gleam of light, dry, soul', with the adjective 'dry' placed ambiguously between the two nouns. That is the form in which the quotation is found in no less than six of our ancient authorities: Musonius, Stobaeus, Philo, Plutarch, Galen and Hermias. The accuracy of this version is con- firmed by the fact that only this ambiguous position for the adjective can explain the existence of three ancient variants:

(1) one in which the ambiguity is avoided by placing the adjective after psyche so that it must be construed 'dry soul' and not 'dry beam of light';

(2) one in which the wording is altered in the opposite sense, so that the only possible reading is 'dry beam of light';342 and finally

(3) a late and shortened version reflecting the construal in (1), but where all mention of auge 'gleam' has been omitted, and we are left with the phrase 'dry soul' as subject of the sentence.

The Renaissance editor Stephanus (Henri Estienne), followed by Bywater and by many editors since, thought that the chief variants could be explained by positing the comparatively rare word aue (psyche) 'dry (soul)' as the Heraclitean original, and then taking auge 'gleam' as a corruption for this unfamiliar form. But the form aue is simply unattested in the ancient and medieval tradition of CIX, down to the fourteenth century, whereas auge is given in eleven ancient works by nine different authors, including three of our best sources for Heraclitus' text: Plutarch, Clement, and Stobaeus.344 There is no sound paleographical basis for altering the text. An emendation would be justified only if the text as transmitted did not make good sense. But, as we shall see, it makes excellent sense.345
The textual question resolved, we are faced with the syntactical ambiguity from which the variants arose. Since CIX consists of two feminine nouns (auge and psyche) and three feminine adjectives ('dry', 'wisest', and 'best'), and the last two adjectives can be con- strued only with psyche, it is natural to try taking the first adjective with auge. This gives us the equation 'a dry beam of light, the wisest and best soul'. This construction is attested in two ancient sources, and it accounts for Ficino's Latin version lux sicca, anima sapientis- sima. But the difficulty is that if 'a dry light' might make some sense in Latin or English, a dry auge seems to make very little sense. For auge is normally used for the rays of the sun, the flash of lightning, the glare of fire, the sheen of gold or brass, even for the rays or brilliance of the eyes; it is regularly a visual phenomenon in which dryness or moisture seems to play no part.

Hence Plutarch and Clement, the two ancient authors best acquainted with Heraclitus' riddling style, both realized that the full meaning of CIX required taking 'dry' with 'soul', as counterpart to 'moist soul' in CVI (D. 117); and both adjusted their quotations to make this clear.

It would be agreeable to my general scheme of interpretation to find some significance in this syntactical ambiguity, and to offer a reading of CIX according to both constructions. And at least one ancient author, Porphyry, thought he could make sense of the phrase 'dry auge'f*7 But in this case I do not see that the ambiguity enriches our understanding of CIX enough to be worth attending to. Hence I consider only the reading that construes xere 'dry' as attributive with 'soul' (as in the best ancient tradition) and takes auge 'gleam' as the predicate. We thus have two statements with a single subject:

(1) dry psyche is a beam of light, and

(2) dry psyche is wisest and best.

This gives a new dimension to Heraclitus' doctrine of the soul: just as moisture weakens the soul so that it may perish into water, so dryness strengthens and improves it to the point where it may he puri- fied as light (not fire). Looking back to XC (D. 26), we see that the conception of the psyche in terms of light was probably anticipated in the riddle about the man who lights a lamp (phaos, light) for himself in the night. But the lamp there was a nocturnal substitute for the truer life of the psyche in the light of day; and it is of course day- light that is suggested by the term auge in CIX. Now auge can refer to any gleam or radiance, including the flare of fire or the glistening of bright metal. But the poetic associations of the word connect it with the light of the sun as a figure for life itself, as in the Homeric phrase 'to see the rays (augai) of the sun', meaning 'to be alive' (//. XVI.188; cf. //. 1.88, Od. XI.498, etc.). The radiance of the sunlit sky thus stands traditionally for life; it is the innovation of Heraclitus to identify this physically with the finest state of the psyche.

This conception is deeply rooted both in the language of early Greek poetry and in the theories of pre-Socratic philosophy. In poetic terms CIX defines the best condition of the psyche as a kind of aither, not fire as such but the clear and luminous upper sky, as contrasted with the murky and moist lower aer, comprising haze, mist, and cloud.349 This atmospheric contrast between translucent and opaque, dry and damp, is preserved in the Ionian cosmology of Diogenes and directly applied to the psyche: our soul and that of animals, the prin- ciple 'by which they all live and see and hear, and have the rest of their perception or intelligence (noesis)\ is composed of air, but a form of air that is 'hotter than the air outside in which we live, but much colder than that by the sun' (Diogenes, fr. 5). According to Theophrastus, Diogenes held that a man 'thinks well (phronein) with air that is pure and dry; for the juice or moisture (ikmas) disturbs his intelligence (nous); hence in sleep and drunkenness and when one is full of food, one thinks less well. And there is a sign that moisture removes intelligence in the fact that the other animals are not as smart; for they breathe the air from the earth and eat wetter food.'

Now the doctrine of Diogenes belongs to a later period in the fifth century, and it might have been influenced by Heraclitus' remarks about moisture in the soul. More probably, however, it represents a
direct development from the old Milesian school tradition: from the doctrine of Anaximenes that constituted Heraclitus' own point of departure. If so, the moist-dry contrast in Heraclitus' psychophysics is not original; he takes it for granted as the theory current in 'scientific' circles of his own time and place. What is distinctly Heraclitean is the enrichment of this physical doctrine with figurative and poetic overtones: the drunkard with a wet soul, and the dry soul as lucid as sunshine.
These images serve not merely as an ornament of style but as the symbolic expression for a rigorous correlation between physical and moral-intellectual states of the psyche. As we proceed downwards, we have in elemental terms the physical death of psyche into water (CII, D. 36), in psychological terms the visual 'quenching' of a man in darkness followed by the quenching of his consciousness in sleep (XC, D. 26), in psychophysical terms the moistening of the soul in drunkenness (CVI, D. 117) and perhaps in sensual pleasure generally (CVIII, D. 77), corresponding to the cattle- death of men who seek satiety and procreation (XCVII—XCVIII, D. 29 and 20). In all probability, the discharge of semen in intercourse was conceived as the waste of life-spirit into liquid form. By contrast, the rational clarity of the best men who choose 'one thing in exchange for all' represents the polar opposite to this dissolution into water and darkness: the dry state of the soul, which is (or is like) a beam of light.

Before summing up the implications of this doctrine for Heraclitus' ideas on death and immortality, it will be useful to clarify my interpretation by a contrast with the common view that the psyche for Heraclitus is a form of fire. This view goes back to Zeller and Burnet, but it is best stated by Kirk in an article on Heraclitus' conception of death. Kirk is attempting to show how there can be alternative des- tinies for the soul after death, and in particular how it can be advan- tageous to die in battle (cf. C, D. 24). Although 'it is death to souls to become water' (CII, D. 36), not all souls suffer this 'death' on the death of the body. Some retain their fiery character and rejoin the mass of pure fire in the world; and since dryness, i.e. greater fieriness, was in life held to be the condition of wisdom and excellence, it follows that those souls which remain fiery and do not undergo the death of becoming water are the souls of the virtuous, and that the association with pure fire is the after-life which Heraclitus seems to promise [in XCVI, D. 25; CX, D. 63; CXI, D. 98; taken together with LXXXIV, D. 27 and XCII, D. 62] . . .

If, then, when the body dies the soul either becomes water or remains fiery, and becomes more fiery still, what is the factor that determines the issue? Clearly, the composition of the soul at the moment of death; the soul in life contains varying proportions of fire and moisture, according as it is wise or foolish, percipient or unpercipient; if the amount of water at the moment of death exceeds the amount of fire, presumably the soul as a whole suffers the 'death' of turning to water: but if the soul is predominantly 'dry', then it escapes the 'death' of becoming water and joins the world-mass of fire.
On this basis Kirk can explain the advantages of death in battle, which lie in the suddenness rather than in the violence of the end, 'so that the soul at the moment of death is in its normal [i.e. healthy, robust] condition, and has not been debilitated and moistened by the experience of sickness' (and, we may add, of old age). This will not guarantee a fiery destiny for a soul that is depraved; 'it only insures that its fate should depend solely on ethos9, that is on its character.
(Cf. CXIV, D. 119.) 'Other things being equal, however, it is better to die in battle, especially because this is normally a noble activity which, unless cowardice be shown, tends to increase the fire in the soul.'

I agree with Kirk on the need to reconstruct for Heraclitus a kind of 'identity theory' of body and mind, in which stages of physical change and states of moral psychology are not merely put in one-to- one correspondence but are conceived as aspects of a single reality: wisdom and excellence simply are the dry condition of the psyche. Furthermore, we agree that this psychophysical theory must, as in the case of Empedocles, take account of different destinies after death for the noble and the base, the wise and the foolish. We differ, however, in regard to the physical constitution of the psyche in a living man, and hence in regard to the 'greater destiny' for a noble soul after death.
I see no evidence in the fragments to support the view that 'the soul in life contains varying proportions of fire and moisture as it is wise or foolish'.

The fragments do not speak of psyche as a mix- ture but as a single entity or substance or elemental principle that can be either dry or wet. Nothing whatsoever is said about it being fiery. On the contrary, our interpretation of CV (D. 85) suggests that psyche can actually be consumed by too much heat or 'boiling' (above, p. 243). All of this fits perfectly with a conception of psyche as an atmospheric principle like breath or air, produced from water by evaporation or 'exhalation' (anathymiasis), tending upwards and aspiring to the condition of the luminous sky or upper air (aither), but not to the condition of fire as such.
Now the distance between Kirk's view and mine can be diminished if we think of celestial fire — the fire of the sun and the stars — simply as atmospheric air or exhalation become dry and luminous (like the best and wisest psyche of CIX), and hence rational and orderly in such a way as to account for the regularity of the celestial motions.

To the periodic measures of the sun, as a visible expression of order in nature, would correspond the physical substance of celestial light, as the highest manifestation of cosmic fire. We recall that the doxography ascribes to Heraclitus an account of the celestial bodies a flames produced by a gathering of bright and pure exhalation (anathy- miaseis) from earth and sea: the moon is in an impure region nearer the earth, while the sun's light and heat are more intense since 'it lies in a translucent (diauges) and unmixed region', presumably a region of pure, dry radiance, unadulterated by mist and moisture from below. If there is a kernel of truth in this report, it indicates that the matter of the best and wisest souls must itself constitute the effulgence of the heavenly bodies, or their celestial source and environment.

On this view, there must be some distinction between celestial fire or light, as the highest destiny for the soul, and terrestrial flame here below. They are both forms of fire, but the status of the fiery element in our immediate vicinity is ambivalent, since it may (like wrath and hybris) manifest itself in a raging, destructive conflagration. Being burnt to death in a city on fire can no more guarantee a 'greater fate' for the soul than dying in a quarrel kindled by unreasoning fury. By contrast a death in battle would be sanctified symbolically, as a death bestowed by Ares the War-King, and also physically and morally, since it would guarantee that the ardor of the psyche would not be wasted in wanton violence but expended in the rational defense of the city and its nomos, in 'holding fast to what is shared by all' (XXX, D. 114). Such a death will naturally be honored by men and also by gods, that is, by the elements and powers of the cosmos. For it guarantees the passage of the psyche upwards in a rational direction, towards the lucid sky of 'luminous (aithrios) Zeus' (XLV, D. 120).

Those outstanding men who choose 'one thing in exchange for all' know what they are choosing. Whether philosophers or not, they know in effect 'what the wise is, set apart from all' (XXVII, D. 108). They recognize, in choosing the gleam of light that is the 'ever-renewed glory of mortals', both the fire exchanged for all things and 'the wise one alone': the wisdom that governs the universe and the sun that never sets (CXXII, D. 16). The task of the philosopher is only to make explicit, to articulate in discourse (logos), the pattern exemplified in the life and death of such men.

On this view of psyche as an atmospheric substance intermediate between water and fire, roughly in the position of air or breath (pneuma), it can of course be moist; but if it actually turns to water — if it liquefies or condenses — it 'dies', that is, it ceases to be psyche (CII, D. 36). And similarly, although the life-breath may be dry and hot and suffused with light, perhaps it cannot be inflamed as celestial fire without 'dying', without ceasing to be psyche as such. This is a point on which the fragments leave us in doubt, and perhaps for good reason. Heraclitus wants to conceive the psyche as a particular physical form; but he also describes the cosmic fire itself as 'ever- living' and implies that every form of 'kindling' is a form of life. What he probably meant, therefore, but what would be difficult to say (since psyche means 'life') is that the passage of psyche into celestial fire might be both the death of psyche and at the same time its attainment of the highest form of life. This is, perhaps, the ultimate para- dox expressed in the statement that mortals and immortals live one another's death and are dead in one another's life (XCII, D. 62).

We now see Heraclitus' answer to the question about what awaits men at their death. All men's bodies will take the downward path of dissolution into earth and water. The psychai of most men may fol- low a similar course, or else remain in atmospheric form and be re-integrated into the psychai of other living things. But the souls of those men who have nobly lived and nobly died will move upwards to the form of fire constituted by celestial light. How much individuality can be assigned even to the best souls in such an afterlife is not clear (and will depend upon an interpretation of the next three, very difficult fragments). But it is also not clear why individual sur- vival — a continuation of personal identity or self-awareness — should be important for Heraclitus in the long run. Whether we speak of the higher destiny of psyche in physical terms, as the radiant sky, or in psychological terms as an effort of sound thinking (so-phronein), there seems to be no ground or motive for the conservation of the person or psyche as such, as a particular physical and mental form.

It is true that wisdom, or the search for wisdom in sound thinking (sophronein), begins with self-knowledge (XXIX, D. 116); and Herac- litus went in search of himself (XXVIII, D. 101). But what he found within his own psyche was a logos deep enough to be co-extensive with the universe (XXXV, D. 45). So the true recognition of one's self is a discovery not of what is private and personal but of what is 'shared by all': the unity of all nature which is the deep logos, the deepest structure of the self. And this unity is discovered in thinking, phronein, which is 'common to all' (XXXI, D. 113), and common not only because for Heraclitus all things think but because it is pre- cisely in thought, when it is in sound condition — as in the case of the dry soul — that one can embrace the structure of the whole uni- verse.

In sophronein, which is the greatest excellence and wisdom (XXXII, D. 112), one can, by putting one's own words and deeds into agreement with the cosmic logos, succeed to some degree in knowing or mastering the intention, the rational plan (gnome) by which all things are governed (LIV, D. 41). For Heraclitus there can be no higher human destiny than this, which surely requires knowl- edge and rational perception, but need not involve anything specifi- cally personal or individual. And the higher (as well as lower) fates of the psyche after death may be incompatible with any awareness of a personal self, as they seem to be incompatible with the corre- sponding physical existence of an individual psyche, as a particular vaporous bubbling up of breath or air.

But if everything that goes up must come down again, since there is no transmundane realm, no escape from the cosmic cycle (even if this cycle includes the eventual destruction and renewal of the cos- mos as such, and particularly if it does so), one might question the coherence of this conception of the soul's path upwards to celestial light or fire as a 'greater destiny' (XCVI, D. 25). For if the soul that dies into water and earth will eventually be reborn as soul, and so likewise everything else will eventually be exchanged for fire and back again (XL, D. 90), where is there any ultimate difference of principle between the nobler and the baser fate, where in the long run is there any advantage allotted to wiser lives or better deaths?

This is the specifically Heraclitean form of a general question that any monistic system of ethics must face. And Heraclitus would surely have answered like Spinoza: the beatitude which rewards a life of excellence is the quality of that life itself; in his own words 'man's character is his fate', his daimon for good fortune or for bad. Since we are forever dying and being reborn in body and in psyche, both asleep and awake, the change at the moment of physical death, when the psyche departs and the body is left behind like excrement, is less fundamental than it might seem. The immediate destiny of the psyche beyond the grave will be simply an extrapolation of its condition during the life of the person.

Whether it rises to more lucid form or dissolves into the lower elements or (perhaps) hovers as breath and atmosphere until it is inhaled into the new lives of children or animals, will depend upon the kind of life it has lived and the manner in which it confronts death. In the long run it makes no difference, perhaps, because in the long run there is no personal identity, no continuation of the individual psyche as such. What properly concerns us is only the course of one's own life, its share of lucidity and the soundness of its thinking, and the prolongation of this course in the direction taken by the psyche at death. Beyond this immediate prolongation the individual as such cannot see, and need not look. There can be no personal interest in what happens in the long run. We have, then, a system with no place for personal immortality through all time, in the Christian or even in the Pythagorean sense. It might be called a meaningful conception of the afterlife with no place for personal immortality at all. (And the same holds for Aristotle's view of the soul, though he speaks less often of what awaits us when we die.) 'Salvation' for Heraclitus is so-phronein, to save one's think- ing by recognizing one's own self in the structure of the whole. This is, perhaps, to lose one's self but to find something better: the unity of all things in the wise one.

This all-embracing unity of the living and the dead, of dying and being reborn, being kindled and being put out, is familiar to us all in elemental exchange, in respiration and excretion, in sleeping and waking, in the experience of nightfall and sunrise, winter and spring. It is this familiar pattern of experience that permits us to 'grasp the dead while alive' (XC, D. 26), but which we do not comprehend as such, and hence 'do not think such things as we encounter nor recog- nize what we experience' (IV, D. 17). This universal structure of living-through-dying, the deep logos of the soul which makes it (in one sense) co-extensive with the cosmos, is the very logos according to which 'all things come to pass', that is, according to which 'all things are born' (panta ginomena, 1.2).

In another sense, the psyche is only one elemental form among others, a bubble that bursts and is forgotten in the continual steaming up of new vapors from the waters ever flowing on in the river of the cosmos. But insofar as it is able to grasp the identity between its own logos and that of the universe, insofar as a man comes to salvage his thinking by recognizing what he encounters in his experience, by holding fast in cognition and in action to what is shared by all, to this extent the psyche can 'travel over every path5 without limit (XXXV, D. 45) and can come to realize its unity with the cosmos as a whole, in the everliving fire forever kindled and forever put out. As Pascal put it, in almost Heraclitean word play: 'par l'espace, l'universe me comprend et m'engloutit comme un point; par la pensee je le comprends'.356 It was in a similar spirit that Spinoza described scientific knowledge and rational proof as 'the eyes of the mind, by which it sees and observes things', and by which 'we feel and experience that we are eternal'. For Heraclitus, as for Spinoza, this experience of eternity, far from being a matter of personal survival, consists rather in the overcoming of everything personal, partial, and particular, in the recognition and full acceptance of what is common to all.

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Thu Jun 27, 2013 8:55 am

CX (D. 63) . . . to rise up (?) and become wakeful watchers of living men and corpses.

Hippolytus, our source for CX, sees a reference here to the resurrec- tion of the body on Judgement Day and to the God responsible for resurrection. The beginning of the quotation is unintelligible, and no satisfactory restoration has been found.358 We can be sure only of some mention of a 'rising' or 'standing up'. Hippolytus' remark and the Hesiodic parallel to be considered immediately both indicate that this rising must concern the fate of men — at least of some men — after death.

Any key to the meaning must lie in the comparison with Hesiod's myth of the metals, where the golden race of men, who 'lived like gods' and 'died as if overcome by sleep', are said after death (literally, 'after the earth had covered them over') to have been made 'divinities (spirits, daimones) by the counsels of mighty Zeus, noble ones upon the earth, guardians of mortal men' (Works and Days 121—3). It is presumably these same spirits of the golden race that Hesiod later describes as 'thirty thousand upon the fruitful earth, Zeus' immortal guardians of mortal men; who watch over judgments (dikai) and evil deeds, clothed in mist (aer), travelling everywhere over the earth' (ibid. 252—5). That Heraclitus is deliberately alluding to this passage is confirmed not only by the use of the term phylakes for 'watchers' or 'guardians' but also by the fuller expression 'watchers of living men and corpses', an intriguing variant on Hesiod's repeated formula: 'watchers of mortal men'.

The Hesiodic passage is full of ideas and phrases that lend them- selves to reinterpretation along Heraclitean lines. These men of the Golden Age are mortals who become immortal (athanatoi, verse 253), whose death is like a sleep (verse 116) but who are 'reawakened' as guardians. (The reference to 'waking' is explicit in CX, but implicit in Hesiod's simile.) Their chief concern is to see justice done; and the second mention of these guardians introduces Hesiod's apotheosis of Dike herself as daughter of Zeus (verse 256). By implication, it would seem that for Heraclitus too these guardians must serve as ministers of Justice for human life and death, just as the Furies do for the movement of the sun (XLIV, D. 94).

Pursuing this clue, let us see what the analogy can tell us of Herac- litus' view of the afterlife. Does CX refer to all men or only a chosen few? And does it refer to their fate after death, as Hippolytus supposes?

The Hesiodic parallel would clearly point to an afterlife for superior men, since Hesiod is speaking of the golden race, the finest men of all time, who become phylakes only after their death. Even without the passage in Hesiod we would be safe in referring CX to the psychai of outstanding men rather than to their bodies, in view of Heraclitus' contempt for corpses (LXXXVIII, D. 96) and the fact that the body will not naturally 'rise' but must pursue its elemental return into earth. (Note that if the mention of aer in Hesiod's passage is relevant at all, it confirms my account of the soul as an atmospheric principle.) CX seems, then, to refer to 'greater destinies' allotted to the psyche in exceptional cases.

This destiny is a state of wakefulness that lies somehow above the earth (this is indicated by 'rising' as well as by the Hesiodic parallel). Finally, this wakeful watching enforces justice on 'living ones and corpses'. This striking phrase seems to be chosen not only for its grim realism but also for its ambiguity. It may mean 'the living and the dead' (as most translators render it); but it may also mean (if we remember that for Heraclitus corpses are worse than dung) 'living things and inert beings like dumb earth'. This broader reading would suggest that the watching in question extends to ele- mental as well as human affairs, thus reinforcing the cosmic surveillance carried out by the Furies.

To go further is to speculate, but some speculation may be in order. If these guardians are ministers of cosmic justice, we must connect them with the judgments of Dike (in LXXXVII, D. 28B) and fire (in CXXI, D. 66), as well as with the inescapable vigilance of the sun that never sets (CXXII, D. 16). But these guardians must also have some place within the natural world, and I have suggested that they be conceived as privileged psychai, in or above the atmosphere. More exactly, they should correspond to the wisest and best souls, dry and clear as a beam of light (auge). On this assumption, the souls who have died heroic deaths or lived lives of excellence and lucidity will rise up as guardians in the upper atmosphere, mingling with celestial light and astral fire. They will appropriately perform the function of celestial watchman traditionally assigned to the sun. (See below on CXXII, D. 16.) For they will in effect be the sun, or at least the sunlight, and perhaps the stars as well.

It is more difficult to say how the guardians of CX, provisionally identified with the light-souls of CIX, are related to other forms of celestial fire, for example to the prester or lightning storm of XXXVIII (D. 31 A). The fragments are silent here. My own guess is that the watchful role of select souls is represented by the whole range of fiery phenomena in the sky, including the fearsome flash of prester and thunderbolt, as expressions of the power that 'pilots all things' (CXIX, D. 64). What appearance could be more fitting for these guardian spirits than the luminous signals which are the traditional instruments of the wrath and justice of the highest god?

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Fri Jun 28, 2013 9:46 am

CXI (D. 98) Plutarch: [(After death, the purified souls that rise to the moon)
are nourished by the exhalation (anathymiasis) which reaches them, and Heraclitus was right to say that souls {psychai) smell things in Hades.]

CXII (D. 7) Aristotle: [It seems to some that the smoky exhalation, which is common to earth and air, is smell... That is why Heraclitus said what he did, that if all things turned to smoke the nostrils would sort them out.]

Neither of these texts is a definite quotation; if the language of Heraclitus is preserved at all, it may be in the phrase 'souls smell things in Hades' (CXI). I place the two passages together in the hope that, obscure to the point of unintelligibility if taken separately, they may clarify one another by juxtaposition. In its own context, each statement implies a causal link between exhalation and the sense of smell.359 This seems to have been a standard view in Greek theories of smell, as Aristotle observes.

What is unusual in CXII is the suggestion that everything might become smoke, so that smell would be the only useful form of per- ception. Reinhardt interpreted this as a mere conceptual possibility or literary conceit, like the contrary-to-fact conditionals of XLVI (D. 99) and CXVI (D. 15) (Parmenides, p. 180, n. 2). The smoke of CXII would then be only a figure for the underlying unity in which our nostrils would detect superficial differences. Kirk and others have assimilated this to the one-in-many idea illustrated by incense in CXXIII (D. 67). But the conditional of CXII is potential, not counter- factual. Things do become smoke; and the possibility of everything going up in smoke is paralleled by the thought of fire 'catching up' with all things in CXXI (D. 66). Reinhardt's ingenious reading of CXII is designed to avoid this obvious parallel, since he wished to eliminate any allusion to cosmic conflagration or judgment by fire from the fragments. Leaving aside this issue, I suggest we take the imagery of CXII literally and ask: what kind of fire might turn all things to smoke?

There are two plausible possibilities: the altar flame and the funeral pyre. The former points to the imagery of incense in CXXIII (D. 67); but then CXII gives us no information beyond what we could derive from CXXIII alone.361 But if the fire is a funeral pyre, then 'turning to smoke' alludes to the fate of men after death, and the exhalation here will be directly linked to that of CXI (D. 98), which is inhaled by souls who 'smell things in Hades'.

The question then is: how much information can these remarks about smell and exhalation give us concerning Heraclitus' conception of the afterlife? I first propose an answer that is independent of the elaborate myth in Plutarch's context for CXI; I then consider the possibility of other Heraclitean elements in this myth.

A minimal meaning for CXI is provided by the popular etymology for 'Hades' (Greek Aides, since the initial aspirate does not occur in the Ionic dialect of Heraclitus): a-ides means 'invisible'.363 'Souls smell things in the invisible realm' then means: souls use another sense to perceive what they cannot see. (This confirms the link with CXII: the differences which become invisible if all things turn to smoke will still be perceptible to smell.) But the normal connotations of 'Hades' also involve the fate of the psyche after death.

As the living man kindles a new light for himself when he is 'quenched in his vision' (XC, D. 26), so the psyche of a dead man replaces the light of life by another form of perception. And since smell is connected with smoke and cloudy exhalation, there should be some contrast between these souls and the best and wisest who, as a beam of light (auge), have affinities rather with the upper, clearer sky and the brighter sense of vision. The souls that smell in Hades and that are associated with smoke are likely to be the breath or pneuma-souh of most men, circu- lating in the lower, murkier atmosphere when they leave the body at death. Only the exceptional (and driest) souls will soar aloft to look down as guardians on the world below. On this reading, the souls, smoke, and smell of CXI—CXII refer to the ordinary souls of ordinary men, whose bodies will (in some cases) have been burnt to smoke, and whose souls and bodies thus suffer similar fates after death, in contrast to the select souls of CIX (D. 118) and CX (D. 63), whose destiny leads them up towards celestial light, while their body pur- sues its own elemental course below.

It is fascinating, though rather unprofitable, to consider how far Plutarch's myth in The Face on the Moon (from which CXI is taken) preserves authentic traces of Heraclitus' own eschatology. An extended discussion would be out of place, because we must first reconstruct that eschatology before knowing how to recognize traces of it in Plutarch's tale. Plutarch's myth of the soul's journey through the atmosphere to a region beginning at the moon, and then upwards to a purer condition in the sun, is predominantly Platonic in inspiration, with a liberal admixture of Aristotelian, Stoic, and other ingredients. There is no general method for sifting out the Heraclitean component. I simply note the following points as relevant to an evaluation of CXI.

The quotation is prepared by an identification of Hades with the region between earth and moon.364 Just before our quotation this region, 'the gentlest part of the air', is described as 'the meadows of Hades' (943C). CXI refers to the purified souls who have travelled through this upper air and reached the moon: 'in appearance resem- bling a ray of light (aktis) but in respect of their nature . . . resembling the aither about the moon, they [sc. these souls] get from it both tension and strength as edged instruments get a temper, for what laxness and diffuseness they still have is strengthened and becomes firm and translucent (diauges). In consequence they are nourished by any exhalation that reaches them, and Heraclitus was right in saying: "Souls employ the sense of smell in Hades" ' (943D—E, tr. Cherniss). The point of the quotation is that smell serves these refined beings in place of more substantial food. While waiting in their lunar or lower habitation for the final purification that will take them on to the sun, these spirits are not inactive. Among other beneficial roles, these daimones serve as 'guardians (phylakes) and chastisers of acts of injustice' on earth, 'and they flash forth (epilampousin) as saviors manifest in war and on sea' (944D, after Cherniss).

If I am correct in locating the souls of the dead in the atmosphere and upper sky, Plutarch's account of Hades is largely Heraclitean. Only he has blurred the distinction I draw between ordinary souls in the lower air, who must rely upon smell, and the select souls that rise higher and take the form of light. Plutarch has combined the atmos- pheric souls of CXI—CXII with the higher destiny depicted in CIX (D. 118) and CX (D. 63), because the fundamental distinction in his myth is not between lower and upper atmosphere but between a moon-destiny and a sun-destiny, corresponding to the Platonic dis- tinction between a compound soul (psyche) and the purified intellect (nous).

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Fri Jun 28, 2013 9:48 am

CXIIIA (D. A15) Aristotle: [(Many thinkers, above all those who considered the cognitive powers of the psyche, identified it with their first principles or archai.) And Heraclitus too says the first principle is soul, since he identifies it with the exhalation (anathymiasis) from which he produces all the rest. And most incorporeal and always flowing.]

CXIIIB (D. 12) Cleanthes cited by Arius Didymus: [Zeno says the soul is a percipient exhalation, like Heraclitus. For the latter, wanting to show that souls as they are exhaled (anathymiomenai) are continually becoming intelligent (noerai), likened them to rivers when he said: 'As they step into the same rivers, other and still others waters flow upon them' (L). But souls too steam up (or 'are exhaled*, anathymidntai) from moisture.]

The literal quotation in CXIIIB has already been discussed (L, D. 12); here we are concerned only with the context from Cleanthes and the parallel in Aristotle.

Aristotle and Cleanthes agree in describing Heraclitus' psyche as an anathymiasis or 'exhalation'. But what is this? The Latin exhalatio (which has provided the established translation since Lucretius and Cicero) has the etymological sense of 'breathing out'; whereas the Greek term rather connotes 'billowing up' and typically applies to smoke or steam. The uncompounded form of the verb (thymiasthai) is commonly used for burning incense or causing smoke. The prefix (ana-) emphasizes upward motion, so that the rarer compound anathymiasthai has the sense 'steam up, rise in fume or vapor' (LSJ). There is no doubt, then, that Aristotle and Cleanthes ascribe to Heraclitus the view presented here, that the psyche is essentially not fire but an atmospheric principle like air, breath, or vapor. Both authors add the information that this psychic exhalation is percipient or cognitive.367 This information must be correct, as we can see from Heraclitus' own remarks on the psyche as well as from the Ionian doctrine of aer as developed by Diogenes.

More problematic is Cleanthes' comment that 'souls steam up from moisture'. I take this to be a paraphrase of CII (D. 36) 'out of water psyche arises (ginetai)\ But anathymiasis may also be used for vapors or gas produced from food and liquids within the body.

In the context preceding CXIIIB, sperm is described as 'a fragment of the psyche', a mixture of breath (pneuma) and moisture, which after conception develops as embryo from moisture in the womb. Other Stoic sources speak of the soul as pneuma nourished by blood in the body, and some commentators would understand Cleanthes' words here in just this sense: souls are exhaled by evaporation from the blood or from the internal river of humors in the body.

This Stoic doctrine is a natural development of Heraclitus' view. (Compare the similar doctrine of vital pneuma or 'animal spirits' in Aristotle's biology.) But I see no reason to attribute this or any other physiological doctrine to Heraclitus himself.372 The anathymiasis referred to by Aristotle in CXIIIA is clearly cosmic or elemental: it is 'the exhalation from which he (sc. Heraclitus) derives everything else'.

I conclude by mentioning, without attempting to resolve, some curious difficulties in understanding Cleanthes' exegesis in CXIIIB. Even if we grant his dubious assumption that the Heraclitean river is an image for the soul, it is strange that he believes this text was intended 'to show that souls as they are exhaled are always becoming intelligent (noerai)'\374 Perhaps Cleanthes simply took for granted that the rivers were fluids within the body, so that their 'waters' could be interpreted as exhalations or vapors; such vapors, as pneuma, will be perceptive and intelligent according to the Stoic theory of pneuma. But the only safe conclusion is that Cleanthes allowed himself great freedom in reading Stoic doctrines into Heraclitean texts.

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Fri Jun 28, 2013 9:49 am

CXIV (D. 119) Man's character is his fate (literally, his daimon or divinity).

The doctrine of CXIV has been discussed above in commenting on XCVI-CXII. (See especially pp. 252f.) Here I consider the literal interpretation of this marvellously brief and symmetrical three-word utterance: ethos anthropoi daimon, 'character, for man daimon\ The meaning of the sentence depends on the sense given to daimon.

On the simplest view daimon signifies one's destiny, one's pros- perity or misfortune. Although in Homer and other authors the word is often used synonymously with theos 'god' (as in LVII, D. 79), the root meaning of daimon is 'one who distributes or assigns a portion'. This etymological value shows up in the two common compounds: eudaimon 'with a favorable daimon\ 'happy', 'prosperous', 'fortunate'; and kakodaimon, 'with a bad (unfavorable) daimon\ 'unlucky', 'miserable'. Hence the most obvious sense of CXIV is that it is a man's own character, not some external power, that assigns to him the quality of his life, his fortune for good or for ill. His lot is determined by the kind of person he is, by the kind of choices he habitually makes,376 and by the psychophysical consequences they entail or to which they correspond. And since the fate of the psyche after death will be a direct prolongation of its life and death, one's destiny now and to come is a function of one's basic choice between a noble and a bestial career. The cause is not in the stars but in ourselves.

This primary meaning of CXIV is further enriched if we take daimon literally as 'god* or 'divinity'. For the gods of Heraclitus, the immortals who live our deaths and are dead in our lives, can only be the elemental powers and constituents of the cosmos, from which our life comes and to which it returns. (Again the terminology of Heraclitus anticipates that of Empedocles, who designates his four elements as daimones in fr. 59.) The character of a man is thus identified with the corresponding element: moisture for the sensual- ists and topers, wasteful fire for the choleric, damp or smoky vapors for the souls of most men, a gleam of light for the wisest and best. These cosmic divinities are not merely emblematic of different kinds of lives,, like Aphrodite and Artemis in Euripides' Hippolytus.37'7 They constitute the physical explanation or psychophysical identity of the particular life in question, the elemental equivalent of a given moral and intellectual character. So read, CXIV offers a concentrated resume of the doctrine of the dozen fragments just discussed.

A third reading emerges as a special case of the other two, if we recall Hesiod's use of daimones for the spirits of the golden race, be- come watchmen of justice after their death. I have suggested that in CX (D. 63) these guardian spirits are identified with the wisest and best souls, looking down from above as radiant light or astral fire. For the select souls too it is the character of the man that determines his fate as daimon, as occupant or visitor in the highest region of mor- tality, the celestial terminus of the upward path.

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Fri Jun 28, 2013 9:51 am

CXV (D. 14) The mysteries current among men initiate them into impiety.

CXV is preceded in Clement by a list of mystery mongers: 'night-wandering sorcerers (magoi), Bacchoi, Lenai, mystic initiates (mystai): it is these he threatens with the afterlife, for these he prophesies the fire'. Most editors have recognized in this list of imposters the original context of CXV. But the authenticity of the list has recently been challenged on the grounds that the entire outburst could well have been added by Clement. The five Greek words in question (from nyktopoloi 'nightwandering' to mystai 'mystic initiates') are syntac- tically blended with Clement's text in such a way that we cannot be sure whether or not they come from Heraclitus. It seems to me more probable that they do, for the following reasons.

CXV cannot stand alone; it calls out for some context. What con- text would be more appropriate than this reference to representative types of mystery religion? Of the five words in the list, Lenai is a rare archaic form more likely to have been used by Heraclitus than by Clement, as Reinhardt agreed.

Secondly, an early mystic sense for Bacchoi ('elect', 'chosen by the god'), implied in a verse quoted by Plato (Phaedo 69C—D: 'many are the narthex -bearers, few the Bacchoi'), is confirmed by a new gold tablet found in South Italy, dated about 400 B.C., which speaks of 'the long sacred way travelled by famous bacchoi and mystaissl This helps to establish the credentials of three words on our list. As for the other two ('nightwandering magoi'), nothing much hangs on their authenticity; but I am inclined to regard them also as genuine. Heraclitus will thus have seasoned his attack on Greek cult with a further sally against the holy men of the Persians.
However, the brunt of the attack is directed against the religion of his countrymen: Dionysian and Eleusinian mysteries here, phallic and orgiastic ritual in CXVI (D. 15), Apollonian purification rites and anthropomorphic cult generally in CXVII (D. 5). (And compare the contempt for funeral rites in LXXXVIII, D. 96.)

CXV tells us that initiation into the mysteries is impious, but does not tell us why. Perhaps Heraclitus has in mind some specific features of the ritual, some explicit sexual symbolism, so that (as in the men- tion of 'shamelessness' in CXVI) he is calling attention to the fact that in the name of piety men will perform, and applaud others who perform, acts which they normally regard with ridicule or disgust: tantum religio potuit suadere malorum.

But even if this conjecture is correct, it does not go to the heart of the matter. The central claim of the Eleusinian mysteries is to provide a life-giving experience, a beatific spectacle: 'Blessed is he among men who has seen these rites; but he who has not shared in them will never have a portion of similar blessings when he dies.'

In an echo of these verses Pindar announced that the one who has seen the mysteries 'knows the end of life and its god-given beginning'; Sophocles added that 'for these alone there is life in Hades; for others everything is evil'.384 For Heraclitus the basic impiety of the mys- teries will consist not in obscene symbolism but in the projection of a false picture of life and afterlife — in the invention of lies and swear- ing to them, in the promise of a magical connection between some ritual act and the future destiny of the psyche.

The same condemnation will fall on those esoteric cults represented by the 'Orphic' gold tablets, with their detailed topography of the next world and instructions for finding the right road. By distorting the true relationship between life and death, by seeking special exemption from the laws of cosmic justice which establish a necessary connection between the habitual conduct and character of a man and his destiny in this life and beyond, the spokesmen for such mysteries play the role of false witnesses in the gravest of all matters. Their impiety will be fittingly punished by Justice herself, in the natural course of events (LXXXVII, D. 28B).

Heraclitus' polemic is not directed against vulgar superstition, the cult of the uneducated masses, as some commentators suppose. The religion under attack is that of Pindar and Sophocles; it includes those western mysteries that attracted the tyrant Theron of Acragas and the heroic figures buried in the Timpone Grande and Timpone Piccolo at Thurii.

Heraclitus is not an aristocrat or conservative in religious matters. He is a radical, an uncompromising rationalist, whose nega- tive critique of the tradition is more extreme than that of Plato a cen- tury later. Plato breaks only with current beliefs about the gods; in matters of cult he follows the principle that custom is king. Not so Heraclitus. Despite his great respect for nomos as the legal order and moral cement of the community, in matters of piety and psychic destiny he denounces what is customary among men (ta nomizomena) as a tissue of folly and falsehood.

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Sat Jun 29, 2013 6:14 am

CXVI (D. 15) If it were not Dionysus for whom they march in procession and chant the hymn to the phallus (aidoia), their action would be most shameless (anaidestata). But Hades (Aides) and Dionysus are the same, him for whom they rave and celebrate Lenaia.

What does Heraclitus mean by identifying Dionysus with Hades, and phallic cult with Bacchic frenzy? The statement is a riddle, and we must be satisfied with partial solutions.386
The most obviously correct interpretation takes Hades here as rep- resentative of death and the phallic Dionysus as representative of sexual vitality. So understood, the riddle reformulates the equivalence (i.e. interchangeability) of life and death expressed in XCII (D. 62) and XCIII (D. 88).387 A second, deeper reading regards Dionysus not only as god of vitality and procreation but also as god of drink and madness. I have suggested that XCVIII (D. 20) depicts sexual activity as a waste of psyche, an expense of life-force liquefied as semen, just as drunkenness is a partial death and darkening of the soul by lique- faction (CVI, D. 117). The 'death' of psyche by the 'birth' of fluid in ejaculation coincides in the long run with the birth of the son that will supplant his father. Thus the desire of men 'to live . . . and to leave children behind' is really a desire for their own death and replacement.

The identification of the god of sexuality with the god of death, reinforced by the word play on 'shame', 'phallic song', 'shamelessness', and 'Hades', restates in symbolic form the contempt for the life-death of men who sate themselves like cattle (XCVII, D. 29). What is new in CXVI is the characterization of the phallic god in terms of ritual madness.388 The Lenaia appear here as a festival of Bacchic frenzy, not a wine festival (as some have supposed).

Dionysus is the god of wine; but CXVI does not mention either wine or drunken- ness. The point of CXVI lies in the reference to ritual madness as an explanation of the identity of Dionysus with Hades. The final comment on phallic worship would thus be the thought expressed in CXVII: 'anyone who noticed someone doing this would think he was mad'. A perceptive observer of ritual mania, recognizing it as insanity, would see the appropriateness of worshipping the god of sensuality and procreation with acts of madness. For he would recognize Dionysus as Hades, the invisible (a-ides) figure of Death, and recog- nize madness itself, like drunkenness, as a kind of psychic death, a darkness of soul at maximal distance from the light of sound thinking (sophronein).

It is true witlessness and forgetfulness of self, 'not knowing what one is doing awake, just as men forget what they do in sleep', to waste one's psyche in sexual indulgence or darken it in madness (and we would add: or with drugs), not realizing that what passes for enhanced vitality is a sheer pursuit of death.
It would be a mistake, I think, to see Heraclitus as an apostle of chastity, some St Paul or Gandhi come before his time. What concerns him is not so much action or abstention but lucidity: to know what we are doing. As human beings we sate ourselves like animals; we want to see our children grow up and outlive us. (We also lose control of ourselves in anger, and occasionally moisten our souls with drink.) Heraclitus is not calling for some ascetic reform of human existence in which these features would disappear. Our condition is one of mortality, and Heraclitus offers no way out. What he does offer is insight into this condition, recognition of the deadly tendencies within life itself, and admiration for those few men whose gaze is enlightened by wisdom. For these will look beyond the cyclical fate that must be ours in any case and choose 'one thing in exchange for all' — the light of wisdom, symbolized and embodied in the gleam of cosmic fire.

The pessimism of Heraclitus is not that of Schopenhauer or certain Eastern mystics, who see the cycle of human existence as slavery and seek liberation by deliberate renunciation. His pessimism lies closer to the lesson of Solon in Herodotus: 'thus the god made plain that it was better for a man to be dead than to live' (1.31.3). This is not a recipe for suicide but for bearing death, your own death and the death of those dear to you, with courage and the peace of mind that comes from bitter wisdom.

The word play at the center of CXVI calls for some comment. The identification of Dionysus and Hades, fertility and insanity, is medi- ated by verbal connections between genitals (aidoia), shame (aidos), shamelessness (anaidestata), and Hades (Aides). The sacred phallus is designated as 'pudenda', objects of shame or modesty (aidoia). For all the Greek delight in male nudity in art, in real life the genitals were normally covered; and the public display of an erect penis would probably be a source of mirth, if not embarrassment, as cer- tain jokes in the Lysistrata make clear. Hence the paradox, expressed in the double sense of aidos ('shame', but also 'reverence'), that the display of a giant phallus in grossly exaggerated form is treated not with shame but reverence and respect. The obscene song and solemn procession would be acts of utter shamelessness — anaidestata — if not done in the name of Dionysus. For a Greek of traditional piety that makes all the difference. But a sane man will see what is going on. What prevents this behavior from being outrageous in his eyes is
just the identity of Dionysus as the 'unseen' (Aides), the god of death. Compare CXI, D. 98: 'souls smell in Aides', in the land where they cannot see. Other levels of meaning are generated by the play on the god's name, and there is no hope of cataloguing them all.

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Sat Jun 29, 2013 6:15 am

CXVII (D. 5) They are purified in vain with blood, those polluted with blood, as if someone who stepped in mud should try to wash himself with mud. Anyone who noticed him doing this would think he was mad. And they pray to these images as if they were chatting with houses, not recognizing what gods or even heroes are like.

CXVII is remarkable for its length and its clarity. The absence of any- thing enigmatic in this text might almost cast doubt on its authenticity, if different portions were not cited by good and independent sources (Clement, and Celsus in Origen). And a few stylistic features reveal
the hand of Heraclitus: the double construction of haimati 'with blood', to be taken both with the preceding verb ('are purified') and with the following participle ('polluted');391 the play on miainomenoi 'polluted' and mainomenoi 'mad'; and the characteristic use of
gignosko 'to recognize' for philosophic insight. If Heraclitus speaks here with unusual clarity and undisguised sarcasm, perhaps for once his spontaneous indignation breaks through the restraints of an in- direct and allusive style. But there is probably a more deliberate motivation for this straightforward language.

I assume that CXVII appeared as climax and conclusion to the critique of religious practices in CXV (D. 14) and CXVI (D. 15); that critique is here generalized and its philosophical foundation laid bare. Whereas CXV—CXVI are directed against specific cults of Demeter and Dionysus, the target in CXVII is not only the Apollonian rite of purification392 but the general practice of Greek religion as centred on temples and cult statues.

In this polemic Heraclitus' predecessor is Xenophanes, who accused Homer and Hesiod of ascribing to the gods 'whatever is a scandal and a reproach among men' (frs. 11—12), and attacked both the principle of theogony and the very notion that the gods have human form (fr. 14): if horses and oxen could produce images they would represent their gods as hippomorphic and bovine (fr. 15). Xenophanes' irony on this subject anticipates Heraclitus' attack on images (agalmata). And the principle of Xenophanes' critique is the same: the customary religion of the Greeks (and others) is systematic impiety, since it rests on a failure to 'recognize what gods are like'.

The point of Heraclitus' critique is nonetheless new and personal. What Xenophanes attacks is a false conception of the gods. Heraclitus shows how such theological error leads to action that is shameful and ridiculous. The explicitness of the similes and the direct statement of the thesis in CXVII are perhaps required because his goal here is so difficult: to shock his reader or auditor into a realization of what is in some sense 'obvious', that behavior endorsed by the strongest sanctions of the society will reveal itself to a thoughtful observer as odious and absurd, since if it were not done in the name of the gods it would count as stupidity or insanity. The plain comparisons to washing with mud and talking with houses serve the literary function of Montesquieu's visiting Persian: to suggest the simplicity of vision of the child who sees that the emperor has no clothes.

The best parallel to this critique of idolatry is found not in Greek literature but in the Old Testament, and this accounts for some of the sympathy which a writer like Clement feels for Heraclitus. A man cuts down a tree, half of it he burns in the fire and warms himself, 'and the rest of it he makes into a god'; he falls down before it and 'prays to it and says "Deliver me, for thou art my god!" ' (Isaiah 44.17). The affinity is real, though wholly negative. Heraclitus and the Old Testament are at one in their rejection of anthropomorphic cult; their new conceptions of deity are entirely different.

Heraclitus' god is neither personal nor transcendent; it is wholly immanent in the world and identical with the order of the cosmos over time. Herac- litus might have spoken like Spinoza of Deus sive Natura: 'god, that is to say the nature of things'. But like a true Greek he more often speaks of 'gods' in the plural. When he does refer to the divine as unique, we are confronted with a new paradox.

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Sat Jun 29, 2013 6:20 am

CXVIII (D. 32) The wise is one alone, unwilling and willing to be spoken of by the name of Zeus (Zenos onoma 'the name of life').

With deliberate antinomy Heraclitus here presents his positive conception of the divine, to be more fully spelled out in the next five fragments (CXIX—CXXIII). The aphorism is unusually dense and puzzling, full of conflicting forces mysteriously under control. The most striking features are: (1) the complex subject expression, with its echo of 'wise' and 'the one wise' from other fragments, but with the ambiguous addition of mounon 'only'; (2) the focus on 'the name of Zeus', with the old genitive form Zenos (instead of the usual Dios, as in XLV, D. 120); and (3) the formal contradiction between denial and affirmation, which is even more explicit in the Greek ('is not will- ing and is willing').394


(1) The neuter adjective sophon 'wise' occurs in three other texts: XXVII (D. 108), XXXVI (D. 50) and LIV (D. 41). (See the discussion of these texts above, pp. 17If.) Now in XXXVI wisdom defines a cer- tain mode of listening and speaking, just as in XXXII (D. 112) sophie specifies a type of speaking, perceiving, and acting. In these cases, as in the reference to the best soul as 'wisest' (sophotate) in CIX (D. 118), Heraclitus implies that wisdom can and should belong to a human soul.

But this implication is tacitly challenged in XXVII (D. 108), where what is wise is 'set apart from all'. Other statements emphasize that the cognitive distance between men and gods is so great that what passes for wisdom among us is mere folly in com- parison with their insight (LV-LVIII, D. 78, 82-3, 79, 70). These remarks help to explain the insistence in CXVIII that there is only one thing wise, the supreme divinity. In a coincidence that can scarcely be accidental a similar assertion in LIV (D. 41) begins with precisely the same three words: hen to sophon 'one the wise' (LIV, D. 41). But that text goes on to describe this singular wisdom in terms that might at least in principle apply to human beings: 'to know (or 'to master', epistasthai) the plan [gnome) by which it steers all things through all'.

In commenting on LIV I have argued that this ambiguity is fundamental and irreducible: wisdom in the full sense is accessible only to the divine ruler of the universe, since it means mastering the plan by which the cosmos is governed. For human beings such wisdom can serve only as an ideal target, a goal to be pursued by homo-logein, by agreement with the logos: putting one's own thought, speech, and action in harmony with the universal course of things.

CXVIII describes this wisdom from the divine point of view, as the supreme cosmic principle, whose unity and uniqueness are underlined by the word 'alone' (mounon), ambiguously placed between the subject phrase 'the wise one' (or 'one, the wise') and the predicate: 'does and does not wish to be called "Zeus" '. Taking mounon with the subject, we can read the noun phrase as a complete sentence: 'the wise one alone'. This formula rules out any irreducible plurality within the divine power of wisdom and guidance. But Heraclitus is no monotheist. Like Plato, Aristotle, and all other Greek thinkers outside the Biblical tradition, he is uninhibited in his use of 'god' (theos) in the plural. The monism of the philosophers takes the form of 'henotheism', the conception of a single supreme god, as in Xeno- phanes fr. 23: 'one god, the greatest among gods and men'. By employing the impersonal neuter form 'the wise one' (hen instead of the masculine heis) Heraclitus suggests an even more radical break with the anthropomorphic conception of deity, a precedent for the impersonal (or transpersonal) One of Plotinus. And the violence of this rupture with traditional theology is further indicated by the initial negation: the wise one is not willing to be identified with Zeus.

A second reading will construe mounon ('alone', 'only') with what follows; and this can be done in two ways: with the infinitival phrase ('the only thing to be called by the name of Zeus'), or with the noun onoma 'name' ('to be called only by the name of Zeus', 'by the name "Zeus" alone'). The former construal fits the affirmative clause: cosmic wisdom is the only thing that can be designated as supreme ruler. The latter construction matches the more emphatic denial: this wisdom will not accept any one name as uniquely appropriate, for it may equally well be called 'Fire', 'War', 'Justice', or 'Attunement' (harmonie). Indeed, it may be 'named according to the pleasure of each one'(CXXIII, D. 67).


(2) The phrase 'to be spoken of (legesthai) by the name of Zeus (Zenos)9 means 'to be called "Zeus"', but it must mean more than that. Heraclitus uses the verb legesthai where we might expect kaleisthai 'to be called' or onomazesthai 'to be named'. And we find 'Zeus' in the genitive, where the nominative construction would be more usual. The genitive construction permits him to employ the old poetic form Zenos instead of the standard prose form Dios. And it calls our attention to the word onoma 'name'.

I think it would be a mistake to regard these unusual features of diction as insignificant and unrelated to one another. They converge in focussing interest on the correct name for divine wisdom. The Greeks were always concerned to name the gods appropriately, to call them by names pleasing to them so as to win their good will. Now it seems obvious that the supreme principle would be willing to be called 'Zeus', since this is the traditional name for the reigning deity, father of gods and men. (Compare the formula for War in LXXXIII, D. 53.) But this concession to traditional usage comes only after, and despite, the more emphatic claim that the wise One is unwilling to be so called. The denial that this name is pleasing may, I have suggested, be read as a denial that any single name is uniquely privileged. But it can more easily be understood as a rejection of the traditional conception of deity, associated with the name 'Zeus' in ordinary cult and in the poets' description.
The form Zenos points to a deeper reading. For an author who delights in word play, Zenos recalls the verb zen 'to live'. According to the Cratylus, Zeus is so called because he is 'the cause of life (zen)... through whom life belongs in every case to all living things' (396A7ff.; cf. 410D). Such etymological play with the name for Zeus was rampant in the archaic period.397 And this particular etymology is clearly presupposed by Aeschylus in the Suppliants (584f.). Now for Heraclitus as for Aeschylus 'etymology' must be taken literally: an etymos logos is a 'true statement' hidden in the form of a name. In LXXIX (D. 48) the name of the bow asserts the deeper unity between life and death. In CXVIII the name Zenos affirms that the supreme deity is also a principle of life, like the 'everliving fire' in which it is manifest.
As for the verb legesthai here instead of 'to call' or 'to name', its use is probably motivated by the etymology: in this name (onoma) a statement (logos) is hidden. And we might detect overtones of the larger significance of logos for Heraclitus.


(3) Why does Heraclitus formulate CXVIII as an explicit contradiction? This antithetical form can be seen as exhibiting in its own structure the dialectical moment in his general doctrine of opposition: a strong sense of the positive force lurking behind a negation. (See above, pp. 188f.) But the contradiction can also be understood within the context of his attitude to language and assertion (legesthai), which is one of profound ambivalence: a definite statement on matters of such supreme importance can be taken both as true and as false. This ambivalence reflects neither an intrinsic defect of language nor a conception of reality as incoherent or irrational.

It springs rather from a grave sense of risk in communication, a risk amounting almost to a certainty that he will be misunderstood. The need for two-tongued statement is a consequence of the epistemic deafness of his audience. If Heraclitus must, like the oracle, 'neither declare (legei) nor conceal but give a sign', that is because his listeners cannot follow a plain tale. If they had what it takes to comprehend his message, the truth would already be apparent to them. But since words alone cannot make them understand 'when their souls do not speak the language', he must resort to enigma, image, paradox, and even contradiction, to tease or shock the audience into giving thought to the obvious, and thus enable them to see what is staring them in the face. If they succeed, they will understand not this sentence alone but the unified world view that Heraclitus means to communicate. And central to such understanding will be a recognition that the principle of cosmic order is indeed a principle of life, but that it is not willing to be called by this name alone. For it is also a principle
of death. Human wisdom culminates in this insight that life and death are two sides of the same coin. And cosmic wisdom is truly spoken of only when identified with both sides of the coin.

Thus the linguistic forms of antithesis and paradox combine with ambiguity and resonance for the expression of a total view, no part of which is fully intelligible in separation from the whole.

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"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Sat Jun 29, 2013 6:24 am

CXIX (D. 64) The thunderbolt pilots all things.

CXX (D. 65) Hippolytus (immediately following CXIX): [By 'thunderbolt' he means the eternal fire. And he says this fire is intelligent (phronimon) and cause of the organization of the universe. He calls it 'need and satiety' (D. 65). Accord- ing to him 'need' (chresmosyne) is the construction of the world order, 'satiety' (koros) is the conflagration (ekpyrosis). For he says . . . ] (What follows is CXXI.)

CXXI (D. 66) Fire coming on will discern {krinei, literally 'separate') and catch up with all things.

CXXII (D. 16) How will one hide from (lathoi, 'escape the notice of) that which never sets?

I group these four texts together because they agree in conceiving the supreme principle of the universe as cosmic or celestial fire. In the case of CXX, however, it is only Hippolytus' commentary that con- nects 'need and satiety' with the concept of fire. I postpone for a moment the discussion of Hippolytus' interpretation.

The imagery of the helmsman in CXIX (oiakizei 'pilots', from oiax, the tiller of a ship) recalls the 'steering' of all things in LIV (D. 41). The latter is introduced by the phrase hen to sophon, 'the wise is one', which is repeated in CXVIII for the divine intelligence that rules the cosmos. That intelligence, ambivalently identified with Zeus, is rep- resented by his characteristic weapon in CXIX, where the fiery thunderbolt stands as symbol for the counterpoint themes of unity ('the wise one') and totality ('pilottinga// things') that form the warp and woof of cosmic order.
The metaphor of the helmsman guiding the ship of state is as old as Greek lyric poetry. And the cognate metaphor for cosmic govern- ance is probably as old as Greek philosophy. Anaximander seems to have said of the Boundless that it 'contains all things and steers (kybernan) them all'.399 The metaphor of cosmic steering becomes a standard one in Ionian natural philosophy, but its use in CXIX and LIV may be a direct echo of Anaximander's words.400 However, Heraclitus never takes over a motif without altering it. In CXIX the new philosophic theme of an intelligent regulation for the cosmos is invoked in terms of the mythic ruling power of the supreme god, as directly experienced in the most terrifying of natural events: the lightning bolt and the crash of thunder.
CXXI takes up the theme of fire (which connects the thunderbolt of CXIX with the cosmic fire of XXXVII, D. 30, the prester of XXXVIII, D. 31A, and the 'fiery Zeus' of XLV, D. 120) and expli- cates its control over 'all things' (panta) by means of three verbs:
(i) it comes upon (epelthon) all things, (ii) it will discern or decide or distinguish them (krinei), and (iii) it will seize or catch hold of them all (katalepsetai). Cosmic guidance is thus reinterpreted in terms of cosmic justice, as indicated by the direct parallel to LXXXVII (D. 28B), where Dike herself is subject of the third verb: she 'will catch up with those who fabricate and bear witness to lies'. But in CXXI the scope of justice is universal: it will catch up with all things.
The notion of cosmic justice, introduced by Anaximander, is sys- tematically developed by Heraclitus.401 Justice as expressed by dike normally implies punishment, as Heraclitus himself seems to have pointed out (LXIX, D. 23). And both punishment and compensation are suggested by the word antamoibe 'requital', which denotes the exchange of all things for fire in XL (D. 90). I recall these points here because the authenticity of CXXI was challenged by Reinhardt on the grounds that it imports into Heraclitus' text the Christian notions of hellfire and Last Judgment which Bishop Hippolytus wished to find there.402 But justice, judgment, and punishment of some sort are represented in the fragments in any case. CXXI introduces the notion of hellfire only if we interpret judgment in the specifically Christian sense, and there is no reason to follow Hippolytus in this regard. Instead, consider the literal meaning of the three verbs.

(i) Fire comes upon or 'attacks' all things (in Herodotus epelthein is often but not always used for the advance upon an enemy);

(ii) it will discern, distinguish, or judge all things (krinei), and

(iii) it will catch up with and seize hold of them (katalepsetai), which should mean that they will literally catch fire. The universal approach of fire is depicted as hostile and threatening, but not exclusively so. For krinein may mean to select someone for special honors, to judge a contest in his favor, as well as to judge him guilty or subject to punishment. The verb has the same ambivalence as 'requital* (antamoibe) in XL (D. 90). According to the merits of the case, the seizure of a thing by fire will entail either its punishment or its reward, its promotion upwards to enhanced life or downwards to elemental death.

As executor of universal justice, Fire here plays the role of Justice herself and her ministers the Furies in XLIV (D. 94). Now Justice is also identified with Conflict and opposition (LXXXII, D. 80). If Heraclitus' thought and imagery are coherent, the Fire which figures as justice must stand not only for the principle of cosmic guidance (like the thunderbolt of CXIX) but also for the cosmic structure of opposition, as reflected in the measured kindling and extinction of XXXVII (D. 30). Ultimately these two notions will coincide: it is precisely by means of polar opposition that wisdom orders the uni- verse and distinguishes the upward and downward paths of reward and punishment.

To make sense of this, however, we must distinguish two roles for fire in Heraclitus. In the first place fire is conceived as one elemental form among others, an alternative to earth or water or clouds and wind. It is not easy to find in the fragments an unambiguous reference to fire in this narrow, elemental sense. But the ordinary sense of fire is obviously presupposed by every use of the term. On the other hand, when the everliving fire of XXXVII is identified with the world order or kosmos as such, it is presented as the system of all elemental forms that emerge as it is kindled and quenched. If we accept (as I propose) a pattern of cosmogony and universal conflagration for Heraclitus, then this trans-elemental role is embodied in the primordial Fire that precedes and alternates with the formation of the world. We need not return here to the controversial issues of cosmogony and ecpyrosis: in a general conflagration the fate of all things will be the same, so this can throw no special light on the judicious discernment by fire. Insofar as Heraclitus has such a total conflagration in view, CXXI tells us only that cosmic justice and symmetry require that at some point all things return to the source from which they first emerged.

On any reading of XXXVIII (D. 31 A), in which water, earth, and the like are presented as 'reversals' of fire, as on any interpretation of the exchange of all things for fire in XL (D. 90), we must allow for some privileged role for fire that sets it apart from the other elements. There must be some sense, symbolical if not physical, in which fire represents the world order as a whole and the principle of cosmic justice. How are we to conceive this role of fire within the present constitution of the universe?

I will suggest in a moment a view (not very easy to understand) according to which fire passes physically through all other natural forms and phenomena. But first we recall that fire appears both as representative of death, in the funeral pyre, and also as the highest afterlife for pre-eminent souls who, as a beam of light (auge), are associated with, or absorbed into, the celestial fire of the sun and
stars (above, pp. 250f., 256). Secondly, in natural phenomena such as the lightning bolt, the fiery prester, and the 'all-seeing sun', fire is the embodiment and instrument of cosmic wisdom. It is just this tra- ditional conception of the sun as 'eye of Zeus' or 'eye of Justice' that explains the allusion to divine insight as a sun which never sets in CXXII (D. 16), an unsleeping eye whose notice one cannot hope to escape.

Underlying the imagery of CXXII, then, we find the analogy between sun and cosmic fire that is also implied by the solstitial 'turnings (tropai) of fire' in XXXVIII (D. 31). The traditional role of the Sun as observer must be taken over by its cosmic analogue, since the sun itself is under higher surveillance (XLIV, D. 94) and, extinguished each night, it is unavailable as a possible observer for half of a man's lifetime. The conception of cosmic fire as a kind of super-sun thus unites the mythical ideas of divine justice associated with Zeus and Helios and the new Ionian view of rational order as pervading the entire natural world. Without following Reinhardt in recognizing a direct quotation in the comment (in CXX) that 'this fire is intelligent (phronimon)\ we can see this as an accurate statement.

Our interpretation of CXXII is confirmed by a passage already referred to in Plato's Cratylus, where he is expounding the doctrine of flux and offers two connected etymologies for 'Zeus' and 'just' (dikaion). Plato here mentions the view that there is something which pervades or passes through all things and is cause of everything that comes about (412D). This universal causal factor is the swiftest and finest of all things.

And because it administers (epitropeuei) all things by moving through (dia-ion) them, it was rightly called by this name dikaion 'just' . . . And someone said it was right to call it Zeus [in the accusative Dia] as the cause: for the cause is that because [did) of which things happen. (412D8-413A5)
Socrates claims he has been able to learn these doctrines only with great difficulty, as secret lore; and he found that his informants could not agree on any further answer to his persistent question: what is just?

One of them says it is the sun that is just (dikaion); for it alone by moving through (dia-ion) and burning (kaon) administers all beings. But when I tell this to someone else . . . he laughs at me and asks if I think there is nothing just once the sun has set. When I persist in asking what he takes justice to be, he says it is fire. But this is not easy to understand. Another says it is not fire itself but the very heat which is present in fire. Another one claims to laugh at all these views and says the just is what Anaxagoras meant: intelligence (nous). For this is the supreme power and, being mixed with nothing else, it sets all things in order by moving through them all. (413B3-C7)

How far this account is based upon Plato's own reading of Heraclitus, how far it reflects the exegesis of earlier Heracliteans, we can only guess. The connections between the sun, elemental fire, supreme intelligence, and the cosmic causal factor are all to be found in the fragments.406 What Plato adds is that the fiery wisdom of the uni- verse sets things in order by moving through them. And perhaps this is a natural interpretation of CXXI: 'fire coming on (epelthon) . . . will catch up with all things'. This view of fire as literally penetrating everything in the world would fully agree with other pre-Platonic attempts to conceive the causal action of the supreme principle in terms of physical presence and penetration.

Heraclitus must also have thought of his divine principle as in some sense all-pervasive, immanent in the natural order and in all of its constituents, as the 'pantheistic' tendency of CXXIII (D. 67) will make clear. The Greeks before Plato and after Aristotle seem able to conceive of the spiritual or intelligent ordering of the world only in terms of a rarified, all- pervading physical presence, like the ether of pre-Einsteinian physics. Even in the fourth century A.D., Augustine was able to free himself from this corporeal view of God only by the study of Neoplatonic metaphysics. The Stoics speak of the supreme deity in pre-Socratic fashion, as breath (pneuma) or rational fire (pyr noeron), a power which orders all things by 'passing through them all' I have left for the end the phrase 'need (chresmosyne) and satiety (koros)' (CXX, D. 65), whose authenticity is guaranteed by indepen- dent citations in Philo and Plutarch. All three authors reflect a Stoic interpretation which identifies the two terms with successive stages in the cosmic cycle: 'Need is the construction of the world order (diakosmesis), Satiety is the universal conflagration (ekpyrosis).

I see no way of deciding whether or not this interpretation is based upon something in the lost context of CXX. The Stoics may simply have taken their clue from Theophrastus, who construed the related pairs War-Peace and Strife-Agreement as a reference to these cosmic periods: 'of the opposites the one that leads to generation and coming-to-be is called "war" and "strife"; the one leading to the conflagration is called "agreement" and "peace" ' (D.L. IX.8: see Appendix IIA). In the exegesis of CXX 'Need' takes the place of 'Strife', 'Satiety' replaces 'Peace' and 'agreement'. The substitution was an easy one, given the parallel pairs of CXXIII.

Perhaps the only safe conclusion from such reports is that Herac- litus presented 'Need and Satiety' in some close connection with fire. (Cf. 'hunger' and 'satiety' in CXXIII.) The actual phenomenon of fire may be characterized intuitively in terms of 'need' (or 'hunger') for fuel, and 'repletion' or 'satiety' when it burns itself out. In Greek koros 'satiety' suggests hybris and carries connotations of disaster. (Hence the Stoic interpretation of koros as the destruction of the world order.) We recall the analogy between hybris and destructive fire in CIV (D. 43). If the kindling and extinction of fire is taken as a figure for the cosmic order, this pattern may be redescribed as Need and Satiety.

For a similar pairing of Hunger (limos) and Satiety, see LXVII (D. in).

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"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Sun Jun 30, 2013 11:57 am

CXXIII (D. 67) The god: day and night, winter and summer, war and peace, satiety and hunger. It alters, as when mingled with perfumes it gets named accord- ing to the pleasure (hedone) of each one.

CXXIII consists of two distinct sentences connected by the particle de. The first of these announces as its topic 'the god' [ho theos) and offers as comment four pairs of antithetical nouns.409 The second sentence begins with a verb 'it alters' or 'it becomes different' (allo- ioutai) without any subject expressed, and continues with a complex comparative clause containing a subordinate clause of time: 'just as, when it is mingled with perfumes, it is named according to the pleasure of each one'. Again no subject noun is provided for either clause (unless we add one, as many editors have done). There is thus
a sharp formal contrast between the two sentences: the first consists of nine nouns in the nominative, with no syntax, simply a list of names; the second sentence is all syntax, with three finite verb clauses but no subject noun. In the first the god is described by a formal pat- tern of antitheses; in the second by a verb of process, explicated in turn by analogy to another process. This elaborate formal asymmetry gives us a strong prima facie reason for resisting the editorial temp- tation to introduce a subject noun into the second sentence. I con- sider the two sentences in turn.


(1) This is the only definition of deity in the fragments. Other texts dealing with the gods may be divided into four groups. Group I develops the traditional contrast between divine insight and human ignorance, but tells us nothing further about the divine.410 Group II posits a mysterious equivalence between gods and humans, immortals and mortals, suggesting some deeper unity in which these opposites are reconciled.411 Group III speaks in mythical terms of specific gods: Dionysus and Hades (equated in CXVI, D. 15), Dike and her servants the Furies (XLIV, D. 94; cf. LXIX, D. 23 and LXXXVII, D. 28B), Apollo 'whose oracle is in Delphi'.412 The references to Justice point to a fourth group, in which CXXIII will be included. These are the texts that invoke a supreme principle of cosmic unity which lies beyond the traditional Greek conception of the divine. In two cases the principle described in terms appropriate to deity is explicitly con- trasted with gods (theoi) as normally understood: War, which has made some gods and others men (LXXXIII, D. 53); and the cosmic Fire, which 'no one either of gods or of men has made' (XXXVII, D. 30).

War and Fire thus appear as designations of the new super-Zeus, a principle of universal order and justice that must coincide with 'the wise one alone' of CXVIII (D. 32). It is this principle that we have
just seen described as Thunderbolt, Fire, or a sun 'which never sets'.413 It must be the same supreme principle that nourishes all human laws as 'the divine one' in XXX (D. 114): 'it prevails as it will and suffices for all and is more than enough'.

We thus find two quite distinct conceptions of deity in Heraclitus. The gods in general as opposed to men, including individual powers designated by traditional names (other than Zeus and Dike), are
conceived as one member of a polar opposition (immortals-mortals, Hades-Dionysus), and hence as partial constituents which, if isolated, cannot be identified with the world order as a whole.414 On the other hand there is 'the divine one' or 'the wise one', the principle of unity represented by War and Fire and identified with the kosmos that is 'common to all' (XXXVII, D. 30). Now the antitheses which follow make clear that 'the god' of CXXIII must also represent this universal principle of cosmic unity. But it is striking that the definition given in our sentence makes no use of the network of terms by which this concept is articulated in other fragments: cosmic Fire, unique wis- dom, universal steering, the logos according to which all things come to pass. Instead, CXXIII displays the divine plan in typical instances of its constituent structure.

Four pairs of opposites divide into two groups. Day and night, winter and summer define the cosmic order of change and regularity within which human life is carried on. The last two pairs (war and peace, satiety and famine) represent extreme human experiences of disruption and restoration. But all four pairs are characterized by a common pattern: the alternation and interdependence of a positive and a negative term. Thus war and famine represent things dangerous and destructive, while peace and satiety represent what is positive and desirable. A similar positive-negative contrast underlies the antitheses of the first group: summer is the good season (kalokairi 'fair weather' in Modern Greek: the ancient name theros suggests 'crops'), whereas winter is named from 'storm' (cheimon); daylight stands for life, but Night is the fearful power of darkness (hence her euphemistic name euphrone 'the kindly one', used throughout the fragments).

Now the regularity of the seasons and the changing ratio of day and night was recognized as the very pattern of cosmic plan, the work of an ordering intellect.416 The formal symmetry of our sentence seems to make a similar point about the negative and positive extremes of human experience. By the 'measures' of cosmic order, peace and war, satiety and hunger are necessarily joined together within a total unity that is 'the god'. But whereas other fragments assert the unity of a specific pair of opposites, what our sentence adds is the thesis of unity for all the pairs.

Except for war and peace, the antitheses of CXXIII all reappear in other fragments.418 The pairing of war and peace is unique, since elsewhere War stands alone for the cosmic order (LXXXII, D. 80; LXXXIII, D. 53). We thus recognize a duality in the role of war, which figures here as one constituent of a particular antithesis and there as the principle of antithesis as such, just as we have distinguished a partial and a total conception of deity and a particular (elemental) and universal (cosmic) role for fire. There is no one term that can designate the principle of total order without ambiguity.

It would be pointless to debate whether these four pairs of opposites are to be attributed to the god as predicates or strictly identified with him as alternative descriptions. The logical dichotomy between the 'is' of predication and the 'is' of identity is a conceptual anach- ronism, which does violence to the simple directness of Heraclitus' language. God is in some sense defined by or identified with the opposites here, though of course he (or it) cannot be identified with any one, or with any pair, taken alone. Nor can the list be regarded as an exhaustive account of deity: the god will be strictly identical only with the total pattern of opposition, of which these four pairs are paradigmatic specimens.
This pattern is the order of the universe, its unifying structure as a balancing of opposites over time. The god identified in CXXIII is neither a physical substance nor an underlying element, nor any con- crete body like elemental fire. This is obvious from the first sentence, but often forgotten in the exegesis of what follows.


(2) 'It alters, as when mingled with perfumes it gets named accord- ing to the pleasure of each.' What is it that alters or becomes 'other in kind' (allows)? The god, surely. But not the god as some under- lying subject or substrate that could manifest itself in the opposites taken one at a time, being actually and in itself an entity distinct from them all. This substratum-interpretation of CXXIII, which is encouraged by a superficial reading of the simile of incense as well as by the Aristotelian view of Heraclitean fire as material cause, is clearly ruled out by the preceding sentence. For there is no one subject which might become first day, then night, then winter or sum- mer, war or peace. Days and nights are themselves part of, and modi- fied by, summer and winter, just as they are qualified in turn by war and peace. The four pairs of opposites are in no sense alternatives to one another, as potential attributes of some one underlying subject, in the way that different fragrances may characterize a single fire. It is only between the two terms of any given pair that a change of this kind can be understood. So the verb 'it alters' must refer to a change from any one term to its opposite — or, more generally, to every change between opposites.

This is the divine structure of cosmic pro- cess according to Heraclitus. It is a misreading of the simile to suppose that there is some process by which cosmic fire might change from day to winter, from peace to famine, or from one pair of opposites to another pair. And it is the same misreading that leads so many editors to insert 'fire' or some other noun as subject of the clause 'when it is mingled with perfume'.419 For the altar flame is of course distinct from the incense or spices that are thrown upon it. All the more reason why Heraclitus should have avoided here any explicit mention of fire. His simile holds not between the transformations of the god and the mingling of fire with incense but between the differ- ent manifestations of the god and the alternative naming (of the fire — or of the god?) when so mingled. As there is one fire called by many names, so there is one divine system of unity and opposition that has just been designated by four pairs of opposites.

As it stands, the subject of this clause (as of the entire second sentence) is nameless: it acquires a name only from the spices with which it is mixed, and in which the namer takes 'pleasure'. Since the remote subject of the preceding sentence is 'the god', and since we are given no subject here, the text suggests that it is the god himself who appears as fire mingled with incense: the cosmic god has his epiphany in the flame burning on the altar. Once the text is 'corrected' by the editors we find no such mysterious identity between the universal deity and the sacrificial fire, indeed no mystery at all but a trans- parent and misleading simile.

The final phrase, 'named according to the pleasure (hedone) of each', may be read in two ways. According to an old technical use of hedone for a flavor or perfume, it means simply that the unnamed fire receives the name of each spice that is added to it. But this is not the ordinary sense of hedone (for example, in Herodotus); and even if Heraclitus alludes to this special usage here, it is difficult to believe that he meant to exclude the standard meaning of the word 'pleasure'.

On that reading the phrase with hekastou will mean not 'according to the flavor of each spice' but 'according to the pleasure of each man (who so names it)'. It is not that the naming of the divine by means of opposites is arbitrary or subjective, depending upon personal whim, but rather that the positive and negative values of opposing names are relative to the human perspective and to the per- sonal experience of the individual. Mankind perceives the contrast, the otherness (allows) of daylight and nocturnal darkness, hunger and surfeit, but not the unity which binds each pair together, and which is the same principle of antithesis throughout: 'It is disease that makes health sweet and good, hunger satiety, weariness rest' (LXVII, D. 111).

Hippolytus tells us that CXXIII was found 'in the same section' as CXX-CXXI (D. 65-6).4 2 2 This is one of the very few cases where my arrangement of the fragments rests on documentary evidence. (But Hippolytus' remark does not include CXXII, D. 16, which I have grouped here because of its thematic link with what precedes.)

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Sun Jun 30, 2013 12:03 pm

CXXIV (D. 10) Graspings (syllapsies): wholes and not wholes, convergent divergent, consonant dissonant, from all things one and from one thing all.

The form of this fragment recalls the first sentence in CXXIII (D. 67): a topic is posed by the opening word, then explicated by a series of opposing terms. But whereas the surface structure of CXXIII was clear, with a subject ('the god') singled out by the definite article, in CXXIV the initial term is itself enigmatic and we scarcely know what is being asserted of what. Both in form and content these two frag- ments serve as complements to one another, providing a kind of summary of Heraclitus' thought. They might well have been placed together here, at or near the end of the book.


(1) As first word, and the only term not paired with an antithesis, the plural form syllapsies emerges as the topic upon which the following pairs will comment. But what does this word mean? Most commentators, groping for some clue, assign to syllapsies a sense that will fit the rest of the sentence: 'Zusammensetzungen' (Snell), 'things taken together' (Kirk), 'connections' (Marcovich), 'assemblages' (Bollack-Wismann). But none of these senses is attested for syllapsis (Attic syllepsis) in archaic or classical usage. Such renderings tend to short-circuit the process of understanding, by taking as point of departure an interpretation that can only be reached by an analysis of the whole sentence.

Before Aristotle (for whom the word can mean biological 'conception' or 'pregnancy'), the only sense attested for syllepsis is the bodily notion of 'seizing, laying hold of, arresting, apprehending' (LSJ s.v. syllepsis II; this is still the standard meaning of the term in Modern Greek). Now the cognate verb katalepsetai is twice used by Heraclitus in this sense of personal capture (LXXXVII, D. 28, and CXXI, D. 66; cf. elabomen and katelabomen in XXII, D. 56). If we are to take Heraclitus at his word, our interpretation must begin with the literal sense of grasping or seizure, as in the capture of someone trying to escape. Commentators have generally neglected this ordinary meaning of the word because it makes CXXIV harder to understand. But who ever supposed that Heraclitus was an easy author?

This initial sense of syllapsies becomes less puzzling once we realize that CXXIV characterizes the structure of the universe and remember that this structure is an order of justice involving punish- ment and reward. We are then free to connect the image of seizing a fugitive with other statements about the impossibility of escape (CXXII, D. 16; XLIV, D. 94; cf. LXXXVII, D. 28 and CXXI, D. 66). By this initial echo of the themes of fire and Justice laying hands on guilty ones, the term syllapsies will recall the dimension of cosmic justice that is similarly invoked by the term antamoibe 'requital' for the mutual exchange between fire and all things in XL (D. 90).

Other, less usual senses oisyllapsis (or syllepsis) are nonetheless essential for deciphering CXXIV. (1) Syllepsis is etymologically a 'taking-together', a physical conjunction or concatenation of sounds or the like, as in the cognate syllabe, 'syllable'. (2) Syllepsis can desig- nate the cognitive act of collecting together, comprehending, or sum- ming up. This sense of the noun is unattested in classical usage, but well represented for the corresponding verb syllambanein 'to compre- hend'; it might easily be understood here as a recondite hyponoia.

Since Snell's study of our fragment in 1941 (Hermes 76, 84—7), it has been recognized that syllapsies must be taken here in sense (1) or (2). We need not choose between the two, any more than we need to choose between the two sides of the action-object ambiguity: between the act of grasping and the things grasped. 'Graspings' may be under- stood here both in the physical and the cognitive sense, both as act and as object. Syllapsies will denote the pairwise structuring of reality, and also the act of intelligence by which this structure is gathered together.


(2) 'Wholes and not wholes.' It is the neuter form of these two terms (ho la kai ouk ho la) which obliges us to go beyond the usual meaning of syllepsis as 'seizure (of a person)'. If it is not a question
of someone being captured, what kind of apprehending is going on here? Answer: things whole and things not whole.424 In cognitive terms the contrast between 'wholes' and 'not wholes' points to the most abstract and general feature of intellectual synthesis: combining objects in thought and seeing them together as larger unities. Of all conceptual antitheses, only the opposition of unity and plurality is of comparable generality. (See the contrast of 'one' and 'many' in the final pair of CXXIV.)

In form the opposition of wholes and not wholes is even more general, since it exhibits the basic logical pattern of affirmation and denial: Yes and No. Both terms also express in their plural form the idea of the manifold as such. And in terms of semantic content, the notion of 'wholes' indicates a subordinate diversity of parts and thus a greater richness of structure, a more organic unity, than the contrast of one and many alone. We might say that the notion of 'whole' expresses the concept of unity as dynamic rather than static: each unit is built up out of an internal plurality and grouped in turn within some wider plurality. In the language of set theory, each set short of the universal set is both a whole (since it is a unit including one or more members) and not a whole, since it is not all-inclusive. The literal sense of holos is 'complete, lacking in none of its parts'. Strictly speaking, there can be only one whole, one unity from which nothing is lacking. (Hence to hoIon comes to mean 'the universe'.) But all unities short of the universe itself will be both wholes and not wholes.

Beginning with the cognitive notion of bringing things together as totalities in thought, we have been led to speak of the correlative unity of structures or objects synthesized. But these structures remain general and abstract. Terms like whole and part, positive and negative, one and many, indicate purely formal features that can apply (like the concepts which Ryle has called 'topic-neutral') to any subject matter whatsoever. Thus there is a crucial difference of type between such abstract opposites and the more concrete, 'substantive' oppo- sitions illustrated in CXXIII: day and night, summer and winter, peace and war, satiety and famine. It is in virtue of this distinction that CXXIV and CXXIII supplement one another as a summary of the doctrine of opposites. Unlike the formal antitheses of CXXIV, the opposites of CXXIII are directly instantiated in human life and in nature, like the terms of XCIII (D. 88): living and dead, waking and sleeping, young and old.

Understood as forms of 'combinations' (syllapsies) in the world, then, terms like wholes and not wholes are logically of a higher type: we must think of them as applying to some particular substantive term, such as day or night, life or death. One can say of each day or each individual life that it is a distinct whole, with beginning, middle, and end. But we can also, and even more truly, say that it is not a whole, since it is only a part of some larger unity: of the diurnal cycle of day-and-night, or of the Heraclitean cycle of life-and-death by which immortals live the death of mortals. Thus the topic-neutral opposites of CXXIV give us a formal characterization of the view expressed in the claim that Day and Night are one (XIX, D. 57), and generalized in the statement that 'all things are one' (XXXVI, D. 50).


(3) 'Convergent, divergent.' Intuitively, the pair of participles sympheromenon diapheromenon suggests local motion: the move- ment of plurality together (syn-) in the direction of unity, balanced
by the movement apart (dia-) to diversity. This spatial imagery may be taken as a figure for the dynamic tension between totality and partiality, unity and diversity that runs through all cases of opposition. But we should also take these participles literally, as depicting an actual process of alternating motion towards unity and diversity, as in the concluding antithesis: 'from all things one and from one thing all'.

Even more unmistakable is the metaphorical sense of sympheromenon and diapheromenon as 'agreeing with', 'being advantageous to' (the usual sense of sympherei in the active voice), and 'quarrelling with', 'being hostile to'. So understood, this antithesis echoes the references to Agreement and Conflict in so many other fragments, and specifically in LXXVIII (D. 51): 'how in variance it agrees with itself. Recall the pairing of peace and war in CXXIII. Peace and conflict, amity and hostility are the forms in which the principles of unity and diversity are directly manifested within the social life of mankind.


(4) 'Consonant, dissonant.' Synaidon and diaidon mean literally 'singing together' and 'singing
apart'. There has been much learned attention devoted to the state of musical practice and terminology in Heraclitus' day, and it has been emphatically denied that harmonie in LXXVIII (D. 51) and LXXX (D. 54) can refer to the harmony or 'concord' of several notes struck or sung together, like chords in unison.426 But in any case the musical antithesis, following as it does here upon 'coming together-disagreeing', must be significantly related to the harmonie or 'attunement' of the lyre in LXXVIII, since the latter is precisely said 'to agree in variance with itself. I leave it to historians of Greek music to decide (if they can) what forms of con- sonance and dissonance Heraclitus may have had in mind. There are several obvious applications: the strings of the lyre may sound either in agreement with one another or out of tune; the singer himself may sing either in harmony or in discord with his instrument; and several unaccompanied human voices may sing together with or without the desired accord.

Music is a strikingly specific instance of unity and diversity; and we may ask what accounts for this special role of music for Heraclitus. There is no doubt of the privileged status enjoyed by music and the lyre in the aristocratic culture of archaic Greece. (Think of the scene in Iliad IX, where Agamemnon's ambassadors find Achilles in his hut singing to the lyre.) And the formal patterns of Greek music were regarded as familiar examples of a unity and 'agreement' that requires as its basis an objective diversity of sounds and tones. (This is the thought which Aristotle, following Plato, ascribes to Heraclitus in LXXV, D. 8.) But I suspect that Heraclitus was also influenced by
the kind of Pythagorean speculation concerning the musical numbers and the cosmic role of harmonic ratios that is reflected in the frag- ments of Philolaus.427 For if we see in Heraclitus' development of the theme of musical harmonie a reaction to Pythagorean ideas, there will be a direct connection between this emphasis on music and his conception of cosmic order in terms of 'measures' and proportion (logos).


(5) 'From all things one and from one thing all.' As final deter- mination of the concept of 'graspings', Heraclitus here names the themes of unity and plurality which dominate the fragment and characterize his thought throughout. (It is easy to imagine these words as closure for the book, or at least as closing the positive state- ment of doctrine. They would thus form a ring pattern with 'all things are one' in XXXVI, D. 50.) However, Heraclitus does not refer to plurality as such (polla 'many') but to a plurality that is total and all-inclusive: panta 'all things'.428 It is not the numerical contrast between the one and the many that is the focus of concern, but the world-constituting antithesis between unity and totality: the one and the all.

Since this final chiastic pairing of antithetical terms provides a kind of summary for all that has gone before, any elaborate commentary would be repetitious. I call attention only to the dynamic, emergent form of the contrast: 'X out of Y, and Y out of X'. In cognitive terms we might understand these two moments as alternating phases of synthesis and analysis, the seeing-together and seeing-apart which characterizes intelligence in general and the understanding of oppo- sites in particular. But beyond this dialectical structure of cog- nition, there is surely some reference to the monism expressed in XXXVI (D. 50): 'all things are one'. And the reciprocal movement from pluralized totality (panta) to unity (hen) and back again recalls the exchange of all things (ta panta) for fire and fire for all things in XL (D. 90). Whatever interpretation fits the universal exchange for
fire must also apply somehow to the alternation between all things and one. I have given my reasons for finding a Heraclitean allusion to some vast cosmic cycle involving the emergence of the world order from fire and its reabsorption into the same principle, as in the pattern of Stoic ecpyrosis (above, pp. 134ff., 145ff.).

At the very least, the 'turnings' (tropai) of fire in XXXVIII (D. 31) will imply a succession of cosmic seasons marked by the prevalence of fire at one extreme and its withdrawal to some minimum position in the opposite phase, like the sun at winter solstice. On either reading, the alternation of one and all things in CXXIV will correspond to the kindling and quenching of cosmic fire in XXXVII (D. 30). The history of early Greek philosophy suggests an obvious parallel in the cosmic cycle of Empedocles, described in terms that echo CXXIV (Empedocles fr.17.1—20; cf. fr. 26). Other parallels do not require a cycle of cos- mogony and world-destruction. Thus in the Milesian pattern of apokrisis or separating-out, all things are separated from the Apeiron, or from the boundless Air; and this process of dispersion must be continually balanced by a movement of contraction and condensation. (So in Anaxagoras, frs. 2, 4, and 12—16.)

Hence the physical interpretation of 'one thing from all, all things from one' will include, but need not be limited to, a cycle of alternating cosmic periods. The abstract form of this antithesis excludes any univocal reference to such a cosmic pattern. That pattern will serve, like conflict and amity, musical accord and dissonance, as a paradigm of the unity-in-opposition manifested by every system of rational structure. The kindling and quenching of cosmic fire, mirrored in the alternation of day and night, summer and winter, is of significance for Heraclitus because it reveals the same pattern as the alternation of waking and sleeping, youth and age, life and death, satiety and hunger. It is this general pattern of unity whose formal structure is articulated by the 'graspings' of CXXIV.

By way of conclusion, I offer a paraphrase of CXXIV that states more fully the thought that Heraclitus has deliberately schematized in his elliptical style, (The words in italics are added to make the fuller statement explicit.)

'Graspings, that is to say groups holding together, apprehensions bringing things together: these are wholes and not wholes; they characterize a system which is convergent, divergent, structured by cooperation and by conflict; this system is consonant, dissonant, held together by harmony and discord alike; from all its components a unity emerges, and from this unity all things emerge.'

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Sun Jun 30, 2013 12:04 pm

CXXV (D. 124) Theophrastus: [The fairest order in the world ('the most beautiful kosmos'), says Heraclitus, is a heap of random sweepings.]

Since even the text of Theophrastus is badly preserved, there is no hope of recovering the original passage which he cites. At least the play on kosmos ('adornment' and 'world-order') must belong to Heraclitus. And some reference to a random collection must also be authentic, if the quotation is to have any point in Theophrastus' con- text. The implied production of the fairest celestial arrangement from a random assortment of refuse would be a striking illustration of the paradoxical connection of opposites.

Beyond this any interpretation must be a conjecture. My best guess at Heraclitus' point is that the structure of the universal system described in CXXIII and CXXIV is so strict and so all-pervasive that chance and providence must coincide: any random arrangement of material, any arbitrary sample of human life or evidence from nature must exhibit the same pattern and illustrate the same plan (gnome). This thought would not be too remote from Aristotle's comment on the anecdote about the visitors who came to meet Heraclitus, but hesitated to enter when they found him warming himself at the kitchen fire. Seeing them at the door, he called out, 'Enter with con- fidence, for here too there are gods.' Citing this story in justification of his study of the structure of animals great and small, Aristotle remarks: 'in all these things there is some element of nature and beauty'.

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Sun Jun 30, 2013 12:08 pm

Quote :
Dubious quotations from Heraclitus

I translate here, for the sake of completeness, the eight fragments listed as genuine by Diels but not included in my own translation and commentary. Reasons for omission differ from case to case. D. 67a and D. 125a seem to me straightforward forgeries, like some of the examples which Diels listed as spurious (D. 126a—139); D. 46 may belong in the same category.

On the other hand, there is no reason to doubt the authenticity of the single word listed as D. 122, but also no hint of a sentential context and hence no way to construe it as a meaningful fragment. In the case of the two citations from Iamblichus (D. 68 and 69), the situation is rather similar: we seem to have a term quoted without any reliable indication of the original context. (I have included a comparable quotation from Iamblichus among the fragments proper, D. 70, LVIII, since it fits plausibly into a context pro- vided by other fragments.) Many editors have accepted D. 49a as a genuine quotation, but I can only see it as a thinly disguised paraphrase of the river fragments (L and LI), modelled on the contra- dictory form of CXVIII (D. 32), and influenced by the thought of XCII (D. 62): we are and are not alive.431 The text of D. 4 is in a class by itself: preserved in Latin by Albertus Magnus in the thirteenth century A.D., with no hint of a Greek source, it seems nonetheless to preserve a Heraclitean kernel; and I have used it with some hesi- tation in the commentary on LXX—LXXII.

I should add that among the fragments included in my text and commentary there are at least two of doubtful authenticity: XLI (D. 76) and CI (D. 115). Also, several of my 'fragments' are doxographic reports rather than verbal citations: XXIII (D. 105), XXIV (D. 38), XLIII (D. A13 and A5), and CXIII (D. A15 and D. 12).


D. 4 (M. 38, p. 188) Albertus Magnus: Heraclitus said that if happiness lay in bodily delights, we would say that cattle are happy when they find bitter vetch (orobus) to eat.

D. 46 (M. 114, pp. 573ff.) Diogenes Laertius: He said that conceit (oiesis) was a sacred disease [i.e. epilepsy] and seeing was being deceived.

D. 49a (M. 40c2, pp. 199f.; cf. p. 211) Heraclitus Homericus: (Heraclitus the obscure says . . . ) 'Into the same rivers we step and do not step, we are and we are not.'

D. 67a (M. 115, pp. 576ff.) Hisdosus Scholasticus: Heraclitus gives an excellent comparison of the soul to a spider and the body to the spider's web. As the spider, he says, waiting in the middle of the web, notices as soon as a fly breaks any thread and then quickly runs to the spot, as if she suffered until her web is repaired, just so does the soul of a human being, when any part of the body is harmed, move swiftly to that place, as if disturbed by the wound of the body, to which it is tightly and proportionately linked.

D. 68 (M. 88, p. 469) Iamblichus: In the holy seeing and hearing of shameful things we are released from the harm that is caused by the corresponding deeds . . . And therefore it was reasonable of Heraclitus to call these practices 'remedies' (akea), as having a healing effect upon the soul.

D. 69 (M. 98g, p. 518) Iamblichus: Hence I posit two kinds of sacrifices. The first are those of wholly purified men, such as may occur rarely in the case of a single man, as Heraclitus says, or a very small number; the other kind are immersed in matter, corporeal, and produced by change.435

D. 122 (M. I l l , p. 565) Suidas: Heraclitus used the form anchibasie ('stepping near').

D. 125a (M. 106, p. 543) Tzetzes: May your wealth never fail you, men of Ephesus, so that your wretchedness may be fully exposed.


Quote :
Two texts listed by Diels among the spurious fragments are of some doctrinal interest:

D. 136 (M. 96b, p. 509) Scholia to Epictetus: 'Souls killed in war are purer than those in diseases.' This is a late commentary on C (D. 24).

D. 137 (M. 28d*, p. 135) Aetius: 'Things are altogether determined by fate (heimarmena): See on XLIIIB (n. 180).

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Sun Jun 30, 2013 12:08 pm

This ends Kahn's commentaries on Heraclitus.

----------- x ------------

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

*Become clean, my friends.*
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PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Sat Jul 06, 2013 10:38 pm

"Heraclitus was proud; and if it comes to pride with a philosopher then it is a great pride. His work never refers him to a "public", the applause of the masses, and the hailing chorus of contemporaries. To wander lonely along his path belongs to the nature of the philosopher. His talents are the most rare, in a certain sense the most unnatural and at the same time exclusive and hostile even toward kindred talents. The wall of his self-sufficiency must be of diamond, if it is not to be demolished and broken, for everything is in motion against him. His journey to immortality is more cumbersome and impeded than any other and yet nobody can believe more firmly than the philosopher that he will attain the goal by that journey-because he does not know where he is to stand if not on the widely spread wings of all time; for the disregard of everything present and momentary lies in the essence of the great philosophical nature. He has truth; the wheel of time may roll whither it pleases, never can it escape from truth. It is important to hear that such men have lived." (Nietzsche)
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PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Sun Jul 07, 2013 10:39 pm

Where did this hidden rhythm of nature, which moves and regulates things, "the logos", and the only material source of natural substances H accepted, was fire, manifest from.   Where and how was the spark ignited, so to speak.  I accept fire changes or transforms to water and earth.

As H has said, Let's not make random guesses about the greatest matters.

Are the Fragments just that, random guesses.  Given some parts were not finished, and  a small section remains, which has been transported from person to person and which we know distorts by this very process and perhaps the obscure manner in which it was written was purely for reasons of personal safety for H. 

I embrace the beauty and wisdom of these Fragments, but its incompletion leaves many questions, I should state, for me anyway.
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PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Sun Jul 07, 2013 11:25 pm

"From where? , when did it begin?" are human questions which already implies what it asks for.
It is really a question about self:
"How, where, when, did this mind come from which now can wonder, and wish for meaning, for a purpose to justify itself?"

Obscurity is the only way an art-form can direct itself.
An artist indirectly gazes at what is fleeting.
He approximates what he sees as a blur, and fills in the indistinctness with bold fine lines representing the clarity of borders.
How else would a tool, the brain, interpret as static, as things, what is forever dynamic process?
How would it try to clarify, to bring into focus, the diversity other than making it more bold, more certain, more defined and refined?

The observer is still troubled by the unsatisfactory outcome of the depiction.
In the representation, no matter how artfully delivered, and what message underlies its aesthetic impressions, (s)he feels the absence.
It may be called incomplete, imperfect, unsatisfying, in need of a some-thing, a some-where, a some-how, and in its multiple linguistic expressions the same absence is renamed and re-baptized and reaffirmed in the other, as an image of our selves.

The terror, the anxiety, the dissatisfaction with this in-completion, asking the observer to add his own ingredients, his own things, to complete it, is the very experience of living.

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PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:59 pm

I am overcome in mind and feeling.

Heraclitus had said he "knew nothing" but later claimed to "know everything." The implication is that man contains all knowledge within himself to be elicited by self-questioning, and yet he says:

"The things that can be seen, heard and learned are what I prize the most.

The self-examination then may only be a program of objective inquiry?
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PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Mon Jul 08, 2013 10:55 pm

If man is a particle of existence, then he represents the entirety at the time and place.

He feels the absence of an absolute, as need/suffering; he senses the temporal; flux as pain, agon.
He seeks in the other completion and is never satisfied, for the other is in almost the same state as he is. The hunger, desire, never subsides.

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PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Tue Jul 09, 2013 8:33 am

Satyr, you have often said that the dynamic, changing universe is resistant to static models that attempt to define it absolutely. But there are mathematical processes that model dynamic systems. What if these were adapted at some future point to describe a new conceptual framework of cosmic forces resulting in a General Unified Theory? What argument would you have against such a claim if we assume that no matter from what perspective we look at the universe it remains countable, even at the quantum level it's behavior statistically predictable to a certain extent?
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PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Tue Jul 09, 2013 12:51 pm

Recidivist wrote:
Satyr, you have often said that the dynamic, changing universe is resistant to static models that attempt to define it absolutely. But there are mathematical processes that model dynamic systems. What if these were adapted at some future point to describe a new conceptual framework of cosmic forces resulting in a General Unified Theory? What argument would you have against such a claim if we assume that no matter from what perspective we look at the universe it remains countable, even at the quantum level it's behavior statistically predictable to a certain extent?

 Easy...what is mathematics in its essence?
A language...the most abstract form of language.
A language, is made up of words.
Words are the basic element, the code, of the linguistic form.

What is the code for math?
1/0, no?

What does it refer to?
Something outside the mind or back to the mind?
If it refers back to the mind, then it is a symbol, a simplification/generalization, of a mental model, an abstraction.
Math is the best symbol for the mental abstraction.

If it refers to something outside the mind, then where is it, this thing, this static singularity, this one, and this logical opposite to it, the nil?
If you claim that it underlies reality, like a fabric, or is something beyond the perceived, then you are using the same argument mystics, and priests do.
More thna htis, you are turning math into a mystical form, a form of magic. 

Is math useful?
Definitely, as are all languages and forms of expression - beginning with animal vocalizations.

We'll have to wait for the General Unified theory, but if we take the up-to-date, cosmological  models, then a SuperString vibrating is but vibration with no string.
We are back to the absence of an absolute, which the numerical symbols of 1/0 represent.
If you cannot offer the absolutes they imply, an absolute singularity or an absolute void, nor justify it, escaping infinite regress, then you offer nothing but another abstracted point in space/time which only has relevance and utility for the organism that bases its (inter)activity upon it.

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PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Tue Jul 09, 2013 5:55 pm

The chaos theory (the butterfly causes a tornado theory) is about predicting systems.
Let's stay in a classic mechanical universe, no quantum theory.

If someone were to know all the properties and condition of all matter in the universe at a particular point in time then it would be possible to predict the future. But only a slight error in measurement would result in complete unpredictability down the timeline. At first it would be only a small deviation but over time it would become completely chaotic (unpredictable).

To measure anything, an interaction has to occur. To predict the far future, it would be necessary to measure with absolute precision. Yet interaction changes the state of the observed object. That's why no theory can predict the future in a perfect way. The more time passes, the more interactions took place, the more uncertain becomes a prediction.

Perfect knowledge of the past would grant perfect knowledge of the future but to know anything about anything is to interact and the induced change of this interaction would have to be measured again, causing yet again induced change, and so on.

There is no outside observer, whose interaction doesn't change the state of the system - well, at least so far, that non-interaction hasn't been witnessed ; )

And that's all without quantum mechanics.

Maybe science is about prediction.
The general field theory, I think that's the unified field theory? - would just unify all the used field theories in one. So, people would apply the same theory to predict a gravitational phenomenon as well as an electro-magnetic phenomenon and so on.

A theory has nothing to do with what is - that's open for interpretation and so on. A theory is just used to predict a phenomenon. If two theories predict the same phenomenons and both are equally accurate then the one which is the simplest, the most elegant, is used.

To start to believe that a theory is the phenomenon makes any thinking outside the 'box' impossible - very tempting. Though, using theories does save a lot of time. (like in modern working environments)

The wave-particle dualism is often cited when it comes to theories. It's not that light can only be 'explained'* by wave AND particle theory. But, some phenomenons are more easily understood (imagined in the human mind), and calculated, using the wave theory, and others are, by using the particle theory.

*described, not really explained

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PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Tue Jul 09, 2013 9:17 pm

A theory, form the Greek ορο<>theoro [θεωρο, to see from a distance, the entirety, from the vantage point of a god --- θεος/θεα - god/goddess --- ωρο - to see, to observe].

Theory, rooted in the Greek to see from an above, distant, godly position, the entirety, the visa, the panorama. Panorama --- πανοραμα - παν<>ωραμα - all<>vision.

A theory is a vision of a totality, from a distant, above, position of a godly vantage point.
The method used to shared these theories is language.
Language deals in absolutes.

It cannot escape its own a priori conceptualizations, which are binary, dualistic.
It can only deal with particles, or point in space/time, even when dealing with waves.
  

Science is about finding patterns, and institutionalizing them, by placing them under the scrutiny of a peer review, at which point it becomes the most current, dominant, perspective.

Therefore it deals in approximations, not absolutes.
When pushed to its limits it is forced to concede to artistic form to describe what cannot be linguistically represented in code.
This is where science returns to its roots, in philosophy.
The arrogance of Alexandrian thinking, rationalism, begins to hint at mysticism, artistic ambiguity.

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