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PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn - Page 2 EmptyMon May 13, 2013 10:55 am

XXXVIII (D. 31 A) The reversals (tropai) of fire: first sea; but of sea half is earth, half lightning storm (prester).

XXXIX (D. 3IB) Sea pours out , and it measures up to the same amount (logos) as it was before becoming earth.


Clement, the only author to cite these two texts, suggests that the first follows closely on XXXVII (D. 30). His citation is compatible with there being no gap between XXXVIII and XXXIX, and many editors treat these as a single fragment. Reinhardt wished to regard all three sentences (XXXVII-XXXIX, D. 3 0 - 1 ) as one continuous text.

If one reads XXXVIII—XXXIX without preconception, but with some knowledge of Ionian natural philosophy, they suggest a cosmo- gonic development of sea from fire and earth from sea: the very pat- tern illustrated in the doxography for Anaximenes (above, p. 137) but with Fire in the place of Air. It is just like Heraclitus, after deny- ing that the world order has proceeded from anything else, to turn in the opposite direction and generate the world as if his everliving fire was an ordinary Milesian arche. This reflects the fact that his own cosmology both is and is not a substitute for the theories of the natural philosophers.

Given what we know about cosmogenesis in the Milesians and Anaxagoras, it takes a certain amount of hermeneutical bias, not to say obstinacy, to read 'first' and 'before' in XXXVIII-XXXIX as if the words did not refer to a temporal sequence. The fact that Theo- phrastus and all later writers, including the Stoics, took them to imply a cosmogony is not in itself a sufficient reason for us to refuse to do so.131 If recent interpreters have resisted the temptation to recognize some kind of temporal sequence or cycle in XXXVIII— XXXIX, that is because they believed cosmogony was excluded by Heraclitus in XXXVII (D. 30). Once we have decided to accept Heraclitus' words in all their diverse, even contradictory suggestive- ness, there is no reason to doubt that the two sentences on fire, sea, and earth are intended to suggest some process of world formation or transformation, such as we find in the doxography for Anaximenes and frs. 15—16 of Anaxagoras.

Heraclitus does not present us with a prosaic account of how the world took shape. The mysterious occurrence oiprester here — a lightning storm where we expect an element or a cosmic mass — and the enigmatic reference to sea 'pouring out' and 'being measured' show that he has in mind something rather different from the ordi- nary Ionian cosmogony. Y et he is clearly playing here with that cosmogonic pattern, just as in the doctrine of fire in XXXVII he is
playing with the Milesian notion of an elemental arche. The assump- tion of a temporal sequence is obvious in every phrase of these two sentences, and first of all in the term tropai 'reversals'.

In normal literary usage, from Homer to Herodotus, trope hastwo senses: (1) a rout in battle, when an army turns and runs, and (2) the 'turnings' of the sun at solstice, i.e. the extreme points of sunrise and sunset towards the north in summer and the south in winter, or (2A) the two times of year (in June and December) when the sun reaches these points and begins its movement back in the opposite direction. It is to render both senses that I translate tropai as 'reversals'. Since 'the routs of (everliving) fire' is not immediately intelligible, the prima facie reading of pyros tropai must rely on (2): 'the turning- points of fire', i.e. the extreme points in a periodic movement from something like summer to something like winter.134 What Heraclitus' words imply is a direct parallel, in poetic terms an identification, between fire and sun. This gives us the clue without which the riddles of XXXVII—XXXIX would remain unintelligible. The measures b y which fire is kindled and put out are to be understood as in some sense a re-enactment of the sun's regular course from solstice to solstice. And this link between the annual movements of the sun and the measured death and revival of fire is reaffirmed in the reference in XLIV (D. 94) to the 'measures' of the sun's path as a manifestation of the divine order of the cosmos.

For the sun the tropai are the limits in an annual oscillation, mark- ing the seasons of the year. By analogy the tropai of fire will not be stages in a graduated sequence but extreme points in some kind of oscillation. This explains why the first 'turning' of fire is not cloud, wind, smoke, or some other item from the atmosphere, as the pattern of Ionian cosmogony would lead us to expect, but sea: the visible mass of water, and thus the opposite of fire, the element that serves precisely to put it out. Sea marks the first trope of fire not because fire 'turns into' water by any conceivable physical change, but because water stands at the opposite pole, the extreme 'reversal' which con- trasts with fire as winter contrasts with summer, or night with day.

In the last analysis, fire and sea are 'one', just as these other opposites are one. But in a more obvious sense, sea represents the death and defeat of fire. Thus the dominant literary meaning of tropai as 'routs in battle', which we rejected on first reading, emerges after all as a hyponoia.

Such linguistic clues were not understood by the Stoic commen- tator followed by Clement, who, like Theophrastus and most moderns, misread tropai in the light of Aristotle's use of the verb trepesthai for 'transformations' and hence must provide some middle term by which fire can 'turn into' sea: 'he means that fire . . . is turned through air into moisture, as seed or semen for the world formation, which he calls "sea".135 It was left for the moderns to take tropai as 'transform- ations' and at the same time refuse to allow a middle term between fire and water, sun and sea, thus crediting Heraclitus with the strange theory of an elementary transformation from fire to water, and an equally surprising scheme of 'elements' in which the atmosphere — the aer of Anaximenes — is not even represented! Heraclitus' system- atic omission of the term aer may well be intentional — something like a deliberate snub. But he cannot have offered a theory of the natural world in which the atmosphere was omitted.

If we stick to the text we do not get ensnared in such strange doc- trines. After the first reversal of fire as sea we have the reversal of sea (and the second reversal of fire) as 'half earth, half prester\ That is, the turning from sea to its opposite takes two equal forms, in turn opposed to one another. The shift from wet to dry, liquid to solid, results in dry land or earth. Here we establish contact with the tra- ditional pattern of cosmogony, in which the emergence of dry land from primeval moisture or sea is a recognized phase.136 But if for a moment Heraclitus touches base here in standard cosmology, it is only to bound off again in his own direction with the next words. The other turning from sea is back in the initial direction of fire, and what we expect at this point is some representative of the aer or atmosphere, the product of evaporation from the sea which accompanies its drying up. If Heraclitus had been propounding a physical theory he might have written: 'The reversals of sea (or the reversals of fire starting from sea) means that part of the sea moves in the dry (and cold) direction, further away from its starting point in fire, and becomes earth; part moves back towards fire and warmth and becomes atmospheric vapor, clouds, and wind, thus filling the region between earth and celestial fire, and providing nourishment for the fires aloft.' Something of this sort must be what Heraclitus is alluding to, the theory of Anaximenes or some variant on it. But instead of giving any systematic account of the atmosphere, Heraclitus invokes the prester.

The identity of this phenomenon is not beyond dispute. Several recent studies have interpreted the prester as a tornado or water- spout. But the Greek literary evidence emphasizes a connection with fire from heaven, as in a lightning storm. The word first appears in Hesiod's Theogony as an attribute of winds (presteres anemoi) between the mention of lightning and thunderbolt, as an instance of celestial flame.138 Like Aristophanes and Hesiod, Aristotle associates the prester with a whirlwind or tornado, but his brief description does not mention a spiral form. He says that prester is the name given to a hot or rarified wind drawn down from the clouds, that catches fire: 'for it sets the air on fire (synekpimprest) and colors it by its confla- gration' (Meteor. III.l, 371a 15—17). Aristotle thus explains the
name by a derivation from pimpremi 'burn, set on fire'.139 In Xeno- phon a prester is cited as setting a temple on fire (Historia Graeca 1.3.1). It must then have involved a lightning storm, like the one Aristotle describes as destroying the temple of Artemis at Ephesus with sheets of fire (Meteor. 371a 3Iff.). When Herodotus speaks of losses to Xerxes' army caused by 'thunder (brontai) and presteres at night' (VII.42.2), he must be referring to a similar storm. Thus the half-dozen mentions oi presteres in extant Greek literature from Hesiod to Aristotle all point to destructive fire from the sky in a great wind storm, perhaps of hurricane force, but not to a tornado or whirlwind.140 This sense oi prester as something like sheet lightning is what Heraclitus must have in mind in XXXVIII. It represents fire in the atmosphere, but not a visible return from sea to sky. For in a thunderstorm the bolts of lightning come dramatically down. And the ancient texts regularly speak oi presteres as 'falling' (empesontos in Xenophon; epespiptousi in Herodotus; kataspomenon in Aristotle, etc.).

Of course if Heraclitus were referring to 'a waterspout attended with lightning' (as LSJ renders Burnet's suggestion of a 'fiery water- spout'), then the movement from sea to sky would be vividly exemplified. For in the case of the waterspout a funnel of cloud descends towards the sea and seems to suck the sea up into the sky.141 Unfortunately, the Greek literary evidence down to the time of Aristotle and Theophrastus (and perhaps beyond) does not point to any necessary or even normal connection between a. prester and a waterspout, of the sort we find in Lucretius. So this interpretation of Heraclitus' words is quite unsupported.

On any reasonable interpretation, a prester is not an element or a cosmic mass, but a devastating discharge of fire from storm clouds: it illustrates the power of cosmic fire as a visual experience. Compare the thunderbolt of Zeus, the keraunos which 'steers all things' in CXIX (D. 64).142 Perhaps there was some connection in Greek experi- ence between the prester and the solstitial seasons. But it seems more likely that Heraclitus chose the prester as a phenomenon that explodes out of season, not a predictable 'turning' but an expression of the power of opposition, manifesting itself as everliving fire.

On this view, prester represents half the sea and infinite power. But on any view these 'measures' seem puzzling. How can one strike a balance between a momentary event like the prester and the stable mass of earth?143 And what will be left of the sea if half changes into earth and half into atmospheric fire? This is a problem for any view that takes tropai in XXXVII as transformations, and at the same time insists on regarding the half-and-half measures synchronically, as a ratio between constituents of the world at any given moment.

The most plausible among recent interpretations is that of Kirk. 'Naturally Heraclitus means that one-half of sea can be regarded as turning to earth (and replenished by earth), and the other half as turning to prester (and replenished by fire); the total remains un- changed as sea.'144 The assumptions underlying this view (which are widely shared), namely, that the measures of XXXVII—XL are to be understood in terms of simultaneous relationships rather than successive phases, will be examined later. Here I remark only that such a view takes no account of the literal sense of tropai and the implied analogy to the course of the sun; that it involves reading a great deal between the lines of XXXVIII; and that it is prima facie incompatible with the text of XXXIX (D. 31B), which refers to two distinct temporal stages: before and after the sea becomes earth.

I suggest, therefore, that we understand 'half earth, half prester' as an enigmatic reference to long-term tendencies in two opposite directions after the production of sea, a reversal that will eventually destroy the sea by drying and evaporation; the vapors themselves are to be thought of as nourishing celestial fire, in the form of sun, star, and lightning. 'Half-and-half points (a) to the dual production of earth and atmospheric vapor from the sea, and (b) to the fact that the whole cosmic process unfolds according to rigorous measure and symmetry.

This is guess-work; but it is guess-work grounded in the text and in the evidence for early Ionian cosmology.
In the measurement of sea in XXXIX we have a clear statement of (b) and a partial statement of (a): 'sea becomes earth'. But what does it mean to say that 'sea pours out' or 'dissolves' (diacheetai)? The last words of XXXIX show that a prior change of sea into earth is pre- supposed. (Perhaps this is to be understood from 'of sea, half is earth' in XXXVIII; or perhaps something is missing between the two fragments.) Hence there is no need to insert the word 'earth' (ge) as subject of 'pours out' (diacheetai), as many editors do. With or with- out this textual change we have a new shift of direction, the re- liquefaction of earth as sea, reversing the emergence of dry land.

Now there is some parallel to this in Ionian cosmology.145 Herac- litus himself says in CII (D. 36) that 'out of earth water is born', and implies that this compensates for the generation of earth which is 'death for water'. In CII we have a process of elemental transformation within the present world order. On my reading of XXXIX, this ordi- nary cycle of elemental change is an imitation of, or an analogue to, the larger cosmic cycle of formation and reformation of land and sea in XXXVIII and XXXIX.

(On the usual reading these two cycles are identical, since the cosmic cycle of XXXVIII—XXXIX is reduced to the elemental exchanges of CII, D. 36.) It would be idle to pretend to a definitive interpretation of such a cryptic text. We cannot tell whether 'sea becoming earth' refers to the well-known Mediterranean phenomena of sinking and rising coastlines — either from deep geo- logical causes (the so-called bradyseism, the slow movement up or down of the earth's crust) or from the silting up of river mouths, as at Ephesus and Miletus — or whether Heraclitus is alluding here to some greater cosmic changes leading up to general conflagration, as Clement says. It may well be that he intends XXXIX to apply ambiguously to both: to visible changes in the relationship between earth and sea and also to the vaster cyclical changes of the cosmos.

Such reversals are conceived as a measured pendulum swing, as in Anaximander's thought of retribution paid 'according to the ordinance of Time'. In emphasizing the equality of exchanges Heraclitus intro- duces the notion of cosmic order as a pattern of Justice, in which nothing is taken without repayment. (Cf. XL, D. 90 and LXXXII, D. 80.)

The principle of measure, mentioned enigmatically at the end of XXXVII (D. 30), is now clarified as a measure preserved over a sequence of stages, in a temporal progression that returns us to the status quo ante.**** The measures of equality are thus rigorously respected over the long run, no matter how dramatic the reversals may be at any given moment. And since this regularity is expressed by the term logos in XXXIX, it is thematically connected with the logos of 1.2, 'in accordance with which all things come to pass'.

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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 Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn - Page 2 EmptyTue May 14, 2013 9:27 am

Since the four elements are two pairs of opposite elements, as are the four properties, hotness being the opposite of coldness and wetness the opposite of dryness, is there a place for smoke?
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PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn - Page 2 EmptyTue May 14, 2013 9:45 am

reasonvemotion wrote:
Since the four elements are two pairs of opposite elements, as are the four properties, hotness being the opposite of coldness and wetness the opposite of dryness, is there a place for smoke?

He talks about smoke in fragments 102, 111, 112, etc. Be patient.

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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 Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn - Page 2 EmptyTue May 14, 2013 9:51 am

XL (D. 90) All things are requital for fire, and fire for all things, as goods for gold and gold for goods.

By its echo of XXXVII the mention of fire suggests a cosmic appli-cation, which is confirmed by the reference to 'all things'. Heraclitus is again playing with the pattern of Ionian cosmology and the element theory of Anaximenes. But the substitution of fire for air does not leave the rest of the theory as it was. Fire represents a process of destruction, and only in this sense can one imagine everything 'turn- ing to fire'. In return, the only thing that naturally arises from fire is smoke and ashes. If fire is chosen as a model for physical transformation, to replace the Milesian model of evaporation and condensation, it will intuitively prefigure the annihilation of nature, the devastation of the world order, as fire in warfare prefigures the burning of the ships, the destruction of the crops and fruit trees, the sack and pillage of a town. This only makes it more paradoxical that fire in XXXVII should represent a world order that is eternal.
Hence I believe the Stoics (and other ancient readers before them) must have been right to think that the imagery of fire for Heraclitus presages some cosmic conflagration or ecpyrosis.

And they were right too to think that, in this dimension, the eternity of the kosmos can only consist in the recurrence of the same phases, the eternal rep- etition of cosmic 'reversals' between opposites, whether as oscillations between fire and flood, in the polar catastrophes of Great Summer and Great Winter, or between Fire itself and the world order, as in the Stoic cycle.

I doubt that Heraclitus had much more to say about the details of this world cycle than what we read in XXXVII-XXXIX. (But see below on XLII and XLIII.) He was con- tent to suggest a cycle in which fire occupies a dominant position at the end as at the beginning; for in a circle the two coincide (XCIX, D. 103). So much followed from the notions of cosmic symmetry he had accepted from the Milesians (and which he may have applied even more rigorously than they did) once he had chosen fire as his starting point. The vicissitudes of the cycle will then appear as the ever- recurring extinction and rekindling of the eternal flame.

Heraclitus' cosmic cycle was probably a development from Milesian views; it exerted in turn a decisive influence on Empedocles and, later, on the Stoics.148 Unlike these philosophers, Heraclitus was interested not in propounding but in using physical theories to project a vision of cosmic order and an understanding of human life and death. That is why the question whether or not Heraclitus envisaged a world conflagration, although a great subject of scholarly debate, is not a crucial issue in understanding his thought. (The best of all modern interpreters of Heraclitus, Karl Reinhardt, was in my view passionately mistaken on this very question.) But it is crucial for giving a natural sense to the text of XL.

If we attend to the words and imagery of XL, three points emerge.

(1) Fire possesses a unique and universal value, like gold in a land that has never heard of silver. The imagery of gold suggests the gift of princes and exceptional offerings to the gods.149 The essential point is that fire is worth 'all the rest' (ta panta). This is an echo, and an interpretation, of the unity of 'all things' in XXXVI (D. 50). It estab- lishes a parallel to the sun, who is worth all the other stars (XLVI, D. 99), to the outstanding man of LXIII (D. 49: 'one is ten thousand, if he is the best'), and above all to the aim of superior men (XCVII, D. 29) who choose everlasting fame: 'one thing in exchange for all'.


(2) The polar movement between 'fire, all things' and 'all things, fire' finds a parallel in CXXIV (D. 10): 'from all things one and from one thing all'. The primary application must be to the cosmic cycle that leads from primordial fire to the creation of sea and land and all things — and back again. But this does not exclude the implication that similar exchanges between cosmic fire and other things — the elements, or the cosmic masses — are going on all the time.
(The pattern of Ionian cosmogony is designed to serve as a paradigm for understanding the world as it is.) The universal exchange for fire is, in one sense, a fact of human experience: we see all sorts of things going up in flames. But the reverse process, the generation of all things from fire, is not a fact of observation at all. It is a pure require- ment of theory, a consequence of the principle of symmetry. In this respect Heraclitus' doctrine is equally dogmatic, equally devoid of empirical support, whether it is taken as a claim about continuing processes of nature or as a thesis about cosmogony. If anything, the cosmogonic thesis has an epistemological advantage over the doctrine of a continuous emergence of all things from fire, since at least the former cannot be falsified by empirical observation, as the latter clearly seems to be.


(3) The exchange between fire and all things is expressed by the term 'requital' (antamoibe) which suggests some principle of compensation or retribution: antamoibe may imply reward or punishment, or both at once. The term is perhaps an echo of Anaximander's phrase about elemental principles 'paying the penalty and making retribution to one another'. Now the alternating aggression and punishment of opposites in Anaximander seems to be a continuous process going on within the world, at present, but a pattern realized 'according to the ordering of time', that is, in a sequence or cycle. There is no need to suppose that Heraclitus is referring only to one cycle, from fire to world and back again. Like Anaximander, he has in mind all possible cycles that illustrate a 'reversal' between poles: day and night, sum- mer and winter, rain and dry weather, youth and old age, life and death. But if the reciprocal exchange between fire and all things is taken as a paradigm for such cycles, as fire itself is taken as a paradigm for the world order in XXXVII (D. 30), then the most natural inter- pretation of this paradigm — and the primary interpretation of cos- mic fire going out and being rekindled in XXXVII — is a pattern of cosmogonic emergence of all things from fire balanced by a similar process in reverse, of the sort sketched in XXXVIII—XXXIX.

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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 Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn - Page 2 EmptyWed May 15, 2013 7:06 am

There is one requirement reading Heraclitus' Fragments.

Which he asks of the reader, of course, not blatantly, but it is imperative.


A leap of faith.


It is almost pertaining to religion.


I won't pretend it isn't difficult for me to comprehend some of the terminology.

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PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn - Page 2 EmptyWed May 15, 2013 7:48 am

There is no leap of faith.

The evidence is all around you.

What is required is a shift in how you use and understand language.
The word is not a symbol referring to a thing, but a static symbol referring to a dynamic process.
In this discrepancy between word, and the metal abstraction it refers to, and the phenomenon, where the problem arises.

Consider language, your mental concepts as being painting, snapshots...representations.

When Heraclitus uses fire as his symbol, he is using it artistically.
What is fire?
Energy with no static form.

Language is an art-form. It attempts to describe reality indirectly, with imagery, with the users artistic trickery.
Like all forms of art, the artist's motive and his talent, determines the outcome.
Talent aside, if the motive of the one using language is to escape reality, or change it into something more bearable, then he uses the appropriate words in the appropriate way to achieve his goal.

If an artist wishes to depict reality as it is, as he perceives it, then his motive will be to edify, to represent his mental imagery as close to how he senses it as possible.

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PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn - Page 2 EmptyWed May 15, 2013 10:58 am

reasonvemotion wrote:
There is one requirement reading Heraclitus' Fragments.

Which he asks of the reader, of course, not blatantly, but it is imperative.


A leap of faith.


It is almost pertaining to religion.


I won't pretend it isn't difficult for me to comprehend some of the terminology.


Which fragments make you say that?

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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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Lyssa
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PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn - Page 2 EmptyWed May 15, 2013 11:05 am

Quote :
Kahn's own Excursus I: On traditional interpretations of the cosmic cycle:


Since my interpretation of XXXVII—XL flies in the face of dominant trends in recent scholarship on Heraclitus, I shall here review three of the most influential interpretations, beginning with that of Zeller. My aim is not to evaluate these interpretations as a whole but to examine the assumptions on which they are based, in particular the insistence upon understanding Heraclitus' pattern of cos- mic order in terms of synchronic (simultaneous) rather than diachronic (periodic) structure.

For Zeller, the fundamental principle of Heraclitus' thought is the doctrine of universal flux, the continuous change and transformation of all things. This doc- trine Zeller found of course in Aristotle, in the doxography, and above all in Plato's account. But he also found it in the fragments on the river (L—LI, D. 12 and D. 91), in the assertion of the unity of day and night (XIX, D. 57), the inter- change of living and dead, sleeping and waking, young and old (XCIII, D. 88), and in other texts. 15° Zeller understood this doctrine as an explicitly meta- physical thesis, the derivation of all phenomenal things as transitory appearances of a single entity, 'which engenders them all and takes them all back into itself, and which is the only thing to remain and preserve itself in restless change' (p. 796).

From this metaphysical principle Heraclitus derived his physical doctrine that everything is fire by a kind of imaginative intuition, perceiving fire as the natural expression of motion and life (p. 809). Fire for Heraclitus is not an immutable substance or element but the being which is continually undergoing change, passing into all material entities, penetrating all parts of the universe and taking on a different form in each. It is not simply visible fire but heat in general and dry exhalation (anathymiasis) in particular (pp. 814f.); not simply phenom- enal fire but cosmic fire, Urfeuer, the universal being which forms both the source and the substance of all things (pp. 817 —19).

It is in this connection that Zeller interprets XL: 'all things are exchanged for fire, and fire for all things' (p. 819); he understands this as a derivation of all things from a single principle or Urstoff, without reference to cosmogony or to any other temporal process. If he nevertheless ascribes a cosmogony to Heraclitus, it is on the basis of XXXVIII (D. 31 A) alone, with its mention of the tropai or 'turnings' of fire to sea, earth, and prester. Schleiermacher and others had taken this as a reference to the cycle of transformations of elements within the present world order; if Zeller feels obliged to reject that interpretation it is not because
of anything he finds in the text of Heraclitus, but solely because 'we have no reason to mistrust the assertion of Clement, according to whom the fragment referred to the formation of the world' (p. 847, n. 2). Zeller is a good enough historian to eliminate the more obviously Stoic features of Clement's commen- tary, but he follows that commentary in taking tropai to mean 'transformations'. Hence he reads XXXVIII as saying that primordial Fire first changes into water
or 'sea', from which in turn arises the solid earth and the hot and fleeting prester (Glutwind, flaming wind). In treating XXXIX (D. 31B), Zeller again follows Clement in seeing the return of earth to sea as the first stage of the reverse pro- cess that leads to the conflagration (p. 865 with n. 3). As for this final stage, he finds it directly asserted in CXXI (D. 66) 'the fire coming on will judge all things', and notes that it is fully confirmed by statements in Aristotle and all later authors. 152 But neither cosmogony nor conflagration is central in Zeller's account. The basic physical doctrine is the cycle of elemental transformations within the present world order, a cycle which he finds in XL and again in the statement about the upward and downward path: the closer any body approaches to the fiery condition, the higher it rises; the farther it departs from this con- dition, the lower it sinks. But the transformation moves in a circle, since once
the material reaches the condition of earth, at the farthest remove from its original state, it turns back through the intermediate stages and returns to its fiery starting point (pp. 854f.).

The first remarkable feature in Zeller's interpretation is the central role he assigns to the doctrine of flux, understood as a physical cycle of elemental trans- formation. (Here Zeller follows Plato's account at Timaeus 49Bff. — as many others have done in assigning an elemental cycle to Heraclitus. The evidence for such a cycle in the fragments is, in effect, limited to CII, D. 36, unless one accepts the authenticity of XLI, D. 76.) The other remarkable feature is the extent to which his argument for cosmogony and ecpyrosis depends upon the authority of Clement, Aristotle, and other secondary sources. If XXXVIII— XXXIX are interpreted by him in this light, it is because 'we have no reason to mistrust Clement', and not because of any close analysis of the text and its pre-Socratic parallels, as has been attempted here. The only other fragment he cites in support of ecpyrosis is the judgment of all things by fire in CXXI (D. 66). If the authenticity of CXXI can be called into question, if the authority of Clement, Aristotle and the doxography can be successfully challenged, and if the text of these two or three fragments can be shown to bear another sense, Zeller's whole case for cosmogony and ecpyrosis must collapse.

This sapping operation will be the work of Burnet, completed by Reinhardt. Burnet starts from a different fundamental insight: not the doctrine of flux but the unity of opposites. 'The truth hitherto ignored [sc. by Heraclitus' prede- cessors] is that the many apparently independent and conflicting things we know are really one, and that, on the other hand, this one is also many. The "strife of opposites" is really an "attunement" (harmonia) . . . Wisdom is . . . a perception of the underlying unity of the warring opposites' (Burnet, p. 143). This leads Heraclitus 'to seek out a new primary substance'. His principle of fire 'was some- thing on the same level as the "Air" of Anaximenes', but chosen to represent a certain view of unity and stability within a process of constant change.

'The quantity of fire in a flame burning steadily seems to remain the same, the flame seems to be what we call a "thing". And yet the substance of it is continually changing. It is always passing away in smoke, and its place is always being taken by fresh matter from the fuel that feeds i t . ' 1 5 3 Thus Burnet returns to Zeller's own starting point but from a different point of view: the essential feature of the process of transformation is that the structure and pattern of things remains constant. 'How is it that, in spite of this constant flux, things appear relatively stable? The answer of Herakleitos was that it is owing to the observance of the "measures", in virtue of which the aggregate bulk of each form of matter in the long run remains the same, though its substance is constantly changing' (p. 150). In this connection Burnet cites the measures according to which everliving fire is kindled and extinguished (XXXVII, D. 30), the exchange of all things for fire and fire for all things (XL, D. 90), and the measures which the sun will not exceed (XLIV, D. 94).

Before turning to Burnet's attack on cosmogony and ecpyrosis, I must point out that, despite his illuminating account of the symbolism of fire and river in terms of a structured pattern of change rather than a metaphysical unity 'behind' or 'underneath' the appearances, his version of the doctrine of measures cannot easily be accommodated to Heraclitus' text. In trying to make sense of the extinction and rekindling of an everliving fire, a reference to 'the aggregate bulk of each form of matter in the long run' does not appear, at first sight, to offer a plausible solution. (If Burnet's version has come to seem natural, that is only because it has been repeated by so many interpreters, beginning with Reinhardt.)

And the measures which the sun will not overstep must mark its path in the sky, charted daily or over the course of a year. Only in the logos by which sea is measured in XXXIX (D. 31B) do we have any reference to the bulk of some form of matter, but the equality there is explicitly said to be not constantly maintained but restored to what it was at some previous time (before it became earth, according to the text accepted by Burnet himself). In both cases, then, where the meaning is clear, the measures represent a symmetry or equality main- tained by a periodic recurrence. Here the temporal dimension is not negligible — as it may be when one talks of things 'remaining the same in the long run' — but essential: for Heraclitus as for Anaximander the measures of justice are recog- nizable only as 'an ordering of time'. And a diachronic interpretation for the first case also, that is, for the measures by which cosmic fire is put out and rekindled, is suggested not only by the parallel between fire and sun introduced with the term tropai, but also by the common-sense observation that a fire is not ordi- narily kindled and extinguished at the same time.

The three passages just discussed are the only ones in which the terms metra
or metreisthai ('measures', 'to measure') occur, but there are several in which logos may convey this sense. Thus we have two statements referring to the logos of the soul, first of all in XXXV (D. 45): one cannot find the 'limits of psyche' because it has such a deep logos. And there is also the somewhat dubious fragment CI (D. 115): 'To the soul belongs the logos which augments itself.' In neither text is the meaning of logos crystal clear, but it cannot be found in any preservation of 'the aggregate bulk of each form of matter in the long run'. If there is any reference to bulk at all (which is not obvious), it must be to a magni- tude that increases or whose limits cannot be discovered. And even if, as I believe, the logos of 1.2 'according to which all things come to pass' is also intended as a suggestion of measure, that statement is too cryptic to tell us what kind of measure is involved.

There are, however, some texts and testimonia that refer unambiguously to measure or equality preserved over time. That is so for the cycles and seasons mentioned in XLII (D. 100), the Great Year in XLIII (DK A 13 and A 5), the extinction and renewal of the sun each day (XLVIII, D. 6), and the generational measure of thirty years as a return from childhood to childhood (XCV, DK A 19; and compare XCVIII, D. 20). Succession rather than simultaneity is also suggested by the identification of deity with 'day and night, winter and summer, war and peace, satiety and hunger' (CXXIII, D. 67). It is again a diachronic rather than a synchronic pattern that emerges from the 'transposition' (metapesonta) and equivalence between 'living and dead, waking and sleeping, young and old' (XCIII, D. 88).

So it is reasonable to assume that it is successive stages in time, rather than some mysterious identity at every moment, that is implied by the equation of mortals and immortals, 'living the other's death, dead in the other's life' in XCII (D. 62).*5^ Similarly, when we hear that 'the beginning and end are common' in a circle (XCIX, D. 103), there is reason to think of a cycle of periodic recurrence. All the more so for CII (D. 36): 'for souls it is death to
be born as water, for water it is death to become earth; out of earth water comes to be, out of water soul'. Here the terminology of birth and death makes clear that we are dealing with a cycle of successive stages, where equivalence is expressed as recurrence. It may or may not follow from such a pattern of trans- formation that, in Burnet's words, 'the aggregate bulk of each form of matter in the long run remains the same'; but that is most certainly not what CII (D. 36) says.

In sum, the notion of periodicity, of measure and equality preserved by regular recurrence over time — whether a single day, a lifetime, or a Great Year — is a central theme in the fragments. If there is one notion of measure that pre- dominates in Heraclitus' thought, it is this one; in fact, this is the only notion of measure clearly illustrated in the texts.

Now the unity or harmony of opposites can also be exemplified in states or processes envisioned at a single moment, as in the case of the bow (LXXVIII, D. 51), where the archer's arms and the parts of his instrument are stretched in opposite directions at the instant of maximum tension, just before the arrow is released. In that case the unity and balance of opposites is realized by their simultaneous operation, their momentary co-presence.

Heraclitus' doctrine of harmonie, the equilibrium and fitting-together of opposites, is not reducible to the theme of periodicity or recurrence. But, I submit, the doctrine of measure is so reducible. In every case where the notion of measure or quantitative equality is clearly applicable in the fragments, the only unmistakable applications are to cycles of succession and recurrence. And that even holds for the one case where what is measured seems to be the bulk of a form of matter (XXXIX, D. 3IB).

This point is of primary importance, since Burnet's case against the cosmic cycle of world formation and conflagration in Heraclitus depends very largely upon the claim that 'it is inconsistent with the central idea of his system, the thought that possessed his whole mind' (pp. 158f.). According to Burnet, that thought is 'the perception of the underlying unity of the warring opposites' (ibid. p. 143); and he has interpreted this unity in exclusively synchronic terms (in the light of the bow image as reinforced by Plato's contrast between Heraclitus and Empedocles, p. 144), so that the harmony of opposites, and the measures that preserve it, are identified with a simultaneous condition of equality, rather than with some periodic restoration of the balance.

As a result, when Burnet comes to discuss the phenomena of periodicity which he recognizes within Heraclitus' thought, he is obliged to describe these as an exception to the doc- trine of fixed measures!? A cosmic cycle of conflagration followed by recur- rent world formation is 'inconsistent with the central idea' of Heraclitus' system only if this idea is construed in terms of momentary rather than diachronic balance. There is no inconsistency if the kosmos which is 'the same for all' is conceived as a pattern spread out over time, like a sine curve in wave theory: a fixed cycle of transformations between polar extremes. The evidence from the fragments in favor of such a diachronic view is, I hope to have shown, over- whelming. Simultaneous equality, as in the drawn bow, is a particular case of the unity of opposites. It is not the pattern of cosmic order as such.

When Burnet comes to discuss XL he again finds an argument against the con- flagration. 'When gold is given in exchange for wares and wares for gold, the sum or "measure" of each remains constant, though they change owners. All the wares and gold do not come into the same hands. In the same way, when any- thing becomes fire, something of equal amount must cease to be fire, if the "exchange" is to be a just one.'158 Since this argument has exerted a consider- able influence, we must look a little more closely at its logic. It infers that if the cosmic process reached a point where all things were absorbed into fire, or had not yet emerged from it, then by analogy there would have to be a market situation with only gold and no merchandise (or with all of both confusedly in the same hands). But of course there is normally no such situation. Therefore Heraclitus cannot have used the market simile to express a cosmic development into and out of fire.

Now this argument is cogent only if we add a premiss to the effect that (i) Heraclitus intended the market simile to be applicable to cosmic fire in every respect, or (ii) the relevant respect is just the continuity of exchanges based upon a permanent distinction between coins and merchandise. Now the first premiss is absurd: no philosopher can use a simile or comparison that is apt in every respect. And the second premiss, though not absurd, is quite arbitrary: it guarantees the desired conclusion by begging the question at issue. Hence this interpretation of XL provides an argument only if we need none, that is to say, only if we are already convinced that the point being made is just that the rules of cosmic exchange exclude a passage of all things into fire. Those who are not convinced will find the meaning of the simile elsewhere, in the equivalence established between fire and all things, and in the formal parallel to CXXIV (D. 10): 'from all things one and from one thing all'. Together, these two points guarantee that the measures of cosmic order will be preserved even in the case of the most radical change conceivable: the total extinction of cosmic fire or its rekindling at the cost of everything else.

It was Karl Reinhardt who created the modern study of the pre-Socratics by insisting that archaic thinkers like Heraclitus and Parmenides could only be understood by careful study of their own words, not by taking over the inter- pretations worked out from a later point of view by Aristotle and Theophrastus. For Heraclitus Reinhardt went further and showed how different views of his thought are projected according to the philosophical interests and presuppositions of each author who quotes him. It was easy enough for Reinhardt to undermine Zeller's position on the ecpyrosis by pointing out how largely it depended upon Clement's interpretation, whereas this interpretation in turn can be shown to derive from some Stoic commentator in addition, Reinhardt deprived Zeller's interpretation of its most picturesque support within the text by reject- ing as a Stoic or Christian paraphrase the reference to judgment by fire in CXXI (D. 66). This passage will be considered in its place. For the moment we look at
Reinhardt's interpretation of the concept of measure, which determines his understanding of XL.

Reinhardt begins by suggesting that if the measures of cosmic fire in XXXVII (D. 30) are to be interpreted in terms of world formation and conflagration, they must mean that each world period 'takes the same length of time, represents the same development, as all the others'. {Parmenides pp. 176f. This is not entirely accurate. As we have seen, the doctrine of measures preserved over time means that even the most radical extremes, fire alone and all things in the iniverse, are in some sense equivalent or of equal value, so that the measures of equilibrium are preserved by a regular oscillation from one pole to the other.) Against this over-specific interpretation of XXXVII (D. 30), Reinhardt offers two objections. First, 'no Heraclitus was needed to teach that: that was the concept of diakosmos from the very beginning, as taught by the old Milesians'.160 Reinhardt's second objection is: 'How can such a sense be hiding in such words? Metra must rather mean the quantity of matter (Stoff masse) transformed by being burnt up and extinguished', since this is the sense expressed by the verb metreitai ('is measured') in the following context (XXXIX, D. 31B). 'The measure of the sea remains the same, while the material is continually changing . . . the water flows by, but the river remains always the same (L, D. 12). The sun is new every day, and yet will in all eternity never transgress its measures (XLIV, D. 94) . . . Thus the pyros tropai too, the transformations of fire, are not alternating periods but a continual transition between material opposites' (ibid. 177). 'Earth is only transformed fire, fire is transformed earth, as the dead are only the living deceased, the living are dead reawakened to life . . . the inner unity, the tauton, the "invisible harmony" (LXXX, D. 54) becomes visible only through duality, contradiction, and eternal exchange' (p. 179). It is in this context that Reinhardt cites, without further commentary, the exchange of fire for all things in XL.

It will not detract from Reinhardt's great services to the interpretation of Heraclitus if we note that, on the question of 'measures', his view is largely identical with that of Burnet. In his eagerness to deny the doctrine of world periods, he is even prepared to overlook the importance of periodicity and to interpret the concept of measures exclusively in terms of the relative proportion of cosmic masses and the like at the present moment.

Agreeing with Zeller, Burnet, and Reinhardt on so many points, I must also agree that Heraclitus' conception of the universal structure of things can be illus- trated by instantaneous or momentary phenomena, like the tension of the drawn bow, or by processes spread out in time that are not necessarily cyclical or periodic, like the flowing of water in a river and the tuning or playing of a lyre. But I insist that the most systematic expression of cosmic structure in the frag- ments refers to processes of a cyclical character, like the pattern that unifies day and night. And I see no reason why Heraclitus should have failed to find this same pattern of symmetry and balance in the Milesian doctrine of world forma- tion, as long as it is completed by the reverse process of a return to the starting point. The unity of primordial fire and differentiated world is simply the unity of day and night written in the largest possible letters, like the unity of summer and winter within the rhythmic structure of a great or greatest year. That he did in fact play with this tremendous pattern, like Anaximander, like Empedocles, and like a modern cosmologist (but perhaps with more irony), seems to me estab- lished not because we can trust Clement's interpretation, but because we can trust the direct and vivid sense of the words and imagery of the fragments.

It would be tedious to prolong the polemic by considering in detail the recent reformulations of the Burnet-Reinhardt view by Kirk and Vlastos. I would in conclusion only ask how, if cosmogony is to be excluded, the equivalence be- tween fire and all things is to be understood. (This is the same as to ask: in what sense are all things 'reversals of fire'?) Within the cosmogonic pattern the answer is easy and obvious. Without it, any answer must be arbitrary and contrived. If the chronological priority of fire is denied, then the only priority left for it is symbolical and perhaps metaphysical. But there is no physical sense in which it is true to say that all things are exchanged for fire, but false to say that all things are exchanged for water or for earth.

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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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Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn - Page 2 Empty
PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn - Page 2 EmptyThu May 16, 2013 9:26 am

XLI (D. 76) Plutarch: [As Heraclitus said, the death of fire is birth for air and the death of air is birth for water.]

The authenticity of this, one of the most familiar of all quotations from Heraclitus, was challenged long ago by Zeller and has often been denied since.
On the question of authenticity, we cannot arrive at any definite conclusion. But there is a more important and less controversial point to be noted: that Heraclitus spoke of a cyclical pattern of elemental transformation in terms of birth and death. For that is precisely the point which this text has in common with CII.

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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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Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn - Page 2 Empty
PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn - Page 2 EmptyThu May 16, 2013 9:27 am

XLIIA (D. 100) Plutarch: [The sun is overseer and sentinel
XLIIB Plutarch: [The year contains in itself beginning and end together of 'all things which seasons bear and earth brings forth'.]


Here we face the problem of Plutarch quotations in an extreme form. In XLIIB {De Defectu Oraculorum 416A) Heraclitus' name is not cited, and this passage was not listed by Diels among the fragments. But Heraclitus has just been men- tioned twice in the context, first for his view of a human generation as thirty years (XCVA = D. A19) and then in connection with the (explicitly Stoic) doc- trine of conflagration {De Defectu Orac. 415F). In XLIIA, from Platonic Ques- tions, Plutarch is discussing Plato's view of time in the Timaeus as astral motion, ordered and measured by regular cycles or periods. 'And of these [viz. measure and limits and cycles] is the sun overseer and sentinel, for defining and arbitrat- ing and revealing and displaying changes and "seasons which bear all things" according to Heraclitus; the sun turns out to be collaborator with the first and sovereign god not in small or petty matters but in the greatest and most decisive' {Plat. Quest. 1007D—E, after Cherniss).

Thus in both passages the seasons are mentioned in connection with other periods, beginning with the human lifetime and its recurrence from generation to generation, passing through the various astronomical cycles, including what Plato calls the 'Perfect Year' when planets, sun, and moon will return to the same relative position {Timaeus 39D), and cul- minating in the cosmic cycle of conflagration and renewal, as recognized by the Stoics {De Defectu Orac. 415F). This is a witches' brew of erudition and specu- lation, and it is hard to see what we can safely extract for Heraclitus.

Reinhardt connected these passages with two other groups of testimonies, on the length of the human generation (XCV, D. A19) and on the length of the astronomical Magnus Annus (XLIII, D. A13). He proposed, in effect, that some lost Heraclitean text indicated a proportional relationship between (1) the annual cycle of the seasons, whose measure would be 3 seasons of 4 months each, with30daystoamonth,i.e.3X 4X 30=360;(2)thecycleofhumanlifeas30 years, as a 'month' each of whose days is a year, and (3) the Great Year of 10,800 (= 360 X 30) solar years, each of whose 'days' is a human generation. Since the word 'season' {hore) also means 'hour' or 'interval of time', Heraclitus' phrase 'the seasons which bear all things' (or perhaps 'all things which the seasons bring') would then refer to this whole system of proportional cycles.

I find this reconstruction persuasive, since it brings together bits of information that would otherwise be disjointed and almost unintelligible, and it pre- sents the whole as a genuine kosmos, a marvelous structuring of natural change by fixed measures of recurrence, understood according to the seasonal pattern of the year. Still, the phrase about what the seasons bring is the only thing expressly ascribed to Heraclitus in XLII, and that is not much. So it is understandable that not all commentators accept Reinhardt's interpretation.

One aspect of Plutarch's context in XLIIA that Reinhardt did not explore is the role of the sun as regent for the cosmic monarch and overseer of astral cycles. This is so obviously a theme which Plutarch derives from Stoic and Hellenistic sources that it might seem pointless to trace it to Heraclitus. (Cf. von Arnim I, 499, 502, etc.) But here too the Stoics may be following rather than leading.

The parallel between sun and cosmic fire is attested in the tropai of XXXVII (D. 30); it is alluded to again in CXXII (D. 16): 'how will one escape from that which never sets?' If the divine ruling principle is a kind of superior sun, then the sun is a kind of inferior cosmic god. The notion of the sun as regent of the uni- verse is attested in the Cratylus where Plato is giving a cosmological etymology for 'justice' (to dikaion). The principle of cosmic justice is first represented by the sun, which 'administers all things' (epitropeuein ta onta, 413 B5), but a moment later identified with fire (413 C2). The term for 'administer', epitropeuein, means literally 'to rule in another's name', 'to rule as governor or viceroy'. It is a good Ionic form and could have been used by Heraclitus.

Plato's text shows that the Heracliteans of the late fifth (or early fourth) cen- tury were familiar with the notion of the sun as representative or viceroy of cos- mic fire. It is another and bolder step to conclude that the idea goes back to Heraclitus himself.1 78 if w e take this step, we can provide a neat counterpart to the relation between the sun and Justice asserted in XLIV (D. 94): the sun main- tains cosmic justice by watching over the course of the other stars, but (like some Persian satrap under surveillance by the King) his own path from solstice to solstice is guarded by Dike herself and the Furies.

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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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Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn - Page 2 Empty
PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn - Page 2 EmptyFri May 17, 2013 8:12 am

reasonvemotion wrote:
........It is almost pertaining to religion.
I won't pretend it isn't difficult for me to comprehend some of the terminology

Lyssa wrote:

Which fragments make you say that?

Reading the translated version of Heraclitus, would probably block the natural formation and some things will inevitably be lost to the reader or perhaps even make it obscure.

Omnipotent, would have been a better choice, than "religion". Most things had a god or goddess attached to them at that time, but I imagine more than that. It seems to me, he (Heraclitus) was referring to a divine one, yet he does not declare this. It is more an underlying divinity.

Perhaps because I am reading this intuitively, I may be misinterpreting it. A point to be made is the theories of the elements I would think, have had an important influence today and in particular psychology, with its similarity to intuition, sensation, thinking and feeling.

It is premature for me to comment on the Fragments, as I think, I would like to read it more than once to digest fully the significance of it. Something I have never explored before.






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Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn - Page 2 Empty
PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn - Page 2 EmptyTue May 28, 2013 3:57 pm

reasonvemotion wrote:
reasonvemotion wrote:
........It is almost pertaining to religion.
I won't pretend it isn't difficult for me to comprehend some of the terminology

Lyssa wrote:

Which fragments make you say that?

Reading the translated version of Heraclitus, would probably block the natural formation and some things will inevitably be lost to the reader or perhaps even make it obscure.

Omnipotent, would have been a better choice, than "religion".   Most things had a god or goddess attached to them at that time, but I imagine more than that.  It seems to me, he (Heraclitus) was referring to a divine one, yet he does not declare this.  It is more an underlying divinity.

Perhaps because I am reading this intuitively, I may be misinterpreting it.  A point to be made is the theories of the elements I would think, have had an important influence today and in particular psychology, with its similarity to intuition, sensation, thinking and feeling.

It is premature for me to comment on the Fragments, as I think, I would like to read it more than once to digest fully the significance of it.  Something I have never explored before.


So you see the foundation of a natural elemental basis to astrology, and from there on as you say... psychology.

Omnipotence suggests a Being, an all-powerful Being; Heraclitus speaks of an all-pervasive arche, a justice-structure in the sense of encountering natural limits upon which something rebounds back upon itself perpetuating the cycle, the ever-burning fire.

I'll continue with the fragments, but I've decided to post the reputed classical scholar Guthrie's simple introduction to him and his thoughts too - separate thread.

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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 Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn - Page 2 EmptyThu May 30, 2013 3:42 am

XLIIIA (D. A13) Censorinus: [There is a Year . . . whose winter is a great flood (cataclysmos) and whose summer is an ecpyrosis, that is, a world con- flagration. For it is thought that in these alternating periods the world is now going up in flames, now turning to water. Heraclitus and Linus 10,800 years.]

XLIIIB (D. A5) Simplicius: [Heraclitus posits a certain order (taxis) and fixed time for the change of the cosmos according to some fated necessity (heimar- mene ananke.]



Here again we must wade into the swamp of the doxographical tradition in order to retrieve some information about what Heraclitus said. We begin with XLIIIB, which is free of Stoic contamination.

Simplicius' source is Theophrastus (fr. 1, Diels, Doxographi Graeci p. 475). This is guaranteed by verbal parallels in independent versions of the doxography. Thus Diogenes Laertius: 'The cosmos is generated from fire and again ignited according to certain alternating cycles throughout eternity; and this occurs according to fate (kath' heimarmenen).'^^ In Diogenes the abstract word for 'fate' replaces the adjectival form 'fated necessity' in Simplicius. The latter prob- ably reproduces Theophrastus' own text. The original connection also shows through in Aetius: 'Heraclitus [held that] all things occur according to fate, which is the same as necessity.'

So, according to Theophrastus, Heraclitus spoke of the 'fated necessity' of a periodic change in the world order, involving the generation of all things from fire and their eventual dissolution into fire again. In this respect, the only thing new in the Stoic version is the term 'ecpyrosis' for the conflagration.

I have argued that in recognizing allusions to such a cycle in the fragments Theophrastus was essentially right. We must now ask whether (a) he is also right in saying that Heraclitus posited 'a definite time' for the change, and (b) whether he is correct in speaking of 'fated necessity'. There is no direct evidence, but the indirect evidence supports an affirmative response to (b).

The term 'necessity' is attested in a similar connection for Empedocles (fr. 115); and the cosmic appli- cation, implicit in Empedocles, is explicit in the almost contemporary fragment of Leucippus: 'nothing happens at random, but all things take place for some reason (logos) and by necessity (ananke)' (DK 80.B 2). The same term occurs in Heraclitean imitations in the treatise On Regimen, where 'necessity' is paralleled by expressions for Fate: 'everything occurs by divine necessity (ananke) . . . each thing fulfills its allotted destiny (pepromene mo^Va).'181 There is thus no reason to doubt Theophrastus when he asserts that Heraclitus used similar language.

We are left with question (a), whether Theophrastus is also to be credited when he reports a definite time for the cosmic change. This is ambiguous. It can mean either (a.l) that Heraclitus asserted that the cycle lasted a definite time, without saying how long, or (a.2) that he specified a definite temporal interval. Now on (a.l) the report is unproblematic, even trivial: if Heraclitus spoke of a cosmic cycle, he certainly thought of it as fixed and definite: that would follow naturally from the importance he assigns to 'measures'. But (a.2) is more interest- ing: if we follow Theophrastus on this point, we must combine his information with the doxography from Censorinus, which tells us just what that temporal measure is supposed to be.

Censorinus' source is not Theophrastus but some Stoic author, perhaps Diogenes of Babylonia, a pupil of Chrysippus, active in the first half of the sec- ond century B.C.182 By this time the Stoics had been interpreting Heraclitus according to their own lights for at least a century. Was one of them prepared to go further and furnish a number for the cosmic cycle lacking in Heraclitus' text?

Nothing in the preserved fragments would lead us to expect a definite num- ber like 10,800 years: the only number given for a cosmic change is a rough one: half and half (in XXXVIII, D. 31 A). But the number 10,800 is indirectly con- firmed by the much better attested number 30 for a generation (XCV, D. A19). For 10,800 is 30 X 360: it represents a 'year' in which each 'day' is a generation. Since the number 30 is almost certainly genuine, the number 10,800 is likely to be so as well. Or are we to suppose that some Stoic commentator invented a cos- mic number to fit Heraclitus' own number for a generation? Anything is possible here; but the doubt just expressed seems to carry scepticism a bit too far. Most scholars have felt, with reason, that the two numbers stand or fall together; and nearly all have accepted both as authentic.183 What they have not all seen, how- ever, is that if we accept the number 10,800 for Heraclitus' great year, we can scarcely separate it from Theophrastus' report about a 'definite time' for cosmic change. If the number 10,800 is genuine, that must be what Theophrastus is referring to.

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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 Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn - Page 2 EmptyThu May 30, 2013 3:45 am

XLIV (D. 94) The sun will not transgress his measures. If he does, the Furies,
ministers of Justice (Dike), will find him out.


The text poses two questions:

(1) what are the measures of the sun? and

(2) why is Justice involved?


(1) The measures which the sun will not 'overstep' (hyperbesetai) must be his visible path through the sky which varies with the season of the year, as the Greeks (and before them the Babylonians) knew very well. They laid out their maps according to the direction both of the summer sunrise and sunset and also of the winter sunrise and sunset; in between they defined due east and due west as the 'equi- noctial rising' and the 'equinoctial setting'.186 Thus the annual vari- ations in the sun's path were taken as a basis for establishing what we call the points of the compass. And the same variations serve to define the four fixed points in a scientific calendar: summer and winter solstices (tropai), with spring and autumn equinoxes.

When star charts are drawn to plot the sun's course through the zodiac, the annual variations in the visible path are correlated with stages in its invisible path among the constellations; points of solstice and equinox mark off the astronomical seasons as four sections of this course. When the geometry of the celestial sphere is fully understood, the two equinoctial points will be determined by the intersection of the ecliptic (the sun's annual path) with the celestial equator.

It is unlikely that Heraclitus was familiar with this last conception. Although the theory of the celestial sphere seems to have begun in sixth- century Miletus, we do not know whether it reached this degree of geometrical clarity before the time of Oenopides in the middle of the fifth century.187 But anyone like Heraclitus, who had access to the astronomical knowledge available in Miletus and Samos at the end of the sixth century, must have been familiar with the correlations be- tween the annual changes in the sun's visible path and its less con- spicuous course among the stars. It was the latter, after all, that per- mitted the astronomers and calendar-makers to mark off the progress of the seasons on a day-to-day basis — directly, once the zodiac was in use, and indirectly earlier, by reference to such events as the rising and setting of Arcturus just before or just after the sun.

Now for Heraclitus 'the invisible fitting-together (harmonie) is better than the visible' (LXXX, D. 54). So if, initially, the measures of the sun are represented by its path in the sky on any given day, these measures must also be traced in the pattern of annual variation from solstice (trope) to solstice and back again. The measures of the sun are ultimately the measures of the solar year. The imaginary situ- ation of the sun's overstepping these measures might be realized by a deviation from its course on any given day. But the more dramatic, and humanly more meaningful transgression would be for the sun to continue, in the winter, to rise later and farther to the south, and finally fail to rise altogether. This fear of the sun going outas the days grow shorter seems to have played a great role in archaic religions. It accounts for so many festivals (including Christmas) in the vicinity of the winter solstice, mostly festivals of celebration once the days have begun to lengthen again as the sun rises further to the north. Thus we celebrate our own 'new year' shortly after this reversal of direction. In Mediterranean lands the shortening of the nights towards the summer solstice is less dramatic than in northern Europe. But in modern Greece at any rate, St John's Day (24 June) is traditionally celebrated with bonfires as in the north, and associated with the solstice. Some villagers observe the custom of rising 'early on this day in order to see the sun turning like a "windmill or a wheel", as they say'.

(2) The cosmic guarantee against the primitive fear of the sun's failure to rise (or, in summer, to set) is appropriately expressed by Heraclitus in the strongest imagery of Greek religion, where the Furies (Erinyes) represent relentless, primitive vengeance against moral and ritual transgression. But the mention of Dike indicates that the order in question is not one of blind vengeance. Dike represents the enlightened principle of the Justice of Zeus, his daughter by Themis or 'law', whose sisters are named Lawfulness (Eunomie) and Peace (Eirene) in the standard genealogy (Theogony 901f.).
It was Anaximander who first articulated this notion of justice and fate as a cosmic reparation between opposing powers 'according to the ordering of time'. (See text above, p. 18). The role assigned to Dike by Heraclitus in XLIV is a personified expression of Anaxi- mander's concept of cosmic justice, insofar as both authors see the regularity of nature as exemplified in the order of the seasons.

For other references to Justice, see on LXIX (D. 23), LXXXII (D. 80), LXXXVII (D. 28B); compare XL (D. 90), CXXI (D. 66), and CXXII(D. 16).

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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 Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn - Page 2 EmptySat Jun 01, 2013 1:44 am

I am aware that God can be a source of ridicule, the mark of a dullard for some people, however, I noticed some similarities throughout H's fragments. I have cited one with corresponding verse from Scripture.

Corpses are more fit to be thrown out than dung. (96)

He sees the emptiness of funeral ceremonies, the dead lack the one basic human quality of Life. Hence it is a corpse, a cavader, nothing more. The dead know nothing.

Job 14:21
His sons come to honor, and he knows it not; and they are brought low, but he perceives it not of them.

Immortals become mortals, mortals become immortals; they live in each other's death and die in each other's life.

I don't understand this. Does it mean there are two worlds after death? It is not easy to comprehend as it seems to be in direct opposition to what he states above.

Fire and "all things are momentary" are ideas shared with early schools of Buddhism. Buddha likens man's existence to the flame of a candle that is constantly renewed and also the analogy of the river, never being the same for a moment, but this was not H's analogy, was it. Can it be assumed that what is written by H, is not essentially unique.

It is important to note that his book was written in an obscure way, with intent, to limit access to it and if this were so, then Heraclitus would be considered an elitist, believing his writings to be read only by a worthy minority, which is perplexing, as it appears that it has similarities, with other sources.

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PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn - Page 2 EmptySat Jun 01, 2013 3:43 pm

reasonvemotion wrote:
I am aware that God can be a source of ridicule, the mark of a dullard for some people,

What is your mature understanding of God?

Btw., what did you conclude on the exploration you started last year if Socrates was or was not an atheist?


Quote :
however, I noticed some similarities throughout H's fragments. I have cited one with corresponding verse from Scripture.

Corpses are more fit to be thrown out than dung. (96)

He sees the emptiness of funeral ceremonies, the dead lack the one basic human quality of Life. Hence it is a corpse, a cavader, nothing more. The dead know nothing.

No, he is against deification of anything, including Life. He says,
"And they pray to these images as if they were chatting with houses, not recognizing what gods or even heroes are like." [Fr. CXVII]

The proper quote goes,
"Corpses should be thrown out quicker than dung." [Fr. LXXXVIII]

He is ranting against the fools who involved in various mystery cults, eleusian immortality who cannot see the Logos in the perishing of all things; that Logos which is kindled and goes out in equal measures.

He also says, in an obscure fragment,
" . . . to rise up (?) and become wakeful watchers of living men and corpses." [Fr. CX]

I take this to mean, wisdom, vigilance is to see the One Law acting through all opposites, living men and corpses.


Quote :
Job 14:21
His sons come to honor, and he knows it not; and they are brought low, but he perceives it not of them.

That sounds bla to me. But I can do better, to set Judaism side by side with Heraclitus;

A "legend" from second century B.C.E;
"When the sun sank, and the stars came forth, he [Abraham] said, "These are the gods!" But the dawn came, and the stars could be seen no longer, and then he said, "I will not pay worship to these, for they are no gods." Thereupon the sun came forth, and he spoke, "This is my god, him will I extol."
But again the sun set, and he said, "He is no god", and beholding the moon, he called her his god to whom he would pay Divine homage. Then the moon was obscured, and he cries out: "This, too, is no god! There is One who sets them all in motion."" [L.Ginzberg, The Legends of the Jews]

The famous legend is told to describe how Abraham supposedly came to the conclusion, by means of a process of gradual deduction, that the true and only God is the "One who sets them all in motion", and so is said to have discovered God before he received the revelation of the One True God.

Even though this is not accepted by the Rabbis and Rabbinic Judaism, but still assuming this is true, we see how to Heraclitus, the Logos itself is a kindling and extinguishing of itself in just measures, but to the Semite, the One True God stands apart to set them in motion like a controller.
There is no bridging this mindset. Athens vs. Jerusalem.


Quote :
Immortals become mortals, mortals become immortals; they live in each other's death and die in each other's life.

I don't understand this. Does it mean there are two worlds after death? It is not easy to comprehend as it seems to be in direct opposition to what he states above.

I interpret this as his meaning, the Immortals/Gods exist only in the imagination and minds of mortal men, and so when they perish, the Immortals become mortals too. And likewise, when mortals perish, they live on and are venerated as immortals; mortals become immortals and some also because of fame, glory.

Quote :
Fire and "all things are momentary" are ideas shared with early schools of Buddhism. Buddha likens man's existence to the flame of a candle that is constantly renewed and also the analogy of the river, never being the same for a moment, but this was not H's analogy, was it. Can it be assumed that what is written by H, is not essentially unique.

Both Buddha and Heraclitus see impermanence, and the world/samsara as set on Fire, not just the individual. Both conclude the same thing; Buddha says, Your Self is your only Refuge, self that is Brahman-become. The Middle path is a perspective of moving beyond all dualities of good and evil.
Heraclitus says, "I went in search of myself", or "I searched myself", or "I enquired of myself" - he takes the Self alone as his refuge; the Logos/dharma is all, the ever-living Fire. He too moves beyond the Anaximanderian dualism.
The difference is, Buddhism brings in cause/effect to explain the world, Heraclitus calls it a game, a play of an aion child...
Buddha was an Apollonian, speaking from a self-centric perspective; Heraclitus is a Dionysian, speaking from a cosmic perspective. [He says, if it weren't for the fact that cults were dedicated to Dionysus, the behaviour of the cultists would appear truly shameful. The wet/drunk fragment is often confused with his anti-Dionysianism, I think its misleading.]

Quote :
It is important to note that his book was written in an obscure way, with intent, to limit access to it and if this were so, then Heraclitus would be considered an elitist, believing his writings to be read only by a worthy minority, which is perplexing, as it appears that it has similarities, with other sources.

Nietzsche's intro:


Quote :
"We observe the entirely different forim of a superhuman self-glorification with Pythagoras and Heraclitus: the former certainly considered himself an incarnation of Apollo and acted with religious dignity, as Empedocles records. The self-glorification of Heraclitus contains nothing religious; he sees outside himself only error, illusion, an absence of knowledge - but no bridge leads him to his fellow man, no overpowering feeling of sympathetic stirring binds them to him. We can only with difficulty imagine the feelings of loneliness that tore through him: perhaps his style makes this most obvious, since he himself [uses language that] resembles the oracular proverns and the language of the Sibyls.

"The lord whose oracle is at Delphi neither speaks nor conceals, but gives signs."

"The Sibyl with raving mouth utters solemn, unadorned, unlovely wrds, but she reaches out over a thousand years with her voice because of the god within her."

Being a Greek, he dispenses with lightness and artificial decoration, foremost out of disgust at humanity and out of the defiant feeling of his eternity: yet he then speaks in entrancement, like the Pythia and the Sibyls, but truthfully.
That is, it is pride not in logical knowledge but rather in the intuitive grasping of the truth: we must recognize the enthusiastic and inspirational in his nature. We must conecive of such a grand, solitary, and inspired human being as placed in an isolated sanctum: he simply cannot live amongst his fellow man - at best he could still interact with children. He did not require humans or their sort of knowledge, since everything into which one may inquire he despises as history, in contrast to inward-turning wisdom. All learning from others was a sign of nonwisdom, because the wise man focuses his vision on the one intelligence [Logos] in all things. He characterizes his own philosophizing as a self-seeking and -investigating (As one investigates an oracle):
"He declared that he 'inquired of himself', and learned everything from himself." It [the exact fragmnet] ran, "I have searched myself." This was the proudest interpretation of the Delphic proverb: "And of the sentences that were written in Apollo's temple at Delphi, the most excellent and most divine seems to have been this, Know thyself."

...Pythagoras, Heraclitus, and Socrates - the wise man as religious reformer; the wise man as proud, solitary searcher after truth; and the wise man as the eternal investigator of all things.
...These three types discovered three incredible unified ideas by which they developed away from the norm: Pythagoras by belief in the identity of the countless races of humanity, indeed moreso by the identification of all souls with all time; Socrates by his belief in the unity and binding power of thought, eternally the same for all time and in all places; and finally Heraclitus [by his belief in] the oneness and eternal lawfulness of nature's processes. These prototypes are distinguished in their complere emersion in these unifying notions; it rendered them blind and exclusive to all other strivings and insights.
Heraclitus, who found himself in solitude and who recognized the unified lawfulness of the world, was accordingly exclusive to all other human beings: their folly lies in this, that they live in the middle of lawfulness and yet do not notice - indeed, that they know nothing at all thereof, even when it is remarked on.
...As to that which everyone equally encounters: "Humans in all their activities and in any of their arts only emulate the natural law and nevertheless do not recognize this"; "Men are at variance with the one thing with which they are in the most unbroken communion, the Reason that administers the whole Universe";... "Wisdom is one - to know the intelligence by which all things are steered through all things."
His vision has been locked onto two sorts of considerations: eternal motion and the negation of all duration and persistence in the world.

...Well this is the intuitive perception of Heraclitus; there is no thing of which we may say, "it is". He rejects Being. He knows only Becoming, the flowing. He considers belief in something persistent as error and foolishness. To this he adds this thought:
that which becomes is one thing in eternal transformation, and the law of this eternal transformation, the Logos in all things, is precisely this One, fire (to pyr). Thus, the one overall Becoming is itself law; that it becomes and how it becomes is its work. Heraclitus thus sees only the One, but in the sense opposite to Parmenides'.
...In this manner, however, Becoming and Passing Away is no way a punishment. Thus Heraclitus presents a comodicy over against his great predecessor, the teacher of the injustice of the world (Anaximander).

And so along with Becoming, justice is the second main concept. ...The idea of war-justice (polemos-dike) is the first specifically Hellenic idea in philosophy - which is to say that it quualifies not as universal but rather as national. Moreover, only the Greeks were in the circumstances to discover such sublime thoughts as cosmodicy.

...Thus there is a double process. ...Since everything is fire, then whatever is not fire, which would be the opposite of fire, cannot exist at all. We must probably attribute to Heraclitus the argument against Anaximander that there is no absolute cold but only degrees of warmth, which is physiologically easier to prove. heraclitus, then, departs for a second time from a dualism in the teachings of Anaximander.

...The highest form of nature is not humanity but fire. There exists no clash. To the contrary, insofar as humanity is fiery, it is rational; insofar as he [man] is watery, he is irrational. There is no necessity, qua human being, that he must acknowledge the Logos. The questions, Why does Water exist? and Why Earth? are very serious ones for Heraclitus, as is the question, Why are human beings such fools? Justice should not punish; it is itself immanent lawfulness, which demonstrates itself just as much among fools as among the highest human beings. The sole question worth posing in general is, Why is fire not always fire? He replies to that: "It is a game."
...At his core he is the opposite of a pessimist because he does not deny away sorrows and irrationality: for him, war reveals itself as the eternal process of the world. Yet he contents himself with an eternal universal law and, because it oversees all things, calls it Logos, intelligence.
This is genuinely Hellenic! it is in itself a harmony, yet one that touches on its opposite, bending back (palintropos). It is recognizable only to the contemplative god and to similar human beings." [Nietzsche, The Pre-Platonic Philosophers]


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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 Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn - Page 2 EmptySat Jun 01, 2013 3:45 pm

Kahn presents the fragments in a logical sequence he's decided, but since you have asked for an explanation on this fragment, I'm jumping over, and so marking it.

XCII (D. 62) Immortals mortal, mortals immortal, living the others' death, dead in the others' life.

Quote :
This is in point of form Heraclitus' masterpiece, the most perfectly symmetrical of all the fragments. The first two clauses of two words each (with copula unexpressed in Greek) are mirror images, identical but for the word order: a-b-b-a. The third and fourth clauses involve more complex inversions: to the participle 'living' in the third clause corresponds the noun 'life' in the fourth; and conversely for 'death' in the former and 'dead' in the latter. The symmetry is again rein- forced by chiastic order: participle, noun phrase; noun phrase, par- ticiple. The two-to-two, four-to-four structuring of these twelve words points to some tight pattern of unity between life and death whose exact content is not easy to make out.

The interpretation poses two distinct problems: what is Heraclitus' own meaning here? and what is the place of this utterance in the Greek tradition of speculation about the afterlife? It is only the first question which directly concerns us; the second problem will be briefly touched on.
XCII asserts some equivalence between mortals and immortals by an interchange of death and life; it is the mode of interchange that is problematic. As a starting point for literal exegesis we may assume that the mortals and immortals mentioned here are the same as in the usual notion of men and gods, who are distinguished by War in LXXXIII (D. 53). Since the terms 'men' and 'mortals', 'gods' and 'immortals' are practically synonymous in Greek, it would be arbitrary to take them otherwise here unless we have some special reason to do so. Hence on a first interpretation we assign 'death' and 'dying' only to mortal men.

The second half of XCII then says: 'they (the gods) live our death; we are dead in their life'. On this, which I will call the weak reading, there is no reference to the death of the gods. The thought is: 'we mortal men are immortal in that our death is really a new kind of (divine) life; they, the gods, are mortal not because they die but because their life is derived from our death'.

A stronger interpretation will reverse the roles of men and gods, as the symmetry of the clauses seems to require. But first we develop the implications of the weaker reading, in which immortals are defined as beings whose life is nourished by our death. What beings are these? The initial reference must be to elemental bodies or powers — water, earth, and the funerary fire — into which our bodies, and perhaps our psyches also, pass after death. But the beings who live from our death should include also new forms of life that spring up from the earth: the grass, the budding plants and trees, the flowers of Greek autumn and spring, as well as those worms and other animals believed to be born from the soil. Now these beings are themselves mortal. So to pursue this thought will bring us to the second, stronger interpretation, where mortals and immortals change places with one another.

In other respects also the weaker reading pushes us in the same direction. For instance, if the death of mortals is life for immortals, then the latter will include elemental water, since (according to CII, D. 36) what is death for the (human) psyche is birth for water. Hence water is one of the 'immortals' who live from our death. But by the same token water is a 'mortal', since its death is the birth of earth (CII, D. 36). Or if we think of the death of mortals here in terms of the 'extinction' of night-time and sleeping in XC (D. 26), then the immortals will be represented by successive psychic states that come to life as our normal consciousness is quenched in darkness and sleep. Included among these 'immortals' will be the nocturnal psyche and the dead whom we encounter in dreams. So once again we end up with the stronger reading: the immortals turn out to include not only the mortals but the dead.

I conclude that no weak reading, which preserves the traditional dichotomy between mortals and immortals, can stand as a complete interpretation of XCII. And a strict equivalence between the two classes is strongly suggested by the formal reversibility of the first four words, where it makes no difference which term we take as subject, which as predicate. If we take the first pair of terms as affirming that mortals are immortal, the second will affirm that immortals are mortal, and conversely. But if it makes no difference which term is subject, then it makes no difference which term serves as antecedent for the possessive pronoun 'their' (ekeinon) in the two following clauses. The weaker reading construes the two occurrences of this pronoun in two different ways: the immortal gods live our death, the death of mortals; whereas we mortals are dead in their life, in the life of the gods. On the strong reading, accepting full equivalence, we reverse the antecedents and have:

Mortals live the death of immortals.
Immortals are dead in the life of mortals.

For the ordinary Greek view of the gods these claims are extraordi- narily shocking — scarcely less so than the contempt which Heraclitus expresses for the ritual regard for the dead. In early poetry and myth, freedom from death is the essential characteristic of the gods: mor- tality is what separates the human condition from the divine. By asserting the mortality of the gods in XCII, Heraclitus breaks com- pletely with traditional Greek piety. This heretical doctrine finds
some curious echoes in the literature of the fifth and fourth centuries, as we shall see. But before considering these parallels, we must pursue one step further the interpretation of XCII within the context of Heraclitus' own thought.

For a full interpretation, the strong reading requires two theses which reinforce one another and which may be seen as complemen- tary aspects of a single claim:

(1) the reversibility of the process of death, by analogy with sleeping and waking, day and night, summer and winter, and

(2) the complete relativization or generalization of the notion of death, conceived as any change of state in which something old gives way before something drastically new. Hence it will not be a metaphor to speak of the death of water (for instance, in evaporation) or of the death of day at nightfall, any more than it is metaphorical to speak of the dying out of spring vegetation in the long drought of Greek summer. Human death — the death of each of us, and of those dear to us — will have to be understood as a phenom- enon of precisely the same sort, a change of state within the total life cycle of nature. This thought will be developed in XCIII.

We may now note some historical parallels to this paradoxical view. Since the basic axiom of traditional Greek piety is that the gods are immortal, to speak of their death is the gravest sort of blasphemy. In the case of the one god, Dionysus, whose death was recounted in a myth of the classical period, the evidence is too obscure and com- plicated to be discussed here.
What is clear is that Herodotus, when he refers to a comparable Egyptian myth concerning Osiris (whom he identified with Dionysus), is always careful to hedge his report with something like mystic silence: 'who it is they mourn on this occasion, it is not pious (hosion) for me to say'.294 But if to speak of the death of a single god is an act of sacrilege, what are we to say of the general pronouncement that 'immortals are mortal'? As Wilamowitz observed, at Athens Heraclitus would have been put to death for impiety.

I do not know of any true parallel in the classical period to this insistence upon the mortality of the immortals. Empedocles does speak of powers 'swiftly growing mortal (thneta) which had previously learned to be immortal (athanata)' (fr. 35.14). Empedocles may be echoing Heraclitus, but his context is cosmogonic and allegorical:
he is referring to the formation of mortal compounds from the combination of elemental principles, under the influence of Love. Thus, although there is a genuine affinity of doctrine, the esoteric verses of Empedocles have nothing like the provocative force of XCII. It seems unlikely that any pious Greek was scandalized by this passage.

On the other hand the converse assertion, that a mortal can become a god, is announced by Empedocles in another poem, his Katharmoi or 'Purifications', in terms that must have been regarded as provocative: 'I greet you, I an immortal god, mortal no longer.'

To find a parallel to this extraordinary pronouncement in the classical period
we must look to the mystic promise preserved on two of the gold tablets from Thurii in South Italy, buried with a body in the grave: 'Fortunate and most blessed, you will be a god instead of a mortal.'

Now the claim that a mortal may become a god, however presump- tuous it may sound in the fifth century, has at least a mythic prece- dent in the story of Heracles' acceptance among the Olympians. The related thesis, that this human life is in reality the death of a higher being, is much more esoteric. Again we find a hint of such a view in the Purifications of Empedocles, where the body is described as an 'alien garment of flesh' (fr. 126) and birth seems to be referred to as the unwelcome arrival in an unfamiliar place, to be greeted by funereal cries and lamentation (fr. 118; cf. 119 and 125). Even closer parallels to XCII can be found in Attic literature:

Who knows if life be death, but death in turn
be recognized below as life? (Euripides, fr. 638 Nauck)
Plato quotes these Euripidean verses in the Gorgias (492E) as evidence for the view that 'perhaps we are truly dead'; and he speaks in this connection of a doctrine that regards the body (soma) as the tomb (sema) of the soul.

This is not the place to discuss the origins and ramifications of this non-standard view of the human psyche; my point was simply to illus- trate the affinity of language between XCII and certain mystic doc- trines associated with the so-called Orphic, more accurately Pythagorean, tradition. But it does not follow from the fact that Heraclitus uses the language of this tradition that he accepts the view of the psyche which it implies. The monistic tendency of his own thought is really incompatible with the doctrine of an individual psyche migrating from body to body. Heraclitus makes use of this mystic language in part for its shock effect, to suggest the drastic novelty of his own insight into the unity of life and death, the radically 'unexpected' truth that awaits men beyond 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 Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn - Page 2 EmptyMon Jun 03, 2013 3:16 am

Thank you.

My question to you.

I feel and see your exuberance and passion but....

Do you accept this?

I see it as problematic for most.
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PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn - Page 2 EmptyMon Jun 03, 2013 3:28 am

Quote :
What is your mature understanding of God?

Btw., what did you conclude on the exploration you started last year if Socrates was or was not an atheist?

I would like to answer both these questions with an analogy presented by Kierkegaard.
Kierkegaard writes that Socrates, a non-Christian pagan philosopher, is his one true predecessor, that Socrates’ philosophical activity is the only thing analogous to his activity as a writer and thinker.

This taken from Kierkegaard’s Socratic Point of View expresses perfectly my own "mature" view of Christianity and Kierkegaard's opinion of Socrates. He, Kierkegaard, argues that the cultural phenomenon presenting itself as Christianity—what he calls Christendom, is permeated by a kind of sophistry. In particular, he compares the pastors and theologians of his day to the Sophists battled by Socrates.

"Christendom lies in an abyss of sophistry. Those legions of pastors and Christian assistant professors are all sophists, who by falsifying the definition of Christian have, for the sake of the business, gained millions and millions of Christians".

If the pastors and theologians correspond to the professional teachers of virtue in Socrates’ day, then the larger Christian public corresponds more broadly to those in Athens who think they know what virtue is when they do not.

He suggests that Socrates’ task in Athens has the same two-fold structure as his task:

"But as it went with you [Socrates] (according to what you say in your "defense", as you ironically enough have called the cruelest satire on a contemporary age)—namely that you made many enemies for yourself by making it manifest that the others were ignorant and that the others held a grudge against you out of envy since they assumed that you yourself must be what you could show that they were not—so has it also gone with me. That I can make it manifest that the others are even less Christian than I has given rise to indignation against me; I who nevertheless am so engaged with Christianity that I truly perceive and acknowledge that I am not a Christian".

Early on in "My Task" just after he claims that Socrates provides his only analogy, Kierkegaard openly addresses him:

"You, antiquity’s noble simple soul, you the only human being I admiringly acknowledge as a thinker: there is only a little preserved about you, of all people the only true martyr of intellectuality, just as great qua character as qua thinker; but how exceedingly much this little is! How I long, far from those battalions of thinkers that "Christendom" places in the field under the name of Christian thinkers…how I long to be able to speak—if only for half an hour—with you!" (modified).






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PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn - Page 2 EmptyMon Jun 03, 2013 7:23 am

Socrates was how Plato promoted the values that would preserve the conditions that made him possible.

The wise man who has a deeper understanding of reality than the one he teaches, because some insights cannot be understood nor tolerated by those he relies upon to do the daily tasks that offer him the possibility for leisurely meditation.

A "noble lie" must be told to those who will then be grateful for its message.

Seduction, is relatively easy.
Then a seed is planted that may or may not grow and prosper.
Once it begins to flourish this seedling takes over the mother's life.
The mother, both loves and is burdened by her offspring.
It takes on a life of its own, eventually spreading its seed or being fertilized, and she admires it from afar, not fully relating nor totally detached.

Jesus appeared to his people as Socrates did to his: bringing good tidings and seeding them with ideas that would bind them to what they could not.

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PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn - Page 2 EmptyMon Jun 03, 2013 7:28 am

reasonvemotion wrote:
Quote :
What is your mature understanding of God?

Btw., what did you conclude on the exploration you started last year if Socrates was or was not an atheist?

I would like to answer both these questions with an analogy presented by Kierkegaard.
Kierkegaard writes that Socrates, a non-Christian pagan philosopher, is his one true predecessor, that Socrates’ philosophical activity is the only thing analogous to his activity as a writer and thinker.

This taken from Kierkegaard’s Socratic Point of View expresses perfectly my own "mature" view of Christianity and Kierkegaard's opinion of Socrates. He, Kierkegaard, argues that the cultural phenomenon presenting itself as Christianity—what he calls Christendom, is permeated by a kind of sophistry. In particular, he compares the pastors and theologians of his day to the Sophists battled by Socrates.

"Christendom lies in an abyss of sophistry. Those legions of pastors and Christian assistant professors are all sophists, who by falsifying the definition of Christian have, for the sake of the business, gained millions and millions of Christians".

If the pastors and theologians correspond to the professional teachers of virtue in Socrates’ day, then the larger Christian public corresponds more broadly to those in Athens who think they know what virtue is when they do not.

He suggests that Socrates’ task in Athens has the same two-fold structure as his task:

"But as it went with you [Socrates] (according to what you say in your "defense", as you ironically enough have called the cruelest satire on a contemporary age)—namely that you made many enemies for yourself by making it manifest that the others were ignorant and that the others held a grudge against you out of envy since they assumed that you yourself must be what you could show that they were not—so has it also gone with me. That I can make it manifest that the others are even less Christian than I has given rise to indignation against me; I who nevertheless am so engaged with Christianity that I truly perceive and acknowledge that I am not a Christian".

Early on in "My Task" just after he claims that Socrates provides his only analogy, Kierkegaard openly addresses him:

"You, antiquity’s noble simple soul, you the only human being I admiringly acknowledge as a thinker: there is only a little preserved about you, of all people the only true martyr of intellectuality, just as great qua character as qua thinker; but how exceedingly much this little is! How I long, far from those battalions of thinkers that "Christendom" places in the field under the name of Christian thinkers…how I long to be able to speak—if only for half an hour—with you!" (modified).



The quotes say Nothing about the/your "mature" view of God, and your own opinion of Socrates' religious belief; it merely says Socrates had a truer understanding and what is considered Xt. so far is not real Xt.,... which is what? What is God to you and why do you need Him?
Fyi., this view of Socrates [as a parallel Christ, martyr of Reason, etc.] goes before Kierkegaard to [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] who was Kierkegaard's mentor.

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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 Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn - Page 2 EmptyMon Jun 03, 2013 9:23 am



Quote :
XCII (D. 62) Immortals mortal, mortals immortal, living the others' death, dead in the others' life.

Lyssa

Quote :
My question to you.

I feel and see your exuberance and passion but....

Do you accept this?

it as problematic for most.


I would be interested in your view on this.
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PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn - Page 2 EmptyMon Jun 03, 2013 9:36 am

reasonvemotion wrote:


Quote :
XCII (D. 62) Immortals mortal, mortals immortal, living the others' death, dead in the others' life.

Lyssa

Quote :
My question to you.

I feel and see your exuberance and passion but....

Do you accept this?

it as problematic for most.


I would be interested in your view on this.

I thought I answered that already:

Lyssa wrote:
I interpret this as his meaning, the Immortals/Gods exist only in the imagination and minds of mortal men, and so when they perish, the Immortals become mortals too. And likewise, when mortals perish, they live on and are venerated as immortals; mortals become immortals and some also because of fame, glory.


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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 Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn - Page 2 EmptyMon Jun 03, 2013 4:57 pm

XLV (D. 120) The limits (termata) of Dawn and Evening the Bear; and opposite the Bear, the Warder of luminous Zeus.

I interpret this as a commentary on XLIV. But there are some points that must be taken account of in any interpretation.

(1) 'Dawn and evening', the first two words in the Greek sentence, have a double sense: (a) the beginning and end of day, and (b) the directions of east (sunrise) and west (sunset).

(2) Termata ('limits') means the goal of a race or the completion of a journey; the stone or pillar around which runners or chariots turn before heading back to their starting point; and, by extension, the borders or limits of a region.

(3) 'The Bear' (arktos) must designate Ursa Major, our Big Dipper or Great Bear, a general mark for the celestial pole and hence for the north.

(4) The Warder (ouros) opposite the Bear (arktos) can only be the star Arcturus (Gr. Arkt-ouros), described as the Bear-watcher (arkto-phylax) in the astronomical poem of Aratus (Phainomena 92).1 9 0 Now the risings and settings of Arcturus are a familiar signal of the
seasons as early as Hesiod. In Works and Days 566 and 610, the evening and dawn risings of Arcturus (its 'limits of dawn and evening') correspond to the beginning of spring and fall, that is, roughly to the equinoxes.191 But in XLV Arcturus appears not as a seasonal sign but as the mythical guardian set by Zeus to watch the Bear. The unusual epithet 'luminous' or 'bright' (aithrios) can be a reference to his tra- ditional role as sky-god and weather-god (since aithrie means 'clear sky', 'good weather'), but also a reinterpretation of Zeus as celestial fire in the upper sky (aither).

So much is clear. What follows is my own best guess at unravelling the knot of the riddle.
Dawn and Evening stand not merely for east and west but for sun- rise and sunset, and hence as marks for the course of the sun. The Bear, or celestial pole, is the point or region around which the sun turns in its daily course. On first reading, taking termata as turning- point for the sun each day, it is only the Bear (and not the Bear- watcher) whose presence here is explained. Hence I propose a strong punctuation after 'Bear'.

On second reading, however, the termata may be understood as the 'limits' or extreme points for sunrise and sunset over the year, that is, as the tropai or solstitial points which mark the annual course of the sun. These risings and settings are at best alluded to in the enigmatic 'limits (termata) of dawn and evening'. How far the reader is willing to credit Heraclitus with this allusion is likely to depend on whether he has been convinced by my interpretation of XLIV.
What then of 'the Warder of luminous Zeus, opposite the Bear'? I read this second clause as a distinct thought. Opposite the Bear (and revolving around it, like the Sun) stands Arcturus, the star which in Hesiod gives the signal for spring and fall. If Arcturus is presented here as guardian of the Bear, it is because the Bear stands for the pole, and hence for the fixed regularity of solar and astral cycles. Its stellar guardian will preserve the measures of cosmic justice after the sun has set. (Compare the watcher 'that never sets' in CXXII, D. 16).

Just as 'luminous Zeus' here corresponds to Dike in XLIV, so Arcturus appears in the role of the Furies as celestial policeman. Once the sun has set, the daily and annual ordinances of bright Zeus are represented by the clockwork regularity of the fixed stars.

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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 Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn - Page 2 EmptyMon Jun 03, 2013 7:24 pm

Quote :
Lyssa wrote:
I interpret this as his meaning, the Immortals/Gods exist only in the imagination and minds of mortal men, and so when they perish, the Immortals become mortals too. And likewise, when mortals perish, they live on and are venerated as immortals; mortals become immortals and some also because of fame, glory.


I am asking not for your interpretation, I am asking do you accept this, if so, why.
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PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn - Page 2 EmptyThu Jun 06, 2013 5:36 pm

reasonvemotion wrote:
Quote :
Lyssa wrote:
I interpret this as his meaning, the Immortals/Gods exist only in the imagination and minds of mortal men, and so when they perish, the Immortals become mortals too. And likewise, when mortals perish, they live on and are venerated as immortals; mortals become immortals and some also because of fame, glory.


I am asking not for your interpretation, I am asking do you accept this, if so, why.

Martha Nussbaum's Psyche in Heraclitus, talks of what psyche first of all meant since Homer [1], and if Heraclitus believed in the survival of an personal individuality after death [2], and she concludes he doesn't, except and other than through fame and glory.

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If human immortality and the survival of personality is accepted, then there remains no meaning, no reason, no purpose, to strife and to a heroic life, the winning of an immortal name, imperishable fame, to stand apart.

So a personality attains immortality/survives through heroic recognition, memetics.

In the case of procreation, I naturally believe personality survives and what is epigenetics.

In the case of no progeny, if there is no separation between us and our actions, one continuity, then the momentum we set, sets us off; we continue to live on in our actions which is a never-ending butterfly effect, forever unfolding and perhaps will recur [not reincarnate]. The
near-vaccum we create after death, a certain environment, a certain atmosphere through our deeds and dispositions, should logically favour and prove hospitable only to the creation of a similar disposition. I think it is in this sense, karma and dharma make sense; the Buddha's saying,

Quote :
"My action is my possession, my action is my inheritance, my action is the womb that bears me, my action is the family to which I am related, my action is my refuge." [Evola, Doctrine of Awakening]
Quote :
"...man always becomes what he would like to become, that is, whatever he desires and thirsts after; for whatever we think after, that we grasp. Of course this is not to be understood as if it meant that a mere wish would be sufficient; but what has directing force, is the nature of our willing and of our desire in its innermost depth, that means, our innermost character, as it appears in action as blind impulse, without being guided by the light of knowledge. For according to the foregoing expositions, exactly in this situation is our will at the decisive moment of death, when it determines our grasping of a new germ. To know to what kind of grasping our will may lead us, we must dive into the depths of our animal life, as it reveals itself when the dominating influence of reason is eliminated, thus, in emotion, or still more, in a state of intoxication, or in dream. Hence it is not decisive, if a person in rational reflection does not murder or steal, is neither unchaste nor heartless, but only if he is incapable of all this even in the height of passion, nay, even in his dreams. Only that which even in such conditions never more arises, never more can arise within us, of which therefore, as we can easily feel, we are absolutely incapable, only this is definitively eradicated from our will. Therefore it can never any more make itself felt when in death we have entirely abandoned consciousness, and precisely because of this, cannot say more as blind impulse determine our new grasping. If, for example, I know that I could not, under any circumstances, conceive the thought of killing, not evem in a dream, then I am sure that this inclination no longer exists within me, thus also can no longer determine my new grasping at death. But if I must confess, after having carefully studied myself, that in a state of clear consciousness I am indeed incapable of killing, but might become a murderer in an excited or drunken state, then my will is of such sort that in the future, if unilluminated by any consciousness, it might cause a grasping of a germ in a world where murders can be, and are, indeed, committed; and where perhaps also this capacity of will still asleep within me, under the appropriate external circumstances, - for instance, if I were born intoa rude and uncultured family - might some time or other flame up again and make a murderer. The fundamental condition for the certainty that after death I shall not become attached to a germ in a low-class, pain-laden world, is therefore this, that I know myself, at latest, in the hour of my death, to be definitively free from all bad inclinations. In so far as this is the case, in so far as a man has acquired confidence, virtue, experience, renunciation, wisdom, and thereby become nobler and purer and thereby more adapted to attachment in higher and purer spheres, he also has it in his own hands to bring about his rebirth in closely determined circles or spheres, be it in a power high-placed family, or in a world of gods. By incessantly and intensively occupying himself with thoughts relating to this, he may turn his entire striving in this direction, until he is quite absorbed, completely saturated with it, so that of itself the unshakeable certitude comes to him: After death I can no longer possibly sink into the depths, as little as coal-smoke, when cleansed, that is, freed from its heavier components, can settle in lower levels, but must rise upwards. Indeed, in this decisive unconscious condition, I can grasp no other germ but the one desired, because every other would be contrary to my innermost nature, that is, to the characteristic direction of my will, to my deepest thirst for a certain definite mode of existence, and therefore, without further ado, even though blind, would be rejected by it." [ib.]
Quote :
"Therefore the question arises, as to what it is which in such a case determines the new grasping upon death. The answer again is very simple. It depends upon whether the good or the bad striving comes into activity at the moment of death and thus determines the new grasping." [ib.]
Quote :
"The will lies smouldering, so to say, beneath the ashes, and need not enter consciousness for a long time. To understand this thoroughly, we have only to reflect how very few men really know their own character, that is, the sum of the tendecies of their will. Either the outer motives are wanting which might wake the impulses and inclinations slumbering within them, or external circumstances, more especially the laws of the state, hinder the expession of an evilly disposed will, but not this will itself." [ib.]
Quote :
"Though the causality of all willing is thus beyond all doubt, it does not necessaruly extend in every case beyond death into one of our future rebirths. This, on the contrary, is only the case, if the tendency of will, the outcome of which was a given deed, is present at all even though only in latent condition, at the moment of death, when the new grasping takes place. If at this moment it already again has been completely rooted out, then neither itself nor, of course, the deed resulting forces from it, can in any way be of causal importance for the new attachment and those that follow later on..." [ib.]


We live on in our desires, and the direction and discriminate intensity and degree of impeccability, self-resolve, self-certainty we give to it.

Heraclitus says, Our Character IS Our Fate.


Your turn. God - how you define the term, if you believe in His existence, and why you need Him. Is it God you are searching for?

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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 Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn - Page 2 EmptyThu Jun 06, 2013 5:38 pm

XLVI (D. 99) Plutarch: [Heraclitus says 'if there were no sun it would be night.']

XLVII (D. 3) Aetius: [Heraclitus says the sun is the size of a human foot.]

XLVIIIA (D. 6) Aristotle: [As Heraclitus says, the sun is new (or young) every day.]

XLVIIIB Plato: [The sun of Heraclitus . . . is extinguished in old age . . . but rekindled again.]


These four texts present two sets of contrasting elements in the description of the sun.

(1) It grows old and is extinguished every night; but it regains its youth and vitality when rekindled every morning.

(2) It is a small and insignificant portion of the universe, no bigger than it appears or about the size of a human foot, but also the cause of day and night, whose light exceeds that of the moon and all the stars together. The first antithesis is presupposed by Plato's text, and confirmed by the post-Aristotelian doxography. The second antithesis is not formulated as such in any extant testimony, but it makes a meaningful pair out of what are otherwise two isolated comments.

The commentators have debated whether or not Heraclitus' remark about the size of the sun is to be taken literally. My view is that he is exploiting, without endorsing or criticizing, the natural assumption that the sun is just the size it appears. Scientific specu- lation on the size of the sun was provoked by the geometric model for the heavens proposed by Anaximander and his successors. The earliest attested estimate, ascribed to Anaxagoras (DK 59.A 42.8 ), that the sun exceeds the Peloponnesus in size, must have seemed phantastically large at the time. A century later the diffusion of Ionian science had transformed the situation for an educated man. Aristotle takes for granted the belief that the sun is 'larger than the inhabited earth' (De Anima 428b4 ). But Heraclitus was living in the age when serious estimates of stellar distances and magnitudes were just beginning, when they were weakly grounded and known only to an enlightened few. In referring to the sun going out and being re- kindled Heraclitus again makes use of a naive point of view. It may be helpful to cite here a contemporary picture of a peasant mentality that still sees the world as most men will have seen it in Heraclitus' day. Solzhenitsyn reports or imagines the following conversation between his hero, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov, and an educated officer.

'Listen, captain, where according to that science of yours does the old moon go when it's through?'
'Where does it go? What ignorance! It simply isn't visible any more!'
Shukhov shook his head and laughed:
'Well, if it's not visible, how do you know it's there?'
'So, according to you,' said the captain, astonished, 'we get a
new moon every month?'
'What's so strange about that? People are born every day, why
shouldn't there be a new moon every four weeks?'
'Pfui!' The captain spat. 'I've never met such a dumb sailor as
you. So where do you think the old moon goes?'
'That's what I'm asking you — where?' Shukhov grinned. 'Well, where does it go, tell me?'
Shukhov sighed and said, hardly lisping:
'At home they used to say that God broke up the old moon for
stars.'
'What savages!' The captain laughed. 'I've never heard such a
thing! Do you believe in God, Shukhov?'
'Why not?' Shukhov replied, surprised. 'When you hear Him
thunder, you can't help believing in Him.'
'And why do you think God does that, then?'
'Does what?'
'Break the moon up into stars?'
'Well, don't you understand?' Shukhov shrugged his shoulders.
'The stars fall down from time to time and it's necessary to fill the gaps.' (One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, tr. G. Aitken (New York, 1971),p. Ill)

It is a view of the world something like this that Heraclitus is pre-supposing. I see no reason to believe that he uncritically accepted the naive view of the sun and stars, any more than the popular view of the Furies or some myth about Zeus setting Arcturus as a watchman over the stellar Bear. He makes use of traditional belief and imagery for his own purposes, in this case probably to stress the paradoxical contrast between the sun's relatively small appearance and its indispensable function in the cosmos, and certainly to suggest a pattern of periodic extinctions and rekindling that is both an example and a paradigm for the measured lighting and quenching of cosmic fire (in XXXVII, D. 30). The remark about the dependence of daylight on the sun was probably intended to point to the union of day and night (XIX, D. 57).

In XLIV (D. 94) the sun is presented as an anthropomorphic being pursuing his daily path. In XLVIII the sun is again animate, passing from youth to age; but its vitality is there conceived as fire, kindled and quenched. When we turn to the Theophrastean doxography, we find this imagery of kindling and quenching taken literally in a quasi- mechanical explanation of the sun, moon, and stars, according to which these phenomena are produced by the gathering and igniting of bright exhalations in certain celestial bowls or basins (skaphai). If we could accept Theophrastus' report as reliable, we would have a rather detailed account of astronomical and meteorological theories. But these doctrines are so different from the allusive and ambivalent manner of Heraclitus in the preserved fragments that I do not think we can rely upon them for an understanding of his thought. For this material see Appendix IIA.

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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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reasonvemotion

reasonvemotion

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Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn - Page 2 Empty
PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn - Page 2 EmptyFri Jun 07, 2013 7:59 am

When I look at the reality around me, it is difficult to come to the conclusion there is life after death.

One of the fundamental things are that faith and proof are mutually exclusive. If you have faith you don't demand proof, it is a person's conviction. Faith is a word that can be rejected by many because of the religious connotations, but faith is also just another word for perseverance.

I believe I should strive always to be a better person, (reward in heaven is of no consequence to me).

Heraclitus, describes eloquently life and death and what he believes happens after death to the human body and mind, you choose to accept this. For myself, it is not for me to second guess the Almighty in terms of how he perceives what happens to me when I die. I choose this.

I can say with conviction, I don't think when we die we reach an abyss and drop off the edge of the world.

In conclusion to say, I can prove any of this, or that Heraclitus could prove any of his Fragments, is an impossible task.




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Lyssa
Har Har Harr
Lyssa

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Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn - Page 2 Empty
PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn - Page 2 EmptyFri Jun 07, 2013 4:43 pm

reasonvemotion wrote:
When I look at the reality around me, it is difficult to come to the conclusion there is life after death.

Ae you saying you do not consider fame and progeny an extension of you after death?

Quote :
One of the fundamental things are that faith and proof are mutually exclusive. If you have faith you don't demand proof, it is a person's conviction. Faith is a word that can be rejected by many because of the religious connotations, but faith is also just another word for perseverance.

I believe I should strive always to be a better person, (reward in heaven is of no consequence to me).

What is being a "better" person, and what motivates you to want to be so?

Quote :
Heraclitus, describes eloquently life and death and what he believes happens after death to the human body and mind, you choose to accept this. For myself, it is not for me to second guess the Almighty in terms of how he perceives what happens to me when I die. I choose this.

You are yet to explain what the "Almighty" is and means to you?

Quote :
I can say with conviction, I don't think when we die we reach an abyss and drop off the edge of the world.

So then...?

Quote :
In conclusion to say, I can prove any of this, or that Heraclitus could prove any of his Fragments, is an impossible task.

Everyone has conjectures.


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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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Lyssa
Har Har Harr
Lyssa

Gender : Female Posts : 9031
Join date : 2012-03-01
Location : The Cockpit

Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn - Page 2 Empty
PostSubject: Re: Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn Heraclitus' Fragments: Kahn - Page 2 EmptyFri Jun 07, 2013 4:45 pm

XLIX (D. 126) Cold warms up, warm cools off, moist parches, dry dampens.

Heraclitus here describes qualitative changes between physical opposites in the language of felt experience rather than scientific observation.194 The verb theretai 'warm up' can be used of a person warming himself by the fire. The word for 'cools oi{\psychetai, suggests an application to human souls (psychai). This presentation of the cold and the hot as if they were living beings reflects Heraclitus' view of the underlying identity between the psyche and the physical elements. (See below on CII, D. 36.) When Heraclitus speaks of the cosmos as a living fire, we must take him at his word.

The conception of elemental opposites illustrated here comes from Miletus; it is found again in the fragments of Anaxagoras and other fifth-century writers, before being incorporated into the canonical doctrine of Aristotle (for whom the four elementary bodies are defined by one member from each of the two pairs: hot-cold, wet- dry). What Heraclitus expresses, then, is not so much his own thought as a common presupposition of Greek natural philosophy from Anaximander to Aristotle and beyond.195 It is precisely this notion of pervasive physical change that the Eleatics rejected as false (Melissus fr. 8.3), while the physicists took it for granted as an obvious truth of experience (Diogenes fr. 2). Plato has this in mind when he speaks of a doctrine of continual change and becoming that is held by Protagoras and Heraclitus and Empedocles 'and by all the wise men except Parmenides' (Theaetetus 152E) and which he finds in the Heraclitean image of the river, where 'everything moves on and nothing stands still' (Cratylus 402 A8). On Plato's reading, the choice of the opposites cold-warm and moist-dry is merely a tra- ditional scheme for expressing the thesis of radical flux.

In its historical context, however, it is precisely the change of opposites into one another that connects this sentence with the frag- ment of Anaximander and with the tradition illustrated in Anaxa- goras and Melissus. And it is this archaic notion of the opposites as opponents or adversaries that underlies Heraclitus' own conception of War as father and king of all (LXXXIII, D. 53). The four opposites mentioned here, and the processes they structure, point to the domain of meteorology, with its processes of evaporation and pre- cipitation, drought and rainfall, changes in temperature and humidity. We are reminded of Aristotle's description of the atmospheric cycle in Heraclitean language:

Now this cycle occurs in imitation of the circle described by the sun. For as the sun passes laterally back and forth, this cycle moves up and down. One must think of it as a river flowing in a circle up and down, common to air and to water. (Meteor. 1.9, 346b35-347a3)

For Heraclitus too these daily and seasonal changes may be regarded as a cosmic river, whose flux is structured by a system of which the opposites are the coordinates, and whose balance is maintained by its periodicity.

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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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