Heraclitus was a Greek philosopher from Ephesus. He was an Ephesian noble, and had a sovereign contempt for all of mankind. In his latter years, after his government moved away from aristocracy and towards democracy, he retired to a secluded country estate and wrote a philosophical treatise, which he left at the temple of Artemis under the instructions that it should not be published until after his death. This treatise was entitled “On Nature”, and is the oldest monument of Greek prose.

He believed that as fire is the primary form of reality, the process of combustion is the key both to human life and to that of the world. It is a process that never rests, because a flame must always be fed by fresh fuel, and is always turning into vapor or smoke. The steadiness of the flame depends on the constancy of the “measures” of fire burned and the “measures” of fire extinguished in smoke. He believed that everything is in this constant state of flux, and that nothing, not even the gods themselves, will escape final destruction.

“The way up and the way down <are> one and the same.”

“You cannot step twice into the same river.”

Also, a poem by William Cory in his honour, which is, I think, incredibly fabulous and perhaps the best definition of the love that exists between friends that I have ever seen. Thus:

They told me, Heraclitus, they told me you were dead,
They brought me bitter news to hear and bitter tears to shed.
I wept as I remember'd how often you and I
Had tired the sun with talking and sent him down the sky.

And now that thou art lying, my dear old Carian guest,
A handful of grey ashes, long, long ago at rest,
Still are thy pleasant voices, thy nightingales, awake;
For Death, he taketh all away, but them he cannot take.

Heraclitus was born in roughly 540 to an aristocratic family in Esphesus. Heraclitus disliked the political life typically pursued by those of his stature and passed on his right to a hereditary ruling position to his brother. Heraclitus had a reputation for misanthropy and obscurity which gave him the nickname "The Riddler".

Heraclitus' greatest contribution was the argument that there is a single divine law of the universe which he called logos.

Logos was defined as "thing said","account", "word" or "rational principle". Heraclitus argued the differences between divine knowledge (objective truth available to all) and human knowledge (the collection of facts). Heraclitus' arguments about logos were to confirm that everything that is known shares an underlying unity. Despite the fact that the universe is changing, there is a single, unchanging law of the cosmos, A logos which joins and governs these changes.

Thus the physical manifestation of logos was fire, an elemental symbol that is in constant flux yet always the same.

Heraclitus also promulgated the myth that humans were once as powerful as gods, possessing 4 arms, 4 legs, 4 ears, 4 eyes, 2 mouths...and the gods tore us all asunder, for self protection.

As each individual was strecthed out, the thin bits broke, like silly putty, and that's why we have nipples, and genitals, and faces.

That's also why we spend our lives looking for our other half, and why sex feels so good...when we find him/her.

Heraclitus the philosopher lived in the 500s, but Callimachus the poet wrote his lament in the 200s. His friend called Heraclitus was a real person, a scholar, but not the philosopher from centuries before. Cory's famous (somewhat inflated) 1845 translation has been given above, and so has a more modern and closer translation of the Callimachus. Here is the original.
Eipe tis, Hêrakleite, teon moron, es de me dakru
êgagen; emnêsthên d' hossakis amphoteroi
hêlion en leskhêi katedusamen; alla su men pou,
xein' Halikarnêsseu, tetrapalai spodiê.
Callimachus was librarian at Alexandria, and uttered the useful maxim megalon biblion megalon kakon "a big book is a big evil".
Heraclitus on matters of the soul, moisture, and enebriation:

42. You could not discover the limits of soul, even if you traveled by every path in order to do so; such is the depth of its meaning. (45)

43. Soul is the vaporization out of which everything else is composed; more-over it is the least corporeal of things and is in ceaseless flux, for the moving world can only be known by what is in motion. ( )

44. Souls are vaporized from what is moist. (12)

45. Soul has its own inner law of growth. (us)

46. A dry soul is wisest and best. (or) The best and wisest soul is a dry beam of light. (11~)

47. Souls take pleasure in becoming moist. (77)

48. A drunken man has to be led by a boy, whom he follows stumbling and not knowing whither he goes, for his soul is moist. (117)

49. It is death to souls to become water, and it is death to water to become earth. Conversely, water comes into existence out of earth, and souls out of water. (36)

50. Even the sacred barley drink separates when it is not stirred. (125)

51. It is hard to fight against impulsive desire; whatever it wants it will buy at the cost of the soul. (85~)

52. It would not be better if things happened to men just as they wish. (110)

53. Although it is better to hide our ignorance, this is hard to do when we relax over wine. (95)

54. A foolish man is a-flutter at every word. (87)

55. Fools, although they hear, are like the deaf: To them the adage applies that when present they are absent. (34)

56. Bigotry is the sacred disease. (46)

57. Most people do not take heed of the things they encounter, nor do they grasp them even when they have learned about them, although they think they do. (17)

58. If all existing things were smoke, it is by smell that we would distinguish them. (7)

59. In Hades souls perceive by smelling. (98)

60. Corpses are more fit to be thrown out than dung. (96)
"Time is a child moving counters in a game; the royal power is a child's." ( Fragment 52 )

Time conquers all. Both king and country; heaven and earth. Ostensibly, the 'royal power' Heraclitus presents is time's inexorable march on the road to victory. No opposing piece on the board can refuse to yield, for the one thing all men have in common is death. So too, any opponent who uses the pieces in movement towards promoting an idea, warring for land, fighting for a country or way of life; they will all lose everything in the end.

Since several of his ideas are depicted through puns, alliteration and every other manner of wordplay conceivable, it pays to examine his choice of 'nepia' for the ancient Greek answer to the word 'child' -- it is a child too young to even speak. Within the fragment itself, this can imply that the child probably has little to no understanding of the rules of the game. Its cosmic movement, in accordance with the laws of the universe, is otherwise not directed by any agency. Further, since the rules of the game are set, but no one knows how the child will move, no one can know how the game will play out until it's over.

As an elliptic writer, it's likely he used the child metaphor in connection to more than one other aphorism, as well. For instance, in comparison with,

"The fairest universe is but a heap of rubbish piled up at random." ( 124 )

Again, we are told the child moves seemingly without purpose, the creation of many worlds just as likely as ours, each with its own accordant logos ( and maybe its own Heraclitus! ). Each just as ugly and beatific as the next. Perhaps a rebuke against looking to greener pastures. The perpetual youth of the child points to a claim for the only universal constant in H's ontology. Time as the embodiment of change is the only thing in existence that is not changed itself. As remarked by Aristotle,

"The sun is , as H. states, not only new each day, but forever continually new." ( 6 )

Since according to this view, time has no beginning or end, it follows he is an eternalist: someone for whom the distinctions between past, present and future are a product of perception. Being punny again, H states,

"The name of the bow is life, but its work is death." ( 48 )

The child moves, without malice or forethought, and takes a pawn off the board or rejuvenates its own queen if the rules say it can. Time is merely indifferent to us, sub specie aeternitatus.

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