Heraclitus: The Weeping Philosopher

Greg Ciafre

This first photo, I choose not because it was apart of the fragments, but because this photo I believe shows who Heraclitus is, "The Weeping philosopher." Due to Heraclitus' lonely state of mind, he was constantly angry. In these upcoming pictures based off of his fragments, we will be able to see how Heraclitus loneliness has played a role in his writing.
This picture comes from the fragment, "Into the same river you could not step twice, for other <and still other> waters are flowing." (fr.41). Through this fragment, Heraclitus is explaining that it is impossible to walk into the same water twice, because water is always moving. This quote ties in with Heraclitus theory that all things are always moving in a constant motion. This picture shows two figures walking into the river, showing how if they did go back into the river, it would not be the same river as they walked in before because the water is no longer there. In this famous quote, this is where Heraclitus also discusses his idea of flux, which is the idea that everything is either flowing in or flowing out of something. We can see that flux is being shown through the absence of the same water because of it's flow.
This picture of a boy holding a candle and covering the flame doesn't represent a specific fragment, but however represents fire. Heraclitus believed that out of all of the elements, earth, wind, fire, and air, that fire was the most important element there was. Heraclitus thought this because he believed that everything is derived from fire. This photo stood out to me as a representation of fire because not only does this photo show the aspect of light from the flame, but it also shows life, as it shows the little boy holding the fire, which he too could have been derived from the aspect of fire. The boy's youth and his action of covering the flame shows how his actions, caused by fire, are symbolic for Heraclitus' views on fire.
Through this picture, this is what I believe best represented Heraclitus belief that all things are in a constant flow. Just like how Heraclitus explains how no man can step into the same water twice, he also explains how other things are in constant motion. I chose this picture to represent that everything is in constant motion because in this picture, displays leaves of different colors: some green, other a darker color. The color of these leaves, represents either life or death. We humans cannot see this change happening, however regardless if we can see it or not, it is still happening. The leaf, is slowly decaying, but we can't see this because it takes awhile for a leaf to decay. Heraclitus also believed that this notion pertained to humans to, as once you are born, you are on a constant timer until the day you die, for after your born, you are slowly dying.
This picture represents the fragment, "Good and evil are the same." (fr. 57). In Heraclitus' fragments, he talks about how good and evil are the same. This concept can be taken differently through that either this is not a correct statement because people can be considered only good or evil, or that people agree with this concept because it depends on a person's perception. This picture is reflected on my perception of this quote that i agree that good and evil are the same thing. This picture can help me show my agreement because in this picture, the guardian angel is holding a dagger. Though someone may see the dagger and believe that this person's guardian angel is protecting him with a dagger. Another person might see this picture and see the act of murder, which is evil.
With this picture as well, I thought this would also be a good example on how, "Good and Evil are the same," (fr.57). This picture is a connection picture that I have drawn from the book, "The Odyssey." In the book, the main character Odysseus decides to tie himself to the boat and hear the sirens sings their music so he can hear there beautiful singing while the rest of his shipmates covered there ears with wax. From afar, the siren are beautiful and seem good because they are attracting you with their music. However, they quickly turn bad as they turn into monsters and kill you as soon as you abandon your ship. This is another good example of, "good and evil are the same," because the good and evil are depending on the person and how they perceive the moment.
This picture is a representation through the fragment from Heraclitus, "Lightning rules all." (fr. 28). Due to Heraclitus being a firm believer that fire is the most important element, we can see how lightning is known to be a strong and powerful force. Heraclitus thinks of lightning as an everlasting fire, also showing how everything is constant. I chose this picture because Heraclitus was a believer of Zeus, the God of the sky, and more importantly, controlled lightning and where it was going to strike. Zeus, the most powerful god, controlled the most powerful force, lightning, which is another reason why Heraclitus believed that lightning rules all.
This picture represents the fragment, "Learning many things does not teach understanding. Else it would have taught Hesiod and Pythagoras, as well as Xenophanes and Hecataeus." (fr. 13). This fragment is important because it shows how Heraclitus ties in the theme of "knowledge," into his fragments, where he thinks it is important to learn, rather than the other philosophers who he has mentioned in his fragment because they believed that learning was pointless. The reason why I chose this picture for this fragment was of course because this is a picture of Adam and Eve. In this picture, they are picking from the tree of knowledge, in which from the story genesis, where God had them pick between the tree of knowledge or the tree of immortality, and they believed that knowledge was more important. That's why I choose this picture because like Adam and Eve, Heraclitus believed that knowledge is everything.
Heraclitus shows the theme of nature again and again in his fragments. Heraclitus thinks of nature as mysterious, and a force that people cannot fully understand, especially because nature is all one big act of action. I choose this picture because it shows how I believe Heraclitus would interpret nature, as one entire entity. Nature is something that happens because of action, and comes in many different forms like through creation or human nature. One fragment that stands out when talking about nature is, "Nature loves to conceal herself." (Fr.10). This quote is meant to explain how nature does not like to reveal herself in her work, because we as humans are unsure about who nature is, which is why it is hard to pray to nature.
As we have seen earlier, Heraclitus loves the idea of fire, and it is hard to sum up all of his ideas with fire into one slide. So for that reason, I will state another use of his idea of fire through the fragment, "Fire coming upon all things, will sift and seize them." I did not realize how true this quote was until I saw Professor Lemieur light a candle and explain how the wick is not being destroyed, but being created into something else. Just like how other things are created in this world like how fire applied to ice makes water, or how fire being applied to metals, or gold can make jewelry. I chose this picture because I thought that this is what we first think when fire is causing a negative affect to the people around it, like the burning of a forest in this picture. This quote shows true how fire can shift and seize objects and morph them into something different, like ashes.
Heraclitus' views on the sun were very interesting as he did use the sun as a reference more than once in his fragments. One of the fragments that stood out to me was, "If there were no sun, it would be night."(fr. 31). This quote describes the fact that it is true that with no sun, then it would be dark. Also in this quote, Heraclitus makes a connection how the sun as senses in the quote as well, for where if man did not have the right mind or reason, than he would be no different than a beast. I found this subject to be interesting, and found that I could make a connection with this notion as well to the book, "The Epics of Gilgamesh." This was connectable through the character Enkidu and how when the gods have created him, he acted like a beast/animal, even though he was born as a human. People say he acted this way because he had no sense of knowledge, which can also be related back to the Garden of Eden and how they had to choose between knowledge and immortality.
The last fragment/theme that I would like to discuss is how Heraclitus discusses war, and his views on it. Heraclitus' views on war can be answered through this quote in his fragment, "War is the father and king of all, and has produced some as gods and some as men, and has made some slaves and some free." As we can see, Heraclitus supports the idea of war because he believe that war will solve debates. Heraclitus believes that if there was no war, then humans would never be able to have change. I choose this picture to help describe war and to show how Heraclitus thinks that change will never come without this present of war to help change it ourselves.
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