Episode 12 – Greek Wisdom with Heraclitus

“The only constant in life is change”

What does a Greek philosopher, a Renaissance Physicist and a 19th Century German philosopher have in common?  You’re about to find out in today’s Micro-sode.

The Legacy and Wisdom of Heraclitus (and friends)

Heraclitus draws together many of the principles I discuss here on We RAD DADS. I had always heard the above mentioned quote but didn’t know where it’s origin truly was. Come to find out, It was from a Greek philosopher I had not heard of named Heraclitus.

“The Riddler”

The more I dug into Heraclitus and his work, the more interested I became. I was shocked to learn that he was much more than a one hit wonder (with regard to quotes). Heraclitus, was known for shrouding his theories in obscurity. Due to this he was known as “The riddler”, “The dark” or “The obscure”.  This was an intentional choice because Heraclitus wanted people to put in the work in order to get any benefit. He understood the proposition of value in that; anything worth having is worth working for.  I completely agree with that notion, I hope you do as well.

Heraclitus saw that most people are just “ignorant conformists”. Going along with the crowd in order to not stick out It’s much easier to just follow along with the crowd, much like a flock of sheep.

“War is the father of all”

The Flux Doctrine:

The flux doctrine consists of three parts. The first of which is: “Everything is in flux”. Heraclitus reasoned (accurately) that everything is constantly changing. And even the most resilient object is being changed from one moment to the next.

Second to this doctrine is: “A man’s soul is fire- hot and dry”. I know we have all experienced this. When you are consumed by a passion whatever it may be you literally feel hot from within. When you are in the zone one can say that you are “on fire”. I’m sure you see what I’m getting at here.

Conversely, Heraclitus reasoned that: “A wet soul is worst”. Comparing a wet soul to a drunken man who stumbles about. This is an interesting theory and a concept that I think I must mention at this point. The topic of alcohol consumption as a coping mechanism often comes up when talking to guests. Please ensure that you utilize due judgement when consuming anything during times of severe emotional stress.

Third and finally Heraclitus reasoned that “war is the father of all”. The context of “war” is that of two opposing forces or ideas. This idea is further developed by Renaissance physicist Sir Issac Newton’s 3rd law: “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

Heraclitus utilized a strung bow to illustrate this point. The string and the bow are only useful together. When assembled, they appear at rest and stationary however we know the forces and resistance are present. These forces are not visible however they produce a yin-yang effect, where one relies upon the other in order to be complete.

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche recognized the importance of Heraclitus’ reasoning. The German philosopher understood that a great individual is constantly in conflict between the “good” and “bad” attributes within. He went on to reason that peace is only developed by the balancing of these forces NOT the removal of the “bad”.

We got a little deep this week and I hope I haven’t lost you. I wanted to bend your mind a little and keep you sharp. Sometimes it pays dividends to pontificate life’s great questions.

Please let me know how you feel about this episode. Was it too deep or confusing? or do you like a challenge. If I were a betting man, I’d say the latter.

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Keep fighting the good fight.

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