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Heraclitus

Birthdate: 535 BC
Other names: Heraklit von Ephesos

Heraclitus of Ephesus was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher, and a native of the city of Ephesus, then part of the Persian Empire. He was of distinguished parentage. Little is known about his early life and education, but he regarded himself as self-taught and a pioneer of wisdom. From the lonely life he led, and still more from the apparently riddled and allegedly paradoxical nature of his philosophy and his stress upon the heedless unconsciousness of humankind, he was called "The Obscure" and the "Weeping Philosopher".

Heraclitus was famous for his insistence on ever-present change as being the fundamental essence of the universe, as stated in the famous saying, "No man ever steps in the same river twice" . This is commonly considered to be one of the first digressions into the philosophical concept of becoming, and has been contrasted with Parmenides statement that "what-is is" as one of the first digressions into the philosophical concept of being. As such, Parmenides and Heraclitus are commonly considered to be two of the founders of ontology. Scholars have generally believed that either Parmenides was responding to Heraclitus, or Heraclitus to Parmenides, though opinion on who was responding to whom changed over the course of the 20th century. Heraclitus' position was complemented by his stark commitment to a unity of opposites in the world, stating that "the path up and down are one and the same". Through these doctrines Heraclitus characterized all existing entities by pairs of contrary properties, whereby no entity may ever occupy a single state at a single time. This, along with his cryptic utterance that "all entities come to be in accordance with this Logos" has been the subject of numerous interpretations.

„The waking have one world in common; sleepers have each a private world of his own.“

—  Heraclitus

Fragment 89
Plutarch, Of Superstition
Numbered fragments
Original: (el) τοῖς ἐγρηγορόσιν ἕνα καὶ κοινὸν κόσμον εἶναι, τῶν δὲ κοιμωμένων ἕκαστον εἰς ἴδιον ἀποστρέφεσθαι

„The wise is one only. It is unwilling and willing to be called by the name of Zeus.“

—  Heraclitus

Fragment 32
Numbered fragments
Original: (el) ἓν τὸ σοφὸν μοῦνον λέγεσθαι οὐκ ἐθέλει καὶ ἐθέλει Ζηνὸς ὄνομα

„You cannot step twice into the same rivers.“

—  Heraclitus

ποταμῷ γὰρ οὐκ ἔστιν ἐμβῆναι δὶς τῷ αὐτῷ
Fragment 91
Plutarch, On the EI at Delphi
Numbered fragments
Original: (el) δὶς ἐς τὸν αὐτὸν ποταμὸν οὐκ ἂν ἐμβαίης.
Variant: You cannot step twice into the same rivers.

„For what sense or understanding have they? They follow minstrels and take the multitude for a teacher, not knowing that many are bad and few good. For the best men choose one thing above all – immortal glory among mortals; but the masses stuff themselves like cattle.“

—  Heraclitus

G.T.W. Patrick, 1889 http://www.classicpersuasion.org/pw/heraclitus/herpatu.htm
Original: (el) Τίς γὰρ αὐτῶν νόος ἢ φρήν; δήμων ἀοιδοῖσι ἕπονται καὶ διδασκάλῳ χρέωνται ὁμίλῳ, οὐκ εἰδότες ὅτι πολλοὶ κακοὶ ὀλίγοι δὲ ἀγαθοί. αἱρεῦνται γὰρ ἓν ἀντία πάντων οἱ ἄριστοι, κλέος ἀέναον θνητῶν, οἱ δὲ πολλοὶ κεκόρηνται ὅκωσπερ κτήνεα.
Variant: For what sense or understanding have they? They follow minstrels and take the multitude for a teacher, not knowing that many are bad and few good. For the best men choose one thing above all – immortal glory among mortals; but the masses stuff themselves like cattle.

„War is the father and king of all: some he has made gods, and some men; some slaves and some free.“

—  Heraclitus

Original: (el) Πόλεμος πάντων μὲν πατήρ ἐστι πάντων δὲ βασιλεύς, καὶ τοὺς μὲν θεοὺς ἔδειξε τοὺς δὲ ἀνθρώπους, τοὺς μὲν δούλους ἐποίησε τοὺς δὲ ἐλευθέρους.

„Character is destiny.“

—  Heraclitus

Fragment 119
Variant translations:
Character is fate.
Man's character is his fate.
A man's character is his fate.
A man's character is his guardian divinity.
One's bearing shapes one's fate.
Numbered fragments
Original: (el) ἦθος ἀνθρώπῳ δαίμων

„Ever-newer waters flow on those who step into the same rivers.“

—  Heraclitus

Fragment 12
Numbered fragments
Original: (el) ποταμοῖσι τοῖσιν αὐτοῖσιν ἐμϐαίνουσιν, ἕτερα καὶ ἕτερα ὕδατα ἐπιρρεῖ.

„The road up and the road down is one and the same.“

—  Heraclitus

Fragment 60
Variant translations:
The road up and the road down are one and the same.
The road uphill and the road downhill are one and the same.
The way up and the way down are one and the same.
Numbered fragments
Original: (el) ὁδὸς ἄνω κάτω μία καὶ ὡυτή

„All entities move and nothing remains still.“

—  Heraclitus

As quoted by Plato in Cratylus, 401d
Original: (el) τὰ ὄντα ἰέναι τε πάντα καὶ μένειν οὐδέν

„The majority of people have no understanding of the things with which they daily meet, nor, when instructed, do they have any right knowledge of them, although to themselves they seem to have.“

—  Heraclitus

Fragment 5, as translated by G. W. T. Patrick
Numbered fragments
Original: (el) οὐ γὰρ φρονέουσι τοιαῦτα [οἱ] πολλοί, ὁκόσοι ἐγκυρεῦσιν, οὐδὲ μαθόντες γινώσκουσιν, ἑωυτοῖσι δὲ δοκέουσι.
Source: Clement, Stromates, II, 8, 1

„It is better to conceal ignorance than to expose it.“

—  Heraclitus

Fragment 109
Variant translation: Hide our ignorance as we will, an evening of wine soon reveals it.
Numbered fragments
Original: (el) ἀμαθίην κρύπτειν ἄμεινον

„He who does not expect will not find out the unexpected, for it is trackless and unexplored.“

—  Heraclitus

Fragment 18, as quoted in The Art and Thought of Heraclitus: An Edition of the Fragments (1981) edited by Charles H. Kahn, p. 105
Variants:
He who does not expect the unexpected will not find it out.
The Art and Thought of Heraclitus: An Edition of the Fragments (1981) edited by Charles H. Kahn, p. 129
He who does not expect the unexpected will not find it, since it is trackless and unexplored.
As quoted in Helen by Euripides, edited by William Allan (2008), p. 278
Unless you expect the unexpected, you will not find it, for it is hidden and thickly tangled.
Rendering ἐὰν μή "unless" is more English-friendly without being inaccurate. As for the last clause, the point is that you can neither find it nor navigate your way through it. The alpha-privatives suggest using similar metaphoric adjectives to keep the Greek 'feel.' (S. N. Jenks, 2014)
Numbered fragments
Original: (el) ἐὰν μὴ ἔλπηται ἀνέλπιστον, οὐκ ἐξευρήσει

„It would not be better if things happened to people just as they wish.“

—  Heraclitus

Fragment 110
Variant translation: It would not be better if things happened to men just as they wish.
Numbered fragments
Original: (el) ἀνθρώποις γίνεσθαι ὁκόσα θέλουσιν οὐκ ἄμεινον

„Couples are wholes and not wholes, what agrees disagrees, the concordant is discordant. From all things one and from one all things.“

—  Heraclitus

Fragment 10
Variant translation: From out of all the many particulars comes oneness, and out of oneness come all the many particulars.
Numbered fragments
Original: (el) συνάψιες ὅλα καὶ οὐχ ὅλα, συμφερόμενον διαφερόμενον, συνᾷδον διᾷδον, καὶ ἐκ πάντων ἓν καὶ ἐξ ἑνὸς πάντα.

„And it is the same thing in us that is quick and dead, awake and asleep, young and old.“

—  Heraclitus

Fragment 88
Numbered fragments
Original: (el) ταὐτό τ' ἔνι ζῶν καὶ τεθνηκὸς καὶ [τὸ] ἐγρηγορὸς καὶ καθεῦδον καὶ νέον καὶ γηραιόν

„Everything changes and nothing stands still.“

—  Heraclitus

As quoted by Plato in Cratylus, 402a
Variants and variant translations:
Everything flows and nothing stays.
Everything flows and nothing abides.
Everything gives way and nothing stays fixed.
Everything flows; nothing remains.
All is flux, nothing is stationary.
All is flux, nothing stays still.
All flows, nothing stays.
Πάντα ῥεῖ
Everything flows.
This statement occurs in Simplicius' Commentary on Aristotle's Physics, 1313.11; while some sources attribute to Simplicius the coining of the specific phrase "πάντα ῥεῖ (panta rhei)", meaning "everything flows/is in a state of flux", to characterize the concept in the philosophy of Heraclitus, the essential phrasing "everything changes" and variations on it, in contexts where Heraclitus's thought is being alluded to, was current in both Plato and Aristotle's writings.
Original: (el) πάντα χωρεῖ καὶ οὐδὲν μένει

„This universe, which is the same for all, has not been made by any god or man, but it always has been, is, and will be an ever-living fire, kindling itself by regular measures and going out by regular measures.“

—  Heraclitus

Fragment 30
Variant translations:
The world, an entity out of everything, was created by neither gods nor men, but was, is and will be eternally living fire, regularly becoming ignited and regularly becoming extinguished.
This world . . . ever was, and is, and shall be, ever-living Fire, in measures being kindled and in measure going out.
That which always was,
and is, and will be everlasting fire,
the same for all, the cosmos,
made neither by god nor man,
replenishes in measure
as it burns away.
Translated by Brooks Haxton
Numbered fragments
Original: (el) κόσμον τόνδε, τὸν αὐτὸν ἁπάντων, οὔτε τις θεῶν οὐτε ἀνθρώπων ἐποίησεν, ἀλλ' ἦν ἀεὶ καὶ ἔστιν καὶ ἔσται πῦρ ἀείζωον, ἁπτόμενον μέτρα καὶ ἀποσβεννύμενον μέτρα

„Man, like a light in the night, is kindled and put out.“

—  Heraclitus

Fragment 26
Numbered fragments
Original: (el) ἄνθρωπος ἐν εὐφρόνῃ φάος ἅπτεται ἑαυτῷ [ἀποθανὼν] ἀποσβεσθεὶς

„Dogs, also, bark at what they do not know.“

—  Heraclitus

Fragment 97
Numbered fragments
Original: (el) κύνες γὰρ καὶ βαΰζουσινὃν, ἂν μὴ γινώσκωσι.

„The people must fight for its law as for its walls.“

—  Heraclitus

Fragment 44
Numbered fragments
Original: (el) μάχεσθαι χρὴ τὸν δῆμον ὑπὲρ τοῦ νόμου ὅκωσπερ τείχεος

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