By Ryan Smith
In this article, I am going to continue our tour of themes in the thought of Heraclitus. As I mentioned in the prior installment, many of Heraclitus’ themes cannot be analyzed dispassionately, but must be entered into with all one’s being. To really understand Heraclitus, one must allow him to alter one’s consciousness, as it were. As such, Constantine Vamvacas said it best when he said that Heraclitus’ “meanings are not crystallized but inhere in integral images and visions, grasped as an indissoluble whole.” It is not possible to critically analyze each theme, rejecting some and accepting others, and each theme can easily have more than one meaning. To understand Heraclitus, one must attune one’s mind to all the themes, experiencing them directly as faint refrains that recur gently in the deafening chaos of the torrential whole. That is to say, the map is not the territory and the themes are not the points themselves. They are entry-points and supports for entering into the fullness of the Heraclitean vision with one’s own being, and not textbook ideas to be approached with a critical stance.
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