Heraclitus is a Greek philosopher, known as the “weeping philosopher” because of his contempt for the human race.
Childhood and youth
Little is known about the birth and early years of Heraclitus. It is only known that he was born into an aristocratic family in Ephesus. His father’s name was either Bloson or Gerakon.
In childhood, Heraclitus played dibs with other children in the castle, and considered the possibility of occupying the throne a heavy burden. Subsequently, he refused the throne in favor of his brother. All information about the life of Heraclitus is known due to Diogenes Laertius, who was a biographer of many Greek philosophers. Diogenes wrote that Heraclitus was a listener of Xenophanes’ school, although Heraclitus himself claimed that he was self-taught.
Thanks to the study of his works, it is believed that Heraclitus lived and worked at the end of the 6th century BC. e. Heraclitus strongly criticized Homer, Hesiod, Pythagoras and Xenophanes, who lived in the 6th century BC. e. or earlier, which led to the conclusion that he lived later – at the end of the 6th century BC. e.
Heraclitus, from childhood, did not like humanity, considering most people to be narrow-minded and uneducated. It is believed that he did not participate in the philosophical collections and abandoned the traditions, in exchange, offering views on certain issues.
He was dominated by extremist views, which he expressed in ambiguous phrases. His works are considered riddles, because there are a lot of their interpretations.
There are no collections of his creations, but there are only scraps of work and individual proposals quoted by other people.
Heraclitus had an unconventional view of the concept of the word wisdom, and filled his works with a large number of complexities and riddles containing hidden hints. A more complete understanding of his work depended on the readers’ ability to understand what he had written. He used a unique approach to his teaching – the situation-examples were full of simple objects such as rivers, boats, roads, etc., so that his readers could think and come... to their own conclusions.
Heraclitus made a very great contribution to the development of the “logos” concept. The word “logos” itself has many meanings, and in philosophy it is a term for the principles of order and knowledge.
He believed in the world current and for him it meant that everything in the world is constantly changing and has its opposites. The following aphorism serves this example: “The road ahead and the road back is the same road.”
Heraclitus considered fire to be the most basic element, believing that all the other elements came from fire and that’s why fire gave rise to everything else. He also believed that the human soul consists of water and fire, where fire is a noble part, and water is ignoble.
Some scientists believe that he was a naturalist, while others believe that he was a philosopher dealing with issues of human nature.
Hercules himself believed that nature and human nature are tightly connected. And he could even be considered a humanist, if not for his deep disgust for people.
Heraclitus was a loner, so he did not have any students. Nevertheless, many of his works influenced the philosophers of his time, as well as some modern ones, for example, Plato and Hegel.
Stoics – people who understand philosophy as a way of life, many of their basic principles were taken from the teachings of Heraclitus, especially his attitude to fire.
Heraclitus wrote a treatise on “Nature”, which was divided into three parts – about nature, about politics and about the universe. The book of the treatise was kept in the castle of Artemia – the library of ancient times. The book became very popular and many future philosophers referred to it in their works.
Personal life and heritage
Heraclitus was a loner and had no disciples. He suffered from bouts of melancholy. In the last years of his life he suffered from dropsy. Desperate because of the doctors’ inability to find a cure for him, he tried to treat himself with cow dung, which subsequently died.
Heraclitus had the nickname “Dark.”