Heraclitus, The Self-Realized One

Hugo La Rosa By Hugo La Rosa, 26th Apr 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Philosophy>Philosophers

Heraclitus was a holy man who knew about meditation, and taught it to others.

Heraclitus, The Self-Realized One

There is in Heraclitus the ontological strife between ignorance and wisdom. Wisdom for Heraclitus is fire itself, of which Reason is the ultimate achievement of wisdom. Wisdom for him was personified by Zeus, whom he thought wisdom and Zeus were the same. As we know, ancient cultures were inclined to give abstract ideas a personification, be it as a God or a mighty hero. This hero would be the incarnation of the chosen power or virtue, such as love, peace, war, etc.

Heraclitus of Ephesus, son of Blossom, was a native of Ephesus and flourished in the sixty ninth Olympiad (504-500 B.C.)

Heraclitus thought there were people destined to develop and blossom spiritually, physically, and intellectually, and that there were others, less fortunate, that in order to develop might need the forces of nature in the form of opposition. Hence, the intellectuals and those given to philosophy, besides having a “concord” with nature, had the felicitous help of the gods and goddesses who promoted wars and strife among men. These wars and strives put most men in a condition of progress, because they brought unexpected change. Change, for Heraclitus was the main reason of progress.

Heraclitus thought that Hesiod and Pythagoras, Xenophanes and Hectaeus were wrong in believing that wisdom came though book learning only, for if that were so, it would have taught them much wisdom and in reality they were only partially successful and much more theorists than anything else. In this manner, Heraclitus wanted to establish clearly that book learning was and is only a fraction of the educational process, that besides book learning, the individual who sought wisdom had to acquire it by experience and much, much practice, as well as by elaboration, intuition, and discovery.

On the other hand, Heraclitus thought that men could acquire Wisdom by getting to know themselves, and that there was a core in man which he named Soul that was at one with the “All.” Heraclitus asserted that: “You could not discover the limits of the Soul, even if you traveled by every path in order to do so; such is the depth of its meaning.”

Heraclitus said :”Unless you expect the unexpected you will never find (truth), for it is hard to discover and hard to attain”, page 70 of The Pre- Socratics, by Philip Wheelwright. This is in accordance with his assertions on the truth of opposites, because he believed that in the interaction of opposites is where life took place.

As we recall, most major religions in the world had opposition as one of its most signifying principles. The ancient Hebrews, as well as Buddhism, and Hinduism theological basis are permeated by the idea that in order to establish progress in the human psyche the individual has to undergo adversity in order for him to value peace and happiness. It is as if God would want his children to know firsthand the laws and principles that entail to have a physical life. It has been said, that as long as the individual would remain on earth as a living entity, he would have to learn the wisdom of the “all” by experiencing what was contrary to his comfort. It is, as if were that, having a life of ease and prosperity would not teach anybody how to get a knowledge of joy and peace, because the backdrop of the opposing hardship would be missing and therefore the main ingredient for development will be lacking.

Heraclitus might had added that God may have had as his most cherished spiritual goal, to write His laws and principles in a tablet of flesh, which would be the heart of his earthly children, as promised to the Israelites when the Mosaic Law became fulfilled in Christ.
Christ as we know Him would seek to atone every illness, suffering or hardship in Himself in such a way that those who may repent on their crooked living could obtain eternal life, that is a life fully knowledgeable of every good thing that God may grant him. It would be possible, through Christ, because he would had taken in Him the bitterness and destroying principles of a sinful life, as long as the repentant soul would experience a spiritual change in the inner chambers of his heart.

In harmony with the aforementioned thoughts, Heraclitus promulgated that from the strife between reason in men and the “All” which he considered God, the Soul came to be, and that all things, including humans, became fire sometimes. This gave him the idea that all things are cyclical in nature. This is the crux of this philosophical system for Heraclitus said, “You cannot step twice into the same river, for other waters and yet others go ever flowing on.” (Page 71).

Heraclitus said that Homer, the great writer author of “The Iliad, “was wrong in saying: “Would that strife might perish from amongst gods and men.” Heraclitus thought on the other hand that if that were to occur, then all things would cease to exist.” (Page 71). These opposing views, are quite in tune with what is happening in our day, where we now have activists of all kinds against and in pro of aggression to others in order to establish their own beliefs, and make good of their personal political opinions and private ideas.

“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.” (Page 71) It is quite clear that Heraclitus had in view the movements of the planets and the changes in the weather to formulate such an advance idea. It comes to mind the measures and cyclical motions of the stars and planets, the chemical functions of all things existent. Heraclitus was really a man of the future.
I believe that Heraclitus borrowed most of his advanced ideas of philosophy and the arts from the cultures well widespread around Greece, such as India, China, and the Middle East. In the previous paragraph, Heraclitus explains about the Soul, which a Christian might call the Spirit, or a Hindu, the “jiva.” Buddhism also elaborates, as well as Christians and Hindus, that the human Spirit is part and parcel of a Universal Soul, which Heraclitus called many a time the “All”.

Obviously, Heraclitus had knowledge of many of the spiritual philosophies of the East, for he consented in the existence of god as possessing universal qualities. In this sense, man, by getting to know his own soul could discover the meaning of all things.

Furthermore, he thought that this “All” was an impartial spiritual force because its main venue was to promote men upwards in the ladder of progress through adversity, by opposition. As such, war became nature’s –and human kind’s– device to establish what he called the “upward way and the ultimate indifference of the ever flowing universe to all human values of any and every kind.” (Page 68)

All in all, I gather that Heraclitus was trying to establish a balance between the internal and external forces in man, because he thought that the self-assurance and self-reliance of man should be tempered and kept in check with “the wisdom of self-transcendence” (Page 67).

I can see Heraclitus was looking for a political formula that would allow uncouth and rude men, as well as the rich and well-educated men, to rely on laws and principles. For Heraclitus, these laws and principles had a strong foundation not only in the order established by God through his creations and spiritual gifts and virtues, but by the internal laws by which a human being would feel in his heart that there was power in the wisdom of his own soul.


Body, Christ, Heart, Heraclitus, Intelligence, Love, Meditation, Mind Spirit, Self-Realization, The Self

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author avatar Hugo La Rosa
I am a US citizen living in New York who likes to write short stories and poems. I was born in Peru.

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