Friday, June 8, 2007

Atlantis Design Diary: Heraclitus

It is time for Heraclitus. As a native a Ephesus, Heraclitus was a nobleman at birth. Heraclitus taught that everything has an opposite. Life and Death, Sin and Happiness, Success and Failure. These all existed in the world as opposites, according to Heraclitus. He also saw the great majority of human beings as lacking true understanding.

Some Teachings:
  • “All things come into being through opposition, and are in flux like a river.” -- Heraclitus. Like Xenophanes, Heraclitus rejected the anthropomorphism of popular religion, but what is peculiar to Heraclitus is the sheer sweep of his vision of the world-order as a dynamic equilibrium of opposite movements.
  • The life of the world-order lies in continual change.
  • The tension of opposing forces which Anaximander calls “injustice” are part of the cosmic process itself; without them there would be no alteration of summer and winter. These “injustices” which the opposites commit against each other are as essential to the well-being of the whole as the reparation which they make to one another. In the eyes of the gods, therefore, they are not injustices at all, for their occurrence is necessary to the functioning of the cosmos.
  • The modern humanist might take issue with Heraclitus’ sanctification of war, but it must be acknowledged that, since he turned his attention beyond explanations of natural phenomena — beyond physics — Heraclitus was in a sense the founder of Greek metaphysics, even though his successor, Parmenides, is almost universally regarded as the founder of this branch of philosophy.

Commentary: Heraclitus was correct to say that we live in a world of opposite forces. Lehi revealed this fact in the Book of Mormon, in second Nephi:

For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my first-born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.

Wherefore, it must needs have been created for a thing of naught; wherefore there would have been no purpose in the end of its creation. Wherefore, this thing must needs destroy the wisdom of God and his eternal purposes, and also the power, and the mercy, and the justice of God.
2nd Nephi 2:11-12.

However, Heraclitus was only half-right in saying that every man shared the same soul. It is true that we do, however, as much as we are connected, everyone has a separate and distinct personality. And as much as we are separate from each other, we are all connected. I'm you and you're me; yet I have a different personality from you so that you can gain perspective on your own life.

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