Alles stroomt
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Alles stroomt

4.21 of 5 stars 4.21  ·  rating details  ·  2,157 ratings  ·  61 reviews
In the sixth century b.c.-twenty-five hundred years before Einstein-Heraclitus of Ephesus declared that energy is the essence of matter, that everything becomes energy in flux, in relativity. His great book, On Nature, the world's first coherent philosophical treatise and touchstone for Plato, Aristotle, and Marcus Aurelius, has long been lost to history-but its surviving...more
Hardcover, 197 pages
Published August 23rd 2011 by Athenaeum - Polak & Van Gennep (first published January 1st 1969)
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Ken Baumann
Read this while driving through Big Sur—appropriate setting for a book as prescient and brilliant and elemental as this. I was marking it up, dotting each aphorism that I felt stunned by, which is ridiculous, because I should've just dotted the aphorisms that WEREN'T beautiful. Could've saved some ink. The philosophy and poetry are so charred together in this text, it's little wonder that it's lasted for thousands of years.
Jul 02, 2011 Wayne rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoys thinking about it all
Recommended to Wayne by: a gift from Alfonso


Never twice,
so hardly thrice,
will you step
into the cooling waters
and find the stream
the same.

Pass on
with gladness,
not looking back
expecting permanence.
immerse yourself
in the ever-flux.
when you must,
with the tide.
Do not fight
what you cannot change-
the Changeless Everchanging.

9th March,1985.

The mightiest rock is withering away;
A tiny mound growing to a famous hill.
Becoming and becoming shapes the world.
Becoming and becoming...more
Heraclitus' FRAGMENTS come here in the original with a facing-page translation by Brooks Haxton that tries to do to the pre-Socratic philosopher what no earlier translator has done, make him a New-Ageish wisdom poet in tune with our modern needs. It is a disastrous experiment, and I cannot recommend it either to students of Greek or readers interested in the pre-Socratics.

The problems here are legion. For one, Haxton doesn't use Diels' numbering scheme, favouring Bywater's dinosaur-era numbers,...more
Joshua Nomen-Mutatio

"Even sleepers are workers and collaborators on what goes on in the universe."

"Opposition brings concord. Out of discord comes the fairest harmony."

And a real personal favorite:

"We are most nearly ourselves when we achieve the seriousness of the child at play."

"Unlike most other early philosophers, Heraclitus is usually seen as independent of the several schools and movements later students (somewhat anachronistically) assigned to the ancients, and he himself implies that he is self-taught (B101...more
Ty Melgren
Guillermo wrote this guy's name on our pizza box and said I had to read his book. I guess some people think the beginning of the gospel of John is based on the first few of these fragments, which could be true, whatever, but John's version seems a little stranger and more beautiful and more coherent to me. Think I found some Silver Jews lyrics in here though.
such clear thinking from such an ancient time makes me wonder why basic political structures didn't develop along more reasonable lines much much earlier than they did.
Interesting, but not enlightening. Good points about change, skepticism, open-mindedness, rising above petty worldliness and not being too deferential to authority are embedded in this book.

However, I feel these points are only to be found there because the reader is forced to find some content to justify the worth of these fragments.

Many of these ideas will already be known or familiar in more developed forms to any reasonably versed reader of those philosophers and writers who followed Heracl...more
C'est un bon livre et très utile. Chaque fragment est précédé par le nom de l'auteur auquel nos devons la survie du texte, et l'oeuvre dans lequel il a été cité, ce qui fournit plus de sens des plus fragmentaire et montre les interprétations d'Héraclite en l'antiquité. Les explications — si je suis en accord avec elles ou non — précisent le texte et parfois révèlent les menus détails dont je serais autrement ignorant. L'éditeur traverse les fragments phrase par phrase, clausule par clausule, sou...more
Tim Megna

This happens to be my favorite philosophical text of all time

Heraclitus manages to create intuitive analogues for thermodynamics, even quantum mechanics, before these concepts had even been truly discovered by mankind. Reading passages from this can be soothing and engaging at the same time as the axiomatic statements contain within them entire thoughts of higher complexity that the reader can choose to follow or let pass in favor of a rhythmic, poetic read.
Very mysterious. Hard to pin him down on any given system; he gives hints of pantheism, which he contradicts with a kind of proto-Platonic-Christianity (all the Logos stuff and Wisdom stuff), which he contradicts with explicit references to pagan gods, which he contradicts with explicit mockeries of pagan religion (animal sacrifices).

But the mystery is what is so appealing about him; what makes you keep turning pages.
Heraclitus ("the glory of Hera"), contemporary of Buddha, Lao Tzu and Confucius, was one of the first philosophers of Ancient Greece. He was the one who said "one can't step into the same river twice". These fragments, mostly in Greek but a few times in Latin (which are printed on the left-side page alongside the English of the right-side page), once were parts of a very often quoted book "On Nature", which since has gone missing. But just from the few bits that are here can be gained very deep...more
The best amongst the greek era. A father figure for existentialism for sure. Intelligently written and can only be intelligently understood. A strong

recommendation for those who believe that philosophy was only from Socrates to aristotle and nothing more.

The first thinker to use intuition.

The translations are not literal, and barely Heraclitus, ["Χρησμοσύνη...κόρος." (literally: "Need/want/poverty...satiety/one's fill") perplexingly becomes "Hunger, even/in the elements,/and insolence." (pp.16-17)] but not unpleasant to read, although totally absurd (Haxton's intro seems to imply that he himself doesn't know Greek very well or at all, but to be fair there's a caveat hidden away in his translation note about this). The intro essay by James Hillman is really the only offensive piec...more
Charles a sunken ship. A meditation, a Rorschach. A work that makes it clear how much on brings of oneself to a book. The fifth star's absence is a fault of history, not of Heraclitus himself.
El Zuco
more PRE-SOCRATICS, please! Pass the PRE-SOCRATICS!
Heraclitus is a great start if you want to get into Greek philosophy. Being pre-socratic and a monist, he will introduce you to the world of philosophy before Socrates and Plato.
Sadly you won't get a good idea of Heraclitus' work with this translation by Brooks Haxton. He pushes the literal translation out the window and makes up whatever he wants as he goes. I have no idea how this man managed to get his translation published by Penguin, but if you want to actually read Heraclitus in English,...more
Quand je pense à Héraclite d'Ephèse, il me vient immédiatement à l'esprit l'image d'un homme profondément malheureux, qui pleure du spectacle de la folie des hommes. Tout l'inverse de la folie d'un Démocrite d'Abdère, véritable misanthrope, riant de la même cause. Philosophe du tout début du cinquième siècle avant notre ère, Héraclite serait l'auteur d'un ouvrage hélas aujourd'hui perdu, mais qui fut assez célèbre pour être cité en continu depuis Platon et Aristote, jusqu'aux auteurs patristique...more
The penguin classics edition of this book is kind of silly. Sure it gives the fragments a poetic flow, but i have read other translations that are more literal and take less liberties in augumenting heraclitus' thoughts. Plus, the introduction was also silly, because it attempts to fit this pre-socratic into a postmodernist box. Heraclitus would probably not have been a deconstructionist. He wept because he could see the deconstructionists coming
Bob Nichols
I have seen many references to Heraclitus whose worldview was focused on change, motion, lack of permanence, etc. This was a quick read because, as the title said, it's a collection of "fragments," largely aphoristic statements that hint at a worldview premised on change, but perhaps not. Despite its reputation, it's not so easy to say that this collection of miscellaneous thoughts, collectively, amounts to a sophisticated worldview. It may, but I am not sure that there's enough here to make thi...more
Jay Eckard
I can very highly recommend this as a introduction to the extant fragments of the pre-Socratic philsopher, Heraclitus. Sweet is scrupulous with his translation, providing a sound reasoning for the choices he makes. When the text is ambiguous (as it sometimes is), he has no problem admitting it. After the translations, he also provides brief but well-produced discussions about the themes Heraclitus writes about.

It is an excellent springboard for further discussions about the author as well; I pi...more
One if the fundamental books for philosophy. Worth reading and studying from it.
"From the strains of binding opposites comes harmony." (46/31)

"Hungry livestock, though in sight of pasture, need the prod." (55/35)

"Without injustices, the name of justice would mean what?" (60/39)

"Gods live past our meager death. We die past their ceaseless living." (67/43)

"Even a soul submerged in sleep is hard at work, and helps make something of the world." (90/57)

"To a god the wisdom of the wisest man sounds apish. Beauty in a human face looks apish too. In everything we have achieved the...more
Sogno ancora e sempre che un giorno si rinvenga clamorosamente una copia intatta del Libro di Eraclito, e magari si scoprà così che in realtà era ed è completamente diverso da quello che, per decenni scolastici e non, ci è stato propinato (in buona fede, per carità) da legioni di filologi e (soprattutto) filosofi che han saputo estrarre chissà quali (loro) verità da quei pochi frammenti che del logos di Eraclito ci son pervenuti...
Jan 16, 2014 Will rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: philosophers, taoists.
Shelves: philosphy
His thoughts deserve far more attention than are often accorded him. This edition (downloadable for free!) is accompanied by the original Greek, and brief commentary. While on a few the commentary is lacking very slightly, it's overall an excellent effort. Of interest to philosophers and students of eastern philosophy. This is thought at or near the missing link of our world's two great traditions.
I haven't read this book, but I've read the fragments, which are available online. Heraclitus and Parmenides established the poles of western philosophy--Heraclitus invented the word "philosophy," according to George Steiner, and that's not speaking figuratively. One represents a changing world, the world of poetry, and the other a world of permanance, with what we call change built in.
Fun, witty, and short. If you can spare a few minutes, read Fragments.

"What use are these people's wits,
who let themselves be led
by speechmakers, in crowds,
without considering
how many fools and thieves
they are among, and how few
choose the good?
The best choose progress
toward one thing, a name
forever honored by the gods,
while others eat their way
toward sleep like nameless oxen."
I don't know Greek (unfortunately), but the translator seems to have taken a LOT of liberties with his interpretations. My edition has the Greek text in parallel, and things just don't seem to line up-- 4 lines of Greek text turns into 2 lines of English, for instance. I don't feel like I've come even close to having read what Heraclitus wrote-- I just don't trust this translation.
Jan 16, 2014 Devin rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All
Recommended to Devin by: Goodreads
Excellent sequel to Partials. Very excited for the third book to come out in March
Heraclitus' fragments are central to pre-socratic philosophical thought, and they had an impact on Philosophers as diverse as Aristotle and Lucretius. He is perhaps the first materialist philosopher, drawing ethical and spiritual significance from his investigations into nature.
Even if you only know a little Greek, it is obvious this translation is *terrible*. He uses "word" for logos which was not translated that way until around the time of Caesar, and often ignores all grammatical structure.

Get another translation, because Heraclitus is amazing.
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  • The Enneads
  • The Discourses
  • Early Greek Philosophy
  • De Anima (On the Soul)
  • The Essential Epicurus (Great Books in Philosophy)
  • Theaetetus
  • The Nature of the Gods
  • Epigrams
  • The Moral Sayings of Publius Syrus: A Roman Slave (1855)
  • The World as Will and Representation, Vol 2
  • Letters from a Stoic
  • The Greeks and the Irrational
  • New Science
  • Cartesian Meditations: An Introduction to Phenomenology
  • Untimely Meditations
  • Theogony (Classical Library)
  • What Is Ancient Philosophy?
  • The Odes of Horace: Bilingual Edition
A Greek philosopher of Ephesus (near modern Kuşadası, Turkey) who was active around 500 BCE, Heraclitus (Greek: Ηράκλειτος) propounded a distinctive theory which he expressed in oracular language. He is best known for his doctrines that things are constantly changing (universal flux), that opposites coincide (unity of opposites), and that fire is the basic material of the world. The exact interpre...more
More about Heraclitus...
Ηράκλειτος: Άπαντα Dell'origine Fragmentos Homeric Problems (Writings from the Greco-Roman World) Kırık Taşlar

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“Time is a game played beautifully by children.” 950 likes
“Even a soul submerged in sleep
is hard at work and helps
make something of the world.”
More quotes…