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4.2  ·  Rating details ·  4,453 Ratings  ·  138 Reviews
Fragments of wisdom from the ancient world

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 lo
Paperback, 97 pages
Published October 28th 2003 by Penguin Books (first published -500)
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Riku Sayuj


Heraclitus is all rolled into one. His fragments are tantalizing, hinting at a wisdom lost to us, but I am sure that he meant them to be fragmentary, so that all he does for the reader is a quick nod in the direction of a distant window, leaving the reader to make the journey, to peep out, and to make of the sight what he will. In the sure knowledge that Heraclitus had pointed him there and whatever he sees there is worth interpreting.

“Things keep their secret
Aug 09, 2007 rated it did not like it
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,
Aslı Can
İki gün, ard arda iki kez okudum. Çok saf, çok duru. Azıcık kelime ile kurulmuş koca bir evren. Verdiği cevaplara hiç güvenmeyen, büyülenmiş gözlerle, etrafında dönüp duran şeyleri seyreden birisi Heraclitus; Sysyphos'un kayasını, almış kafasında taşıyor gibi. Diyor ki;

''Çocuk oyunudur insanların görüşleri''

İroniye tanıklık etmiş, ona güvenmiş ve aynı zamanda ondan korkmuş belli ki.

''Bilin ki
her şeyde ortak

Çekişmedir adalet

var olup
yok olur
her şey''
Nov 03, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  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
Apr 22, 2018 rated it really liked it

Heraclitus flourished about 500 BC.
He is the third of the ‘Pre-Socratic’ Philosophers known to us.
The first being Thales (around 585 BC) the second Pythagoras (about 532 BC).

Thales believed that the primordial element out of which everything was made, was water.
Anaximenes thought the air was the fundamental element.
Empedocles suggested that in compromise, earth, air, fire and water where the four primitive elements.

Heraclitus preferred fire.

Heraclitus also believed in perpe
Sep 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Leopold Benedict
Mar 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Heraklit is the prototype of a dark, cranky and cynical philosopher which is later embodied by Schopenhauer and Taleb; which is a type that speaks to me. His fragments are so profound on a melancholic, misanthropic level that I can't help to rate it five stars.
Alp Turgut
Sokrates öncesi düşünürlerden biri olan Heraclitus / Herakleitos'un günümüze kadar gelebilmiş fragmanlarının Alova'nın şiir diliyle okuyucuya sunulduğu "Kırık Taşlar"ın kitap olarak bende büyük bir hayal kırıklığı yaşattığını söylemeliyim. Yazarın kendinden sonraki tüm filozoflara nasıl ilham kaynağı olduğu çok açık; fakat bu kadar kısa fragmanların 167 sayfaya yayılması büyük bir kağıt israfı. Her şeyin süreki bir akış halinde olduğunu sistemli bir şekilde açıklamaya çalışan, gözlemleriyle şu a ...more
Jul 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Matthew Funke
Apr 16, 2017 rated it liked it
It's so funny when he bashes on Homer... the highlight of the book in my onion
Jan 31, 2017 rated it liked it
Enlightening and inspirational, one of few ancient philosophers who truly spoke wisdom. For Heraclitus, wisdom, much like fire, is the very essence of the cosmos.

The early Greek philosophers sought the substance which the universe was fashioned. Thales, embraced water; Anaximenes, tackled air, Anaximander, dived into a combination of hot and cold. Empedocles developed the stuff to four indestructible elemental principles, while Anaxagoras is said to have offered innumerable generative seeds comp
Mar 25, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: politics
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.
Linton Newton
Oct 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
In terms of the presocratics of whom we have fragments, these are among the best in terms of fleshing out the ideas of the philosopher and his system. He outlines a notion of dialectics within these which is primitive but have to considered within their context. Some fragments are from questionable sources such as Clement whose quotes appear to be straight up illogical in parts or not relevant to Heraclitus' system. As such this is an interesting and necessary reading experience for any philosop ...more
Joshua Nomen-Mutatio
Sep 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy

"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
Billy Dean
Jun 19, 2012 rated it did not like it
One star for Heraclitus?

The low rating has nothing to do with Heraclitus himself and everything to do with this translation. Laughable.
Valdemar Gomes
Aug 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Bué fixe e (ouvi dizer) importante.
Feb 20, 2018 added it
Shelves: from-my-loulou

Things keep their secrets.


Pythagoras may well have been
the deepest in his learning of all men.
And still he claimed to recollect
details of former lives,
being in one a cucumber
and one time a sardine.


By cosmic rule,
as day yields night,
so winter summer,
war peace, plenty famine.
All things change.
Fire penetrates the lump
of myrrh, until the joining
bodies die and rise again
in smoke called incense.


If everything
were turned to smoke,
the nose would
be the seat of judgment.


Thus in the abysmal dark
Kyle van Oosterum
Mar 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
Heraclitus was the father of the aphorism, of the pithy and fragmentary expression of knowledge. Most pre-Socratic philosophers have been relegated to obscurity, but he is really an exception, having inspired philosophers from Plato up until Nietzsche.

Heraclitus believed that everything was made of fire; everything is in flux and the meaning of truth shifts and fluctuates over time. Nothing is permanent except change. Everything changes: "by cosmic rule, as day yields night, so winter summer, w
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.
Algirdas Brukštus
Radau įdomų palyginimą Richard Nisbett knygoje „The geography of
thought“. Autorius mano, kad graikų filosofas Herakleitas buvo vos ne
vienintelis vakaruose mąstęs rytietiškai, kaip koks Laozi, o Kinijoje
tuo pat metu vienintelis Mozi (Mo Tzu) domėjosi logika ir įrodinėjimo
menu, kaip koks graikas.
Mar 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.

Jan 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
I'm suspicious of the translation (especially given that Haxton is a poet rather than a philosopher or classics scholar), but Heraclitus himself is astonishing, It's completely worth reading this in any form.
Steinn Þorkelsson
Sep 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kafası çok başka filozofun - insandan kaçan - KOSMOS günlükleri...
Apr 21, 2016 rated it liked it
(For those reading Haxton's translation and reading Hillman's intro.)

A bad introduction to Heraclitus by Hillman and a bad free verse interpretation/translation, skip James Hillman post-modernist rubbish preface and find alternative translations to all fragments (in many cases literal translations of greek words and fragments are more adequate and reliable to the original idea than interpretations of possible meanings verted into "contemporary" free verse readings of Heraclitus. The irony is tha
Jun 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
A short collection of fragments covering a wide variety of topics. I think the most valuable insights to be taken from the work are Heraclitus' commitment to a dialectical conception of the world. A world in which development and process are the natural state of being (fragment 84a), formed from the constant opposition of opposites (fragment 10) which develop into one another and vice versa: united and whole rather than static and separate (fragments 76a, 88, 126).

Heraclitus promotes the unity
Saverio Mariani
Jan 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: filosofia, saggistica
«e come nascondersi a ciò che non tramonta?», frammento 121.

La curatela di Angelo Tonelli (allievo di Colli) è ottima, così come è molto buona la suddivisione per tematiche dei vari frammenti e i commenti in calce. Tonelli è chiaramente abbastanza fedele alla lezione di Colli, anche se si ritrovano degli scostamenti dal maestro.

L'introduzione, seppur nella sua brevità – si poteva dare molto più spazio alle ottime riflessioni contenute lì –, è ottima e permette di godere a pieno dei frammenti.
Heraclitus was my favorite pre-socratic through my late high school and college years. Twelve years later, when studying Alfred North Whitehead I realized that this little known philosopher was making a comeback in modern thought and that I should study up on him as much as possible. Unfortunately, none of his writings survived but we do have these fragments which are quotes from other philosophers. I was surprised to learn that his influence on philosophy had a strong current and that Whitehead ...more
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  • The Enneads
  • Early Greek Philosophy
  • De Anima (On the Soul)
  • Charmides
  • The Moral Sayings of Publius Syrus: A Roman Slave
  • The Discourses
  • The Essential Epicurus
  • Parmenides of Elea: Fragments
  • On the Good Life
  • On Great Writing (On the Sublime)
  • The First Philosophers: The Presocratics and Sophists
  • Epigrams
  • Cartesian Meditations: An Introduction to Phenomenology
  • Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks
  • Monadology and Other Philosophical Essays
  • The Art and Thought of Heraclitus
  • 7 Greeks
Heraclitus of Ephesus (Greek: Ἡράκλειτος ὁ Ἐφέσιος,c.535 – c.475 BCE) was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher,a native of the Greek city Ephesus,Ionia,on the coast of Asia Minor.He was of distinguished parentage.Little is known about his early life and education,but he regarded himself as self-taught and a pioneer of wisdom.From the lonely life he led,and still more from the apparently riddled and al ...more
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“Time is a game played beautifully by children.” 1306 likes
“Even a soul submerged in sleep
is hard at work and helps
make something of the world.”
More quotes…