Saturday, December 11, 2010

Much Ado About Nothing Chapter 11: Part 3


The Taoist spirituality of Heraclitus is not based, like Taoism, on water, but rather takes as its base principle fire. Heraclitus' spirituality is of a psychologically mature order which seeks to unite the opposites, and understands that things are in flux.

"Good and evil are two sides of the same coin."

Paradox becomes the modality of this expression, and bespeaks an understanding that sees any genuine discourse with the real as having a peculiar epistemology. Heraclitus believed in an upward mobility that sought to transcendence itself, which was a transcendence of the desires and the customs of the common man. The Logos (as opposed to Tao) was the all-pervasive principle which was present in all things. The Logos comes into being by differentiating into the myriad things of nature. It is itself nature and to put yourself in accord with it is to be in accord with the highest possible principle.

Heraclitus believed that we should put ourselves in accord to that which is common to all, which bespeaks the syncretistic reduction of his forebearer, Thales. He also believed (paradoxically) that lovers of wisdom should put themselves in accord with the particulars. He believed in searching the self for understanding, and that the eyes and ears of men were naturally prone to error.

Most people then lived in a state of sleeping, pulled this or that way by desires they did not themselves control. Most men were asleep in a private dream, hypnotized by the rhythms of greed and fame.

He had a Blakean sense that everything flowed, but nothing abides, as in no single law could explain the myriad forces moving through the myriad things.

"You can never step in the same river twice."

Such a statement undermines our notion that a river is an irreducible thing; rather it is the flow of waters that is ever changing, ever in motion, and it is as it must be and we should take it as a metaphor, a lesson, which teaches us the wisdom of being:

"It is in changing that things find repose."

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