Early Greek Philosophy by John Burnet, with Burnet's notes
72. Measure for Measure 74. Sleeping and Waking

From Chapter III., Herakleitos of Ephesos

73. Man
In studying this alternate advance of fire and water, it will be convenient to start with the microcosm. We have more definite information about the two exhalations in man than about the analogous processes in the world at large, and it would seem that Herakleitos himself explained the world by man rather than man by the world. Aristotle implies that soul is identical with the dry exhalation,68 and this is confirmed by the fragments. Man is made up of three things, fire, water, and earth. But, just as in the macrocosm fire is identified with the one wisdom, so in the microcosm the fire alone is conscious. When it has left the body, the remainder, the mere earth and water, is altogether worthless (fr. 85). Of course, the fire which animates man is subject to the "upward and, downward path," just as much as the fire of the world. The Περὶ διαίτης has preserved the obviously Herakleitean sentence: "All things are passing, both human and divine, upwards and downwards by exchanges."69 We are just as much in perpetual flux as anything else in the world. We are and are not the same for two consecutive instants (fr. 81). The fire in us is perpetually becoming water, and the water earth; but, as the opposite process goes on simultaneously, we appear to remain the same.70

Burnet's Notes


68. Arist. De an. A, 2. 405 a 25 (R.P. 38). Diels attributes to Herakleitos himself the words καὶ ψυχαὶ δὲ ἀπὸ τῶν ὑγρῶν ἀναθυμιῶνται, which are found in Areios Didymos after fr. 42. I can hardly believe, however, that the word ἀναθυμίασις is Herakleitean. He seems rather to have called the two exhalations καπνός and ἀήρ (cf. fr. 37).

69. Περὶ διαίτης i. 5, χωρεῖ δὲ πάντα καὶ θεῖα καὶ ἀνθρώπινα ἄνω καὶ κάτω ἀμειβόμενα.

70. We seem to have a reference to this in Epicharmos, fr. 2, Diels (170 b, Kaibel): "Look now at men too. One grows and another passes away, and all are in change always. What changes in its substance (κατὰ φύσιν) and never abides in the same spot, will already be something different from what has passed away. So thou and I were different yesterday, and are now quite other people, and again we shall become others and even the same again, and so on in the same way." This is said by a debtor who does not wish to pay.

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