Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher in the 6th
century BCE, claims that the universe is in a state of constant change and that
opposites are necessary for life, but are unified by a system of balances,
named Logos. “Changing it rests.” It is quite unclear what Heraclitus actually
claims to rest while simultaneously changing, but he is most likely referring
to something very broad like the universe. In a later fragment, he demonstrates
the likelihood of this actually occurring, the fact that something can be at
rest yet still changing. “We step into and we do not step into the same rivers.
We are and we are not.” The water from the river is changing as it flows, the
water at one part of the river will not be there the next because of change. New
sediment, plants, and rocks will be pushed downstream creating differences and
variations to the actual river, but we still call it the same river. The river
is dependent on change for its existence, because if the water stops from flowing
downstream then there will be no river. This example illustrates Heraclitus’
claim that there needs to be constant change in the universe in order for it to
exist. He later says, “they do not understand how, though at variance with
itself, it agrees with itself. It is a backwards-turning attunement like that
of the bow and lyre.” Heraclitus knows that what he is saying is paradoxical in
a way, but that’s where the truth lies. Through a variance and constant change
of an ecosystem, like a river, it maintains its homeostasis and is that river.

            “What is opposed bring together; the
finest harmony is composed of things at variance, and everything comes to be
or “occurs” in accordance with strife.” When looking at this Heraclitus
fragment, strife plays a very important role in deciding whether things are apparent
or not. If we define strife as a disagreement over fundamental issues or conflict,
to put into more simple terms, his analogy between the bow and lyre illuminates
that unapparent connections are stronger than apparent ones. “They do not
understand how, though at variance with itself, it agrees with itself. It is a
backwards-turning attunement like that of the bow and lyre.”
There is a state of conflict between the bow and the string even if it is unapparent.
The bow and string are constantly pulling against each other, even though the
instruments may be still in its case not being played. However, Lyres and bows are both string instruments
that have different strings that when are rung in unison make harmonious music.
Music produces a harmony out of factors which are first in disharmony, but
subsequently turn harmonious by strumming the instrument making different chords
and notes. Thia evidence shows that Heraclitus’ believes that opposites are
necessary for life. Strife and conflict, in the case of the bow and lyre, is
seen as the system that unifies and balances the system out. “Thinking is
common to all.” Although many of Heraclitus fragments are very ambiguous, he
tends to shed light on metaphysical and abstract notions. He tries to connect
them using images form the world to demonstrate his theories on change and
strife. Thinking about the universe and where it came from is an important part
of Western and Greek philosophy. Although he is not as meticulous when it comes
to explaining the nature of the universe and its inner mechanics, Heraclitus’
work is important to Greek philosophy as a whole. 


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