display | more...
The word 'logos' (λογος) in Greek has a variety of meanings that encompass 'thought', 'word', 'speech', 'meaning', and 'the underlying reason why a thing is what it is'. The first recoded use of 'logos' in philosophy is that of Heraclitus (536 BC - 470 BC) who saw it as the principle of rationality, pattern and identity that underlie the cosmic flux (fire). Later, the Stoics saw logos as the cosmic principle of order in the universe and in humans it was that of reason allowing us to perceive the universe's rational purpose and thus see how to live our lives in such a way that conforms with nature. From this understanding of logos, stoics cultivated an acceptance of all that happens with the awareness that it was destined to be so. Later, this idea was used in John 1:1 which reads "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
Ton de logou toud eontos aiei azunetoi ginontai anphropoi kai prosthen e akousai kai akousantes to protov. ginomenon gar panton kata ton logon tonde apeiroioi eoikasi peiromenoi kai epeon kai ergon toiouteon okoiun ego diegeumai, diaireon ekaoton kata phusiv kai phrazun okox echei. tous de allous avthropous lanthanei okosa egerthevtes poieouoi, okooper okosa eudoutes epiganthanontai.

The word proves those first hearing it as numb to understanding as the ones who have not heard.

Yet all things follow from the word.

Some blundering with what I set before you, try in vain with empty talk to separate the essences of things and say how each thing truly is.

And all the rest make no attempt. They no more see how they behave broad walking than remember clearly what they did asleep.
(translated by Brooks Haxton)


Ouk emeu alla tou logou akousantas omologeein sophon eoti, en panta eivai.

For wisdom, listen not to me but to the Word, and know that all is one.
(translated by Brooks Haxton)

Listening not to me but to the Logos it is wise to agree that all things are one.
(G. S. Kirk, J. E. Raven and M. Schofield, The Pre-Socratic Philosophers)


Doi dei epesthai to xuno. tou logou d' eontos xunou, zoousi oi polloi os idien echoutes phroneoin.

Although we need the word to keep things known in common, people still treat specialists as if their nonsense were a form of wisdom.
(translated by Brooks Haxton)

Heraclitus believed that the universe was in constant change, similar to that of a fire burning. Never the same twice. The most well known of his sayings is found in several places. Plato quoted Heraclitus in the Cratylus saying "It is not possible to step into the same river twice." The original Greek is in fragment 41 (Baywater's nineteenth-century arrangement, grouped by topic) Potauoisi dis toisi autoisi ouk an embaies etera gar <kai etera> epirreei udata. which is "The river where you set your foot just now is gone - those waters giving way to this, now this." (translation by Brooks Haxton) This idea appears again in fragment 81: Potamoisi toisi autoisi embainomen te kai ouk embainomen, eimin te kai ouk eipen. (unfortunately the diacriticals are not easy to type, though they do change in the words that appear to be the same) which is translated again by Brooks Haxton to be "Just as the river where I step is not the same, and is, so I am as I am not."

With the universe in constant change, it is seen to be that of a song - an idea from Pythagoras who sought to find the harmony of the universe as strings vibrating (see string theory). Just as in a song it is necessary to have high pitches and low pitches and different beats, so it is also necessary in the world to have good times and bad.

'Anthropoisi ginesthai okosa thelousi ouk ameinon. nousos ugieian epoiese edu, kakon agathon, limos koron, kanatos anapausin

Always having what we want may not be the best good fortune. Health seems sweetest after sickness, food in hunger, goodness in the wake of evil, and at the end of daylong labor sleep.
(translated by Brooks Haxton)


Kai 'Erakleitos epitima to poiesnti os eris ek te theon kai anthropon apoloito ou gar an einai armonian me ontos oxeos kai bareos, oude ta zoa aneu theleos kai arrenos, enantion onton.

The poet was a fool who wanted no conflict among us, gods or people. Harmony needs low and high as progeny needs man and woman.
(translated by Brooks Haxton)

With this understand that good things and bad things will happen in the universe, and the belief that it is part of the orderly reason to the universe it then becomes a quest of understanding the universe and its constant state of change. Good and bad, war and peace - it is all part of the harmony of the universe. Listen to it and marvel in it. Seeking to change the notes written for ones own ends just leads to frustration.

Edizesamen emeoutov.
Applicants for wisdom do what I have done:
inquire within.
(translated by Brooks Haxton)

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.