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Fig 3.10 – Relativity of Knowledge

Text: Page 99

Heraclitus rejected the idea of the existence of an arche to explain the natural world. For Heraclitus, it led to a naïve empiricism that relegated nature simply to the senses. He believed truth was discovered through a logos, a formula, an underlying set of principles and relationships that organized the world. However, humans were incapable of completely attaining logos because the natural world is constantly changing, with reality flowing like a beautiful river, symbolically expressed by never being able to step into the same river twice.

Although not arche, he saw symbols as the best way to grasp logos, with fire being the ultimate symbol of change. Fire, under logos control, symbolized the illuminating power of enantiodromia, meaning things change into their opposite. Fire has the power to provide light and warmth but can also be dark and can destroy, a symbol of the changing and paradoxical nature of the natural world. It is through the unity of diversity where truth can be found.

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