Mammoths walk through mud. I stumble on their tracks. Logos revealed.
In the beginning was the λόγος …
the breath of the power of God
—Wisdom 7:25-30, Revised Standard Version w/ Apocrypha
from Marc Cohen’s History of Ancient Philosophy course website, the Logos according to Hericlitus:
These are its main ingredients:
- There is an orderly, law-governed process of change in the universe. (Compare fragment 80 with Anaximander, who equates strife with injustice; for Heraclitus, strife is justice, and is ranked along with necessity as that in accordance with which all things happen.)
- The unity of diverse phenomena is to be found not in their matter, but in their logos. Indeed the very identity of an object depends not on the matter that composes it, but on the regularity and predictability of the changes it undergoes. (Again, a huge departure from the Milesians, who emphasized the material unity of all things.)
- The lyre (cf. above) is a good example of a logos in action. The orderly balance of opposed forces is what keeps the lyre functioning. The harmony of the lyre is an instance of the logos.
- Another good example in which the nature of a thing is given by its logos, and by the changes it undergoes, rather than by a list of its ingredients, is found in his discussion of the mixed drink that the Greeks called kykeon (here translated “posset”) — a mixture of wine, barley and grated cheese (76=B125):
even the posset (kykeon) separates if it is not being stirred.
His point is that the continued existence of a certain kind of thing depends on its undergoing continual change and movement. What makes something a posset is not just what it’s made of (not just any collection of wine, barley, and cheese is a posset), but how it behaves, what kind of process it undergoes.
In a way, then, the logos for something is rather like a recipe. That is, it is more than a list of ingredients. It includes an account of how they are put together, and how they interact.
from Dante, Paradiso XXVII:
And you should know that all of them delight. in measure of the depth to which their sight can penetrate the truth, where every intellect finds rest.
From this, it may be seen, beatitude itself is based upon the act of seeing, not on that of love, which follows after.