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Theosophical Encyclopedia

Heraclitus

(c. 540-c. 480 BCE). Ancient Greek mystical philosopher. He was said to be descended from the earlier kings of Ephesus, but surrendered his inheritance to his brother. He was a harsh critic of mankind, the current religious beliefs and contemporary philosophers. His thinking, as far as can be determined, is of interest to theosophists and may be summarized as “Out of all things comes a unity and out of unity all things.” He maintained that it was important that there is an understanding of the LOGOS from which all things manifest. Central to his thinking seems to be the idea of “interdependence” between opposites and this means that changes to one system will cause changes to another. In other terms, the world is a self-balancing structure. Heraclitus’ philosophy seems to be a curious mixture of reason and superstition, in spite of the fact that he ridiculed conventional religion. For example, he taught that immortals become mortals and mortals immortals which may be an obscure interpretation of the esoteric teaching where spirit (or consciousness) descends, as it were, or involves itself — i.e., descends from unity with the One Reality — in the limitation of matter thence to evolve back to that One Reality, its Divine Source, much changed by the process.

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