The Concept Logos

Heraclitus The first recorded use of the concept Logos was by Heraclitus, son of Vloson, born about 535 BC in Ephesos, the second great Greek Ionian city.

He was a man of strong and independent philosophical spirit. Unlike the Milesian philosophers whose subject was the material beginning of the world, Heraclitus focused instead on the internal rhythm of nature which moves and regulates things, namely, the Logos (Rule).

Heraclitus is the philosopher of the eternal change. He expresses the notion of eternal change in terms of the continuous flow of the river which always renews itself.

Heraclitus accepted only one material source of natural substances, the Pyr (Fire). This Pyr is the essence of Logos which creates an infinite and uncorrupted world, without beginning. It converts this world into various shapes as a harmony of the opposites. The composition of opposites sustains everything in nature. "Good" and "bad" are simply opposite sides of the same thing. Below are three fragments translated from the original Greek outlining the idea of Logos:

Fragment 1, Sextus, adv.math VII, 132

Of the Logos which is as I describe it men always prove to be uncomprehending, both before they have heard it and when once they have heard it. For although all things happen according to this Logos men are like people of no experience, even when they experience such words and deeds as I explain, when I distinguish each things according to its constitution and declare how it is; but the rest of the men fail to notice what they do after they wake up just as they forget what they do when asleep.

Fragment 2, Sextus, adv.math VII, 133

Therefore it is necessary to follow the common; but although the Logos is common the many live as though they had a private understanding.

Sextus adv. Math. VII, 129

According to Heraclitus we become intelligent by drawing in this divine reason [Logos] through breathing, and forgetful when asleep, but we regain our senses when we wake up again. For in sleep, when the channels of perception are shut, our mind is sundered from its kinship with the surrounding, and breathing is the only point of attachment to be preserved, like a kind of root; being sundered, our mind casts off its former power of memory. But in the waking state it again peeps out through the channels of perception as though through a kind of window, and meeting with the surrounding it puts on its power of reason...