Parmenides of Elea

Continuously walk on the road of Reason; never arouse yourself with the imperceptible. But the road never appears on the front of life—it is only staged and mystified on its back. In Parmenides we see a much different concretion than that of Heraclitus and… And what? It bothers the mind; it excites the spirit. Poetry and philosophy arrive at a coherence, here. This “coherence” permeates the trace and line draped around Philosophy, so far, in abstraction. Present what is, artistically through incursion in thought and excursion of poems. Proem and poem. Parmenides knows that whatever comes in his direction, will be dealt in a proper manner. When our philosopher speaks, the Divine is to be heard. Such is the point of his disdain: there is no other way of comprehending and dissenting than through intervention. How can there be a becoming if what is already is? Procedural sublimation of conflicting pluralities is illusory, for our philosopher. Sense perception is to be understood as incapable of reaching truth, if it concerns itself solely with contradictions.

As it was with Heraclitus, with his disgust towards common opinions, so it was with Parmenides. He presented his own words as the enunciation of Truth, stemming from a Goddess. Truth was divine and had to be declared in a poetic form. Such is the reason, from the beginning of his poem until the moment the Goddess reveals the Truth itself, for the existence of a sacred movement—followed with sacred images and fantastical allegories—in  the staging of Parmenides’ thought. Positioned as a philosopher-poet, Parmenides delivered his thought in such manner. His poem dealt with a major problem of Philosophy: that of being. In this case, although making himself to be a carrier of divine words, Parmenides expelled instead philosophical words. Such interrelation to the religious is, without a doubt, a result of the influence he absorbed from Pythagoras’s religious sects. As a citizen of Elea, he was made to be concerned with the public interests of the Polis, subjected to the discursive reason that reigned within the confines of the city.

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Heraclitus of Ephesus

The passing of time takes its toll on the understanding and comprehension of Ancient philosophies. But the rummage…the unconcealment  of what was hidden from our eyes, the recollection of what once was – not of a «commonness» but of an essence of knowledge – always leads us to thinkers of times gone. Should one ponder whether philosophy is nothing but an eternal return to these times, one would realize that this «return» is never wholesome. As a return, it never is fully able to grasp what once was plainly put; nevertheless, it grasps change. Perhaps a misconception, there we shall envision a growing inward discontent in the «beating», as if were, of philosophy, lest we free Kronos  to devour past known aspects of human understanding, reason and life.

This article is meant as a stepping stone. That there is no such thing as a finished way to understand Heraclitus, or any other member of the pre-Socratic era, it is to be proposed from such inquiries. Here, and throughout the development of such text, we will dwell into the intrinsic conditions and prepositions of such a system of knowledge that is unveiled before the reading of such philosophers. One should bear in mind that to read the pre-Socratics is to read the actuality of a transition from myth to reason. Be aware. Ancient philosophy ought to be seen differently.

Heraclitus’s taste, and distaste, with his own society led him to turn away from the very public life his peers actively engaged in. Betrayed by the patricians of his city-state, he saw life inside the political realm as the mediation of inflexible opinions. Our philosopher in question, then, decided to lead an isolated life – delivering himself into ironic thinking: distanced and prideful. He developed critical thought according to his way of life. His style was based on maxims – made in such a manner to confuse others, obliging them to stop and listen his own enigmas. He was a master of riddles and of obscurity, reflecting a rebellious condition.

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