The Thunderbolt, Interpenetration and Heraclitus

David H. DeGrood

"When we consider and reflect upon nature at large or the history of mankind or our own intellectual activity, at first we see the picture of an endless entanglement of relations and reactions, permutations and combinations, in which nothing remains what, where and as it was, but everything moves, changes, comes into being and passes away. . . . This primitive, naive but intrinsically correct conception of the world is that of ancient Greek philosophy, and was first clearly formulated by Heraclitus: everything is and is not, for everything is fluid, is constantly changing, constantly coming into being and passing away." — Friedrich Engels. [1]

In the Greek lands there was a profound alteration in the structure of society. The tribal organization of the primitive gathering and hunting society was forced to give way to a society based on domestication of animals and agriculture (in Ionia later, of course, to a merchant and slave society grafted onto the latter). Ideologically, the organic, totemic unity of the primitive perspective began to break up into separable and separate activities, viz. techniques, religion, art, philosophy (science), this reflecting the development of classes (segmentation, specialization). When this division of labor reached its high point of development in antiquity, it was being reflected in thought, sophisticated thought, such as represented in Heraclitus. [2] Each thing or process was to be assigned an "essence," its place in the cosmically specialized system: [13/14]

The Law . . . is as here explained . . . . . . . . Though all things come into being in accordance with this Law, men seem as if they  had never met with it, when they meet with words . . . and actions . . . such as I expound, separating each thing according to its nature and explaining how it is made. [3]

What had happened was that social categories had been projected onto the cosmos by such brilliant Ionian thinkers as Heraclitus (of Ephesus), [4] as previously by Thales, Anaximander, and Anaximenes (all of Miletus). As the Marxist philosopher and classicist, George Thomson, so well explains:

It is . . . a fallacy to suppose that scientific terminology is free from metaphor. The term 'natural law,' for instance, is a metaphor, taken from social relations . . . . The truth is that, just as man's consciousness of the external world has been formed through the development of social relations in the labour of production, so his speech, in which that consciousness assumes a material form communicable to others, necessarily reflects its social origin. [5]

The launching pad for scientific categories was being constructed. The fledgling civilized Greek men of Ionia, on the mainland of Asia Minor along the strategic maritime coast, [6] quickly absorbed [14/15] the knowledge of older civilizations from Egypt, Phoenicia, Lydia, Babylon, etc., and then went far beyond them, the Ionians being propelled both by an absence of repressive tradition and by rapid revolutions in their forces of production. [7] Many different social and ideological systems, as a consequence, coexisted and interpenetrated, often disharmoniously. As Hegel had discovered in his own colossal profundity: "On the presupposition of an already existing intellectual world which is transformed in our appropriation of it, depends the fact that Philosophy can only arise in connection with previous Philosophy, from which of necessity it has arisen." [8]

The nouveaux riches merchant princes struggled against the older kings and landed aristocracy; they, these new maritime leaders, had a direct interest in really understanding the world, and hence subsequently controlling it; as well, they were committed to developing the ideological and living standards of their free citizens. [9] As the late, great J. D. Bernal put it: "When the [15/16] productive relations are changing rapidly, as when a new class is rising into a position of power, there is a particular incentive to improvements in production which will enhance the wealth and power of this class, and science is at a premium." [10] The class interests of these princely merchants, however, hardly inclined them towards sainthood, though, and like the Phoenicians these Ionians faced the world not only as philosophers and explorers but also as pirates and kidnappers, they were bent, literally, on dissolving the old relations. [11] Also these same Ionians were not adverse to fleecing their own fellow Greeks, killing them, on behalf of the Persians, and further turning on the Persians themselves. At the time of the Persian King Darius (reigned 521-486 B.C.), [12] the Ionians held a council concerning the urgent request of the barbaric Scythians (whom Darius was invading in Europe) to destroy the bridge of boats Darius had constructed across the Hellespont for his invasion. The Athenian tyrant and general of the Chersonesites, people of the Hellespont area, Miltiades, counseled his fellow Greeks, the Ionians, to follow the advice of the Scythians to destroy the bridge. At first, the Ionian leaders were enthusiastic for this, but Histiaeus of Miletus convinced them otherwise, appealing to the real interests of the Ionian ruling class (by this time no longer as democratically inclined, incidentally). As Herodotus reports his speech:

"Now, said he [Histiaeus], "it is by help of Darius that each of us is sovereign of his city; if Darius' power be overthrown, we shall no longer be able to rule, neither I in Miletus nor any of you elsewhere; for all the cities will choose democracy rather than despotism." [13]

Thus far was the class struggle asserting itself, so that the anti-Persian movement was merging with the movement of the lower (free) classes, and the class interests of the ruling Ionian tyrants [16/17] had become reactionary ones. This is an important key to understand the motives of Heraclitus' philosophy. [14]

As the great American philosopher, Barrows Dunham, explains this period:

Such conflicts were never absent, for, superimposed upon the slaves, there were no less than three classes, whose rivalries sometimes exceeded constitutional bounds. There was the "aristocracy," composed of rich hereditary landowners; there was the "oligarchy," composed of commercial magnates; there was the "democracy," composed of artisans and shopkeepers, the class of all persons who were free but not rich. Among these the struggle for political power was ceaseless and acute. Each class ruled at the expense of the others, and all ruled at the expense of the slaves. [15]

A society based on money as it means of exchange is a society which must either revolutionize its own basis or eventually collapse; it is a society based on war and exists as full of contradictory forces, one full of tension, one based on rapidly accelerated (and [17/18] disillusioning) change. It is a unity of opposites. "Money makes the world go round!" As Shakespeare has Timon say (in his Timon of Athens):

"Gold? yellow, glittering, precious gold? No, gods,
I am no idle votarist: roots, you clear heavens!
Thus much of this will make black white, foul fair,
Wrong right, base noble, old young, coward valiant.
Ha, you gods! why this? what this, you gods? Why this
Will lug your priests and servants from your sides,
Pluck stout men's pillows from below their heads:
This yellow slave
Will knit and break religions, bless the accursed,
Make the hoar leprosy adored, place thieves
And give them title, knee and approbation
With senators on the bench: this is it
That makes the wappen'd widow wed again;
She, whom the spital‑house and ulcerous sores
Would cast the gorge at, this embalms and spices
To the April day again. Come, damned earth,
Thou common whore of mankind, that put'st odds
Among the route of nations, I will make thee
Do thy right nature . . . . .  [16]

And as Timon continues in his passionate alienation:

". . . O thou sweet king‑killer, and dear divorce  
'Twixt natural son and sire! thou bright defiler
of Hymen's purest bed! thou valiant Mars!
Thou ever young, fresh, loved and delicate wooer,
Whose blush doth thaw the consecrated snow
That lies on Dian's lap! thou visible god,
That solder'st close impossibilities,
And makest them kiss! that speak'st with every tongue,
To every purpose! O thou touch of hearts!
Think, they slave man rebels, and by thy virtue
Set them into confounding odds, that beasts
May have the world in empire!" [17]


Apemantus, the man made into a venomous cynic by the Athenian quasi-commodity (money and slave based) economy, "graces" the banquet‑meal by praying:

"Immortal gods, I crave no pelf [money! I;
I pray for no man but myself:
Grant I may never prove so fond,
To trust man on his oath or bond;
Or a harlot, for her weeping;
Or a dog, that seems a‑sleeping:
Or a keeper with my freedom;
Or my friends, if I should need 'em.
Amen. So fall to 't:
Rich men sin, and I eat root." [18]

Shakespeare is, of course, also commenting on the burgeoning bourgeois-commodity society that was becoming so evident in his own day. Apernantus' cynicism reflects individuals being "set free" from tribal society's mores and solidarity by the new money economy, or, in Shakespeare's time, people being separated from the countryside and their farms and being stripped of the instruments of their labor in the towns, viz. "freed" for capitalist exploitation. [19] As Marx surveyed this new ensemble of relationships between men: "The need for money is . . . the true need [19/20] produced by the modern economic system, and it is the only need which the latter produces." [20]

As with Aristotle before him, [21] Marx discerned an interpenetration in the commodity, of use‑value and exchange‑value. As bourgeois society dawns this exchange‑value transcends its human producer, its use‑value, and its own commodity, as an independent [20/21] form, taking most importantly the form of money. [22] As Marx notes:

. . . The table continues to be that common, every‑day thing, wood. But, so soon as it steps forth as a commodity, it is changed into something transcendent. [23]

Such a "separation" of exchange‑value from the commodity occurs when society surpasses its own organic system of producing and reproducing itself without surplus, without dependence on a great amount of external trade. Trading the surplus produced in such a newly emerging "opened" society reaches a point in which external and internal relations are revolutionized, the producers become enslaved or quasi‑enslaved, and the relationships between products themselves become men's "masters," personified by kings, priests, and other slave owners. The increasing trade of surpluses and intensified labor (segmentation and specialization of labor) gradually turns more and more products into such fetishized commodities, necessitating a value‑form for such exchanges. [24]

The first money‑form had to do with the object's use‑value, e.g. cattle. And the development of this kind of money‑form is to be credited to nomadic peoples, with their fully moveable worldly goods (called by Aristotle "a mobile farm"). [25] As Marx explains, with Aristotle's keen analytic mind behind him, "Nomad races are the first to develop the money‑form [alienable wealth in the form of cattle], because all their worldly goods consist of moveable objects and are therefore directly alienable; and because their mode of life, by constantly bringing them into contact with [21/22] foreign communities, Solicits the exchange of products." [26] With the growth of slavery in antiquity, of course, slaves themselves often stood for the money-commodity. The multiplication of the needs of antiquity, brought about by the successful operation of their societies (where civilized, i.e. where advanced slave‑ownership existed) made barter alone a source of great contradictions; hence the introduction of the universal money‑form. [27]

Gold and silver as money‑objects were the most direct forms of the manifestations of human labor, despite the fact that not until the modern bourgeois revolution was the secret of money itself begun to be fathomed: as brilliant as Aristotle was, of course, since his society had never dissolved itself sufficiently (and could not so dissolve itself) into the bourgeois form (capitalism), he himself could not even get close to the "secret." [28]

The breakthrough occurred in Greece in philosophy (in the West), specifically in Ionia, where we find the first society with a foundation (among other things) in money. [29] The production of commodities, in Marx's sense of the term, had been developing for an extensive period in the Tigris‑Euphrates and Egyptian regions (and, of course, further to the East). Commodity‑society's appearance was a virtual revolution. A more far‑reaching revolution, however, occurred as a result of the making of coined money. Coined money encouraged constant war, robbery, extension of trade, the latter three, in turn, encouraging the increase of the minted money supply. The internal negation of this monetary society was the rapid growth of slavery, which divided society so deeply against itself: slaves versus freemen, freemen divided amongst themselves over the surplus values produced by the slaves. [30] Furthermore, older land‑based forms of agriculture did [22/23] not disappear (nor did the class directing them), and hence constituted a further basis for contradictions in the city‑state.

As of 1966, G. L. Huxley, author of The Early Ionians, remarks that the earliest coins we possess are from the Temple of Artemis, in Ephesus! Either in the reigns of the Lydian kings Sadyattes or Alyattes were true gold and silver coins minted. [31] King Alyattes, a few generations before Heraclitus' birth, fought with a new threat to the East, the Medes, whose kindred people, the Persians, were destined to establish their suzerainty over Ephesus in Heraclitus' lifetime. [32]

The previous Ionian philosophers, Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes, sought the øύσις, the ultimate substance, of things in some form or situation of matter, and Pythagoras in the mathematical structure of matter, almost totally abstracted from matter itself (paving the way for Platonic Idealism, the first true idealist system), while Heraclitus sought the Pythagorean hamonia and the Ionian phusis in a qualitatively new way. Heraclitus discerned also the laws of nature, as did the Ionians and Pythagoras; he saw, as did Pythagoras, that the universe was a harmony, a cosmos; but he penetrated more deeply than all the others the basis of this harmony itself. [33] [23/24]

Normally, we must digress, the Ionian Philosophers were supposed to be interested primarily in ontology, not in sociology; furthermore, it has been stereotypically stated that the Sophists and Socrates broke with this ontological tradition and concentrated on questions relating to man and his "concerns." Such "historians" of philosophy only prove that philosophy is much too important to be left in the hands of philosophers themselves! We must change our thinking drastically here in order to understand the actual impetus of the development of thought and its categories. V. Gordon Childe's enlightening little book, What Happened in History, takes what must come as unintelligible to the philosopher not supplied with the science of historical materialism, when Childe reverses our understanding of the ground of Heraclitus' thought: "The founders of what is termed Natural Philosophy—Thales . . . and Anaximander . . . of Miletus, Herakleitos . . . of Ephesus—were in fact primarily concerned with the social questions that commercial contact with the Orient and the new currency had made urgent in Ionia." [34]

Philosophy is a function of revolutions in society. As George Thomson briefly describes the social milieux of Pythagoras and Heraclitus: “. . . Pythagoras expresses the outlook of 'the new class of rich industrialists and merchants' during the brief period [24/25] in which the class conflict between nobility and common‑people had been apparently resolved; Herakleitos, the outlook of the old nobility as modified by the new conditions . . . .” [35]

Heraclitus perceived the rapidly disintegrating Ionian social reality, as the statement of Thomson's above indicates, from the viewpoint of an aristocratic reactionary, but there is an interpenetration of opposites itself in Heraclitus' own thought, since he actually comprehended the dialectical basis of things, despite his own undialectical attempt at halting this same dialectical change. But most important of all, despite his own almost total lack of dialectical self-consciousness, Heraclitus could be the first to articulate this same interpenetration of opposites. Heraclitus did not break with the older forms of thought but infused new, symbolic life into them. His central doctrine of the Logos, as Thomson has related, saw life as a mystery, something akin to the Delphic Oracle, the Eleusinian legomena, the Orphic hieroi logoi. As Thomson perceptively notices: "In a highly inflected language like Greek such a style is necessarily accompanied by constant rhymes and assonances, and to these Herakleitos adds the use of puns—a universal characteristic of primitive speech, designed to invest it with a magical or mystical significance." [36]

From the first, Heraclitus' own city, Ephesus, was an interpenetration of opposites, as for example in the religion of Ephesus centered in the temple of Artemis, which fused Oriental and Greek culture. [37] The Persian conquest of Ionia itself was such an interpenetration. The whole known world was being engaged in a gigantic struggle. The defeat of the various Ionian cities set off a tremendous ideological response, a response which brought Xenophanes to profound monotheistic heights, which brought about the conditions for religious movements "strange" to Greece, from the Pythagorean brotherhood, to the Orphics, and to the Heracliteans. New orientations (or reversions to more primitive religious forms) had to be sought for the new, frightening world.

The founder of Ephesus was Androcles, whose father was Kodros, a king of Athens. With the development of Ephesian [25/26] society the "kingship" descended to the status of a tradition, so, when the basileus (kingship) was handed over by Heraclitus to his brother, this title was a religious and symbolic one, [38] no longer a token of real might; but the symbolism itself is deeper than the symbol. The carrier of the ancient royal family was withdrawing from the world of flux in order to orient himself to that same world. And Heraclitus' style reflects his social function, a hieratic style and mystery. [39] The extent of the change of Ionian society since Androcles and Kodros, however, can be seen in the unmistakable materialist direction of the thoughts of Thales, Anaximander, and Heraclitus: motion, change, matter displaced the anthropomorphic gods.

Heraclitus was fond of comparing his own deciphering of the mystery of existence to the crazy presentation of riddles by the priestess at the Delphic Oracle. [40] Before Heraclitus' birth, the tyrant of Ephesus, Melas, married one of the Lydian king Alyattes' daughters, cementing one part of the double relationship to the two worlds of Ephesus, Greek and Lydian. The stormy history of the city of Ephesus had previously passed from aristocratic rule (the oligarchy of the Basilidae, from whom Heraclitus was to descend) to tyranny, in accordance with the commercialization of the city about the sixth century's beginning. A man named Pythagoras (not the philosopher) garnered the support of the people and engaged in a grissly struggle with the traditional ruling class of the city. Pythagoras killed as many of his opponents as possible and confiscated their wealth. Some of his opponents' daughters fled to the sanctuary and he could not, without direct sacrilege, kill them there, so he tried to starve them to death, whereupon they hung themselves from the consequent starvation. Pestilence and drought [25/26] set upon the city. Pythagoras had to consult far‑off Delphi; a temple to be built was suggested. This may well have been the Temple or Artemisium there in Ephesus. [41] Heraclitus' technique of presenting his thoughts reflects this sanguinary upheaval of his city. To those of pre‑capitalist society involved in social revolutions, like the class struggles of the Late Mediaeval and Reformation world, religion was the main weapon, [42] the manner in which class interests clashed. Peisistratos of Athens fought with the free masses against the older aristocrats by making official the Dionysiac cults and had Homer's poems institutionally and publically read, [43] both strategies reflecting the needs of the new merchant class and their class allies. We tend today to see Heraclitus' thunderings against these Dionysiac cults as indicating a sophisticated critique of religion itself, while neglecting the important factor of Heraclitus' aristocratic struggle against the popular democratic movement which the cults reflected. It is of course ironic, and comprehensible, that a class‑conscious ideological movement of the exploited and propertyless, since it was based on mysticism and the glories of the next life, could be turned into an ideological letter for blunting this same movement, for Plato, for example I and later, naturally, the same process existed in the early evolution of Christianity). [44] Only a scientific ideology, made possible in the epoch of capitalism (a partial de‑mystification in itself), such as Marxism, was such that it could not be turned into its opposite (though pseudo‑Marxisms certainly can be so turned, i.e. into their opposite).

Despite Heraclitus' deep aversion to Orphism and its movement, he apparently borrows its metaphor of ananke (necessity), which had described the plight of the slave. As Thomson explains: "In an Orphic painting of the underworld we see the condemned sinner, Sisyphos, rolling his stone uphill, while over him, lash in hand," [45] stands the slave‑driver Ananke.

Heraclitus and his followers could not win back the old world, [27/28] though they emphasized many of the values they still thought had viability and necessity. The old aristocratic attitude gave way to an aristocratic re‑orientation, in a new world, though too ugly to actually live in, beautiful enough to understand. A new world of money and slavery was born, a world of constant strife in consequence: a world to be understood by dialectics. [46] "It is wise to hearken, not to me, but to my World, and to confess that all things are one," Heraclitus emphasizes. [47] Philosophy is thereby being used as consolatio, perhaps for the first time in the "West," but it is also a fighting ideology, though too mysterious to become a force for reaction, and actually suited, after reconstruction, for the consciousness of world empire, as with the Stoics.

Most of the "darkness" of Heraclitus' thought is to be found perhaps in its inaccessibility to those who have not yet grasped dialectics. Heraclitus himself grasped this only too well: "Eyes and ears are bad witnesses to men if they have souls that understand not their language." [48] He captures poetically and surprisingly the essence of things in a world being turned upside down. How magnificent the wisdom continues! "If you do not expect the unexpected, you will not find it; for it is hard to be sought out and difficult." [49]

And the inner meanings of things are not apparent, though they reveal themselves in these apparencies. [50] As Heraclitus declares, "nature loves to hide." [51] The deeply puzzling character of Marx's analysis of the commodity is partly based on the deceptiveness (and enlightening character) of appearances. The following lengthy quotation from Marx's Capital illustrates how Marx too, like Hegel, absorbed Heraclitus' lessons well.

The very nature of the circulation of commodities begets the opposite appearance. The first metamorphosis of a commodity is visibly, not only the money's movement, but also that of the commodity itself; in the second metamorphosis, on the contrary, the movement appears to us as [28/29] the movement of the money alone. In the first phase of its circulation the commodity changes place with the money. Thereupon the commodity, under its aspect of a useful object, falls out of circulation into consumption. In its stead we have its value‑shape—the money. It then goes through the second phase of its circulation, not under its own natural shape, but under the shape of money. The continuity of the movement is therefore kept up by the money alone, and the same movement that as regards the commodity consists of two processes of an antithetical character, is, when considered as the movement of the money, always one and the same process, a continued change of places with ever fresh commodities. Hence the result brought about by the circulation of commodities, namely, the replacing of one commodity by another, takes the appearance of having been effected not by means of the change of form of the commodities, but rather by the money acting as a medium of circulation, by an action that circulates commodities, to all appearance motionless in themselves, and transfers them from hands in which they are non‑use‑values, to hands in which they are use‑values; and that in a direction constantly opposed to the direction of the money. . . . . Hence although the movement of the money is merely the expression of the circulation of commodities, yet the contrary appears to be the actual fact, and the circulation of commodities seems to be the result of the movement of the money. [52]

As Heraclitus teaches us further, consonant with Marx's own dialectical analysis above: "The hidden attunement is better than the open." [53] And today in bourgeois society, the society of state monopoly capitalism, we must probe beneath the deceptive appearances of parliamentism, individualism, pluralism, etc., as weapons, as well as mystifications, of the ruling class. The objective interests of the producing classes cannot be met until such people fathom the "hidden attunement," and hence dispense with alien and unscientific forms of understanding, viz. pre-capitalist modes of thinking (Buddhism, Catholicism, Zen, I Ching, Hippy‑ism, etc.), decadent bourgeois modes (positivism, existentialism, linguistic philosophy, phenomenology), and youth forms of comparatively unmediated immediacy (alcoholism, drug addiction, navel contemplating, etc.), and so forth. Self‑deception is always profoundly easier than adequate diagnosis.

Usually called the "philosopher of flux" Heraclitus could also [29/30] described as the "philosopher of strife." In weariness and confusion many hope for the cessation of whirling and ubiquitous struggle. Heraclitus' answer was categorical.

Homer was wrong in saying: "Would that strife might perish from among gods and men!" He did not see that he was praying for the destruction of the universe; for, if his prayer were heard, all things would pass away . . . . [54]

The dynamic of Greek society, especially in Ionia, was anything but serene; the city-states were being propelled towards empire, i.e. towards their destruction. But in the conflict all the warring classes were to face a common ruin. As Marx and Engels so poetically, yet scientifically, put the matter: "Freeman and slave, patrician and plebian, lord and serf, guild‑master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended either in a revolutionary reconstitution of society at large or in the common ruin of the contending classes." [55] Precisely the latter occurred to the ancient Greeks as well as to the ancient world at large. As V. Gordon Childe explains this process in respect to ancient Greece:

. . . The Greek 'industrial cities' were not only cleft internally into contending classes, but were also opposed to one another as autonomous States continually dissipating real wealth in internecine wars that benefited only the slave‑dealers. It is this state of perpetual internecine warfare, itself due partly to the class struggle (in as much as slavery prevented the productive employment of surplus population) and in turn aggravating it (by replenishing the slave‑market), that appears in history as the occasion for the ruin of the classical economy and the collapse of the polity it supported. [56]

Moreover it is not necessary to consult Marxists to be assured of tremendous class struggles before, during, and after Heraclitus' time. [57] E. R. Dodds sets the scene for the time of Heraclitus: [30/31]

In Mainland Greece . . . the Archaic Age was a time of extreme personal insecurity. The tiny overpopulated states were just beginning to struggle up out of the misery and impoverishment left behind by the Dorian invasions, when fresh trouble arose: whole classes were ruined by the great economic crisis of the seventh century, and this in turn was followed by the great political conflicts of the sixth, which translated the economic crisis into terms of murderous class warfare. It is very possible that the resulting upheaval of social strata, by bringing into prominence submerged elements of the mixed population, encouraged the reappearance of old culture‑patterns which the common folk had never wholly forgotten. [58]

Heraclitus' it is said in antiquity, had written a book On Nature, dealing with three basic areas: the ontological, political, and the theological. This book was placed in the temple of Artemis, written in a style to make it unintelligible to the masses but comprehensible to those of his colleagues of rank and influence. [59] As Heraclitus states: "Donkeys would choose rubbish rather than gold . . . ." [60]

Thus Heraclitus found the key to the mystery of existence in strife, something Plato could never forgive him for, but Plato did not retire into the temple either! Like a Zeus himself, Heraclitus thunders down: "One must know that war is common and right is strife and that all things are happening by strife and necessity." [61] Dialectics contains some hard truths for those who see the status quo as continuing indefinitely. As Werner Jaeger described Heraclitus' important technical breakthrough:

. . . 'War' in the higher, symbolic sense . . . is the constant interchange and struggle of opposites in the world, including even war and peace. . . . . Heraclitus is tireless in finding new concrete images for expressing the unity of opposites. It is for this purpose that he coins the words σύναψις —a 'continuity' or 'nexus,' and άρμονία or 'harmony'—a fitting‑together. [62]  [31/32]

Heraclitus also stresses the materialist character of his dialectics (though he did not consistently adhere to materialism, apparently), another reason for Plato lumping Heraclitus with the atheists and philosophers of Becoming. Heraclitus had gained a profound insight into the infinite universe, when he observed: "This world, which is the same for all, no one of gods or men has made; but it was ever is now, and ever shall be an ever‑living Fire, with measures of it kindling, and measures going out." [63] To proceed in this scientific materialist direction is to declare unremitting opposition to superstition and all other forms of mystification about nature, especially the religious.

As a vital reflection of the growing commodity sector of the Ionian economy, Heraclitus chose his metaphor of "exchange" for the relationships of air, earth, and water to fire, his cosmic substance (or symbol for such a substance). As he explains: "All things are an exchange for Fire, and Fire for all things, even as wares for gold and gold for wares." [64] The money economy was making itself felt ideologically, and it was enabling Heraclitus to break through the fog of hoary superstition and fetishism. [65] Materialism and dialectics are not only achievements of brilliance, they are the reflection of a radical break in society. [32/33]

"Fire" itself, for Heraclitus, exemplifies a still deeper principle, the conflict or unity or interpenetration of opposites, the subject of dialectics of this chapter. Heraclitus analyzes Fire as both lack and plenum: “Fire is want and surfeit.” [66] Marx and Engels picked up the unwanted pieces of dialectics after Hegel's death. Hegel's brilliance had resulted in his placing dialectics in the forefront during the bourgeois revolutions on the European continent swirling around the French Revolution. The reinstatement of Reaction and the declining, ideologically distorted consciousness of the bourgeoisie in power made dialectics either much too dangerous to continue or no longer intelligible to positivistic and subjective‑idealist ideologues who were championing, undialectically in the extreme, the status quo. Marx and Engels as the most advanced ideological spokesmen of the new revolutionary class, the proletariat, naturally, had the historic responsibility and ideological receptivity to again put dialectics in the forefront of method and struggle.

The inevitability of the break‑up of the status quo presupposed for that famous pair the existence of contradictory forces united in rest relatively and in motion, over the long run, permanently. Since Heraclitus attached himself to reaction and the ideal status quo, his dialectics could not go beyond world-orientation ‑ it could not serve as the basis for revolutionary Praxis. He failed to see the revolutionary implications of dialectics, though of course this possibility was in fact ruled out beforehand, since the slave-based, partial monetary economy was destructive of all the classes of ancient society.

Marx's examples of the unity (struggle, interpenetration) of opposites are naturally (despite Lukács and Althusser) inclusive of both society and nature:

. . . The exchange of commodities implies contradictory and mutually exclusive conditions. The differentiation of commodities into commodities [33/34] and money does not sweep away these inconsistencies, but develops a modus vivendi, a form in which they can exist side by side. This is generally the way in which real contradictions are reconciled. For instance, it is a contradiction to depict one body as constantly falling towards another, and as, at the same time, constantly flying away from it. The ellipse is a form of motion which, while allowing this contradiction to go on, at the same time reconciles it. [67]

The examples above indicate relative rest through the interpenetration of opposites, but the most omnipresent result of the unity of opposites is change. As Heraclitus puts this same matter:

Men do not know how what is at variance agrees with itself. It is an attunement of opposite tensions . . . . [68]

As Heraclitus points out so paradoxically: “The sun is new every day.” [69] And, of course, Heraclitus' famous river metaphor: "You cannot step twice into the same rivers; for fresh waters are ever flowing in upon you." [70] "We step and do not step into the same rivers; we are and are not.” [71]

But whereas change flowing from the unity of opposites results in cycles for Heraclitus, and continuity (the conservative principle), for Marx change contains both continuity and discontinuity (with the emphasis, of course, on the latter), change includes the qualitatively new, the novel, new forms not seen or operative before. For Marx the conception of crisis is grasped, not the cul‑de‑sacs of crisis in Malthus and Ricardo, but the transcending of the contradictions and the crisis by the historical development of human productive forces, which in the final analysis forms the underlying causal unity of human intercourse and thought. And it was precisely because Marx surveyed the economies of capitalism dialectically and historically that he was able to probe so much deeper into the underlying reality than the classical bourgeois economists (and, of course, the "diminishing returns" of post‑classical bourgeois "systems"). [72] Here it is important to again observe the [34/35] qualitatively new dialectic operating in Marx:

Circulation bursts through all restrictions as to time, place, and individuals, imposed by direct barter, and this it effects by splitting up, into the antithesis of a scale and a purchase, the direct identity that in barter does exist between the alienation of one's own and the acquisition of some other man's product. To say that these two independent and antithetical acts have an intrinsic unity, are essentially one, is the same as to say that this intrinsic oneness expresses itself in an external antithesis. If the interval in time between the two complementary phases of the complete metamorphosis of a commodity become too great, if the split between the sale and the purchase become too pronounced, the intimate connexion between them their oneness, asserts itself by producing—a crisis. The antithesis, use‑value and value; the contradictions that private labour is bound to manifest itself as direct social labour, that a particularised concrete kind of labour has to pass for abstract human labour; the contradiction between the personification of objects and the representation of persons by things, all these antitheses and contradictions, which are immanent in commodities, assert themselves, and develop their modes of motion, in the antithetical phases of the metamorphosis of a commodity. [73]

Heraclitus emphasizes both the unity and the opposites within the unities of things:

Hesiod is most men's teacher. Men are sure he knew very many things, a man who did not know day or night! They are one. [74]

And again:

The sea is the purest and the impurest water. Fish can drink it, and it is good for them; to men it is undrinkable and destructive. [75]

Thus: “The way up and the way down is one and the same.” [76]


It is not good for men to get all they wish to get. It is sickness that makes health pleasant; evil, good; hunger, plenty; weariness, rest. [77]   [35/36]

And finally: “If one does not hope, one will not find the unhoped‑for, since there is no trail leading to it and no path.” [78] Polar opposites exist within a unity, but, again, changes of these unities is Strife, War, Conflict, Antagonism.

This last philosophical law is concretized by Heraclitus in a way which allows the social forces and patterns to illumine his thought even more deeply than perhaps Heraclitus comprehended himself: “War is the father of all and the king of all; and some he has made gods and some men, some bond [slave] and some free.” [79] Slavery (necessity) and war (strife) were being reflected on the highest philosophical plane.

In the earlier patriarchal stage of Greek society, slavery was an institution, brought on by war, for meeting that society's more immediate needs; in Heraclitus' time it was beginning to be directed to producing commodities. The aboriginal ground of slavery was war, but, as society developed, slavery was quantitatively and qualitatively altered from the basis of the indebtedness brought on by the growing monetary‑commodity, new style of life. [80] This rapid development of debt‑slavery threatened the new kind of society with a class struggle pitting slave and debt‑ridden peasants against merchant‑aristocrats. In Athens this catastrophic antithesis was suspended somewhat (Solon's laws), by the concentration on the enslavement of barbarians. [81]  [36/37]

Through the new basis of society, expanded slavery and commodity production, the new class of merchants was rapidly displacing (or absorbing) the older Greek warrior‑aristocrats. [82] The new political form corresponding to the new social content was democracy, something loathed by Heraclitus. But because of slavery, and its main source in warfare, external and internal (class struggle), the wealth of society was being dissolved by its own source, warfare, and thus there was no future except ruin for the new society, over the long run.

It is important to underscore again the intrinsic link between Greek democracy and the slave‑based society. Thomson observes this link in a concrete way when he relates: “The first Greek city to employ chattel slaves was Chios, where there was a slave market throughout antiquity, and it is noteworthy that as early as 600 B.C. the constitution of this island was democratic.” [83] The break [37/38] with tribal institutions, however, was not total; continuity forced itself through, as the democratic constitution reflected, in important respects, the earlier principles of tribal equality ‑ it was a blow against the landed aristocracy which had destroyed the primeval primitive communism of the Greeks. However much this appearance of the restoration of former equality was touted, the growth of commodity production made more and more of a clean sweep of these same primeval relationships. Once again the reality was the reverse of what it was said to be. [84]

In accordance with these radical structural changes in society, Heraclitus was putting forth a radically revised conception of reality and religion. As he states concerning the impetus of the changing panorama of phenomena: "It is the thunderbolt that steers the course of all things." [85] The connection of the patriarchal god Zeus with the thunderbolt was clearly understood, [86] but Heraclitus' own understanding of this is qualitatively new. As G. S. Kirk presents the continuities and discontinuities of the Heraclitean conception:

. . . Heraclitus' deity has some of the qualities of the chief god of traditional religion, supreme power, for example, and unrivalled wisdom. In other respects it is quite different; it is not appeased by senseless cults . . . . [87]

As Heraclitus so devastatingly commented on the ecstatic cults of the lower classes and their leaders of his time: "The mysteries practised among men are unholy mysteries." [88]

The content of religion is thus subtilized and sublimated by Heraclitus in a kind of Neo‑Apollonian manner: “. . . One thing, the only truly wise, does not and does consent to be called by the name of Zeus . . . .” [89] "To God all things are fair and good and right, but men hold some things wrong and some right." [90] “God is day and [38/39] night, winter and summer, war and peace, surfeit and hunger. . . .” [91]

In a sense Heraclitus was holding high the banner of Apollo, Artemis' sister, holding high the banner of the old aristocracy, against the wild god of the lower classes, Dionysus. Apollo was represented by the Delphic Oracle, and its Sibylline riddle‑like message, a type of message Heraclitus himself was transmitting to has closed circle. Delphi and its Oracle were under attack by the mass democratic movement and by the new merchants, [92] and Dionysus represented thereby a religious abomination to Heraclitus, or at least "his" rites. W. K. C. Guthrie's reflections on the Dionysus-cult are very revealing:

Homer . . . throws little light on the question of date of entry. He knows of Dionysus but says little about him. This is not however proof that Dionysos was a recent immigrant who was only just becoming known in Greece. It only indicates that to Homer and his society Dionysos was of no importance [sic]. He had nothing to say to a race of aristocrats who saw in the Olympians their fit and proper objects of worship [my italics—DDG]. [93]

Yet has not Heraclitus unconsciously seen the unity of Apollo and Dionysus, his protestations notwithstanding? The, compromise at Delphi of Apollo and Dionysus, taking their turns during the year to rule over Delphi, is a unity of opposites. And what they each personified is certainly profoundly present in Heraclitus' meditations As Jane Harrison puts it: "Apollo is the principle of simplicity, unity and purity, Dionysus of manifold change and metamorphosis." [94]

We can now see more and more how Heraclitus' philosophy all-sidedly reflects each of the major developments of world society! Yet we must observe that the ApolIonian (despite Plato's predilection to see this in reverse) element is dominant in Heraclitus. As Heraclitus says: The ". . . Sun will not overstep his measures ...; if he does,  the Erinyes, the minions of Justice, will find him out." [95]  [39/40] Even Dionysus was held under (Apollonian) control at Delphi! As G. S. Kirk explains the Sun‑Erinyes metaphor:

. . . The sun has μέτρα to which he adheres. So also . . . all things in the natural world have μέτρα . . . which are scrupulously preserved by ∆ίκη àνάγκη χρεών . . . . [96]

The conservative leanings of the Oracle can be seen even as late as the Peloponnesian War, in which Delphi took the side of the Spartans against the Athenians, of the older aristocrats against the upstart merchants of Athens. [97] Zeus was Apollo's father, and Zeus had the intention of having Apollo make the laws of the Greeks. Apollo's mother was Leto, whom Wilamowitz saw as identical with the Lycian goddess Lada. [98] As in ancient Mesopotamia, a temple such as Delphi had also the function of the control of wealth in metal, artistry, or grain. The importance of Delphi as the main spiritual and "banking" center of Hellas (as well as legal center) [99] must be considered in the ideological struggle of Apollo and the latest comer to Delphi, the god Dionysus. [100] Apollo himself, however, was also a latecomer, and his messages had to be uttered by the priestess of Gaia, the earth goddess (as opposed to the sky‑gods of the Olympians). [101] Yet, it was the priests of Apollo who had to unscramble the wild shrieks and maniacal [40/41] ravings. [102] Not only was Delphi spiritual, banking, law‑giving center for Hellas, but also a kind of world court for the Greek city‑states. [103] Apollo also ruled at the maritime center of Delos (his sister Artemis in Heraclitus' Ephesus!). [104]

The connection of the Lydian kings, too, with Delphi, kings who also ruled over Ephesus subsequently, is significant. King Alyattes of Lydia had died, and his sons Pantaleon and Croesus struggled to succeed him. A stepmother tried to poison Croesus, but Croesus became king (ca. 560 B.C., before Heraclitus). Croesus had vowed, if successful in his endeavor, to give Pantaleon's wealth to the the temple of Artemis. He also richly endowed numerous other Greek shrines, such as Delphi. Croesus also had designs to incorporate Ephesus into his kingdom and to displace the Ephesian tyrant Pindarus (in league with the king‑priests against the mass‑leader?). About the time when Cyrus the Persian was commencing his world conquest (again, before Heraclitus' birth), the Ephesians invited the Athenian Aristarchus to be their king. His rule may have lasted five years, until the Persians conquered Ionia and Ephesus. [105]

G. L. Huxley reconstructs the political milieu of this inland Greek city, Ephesus, as follows. Since Ephesus had neither fleet nor colonies she inclined towards the great land powers of the East. [106] As Huxley observes:

Here in the time of the Mermnadae, Artemis [of Ephesus] dominated the spiritual life, and Lydian gold the material concerns, of the citizenry. Trade and religion fostered each other and brought security. Few Ephesians [such as Heraclitus?] can have been zealous for revolt against Darius [Heraclitus lived in Ephesus during Darius' rule], the successor of Lydia, [41/42] for of what value was a freedom that threatened ruin, and what sense was there in stopping the monies of the goddess by breaking ties with the East? To them the call to freedom must have seemed an illusion, for under the satraps of Darius they enjoyed some independence in the government of their own city. [107]

Hermodorus, Heraclitus' great friend, we can say in opposition to Huxley's unguarded remark above, lived at the time of the Persian King Darius, who also ruled over Ephesus. Hermodorus led the pro‑Persian party, apparently, and Hermodorus' expulsion from Ephesus betokened the coming fight against Persian rule. [108] As Heraclitus thunders: "The Ephesians would do well to hang themselves, every grown man of them, and leave the city to beardless lads; for they have cast out Hermodorus, the best man among them.” [109] And perhaps striking out at the Ephesian middle (merchant) classes, Heraclitus paradoxically curses them: "May wealth not fail you, men of Ephesus, so that you may be convicted of your wickedness!" [110] As Marx so perceptively explains:

Just as every qualitative difference between commodities is extinguished in money, so money, on its side, like the radical leveller that it is, does away with all distinctions. . . . . The ancients therefore denounced money as subversive of the economic and moral order of things. [111]

Heraclitus (like Plato and Aristotle) knew that the money‑economy could mean nothing but constant degeneration of society, that it was cutting out the roots of aristocratic class rule. And as Marx discovered:

All previous forms of society—or, what is the same, of the forces of social production—foundered on the development of wealth. Those thinkers of antiquity who were possessed of consciousness therefore directly denounced wealth as the dissolution of the community. [112]

Like the Sophists after him, but in antithesis to their interpretation of φύσις and νόμος, Heraclitus was struggling to uphold the older order's laws against the democratic forces who saw the reIativity of all social norms. For Heraclitus the city's (older) laws were patterned after the real Logos throughout the cosmos. The merchant society's interest in ethnography (conquest) and lawmaking (colonies, class struggles within the cities) was exhibiting the lack of universality in customs, laws, and norms. As Heraclitus ejaculated: "The people must fight for the law as they do for the city wall." [113]

Heraclitus, of course, was fighting a losing battle, and in his struggle to comprehend the cosmos he could not simultaneously change it very much—his dialectics remained spontaneous and not sufficiently self‑conscious.

The legacy of Heraclitus and Greek philosophy is the legacy of dialectics, without which we cannot fail to see the world and human history metaphysically and/or mechanically, that is to say, falsely, one‑sidedly; and, of course, our activities and strategies will reflect this one‑sidedness, winding up being either reactionary or ineffective. During the First World War, while in exile in Switzerland, Lenin devoted much of his time towards deepening his knowledge of dialectics, thereby giving him excellent theoretical [43/44] preparation for the Russian Revolution to come (1917). Lenin himself recognized that the most important law of dialectics was the identity (interpenetration, unity, struggle) of opposites.

Marx being interviewed by a reporter one day during his more or less regular outings on the Thames with his marvelous little family was caught in a pensive mood looking over the Thames by the reporter. The reporter more or less asked: "What's it all mean?" Marx taken off guard slightly answered: "Conflict!" No one carried on this dialectical pattern of thinking better than Lenin. In his own studies for self‑clarification Lenin explained:

The identity of opposites (it would be more correct, perhaps, to say their "unity,"—although the difference between the terms identity and unity is not particularly important here. In a certain sense both are correct) is the recognition (discovery) of the contradictory, mutually exclusive, opposite tendencies in all phenomena and processes of nature (including mind and society). The condition for the knowledge of all processes of the world in their "self‑movement," in their spontaneous development, in their real life, is the knowledge of them as a unity of opposites. Development is the "struggle" of opposites. [114]

With an eye to both nature and society, Lenin saw that the unities are being constantly broken up, that the unity is relative, the struggle (and breaking up) is absolute. [115] Furthermore Lenin saw Marx’s greatest dialectical contribution in his Capital, where Marx discovered the unity of the contradictions of bourgeois society in the commodity, which is responsible for the tortuous and crisis-ridden nature of the development of capitalist society. [116]   [44/45]

With Hegel dialectics began to become self‑conscious; with Marx and Engels dialectics became fully so, since they were the chief representatives of the class of the future, the class destined to do away with classes themselves, with a dialectic necessary to speed up this process, from a spontaneous, blind one to a creative consciously‑directed process; with Lenin dialectics becomes not only self‑conscious but a dialectics of realization in practice. The seed was present in Heraclitus, the agricultural preparations in Marx and Engels and the oak in Lenin. Philosophy was changing the world.

The unity (struggle, identity, interpenetration) of opposites reflects the dynamics of reality, both natural and historical, and it is vital to see its operation in today's frontiers of science and social practice: in astro‑physics, physics, quantum mechanics, chemistry, psychology, sociology, revolutionary practice, etc. Our text, however, has the purpose of presenting the dialectical material manner of thought, so the responsibility of showing the dialectic in its most recent manifestations must fall to another book or study. We will also forego a deep analysis into the question of the relation between formal logic and dialectics in this book.

In Engels' biological example of the unity of opposites relating to living forms we have a brilliant capsule of all of dialectics:

. . . Life consists precisely and primarily in this—that a being is at each moment itself and yet something else. . . . As soon as the contradiction ceases, life, too, comes to an end, and death steps in. [117]

In his Dialectics of Nature Engels gave this presentation of the laws of dialectics:

Dialectics as the science of universal inter‑connection. Main laws: transformation of quantity and quality—mutual penetration of polar opposites [118] and transformation into each other when carried to extremes—development through contradiction or negation of the negation—spiral form of development. [119]   [45/46]

The other two crucial dialectical laws will be dealt with in subsequent chapters.

As Heraclitus knew, these polar opposites cannot exist in isolation from one another, action without reaction, life without death, male without female, slave master without slave, etc. Polar opposites require one another's existence; the unities of these opposites are conditioned by the mutual action of the polarities upon one another; but the polarities are also "separate," since they do act upon each other. But their separateness is yet a unity, since they also cannot exist apart! The polarities cannot be united unless they are (relatively) separate, but they cannot oppose one another unless they are united by mutual connection. [120] Even the formulations of dialectics require such contradictions! As Engels says of the great scientist Kirchhoff—Engels was rapidly finding rich confirmation of dialectics from late 19th century science— “. . . Kirchhoff goes much further in saying . . . : 'Rest is a special case of motion,' and thus proves that he can not only calculate but can also think dialectically.” [121]

To those who work with fixed (non‑fluid) categories, to those trapped in the metaphysical mode of thought, such things as ground‑consequence, cause‑effect, identity‑difference, appearance-essence, life‑death, etc., are to be strictly distinguished and belong to imperishably pure domains. Engels responds as a dialectician, showing how the one is already contained in the other! [122] One of the proofs of his points is taken by Engels from the breakthroughs of 19th century cell physiology: “Physiology—the cell (the organic process of development, both of the individual and of species, by differentiation, the most striking test of rational dialectics), and finally the identity of the forces of nature and [46/47] their mutual convertibility, which put an end to all fixity of categories.” [123] Engels also points to the tremendous struggle within and around man, viz. heredity and adaptation. As a species man becomes what he is not through what he is (heredity), and what he is through what he is not (adaptation): man is what he is not, he is not what he is—those of the metaphysical frame of mind, of course, can't begin to understand nature in this way. The explanation by Engels of the dialectic of heredity/adaptation stresses what we shall see in Hegel's work: the creativity of negativity: “One can conceive of heredity as the positive, conservative side, adaptation as the negative side that continually destroys what has been inherited, but one can just as well take adaptation as the creative, active, positive activity, and heredity as the resisting, passive, negative activity.” [124]

In Engels' time it was not only chemistry as a science which was being revolutionized, but also biology, which created the greater drama (because of its challenge to metaphysical theology). These sciences, too, must mutually interpenetrate, and in summation of their findings, Engels points out:

The whole of organic nature is one continuous proof of the identity or inseparability of form and content. Morphological and physiological phenomena, form and function, mutually determine one another. [125]

Not only, however, is Marxism the last inheritor of dialectics, it is also scientific socialism, the organized outlook of the forward sections of the proletariat, the product of modern industrial development, the only coherent outlook of those building for the future. Its theoretical sweep takes in both nature and history, human history. In human history, thus far, the struggle of classes holds sway, the most powerful contradiction of all in social life. Up to that time, history's most dramatic struggle of opposites was that within the feudal period (their "unity"): the birth of the bourgeoisie. As Engels dialectically sets the scene:

The feudal middle ages also developed in its womb the class which was destined, in the course of its further development, to become the standard-bearer of the modern demand for equality: the bourgeoisie. Originally [47/48] itself a feudal estate, the bourgeoisie developed the predominantly handicraft industry and the exchange of products within feudal society to a relatively high level, when at the end of the fifteenth century the great maritime discoveries opened to it a new career of wider scope . . . . . American gold and silver flooded Europe and forced its way like a disintegrating element into every fissure, rent and pore of feudal society [nota bene, as it had done to Heraclitus' Greece!] [126]

Dialectically, however, as the bourgeoisie forced its way to the height of society, transforming feudal into bourgeois society, [127] in the bourgeoisie's wake came, necessarily, its polar opposite, the modern proletariat; but as soon as the proletariat comes to the leadership of society it begins to put an end to classes themselves, since, in its objective interest in putting an end to itself as a proletariat, it must necessarily begin the dissolution of all other classes: the oppressed/oppressor dialectic, then, fades out of existence as master/slave once had, but, of course, the dissolution is not merely a higher transformation of the same thing but a qualitatively new relationship, a new ensemble of human relations.

Plato and Aristotle also strove for qualitatively new human relationships, but only within the context of slave society; hence all of their creativity and intelligence were as nought—it was a dead dialectic. Plato and Aristotle, because of their class positions and because of the undeveloped state of ancient industry, were not able to see ahead, to see that the transcendence of the slave and class economy was needed; they were unable to penetrate into the philosophy represented by Engels here: "The growing perception that existing social institutions are unreasonable and unjust, that reason has become unreason, and right wrong, is only proof that in the modes of production and exchange changes have silently taken place with which the social order, adapted to earlier economic conditions, is no longer in keeping." [128]


1.  Engels, Anti‑Dühring, 2nd ed. (Moscow, 1959), p. 33.

2.  In Ionia philosophy came to the fore as an ingredient in the glorification of the good life in the service of commercial society; the Phoenician cities, also a young civilization (this time Semitic), a colonizing one (Carthage in Africa), also gave a great boon to life: the alphabet, which the Ionians adapted.

3.  Ancilla to the Pre‑Socratic Philosophers, Kathleen Freeman, trans. (Oxford: Blackwell, 1956), p. 24. From this point on statements attributed to Heraclitus will be italicized. See also, David H. DeGrood, Philosophies of Essence (Amsterdam, B. R. Grüner, 1975), pp. 2-4. Either due to Cratylus' vulgarized Heracliteanism or to Plato's ideological distortion of it, Heraclitus' "flux by measures" and his doctrine of essence are not included in Plato's apprehension of Heraclitus' thought. As Plato has Socrates say: “Whether there is this eternal nature in things, or whether the truth is what Heraclitus and his followers and many others say [i.e., "all things were in motion and flux," Cratylus, 439c], is a question hard to determine . . . .” Plato, Cratylus, 440 b‑c; B. Jowett, trans.

4.  Cf. DeGrood, Philosophies of Essence, "The Cosmic Foundation of Essence in Ionia," pp. 1‑4.

5. George Thomson, The First Philosophers (London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1961), p. 160. Cf. also ibid., pp. 45‑46, 160, 170.

6.  Hegel, as he was sometimes wont to do, himself gives an historical materialist account for the reason for the emergence of Philosophy in Ionia: "We find the greatest activity in Greek life on the coasts of Asia Minor, in the Greek islands, and then towards the west of Magna Graecia; we see amongst these people, through their internal political activity and their intercourse with foreigners, the existence of a diversity and variety in their relations, whereby narrowness of vision is done away with, and the universal rises in its place. . . . . Those spots were also the seat of early commerce and of an early culture, while Greece itself, so far as these are concerned, followed later." G.W.F. Hegel, Lectures on the History of Philosophy, trans. E. S. Haldane, (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1955), vol. 1, p. 169. In Sparta, on the other hand, the aristocracy was firmly entrenched enough to prevent the rapid growth of trade and to keep commercialism from permeating its society too deeply. Cf. George Thomson, The Prehistoric Aegean (London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1961), p. 565. Cf. also George Thomson, The First Philosophers, pp. 210‑211. Thomson observes that Sparta, as opposed to democratic-commercial Athens, everywhere attempted to install the landowners in power. Simultaneously, Athens was attempting to export her own revolutionary form, democracy. Cf. Hermann Bengtson, The Greeks and the Persians, trans. John Conway (New York: Delacorte, 1968), p. 102.

7.  Even old Eduard Zeller slipped out of his idealistic stance when commenting on Ionia. He states: "Just as the heroic kingdoms had broken up, now the power of the nobility began to totter. The gradual change from the barter‑system to a monetary system replaced the landed aristocracy of birth by a prosperous and ambitious bourgeoisie." Zeller, Outlines of the History of Greek Philosophy, trans. L.R. Palmer, 13th ed. (New York: Meridian, 1955), p. 28. The first edition of this book was 1883, the date of Marx's death.

8.  G. W. F. Hegel, Lectures on the History of Philosophy, I, pp. 3‑4.

9.  Cf. George Thomson, The Prehistoric Aegean, pp. 574‑575.

10.  J. D. Bernal, Science in History (M.I.T. Press 1971), 3rd ed., vol. I, p. 48.

11.  Cf. George Thomson, The First Philosophers, p. 108.

12.  Heraclitus lived from about 536 to 470 B.C., flourishing during Darius' reign in his city of Ephesus, a Persian tributary city-state.

13.  Herodotus, History, trans. A.D. Godley (Harvard University Press 1966), Bk. IV, 137. Cf. also J.B. Bury, A History of Greece (New York: Modern Library, 1913), p. 223.

14.  The Persian ruling class was not without its own fissures and clefts, but in general it was bent on indeterminately increasing its wealth and power by subjugating all possible competitive states and areas. Under Xerxes (reigned 486‑465 B.C.), and due to the second Persian invasion of Europe and Greece, it was no longer a question of merely keeping in subjugation the Ionian cities by merchant‑tyrants who were loyal to Persian interests. Now it was a question of trying to ensure the fighting participation of the Ionian citizens on the Persian side against mainland Hellas. Mardonius, general and confidant of Xerxes, deposed the Ionian despots and set up democracies in those cities. Cf. Herodotus, Bk. VI, 43. The (free) masses of the Persian people really had no stake in subjugating the Greeks, but later, of course, the free masses of the Greeks really did have interests (floating mercenaries, poor nobles, merchants) in subjugating Persia. In the end, then, it was precisely the democratic (slave- and merchant‑based) movement (and Greek geography) which held the Persians at bay and defeated their invasion. Cf. George Thomson, The First Philosophers, p. 186. In Alexander the Great's invasion of the Persian Empire, these Greek cities enthusiastically welcomed him, since by now the tyrants previously reinstalled by the Persians (after the defeats of the Persians in mainland Greece), and Alexander's entry there was the occasion for throwing the tyrants out and again restoring democracy. One important city in which this occurred was Heraclitus' city, Ephesus. Cf. Hermann Bengtson, The Greeks and the Persians, p. 309.

15.  Barrows Dunham, Heroes and Heretics: A Political History of Western Thought (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1964), pp. 33‑34.

16.  William Shakespeare, Timon of Athens, Act IV, S. III. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, eds. W.G. Clark & W. Aldis Wright (New York: Doubleday, n.d.).

17.  Ibid.

18.  Ibid., Act I, S. II. Marx's analysis of this alienation connected with the ancient society's movement towards dependence on money (as opposed to tribal and kingly tradition) helps us to give ourselves enlightenment over the pathos of Timon of Athens: "The class‑struggles of the ancient world took the form chiefly of a contest between debtors and creditors, which in Rome ended in the ruin of the plebian debtors [and also of some of those in the old aristocracy, we can add to Marx's thought]. They were displaced by slaves. In the middle ages the contest ended with the ruin of the feudal debtors, who lost their political power together with the economic basis on which it was established. Nevertheless, the money relation of debtor and creditor that existed at these two periods reflected only the deeper‑lying antagonism between the general economic conditions of existence of the classes in question." Karl Marx, Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, trans. Samuel Moore & Edward Aveling (New York: International, 1967), vol. I, pp. 135‑136.

19.  Marx quite correctly points out that ancient Greek society never fully became a bourgeois‑monetary system: ". . . even in the most advanced parts of the ancient world, among the Greeks and Romans, the full development of money, which is presupposed in modern bourgeois society, appears only in the period of their dissolution [my italics—DDG]. For example, in the Roman Empire, at its highest point of development, the foundation remained taxes and payments in kind. The money system actually completely developed there only in the army." Karl Marx, Grundrisse, trans. Martin Nicolaus (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1973), p. 103. Marx had seen earlier the course of such transitions for bourgeois society. In his Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 [ed. Dirk J. Struik, trans. Martin Milligan (New York: International, 1964)], Marx profoundly observed: "The real course of development . . . results in the necessary victory of the capitalist over the landowner—that is to say, of developed over undeveloped immature private property just as in general, movement must triumph over immobility—open, self-conscious baseness over hidden, unconscious baseness; greed over self‑indulgence; the avowedly restless, adroit self‑interest of enlightenment over the parochial, worldwise, naive, idle and deluded self‑interest of superstition; and money over the other forms of private property." Op. cit., p. 126. Whereas the money‑economy is an ingredient in the dissolution or the finale of ancient society, in capitalist society, with its foundation in wage‑ rather than slave‑labor, the money‑economy functions as an accelerator of bourgeois development. When wage labour is the foundation, money does not have a dissolving effect, but acts productively; whereas the ancient community as such is already in contradiction with wage labour as the general foundation." Marx, Grundrisse, p. 224. The actual dialectical outcome of the dissolution of the ancient forms in Greece, Rome, and Byzantium gave rise to the domination of the countryside over the city! For Marx this shows that capital does not create the objective conditions of labor and industry. Grundrisse, pp. 506‑512, 514-515, 517.

20. Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844, p. 147. As Marx, like Shakespeare's Timon of Athens, observes: Money "functions as almighty being. Money is the pimp between man's need and the object, between his life and his means of life." Ibid., pp. 165-166.

21. As Aristotle exhibited this unity (contradictory to him, of course) of opposites: "... Every article or property has a double use; both uses are uses of the thing itself, but they are not similar uses; for one is the proper use of the article in question, the other is not. For example a shoe may be used either to put on your foot or to offer in exchange." Politics, 1257 a 7‑9, Sinclair translation.

22.  Cf. Marx, Capital, I, p. 60.

23.  Ibid., I, p. 71. To fully demystify the fetishism of the commodity (subjectively, their apparent "transcendent" character), Marx sees, a society must be developed in which men control their life‑processes in accordance with scientific (socialist) planning. Cf. ibid., I, p. 80. Cf. also Marx, Grundrisse, pp. 156‑158, 164‑165, 221‑222, 251‑252.

24.  As Marx traced the dialectics of this: "in order to secure the exchangeability of the commodity, exchangeability itself is set up in opposition to it as an independent commodity." Grundrisse, p. 201.

25.  Cf. Aristotle, Politics, 1256 a 31‑35, T. S. Sinclair trans. (Baltimore: Penguin, 1962). Benjamin Jowett interprets the Greek phrase as "living farm": The Basic Works of Aristotle, ed. Richard McKeon (New York: Random House, 1941).

26.  Capital, I, p. 88.

27. Marx, Grundrisse, p. 859.

28.  Cf. Capital, I, pp. 59‑60.

29.  It may come as a shock to those living in bourgeois society that money is not as old as man! But the historicity and recent vintage of money is unmistakable. As Marx points out: "Nature does not produce money, any more than it produces a rate of exchange or a banker. In Peru and Mexico gold and silver did not serve as money, although it does appear here as jewellery, and there is a developed system of production." Grundrisse, p. 239.

30.  Cf. George Thomson, The First Philosophers, p. 207.

31.  G. L. Huxley, The Early Ionians (New York: Humanities, 1966), p. 75. As Herodotus reports to us: "The customs of the Lydians are like those of the Greeks, save that they make prostitutes of their female children. They were the first men (known to us) who coined and used gold and silver currency; and they were the first to sell by retail." History, Bk. 1, 94.

32.  V. Gordon Childe also sees a profound connection between the new money‑society and the atomic theory of Leucippus and Democritus. He points out: They "set out to resolve external nature into discrete indivisible has or particles (atoms), just as the new currency resolved wealth into discontinuous particles—coins." What Happened in History (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1954), p. 215.

33.  As Hegel saw Heraclitus' breakthrough: "The advance requisite and made by Heraclitus is the progression from Being as the first immediate thought, to the category of Becoming as the second. This is the first concrete, the Absolute, as in it the unity of opposites. Thus with Heraclitus the philosophic Idea is to be met with in its speculative form; the reasoning of Parmenides and Zeno is abstract understanding. Heraclitus was thus universally esteemed a deep philosopher and even was decried as such. Here we see land; there is no proposition of Heraclitus which I have not adopted in my Logic." Hegel, Lectures on the History of Philosophy, I, p. 279. My teacher, Marvin Farber, on reading this Hegelian quotation to us used to delight in then citing this from Heraclitus: "Dry souls are better than wet." As F. M. Cornford expresses these schemata (without really understanding himself the social order being reflected by the thought): "The coming into existence of individual things is variously attributed by the early cosmologists to love or harmony, and to feud, strife, or war. The two representations are, as Heraclitus insisted, not so irreconcilable as they seem to be . . . . They are only two ways of conceiving the meeting of contraries. The two contraries are antagonistic, at perpetual war with each other. It is a war of mutual aggression—each seeking to invade the province of the other. But this very invasion involves a mixing of the two elements—a reconciliation, or marriage, in which both combine to produce a compound, the individual thing." F. M. Cornford, From Religion to Philosophy: A Study in the Origins of Western Speculation (New York: Harper & Row, 1957), p. 70.

34.  V. Gordon Childe, What Happened in History, p. 214. Cf. G. S. Kirk & J. E. Raven, The Presocratic Philosophers (Cambridge University Press, 1966), p. 213. Cf. also Werner Jaeger, The Theology of the Early Greek Philosophers, trans. Edward S. Robinson (Oxford University Press, 1947), p. 115.

35.  George Thomson, The First Philosophers, p. 18.

36.  Ibid., pp. 131‑132.

37.  Cf. Eduard Zeller, Outlines of the History of Greek Philosophy, p. 60.

38.  Cf. G. S. Kirk, Heraclitus: The Cosmic Fragments (Cambridge University Press, 1970), pp. 8‑9.

39.  Cf. Thomson, The First Philosophers, p. 135. Thales and Anaximander also apparently belonged to ancient families of priest‑kings. Cf. ibid., p. 137.

40.  As Heraclitus states: "The lord whose is the oracle at Delphoi neither utters nor hides his meaning, but shows it by a sign." "And the Sibyl, with raving lips uttering things mirthless, unbedizened, and unperfumed, reaches over a thousand years with her voice, thanks to the god in her." Cited and translated by John Burnet, Early Greek Philosophy (Cleveland: Meridian, 1957), 4th ed., pp. 133‑134.

41.  Cf. G.L. Huxley, The Early Ionians, p. 78.

42.  With the exception of the Milesians who were developing a materialist attitude as a fighting ideology.

43.  Cf. Thomson, The First Philosophers, p. 221.

44.  Cf. ibid., p. 238.

45.  Ibid., p. 240.

46.  Cf. ibid., p. 272.

47.  Cited and translated by John Burnet, Early Greek Philosophy, p. 133.

48.  Ibid.

49.  Ibid.

50.  Hegel magnificently used this insight in refuting fideistic, agnostic Kant.

51.  Cited and translated by Burnet, Early Greek Philosophy, p. 133.

52.  Karl Marx, Capital, I, pp. 115‑116.

53.  Cited by Burnet, Early Greek Philosophy, p. 136.

54.  Ibid. As the Heraclitus scholar, G. S. Kirk, explains: ". . . if the opposites ceased to be in one sense opposed then the underlying unity would fail, just as if strife ceased the world as we know it would die; the unity that followed would be the unity of changelessness and death." Heraclitus, pp. 181‑182.

55.  Birth of the Communist Manifesto, ed. Dirk J. Struik (New York: International, 1971), p. 89. My italics.

56.  V. Gordon Childe, What Happened in History, p. 201.

57. The classic of the period of the decline of the Greek polis has survived for us. See The Complete Writings of Thucydides: The Peloponnesian War (New York: Modern Library, 1951).

58.  E. R. Dodds, The Greeks and the Irrational (University of California Press, 1963), pp. 44-45.

59.  Cf. G. S. Kirk, Heraclitus, p. 7.

60.  Cited and translated by Kirk, ibid., p. 81.

61.  Ibid., p. 238. Ephesus, through the poetry of Kallinos, e.g., had glorified war and the warrior. This is undoubtedly also a factor in the richly crammed meaning of this citation from Heraclitus. Cf. W. K. C. Guthrie, The Greeks and Their Gods (Boston: Beacon, 1954), p. 130.

62.  Jaeger, The Theology of the Early Greek Philosophers, p. 119.

63.  Cited and translated by Burnet, Early Greek Philosophy, p. 134. Cf. Hegel, Lectures on the History of Philosophy, I, p. 287. One of those who sees a possible Persian influence on Heraclitus' principal cosmic metaphor, Fire, is M. L. West, Early Greek Philosophy and the Orient (Oxford University Press, 1971), p. 173. Cf. also Maneckji Nusservanji Dhalla, History of Zoroastrianism (Oxford University Press, 1938), p. 169. Perhaps Herodotus supplied some kind of key to the meaning of Fire and Zeus in Heraclitus, some years after Heraclitus' time. "As to the usages of the Persians," Herodotus relates, “I know them to be these. It is not their custom to make and set up statues and temples and altars, but those who make such they deem foolish, as I suppose, because they never believed the gods, as do the Greeks, to be in the likeness of men; but they call the whole circle of heaven Zeus . . . .” History, Bk. I, 131. And W. K. C. Guthrie observes revealingly: ". . . Heraclitus was a subject of King Darius and was traditionally believed to have been his friend; . . . one of his fragments provides the earliest occurrence in Greek literature of the title Magus; . . . he accorded a supreme and divine status to fire." A History of Greek Philosophy (Cambridge University Press, 1967), I, p. 488n.

64.  Cited and translated by Burnet, Early Greek Philosophy, p. 135.

65.  As George Thomson explains: Heraclitus’ . . . concept of a self‑regulating cycle of perpetual transformations of matter is the ideological reflex of an economy based on commodity production . . . . . In his cosmology fire stands to other forms of matter in exactly the same relation as money stand to other commodities: it has been abstracted from them in order to serve as the universal equivalent." The First Philosophers, p. 282.

66.  Cited and translated by Burnet, Early Greek Philosophy, p. 135.

67.  Marx, Capital, I, pp. 103‑104.

68.  Cited and translated by Burnet, Early Greek Philosophy, p. 136.

69.  Ibid., p. 135.

70.  Ibid., p. 136.

71.  Ibid., p. 139.

72.  Cf. Paul K. Crosser, Prolegomena to All Future Metaeconomics: Formation and Deformation of Economic Thought (St. Louis: Warren H. Green, 1974).

73.  Marx, Capital, I, pp. 113‑114.

74.  Cited and translated by Burnet, Early Greek Philosophy, p. 136.

75.  Ibid., p. 137.

76.  Ibid., p. 138.

77.  Ibid., p. 140.

78.  Cited and translated by Kathleen Freeman, Ancilla to the Pre‑Socratic Philosophers, p. 26.

79.  Cited and translated by Burnet, Early Greek Philosophy, p. 136. As Kirk and Raven translate this passage preserved by Hippolytus: "War is the father of all and king of all, and some he shows as gods, others as men; some he makes slaves, others free." Kirk & Raven, The Presocratic Philosophers, p. 195.

80.  Cf. George Thomson, The First Philosophers, pp. 13‑14. As Thomson explains: "The small producers are impoverished, and, with the further growth of trade, money relations, and private property, the number of privately owned slaves increases and predominates over the other categories. The characteristic form of state is the polis, culminating in slave‑owning democracy." Op. cit., p. 14. For an extended and dialectical materialist account, see Friedrich Engels, The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State: In the Light of the Researches of Lewis H. Morgan (New York: International, 1942).

81.  Cf. George Thomson, The First Philosophers, pp. 15‑16. Thomson also, in his remarkable analysis, sees the victory of the backward Macedonians over the more advanced Greek city‑states in at least two important facts: (1) the polis no longer corresponded to its slave and debt‑ridden base, and (2) the Macedonian peasantry was still relatively free and prosperous, whereas the state peasantry had little to protect. Op. cit., p. 16.

82.  As the classical scholar W. K. C. Guthrie, though a bourgeois thinker, nonetheless able to peer somewhat deeper under the ancient appearances, describes the process of social revolutions: "Between the dike [law, order] of Homer and the dike of Aeschylus lies the break-up of the Homeric community of kings and a subsequent period of movement and turmoil in which aristocracies were established in Greek cities, poverty and wealth existed side by side and the discontent of the poor became for the first time vocal as it already is in Hesiod. Colonies were founded and flourished, aristocrats like Theognis hardened and became more violent and oppressive in reaction from the. growing restiveness of the unprivileged and met their fate at the hands of tyrants entrusted with power in the name of the people. As the outcome of these struggles the Greek conception of democracy was born." W. K C. Guthrie, The Greeks and Their Gods, pp. 143‑144.

83.  George Thomson, The First Philosophers, p. 197. As G. L. Huxley further illuminates this process: "The Chian [Chios] historian Theopompus “wrote that his countrymen were the first of the Greeks after the Thessalians and Lacedaemonians to employ slaves. ‘But they did not acquire them in the same way as the others; for the Lacedaemonians and Thessalians can be seen to have got their slaves from the Greeks who formerly inhabited the lands that they now possess . . . . But the Chians took barbarian slaves for whom they paid a price.’” The Early Ionians, p. 83.

84. Cf. George Thomson, The First Philosophers, pp. 205‑206.

85. Cited and translated by Burnet, Early Greek Philosophy, p. 135.

86. Cf. Guthrie, The Greeks and Their Gods, p. 38. Cf. also G. S. Kirk, Heraclitus, p. 355.

87. Kirk, Heraclitus, pp. 392-393.

88. Cited and translated by Burnet, Early Greek Philosophy, p. 141.

89.  Cited and translated by G. S. Kirk, Heraclitus, p. 392. As G. L. Huxley states, Heraclitus' “style was fashioned after Apollo's . . . .” The Early Ionians, p. 141.

90.  Cited and translated by Burnet, Early Greek Philosophy, p. 137.

91.  Ibid., p. 136.

92.  Cf. Kathleen F'reeman, The Pre‑Socratic Philosophers (Harvard University Press, 1966), p. 121. Cf. also Jaeger, The Theology of the Early Greek Philosophers, p. 121.

93.  Guthrie, The Greeks and Their Gods, p. 160.

94.  Jane Harrison, Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion, 3rd ed. (New York: Meridian, 1957), p. 439.

95.  Cited and translated by Kirk, Heraclitus, p. 284.

96.  Kirk, Heraclitus, pp. 287‑288.

97.  Cf. Hermann Bengtson, The Greeks and the Persians, p. 161. During the Persian Wars, Athens, the rising merchant state, took a vigorous position, but Delphi took the conservative position of appeasement and accommodation with the "Great King." Cf. Frederik Poulsen, Delphi, trans. G. C. Richards (Washington: McGrath, 1973), p. 158.

98.  Cf. W. K. C. Guthrie, The Greeks and Their Gods, pp. 83‑84.

99.  The most holy of holies, Delphi, was still prone to be robbed and itself to rob, like our modern banks! As Poulsen observes: "Extent Delphian inscriptions show that robbery and attempts at cheating the temple were not uncommon. On the other hand, the financial authorities of the temple knew how to avenge themselves, when the pilgrims, in payment for wreaths and sacrifices, had to change their native currency for Delphian money." Delphi, p. 22. Cf. also ibid., p. 44.

100.  Before 582 B.C., according to Poulsen, shortly before the time of Heraclitus, the Apollo‑Dionysus compromise at Delphi was reached. Op. cit., p. 18.

101.  Cf. Poulsen, Delphi, p. 4.

102.  Ibid., p. 24.

103.  ibid., p. 31.

104.  Apollo, Artemis, Leto, and Aphrodite, just to mention a few, fought on the side of Troy in the Trojan War, which might indicate their non‑Greek origins in Asia Minor.

105.  Cf. G. L. Huxley, The Early Ionians, pp. 109‑110.

106.  There is a mistake here in Huxley's too generalized statement. Obviously not all the Ephesians felt this way, else what was all the class struggle about in Ionia? The Lydian and Persian powers beckoned to various class alignments for alliances at various times, so the city itself would be split in its “looking to the East.”

107.  G. L. Huxley, The Early Ionians, p. 140. George Thomson gives perhaps the best account of these interpenetrating processes: "The revolution was generally preceded by a transitional phase, known as the tyranny. Thus we may distinguish three stages: oligarchy, or the rule of the landed aristocracy, tyranny, and democracy . . . . . . . . In the latter years of the fifth century B.C. the struggle between democrats and oligarchs assumed the form of a pan-hellenic war between Athens and Sparta. The earliest tyrants belong to the second half of the seventh century: Kypselos and Periandros at Corinth, Theagenes at Megara, Orthagoras at Sikyon, Thrasyboulos at Miletos, Pythagoras (not the philosopher) at Ephesos. . . . . At Miletos the death of Thrasyboulos was followed by two generations of civil war, after which the city recovered her former prosperity under the tyrant Histiaios . . . . . Everywhere, after their conquest of Ionia (545 B.C.), the Persians had installed tyrants friendly to themselves; and hence, when the Ionians revolted (499 B.C.) and again when the Persians were routed at the Battle of Mykale (479 B.C.), the democracy was generally restored." The First Philosophers, pp. 209‑210.

108.  Cf. John Burnet, Early Greek Philosophy, pp. 130‑131. Cf. also Leon Robin, Greek Thought and the Origins of the Scientific Spirit, trans. M. R. Dobie (New York: Russell & Russell, 1967), p. 71. It is said that Heraclitus also persuaded the tyrant Melancomas to give up the tyranny. Cf. G.L. Huxley, The Early Ionians, p. 140.

109. Cited and translated by Burnet, Early Greek Philosophy, p. 140.

110.  Cited and translated by Kathleen Freeman, Ancilla to the Pre‑Socratic Philosophers, p. 33.

111.  Marx, Capital, I, p. 132.

112.  Karl Marx, Grundrisse, p. 540.

113.  Cited and translated by G. S. Kirk, Heraclitus, p. 52.

114.  V. I. Lenin, Philosophical Notebooks: Collected Works (Moscow: 1961), vol. 38, pp. 359‑360.

115.  Cf. ibid., p. 360. As Engels explains: "From the dialectical standpoint, the possibility of expressing motion in its opposite, in rest, presents absolutely no difficulty. To dialectical philosophy the whole antithesis . . . is only relative; there is no such thing as absolute rest, unconditional equilibrium. Each separate movement strives towards equilibrium, and the motion as a whole puts an end again to the equilibrium." Friedrich Engels, Anti‑Dühring, 2nd ed. (Moscow: 1959), p. 90.

116.  Cf. Lenin, Philosophical Notebooks, pp. 360‑361. As Engels puts it: "It is the merit of Marx that . . . he was the first to have brought to the fore again the forgotten dialectical method, its connection with Hegelian dialectics and its distinction from the latter, and at the same time to have applied this method in Capital to the facts of an empirical science, political economy." Friedrich Engels, Dialectics of Nature, trans. Clemens Dutt (Moscow: Progress, p. 49.

117.  Engels, Anti‑Dühring, p. 167.

118.  The subject of our Heraclitus chapter. My italics.

119.  Engels, Dialectics of Nature, p. 17. Elsewhere in this same work, Engels expresses these same laws as follows: "It is, therefore, from the history of nature and human society that the laws of dialectics are abstracted. For they are nothing but the most general laws of these two aspects of historical development, as well as of thought itself. And indeed they can be reduced in the main to three: The law of the transformation of quantity into quality and vice versa; The law of the interpenetration of opposites; The law of the negation of the negation." Op. cit., p. 63.

120.  Cf. Engels, Dialectics of Nature, p. 73.

121.  Ibid., p. 100.

122. Cf. ibid., p. 205‑206.

123.  Ibid., p. 206.

124.  Ibid., p. 214.

125.  Ibid., p. 310.

126.  Engels, Anti‑Diihring, p. 144.

127.  Engels observes that the struggle between feudal nobility and bourgeoisie entailed the struggle between town and country, industry versus landed property, money against natural economy. Cf. Anti‑Dühring, pp. 226‑227.

128.  Engels, Anti‑Dühring, p. 367.

SOURCE: DeGrood, David H. “The Thunderbolt, Interpenetration and Heraclitus,” in Dialectics and Revolution. Volume 1 by David H. DeGrood (Amsterdam: B.R. Grüner Publishing Co., 1978), Chapter I, pp. 13-48. (Philosophical Currents; v. 21)

Note: Footnotes have been reorganized into endnotes.

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