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Fragments

By Heraclitus

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Ryan Holiday (Founder / Brass Check)

While most of the other practical philosophy recommendations I’m making are bent towards hard, practical advice, Heraclitus might seem a bit poetic. But those beautiful lines are really the same direct advice and timeless, perspective-changing observations as the others. “Try in vain with empty talk / to separate the essences of things / and say how each thing truly is.” “Applicants for wisdom / do what I have done: / inquire within.” “Character is fate.” “What eyes witness / ears believe on hearsay.” “The crops are sold / for money spent on food.”

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Heraclitus, the pre-Socratic Greek philosopher, is more known for his work as quoted in canon than he is for his original texts, which were lost to history. The main source of documentation that is attributed to his life was maintained by Diogenes Laertis, and is criticized by some historians as being mostly Hellenistic fabrication. Nonetheless, these accounts of his life and times on record make for some poignant counts of contemplation.

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