Heraclitus himself, for all his belief in change, allowed something everlasting. The conception of eternity as opposed to endless duration, which comes from Parmenides, is not to be found in Heraclitus, but in his philosophy the central fire never dies But fire is something continually changing, and its permanence is rather that of a process than that of a substance - though this view should not be attributed to Heraclitus.p. 46. .
The doctrine of liberalism is an attempt to escape from this endless oscillation. The essence of liberalism is an attempt to secure a social order not based on irrational dogma, and insuring stability without involving more restraints than are necessary for the preservation of the community.p. xxiii. .
It has only been very slowly that scientific method, which seeks to reach principles inductively from observation of particular facts, has replaced the Hellenic belief in deduction from luminous axioms derived from the mind of the philosopher.p. 39. .
From what survives of his writings he does not appear to be an amiable character. He was much addicted to contempt, and was the reverse of a democrat. His contempt for mankind leads him to think that only force will compel them to act for their own good. As might be expected, Heraclitus believes in war We must know that war is common to all and strife is justice, and that all things come into being and pass away through strife.p. 41. .
Every community is exposed to two opposite dangers: ossification through too much discipline and reverence for tradition, on the one hand; and on the other, dissolution, or subjugation to foreign conquest, through the growth of an individualism and personal independence that makes co-operation impossible. In general, important civilizations start with a rigid and superstitious system, gradually relaxed, and leading, at a certain stage, to a period of brilliant genius, while the good of the old traditional remains and the evil inherent in its dissolution has not yet developed. But as the evil unfolds, it leads to anarchy, thence, inevitably, to a new tyranny, producing a new synthesis secured by a new system of dogma.p. xxiii. .
The search for something permanent is one of the deepest of instincts leading men to philosophy. It is derived, no doubt, form love of home and desire for refuge from danger; we find, accordingly, that it is most passionate in those whose lives are most exposed to catastrophe. Religion seeks permanence in two forms, God and immortality. In God is no variableness neither shadow of turning; the life after death is eternal and unchanging.p. 45. .
Philosophically inclined mystics, unable to deny that whatever is in time is transitory, have invented a conception of eternity as not persistence through endless time, but existence outside the whole temporal process.p. 46. .
The doctrine of Parmenides was set forth in a poem On Nature. He considered the senses deceptive, and condemned the multitude of sensible things as mere illusion. The only true being is the One, which is infinite and indivisible. It is not, as in Heraclitus, a union of opposites, since there are no opposites. He apparently thought, for instance, that cold means only not hot, and dark means only not light.p. 48. .
The first thing to consider is education. This is divided into two parts, music and gymnastics. Each has a wider meaning than at present: music means everything that is in the province of the muses, and gymnastics means everything concerned with physical training and fitness. Music is almost as wide as what we should call culture, and gymnastics is somewhat wider than what we would call athletics.p. 109. .
Culture is to be devoted to making men gentlemen, in the sense which, largely owing to Plato, is familiar in England. The Athens of his day was, in one respect, analogous to England in the nineteenth century: there was in each an aristocracy enjoying wealth and social prestige, but having no monopoly of political power; and in each the aristocracy had to secure as much power as it could by means of impressive behavior. In Platos Utopia, however, the aristocracy rules unchecked.p. 109. .
Adeimantus breaks in with a protest. whatever Socrates may say, it remains the case, as any one may see, that people who stick to philosophy become strange monsters, not to say utter rogues; even the best of them are made useless by philosophy. Socrates admits that this is true in the world as it is, but maintains that it is the other people who are to blame, not the philosophers; in a wise community the philosophers would not seem foolish; it is only among fools that the wise are judged to be destitute of wisdom.p. 122. .
Philosophy, for Plato, is a kind of vision, the vision of truth. It is not purely intellectual; it is not purely wisdom, but love of wisdom. Spinozas intellectual love of God is much the same intimate union of thought and feeling. Every one who had done any kind of creative work has experienced, in a greater or less degree, the state of mind in which, after long labor, truth, or beauty, appears, or seems to appear, in a sudden glory - it may only be about some small matter, or it may be about the universe. The experience is, at the moment, very convincing; doubt may come later, but at the time there is utter certainty. I think that most of the best creative work, in art, in science, in literature, and in philosophy, had been the result of such a moment.p. 122. .
The belief - which one finds in Locke and in most writers of his time - that any honest man can know what is just and lawful, is one that does not allow for the strength of party bias on both sides, or for the difficulty of establishing a tribunal, whether outwardly or in mens consciences, that shall be capable of pronouncing authoritatively on vexed questions. In practice, such questions, if sufficiently important, are decided simply by power, not by justice and law. Some such view is essential to any doctrine that divides governmental power. Where such a power is embodied in the Constitution, the only way to avoid occasional civil war is to practice compromise and common sense. But compromise and common sense are habits of mind, and cannot be embodied in a written constitution.p. 638. .
The conceptions of life and the world which we call philosophical are the product of two factors: one, inherited religious and ethical conceptions; the other, the sort of investigation which may be called scientific, using this word in its broadest sense.p. xiii. .
All definite knowledge—so I should contend—belongs to science; all dogma as to what surpasses definite knowledge belongs to theology. But between theology and science there is a No Man’s Land, exposed to attack by both sides; this No Man’s Land is philosophy.p. xiii. .
Modern philosophy begins with Descartes, whose fundamental certainty is the existence of himself and his thoughts, from which the external world is to be inferred. This was only the first stage in a development, through Berkeley and Kant, to Fichte, for whom everything is only an emanation of the ego. This was insanity, and from this extreme, philosophy has been attempting, ever since, to escape into the world of every-day common sense.p. xxi. .
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