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Heraclitus Heraclitus
by David Sparenberg
2013-03-06 10:54:57
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What have I learned?  I have learned that there are not enough lovers.  That summer should be hot and winter should be cold.  That trees upturned expose their roots bitterly to serpent fearing clouds.  That the fertility of the land is like Medea and will slip away on excesses of rain.  That the normal world can be made to stand on its head and find in death life’s final climax.

I have learned that there are not enough lovers.  That countries keep guards at their borders.  That war does not end with the ending of war.  That ghosts kneel in fields beside the unburied dead.  That a raven’s wings are sable but a heartache will pass unnoticed.

I have learned that where thunder and lightning dominate there is an irreconcilable tension.  That lightning reveals the earth in both ecstasy and terror.  That thunder can echo down a canyon throughout the hours of an entire night.  But no reverberation is worse to feel and more rending than the inner rage of man.

I have learned that lovers are scarce and friends are quick to become strangers.  That when blood is shed there is often a conspiracy of silence.  Yet birds, belonging to the private parts of Aphrodite, sing and flowers, having once been poems in the dreams of Orpheus, blossom.

Here upon this rock on the ancient slopes of clearcuts and soldier-bones, I have learned that citizens who call me “The Dark” suspect I have burrowed into their darkness and deciphered secrets.  Therefore there are many who do not feel safe in their beds until they have set fire to hatred and their neighbors, near the spills of olive presses, and torn my philosophy into fragments.  That when lights are out I call to a god who smells of old growth forest and awaits my prayer the way a woman waits for caresses.  Ah…

I have learned, as well, that there is no longer enough bread to go around and troubling increase in the scarcity of water. That it is as hard as the stones of Hades to find a mind at play with paradox or a soul consecrated to purity.  I have learned that there are more words in the marketplace than thinking. That there is more venom on the tongue than truth.  And that twilights are states of alignment, where scoundrels plot and genius creates.

David Sparenberg

23 Feb. 2013


From LIFE IN THE AGE OF EXTINCTIONS, Volume Two, a work-in-progress. Volume One is currently available as a free ebook download from OVI, HERE !



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Emanuel Paparella2013-03-06 12:34:57
Ah Heraclitus the obscure! The Darwin of the ancient world who sees the world in constant transformation and in the reconciliation of opposites, who said that no man steps in the same river twice; a soul in love with wisdom at play with paradox announcing the unity of opposites and that paradoxically the way up is the way down as in Dante, Vico, Blake, and Croce’s philosophy.

In Dante’s Inferno, as one journey’s down to the center of the earth at the very center of hell one is also journeying up to Purgatory and Paradise. But Hell comes first, Purgatory second, while the final destination is heaven at whose center there is God where Parmenides takes over, for in that still point everything is one. It is indeed “the journey of our lives” and Heraclitus intuits it but does not know it yet as Dante and Blake do. Indeed my friend, this is the language of the humanities, the liberal arts, the language of the poetic, derided by those who believe in the determinism and cold utility of science while at the same time they descend into cultism and superstition, into the reading of tea leaves. Indeed, the world is a paradox and a mystery wrapped in an enigma. E la nave va.

Emanuel Paparella2013-03-06 22:17:05
By the way, but a correction on identification may be in order: the detail on the cover page from Raphael’s The School of Athens as found in the Vatican in the Papal rooms is not that of Heraclitus but of Pythagoras writing his theorem on a tablet. Heraclitus (represented by Michelangelo) is morose and all by himself a bit to the right (from the viewer’s perspective) of Pythagoras under Parmenides and Raphael himself whom we see looking at the viewers in the cover page, above Pythagoras. Looking at the original whole, in the center under Plato and Aristotle, sitting on a step, we see Socrates. Here is a poetical painting, if there ever was one.

Leah Sellers2013-03-07 06:00:56
Mr. David,Sir, sometimes your Gift brings tears to my Eyes (and my Inner Eye).
As a Child, I was first introduced to the World of Philosophy by my Grandfather while visiting my Grandparents home in the Appalachian Mountains over the summers.
They did not believe in watching television, and instead listened to music of all kinds while reading in their livingroom/library room every evening.
They had a four hundred acre farm in the middle of the wilderness, but I was never bored. My many Cousins and I worked hard and played hard all day long.
Every evening, after dinner, Grandpa would sit me down right beside him, and he would read three Bible verses, and then would have me read the next three.
Then we would discuss what we had read together once the Bible Chapter was completed.
Then he would pull out one of his leather bound books of philosophy, and he would read three paragraphs, and I would read the next three paragraphs.
When we came to a stopping point of his choosing, we would discuss what we had read together.
I cherished (and still cherish) those moments with Grandpa and Grandma.
Your Beautiful Words and Thoughts breathed life into those Precious Memories for me once again, dear Sir.
Thank you.

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