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Remembering Heraclitus [Paperback]

Richard Geldard
2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 May 2000
"To be wise is one thing: to know the thought that directs all things through all things." "We should not act like the children of our parents." "I searched my nature." - from the Fragments of Heraclitus This bright, deep, meditative jewel-like study brings Heraclitus to life in a new way, and shows him to be one of the principal sources of Western mystical thinking. From Geldard's point of view, the study of Heraclitus is not just an academic matter but, on the contrary, presents us with very real existential and phenomenological challenges. The book includes new translations of all the essential fragments. Geldard, through his exploration of Heraclitus, shows us, "The more that human beings openly and humbly seek higher knowledge, the more they develop the power to perceive it, until finally they penetrate to the hidden universal order. The result of this penetration is knowledge of the Logos, that 'which directs all things through all things.' The acquisition of this knowledge is not an event; it is a stance in the world. It is Being in its fullness."

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Remembering Heraclitus + The Art and Thought of Heraclitus: A New Arrangement and Translation of the Fragments with Literary and Philosophical Commentary (Edition of the Fragments with Translation and Commentary)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Lindisfarne Books (1 May 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0940262983
  • ISBN-13: 978-0940262980
  • Product Dimensions: 22 x 14 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 832,312 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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'An excellent new book. Highly recommended, especially to anyone interested in the roots of Western thinking.' -- Network, December 2000 'A lively introduction to the first fortean philosopher. Geldard located Heraclitus alongside his contemporary truth-seekers in the East -- Buddha, Confuscius, Lao Tse, Zoroaster -- as one of the first individuals to begin the process of dismembering received cultural myths and replacing them with a personal quest for truth.' -- Fortean Times, April 2001 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Richard Geldard studied Greek drama and then pursued graduate studies in philosophy at the universities of Stanford and Oxford. Inspired by the work of T.B.L. Webster and William Arrowsmith, Geldard aims at renewing in English translation the richness of the Greek cultural experience, with all its vitality and metaphysical currents. He describes his current work as 'wrestling with the ghost of Heraclitus'. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

2.8 out of 5 stars
2.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the book illuminates the fragments themselves 9 July 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Richard Geldard has written a long awaited book on the fragments of Heraclitus. This book attempts to put each fragment within its correct context so that simplistic interpretations are avoided. This is especially true of cultural and religious allusions which occasionally form a part of the fragments. Indeed, even seemingly unambiguous phrasings may be incorrectly translated as the Greek language is known for its ambiguous nature. Often this ambiguity can help express something without the need of metaphor. Geldard divides the book into sections dealing with important philosophical aspects of Greek thinking of the 6th century BC, e.g. Logos, Ethos etc. This means that the fragments are not solitary pieces without a guiding hand but are in fact used to make statements about all aspects of Greek life.

Geldard also connects the fragments with aspects of Eastern thought, such Buddhism, Hinduism, Zorastrianism, which is thought to have reached Ephesus through trading routes. There are some parallels to these systems of thought although Herclitus's work remains original and one gets the impression the fragments are truly the work of one man who has "looked within his own nature" as Heraclitus said.

Geldard treads the very fine line between too much analysis and too little. It makes this book a worthwhile read and certainly greatly illuminates the fragments themselves.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Richard Geldard has done us a great service by, as he very well puts it, 'remembering' Heraclitus for us.

Richard Geldard puts Heraclitus into context as one of the great figures of Vogelin's 'Great Leap of Being' alongside Lao Tzu, Gautam Buddha and Zarathustra (Zoroaster). But one who delves into the fragments fully and internalises their truth cannot but place Heraclitus in a class of his own. Heraclitus doesn't say truth, he thunders it! And for most people Heraclitus' thunder is too loud too hear, and it is here where Richard Gelard's generous work comes in.

Plotinus believed Plato needed interpreting for people to understand him. Now ... if Plato needed interpreting then Heraclitus most definitely does as well. And Richard Geldard has proven himself a skilled interpreter, calling on both science and religion to demistify for us Heraclitus' truth. But even though he interprets Heraclitus, Geldard informs us that the fragments' real purpose is not to be interpreted, but to be internalised. The fragments are transformation in nature, alchemical. They are like a seed you plant in your self and in time it flowers into the most beautiful flower. The seed itself is almost unintelligible, but it carries within it abundant and beautiful life. So it is with the fragments too, and Geldard manages to highlight this aspect perfectly.

The fragments are menat to shock and explode the barriers of our minds, and Richard Geldard softens the landing, or it would be perhaps better to say he prepares us for the awakening.

This book is a treasure, well designed, and it comes with a list of the essential fragments at the end which one can easily use to meditate or reflect upon them, without having to dig around in the bulk of the text.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Facile, pretentious and unrewarding 27 Jun 2013
By Linda
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book tells us quite a lot about the philosophy of Mr. Geldard, about how widely he has read (though not always with understanding), and about his admiration for anything "esoteric". It does not tell us much that is worthwhile about Heraclitus.

I do not see how references to (among many others) Dylan Thomas, Hegel, Heidegger or Thomas Aquinas are going to help us understand Heraclitus, as they had access to no more of his work than we do. References to things like the Big Bang or general relativity have even less point. (That the author does not even understand physics is clear from the footnote on page 28, since a wormhole, as the term is usually understood by physicists, has nothing whatever to do with "higher dimensions".)

We have so little of Heraclitus's own work that it is probably not possible to reconstruct his philosophy in anything more than the vaguest of outlines. This does not seem to daunt the author, who boldly presents - perhaps "invents" would be a better word - whole sets of ideas that go far beyond what can reasonably be squeezed out of our surviving fragments.

Heraclitus is difficult. Even Socrates, living only about 100 years after him and presumably with access to far more of his work than we have, said as much. The only way to begin to understand him is to study carefully the surviving fragments - and to expect the task to be difficult. Serious readers will prefer "The art and thought of Heraclitus" by Charles Kahn. It is not an easy or quick read, but is a sober study of the fragments, and it refrains from "inventing" vast systems of philosophy to accompany them.
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3 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Misunderstanding Heraclitus 6 Mar 2010
By sanyata
Wrote a long review, dont know where it went. Author misunderstands Heraclitus, makes Heraclitus "talk" about Quantum Theory.

what to get instead:
The Art and Thought of Heraclitus: A New Arrangement and Translation of the Fragments with Literary and Philosophical Commentary by Heraclitus and Charles H. Kahn <-- Absolutely great
The Presocratic Philosophers: A Critical History with a Selection of Texts by G. S. Kirk, J. E. Raven and M. Schofield <-- good but slow-going
THE PRE-SOCRATICS: A COLLECTION OF CRITICAL ESSAYS. by Alexander P. D. (Editor). Mourelatos (Paperback - 1974) <-- also good
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heraclitus! 25 Jun 2001
By New Age of Barbarism - Published on
_Remembering Heraclitus_ is an exposition of the philosophy of Heraclitus as revealed to us in the few fragments of his that have been preserved. The book is quite profound and asks us questions that concern the very nature of man and his universe. The author describes Heraclitus as a thinker who rejected life in the political sphere for a life removed from the Greek polis where he could engage in speculation and his own researches into the process in all things. Central to his thought is the idea of Logos. This has influenced the thought of many future generations, as well as the Christian religion. By achieving contact with the Logos, man can achieve a more harmonious existence. Heraclitus can be understood using the concept of apophasis, or "affirmation through negation". This is a way of telling us what something is, by telling us what it is not. The author explains how this works for Heraclitus in much detail. The author also discusses such terms as physis (nature), ethos (human nature), and telos (purpose) and how they all play an essential role in the thinking of Heraclitus. He also discusses how Heraclitus' thinking is applicable to the modern day understanding of consciousness, modern day physics, society, and the historical understanding of the development of philosophy. Finally, the author discusses how one should view the notion of esotericism, esoteric thought, and whether we should reject, or alternatively, idolize the past. Heraclitus is indeed a fascinating figure, a philosopher, an alchemist, a teacher, and a profound thinker who has left his mark on Western civilization (and is even popular among some Eastern philosophers). And, this book is a fine survey of the meaning of his thought.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An academic and a brightly articulate study 22 May 2001
By Midwest Book Review - Published on
In Remembering Heraclitus, educator and scholar Richard Geldard reveals Heraclitus as one of the principal sources of Western mystical thinking. With new translation of all the essential fragments of Heraclitus writings, readers are treated to both an academic and a brightly articulate study that present very real and contemporary existential and phenomenological challenges. Enhanced with appendices on "The Problem of the Text"; "The Essential Fragments"; Glossary of Greek Terms"; and "Suggested Readings", Remembering Heraclitus is rewarding and very highly recommended reading for students Greek antiquarian history, literature, culture, philosophy, religion, and metaphysics.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Finally.... 4 Sep 2001
By Bharat - Published on
....someone has given some long overdue credit to this brilliant pre-socratic philosopher.
Geldard has done a good job articulating and intelligently interpreting Heraclitus though, mildly clouded by his personal understanding and experiences.
In any case this is one of the best attempts to explain a very difficult and often confusing subject matter. The suggested readings at the back of the book were particularly helpful to me.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Looking for the Logos 5 Mar 2001
By Tom Weary - Published on
Geldard does an admirable job of breathing life ("inspiring") into the few remaining fragments that we have from this foundational philospher. This book is a must-read if you are truly interested in intellectual history. Heraclitus stands as a hero of Western thought, challenging the mythopoetic conventions of the Archaic world, and really making possible the later investigations of the Sophists and Socrates himself. While I must confess to losing my way during some of Geldard's metaphysical arguments, such as our neural systems are some kind of antennae for tuning in the Logos as some kind of broadcast consciousness, I found the section on the Ethos as both compelling and relevant. I also recommend Beckett's "A New Stoicism" for those wishing to pursue a rigorous examination of the relevance of early ethical thought to our lives today, a period not dissimilar to the transition from the Archaic to the Classical period in Greece.
3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Words of Wonder 19 Dec 2008
By Fred T. Colvin - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Richard Geldard is the artist here. ... not Heraclitus. If you read other Geldard books you will see a man in search of truth. That is what I enjoy. We have no way of truly knowing the intent of Hericlitus's Fragments but Geldard molds the hints into an amazing thesis. In Remembering Heraclitus Geldard states " Materialist's insists that the brain is the only source of consciousness - which is the same as saying the radio box you own is the sole source of the programming" This simple analogy makes it easy for we the people to understand the focus of this search for truth...I highly recommend his books on Emerson also..
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