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Heraclitus

Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher who flourished towards the end of the 5th century B.C, was born at Ephesus, where he might have attained to high political position had he not preferred to devote himself to philosophy. For some time he travelled, especially in Africa, and on his return to his native city he still refused all dignities, and shortly after adopted a hermit life, dying at the age of 60. The fragments of his writings that remain show him to have belonged to the Ionic school, though there were some points of difference. According to him, fire is the original element of all things, and all existence is in the way of evolution from it. The fire possesses a rational principle, and is the source of soul. It is in a continual motion upwards and downwards from heaven to earth and earth to heaven, and man's soul is part of the fire from heaven which is always tending upwards. The only repose is where there is equilibrium between the ascending and descending forces. Heraclitus greatly influenced Plato and the Stoics, and disciples of Hegel have found striking anticipations of his modes of thought in those of the Greek philosopher.