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A Philosophic Statement on Change

“The only thing that does not change is the change itself.”, said a wise philosopher named Heraclitus.

In order to think on and examine this sentence we must first learn who Heraclitus is.

Heraclitus was an ancient Greek pre-Socratic* philosopher from the city of Ephesus**, which at the time was a part of the Persian Empire***.

Unfortunately, only one of his works has survived to our day, also little amounts of information can be found about his life. Yet, we still know his central idea of philosophy and what kind of philosopher he was.

It is said that his paradoxical philosophy, love for wordplays and, clever, mysterious epigrams have given him nicknames such as “the dark” and “the obscure” for a very long time. He was also considered as arrogant and depressed based on his dislike of human species, and melancholia. Therefore, he got the nickname “the weeping philosopher”.

When we come to the main idea of Heraclitus’ philosophy, we can clearly see the concept of change and the unity of opposites. He also believed that there could be balance and fairness in conflict. He thought of the world as always changing, always in the process of becoming something new, but never staying the same.

So, when we come back to the quote, we can understand that change is inevitable and constant. However, I don’t entirely agree with Heraclitus, and here is why. Well, Heraclitus isn’t all wrong. Yes, everything changes, from our lives to our personalities and from time to seasons, every single thing in this universe is evolving and growing with the cause of change. Yet, when we look at the events that happen in our world nothing is changing. People might differ, revolutions can be made, peace can be declared, and our bloods can be shed for greater causes, but it still won’t change this one big fact, that there will always be some people who will hold the power in their clutches and will be too greedy to share it with others. And that never changed.

You can overthrow tyrants and kings but there will always be someone to replace them, someone other who will force us to obey their rules and ideologies; silencing, squelching and punishing the ones who disobey them.

The second reason why I don’t believe this statement is that some people don’t change. Let’s face it. No matter how you help them with their problems they will persist on staying in their little boxes where everything is safe and the same for them. Though it doesn’t mean that I believe people can’t change, some people can, but some people can’t. Which makes this state half wrong half true for me leading it to be a deficient statement, in my opinion.

Besides my strong thoughts, I can’t fully disagree with Heraclitus. Everything does change. Even if it’s a negative one we can give Global Warming as an example, it’s a huge change transforming Earth, probably into something bad. Or as a good example, even if we don’t notice it, our lives are in a constant change. It may seem like we are living in the same routine however, we grow and by growing we change, so does the routines. Or maybe a huge change will happen, and you won’t have to follow a routine anymore!

In conclusion, we can continue giving a variety of examples for change and non-change. What I take from Heraclitus' sentence is that it’s a relative statement. After all, philosophy itself is both subjective and universal, and open to change with collective thinking.

* Pre-Socratic: Ancient Greek philosophy before the time of Socrates. 5th and 6th centuries to be precise.

** Ephesus: Ephesus was a city in Ancient Greece on the coast of Ionia (Wikipedia, 2023).

*** Persian Empire: Persian Empire was the ancient Iranian empire founded by Cyrus the Great of the Achaemenid dynasty in 550 BC. Based in Western Asia, it was the largest empire in its time (Wikipedia, 2023).

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