Panta rhei


Do you know what this means? Do you know who said it? Without looking it up? I read about “panta rhei” in Thomas Moore’s A Religion of One’s Own. 

I am amazed by how much I don’t know.

My wife just read the obituary of a man who owned much real estate in a city of which we are a suburb. She said, “Did you see that so and so died?”  Truthfully, I didn’t until I read his obituary.

Maybe I should add, I am always amazed by who I don’t know. I am also amazed by who my wife does. A good thing.

Herakleitos said, “panta rhea.” It means, “everything flows.” If when I die I have a tombstone, this is what I want on it. Of course, and in keeping with Herakleitos, I will probably change my mind.

Its opposite, “nothing flows” I hope to avoid. In life and in death.

15 thoughts on “Panta rhei

  1. Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist March 11, 2014 / 8:01 pm

    This is something that I didn’t know but am going to remember. Women always know more or of more people than men. Definitely a gender thing whilst I’m sure that men know many other things that women do not.

      • Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist March 12, 2014 / 6:42 am

        I’ll remember panta rhei because it will make a change from me saying “go with the flow” and why women remember people is because (this is just what I think and has no basis scientifically although I am sure studies will have been done) it is because men aren’t networkers and friends are not something that men actively seek out or desire to have whereas from tiny children girls will network and create a circle of friends, actively searching for them and fostering them and this network rallies in times of crisis where men tend to try and go it alone. I think it is part of this development of networks.

      • fictionfitz March 12, 2014 / 7:03 am

        Your panta rhea thoughts are insightful.

        Remembering people I became more attached to once I learned to do it one person at a time. Since then it has been an important means of help and support.

      • Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist March 12, 2014 / 7:08 am

        Yes I think it is much more difficult for men to do this. I’m glad you have because I do think the help and support you get makes your life much happier.

  2. Carole Webber March 12, 2014 / 11:05 am

    To me “panta rhea” means life instances come by us once, no replays, so, live in the moment ?
    Herodatus said something to that effect “you do not walk in the same place each time your feet are in a river” or something like that.
    I think of pants rhea as God/s grace at the moment.

  3. Sarah March 13, 2014 / 9:20 am

    Gorgeous post!

      • Sarah March 13, 2014 / 9:29 am

        Things have been a bit overwhelming in my life so this is a good mantra for me at the moment.

      • fictionfitz March 13, 2014 / 9:47 am

        Glad it helped. For different reasons, I resonate with it too.

  4. SirenaTales March 13, 2014 / 11:01 am

    Oh, I am so pleased to know this, FF. Thank you, and also for the laughs. I do appreciate your wry humor–stealthy, unassuming and spot on. Panta rhei to you

    • fictionfitz March 13, 2014 / 12:10 pm

      Thank you Sirena, and to you, may it be so for ever and ever.

  5. Jack Saunsea March 16, 2014 / 4:20 am

    Incredibly interesting. I’m probably going to spend an hour or two tomorrow researching the phrase and writings attached to it. See, someone shares it (you) and I become inspired to learn more (everything flows).

    • fictionfitz March 16, 2014 / 5:39 am

      Thanks Jack, I hadn’t heard the expression before, but we all seem to identify with it is some way.

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