Heraclitus, Fragment 88 (D 96)


“Corpses should be thrown out more than dung.” (S 96; cp. R 96, K 87)

This statement was taken as a strong attack on traditional religious rites and beliefs. Burial of the dead was a sacred duty. To disregard that is to disregard the heart of ancient religion. Dung in any case plays a part in the natural processes of life. A dead body does not, except perhaps by fertilizing the earth, playing this small role in the perpetuation of conditions necessary for life processes.

The rites and rituals and imaginations of traditional religion contribute not to understanding. In fact, they distort understanding. In Heraclitus’ view, they should thus be disregarded.



Share Post :