It’s possible, however, that Heraclitus’s idea of a unity of opposites involved more than just the succession of opposed states that occurs in cases of change. His example of a bow or a lyre may illustrate a kind of opposition in which the opposites are simultaneouslycompresent in a single object. Cf. fr. 46=B51: They do not understand how, though at variance with itself, it agrees with itself. It is a backwards-turning attunement like that of the bow and lyre.The point comes out more clearly in Freeman’s (slightly less literal) translation: They do not understand how that which differs with itself in is agreement: harmony consists of opposing tension, like that of the bow and the lyre.Here the tension between opposed forces -the string being pulled one way by one end of the bow and the other way by the other -enables the bow to perform its function, to be the kind of thing that it is. It seemsstatic, but it is in fact dynamic. Beneath its apparently motionless exterior is a tension between opposed forces. Cf. KRS, 193:
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