Emptiness and Appearance


History of Western Philosophy

Zeno the Stoic

Early Greek Philosophy

Founder of the Stoic school of philosophy. Appearance and reality are distinct. Thoughts and ideas relate logically. Motion (change) is an illusion.

Known as ‘the obscure’ because of his cryptic and paradoxical wordplay. Introduced the ‘unity of opposites’, which states that things come into being by conflict of opposites. The world and things are held in place by the tension of opposites. Every element of the world is in constant flux. Not only the river changes but also the person stepping into the river. Heraclitus saw fire as the fundamental element giving rise to the other elements.


“All things are in Flux”
“No man ever steps into the same river twice, for it is not the same river, and he is not the same man.”
“Cold things warm up, the hot cools off, wet becomes dry and dry becomes wet.”
“Man’s character is his fate (or divinity).”
“Much learning does not teach understanding.”
The road up and the road down is one and the same.”


Influenced these:

Plato, Aristotle, Hegel, Heidegger

Zeno the Stoic

Zeno the Stoic

c.334 – c.262