Take a study of natural forces, add a healthy pour of figurative language and delicious fragments from the natural philosophers from the eighth and seventh centuries BCE throughout the Aegean, especially in the Greek letters of Heraclitus.
Consider, Fragment 7:
εἰ πάντα τὰπάντα καπνὸς γένοιτο, ῥῖνες ἂν διαγνοῖεν.
Transliterated into our alphabet, and we read: ei pánta tà ónta kapnòs génoito, rhînes àn diagnoîen.
If all things were turned to smoke, the nostrils would distinguish them.
With only the kitchen implements of a basic knowledge of the Greek Alphabet, along with the knowledge of how to use a Greek/English Dictionary, and a heavily metaphoric approach to language, I render unto the gods this,
If the whole being smoke comes into being, the nose would know one from the other.
Something about the repetition of being coming into being and being almost untraceable in the smoke, which reminds me of Juan Rulfo’s novel Pedro Páramo, reminds me of Martin Heidegger, whose thoughts on Heraclitus, along with Eugen Fink, I’ve been reading in Heraclitus Seminar. Heidegger and Fink offer this translation:
If everything which is were smoke, noses would discriminate.
Heidegger ruminates, “Fr. 7 is the only one in which Heraclitus speaks of πάντα as ὄντα,” meaning according to the glossary provided, “all things” as “things which are.” For Heidegger in Being and Time, the “ontic” being is different from the “ontological” the reason of being. Crucially, this pairing of Greek words and interpretation offers a particular appearance of “all things” as smoke, suggesting other types of appearances may come to pass, and that following from this premise, a difference resides between all things and how they come forth.
Ah, smoke. I love to cook with a low fire billowing smoke up a chimney-like smoker to cover and penetrate whole chickens and turkeys, pig heads and bellies, red snapper and shrimp, and so on, and so on. For instance, sausage.
Always, pork belly.
Smoking being sheds light and smoke on Heraclitus’ fragment. A pig appears, a pig eats nuts, mushrooms and leaves on the forest floor, a sacrifice distills the day, then the pig becomes its parts, becomes a pork belly, changing name as the animal moves from the forest to the home, a gift of Norman French invading England in 1066, which by the way also brought over the Harvey/Hervé name from Breton; and then wood fires, smoke billows, the belly nestles on the grill, and then time and smoke alter, enhance, transform, transfigure, complete a metamorphosis resulting in nose and mouth tasting, I should write, discriminating smoke, fat, flesh and oranges. We exist in a world of smoke where we use our senses, reason and imagination to negotiate, and of course, we are caught up in the same cosmic movement, thank you Hermeneutics and Phenomenology, so I have to admit smoking alters how I come forth into the world.
I smoke cigars. I smoke cigars with lumberjacks smoking.
I smoke cigars with Trinidadians. And they and I are much altered. Bourbon also helps the altering.
And where does all this smoke and mirrors leave us, as Heidegger states,
But can the senses distinguish at all? This question will occupy us later with Heraclitus. But how does Heraclitus come to smoke? The answer is not difficult to find. Where there is smoke, there is also fire.
More on fire next post, right now, listen to the Ohio Players. Oh my. Fire. Bon Appétit!