By Joel Bowman, Editorial Director, International Man
February 15, 2019
MEDELLÍN, COLOMBIA – “Change is the only constant.”
So observed the pre-Socratic philosopher, Heraclitus. And a clever ol’ Ephesian was he.
Now, Dear Reader, if you would be so kind as to hold that thought… and indulge us in somewhat of a circuitous preamble.
(Those not inclined toward the lessons of history may want to skip over the next few paragraphs and, instead, proceed directly to today’s feature article. Hey, no hard feelings. Honest.)
Strolling along the Milla de Oro this morning, our mind wandering through time and space, Heraclitus came to us, as if in a dream.
"Ever-newer waters flow on those who step into the same rivers," he whispered.
Quietly we mused to ourselves: What might the “Weeping Philosopher” reckon, were he alive today?
What change has come to pass since his ancient feet traipsed this earth?
Firstly, he might notice that his hometown of Ephesus is no longer part of the Persian Empire, as it was throughout most of his lifetime.
When Darius the Great raised taxes, on top of those already levied by his predecessor, Cambyses II, the (mostly Greek) citizens finally decided enough was enough.
The time being what it was, and men being what they once were, they rose up against their oppressor in great masses – an event now known as the Ionian Revolt.
The ensuing Battle of Ephesus catalyzed the Greco-Persian Wars, in which the Ionians and their Athenian cousins ousted the ruling Persians and returned the city to Greek arms.
But the changing river had twists and turns in her yet…
After the Peloponnesian War, during which Ephesus first allied herself to Athens... and later to Sparta (which received support from the victorious Persians) she again fell to former and familiar hands.
The Hellens of course returned, under the rule of Alexander the Great (himself a Macedonian)…
But then came the Romans… the Byzantines (after the Empire split)… the Arabs… the Seljuk Turks… the Ottomans…
You get the picture, Patient Reader. The world is not what it was… nor will it ever be.
Even the greatest empires fall. The prettiest beauty fades. The mightiest oak falls to the earth.
And the rushing river bends and dams (as do the aging men who step into its flow).
We like to think that, were he alive today, to bear witness to the constant change over the centuries since his own time, Heraclitus would feel venerated in his postulation.
Here’s to you, ol’ boy!
And so, what’s an International Man to do, given the decidedly, demonstrably non-static nature of the world around him? The plates shift under his feet… the empire wanes and stumbles… the currency in his back pocket races toward its intrinsic value…
And the sky darkens.
Is it time to stay put, to await the inevitable? Or is it time to seek new climes, to conquer new peaks, to traverse new realms?
The world awaits the international man.
Joel Bowman for International Man