According to the Sage Heraclitus, the hidden harmony of the incomprehensible LOGOS is back-turning like the lyre and perhaps also back-stretched like the bow. The desert embraced the wisdom of the Sage of Ephesus, which distinguishes between a rationally comprehensible logic which goes out in a straight line, and the incomprehensible gnomic LOGOS which turns us round, endowing us with an angelic circular motion that is enigmatically symphonic. Back-turning symphonic motion is not only polyphonic but harmonious, joining what is at variance, so as to fit together what is fleeing apart. When back-turning harmony circles round so as to comprehend the incomprehensible, in order to bear gnomic witness to what is unknowable, consonant dissonance is not cacophonous, neither is dissonant consonance monotonous. War bows are back-stretched but the back-stretched harmony which releases the arrow does not quite do justice to the wisdom of the back-turning lyre. The back-turning lyre imparts peace through music by embracing dissonance without cacophony, a holy resonance that includes consonance without monotony.
Ear does not hear nor eye see what gnomic wisdom discerns until the ear and eye of the heart awaken to what the incomprehensible LOGOS is saying. Difference is at variance with sameness but divergence is convergent when wisdom sings from dissonant tension in consonant wisdom songs. The desert loved the gnomic wisdom of Heraclitus because it lived a dissonant consonance that was attuned to the wisdom of the LOGOS, a back-turning harmony that can transmit wisdom with the help of gnomic riddles. This wisdom does justice to the enigmas of mystery, and does not reduce tension or dissolve hostility, but holds co-inherent antinomies in critical tension, as Archimandrite Sophrony used to put it. Wisdom bears witness to the gathering unity of LOGOS without collapsing dissonance into premature consonance or by driving divergence into disintegration, destroying wise divergence and conjoined convergence.
Just as Apollo’s weapon of war was his bow and his instrument of peace was his lyre, so Heraclitus saw that deep harmony embraces both the back-stretched bow and the back-turning lyre. Such harmony turns us right round into what oblivion forgets. The desert saw this wisdom as consistent with the LOGOS, revelation of the Name, which prescribes injunctions to turn and see. Metanoia, which is a profound turning of the mind into God in union with the heart, is one spirit with theoria, which sees union of seer and seen in God, through God. Desert tradition integrates the wisdom of Isaiah and Solomon with the wisdom of Heraclitus by fitting their divergent insights together and bearing witness to turned wisdom’s conjoined union with the turning Name. The Prologue of Saint John’s Gospel bears witness to the LOGOS of Isaiah, which unveils the Name, together with the LOGOS of Solomon, confirmed by Heraclitus, which unveils wisdom. Their reciprocal back-turning harmony gives to desert tradition its capacity to turn hostile opposites into co-inherent antinomies. This gives to Patristic Tradition a wisdom that does not confuse communion with confusion or degenerate differences into divisions. With Heraclitus, the common LOGOS is discerned that sees deep harmony in archery and music to discover it in the unveiled Name wherever we turn. This LOGOS unveils the wisdom which discerns all gnomic riddles as well as all mysteries of the Name. Wisdom is gnomic when she recognises that the back-turning LOGOS that gives rise to all, is the back-turning LOGOS that steers all through all.