In the Disney movie Pocahontas, the titular character sings about the river in Just around the River Bend:

[Pocahontas] What I love most about rivers is: You can't step in the same river twice The water's always changing, always flowing But people, I guess, can't live like that We all must pay a price To be safe, we lose our chance of ever knowing

Was this an intentional quotation from the works of the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, or was this merely a coincidence on the part of the Disney songwriters, perhaps sourced from Native American philosophy?

"Everything changes and nothing remains still ... and ... you cannot step twice into the same stream"

  • I feel that that phrase is one of those phrases that get independently thought up alot.
    – cde
    Aug 25, 2015 at 5:18

1 Answer 1


Disney does have a tendency to use philosophical quotes quite often. My answer would be yes (more than likely Heraclitus rather than Native American philosophy) to your question.

This answer is based upon the use of other philosophical quotes in Disney films.

Here are just a few examples, including another from Pocahontas:

The only thing I know is that I know nothing.

Quoted by John Smith in Pocahontas

Quote origin: Socrates

The unexamined life is not worth living.

Quoted by Ursula in The Little Mermaid

Quote origin: Socrates

You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.

Quoted by Zazu in the Lion King

Quote origin: Plato

  • +1 for some good examples, but I am preferably looking for canonical sources (eg director interviews).
    – March Ho
    Aug 25, 2015 at 11:09
  • @MarchHo my mistake. That would be great to find a source for the writer/director inspiration. Although they may not admit inspiration came from a philosopher. Personally, I think the best Disney quotes/songs come from Disney rather than philosophy. Quotes from the Emperor in Mulan, Grandma Willow in Pocahontas and Rafiki in the Lion King are my favorites. Aug 25, 2015 at 13:07

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