A Triadic Conversation [151–152]

Scholar: I did not discover the word I am thinking of myself; it is only a scholarly idea that occurred to me.

Scientist: And so, if I may say so, a historiological reminiscence?

Scholar: Certainly. It would also have fit in well with the style of our conversation today, in the course of which we often threw in words and sentences that stemmed from the thinking of the ancient Greeks. But now this word will no longer suit what we are attempting to name with a single word.

Guide: That is, the essence of thinking which, as an indwelling releasement to the worlding of the world, bears that relationship by means of which the human dwells in nearness to farness.58

Scientist: Even if the word you have in mind is now no longer suitable, you could still divulge it to us at the conclusion of our conversation; for we have again neared human habitation and must in any case break off the conversation.

Guide: And this word which is now no longer fitting, yet which was earlier esteemed by you as a precious inspiration, could make clear to us that in the meantime we have come before something ineffable.

Scholar: It is a word from Heraclitus.

Scientist: From which of the fragments handed down by tradition have you taken the word? [152]

Scholar: The word occurred to me alone and by itself, namely because it stands alone. It does not come out of a fragment. It itself as this One Word makes up the fragment which is counted with the number 122.

Scientist: I don’t know this shortest of Heraclitus’s fragments

Scholar: And it is scarcely paid attention to by anyone else either, since there is little one can begin to do with a single word.

Guide: It seems to me entirely questionable that what philology and the historians of philosophy take as “fragments” are broken-off pieces. These words may be this if we set them forth from out of the whole of a text; in themselves, however, they are hardly broken-off pieces. Indeed, it is they that have brought into language intact what is essential of the thoughts which are thought by a thinker.

Scientist: Yet this word of Heraclitus, which is designated as fragment 122, how does it read?

Scholar: Ἀγχιβασίη.

Scientist: What does this mean?

58. This passage is replaced in the 1959 excerpt with the following: “You mean the essence of thinking which, as the indwelling releasement to the open-region, is the essential human relation to the open-region, which we presage as nearness to farness” (G 68 / DT 87).—Tr.

Country Path Conversations (GA 77) by Martin Heidegger