The Anaximander Fragment
distinguished. Rather, even the early trace of the distinction is obliterated when presencing appears as something present and finds itself in the position of being the highest being present.
The oblivion of the distinction, with which the destiny of Being begins and which it will carry through to completion, is all the same not a lack, but rather the richest and most prodigious event: in it the history of the Western world comes to be borne out. It is the event of metaphysics. What now is stands in the shadow of the already foregone destiny of Being's oblivion.
However, the distinction between Being and beings, as something forgotten, can invade our experience only if it has already unveiled itself with the presencing of what is present; only if it has left a trace which remains preserved in the language to which Being comes. Thinking along those lines, we may surmise that the distinction has been illuminated more in that early word about Being than in recent ones; yet at no time has the distinction been designated as such. Illumination of the distinction therefore cannot mean that the distinction appears as a distinction. On the contrary, the relation to what is present in presencing as such may announce itself in such a way that presencing comes to speak as this relation.
The early word concerning Being, τὸ χρεών, designates such a relation. However, we would be deceiving ourselves if we thought we could locate the distinction and get behind its essence merely by etymologically dissecting the meaning of the word χρεών with enough persistence. Perhaps only when we experience historically what has not been thought—the oblivion of Being—as what is to be thought, and only when we have for the longest time pondered what we have long experienced in terms of the destiny of Being, may the early word speak in our contemporary recollection.
We are accustomed to translate the word χρεών by "necessity." By that we mean what is compelling—that which inescapably must be. Yet we err if we adhere to this derived meaning exclusively. Χρεών is derived from χράω, χραομάι. It suggests ἡ χείρ, the hand; χράω means: I get involved with something, I reach for it, extend my hand to it. At the same time χράω means to place in someone's hands or hand