The Anaximander Fragment

presencing, elucidates what τὸ χρεών means. What is thought as χρεών in the fragment is the first and most thoughtful interpretation of what the Greeks experienced in the name Μοῖρα as the dispensing of portions. Gods and men are subordinated to Μοῖρα. Τὸ Χρεών, usage, is the handing over of what is in each case present into its while in unconcealment.

Τὸ χρεών harbors the still hidden essence of the gathering which clears and shelters. Usage is the gathering: ὁ Λόγος. From the essence of Λόγος, thought in this way, the essence of Being is determined as the unifying One, Ἕν. Parmenides thinks this same Ἕν. He thinks the unity of this unifying One expressly as the Μοῖρα (fr. VIII, 37). Thought from within the essentia] experience of Being, Μοῖρα corresponds to the Λόγος, of Heraclitus. The essence of Μοῖρα and Λόγος, is thoughtfully intimated in the Χρεών of Anaximander.

To search for influences and dependencies among thinkers is to misunderstand thinking. Every thinker is dependent—upon the address of Being. The extent of this dependence determines the freedom from irrelevant influences. The broader the dependence the more puissant the freedom of thought, and therefore the more foreboding the danger that it may wander past what was once thought, and yet—perhaps only thus—think the Same.

Of course, in our recollecting we latecomers must first have thought about the Anaximander fragment in order to proceed to the thought of Parmenides and Heraclitus. If we have done so, then the misinterpretation that the philosophy of the former must have been a doctrine of Being while that of the latter was a doctrine of Becoming is exposed as superficial.

However, in order to think the Anaximander fragment we must first of all, but then continually, take a simple step: we must cross over to what that always unspoken word, ἐόν, ἐόντα, εἶναι says. It says: presencing into unconcealment. Concealed in that word is this: presencing brings unconcealment along with itself. Unconcealment itself is presencing. Both are the Same, though they are not identical.

What is present is that which, whether presently or not, presences in unconcealment. Along with the Ἀλήθεια which belongs to the essence of Being, the Λήθη, remains entirely unthought, as in consequence


Martin Heidegger (GA 5) Early Greek Thinking