(Heraclitus, Fragment B 50)

The path most needed for our thinking stretches far ahead. It leads to that simple matter which, under the name λόγος, remains for thinking. Yet there are only a few signs to point out the way.

By means of free reflection along the guidelines of a saying of Heraclitus (B 50), the following essay attempts to take a few steps along that path. Perhaps they can carry us to the point where at least this one saying will speak to us in a more question-worthy way:

οὐκ ἐμοῦ ἀλλὰ τοῦ λόγου ἀκούσαντας
ὁμολογεῖν σοφόν ἐστιν Ἓν Πάντα

One among the virtually identical translations reads:

When you have listened not to me but to the Meaning,
it is wise within the same Meaning to say: One is All.


The saying speaks of ἀκούειν, hearing and having heard, of ὁμολογεῖν, to say the same, of Λόγος, what is said and the saying, of ἐγώ, the thinker himself as λέγων, the one who is talking. Heraclitus here considers a hearing and a saying. He expresses what the Λόγος says: Ἓν Πάντα, all is One. The saying of Heraclitus seems comprehensible in every respect. Nevertheless, everything about it is worthy of question. Most question-worthy is what is most self-evident, namely, our presupposition that whatever Heraclitus says ought to become immediately obvious to our contemporary everyday understanding.


Martin Heidegger (GA 7) Early Greek Thinking

GA 7 p. 213