EARLY GREEK THINKING


We are all ears when our gathering devotes itself entirely to hearkening, the ears and the mere invasion of sounds being completely forgotten. So long as we only listen to the sound of a word, as the expression of a speaker, we are not yet even listening at all. Thus, in this way we never succeed in having genuinely heard anything at all. But when does hearing succeed? We have heard [gehört] when we belong to [gehören] the matter addressed. The speaking of the matter addressed is λέγειν, letting-lie-together-before. To belong to speech—this is nothing else than in each case letting whatever a letting-lie-before lays down before us lie gathered in its entirety. Such a letting-lie establishes whatever lies before us as lying-before. It establishes this as itself. It lays one and the Same in one. It lays one as the Same. Such λέγειν lays one and the same, the ὁμόv. Such λέγειν is ὁμολογεῖν: One as the Same, i.e. a letting-lie-before of what does lie before us, gathered in the selfsameness of its lying-before.

Proper hearing occurs essentially in λέγειν as ὁμολογεῖν. This is consequently a λέγειν which lets lie before us whatever already lies together before us; which indeed lies there by virtue of a laying which concerns everything that lies together before us of itself. This exceptional laying is the λέγειν which comes to pass as the Λόγος.

Thus is Λόγος named without qualification: ὁ Λόγος, the Laying: the pure letting-lie-together-before of that which of itself comes to lie before us, in its lying there. In this fashion Λόγος occurs essentially as the pure laying which gathers and assembles. Λόγος is the original assemblage of the primordial gathering from the primordial Laying. Ὁ Λόγος is the Laying that gathers [die lesende Lege], and only this.

However, is all this no more than an arbitrary interpretation and an all-too-alien translation with respect to the usual understanding which takes Λόγος as meaning and reason? At first it does sound strange, and it may remain so for a long time—calling Λόγος "the Laying that gathers." But how can anyone decide whether what this translation implies concerning the essence of Λόγος remains appropriate, if only in the most remote way, to what Heraclitus named and thought in the name ὁ Λόγος?


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Martin Heidegger (GA 7) Logos (Heraclitus, Fragment B 50)