Logos (Heraclitus, Fragment B 50)

The word that carries the saying, ἐθέλω, does not mean "to want," but rather "to be ready of itself for ..."; ἐθέλω does not mean merely to demand something, but rather to allow something a reference back to itself. However, if we are to consider carefully the import of what is said in the saying, we must weigh what it says in the first line: Ἓν ... λέγεσθαι οὐκ ἐθέλει. "The unique-unifying-One, the Laying that gathers, is not ready ..." Ready for what? For λέγεσθαι, to be assembled under the name "Zeus." For if in such assemblage the Ἓν should be brought to light as Zeus, then perhaps it would always have to remain an apparition. That the saying under consideration concerns λέγεσθαι in immediate relation to ὄνομα (the naming word), indisputably points to the meaning of λέγειν as saying, talking, naming. So precisely this saying of Heraclitus, which seems to contradict directly everything said above concerning λέγειν and λόγος, is designed to allow us renewed thinking on whether and how far λέγειν in the sense of "saying" and "talking" is intelligible only if it is thought in its most proper sense—as "laying" and "gathering." To name means to call forward. That which is gathered and laid down in the name, by means of such a laying, comes to light and comes to he before us. The naming (ὄνομα), thought in terms of λέγειν, is not the expressing of a word-meaning but rather a letting-lie-before in the light wherein something stands in such a way that it has a name.

In the first place the Ἓν, the Λόγος, the destining of everything fateful, is not in its innermost essence ready to appear under the name "Zeus," i.e. to appear as Zeus: οὐκ ἐθέλει. Only after that does καὶ ἐθέλει follow: the Ἓν is "yet also ready."

Is it only a manner of speaking when Heraclitus says first that the Ἓν does not admit the naming in question, or does the priority of denial have its ground in the matter itself? For Ἓν Πὰντα, as Λόγος, lets everything present come to presence. The Ἓν, however, is not itself one present being among others. It is in its way unique. Zeus, for his part, is not simply someone present among others. He is the highest of present beings. Thus Zeus is designated in an exceptional way in presencing; he is alloted this special designation, and appropriately called to such an apportionment (Μοῖρα) in the all-assembling Ἓν, i.e. Fate. Zeus is not himself the Ἓν, although as the one who aims lightning-bolts he executes Fate's dispensations.