Logos (Heraclitus, Fragment B 50)

If this is so, then neither can Λόγος, be the overcoming of mortal λέγειν, nor can λέγειν be simply a copying of the definitive Λόγος. Then whatever essentially occurs in the λέγειν of ὁμολογεῖν and in the λέγειν of the Λόγος has a more primordial origin—and this in the simple middle region between both. Is there a path for mortal thinking to that place?

In any case, the path remains at first confused and confounded by the very ways which early Greek thinking opened for those who were to follow. We shall limit ourselves to stepping back before the riddle, in order to get a first glimpse of several of its puzzling aspects.

The saying of Heraclitus under discussion (B 50) states, according to our translation and commentary:

Do not listen to me, the mortal speaker, but be in hearkening to the Laying that gathers; first belong to this and then you hear properly; such hearing is when a letting-lie-together-before occurs by which the gathering letting-lie, the Laying that gathers, lies before us as gathered; when a letting-lie of the letting-lie-before occurs, the fateful comes to pass; then the truly fateful, i.e. destiny alone, is: the unique One unifying All.

If we set aside the commentary, though not forgetting it, and try to translate into our language what Heraclitus said, his saying reads:

Attuned not to me but to the Laying that gathers: letting the Same lie: the/ fateful occurs (the Laying that gathers): One unifying All.

Mortals, whose essence remains appropriated in ὁμολογεῖν are fateful when they measure the Λόγος, as the Ἓν Πάντα and submit themselves to its measurement. Therefore Heraclitus says (B 43):

Ὕβριν χρὴ σβεννύναι μᾶλλον ἢ πυρκαῖήν.

Measureless pride needs to be extinguished sooner than a raging fire.

This is needed because Λόγος, needs ὁμολογεῖν if present beings are to appear and shine in presencing. Ὁμολογεῖν dispatches itself without presumption into the measuring of the Λόγος.

From the saying first considered (B 50) we receive a distant counsel, which the last-named saying (B 43) indicates to be the most necessary of all:


Martin Heidegger (GA 7) Early Greek Thinking