Once, however, in the beginning of Western thinking, the essence of language flashed in the light of Being—once, when Heraclitus thought the Λόγος as his guiding word, so as to think in this word the Being of beings. But the lightning abruptly vanished. No one held onto its streak of light and the nearness of what it illuminated.

We see this lightning only when we station ourselves in the storm of Being. Yet everything today betrays the fact that we bestir ourselves only to drive storms away. We organize all available means for cloud-seeding and storm dispersal in order to have calm in the face of the storm. But this calm is no tranquility. It is only anesthesia; more precisely, the narcotization of anxiety in the face of thinking.

To think is surely a peculiar affair. The word of thinkers has no authority. The word of thinkers knows no authors, in the sense of writers. The word of thinking is not picturesque; it is without charm. The word of thinking rests in the sobering quality of what it says. Just the same, thinking changes the world. It changes it in the ever darker depths of a riddle, depths which as they grow darker offer promise of a greater brightness.

The riddle has long been propounded to us in the word "Being." In this matter "Being" remains only the provisional word. Let us see to it that our thinking does not merely run after it blindly. Let us first thoughtfully consider that "Being" was originally called "presencing"—and "presencing": enduring-here-before in unconcealment.


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