Aletheia (Heraclitus, Fragment B 16)

Even the inherent meaning of what this epithet says to us remains obscure.

Heraclitus is called "the Obscure." But he is the Lucid. For he tells of the lighting whose shining he attempts to call forth into the language of thinking. Insofar as it illuminates, the lighting endures. We call its illumination the lighting [die Lichtung]. What belongs to it, and how and where it takes place, still remain to be considered. The word "light" means lustrous, beaming, brightening. Lighting bestows the shining, opens what shines to an appearance. The open is the realm of unconcealment and is governed by disclosure. What belongs to the latter, and whether and to what extent disclosing and lighting are the Same, remain to be asked.

An appeal to the meaning of άληθεσία accomplishes nothing, and will never produce anything useful.* Further, we must ask whether what is entertained under the rubrics "truth," "certainty," "objectivity," and "reality" has the slightest bearing upon the direction in which revealing and lighting point thought. Presumably, the thinking that goes in such a direction has more at stake than a securing of objective truth—in the sense of valid propositions. Why is it that we are ever and again so quick to forget the subjectivity that belongs to every objectivity? How does it happen that even when we do note that they belong together, we still try to explain each from the standpoint of the other, or introduce some third element which is supposed to embrace both subject and object? Why is it that we stubbornly resist considering even once whether the belonging-together of subject and object does not arise from something that first imparts their nature to both the object and its objectivity, and the subject and its subjectivity, and hence is prior to the realm of their reciprocity? That our thinking finds it so toilsome to be in this bestowal, or even on the lookout for it, cannot be blamed on a narrowness of contemporary intellect or resistance to unsettling or disruptive views.

* Although Heidegger positively discourages us from doing so, we offer the following philological information: άληθεσία is a substantive form constructed from ἀληθής, (-ές), an adjectival form of ἀλήθεια. T. Gaisford's Etymologicum Magnum (Oxford, 1848), pp. 62, 51, discusses it as follows: λήθω = λανθάνω: ἀληθὲς τὸ μὴ λήθη ὑποπίπτον. Λήθω a collateral form of λανθάνω, I escape notice, am hidden, unseen or forgotten by others. Gaisford describes ἀληθές as that which does not sink into λήθη, the source of oblivion. Liddell-Scott translate ἀληθὲς as "unconcealed." Hence άληθεσία might be rendered as "unconcealment."—TR.