Four Seminars [13-15]

But from λόγος,which is the ξυνόν, they surely live, those who make up the great multitude, and such that each has his own opinion for himself.”

Now we hear something more about the λόγος, though we already know from fragment 1 its name and its sameness with beings. The λόγος presents itself now as the ξυνόν. The commentary of Sextus Empiricus on the other hand says: ξυνόν means the same as κοινόν. But at exactly this point everything is questionable.

Heidegger says that behind what Heraclitus named ξυνόν, and even if this runs contrary to grammar, one must hear ξυνιέναι: a going together, the coming of one to the other. Whereas, the κοινόν is merely the καθόλον, the universal in the sense of what belongs equally to all despite differences; in the way that to be a living being, for example, is characteristic of frogs as well as of hounds. We could say that ξυνόν is the definition of ὄντα as ξυνιόντα, while the κοινόν is the determination of the ξυνόν from the standpoint of a thinking that is concerned with distinguishing universals from the individualities subordinate to them.

For Heraclitus, on the contrary, the “agreement,” the co-belonging that lays in ξυνόν, is neither the universal nor the generic. What manner of belonging together does he then have in view? That of what essentially is differing: τὸ διαφερόμενον. This alone can bring together, in the Latin sense of conferre, to move oneself to the same side, to turn to it, thereby to belong in this way to the “agreement”: in Greek, συμφέρεσθαι, in the sameness of διά and σύν. For example: day and night. There is no day “alone,” nor night “apart by itself,” but rather the co-belonging of day and night, which is their very being. If I say only “day,” I do not yet know anything of the being of day. In order to think day, one must think it all the way to night and likewise the reverse. Night is day as the day that has set. To let day and night belong to each other, in this there is being just as much as λόγος. This is precisely what Hesiod could not understand, for he only saw the alternation of day and night, as he says in the Theogony (verse 751):

“The house never holds them both within.”21

For Heraclitus it is precisely the opposite. The house of being is that of day-night taken together. Accordingly, he says in fragment 57:

“The teacher of the multitude, Hesiod, they hold him for a man of the deepest wisdom, he who did not recognize with respect to day and night: in truth it is one.”

Coming back from this to fragment 72, it now says: the human lives everyday in relation to day and night. But, like Hesiod, he only notes their alternation or transformation. He does not see that this supposed alternation (transformation) is itself, more secretly, their very being. What truly is, is neither the one nor the other, but the co-belonging of the two as the concealed middle between them. But because the ἀξύνετοι

21 Hesiod, Theogony, pp. 78–155 in Hesiod. Homeric Hymns. Epic Cycle. Homerica, ed. and trans. Hugh G. Evelyn-White (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2000), 133, tm.