Seminar in Le Thor 1966 [15-16]

who do not know the ξυνόν, turn away from22 that which they are essentially related to, everything appears to them in an alienating light. Unremittingly, the λόγος provides a measure which is not accepted. Thus:

Since the λόγος is in that which presences and its presencing, and in this respect assigns to each a measure, they live from it, the multitude, but nevertheless in such a way that each has an opinion for himself. They live from it, without knowing what they are talking about. They say “is” without knowing what “is” actually means.

Such is the case with the ἰδία φρόνησις, for which to be thirsty means nothing other than to be thirsty, to be hungry nothing other than to be hungry, since the day is only the day and the night nothing other than the night. Opposed to this is the ξυνόν, which we relate to the ξυνιέναι, and which Heraclitus understands even more boldly than us as: ξυν νόῳ λέγειν (fragment 114): to say the sense in agreement with νόος, or rather, to let it be in this agreement.

Those whose speech agrees with the νόος must become ever stronger by holding to the ξυνόν πάντον, to that wherein everything agrees—and not sway in any and all directions according to the wind of opinion, as happens to those who, instead of thinking, limit themselves to the gathering of information (ἱστορεῖν, fragment 35).

We shall conclude with two observations:

1) In everything for which λόγος provides the measure, it is indeed a matter of a διά, but λόγος is nonetheless never dialectically determined, that is, as the polarity of standing opposites. The διαφερόμενον of Heraclitus is much more the unfolding of contraries23 and grounded in the inapparent character [Unscheinbaren] of λόγος. We explain:

The opposites exclude each another, while the contraries correspond to one another, in that they let one another reciprocally come forth, in the sense that:

“The tide struggles with the pebble,
and the light with the shade.”24

Just as Aeschylus says, “Dark and light are contrarily distributed to one another.”25 The conception of standing opposites presupposes the statement as proposition, within which they both appear through the play of negation. The investigation of the proposition is the business of logic, which is the art of preserving the λόγος from contradiction as a disagreement pushed to the extreme—at least as long as logic does not reverse its basic intention and become dialectic, for which contradiction, as Marx says, makes up the “font” of truth itself. It is characteristic of dialectic to play the two terms of a relation against each other, with the intent of bringing about a reversal in a situation previously determined by these terms. So for Hegel, as an example, day is the thesis, night is the antithesis, and so the spring board is found for a synthesis of

22 TN: abkehren, the French text reads “dif-férent.”

23 Cf. Martin Heidegger, Nietzsche, 2 Vols. (Pfullingen: Verlag Günther Neske, 1961), vol. 1, 599. English translation in: Martin Heidegger, The Will to Power as Knowledge and as Metaphysics, trans. David Farrell Krell, Frank A. Capuzzi, and Joan Stambaugh (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1987), pp. 107–108, vol. 3 of Martin Heidegger, Nietzsche, 4 Vols., trans. various, ed. David Farrell Krell (San Francisco: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1979–1987).

24 Tristan L’Hermite, “Le promenoir des deux amants,” ll. 3–4, from the collection Les Amours de Tristan (1638), in Tristan L’Hermite, OEuvres complètes, vol. 2: Poésie (I), ed. Jean-Pierre Chauveau (Paris: Honoré Champion, 2002), p. 105.

25 Aeschylus, The Libation Bearers, trans. Richmond Lattimore, in vol. 1 of The Complete Greek Tragedies, 4 Vols., eds. David Grene and Richmond Lattimore, trans. various (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992), p. 319.