Seminar in Zähringen 1973 [134–136]

Patently, the being is, and not nothing. Thus this “that it is” (ὡς ἔστιν) would be τὰ ἐόντα (the being-together of all beings in a whole)?

But in order to come to such a determination, there is no need—contrary to what Parmenides says—to take an unusual path. Something else is thus at issue. That the path is unusual indicates that what is at issue is what is most difficult to think. We are here in the situation of coming closer to being, just like Husserl with the notion of categorial intuition— but here it takes place in the echo of Parmenides, and not in an analysis of sensibility and the understanding, driven by a theory of knowledge. It concerns the “that it is.” Our question, asked again, seeks to experience: what is? Parmenides’s response is found in verse 1 of fragment 6:

ἔστι γὰρ εἶναι

not beings, but being. “Being namely is.”

I have long considered this saying; for a long time, I have even been ensnared in it. For does it not reduce being to the level of beings? Only in regard to a being can one say that it is.

And here Parmenides now says: being is.

This unprecedented saying marks exactly the distance between ordinary thinking and the unusual path of Parmenides.

The question now is to know if we are capable of hearing with a Greek ear this Greek saying which speaks of ἔστι and εἶναι.

Thought in a Greek manner, εἶναι means to presence. It cannot be stressed enough how the Greek speaks so much more revealingly and thus more precisely than we do.

What is to be thought is thus: ἔστι γὰρ εἶναι—“presencing namely presences” [anwest nämlich Anwesen].

A new difficulty arises: this is clearly a tautology. Indeed! This is a genuine tautology: it names the Same only once, and indeed as itself.

We are here in the domain of the inapparent: presencing itself presences.

The name for what is addressed in this state of affairs is: τὸ ἐόν, which is neither beings, nor simply being, but τὸ ἐόν:

presencing: presencing itself [Anwesend: Anwesen selbst].

In this domain of the inapparent,124 however (as verses 2 and 3 of fragment 8 state),

“along this path there are a great number of indications . . .”

Indication (σῆμα) must be understood here in the Greek sense: it is not something which stands as a “sign” for something else, but indication is what shows and lets be seen, in that it depicts what is to be seen.

In verse 29 of fragment 8, one finds just such an indication, which shows being:

Ταὐτόν τ' ἐν ταὐτῷ τε μένον καθ' ἑαυτό τε κεῖται.

“The same dwelling in the same, it lies in itself.”