If φύσις should prove to be what remains for the inceptual thinker the sole tobe- thought, we must then linger in amazement, at the appropriate time, at the fact that Artemis appears in the nearness of Heraclitus. Such nearness would be precisely the sign that Heraclitus is an inceptual thinker. Artemis appears with torches in both hands. She is called φωσφόρος—the Light Bringer. The essence of light (φάος, φῶς) is the illumination that first lets something appear [17] and thus lets the unconcealed come forth from out of concealment. But the essence of φύσις is at the same time the emerging and self-expanding into the open and lightened. φῶς and φάος (light) and φύσις (emerging), as well as φαίνω (to shine and appear), are all rooted in one and the same essence that neither the inceptual thinker of the Greeks, nor any later thinking, has thought in the unity of its essential richness.

(We call it by the single, but still unconsidered word: clearing. The clearing in the sense of the illuminating and opening sheltering is the inceptual hidden essence of ἀλήθεια. That is the Greek name for what is otherwise known as truth, which, for the Greeks, is unconcealment and disclosure. φύσις (nature) and φάος (light) have the ground of the concealed unity of their essence in the veiled essence of ἀλήθεια. The fact that recently modern linguistics, without any notion of the stated essential intimacy between φύσις and φάος, has come to the discovery that the words φύσις and φάος indicate the same thing, may here only be mentioned in passing. This linguistic discovery proves nothing, because it is only an addendum to, and consequence of, insights into essential intimacies that it exploits mindlessly and thoughtlessly.)

Artemis is the goddess of emergence, of light, and of play. Her sign is the lyre, which appears in the form of the bow: thus, thought in a Greek way, it is the same as the bow. The lyre, understood as the bow, sends the arrow that brings death. But the deaths that her arrow sends are ‘sudden,’ ‘gentle,’ and ‘loving.’ The goddess of emergence, play, and light is also the goddess of death, just as if light, play, and emerging were the same as death. Rather, emerging, self-illuminating, and play mark the essence of ζωή, ‘life,’ and of ζῷον, ‘the living.’ Our word ‘life’ is already so burdened by Christian and modern-day thinking that it cannot [18] designate what the Greeks understood by ζωή and ζῷον. Even if our word ‘life’ remains only an imprecise and confused translation of the Greek word ζωή, it nevertheless allows us to think that ‘life’ is the opposite of death. How, then, can the goddess of the self-illuminating, of emerging, and of play be, at the same time, the goddess of death, i.e., of the dark, of submergence, and of the rigid? Life and death turn against one another. Certainly. However, what turns against one another turns, at the moment of its most extreme opposition, intimately toward one another. Where such turning prevails, there is strife, ἔρις. For Heraclitus, who thinks strife as the essence of being, Artemis, the goddess with bow and lyre, is the nearest. But her nearness is pure nearness—i.e., farness. We must of course think nearness and farness in a Greek way, and not in the ‘modern’ sense as the numerically greater or lesser distance between two spatial points.

Two stories concerning Heraclitus    15

Heraclitus (GA 55) by Martin Heidegger