of the ‘fire’ and of the ‘play.’ We think of this because it points to what remains, for his thinking, the to-be-thought, the very one with which he stands in a friendship that is the φιλία τοῦ σοφοῦ in which the thinking that is later called ‘philosophy’ is grounded.

We must thus be attentive hereafter to whether, and to what extent, the word of this thinker speaks essentially about ‘fire’ and ‘play,’ and whether, and how, with ‘fire’ and ‘play’ something essential is named that at the same time points to the presence of the gods. We will then only later—perhaps suddenly, one day soon, or perhaps only after years—notice at once what a note-worthy explanation these two harmless ‘stories’ about the thinker Heraclitus give.

2) The to-be-thought in the signs of Artemis: lyre, bow, and torch. The obscurity of the thinker

Both stories point out in different ways that a presencing of the gods belongs to the sojourn of the thinker. Both stories, however, also give us the hint that this nearness of the gods is of a unique sort. Hence, we would do well not to speak too much, too loudly, or too often about the gods. With all due caution in this regard, [25] we cannot presently ignore the peculiarity that in the second story, and also in still another narrative, the goddess Artemis is specifically named. One could, in reference to this, offer the plausible explanation that Heraclitus was, after all, an Ἐφέσιος, and that, thus, the goddess Artemis is distinctive not of Heraclitus the thinker, but rather of Heraclitus the man from Ephesus. For in ancient times there was a sanctuary of Artemis in Ephesus, the ‘Artemision.’ Artemis is also called Διώνη or ‘Diana.’ The goddess Artemis is the sister of the god Apollo. The essence of both, who according to legend were born on the island of Delos, has emerged into that world whose domain is the light and the illuminating. Artemis appears with the torches in her hands, because she is the φωσφόρος, the Light-Bringer. Artemis streaks through the mountains and wilderness and is encountered there as the Huntress. She seeks out the animals in which the ‘lively’ appears in an exceptional way, so that today still with the words ‘zoological’ and ‘animalistic’ we mean not only the animal, but rather above all the living. The Occidental definition of the essence of the human should be recalled: ζῷον λόγον ἔχον, animal rationale, the rational living being; instead of ‘living being’ Nietzsche says, for example, simply ‘animal.’

Animals and the way of tracing their tracks, thereby engaging with the consummation of their ‘life,’ belong in φύσις, which one renders inadequately as ‘nature.’ The word φύσις means: emerging from out of itself into the open, into the free emerged standing-there of appearance, and giving itself within appearance to

20    The Inception of Occidental Thinking

Heraclitus: The Inception of Occidental Thinking


GA 55 p. 20