into a self-rigidifying essence—namely, into metaphysics—then certainly Hegel’s explanation for the obscurity of Heraclitus’s thinking cannot be sufficient for us.

For precisely the above-mentioned presupposition and fundamental experience of Hegelian metaphysics—namely, that the universe cannot withstand the courage of cognition and must open itself to the will for unconditioned certain knowledge (i.e., the will for absolute certainty)—is entirely and utterly non-Greek. The universe — ὁ κόσμος, as the Greeks said—is rather, in the essence of its very being, the self-concealing and therefore the essentially ‘obscure.’ The relation of inceptual thinking to the to-be-thought is inceptually determined by this fact. But if thinking is to think the self-concealing, it must allow the self-concealing to unfold as what it is, in which case the knowledge of [32] this essential thinking can in no way be a ‘will’ that compels the universe to divulge its closed-ness. Because the to-be-thought is in its essence the self-concealing, and thus the ‘obscure’ in this sense, in this way and only in this way is essential thinking, which remains in agreement with what is experienced as ‘obscure,’ itself necessarily obscure. Thought in this way, ‘obscurity’ now means: an essentially necessary way of self-concealing. The thinker Heraclitus is The Obscure because his thinking of the to-be-thought preserves the essence that belongs to it. Heraclitus is not ὁ Σκοτεινός, ‘The Obscure,’ because he intentionally expresses himself opaquely; he is also not ‘The Obscure’ because every ‘philosophy’ looks ‘obscure’ (i.e., incomprehensible) within the horizon of habitual understanding. Rather, Heraclitus is ‘The Obscure’ because he thinks being as the self-concealing and must speak the word according to this thinking. The word of inceptual thinking attends to ‘the obscure.’ It is one thing to attend to the obscure; it is something else entirely merely to push against it as though against a wall. The obscurity attended to in the way of thinking is essentially divorced from every ‘mysticism’ and mere sinking into the darkness of obscurity for its own sake. Because inceptual thinking thinks the essence of that to which self-concealing belongs, obscurity remains here necessarily, and always, a theme of thinking. As a result of its theme, Heraclitus’s philosophy, as it shows itself to conventional thinking, is also ‘obscure’ in an emphatic sense. This outstanding and therefore exemplary obscurity in Heraclitus’s thinking that derives itself from its ‘theme,’ when taken alone as an ‘impression,’ prompted some to demarcate this thinker by the epithet ὁ Σκοτεινός, and thus to understand the aforementioned obscurity exclusively in a conventional sense.

[33] b) The essentially oppositional, and dialectical thinking. The unfitting language of dialectic

‘Artemis,’ who bears the epithet ‘bringer of light,’ is now seen to be the goddess of the thinking of the thinker who is called ‘The Obscure,’ and who also is ‘the

26    The Inception of Occidental Thinking