astray, and most often ends in a shipwreck. In the realm of transportive translation, all translations are poor, only more or less so. The translations attempted here will not be exempted from this judgment. Translation undertaken in the realm of general understanding and through the course of business dealings can largely be accomplished without interpretation. Translations undertaken in the realm of the vaunted word of poetry and of thinking, however, are always in need of interpretation, for they themselves are an interpretation. Such translations can either inaugurate the interpretation or consummate it. But it is precisely the consummating translation of Heraclitus’s sayings that must necessarily remain as obscure as the originary word.

b) The question pertaining to the ‘never submerging thing’ and its essential relation to ‘concealing’

τὸ μὴ δῦνόν ποτε πῶς ἄν τις λάθοι;

This saying of Heraclitus’s names several things. To begin with: τὸ μὴ δῦνόν ποτε—“the never ever submerging thing”—which we can easily reformulate (but thereby also weaken) as “the never submerging thing.” What precisely it is that never submerges is not expressly said in the saying. At any rate, this appears to be so; for the saying only names it in the neuter case, “the never submerging thing.” Then the saying states: πῶς ἄν τις, “how may anyone”; a τις, an “anyone,” is therein named, not a τι, so not an object or a thing, but rather what we address in regard to itself (and its self) with the interrogative pronoun “who.” We ourselves—human beings—are so addressed. In any case, human beings are meant by the τις — “anyone.” Whether something else is also meant, [46] something else that can be addressed by the questions “who” or “who are you,” remains undecided for the time being.1 Furthermore, there is talk in the saying of λάθοι, λαθεῖν, λανθάνειν — that is, of a being concealed. More precisely, there is the question of whether anyone from the sphere of human beings can be concealed.

The saying ultimately has the form of a question. However, the question is of the sort that appears already to answer itself. Transcribed into the form of an answer, the questioning saying reads:

From the never submerging thing, no one can remain concealed.

1 Cf. fragments 30 and 53.

38    The Inception of Occidental Thinking

Heraclitus (GA 55) by Martin Heidegger

GA 55 p. 45