Occidental thinking must itself be slow beyond measure. Haste is anathema to essential thinking. Certainly, it is imperative that we make haste, if by that we mean that we think toward the ‘to-be-thought’ without delay or neglect. But such a hastiness of diligent care is not the same thing as rapidity.

The hastiness of essential thinking is subject to the law of slowness. Slow haste determines the way toward the inceptual. The inceptual word demands of us the kind of diligent care in which every step allows the next to come forth from it.)


1) On translation and interpretation: the compulsion into an originary understanding from out of the experienced restiveness of ‘the same’

The attention that this lecture is attempting to steer toward the word of Heraclitus’s places fragment 16, in distinctive to the usual order of the fragments, at the inception. It says:

τὸ μὴ δῦνόν ποτε πῶς ἄν τις λάθοι;

From the not ever submerging thing, how may anyone be concealed (from it)?

A parenthetical remark on the task of translating should briefly allude to the fact that one can [63] easily criticize any translation, but can only rarely replace it with a ‘better’ one. This occurs only occasionally, and only owing to much experience. Such a case is exemplified by the recently published translation by Karl Reinhardt of Sophocles’ Antigone. The sovereignty and beauty of this translation guarantees that some, at least, are on the right path. Every translation, taken just on its own without its corresponding interpretation, remains subject to all manner of misunderstandings: for every translation is in itself already an interpretation. Silently it carries within itself all the attempts, aspects, and layers of interpretation from out of which it originates. The interpretation itself, on the other hand, is only the carrying out of the translation which, still silent, has not yet been brought into the consummating word. Interpretation and translation are, in the core of their essence, the same. That is why, even in one’s own language, translation is constant and necessary, given the fact that the words and texts of the mother tongue are

The inception of the inceptual to-be-thought    49

Heraclitus (GA 55) by Martin Heidegger