between these peaks of history, every historiography (i.e., the learned, comparative conveyance of ages and cultures in the indeterminate space of an ideal braced up in accordance with educational norms) fails. All historiography must necessarily cling to an archetype (indeed, any classical one) because the passing back-and-forth between styles, tendencies, and situations arising necessarily from out of its own historiographical activity of mediation is threatened by the merely mediate and comparative, i.e., the relative. Any implementation of a classical model and a classic age is in itself already Classicism, which is an off spring of historiography—that is, of the calculating and fundamentally technical relation to history.

However, because the philosophy of the ancient Greek world, along with all of antiquity, is oft en counted as belonging to the ‘Classical,’ it is important to consider that for us the inceptual thinkers cannot be archetypes for the single reason that we may no longer be permitted to contemplate mere reproductions. For to do so would mean closing off our thinking to the fact that the temples of the earth have either collapsed in upon themselves, have left the holy sites where they once were, or are now only inhabited by empty convention and have therefore lost their historical essence. Not only does it remain to be decided whether or not the German people will remain the historical people of the Occident, but it is also the case that the human, along with the earth to which he belongs, is jeopardized—and, indeed, by the human himself.)

In the saying of Heraclitus’s, the two foundational words τὸ δῦνον and λάθοι appear. Since ‘submerging,’ thought in a Greek way, conveys an entering into concealment, and λάθω means “I am concealed,” and since being concealed is being asked about in relation to that which never enters into concealment, the saying is, at the first attentive glance, pervaded by a singular thinking oriented toward concealing and not concealing. But given that a thinker [70] is speaking here, we must immediately strive from the very first to hear the word within the realm of essential thinking. The elucidation of the word τὸ δῦνον, which seems to be merely grammatical in nature, can help us get there.

Still today we must contend with the puzzling fate that in the Occident, for more than two millennia, the relation to the word has been determined by grammar; that grammar, for its part, is grounded in what is commonly called “logic”; that “logic” itself, however, is merely one (and not the only) interpretation of thinking and saying: namely, the interpretation of the essence of thinking that is proper to metaphysics. Any explanations about the word—be these psychological, physiological, aesthetic, or sociological—are, according to grammar and logic, merely added on to the word understood grammatically as a linguistic sign. Moreover, if we consider that in the modern world the word is generally only ‘evaluated’ as ‘language,’ and language itself is evaluated only as an instrument of communication, then it is not surprising that every consideration of the word immediately appears to be merely an empty reflection on a kind of thing that one calls “words,” “with” which “scholars,” as one says, “occupy” themselves. Words are a

54    The Inception of Occidental Thinking