which, not for anything, not even ‘for all the world,’ is a submerging or is dissolved within one. However, with this it is in no way already decided whether what is named here is not still determined in its essence through a submerging, or indeed whether “the not ever submerging” must nonetheless remain determined in relation to a submerging. For only if within what is named here a trace and a sign of submerging appears does the μή—the ‘not ever’ of repulsion—have a hold and sense. The μή says, then, that in what is named here, submerging indeed prevails and unfolds, but that this submerging does not dominate in this unfolding, not just now and from time to time, but rather essentially not and therefore consequently ‘never.’ The μή in the saying is hence still more narrowly qualified through the ποτέ—‘ever’, ‘at any time,’ a word that indicates a temporality: μή–ποτε—“not ever, ever,” i.e., “never.” But here, as would be perfectly possible, the much more common combination of words τὸ μή ποτε δῦνόν is not used, but rather we find τὸ μὴ δῦνόν ποτε—the negated word (δῦνόν) is set between a combination of negating words. Precisely through this combination of words (i.e., the δῦνόν between the μή and the ποτέ), the verbal, temporal sense of δῦνόν is made conspicuous, and the eventful [ereignishafte] essence of the above-named is brought to appearance through this simple and straightforward way of naming. Already here, with the first saying of Heraclitus’s, we learn, if we have eyes to see and ears to hear, something of the harmony of what is said and thought, heard and questioned, in this thinking. However, we also sense something of the austerity of care, that is, of the poverty proper to thoughtful saying.

Certainly, we could now (as we already did above in a makeshift way) simplify the combination of words within the translation (i.e., the expression “the not ever submerging”) and instead say “the never submerging.” Such a translation almost compels us on its own to further transform [87] the saying into the following: “the constantly (i.e., perpetually) emerging.” For what never is a submerging must therefore constantly be an emerging. Through this shifting of words, the bothersome ‘negation’ in the saying of Heraclitus’s is done away with. We hear now a ‘positive’ word which, as such, has priority over all ‘negatives.’ The word, now transformed into a positive, makes the expression easier for us to understand by opening our eyes for the first time to what is named here, supposing of course that we are mindful and able to learn to see in a Greek way. This is perhaps the minimal precondition under which every attempt to think the inception of Occidental thinking remains situated.

If we undertake to use the affirmative turn of phrase “the perpetually emerging” instead of the negating phrase “the not ever submerging, ever” or the phrase “the never submerging,” then we say in our own language a word that Heraclitus also at one time very well could have said in his own language. “The perpetually emerging” names the Greek τὸ ἀεὶ φύον. In place of τὸ φύον could also stand ἡ φύσις1 which,

1 See fragment 123.

66    The Inception of Occidental Thinking

Heraclitus (GA 55) by Martin Heidegger