Toward that particular end of illuminating the words ζάω and ζῆν, let us consider words such as ζάθεος and ζαμενής, words that the poets Homer and Pindar7 used. Linguistics ‘explains’ that ζα here is an ‘intensifier’; accordingly, ζάθεος means ‘very godly,’ ‘very holy’. In a similar way, ζαμενής means ‘very powerful’ or ‘very forceful,’ μένος on its own meaning power or might. This linguistic explanation of ζα as an ‘intensifying’ morpheme is perfectly correct—yet, it is also untrue. Such an explanation thinks ‘mechanistically’ and not in a manner that attends to what is said: that is, it does not arise out of what is named through the ‘intensifying’ word ζα, nor from out of the context in which the poetic saying is compelled to speak in such a way. The words ζάπυρος (‘very fiery’) and ζατρεφής (‘well-fed, distended, inflated,’ which one finds in Homer)—words which, owing to ζα, signify ‘intensifying’—abide in a uniformly essential domain, [94] the present pursuit of which would lead us too far astray. Pindar refers, for example, to localities, regions, mountains, and borders (e.g., the banks of a river) as ζάθεος, in order to indicate that in these places the gods—i.e., the appearing ones—often and properly are present and, as we say, ‘show their faces.’ These places are ‘especially holy’ because here the appearing ones give forth their appearance, and the localities and mountains emerge entirely within such appearing and are enveloped therein. ζαμενής—‘very forceful’—is that which emerges in its pure form in the breaking-forth and commencing, such as, for example, a storm breaking into μένος (τό). μένος is that to which μένειν, understood as anticipation, corresponds: namely, the coming-up and coming-forward, the gushing-in and breaking-in (which is one way of coming-forth and appearing). It is as all of this that the word μένος first acquires its meaning of force, might, strength, and power: words which, while different, mean the same with regard to the approximate, but nonetheless determinate, realm of the incoming surge. μένος is said of the sun and of the storm, but also appears in the following phrase from Homer: ψυχή τε μένος τε. ‘Soul’ and ‘power,’ however, have long since been thought in terms of ‘action’ and ‘dynamism,’ and thus in a Roman and modern way, leaving the Greek sense thereby buried. When the root ζα is thought in terms of the merely dynamically intensifying ‘very,’ we have the same misunderstanding before us that inconspicuously and stubbornly persists precisely because it is ‘correct.’ That the earth revolves around the sun is perhaps—but only perhaps—correct: but is this correctness therefore already the true?

Thought in a Greek way, ζα means the pure emerging within the various ways of emerging and appearing, for example, in breaking-forth. It is not accidental that the root ζα is here associated with words that themselves mean peering into, looking into, and breaking into (as do the words θεός and μένος); likewise, ζα is associated with ‘fire’ and ‘gleam,’ ‘growth’ and ‘storm.’ ζάω and ζῆν mean nothing

7 For the latter, see Olympian Odes, III, 22, and X, 45; Isthmian Odes, I, 32; Pythian Odes, V, 70; Nemean Odes, VII, 92; Fragment 90 (60), 4; Fragment 105 (7).

The foundational words of inceptual thinking    71