[109] § 5. Exposition of the essential connectedness of emerging and submerging. Fragment 123

If we consider all that has been said up to this point, we stand before a two-fold necessity. First, we must simply acknowledge that, in the combination of words τὸ μὴ δῦνόν ποτε, there lies a double-negation, provided that we take the saying as it speaks. However, this is the least important issue to which we must attend: namely, that what most essentially belongs to the saying is not harmed through a reinterpretation. Second, the transformation of the negative saying into a positive one certainly all but compels us to retain this positive meaning. For, through this transformation it appears that the “never submerging” means the “perpetually emerging”: φύσις/ζωή. But these are the foundational words of inceptual thinking. They name straightaway what is, for the inceptual thinkers, the to-be-thought. This is why the writings of the inceptual thinkers all bear the same title: περὶ φύσεως— ‘On Emerging.’ Thus, not only can we transform τὸ μὴ δῦνόν ποτε into “perpetually emerging”; rather, we must do so, if indeed this saying of Heraclitus’s is to be ranked as first, and if it is thus to name what is above and before all else the to-be-thought: namely, φύσις.

Moreover, we think entirely within the spirit of Heraclitus when, instead of τὸ μὴ δῦνόν ποτε, we simply say φύσις—for Heraclitus himself used the word φύσις. Indeed, he uses this word in a saying whose content directly points to that essential connectedness that is named with μὴ δῦνόν ποτε, “the never submerging”: namely, the not-going-away into concealment and, thereby, concealing in general.


Heraclitus (GA 55) by Martin Heidegger