Before we content ourselves only with finding that Heraclitus’s word concerning φύσις entangles him in a contradiction, we would first like to actually consider this saying.

If φύσις, in its proper essence, belongs to self-concealing, then is it the case that emerging would thereby be in its very essence a self-concealing? Emerging—a submerging? For serious thinking, this is clearly a pure contradiction that cannot be evaded through quibbling, sophisticated subtlety, or deceptive maneuvering. To say that emerging is submerging is like saying that day is night and vice versa, and sounds just like the statement ‘light is dark.’

However, keep in mind that during a previous session concerning the elucidation of Heraclitus’s nickname ὁ Σκοτεινός, we already pointed to the fact that in the sayings of Heraclitus’s we come across strange sentences that assert something contradictory. We also heard that, in [112] contemporary metaphysics, ‘dialectical’ thinking does not only treat such contradictions as a nuisance and eradicate them, but actually holds the self-contradictory as the ‘true.’ We also heard that today one attempts to interpret Heraclitus’s thinking ‘dialectically’ according to the model of Hegelian thinking. Seen in the light of dialectic, which thinks the unity of the self-contradictory and sublates the contradiction as contradiction, Heraclitus’s saying φύσις κρύπτεσθαι φιλεῖ—which, however, Hegel did not yet understand—is no longer strange.

However, it was already pointed out that Hegel’s doctrine of ‘contradiction’ and ‘dialectic’ is grounded upon foundations that belong specifically to contemporary thinking and are foreign to the inceptual thinking of the Greeks. Thus, the lazy wisdom that proclaims that one must ‘obviously’ understand the aforementioned saying of Heraclitus’s (and everything similar) ‘dialectically’ is of no help to us. This escape into dialectic is easy and has the advantage of appearing profound: however, it remains, when viewed with respect to Heraclitus, merely an escape, a flight, and a cowardice of thinking—that is, it remains an evasion of the being that clears itself here.

When faced with fragment 123, we think much more seriously (than do the acrobats walking on the rope of self-strangling dialectic) when we initially ‘find’ a ‘contradiction’ within it. It is another question entirely whether we should be allowed simply to halt in the face of what we have initially found to be a ‘contradiction.’

To say that emerging, and what essentially unfolds in emerging, ‘loves’ and ‘is’ submerging is, when taken straightforwardly, a ‘blatant’ contradiction that screams and shouts at us from out of the saying. We must certainly ask at once: who are we who are being shouted at by this contradiction? ‘We’—here that means human beings who are not encumbered with an erudite understanding [113] of Hegelian philosophy and the ‘ways’ of dialectic. We are human beings who think ‘normally,’ who take white for white and black for black, who think emerging as emerging and submerging as submerging and not as all mish-mashed together, and who, unlike

The exposition of emerging and submerging    85