be able to represent some corresponding object to itself. We demand such representability, because with its help we orient ourselves amongst things, affairs, and situations. But, even if we were to become attentive to the fact that what is named with φύσις does not let itself be represented immediately in such a way, we would nevertheless still demand that the many things that have been said about φύσις should be lucidly assembled together in such a way that they could be easily understood by everybody. Otherwise, we would find the matter to be convoluted. We use what we take to be ‘the simple’ as the measure by which we judge what, according to and for us, is ‘complicated.’ The ‘natural’ and healthy understanding finds such ‘complication’ to be offensive, and meets it with hostility. The exegesis offered here of the saying φύσις χρύπτεσθαι φιλεῖ is manifestly ‘complicated.’ There is, however, a simple way to grasp its content without thereby degrading the saying into a platitude. ‘Emerging’ and ‘submerging’ can easily demonstrate their relationship in an ‘image’ that perhaps even Heraclitus himself ‘had in mind.’

Within the figure of the morning’s twilight one finds an emerging: from out of the morning blessedly ensues the luminous day in which emerging consummates itself. Of course, the evening follows with a twilight of an opposite sort. With the morning one has, so to speak, a box that opens slowly. Then one has the day itself, which is the second box (for, ‘the morning’ and ‘the day’ are something different). [135] The second box stands open. Then comes, of course, the third box, which once more slowly closes: this is the evening. One privileges the second box, in comparison to which emerging and self-occluding are merely unavoidable additions. When one observes the third box, the one called evening, in its relation to the others, it reveals moreover that it ‘properly’ stands in relation only to the open box, the day: for through the evening the day comes once more to a close. Thus, according to wisdom, submerging (the evening) stands not in opposition to emerging, but rather simply to the day—just as, indeed, ‘death’ is not in opposition to being born, but rather stands in opposition to life. We say, ‘to live and to die,’ not ‘to be born and to die.’ Against these three boxes and the underlying box-like conception of beings on which they stand, one can say no more than this: that every mode of conceiving that ‘thinks’ according to boxes is itself clearly limited and boxed-in. One indeed talks about the opposites life and death, through which talk it is taken for granted that death is the opposite of ‘life’ and not of birth. Here, too, the box plays its role. One thinks (insofar as one thinks anything at all regarding such things) that through birth the human being is placed into a box called ‘life,’ and that through death he is taken out of this box, as if the human being did not already begin to die straightaway at birth; as if, indeed, death were not the constant possibility of so-called life; as if, as regards life, being born were not on the same plane with death. ‘The box’ is certainly a convenient thing, and whoever thinks in boxes can accommodate much therein. But, regrettably, being is not a box: rather, a box is at best some particular being and, indeed, something quite insignificant.

102    The Inception of Occidental Thinking