ϕύσις (i.e., emerging) stands in an essential relationship to self-occluding (i.e., to entering-into concealment), and thus to ‘submerging’ understood in a Greek way. The essential relation is named in fragment 123 (φύσις κρύπτεσθαι φιλεῖ) with the [136] word φιλεῖ. We understand φιλεῖν as favor and granting.

Emerging, insofar as it is emerging, grants to self-occluding that it unfold in the proper essence of emerging. Self-occluding, insofar as it is self-occluding, grants to emerging that it unfold from out of the proper essence of self-occluding. Favor is here the reciprocal granting of bestowal that one essence gives to the other, in whose granted bestowal the unity of that particular essence that is called φύσις is safeguarded. This we think when, and only when, we think it from out of the originally unifying unity of favor. Thinking this way, we hold ourselves outside of the domain of the common way of thinking that conceives of things only objectively and places everything into individualized conceptions and categorizes and files them, as if into boxes.

Now, this box-like thinking (though, to be sure, not the box itself) is something essential that dominates the relation of human beings to beings. It must therefore be taken seriously. This box-like conceiving is in no way merely the consequence of a superficial way of thinking, but is rather its ground. This box-like thinking is founded upon the fact that beings are compelled on their own accord to become and to remain the standard and horizon for the determination of being. (The essence of metaphysics is founded upon this compulsion belonging to beings.) In the case of Heraclitus’s saying regarding φύσις, the box-like way of thinking, which as boxed-in remains closed-off from the free prevailing of the essential, thinks emerging as one process and self-concealing as another. Self-concealing can follow from emerging, and in such a manner be connected with it: the box of emerging can exist next to the box of submerging. ‘Normal’ thinking prevents itself from thinking that, contrary to this box-like view, emerging unfolds in itself as self-concealing. However, the saying of Heraclitus’s says precisely this, [137] insofar as it names φιλεῖν as the relation between φύσις and κρύπτεσθαι. How should we understand this?

Let us assume the following: that ἀείζωον/φύσις (i.e., the never submerging/the perpetually emerging) is pure emerging in the sense that every self-concealing and self-occluding remains excluded from it in every respect. What, then, is the situation with this bare emerging that in every respect stands naked before the self-occluding? Then emerging would have nothing out of which it emerges and nothing to which it opens itself in emerging. Even if we were to take emerging as something that has already happened, and take it on its own terms, so to speak, emerging would still have to withdraw itself and float away from that which bestows a coming-forth (i.e., a self-occluding), resulting immediately in its dissolution into the nothing, even at the very moment of the separation. Emerging does not unfold as what it is if it does not beforehand and always remain retained and secured in a self-concealing. Therefore, it is owing precisely to its essence, and


Emerging and submerging    103

Heraclitus (GA 55) by Martin Heidegger