beings as a whole. Heraclitus says the following in fragment 64 (which we rank as sixth):

τὰ δὲ πάντα οἰακίζει Κεραυνός.

But lightning steers beings as a whole.

Fire, as lightning, ‘steers,’ surveys, and shines over the whole of beings in advance and permeates this whole pre-luminously in such a way that, in the blink of an eye, the whole joins itself, kindles itself, and excises itself each time into its conjoinedness.

(To kindle means to catch and, through such catching, begin, i.e., to incept as the onefolding and the onefolded that enkindles itself as the lighting. Therefore, φύσις is not only the same in word as φάος (light): it is also the case that pure emerging and enkindling into the flame of the enflamed fire (πῦρ) are the same in essence, provided that we do not remain stuck on appearances, which only give us a preview in place [163] of a thoughtful experiencing of the pure shining of the enkindling one-foldedness in the lightening emerging.)

Thus, things are lifted out and set over against one another, thereby grasped and defined in distinction to one another. Fire is what strikes ‘in a flash’ in such a way as to brighten and excise in its striking. Fragment 66, which we rank as the seventh, says the following:

πάντα γὰρ τὸ πῦρ ἐπελθὸν κρινεῖ καὶ καταλήψεται.

All things, fire, ceaselessly advancing, shall (joining them) set out and lift away.

In the light of fire conceived in such a way, and thus in the emerging of φύσις understood in such a way, every appearance first appears within the conjoined boundaries of its form. Through the jointure, the whole of beings is opened up to its emerging, ‘endowed’ in a literal sense, without any connotation of decorating or embellishing. For φύσις is, as the inconspicuous jointure, the precious endowing, the clearing unfolding from out of itself. In this lightening jointure, beings appear and gleam forth. That particular opening up and unlocking and ‘endowing’ through which something is equipped such that it appears and shines forth in the conjoinedness of its jointure, we call ‘decorating’ and ‘adorning.’ With these terms, however, we are tempted to take ‘decoration’ and ‘adornment’ as something that is first attached to another, and by which this other is decorated and outfitted. However, the lightening letting-appear, in which something emerges into the conjoinedness into which it was sent, is no subsequent ornamentation or mere endowing in the sense of an outfitting. It is rather the originary decorating and adorning that can go without all embellishing, furnishing, and endowing in the


The essence of φύσις    123

Heraclitus (GA 55) by Martin Heidegger


GA 55 p. 162