Therefore, modern science and the Greek ἐπιστήμη do indeed have a connection to one another. Certainly. Regarding the translation of ἐπιστήμη with the German word “Wissenschaft” [“science”], one could easily make reference to the oft - mentioned fact that Occidental and modern history both trace back to Greek antiquity, and that this lineage is particularly pronounced in the Occidental approach to cognition and knowledge. Where would the Roman, the medieval, and the contemporary scientific attitudes be without the ancient Greeks and without the possibility of an ever-renewable dialogue with them? How would matters stand, if the ancient Greeks had not occurred? What is at stake with the enigma of the past, of the having-been? The having-been is something entirely different from the merely bygone.

We today—i.e., we of the contemporary era—eagerly seek to root out even the darkest recesses of bygone days: however, because we go about this task by way of the discipline of historiography, we are only fleetingly acquainted with the indestructible nearness of the having-been. Perhaps historiography, as a kind of technical mastery of bygone history, is precisely the barrier that the contemporary human [194] has erected between the having-been and his own, simple wonderment. As those who have reached a later point in history, we presume ourselves to be further along than the having-been, whereas in fact the having-been simply and purely surpasses us and will continue to do so until one day we learn to intuit that the hidden secret of our essence is awaiting us in the having-been, and only as such is present to us. But how can this happen, if we still do not yet quite know what the present is? How can this come about if we spend all of our time calculating back-and-forth between the bygone, what will soon be bygone, and what has been bygone for ages? This also occurs when we make the Greek word ἐπιστήμη German by translating it with the German word “Wissenschaft” [“science”].

If we now assert that ἐπιστήμη may indeed be translated as “science,” taken in its modern technical essence, then we are thinking of something more than just the oft-cited historical connection between modern ‘culture’ and the ancient Greeks. We are thinking of something even more essential and significant, something the ground and consequences of which have not even been intuited, let alone clearly apprehended: namely, that already in the Greek experience of the essence of knowledge and of “science,” ἐπιστήμη is itself intimately related to τέχνη, if not simply the same thing. But what does τέχνη mean? Given the few aforementioned indications regarding our understanding of ἐπιστήμη, we will avoid attempting here to illuminate the essence of the Greek τέχνη by means of notions about modern “technology.” The proper path actually leads in the opposite direction. However, this is more easily said than done. We ask again: what does τέχνη mean?

Let us stick to the original meaning of the word. This path that leads through the illumination of the root meaning of words and expressions is full of peril, and


148    Logic: Heraclitus’s Doctrine of the Logos


Heraclitus (GA 55) by Martin Heidegger