saying has it, are ‘all ears.’ Or, does language, whose veiling is more enigmatic than its revealing, say that we are ‘all ears’ precisely because we have now forgotten about ‘being all ears’ and have forgotten about our actual ears, and are purely engaged in attending-to, in which the mere apprehending of something is no longer what is essential? Rather, does the essential lie in the process whereby that which we are apprehending takes us along with it and accepts us? Attending-to does not depend [245] upon what is presently in the ear. What has just been heard and what can be heard are already passed over by the attending-to. Attending-to even exists, indeed exists in its purest form, when nothing that could be heard approaches us, i.e., when nothing is audible. This attending-to that does not yet ‘hear’ anything we call ‘hearkening.’ It appears that in this hearkening we are putting particular strain on our ears and our hearing. And yet, what would all of this hearkening be were we not already able to hearken to an appeal that is still preserved for us and sustains itself? What would such hearkening and hearkening-toward be, and how would it awaken, if we were not already obedient to what is able to, and indeed does, come forward to meet us? What would all human listening in the sense of a perceptual apprehension of noises, tones, and sounds be without a listening in the sense of an obedient relation to what can be encountered, and without that listening mentioned in the adage which says, “He who does not wish to listen, must feel”? But how can anything at all approach us within an obedient relation to what is to be encountered, without what is approaching us already having us, insofar as we somehow already belong to it? Would then a listening (i.e., a hearkening) be an obedience to something to which we already belong by virtue of our listening to it, an obedience that has nothing in common with subjugation, since this originary listening is nothing other than the being open to the open—in other words, freedom itself? But, if this is the case, who are we? Who is the human? The human is the essence that is alone open to the open, and only because of this openness can the human also close himself off from the open in a certain way: namely, by allowing what is to be encountered in it only to be an object, an objectified thing, and thereby through his calculating and planning lie in wait to ambush it. Who is the human if an originary obedience belonging to his essence determines him as vigilant, and if all discord stems from a lack of such vigilance? This question besets us here.

Nevertheless, even more important than this question, and even more important than answering it quickly, is that we first experience [246] and learn to think through something as simple as the difference between listening as the sensual perception of acoustic sound and noise by the ear, and attending-to as hearkening, and this latter as a hearkening vigilance and obedience. This hearkening listening is the authentic listening, which is not missing from other types of listening, even mere acoustic listening, but is instead simply forgotten by us. That is why, when we proceed to understand the acoustic physiologically and psychologically from a technical and scientific perspective, the whole matter gets turned upside down: for then we erroneously think that listening by means of the corporeal listening apparatus is

188    Logic: Heraclitus’s Doctrine of the Logos