authentic listening, and that listening in the sense of obedience is ‘naturally’ only a transposition into the spiritual and ‘naturally’ can only be taken metaphorically.

(In the realm of technical research, one can find much, and much of use. For example, one can state and demonstrate that periodic fluctuations of air pressure at a certain frequency are perceived as ‘tones,’ without these fluctuations ever achieving a pure sine curve in their form. Proceeding from such discoveries regarding hearing, a program of research can be built up and established which eventually becomes the sole purview of specialists in the physiology of the senses. There is, by contrast, perhaps little that can be said about essential listening: however, what can be said directly concerns every human. It is not important here to engage in research, but rather to be thoughtfully vigilant to what little can be said, most importantly because the consideration of the hearkening listening must immediately recognize that to authentic listening also belongs the following: that the human can err in listening and oft en does not hear what is essential. But even this is only possible for the human because he, as obedient in the manner elucidated above, already belongs to something else and never belongs to himself.)

If the ears do not directly belong to hearing (in the sense of hearkening) and to obedience, then the relationship between hearing and the ears is indeed a peculiar one.

[247] We do not listen because we have ears: rather, we have and can have ears because we listen. However, we humans are only able to listen—for example, to the thunder of the heavens, to the rustling of the woods, to the flowing of a spring, to the tones of the harp, to the clattering of motors, and to the noise of the city—insofar we belong, or do not belong, to all of this. We have ears because we can listen in a hearkening way, and through such hearkening are allowed to listen to the song of the earth, its shudders and shakes, a song that nevertheless remains untouched by the colossal noise that the human is now causing upon earth’s battered surface. Being able to listen to the song of the earth demands that our listening be a sensual one dependent upon tools of sensual perception (i.e., the ears). Listening and listening are therefore not the same. Mere acoustical listening is not ἀκούειν, neither in the sense of listening to a speech being delivered, nor in the sense of a hearkening listening to the Λόγος. What is ‘the Logos’? Heraclitus does not say anywhere in the sayings remaining for us. Presumably he never said it in the manner of an explanation and the determination of a concept. Nevertheless, Heraclitus says enough about λόγος, even in just the saying that we have already cited. We must only properly think-after what he says. Heraclitus says:

If you have not merely listened to me, but rather have listened, hearkening, to the Λόγος, thereby becoming and being obedient, then....

What happens then? σοφόν ἐστιν —“then (an initiation into) authentic knowledge is.” σοφόν: originally, σοφία had the same meaning as τέχνη—to know one’s way about something, to know its message, namely, the message a matter gives, and thus knowing

The essence of φύσις    189