b) The second path: access to the Λόγος through the original meaning of λέγειν . The Λόγος as harvest and gathering

Now, what does λόγος / λέγειν properly mean if, as we contend, the word originally did not have anything to do with saying and asserting, speech and language? λέγειν — legere in Latin—is the same word as our word ‘to read’ [ lesen ], but not that particular ‘reading’ which we immediately associate with script and thereby with the written word and, by extension, with speech and language. Henceforth, we will take lesen in a much broader and also more original sense as meaning [267] ‘to harvest,’ such as ‘to harvest the ears in the fi eld,’ ‘to harvest the grapes in the vineyard,’ and ‘to harvest wood in the forest.’ λέγειν , to harvest; λόγος , the harvest. Th e same way that the Greek word λόγος means λέγειν and λεγόμενον , the German word die Lese means, on the one hand, the carrying out of the harvest— for example, the currently ongoing harvesting of wine grapes—but also, on the other hand, that which has been harvested in the sense of the particular yield of a harvest, such as, for example, when we speak of a variety of wine made out of grapes harvested late in the season (i.e., Spätlese).

(Alas—if only aft er all perspectives and consequences the attempt to think through the essence of λόγος purely in accordance with the above meaning of λέγειν would succeed in unfolding the region of thought that it indicates!)

Little is accomplished, and even less is gained, by merely indicating the visually verifi able root meaning of λέγειν in its correspondence to the German word lesen in the sense of harvesting. It is much more important that we now illuminate this kind of harvesting according to its essential features. It is also important that we attempt to clarify λέγειν and λόγος from within the horizons of Greek experience and thought, using harvesting thought in this way as a guide. We thus ask two things:

1    Of what does harvesting consist?

2   In what way does harvesting, properly understood as λέγειν , give us a clue as to how the Λόγος can be thought insofar as it discloses itself as ἓν πάντα εἶναι ?

Regarding the fi rst point. What is ‘harvesting’? To harvest is to take and to pick up from the earth: it is the act of bringing- together and laying- together, and in such a way that it is λέγειν , gathering. However, what has been picked up and laid together in the harvesting is not simply brought together in the sense of an accumulation that may someday be fi nished. Harvesting fi nds its end only in that very act of picking- up that preserves what has been taken and brought in. Harvesting is at the same time a picking- up in the sense of a taking- up from the earth, a picking- up in the sense of a conserving: only in this does harvesting come to an end. But regarded properly, harvesting does not end with this picking- up and bringing- in that conserves. [268] In fact, proper harvesting begins from out of this

Answering the question: What is the Λόγος?    203