thereby leaving the knowledge of this thinker in that state of vibrancy through which it will live on, undamaged by human forgetfulness. The saying of Heraclitus’s that is numbered as fragment 72 states the following:

ὧι μάλιστα διηνεκῶς ὁμιλοῦσι λόγωι τούτωι διαφέρονται, καὶ οἷς καθ᾽ἡμέραν ἐγκυροῦσι, ταῦτα αὐτοῖς ξένα φαίνεται .

That to which they are most turned, while carrying out λόγος (bearing it), is (precisely) that from which they rend themselves asunder—[319] whatever they encounter daily, (precisely) that appears foreign to them.

And so we see that, upon an initial reading of this saying, it seems to say the same thing twice. However, this only appears to be the case. Owing to the καί, it seems as though two versions of the same thought, distinguished only by vocabulary, have been pushed together. Behind this superficial appearance, however, a meaningful difference conceals itself, the thinking of which is important for a more profound knowledge of the Λόγος.

First of all, attention must be drawn to some wordplay in the first part of the saying that is nearly impossible to replicate in our language. This wordplay, if we are able to hear it, passes along to us an essential insight. In the first part of the saying two words appear that both begin with δια and that are both linguistic variations of the same verb. We are referring here to διηνεκῶς and διαφέρονται, which are both word forms that belong to διαφέρειν ; however, each says something different according to the different meanings of δια . One meaning of δια is “through something”: for example, διαφαίνω/διαφανές, to shine through, to radiate forth through everything. Moreover, there is, for example, διαφέρειν : to carry through something, bearing it incessantly; we say, “carrying out.” In some way, those who carry out linger with and safeguard what is carried out. We translate διηνεκῶς as “bearing.” Bearing is the designation for a lingering with something, especially when this something has the character of ὁμιλεῖν, which we understand to be the somehow intimate attitude of being turned and disposed toward something. However, if we are intimate with a matter, it does not yet mean that is it opened up for us in its essence. On the contrary, that the matter under consideration remains concealed in its manifold essence is, in some sense, the prerequisite for being intimate with something. However, that toward which the human is most turned in the manner of bearing is “the Λόγος” —that is, being. With this, Heraclitus is saying that what is continually and most present for the human is the originary forgathering: namely, being itself.

[320] However, Heraclitus says this in order then immediately to say, and in starkest opposition, the following: τούτωι διαφέρονται —“from this (i.e., the Λόγος ) they rend themselves asunder.” Here, δια does not mean “through something” in the manner of a carrying out that maintains, makes an effort, and is


The absent presence of the Λόγος    239

Heraclitus (GA 55) by Martin Heidegger