becomes richer. The soul must abandon its accustomed ways and paths and limit itself to its singular, bare, impoverished authentic hearkening listening: for it is then, and only then, that its λόγος is enriched. The enrichening of the self-gathering toward the Λόγος consists in the fact that the former, in listening to the Λόγος, is ceaselessly overtaken by it, thereby obediently joining itself ever more simply and in a more far-reaching way to precisely that which overtakes it. And all of this takes place within the sole jointedness.

One last saying of Heraclitus’s regarding the soul should be mentioned now, so that we may gain a clear perspective regarding the constantly named relations between the λόγος of the soul and its ὁμολογεῖν (in which σοφόν consists). As long as the λέγειν of the soul corresponds to ‘the Λόγος,’ authentic knowledge is. So, when and which soul is the knowing one? Is it the one that authentically and solely knows, the one that knows the most (in Greek, ψυχή σοφωτάτη)? Heraclitus tells us in fragment 118:

αὔη ψυχὴ σοφωτάτη καὶ ἀρίστη.

The sober soul is the most knowing and also the most noble.

αὔη means “dry.” But, in this fragment it does not mean the dried out, the withered, or the lifeless, but rather the dry in [395] distinction to the wet in the sense of the moist, musty, bubbling, and merely inebriated. The sober soul is the one properly attuned to (and by) the voice of the Λόγος to which it listens. Once again we can glean from this saying in what way the Greeks understood the noble: it is grounded in knowledge and blooms from out of it. The nobility of the human is its originary relatedness to the One which, as the singular unifying, is all. That is why Heraclitus can say the following in fragment 49:

εἷς ἐμοὶ μύριοι, ἐὰν ἄριστος ἦι.

One counts more than ten thousand, if he is a noble one.

The disposition of the noble rests in the knowledge that a thinking—or rather, the thinking—exists. Thinking is life—but what kind of thinking? Precisely that thinking that follows the far-reaching λόγος in an abiding way, following it into its enrichment from out of its own depth.

We have attempted to elucidate a few sayings of Heraclitus’s that speak of λόγος. Do we now know what Heraclitus thinks when he uses the word λόγος? We know some things, and yet know nothing. Above all, what little knowledge we do have does not allow us to be able to take a glancing familiarity with the λόγος of Heraclitus and then derive a definition and formula of it, as though such ‘knowledge’ (namely, definitional knowledge) were the most stringent of all knowledge. Perhaps

292    Logic: Heraclitus’s Doctrine of the Logos

Logic: Heraclitus’s Doctrine of the Logos


GA 55 p. 394