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HEIDEGGER: Mr. Fink has thus begun the explication of Heraclitus with the lightning. Is this beginning a matter of course? Is it not surprising?

PARTICIPANT: If one considers the starting points made elsewhere, this beginning is unusual.

HEIDEGGER: Mr. Fink, who begins with the lightning, is, as it were, struck by lightning. With what does Heidegger begin?

PARTICIPANT: With the Λόγος [gathering-process).

HEIDEGGER: And beside that ...

PARTICIPANT: ... with Ἀλήθεια [nonconcealment).23

HEIDEGGER: But how does Heidegger come to Ἀλήθεια?

PARTICIPANT: By Fr. 16: τὸ μὴ δῦνόν ποτε πῶς ἄν τις λάθοι.24

HEIDEGGER: Where this fragment is used as a basis for a Heraclitus explication, one must also read it as the first fragment. But how do Frs. 64 and 16 come together, or how is Fr. 64 distinguished from Fr. 16? Wherein lies the distinction between both beginnings?

PARTICIPANT: In Fr. 16, τὸ μὴ δῦνόν ποτε [that which never sets) stands at the central point; in Fr. 64, it is κεραυνός [lightning].

HEIDEGGER: Are both fragments, and thus both beginnings, identical? PARTICIPANT: No.

HEIDEGGER: Take Fr. 16 entire, and compare it with Fr. 64.

PARTICIPANT: The distinction between the two fragments consists in this, that only τὰ πάντα is mentioned in Fr. 64, while the human being comes into play in Fr. 16.

HEIDEGGER: We are thus concerned with a great difference. The question will be what the different starting point of Frs. 64 and 16, respectively, signifies; whether or not an opposition is displayed here. We will have to ask this question explicitly. But what could one reply if it were said that the human becomes thematic in Fr. 16, while he is not mentioned in Fr. 64?

PARTICIPANT: If τὰ πάντα comprehends all entities, then the human is co-thought as an entity.

PARTICIPANT: Fundamentally, I agree with that. But then it is not said in Fr. 64 how a human, in distinction to all nonhuman πάντα, is and stands in relationship to lightning. On the contrary, Fr. 16 expressly names the way that a human behaves toward τὸ μὴ δῦνόν ποτε.

HEIDEGGER: A human is also named in Fr. 64 in so far as he is and belongs as an entity to τὰ πάντα. But the question is whether we already think of a human when we take him as an entity which belongs to τὰ πάντα like all other entities, whether we must not think of him otherwise as an entity in the midst of πάντα. Let us, therefore, keep in mind that the beginning of Mr. Fink's Heraclitus explication is surprising. This beginning with the lightning then leads to ...


Martin Heidegger (GA 15) Heraclitus Seminars