Greek Interpretation of Human Beings [64-65]

The entry song begins with a call to the rising sun, which pours the most radiant light upon the city. Yet this same song already hints that a darkening irrupts upon what has been lighted, a darkening that must be cleared and decided. The rising light gives what is unconcealed its space and is, at the same time, the acknowledgment of darkness, of darkening and shadows. All this in no way remains in straightforward contrast to that which is bright and transparent: rather everything that is is essentially permeated by its counter-essence. The two main figures. Creon and Antigone, do not stand opposed to one another like darkness and light, black and white, guilty and innocent. What is essential to each is as it is from out of the unity of essence and nonessence, yet in a different way in each case. Our modern thought is much too "intellectual," that is. much too calculative and technical in its planning, to penetrate immediately into those realms of being as told of here, let alone to be entirely "at home" therein. For our initial task it must suffice to juxtapose the beginning of this entry song with the beginning of the first stationary song of the chorus, so as to intimate something of the range and oppositional nature of the truth within which this tragedy sways back and forth and yet stands. What truly stands steadfast must be able to sway within the counter-turning pressure of the open paths of the storms. What is merely rigid shatters on account of its own rigidity. What is said at the beginning of the first choral ode corresponds to the rise of radiant light (1. 332ff.):

πολλὰ τὰ δεινά κοὐδὲν ἀνθρώπου δεινότερον πέλει

Vielfältig das Unheimliche, nichts doch
über den Menschen hinaus unheimlicher wallet.

Manifold is the uncanny, yet nothing
beyond the human being prevails more uncannily.

There the fairest rays of emergent light, here the most uncanny "essence" of the human being.


The essence of the river consists in its being the locality and journeying for human beings as historical. and thus in its sustaining the essence of the historicality of Western humankind. Locality and journeying thus implicate one another in a properly peculiar way. It is of decisive importance. yet at the same time difficult, to think their unity. If we think locale and journey as determinations of space and time, then it appears that the