Greek Interpretation of Human Beings [134-135]

self-assuredness of calculative understanding. What does this knowing know, and what must it know?

§18. The hearth as being. (Renewed meditation on the commencement of the choral ode and on the closing words)

We shall succeed in answering this question if we meditate once more on the decisive words with which the choral song begins and whose interpretation the choral song itself is:

πολλὰ τὰ δεινὰ κοὐδὲν ἀνθρώπου δεινότερον πέλει·

Vielfältig das Unheimliche, nichts doch
über den Menschen hinaus Unheimlicheres ragend sich regt.

Manifold is the uncanny. yet nothing
more uncanny looms or stirs beyond the human being.

In what direction does this saying look? It speaks of the uncanny; it speaks of that which is most uncanny: it enunciates the fact that among the multiplicity of uncanny things. the human being is the most uncanny. The saying tells of the δεινόν and names πέλειν—stirring and looming, abiding in itself amid change, emerging forth from out of itself, yet as this coming and going, remaining nevertheless within itself. This is what the Greeks otherwise call φύσις, and this is the word for being. And the same is also named to πέλειν. Surveying the uncanny entirely and in all its possibilities, this saying looks toward the being of all beings. In whatever direction that which is most uncanny ventures as that which is most unhomely, insofar as it still is as the most unhomely, it everywhere remains within the sphere of being. No matter where that which is most uncanny seeks a way out, no matter to where it is thrust back and cast down, it falls back into the sphere of being. Being sets no limits to the one who ventures forth in all directions, because, in their peregrinations, human beings are destined to encounter an infinite array of "new" beings. And yet human beings find no way out in this and trip up. and in all this do not know what it is that restricts them and defeats them: they do not know that it is being. the very same that opens all doors to them. For all its unhomeliness. the unhomely remains within the sphere of being. The unhomely remains related to the homely· Granted that there are various possibilities of this relation, then there are also various ways of being unhomcly. In that case. the expulsion of the uncanny one will correspondingly have various meanings.

Hölderlin’s Hymn “The Ister” (GA 53) by Martin Heidegger