190 • The Restriction of Being

In accordance with this connection, λέγειν means: to pro-duce the unconcealed as such, beings in their unconcealment. Thus, λόγος has the character of δηλοῦν, of revealing, not only in Heraclitus but still in Plato. Aristotle characterizes the λέγειν of λόγος as ἀποφαίνεσθαι, bringing-to-self-showing (see Being and Time, §7 and §44). This characterization of λέγειν as de-concealing and revealing bears witness to the originality of this determination—and it does so all the more strongly because it is precisely in Plato and Aristotle that the decline of the determination of λόγος sets in, the decline that makes logic possible. Since then, which means for two millennia, these relations among λόγος, ἀλήθεια, φύσις, νοεῖν, and ἰδέα have been hidden away and covered up in unintelligibility.

But in the inception, this is what happens: λόγος as the revealing gathering—Being, as this gathering, is fittingness in the sense of φύσις—becomes the necessity of the essence of historical humanity. From here one need take only a single step to grasp how λόγος, so understood, determines the essence of language [131|180] and how λόγος becomes the name for discourse. Being-human, according to its historical, history-opening essence, is λόγος, the gathering and apprehending of the Being of beings: the happening of what is most uncanny, in which, through doing violence, the overwhelming comes to appearance and is brought to stand. But we heard in the choral ode from Sophocles’ Antigone that together with the breakaway into Being language happens—finding one’s way into the word.

In the question of the essence of language, the question of the origin of language surfaces again and again. One looks for an answer in the most peculiar ways. And here we have the first, decisive answer to the question of the origin of language: this origin remains a mystery—not because people up to now were not clever enough, but because all cleverness and all sharp wit have mishandled the question before they even get started with it.

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