The Restriction of Being • 191

The character of mystery belongs to the essence of the origin of language. But this implies that language can have begun only from the overwhelming and the uncanny, in the breakaway of humanity into Being. In this breakaway, language, the happening in which Being becomes word, was poetry. Language is the primal poetry in which a people poetizes Being. In turn, the great poetry by which a people steps into history begins the formation of its language. The Greeks created and experienced this poetry through Homer. Language was manifest to their Dasein as a breakaway into Being, as the formation that opens beings up.

It is not at all self-evident that language should be logos, gathering. But we understand this interpretation of language as logos on the basis of the inception of the historical Dasein of the Greeks, on the basis of the fundamental direction in which Being itself opened itself up to them, and in which they brought Being to stand in beings.

The word, the name, sets the self-opening beings out of the immediate, overwhelming assault, back into their Being, and preserves them in this openness, delimitation, and constancy. Naming does not come afterward, providing a being that is already otherwise manifest with a designation and a token called a word, but to the contrary: from the height of its originary act of violence as the opening-up of Being, the word sinks down to become a mere sign, and this sign then thrusts itself in front of beings. In originary saying, the Being of beings is opened up in the structure of its gatheredness. This opening-up is gathered in the second sense, according to which the word preserves what is originally gathered, and thus the word stewards φύσις, which holds sway. Human beings, as those who stand and act in logos, [132|181] in gathering, are the gatherers. They take over and fulfill the stewardship of the sway of the overwhelming.

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