OFF THE BEATEN TRACK


This ἐνέργεια which Aristotle thinks as the fundamental character of presencing, of ἐόν, the ἰδέα which Plato thinks as the fundamental character of presencing, the Λόγος which Heraclitus thinks as the fundamental character of presencing, the Μοῖρα which Parmenides thinks as the fundamental character of presencing, the Χρέων which Anaximander thinks as what is essential in presencing, all name the same. In the concealed richness of the same lies the unity of the unifying One, the Ἕν which, in his own way, is thought by every thinker.

Meanwhile, an epoch of being soon arrives in which evepye1a is translated into actualitas. The Greek is shut away and appears, right up to our own times, only in its Roman guise. Actualitas becomes reality. Reality becomes objectivity. But even this, in order to remain in its essence as objectivity, requires the character of presencing. It is the "presence" in the representation of representing. The decisive turn [Wende] in the destiny of being as ἐνέργεια is the transition to actualitas.

Could a mere translation have caused all this? But perhaps we have learned to consider what can happen in translation. The truly destining encounter of historical languages is a silent event. But in it the destining of being speaks. Into what language is the land of the evening tra11slated? We will now try to translate Anaximander's saying:

... κατὰ τὸ χρεών· διδόναι γὰρ αὐτὰ δίκην καὶ τίσιν ἀλλήλοις τῆς ἀδικίας.

. . . along the line of usage; for they let order and reck belong to one another (in the surmounting) of dis-order.


This translation cannot be scientifically established: nor should we have faith in it on the basis of some kind of authority. Scientific proof will not take us far enough. Faith has no place in thought. We can only reflect on the translation by thinking through the saying. Thinking, however, is the poeticizing of the truth of being in the historical dialogue between those who think.

For this reason the saying will never speak to us so long as we explain it in a merely historical and philological manner. Strangely enough, the saying first speaks to us when we lay aside the claims of our usual mode of representing, as we ask ourselves in what the confusion of today's world-destiny consists.

Man is about to hurl himself upon the entire earth and its atmosphere, to arrogate to himself the hidden working of nature in the form of energy, and to subordinate the course of history to the plans and orderings of a world


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Anaximander's saying (GA 5) by Martin Heidegger