to the neighbor, to him who dwells in the same neighborhood. Poetry and thought, each needs the other in its neighborhood, each in its fashion, when it comes to ultimates. In what region the neighborhood itself has its domain, each of them, thought and poetry, will define differently, but always so that they will find themselves within the same domain. But because we are caught in the prejudice nurtured through centuries that thinking is a matter of ratiocination, that is, of calculation in the widest sense, the mere talk of a neighborhood of thinking to poetry is suspect.

Thinking is not a means to gain knowledge. Thinking cuts furrows into the soil of Being. About 1875, Nietzsche once wrote (Grossoktav WW XI, 20): "Our thinking should have a vigorous fragrance, like a wheatfield on a summer's night." How many of us today still have the senses for that fragrance?

By now, the two opening sentences of our lecture can be restated more clearly. This series of lectures bears the title "The Nature of Language." It is intended to bring us face to face with a possibility of undergoing a thinking experience with language. Be it noted that we said a possibility. We are still only in the preliminaries, in an attempt, even though the title does not say so. That title, "The Nature of Language," sounds rather presumptuous, as though we were about to promulgate reliable information concerning the nature of language. Besides, the title sounds altogether too trite, like "The Nature of Art," "The Nature of Freedom," "The Nature of Technology," "The Nature of Truth," "The Nature of Religion," etc. etc. We are all getting somewhat surfeited with all this big production of natures, for reasons which we do not quite understand ourselves. But what if we were to get rid of the presumptuousness and triteness of the title by a simple device? Let us give the title a question mark, such that the whole of it is covered by that mark and hence has a different sound. It then runs: The Nature?—of Language? Not only language is in question now, but so is the meaning of nature—and what is more, the question now is whether and in what way nature (essential being) and language belong together.