The Principle of Reason [186-187]

finds its repose is an elevated and even the most elevated play, and is free from everything arbitrary, then very little has been said as long as this elevation and that which is most elevated about it is not thought in terms of the mystery of the play. Indeed the manner of our thinking until now does not suffice to think this, for as soon as we attempt to think the play, which means to think it according to its mode of representation, we take this play as something that is. So just as a ground/reason belongs to the being of a being, so it belongs to the play. Thus the nature of the play is determined as it is everywhere determined, namely as the dialectic of freedom and necessity within the horizon of ground/reason, of ratio, of rules, of rules of play, of calculus. Perhaps one might have more appropriately translated the Leibnizian sentence Cum Deus calculat fit mundus with: When God plays, a world comes to be.

The leap into the other tonality of the principle of reason directs a question to us which reads: does the nature of the play let itself be suitably determined in terms of being qua ground/reason, or must we think being and ground/reason, being qua abyss in terms of the nature of play and indeed of the play which engages us mortals who are who we are only insofar as we live in proximity to death, which as the most radical possibility of existence is capable of bringing what is most elevated to the clearing and lighting of being and its truth. Death is the as yet unthought standard of measure of the unfathomable, which means, of the most elevated play in which humans are engaged in on earth, a play in which they are at stake.

Is it not merely a playful act if now, at the close of the lecture course on the principle of reason, we almost violently haul in thoughts about play and about the belonging-together of being and ground/reason with play? It may seem so as long as we keep on neglecting to think in terms of the Geschick of being, and that means neglecting to entrust ourselves to the liberating engagement in the legacy of thinking and to do so in a way that recollectively thinks upon it.

The path of thinking traversed in this lecture course leads us towards hearing the principle of reason in another tonality. That required us to ask: to what extent "are" being and ground/reason the same? The answer offered itself up to us on the path returning to the commencement of the Geschick of being. The path led through the tradition according to which ratio in the double sense of reckoning speaks in the words "ground" and "Reason." But λόγος, when thought in a Greek way, speaks in ratio. Only when we contemplated what λόγος meant for Heraclitus in early Greek thinking did it become clear that this word simultaneously names being and ground/reason, naming both in terms of their belonging-together. Heraclitus uses different names to name what he names λόγος, names which are the basic words of his thinking: φύσις, the emerging-on-its-own, which at the same time essentially comes to be as a self-concealing; κόσμος, which for the Greeks simultaneously meant order, disposition,[55]