as the mortal in distinction to the immortals, the gods. This characterization of the human seems to me to be incomparably deeper than the one first mentioned, which is gained by means of holding in view the human by himself, isolated and detached from the great relationships in which he properly stands. And among these relationships, the one he has to the gods has priority above all others. (GA 77: 221–22/143–44)
The younger man objects to the idea that the more recent definition would somehow lack in profundity in comparison with the older one. In making his point, he takes recourse to the One. As the younger prisoner explains: “Only the common interpretation of the definition of the essence of the human as the ζῷον λόγον ἔχον seems to me to be shallow. Yet if we finally learn to think that logos originally means gathering, then the definition of the human with regard to logos says that his essence consists in being in the gathering, namely, the gathering toward the originally all-unifying One” (GA 77: 223/145). With this, we see the sameness of the definition of the human as mortal and as ζῷον λόγον ἔχον; both understand the human in relation to the immortal and thus the One: “If the human as the mortal is experienced in distinction to the immortals, he is obviously thought with regard to the gods and the divine. And if logos means the gathering toward the originally all-unifying One, whereby the One is the divine itself, then the two essential definitions—which initially appear as almost incompatible, or at least as foreign to one another—basically think the selfsame” (GA 77: 224/145).
Before rushing to conclude that Heidegger would be a thinker of reconciled union, we must pay heed to the role of λόγος in the gathering of this One. For, as Heidegger explains in the essay “Logos” of 1951, “the essence of λόγος would provide a hint [Wink] into the godhood of God” (GA 7: 227/EGT 72, tm). If we think godhood in terms of this gathering, then the relation of the One to the many changes. In the 1967 Heraclitus seminar, Heidegger proposes that thinking the relation of the ἓν and πάντα properly will do away with the idea of these as two independent parties or relata:
When we speak of the “relation between ἓν and πάντα,” then it seems as if we were thinking about a relation between the two which we have localized objectively and for which we then sought a bow which spanned them. In the end, however, the matter stands in such a way that ἓν is the relation, and that it relates to τὰ πάντα in that it lets them be what they are. So understood, the relation is, in my opinion, the decisive point that our determination must reach and that whereby the idea of two relata is eliminated. (GA 15: 175–76/HS 108, tm)