rather this hearing occupies the same space as speaking—they are the head and tail of this relationship to language. Listening is speaking: “every word of mortal speech speaks out of such a listening and as such a listening” (GA 12: 29/PLT 206). Simply put, “mortals speak insofar as they listen” (GA 12: 29/PLT 206).
In “Logos” (also from 1951), Heidegger makes just this point in commenting on Heraclitus. What is to be heard is not the voicing of a speaker: “As long as we only listen to the wording as the expression of a speaker, we are not at all listening” (GA 7: 220/EGT 66, tm). Such voicing remains human, not mortal: “you hear not at all authentically as long as you only hang your ears on the sound and flow of a human voice in order to snatch up its way of speaking for yourselves” (GA 7: 221/EGT 67, tm). Instead, mortal hearing is distinguished from human hearing on just this point: “mortal hearing must be directed at something else” (GA 7: 221/EGT 67, tm). Immersed in death, mortals are able to hear past the discrete words of human speech. Instead, mortals hear “something else,” they hear the radiance of words, we might say. Heidegger will often address this surplus and relational reach of words in terms of the silence or stillness of language.
To have heard the address, behest, claim, avowal, or promise of language is not to take possession of it. The ear is not an organ of apprehension, but of opening. When Heidegger wishes to address the way that we poetically receive the measure or standard for the dimension, in regards to such measures (Maßnahmen) he speaks of “a taking [Nehmen] that never snatches the measure to itself, but instead takes it in a gathered perceiving [Vernehmen] that remains a hearing” (GA 7: 202/PLT 221, tm). Hearing does not snatch a thing away into isolation, but instead comes to it with a “gathered” hearing, a hearing that is in tune with the dispersal of the words themselves through the relations they articulate. A gathered hearing is in accordance with a radiant wording. What this means is that what enters the ear is equally outside the ear. To hear is to let things reach oneself and this means to let things radiate, to let them be so that they might reach one.
In hearing things relationally, the mortals cannot exclude themselves from these relations. Once relationality is unfurled, there is nowhere free of its claim. To think relationally, to hear in this way, is to find oneself implicated in the very worlding of the world. Mortals hear what they hear now as a claim. Mortals belong to what they hear and hearing itself is nothing other than this: “We have heard [gehört] when we belong [gehören] to what has been addressed” (GA 7: 220/EGT 66, tm). To hear is to participate in your appropriation. To hear is to accept this and invite this: “To belong to speech—this is nothing else than in