'What the Latin word animus intends is designated more fully in the originary words "memory" and "thanc." Here also is the juncture along our way where we set out to take an even more essential step. That step leads to the sphere where the nature of memory shows itself to us in a more primal manner—not just in terms of the word, but in substance. We do not claim that the nature of memory, as it must now be thought of, is named in the initial, primal word. Rather, the initial meaning of the ancient word gives us a clue. The suggestions that follow up this clue are no more than a groping attempt to render the ground visible on which the nature of memory rests. That attempt is supported by something which has appeared at the beginning of Western thought, and has never quite faded from its horizon.
In what direction does it point, the thing we commented on as the nature of memory? Within the radius of what the originary word "memory" designates, it still looks at first as though memory, in the sense of heart and disposition, were nothing more than a part of man's natural equipment. Thus we take it for something specifically human. And so it is—but not exclusively, nor even primarily.
We defined memory as the gathering of thinking that recalls. As soon as we give thought to this definition, we no longer stop with it or before it. We follow that to which the definition directs us. The gathering of recalling thought is not based on a human capacity, such as the capacity to remember and retain. All thinking that recalls what can be recalled in thought already lives in that gathering which beforehand has in its keeping and keeps hidden all that remains to be thought.
The nature of that which keeps safe and keeps hidden lies in preserving, in conserving. The "keep" originally means the custody, the guard.
Memory, in the sense of human thinking that recalls,