an essential community between rock and shaft, between furrow and earth, within that realm of being which opens up when the earth becomes a habitation. The home and dwelling of mortals has its own natural site. But its situation is not determined first by the pathless places on earth. It is marked out and opened by something of another order. From there, the dwelling of mortals receives its measure.

Summary and Transition

The key word in Parmenides' saying is χρή. We now translate it with "it is useful." Even on superficial examination the saying speaks of stating and of thinking, of being, of Being. It speaks of the highest and the deepest, the most remote and the nearest, the most veiled and the most apparent that mortal tale can tell. This gives us the occasion and the right to assume that the word χρή, too, is spoken in the highest sense.

"To use" means, first, to let a thing be what it is and how it is. To let it be this way requires that the used thing be cared for in its essential nature—we do so by responding to the demands which the used thing makes manifest in the given instance. Once we understand "using" in this sense, which is more natural to us, and in which using designates a human activity, we have already differentiated it from other modes of acting with which it is easily and readily confused and mixed up~ from utilizing, and from needing. In common usage, however, χρή may mean those things as well.

A wide range of meaning belongs generally to the nature of every word. This fact, again, arises from the mystery of language. Language admits of two things: One, that it be reduced to a mere system of signs, uniformly available to everybody, and in this form be enforced as binding; and two, that language at one great moment says one unique thing, for one time only, which remains inexhaustible because

Martin Heidegger (GA 8) What Is Called Thinking?