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WHAT IS CALLED THINKING?

own nature, and there preserves it. This admitting and preserving is what distinguishes the using of which we are speaking here, hut in no way exhausts its nature. Using, thought of in this way, is no longer, is never the effect of man's doing. But conversely, all mortal doing belongs within the realm in which the χρή makes its appeal. Using commends the used thing to its own nature and essence. In this using there is concealed a command, a calling. In the χρή of Parmenides' saying, a call is identified, although it is not thought out, much less explicated. Every primal and proper identification states something unspoken, and states it so that it remains unspoken.

"χρή: τὸ λέγειν τε νοεῖν τε"
"It is useful: the stating so thinking too "

The Greek verbs λέγειν and νοεῖν, according to the dictionary, are here translated correctly. The dictionary informs us that λέγειν means to state, and νοεῖν to think. But what does "stating'' mean? What does "thinking" mean? The dictionary which records λέγειν as stating and νοεῖν as thinking, proceeds as though the meaning of stating and thinking were the most obvious things in the world. And in a certain way, that is the case.

However, the usual case is not the case of Parmenides' saying. Nor is it the case of a translation such as a thoughtful dialogue with the saying must face.

We simply do not notice what violence and crudity we commit with the usual translation, precisely because it is correct according to the dictionary, how we turn everything upside down and throw it into confusion. It does not even occur to us that in the end? or here better in the beginning of Western thinking, the saying of Parmenides speaks to us for the first time of what is called thinking. We miss the point, therefore, if we use the word thinking in the translation. For in that way we assume that the Greek text is


Martin Heidegger (GA 8) What Is Called Thinking?