22     Introduction

self-occluding [Sichverschließen] that it be [wese]’ (H: 100/GA55: 131).25 But it does so ‘because self-concealing [Sichverbergen] itself, from out of its “essence”, allots to emerging what it is’ (H: 100/ GA55: 131). So, the ‘feeling’ is mutual: φύσις loves κρύπτεσθαι, and κρύπτεσθαι loves φύσις. The two together reciprocally allow one another to be what they are; ‘each first bestows upon the other its proper nature’ (EGT: 114/GA7: 278–9). Heidegger expresses this reciprocal philein using romantic language, speaking of ‘the reciprocal intimacy of revealing and concealing’ (EGT: 114/GA7: 279), and an ‘inherently reciprocal favouring’ in which ‘φύσις and κρύπτεσθαι are [. . .] mutually inclined toward each other’ (EGT: 114/GA7: 278–9).

But asserting that φύσις and κρύπτεσθαι allow one another to be what they are does not yet explain how they do this—especially given their mutual opposition. How does their reciprocal love not result in mutual destruction? One option is to say that there is destruction, but that it is uni-directional, temporary, and essential. Appearing overcomes self-concealing and so comes into its own, but self-concealing comes into its own at the same time, since it belongs to the essence of self-concealing to be so overcome. Self-concealing is the ground out of which appearing arises, and it is in the nature of a ground to be overcome by that which it grounds.

Heidegger seems to subscribe to this sort of interpretation. He says that the ‘jointure (i.e. ἀρμονία) [. . .] in which emerging and self-concealing [Sichverbergen] hand one another the bestowing of their essences in a reciprocal way’ is one in which ‘self-concealing


25 Manfred S. Frings points out that Heidegger is ‘play[ing] with German “Gunst” [favour] and its cognate word “gönnen” (not to grudge, to grant)’, such that ‘[i]n fragment 123, “φιλεῖ” does not mean “to love” but implies a reciprocal granting of two terms’ (Frings, ‘Heraclitus: Heidegger’s 1943 Lecture Held at Freiburg University’, 258). But, even granting Heidegger’s wordplay, we can still make sense of φιλεῖν as a form or loving or liking. My interpretation is one way. Dahlstrom offers a similar interpretation, translating ‘φιλεῖν’ as ‘like’: ‘Analogously, we might say, for example, that an introvert likes to hide from others or a camouflaged soldier likes to conceal himself, where the phrase “likes to” supposes that both the introvert and the camouflaged soldier do what is essential for them’ (Dahlstrom, ‘Being at the Beginning: Heidegger’s Interpretation of Heraclitus’ 142, footnote 22). Interpretations such as mine and Dahlstrom’s also allow one to disagree with Parvis Emad, who argues that ‘[t]he term φιλεῖ should not be translated as “loving” or “liking” because such translations imply an incompatibility between “rising” and “concealing”. Only when the two are totally different from each other can one of them “like” or “love” the other’ (Emad, ‘Heidegger’s Originary Reading of Heraclitus – Fragment 16’, 109).


Heidegger on Being Self-Concealing by Katherine Withy