rather the self-revealing ‘gathering’ in the sense of the originary self-joining oneness of the inconspicuous jointure. λόγος/ἁρμονία/φύσις/κόσμος all say the same, though in each case from out of a different originary determination of being. We learn here first to anticipate in which way the inceptual thinker is able to behold and articulate the richness of the simple. In the previously mentioned saying, λέγειν is the opposite of κρύπτειν. Both belong within the essential region of making manifest and letting appear. However, an even more originary letting appear, behind which every λέγειν and κρύπτειν as such already lags behind, is σημαίμειν : “to give a sign.”

The extant translations (and that also means interpretations) of Heraclitus’s saying regarding Apollo are so thoughtlessly [179] senseless that they can presently be skipped over. The saying says that the god gives the intimation of what is always indispensable, i.e., the essential. This, however, is φύσις, which is in itself at once emerging and self-concealing. If the god would only reveal emerging or only conceal self-concealing, he would thereby continually and thoroughly miss the essence of φύσις. On the contrary, he is able neither only to reveal nor only to conceal, nor can he simply do one and then the other: rather, he must accomplish both originarily in an originary oneness. That happens, however, insofar as he gives signs. What, then, is a sign? Something that is shown and thereby revealed: however, this something that is revealed is of the sort that it points to something not-shown, something non-appearing, something concealed. To give signs means: to reveal something which, by appearing, points to something concealed, an operation that thereby both conceals and harbors and thus lets what is harbored emerge as such. The essence of the sign is this revealing concealing. The essence of the sign is not, however, pieced and patched together from out of both of these functions: rather, the showing of the sign is the originary way in which what is only later and elsewhere separated—namely, revealing itself and concealing itself— preside inseparably. To show in the manner of the sign, however, means to make visible the essence of φύσις in a way that accords with that essence and corresponds to the favor prevailing in φύσις. φύσις itself is the self-showing that essentially shows itself in signs.

Certainly σῆμα/σημεῖον/σημαίμειν must be thought here in a Greek way and with reference to φύσις and ἀλήθεια. Parmenides speaks, in his fragment 8, of the σήματα of being, about which extant interpretations spread a certain unsurpassable nonsense. ‘Signs,’ thought in a Greek way, are the self-showing of emerging itself, to which this self-showing belongs and which is removed as far as possible from all ‘ciphering.’ ‘Signs,’ thought in a Greek way, are nothing made or thought-up, as are, [180] for example, ‘numerals’ and ‘ciphers’ in arithmetic, which designate something with which they ‘actually’ have nothing to do. It is the province only of contemporary thinking and its metaphysics, and of the latter’s intrinsic and now manifest decline, to misunderstand what is thought and said in essential thinking as a mere ‘cipher’ for something entirely different and to misjudge in every respect all originary


132    The Inception of Occidental Thinking