The dictum of Anaximander of Miletus [13-32]

cadre for and disposing of what is noncompliant—there is manifest in Being as such the empowering power of appearance and disappearance.

It would be otiose to engage ourselves in the controversy that has long occupied scholars, the question of whether the ἄπειρον of Anaximander is to represented quantitatively or qualitatively.

The question presupposes that the ἄπειρον and what Anaximander calls the ἄπειρον is a being, something present at hand, of which one could demand that it be intuitively representable in some way.

It is said, presupposing the issue here is chemistry, that the ἄπειρον is a basic matter extended in infinite space or is this limitless space itself. The retort will be that precisely then the ἄπειρον is delimited against the immaterial and the unextended, is not such, and is instead restricted to a determinate region of beings and consequently is incapable of furnishing the most universal principle of beings. It is then postulated that the ἄπειρον should be represented as the qualitatively limitless. These answers are all equally nonsensical, because they are responses to a question that itself is intrinsically impossible and thus they radically mistake the genuine intent of the pronouncements. The intent is to speak about Being—and not about beings; the question of what sort of a being Being is is accordingly, in this form, preposterous.

And if we ask, no doubt also unsuitably, for the genuine result held out by these pronouncements, then it is this: beings are indeed on the basis of Being, but Being itself is not a being. Being and beings are different—this difference is the most originary one that could ever open up.6 Therefore the result: Being is not the beings. A comfortless message, perhaps comfortless indeed; the only question is whether such pronouncements about Being are called on to bring us comfort. Or if not comfort, then at least some clear and grounded insight. Where is that to be found?

6 Cf. manuscript on the essence of this distinction as the originarily and essentially occurring one—| this distinction and the bifurcation. {In Zum Ereignis-Denken, GA73.}