Walter Biemel on the appropriating e-vent.
To understand Ereignis, a word which is at the center of this text ["The Road to Language"], we must first briefly indicate the context in which the word emerges.
Language speaks by pointing. "Language speaks in that it is the one that points; and, reaching into all the regions of the world, it lets that which comes to presence out of each region appear and disappear." The connection between language and letting appear is found in all texts about language, starting with Being and Time; but of course how this letting appear is to be thought of and what it is that speaks change. According to Heidegger, the speaker (man) can speak only because he listens to language, and he is able to hear only because he belongs to language. "Only to those who belong to [language] does the saying grant the possibility of listening to language and thus of speaking." Thus Heidegger sets off this granting as a fundamental trait of language. The relationship between the speaker and language recalls the relationship between Dasein and Being that Heidegger mentions earlier, when he says that Dasein can be only by the grace of Being, but on the other hand Being is in need of Dasein. "Language is in need of man’s speech and is nevertheless not the mere product of his speech activity."
The basic language, which Heidegger calls saying, makes all appearing possible. "The saying governs and joints the 'Free' of the clearing, for which all appearing must search and from which all disappearing must flee, whereunto each being present and being absent must point itself, must announce itself." From what takes place in saying, conceived of in this way, Heidegger comes to the Ereignis. It makes something be suited for (ereignet), that is, it grants "the Free of the clearing in which what is present can abide and from which what is absent can escape and, in withdrawal, can keep its abiding." This granting must not be understood according to the cause-effect schema. "There is nothing else to which one could still reduce the e-vent and with the help of which it could be clarified." It is the last thing that our glance comes across as it tries to unravel saying’s granting. In another essay Heidegger says of Being, "It gives [es gibt]"; here he says that the Ereignis also grants this es gibt, "of which Being, too, is still in need in order (as presence) to arrive at what is proper to it."
The manifold possibilities of showing refer to the saying as that which shows, and this, in turn, refers to the Ereignis. It may be appropriate here to remember that we are not permitted to hypostatize the Ereignis as a power which is beyond everything and which holds sway over Being; we must rather try to grasp the Ereignis as that which governs in language and which we run Into in our questioning back concerning language's pointing. In our attempt at thinking the Ereignis, by no means do we leave language behind. A new aspect of language offers itself here: the way in which language lets man himself speak by making available to him the clearing In which each being will appear. Again, this connection must not be understood in the sense that man is subject to a power lo which he must submit himself; Heidegger wishes to show what man owes to language as saying. Through language man is able to speak In the sense of the logos that expresses itself with spoken words. (A change has taken place here which, in regard to Being and Time, is radical.) Genuine speech is for Heidegger a cor-responding to the saying and to the appropriating e-vent. The relationship be tween Dasein and Being, which we mentioned earlier, returns when Heidegger says, "Man is used in order to bring the voice less saying to sounding."