Andrew Mitchell on the fourfold in things.
The fourfold is said to be "gathered" (versammelt) into things and Heidegger's use of the term warrants comment. As a gathering, the thing is desubstantialized; it is no longer construed as a present and self-enclosed entity, but instead as the intersection of earth, sky, mortals and divinities. Considering the thing a gathering thus precludes any conception of the thing as a steady presence. The fourfold gathers around the thing in a tenuous convergence. There is nothing everlasting or monumental about such things; they tarry ephemerally (Heidegger's term is weilen). The thing abides. The same gathering that unites the four in the thing is equally a disaggregation of that thing. What is gathered is not a homogeneity, but a spaced parting of assembled members. The fourfold disaggregates the thing by releasing it from the bounds of an encapsulated self-identity. Heidegger's name for this, not surprisingly, is "thinging". The thing in its thinging is telescoped out beyond itself. The thing is not only gathered but disassembled at once, and through this disassembly it enters the world. The fourfold delimits and thereby situates the thing in a context of the world. Each element of the fourfold names a limit or interface of the thing whereby it passes into the world.