Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Martin Heidegger, "What is Metaphysics?" Part 2c

II. The Elaboration of the Question

[Where else can we look in our common experiences that may provide access to the whole unity of beings?] “[B]eing attuned, in which we “are” one way or another and which determines us through and through, lets us find ourselves among beings as a whole. [Unfortunately, such moods or feelings ultimately] conceal from us what we are seeking. [What we need is an] original mood which in the most proper sense of unveiling reveals the nothing. Does such an attunement, in which man is brought before the nothing itself, occur in human existence? This can and does occur, although rarely enough and only for a moment, in the fundamental mood of anxiety.

By this anxiety we do not mean the quite common anxiousness, ultimately reducible to fearfulness, which all too readily comes over us. Anxiety is basically different from fear. Much to the contrary, a peculiar calm pervades it. [Anxiety arises as] indeterminateness comes to the fore [and] in this very receding things turn toward us. The receding of beings as a whole that closes in on us in anxiety oppresses us. We can get no hold on things. In the slipping away of beings only this “no hold on things” comes over us and remains. Anxiety reveals the nothing.

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