Preliminary Interpretation [2-3] 4

I f we had to say something immediately about this basic disposition of philosophy, i.e., of futural philosophy, we might call it "restraint" [Verhaltenheit]. In it, two elements originally belong together and are as one: 'terror in the face of what is closest and most obtrusive, namely that beings are, and awe i n the face of what is remotest, namely that in beings, and before each being, Being holds sway (das Seyn west). Restraint is the disposition in which this terror is not overcome and set aside but is precisely preserved and conserved through awe. Restraint is the basic disposition of the relation to Being, and in it the concealment of the essence of Being becomes what is most worthy of questioning^ Only one who throws himself into the all-consuming fire of the questioning of what is most worthy of questioning has the right to say more of the basic disposition than its allusive name. Yet once he has wrested for himself this right, he will not employ it but will keep silent. For all the more reason, the basic disposition should never become an object of mere talk, for example i n the popular and rash claim that what we are now teaching is a philosophy of restraint.


§2. Philosophy as the immediately useless, though sovereign, knowledge of the essence of beings.


Depending on the depth of the history of a people, there will exist or will not exist, in the all-determining beginning, the poetizing of the poet and the thinking of the thinker, i.e., philosophy. A historical people without philosophy is like an eagle without the high expanse of the radiant aether, where its flight reaches the purest soaring.

Philosophy is completely different from "world-view" and is fundamentally distinct from all "science." Philosophy cannot by itself replace either world-view or science; nor can it ever be appreciated by them. Philosophy cannot at all be measured by anything else but only by its own now shining, now hidden, essence.^ It we attempt to calculate whether philosophy has any immediate use and what that use might be, we will find that philosophy accomplishes nothing.

It belongs necessarily to the character of ordinary opinion and