Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics [324-25]

equipment has acquired a particular readiness for something and possesses this readiness. The organ. on the other hand, is in the possession of a capacity. It is the capacity which possesses here rather than the organ. It is the capability which procures organs for itself, rather than organs coming to be equipped with capacities, let alone with forms of readiness.

§53. The concrete connection between capability
and the organ which belongs to it as subservience,
as distinct from the serviceability of equipment.

Yet what does it mean to say that capability procures organs for itself? Capacity as a particular kind of potentiality for being, for having and offering possibilities, is obviously not merely distinguished from the readiness for something through its character as a kind of potentiality. Rather, being capable and being ready for ... announce a fundamentally different manner of being in each case. In accordance with our overall perspective we must therefore attempt to bring out more concretely the connection between the capability to see, to smell, to grasp, to feed, or to digest on the on e hand, and the organs which belong to this capability on the other (and more precisely the way in which they belong to it). Perhaps the decisive problem lies precisely in the way and manner of this belonging.

At first sight one is tempted, and rightly so, to say that the organism itself produces its organs and thus also produces itself, in contrast to equipment which must always be produced through another. And this is precisely why the organism is distinguished from the machine, for example, which requires something other than itself, namely the builder who has that manner of being that is specific to man. The machine not only requires a builder in order to be a machine at all, it also has to be operated. The machine cannot stop or change its operation by itself, whereas the organism initiates, regulates and changes its own motility. Finally, if the machine is damaged, for example, then it requires repair or maintenance by others, and this can only be done by the specific manner of being belonging to a being which is also capable of producing a machine. The organism, on the other hand, repairs and renews itself within certain limits. Self-production in general, self-regulation and self-renewal are obviously aspects which characterize the organism over against the machine and which also illuminate the peculiar ways in which its capacity and capability as an organism are directed.

The facts clearly do not allow us to doubt what has been said.- What we have said also gives us a pointer to th e peculiarity proper to the organism as against the machine, and thus also to the way in which organs belong to the organism as against the way in which machine components belong to the

Martin Heidegger (GA 29/30) The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics