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The Principle of Reason [121-123]

rests on the fact that it is claimed by being? That individual beings are what is more oven and being what is less overt-this can only be rooted in the essence of being, not in us—"in us" meant in such a way that we place ourselves, as it were, by ourselves in a void without relation. For, we are never the ones that we are apart from the claim of being. So it is not some characteristic of humans as conceived anthropologically that causes being to be less overt for us than individual beings. Rather, the essence of being is such that, as a self-revealing, being reveals itself in a way such that a self-concealing-that means, a withdrawal—belongs to this revealing. This is what Heraclitus' saying, commonly called Fragment 123, says: φύσις κρύπτεσθαι φιλεῖ. "To self-revealing there belongs a self-concealing." As a proffering that clears and lights, being is simultaneously withdrawal. Withdrawal belongs to the Geschick of being.

A second reference to the history of Western thinking should give us a further insight into the extent to which the Geschick of being reigns as withdrawal in the history of this thinking. But what withdrawal signifies here cannot be brought often enough before our mind's eye. Self-revealing is hardly some primary characteristic accruing to "being" (as though being somehow already subsisted beforehand), and neither is withdrawal and self-withdrawal. If the latter were a characteristic of being, then this would mean that being simply remains absent in the withdrawal. According to the withdrawal understood in this way, there would then be no being. One would thus be understanding withdrawal in the sense of a process through which, for example, one withdraws acidity from wine so that it doesn't have it any more. But being is not a thing that some one of us takes away and puts to the side. Rather self-withdrawing is the manner that being essentially comes to be, that is, proffers itself as presencing. The withdrawal does not shunt being to the side; rather, self-withdrawing belongs, as self-concealing, in the property of being. Being preserves its propriety in self-revealing insofar as it simultaneously conceals itself as this self-concealing. Self-concealing, the withdrawal, is a manner in which being qua being lasts, proffers itself, that is, vouchsafes itself.

We will take note of the relationship between Leibniz and Kant within the history of Western thinking in order to more clearly bring the being of beings into view as Geschick. This reference remains compulsory within the limited perspective open to the path of this lecture.

Leibniz formulated the principle of reason and set it up as a supreme fundamental principle. Leibnizian thinking awakens and gathers the tradition of Western thinking in a new way; it gives free rein to the claim of the principle of reason as one of the supreme fundamental principles so that what concealingly bepowers in this claim could come forth.

But what is bepowering in the claim of reason, if indeed the principle of reason is a principle of being that says being and ground/reason "are" the same? Being reigns as Geschick in what is bepowering about the claim of reason


The Principle of Reason (GA 10) by Martin Heidegger