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§ 22. Actuality of being capable

Let us consider a sprinter who, for example, has (as we say) taken his or her mark in a hundred-meter race just before the start. What Jo we see? A human who is not in movement: a crouched stance: yet this could be said just as well or even more appropriately about an old peasant woman who is kneeling before a crucifix on a pathway; more appropriately, because with the sprinter we do not simply see a kneeling human not in movement; what we call "kneeling" here is not kneeling in the sense of having set oneself down; on the contrary, this pose is much more that of being already "off and running." The particularly relaxed positioning of the hands, with fingertips touching the ground, is almost already the thrust and the leaving behind of the place still held. Face and glance do not fall dreamily to the ground, nor do they wander from one thing to another; rather, they are tensely focused on the track ahead, so that it looks as though the entire stance is stretched taut toward what lies before it. No, it not only looks this way. it is so, and we see this immediately; it is decisive that this be attended to as well. What limps along afterwards and is attempted inadequately, or perhaps without seriousness, is the suitable clarification of the essence of the actuality of this being which is actual in this way.

What exhibits itself to us is not a human standing still, but rather a human poised for the start; the runner is poised in this way and is this utterly and totally. Thus we say-because we see it without looking any further-that he is poised for the start. The only thing needed is the call "go." Just this call and he is already ofT running, hitting his stride, that is, in enactment. But what does this say? Now everything of which he is capable is present [anwesend]; he runs and holds nothing back of which he would be capable; running, he executes his capability. This execution is not the brushing aside of the capability, not its disappearance, but rather the carrying out of that toward which the capability itself as a capability drives. The one who enacts is just that one who leaves nothing undone in relation to his capability. for whom there is now in the running actually nothing more of which he is capable. This, of course. is then the case only if the one who is capable comes to the running in full readiness, if in this readiness he extends himself fully. But this implies that he is then genuinely in a position


Martin Heidegger (GA 33) Aristotle's Metaphysics θ 1-3