§34 [103-104]


e) Dasein, to which this world is pre-given, to which the world itself is unveiled.

In unity with that, Dasein is also disclosed to itself. According to the levels of disclosedness, Dasein sees itself only in terms of what it encounters, only in terms of the world. Those in chains see themselves only as shadows.

How then is the transition to a higher level of truth carried out? (Wherein resides what is essential to the differences in truth?) It is not carried out by gaining more of the old cognitions, by having a richer manifold of uncovered beings, since the mode of Being of Dasein allows only shadows to be seen.

The chained-up Dasein must be released, so that it can see in the light itself, i.e., know about the light itself. But that means: the understanding of Being must become explicit and be transformed. As long as that does not happen, i.e., as long as the released ones cannot see in the light itself, they also cannot see the very beings that are directly illuminated. On the contrary, in conformity with the understanding of Being (shadowy, without light) still ruling at the earlier level, they will take any being they now encounter, any thing itself-since it is not shadowy—as a nonbeing. What is first needed is an acclimation to the light; i.e., the formation of the new level of truth primarily requires a familiarization with the new understanding of Being. On that basis, the things themselves can then be distinguished from their shadows and semblances. Only from the higher understanding of Being do the things that had been exclusively taken as beings now become comprehensible in their Being. That is to say, in order to survey and understand all beings and their respective ways to be, what is required is the highest understanding of Being, the knowledge of what Being properly means.

The transition to a higher level is always as follows: not by an extension of cognitions in the already given domain of experience but, instead, primarily by being drawn more and more to the light. That is, the development of the understanding of Being opens the gaze for beings and for their various ways to be. At issue is not a mere influx of new cognitions, but an overturning of the entire current basic position of Dasein itself with respect to what it takes at any level as a genuine being. Thus truth is grounded in the respective mode of Being of Dasein—whether Dasein is imprisoned in the cave or not, whether Being is determined according to the immediately given beings or according to a universal concept of Being, one that is not restricted to a determinate domain.16

16. See supplement no. 3, p. 159.

Basic Concepts of Ancient Philosophy (GA 22) by Martin Heidegger