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§15. Fundamental Problem [243-244]

is at the same time determined in its possibilities by the beings to which it relates as to intraworldly beings. The Dasein understands itself first by way of these beings: it is at first unveiled to itself in its inauthentic selfhood. We have already said that inauthentic existence does not mean an apparent existence or an ungenuine existence. What is more, inauthenticity belongs to the essential nature of factical Dasein. Authenticity is only a modification but not a total obliteration of inauthenticity. We further emphasized that the Dasein's everyday self-understanding maintains itself in inauthenticity and in fact in such a way that the Dasein thereby knows about itself without explicit reflection in the sense of an inner perception bent back on itself but in the manner of finding itself in things. We have tried to explain, by the interpretation of existence just given, how something like this should be possible on the basis of the ontological constitution of the Dasein.

To what extent has the possibility of everyday self-understanding by way of things become more visible as a result of the analysis of some of the essential structures of the Dasein's existence? We have seen that, in order to understand in the contexture of their functionality the beings that are closest to us and all the things we encounter and their equipmental contexture, we need an antecedent understanding of functionality-whole, significance- contexture, that is, world in general. We return from this world thus antecedently understood to beings within the world. Because as existents we already understand world beforehand we are able to understand and encounter ourselves constantly in a specific way by way of the beings which we encounter as intraworldly. The shoemaker is not the shoe; but shoe-gear, belonging to the equipmental contexture of his environing world, is intelligible as the piece of equipment that it is only by way of the particular world that belongs to the existential constitution of the Dasein as being-in-the-world. In understanding itself by way of things, the Dasein understands itself as being-in-the-world by way of its world. The shoemaker is not the shoe but, existing, he is his world, a world that first and alone makes it possible to uncover an equipmental contexture as intraworldly and to dwell with it. It is primarily things, not as such, taken in isolation, but as intraworldly, in and from which we encounter ourselves. That is why this self-understanding of the everyday Dasein depends not so much on the extent and penetration of our knowledge of things as such as on the immediacy and originality of being-in-the-world. Even what we encounter only fragmentarily, even what is only primitively understood in a Dasein, the child's world, is, as intraworldly, laden, charged as it were, with world. What is important is only whether the existent Dasein, in conformity with its existential possibility, is original enough still to see expressly the world that is always already unveiled with its existence, to verbalize it, and thereby to make it expressly visible for others.

Poetry, creative literature, is nothing but the elementary emergence into


Basic Problems of Phenomenology (GA 24) by Martin Heidegger