§15. Fundamental Problem [246-247]

the burning of soot and the gray reek of potatoes and the strong oily stench of decaying grease. The sweet lingering aroma of neglected suckling infants was there and the anguished odor of children going to school and the sultriness from beds of pubescent boys. And much had joined this company, coming from below, evaporating upward from the abyss of the streets, and much else had seeped down with the rain, unclean above the towns. And the domestic winds, weak and grown tame, which stay always in the same street, had brought much along with them, and there was much more too coming from no one knows where. But I've said, haven't I, that all the walls had been broken off, up to this last one? Well, I've been talking all along about this wall. You'll say that I stood in front of it for a long time; but I'll take an oath that I began to run as soon as I recognized the wall. For that's what's terrible—that I recognized it. I recognize all of it here, and that's why it goes right into me: it's at home in me.4

Notice here in how elemental a way the world, being-in-the-world—Rilke calls it life—leaps toward us from the things. What Rilke reads here in his sentences from the exposed wall is not imagined into the wall, but, quite to the contrary, the description is possible only as an interpretation and elucidation of what is "actually" in this wall, which leaps forth from it in our natural comportmental relationship to it. Not only is the writer able to see this original world, even though it has been unconsidered and not at all theoretically discovered, but Rilke also understands the philosophical content of the concept of life, which Dilthey had already surmised and which we have formulated with the aid of the concept of existence as being-in-the-world.

d) Result of the analysis in regard to the principal problem of the multiplicity of ways of being and the unity of the concept of being

In conclusion, we shall try to summarize what we have first of all critically discussed in the third chapter, in regard to the principal problem of the question about the multiplicity of ways of being and the unity of the concept of being . We

4. R. M. Rilke. Werke, a selection in two vols. (Leipzig, 1953), vol. 2, pp. 39-41. [The date of this edition makes it impossible that Heidegger referred to it in 1927. Thomas Sheehan ("Caveat Lector: The New Heidegger," The New York Review of Books, December 4, 1980, p. 40, n. 5) identifies the edition Heidegger used as that of 1927, vol. 1, pp. 64-67. The original publication was: Rainer Maria Rilke, Die Aufzeichnungen des Malte Laurids Brigge, 2 vols. (Leipzig: Insel Verlag, 1910). The authoritative edition of Rilke is now Sämtliche Werke, edited by the Rilke Archive in association with Ruth Sieber-Rilke and supervised by Ernst Zinn, 6 vols. (Frankfurt: Insel Verlag, 1955-). Volume 6 contains Malte Laurids Brigge and other prose, 1906-1926. The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge, trans. M. D. Herter Norton (New York: Norton, 1949). The quoted passage occurs on pp. 46 ff.]