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draw close to this openness, without falling prey to the temptation to explain it prematurely, after scarcely perceiving it in the roughest manner.

In this openness, beings are familiar to us and known in different ways according to their different regions. Beings stand in a luminosity of knowledge and of sovereignty and afford ways and paths of penetration for the most diverse ways of being elaborated, formed, and considered. In every case, beings thereby prove to be independent and grounded in themselves. Beings dwell in a luminosity and provide, in very different degrees, free access to their autonomy. We may determine this closer and recapitulate by saying that beings stand in a luminosity, in a light, and allow free access and entrance—they are lighted. We speak of a clearing in the woods, a free luminous place. The openness of beings is such a clearing.

But at the same time beings are placed differently, and indeed not only by a being that is not accessible to us, and perhaps never will be, but by something concealed which conceals itself precisely when we immerse ourselves in the clearing, submit to the open beings, and are lost to them. That is exactly when we heed the least and are most rarely touched by the fact that these beings dwelling in the open "are"—or, as we say, "have" a Being. This latter, by which beings are distinguished from non-being, and owing to which they are and are such and such, does not stand in the clearing but in hiddenness. Consequently, the attempt to grasp this Being as if it were a being yields emptiness. Being is not merely hidden; it withdraws and conceals itself. From this we derive an essential insight: the clearing, in which beings are, is not simply bounded and delimited by something hidden but by something self-concealing.

Now, however, if Being is decisive for beings, and knowingly or not presses all activity and development of beings, beings we ourselves are not and ones we ourselves are, toward the Being of beings, toward what and how they are, then the clearing not only proves to be delimited by the self-concealing but is for the self-concealing. We can and even must understand this determination of the self-concealing—seen in terms of the clearing of beings—as a first essential designation of Being itself.

Since beings, and what is known as beings, stand in the clearing, Being reveals itself in a particular way. Its self-concealment is therefore one primordially proper to it. It shows itself and withdraws at the same time. This vacillating self-refusal is what is properly lighted up in the clearing, and yet for the most part it goes unheeded—corresponding to our comportment in the midst of beings. E.g., if we stand in a clearing in the woods, we see only what can be found within it: the free place, the trees about—and precisely not the luminosity of the clearing itself. As little as the openness is simply the unconcealedness of beings, but is the clearing for the self-concealing, so little is this self-concealment a mere being-absent. It is rather a vacillating, hesitant refusal.

In our recollection and critical deliberation we found that the ground of the possibility of "correctness" as the usual concept of truth lies in an openness of beings, and that this openness was already experienced in the beginning and was named ἀλήθεια. This openness of beings has


Basic Questions of Philosophy (GA 45) by Martin Heidegger