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BASIC WRITINGS

into absence vanish. The saying is by no means the supplementary linguistic expression of what shines forth; rather, all shining and fading depend on the saying that shows. It liberates what comes to presence to its particular presencing, spirits away what is withdrawing into absence to its particular kind of absence. The saying joins and pervades the open space of the clearing which every shining must seek, every evanescence abandon, and to which every presencing and absencing must expose itself and commit itself.

The saying is a gathering that joins every shining of a showing. The showing, for its part, is multiple; everywhere it lets what is shown stand on its own.

Whence does the showing arise? Our question asks too much, and too quickly. It suffices if we heed what it is that bestirs itself in showing and brings its stirrings to a culmination. Here we need not search forever. The simple, abrupt, unforgettable and therefore ever-renewed gaze toward what is familiar to us suffices, although we can never try to know it, much less cognize it in the appropriate way. This unknown but familiar thing, every showing of the saying, with regard to what it stirs and excites in each coming to presence or withdrawing into absence, is the dawn, the daybreak, with which the possible alternation of day and night first commences. It is at once the earliest and the oldest. We can only name it, because it will deign no discussion. For it is the place [Ortschaft] that encompasses all locales and time-play-spaces. We shall name it by using an old word. We shall say:


What bestirs in the showing of saying is owning.

Owning conducts what comes to presence and withdraws into absence in each case into its own. On the basis of owning, these things show themselves, each on its own terms, and linger, each in its own manner. Let us call the owning that conducts things in this way—the owning that bestirs the saying, the owning that points in any saying's showing—the propriating. Propriating dispenses the open


Martin Heidegger (GA 12) The Way to Language - Basic Writings (1993)