318 II. 2
Being and Time

When the they-self is appealed to, it gets called to the Self.1 But it does not get called to that Selfwhich can become for itself an 'object' on which to pass judgment, nor to that Self which inertly dissects its 'inner life' with fussy curiosity, nor to that Self which one has in mind when one gazes 'analytically' at psychical conditions and what lies behind them. The appeal to the Self in the they-self does not force it inwards upon itself, so that it can close itself off from the 'external world'. The call passes over everything like this and disperses it, so as to appeal solely to that Self which, notwithstanding, is in no other way than Being-in-the-world.

But how are we to determine what is said in the talk that belongs to this kind of discourse? What does the conscience call to him to whom it appeals? Taken strictly, nothing. The call asserts nothing, gives no information about world-events, has nothing to tell. Least of all does it try to set going a 'soliloquy' in the Self to which it has appealed. 'Nothing' gets called to [zu-gerufen] this Self, but it has been summoned [aufgerufen] to itself-that is, to its ownmost potentiality-for-Being. The tendency of the call is not such as to put up for 'trial' the Self to which the appeal is made; but it calls Dasein forth (and 'forward') into its ownmost possibilities, as a summons to its ownmost potentiality-for-Being-its-Self.2

The call dispenses with any kind of utterance. It does not put itself into words at all; yet it remains nothing less than obscure and indefinite. Conscience discourses solely and constantly in the mode of keeping silent. In this way it not only loses none of its perceptibility, but forces the Dasein which has been appealed to and summoned, into the reticence of itself. The fact [274] that what is called in the call has not been formulated in words, does not give this phenomenon the indefiniteness of a mysterious voice, but merely indicates that our understanding of what is 'called' is not to be tied up with an expectation of anything like a communication.

Yet what the call discloses is unequivocal, even though it may undergo a different interpretation in the individual Dasein in accordance with its own possibilities of understanding. While the content of the call is seemingly indefinite, the direction it takes is a sure one and is not to be overlooked. The call does not require us to search gropingly for him to whom it appeals, nor does it require any sign by which we can recognize that he is or is not the one who is meant. When 'delusions' arise in the conscience, they do so not because the call has committed some oversight (has miscalled),3 but only because the call gets heard in such a way that instead of


1 'Auf das Selbst wird das Man-selbst angerufen.'

2 'Der Ruf stellt, seiner Ruftendenz entsprechend, das angerufene Selbst nicht zu einer "Verhandlung", sondern als Aufruf zum eigensten Selbstseinkönnen ist er ein Vor-(nach-"vorne"-)Rufen des Daseins in seine eigensten Möglichkeiten.' The verbs 'anrufen', 'aufrufen', and 'vorrufen' can all be used in the legal sense of a 'summons'.

3 '... ein Sichversehen (Sichver-rufen) des Rufes ...'


Being and Time (M&R) by Martin Heidegger