guilty.1 When Dasein understandingly lets itself be called forth to this possibility, this includes its becoming free for the call-its readiness for the potentiality of getting appealed to. In understanding the call, Dasein is in thrall to [hörig] its ownmost possibility of existence. It has chosen itself.
In so choosing, Dasein makes possible its ownmost Being-guilty, which remains closed off from the they-self. The common sense of the "they" knows only the satisfying of manipulable rules and public norms and the failure to satisfy them. It reckons up infractions of them and tries to balance them off. It has slunk away from its ownmost Being-guilty so as to be able to talk more loudly about making "mistakes". But in the appeal, the they-self gets called to [ angerufen] the ownmost Being-guilty of the Self. Understanding the call is choosing; but it is not a choosing of conscience, which as such cannot be chosen. What is chosen is having-a-conscience as Being-free for one's ownmost Being-guilty. "Understanding the appeal" means "wanting to have a conscience".
This does not mean that one wants to have a 'good conscience', still less that one cultivates the call voluntarily; it means solely that one is ready to be appealed to. Wanting to have a conscience is just as far from seeking out one's factical indebtednesses as it is from the tendency to liberation from guilt in the sense of the essential 'guilty'.
Wanting to have a conscience is rather the most primordial existentiell presupposition for the possibility of factically coming to owe something. In understanding the call, Dasein lets its ownmost Self take action in itself [in sich handeln] in terms of that potentiality-for-Being which it has chosen. Only so can it be answerable [verantwortlich]. Factically, however, any taking action is necessarily 'conscienceless', not only because it may fail to avoid some factical moral indebtedness, but because, on the null basis of its null projection, it has, in Being with Others, already · become guilty towards them. Thus one's wanting-to-have-a-conscience becomes the taking-over of that essential consciencelessness within which alone the existentiell possibility of being 'good' subsists.
Though the call gives no information, it is not merely critical; it is positive, in that it discloses Dasein's most primordial potentiality-for-Being as Being-guilty. Thus conscience manifests itself as an attestation which belongs to Dasein's Being-an attestation in which conscience calls Dasein itself face to face with its ownmost potentiality-for-Being. Is there an existentially more concrete way of determining the character of the
1 'Schuldigwerdenkönnen'. This 'ownmost authentic' sense of 'schuldig werden' is presumably to be contrasted with the sense to which we have called attention in notes 2 and 4, p. 327, H. 282 above, and which we have expressed by the phrase 'come to owe'. When it seems to us that Heidegger has the authentic sense in mind, we shall express it by the phrase 'become guilty', though this device exaggerates a contrast which would not be felt so sharply by the German reader.