476 II. 6
Being and Time

present-at-hand. When one takes one's ontological orientation from something that is constantly present-at-hand, one either looks for the problem of the Continuity of time or one leaves this impasse alone. In either case the specific structure of world-time must remain covered up. Together with datability (which has an ecstatical foundation) it has been spanned. The spannedness of time is not to be understood in terms of the horizonal stretching-along of the ecstatical unity of that temporality which has made itself public in one's concern with time. The fact that in every "now", no matter how momentary, it is in each case already now, must be conceived in terms of something which is 'earlier' still and from which every "now" stems: that is to say, it must be conceived in terms of the ecstatical stretching-along of that temporality which is alien to any [424] Continuity of something present-at-hand but which, for its part, presents the condition for the possibility of access to anything continuous1 that is present-at-hand.

The principal thesis of the ordinary way of interpreting time-namely, that time is 'infinite'—makes manifest most impressively the way in which world-time and accordingly temporality in general have been levelled off and covered up by such an interpretation. It is held that time presents itself proximally as an uninterrupted sequence of "nows". Every "now", moreover, is already either a "just-now" or a "forthwith".2 If in characterizing time we stick primarily and exclusively to such a sequence, then in principle neither beginning nor end can be found in it. Every last "now", as "now", is always already a "forthwith" that is no longer [ein Sofort-nicht-mehr]; thus it is time in the sense of the "no-longer-now"—in the sense of the past. Every first "now" is a "just-now" that is not yet [ein Soeben-noch-nicht]; thus it is time in the sense of the "not-yet-now"—in the sense of the 'future'. Hence time is endless 'on both sides'. This thesis becomes possible only on the basis of an orientation towards a free-floating "in-itself" of a course of "nows" which is present-at-hand—an orientation in which the full phenomenon of the "now" has been covered up with regard to its datability, its worldhood, its spannedness, and its character of having a location of the same kind as Dasein's, so that it has dwindled to an unrecognizable fragment. If one directs one's glance towards Being-present-at-hand and not-Being-present-at-hand, and thus 'thinks' the sequence of "nows" through 'to the end', then an end can never be found. In this way of thinking time through to the end, one must always think more time; from this one infers that time is infinite.

But wherein are grounded this levelling-off of world-time and this


1 '... Stetigen ...' The earlier editions have 'Stätigen'.

2 'Jedes Jetzt ist auch schon ein Soeben bzw Sofort.'


Being and Time (M&R) by Martin Heidegger