73 I. III
Being and Time

But such heedful dealings do not just come up against unusable things within what is already at hand. They also find things which are missing, which are not only not "handy," but not "at hand" at all. When we come upon something unhandy, our missing it in this way again discovers what is at hand in a kind of only being present. When we notice its unhandiness, what is at hand enters the mode of obtrusiveness. The more urgently we need what is missing and the more truly it is encountered in its unhandiness, all the more obtrusive does what is at hand become, such that it seems to lose the character of handiness. It reveals itself as something merely present, which cannot be budged without the missing element. As a deficient mode of taking care of things, the helpless way in which we stand before it discovers the mere being present of what is at hand.

In dealing with the world taken care of, what is unhandy can be encountered not only in the sense of something unusable or completely missing, but as something unhandy which is not missing at all and not unusable, but "gets in the way" of taking care of things. That to which taking care cannot turn, for which it has "no time," is something unhandy in the way of not belonging there, of not being complete. [74] Unhandy things are disturbing and make evident the obstinacy of what is initially to be taken care of before anything else. With this obstinacy the presence of what is at hand makes itself known in a new way· as the being of what is still present and calls for completion.

The modes of conspicuousness, obtrusiveness, and obstinacy have the function of bringing to the fore the character of objective presence in what is at hand. What is at hand is not thereby observed and stared at simply as something present. The character of objective presence making itself known is still bound to the handiness of useful things. These still do not disguise themselves as mere things. Useful things become "things" in the sense of what one would like to throw away. But in this tendency to throw things away, what is at hand is still shown as being at hand in its unyielding objective presence.

But what does this reference to the modified way of encountering what is at hand, a way in which its objective presence is revealed, mean for the clarification of the phenomenon of world? In the analysis of this modification, too, we are still involved with the being of innerworldly beings. We have not yet come any closer to the phenomenon of world. We have not yet grasped that phenomenon, but we now have the possibility of catching sight of it.

In its conspicuousness, obtrusiveness, and obstinacy, what is at hand loses its character of handiness in a certain sense. But this handiness is itself understood, although not thematically, in dealing with what is at hand. It does not just disappear, but bids farewell, so to speak, in the conspicuousness of what is unusuable. Handiness shows


Martin Heidegger (GA 2) Being & Time (S&S)