Insight Into That Which Is [5,6,7]

The jug remains a vessel, whether we represent it or not. As a vessel, the jug stands on its own. But what does this mean, that what holds would stand on its own? Does the standing-on-its-own of the vessel already define the jug as a thing? To be sure, the jug stands as a vessel only insofar as it was brought to a stand. Of course this occurred, and it does so occur, through a posing [ein Stellen], namely through a producing [das Herstellen]. The potter completes the earthen jug from out of the earth that has been especially selected and prepared for it. The jug consists of this. By virtue of what it consists of, the jug is also able to stand upon the earth, be it directly, be it indirectly upon a table and bench. What subsists through such production is what stands on its own. If we take the jug to be a produced vessel then it indeed appears that we grasp it as a thing and by no means as a mere object.

Or do we even now still take the jug as an object? Just so. To be sure, it no longer counts as solely the object of a mere representation, but it is the object that a producing delivers and puts here, placing it against us and across from us. Standing-on-its-own seemed to characterize the jug as a thing. In truth, we nevertheless think this standing-on-its-own in terms of production. Standing-on-its-own is that toward which producing is directed. Standing-on-its-own is therefore still thought, and despite everything is ever still thought, in terms of an objectivity, even if the objective-stance of what is produced is no longer grounded in a mere representing. Indeed, from the objectivity of the object and the objectivity of what is self-standing, no road leads to the thinghood of the thing.

What is it that is thing-like in the thing? What is the thing in itself? We only arrive at the thing in itself if our thinking has previously reached the thing as thing.

The jug is a thing as a vessel. To be sure, this holder requires a producing. But the production by the potter by no means constitutes what is proper to the jug insofar as it is a jug. The jug is not a vessel because it was produced, rather the thing must be produced because it is this vessel.

The producing lets the jug freely enter into its own. Yet the essence of the jug’s own is never completed by a producing. Let loose through its completion, the jug gathers itself in what is its own so as to hold. In the process of production, however, the jug

Martin Heidegger (GA 79) The Thing - Bremen and Freiburg Lectures

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