Insight Into That Which Is [89]

this lies in the emptiness of the jug, then the potter, who shapes the sides and base upon the potter’s wheel, does not actually finish the jug. He only forms the clay. No—he forms the emptiness. For this emptiness, within it, and from out of it, he shapes the clay into a figure. The potter grasps first and constantly what is ungraspable in the empty and produces it as what holds in the form of a vessel. The empty of the jug determines every grip of the production. The thinghood of the vessel by no means rests in the material of which it consists, but instead in the emptiness that holds.

But is the jug really empty?

The physical sciences assure us that the jug is filled with air and with all that constitutes the compound mixture of air. We let ourselves be deceived by a semipoetic manner of observation in calling upon the emptiness of the jug.

But as soon as we leave this aside so as to investigate the actual jug scientifically and in regards to its actuality, then another state of affairs shows itself. If we pour wine into the jug we merely force out the air that already fills the jug and replace it with a fluid. Viewed scientifically, to fill the jug means to exchange one filling for another.

These suppositions of physics are correct. By means of them science represents something actual, according to which it objectively judges. But—is this actual something the jug? No. Science only ever encounters that which its manner of representation has previously admitted as a possible object for itself.

It is said that the knowledge of science is compelling. Certainly. But what does its compulsion consist of? In our case, in the compulsion to relinquish the jug filled with wine and to put in its place a cavity in which a fluid expands. Science makes the jug-thing into something negligible, insofar as the thing is not admitted as the standard.

Within its purview, that of objects, the compelling knowledge of science has already annihilated the thing as thing long before the atomic bomb exploded. The explosion of the atomic bomb is only the crudest of all crude confirmations of an annihilation of things that occurred long ago: confirmation that the thing as thing remains nullified. The annihilation is so uncanny because it brings with it a twofold delusion. For one, the opinion that science, more so than all other experience, would encounter the

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