{GA 64: 107}

The Concept of Time

Martin Heidegger

The following reflections are concerned with time. What is time?

If time finds its meaning in eternity, then it must be understood starting from eternity. The point of departure and path of this inquiry are thereby indicated in advance: from eternity to time. This way of posing the question is fine, provided that we have the aforementioned point of departure at our disposal, that is, that we are acquainted with eternity and adequately understand it. If eternity were something other than the empty state of perpetual being, the ἀεί,1 if God were eternity, then the way of contemplating time initially suggested would necessarily remain in a state of perplexity so long as it knows nothing of God, and fails to understand the inquiry concerning him. If our access to God is faith and if involving oneself with eternity is nothing other than this faith, then philosophy will never have eternity and, accordingly, we will never be able to employ eternity methodologically as a possible respect in which to discuss time. Philosophy can never be relieved of this perplexity. The theologian, then, is the legitimate expert on time; and if recollection serves us correctly, theology is concerned with time in several respects.

Firstly, theology is concerned with human existence2 as Being before God. It is concerned with the temporal Being of such existence in its relation to eternity. God himself needs no theology; his existence is not grounded through faith.

Secondly, Christian faith is in itself supposed to stand in relation to something that happened in time — at a time, we are told, of which it is said: It was the time 'when time was fulfilled ...'3

The philosopher does not believe. If the philosopher asks about time, then he has resolved to understand time in terms of time or in terms of the ἀεί, which looks like eternity but proves to be a mere derivative of being temporal.

{GA 64: 108} The following considerations are not theological. In a theological sense — and you are at liberty to understand it in this way — a consideration of time can only mean making the question concerning eternity more difficult, preparing it in the correct manner and posing it properly. Nor, however, is the treatise philosophical, in so far as it makes no claim to provide a universally valid, systematic determination of time, a determination which would have to inquire back beyond time into its connection with the other categories.

The ensuing reflections perhaps belong to a prescience whose business entails the following: conducting inquiries about what could ultimately be meant by what philosophy and science, what interpretative discourse of existence says about existence and about the world. If we achieve clarity about what a clock is, then the kind of apprehension thriving in physics thereby becomes alive, and so does the manner in which time gets the opportunity to show itself. This pre-science within which our observations take place thrives on the presupposition, perhaps unconventional, that philosophy and science take place in the concept. The possibility of this pre-science entails that every researcher achieve clarity concerning what he understands and what he does not understand. It lets us know when a particular piece of research is directly concerned with its matter, or when it feeds on a traditional and hackneyed verbal knowledge of it. Such inquiries are as it were the policing at the procession of the sciences, which is certainly a subordinate yet sometimes urgent business, in the opinion of some. The relation of these inquiries to philosophy is merely to accompany it, so as occasionally to conduct a housesearch of the ancients in order to see how they went about things. The following reflections have only this much in common with philosophy: the fact that they are not theology.

To begin with, a provisional hint on that time which we encounter in everydayness, on the time of nature and on world-time. {GA 64: 109} Interest in what time is has been reawakened in the present day by the development of research in physics and its deliberations on the fundamental principles of the kind of apprehending and determining entailed here: the measuring of nature within a system of space-time relations. The current state of this research is established in Einstein's relativity theory. Some of its propositions are as follows: Space is nothing in itself; there is no absolute space. It exists merely by way of the bodies and energies contained in it. (An old proposition of Aristotle's:) Time too is nothing. It persists merely as a consequence of the events taking place in it. There is no absolute time, and no absolute simultaneity either.4 In seeing the destructive side of this theory, one readily overlooks what is positive about it, namely, that it demonstrates precisely the invariability, with respect to arbitrary transformations, of those equations describing natural processes.

Time is that within which events take place.5 This is what Aristotle has already seen, in the context of the fundamental kind of Being pertaining to natural being: change, change of place, locomotion: ἐπεὶ οὖν οὐ κίνησις, ἀνάγκη τῆς κινήσεώς τι εἶναι αὐτόν.6 Since time itself is not movement, it must somehow have to do with movement. Time is initially encountered in those entities which are changeable; change is in time. How is time exhibited in this way of encountering it, namely, as that within which things change? Does it here give itself as itself in what it is? Can an explication of time that starts here guarantee that time will thereby provide as it were the fundamental phenomena that determine it in its own Being? Or does the search for the grounds of the phenomena point us towards something else?

How does the physicist encounter time? His grasping and determining of time have the character of measuring. {GA 64: 110} Measuring indicates the how-long and the when, the from-when-till-when. A clock shows the time. A clock is a physical system in which an identical temporal sequence is constantly repeated, with the provision that this physical system is not subject to change through any external influence. The repetition is cyclical. Each period has an identical temporal duration. The clock provides an identical duration that constantly repeats itself, a duration to which one can always have recourse. The way in which the stretch of this duration is divided up is arbitrary. The clock measures time in so far as the stretch of the duration of an occurrence is compared with identical sequences on the clock and can thereby be numerically determined.

What do we learn from the clock about time? Time is something in which a now-point may be arbitrarily fixed, such that, with respect to two different time-points, one is earlier and the other later. And yet no now-point of time is privileged over any other. As 'now', any now-point of time is the possible earlier of a later; as 'later', it is the later of an earlier. This time is thoroughly uniform, homogeneous. Only in so far as time is constituted as homogeneous is it measurable. Time is thus an unfurling whose stages stand in a relation of earlier and later to one another. Each earlier and later can be determined in terms of a now which, however, is itself arbitrary. If we approach an event with a clock, then the clock makes the event explicit, but more with respect to its unfolding in the now than with respect to the how-much of its duration. What primarily the clock does in each case is not to indicate the how-long or how-much of time in its present flowing, but to determine the specific fixing of the now. If I take out my watch, then the first thing I say is: 'Now it is nine o'clock; thirty minutes since that occurred. In three hours it will be twelve.'

What is this now, the time now as I look at my watch? Now, as I do this; now, as the light here goes out, for instance. What is the now? Is the now at my disposal? Am I the now? Is every other person the now? Then time would indeed be I myself, and every other person would be time. {GA 64: 111} And in our being with one another we would be time — everyone and no one. Am I the now, or only the one who is saying this? With or without any explicit clock? Now, in the evenings, in the mornings, tonight, today: Here we hit upon a clock that human existence has always assumed, the natural clock of the alternation of day and night.

What is involved in the fact that human existence has already procured a clock prior to all pocket-watches and sundials? Do I dispose over the Being of time, and do I also mean myself in the now? Am I myself the now and my existence time? Or is it ultimately time itself that procures for itself the clock in us? Augustine, in the Eleventh Book of his Confessions, pursued the question so far as to ask whether spirit itself is time. And Augustine left the question standing at this point. 'In te, anime meus, tempora metior; noli mihi obstrepere: quod est; noli tibi obstrepere turbis affectionum tuarum. In te, inquam, tempora metior; affectionem quam res praetereuntes in te faciunt, et cum illae praeterierint manet, ipsam metior praesentem, non ea quae praeterierunt ut fieret: ipsam metior, cum tempora metior.'7 To paraphrase: 'In you, my spirit, I measure times; you I measure, as I measure time. Do not cross my path with the question: How is that? Do not mislead me into looking away from you through a false question. Do not obstruct your own path with the confusion of what may concern you yourself. In you, I say repeatedly, I measure time; the transitory things encountered bring you into a disposition which remains, while those things disappear. The disposition I measure in present existence, not the things that pass by in order that this disposition first arise. My very finding myself disposed, I repeat, is what I measure when I measure time.'

{GA 64: 112} The question of what time is has pointed our inquiry in the direction of Dasein, if by Dasein we mean that entity in its Being which we know as human life; this entity in the specificity8 of its Being, the entity that we each ourselves are, which each of us finds in the fundamental assertion: I am. The assertion 'I am' is the authentic assertion of Being pertaining to the Dasein of man. In its specificity, this entity is as mine.

Yet was this laborious reflection required in order to hit upon Dasein? Would it not be sufficient to point out that acts of consciousness, mental processes, are in time — even when these acts are directed towards something that is not itself determined by time? This is a way round the problem. But what matters in the question concerning time is attaining an answer in terms of which the various ways of being temporal become comprehensible; and what matters is allowing a possible connection between that which is in time and authentic temporality to become visible from the very beginning.

Natural time as long since familiar and discussed has hitherto provided the basis for the explication of time. If human Being is in time in a distinctive sense, so that we can read off from it what time is, then we must characterize this Dasein in the fundamental determinations of its Being. Indeed, it would then have to be the case that being temporal, correctly understood, is the fundamental assertion of Dasein with respect to its Being. Yet even here a prior indication of several fundamental structures of Dasein itself is required.

1. Dasein is that entity which is characterized as being-in-the-world. Human life is not some subject that has to perform some trick in order to enter the world. Dasein as being-in-the-world means: being in the world in such a way that this Being means: dealing with the world; tarrying alongside it in the manner of performing, effecting and completing, but also contemplating, interrogating, and determining by way of contemplation and comparison. Being-in-the-world is characterized as concern.

{GA 64: 113} 2. As this being-in-the-world, Dasein is, together with this, being-with-one-another, being with Others: having the same world there with Others, encountering one another, being with one another in the manner of being-for-one-another. Yet this Dasein is simultaneously being present at hand for Others, namely, just as a stone is there which neither has nor is concerned with a world there.

3. Being with one another in the world, having this world as being with one another, has a distinctive ontological determination. The fundamental way of the Dasein of world, namely, having world there with one another, is speaking. Fully considered, speaking is: oneself speaking out in speaking with another about something. It is predominantly in speaking that man's being-in-the-world takes place. This was already known to Aristotle. In the manner in which Dasein in its world speaks about its way of dealing with its world, a self-interpretation of Dasein is also given. It states how Dasein specifically understands itself, what it takes itself to be. In speaking with one another, in what one thus spreads around in speaking, there lies the specific self-interpretation of the present, which maintains itself in this dialogue.

4. Dasein is an entity that determines itself as 'I am'. The specificity of the 'I am' is constitutive for Dasein. Just as primarily as it is being-in-the-world, Dasein is therefore also my Dasein. It is in each case its own and is specific as its own. If this entity is to be determined in its ontological character, then we must not abstract from its specificity as in each case mine. Mea res agitur.9 All fundamental characters must therefore converge in specificity as in each case mine.

5. In so far as Dasein is an entity that I am, and is simultaneously determined as being-with-one-another, it is not I myself who for the most part and on average am my Dasein, but the Others; I am with the Others, and the Others are likewise with the Others. No one is himself in everydayness. What someone is, and how he is, is nobody: no one and yet everyone with one another. Everyone is not himself. This Nobody by whom we ourselves are lived in everydayness is the 'One'. One says, one listens, one is in favour of something, one is concerned with something. {GA 64: 114} In the obstinacy of the domination of this One there lie the possibilities of my Dasein, and out of this levelling-down the 'I am' is possible. An entity that is the possibility of the 'I am' is as such, for the most part, an entity that one is.

6. In its specific everyday being-in-the-world, the entity thus characterized is one to whom its Being matters. Just as in all speaking about the world there lies Dasein's speaking out itself about itself, so all concernful dealing is a concern for the Being of Dasein. I myself am to a certain extent that which I deal with, that with which I occupy myself, that to which my profession chains me, and in these my Dasein takes place. Care for Dasein has in each specific case placed Being in care, Being as familiar and understood in the dominant interpretation of Dasein.

7. In the averageness of everyday Dasein there lies no reflection upon the ego or the self, and yet Dasein has itself. It finds itself disposed alongside itself. It comes across itself there in whatever it is generally dealing with.

8. Dasein cannot be proven as an entity, it cannot even be pointed out. The primary relation to Dasein is not that of contemplation, but 'being it'. Experiencing oneself, like speaking about oneself, self-interpretation, is only one particular distinctive way in which Dasein has itself in each specific case. On average, the interpretation of Dasein is governed by everydayness, by what one traditionally says about Dasein and human life. It is governed by the 'One', by tradition.

In indicating these ontological characteristics, everything is subject to the presupposition that this entity is accessible in itself for an inquiry that is to interpret it with respect to its Being. Is this presupposition correct, or can it be made to vacillate? Indeed it can. Yet this difficulty does not arise from appealing to the fact that psychological contemplation of Dasein leads to obscurity. {GA 64: 115} A far more serious difficulty than the limited nature of human cognition must be made visible. And it is to be made visible in such a way that, precisely in not evading our perplexity, we attain the possibility of seizing Dasein in the authenticity of its Being.

The authenticity of Dasein is what constitutes its most extreme possibility of Being. Dasein is primarily determined by this most extreme possibility ofDasein. Authenticity as the most extreme possibility of Dasein's Being is that ontological determination in which all the aforementioned characters are what they are. The perplexity concerning our grasp of Dasein is grounded not in the limitation, uncertainty or incompleteness of our cognitive faculty, but in the very entity to be apprehended: it is grounded in a fundamental possibility of its Being.

We mentioned among other things that Dasein is determined by its specificity; in so far as it is what it can be, it is in each case mine. This determination is a thoroughgoing, constitutive one for this Being. Whoever crosses it out has lost whatever part of his theme he is talking about.

Yet how is this entity to be apprehended in its Being before it has reached its end? After all, I am still underway with my Dasein. It is still something that is not yet at an end. When it has reached the end, it precisely no longer is. Prior to this end, it never authentically is what it can be; and if it is the latter, then it no longer is.

Is the Dasein of Others not able to substitute for Dasein in the authentic sense? Information on the Dasein of Others who were with me and who have reached an end is poor information. For one thing, such Dasein no longer is. Its end would indeed be the Nothing. For this reason the Dasein of Others is unable to substitute for Dasein in the authentic sense, if indeed we are to retain its specificity as mine. I never have the Dasein of the Other in the original way, the sole appropriate way of having Dasein: I never am the Other.

{GA 64: 116} The less one is in a hurry to steal away unnoticed from this perplexity, the longer one endures it, the more clearly one sees that in whatever creates this difficulty for Dasein, Dasein shows itself in its most extreme possibility. The end of my Dasein, my death, is not some point at which a sequence of events suddenly breaks off, but a possibility which Dasein knows of in this or that way: the most extreme possibility of itself, which it can seize and appropriate as standing before it. Dasein has in itself the possibility of meeting with its death as the most extreme possibility of itself. This most extreme possibility of Being has the character of a standing-before in certainty, and this certainty for its part i~ characterized by an utter indeterminacy. The self-interpretation of Dasein which towers over every other statement of certainty and authenticity is its interpretation with respect to its death, the indeterminate certainty of its ownmost possibility of being at an end.

How does this concern our question of what time is, and especially the initial question of what Dasein is in time? Dasein, as always specifically mine in each case, knows of its death and does so even when it wants to know nothing of it. What is it to have one's own death in each case? It is Dasein's running ahead to its past, to an extreme possibility of itself that stands before it in certainty and utter indeterminacy. Dasein as human life is primarily being possible , the Being of the possibility of its certain yet indeterminate past.

The Being of possibility here always is the possibility in such a way that this possibility knows of death, for the most part in the sense that 'I already know, but am not thinking about it.' For the most part I know of death in the manner of a knowing that shrinks back. As an interpretation of Dasein, this knowing is immediately on hand to disguise the possibility of its Being. Dasein itself has the possibility of evading its death.

This past, as that to which I run ahead, here makes a discovery in my running ahead to it: it is my past. As this past it uncovers my Dasein as suddenly no longer there; {GA 64: 117} suddenly I am no longer there alongside such and such things, alongside such and such people, alongside these vanities, these tricks, this chattering. The past scatters all secretiveness10 and busyness, the past takes everything with it into the Nothing. The past is not some occurrence, not some incident in my Dasein. It is its past, not some 'what' about Dasein, some event that happens to Dasein and alters it. This past is not a 'what', but a 'how', indeed the authentic 'how' of my Dasein. This past, to which I can run ahead as mine, is not some 'what', but the 'how' of my Dasein pure and simple.

In so far as running ahead to this past maintains the past in its specific 'how', the 'how' of Dasein itself becomes visible. Running ahead to the past is Dasein's running up against its most extreme possibility; and in so far as this 'running up against' is serious, Dasein in this running is thrown back upon itself as still Dasein. This is Dasein's coming back to its everydayness which it still is, such that the past as authentic 'how' also uncovers everydayness in its 'how', takes it in its bustle and its busyness back into its 'how'. The past brings all 'what', all taking care of and making plans, back into the 'how'.

This being past, as the 'how', brings Dasein harshly into its sole possibility of itself, allows it to stand entirely alone with respect to itself. This past is able to place Dasein, amid the glory of its everydayness, into uncanniness.11 In so far as it holds before Dasein its most extreme possibility, running ahead is the fundamental way in which the interpretation of Dasein is carried through. Running ahead seizes for itself the fundamental respect in which Dasein places itself. It simultaneously shows that the fundamental category of this entity is its 'how'.

Perhaps it is no accident that Kant determined the fundamental principle of his ethics in such a way that we call it formal. He perhaps knew from a familiarity with Dasein itself that it is its 'how'. It was left to contemporary prophets to organize Dasein in such a way that the 'how' is covered up.

{GA 64: 118} Dasein is authentically alongside itself, it is truly existent, whenever it maintains itself in this running ahead. This running ahead is nothing other than the authentic and singular future of one's own Dasein. In running ahead Dasein is its future, in such a way that in this being futural it comes back to its past and present. Dasein, conceived in its most extreme possibility of Being, is time itself, not in time. Being futural as we have characterized it is, as the authentic 'how' of being temporal, that way of Being of Dasein in which and out of which it gives itself its time. Maintaining myself alongside my past in running ahead I have time. All idle talk, that in which such idle talk maintains itself, all restlessness, all busyness, all noise and all racing around breaks down. To have no time means to cast time into the bad present of the everyday. Being futural gives time, cultivates the present and allows the past to be repeated in how it is lived.

With regard to time, this means that the fundamental phenomenon of time is the future. In order to see this without selling it as an interesting paradox, each specific Dasein must maintain itself in its running ahead. In so doing it becomes manifest that the original way of dealing with time is not a measuring. Coming back in running ahead is itself the 'how' of that concern in which I am precisely tarrying. This coming back can never become what one calls boring, that which uses itself up and becomes worn out. What is distinctive about specificity is that, through running ahead into authentic time, it has all time for itself in each specific case.12 Time never becomes long because it originally has no length. Running ahead to ... collapses if it is understood as a question of the 'when' and 'how much longer' of the past, because inquiries about the past in the sense of 'how much longer' and 'when' are not at all alongside the past in the possibility we have characterized; they cling precisely to that which is not yet past and busy themselves with what may possibly remain for me. This questioning does not seize the indeterminacy of the certainty of the past, but precisely wishes to determine indeterminate time. This questioning wants to free itself of the past in what it is, namely, indeterminate, and as indeterminate, certain. {GA 64: 119} Such questioning is so little a running ahead to the past that it precisely organizes the characteristic flight in the face of the past.

Running ahead seizes the past as the authentic possibility of every moment of insight, as what is now certain. Being futural, as a possibility of Dasein as specific, gives time, because it is time itself. Thus it simultaneously becomes visible that the question of 'how much' time, 'how long' and 'when' — to the extent that futuricity is authentically time — that this question must remain inappropriate to time. Only if I say that time authentically has no time to calculate time is this an appropriate assertion.

Yet we became acquainted with Dasein, which itself is supposed to be time, as reckoning with time, indeed even measuring it with the clock. Dasein is there with the clock, albeit only the most proximate, everyday clock of day and night. Dasein reckons with and asks after the 'how much' of time, and is therefore never alongside time in its authenticity. Asking in this way about the 'when' and 'how much', Dasein loses its time. How do things stand with this asking as an asking that loses time? Where does time go to? Precisely that Dasein which reckons with time and lives with its watch in its hand — this Dasein that reckons with time constantly says 'I have no time.' Does it not thereby betray itself in what it does with time, in so far as it itself is, after all, time? Losing time and acquiring a clock for this purpose! Does not the uncanniness of Dasein irrupt here?

The question of the 'when' of the indeterminate past, and in general of the 'how much' of time, is the question of what still remains for me, still remains as present. To bring time into the 'how much' means to take it as the now of the present. To ask after the 'how much' of time means to become absorbed in concern with some 'what' that is present. Dasein flees in the face of the 'how' and clings to the specific 'what' that is present. Dasein is what it is concerned with; Dasein is its present. Everything that is encountered in the world is encountered by Dasein as residing in the now; thus it encounters the time itself that Dasein in each case is, but is as present.

{GA 64: 120} Concern as absorption in the present is, as care, nonetheless alongside a not-yet that is first to be attended to in taking care of it. Even in the present of its concern, Dasein is the whole of time, in such a way that it does not get rid of the future. The future is now that to which care clings — not the authentic, futural being of the past, but the future that the present itself cultivates for itself as its own, because the past as the authentic future can never become present. If it were present, it would be the Nothing. The futuricity to which care clings is such by grace of the present. And Dasein, as absorbed in the now of the present world, is so little ready to admit that it has stolen away from authentic futuricity that it says it has seized upon the future out of care for the development of mankind, culture, etc.

Dasein as concernful present resides alongside whatever it is concerned with. It grows weary in the 'what', weary to fill up the day. Time suddenly becomes long for Dasein as being-present, for this Dasein that never has time. Time becomes empty because Dasein, in asking about the 'how much', has in advance made time long, whereas its constantly coming back in running ahead towards the past never becomes boring.13 Dasein would like constantly to encounter new things in its own present. In everydayness the happening of the world is encountered in time, in the present. The everyday lives by the clock, that is, concern incessantly comes back to the now; it says: now, from now till then, till the next now.

Dasein, determined as being-with-one-another, simultaneously means being led by the dominant interpretation that Dasein gives of itself; by whatever one says, by fashion, by trends, by what is going on: the trend that no one is, whatever is the fashion: nobody. In everydayness Dasein is not that Being that I am. Rather the everydayness of Dasein is that Being that one is. And Dasein, accordingly, is the time in which one is with one another: 'one's' time. The clock that one has, every clock, shows the time of being-with-one-another-in-the-world.

{GA 64: 121} In research into history we find relevant but as yet quite unclarified phenomena, such as that of generations, of the connection between generations, phenomena which are tied in with these phenomena we are dealing with. The clock shows us the now, but no clock ever shows the future or has ever shown the past. All measuring of time means bringing time into the 'how much'. If I determine by the clock the point at which a future event will occur, then it is not the future that is meant; rather, what I determine is 'how long' I now have to wait until the now intended. The time made accessible by a clock is regarded as present. If the attempt is made to derive from the time of nature what time is, then the νῦν [now] is the μέτρον [measure] of past and future. Then time is already interpreted as present, past is interpreted as no-longer-present, future as indeterminate not-yet-present: past is irretrievable, future indeterminate.

For this reason everydayness speaks of itself as that within which nature is constantly encountered. That occurrences are in time means not that they have time, but that, as occurring and existing there, they are encountered as running through a present. This time of the present is explicated as a sequence constantly rolling through the now; a sequence whose directional sense is said to be singular and irreversible. Everything that occurs rolls out of an infinite future into an irretrievable past.

Two things are characteristic of this interpretation: (1) irreversibility; (2) homogenizing into now-points.

Irreversibility comprises whatever remains of authentic time for this explication to seize upon. This is what remains of futuricity as the fundamental phenomenon of time as Dasein. This way of viewing it looks away from the future towards the present, and from out of the present its view runs after time which flees into the past. The determination of time in its irreversibility is grounded in the fact that time was reversed beforehand.

Homogenization is an assimilation of time to space, to Presence14 pure and simple; {GA 64: 122} it is the tendency to expel all time from itself into a present. Time becomes fully mathematized, becomes the coordinate t alongside the spatial coordinates x, y, z. Time is irreversible. This irreversibility is the sole factor by which time still announces itself in words, the sole respect in which it resists any ultimate mathematization. Before and afterwards are not necessarily earlier and later, are not ways of temporality. In the arithmetic sequence, for example, the 3 is before the 4, the 8 after the 7. Yet the 3 is not earlier than the 4 on this account. Numbers are not earlier or later, because they are not in time at all. Earlier and later are a quite determinate before and afterwards. Once time has been defined as clock time then there is no hope of ever arriving at its original meaning again.

Yet the fact that time is at first and for the most part defined in this way lies in Dasein itself. Specificity is constitutive. Dasein is mine in its authenticity only as possible Dasein. For the most part Dasein is there in everydayness. Everydayness, however, as that particular temporality which flees in the face of futuricity, can only be understood when confronted with the authentic time of the futural being of the past. What Dasein says about time it speaks from out of everydayness. Dasein as clinging to its present says: the past is what is past, it is irretrievable. This is the past of the everyday present which resides in the present of its busyness. This is why Dasein, thus determined as present, fails to see what is past.

That way of viewing history arising in the present merely sees in history an irretrievable busyness: what was going on. The contemplation of what was going on is inexhaustible. It loses itself in its material. Because this history and temporality of the present utterly fail to attain the past, they merely have another present. The past remains closed off from any present so long as such a present, Dasein, is not itself historical. Dasein, however, is in itself historical in so far as it is its possibility. In being futural Dasein is its past; it comes back to it in the 'how'. {GA 64: 123} The manner of its coming back is, among other things, conscience.15 Only the 'how' can be repeated. The past — experienced as authentic historicity — is anything but what is past. It is something to which I can return again and again.

The present generation thinks it has found history, it thinks it is even overburdened with history. It moans about historicism — lucus a non lucendo. Something is called history which is not history at all. According to the present, because everything is dissolved into history, one must attain the supra-historical again. It is not enough that contemporary Dasein has lost itself in the present pseudo-history, it also has to use the last remainder of its temporality (i.e., of Dasein) in order entirely to steal away from time, from Dasein. And it is on this fantastical path to supra-historicity that we are supposed to find the Weltanschauung. (This is the uncanniness that constitutes the time of the present.)

The common interpretation of Dasein carries the dangerous threat of relativism. But anxiety in the face of relativism is anxiety in the face of Dasein. The past as authentic history can be repeated in its 'how'. The possibility of access to history is grounded in the possibility according to which any specific present understands how to be futural. This is the first principle of all hermeneutics. It says something about the Being of Dasein, which is historicity itself. Philosophy will never get to the root of what history is so long as it analyses history as an object of contemplation for method. The enigma of history lies in what it means to be historical.

Summing up, we may say: time is Dasein. Dasein is my specificity, and this can be specificity in what is futural by running ahead to the certain yet indeterminate past. Dasein always is in a manner of its possible temporal being. Dasein is time, time is temporal. Dasein is not time, but temporality. {GA 64: 124} The fundamental assertion that time is temporal is therefore the most authentic determination — and it is not a tautology, because the Being of temporality signifies non-identical actuality. Dasein is its past, it is its possibility in running ahead to this past. In this running ahead I am authentically time, I have time. In so far as time is in each case mine, there are many times. Time itself is meaningless; time is temporal.

If time is understood in this way as Dasein, then it indeed becomes clear what the traditional assertion about time means when it says that time is the proper principium individuationis. This is for the most part understood in terms of irreversible succession, in terms of the time of the present and the time of nature. Yet to what extent is time, as authentic, the principle of individuation, i.e., that starting from which Dasein is in specificity? In being futural in running ahead, the Dasein that on average is becomes itself; in running ahead it becomes visible as this one singular uniqueness of its singular fate in the possibility of its singular past. What is properly peculiar about this individuation is that it does not let things get as far as any individuation in the sense of the fantastical emergence of exceptional existences; it strikes down all becoming-exceptional. It individuates in such a way that it makes everyone equal. In being together with death everyone is brought into the 'how' that each can be in equal measure; into a possibility with respect to which no one is distinguished; into the 'how' in which all 'what' dissolves into dust.

In conclusion, let us put historicity, and the possibility of repetition, to the test. Aristotle often used to emphasize in his writings that the most important thing is the correct παιδεία, original assurance in a matter, emerging from a familiarity with the matter itself, the assurance of the appropriate manner of dealing with the matter.16 In order to speak in keeping with the ontological character of our theme here, we must talk temporally about time. We wish to repeat temporally the question of what time is. Time is the 'how'. If we inquire into what time is, then one may not cling prematurely to an answer (time is such and such), for this always means a 'what'.

{GA 64: 125} Let us disregard the answer and repeat the question. What happened to the question? It has transformed itself. What is time? became the question: Who is time? More closely: are we ourselves time? Or closer still: am I my time? In this way I come closest to it, and if I understand the question correctly, it is then taken completely seriously. Such questioning is thus the most appropriate manner of access to and of dealing with time as in each case mine. Then Dasein would be: being questionable.


TN = translator's note

1 TN The Greek adverb dEi means 'ever', 'always' or 'perpetual'. See for example its important usage in Plato's Phaedo 75d and, with explicit reference to time (χρόνος), 103e.

2 TN The term 'Dasein' ordinarily means 'existence', as in Kant for example. Heidegger will proceed to give it the special meaning of 'that entity in its Being which we know as human life' (p. 6), and the remainder of the lecture will attempt to delimit the Being of this entity more precisely. 'Dasein' is here to be understood more literally as 'there-being', as the 'there' (da) in which Being (Sein) is itself disclosed; indeed, Heidegger elsewhere often hyphenates the word, writing it as 'Da-sein', in order to emphasize this. Where the word is used in this special sense, I have followed convention and retained the German term (unitalicized).

3 Galatians 4:4; cf. Mark 1:15; also Ephesians 1:9f.

4 Heidegger's condensed formulation. Cf. here Albert Einstein, Die Grundlage der allgemeinen Relativitiitstheorie, Annalen der Physik 49 (Leipzig, 1916). Cf. also Einstein, Uber die spezielle und allgemeine Relativitiitstheorie, 7th edn. (Braunschweig: Vieweg 1920), pp. 90ff. and 95ff. Cf.

5 Cf. Aristotle, Physics IV, ch. 11, 219a ff.

6 Ibid., 219a 9f.

TN The sentence that follows this quotation from Aristotle is Heidegger's translation of it.

7 Augustine, Confessions, book XI, ch. 27. Sancti Aurelii Augustini opera omnia, post Lovaniensium theologorum recensionem. Editio novissima, emendata et auctior, accurante Migne. Parisiis 1841. Tomus I, p. 823 sq.

TN Notably, Heidegger translates the Latin anima by Geist (spirit), and the term affectio by Befindlichkeit (disposition, or finding oneself disposed). A more conventional translation reads:

'Tis in thee, 0 my mind, that I measure my times. Do not thou interrupt me now, that is, do not interrupt thine own self with the tumults of thine own impressions. In thee, I say, it is, that I measure the times. The impression, which things passing by cause in thee, and remains even when the things are gone, that is it which being still present, I do measure: not the things which have passed by that this impression might be made. This do I measure, whenas I measure times.' (Tr. William Watts. London: Harvard University Press/Heinemann, 1912)

8 TN The term 'specificity' renders the German Jeweiligkeit. The adjective jeweilig normally means 'respective', but has an implicit temporal sense which is difficult to convey in English. The root Weile means 'while', and the prefix je means 'in each specific case'. Thus, Jeweiligkeit has elsewhere been rendered variously as 'temporal particularity' or 'the particular while' (Kisiel), or as 'the time being' (Sheehan). However, Heidegger does not explicitly appeal to this temporal sense of the term in the present lecture, as he does in his 1923 course on the 'Hermeneutics of Facticity' (but see note 12 below). Although Jeweiligkeit features strongly in Heidegger's pre-1925 lectures — often appearing alongside Jemeinigkeit, 'mineness', as it does here — it seems to have been dropped in favour of Jemeinigkeit (to which it is evidently close, though not identical, in meaning) by 1926, when Being and Time was completed. However, the temporal sense of the 'while' or Weile would continue to play an important role in Heidegger's thought. On the early use of Jeweiligkeit, see Heidegger, Prolegomena zur Geschichte des Zeitbegriffs (1925), GA Bd.20 (Frankfurt: Klostermann, 1979) (History of the Concept of Time: Prolegomena, tr. Theodore Kisiel (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1985), §18), and especially Ontologie (Hermeneutik der Faktizität) (1923), GA Bd.63 (Frankfurt: Klostermann, 1988). For a discussion of the term Jeweiligkeit, see Theodore Kisiel, 'On the Way to Being and Time', Research in Phenomenology, 15 (1985), pp. 193-226.

9 TN The Latin means something like 'I am what is being enacted', or 'I am that which concerns me.'

10 TN The German Heimlichkeiten also implies that with which one is familiar, intimate or 'at home' (heimisch) to such an extent that it remains concealed (heimlich). Such Heimlichkeit will be contrasted with the Unheimlichkeit, the uncanniness or 'unhomeliness' which breaks forth in Dasein's running ahead to its past. See pp. 13, 15 and 20.

11 TN See note 10. The disposition of uncanniness receives extensive treatment in Being and Time. See especially §40.

12 TN Note the implicit allusion to the temporal sense of 'specificity' (Jeweiligkeit) here, which Heidegger links to the tarrying of verweilen and contrasts with the lengthening of time in boredom (die Langeweile, literally 'the long while'). 'Tarrying' is retained as an important term in Being and Time. On the significance of the mood or attunement of boredom, see note 13 below.

13 TN These hints on the nature of boredom (Langeweile), anticipate by some five years Heidegger' s extraordinarily detailed treatment of this phenomenon in the 1929/30 course Die Grundbegriffe der Metaphysik. Welt — Endlichkeit — Einsamkeit, GA Bd.29/30 (Frankfurt: Klostermann, 1983) The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics. World — Finitude — Solitude, tr. William McNeill and Nicholas Walker (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, forthcoming). Heidegger there devotes over 160 pages to the analysis of boredom, relating it among other things to a peculiar stretching of time and to Dasein's being left empty by the entities of its concern. (It is thus inaccurate to claim that the theme of boredom was first broached by Heidegger in the 1929 inaugural Freiburg lecture ('What is Metaphysics?').

14 TN The term Präsenz plays an important role in the 1925 course the History of the Concept of Time. In 1927 Heidegger would explain that Präsenz refers to the temporal horizon of presence (Gegenwart). It belongs to the Temporality (Temporalität) of Being, and is not the same as the 'ekstative' temporality (Zeitlichkeit) of Dasein. See part 2 of Die Grundprobleme der Phänomenologie, GA Bd.24 (Frankfurt: Klostermann, 1975) The Basic Problems of Phenomenology, tr. Albert Hofstadter (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1982).

15 TN This sole mention of conscience in the 1924 lecture received a footnote in Being and Time p. 268 tr. 313, where Heidegger states: 'These observations and those which follow after were communicated as theses on the occasion of a public lecture on the concept of time, which was given at Marburg in July 1924.' Note that Being and Time devotes an entire chapter to the analysis of conscience, which in many ways forms the crux of Heidegger's argument regarding the possibility of authenticity.

16 TN See, for example, Aristotle, Politics, book VIII.

Martin Heidegger - The Concept of Time Marburg Theological Society (1924)
Translated by William McNeill