VIII. Beyng [430-431]

questioning, the preparation for that humanity which, as what grounds and acts as steward, must first be strong enough and knowledgeable enough to receive the long-adumbrated but even-longer-refused thrust of beyng and to gather the empowerment of beyng into the essential occurrence of beyng in a unique moment of history. Therefore, transitional thinking cannot simply rid itself of the metaphysical tradition through an arbitrary stroke. Indeed, just to be able to communicate, it must often still tread the paths of metaphysical thinking and yet must constantly know the other. How could genuinely historical thinking also fail to see that if the transition is to be historically grounding, it must be open to the suddenness of the unanticipated as well as to the unobtrusiveness of a slow self-surpassing? And how could transitional thinking also not know that much, indeed most, of what it has to strive for will one day be superfluous and will revert into the incidental so as to let the stream of the history of what is unique take its non repeatable course? Nevertheless, transitional thinking must not shrink back from the meagerness of preparatory distinctions and clarifications when they are merely wafted along by the wind of a decision that takes place from far away. Only the cool boldness of thinking and the dark errancy of questioning lend ardor and light to the fire of beyng.

The distinction in the question of being, a historical distinction that separates the history of metaphysics from future thinking, designates the first unfolding of the transition. Yet this distinction does not connect in the manner of setting off something past from something future, an elapsed history from one that is still to come; instead, it distinguishes two fundamentally different currents ever flowing deep within Western history itself. That the history of metaphysics is (with Nietzsche) at an end does not at all mean that from now on metaphysical (i.e., also rationalistic, logical) thinking will be eliminated. On the contrary, this thinking now transfers its fixed habits to the realms of worldviews and of the ever-increasing encroachment of science onto the everyday bustling about with things. In the same way, it has already entrenched itself in the structuring of Christianity and passes over, along with Christian notions, into the forms of their "secularization." Within these forms, this thinking again encounters itself in the configuration it assumed through its own Christianization (already begun with Plato). The history of metaphysics does not cease, for it now passes over into, and indeed first opens up, that which lacks history. Conversely, the thinking of the historicality of being, the thinking characteristic of the other questioning, does not now simply step into the light of day. It remains concealed in its own depths—now no longer (as occurred since the first beginning of Western thinking and during