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Country Path Conversations [147–148]

appropriated over to truth, because truth requires [braucht]55 the human. But is it not the distinguishing characteristic of truth, and indeed precisely regarding its relation to the human, that it is what it is independent of the human?

Scholar: I think you touch upon a decisive difficulty here, which we can of course discuss only after we have explained the essence of truth as such and have more clearly determined the essence of the human.

Guide: To both we are just getting under way; nevertheless, I would like to attempt to rephrase the statement about the relation of truth to the human in order to clarify what we have to meditate on if we are to consider this relation as such.

Scientist: What you want to say about this remains, therefore, at first just an assertion.

Guide: Certainly; and I mean this: the essence of the human is released into the open-region and accordingly required by it, solely because the human by himself has no power over truth, which remains independent of him. Truth can only therefore essentially occur independently of the human, because the essence of the human as releasement to the open-region is required by the open-region for enregioning and bethinging. The independence of truth from the human is after all then a relation to the human, a relation which rests in the enregioning of the human-being into the open-region.

Scholar: If this were so, then the human, as the indweller in releasement to the open-region, would abide in the provenance of his essence, which we may thus rephrase [148] as: The human is he who is required in the essential occurrence of truth. Abiding in this fashion in his provenance, the human would be touched [angemutet] by what is noble [vom Edlen] of his essence. He would surmise [vermutete] noble-mindedness [das Edelmütige].56


55. As a key term for the relation of being to human being in Heidegger’s later writings, brauchen, translated here as “to require,” conveys at once the double sense of “to need” and “to use.”—Tr.

56. Heidegger here and throughout Conversations draws on a number of words relating to the root word Mut. One of the most frequently appearing Mut cognates is the apparently innocuous expression vermutlich, “presumably.” I have sometimes translated Zumutung as “audacious demand,” although this generally does not bear “negative” connotations for Heidegger. Perhaps the most deliberately used and important of the Mut cognates in Conversations is vermuten, translated as “to surmise.” Drawing on its relation to Mut, which today means “courage” and which is etymologically related to “mood” and “mind,” Heidegger rethinks Vermuten or “surmising” to mean something like a mindful and courageous attempt to follow a hunch or pursue an inkling. Surmising is thus thought here not as a groundless conjecturing, but rather as an attentive dedication to following presentiments, to presaging pathways of thought that are opened up by intimations of being. Indeed, when Vermuten, along with other Mut cognates, is specifically thematized in the following passages, it is identified explicitly with the attentiveness of “waiting.” Vermuten is thus being thought in contrast to the willful projection of a horizon—that is, as an alternative to thinking as willing (see also below, pp. 106–107).—Tr.


Country Path Conversations (GA 77) by Martin Heidegger

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