decision and stance of human existence) is already dubious in respect of essentiality. Nor is the proposition about man's essence a matter of 'belief, i.e. something to be accepted simply on authority. If one took it thus, one would not understand it at all. The truth of this statement (precisely because it says something philosophical) can only be philosophically (as I say) enkindled and appropriated, that is, only when the questioning that understands being in the questionability of beings in the whole takes its standpoint from a fundamental decision, from a fundamental stance towards being and towards its limit in nothingness.

What this means is not a matter for further talking, but rather for doing. It should be said, however, that even to make a beginning with philosophy one must have rid oneself of the illusion that man could pose, let alone solve a problem, without some standpoint. The desire to philosophize from the standpoint of standpointlessness, as a purportedly genuine and superior objectivity, is either childish, or, as is usually the case, disingenuous. The hiddenness of the matter itself, i.e. of the being of beings, only gives way to an attack which has an unambiguously human starting point and path. Not freedom from any standpoint (something fantastic), but the right choice of standpoint, the courage to a standpoint, the setting in action of a standpoint and the holding out within it, is the task; a task, admittedly, which can only be enacted in philosophical work, not prior to it and not subsequently.

We seek the essence of truth as the unhiddenness of beings in deconcealment, as a deconcealing occurrence upon whose ground man exists. This is what first determines the essence of man, that is, of man properly understood and as treated in the cave allegory. Man is the being that understands being and exists on the basis of this understanding.

We are thus at our goal. The allegory of the cave has given us one answer to the question concerning the essence of truth, an answer which proceeds essentially from the meaning of ἀ-λήθεια. Yet the occurrence depicted in the allegory has a fourth stage, indeed a very remarkable one. The ascent does not proceed upwards, to something still higher, but backwards.

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