THE QUESTION CONCERNING THE ESSENCE OF UNTRUTH
and to be in this resolve; to grasp that beings and beings are not necessarily the same, that not all beings whatsoever, just because they are situated in the world, have the right and dignity to everything; that all beings and each and every arbitrary being do not belong to every arbitrary being; to understand that every being has its law, its origin, its rank; and that without firm ground, origin, and rank, being is less than nothing; that then not even nothingness can any longer be grasped, and the existence of man becomes crushed in the lawlessness of groundless levelling. If we still want to understand beings, and if we are resolved to exist out of this understanding, ἀλήθεια must occur. That it did once occur is the abiding origin of our existence, so long as this itself, not that of the individual but our history, lasts. In order that ἀλήθεια might still remain an occurrence, even as the most external and remote possibility, our only recourse is that we should ask after it. This is the only way in which we can really bind ἀλήθεια to our own Dasein.
But how can ἀλήθεια again become history for us?2 Only by the question concerning the essence of truth again becoming an actual and essential question, only in so far as we get serious with this question. This means first of all that in this questioning we do not leap over anything worthy of questioning. In this way we must once again experience the actuality of actual questioning, renouncing the hunger for results.
The first thing we must ask in relation to our own procedure is: why do we maintain that in Plato and Aristotle, thus more or less at the time (broadly considered) of the origin of the word ἀλήθεια, the fundamental experience of which it speaks was already waning? We must now demonstrate what we dared to assert, which must not remain a mere historical observation. Are there clear indications of the fundamental meaning of ἀλήθεια becoming ineffective? And are we able, from that which conditions the waning of the fundamental experience, to discover what is needful for preserving this same experience, even for reappropriating it in a more primordial way?
There is indeed a clear indication here: it is that Plato conceives ἀλήθεια as something pertaining to beings, such that beings themselves are said to be