D. Step Four:
Being-Human as Historical in Staking and Stance (παιδεία)

§ 34. The Rooting of 'Abstract' Characters of Being in the Unity of Bodily Existence. Their Difference from 'Self-less1 Nature. Being out Beyond Oneself in Primordial Yearning

Let us recall what all these steps are meant to serve! The undecided question is what organ comes into play when we perceive something in respect of both colour and sound. Answering this question requires the investigation of what in general is perceived on such occasions, and of how this perceiving (of the perceived) itself must be. The first step exhibited what we then called, but are no longer entitled to call, the 'excess'. The second step conceived this excess in a more concrete manner, showing how it is perceived: the perceiving can occur only through the soul itself, and only the soul can take up a relationship to being. The third step showed how this relationship to being is to be understood, namely as striving for being. But does this not bring us into difficulty and confusion? If we review everything that has gone before and do not deceive ourselves, we must admit that these considerations on being and striving for being are anything but transparent and comprehensible. Quite the contrary, they are odd, bewildering, ambiguous, and, as the common understanding says, they are also 'abstract'.

This is and remains the initial situation. We cannot claim to have clarified and made comprehensible, within a few hours, something which for centuries has been allowed to slip away in an uncomprehending manner. Indeed, perhaps the essence of what we are speaking about is such that it cannot be grasped like arbitrary propositions from some arbitrary science, or in the manner of everyday understanding. Perhaps there is a specific precondition for understanding striving for being, without which our whole reflection must remain incomplete.

This is not just 'perhaps', but is certainly the case. Despite the many-sided clarification of the essence of the understanding of being we must bear in mind that we cannot grasp this as a thing. Instead, understanding in this case is subject to specific conditions. So there follows a fourth step (186 b 11 - c 6). Socrates takes up his question, which is at the same time an answer, and Theaetetus agrees without reservation:

οὐκοῦν τὰ μὲν εὐθὺς γενομένοις πάρεστι φύσει αἰσθάνεσθαι ἀνθρώποις τε

[233-234] 167

Martin Heidegger (GA 34) The Essence of Truth