Seminar in Le Thor 1968 [39-40]

questioning and protects itself against taking the text as a pretext for questions that would be “ours.”

The second question raised in the last hour, but left undeveloped, is then taken up again: “Can one speak of a unity before the tearing?” The first question (concerning the driving force of the dichotomy) was treated in a historical-philosophical manner. The second question now requires of us a pre-philosophical approach. However, to pose this question on the basis of our reading of Hegel, Heidegger again relies on the sentence from page 14/91: “When the power of conjoining, etc. . . .” The question is then:

When the power of conjoining disappears, what is experienced in this type of experience along with the disappearance of the unity? It is the unity itself. Thus one not only can but must speak of unity before the dichotomy. Certainly, the answer: “unity” is a theoretical one. Now the question requires of us a pre-philosophical approach. Heidegger invites us to such a preparation, phenomenological in a more authentic sense.

Let us take this example: “Night falls, it is no longer day,” and in this particular region where night brusquely succeeds the day, in such a way that the example directs us to the experience of a relation of strong opposition. Where does the passage from day to night take place? “In what place” does it take place? What is the unity whose splitting-in-two this transition presents? What is the Same in which the day passes into the night? In such an experience, human beings stand in relation with something which is neither day nor night, even if not expressly thematized.

And that is? World, light, space, time, etc., these all too general answers attest to a phenomenological difficulty. The example seemed too massive. So, another example: a pot which breaks apart. To be able to see the parts (as such) there must be a relation to the unity. If we consider that, since Heraclitus, this unity is called ἕν, and that, since this inception, the One is the other name for being, then we are referred back to the understanding of being spoken of in Being and Time.

At this juncture, Heidegger recalls the criticisms that followed the publication of Being and Time. Heidegger was accused of having derived “being” from “is” and then of having developed his “philosophy” from this “abstraction.” To these critiques, he answers still today that “being is not an abstraction drawn from the ‘is’; rather, I can say ‘is’ only in the openness of Being.”

We return to tearing, understood on the basis of what is torn apart, of the rift [Riß]; the experience of which is only possible in a certain “return to” unity: this is so much the case that in Hegel it must be there. In fact, page 16/93: “In the struggle of the understanding with Reason the understanding has strength only to the degree that Reason foresakes itself.”49 If we understand Reason in the Kantian sense (as faculty of principles, faculty of unity), reason is renounced in favor of the