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Four Seminars [81–82]


there—a problem already central to Aristotle’s Physics—but is no longer conceived by Kant in the table of categories, a noteworthy event and a sign of modernity. This amounts to saying that Kant did not unfold the relation of movedness to being.

One can thus see, in a towering example, the difficulty of thinking together, or even in their relation to one another, the question concerning technology and the question of being—questions which are nevertheless inextricably bound up with one another.

After the reading of the protocol from the last session, the actual seminar is resumed, with its elucidation of the expression “forgetfulness of being.”

Usually one understands “to forget” in the sense of something falling away, as when one leaves an umbrella standing somewhere. Being is not forgotten in this sense.

“To forget” and “forgetfulness” must constantly be understood from Λήθη and ἐπιλανθάνεσθαι—which excludes any negative character.

As when, for example, Heraclitus says: φύσις κρύπτεσθαι φιλεῖ, “Self-concealment is the innermost essence of the movement of appearing.” At this opportunity, a remark is made of the translation: φιλεῖ cannot be understood by “love” (when this is understood ontically as an occasional inclination). Φιλεῖ here means: “is essential for . . . to unfold its own being.”

Hence, the fragment reads: “Emergence has as its accompanying necessity concealment.” In the translation by Jean Beaufret: Rien n’est plus propre à l’éclosion que le retrait. Or better: Rien n’est plus cher à l’éclosionque le retrait.85

Such is the exceptional knowledge of φύσις by Heraclitus. But what does φύσις mean? What does this point to?

Much more than to Natura—in which, despite the manifest stress upon nasci, concealment is completely lacking—Φύσις points to ἀλήθεια itself. In this saying of Heraclitus, therefore, the thoroughly positive sense of “forgetfulness” still completely shines through. It becomes visible that being is not “subject to falling-out-of-attention,” but rather conceals itself to the extent that it is manifest. After this was called to mind, the investigation of the “question of being” is again taken up.

According to the tradition, the “question of being” means the question concerning the being of beings, in other words: the question concerning the beinghood of beings, in which a being is determined in regard to its being-a-being [Seiendsein]. This question is the question of metaphysics.

With Being and Time, however, the “question of being” receives an entirely other meaning. Here it concerns the question of being as being. It becomes thematic in Being and Time under the name of the “question of the meaning [Sinn] of being.”