§38 [243-44]

the powerlessness of science, the erosion of art, the groundlessness of philosophy, the impotence of religion. Certainly, there are needs everywhere. Yet it will be said that it is, after all, one-sided to see nothing but needs. For the renewed attempts and efforts which are constantly made to control these needs, to put an end to them, to convert them directly into order and satisfaction are just as intense and clamorous. In keeping with this, it is not only individuals that are at work everywhere, but groups, associations, circles, classes, parties—everyone and everything is organised to meet such needs and every organisation has its program.

Precisely this contemporary reaction to the needs of Dasein surely confirms these needs, though at the same time and prior to this it also confirms something else. This bustling self-defense against these needs precisely does not allow any need to emerge as a whole. These needs are therefore no proof of the emptiness as a whole that we are asking about. They cannot announce any being left empty as a whole, if indeed this 'as a whole' does not mean merely adding together individual needs and miseries. We look in vain for such a need as a whole. Thus our questioning concerning a profound boredom in our Dasein, concerning a corresponding being left empty, despite all individual needs, remains without grounds, without any evidence that would even be adequate to answer it. The question is without any hold and is arbitrary, it does not stick to what is there before us, indeed it is unwilling to be satisfied with what is there.

Perhaps, however, our question concerning this need as a whole has not yet been pointed in the right direction. If we thus find no answer to our question concerning a need as a whole, do we then have to relinquish this question out of hand? Or has it to do with the way in which we ask that our attention is not drawn toward a possible answer? We are questioning concerning an emptiness as a whole, concerning a need, therefore, which cannot possibly have the character of those needs we have enumerated. Not this social misery, not that political confusion, not this powerlessness of science, not that erosion of art, not this groundlessness of philosophy, not that impotence of religion-the need in question is not the fact that this or that need oppresses [bedrängt] in such or such a way. Rather what oppresses us most profoundly and in a concealed manner is the very absence of any Essential oppressiveness [Bedrängnis] in our Dasein as a whole.

The absence of an essential oppressiveness in Dasein is the emptiness as a whole, so that no one stands with anyone else and no community stands with any other in the rooted unity of essential action. Each and every one of us are servants of slogans, adherents to a program, but none is the custodian of the inner greatness of Dasein and its necessities. This being left empty ultimately resonates in our Dasein, its emptiness is the absence of any essential oppressiveness. The mystery [Geheimnis] is lacking in our Dasein, and thereby the

Martin Heidegger (GA 29/30) The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics