animal's being is potentiality, namely the potentiality to articulate itself into capacities, i.e., into those instinctual and subservient ways of remaining proper to itself. These capacities in turn possess the possibility of allowing certain organs to arise from them. This capability articulating itself into capacities creating organs characterizes the organism as such.
We discovered that capacity as such is peculiarly proper. It has the character of proper peculiarity. But it can only have this character if the organism as that which is capable is determined by this proper peculiarity: if the organism possesses the possibility of retaining itself within [bei] itself. For only then can that which is capable, in articulating itself into capacities, still hold these capacities themselves together in the unity of its self-retention. This proper peculiarity of being proper to itself without any reflection is therefore the fundamental condition for the possibility of being rendered capable of having capacities and thus of taking organs into service. Thus the organism is neither 'a complex of instruments', nor a union of organs, nor indeed a bundle of capacities. The term 'organism' therefore is no longer a name for this or that being at all, but rather designates a particular and fundamental manner of being. We can briefly characterize this specific manner of being as a proper peculiarity with the capability to create organs. But how are we to grasp the animal's being proper to itself, its kind of proper being, if we are to avoid all recourse to any effective force, to any soul or consciousness?
We encountered this proper peculiarity, the character of remaining proper to itself, when we interpreted the structure of capacity. In this structure there lies a certain movement 'toward . . .' and that implies an instinctual 'away from . . . .' Away from the organism-but in such a manner that in this capability for . . . and movement away from itself the organism precisely retains itself, and not only sustains its specific unity but gives this unity to itself for the first time. But, it will be objected, the organism is not this proper peculiarity that has capability, but rather a way of actually employing capacities. For it precisely does not remain with them as possibilities but actually comes to see, to hear, to seize, to hunt, to hide, to flee, to reproduce and so forth, and thus succeeds in actualizing these capacities. But it is just this actuality of the actual animal that we are trying to determine by emphasizing, as we have been doing all along, that we must look to the animal's specific manner of being.
For the present we shall leave aside the question as to whether or not we can or should proceed without further ado to interpret the relation between the capacity and the execution of what the capacity is for according to the schema of possibility and actuality. In the last analysis, potentiality and possibility belong precisely to the essence of the animal in its actuality in a quite specific sense-not merely in the sense that everything actual, inasmuch as it is at all, must already be possible as such. It is not this possibility, but rather being capable which belongs to the animal's being actual, to the essence of life.
The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics
GA 29/30 p. 342