§67 [407-408]

man is. Where is the relevant knowledge set down? Initially and properly speaking precisely not in anthropology, psychology, characterology and so on, but rather in the whole history of man—not in something like biographical history, and not at all in historiography, but rather in that originary tradition banded down which lies within all human acting as such, whether this is recorded and reported or not. The Dasein of man always already intrinsically brings the truth about itself along with it. Today we are still a long way from seeing these fundamental connections in relation to the character of man's self-knowledge, and are still all too entangled in subjective reflection and the images that foster this kind of thing. Such reflection cannot be proved false in a purely theoretical way but needs to be removed by being uprooted, i.e., in such a way that its lack of any rootedness arouses our terror. Here, however, we shall pursue a different way.

Does asking after the essence of man therefore mean making man our theme instead of the animal? This state of affairs is clear enough—and yet when we ask about the essence of man we are asking about ourselves. But that does not simply mean that with this question we now turn back and reflect upon 'subjects' instead of directing our attention to objects (like the animal or the stone). It means rather that we ask concerning a being which it is given over to us ourselves to be. And this implies that we are only asking about man in the correct way when we ask about ourselves in the right way. This certainly does not mean that we take ourselves for the whole of humanity or for the idol of humanity. Quite the contrary, it simply clearly shows that all man's questioning about man is in the first and last instance a matter of the existence of man in each specific case. This question—what man is—does not allow the individual human being, nor especially the questioner, to sink back into a pacified state of indifference as just any particular case of the universal essence of man in general. Quite the reverse, this universal essence of man only becomes essential as such when the individual comprehends him-or herself in his or her Dasein. The question concerning what man is, if genuinely put, explicitly delivers the human being over into his or her Dasein. Being delivered over to Dasein in this way is the index of an intrinsic finitude.

It is necessary, especially today, to point out that the question concerning the essence of man is the question concerning us ourselves, because precisely this problematic is today exposed to widespread misinterpretation through common understanding. The latter sees only an extreme subjectivism in all this and eagerly strives to marshal so-called objective domains and forces against it, with the proud ulterior motive of thereby thinking more objectively and that means, of course, more scientifically.

The question concerning world-formation is the question concerning the human being that we ourselves are, and therefore the question concerning ourselves, indeed the question concerning how things stand with us. But this

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