something facing us. In accordance with the actual character it has as such, this lecture theatre demands that the board as a board be put in a quite specific place here in this room. What is decisive in this interpretation of assertion is that we do not make a judgement in relation to an isolated object, but in this judgement we speak out of this whole that we have already experienced and are familiar with, and which we call the lecture theatre.
What further essential character are we to take from the phenomenon indicated regarding this being open? At first one might say that there is no great wisdom in emphasizing that the possibility of the assertion is connected to the lecture theatre being manifest. After all, it is everywhere the case that in making our assertions we can only ever express ourselves concerning one object, and accordingly we must always be selective with respect to those remaining. Those remaining indeed belong to the many things that continually press upon us.
This is indeed correct—so correct that for all our alluding to the beings that remain at hand in the room in addition to the board, we overlook what must properly be grasped here. For what is at stake is not the fact that besides and in addition to the board there are other things at hand, and alongside these other things there is the board. As long as we merely approach our investigation in the way that usually happens in logic and epistemology, namely by assuming that we have arbitrary objects that we then judge and investigate as the theme of judgement or supplement with other possible objects, we overlook what we are calling the specific context. As long as we move on this level, it is almost literally true to say that we cannot see the forest for the trees. More precisely, this saying tries to express in a concrete image something that we must grasp in principle. By way of anticipation, we can also express the principle behind this saying as follows: ordinary understanding cannot see the world for beings, the world in which it must constantly maintain itself simply to be able to be what it itself is, to be able to pick out this or that being in each case as such in the sense of a possible object of assertion. What we analysed above (cf. pp. 275f.) as characteristic of ordinary understanding was its failure to make any distinctions in encountering all the beings it comes up against. This failure to distinguish in its comportment toward beings—which is itself rooted in something deeper—is part of the reason for this failure to see world.
At the same time, the saying "not seeing the forest for the trees" shows us the major difficulty we are faced with. For—to stay with this image—we not only have to see the forest and see it as such, but also say what it is and how it is. In doing so, we must of course beware of interpreting the world by analogy With the forest. The following decisive point alone is at issue: In relation to the individual trees and the way they are gathered together, the forest is something else and therefore not simply something that we arbitrarily think up in addition