articulation of what one actually means when one thinks that it is possible to ‘explain’ ‘the world,’ beings, or even being by means of a so- called biological-scientific worldview. Whether one explains God as a gaseous vertebrate, or whether one thinks (in accordance with present- day physicists) that the ‘essence of freedom’ can be ‘explained’ with the help of atomic- physics and its statistical method, the two in principle amount to the same. κόσμος, thought in the thinking of the inceptual thinker, [167] has nothing to do with a ‘cosmology.’ When, conversely, ‘cosmological’ doctrines subsequently latch themselves onto inceptual thinking, we must not present the inept behavior of those who are no longer thinkers in place of the thoughts of the thinker. For the time being, and presumably always, one is more likely to grasp what has been thought by the thinker according to the dictums of the thoughtless, and thus with the least struggle, than to decide to experience within the thoughts of the thinker the to- bethought, which even for the thinkers never presents itself as something simply graspable.

(We are inclined to say that the originary adornment, the lightening joining of the joint of emerging, is nothing ‘temporal,’ but is rather ‘eternal.’ Indeed, Heraclitus says ἦν ἀεί : the adornment always already was; the ἀεί also obviously holds true for the ἔστιν and the ἔσται, the “is” and the “will be.” Here the three temporal determinations—past, present, future—are named. More precisely: the way in which κόσμος unfolds is determined with regard to these. It unfolds at all times. It endures always. The always enduring is the eternal in the twofold sense of the sempiternitas and the aeternitas. In these, metaphysics recognizes the proper essence of eternity, which is not the result or consequence of an unbroken duration, but rather is itself the ground of such duration, insofar as it is the nunc stans, the enduring now. Strictly thought, both conceptions of eternity are undergirded by the same determinations and, as is obvious when considering the naming of nunc stans, they are purely temporal determinations. The ‘now’ is a temporal aspect, and the permanence of enduring and presencing is no less so. One can indeed equate eternity with timelessness, but one must nevertheless know that in so doing one conceives of eternity always from out of time. The designation of eternity as timelessness leads to the misunderstanding that time is excluded from the essence of eternity; that, however, is not the case. Rather, the fundamental essence of metaphysically conceived [168] time, the ‘now,’ is absolutely presupposed within the metaphysical concept of eternity, and that means that the essence of time is employed in an exemplary sense. If we absolutely must employ a temporal characteristic here, then we name the originary adornment ‘the pre- temporal,’ and indicate thereby that κόσμος is more originary than every temporality, and that indeed the temporal grounds itself in it, which is only possible if κόσμος is ‘time’ itself, this word certainly being understood in an inceptual sense. The thus named temporality does not let itself be grasped or interpreted from within the horizon of the heretofore Occidental presentation of time.)

126    The Inception of Occidental Thinking