Greek Interpretation of Human Beings [100-102]

determinate concept of the essence of the πόλις with respect to its ground. All that emerges from stringing together half-thought ideas is an illusion that misleads us into the view that everything is clear once the πόλις has been determined as the city state. Here too there is no way to make that step that alone can free our perspective within the sphere of our question concerning the πόλις, namely, to think the πόλις not in terms of its relation to the state or to the city. but at most to do the converse. that is, to think the state and the city from out of their relation to the πόλις. Yet what is the πόλις if its distinctiveness lies in being a kind of pole? It is neither merely state, nor merely city, rather in the first instance it is properly "the stead" ["die Start"]: the site [die Stätte] of the abode of human history that belongs to humans in the midst of beings. This, however, precisely does not mean that the political has priority. or that what is essential lies in the πόλις understood politically and that such a πόλις is what is essential. Rather. it says that what is essential in the historical being of human beings resides in the pole-like relatedness of everything to this site of abode, that is, this site of being homely in the midst of beings as a whole. From this site and stead there springs forth whatever is granted stead [gestattet] and whatever is not, what is order and what is disorder. what is fitting and what is unfitting. For whatever is fitting [das Schickliche] determines destiny [das Geschick], and such destiny determines history [die Geschichte]. To the πόλις there belong the gods and the temples, the festivals and games, the governors and council of elders, the people's assembly and the armed forces, the ships and the field marshals, the poets and the thinkers. Yet we are never to think all these according to the civil state of the nineteenth century. None of these are merely pieces of embellishment for some state ordinance that puts value on producing "cultural achievements." Rather from out of the relation to the gods, out of the kind of festivals and the possibility of celebration, out of the relationship between master and slave out of a relation to sacrifice and battle. out of a relationship to honor and glory, out of the relationship between these relationships and from out of the grounds of their unity. there prevails what is called the πόλις. For this very reason the πόλις remains what is properly worthy of question, that which, on account of such worthiness, prevails in permeating all essential activity and every stance adopted by human beings. The pre-political essence of the πόλις, that essence that first makes possible everything political in the originary and in the derivative sense, lies in its being the open site of that fitting destining [Schickung] from out of which all human relations toward beings — and that always means in the first instance the relations of beings as such to humans — are determined. The essence of the πόλις, therefore always comes to light in accordance with the way in which beings as such in general enter the realm of the unconcealed: in