74 | Truth and Being

In positive terms: we share the being without anything happening to it in the process, without it being altered. We share the being without in the process reciprocally passing along, giving up, or giving away anything that pertains to the being, anything that belongs to the being and that yet at the same time is ours, after all; we share such a being as something common, in such a way that what it is that is common here plays a role in enabling our being with one another.

What is it, then, about beings that—if we can put it this way—pertains to them in a certain way and that we can share, without the beings being altered in the least by this? Something that pertains to beings and yet that surely must also be at our disposal, if we are indeed supposed to be able to share it. There are particular properties that pertain to the being—to the chalk—as a thing of use and as a material body, it has a particular manner of being. Yet it is precisely this, what and how it is, that we let be. Our being alongside what is present at hand is a letting be. We take nothing away from it and do not lay claim to anything about it as our work. Yet this is not at our disposal, after all; rather—if we may put it this way—the chalk, this is just what and how it is.

Yet we heard already, namely, in interpreting our being alongside this present at hand thing, that this being, it, is unconcealed in all this, that is, is true in the original sense. Unconcealment (truth) pertains to the being; the being is what is primarily true; the statement about it is only subsequently true. This unconcealment is something that does not disturb the chalk in what and how it is; it remains what it is and how it is, even if no one is dwelling in the room and is alongside this present at hand thing. Nor is it altered by being unconcealed for us. Our being alongside the chalk does not wear it out, for instance. The chalk is true in our being alongside . . .; it is unconcealed. Truth is therefore something that pertains to the chalk and yet does not belong to its present at hand inventory of properties as chalk.

This unconcealment of the chalk is that in which the chalk shows itself in itself as this thing of use, that in which it makes itself known as the being that it is. Unconcealment (truth) is therefore that through which we let precisely this being be as itself, in what and how it is.

Yet now we see, however, that this letting be of things stands in a conditional relationship with partaking in beings. Letting be happens, and can only happen, in such a way that in this process, that which we let be there is manifest, that is, true. Letting be stands in a conditional relationship with truth. Furthermore, this truth (unconcealment) is something “about” beings, something that pertains to them, yet nevertheless does not alter them. When the chalk becomes unconcealed, becomes manifest as the being that it is, nothing happens to it, there is not some natural process that takes place within it, and yet something happens with it: it enters into a history.

Introduction to Philosophy (GA 27) by Martin Heidegger