The Fundamental Question of Metaphysics • 49

But much less is history what is merely contemporary, which also never happens, but always just “passes,” makes its entrance and goes by. History as happening is determined from the future, takes over what has been, and acts and endures its way through the present. It is precisely the present that vanishes in the happening.

Our asking of the fundamental metaphysical question is historical because it opens up the happening of human Dasein in its essential relations, that is, its relations to beings as such and as a whole—opens it up to possibilities not yet asked about, futures to come <Zu-künften>, and in this way also binds it back to its inception that has been, and thus sharpens it and gives weight to its burden in its present. In this questioning, our Dasein is summoned to its history in the full sense of the word, and is called to make a decision in it—and this is not a derivative, useful application of this questioning in terms of morality and worldviews. Instead, the fundamental position and attitude of the questioning is in itself historical, stands and holds itself in the happening, and questions on the ground of this happening and for this happening.

But we still lack the essential insight into how far this asking of the question of Being, an asking which is in itself historical, intrinsically belongs to the world history of the earth. We said: on the earth, all over it, a darkening of the world is happening. The essential happenings in this darkening are: the flight of the gods, the destruction of the earth, the reduction of human beings to a mass, the preeminence of the mediocre.

What does world mean, when we speak of the darkening of the world? World is always spiritual world. The animal has no world <Welt >, nor any environment <Umwelt >.

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