On the Grammar and Etymology of “Being” • 69

Nature now becomes a special domain, as distinguished from art and from everything that can be produced and regulated according to a plan. The originally emergent self-upraising of the violent forces of what holds sway, the φαίνεσθαι as appearing in the broad sense of the epiphany of a world, now becomes reduced to the demonstrable visibility of present-at-hand things. The eye, the seeing, which once viewed the project into the sway in an originary viewing, and pro-duced the work while seeing into the sway, has now been reduced to mere observing and inspecting and staring. The look is now only the optical. (Schopenhauer’s “world eye”—pure cognition …)9

To be sure, beings are still given. The motley mass of beings is given more noisily and broadly than ever before; but Being has deserted them. Because of this, beings are maintained in a seeming constancy <Ständigkeit> only when they are made into the “object” <“Gegenstand”> of endless and ever-changing busyness.

When the creators have disappeared from the people, when they are barely tolerated as irrelevant curiosities, as ornaments, as eccentrics alien to life, when authentic struggle ceases and shifts into the merely polemical, into the intrigues and machinations of human beings within the present-at-hand, then the decline has already begun. For even when an age still makes an effort just to uphold the inherited level and dignity of its Dasein, the level already sinks. It can be upheld only insofar as it is always creatively transcended.

9. See e.g. Arthur Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation, trans. E. F. J. Payne, vol. 1 (New York: Dover, 1966), 186, 198, 282.

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