The Question of the Essence of Being • 93

In order to show this, we will once again take the word “Being” as our point of departure. But here, one must remember that we use the word, in accordance with the guiding metaphysical question that we posed at the start, so broadly that it finds its limit only at Nothing. Everything that is not simply nothing, is—and for us, even Nothing “belongs” to “Being.”

In our preceding discussion, we have taken a decisive step. In a lecture course, everything depends on such steps. Occasional [65|91] questions that have been submitted to me regarding the lectures have betrayed over and over again that most of the listeners are listening in the wrong direction and getting stuck in the details. Of course, the overall context is important even in lectures on the special sciences. But for the sciences, the overall context is immediately determined by the object, which for the sciences is always given in advance in some way. In contrast, it is not just that the object of philosophy does not lie at hand, but philosophy has no object at all. Philosophy is a happening that must at all times work out Being for itself anew [that is, Being in its openness that belongs to it].5 Only in this happening does philosophical truth open up. So it is of decisive importance here that one follow the individual steps in the happening, and share in taking these steps.

What step have we taken? What step must we take again and again?

At first, we examined this as a fact: the expression “to be” has an evanescent meaning, it is almost like an empty word. The result of the more precise explication of this fact was that the evanescence of the meaning of the word is to be explained

5. In parentheses in the 1953 edition.

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