96 • The Question of the Essence of Being

So regardless of whether the word “Being” has an indefinite or a definite meaning, or, as has become apparent, both at once, the point is to get beyond the level of meanings and get at the thing. [67|93] But is “Being” a thing like clocks, houses, or any being at all? We have run up against this already—we have run up against this quite enough: Being is not a being, nor any ingredient of beings that is itself in being. The Being of the building over there is not another thing of the same sort as the roof and the cellar. Thus, no thing corresponds to the word and the meaning “Being.”

But we cannot conclude from this that Being consists only in the word and its meaning. The meaning of the word does not, as a meaning, constitute the essence of Being. This would mean that the Being of beings, for instance the Being of the building we mentioned, consisted in the meaning of a word. It would obviously be absurd to think so. Instead, in the word “Being,” in its meaning and passing through this meaning, we mean Being itself—but it is simply not a thing, if by thing we understand any sort of being.

From this it follows that ultimately, in the word “Being” and its inflections, and in everything that lies in the domain of this word, the word and its meaning are bound more originally to what is meant by them—but also vice versa. Being itself relies on the word in a totally different and more essential sense than any being does.

The word “Being,” in every one of its inflections, relates to what is said in it, Being itself, in a way that is essentially different from the relation of all other nouns and verbs in language to the beings that are said in them.

This implies that our previous explanations of the word “Being” are of greater import than any other remarks about words and linguistic usage regarding just any item.

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