The Question of the Essence of Being • 97

But even though here in the word “Being” there is a quite distinctive connection between word, meaning, and Being itself, and the thing, so to speak, is lacking, we should not think that once we have characterized the meaning of the word, the essence of Being itself can just be picked out of it.

After this excursus on the peculiarity that the question of Being remains intimately linked to the question of the word, let us resume the course of our questioning. We must show that, and to what extent, our understanding of Being is distinctively definite in a manner arranged and enjoined by Being itself. If we now begin by considering one way of saying Being—for we are always and essentially forced to such saying in some manner—then what we are trying to do is pay attention to Being itself, which is said in this saying. We choose a simple and common and almost careless saying, in which Being is said in a word form whose use is so frequent that we hardly even notice it.

We say, “God is.” “The earth is.” “The lecture is in the auditorium.” [68|95] “This man is from Swabia.” “The cup is of silver.” “The peasant is in the fields.” “The book is mine.” “He is dead.” “Red is the port side.” “In Russia there is famine.” “The enemy is in retreat.” “The vine disease is in the vineyards.” “The dog is in the garden.” “Over all the peaks / is peace.” <Über allen Gipfeln / ist Ruh.>

In each case, the “is” is meant differently. We can easily convince ourselves of this, as long as we take this saying of the “is” as it actually happens, that is, as spoken each time from out of a particular situation, task, and mood, and not as mere sentences and stale examples in a grammar book.

“God is”: i.e., actually present <gegenwärtig>. “The earth is”: i.e., we experience and believe it to be constantly present at hand <vorhanden>. “The lecture is in the auditorium”: i.e., it takes place.

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