The Restriction of Being • 105

1. Being and Becoming

This separation and opposition stands at the inception of the questioning of Being. Even today, it is still the most familiar restriction of Being through some other; for it is immediately obvious, due to a representation of Being that has hardened into the self-evident. What becomes, is not yet. What is, no longer needs to become. What “is,” beings, has left all becoming behind it, if indeed it ever became or could become. What “is” in the authentic sense also stands up against every onslaught from becoming.

Living at the turn of the fifth century b.c., Parmenides, the poetic thinker, set forth the Being of what is, in contrast to becoming. His “didactic poem” has been handed down only in fragments, but these are great and essential. Here we will cite only a few verses (fragment 8, lines 1–6):

μόνος δ’ἔτι μῦθος ὁδοῖο

λείπεται ὡς ἔστιν· ταύτηι δ’ἐπὶ σήματ’ ἔασι

πολλὰ μάλ,’ ὡς ἀγένητον ἐὸν καὶ ἀνώλεθρόν ἐστιν,

ἔστι γὰρ οὐλομελές τε καὶ ἀτρεμὲς ἠδ’ ἀτέλεστον,

οὐδέ ποτ’ ἦν οὐδ’ ἔσται, ἐπεὶ νῦν ἔστιν ὁμοῦ πᾶν,

ἕν, συνεχές·

But there remains solely the saga of the way

(along which there opens up) how it stands with to-be <sein>; for along this (way) many indications of it are given;

how Being without genesis and without decay,

complete, standing fully there alone,

without trembling in itself and not at all in need of finishing;

nor was it before, nor will it be someday,

for as the present, it is all-at-once, unique unifying united

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