The Restriction of Being • 107

Of course, if someone asserts the opposite, that in the history of philosophy all thinkers have at bottom said the same thing, then this is taken as yet another outlandish imposition on everyday common sense. What use, then, is the multifaceted and complex history of Western philosophy, if they all say the same thing anyway? Then one philosophy would be enough. Everything has always already been said. And yet this “same” possesses, as its inner truth, the inexhaustible wealth of what is on every day as if that day were its first.

Heraclitus, to whom one ascribes the doctrine of becoming, in stark contrast to Parmenides, in truth says the same as Parmenides. He would not be one of the greatest of the great Greeks if he said anything else. One simply must not interpret his doctrine of becoming according to the notions of a nineteenth-century Darwinist. Certainly, subsequent presentations of the opposition between Being and becoming never attained the uniquely self-contained self-sufficiency of Parmenides’s saying. In that great era, the saying of the Being of beings contained within itself the [concealed]3 essence of Being of which it spoke. The secret of greatness consists in such historical necessity. For reasons that will become clear later on, for now we will restrict our discussion of this first separation, “Being and becoming,” to the guidelines we have provided. [75|105]


2. Being and Seeming


This separation is just as ancient as the first. The fact that these two separations (Being and becoming, Being and seeming) are equally original points to a deeper connection, one that remains obscure to this very day.


3. In parentheses in the 1953 edition.


Introduction to Metaphysics, 2nd ed. (GA 40) by Martin Heidegger

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