108 • The Restriction of Being

For until now, the second separation (Being and seeming) could not be developed further in its genuine content. For this, it is necessary to conceive this separation originally, that is, in a Greek way. For us, who are exposed to the modern epistemological misinterpretation, this is not easy—for us, who can respond to the simplicity of the essential only with difficulty, and then for the most part in an empty way.

At first the distinction appears clear. Being as opposed to seeming means what is actual as distinguished from and opposed to what is not actual—the genuine versus the ungenuine. This distinction also implies an appraisal in which Being takes precedence. As we say: the wonder and the wonderful <das Wunder und das Wunderbare>, likewise, the seeming and what seems <der Schein und das Scheinbare>. One often traces the distinction between Being and seeming back to the one we first discussed, Being and becoming. In contrast to Being as the constant, what seems is what surfaces at times, and just as fleetingly and unsteadily disappears again.

The distinction between Being and seeming is familiar to us, just one of the many worn coins that we exchange unexamined from hand to hand in an everyday gone flat. If it comes up, we use the distinction as a moral directive and rule of life, to avoid seeming and instead to strive for Being: “to be rather than to seem.”But as self-evident and familiar as the distinction is, we do not understand why precisely Being and seeming are originally disjoined. The fact that this happens indicates a belonging together. What does this consist in? Above all, we need to grasp the concealed unity of Being and seeming. We no longer understand this unity because we have fallen away from the inceptive distinction, which has developed historically, and now we carry it around merely as something that, at some time, in some place, was once put into circulation.

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