116 • The Restriction of Being

[Being essentially unfolds from un-concealment.]8

Only by undergoing the struggle between Being and seeming did they wrest Being forth from beings, did they bring beings into constancy and unconcealment: the gods and the state, the temples and the tragedies, athletic competition and philosophy—all this in the midst of seeming, besieged by it, but also taking it seriously, knowing its power. Only with the sophists and Plato was seeming explained as, and thus reduced to, mere seeming. At the same time, Being as ἰδέα was elevated to a super sensory realm. The chasm, χωρισμός, was torn open between the merely apparent beings here below and the real Being somewhere up there. Christian doctrine then established itself in this chasm, while at the same time reinterpreting the below as the created and the above as the Creator, and with weapons thus reforged, it set itself against antiquity [as paganism]9 and distorted it. And so Nietzsche is right to say that Christianity is Platonism for the people.10 [81|113]

In contrast, the great age of Greek Dasein is a unique, creative self-assertion amid the turmoil of the multiply intertwined counterplay of the powers of Being and seeming. (For the originary, essential connection between human Dasein, Being as such, truth in the sense of unconcealment, and untruth as covering-over, see Being and Time, §44 and §68.)

For the thinking of the early Greek thinkers, the unity and antagonism of Being and seeming were powerful in an originary way. However, this was all portrayed at its highest and purest in Greek tragic poetry. Let us consider Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex. Oedipus,

8. In parentheses in the 1953 edition.

9. In parentheses in the 1953 edition.

10. Beyond Good and Evil, preface.

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