who at the beginning is the savior and lord of the state, in the brilliance of glory and the grace of the gods, is hurled out of this seeming. This seeming is not just Oedipus’s subjective view of himself, but that within which the appearing of his Dasein happens. In the end, he is unconcealed in his Being as the murderer of his father and the defiler of his mother. The path from this beginning in brilliance to this end in horror is a unique struggle between seeming (concealment and distortion) and unconcealment (Being). The city is besieged by what is concealed in the murder of the former king, Laios. With the passion of one who stands in the openness of brilliance and who is a Greek, Oedipus goes to unveil what is concealed. In doing so, he must, step by step, place himself into an unconcealment that in the end he can endure only by gouging out his own eyes, that is, by placing himself outside all light, letting the veil of night fall around him, and then by crying out, as a blind man, for all doors to be flung open so that such a man may be revealed to the people as the man who he is.
But we should not see Oedipus only as the human being who meets his downfall; in Oedipus, we must grasp that form of Greek Dasein in which this Dasein’s fundamental passion ventures into what is wildest and most far-flung: the passion for the unveiling of Being, that is, the struggle over Being itself. Hölderlin, in the poem “In lieblicher Bläue blühet … ,” speaks this seer’s word: “King Oedipus has perhaps one eye too many.”11 This eye too many is the fundamental condition for all great questioning and knowing as well as their sole metaphysical ground. The knowledge and science of the Greeks are this passion.
When today one enjoins science to serve the people, this is indeed a necessary and worthy demand, but it demands too little, and it does not demand what is authentic.
11. “In Lovely Blueness … ,” in Friedrich Hölderlin, Poems and Fragments, trans. Michael Hamburger, 3d ed. (London: Anvil Press, 1994), 717.