If they are to take over their Dasein in the clarity of Being, humans must bring Being to a stand, they must endure it in seeming and against seeming, they must tear away both seeming and Being from the abyss of not-Being.
The human being must distinguish among these three paths and, accordingly, come to a decision for or against them. At the inception of philosophy, to think is to open up and lay out the three paths. This act of distinguishing puts the human being as one who knows upon these paths and at their intersection, and thus into constant de-cision.15 With de-cision, history as such begins. In de-cision, and only in de-cision, is anything decided, even about the gods. [Accordingly, de-cision here does not mean the judgment and choice of human beings, but rather a separation <Scheidung> in the aforementioned belonging-together of Being, unconcealment, seeming, and not-Being.]16
The philosophy of Parmenides, as the most ancient attempt to lay out the three paths, has been passed down to us in the didactic poem we have already mentioned. We will characterize the three paths by quoting some fragments from this poem. A complete interpretation is not possible here.
Fragment 4, in translation, runs:
Come, then, I say to you: but take into keeping the word that you hear (about)
which paths are to be held in view as the only ones for inquiring.
15. Ent-scheidung: Heidegger stresses the root scheiden, which, like the Latin root of “decision,” means to cut.
16. In parentheses in the 1953 edition.