128 • The Restriction of Being

3. Being and Thinking

The definitive dominance of the separation between “Being and thinking” in Western Dasein has already been pointed out more than once. Its predominance must have its ground in the essence of this separation, in what sets it apart from the two separations we have mentioned and also from the fourth. And so, at the very beginning, we would like to indicate what is proper to it. First, let us compare this separation with the two we have already discussed. In these, what is distinguished from Being comes to us from beings themselves. We find it before us in the domain of beings. We encounter not only becoming, but also seeming in beings as such (consider the rising and setting sun, the oft-mentioned stick that appears broken when dipped in water, and much else of this sort). Becoming and seeming lie on the same level, as it were, as the Being of beings.

However, in the separation between Being and thinking, not [89|124] only is what is now distinguished from Being—that is, thinking— different in content from becoming and seeming, but the direction of the opposition is also essentially different. Thinking sets itself against Being in such a way that Being is re-presented to thinking, and consequently stands against thinking like an ob-ject <Gegen-stand, that which stands against>. This is not the case in the separations mentioned earlier. And now we can also see why this separation can attain predominance. It has the superior power, inasmuch as it does not set itself between and among the other three separations, but represents all of them to itself and thus, setting them before itself, envelops them, so to speak.23 Consequently, thinking is no longer just the opposing member in some new distinction, but becomes the basis and footing on which one decides about what stands against it, so much so that Being in general gets interpreted on the basis of thinking.

23. Vorstellen (to represent) etymologically means to set before. Umstellen (to envelop) is a related word.

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