226 • The Restriction of Being

It is the power that today still sustains and prevails over all our relations to beings as a whole, to becoming, to seeming, to thinking, and to the ought.

The question of how it stands with Being also proves to be the question of how it stands with our Dasein in history, of whether we stand in history or merely stagger. Seen metaphysically, we are staggering. Everywhere we are underway amid beings, and yet we no longer know how it stands with Being. We do not even know that we no longer know it. We are staggering even [155|211] when we mutually assure ourselves that we are not staggering, even when, as in recent times, people go so far as to try to show that this asking about Being brings only confusion, that it has a destructive effect, that it is nihilism. [This misinterpretation of the question of Being, which has been renewed since the rise of existentialism, is new only for the very naive.]

But where is the real nihilism at work? Where one clings to current beings and believes it is enough to take beings, as before, just as the beings that they are. But with this, one rejects the question of Being and treats Being as a nothing (nihil), which in a certain way it even “is,” insofar as it essentially unfolds. Merely to chase after beings in the midst of the oblivion of Being—that is nihilism. Nihilism thus understood is the ground for the nihilism that Nietzsche exposed in the first book of The Will to Power.

In contrast, to go expressly up to the limit of Nothing in the question about Being, and to take Nothing into the question of Being—this is the first and only fruitful step toward the true overcoming of nihilism.

But the discussion of the four separations shows us that we must go this far in pursuing the question about Being as what is most worthy of questioning. That over against which Being is limited—becoming, seeming, thinking, the ought—is not just something that we have thought up.