The Restriction of Being • 229

But Being and time is a title that can in no way be coordinated [157|214] with the separations we have discussed. It points to a completely different domain of questioning.

Here, the “word” time has not merely been substituted for the “word” thinking; instead, the essence of time is determined according to other considerations, fundamentally and solely within the domain of the question of Being.

But why time, precisely? Because in the inception of Western philosophy, the perspective that guides the opening up of Being is time, but in such a way that this perspective as such still remained and had to remain concealed. If what finally becomes the fundamental concept of Being is οὐσία, and this means constant presence, then what lies unexposed as the ground of the essence of stability and the essence of presence, other than time? But this “time” still has not been unfolded in its essence, nor can it be unfolded (on the basis and within the purview of “physics”). For as soon as meditation on the essence of time begins, at the end of Greek philosophy with Aristotle, time itself must be taken as something that somehow comes to presence, οὐσία τις. This is expressed in the fact that time is conceived on the basis of the “now,” that which is in each case uniquely present. The past is the “no-longer-now,” the future is the “not-yet-now.” Being in the sense of presence at hand (presence) becomes the perspective for the determination of time. But time does not become the perspective that is expressly selected for the interpretation of Being.

In such a meditation, “Being and time” does not mean a book, but the task that is given. The authentic task given here is what we do not know; and insofar as we know this genuinely, namely as a given task, we always know it only in questioning.

Being able to question means being able to wait, even for a lifetime. But an age for which the actual is only whatever goes fast and can be grasped with both hands takes questioning as “a stranger to reality,”


Introduction to Metaphysics, 2nd ed. (GA 40) by Martin Heidegger