§41. [226-228]

Nichts]? In fact, no less a person than Hegel said: "Pure Being and pure Nothing are thus the same."290

With the question concerning Being as such, we are poised on the brink of complete obscurity. Yet it is worthwhile not to evade this prematurely, but to bring the full peculiarity of the understanding of Being closer to us. For as impenetrable as the obscurity is which shrouds Being and its meaning, still it remains certain that, at all times and in the entire field of the openness of beings, we understand what Being is in order to concern ourselves with the what-Being and the so-Being of beings, in order to experience and dispute the that-Being, in order to decide about the true-Being [Wahrsein] of the being, and in order to mistake it. In every expressing of a proposition, e. g., "today is a holiday," we understand the "is," and equally what Being is.

In the cry "Fire" [we understand] the following: "Fire has broken out,[7] help is needed, he who can save himself-who can bring his own Being to safety-should do so!" But at the same time, if we do not express ourselves in particular about the being and if instead we relate to it silently, we understand its characteristics of what-Being, that-Being, and true-Being, which function with one another, although in a veiled way.

With every mood wherein "something is this way or that," our Being-there [Da-sein] becomes manifest to us. We thus understand Being, and yet we lack the concept. For all its constancy and breadth, this preconceptual understanding of Being is for the most part completely indeterminate. The specific manner of Being, e.g., of material things, of plants, animals, human beings, numbers, is known to us, but this knowledge is unrecognized for what it is. Furthermore: the Being of the being, which is understood preconceptually in its full breadth, constancy, and indeterminacy, is given as something completely beyond question. Being [Sein] as such comes into question so seldom that it appears as if there "is" nothing of the sort.

The understanding of Being, which we have concisely sketched out, remains on the undisturbed and safe level of the purest self-evidentness. And yet, if the understanding of Being did not occur,a man could never be as the being which he is, and this would be so regardless of the wonderful faculties with which human beings have been equipped. Moreover, man is a being in the midst of beings in such a way that for man the being which he is himself and the being which he is not are always already manifest. We call this mode of the Being of human beings existence.[8] Existence is only possible on the grounds of the understanding of Being.

In man's comportment toward beings which he himself is not, he already finds the being as that from which he is supported, as that on which he has

290. Wissenschaft der Logik, Werke, vol. III, p. 78f.

a. History as destiny of appropriation