What is revenge? We can now provisionally say that revenge is persecution that defies and degrades. And such persecution is supposed to have sustained and permeated all prior reflection, all representation of beings? If the designated metaphysical scope may in fact be attributed to the spirit of revenge, that scope must somehow become visible in terms of the very constitution of metaphysics. In order to discern it, if only in rough outline, let us now turn to the essential coinage of the Being of beings in modern metaphysics. The essential coinage of Being comes to language in classic form in several sentences formulated by Schelling in his Philosophical Investigations into the Essence of Human Freedom and the Objects Pertaining Thereto (1809). The three sentences read:

—In the final and highest instance there is no other Being than willing. Willing is primal Being, and to it [willing] alone all the predicates of the same (primal Being] apply: absence of conditions; eternity; independence from time; self-affirmation. All philosophy strives solely in order to find this supreme expression.*

Schelling asserts that the predicates which metaphysical thought since antiquity has attributed to Being find their ultimate, supreme, and thus consummate configuration in willing. However, the will of the willing meant here is not a faculty of the human soul. Here the word willing names the Being of beings as a whole. Such Being is will. That sounds foreign to us—and so it is, as long as the sustaining thoughts of Western metaphysics remain alien to us. They will remain alien as long as we do not think these thoughts, but merely go on reporting them. For example, one may ascertain Leibniz's utterances concerning the Being of beings with absolute historical precision—without in the least thinking about what he was thinking when he defined the Being of beings in terms of the monad, as the unity of perceptio and appetitus, representation and striving, that is, will. What Leibniz was thinking comes to language in Kant and Fichte as "the rational will"; Hegel and Schelling, each in his own way, reflect on this Vernunftwille.

* Heidegger cites F. W. J. Schellings philosophische Schriften (Landshut, 1809), I, 419. In the standard edition of Schelling's Sämtliche Werke (1860), VII, 350.

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