THE ORIGIN OF THE WORK OF ART


that is merely present but rather a happeninga. Unconcealment (truth) is a property neither of the facts, in the sense of beings, nor of statements.

In the immediate circle of beings we believe ourselves to be at home. The being is familiar, reliable, ordinary. Nonetheless, the clearing is pervaded by a constant concealment in the twofold form of refusal and obstructing. Fundamentally, the ordinary is not ordinary; it is extra-ordinary, uncanny [un-geheuer]. The essence of truth, i.e., unconcealment, is ruled throughout by a denial. This denial is, however, neither a defect nor a fault - as if truth were a pure unconcealment that has rid itself of everything concealed. If truth could accomplish this it would no longer be itself. Denial, by way of the twofold concealing, belongs to the essence of truth as unconcealment. Truth, in its essence, is un-truth. We put it this way emphatically to indicate, with a perhaps off-putting directness, that refusal in the mode of concealing is intrinsic to unconcealment as clearing. On the other hand, the sentence "the essence of truth is un-truth" should not be taken to claim that truth, fundamentally, is falsehood. Equally little does it mean that truth is never itself but, dialectically represented, is always its opposite as well.

Truth presences as itself only because the concealing denial, as refusal, is the continuing origin of all clearing but yet, as obstructing, metes out to all clearing the rigorous severity of error. "Concealing denial" is intended to denote that opposition which exists within the essence of truth between clearing and concealment. It is the conflict of the primal strife. The essence of truth is in itself the ur-strife [Urstreit]b in which is won that open center within which beings stand, and from out of which they withdraw into themselves.

This open happens in the midst of beings. It displays an essential trait we have already mentioned. To the open belongs a world and the earth. But world is not simply the open which corresponds to the clearing, earth is not simply the closed that corresponds to concealment. World, rather, is the clearing of the paths of the essential directives with which every decision complies. Every decision, however, is grounded in something that cannot be mastered, something concealed, something disconcerting. Otherwise it would never be a decision. Earth is not simply the closed hut that which rises up as self-closing. World and earth are essentially in conflict, intrinsically belligerent. Only as such do they enter the strife of clearing and concealing.


a First edition, 1950. The Event.

b Reclam edition, 1960. The Event.


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Off the Beaten Track (GA 5) by Martin Heidegger