by representing-producing [vorstellend-herstellenden] humanity. Whenever we have a world picture, an essential decision occurs concerning beings as a whole. The being of beings is sought and found in the representedness of beings. Where, however, beings are not interpreted in this way, the world, too, cannot come into the picture — there can be no world picture. That beings acquire being in and through representedness makes the age in which this occurs a new age, distinct from its predecessors. The familiar phrases "world picture of modernity" and "modern world picture" say the same thing twice. And they presuppose something that could never before have existed, namely, a medieval and ancient world picture. The world picture does not change from an earlier medieval to a modern one; rather, that the world becomes picture at all is what distinguishes the essence of modernity. For the Middle Ages, by contrast, the being is the ens creatum, that which is created by the personal creator God who is considered to be the highest cause. Here, to be a being means: to belong to a particular rank in the order of created things, and, as thus created, to correspond to the cause of creation (analogia entis) (Appendix 7). But never does the being's being consist in its being brought before man as the objective. Never does it consist in being placed in the realm of man's information and disposal so that, in this way alone, is it in being.

The modern interpretation of beings is still further removed from that of the Greeks. One of the oldest expressions of Greek thinking about the being of beings reads: Τὸ γὰρ αὐτὸ νοεῖν ἔστιν τε καὶ εἶναι.3 This statement of Parmenides means: the apprehension of beings belongs to being since it is from being that it is demanded and determined. The being is that which rises up and opens itself; that which, as what is present, comes upon man, i.e., upon him who opens himself to what is present in that he apprehends it. The being does not acquire being in that man first looks upon it in the sense of representation that has the character of subjective perception. Rather, man is the one who is looked upon by beings, the one who is gathered by self-opening beings into presencing with them. To be looked at by beings,a to be included and maintained and so supported by their openness, to be driven about by their conflict and marked by their dividedness, that is the essence of humanity in the great age of Greece. In order to fulfill his essence, therefore, man has to gather (λέγειν) and save (σώζειν), catch up and preserve, the self-opening in its openness; and he must remain exposed to all of its divisive confusion. Greek humanity is the receiver [Vernehmer] of beings,

a First edition, 1950: by being as presencing taken as εἶδος.


The Age of the World Picture (GA 5) by Martin Heidegger