THE AGE OF THE WORLD PICTURE


which is the reason that, in the age of the Greeks, the world can never become picture. On the other hand, however, is the fact that the beingness of beings is defined, for Plato, as εἶδος (appearance, view). This is the presupposition which — long prevailing only mediately, in concealment and long in advance — predestined the world's having to become picture (Appendix 8).

In distinction from the Greek apprehension, modern representing, whose signification is first expressed by the word repraesentatio, means something quite different. Representation [Vor-stellen] here means: to bring the present-at-hand before one as something standing over-and-against, to relate it to oneself, the representer, and, in this relation, to force it hack to oneself as the norm-giving domain. Where this happens man "puts himself in the picture" concerning beings. When, however, in this way, he does this, he places himself in the scene; in, that is, the sphere of what is generally and publicly represented. And what goes along with this is that man sets himself forth as the scene in which, henceforth, beings must set-themselves-before, present themselves — be, that is to say, in the picture. Man becomes the representative [Repräsentant] of beings in the sense of the objective.

What is new, however, in this occurrence does not at all consist in the fact, merely, that the position of man in the midst of beings is other than it was for ancient of medieval man. What is decisive is that man specifically takes up this position as one constituted by himself, intentionally maintains it as that taken up by himself, and secures it in place as the basis for a possible development of humanity. Now for the first time there exists such a thing as the "position" of man. Man makes depend on himself the way he is to stand to beings as the objective. What begins is that mode of human being which occupies the realm of human capacity as the domain of measuring and execution for the purpose of the mastery of beings as a whole. The age that is determined by this event is not only new in retrospective comparison with what had preceded it. It is new, rather, in that it explicitly sets itself up as the new. To be "new" belongs to a world that has become picture.

If, then, we wish to clarify the pictorial character of the world as the representedness of beings, then in order fully to grasp the modern essence of representedness we must scent out the original naming power of that worn-out word and concept "to represent": to put forth and relate to oneself. It is through this that the being comes to stand as an object and so first receives the seal of being. That the world becomes picture is one and the same process whereby, in the midst of beings, man becomes subject (Appendix 9).

Only because and insofar as man, altogether and essentially, has become subject is it necessary for him to confront, as a consequence, this explicit


69


Off the Beaten Track (GA 5) by Martin Heidegger