OFF THE BEATEN TRACK
industrious activity of mere busyness [Betriebsamkeit des bloßen Betriebs] which is always a possibility, creates the appearance of a higher reality behind which the excavations of research-work are accomplished. Constant activity becomes mere busyness when its methodology no longer holds itself open on the basis of an ever new completion of its projection, but rather leaves this behind as something simply given and no longer ever requiring confirmation; instead, all it does is to chase after results piling on top of each other and their calculation. Mere busyness must, at all times, be resisted — precisely because, in its essence, research is constant activity. If one seeks to discover the scientific in science merely in serene erudition, then it indeed seems as though the repudiation of constant activity would also be the denial of the essential character of research as constant activity. What, however, is certainly true is that the more completely research becomes constant activity and in this way becomes fruitful, the more steadily there grows within it the danger of becoming mere busyness. In the end we reach a situation where the difference between constant activity and busyness [Betrieb und Betrieb] is not only unrecognizable, but has become unreal. Precisely the leveling out of its essence and non-essence in the averageness of the taken-for-granted, makes research — as the shape of science and so of modernity in general — capable of enduring. But where, within constant activity, is research to discover a counter-balance to mere busyness?
(3) The growing importance of the publishing business is not merely based on the fact that the publishers (through, for example, the book trade) have a better eye for the needs of the public, or that they understand business better than do authors. Rather, their distinctive work takes the form of a process of planning and organizing aimed, through the planned and limited publication of books and periodicals, at bringing the world into the picture the public has of it and securing it there. The predominance of collected works, sets of books, journal series, and pocket editions is already the result of this work on the part of the publishers. This work coincides, in turn, with the aims of researchers, since these not only become more easily and rapidly known and respected through series and collections, but also, along a wider front, immediately achieve their intended effect.
(4) The metaphysical foundation of Descartes' position is taken over historically from Platonic-Aristotelian metaphysics. Despite its new beginning, it attends to the very same question: what is the being? That this question is not explicitly posed in Descartes' Meditations only goes to prove how