OFF THE BEATEN TRACK


Descartes can only be overcome through the overcoming of that which he himself founded, through the overcoming, namely, of modern (and that means, at the same time, Western) metaphysics. "Overcoming" means here, however, the primal asking of the question of the meaning of being; of, that is, the sphere of projection and with it the truth of being. This question unveils itself as, at the same time, the question of the being of truth.


(5) The conception of the world as developed in Being and Time is to be understood only within the perspective of the question about "being-there [Da-sein]." This question remains, for its part, closely connected with the fundamental question concerning the meaning of being (not of beings).


(6) To the essence of the picture belongs standing-together, system. By this, however, we do not mean the artificial, external simplification and collecting together of the given but, rather, the unfolding, developing unity of structure within that which is set-before, represented as such, which arises from the projection of the abjectness of beings. In the Middle Ages a system is impossible. For there, all that is essential is the order of correspondences or, more precisely, the order of beings in the sense of what is created and, as his creation, watched over by God. System is still more foreign to Greece — even though, these days, one speaks, in a quite unjustified way, of the Platonic and Aristotelian "systems." The constant activity of research is a particular embodiment and ordering of the systematic, in which, at the same time, the latter reciprocally determines the ordering. When the world becomes picture, system achieves dominion — and not only in thought. Where system takes the lead, however, there always exists the possibility of its degeneration into the externality of a system that is merely fabricated and pieced together. This is what happens when the original power of the projection remains absent. The uniqueness of the systematic of Leibniz, Kant, Fichte, Hegel, and Schelling — a systematic that is inherently diverse — has still not been understood. The greatness of the systematic of these thinkers consists in the fact that it does not unfold, as with Descartes, out of the subiectum as ego and substantia finita. Rather, it unfolds either, as with Leibniz, out of the monad or, as with Kant, out of the transcendental essence of finite reason rooted in the imagination, or, as with Fichte, out of the infinite "I," or, as with Hegel, out of the spirit of absolute knowledge, or, finally, as with Schelling, from out of freedom as the necessity of every particular being which, as such a being, remains determined through the distinction between ground and existence.


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