in each phase of metaphysics, a particular piece of that way becomes apparent. Nietzsche himself interprets the course of Western history metaphysically, namely as the advent and development of nihilism. To think through Nietzsche's metaphysics becomes a matter of reflecting on the situation and place of contemporary men, whose destiny with respect to truth is still little experienced. Every such reflection, however, if it is to do more than idly repeat information, goes beyond that at which reflection is directed. To go beyond is not, without further ado, to raise higher or even to exceed, nor is it to overcome at once. To reflect on Nietzsche's metaphysics does not mean that besides his ethics and his epistemology and his aesthetics, we also, and above all, deal with a metaphysics; rather it means: that we try to take Nietzsche seriously as a thinker. However, even for Nietzsche thinking means: to represent beings as beings. All metaphysical thinking is onto-logy or it is nothing at all.

For the reflection that is attempted here, it is a matter of preparing for a simple and inconspicuous step forward in thought. It is the concern of preparatory thinking to clear a free scope within which being itselfa would again be able to take man with regard to his essence into an initial relationship.b To be preparatory is the essence of such thinking.

This essential thinking, essential and therefore everywhere and in every respect only preparatory, proceeds in inconspicuousness. Here, all fellow thinking, however clumsy and groping, is an essential help. To share in thinking is the unobtrusive sowing of sowers: the sowing is not made good by acknowledgment or profit, and the sowers may never see blade or fruit and not know a harvest. They serve the sowing, and even more willingly they serve the preparation for sowing.

Before sowing comes plowing. It is essential to reclaim the field that had to remain in obscurity while the land of metaphysics was inescapably dominant. It is essential first of all to sense, to intuit, this field; then to find it; and then to cultivate it. It is essential to go out to this field for the first time. Many are the paths still unknown. Yet each thinker is allotted only one way, his own, in the tracks of which he must go back and forth, time and again, in order at last to keep to it as his own, though it is never his, and say what he came to know on this one path.

Perhaps the title Being and Time is the signpost of such a way. In keeping with the essential involvement of metaphysics (an involvement that

a First edition, 1950: the Event.

b First edition, 1950: custom.


Nietzsche's Word: “God Is Dead” (GA 5) by Martin Heidegger