the highest of beings that are present. As soon as presence is named, it is already represented as a present being. Fundamentally, presence as such is not distinguished from what is present. It is taken to be only the most universal and highest of present beings and hence as one of them. The essence of presence together with the differencea between presence and what is present remains forgotten. The oblivion of being is oblivion to the difference between being and the being.
But oblivion to the difference is by no means the result of a forgetfulness of thinking. Oblivion of being belongs to that essence of being which it itself conceals. It belongs so essentially to the destiny of being that the dawn of this destiny begins as the unveiling of what presences in its presence. This means: the destiny of being begins with oblivion of being so that being, together with its essence, its difference from the being, keeps to itself. The difference collapses. It remains forgotten. Though the two elements of the difference, that which is present and presencing, disclose themselves, they do not do so as different. Rather, even the early traces of the difference are extinguished through presencing, appearing as something present and emerging as the highest of beings that are present.
Oblivion to the difference with which the destiny of being begins - so as to complete itself in such destiny — is not a deficiency. Rather, it is the richest and broadest event in which the world-history of the West achieves its resolution. It is the event of metaphysics. What now is stands in the shadow of the destiny of oblivion of being that has already preceded it.
The difference between being and the being, however, can be experienced as something forgotten only if it is unveiled along with the presencing of what is present; only if it has left a trace, which remains preserved in the language, to which being comes. Thinking along these lines, we may surmise that the difference has shown up more in the earlier than in the later word of being — though never having been named as such. Illumination of the difference, therefore, cannot mean that the difference appears as the difference. On the contrary, it may be that the relation to what is present announces itself in presencing as such, in such a way, indeed, that presencing comes to speak as this relation.
The early word of being, τὸ χρεών, names such a relation. But we would be deceiving ourselves were we to think that we could locate the difference
a First edition, 1950. The dif-ference [Unter-Schied] is infinitely different from all being, which remains being of the being. It is therefore inappropriate any longer to designate the difference with "Sein [being]" whether it is written with an "i" or with a "y."