4
ON TIME AND BEING

As we give thought to all this, we find ourselves adrift in contradictory statements.

(Philosophy knows a way out of such situations. One allows the contradictions to stand, even sharpens them and tries to bring together in comprehensive unity what contradicts itself and thus falls apart. This procedure is called dialectic. Supposing the contradictory statements about Being and about time could be reconciled by an encompassing unity, this indeed would be a way out—it would be a way out which evades the matters and the issues in question; for it allows itself to become involved neither with Being as such nor with time as such nor with the relation of the two. The question is totally excluded here of whether the relation of Being and time is a connection which can then be brought about by combining the two, or whether Being and time name a matter at stake from which both Being and time first result.)

But how can we become properly involved with this matter at stake named by the tides "Being and time," "time and Being"?

Answer: by cautiously thinking over the matters named here. Cautiously means at first: not hastily invading the matters with unexamined notions, but rather reflecting on them carefully.

But may we take Being, may we take time, as matters? They are not matters if "matter" means: something which is. The word "marter," "a matter," should mean for us now what is decisively at stake in that something.inevitable is concealed within it. Being—a matter, presumably the matter of thinking.

Time—a matter, presumably the matter of thinking, if indeed something like time speaks in Being as presence. Being and time, time and Being, name the relation of both issues, the matter at stake which holds both issues toward each other and endures their relation. To reflect upon this situation is the task of thinking, assuming that thinking remains intent on persisting in its matter.

Being—a matter, but not a being.

Time—a matter, but nothing temporal.

We say of beings: they are. With regard to the matter "Being" and with regard to the matter "time," we remain cautious. We do not say: Being is, time is, but rather: there is Being and there is time.1


1. "There is" is used here to translate the German idiom "es gibt." literally "it gives," but with the idiomatic meaning "there is" as in the French "il y a." In his Letter on Humanism. commenting on the use of the idiom "there is," and in Being and Time. Heidegger writes: "The 'it' which here 'gives' is Being itself. The 'gives,' however, indicates the giving nature of Being granting its truth." (Tr.)


On Time and Being (GA 14) by Martin Heidegger