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THE END OF PHILOSOPHY

grants to the movement of speculative thinking the passage through that which it thinks.

We call this openness which grants a possible letting-appear and show "opening." In the history of language, the German word "opening" is a borrowed translation of the French clairiere. It is formed in accordance with the older words Waldung (foresting) and Feldung (fielding).

The forest clearing (opening) is experienced in contrast to dense forest, called "density" (Dickung) in older language. The substantive ·"opening" goes back to the verb "to open." The adjective licht "open" is the same word as "light." To open something means: To make something light, free and open, e.g., to make the forest free of trees at one place. The openness thus originating is the clearing. What is light in the sense of being free and open has nothing in common with the adjective "light," meaning "bright"-neither linguistically nor factually.3 This is to be observed for the difference between openness and light. Still, it is possible that a factual relation between the two exists. Light can stream into the clearing, into its openness, and let brightness play with darkness in it. But light never first creates openness. Rather, light presupposes openness. However, the clearing, the opening, is not only free for brightness and darkness, but also for resonance and echo, for sounding and diminishing of sound. The clearing is the open for everything that is present and absent.

It is necessary for thinking to become explicitly aware of the matter called opening here. We are not extracting mere notions from mere words, e.g., "opening," as it might easily appear on the surface. Rather, we must observe the unique matter which is adequately named with the name "opening." What the word designates in the connection we are now thinking, free openness, is a "primal phenomenon," to use a word of Goethe's. We would have to say a primal matter. Goethe notes (Maxims and Reflections, n. 993): "Look for nothing behind phenomena: they themselves are what is to be


3. Both meanings exist in English for light. The meaning He1degger imends is related to lever (i.~ .• alleviate, lighten a burden}. (Tr.)


On Time and Being (GA 14) by Martin Heidegger