38
ON THE WAY TO LANGUAGE


I: The Greeks were the first to experience and think of phainomena as phenomena. But in that experience it is thoroughly alien to the Greeks to press present beings into an opposing abjectness; phainesthai means to them that a being assumes its radiance, and in that radiance it appears. Thus appearance is still the basic trait of the presence of all present beings, as they rise into unconcealment.

J: Accordingly, in your title "Expression and Appearance" you use the second noun in the Greek sense?

I: Yes and no. Yes, in that for me the name "appearance" does not name objects as objects, and least of all as objects of consciousness-consciousness always meaning self-consciousness.

J: In short: appearance not in the Kantian sense.

I: Merely to contrast it with Kant is not enough. For even where the term "object" is used for present beings as subsisting within themselves, and Kant's interpretation of objectness is rejected, we are still far from thinking of appearance in the Greek sense-but fundamentally though rather in a very hidden sense, in the manner of Descartes: in terms of the "I" as the subject.

J: Yet your "no" suggests that you, too, do not think of appearance in the Greek sense.

I: You are right. What is decisive here is difficult to render visible, because it calls for simple and free vision.

J: Such vision, obviously, is still rare. For usually your definition of appearance is equated, sight unset:n, with that of the Greeks; and it is considered a foregone conclusion that your thinking has no other aim than a return to Greek and even pre-Socratic thinking.

I: That opinion is foolish, of course, and yet it has something in mind that is correct.

J: How so?

I: To answer your question with the necessary brevity, I would