Hermeneutics [17-18]

Furthermore: interpretation begins in the "today,"[22] i.e., in the definite and average state of understanding from out of which and on the basis of which philosophy lives and back into which it speaks. The "every-one"[23] has to do with something definite and positive—it is not only a phenomenon of fallenness, but as such also a how of tactical Dasein.

The scope of factical understanding cannot ever be calculated and worked out in advance. Likewise, the manner in which such understanding is developed cannot be subjected to the norms at work in the grasping and communication of mathematical theorems. This is at bottom inconsequential, since hermeneutics engages itself and brings itself into play in the situation and by starting from there understanding is possible for it.

There is no "generality" in hermeneutical understanding over and above what is formal. And if there were such a thing, any hermeneutics which rightly understood itself would see itself required to hold to the task of dis-tancing itself from it, calling attention to Dasein which is in each case factical, and thereby returning to it. The "formal" is never something autonomous, but rather only a disburdening and relief found in the world. What hermeneutics is really meant to achieve is not merely taking cognizance of something and having knowledge about it, but rather an existential knowing, i.e., a being [ein Sein]. It speaks from out of interpretation and for the sake of it.

The initial hermeneutical engagement and bringing into play—that with respect to, on the basis of, and with a view to which everything is like a card in a game staked—thus the "as what" in terms of which facticity is grasped in advance and stirred, the decisive character of its being initially put forth and brought into play, is not something which can be fabricated—nor is it, however, a readymade possession but rather arises and develops out of a fundamental experience, and here this means a philosophical wakefulness, in which Dasein is encountering[24] itself. The wakefulness is philosophical—this means: it lives and is at work in a primordial self-interpretation which philosophy has given of itself and which is such that philosophy constitutes a decisive possibility and mode of Dasein's self-encounter.

The basic content of this self-communication and self-understanding which philosophy has about itself must be capable of being brought into relief, and a preliminary indication of it needs to be given. What it says for this hermeneutics is: (1) Philosophy is a mode of knowing which is in factical life itself and in which factical Dasein is ruthlessly dragged back to itself and relentlessly thrown back upon itself. (2) As this mode of knowing, philosophy has no mission to take care of universal humanity and culture, to release coming generations once and for all from care about questioning, or to interfere with them simply through wrongheaded claims to validity. Philosophy is what it can be only as a philosophy of "its time." "Temporality." Dasein works in the how of its being-now.

Martin Heidegger (GA 63) Ontology - The Hermeneutics of Facticity