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§8 Significance of dis-closure [200-202]

horizons and cover it with them, if we rather let the beginning be the beginning it is, then another law holds. According to this law, we cannot read enough into the beginning, or, better said, we cannot interpret enough out of it, so long as we merely pay heed to this beginning in the rigor of its essence and do not get caught up in our own arbitrariness. For the reflection that attempts to investigate the essence of "truth" by no means desires, in the self-satisfied zeal of erudition, simply to discover what was once meant or was not meant. That could only be a preparation for the essential truth, which is "more alive" than today's much-invoked "life" and concerns man's historical destiny, because this essence has come to presence for us already now long ago, without our thinking of it or making ourselves ready for it.

What we are presently trying to bring into essential focus, through the fourth directive, belongs even more primordially to the essence of ἀλήθεια than the counter-essence discussed up to now in all its multiplicity. Since our focus is to be directed to something that comes to presence more primordially in ἀλήθεια, therefore, along with ἀλήθεια and through it, it is disclosed prior to all else, and as unconcealed it is still closer to us than what is closest, i.e., closer than what otherwise stands out first in the essence of ἀλήθεια. What we are now to be directed toward is nearer to us than what is ordinarily and "at first" the closest. and therefore it is correspondingly more difficult to see. Thus in the zeal of the ordinary seeing of sense perception, we overlook what holds good and serves under visible things and between them and our vision, the closest of all, namely brightness and its own proper transparency. through which the impatience of our seeing hurries and must hurry. To experience the closest is the most difficult. In the course of our dealings and occupations it is passed over precisely as the easiest. Because the closest is the most familiar, it needs no special appropriation. We do not think about it. So it remains what is least worthy of thought. The closest appears therefore as if it were nothing. We see first, strictly speaking, never the closest but always what is next closest. The obtrusiveness and imperativeness of the next closest drives the closest and its closeness out of the domain of experience. This follows from the law of proximity.

This law of proximity is grounded in the law of the beginning. The beginning does not at first allow itself to emerge as beginning but instead retains in its own inwardness its beginning character. The beginning then first shows itself in the begun, but even there never immediately and as such. Even if the begun appears as the begun. its beginning and ultimately the entire "essence" of the beginning can still remain veiled. Therefore the beginning first unveils itself in what has already come forth from it. As it begins. the beginning leaves behind the proximity


Martin Heidegger (GA 54) Parmenides