WHAT IS METAPHYSICS?


in our thought, and thus "think" it negated. In this way we do attain the formal concept of the imagined nothing but never the nothing itself. But the nothing is nothing, and if the nothing represents total indistinguishability no distinction can obtain between the imagined and the "proper" nothing. And the "proper" nothing itself - is not this the camouflaged but absurd concept of a nothing that is? For the last time now the objections of the intellect would call a halt to our search, whose legitimacy, however, can be demonstrated only on the basis of a fundamental experience of the nothing.

As surely as we can never comprehend absolutely the whole of beings in themselves we certainly do find ourselves stationed in the midst of beings that are unveiled somehow as a whole. In the end an essential distinction prevails between comprehending the whole of beings in themselves and finding oneself [Sichbefinden] in the midst of beings as a whole. The former is impossible in principle. The latter happens all the time in our Dasein. It does seem as though we cling to this or that particular being, precisely in our everyday preoccupations, as though we were completely lost in this or that region of beings. No matter how fragmented our everyday existence may appear to be, however, i􀥶 always deals with beings in a unity of the "whole," if only in a shadowy way. Even and precisely when we are not actually busy with things or ourselves , this "as a whole" comes over us - for example, in authentic boredom. Such boredom is still distant when it is only this book [8] or that play, that business or this idleness, that drags on and on. It irrupts when "one is bored." Profound boredom, drifting here and there in the abysses of our existence like a muffling fog, removes all things and human beings and oneself along with them into a remarkable indifference. This boredom manifests beings as a whole.

Another possibility of such manifestation is concealed in our joy in the presence of the Dasein - and not simply of the person - of a human being whom we love.

Such being attuned, in which we "are" one way or another and which determines us through and through, lets us find ourselves among beings as a whole. Finding ourselves attuned not only unveils beings as a whole in various ways, but this unveiling - far from being merely incidental - is also the fundamental occurrence of our Da-sein.

What we call a "feeling" is neither a transitory epiphenomenon of our thinking and willing comportment, nor simply an impulse that provokes such comportment, nor merely a present condition we have to find some way of coping with.

But just when moods of this sort bring us face to face with beings as a whole they conceal from us the nothing we are seeking. We will now come


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Martin Heidegger (GA 9) Pathmarks