PATHMARKS


ground things is the destiny of our existence placed in the hands of the researcher.

The question of the nothing puts us, the questioners, ourselves in question. It is a metaphysical question.

Human Dasein can comport itself toward beings only if it holds itself out into the nothing. Going beyond beings occurs in the essence of Dasein. But this going beyond is metaphysics itself. This implies that metaphysics belongs to the "nature of the human being." It is neither a division of academic philosophy nor a field of arbitrary notions. Metaphysics is the fundamental occurrence in our Dasein. It is that Dasein itself. Because the truth of metaphysics dwells in this abyssal ground it stands in closest proximity to the constantly lurking possibility of deepest error. For this reason no amount of scientific rigor attains to the seriousness of metaphysics. Philosophy can never be measured by the standard of the idea of science.

[19 {GA 9 122}] If the question of the nothing unfolded here has actually questioned us, then we have not simply brought metaphysics before us in an extrinsic manner. Nor have we merely been "transposed" into it. We cannot be transposed into it at all, because insofar as we exist we are always already within it. φύσει γάρ, ὦ φίλε, ἔνεστί τις φιλοσοφία τῇ τοῦ ἀνδρὸς διανοίᾳ ("For by nature, my friend, a human being's thinking dwells in philosophy"] (Plato, Phaedrus, 279a). As long as human beings exist, philosophizing of some sort occurs. Philosophy — what we call philosophy — is the getting under way of metaphysics, in which it comes to itself and to its explicit tasks.a Philosophy gets under way only by a peculiar insertion of our own existence into the fundamental possibilities of Dasein as a whole. For this insertion it is of decisive importance, first, that we allow space for beings as a whole; second, that we release ourselves into the nothing, that is to say, that we liberate ourselves from those idols everyone has and to which they are wont to go cringing; and finally, that we let the sweep of our suspense take its full course, so that it swings back into the fundamental question of metaphysics that the nothing itself compels: Why are there beings at all, and why not far rather Nothing?


a Wegmarken, first edition, 1967: Two things are said: "essence" of metaphysics and its own history in terms of the destining of being; both are later named in the "recovery" ["Verwindung"].


96


Martin Heidegger (GA 9) What Is Metaphysics? - Pathmarks