ON THE ESSENCE OF TRUTH
sense, for the latter is deaf to the language of philosophy. Nor may it even wish to do so, since common sense is blind to what philosophy sets before its essential vision.
Moreover, we ourselves remain within the sensibleness of common sense to the extent that we suppose ourselves to be secure in those multiform "truths" of practical experience and action, of research, composition, and belief. We ourselves intensify that resistance which the "obvious" has to every demand made by what is questionable.
Therefore even if some questioning concerning truth is necessary, what we then demand is an answer to the question as to where we stand today. We want to know what our situation is today. We call for the goal that should be posited for human beings in and for their history. We want the actual "truth." Well then - truth!
But in calling for the actual "truth" we must already know what truth as such means. Or do we know this only by "feeling" and "in a general way"? But is not such vague "knowing" and our indifference regarding it more desolate than sheer ignorance of the essence of truth?
1. THE USUAL CONCEPT OF TRUTH
What do we ordinarily understand by "truth"? This elevated yet at the same time worn and almost dulled word "truth"a means what makesb a true thing true. What is a true thing? We say, for example, "It is a true joy to cooperate in the accomplishment of this task."  We mean that it is purely and actually a joy. The true is the actual. Accordingly, we speak of true gold in distinction from false. False gold is not actually what it appears to be. It is merely a "semblance" and thus is not actual. What is not actual is taken to be the opposite of the actual. But what merely seems to be gold is nevertheless something actual. Accordingly, we say more precisely: actual gold is genuine gold. Yet both are "actual," the circulating counterfeit no less than the genuine gold. What is true about genuine gold thus cannot be demonstrated merely by its actuality. The question recurs: what do "genuine" and "true" mean here? Genuine gold is that actual gold the actuality of which is in accordance [in der Übereinstimmung steht] with what, always and in advance, we "properly" mean by "gold." Conversely, wherever we suspect false gold, we say: "Here something is not in accord"
a First edition, 1943, and third edition, 1954: Truth, Wahr-beit, -beit: die Heitere (das Heiternde) [the bright (that which brightens)], that which clears [das Lichtende].
b First edition, 1943, and third edition, 1954: Making - setting forth - letting emerge into the clearing.