thus still in place — [143 {GA 9: 237}] of the ever-advancing world history of the planet in this most modem of modern times.

Whatever happens with historical human beings always derives from a decision about the essence of truth that was taken long ago and is never up to humans alone. Through this decision the lines are always already drawn regarding what, in the light of the established essence of truth, is sought after and established as true and likewise what is thrown away and passed over as untrue.

The story recounted in the "allegory of the cave" provides a glimpse of what is really happening in the history of Western humanity, both now and in the future: Taking the essence of truth as the correctness of the representation, one thinks of all beings according to "ideas" and evaluates all reality according to "values." That which alone and first of all is decisive is not which ideas and which values are posited, but rather the fact that the real is interpreted according to "ideas" at all, that the "world" is weighed according to "values" at all.

Meanwhile we have recollected the original essence of truth. Unhiddennessa reveals itself to this recollection as the fundamental trait of beings themselves.b Nonetheless, recollection of the original essence of truth must think this essence more originally. Therefore, such recollection can never take over unhiddenness merely in Plato's sense, namely, as yoked under the ἰδέα. As Plato conceives it, unhiddenness remains harnessed in a relation to looking, apprehending, thinking, and asserting. To follow this relation means to relinquish the essence of unhiddenness. No attempt to ground the essence of unhiddenness in "reason," "spirit," "thinking," "logos," or in any kind of "subjectivity," can ever rescue the essence of unhiddenness. In all such attempts, what is to be grounded — the essence of hiddenness itself — is not yet adequately sought out. What always gets "clarified" is merely some essential consequence of the uncomprehended essence of unhiddenness.

[144 {GA 9: 238}] What is first required is an appreciation of the "positive" in the "privative" essence of ἀλήθεια. The positive must first be experienced as the fundamental trait of being itself. First of all what must break in upon us is that exigency whereby we are compelled to question not just beings in their being but first of all being itself (that is, the difference). Because this exigencyc stands before us, the original essence of truth still lies in its hidden origin.

a First edition, 1947: Ἀλήθεια is a name for esse, not for veritas.

b First edition, 1947: That is, as beyng [Seyn].

c First edition, 1947: The exigency of the lack of exigency· [Die Nor der Notlosigkeit]: the fact that we are unaffected by being itself, that being is forgotten. In this exigency, the forgottenness of being docs not leave us.


Martin Heidegger (GA 9) Plato's Doctrine of Truth