Metaphysics is the history of this truth. It says what beings are in bringing to a concept the beingness of beings. In the beingness of beings, metaphysics thinks being, yet without being able to ponder the truth of being in the manner of its own thinking. Metaphysics everywhere moves in the realm of the truth of being, which truth, metaphysically speaking,3 remains its unknown and ungrounded ground. Granted, however, that not only do beings stem from being, but that being too, in a still more originary manner, itself rests within its own truth and that the truth of being unfolds in its essence as the being of truth, then it is necessary to ask what metaphysics is in its ground. This questioning must think metaphysically and at the same time think out of the ground of metaphysics, i.e., in a manner that is no longer metaphysical. Such questioning remains ambivalent in an essential sense.

Every attempt to follow the train of thought of the lecture will therefore meet with obstacles. That is good. Questioning thereby becomes more genuine. Every question that does justice to its issue is already a bridge to the answer. Essential answers are always only the last step in questioning. This last step, however, cannot be taken without the long series of initial and subsequent steps. The essential response draws its sustaining power from the inherent stance [Inständigkeit] assumed by questioning. The essential response is only the beginning of a responsibility. In such responsibility, questioning awakens in a more originary manner. For this reason too the genuine question is not superseded by the answer that is found.

The obstacles to following the train of thought of the lecture are of two kinds. The first arise from the enigmas that conceal themselves in the realm of what is thought here. The second spring from the inability, indeed often from the unwillingness, to think. In the realm of thoughtful questioning, even fleeting reservations - but especially those that are carefully weighed - may help. Gross errors of opinion may also bear fruit, even when they are voiced in the heat [101] of blind polemic. Careful thought need only restore everything to the releasement [Gelassenheit] of patient reflection.

The chief reservations and errors of opinion arising from this lecture may be gathered into three main objections. It is said that:

(1) The lecture makes "the nothing" into the sole object of metaphysics. Yet because the nothing is that which is altogether null, such thinking leads to the view that all is nothing, so that it is worth neither living nor dying. A "philosophy of nothing" is complete "nihilism."

(2) The lecture elevates an isolated and indeed depressed mood, namely, that of anxiety, to the status of the only fundamental attunement. Yet since anxiety is the psychic state of the "anxious" and cowardly, such thinking