not consist in his being the substance of beings, as the "Subject" among them, so that as the tyrant of being he may deign to release the beingness of beings into an all too loudly glorified "objectivity."

The human being is rather "thrown" by being itself into the truth of being, so that ek-sisting in this fashion he might guard the truth of being, in order that beings might appear in the light of being [162] as the beings they are. Human beings do not decide whether and how beings appear, whether and how God and the gods or history and nature come forward into the clearing of being, come to presence and depart. The advent of beings lies in the destinya of being. But for humans it is ever a question of finding what is fitting in their essence that corresponds to such destiny; for in accord with this destiny the human being as ek-sisting has to guard the truth of being. The human being is the shepherd of being. It is in this direction alone that Being and Time is thinking when ecstatic existence is experienced as "care" (cf. section 44c, pp. 226ff.).

Yet being — what is being? It "is"11 It itself. The thinking that is to come must learn to experience that and to say it. "Being" — that is not God and not a cosmic ground. Being is essentially12 fartherb than all beings and is yet nearer to the human being than every being, be it a rock, a beast, a work of art, a machine, be it an angel or God. Being is the nearest. Yet the near remains farthest13 from the human being. Human beings at first cling always and only to beings. But when thinking represents beings as beings it no doubt relates itself to being. In truth, however, it always thinks only of beings as such; precisely not, and never, being as such. The "question of being" always remains a question about beings. It is still not at all what its elusive name indicates: the question in the direction of being. Philosophy, even when it becomes "critical" through Descartes and Kant, always follows the course of metaphysical representation. It thinks from beings back to beings with a glance in passing toward being. For every departure from beings and every return to them stands already in the light of being.

But metaphysics recognizes the clearing of being either solely as the view of what is present in "outward appearance" (ἰδέα) or critically as what is seen in the perspect of categorial representation on the pan of subjectivity. This means that the truth of being as the clearing itself remains concealed for metaphysics. [163 {GA 9 332}] However, this concealment is not a defect of metaphysics but a treasure withheld from it yet held before it, the treasure of

a First edition, 1949: Gathered sending [Ge-schick]: gathering of the epochs of being used by the need of letting-presence.

b First edition, 1949: Expanse: not that of an embracing, but rather of the locality of appropriation; as the expanse of the clearing.


Martin Heidegger (GA 9) Letter on Humanism - Pathmarks