derives. In his essential unfolding within the history of being, the human being is the being whose being as ek-sistence consists in his dwelling in the nearness of being. The human being is the neighbor of being.

But - as you no doubt have been wanting to rejoin for quite a while now does not such thinking think precisely the humanitas of homo humanus? Does it not think humanitas in a decisive sense, as no metaphysics has thought it or can think it? Is this not "humanism" in the extreme sense? Certainly. It is a humanism that thinks the humanity of the hwnan being from nearness to being. But at the same time it is a humanism in which not the human being but the human being's historical essence is at stake in its provenance from the truth of being. But then does not the ek-sistence of the human being also stand or fall in this game of stakes? Indeed it does.

In Being and Time (p. 38) it is said that every question of philosophy "returns to existence." But existence here is not the actuality of the ego cogito. Neither is it the actuality of subjects who act with and for each other and so become who they are. "Ek-sistence," in fundamental contrast to every existentia and "existence," is ek-static dwelling in the nearness of being. It is the guardianship, that is, the care for being. Because there is something simple to be thought in this thinking it seems quite difficult to the representational thought that has been transmitted as philosophy. But the difficulty is not a matter of indulging in a special sort of profundity and of building complicated concepts; rather, it is concealed in the step back that lets thinking enter into a questioning that experiences - and lets the habitual opining of philosophy fall away.

It is everywhere supposed that the attempt in Being and Time ended in a blind alley. Let us not comment any further upon that opinion. The thinking that hazards a few steps in Being and Time [174 {GA 9 343}] has even today not advanced beyond that publication. But perhaps in the meantime it has in one respect come further into its own matter. However, as long as philosophy merely busies itself with continually obstructing the possibility of admittance into the matter for thinking, i.e., into the truth of being, it stands safely beyond any danger of shattering against the hardness of that matter. Thus to "philosophize" about being shattered is separated by a chasm from a thinking that is shattered. If such thinking were to go fortunately for someone, no misfortune would befall him. He would receive the only gift that can come to thinking from being.

But it is also the case that the matter of thinking is not achieved in the fact that idle talk about the "truth of being" and the "history of being" is set in motion. Everything depends upon this alone, that the truth of being come to language and that thinking attain to this language. Perhaps, then,


Martin Heidegger (GA 9) Letter on Humanism - Pathmarks