LETTER ON "HUMANISM"


in so seeking, one is not seeking nihilation. Neither is being any existing quality that allows itself to be ascertained among beings. [190 {GA 9 359}] And yet being is more in beinga than any beings. Because ruhtlanon occurs essennally in being itself we can never discern it as something in beings. Reference to this impossibility never in any way proves that the origin of the not is no-saying. This proof appears to carry weight only if one posits beings as what is objective for subjectivity. From this alternative it follows that every "not," because it never appears as something objective, must inevitably be the product of a subjective act. But whether no-saying first posits the "not" as something merely thought, or whether nihilation first requires the "no" as what is to be said in the letting-be of beings - this can never be decided at all by a subjective reflection of a thinking already posited as subjectivity. In such a reflection we have not yet reached the dimension where the question can be appropriately formulated. It remains to ask, granting that thinking belongs to ek-sistence, whether every "yes" and "no" are not themselves already eksistent in the truth of being. If they are, then the "yes" and the "no"b are already intrinsically in thrall to being. As enthralled, they can never first posit the very thing to which they themselves belong.

Nihilation unfolds essentially in being itself, and not at all in the existence of the human being — so far as this existence is thought as the subjectivity of the ego cogito. Existence [Dasein] in no way nihilates as a human subject who carries out nihilation in the sense of denial; rather, Da-sein nihilates inasmuch as it belongs to the essence of being as that essence in which the human being ek-sists. Being nihilates — as being. Therefore the "not" appears in the absolute Idealism of Hegel and Schelling as the negativity of negation in the essence of being. But there being is thought in the sense of absolute actuality as the unconditioned will that wills itself and does so as the will of knowledge and of love. In this willing being as will to power is still concealed. But just why the negativity of absolute subjectivity is "dialectical," and why nihilation comes to the fore through this dialectic but at the same time is veiled in its essence, cannot be discussed here.

[191 {GA 9 360}] The nihilating in being is the essence of what I call the nothing. Hence, because it thinks being, thinking thinks the nothing.

To healing being first grants ascent into grace; to raging its compulsion to malignancy.


a First edition, 1949: Insofar as being lets beings "be."

b First edition, 1949: Affirmation and denial, acknowledgment and rejection already used in the gathered call [Gebeiß] of the event of appropriation - called into renunciative saying in response [Entsaagen] to the gathered call of the distinction.


273


Martin Heidegger (GA 9) Letter on Humanism - Pathmarks