PATHMARKS

Leibniza the metaphysical question about the supreme cause of all that is? Why, then, is Leibniz's name not mentioned, as would seem appropriate?

Or is the question asked in an altogether different sense? If it does not concern itself with beings and inquire about their first cause among all beings, then the question must begin from that which is not a being. And this is precisely what the question names, and it capitalizes the word: the Nothing. This is the sole [211] topic of the lecture. The demand seems obvious that the end of the lecture should be thought through, for once, in its own perspective that guides the whole lecture. What is called the grounding question of metaphysics would then have to be understood and asked in terms of fundamental ontology as the question that comes out of the ground of metaphysics and as the question about this ground.

But if we grant this lecture that in the end it thinks in the direction of its own distinctive concern, how then are we to understand this question?

The question is: Why are there beings at all, and not rather Nothing? Granted that we do not remain within metaphysics to ask metaphysically in the customary manner, but that we recall the truth of Being out of the essence and truth of metaphysics, then this might be asked as well: How does it come about that beings take precedence everywhere and lay claim to every "is," while that which is not a being - namely, the Nothing thus understood as Being itself- remains forgotten? How does it come about that with Beingb Itc is really nothing and that the Nothing does not properly prevail? Is it perhaps from this that the as yet unshaken presumption has entered all metaphysics that an understanding of "Being" may simply be taken for granted and that the Nothing can therefore be dealt with more easily than beings? That is indeed the situation regarding Being and Nothing. If it were different, then Leibniz could not have said in the same place by way of an explanation: "Car le rien est plus simple et plus facile que quelque chose [For the nothing is simpler and easier than any thing]."

What is more enigmatic: that beings are, or that Being "is"? Or does even this reflection fail to bring us close to that enigma which has occurred [sich ereignet]d with the Being ofe beings?

Whatever the answer may be, the time should have ripened meanwhile for thinking through the lecture "What Is Metaphysics?," which has been subjected to so many attacks, from its end, for once - from its end and not from some imaginary end.

	a Fifth edition, 1949: And Schelling.
	b Fifth edition, 1949: As such.
	c Fifth edition, 1949: For metaphysics.
	d Fifth edition, 1949: The event [Ereignis] of the forgottenness of the distinction.
	e Fifth edition, 1949: The distinction.

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Martin Heidegger (GA 9) What Is Metaphysics? - Pathmarks