ON THE QUESTION OF BEING


hearing, would then be "being"? What am I saying? It is no longer "being" at all — if we attempt fully to think through "being" in its destinal prevailing, namely, as presencing, in which manner alone we respond to its destinal essence. We would then have to relinquish the isolating and separating word "being" just as decisively as the name "human being." The question concerning the relation between the two revealed itself to be inadequate, because it never attains to the realm of what it seeks to ask after. In truth, we cannot then even [237] continue to say that "being" and "the human being" "are" the Same in the sense that they belong together; for when we say it in this way, we continue to let both subsist independently.

Yet why, in a letter about the essence of consummate nihilism, am I mentioning these laborious and abstract things? On the one hand, in order to indicate that it is by no means easier to say "being" than to speak of the nothing; yet also in order to show once more how inevitably everything here depends on the correct saying, on that A6yoc; whose essence the logic and dialectic that come from metaphysics are never able to experience.

Is it due to "being" — if for a moment we let this word name that Same that is worthy of question, and in which the essence of being and the essence of the human being belong together - is it due to "being" that our saying fails in a telling manner in its response, remaining only what is all too readily suspected as so-called "mysticism"? Or does it have to do with our saying that such saying does not yet speak, because it is not yet able to respond in a fitting manner to the essence of"being"? Is the question of which language of fundamental words is spoken at the moment of crossing the line, i.e., in traversing the critical zone of consummate nihilism, left to the whim of those who are speaking? Is it enough for this language to be universally comprehensible, or do other laws and measures prevail here that are just as unique as the world-historical moment of the planetary consummation of nihilism and the critical confrontation of its essence?

These are questions that are scarcely beginning to become worthy of question in such a way that we could find ourselves at home in them and never again let them go, even at the peril of having to relinquish old and e􀥣tablished habits of thinking in the sense of metaphysical representation and of being accused of disdain for all sound reasoning.

These are questions that, in our passing "over the line," still display a panicularly acute character; for such passage moves within the [238] realm of the nothing. Does the nothing vanish with the consummation or at least With the overcoming of nihilism? Presumably this overcoming can be attained only when, instead of the appearance of the nihilative nothing, the


309