11

§3 [15,16,17]


Only what can speak can be silent. Hence the imperfect is that which has in its Being a definite orientation toward perfection. "Imperfect" means that that of which it is predicated does not have the perfection it could have, should have, and is desired to have. With regard to perfection something is lacking, something has been taken away, stolen from it—privare, as the a-"privative" says. Truth, which for us is something positive, is for the Greeks negative as ἀλήθεια; and falsehood, which for us is something negative, is positively expressed by them as ψεῦδος. Ἀλήθεια means: to be hidden no longer, to be uncovered. This privative expression indicates that the Greeks had some understanding of the fact that the uncoveredness of the world must be wrested, that it is initially and for the most part not available. The world is primarily, if not completely, concealed; disclosive knowledge does not at first thrust itself forward; the world is disclosed only in the immediate circle of the surrounding world, insofar as natural needs require. And precisely that which in natural consciousness was, within certain limits, perhaps originally disclosed becomes largely covered up again and distorted by speech. Opinions rigidify themselves in concepts and propositions; they become truisms which are repeated over and over, with the consequence that what was originally disclosed comes to be covered up again. Thus everyday Dasein moves in a double coveredness: initially in mere ignorance and then in a much more dangerous coveredness, insofar as idle talk turns what has been uncovered into untruth. With regard to this double coveredness, a philosophy faces the tasks, on the one hand, of breaking through for the first time to the matters themselves (the positive task) and, on the other hand, of taking up at the same time the battle against idle talk. Both of these intentions are the genuine impulses of the spiritual work of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Their struggle against rhetoric and sophistry bears witness to it. The transparency of Greek philosophy was hence not acquired in the so-called serenity of Greek Dasein, as if it was bestowed on the Greeks in their sleep. A closer consideration of their work shows precisely what exertion was required to cut through idle talk and penetrate to Being itself. And that means that we must not expect to get hold of the matters themselves with less effort, especially since we are burdened by a rich and intricate tradition.

Unconcealedness is a determination of beings—insofar as they are encountered. Ἀλήθεια does not belong to Being in the sense that Being could not be without unconcealedness. For nature is there at hand even before it is disclosed. Ἀλήθεια is a peculiar character of the Being of beings insofar as beings stand in relation to a regard aimed at them, to a disclosure circumspecting them, to a knowing. On the other hand, the ἀληθές is certainly both in ὃν and is a character of Being itself, and specifically insofar as Being = presence and the latter is appropriated in λόγος and "is" in it.