The Event of Thinking the Event 101

end to the “things themselves,” the matter that calls for thinking.28 But is this matter a phenomenon, something that shows itself to the phenomenologist? If “the matter of thinking” is the being of beings, then it is manifest (or can be brought to manifestation), and it is a phenomenon to be investigated by phenomenology. But when Heidegger says that this manifestness is itself a mystery, he points to the question of be-ing—the giving of the being of beings. If this event of giving “remains”—and perhaps must remain—a mystery, then it does not seem to be a phenomenon at all.29

Reiner Schürmann also repeatedly claims that the Contributions are phenomenological.30 Heidegger’s “method and . . . thinking remain those of the phenomenologist who ‘sees and grasps only that which is.’” But this is a mistranslation that quotes out of context: Heidegger writes of a “reaching out” (Ausgriff ) that seizes one who “sees and grasps that which is only in order to help [being-there?—object not stated] out of these beings . . . into be-ing” (242–43). Heidegger’s thinking, then, reaches beyond given beings. It strives for appropriation as “the event” that is, as Schürmann puts it, the “always eclipsed manifestation” of phenomena. But if this event is always eclipsed, it cannot itself become a phenomenon. Schürmann himself also claims that “there is a No that weakens all manifestation.” Given phenomena are subject to “a removal outside their simple being-given”; their givenness is structured by factors such as nothingness and the future, which are not themselves given.31 It would seem that phenomenality—and hence phenomenology—point to a different theme and a different kind of thinking, outside the present-indicative tonality.

However, maybe phenomenology can do more than describe what shows itself. Can phenomenology think of the intrinsically concealed—that which can never, in principle, become present? If this task lies beyond phenomenology, we will have to say that phenomenology remains within the presentindicative tonality and that the Contributions are not phenomenological—for Heidegger insists that be-ing is necessarily self-concealing. This is the root of the Contributions’ esotericism and their “telling silence” (which we will consider soon).

Can hiding be shown? Can concealment be revealed? Can withholding be given? In some sense, yes: phenomenology is keenly aware that consciousness is largely a web of experiences of absence—allusions, intimations, expectations, recollections, and so on. Husserl addresses these experiences in

28. Von Herrmann, “Way and Method,” 320.

29. Compare the claim in Besinnung that the essence of truth can never be investigated on the basis of self-showing: GA 66, 314.

30. Schürmann, Broken Hegemonies, 516, 538, 544, 556.

31. Ibid., 675n27, 566, 618, 600, 608.

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