Ponderings VIII [167–168]


History—if we quite decisively refuse to determine the essence of history on the basis of the relation to historiology as the latter’s object, and if we also do not go back to some | reality lying “behind” this object, whereby we would still take historiology as the guideline, but if instead we grasp history on the basis of beyng (not on the basis of some region of beings), then the determination that is heedful of the event says that 1. beyng steps into its truth and only in that way essentially occurs, 2. this essential occurrence is concealed, 3. knowledge of history is possible only as a grounding of the truth of beyng.

History is there where no one surmises it; it stands in a rare illumination which is itself concealed. The historical can harbor a wrathful spitefulness, which is not to be confused with the historiological concept of “moral” baseness and mere vulgarity.

The essence of history can be determined from temporality only if, as is the basic intention of Being and Time, time is grasped in advance with a view toward beyng as an indication of the truth of beyng. But if “temporality” is meant in the sense of the ordinary understanding of human comportment and activity as taking place within time, then the referring of history to time is not only trivial but is even erroneous. Yet the particular concealment proper to all history can occasionally be grasped in the form of a trackless disappearance and submergence into ineffectuality, although even here misinterpretations easily slip in because “effectivity” is indeed not essential for history.

Hölderlin is historical in the sense of that ineffectuality.


Descartes.—The attack on Descartes, i.e., the counterquestioning appropriate to his basic metaphysical position, a questioning rooted in a fundamental overcoming of metaphysics, can be carried out only on the basis of an asking of the question of being. Being and Time20 (1927) attempted the first such attack, which has nothing in common with the earlier and subsequent “critique” of “Cartesianism.” Through the choice of the opponent, this attack for the first time places that opponent in his incontestible greatness within the history of Western thinking. This attack knows that “refutations” accomplish nothing here and that instead through the originariness of the attack the attacked one comes all the more to stand in his historical unshakableness

20. {Sein und Zeit, p. 119ff.}

Ponderings VII-XI (GA 95) by Martin Heidegger