Lecture Seven

Now—that is to say, in the following sessions—everything depends on whether or not we remain gathered into what the principle of reason says implicitly. If we remain on the way to such a gathering, then we will be able to genuinely hear the principle.

The principle of reason is one of those principles that remains silent about what is most proper to it. Whatever remains silent divulges nothing. To hear what is silent requires a hearing that each of us has and no one uses correctly. This hearing [Gehör] has something to do not only with the ear, but also with a human's belonging [Zugehörigkeit] to what its essence is attuned to. Humans are at-tuned [ge-stimmt] to what de-termines [be-stimmt] their essence.[31] In this de-termining, humans are touched and called forth by a voice [Stimme] that peals all the more purely the more it silently reverberates through what speaks.

The principle of reason sounds like this: "nothing is without reason": "Nihil est sine ratione." We call this formulation of the principle the ordinary one. It implies that the principle at first and for a long time never stood out as a special principle. What it states is unremarkably common in the life of human cognition. Contrary to this, Leibniz extricated the principle of reason from its position of indifference and brought it to the level of a supreme fundamental principle. Leibniz brought the fundamental principle into the strict formulation of the principium reddendae rationis sufficientis. According to this formulation the principle of reason says: Nothing is without a sufficient reason, which demands to be rendered. In the affirmative form this means that every being has its sufficient reason, which must be rendered. In short: "nothing is without reason."

But finally we heard the principle of reason in a different tonality. Instead of "Nothing is without reason," it now sounds like this: "Nothing is without reason." The pitch has shifted from the "nothing" to the "is" and from the "without" to the "reason. " The word "is" in one fashion or another invariably names being. This shift in pitch lets us hear an accord between being and reason. Heard in the new tonality, the principle of reason says that to being there belongs something like ground/reason. The principle now speaks of being. What the