Lecture Eleven [144-145]
into which all movements of thinking also are gathered, regardless of whether or not thinking is immediately aware of this.
We assume such a relationship between the Geschick of being and the history of thinking. In speaking here of "as-suming" we mean "to receive" what comes over thinking: to "as-sume" in the sense, as we say, of "taking on" an opponent in a fight; only here the assuming or taking-on is not hostile and the fight is not one of hate. Assuming and taking here have the sense of a responding that listens and brings something into view.
If we assume that the history of Western thinking rests in the withdrawing Geschick of being, then this is not simply some personal assumption we advance in the sense of an opinion that randomly befalls some matter and is enmeshed in a preconceived view.
The above-mentioned assumption that the history of thinking rests in the Geschick of being is not a personal opinion, but a reception of being. That this is so shows itself with a certain transparency if we briefly reflect on something that we indeed have already intimated, even mentioned, yet till now have not explicitly discussed. Of all the difficult thin to grasp in this world it is the most difficult to grasp because it lies closest to us, insofar as it is ourselves.
Near the beginning of the lecture course, and then more frequently, we spoke of the exacting claim of the principle of reason and of the fact that we follow the claim without further ado; for we are those who are claimed. It is only as the ones so claimed that we are capable of assuming, that is, of receiving what proffers itself to us. We are the ones bestowed by and with the clearing and lighting of being in the Geschich of being. However, apropos of being such beings we are also the same ones that being touches in and by its withdrawal, the same ones to whom being, as such a Geschich, refuses the clearing and lighting of its essential provenance.
The words Hegel spoke on October 22, 1818 at the opening of his lecture course at the University of Berlin seem to stand in opposition to this:
The courage of truth, faith in the power of the spirit, is the first condition of philosophical studies; one should honor oneself and deign to esteem the highest things. One cannot think highly enough of the greatness and power of the spirit; the sequestered nature of the universe harbors no power which can oppose the courage of cognition; it is necessary that it open itself before one and lay its riches and its profundities before one's eyes and bring joy to them.40
We would be thinking neither highly nor concretely enough if we were to understand these words as a pretension of the thinking person vis-à-vis the absolute. It is precisely the opposite: the preparedness to respond to the claim as that which being qua the absolute concept proffers to thinking and which in a decisive way molds in advance the epoch of the completion of Western