Interpretation of the Introduction to Schelling 's Treatise

a life . . ." (pp. 78, 399). Here system is attributed to only one factor of the jointure of Being, to existence. At the same time, a higher unity is posited and designated as "life." We are familiar with the metaphysical significance of this term. It never means for Schelling merely "biological," plant-animal life. Schelling's language is "polemical" here. In contrast to the Idealist version of the Absolute as intelligence, he means that the will of the understanding exists in opposition to the will of the ground. But when the system is only in the understanding, the ground and the whole opposition of ground and understanding are excluded from system as its other and system is no longer system with regard to beings as a whole.

That is the difficulty which emerges more and more clearly in Schelling's later efforts with the whole of philosophy, the difficulty which proves to be an impasse (Scheitern). And this impasse is evident since the factors of the jointure of Being, ground and existence and their unity not only become less and less compatible, but are even driven so far apart that Schelling falls back into the rigidified tradition of Western thought without creatively transforming it. But what makes this failure so significant is that Schelling thus only brings out difficulties which were already posited in the beginning of Wes tern philosophy, and because of the direction which this beginning took were posited by it as insurmountable. For us that means that a second beginning becomes necessary through the first, but is possible only in the complete transformation of the first beginning, never by just letting it stand.

At this s tage of the treatise on freedom it is not yet clearly evident to Schelling that precisely positing the jointure of Being as the unity of ground and existence makes a jointure of Being as system impossible. Rather, Schelling believes that the question of the system, that is, the unity of beings as a whole, would be saved if only the unity of what truly unifies, that of the Absolute, were correctly formulated. That is the task of the last section.

VII. The Highest Unity of Beings as a Whole and Human Freedom

The highest unity is that of the Absolute. But since the latter exists as eternal becoming, the Being of this becoming must be understood in such a way that the primordial unity is present as that which lets everything originate. Thus, this unity also lies s till before the duality of ground and existence. In such a unity, no duality can be discernible yet. Thus, this unity is also no longer the unity of what belongs together (identity), but what belongs together is itself supposed to arise from this primordial unity. This unity is "absolute indifference." The only predicate which can be attributed to i t is lack of predicates. Absolute indifference is nothingness in the sense that every statement about Being is nothing with regard to it, bu t not in the sense that the Absolute is nugatory and merely of no use. Here, too, Schelling does not see the necessity of an essential step. If Being in

Martin Heidegger (GA 42) Schelling's Treatise on the Essence of Human Freedom