first come forth as shores” (GA 7: 154/PLT 150, tm). The relational bridge touches what surrounds it and participates in the building of a particular locale with them.

These are not so many arbitrary facts about jugs and bridges, but essential traits of things, the instantiations of an “ontological” relationality. Things are all jugs, defined by their relation to a giving out (of themselves) determinative for what they are. Things themselves are so many gifts of excess, they gush beyond their bounds as ecstatic existences. Ecstatic existence is no longer a privilege of Dasein, but whatever appears within a world, if there is a world, must appear ecstatically. Things exist within a cluster of relations that draws them out in innumerable directions and in varying degrees. They give themselves out to the world. And in so doing things are all bridges, too. They forge connections between what exists around them, they “throw a bridge” between our surroundings and ourselves. No thing is simply in a position, but already extends beyond itself as part of a context. Things pass from themselves into relations of every stripe—spatial, temporal, affective, associative, etc.—and no relation is foreign to them or impossible for them. They reach across to us, departing from their physical bounds in creating a context, in appealing to us, in providing for us. Things touch us, transform us, and conduct us along a meaningful path through the world. We who are always underway could never be so underway were it not for the things accompanying us in this ecstatic exploration of world. The thing gestures out beyond itself, exposed on all sides, and shaped by nothing it would possess on its own, but instead by a world that ever exceeds it. The fourfold specify the rules of mediation, we might say. Taken together, they desubstantialize the thing and deliver it to world.

In this way, the fourfold could be said to establish the strange, permeable limit of the thing. These limits are the matter of relation. The thing relates to the world at the limit. To properly understand the nature of such a limit means coming to terms with Heidegger’s oft repeated claim that “the limit is not where something ceases, but rather, as the Greeks recognized, the limit is that from where something begins its essencing [sein Wesen beginnt]” (GA 7: 156/PLT 152, tm).

The limit is not where something ceases or ends. To end there would mean that this limit completed the thing and encapsulated it. Such a limit would be a solitary confinement, trapping the thing within itself. So construed, the thing would be amputated from the world, locked in a shell. Yet the limit is not the end of the thing (at least not in this conception of “end”), but its beginning. The thing begins where it ends. As a limit, its ending is simultaneously an opening. The end can never eradicate what lies beyond it, what abuts it, rubs up against it and teases it out further

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