beyond itself. No end is conclusive, not even the end of metaphysics, as Heidegger repeatedly stressed. The limit of the thing is where it dissipates into the world. The thing is always only this entering into world (the thing only is at its limit). But given the reflexivity of all limits, this is to say that the limit is where the world enters the thing, where it makes its way into it. The limit is consequently where the world begins as well. The thing is not the end of the world, but its beginning. To understand this relationship between thing and world requires giving up the thought of thing and world as object and container. This requires that we think a differential emerging of thing to world, a non-presence no longer indifferent to its surroundings, but claimed by them and participating in their never ending activity of bearing up the world. In so doing, the thing begins.

Beginning is the entry into world. To begin at the limit is to begin where one is exposed. Beginning at the limit extends the thing beyond itself into the surrounding environment that touches it. The thing begins in relation to this environment, called out by it. But for this to be a beginning of the thing, there can be no complete arrival into the world. If the thing were to completely enter into the world it would once again simply take on the status of an object in a container. Or the thing would merge so completely with the world as to lose itself in a seamless absorption into the beyond. In either case there would no longer be a thing. For the thing to begin, it must always be beginning, always entering and arriving at the world. Encapsulation and absorption are possibilities for objects and containers, not things and worlds. The thing begins outside of itself and this already disrupts any idea of a stable or fixed presence. The thing is not present to itself, but already outside and ahead of itself. To begin is to maintain this separation within oneself, this tear between thing and world, this differentiating rift that is nothing other than the limit itself. The thing is limit through and through. For this reason, to begin is not simply to start anew. The thing does not leave itself behind in entering the world. This would be just another form of seamless merger with the beyond. To begin is to be always arriving in the world, to be drawn out and supported by the world and likewise to participate in the buoying up and supporting of the world. This bearing (halten) of the world is the gist of the relation (Verhältnis) between thing and world. Things begin in this engagement with world. To think things as relational means that no thing exists independent of another and that to ex-ist is already to be held out and supported by a context. The world is borne at the limit.

But Heidegger’s statement concerning the limit as a beginning specifies that what begins at the limit is the essence of the thing, its essencing. The conception of essence operative in Heidegger’s thinking at the time of the fourfold stems from the middle period of the Contributions

Andrew J. Mitchell - The Fourfold

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