The world into which—the earth upon which—Dasein is thrown is an earth beneath a sky that shines with a sun. Dasein is thrown upon the earth and under the sky. If there were no sun, then there would be no light, if there were no light, then there would be no possibility of sight, without sight no concern, without concern no factical instantiation of care (with concern a derivative mode of this), and without this instantiation, no instance of Dasein. If Dasein is to be fallen then it must be so under the sky. This is not an accidental condition, the earth is not an accidental place, the sky is not an accidental vault.25
The world wherein Dasein loses itself, the world which may concern Dasein to the point of absorption, is a world with a time all its own. In an earlier paragraph of Being and Time, Heidegger had already pointed out how for the Dasein absorbed in the world of its concern there is a “concernful understanding of oneself as they-self in terms of what one does” (GA 2: 446/SZ 337, tm). In paragraph 80, this is recast in a manner explicitly connecting Dasein with the day. Now Dasein “understanding itself in terms of its daily work” (GA 2: 545/SZ 412) is tied to that day. In this understanding, Heidegger explains, Dasein says to itself that “then, when the sun rises, it is time for . . .” (GA 2: 545/SZ 412). Concern therefore makes use of the sun in its being-ready-to-hand. “The sun dates the time which is interpreted in concern. From this dating arises the ‘most natural’ measure of time, the day” (GA 2: 545/SZ 412– 13). The time of concern leads to the all too familiar and measured time, that of the natural clock, the sun.
Now clock time, for its part, is an inescapable side of Dasein’s finite and ecstatic temporality. If we take Heidegger at his word, it is finitude itself that leads to Dasein’s quantification of time, “since the temporality of Dasein that must take its time is finite, its days are also already numbered” (GA 2: 545/SZ 413, em). As finite, and thus as thrown, the ecstatic temporality of Dasein is always itself falling.26 It can do no other, for as we shall see, this time is nothing pure or homogeneous in itself. Clock time names this falling. This is true no matter how much more “elemental” Heidegger may consider the ecstatic temporality of Dasein to be. In The Basic Problems of Phenomenology, the temporalizing (Zeitigung) of temporality is what “holds sway throughout the Dasein in a way even more
elemental than the light of day as the basic condition of everyday circumspective seeing with our eyes, toward which we do not turn when engaged in everyday commerce with things” (GA 24: 437/307). Even though this temporalizing is more “elemental” than the time of day, this does not mean that it is able to exist without that day. Thus Heidegger can claim that the clock is a “factical necessity” (GA 2: 546/SZ 413). For Heidegger this Ur-clock is the sun. It is the course of the sun through the sky that
25 Husserl’s 1934 manuscript “Foundational Investigations of the Phenomenological Origin of the Spatiality of Nature,” likewise finds a necessity to the sky. Let us recall that Husserl does not think human life is somehow accidentally upon this earth: “We must not perpetrate the absurdity of then seeing human history, the history of the species anthropologically and psychologically within the evolution of the individual and people, the cultivation of science and the interpretation of the world as an obviously accidental event on the earth which might just as well have occurred on Venus or Mars” (Husserl, “Räumlichkeit,” 323/Shorter, 230). Indeed, Husserl will not even allow that human life could arise in multiple places at once. What it means to be human is to be of the earth: “But that does not mean that the moon or Venus could not just as well be conceived as primitive places in an original separation and that it is only a fact that the earth is just for me and our earthly humanity. There is only one humanity and one earth” (Husserl, “Räumlichkeit,” 324/Shorter, 230, em). To be human, to be of this earth, for Husserl is thus to be under the sky: “But if the earth is constituted with animate organisms and corporeality, then the ‘sky’ is also necessarily constituted as the field of what is outermost, yet which can be spatially experienced for me and all of us—with respect to the earth-basis” (Husserl, “Räumlichkeit,” 318/Shorter, 227–28). Perhaps Heidegger’s thinking of the fourfold can be seen in a line with these later thoughts of Husserl’s.
26 John Sallis arrives at a similar point in “Time Out . . .” when he notes that “originary time will always already (in an order no longer detachable from time) have begun to double itself, will always already have been contaminated by an outside, drifting toward something like the time of concern” (Echoes, 69).