Über den Anfang (On Inception) (GA 70) | 113


The Last Downgoing; The Beingless

As I understand it, with the beingless, Heidegger thinks a more inceptive letting be of “not yet or no longer be-ing beings,” which occurs in the most extreme downgoing into the abyss. I also believe that it is related to a new historical disposition in Heidegger’s thinking, that of letting the abandonment of beings by being, that is, the historical unfolding and installment of machination at the end of the first beginning, pass by, rather than resisting it. His thinking thus enters into what I called the hybrid situation at the beginning of this chapter, the in-between the never- ending epoch of machination and the estranged realm where being is appropriated for the few. (This happens in 1941.)

The notion of beinglessness is, if I may say so, a positive notion for Heidegger, a most inceptive (indeed a preinceptive) notion, and it needs to be sharply diferentiated from the abandonment of beings by being.10 Together with beinglessness, Heidegger thinks also a positive notion of Enteignis, of “dispropriation,” where dispropriation is again, not the movement of withdrawal of beyng that unleashes beings into machination, but points to the most inceptive moment in the downgoing into the abyss of inception in which the relation to the abyss is preserved.

What is most surprising in the notion of the beingless is that it implies the notion that beings somehow are “prior” to being: “Since, however, being comes in- between into the beingless [Weil aber das Sein in das Seinlose dazwischen ankommt] and begins as the inception of beings, therefore beings—namely as the subsequently be-ing beingless [als das nachmalige seiende Seinlose]—are in a certain sense ‘prior’ and older than being [sic]. Beings are the ‘a priori’ to being, if here confusion does not occur because of the use of metaphysical titles for being and being beings [Sein und seiende Seiende] outside of all metaphysics” (GA 70: 121).

As what was (“was” needs to be crossed out here) formerly beingless, beings “are in a certain sense ‘prior’ and older than being.” (It is not clear that Heidegger would write that the beingless is older than beyng since with beyng he thinks also the departure “beyond beyng.”) As we read this, we should keep in mind that Heidegger is not saying that beings are things in themselves before we think them and that in thinking them we attribute being to them. But he also does not want to say that beings arise from being, such that being somehow would generate beings. This is why he writes: “Although beinglessness is still conceived coming from being, it does not originate from being” (GA 70: 121). Perhaps this is also related to the fact that he first spoke of the not yet being beings as the nothingless. Beings before they rise into being are not even nothing. “Neither can be said, the beingless is, nor that it is not” (GA 70: 121). Furthermore, as mentioned above, the beingless is precisely not the abandonment of beings by being: “In


10. Heidegger points out this diferentiation between the beingless and the abandonment of beings by being in section 98 (GA 70: 121).


Heidegger’s Poietic Writings : from Contributions to Philosophy to The Event by Daniela Vallega-Neu