and so keep in hand, I use, I have use for. Starting with this use that is practiced by man, we shall try to point out the nature of using. It is not anything that man first produces and performs. "Using" does not mean the mere utilizing, using up, exploiting. Utilization is only the degenerate and debauched form of use. 'When we handle a thing, for example, our hand must fit itself to the thing. Use implies fitting response. Proper use does not debase what is being used—on the contrary, use is determined and defined by leaving the used thing in its essential nature. But leaving it that way does not mean carelessness, much less neglect. On the contrary: only proper use brings the thing to its essential nature and keeps it there. So understood, use itself is the summons which demands that a thing be admitted to its own essence and nature, and that the use keep to it. To use something is to let it enter into its essential nature, to keep it safe in its essence.

Proper use is neither a mere utilizing, nor a mere needing. What we merely need, we utilize from the necessity of a need. Utilizing and needing always fall short of proper use. Proper use is rarely manifest, and in general is not the business of mortals. Mortals are at best illumined by the radiance of use. The essential nature of use can thus never be adequately clarified by merely contrasting it with utilization and need. We speak of usage and custom, of what we are used to. Even such usage is never of its own making. It hails from elsewhere, and presumably is used in the proper sense.

Now, when this word, in the form χρή, is mentioned at the outset of a thoughtful saying, and this particular saying, we may assume without fear of being arbitrary that the "using" mentioned here is spoken in a high, perhaps the highest, sense. therefore translate χρή with "It is useful . . ." The translation directs us to give thought to something that not only is not customary to our ways of

Martin Heidegger (GA 8) What Is Called Thinking?