The Self-Concealing of Being      147

are that and what they are. They are determinately there rather than not, this rather than that, and an entity rather than a non-entity. The ontic determinacy of entities comes from their having limits: ‘[l]imit and end are that whereby entities first begin to be’; ‘what first makes an entity be an entity as opposed to a nonentity […is for it] to attain its limit, to de-limit itself ’ (IM: 63 {2nd ed. 65}/GA40: 46 {sic: p. 46 in the Niemeyer; p. 64 in GA 40}). Second-plank unconcealing unconceals limits.

Third-plank unconcealing conceals limits, leaving being without the sort of determinacy that entities have. Consider this passage, which I invoked in §14:

[. . . Being [Seyn],] by which entities are distinguished from non-entities [Nichtseiende], and owing to which they are and are such and such, does not stand in the clearing but in hiddenness [Verhüllung]. Consequently, the attempt to grasp this being [Seyn] as if it were an entity yields emptiness. Being [Seyn] is not merely hidden [verborgen]; it withdraws [entzieht sich] and conceals itself [verbirgt sich]. From this we derive an essential insight: the clearing, in which entities are, is not simply bounded and delimited by something hidden [Verborgenes] but by something self-concealing [Sichverbergendes].

(BQP: 178 / GA45: 210, Heidegger’s italics)

Heidegger speaks here of entities appearing as distinguished from non-entities and as grounded in being, and he points out that we cannot grasp being in the same way—as grounded, and as distinguished from what is not. As a result, being is ‘bounded and delimited by something hidden’—its inaccessible edges, or others than. This hidden boundary conceals itself, and this self-concealing is what produces the hiddenness of being’s other than, rather than, and its being other than. That is, this is another way of saying that lēthē is repelling, that being has no ground and is self-grounding, and that we cannot draw the distinction between being and entities. It is this concealing of its other than, rather than, and its being other than, I suggest, that distinguishes being’s appearing from that of entities and that renders it distinctively self-concealing.

It is also this self-concealing that positions being to let entities through to appearing, as light lets visible objects through to visibility