CONVERSATIONS WITH MEDARD BOSS, 1961-1972
Among other things, standing in the clearing of being means the admission of the earth's having been before the human being, that is, the admission of this [past] mode of presencing. Only in this way can the ordinary man say: The earth [as present-at-hand] already "was" before the human being. Of course, he does not reflect expressly on the meaning of "it was."
All presencing is dependent on the human being, but this dependence on the human being consists precisely in the fact that the human being as Da-sein and as being-in-the-world is able to allow beings [like the earth] to come to presence in their already having been [Schon-gewesen-sein].
[Technological] enframing [Gestell]* [as the revealing of being in the age of technology] also sets upon [stellt] and challenges [herausfordern] the human being himself once again, and this is a veiled form of the human being's being needed [by being in the age of technology].
The human being's finitude consists in [the fact] that he is not able to experience the presence of beings as a whole, as what has already been, and as what is still to come as an immediately given presence. [He is not able to experience] the presence of being in a nunc stans [standing now]. In Christianity such a thing is reserved for God. Christian mysticism also wanted nothing else. (All Indian "meditation" also wants nothing else than to obtain this experience of the nunc stans, to realize it as the ascent to the nunc stans, in which past and future are sublated [aufgehoben] into one unchanging present.)
Finitude can be better said to be the other way around: It is the experience of the presence of beings in the three [temporal] modes of having been, present, and future.
I am no longer speaking of finitude now, but rather say: The human being's richness consists precisely [in the fact] that he is not
* See Heidegger, The Question Concerning Technology, p. 13 ff., concerning the human being's relationship to modern technology as a destiny of being itself to which humans respond.—TRANSLATORS
† Heidegger says the following regarding nunc stans: "The fact that the traditional conception of 'eternity' as signifying the "standing now' (nunc stans) has been drawn from the ordinary way of understanding time and has been defined with an orientation towards the idea of 'constant' presence-at-hand, does not need to be discussed in detail. If God's eternity can be 'construed' philosophically, then it may be understood only as a more primordial temporality which is 'infinite.' Whether the way afforded by the via negationis et eminentiae is a possible one, remains to be seen" (Being and Time, p. 479, author's n. xiii).—TRANSLATORS