Thursday, February 21, 2013
Richard L. Velkley on errancy leading to questioning.
Being as withdrawing endows beings with errancy, such that beings necessarily misinterpret the essential. This realm of misinterpretation is history. Errancy is not a human failing, since the self-misunderstanding of humans corresponds to the self-concealing of the illumination (Lichtung) of Being. Without errancy the human would have no relation to its destiny. Chronological distance from the Greeks is one thing, but historical distance is something else, and in that regard we are near to them. We are close to Being’s primordial refusal, to Being’s keeping its truth to itself even as it discloses beings. Being’s keeping to itself is the epochê of Being, which sense of epochê Heidegger distinguishes from Husserl’s methodical setting aside of thetic consciousness. Being’s epochê or holding back of its truth is the grounding of worlds, which are the epochs of errancy. This now for Heidegger is the more fundamental meaning of time: “The epochal essence of Being belongs to the concealed temporal character of Being,” in which the ecstatic time of Dasein is grounded. Indeed, the epochal essence appropriates (ereignet) the ecstatic essence of Dasein. Already at the dawn of thinking about Being, the essence of Being as the presencing of beings keeps to itself, and so the difference between Being and the beings themselves, the things that are present, remains concealed. The two are disclosed, the one as ground and the other as grounded, yet the ground comes forward as the highest being, so the difference is extinguished. “The destining of Being begins with the oblivion of Being,” although the earliest thought in an unspoken way shows the trace (Spur) of the difference, more than does later thought. (Heidegger points above all to the double sense of the genitive in Anaximander’s phrase kata to chreon.) The difference appears although not named as such. Again, the oblivion is not a deficiency (Mangel); it is the event or appropriation (Ereignis) of metaphysics, the richest and broadest event in world history. We still stand in the shadow of this event, of this destining, and thus are granted the possibility of being mindful of Being’s destining. Later accounts of Being in terms of idea, energeia, substantia, and objectivity may deepen the oblivion, but they do not thereby annul the destiny. On the contrary they fulfill it by pointing to the need for reflection on the destiny itself. In that reflection the human becomes the guardian of Being’s concealing itself, of its holding back its truth so that errant humans can be historical. The human realizes then the gift of Being that happens in errancy itself. Reflecting on the saving power in danger, thinking becomes questioning, which is the piety of thought.
Pp. 40-1
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