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Contributions to Philosophy (Of the Event)

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Martin Heidegger’s Contributions to Philosophy reflects his famous philosophical "turning." In this work, Heidegger returns to the question of being from its inception in Being and Time to a new questioning of being as event. Heidegger opens up the essential dimensions of his thinking on the historicality of being that underlies all of his later writings. Contributions was composed as a series of private ponderings that were not originally intended for publication. They are nonlinear and radically at odds with the traditional understanding of thinking. This translation presents Heidegger in plain and straightforward terms, allowing surer access to this new turn in Heidegger’s conception of being.

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I. Prospect

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The official title must by necessity now sound dull, ordinary, and empty and will make it seem that at issue here are “scholarly” “contributions” to the “advancement” of philosophy.

Philosophy can be officially announced no other way, since all essential titles have become impossible on account of the exhaustion of every basic word and the destruction of the genuine relation to words.

The official title, however, is also in accord with the “matter at issue” to the extent that, in the age of transition from metaphysics to the thinking of beyng2 in its historicality, no more can be ventured than an attempt at a thinking which would arise out of a more originary basic position within the question of the truth of beyng. Yet even the successful attempt must—in conformity with the basic event of that which is to be thought inventively—keep its distance from every false claim to be a “work” in the previous style. Future thinking is a course of thought, on which the hitherto altogether concealed realm of the essential occurrence of beyng is traversed and so is first cleared and attained in its most proper character as an event.

 

II. The Resonating

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of the essential occurrence of beyng

out of the abandonment by being

through the compelling plight

of the forgottenness of beyng.

To make appear by way of recollection the concealed power of this forgottenness as forgottenness and to bring forth therein the resonating of beyng. The recognition of the plight.

The guiding disposition of the resonating: shock and diffidence, but each arising out of the basic disposition of restraint.

The highest plight: the plight of the lack of a sense of plight. To let resonate first of all, whereby much will by necessity remain incomprehensible and closed to questioning, though indeed a first intimation will become possible.

What simple course of saying is to be chosen here and followed without any additional considerations in passing?

The resonating must encompass the entire fissure and, most of all, must be articulated as the counterplay to the interplay.

 

III. The Interplay

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The confrontation with the necessity of the other beginning, out of the originary posing of the first beginning.

The guiding disposition: pleasure in the interrogative and reciprocal surpassing of the beginnings.

In this regard, everything concerning the distinction between the guiding question and the basic question; answer to the guiding question and proper unfolding of that question; transition to the basic question (Being and Time).

All the lecture courses on the “history” of philosophy. The decision with regard to all “ontology.”

is of a historical essence and builds the first bridge of the transition— a bridge which, however, thrusts out toward a shore that must first be decided.

Yet the interplay with the history of the thinking of the first beginning is not historiological, additional, or pregiven material for a “new” “system.” Instead, it is itself the essential, transformative preparation of the other beginning. Therefore we must direct our historical meditation, perhaps still more inconspicuously and decisively, only to the thinkers belonging to the history of the first beginning so that through the interrogative dialogue with their way of questioning we might unexpectedly plant a questioning that will some day find itself explicitly rooted in another beginning. But this historical meditation, as the interplay of the beginnings which are grounded in themselves and which pertain—in each case differently—to the abyss, already arises in a transitional way out of the other beginning (to grasp this already requires the leap), and therefore such meditation is all too readily subject to the misinterpretation that finds there merely historiological considerations regarding works of thought chosen by arbitrary predilection. This is all the more so since the external form of these historical meditations (lectures on the “historiology of philosophy”) is in no way different from what subsequent scholarship would still present as a finished history of philosophy.

 

IV. The Leap

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The leap, that most daring venture in the course of inceptual thinking, jettisons and leaves behind everything conventional. The leap expects nothing immediate from beings; instead, and before all else, it leaps into the belonging to beyng in the full essential occurrence of beyng as event. In this way, the leap appears in the semblance of utter recklessness, and yet the disposition motivating it is precisely that diffidence (cf. Prospect, 5. For the few—For the rare, p. 13ff.) in which the will to restraint surpasses itself toward steadfastness in withstanding the most remote nearness of the hesitant withholding.

The leap is the venture of a first penetration into the domain of the history of being.

To bring about the preparedness for the transition from the end of the first beginning and into the other beginning does not mean to enter a “period” which simply has never occurred before; rather, it is to step into a wholly other domain of history. The end of the first beginning will still for a long while carry over into the transition and indeed even into the other beginning.

 

V. The Grounding

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Grounding

Da-sein

Truth

Time-space

Da-sein means appropriation in the event, the latter taken as the essence of beyng. Only on the ground of Da-sein, however, does beyng enter into truth.

Where plant, animal, stone, sea, and sky come to be, without descending into objectivity, there the withdrawal (refusal) of beyng is reigning, i.e., beyng is reigning as withdrawal. But the withdrawal is of Da-sein.

The abandonment by being is the first dawn of beyng as self-concealing out of the night of metaphysics, through which beings pressed forward into appearance and pressed forward objectivity, while beyng became an addendum in the form of the apriori.

Yet how abyssally cleared must the clearing for self-concealing be, such that the withdrawal might not appear superficially as mere nullity but might reign as bestowal.

The unrelenting strictness of the inner oscillation of Da-sein entails that Da-sein does not count the gods, does not count on them, and certainly does not reckon with an individual god.

 

VI. The Future Ones

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Those strangers alike in heart, equally decided for the bestowal and refusal that have been assigned to them. The ones who bear the staff of the truth of beyng, the truth in which beings are built up to the dominance of the simple essence of every single thing and breath. The stillest witnesses to the stillest stillness in which an imperceptible impetus turns truth out of the confusion of all calculatively correct findings and back into its essence, such that there is kept concealed what is most concealed, viz., the trembling of the passing by of the decision about the gods, the essential occurrence of beyng.

The future ones: the slow, far-hearing ones who ground this essence of truth. Those who offer resistance to the thrust of beyng.

The ones to come2 are those future ones who receive—insofar as they expect on the way back and in sacrificial restraint—the intimation and intrusion of the absconding and nearing of the last god.

The task is to prepare for these future ones. Such preparation is served by inceptual thinking as bearing the silence of the event. But thinking is only one way the few venture the leap into beyng.

 

VII. The Last God

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The god wholly other than

past ones and especially other than

the Christian one.

 

is what not only needs the longest ante-cedence [Vor-läuferschaft] but what itself is the most profound beginning rather than a cessation, the beginning which reaches out the furthest and catches up to itself with the greatest difficulty.

What is last is therefore withdrawn from all calculation and for that reason must be able to bear the burden of the loudest and most repeated misinterpretation. How else could it remain what is surpassing?

If we have such a poor grasp even of “death” in its extremity, then how will we ever measure up to the rare intimation of the last god?

We are moving into the time-space of the decision regarding the absconding and advent of the gods. How so? Will the absconding or the advent become a future occurrence? Must the one or the other determine the constructive waiting? Or is the decision the opening up of an entirely different time-space for a (indeed the very first) grounded truth of beyng, i.e., for the event?

 

VIII. Beyng

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Here lie the blocks quarried from the bedrock. Thinking.

Views of being [Das Meinen des Seins].

Being and its difference from beings.

The projection of beyng.

The inventive thinking of beyng.

The essential occurrence of beyng.

History.

Da-sein.

Language and saying.

“Beings.”

The transitional question (Why are there beings at all, and not rather nothing?).

The history of beyng (Überlegungen VII, p. 97ff., Hölderlin— Nietzsche). The standpoint of the history of beyng. The incalculable (Überlegungen VII, p. 90ff.).

The determination of the concept of philosophy (and thus also the predetermination of the conceptuality of its concept and of all its concepts) which is essential now, and will be so in the future, is the historical (not historiological) one. “Historical” means here: belonging to the essential occurrence of beyng itself, incorporated into the plight of the truth of beyng, and therefore bound to the necessity of that decision which altogether disposes of both the essence of history and the essential occurrence of history. Accordingly, philosophy is now in the first place preparation for philosophy by way of the construction of the most proximate foyers in whose spatial structure the words of Hölderlin can be heard, be answered by Da-sein, and in this answer be grounded for the language of the future human being. Only thus does the human being set foot on the next protracted passageway to beyng. Above all, the uniqueness of Hölderlin in the history of beyng must be established; all historiological comparisons, whether from the viewpoint of “literature” or poetry, all “aesthetic” judgment and enjoyment, and all “political” evaluation must be overcome, so that the moments of those who “create” might receive their “time” (cf. Überlegungen VI, VII, VIII).

 

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