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The Event

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Martin Heidegger’s The Event offers his most substantial self-critique of his Contributions to Philosophy: Of the Event and articulates what he means by the event itself. Richard Rojcewicz’s elegant translation offers the English-speaking reader intimate contact with one of the most basic Heideggerian concepts. This book lays out how the event is to be understood and ties it closely to looking, showing, self-manifestation, and the self-unveiling of the gods. The Event (Complete Works, volume 71) is part of a series of Heidegger's private writings in response to Contributions.

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11 Chapters

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I. The first beginning





cf. The History of Beyng {GA69}

cf. The Overcoming of Metaphysics {GA67}

cf. Meditation {GA66}

cf. Contributions to Philosophy [Of the Event] {GA65}

cf. Lecture on truth 1930: On the Essence of Truth {GA80}

cf. Being and Time {GA2}

cf. lecture courses:

Winter semester 1931–32: On the Essence of Truth. Plato’s Cave Allegory and Theatetus {GA34}

Summer semester 1932: The Beginning of Western Philosophy (Anaximander and Parmenides) {GA35}

Winter semester 1934–35: Hölderlin’s Hymns “Germanien” and “Der Rhein” {GA39}

Summer semester 1935: Introduction to Metaphysics {GA40}

Summer semester 1936: Schelling: On the Essence of Human Freedom (1809) {GA42}

Winter semester 1937–38: Truth. Basic questions of Philosophy: Selected “Problems” of “Logic” {GA45}

Ἀλήθεια essentially occurs as the beginning.


II. The resonating



The resonating of the beginning

(hidden in its inceptuality; the first and the other beginning are concealed)

Modernity and the West

Modernity; metaphysics as episode

The consummation of metaphysics; the passing by

The episode; the first and the other beginning

The abandonment by being; beinglessness

The abandonment by being; the devastation

Devastation and erosion

The bondage of nihilating and of passing away

is the first and most proximate indication of the other beginning. It indicates accordingly the transition from the first to the other beginning; it indicates this transition as a mode of inceptuality; but the inceptuality is at the same time counter to the advancement of the first beginning into metaphysics.

The resonating indicates metaphysics as the episode constituted by the dominance of beings and of their truth.

The resonating indicates the overcoming of metaphysics, an overcoming that eventuates out of the twisting free of the disentangling.


III. The difference




On the beginning

is groundless and therefore does not know any “why.” Beyng is, in that it is pure appropriating event.

As the abyssal ground, however, beyng is the beginning of all consignment of beings to their essence.

For here prevails the deep mystery that everything, resting in itself, harbors incontestable strangeness and becomes the call which inceptually calls forth the rarity of self-belonging.

Exclude for once mere description, which always takes refuge only in “beings,” forbid mere reports, which are given over only to the past, desist from plans and calculations, which are attached only to the immediate future—and then still try to think and speak. Then to you it is as if there were nothing. Yet then to you would be what is: beyng.

We seldom accede to that universally extensive renunciation of beings and of their offering us a basis for representation and opinion. And if we are granted this, we scarcely find our way in the initially assailing emptiness, because the renounced claims and pre-opinions always still want to have our ear, since we too easily supply ourselves with an implicit justification of the ever-sought excuse by way of the opinion that this renunciation is an “abstraction” (although it remains unclear what this term is supposed to mean). In fact the renunciation is already the consequence of a submissiveness we now carefully allow to prevail in us without correctly experiencing that this submissiveness arises from a consignment to beyng, a consignment that has eventuated inceptually, i.e., as something inceptual.


IV. The twisting free


The dispensation of the conjuncture
of the junction in the beginning

The “essence” of the history of beyng

The dispensation even in its complete integration
is a twisting free into the windings of the event

(The twisting of the wreath, not of the screw.
Twisting: wound into a ring, twisted up
in the form of a ring.)



The difference and the resonating of the turning
            being [Sein] in its truth

The turning and the twisting free

The historicality of the twisting free
       its course of history

The twisting free and the disentanglement in the first beginning

The twisting free and the overcoming of metaphysics

cf. II. The resonating

The twisting free and the twisting of the (event)

essentially occurs for the first time as itself in its clearing for the experience of the passing by. But history does not first arise afterwards. Metaphysics belongs in this history, and metaphysics, as past, now displays its essence, one resting in the historiality of the truth of beings, i.e., in the history of beingness. (Cf. On the history of the concept of existence {in GA80}.)


V. The event The vocabulary of its essence


Regarding the introduction to The event



The following delimitation is to make less ambiguous the otherwise still-fluctuating lexicon which must constantly maintain a transitional breadth.

The event

expresses the explicitly self-clearing inceptuality of the beginning. The inaugural truth of beyng preserves in itself, as inceptual unification, the inaugural unity of the appropriating and the appropriated. The word “inceptual” always means: appropriated out of the beginning and consigned to the inceptuality. But it does not mean incipient in the sense of mere starting. Being does not start and stop, nor does it exist “perpetually” in the duration of beings. Being begins and does so essentially: it is the appropriating beginning. The event lights up the clearing of the beginning in such a way that the beginning does not merely emerge and bring to appearance along with it something inceptual, as in the first beginning, but, instead, such that the beginning, qua the beginning, is consigned to the truth of its inceptuality, a truth which is therefore illuminated.


VI. The event




The event and the beginning.

The event and the human being.

Here, in the essential occurrence of the event, the uniqueness of the distinctive character of the human being must be experienced.

In this experience, knowledge of Da-seyn arises. (Da-sein is the essential occurrence of the clearing, the appropriation of the inceptual truth into which the human being is consigned.)

The event and the turning.

The turning essentially occurs in the event.


The turning itself is the essence of “beyng.”

The event and the inceptual “that it is” of the inceptuality.

“The fact that being is” and with it nothingness—what does the “that it is” mean? The “that it is” of horror, bliss, pain;

the “that it is” of the distinction within the difference.

The event and uniqueness (the truth of the ἕν).

The event and beinglessness.

The event and the dispropriation.


VII. The event and the human being



Cf. Da-seyn

Cf. On anthropomorphism



In the age of anthropology, it is inevitable that the thinking of the history of beyng would seem to think the human being only so as to “explain” this being in the “middle” of beings, establish humans as the “ground” of beings, and declare humans the “goal” of all “being.” But this thinking does not think “back to” the human being; otherwise it would have already recognized the human essence in the form which, with the start of metaphysics and in various although consistent stages, has achieved validity as animal rationale. Indeed this essence of the human being lies outside of the domain broached by the thinking of the history of beyng in the very first step of that thinking (i.e., in Being and Time). This thinking thinks human beings in their still-hidden essence out of the coming need of steadfastness in Dasein. The most proximate “goal” is to experience the uniqueness of Dasein. As regards Dasein, there is no sphere available into which we could place it, such that Dasein could then be explained by classification under a “universal.” The essence of Dasein is unique, more original than the essence of the human being and yet is not the full essence of beyng itself. Dasein is the inhabited place of its own essence, an essence which is unveiled to us in its first traits when we originally experience the truth of beyng as the beyng of truth and thus know the turning. As a consequence, however, of the distinctive character of the human being with respect to the preservation of beyng, the human being uniquely belongs to the turning, provided the human essence essentially occurs in the inceptuality of the beginning. Because of that and because Da-sein, as the event of the turning, belongs to beyng itself and only to beyng itself, an original relation must obtain between the human being, as understood with respect to the history of beyng, and Da-sein. Therein is concealed the law that all essential human traits (ones in which the human being is related “to” being) must be experienced and thought, in terms of the history of beyng, out of Da-sein, i.e., in the inceptual essence of beyng. Moreover, this law at first concerns that human trait which has incorporated the human being into beyng inceptually and abyssally: death.


VIII. Da-seyn




The “there” [das Da] and beyng. (Beyng as event appropriates the clearing whose uniqueness is possessed by the “that it is” of the beginning as its fulfilled brightness.)

The “there” and the clearing of the event.

The clearing and the undermining of representation; the emptiness of the will to willing and the abandonment of ἀλήθεια.

The uniqueness of Da-seyn.

The historiality of its essence.

The “there” and the in-between | time-space—and its essence | (turning).

The in-between and the event.

The in-between and the historial human being.

The in-between and beinglessness.

Da-seyn and steadfastness (disposition and the voice).

Steadfastness and consonance.

Da-seyn is the event of the turning.

not merely Da-sein
instead, Da-seyn    

is first the event as essentially occurring—the greeting of the twisting free of beyng—into the clearing appropriated with such twisting free.


IX. The other beginning






To what extent is the beginning event-like? To what extent is the appropriating event beginning-like?

The unity of the event and the beginning is to be known from their intimacy.

This “unity” is the abyss of the difference and is the inhabited place of the pain of the thinking of beyng in its history. This “unity” is the inceptuality of the ἕν and might in the future teach us to surmise why the ἕν weighed so heavily on thinking at the first beginning. The ἕν itself already only on the basis of ἀλήθεια (cf. τò γὰρ αὐτó).

It must for a long time remain strange that event and beginning “are” intimately the same.

The event is the inceptuality of the beginning. The beginning is the denial of the differentiated departure.

The event as consignment of the clearing and refusal of the grounding.

Refusal as denial; this denial the inceptual word of the inceptual claim.

The inceptuality as abyssal and yet emergent.


X. Directives to the event





Unsuitable questioning
in the thinking of the history of beyng

The question-worthiness of beyng
is in truth the inceptuality of the twisting free
of beyng, and thinking follows
this twisting free.


Experience       the enduring of the difference—thinking


to think out of steadfastness in Da-seyn, i.e., out of historial humanity.

But that says: all these determinations are appropriations of humans into the uniqueness of their distinctive role: carefulness—i.e., the protection and stewardship of the truth of beyng.

To be sure, the mention of “pain,” “experience,” etc. will at first be taken in an anthropological and psychological sense as the singling out and arbitrary defining of “human” faculties.

is the pain of the departure, a pain that belongs to the twisting free of beyng. This pain, insofar as we twist free of it, first unfolds the bliss together with the horror. The twisting free of the pain follows the twisting free of beyng and is appropriated out of beyng. The twisting free of the pain does not remove it but, instead, brings it back into the continuance.


XI. The thinking of the history of beyng (Thinking and poetizing)



(Cf. Founding and enduring
The enduring of the difference)

The leap
The confrontation
The clarification of action
The knowledge of thinking

The thinking of thinkers is a thanking.

Thoughtful thanking is the liberation of freedom to its essence (the turning).

Liberation is the self-appropriated emancipation of truth.

Freedom is the inceptuality of the clearing of being to its truth.

This experience is the pain of the question-worthiness of beyng. This pain is the knowledge of the intimate belongingness to the question-worthiness of beyng—beyng which, in its twisting free toward the beginning, requires isolation from the beginning. In the extreme remoteness from the truth (as abyss) of beyng, only the thinking of the history of beyng is capable of saying the beginning in a way that grounds. Intimacy in the isolation is pain. With respect to the history of beyng, pain is the openness, connected to Da-sein, of the appropriated clearing of foreignness in beyng. This pain alone is the attainment of the enduring of the history of beyng. This history eventuates to us as the twisting free of beyng.



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