Sunday, April 16, 2006

"Beings whose being is care..."

Beings whose being is care can not only burden themselves with factical guilt, but they *are* guilty in the ground of their being. This being guilty first gives the ontological condition for the fact that Da-sein can become guilty while factically existing. This essential being guilty is, equiprimordially, the existential condition of the possibility of the "morally" good and evil, that is, for morality in general and its possible factical forms. Primordial being guilty cannot be defined by morality because morality already presupposed it for itself.

But what experience speaks for this primordial being-guilty of Da-sein? Nor may we forget the counter-question: "is" guilt "there" only if a consciousness of guilt is awakened, or does not the most primordial being guilty make itself known in the very fact that guilt "is sleeping"? The fact that this primordial being-guilty initially and for the most part remains undisclosed and is kept closed off by the entangled being of Dasein only *reveals* this nullity. *Being* guilty is more primordial than any *knowing* about it. And only because Da-sein is guilty in the ground of its being and closes itself off from itself as thrown and fallen prey, is conscience possible, if indeed the call basically gives us to understand *this being guilty*.

The call is the call of care. Being guilty constitutes the being that we call care. Da-sein stands primordially together with itself in uncanniness. Uncanniness brings this being face to face with its undisguised nullity, which belongs to the possibility of its ownmost potentiality-of-being. In that Da-sein as care is concerned about its being, it calls itself as a they that has factically fallen prey, and calls itself from its uncanniness to its potentiality-of-being. The summons calls back by calling forth: *forth to the possibility of taking over in existence the thrown being that it is, *back* to thrownness in order to understand it as the null ground that it has to take up in existence. The calling back in which conscience calls forth gives Da-sein to understand that Da-sein itself -- as the null ground of its null project, standing in the possibility of being -- must bring itself back to itself from its lostness in the they, and this means that it is *guilty*.

What Da-sein thus gives itself to understand would then, after all, be a knowledge about itself. And the hearing corresponding to that call would be a *taking notice* of the fact of being "guilty." But if the call is indeed to have the character of a summons, does not this interpretation of conscience lead to complete distortion of its function? Summoning to being-guilty, is that not a summoning to evil?
--Martin Heidegger

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