III. The difference [126–127]

The difference, as beyng itself, appropriates the differentiation in which at any time obedience2 is involved.

174. The difference and the “understanding of being”

If the difference of being and beings is taken in terms of the representationally understood “differentiation,” as its object, and if “beings” are understood as the actual, and the actual as the sensuously perceived, then being immediately appears as the non-actual, which, since it is not completely nothing, is assigned as ens rationis to “mere” thinking and representing as an “object.” In this way, being is a mere “thought” or only a “concept,” the concept of the non-actual. And it is then also not correctly understood what this non-actuality is still supposed to be “in its difference” from the actual; it is relegated to “philosophy.”

If, on the basis of this usual opinion, the understanding of being is “explained,” then being is the object of the understanding; it exists merely in the “understanding”—something thought. And since indeed “thinking” is taken to be the activity of the “subject,” and the subject remains distinguished from objects and the objective, being is something merely “subjective.” If need be, this explanation of being as a product of the understanding can still be joined to Kant’s idealism, according to which the categories are indeed concepts of the understanding and all objectivity is the “subjective” apriori of objects. But “understanding” is projection, and projecting is something thrown and is admitted into the clearing of beyng on the basis of beyng.


The difference as the essential occurrence of beyng itself, which differentiates itself and in that way lets beings arise in emergence. The differentiation is inceptually the difference. In what way the differentiation remains concealed in the first beginning and, in the advancement to metaphysics, completely hides and is masked in the dominance of logic and ontology and their “truth,” in relation to the outward look of beings themselves. In what way the differentiation first comes to light and essentially occurs in the “ontological difference” (Being and Time), insofar as this difference is thought out of the experience of the truth of being.

2. (suffering) {Marginal remark in typescript}