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Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics [254-56]


tells him to do so in the course of some lecture or other, but solely to the extent that such a demand transpires from out of an actual oppressiveness of Dasein as a whole. The only thing we can try to accomplish in our questioning way is to develop a readiness for this oppressiveness and for the moment of vision which belongs to it—for that moment of vision which contemporary man misinterprets as the speed of his reactions and the sudden haste of his programs. This demand has nothing to do with some human ideal in one or other domain of possible action. It is the liberation of the Dasein in man that is at issue here. At the same time this liberation is the task laid upon us to assume once more our very Dasein as an actual burden. The liberation of the Dasein in man is one which human beings can only ever accomplish in and for themselves in each case from out of the ground of their essence. This does not mean that the challenge in question demands that we withdraw from contemporary reality, that we despise or attack it. But similarly—and this would merely be the correlative reaction—it does not demand that we adopt emergency measures for the protection of culture in a kind of spurious instant response. In attempting to understand the challenge to contemporary man to assume his Dasein once again, we must from the outset guard against the misunderstanding that we can ever hope to approach what is essential through some general collective enthusiasm for what is in fact inessential. What is at issue in this challenge is rather that each and every Dasein should comprehend this necessity for itself out of the ground of its essence. And if, in spite of all our neediness, the oppressiveness of our Dasein still remains absent today and the mystery still lacking, then we must principally concern ourselves with preparing for man the very basis and dimension upon which and within which something like a mystery of his Dasein could once again be encountered. We should not be at all surprised if the contemporary man in the street feels disturbed or perhaps sometimes dazed and clutches all the more stubbornly at his idols when confronted with this challenge and with the effort required to approach this mystery. It would be a mistake to expect anything else. We must first call for someone capable of instilling terror into our Dasein again. For how do things stand with our Dasein when an event like the Great War can to all extents and purposes pass us by without leaving a trace? Is this not perhaps a sign that no event, however momentous it may be, is capable of assuming this task if man has not prepared himself for awakening in the first place? The fundamental attunement of a profound boredom, once awakened, can manifest to us the absence of such oppressiveness and this moment of vision at the same time. We have attempted briefly to develop our three questions—What is world? What is finitude? What is individuation?—from out of this fundamental attunement as one possibility for which we here have a sign. We have done so in order to make it quite clear that these are not merely bookish or literary questions, nor questions that belong to some movement or