Chapter Six

The Thematic Exposition of the Problem of World through an
Examination of the Thesis That 'Man Is World-forming'

§64. The primary characteristics of the phenomenon of world:
the manifestness of beings as beings and the 'as';
the relation to beings as letting be and not letting
be (comportment toward, orientation, selfhood).

If we proceed from the examination of the thesis that the animal is poor in world to examine the thesis that 'man is world-forming' and ask ourselves what we can glean from our previous discussion in order to characterize the essence of world, then we can arrive at the following kind of formula: The manifestness of beings as such, of beings as beings, belongs to world. This implies that bound up with world is this enigmatic 'as', beings as such, or formulated in a formal way: 'something as something', a possibility which is quite fundamentally closed to the animal. Only where beings are manifest as beings at all, do we find the possibility of experiencing this or that particular being as determined in this or that particular way—experiencing in the broader sense which goes beyond mere acquaintance with something, in the sense of having experiences with something. Finally, only where there is the manifestness of beings as beings, do we find that the relation to these beings necessarily possesses the character of attending to . . . whatever is encountered in the sense of letting it be or not letting it be. Only where there is such letting be do we find at the same time the possibility of not letting be. Such a relation to something, which is thoroughly governed by this letting be of something as a being, we are calling comportment [Verhalten], in distinction from the behaviour of captivation. But all comportment is only possible in a certain restraint [Verhaltenheit] and comporting [Verhaltung], and a stance [Haltung] is only given where a being has the character of a self or, as we also say, of a person. These are already important characteristics of the phenomenon of world: [1.] the manifestness of beings as beings; [2.] the 'as'; [3.] the relation to beings as letting be and not letting be, comportment toward . . . , stance, and selfhood. Nothing of this kind is to be found in animality or in life in general. But initially these important characteristics of the phenomenon of world only tell us that whenever we come upon such characteristics, there we find the phenomenon of world. Yet what the world is and how it is, whether and in what sense we may speak of the being of world in general—all this remains obscure. In order to shed some light here and thus penetrate into the depths of the problem of world, we shall attempt to show what is meant by world-formation.

Martin Heidegger (GA 29/30) The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics page 274