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Heidegger delivered a series of lectures on Parmenides in 1941-2 in which he discusses at length the meaning of the Greek word alethea, usually translated 'truth'. The theme is one he evokes frequently in his writing - that whereas we understand 'truth' as 'correctness' (the correct alignment of say a description of something with the thing itself, the 'true' aim of the archer), alethea means 'unconcealing' or indeed 'unforgetting' - the lethe is the same word as the river in the underworld which the souls of the dead drink to forget their previous lives. Which poses the question - if our awareness of beings is a matter of unconcealment, emergence from darkness into light, what is the status of these beings while they are still in darkness? or when they return into the darkness? It is the same question we have seen in Guénon and Parmenides, the relation between what is on the one hand and what was or what will be (or what might be) on the other. It could be summed up in the two words 'Being' and 'Time'.

In my innocence I thought when I started reading Heidegger's Being and time that this would be the problem he was addressing. It isn't. In fact Being and time isn't really about being and time, at least, it doesn't get as far as being and time. It consists of the first two divisions of a project that was designed to have six. (15) Henry Corbin (author of a History of Islamic Philosophy that is one of the great books of the twentieth century) claims that on his second visit to Heidegger, in 1936, Heidegger showed him the manuscript of a second volume of Being and time - 'second part without which the first is nought but an arch deprived of its spring, and which, there can be no doubt, would have completed the ontological edifice of what we have referred to as the “historial”.  Indeed, I saw the manuscript of this second part, with my own eyes, on Heidegger’s work desk in Freiburg in July 1936.  It was contained in a large sheath.  Heidegger even amused himself by putting it in my hands that I might weigh it, and it was heavy.  What has since come of this manuscript?  There have been some contradictory answers to this question: as for myself, I have none to offer.' (16)

(15) The headings are given in Martin Heidegger: Being and time, translated by Joan Stambaugh, Albany, State University of New York Press, 2010, p.37.

(16) 'From Heidegger to Suhravadi', Corbin interviewed by Philippe Nemo, translated (from the French) by Matthew Evans-Cockle, available online at

Be that as it may what we have here is an effort to clear the way for a discussion of Being and Time by first of all clearing the way for a discussion of the place in which such a discussion would have to occur, namely 'dasein', however we might choose to translate it. And the important thing - or one of the important things - about Heidegger's dasein is that it is not a 'subject' (you and me) confronting the external world, other beings, or Being, or even itself as an 'object'. If I see an elephant 'I' am not doing anything, ie 'seeing'. I am a place in which an elephant is revealed. I, or in this case rather you, are also a place in which any ideas excited by reading this present essay are revealed. Heidegger never so far as I am aware distinguishes between a lump of matter perceived through the senses or a thought or image that pops up in the mind with regard to their nature as 'beings'. Indeed Heidegger would almost certainly take the view that ideas have more power and therefore, one might think, more 'being' than all the heavy material objects - elephants, blackboards, friends and neighbours - that flit before us in our everyday lives.

What we have of Being and time is about how beings and temporality/history are revealed or reveal themselves within (to use Corbin's over simple but still useful translation of dasein) human-reality. Here a word might be said about 'time'. Dugin has an interesting discussion of the difference between the German word zeit and the Russian word vremia(17) 'The German zeit and Latin tempus ... "separate", "cut into moments", whereas the Russian vremia "connects". "ties together", "spins" and in a certain sense, "repeats".' Although Dugin lumps zeit and tempus together in this case and this may be etymologically correct (ie tempus may have an original meaning closer to zeit than to vremia) I rather feel that there is a similar disjunction between the German zeit and the usual way in which the English 'time' and the French 'temps' are used. We can speak about time as a period of time (the Biblical 'time, times and a half' for example, or 'the times they are a-changing' or The Irish Times) but usually we think of time as the continuity of time. A German can think of zeit as the continuity of time but more usually it refers to a period of time. Hence Sein und zeit could perhaps better be rendered 'Being and periodicity' or 'Being and temporality' or given a Bergsonian twist as 'Being and duration' or even, as an extreme example, 'Being and history'.

(17) pp.379 et seq. The esoteric orientated website 'People of Shambhala' has a review of Dugin's book ( ) which suggests that the discussions of the different orientations of German and Russian words could have been suppressed for an English readership. It is a foolish objection, especially given the anticipated volume on the implications of Heidegger's other beginning for the future of Russian Philosophy. 

In the introductory remarks to Being and time, Heidegger explains that he is refusing the conventional philosophical distinction between '"temporal" beings (natural processes and historical events' and '"atemporal" beings (spatial and numerical relationships)'. He insists instead that 'the central range of problems of all ontology is rooted in the phenomenon of time correctly viewed and correctly explained' (Being and time, p.18). I read this as meaning that being has to be understood not as an absolute existing outside time but, in all its divisions ('temporal' and 'atemporal') in the way it has manifested itself historically (through time) within dasein.

The issue arises because the continuity of time (as opposed to historicity) and the relation between that continuity and consciousness - the fact that as far as we are concerned matter only exists in memory, in the memory of the time that has just passed - was much discussed at the time Heidegger published his book, both among the physicists and among the philosophers, most obviously Bergson. (18) The discussion connects with the issues I have raised in relation to Parmenides and Guénon - the comings and goings of the beings of the perceived world - but Heidegger's book, despite the title, exists quite independently of that discussion. There are only brief passing references to Bergson and none at all to the space-time continuum which was creating such a stir at the time among the physicists.

(18) Notably of course Bergson's Matière et mémoire, first published in 1896. Wyndham Lewis's Time and Western Man, published in 1927, the same year as Heidegger's book, inveighs against the obsession with time so characteristic of the age, chiefly in the writings of Bergson, Proust and Joyce. The correlation between the arts and physics in this respect is discussed in my own translation of the essay 'Art and Science' in Albert Gleizes: Art and Religion, Art and Science, Art and Production, London, Francis Boutle publishers, 1999.

The third division of Being and time envisaged by Heidegger was to be called 'Time and being'. This was presumably included in the manuscript Corbin held in his hand. I don't know the literature well enough to know if reasons have been proposed as to why it was never published. Heidegger did eventually - in 1962 - give a lecture under the title 'Time and being' and this does discuss what we might call the flow of time, the continuity which effectively eliminates the moment, the 'present' and therefore the present tense. (19) There 'is' only what has just been and what is just about to be. I'm not suggesting that Heidegger was previously unaware of this - that would be absurd. Indeed he evokes it in passing when, in the context of Nietzsche's eternal recurrence of the same, he discusses the vision of the moment in Thus spake Zarathustra (in Part III. 'The Vision and the Riddle', discussed by Heidegger in Nietzsche vol iv, p.37). But in my reading at least it is only in this late essay 'Time and being' that he really focusses on it.

(19) Martin Heidegger: On Time and being, translated by Joan Stambaugh, New York, Harper and Row, 1972. It is available as a PDF on the internet at