The Thingness of the Thing

“What seems easier than to let a being be just the being that it is? Or does this turn out to be the most difficult of tasks, particularly if such an intention – to let a being be as it is – represents the opposite of the indifference that simply turns its back upon the being itself in favor of an unexamined concept of being? We ought to turn toward the being, think about it in regard to its being, but by means of this thinking at the same time let it rest upon itself in its very own being.

This exertion of thought seems to meet with its greatest resistance in defining the thingness of the thing; for where else could the cause lie of the failure of the efforts mentioned? The unpretentious thing evades thought most stubbornly. Or can it be that this self-refusal of the mere thing, this self-contained independence, belongs precisely to the nature of the thing? Must not this strange and uncommunicative feature of the nature of the thing become intimately familiar to thought that tries to think the thing?” (Heidegger, 1971, The Origin of the Work of Art, p. 31-32)

How is it that we come to presence and perceive things? Things appear as they are and as they are not: we have to see how things are covered up and learn how to uncover them.

We live in a shared world, predisposed to giving certain interpretations about things: your fore-having subjectively colors and filters your views; your tradition goes ahead of you to determine/condition what you will see. We are always and already trapped inside a cultural heritage of (mis)understanding…

What seems easier than to let a being be just the thing that it is? Or does this turn out to be the most difficult of tasks? How do we get to a basic and primoridial understanding of a “thing thinging” or being without making faulty interpretations? How do we know where the faulty interpretations lie (of which mine may be one) so we can correct them? To what extent are we quietly persuaded by unexamined structures of familiarity instead of constantly questioning our presuppositions? How do we have the right to say (when we couldn’t possibly know) that we’ve got THE most intelligible horizon of understanding, when, in a rich reality and complex world, there will always be the possibility of disclosing a more primordial intentionality and/or a broader universal horizon for being?