Heidegger’s first pursuit of the question of being took its direction from Plato’s warning that we do not properly seem to grasp the meaning of being, even though we always already have an understanding of being. In 1931 Heidegger devotes a lecture course to Plato’s Analogy of the Cave in order to initiate a thoughtful return to what he later calls the “first beginning.” In this lecture course and in a talk on the same matter from 1930 Heidegger radicalises his early interpretation of truth as ἀλήθεια. Plato’s Analogy is an archetype of the revealing character of truth. However, Heidegger sees precisely in the Analogy also the epitome of the loss of the primary experience of truth as ἀλήθεια. He sees the Analogy as a loss of the simultaneity of unconcealment and concealment. The word ἀλήθεια, claims Heidegger (cf. GA 34: 120/87), becomes “powerless” with Plato. This is of a profound impact for Occidental thought, argues Heidegger, because here a sheer presence gains the upper hand and the forgetting of concealment sets in. When Heidegger by way of destruction thinks through the history of metaphysics the experience he makes is that (self-)concealment has been forgotten.
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