Transletor Indonesia-Inggris : Kelana Patria & Teni Ayyatul Husna
Froofreader of contents : Mia Milatul Ulya
The Analytical Of Contens : Dr. KH. Ahmad Haetami. M. Ag
Whatness alld Thatness in the EssCiltial Begilling of Metaphysics: idea and energeia.
One could take the following as a historical report about the history of the concept of Being. Then what is essential would be missed. But perhaps what is essential can at times hardly be said any other way. “Being” means that beings are, and are not nonexistent. “Be› ing” names this “That” as the decisiveness of the insurrection against nothingness. Such decisiveness emanating from Being at first arrives in beings, and here adequately, too. In these beings Being appears. So decisively has Being allotted beings to itself (in Being) that this does not need to be thought expressly. Beings give adequate information about Being. “Beings” are considered what is actual. “Beings are actual.”
This sentence means two things. Firstly: The Being of beings lies in actuality. Then: As what is actual, Beings are “actual,” that is, truly what-is. The actual is the completed act or product of an activity. This product is itself in turn active and capable of activity. The activity of what is actual can be limited to the capacity of producing a resistance which it can oppose to another actual thing in different ways. To the extent that beings act as what is actual, Being shows itself as actuality. The true nature of Being has an› nounced itself as “actuality” for a long time. “Actuality” often means “existence,” too. Thus Kant speaks of the “proofs for God’s existence.” This is supposed to show that God is actual, that is,”exists.” “The fight for existence” means the struggle of everything that lives (plant, animal, man) to become and remain actual. Metaphysics is acquainted with the question whether the real world, that is, the one “existing” now, is the best of all worlds or not.
Being as the actuality of what is actual pronounces its most common meta› physical name in the word “existence” (existentia). In the language of metaphysics, “actuality,” “reality,” and “existence” ,say the same thing. But what these names say is by no means unequivocal. This is not due to sloppiness of word usage, but comes rather from Being itself. It is easy for us and we like to appeal to the fact that everybody always knows what “Being,” “actuality,” “reality” and “existence” say. But in what way Being determines itself as actuality from acting and from work is obscure. Besides, “Being” would not be completely named in metaphysics if the saying of the Being of beings were satisfied with equating Being and existence.
Metaphysics has distinguished for ages between what beings are and that beings are, or are not. The scholastic language of meta› physics is acquainted with this distinction as that between essence and existence. Essentia means the quidditas, that which, for example, “I’: ’ the tree as tree, as something growing, living, as treelike, is without any regard to the question whether and that this or that tree “exists.” Here treelike is determined as genos in the double sense of origin and species, that is, as the hen to the polla.
It is the One as the whence and as what is common to the many (koinon). Essentia names that which something like an existing tree can be, if it exists; that which makes it possible as such a thing: possibility. Being is divided into whatness and thatness. The history of Being as metaphysics begins with this distinction and its prepara› tion. Metaphysics includes the distinction in the structure of the truth about beings as such as a whole. Thus the beginning of meta› physics is revealed as an event that consists in a determination of Being, in the sense of the appearance of the division into whatness and thatness.A support for the differentiating determination of existentia is now given by essentia. Actuality is distinguished from possibility. One could attempt to grasp the division of Being into whatness and that ness by inquiring into the common element that determines what is divided.
What is it that still remains as “-is” if we disregard the what and the that? But if this search for what is most general leads to emptiness, must whatness be grasped as a kind of thatness or, on the contrary, must the latter be grasped as a degeneration of the former? Even if this were successful, the question about the origin of the distinction would still remain.
Does it come from Being itself? What “is” Being? How does the coming of the distinc› tion, its origin, result from Being? Or is this distinction merely attributed to Being? If so, by what kind of thinking and by what right? How is Being given to such attribution for such attribution?If the questions raised are thought through even roughly, the illusion of being a matter of course, in which the distinction of essentia and existentia stands for all metaphysics, disappears.
The distinction is groundless if metaphysics simply tries again and again to define the limits of what is divided, and comes up with numbering the manners of possibility and the kinds of actuality which float away into vagueness, together with the difference in which they are already placed. However, if it is true that metaphysics accounts for its essence through this difference, obscure in origin, of the what and the that, and grounds its essence thereupon, it can never of itself come to a knowledge of this distinction. It would have to be previously and as such approached by Being which has entered this distinction. But Being refuses this approach, and thus alone makes possible the essential beginning of metaphysics-in the manner of the preparation and development of this distinction. The origin of the distinction of essetztia and existentia, for more so the origin of Being thus divided, remains concealed, expressed in the Greek manner: forgotten.
Oblivion of Being means: the self-concealing of the origin of ,I, Being divided into whatness and thatness in favor of Being which opens out beings as beings and remains unquestioned as Being.
Tobe division into wbatness and tbatness does not just contain a doctrine of metapbysical tbinking. It points to an event in tbe bistory of Being. This is what must be thought about. It is not sufficient for such recollec› tion to trace the common distinction between essentia and existentia to its origin in the thinking of the Greeks. And it is not at all sufficient “to explain,” that is, to account for the ground in terms of its consequences, the distinction which became decisive in Greek thinking with the help of the subsequent conceptual formulation common to the metaphysics of the schoolmen. It is, of course, easy to establish historically the connection of the distinction between essentia and existentia with the thinking of Aristotle, who first brought the distinction to a concept, that is, at the same time to its essential ground. This occurred after Plato’s thinking had re› sponded to the claim of Being in a way that prepared that distinction by bringing its establishment out into the open.
Esswtia answers the question ti estin: what is (a being)? Exist› entia says of a being boti estin: that it is. The distinction names a different estin. Being (einai) announces itself in a difference. How can Being come apart in this distinction? What essence of Being reveals itself in this distinction as in the openness of that essence? In the beginning of its history, Being opens itself out as emerging (pbysis) and unconcealment (aletbeia). From there it reaches the formulation of presence and permanence in the sense of enduring (ousia). Metaphysics proper begins with this. What presence appears in presencing? What becomes present shows itself to Aristotle’s thinking as that which stands in a perma› nence having come to a stand, or lies present having been brought to its place. The permanent lying-present which has come forward to unconcealment is in each case this and that, a tode ti. Aristotle understands what is permanent and lying present as something somehow at rest. Rest turns out to be a quality of presence. But rest is an eminent way of being moved. Motion completes itself in rest.
work. What is moved is brought to the stand and position of a presenc› ing (verbal), brought in a bringing-forth. This can occur in the manner of pbysis (allowing something to emerge of itself) or in the manner of poiesis (to produce and represent something). The presence of presencing, whether it is something at rest or in motion, receives its essential determination when motion and, with it, rest as fundamental characteristics of Being originating from presencing are understood as one of its modes. In his “Physics,” Aristotle distinguishes being in motion and being at rest as characteristics of presence and interprets these characteristics in terms of the primordially decisive essence of Be› ing, in the sense of emergent presencing in what is unconcealed.
The house standing there is exposed in unconcealment in that it is established in its outward appearance and stands in this appearance. Standing, it rests, rests in the “ex” of its exposure. The resting of what is produced is not nothing, but rather gathering. It has gathered into itself all the movements of the production of the house, terminated them in the sense of completed boundary-peras, telos-not in the sense of mere cessation. Rest preserves the comple› tion of what is moved. The house there is as ergon. “Work” means what is completely at rest in the rest of outward appearance standing, lying in it-what is completely at rest in presencing in unconcealment. Thought in the Greek manner, the work is not work in the sense of the accomplishment of a strenuous making. It is also not result and effect. It is a work in the sense of that which is placed in the unconcealment of its outward appearance and endures thus standing or lying. To endure means here: to be present at rest as Ergon now characterizes the manner of presencing. Presence, ousia, thus means energeia: to presence-as-work (presence under› stood verbally) in the work of work-ness. Workness does not mean actuality as the result of an action, but rather the presencing, stand› ing there in unconcealment, of what is set up.
Thus wergeia, thought in the Greek manner, also has nothing to do with the so-called energy of later times. At best the opposite is true, but only in a very remote sense. Instead of energeia, Aristotle also uses the word entelecheia which he himself coined. Telos is the end in which the movement of producing and setting up gathers itself. This gath› ering portrays the presencing of what is completed and ended, that is, of what is fulfilled (the work). Entelecheia is having-(itself)-in-the› end, the containing of presencing which leaves all production behind and is thus immediate, pure: being in presence. Energeia, en› telecheia on means the same as en to eidei einai. What presences in virtue of “being-in-the-work-as-work” has its present in its outward appearance and through its outward appearance. Energeia is the otlsia (presence) of the tode ti, of the this and the that in each case.
As this presence, ousia is called: to eschaton, the presence in which presencing contains its utmost and ultimate. This highest manner of presence also grants the first and nearest presence of everything which in each case lingers as this and as that in unconcealment. If einai 9being) has thus determined the highest manner of its presencing as energeia, then ousia thus determined must also of its’ own show how it can separate into the differentiation of whatness and thatness, and also must thus separate in consequence of the eminent prevailing of Being as energeia. .
The distinction of a twofold ousia (presence) has become neces : sary. The beginning of the fifth chapter of Aristotle’s treatise on the “categories” expresses this distinction. Ousia de estin he kuriotata te kai protos kas malista legomene, he mete kath ’hypokeimenou tinos legetai mete en hypokeimeno tini estin, hoion ho tis
anthropos e ho tis hippos. “What is present in the sense of predominantly presencing (presence) which is thus predicated firstly and for the most part is that which is predicated neither with respect to something already before us, nor (first) occurs in something already before us, for example, the man there, the horse there.”
What presences in such a way is not a possible predicate, nothing presencing in or with another. Presence in the eminent and primal sense is the persisting of something which lingers of itself, lies present, the persisting of the individual in each case, the ousia of the kath ’hekaston: The This, The singular. In terms of presence thus defined, the other presence is distin› guished whose presencing is thus characterized: deuterai de ousiailegontai, en hois eidesin hai protos ousiai legomenai hyparchousin, tauta te kai ta ton eidon touton gene: hoion ho tis anthropos en eidei men hyparchei to anthropo, genos de tou eidous esti to zoon. dettterai oun hautai legontai ousiai, hoion bo te anthropos kai to zoon.
“What is present in the second degree, however, are those (notice the plu› ral) in which that which is spoken about as presence in the first degree (as such in each case) already dominates as in the manner of outward appearance. The (named) manners of outward appearance and also the origins of these modes belong here; for example, this man stands there in the outward appearance of a man, but for this outward appearance ’man,’ the origin (of his outward appear› ance) is ’the living being.’ Thus what is present in the second degree are these: for example, ’man’ (in general) and also ’the living being’ (in general.)” Presence in the secondary sense is the showing itself of outward appearance to which all origins also belong, in which what actually persists allows that as which it presences to emerge. Presence in the primary sense is Being which is expressed in the hoti estin: that something is, existentia.
Presence in the secondary sense is Being, to which we trace back in the ti estin: what something is, essentia. That something is and what something is are revealed as modes of presencing whose fundamental characteristic is energeia. But doesn’t a quite different, more far-reaching distinction un› derlie the difference of hoti estin and ti estin, namely that of what presences and presencing? In this case, the difference as such first named lies on one side of the distinction of beings and Being. The hoti estin and the ti estin name manners of presencing to the extent that what is present in them presences in the lasting of each thing or else remains hidden in the mere showing itself of outward ap› pearance. The distinction between what something is and that it is comes from Being (presence) itself. For presencing has within itself the difference of the pure nearness of lasting and of levels of being in the origins of outward appearance. But how does presencing have this differetlce within itself?
As familiarly as the distinction of essentia and existentia together with the difference of Being and beings offers itself for thinking, the essential origin of these differences is just as obscure, and the struc› ture of their belonging together just as indefinite. Perhaps metaphysical thinking in accordance with its essence can produce no understanding for the enigmatic character of these differences which are a matter of course for it. Nevertheless, since Aristotle thinks otlsia (presence) in the primary sense as energeia and since this presence means nothing other than what in a changed interpretation is later called acttlalitas, “actuality” and “existence” and “reality,” the Aristotelian treatment of the distinction reveals a priority of the later so-called existentia over the essentia. What Plato thought as the true, and for him sole, being› ness (otlsia) of beings, presence in the manner of idea (eidos), now moves to the secondary rank within Being. For Plato, the essence of Being gathers itself in the koinon of the idea, and thus in the hen which, however, is determined as the unifying One by physis and logos, that is, by the gathering allowing-to-emerge.
For Aristotle, Being consists in the energeia of the tode ti. In terms of energeia, eidos can be thought as a manner of presencing. In contrast, the tode ti, the actual being, is incomprehensible in its beingness when thought in terms of idea. (The tode ti is a me on-and yet an on.) Still, the historical relationship of Aristotle to Plato is estab› lished even today by explanations, variously nuanced, as follows: In contradistinction to Plato, who held that the “Ideas” were “what is truly existent,” allowed for individual beings only as seeming be›
ings (eidolon), and demoted them to that which really ought not to be called beings (me on), Aristotle took the free-floating “Ideas” back from their “supraheavenly place” and planted them in actual things. In doing this, Aristotle thought the “Ideas” as “forms” and conceived these “forms” as “energies” and “forces” housed in beings.
This curious explanation, inevitable in the progression of meta› physics, of the relationship between Plato and Aristotle with regard to the thinking of the Being of beings calls forth two questions: How should Aristotle be able at all to bring the Ideas down to actual beings if he has not in advance conceived the individual actual being as that which truly presences? But how should he reach the concept of the individual real being’s presence, if he doesn’t previously think the Being of beings in the sense of the primordially decided essence of Being in terms of presencing in unconcealment? Aristotles does not transplant the Ideas (as if they were things) into individual things. Rather, he thinks for the first time the individual as the actual, and thinks its lasting as the distinctive manner of presencing, of the presencing of eidos itself in the most extreme present of the indivisible, that is, no longer derived, appearance (atomon eidos).
The same essence of Being, presencing, which Plato thinks for the koinon in the idea, is conceived by Aristotle for the tode ti as energeia. In that Plato can never admit the individual being as what is truly in being, and in that Aristotle, however, conceives the individual together with presencing, Aristotle is more truly Greek in his thinking than Plato, that is, more in keeping with the primordially decided essence of Being. Still, Aristotle was able to think otlsia as energeia only in opposition to otlsia as idea, so that he also keeps eidos as subordinate presence in the essential constitution of the presencing of what is present. However, to say that Aristotle is more truly Greek in his thinking than Plato in the way described does not mean that he again comes closer to the primordial thinking of Being. Between energeia and the primordial essence of Being (aletheia-physis) stands the idea.
Both modes of ousia, idea and energeia, form in the interplay of their distinction the fundamental structure of all metaphysics, of all truth of beings as such. Being announces its essence in these two modes: Being is presence as the showing itself of outward appearance. Being is the lasting of the actual being in Stlch otltward appearance. This double presence in-sists upon presence, and thus becomes present as con› stancy: enduring, lasting. The two modes can be thought only by saying each time, from the vantage point of beings relative back to beings, what they are and that they are. Within its history as “metaphysics,” Being limits its truth (unconcealing) to what is in being in the sense of idea and energeia. Energeia takes precedence without, however, ever being able to repress idea as a fundamental characteristic of Being.
The pro-gression-to be taken here in its literal meaning-of metaphysics from its beginning, which Plato and Aristotle ground, consists in the fact that these first metaphysical determinations of presence change and also draw the mode of their mutual distinction into this change. Finally, their distinction disappears in a peculiar confounding. ’
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