Disclosing Being with questioning.
Only if we partake in the questioning expressed in the pronouncement do we grasp the latter’s
inceptuality, its beginning-character. As a mere assertion, the pronouncement is not at all a beginning,
but is at most the end of a train of thoughts that is as negligible, once the result is given, as the
scaffolding once the house is standing. Accordingly, when we speak of the “beginning of Western
philosophy,” we do not mean the dicta and pronouncements that lie there “at the beginning,” i.e., |
in those early times; instead, we mean the act of beginning itself, that which possibly expresses itself
in such dicta. We mean the beginning as an occurrence, not the first, detached, deposited result,
behind which we can go no further back. The beginning is thus an act of beginning in the mode of a
questioning. In our search for a characterization of the beginning, the essence of the beginning has
become more precisely determined. The beginning as act of beginning; the act of beginning as a
questioning; the questioning as a questioning that discloses Being; the questioning as the question of
Being [die Seinsfrage]. Can this questioning be characterized more precisely? Initially, only to the
extent that we know the appertaining answer—the pronouncement. This was ultimately grasped as:
the grounding utterance of Being, about beings.
The questioning maintains itself in the domain of that about which the answer is given. It is to
beings that we turn, asking what they are. Beings are the interrogated [das Befragte]. In what regard
are they interrogated? In regard to that which determines beings as beings, in regard to their Being.
We ask after that. Being is that which we ask after [das Ge-fragte]. We see, however: the saying is a
grounding utterance of Being. What is announced is not simply that Being is such and such, but why it
has this character. The questioning of the “what” unfolds into a questioning of the ground of the
“what.” The questioning is a seeking out of the essence-ground, a grounding of Being. This grounding
question of the Being of beings we call the questioning that discloses Being [das Erfragen des Seins].