100 The Necessity of the Question [113—115]

of primordial ἀλήθεια exists still, and it occurs wherever truth means correctness.

Only if we submit to this knowledge will we be on the path of historical reflection. Only in that way will we arrive historically—rather than historiographically—back at the beginning of Western reflection on truth, back at what occurred primordially and is still occurring. Only through such reflection will we put ourselves in a position to begin with the beginning, and that means to be futural in an original way instead of merely reckoning back historiographically to the earliest past and exposing its difference, or indeed backwardness, in comparison with the present.

Consequently our question about the ground of the possibility of correctness, hence the return to openness and above all the question of openness itself as the most worthy of questioning, is not superfluous. It is so little superfluous that this interrogation actually becomes the making good of an earlier neglect, the making good of the question of what ἀλήθεια itself is, the question the Greeks never raised.

Now we emphasize anew that the beginning is the greatest, surpassing everything that comes afterward, even if this turns against the beginning, which it can do only because the beginning is and makes possible what succeeds it. So is it not pure pedantry when we say the Greeks have neglected a question here? Is it not a very arrogant underestimation of the greatness of their thinking to say they did not master the question of truth? To be sure, it is. Thus even our attempted reflection on the primordial Greek thinking about the essence of truth is not yet sufficiently reflective, i.e., it will not attain the beginning historically enough, so long as this reflection terminates in the presumptuous superiority of the epigones over the founding masters. As long as it does so, we are not yet in the proper position to begin with the beginning, i.e., to be futural, to seize and prepare our future in thought and questioning.

We must therefore reflect on this occurrence, that the Greeks did indeed experience the essence of truth as unconcealedness, took it up, and always had it available to them, but did not question it explicitly and did not fathom it. Was this event mere neglect and the result of an incapacity of questioning, or does the genuine greatness of Greek thought consist precisely in this and

Basic Questions of Philosophy (GA 45) by Martin Heidegger