The Need and the Necessity of the First Beginning [173-74]

2) Sequence of steps in the characterization of wonder as a way toward the necessity of the primordial question.

We are attempting to characterize wonder in thirteen points. Reflection will show that it is not a matter of listing arbitrarily selected properties of wonder, but rather that it is a deliberate arrangement leading to the goal of our meditation: the necessity of primordial questioning, a necessity that precluded an inquiry into ἀλήθεια. This implies that only a corresponding necessity and need can be compelling toward the question of truth and hence can predetermine the essential foundation of the more original essence of truth. We have gone through the first ten points of the characterization of wonder. In wonder, something unusual is not set off against the usual, but instead wonder sets us before the usual itself precisely as what is the most unusual. By the same token, the usual is not this or that or some particular domain, but because wonder places us before what is most usual and the latter is constantly manifest in everything and anything in such a way that it is precisely overlooked, so everything in everything becomes the most unusual. Thus there is no way out for the wonder to escape in order from there to explain the most unusual and thereby make it again the usual. But just as little does wonder have available a way in; it cannot penetrate into and dissolve the unusual, for that would simply destroy the unusualness. Wonder does not permit a way out or a way in; instead, it displaces us before and into the unusualness of everything in its usualness. The most usual as such first steps forth in its unusualness when the latter shines in wonder. Wonder displaces us before everything in everything—that it is and is what it is — in other words, before beings as beings. While man is displaced into it, he himself is transformed into one who, not knowing the way out or the way in , has to hold fast to beings as beings in pure acknowledgment. This is the most simple and is the greatest; it is the all-decisive beginning, toward which the basic disposition compels. The acknowledgment of beings as beings, however, is only sustained in questioning what beings as such are. This question is not a desire for explanation or for the elimination of the most unusual, that beings are what they are. On the contrary,