freedom, is intrinsically exposing, ek-sistent.* Considered in regard to the essence of truth, the essence of freedom manifests itself as exposure to the disclosedness of beings.
Freedom is not merely what common sense is content to let pass under this name: the caprice, turning up occasionally in our choosing, of inclining in this or that direction. Freedom is not mere absence of constraint with respect to what we can or cannot do. Nor is it on the other hand mere readiness for what is required and necessary (and so somehow a being). Prior to all this ("negative" and "positive" freedom), freedom is engagement in the disclosure of beings as such. Disclosedness itself is conserved in ek-sistent engagement, through which the openness of the open region, i.e., the "there" ["Da"], is what it is.
In Da-sein the essential ground, long ungrounded, on the basis of which man is able to ek-sist, is preserved for him. Here "existence" does not mean existentia in the sense of occurring or being at hand. Nor on the other hand does it mean, in an "existentiell" fashion, man's moral endeavor on behalf of his "self," based on his psychophysical constitution. Ek-sistence, rooted in truth as freedom, is exposure to the disclosedness of beings as such. Still uncomprehended, indeed, not even in need of an essential grounding, the ek-sistence of historical man begins at that moment when the first thinker takes a questioning stand with regard to the unconcealment of beings by asking: what are beings? In this question unconcealment is experienced for the first time. Being as a whole reveals itself as φύσις, "nature," which here does not yet mean a particular sphere of beings but rather beings as such as a whole, specifically in the sense of upsurgent presence [aufgehendes Anwesen]. History begins only when beings themselves are expressly drawn up into their unconcealment and conserved in it, only when this conservation is conceived on the basis of questioning regarding
* This variant of the word Existenz indicates the ecstatic character of freedom, its standing outside itself. —Tr.