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Interposed considerations [91-93]

the proper distance. Questioning takes that which is interrogated and drags it down to us and into our sphere. The result is:

1) Questioning and interrogating do not as such and without further ado constitute an esteeming. 2) It is not decided whether and how the understanding of Being, despite its intrinsic rank and dignity, does now demand to be questioned precisely as a way of showing the appropriate esteem for its worthiness.

Yet does the understanding of Being, as we stated above and believed we had established, possess rank and dignity intrinsically and unconditionally? Indeed not, but only relative to comportment, i.e., only within human existence. Only under the presupposition that human existence as such should prevail and assert itself does the understanding of Being possess rank and dignity—but not in itself and unconditionally.


§16. The liberation toward freedom


a) The coming into sovereignty of existence as a transformation of the essence of humanity


Yet why should human beings be as existing? The necessity of it is not obvious. Humans and human lineages are and have been and will be, without their Being having been determined as existence, without humans occupying themselves with their stance, i.e., without humans taking themselves as beings in the midst of beings who comport themselves to beings as such. There is a Being of humans, since they move in the highest simplicity and in the harmony of their needs and abilities with the powers that shelter humans and re-attune them. By way of such harmony and such shelter, nothing breaks open as regards beings as such. Humans are, and yet they do not exist in the stipulated sense of existence.

Assuming, however, that the Being of humans did come to existence, i.e., took to comportment and maintained itself in its stance, i.e., above all, assuming the understanding of Being received sovereignty, assuming all this, could it happen incidentally, such that it merely “came to pass” with humans and befell them? Or with such a transition to existence must not something radical happen thereby, something required by existence as a new mode of Being?

Assuming that the Being of humans came to existence, then a transformation of them has occurred. In the transition to existence, they are determined on the basis of existence. And existence as understanding of Being is letting-be: freedom. The transition to freedom leads to lack of shelter, thus to a liberation from something to something. But what


The Beginning of Western Philosophy by Martin Heidegger (GA 35)