Interposed considerations [97-98]

Yet the question of Being, as we heard earlier, begins philosophy. If the question of Being, although unasked, is so essentially close to our existence, then the beginning is in our closest proximity. We stand, insofar as we exist, even if insistently, in this beginning—but in the beginning as one that is no longer begun and has perhaps come to a premature end. The question of Being is indeed unasked but is not therefore nothing. This dis-esteemed question demands, in a quite different sense and measure, the esteeming that pertains to it precisely as the still never posed question. In view of the unasked question of Being, Being and the understanding of Being merely become more question-worthy, if indeed insistence intrinsically claims existence.

The results, taking all in all, are the following:

To be actually existent means for us: to become the ones we are.

The basic happening of this becoming, however, is: to grasp the ground of the possibility of our existence by fathoming this ground.

That means: to ask again the unasked question of Being.

And that implies: to begin again the unbegun beginning.

The moment we grasp our humanity as existent, the act of beginning the beginning becomes the first and last necessity. Then, however, the beginning no longer lies in back of us as something disposed of, left behind, past. Nor is it simply in the closest proximity as something hidden by the mask of the most unproblematic. On the contrary, it stands before us as the essential task of our most proper essence.

d) The historical re-asking of the question of Being as a re-beginning of the initial beginning

The question-worthiness of Being and of the understanding of Being and thus the question-worthiness of the question of Being may have become clear and pressing to us, yet it can never be deduced from this that we must consequently go back to the first beginning of Western philosophy. On the contrary, is not the beginning all the more immediately asked, the more exclusively we—today—ask it completely from our own present resources? We from our own resources—but who then are we, if we understand our Being from the ground of its possibility? We exist, in our Being we are constructed on the understanding of Being—even more, on the already-asked question of Being and on what it discloses of Being in questioning. Insofar as we exist, that beginning still ever happens. It has been, but it is not past—as having been, it prevails and keeps us of today in its essence.

Ever since, our humanity as existent has been grounded on the occurrence of the beginning; ever since, any asking of the question of Being, provided it is an actual, self-aware questioning, has become a re-asking, one intrinsically historical and thus properly historiological.

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