111 I. 3
Being and Time

In signs of something that has happened already, what has come to pass and run its course becomes circumspectively accessible. A sign to mark something indicates what one is 'at' at any time . Signs always indicate primarily 'wherein' one lives, where one's concern dwells, what sort of involvement there is with something.2

The peculiar character of signs as equipment becomes especially clear in 'establishing a sign' ["Zeichenstiftung"]. This activity is performed in a circumspective fore-sight [Vorsicht] out of which it arises, and which requires that it be possible for one's particular environment to announce itself for circumspection at any time by means of something ready-to-hand, and that this possibility should itself be ready-to-hand. But the Being of what is most closely ready-to-hand within-the-world possesses the character of holding-itself-in and not emerging, which we have described above.3 Accordingly our circumspective dealings in the environment require some equipment ready-to-hand which in its character as equipment takes over the 'work' of letting something ready-to-hand become conspicuous. So when such equipment (signs) gets produced, its conspicuousness must be kept in mind. But even when signs are thus conspicuous, one does not let them be present-at-hand at random ; they get 'set up' ["angebracht"] in a definite way with a view towards easy accessibility.

In establishing a sign, however, one does not necessarily have to produce equipment which is not yet ready-to-hand at all. Signs also arise when one takes as a sign [Zum-Zeichen-nehmen] something that is ready-to-hand already. In this mode, signs "get established" in a sense which is even more primordial. In indicating, a ready-to-hand equipment totality, and even the environment in general, can be provided with an availability which is circumspectively oriented ; and not only this : establishing a sign can, above all, reveal. What gets taken as a sign becomes accessible only through its readiness-to-hand. If, for instance, the south wind 'is accepted' ["gilt"] by the farmer as a sign of rain, then this 'acceptance' ["Geltung"]—or the 'value' with which the entity is 'invested'—is not a sort of bonus over and above what is already present-at-hand in itself—viz, the flow of air in a definite geographical direction. The south wind may be meteorologically accessible as something which just occurs; but it is never present-at-hand proximally in such a way as this, only occasionally taking over the [81] function of a warning signal.

2 'Das Merkzeichen zeigt, "woran" man jeweils ist. Die Zeichen zeigen primär immer das, "worin" man lebt, wobei das Besorgen sich auf hält, welche Bewandtnis es damit hat.' On 'Bewandtnis', see note 2, p. 115 H. 84 below.

3 See H. 75-76 above.