what is enigmatic about this issue that is the most self-evident of everything self-evident.
[1.] We constantly fail to hear this distinction between being and beings, precisely where we continually make use of it: specifically whenever we say 'is', but before this in all our comportment toward beings (what-being, being such and such, and that-being).
[2.] We continually make use of this distinction, without knowing or being able to ascertain that in so doing we are applying any knowledge, rule, proposition or the like.
[3.] The distinction-disregarding its content, namely whatever is distinguished as such in it-is obscure with respect to the very dimension in which the distinction is possible. We cannot put being on a level comparable to that of beings. This implies that this distinction is not at all represented or taken note of in the sense of something knowable.
[4.] If, therefore, we do not place this distinction before us in the sense of making an objective distinction, then we are always already moving within the distinction as it occurs. It is not we who make it, rather it happens to us as the fundamental occurrence of our Dasein.
[5.] The distinction does not happen to us arbitrarily or from time to time, but fundamentally and constantly.
[6.] For if this distinction did not occur, then—forgetting the distinction—we could not even stick merely to beings at first and for the most part. For precisely in order to experience what and how beings in each case are in themselves as the beings that they are, we must—although not conceptually—already understand something like the what-being and that-being of beings.
[7.] Not only does the distinction occur continually, but this distinction must already have occurred if we wish to experience beings in their being such and such. We never ever experience anything about being subsequently or after the event from beings; rather beings—wherever and however we approach them—already stand in the light of being. In the metaphysical sense, therefore, the distinction stands at the commencement of Dasein itself.
[8.] This distinction between being and beings always already occurs in such a way that "being," although undifferentiated, is indeed understood at all times in an inexplicit articulation, at least with respect to what-being and that-being. Man, therefore, always has the possibility of asking: What is that? and: Is it at all or is it not? Why precisely this doubling of what-being and that-being belongs to the originary essence of being is one of the deepest problems that these terms contain, a problem that indeed has hitherto never yet been a problem at all, but something self-evident. This can be seen, for example, in traditional metaphysics and ontology, where one distinguishes between essentia and existentia, the what-being and that-being of beings. This distinction is employed as self-evidently as that between night and day.