The Fundamental Question of Metaphysics • 7

Then we experience that this distinctive why-question has its ground in a leap by which human beings leap away from all the previous safety of their Dasein, be it genuine or presumed. The asking of this question happens only in the leap and as the leap, and otherwise not at all. Later, we will clarify what we mean here by “leap.” Our questioning is not yet the leap; for that, it must [5|8] first be transformed; it still stands, unknowing, in the face of beings. For now, let this comment suffice: the leap <Sprung> of this questioning attains its own ground by leaping, performs it in leaping <er-springt, springend erwirkt> . According to the genuine meaning of the word, we call such a leap that attains itself as ground by leaping an originary leap <Ur-sprung> : an attaining-the-ground-by-leaping. Because the question, “Why are there beings at all instead of nothing?” attains the ground for all genuine questioning by leaping and is thus an originary leap, we must recognize it as the most originary <ursprünglich> of questions.

As the broadest and deepest question, it is the most originary, and conversely.

In this threefold sense the question is the first in rank, first in rank in the order of questioning within that domain which this first question definitively opens up and grounds, giving it its measure. Our question is the question of all true questions— that is, of those that pose themselves to themselves—and it is necessarily asked, knowingly or not, along with every question. No questioning, and consequently no single scientific “problem” either, understands itself if it does not grasp the question of all questions, that is, if it does not ask it. We want to be clear about this from the start: it can never be determined objectively whether anyone is asking—whether we are actually asking this question, that is, whether we are leaping, or whether we are just mouthing the words.