The Question of the Essence of Being • 89

Earlier we stressed that we [62|86] must already know in advance what “tree” means in order to be able to seek and find what is particular, the species of trees and individual trees as such. This is all the more decisively true of Being. The necessity for us already to understand the word “Being” is the highest and is incomparable. So the “universality” of “Being” in regard to all beings does not imply that we should turn away from this universality as fast as possible and turn to the particular; instead, it implies the opposite, that we should remain there, and raise the uniqueness of this name and its naming to the level of knowledge.

The fact that for us the meaning of the word “Being” remains an indeterminate vapor is counterbalanced by the fact that we still understand Being, and distinguish it with certainty from not-Being—and this is not just another, second fact, but both belong together as one. In the meantime, this One has completely lost the character of a fact for us. By no means do we find it among many other present-at-hand things, as something that is also present at hand. Instead, we suspect that in what we have taken up to now merely as a fact, there is something going on. It is happening in a way that does not fit into the series of other “incidents.”

But before we concern ourselves any further with grasping in its truth what is going on in this fact, let us try once again and for the last time to take it as something familiar and indifferent. Let us assume that there is no such fact at all. Suppose that there were no indeterminate meaning of Being, and that we did not understand what this meaning signifies. Then what? Would there just be one noun and one verb less in our language? No. Then there would be no language at all. Beings as such would no longer open themselves up in words at all; they could no longer be addressed and discussed.

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