And when, for example, the Frankfurter Zeitung then praises such a book, in which a question is asked solely on the cover, as “an extraordinary, magnificent and courageous book,” it is clear even to the blindest where we stand.
Why am I mentioning irrelevant things here in connection with the interpretation of Parmenides’s saying? In itself, this sort of scribbling is certainly inconsequential and meaningless. But what is not meaningless is the crippling of all passion for questioning, a crippling that has already held us back too long. This condition confuses all standards and all stances; most of us no longer know where and between what alternatives the authentic decisions must be made, if the greatness of historical willing is to be united with the keenness and originality of historical knowing. Indications such as those we have given can only point to how far questioning has receded from us as a fundamental happening of historical Being. But even the understanding of the question has already slipped through our fingers. So let us now offer the essential points of orientation for thinking through what is to follow.
1. The determination of the human essence is never an answer, but is essentially a question.
2. The asking of this question is historical in the originary sense that this questioning first creates history.
3. This is the case because the question of what the human being is can be asked only in questioning about Being.
4. Only where Being opens itself up in questioning does history happen, and with it that Being of the human being by virtue of which the human being ventures the confrontation with beings as such.