highest in rank since it sets the standard. ·when we understand the question, "What is called thinking?," in the sense that it is a question about what calls upon us to think, we then have understood the word "to caW' in its proper significance. That is to say also : we now ask the question as it properly wants to be asked. Presumably we shall now almost automatically get to the three remaining ways to ask the question. It will therefore be advisable to explicate the real question a little more clearly. It runs: "What is it that calls on us to think?" What makes a call upon us that we should think and, by thinking, be who we are?
That which calls us to think in this way presumably can do so only insofar as the calling itself, on its own, needs thought. What calls us to think, and thus commands, that is, brings our essential nature into the keeping of thought, needs thinking because what calls us wants itself to be thought about according to its nature. What calls on us to think, demands for itself that it be tended, cared for, husbanded in its own essential nature, by thought. What calls on us to think, gives us food for thought.
What gives us food for thought we call thought-provoking. But what is thought-provoking not just occasionally, and not just in some given limited respect, but rather gives food for thought inherently and hence from the start and always—is that which is thought-provoking per se. This is what we call most thought-provoking. And what it gives us to think about, the gift it gives to us, is nothing less than itself—itself which calls on us to enter thought.
The question "What is called thinking?" asks for what wants to be thought about in the pre-eminent sense: it does not just give us something to think about, nor only itself, but it first gives thought and thinking to us, it entrusts thought to us as our essential destiny, and thus first joins and appropriates us to thought.