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PostSubject: Only a God Can Save Us   Mon 27 Jun 2011, 11:54 pm

Long read, but I think Heidegger is a worthwhile study.

On Edit: I've gone back and bolded the most relevant material, as much of the early part of the article clarifies Heidegger's involvement in the Nazi party.


------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Only a God Can Save Us": The /Spiegel/ Interview (1966)


Martin Heidegger

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Although Heidegger was one of the seminal thinkers of the twentieth

century, few such men of his time were criticized more severely or

resented more bitterly than he. Much of this criticism arose because of

an association with the Nazis while Rector of the University of

Freiburg, 1933-34, one that publicly he neither reputhated, justified,

nor explained. In 1966 the editors of the German news weekly, /Der

Spiegel/, requested of Heidegger an interview to discuss these issues.

In granting the interview, which took place on September 23, 1966,

Heidegger insisted that it remain unpublished during his lifetime. (It

appeared in /Der Spiegel/ on May 31, 1976, five days after his death.)

Its substance goes far beyond the personal issues involved and rephrases

his entire philosophical experience. He saw this as an opportunity to

meditate upon the meaning of Being, particularly under the guise that

most profoundly characterizes contemporary culture -- labeled by him

"technicity" (/die Technik/). In these terms the interview takes on the

quality of a last will and testament.



In the translation which follows I have inserted the pagination of the

German publication, /Der Spiegel/, Nr. 23 (1976), 193-219, directly into

the text in brackets. I was assisted in historical matters by the

researches of Dr. Kurt Maier of the Leo Baeck Institute, New York City.



-- William J. Richardson, S.J.



------------------------------------------------------------------------



[193]



SPIEGEL: Professor Heidegger, we have noted repeatedly that your

philosophical work has been overshadowed somewhat by (certain] events of

short duration in your life that you never have clarified.



Heidegger: You mean 1933?



SPIEGEL: Yes, [both] before and after. We would like to set this in a

larger context and thus arrive at certain questions that seem to us

important, namely: what possibilities does philosophy offer for having

an influence upon actuality (/Wirklichkeit/) -- even upon politicial

actuality?



Heidegger: These are indeed important questions, whether or not I can

answer them. But first I must say that before my rectorate I was in no

way politically active.^1 During the winter semester of 1932-33 I was on

leave and spent most of the time in my mountain hut.^2



SPIEGEL: How did it happen, then, that you became Rector of the

University of Freiburg?



Heidegger: In December, 1932, my neighbor, Professor (of Anatomy) von

Möllendorf, was chosen Rector. The installation of the new Rector here

takes place on April 15. During the winter semester of 1932-33, we

discussed the [current] situation often, not only the political one, but

especially that of the universities and the partially hopeless situation

of the students. My judgment went like this: to the extent that I can

judge things, the only possibility still available [to us] is to try to

seize upon the approaching developments with those constructive forces

that still remain alive.



SPIEGEL: You saw, then, a relationship between the position of the

German University and the political situation of Germany as a whole?



Heidegger: To be sure, I did follow the political events of

January-March, 1933, and also spoke about them from time to time with

younger colleagues. My own work, however, was concerned with a more

comprehensive interpretation of [196] pre-Socratic thought. With the

beginning of the summer semester I returned to Freiburg.^3 Meanwhile,

Professor von Möllendorf had assumed the office as Rector on April 16.

Hardly two weeks later he was removed from office by the then Minister

of Culture of Baden. What presumably gave the desired occasion for this

decision of the Minister was the fact that the Rector had forbidden the

so-called "Jewish poster" to be displayed in the University.^4



SPIEGEL: Mr. von Möllendorf was a Social Democrat. What did he do after

his dismissal?^5



Heidegger: On the very day of his dismissal, von Möllendorf came to me

and said: "Heidegger, now you must take over the rectorate." I protested

that I had absolutely no administrative experience. However, the

Pro-Rector at the time, Professor (of Theology) Sauer, also urged me to

become a candidate in the new election, for there was a real danger that

otherwise a [mere] functionary would be named Rector. Younger colleagues

with whom for several years I had discussed questions of university

management besieged me [with requests] to take over the rectorate. I

hesitated a long time. Finally, I declared myself ready to take over the

office only in the interests in the University, provided I could be

certain of the unanimous support of the entire Academic Senate.

Meantime, the doubts about my qualifications for the rectorate remained,

so that on the very morning of the election I went to the Rector's

office and told the dismissed colleague, von Möllendorf, and the

Pro-Rector, Sauer, that I could not take over the office. Both replied

that the election already had proceeded so far that at that point I

could no longer withdraw from the candidacy.



SPIEGEL: And so you declared yourself definitively ready. What form,

then did your relationship to the National Socialists take?



Heidegger: On the second day after I took office the "Student Leader"

and two companions appeared at my door and demanded once more that the

"Jewish poster" be displayed. I refused. The three students left with

the remark that my prohibition would be made known to the Student

Leadership Division of the government. Several days later a telephone

call came from Dr. Baumann, S.A. Group Leader in the office of Higher

Education of the Supreme S.A. Command.^6 He demanded the hanging of the

poster in question, as this already had been done in other universities.

Should I refuse, I could expect my own dismissal, if not, indeed, the

closure of the University. I tried to gain the support of the Minister

of Culture of Baden for my prohibition. He explained that he could do

nothing against the S.A. Nonetheless, I did not retract my prohibition.



SPIEGEL: Up to now, this was not known in that way.



Heidegger: The motive that above all determined me to take over the

rectorate was mentioned already in my inaugural lecture at Freiburg in

1929, "What is Metaphysics?"^7 The fields of sciences lie far apart. The

manner of handling their objects is essentially different. This

disintegrated multiplicity of disciplines is held together today only

through the technical organization of universities and faculties, and

through the practical direction of the disciplines according to a single

orientation. At the same time, the rooting of the sciences in their

essential ground has become dead." What I attempted to do during my

administration, in view of this condition of the universities -- in our

own day degenerated to the extreme -- is laid out in my rectoral address.^8



SPIEGEL: We are trying to find out whether, and how, this statement of

1929 coincides with what you said in your inaugural address as Rector in

1933. We take here one sentence out of context: "The much celebrated

'academic freedom' is repudiated by the German university; for this

freedom was not genuine, insofar as it was only [a] negative [one]."

There seems good reason to infer that this statement at the very least

gives expression to certain conceptions that even today are not foreign

to you.



Heidegger: Yes, I agree, for this academic "freedom" was only too often

a negative one: freedom /from/ the effort to surrender oneself to what a

scientific study demands in terms of reflection and meditation.

Moreover, the sentence that you have excerpted ought not to be taken

alone but read in its context, for then it becomes clear what I wanted

to have understood by "negative freedom."



SPIEGEL: Fine, that is understandable. But we seem to perceive a new

tone in your rectoral discourse, when, four months after Hitler's

designation as Chancellor, you there talk about the "greatness and glory

of this new era (/Aufbruch/)."



Heidegger: Yes, I was also convinced of it.



SPIEGEL: Could you explain that a little further?



Heidegger: Gladly. At that time I saw no other alternative. Amid the

general confusion of opinion and political tendencies of 22 parties, it

was necessary to find a national and, above all, social attitude,

somewhat in the sense of Friederich Naumann's endeavor. I could cite,

here, simply by way of example, a passage from Eduard Spranger that goes

far beyond my rectoral address.^9



SPIEGEL: When did you begin to become involved in political affairs? The

22 parties were long since there. Already in 1930 there were millions of

unemployed.



Heidegger: At that time I was still completely preoccupied with the

questions that were developed in /Being and Time/ (1927)^10 and the

writings and lectures of the following years -- fundamental questions of

thought that touched also national and social questions [though not

im]methately. Immediately what faced me as a university professor was

the question about the meaning of the sciences, and with it the

determination of the mission of the university. This concern is

expressed in the title of my rectoral discourse, "The Self-Assertion of

the German University." No other rectoral discourse of the time bore a

title as audacious as this. But who among those who attack this

discourse has read it carefully, thought it through, and interpreted it

in terms of the situation at that time?



SPIEGEL: Self-assertion of the university in such a turbulent world --

isn't that a bit much?



Heidegger: Why? "The Self-Assertion of the University" went against the

so-called "political science" that at that time was already demanded by

the Party and by the National Socialist Student Organization. "Political

science" at that time had a completely different sense; it did not

signify "the science of politics" as we know it today, but meant:

science as such -- its meaning and value -- is appraised according to

its practical utility for the people. Opposition to this politicizing of

science is direcdy expressed in the rectoral discourse.



SPIEGEL: Let us make sure we understand you correctly: insofar as you

led the University into what you experienced at that time as a new era,

you wanted to affirm the University against otherwise overwhelming

tendencies that no longer would have left to the University its proper

function?



Heidegger: Exactly. But at the same time the self-assertion had to

assume the task of winning back a new meaning for the University, in

opposition to its merely technical organization, through a reflection

upon the tradition of Western European thought.



SPIEGEL: Should we understand this to mean, Professor, that at the time

you thought that you could bring about the restitution of the University

in conjunction with the National Socialists?



Heidegger: That is the wrong way to put it. Not "in conjunction with the

National Socialists," but the University ought to renew itself through a

reflection all its own and thereby gain a firm position against the

danger of the politicizing of science -- in the sense that I just

mentioned.



SPIEGEL: And for that reason you proclaimed in your rectoral discourse

these three supporting columns: "service by labor," "service under

arms," "service through knowledge." Accordingly, "service through

knowledge," or so you thought anyway, was to be raised to a position

equal [to the others] that the National Socialists had not conceded to it?



Heidegger: It is not a matter of "supporting columns." If you read [the

text] carefully, service through knowledge stands in third place

numerically, to be sure, but in terms of its meaning it is placed first.

The task remains to consider how labor and the bearing of arms, like

every human activity, are grounded in knowledge and illumined by it.



SPIEGEL: But we must mention here another statement -- we are soon

finished with these distressing citations -- that we cannot imagine you

would subscribe to today. You said in the fall of 1933: "Let not

doctrines and ideas be the rules of your Being. The Führer, himself and

he alone, is today and for the future German actuality and its law."



Heidegger: These sentences do not appear in the rectoral discourse but

only in a local Freiburg student newspaper at the beginning of the

winter semester of 1933-34. When I took over the rectorate, it was clear

to me that I would not survive without compromises. The sentences you

quote I would no longer write today. Such things as that I stopped

saying by 1934.



SPIEGEL: May we throw in again another question? So far in this

interview it has become clear that your position in 1933 oscillated

between two poles. In the first place: You had to say many things /ad

usum Delphini/.^11 This was one pole. The other pole, however, was much

more positive, and this you express as follows: I had the feeling that

here was something novel, here was a new era.



Heidegger: That's it exactly. Not that I spoke for the sake of mere

appearances -- I saw this as the one possibility.



SPIEGEL: You know that in this context several accusations have been

made against you that concern your cooperation with the Nazi Party and

its organizations, and these still persist in the public mind as

undenied. Thus, you are accused of having taken part in the book

burnings of the student body, or of the Hitler Youth.



Heidegger: I forbade the planned book-burning that was scheduled to take

place in front of the University building.



SPIEGEL: Then you are accused of having books of Jewish authors removed

from the library of the [199] University or from the Philosophical

Seminar.^12



Heidegger: As Director of the Seminar, I had jurisdiction only over the

Seminar Library. I did not comply with repeated demands that the books

of Jewish authors be removed. Former participants in my seminars can

testify today to the fact that not only were no books of Jewish authors

withdrawn but that these authors, above all, Husserl, were cited and

discussed just as [they were] before 1933.



SPIEGEL: How do you explain the origin of such rumors? Is it malice?



Heidegger: According to my knowledge of the sources, I would like to

assume that, but the reasons for the calumny lie deeper. My taking over

the rectorate was probably only the occasion for it, not the determining

cause. For that reason the polemic probably will flare up again and

again whenever the occasion is offered.



SPIEGEL: Even after 1933 you had Jewish students. Your relationship to

some of these Jewish students is supposed to have been cordial.



Heidegger: My attitude after 1933 remained unchanged. One of my oldest

and most gifted students, Helene Weiss, who later emigrated to Scotland,

took her degree in Basel (after continued study at Freiburg became

impossible) with a work on /Causality and Chance in the Philosophy of

Aristotle/ (Basel, 1942). At the end of the foreword, the author writes:

The attempt at a phenomenological interpretation that we present here in

Part I owes its possibility to M. Heidegger's unpublished interpretation

of Greek philosophy." You see here a copy with a dedication of the

author. I visited Dr. Weiss several times in Brussels before her death.



SPIEGEL: You were friendly for a long time with Karl Jaspers. After

1933, this relationship began to deteriorate. Rumor has it that the

deterioration must be seen in conjunction with the fact that Jaspers had

a Jewish wife. Would you like to say something about that?



Heidegger: My friendship with Jaspers began in 1919. I visited him and

his wife during the summer semester of 1933 in Heidelberg. He sent me

all his publications between 1934 and 1938 "with heartfelt greetings."



SPIEGEL: You were a student of Edmund Husserl, your Jewish predecessor

in the chair of philosophy at the University of Freiburg. He had

recommended you to the Faculty as his successor in that chair. Your

relationship to him cannot have been without gratitude.



Heidegger: You know, of course, the dedication of /Being and Time/.



SPIEGEL: But later the relationship deteriorated. Can you, and do you

want to, tell us what led to this?



Heidegger: The differences in matters of substance became sharper. In

the beginning of the 1930's Husserl had a public reckoning with Max

Scheler and me, the explicitness of which left little to the

imagination. What moved Husserl to oppose my thought in such public

fashion I was unable to learn.



SPIEGEL: What was the occasion for this?



Heidegger: Husserl spoke to the students in the Berlin Sportspalast.

Erich Mühsam reported it in one of the large Berlin newspapers.^13



SPIEGEL: The controversy as such is of no interest to us at the moment.

Of interest only is that there was no controversy [between you] that had

anything to do with the year 1933.



Heidegger: Not the slightest.



SPIEGEL: You have been criticized for the fact that in the publication

of the fifth edition of /Being and Time/ (1941) the original dedication

to Husserl was omitted.



Heidegger: That's right. I explained this affair in my book /On the Way

to Language/.^14 There I wrote: "To counter widely circulated

allegations, let it be stated here explicitly that the dedication of

/Being and Time/... remained in /Being and Time/ until its fourth

edition of 1935. In 1941, when my publishers felt that the fifth edition

might be endangered and that, indeed, the book might be suppressed, it

was finally agreed, on the suggestion and at the desire of Niemeyer^15 ,

that the dedication be omitted from the edition, however, on the

condition imposed by me, that the note to page 38 be retained -- a note

which in fact states the reason for that dedication, and which runs: "If

the following investigation has taken any steps forward in disclosing

the 'things themselves,' the author must first of all thank E. Husserl,

who, by providing his own incisive personal guidance and by freely

turning over his unpublished investigations, familiarized the author

with the most diverse areas of phenomenological research during his

student years in Freiburg." (/Being and Time/, [New York: Harper and

Row, 1962] p. 489.)



SPIEGEL: Then we hardly need to raise the question whether it is correct

that as Rector of the University of Freiburg you forbade the retired

Husserl access to, or use of, the University library or the library of

the Philosophical Seminar.



Heidegger: That is a calumny.



SPIEGEL: And there is no letter in which this prohibition against

Husserl is contained? How, then, did such a rumor start?



Heidegger: I don't know either. I have no explanation for it. The

impossibility of the whole thing can be shown by another little-known

fact. During my rectorate I went before the Minister of Culture and

defended the Director of the Medical Clinic, Professor Thannhauser, and

the later Nobel Laureate, Professor (of Physical Chemistry) von Hevesy

-- both Jews -- whom the Ministry gave orders to be dismissed. That I

supported these men and at the same time took shabby action against

Husserl, a retired professor and my own teacher, is absurd. I also

prevented the students and teachers from organizing a demonstration

[201] against Professor Thannhauser. At that time there were [some

young] instructors waiting [for a formal appointment] who thought: now

is the time for advancement. When these people presented their case to

me, I turned them all away.



SPIEGEL: You did not attend Husserl's funeral in 1938.



Heidegger: Let me say this. The criticism that I had broken off my ties

to Husserl is unfounded. In May, 1933, my wife wrote a letter to Mrs.

Husserl in the name of both of us in which we assured them of our

unaltered gratitude, and sent this letter with a small bouquet to

Husserl. Mrs. Husserl answered briefly with a formal 'thank you' and

wrote that the ties between our families were broken. That I failed to

express again to Husserl my gratitude and respect for him upon the

occasion of his final illness and death is a human failure that I

apologized for in a letter to Mrs. Husserl.



SPIEGEL: Husserl died in 1938. Already in February, 1934, you had

resigned the rectorate. How did that happen?



Heidegger: Here I have a point to make. In the interest of reorganizing

the technical structure of the university, i.e., of renewing the

faculties from the inside out in terms of the very substance of their

task, I proposed to nominate for the winter semester of 1933-34, younger

and, above all, professionally outstanding colleagues to become deans of

the individual faculties, and this, indeed, without considering their

relationship to the Nazi Party. Thus, Professor Erik Wolf was appointed

Dean of the Faculty of Law, Professor Schadewalt of the Philosophy

Faculty, Professor Soergel of the Science Faculty, and Professor von

Möllendorf, who had been dismissed as Rector the previous spring, of the

Medical Faculty. But already by Christmas of 1933 it became clear to me

that I would be unable to carry through the pending renewal of the

University against either the resistance of the academic community or

[the opposition of] the Party. For example, the Faculty reproached me

for introducing students into responsible administration of the

University -- exactly as is done today. One day I was called to

Karlsruhe where the Minister, through one of his Councillors, demanded,

in the presence of the Student District Leader, that I replace the deans

of the legal and medical faculties with other colleagues who were

acceptable to the Party. I refused this request and offered my

resignation from the rectorate if the Minister insisted on his demand.

That's just what happened. This was in February, 1934. I resigned after

ten months in office while [other] rectors of that time remained in

office for two or more years. While the national and international press

commented on my assumption of the rectorate in the most diversified

fashion, not a word was said about my resignation.



SPIEGEL: Did you have at that time the opportunity to present your

thoughts about university reform to the appropriate government minister?



Heidegger: What time are you referring to?



SPIEGEL: We are referring to the trip that Rust made to Freiburg in

1933.^16



Heidegger: There were two different occasions involved. On the occasion

of the Schlageter celebration in Schönau (Westphalia), I took the

initiative of making a short formal call upon the Minister.^17 On a

second occasion in November, 1933, I spoke with him in Berlin. I

presented to him my conception of science and of the possible

restructuring of the faculties. He took careful account of everything

that I said, so I nurtured the hope that what I presented to him would

have some effect, but nothing happened. I do not see why exception is

taken to this exchange with the Party's then Minister of Education,

while at the same time all foreign governments were hastening to

recognize Hitler and to extend to him the ordinary international signs

of respect.



SPIEGEL: Did your relations with the Nazi Party change after you

resigned as Rector?



Heidegger: After my resignation, I limited myself to my teaching

responsibilities. In the summer semester [204] of 1934, I lectured on

"Logic." In the following semester 1934-35, I gave my first course on

Hölderlin. In 1936, the Nietzsche courses began.^18 All who could hear

at all heard this as a confrontation with National Socialism.



SPIEGEL: How did the transfer of office take place? You took no part in

the celebration?



Heidegger: That's right. I refused to take part in the ceremonial

transfer of the rectorate.



SPIEGEL: Was your successor a committed member of the Party?



Heidegger: He was a member of the Law Faculty. The party newspaper, /Der

Alemanne/, announced his designation as Rector with banner headlines:

"The First National Socialist Rector of the University."



SPIEGEL: What position did the Party take toward you?



Heidegger: I was constantly watched.



SPIEGEL: Did you notice this?



Heidegger: Yes -- for example, the case of Dr. Hanke.



SPIEGEL: How did you know about it?



Heidegger: He came to me himself. He had just taken his doctorate in the

winter semester of 1936-37, and in the summer semester of 1937 he was a

member of my advanced seminar. He was sent here from S.S. Security

Service to keep watch on me.



SPIEGEL: How did it happen that he suddenly came to you?



Heidegger: On the basis of my Nietzsche seminar in the summer semester

of 1937, and the manner in which the work proceeded, he acknowledged to

me that he could no longer sustain the role of watchman and wanted to

bring the situation to my attention in the interest of my subsequent

teaching.



SPIEGEL: So the Party kept a watchful eye on you?



Heidegger: I knew only that my publications were not allowed to be

reviewed, e.g., the essay, "Plato's Doctrine of Truth."^19 The Holderlin

lecture^20 that I gave at the German Institute in Rome in the spring of

1936 was maliciously attacked in the review of the Hitler Youth

Movement, /Wille und Macht/. Anyone interested today might read the

polemic against me in E. Kriecks' journal, /Volk im Warden/, that began

in the summer of 1934. At the International Philosophical Congress in

Prague, 1934, I was not one of the German delegates. In like manner, I

was excluded from the International Descartes Congress in Paris, 1937.

In Paris, this seemed so surprising that the Director of the Congress,

Professor Emil Brevier of the Sorbonne, asked me, of his own accord, why

I was not a member of the German delegation. I replied that the

administration of the Congress might inquire about the matter at the

National Ministry of Education. Shortly afterward, an invitation came to

me from Berlin to join the delegation belatedly. I declined. The

lectures "What is Metaphysics?" and "On the Essence of Truth"^21 were

sold under the counter with jackets that bore no title. After 1934, the

rectoral discourse was withdrawn immediately from the bookstores at the

instigation of the Party.



SPIEGEL: Did it get even worse later on?



Heidegger: In the last year of the war, 500 of the most important

scientists and artists were released from any kind of war service. I was

not among them. On the contrary, in the summer of 1944, I was ordered up

the Rhine to build fortifications.



SPIEGEL: On the other side of the border, Karl Barth did the same thing

for the Swiss.



Heidegger: What is interesting is how this took place. The Rector had

invited the entire teaching faculty [to a reception]. He gave a short

talk to this effect: he was speaking by special arrangement with both

the circle and the district leaders of the Party. [Accordingly,] he

would now divide the entire teaching faculty into three groups: first,

those who were completely expendable; second, those who were

half-expendable; and third, those who were not expendable at all. In the

first group of completely expendable was Heidegger, and along with him

Gerhard Ritter.^22 In the winter semester of 1944-45, after the

termination of the manual labor on the Rhine, I began a course that bore

the title, "Poetizing and Thinking." In a certain sense it was a

continuation of my Nietzsche courses, i.e., of my confrontation with

National Socialism. After the second hour, I was conscripted into the

Civil Defense Forces, the oldest member of the teaching body to be

called up in this way.



SPIEGEL: To summarize, then: In 1933, as an unpolitical person in the

strict sense, if not in the broad sense, you became involved...



Heidegger: . . .by way of the University. . .



SPIEGEL: Yes, by way of and through the Unversity you became involved

with the politics of this supposedly new era. After about a year you

relinquished the function you had taken over. But in 1935, in a course

that in 1953 was published as /Introduction to Metaphysics/, you said:

"What today" -- this was, therefore, 1935 -- "is bandied about as the

philosophy of National Socialism but has absolutely nothing to do with

the inner truth and greatness of this movement (namely, with the

encounter between technicity on the planetary level and modern man)

casts its net in these troubled waters of 'values' and 'totalities'."^23

Did you add those parenthesized words for the first time in 1953, i.e.,

at the time of the publication, in order to explain to the reader of

1953, so to speak, in what way you saw the "inner truth and greatness of

this movement" (i.e., of National Socialism) in 1935 -- or did you have

this explanatory parenthesis already there in 1935?



Heidegger: The parenthesis stood in my [original] manuscript and

corresponded precisely to my conception of technicity at that time, and

not yet to the later explication of the essence of technicity as

"pos-ure" (/Ge-Stell/).^24 The reason I did not read the phrase publicly

[206] was that I was convinced of the proper understanding of my

listeners, although stupid people, informers and spies understood it

differently -- and also wanted to.



SPIEGEL: Surely you would include here the communist movement?



Heidegger: Yes, unquestionably -- insofar as that, too is a form of

planetary technicity.



SPIEGEL: Americanism also?



Heidegger: Yes, I would say so. Meantime, the last 30 years have made it

clearer that the planet-wide movement of modern technicity is a power

whose magnitude in determining [our] history can hardly be

overestimated. For me today it is a decisive question as to how any

political system -- and which one -- can be adapted to an epoch of

technicity. I know of no answer to this question. I am not convinced

that it is democracy
.



SPIEGEL: But "democracy" is only a collective term that can be

conceptualized in many different ways. The question is whether or not a

transformation of this political form is still possible. Since 1945, you

have commented on the political efforts of the Western World, hence also

on democracy, on a politically expressed Christian view of the world

(/Weltanschauung/), even on the system of constitutionally guaranteed

citizens' rights. All of these efforts you have called "half-way measures."



Heidegger: First of all, please tell me where I have spoken about

democracy and the other things you mention. I would indeed characterize

them as half-way measures, [though] because I do not see in them any

actual confrontation with the world of technicity, inasmuch as behind

them all, according to my view, stands the conception that technicity in

its essence is something that man holds within his own hands. In my

opinion, this is not possible. Technicity in its essence is something

that man does not master by his own power.^25



SPIEGEL: Which of the trends just sketched out, according to your view,

would be most suitable to our time?



Heidegger: I don't see [any answer to] that. But I do see here a

decisive question. First of ill, it would be necessary to clarify what

you mean by "suitable to our time." What is meant here by "time?"

Furthermore, the question should be raised as to whether such

suitability is the [appropriate] standard for the "inner truth" of human

activity, and whether the standard measure of [human] activity is not

thinking and poetizing, however heretical such a shift [of emphasis] may

seem to be.^26



SPIEGEL: It is obvious that man it never [complete] master of his tools

-- witness the case of the Sorcerer's Apprentice. But is it not a little

too pessimistic to say: we are not gaining mastery over this surely much

greater tool [that is] modern technicity?



Heidegger: Pessimism, no. In the area of the reflection that I am

attempting now, pessimism and optimism are positions that don't go far

enough. But above all, modern technicity is no "tool" and has nothing at

all to do with tools.



SPIEGEL: Why should we be so powerfully overwhelmed by technicity that...?



Heidegger: I don't say [we are] "overwhelmed" [by it]. I say that up to

the present we have not yet found a way to respond to the essence of

technicity
.



SPIEGEL: But someone might object very naively: what must be mastered in

this case? Everything is functioning. More and more electric power

companies are being built. Production is up. In highly technologized

parts of the earth, people are well cared for. We are living in a state

of prosperity. What really is lacking to us?



Heidegger: Everything is functioning. That is precisely what is awesome,

that everything functions, that the functioning propels everything more

and more toward further functioning, and that technicity increasingly

dislodges man and uproots him from the earth. I don't know if you were

shocked, but [certainly] I was shocked when a short time ago I saw the

pictures of the earth taken from the moon. We do not need atomic bombs

at all [to uproot us] -- the uprooting of man is already here. All our

relationships have become merely technical ones. It is no longer upon an

earth that man lives today.
Recently I had a long [209] dialogue in

Provence with Rene Char -- a poet and resistance fighter, as you know.

In Provence now, launch pads are being built and the countryside laid

waste in unimaginable fashion. This poet, who certainly is open to no

suspicion of sentimentality or of glorifying the idyllic, said to me

that the uprooting of man that is now taking place is the end [of

everything human], unless thinking and poetizing once again regain

[their] nonviolent power.



SPIEGEL: Well, we have to say that indeed we prefer to be here, and in

our age we surely will not have to leave for elsewhere. But who knows if

man is determined to be upon this earth? It is thinkable that man has

absolutely no determination at all. After all, one might see it to be

one of man's possibilities that he reach out from this earth toward

other planets. We have by no means come that far, of course -- but where

is it written that he has his place here?



Heidegger: As far as my own orientation goes, in any case, I know that,

according to our human experience and history, everything essential and

of great magnitude has arisen only out of the fact that man had a home

and was rooted in a tradition. Contemporary literature, for example, is

largely destructive.



SPIEGEL: The word "destructive" in this case is bothersome, especially

insofar as, thanks to you and your philosophy, the word has been given a

comprehensive context of meaning that is nihilistic [in tone]. It is

jarring to hear the word "destructive" used with regard to literature,

which apparently you are able to see -- or are compelled to see -- as

completely a part of this nihlism.



Heidegger: Let me say that the literature I have in mind is not

nihilistic in the sense that I give to that word.



SPIEGEL: Obviously, you see a world movement -- this is the way you,

too, have expressed it -- that either is bringing about an absolutely

technical state or has done so already.



Heidegger: That's right.



SPIEGEL: Fine. Now the question naturally arises: Can the individual man

in any way still influence this web of fateful circumstance? Or, indeed,

can philosophy influence it? Or can both together influence it, insofar

as philosophy guides the individual, or several individuals, to a

determined action?



Heidegger: If I may answer briefly, and perhaps clumsily, but after long

reflection: philosophy will be unable to effect any immediate change in

the current state of the world. This is true not only of philosophy but

of all purely human reflection and endeavour. Only a god can save us. The

only possibility available to us is that by thinking and poetizing we

prepare a readiness for the appearance of a god, or for the absence of a

god in [our] decline, insofar as in view of the absent god we are in a

state of decline
.^27



SPIEGEL: Is there a correlation between your thinking and the emergence

of this god? Is there here in your view a causal connection? Do you feel

that we can bring a god forth by our thinking?



Heidegger: We can not bring him forth by our thinking. At best we can

awaken a readiness to wait [for him].



SPIEGEL: But can we help?



Heidegger: The first help might be the readying of this readiness. It is

not through man that the world can be what it is and how it is -- but

also not without man. In my view, this goes together with the fact that

what I call "Being" (that long traditional, highly ambiguous, now

worn-out word) has need of man in order that its revelation, its

appearance as truth, and its [various] forms may come to pass. The

essence of technicity I see in what I call "pos-ure" (Ge-Sull), an often

ridiculed and perhaps awkward expression.^28 To say that pos-ure holds

sway means that man is posed, enjoined and challenged by a power that

becomes manifest in the essence of technicity -- a power that man

himself does not control. Thought asks no more than this: that it help

us achieve this insight. Philosophy is at an end
.



SPIEGEL: Yet, nonetheless, in former times (and not only in former

times) philosophy was thought to accomplish a great deal indirectly --

directly only seldom -- but was able indirectly to do much, to help new

currents break through. If we think only of the great names of German

thought, like Kant and Hegel down through Nietzsche (not to mention

Marx), it can be shown that in roundabout ways philosophy has had a

tremendous effect. Do you mean now that this effectiveness of philosophy

is at an end? And if you say that the old philosophy is dead -- that

there is no such thing any more, do you also include the thought that

this effectiveness of philosophy, if it was ever there in the past, is

in our day, at least, no longer there?



Heidegger: A mediated effectiveness is possible through another [kind

of] thinking, but no direct one -- in the sense that thought will change

the world in any causal way, so to speak.



SPIEGEL: Excuse me, we do not wish to philosophize -- we are not up to

that -- but we have here the point of contact between politics and

philosophy. That is why you notice that we are drawn into a dialogue of

this kind. You have just said that philosophy and the individual would

be able to do nothing but...



Heidegger: . . . .but make ready for this readiness of holding oneself

open for the arrival, or for the absence, of a god. Even the experience

of this absence is not nothing, but a liberation of man from what in

/Being and Time/ I call "fallenness" upon beings.^29 Making [ourselves]

ready for the aforementioned readiness involves reflecting on what in

our own day. . .is.



SPIEGEL: But for this we still would need, in fact, the well-known

stimulus from outside -- a god or someone else. Hence, [we are asking:]

cannot thought, relying completely on its own resources, have a greater

impact today? There was a time when it had an impact -- [at least] so

thought the contemporaries then, and many of us, I suspect, think so too.



Heidegger: But not immediately.



SPIEGEL: We just mentioned Kant, Hegel and Marx as men who moved [the

world]. But even from a Leibniz came stimuli for the development of

modern physics and consequently for the emergence of the modern world as

such. We believe you said a moment ago that you no longer take account

of efficacy of this kind.



Heidegger: Not in the sense of philosophy -- not any more.^30 The role

of philosophy in the past has been taken ever today by the sciences. For

a satisfactory clarification of the "efficacy" of [philosophical]

thinking we would have to analyze in greater depth what in this case

"efficacy" and "having an effect" can mean. Here we would need

fundamental distinctions bctwen"occasion," "stimulus," "challenge,"

"assistance," "hinderancc" and "cooperation," once we have sufficiently

analyzed the "principle of ground ['sufficient reason']." Philosophy

[today] dissolves into individual sciences: psychology, logic, political

science.



SPIEGEL: And what now takes the place of philosophy?



Heidegger: Cybernetics
.



SPIEGEL: Or the pious [one] that holds himself open.^31



Heidegger: But that is no longer philosophy.^32



SPIEGEL: What is it then?



Heidegger: I call it another [kind of] thinking.



SPIEGEL: You call it another [kind of] thinking. Would you please

formulate that a bit more clearly?



Heidegger: Are you thinking of the sentence with which I closed my

lecture, "The Question of Technicity": "Questioning is the piety of

thought"?



SPIEGEL: We found a phrase in your Nietzsche courses that was

illuminating. You say there: "Because philosophical thinking takes place

within the strictest possible bounds, all great thinkers think the same

[thing]. But this same [thing] is so essential and rich that no

individual ever exhausts it, but rather each [individual] only binds

other individuals [to it] the more rigorously." But indeed it is

precisely this philosophical edifice that in your opinon apparently has

reached a certain termination,



Heidegger: It has reached its term. But it has not become for us

[simply] nothing -- rather, precisely through dialogue it has become

newly present again. My entire work in courses and seminars over the

past 30 years was, in the main, only an interpretation of Western

philosophy. The return to the historical foundations of thought, the

thinking through of those questions that since Greek philosophy still go

unasked -- this is no abandonment of the tradition. What I do say is

this: the manner of thinking of traditional metaphysics that reached its

term with Nietzsche offers no further possibility of experiencing in

thought the fundamental thrust of the age of technicity that is just

beginning.



SPIEGEL: About two years ago in an exchange with a Buddhist monk, you

spoke of "a completely new method of thinking" and said that this new

method of thinking is, "at first, possible for but few men to achieve."

Did you mean to say by this that only very few people can have the

insights that in your opinion are possible and necessary?



Heidegger: [Yes, if you take] "have" in the completely original sense

that they are able in a certain way to give utterance to [these insights].



SPIEGEL: Fine but the transmission [of these insights] into

actualization you did not make apparent even in this dialogue with the

Buddhist.



Heidegger: And I cannot make it apparent. I know nothing about how this

thought has an "effect." It may be, too, that the way of thought today

may lead one to remain silent in order to protect this thought from

becoming cheapened within a year. It may also be that it needs 300 years

in order to have an "effect."



SPIEGEL: We understand very well. However, since we do not live 300

years hence but here and now, silence is denied us. The rest of us --

politicians, half-politicians, citizens, journalists, etc. -- must

constantly make decisions. We must adapt ourselves to the system in

which we live, must seek to change it, must scout out the narrow

openings that may lead to reform, and the still narrower openings that

may lead to revolution. We expect help from philosophers, even if only

indirect help -- help in roundabout ways. And now we hear only: I cannot

help you.



Heidegger: Well, I can't.



SPIEGEL: That must discourage the nonphilosopher.



Heidegger: I cannot [help you], because the questions are so difficult

that it would run counter to the sense of this task of thinking to

suddenly step out in public in order to preach and dispense moral

censures. Perhaps we may venture to put it this way: to the mystery of

the planetary domination of the un-thought esssence of technicity

corresponds the tentative, unassuming character of thought that strives

to ponder this unthought [essence].



SPIEGEL: You do not count yourself among those who, if they would only

be heard, could point out a way?



Heidegger: No! I know of no way to change the present state of the world

immediately, [even] assuming that such a thing be at all humanly

possible. But it seems to me that the thinking that I attempt might be

able to awaken, clarify, and confirm [a] readiness [for the appearance

of'a god] that I have mentioned already.



SPIEGEL: A clear answer! But can -- and may -- a thinker say: [214] just

wait -- we will think of something within 300 years?



Heidegger: It is not simply a matter of just waiting until something

occurs to man within 300 years, but rather to think forward without

prophetic claims into the coming time in terms of the fundamental thrust

of our present age that has hardly been thought through [at all].

Thinking is not inactivity, but is itself by its very nature an

engagement that stands in dialogue with the epochal moment of the world.

It seems to me that the distinction between theory and practice comes

from metaphysics, and the conception of a transmission between these two

blocks the way to insight into what I understand by thinking. Perhaps I

may refer to my lectures under the title, "/What is Called Thinking?/"

that appeared in 1954.^33 Maybe this, too, is a sign of our time, that

of all my publications, this is the least read.



SPIEGEL: Let us return to where we began. Would it not be thinkable that

we see National Socialism, on the one hand, as the actualization of this

"planetary encounter" and, on the other, as the last, worst, strongest

and, at the same time, weakest protest against this encounter between

"planetary technicity" and modern man? Obviously you have in your person

a [certain] polarity that brings it about that many by-products of your

activity are to be explained properly only by the fact that different

sides of your nature (that do not touch your philosophical core) cling

to many things that as a philosopher you know have no firm base -- for

example, concepts such as "home," "rootedness" and the like. How do

these things go together: planetary technicity and home?



Heidegger: I do not agree. It seems to me that you take technicity in

much too absolute [a sense]. I see the situation of man in the world of

planetary technicity not as an inextricable and inescapable destiny, but

I see the task of thought precisely in this, that within its own limits

it helps man as such achieve a satisfactory relationship to the essence

of technicity. National Socialism did indeed go in this direction. Those

people, however, were far too poorly equipped for thought to arrive at a

really explicit relationship to what is happening today and has been

underway for the past 300 years.



SPIEGEL: Do the Americans today have this explicit relationship?



Heidegger: They do not have it either. They are still caught up in a

thought that, under the guise of pragmatism, facilitates the technical

operation and manipulation [of things], but at the same time blocks the

way to reflection upon the genuine nature of modern technicity. At the

same time, here and there in the USA attempts are being made to become

free from pragmatic-positivistic thinking. And who of us would be in a

position to decide whether or not one day in Russia or China very old

traditions of "thought" may awaken that will help make possible for man

a free relationship to the technical world?



SPIEGEL: [But], if none of them has this relationship [now], and the

philosopher is unable to give it to them. . . .



Heidegger: How far I come with my own effort at thought and in what way

it will be received in the future and fruitfully transformed -- this is

not for me to decide. In a special lecture on the occasion of the

jubilee of the University of Freiburg in 1957, under the title, "The

Principle of Identity,"^34 I finally ventured to show in a few steps of

thought to what extent there is opened up for man in the age of

technicity (insofar as we thoughtfully experience what the genuine

nature of technicity is based upon) the possibility of experiencing a

relationship to an appeal to which he is not only able to attend but of

which he is much rather himself an attendant. My thought stands in an

unavoidable relationship to the poetry of Hölderlin. I consider

Hölderlin not [just] one poet among others whose work the historians of

literature may take as a theme [for study]. For me, Höderlin is the poet

who points into the future, who waits for a god, and who, consequently,

should not remain merely an object of research according to the canons

of literary history.



SPIEGEL: Apropos of Hölderlin -- we apologize for having to quote again:

in your Nietzsche courses you said that "the varied conflict we know

between the Dionysian and the Apollonian, between holy passion and sober

exposition, is a hidden law of style of the historical determination of

the German [people], and one day must find us ready and prepared for it

to take its form. This antithesis is not [just] a formula with the help

of which we may only describe [our] 'culture.' With this conflict,

Holderlin and Nietzsche have set a question mark in front of the task of

Germans to find their essence in an historical way. Will we understand

the [question] mark? One thing is certain, history will take its revenge

upon us if we do not understand it." We do not know in which year you

wrote that, but we guess that it was in 1935.



Heidegger: Probably the citation belongs to the Nietzsche course, "The

Will-to-Powcr as Art," 1936-37.^35 It could date, however, from the

following years.



SPIEGEL: Well, could you please explain it? It leads us from the pathway

of the general to a concrete determination of the German [people].



Heidegger: The drift of the citation I could also put this way: my

conviction is that only in the same place where the modern technical

world took its origin can we also prepare a conversion (/Umkehr/) of it.

In other words, this cannot happen by taking over Zen-Buddhism or other

Eastern experiences of the world. [217] For this conversion of thought

we need the help of the European tradition and a new appropriation of

it. Thought will be transformed only through thought that has the same

origin and determination.



SPIEGEL: You mean, in the same place where the technical world took its

origin it also must. . . .



Heidegger: . . .be sublated (/aufgehoben/) in the Hegelian sense -- not

set aside but sublated, though not through man alone.^36



SPIEGEL: You attribute to the Germans a special task?



Heidegger: Yes, in the sense explained in the dialogues with Hölderlin.



SPIEGEL: Do you believe that Germans have a special qualification for

this conversion?



Heidegger: I am thinking of the special inner kinship between the German

language and the language of the Greeks and their thought. This is

something that the French confirm for me again and again today. When

they begin to think, they speak German. They assure [me] that they do

not succeed with their own language.



SPIEGEL: Is that how you explain the fact that in the countries of

romance languages, especially among the French, you have had such a

strong influence?



Heidegger: [It is] because they see that despite all of their great

rationality they no longer make a go of it in today's world when it

comes to an issue of understanding this world in the origin of its

essence. One can no more translate thought than one can translate a

poem. At best, one can paraphrase it. As soon as one attempts a literal

translation, everything is transformed.



SPIEGEL: A disturbing thought.



Heidegger: It would be good if this disturbance were taken seriously in

good measure, and people finally gave some thought to what a portentous

transformation Greek thought underwent by translation into the Latin of

Rome, an event that even today prevents an adequate reflection upon the

fundamental words of Greek thought.



SPIEGEL: Professor, for our part we would like to maintain our optimism

that something can be communicated and even translated, for if we should

cease to hope that the content of thought can be communicated, even

beyond language barriers, then we are left with the threat of

provincialism.



Heidegger: Would you characterize Greek thought in distinction from the

conceptual style of the Roman Empire as "provincial?" Business letters

can be translated into all languages. The sciences, i.e., even for us

today the natural sciences (with mathematical physics as the fundamental

science), are translatable into all the languages of the world -- or, to

be exact, they are not translated but the same mathematical language is

spoken [universally]. [But] we touch here a broad field that is

difficult to cover.



SPIEGEL: Perhaps this is another version of the same theme: at the

moment it is no exaggeration [to say that] we have a crisis of the

democratic-parliamentary system. We have had it for a long time. We have

it especially in Germany, but not in Germany alone. We have it also in

the classical lands of democracy like England and America. In France, it

is hardly any longer a crisis. The question, then, is this: isn't it

possible, after all, that suggestions come from the thinkers (if only as

a by-product) either as to how this system may be replaced by a new one

and what a new one would look like, or that reform must be possible --

together with some indication as to how this reform could be possible.

Otherwise, we are left in a situation where the man who is

philosophically untutored -- and normally this will be one who holds

things in his hands (though he does not determine them) and who is

himself in the hands of things -- we are left in a situation [I say]

where such a man arrives at false conclusions, perhaps at frightful

short-circuits [of thought]. Therefore, ought not the philosopher be

ready [219] to formulate thoughts as to how men may arrange their

relations with other men in this world that they themselves have

technologized, that perhaps has overwhelmed them? And does he not betray

a part, albeit a small part, of his profession and his vocation if he

has nothing to say to his fellow men?



Heidegger: As far as I can see, an individual [thinker] is not in a

position by reason of his thought to see through the world as a whole in

such fashion as to be able to offer practical advice, and this, indeed,

in view of the fact that his first task is to find a basis for thinking

itself. For as long as thought takes itself seriously in terms of the

great tradition, it is asking too much of thought for it to be committed

to offering advice in this way. By what authority could this come about?

In the domain of thinking there are no authoritative statements. The

only measure for thought comes from the thing itself to be thought. But

this is, above all, the [eminently] Questionable. In order to give some

insight into the "content" of such thought, it would be necessary to

analyze the relationship between philosophy and the sciences, whose

technical-practical accomplishments make thought in the philosophical

sense seem more and more superfluous. Thus it happens that corresponding

to the predicament that thought faces by reason of its own proper task

there is an estrangement with regard to thought nourished by the

powerful place of the sciences [in our culture]. [That is why] thought

is forced to renounce an answer to questions of the day concerning

practical matters of /Weltanschauung/. . . .



SPIEGEL: Professor, in the domain of thought there are no authoritative

statements. Likewise, it is surely not surprising that modern art, too,

has difficulty in making authoritative statements. And yet you call it

"destructive." Modern art understands itself often as experimental art.

Its works are attempts. . . .



Heidegger: I am glad to be instructed.



SPIEGEL: . . .Attempts within a situation where man and the artist are

isolated, and [yet] among a hundred efforts every now and again one

succeeds.



Heidegger: This is indeed the question: where does art stand? What place

does it have?



SPIEGEL: All right, but there you demand something from art that you no

longer demand from thought.



Heidegger: I demand nothing from art. I say only that it is a question

as to what place it occupies.



SPIEGEL: If art does not know its place, is it therefore destructive?



Heidegger: All right, cross the word out. I would like to observe,

however, that I do not see anything about modern art that points out a

way [for us]. Moreover, it remains obscure as to how art sees the

specific character of art, or at least looks for it.



SPIEGEL: The artist, too, finds nothing in what is handed down to bind

him. He can find it beautiful and say: Yes, this is the way someone

could paint 600 years ago, or even 30 years ago, but he himself can do

it no longer. Even if he wanted to, he could not do it. [If that were

possible,] then the greatest artist would be an ingenious imposter

[like] Hans van Meegeren, who could paint "better" than [his

contemporaries]. But this sort of thing does not work anymore. Thus the

artist, the writer, the poet are in a situation similar to that of the

thinker. How often must we then say: close your eyes.



Heidegger: If we take as framework for the correlation of art, poetry

and philosophy the "culture business" -- then the comparison you make is

valid. But if not only the "business" character is open to question but

also the meaning of "culture," then reflection upon such questionable

matters falls, too, within the area of responsibility of thought, whose

own distressed condition is not easily thought through. But the greatest

need of thought consists in this, that today, so far as I can see, there

is still no thinker speaking who is "great" enough to bring thought

immediately and in clearly defined form before the heart of the matter

[/seine Sache/] and thereby [set it] on its way. For us today, the

greatness of what is to be thought is [all] too great. Perhaps the best

we can do is strive to break a passage through it -- along narrow paths

that do not stretch too far.



SPIEGEL: Professor Heidegger, thank you for this interview.




Translated by William J. Richardson, S.J.

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PostSubject: Re: Only a God Can Save Us   Wed 29 Jun 2011, 1:03 pm

Really WONDERFUL.

I am in love Wink

Next stop for me is "Holderlin"'s works; perhaps there are some answers there!
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PostSubject: Re: Only a God Can Save Us   Thu 30 Jun 2011, 12:24 am

I've gone back and bolded the most relevant material, as much of the early part of the article clarifies Heidegger's involvement in the Nazi party.

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PostSubject: Re: Only a God Can Save Us   Fri 01 Jul 2011, 1:00 am

C1 wrote:
SPIEGEL: And what now takes the place of philosophy?

Heidegger: Cybernetics
.
This is very significant. Here we have a notably thinker, philosopher, author and academic acknowledging in 1966 that the world has already transitioned away from philosophy (some system of logical thought) to a system of systematic force through science. Both systems, philosophy and cybernetics, are employed to manipulate the public via deception, but cybernetics is more complex, subtle and infinitely more difficult to uncover and defeat.

Heidegger goes on to say a new type of thinking is req'd. I believe he is referring to systems thinking, which is req'd in order to understand Cybernetics and its impact. But unfortunately, Heidegger seems to also realise that there is no way to defeat such a omnipotent but subtle systems of forces. Hence, I believe this is the reason he concludes that our only hope is to ready ourselves for God.

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PostSubject: Re: Only a God Can Save Us   Sun 03 Jul 2011, 8:48 pm

C1 wrote:
Heidegger: Everything is functioning. That is precisely what is awesome,

that everything functions, that the functioning propels everything more

and more toward further functioning, and that technicity increasingly

dislodges man and uproots him from the earth. I don't know if you were

shocked, but [certainly] I was shocked when a short time ago I saw the

pictures of the earth taken from the moon. We do not need atomic bombs

at all [to uproot us] -- the uprooting of man is already here. All our

relationships have become merely technical ones. It is no longer upon an

earth that man lives today.
Recently I had a long [209] dialogue in

Provence with Rene Char -- a poet and resistance fighter, as you know.

In Provence now, launch pads are being built and the countryside laid

waste in unimaginable fashion. This poet, who certainly is open to no

suspicion of sentimentality or of glorifying the idyllic, said to me

that the uprooting of man that is now taking place is the end [of

everything human], unless thinking and poetizing once again regain

[their] nonviolent power.

And this is also very significant, as Heidegger is discussing "technicity' and how it's separated man from direct relations with the earth. (natural life)....and that "the uprooting of man is now taking place is the end of everthing unless thinking and poetizing once again regain their nonviolent power."

We must regain our connect to the Earth, to Wisdom, otherwise we stem to lose everything to a post human world.

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