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DER SPIEGEL INTERVIEW WITH MARTIN HEIDEGGER


of human action, or whether the decisive action is not "poetizing and thinking,” despite all heretical misuse of this phrase.

S: It is conspicuous that humans never master their own tools; think of "The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.” Is it not somewhat pessimistic to say that we will not be able to manage this certainly much greater tool of modern technology?

H: Pessimism, no. Pessimism and optimism are positions that do not go far enough in the domain of the reflection currently being attempted. Above all, modern technology is not a "tool,” and no longer has anything to do with tools.

S: Why should we be so thoroughly overpowered by technology?

H: I do not say overpowered. I say that we do not yet have a path that corresponds to the essence of technology.

S: One could counter completely naively: What is to be overcome here? Everything is functioning. More and more power plants are being built. People are hard at work producing. People in the highly technologized parts of the world are well provided for. We live in prosperity. What is actually missing here?

H: Everything is functioning. That is precisely what is strange [unhetmiich], that it is functioning and that the functioning always [670] drives to further functioning, and that technology increasingly tears humans away from the earth and uproots them. I do not know if you were alarmed, but I was just recently alarmed when 1 saw the pictures of the earth taken from the moon. We do not need an atomic bomb at all; the uprooting of humans has already taken place. We only have purely technological relationships anymore. This is no longer earth, on which humans live today. As you know, I recently had a long conversation in Provence with René Char, the poet and resistance fighter. They are building rocket bases in Provence, and the countryside is being devastated in an incredible way. This poet—who could certainly not be suspected of sentimentality or of glorifying the idyllic—told me that the uprooting of the human that is taking place there will be the end, unless poetry and thought reach a position of power without violence.

S: Well, we have to say that—although we prefer to be here, and will probably not have to leave in our lifetimes—who knows if humans are determined to be on this earth? It would be unthinkable for humans not to have any determination at all. But it could, after all, be seen as one possibility for humans that they reach out from this earth toward other planets. This will not occur for a long time, of course. But where is it written that they have their place here?

H: As far as my own orientation goes, in any case: I know that, according to our human experience and history, everything essential and great has arisen solely out of the fact that humans had a home and were rooted in a tradition. Contemporary literature, for example, is largely destructive.

S: The word "destructive” is bothersome in this case, especially since the word "nihilistic” has received a comprehensive context of meaning through you and your philosophy. [671] It is jarring to hear the word “destructive” applied to


Martin Heidegger - Heidegger Reader