Ontological difference and political philosophy

Reiner Schürmann

Oute archein oute archesthai ethelo.
I wish neither to govern nor to be governed.
—Othanes, as quoted by Herodotus

In what follows I should like to point to some consequences of Heidegger's understanding of the ontological difference. Ultimately these consequences are of a practical and political order. The present paper will be limited to suggesting what kind of middle term, what "missing link," can coherently be established between Heidegger's treatment of the question of Being and a political philosophy. An outline of the more precise categories of action that result from such a reexamination of the ontological difference has been suggested elsewhere.1

It is to the clarification of the nature of such a missing link that this paper wants to contribute. To do so, it will start from a reflection on symbols. Why this preference? Symbols constitute that area of reality whose understanding requires a certain way of existing. To grasp the full meaning of a symbol a certain practice is required. Unless one plunges into the waters, jumps through the flames etc., the rejuvenating, purifying, initiatory effects attached to these symbols will not be comprehended. It is out of the question to treat any particular symbolism here; rather it will be shown how the practical a priori at work in the understanding of symbols provides a clue for the elaboration of categories of action in accordance with Heidegger's nonmetaphysical version of the ontological difference. Of the two versions of the ontological difference, metaphysical and phenomenological, only the latter allows for an adequate understanding of the referential character of symbols (in symbols a first, apparent meaning refers to a second, hidden meaning which is explored through practice). Symbols will appear to be paradigmatic for the phenomenological reformulation of the ontological difference; insofar as in Heidegger the ontological difference, in order to be thought of, requires a certain practice, that is, a certain way of existing, I shall speak of the symbolic difference. The missing link between Heidegger's treatment of the question of Being and a political philosophy derived from it, I shall claim, is the "symbolic difference."2

The reciprocity between existence and thought is already present in Being and Time; it becomes explicit, however, only in Heidegger's later writings. There is, of course, some irony in wanting to develop a foundation of practical philosophy from Heidegger, who is probably the most unpolitical of all philosophers. Even more, the destruction of metaphysics ruins the very foundations upon which practical philosophy would traditionally be erected. Heidegger refrained from developing his political thinking beyond a few hints here and there in his works; this is probably due to several, and complex, reasons. At any rate, in his project of raising anew the question of Being for itself and out of itself Heidegger henceforth deprives practical philosophy of its metaphysical ground and at the same time suggests only by implication from what new grounds action might become thinkable. In order to integrate his suggestions into a theory I shall first show in what sense symbolic data are, by their very nature, understandable only through practice. Then I shall present an amphibology in the phenomenon of origin and thus substantiate what will be called the symbolic difference. Finally this latter concept will be verified on a broader scale out of some of Heidegger's remarks on language.

I. Understanding Symbols Through Practice

If we take a step backwards to the origin, both in the etymological and the ontological sense, of the symbol, it will appear that, because of the particular ontological locus of the symbol, such a step from interpretation to foundation has consequences for the relation between the philosophy of Being and human action. This does not mean yet another attempt to derive 'ought' from 'is'—an enterprise which, after all, has had its time (exactly one hundred and forty years in the history of philosophy: from Kant's Critique of Practical Reason to Heidegger's Being and Time). Rather such a step back will reveal the two aspects of symbols necessary for the rethinking of political action after Heidegger's destruction of metaphysics. On the one hand symbols unite being and language in a peculiar way, they are things interpreted; thus they constitute that area of reality in which the question of the origin of being and speech arises explicitly and for its own sake. In other words, they require that we think the ontological difference. On the other hand the origin so uncovered addresses itself to human practice as much as to thought. Those phenomena in which a manifest meaning points towards a hidden meaning and which therefore require interpretation, thematize explicitly the concealed presence of what the tradition calls being in beings. But the inability of the doctrines of being, that is, of metaphysical ontologies, to think of Being otherwise than in causal schemes also makes them unable to recognize the paradigmatic nature of the ontological structure of symbols and consequently to acknowledge the practical dimension that the hermeneutics of symbolic data introduces into the question of Being. Symbols gather people together for some kind of activity. As the "second sense" becomes uncovered through practice, (for instance through labor, celebration, accusation and penance, combat, etc.), each group of constituted symbolisms, each symbol even, incites a specific behavior. By this incitive nature the recognition of full symbolic meaning founds specific actions for each given symbol. Action, though, is here not only a consequence of understanding, but also its condition. To be understood the full meaning of a symbol already requires an attitude and a way of action. I shall call symbolic difference that form of the ontological difference in which Being appears as requiring a certain attitude from thinking, that is, from existence, in order to be understood.

It is this reciprocity between ontology and practice which will open an alternative approach to political philosophy. Heidegger's attempts at reformulating the ground for action—scarce though they are in his writings—are indebted to a tradition that runs parallel to, while hardly encountering, the Aristotelian and Anglo-Saxon interest in the organization and well-being of the polity. To suggest such an alternative to the predominant approach to human action does not necessarily lead to apolitical solipsism. Quite the contrary. This alternate tradition of political thinking has other objectives, other ideas about life in community. The reciprocity between ontology and practice was already at the core of Meister Eckhart's teaching: "He who wants to understand my teaching of detachment must himself be perfectly detached."3 In order to think Being as releasement one has to be perfectly released oneself.4 This is one way to articulate the practical requirements that Being exacts when it shows itself to thought as the "second sense" symbolized by beings. Another way, still in the same tradition, consists in saying: "The task is to live in such a way that you must want to live again—you will anyway."5 Meister Eckhart's doctrine of releasement and Nietzsche's doctrine of the Eternal Recurrence of the Same suggest the abolition of teleology in action; they recommend action "without why," without end, or purpose. In this tradition the paradigm of action is play. The hermeneutics of symbols engages upon a similar path.

The interpretation of symbols calls for a rethinking of the ontological difference. Although Heidegger mentions the title "ontological difference" more and more rarely, the relation between Being and beings, that is, phenomenology as the science of the Being of beings, remains the sole subject matter of his thinking. This relation is reconsidered at several stages throughout his writings: after the 'turn' the question of Being is no longer worked out by "making one being—that which raises the question—transparent in its own being," but "without regard for a foundation of Being out of beings."6 If the title "phenomenology," too, disappears in the later writings, this does not indicate a shift in Heidegger's attitude. Rather than negating phenomenology, he sees it as so closely linked to the elaboration of the question of Being that the title becomes superfluous (and misleading if it is understood simply as the examination of the structure of consciousness as well as of its experiences and contents). "Whence and how is it determined what must be experienced as 'the things themselves' in accordance with the principle of phenomenology? Is it consciousness and its objectivity or is it the Being of beings in its unconcealedness and concealment?"7

It is only from the way in which the question of Being is dealt with in the later writings, though, that a philosophy of human practice becomes thinkable out of the ontological difference. In these writings the Difference is precisely thought of in such a way that the understanding of Being results from a certain attitude in thinking and existing. However cryptic Heidegger's essays on language may be, they are the texts from which a new determination of action is possible. It is true that for him theories of the symbol pertain to, and indicate, late forms of representational thinking. Also, in order to think the essence of Being and the essence of language as one, Heidegger never speaks of the phenomenological difference, as we shall do. Our concept of symbolic difference applies not to practical philosophy immediately, but to the foundation of practical philosophy: it is in raising the question of foundations that one is most faithful to Heidegger. Our concept wants to situate human action in relation to ontology: it is neither Being nor beings that make man act, but a certain way in which Being appears different from beings. The symbolic difference is a modality of the ontological difference; in it to on neither founds ta onta nor merely presents them to thought, but makes itself known through a particular kind of human doing.

One difficulty in this reflection stems from the seeming heterogeneity of types of discourse that it brings together. The status of practical philosophy is ontic whereas that of the Difference is ontologic. But what we want to understand is precisely the ontological rooting of human action. Moreover "practice" will have to be understood in a very broad sense as joining thought and existence: "Thinking changes the world," Heidegger writes.8 In the aftermath of the Heideggerian dismantlement of metaphysical constructions, a new approach to the foundation of political action is wanting. Political philosophy, the way the West has learned it from the Greeks, has been made impossible by Heidegger. With Heidegger's subversion of the arche, i.e., of governance and domination, life in the community appears as literally anarchic. Where, then, does ontology encounter the origin otherwise than as arche? In symbols. This privileged position of the symbolic realm has been described and justified in detail by Paul Ricoeur. Still, Ricoeur remains more interested in the properly hermeneutic dimension of the symbol, and lately of the metaphor, than in an ontological grounding of human practice that results from its interpretation. Such a grounding would appear to him as the "short route" towards a recollection of Being, whereas the strict pursuit of the hermeneutical disciplines alone takes the "long route"9 through linguistic and semantic considerations. So, the matter developed here—the interpretation of symbols as the middle term that links the philosophy of the ontological difference to political philosophy—seems novel to me. No critic of hermeneutical training will take offense that the guiding question, How do Being and language originally appear to thought if the starting point for their examination is symbolic speech and action?, introduces the mind into a circle which produces the answer: To understand Being and language out of the symbol results in an originary action which is anarchic, without principle and purpose.

II. Not One Origin, Two

Etymologically "symbol" indicates an operation of joining together. Symbolon designated a Greek object of recognition, initially a simple clay tablet broken into two, the halves of which were kept by the partners of a business transaction. To prove that an agreement had been concluded or hospitality offered (tessera hospitalis) the two shards only needed to be "joined together" (symballein literally means "throwing together"). This would reenact the former relationship. The symbol thus realized the link or unity between two people that it signified. It is in this literal sense that I use the adjective "symbolic." In Aristotelian terminology the same type of unity would be called "energetic." It so happens that this primitive meaning of the verb symballein suggests some decisive elements that will lead to a political philosophy as I have started to describe it: 1) A symbol is ordered towards some kind of oneness. By this active reunification which is the practical recovery of its origin, the symbol differs from all conventional signs whose meanings, because they are artificially added to some preexisting speech element, do not affect existence. 2) Grammatically symballein is a verb, not a noun or a proposition. By that the symbol differs from a myth—a story, or at least a sentence—whose element it may become. 3) The restitution of oneness, that is, the full grasp of what is symbolized, does not abolish the symbol. Thus it differs from rhetorical artifices by which one thing is told to suggest another that remains deliberately untold. In an allegory once the signified is grasped the signifier abolishes itself, but in a symbol the signified is not dissociable from the signifier. This continuity of meaning has made the symbol available to metaphysical and religous overdeterminations. 4) The full meaning of a symbol transcends its apparent meaning. But transcendence here is present in appearance. By such immanence the symbol differs from a metaphor which points beyond itself towards a meaning that it does not contain. 5) Both as a word and as an object the symbol 'is' what it signifies. It does not simply reflect oneness, it realizes it; a symbol is more than an image.

This list of five basic determinants—origin, process, subsistence, transcendence, and being—is traditional. It shows clearly an ambiguity in our claim that the symbolic data raise explicitly and for its own sake the question of the Difference between beings and their foundation or between language and its foundation. Indeed, what seems more tempting than to declare that the second sense of a symbol is its metaphysical ground? That is, what would be more tempting than to represent the Difference according to the old pattern of an analogy of being whereby the first, visible meaning of a symbol participates through deficient similarity and formal limitation in a second, invisible meaning which is also its ultimate cause? Such a construction relies on the principle of order, and it can be shown how this principle, transferred from Aristotle's Metaphysics to his Ethics and Politics, is at the bottom of the traditional Western representation of a polity. The ambiguity lies in the quest for foundation itself. This quest can be carried out through reference to a First (the substance, God, the Prince, the elected government) or through a phenomenological destruction (understood in the sense of Heidegger's plan for the unpublished part of Being and Time: "Basic Features of a Phenomenological Destruction of the History of Ontology According to the Guiding Thread of the Problematic of Temporality"). The latter considers less what this or that symbol signifies than that and how they signify. A metaphysical interpretation speculates about their content. For instance, the neo-Platonists thus speculated about the most appropriate divine names that they allowed to be inferred; today, such speculation is about the 'sacred.' The phenomenological interpretation, on the other hand, attempts to bring into sight their referential character as such. The metaphysical inquiry asks: How does the visible symbolize the invisible? The phenomenological inquiry asks: How do Being and language appear in the spread opened by symbolization? This step backwards from metaphysical to phenomenological foundation is thus a step into an understanding of Being, not as the supreme reason or ground of all that there is but as the opening within which manifestations of a symbolic kind are at all possible. Being is now the disclosedness, and in that sense the foundation, of the process of symbolization. Being lets symbols symbolize.

The same opposition between a metaphysic and a phenomenology of Being can be described by their respective understanding of the origin. Most symbolisms seem to speak of some primitive beginning of the world whose trace they preserve. When they are expanded into a myth the second sense that they suggest is often etiological: they relate how the gods made, visited, or saved the earth. Symbols constitute a metaphysically privileged domain of reality because they point to an ontotheological origin of things; they are, so to speak, the translucid, thinned out, spot in the fabric of the world through which its invisible cause shines forth as for the Stoics the cosmic fire shone forth through the holes in the sky which we call stars. The symbolic reality, in this perspective, produces by itself a certain understanding of the origin or the principle of the universe. Being as the metaphysical origin of the world is thus identical with the second sense to which symbols point. But to the phenomenological questioning of the difference between the apparent and the hidden sense the origin appears different from that which is symbolized. The origin is closer to us, not distant. It is present insofar as it opens the very realm of symbolic reference. The object symbolized, be it the highest conceivable, recedes behind the way symbolization occurs. So understood phenomenology does not encounter, to answer either in the affirmative or in the negative, the question of a supreme being to whose omnipresence (as Tillich and others argue) all symbols would testify

There are thus two ways to speak of the origin of the symbol. Metaphysically the origin is the principle and cause of all that appears; phenomenologically it is the very openness in which appearance occurs. A remark on the "long route" may localize this reduction more precisely. The dismantling of contents, which leads us to understand Being out of the process of symbolization and as its own origin, also constitutes the program of contemporary structuralist approaches to symbols and myths. The detour through linguistics and ethnology can rely on the human sciences insofar as these discover 'systems' of symbolisms, that is, a homogeneous plurality of elements which are related to each other and which form by their interactions an autonomous whole. Since their inner dependencies always follow the same simple rules, such systems can be discovered in very different cultures. Their elements, quantitatively limited and qualitatively stable, lend themselves to 'models' of interaction10 which may eventually lead to the reconstruction of an element that is missing in a given narration. Such invariable patterns are obtained at the cost of dispensing with the meaning, or the sense, that constitutes a symbol; thus they certainly disrupt any metaphysical construction of an origin of such meaning. Whether this formalization escapes metaphysical presuppositions altogether is however another question; quite the contrary appears to be the case when the formalized structure is described as if this were now the most real reality.11

For two reasons the formal structures of symbolism should be localized epistemologically halfway between a metaphysical and a phenomenological understanding of origin: with the former they share the pretense to an unhistorical, all-encompassing explanation out of one true reality (no longer an ontotheological reality, but still, at least so it seems, a maxime ens), and with the latter they share the dismantling of symbolic contents, ontic contents as Heidegger would say. In the phenomenological destruction—after the 'turn' Heidegger speaks rather of "overcoming metaphysics," but the matter remains the same—the decisive moment is the repetition, Wieder-holung, of the question of Being. This is not raised out of a representable meaning, i.e., out of the "second sense" in symbols, but out of their referential nature as such. This is what the destruction intends when it is carried into the symbolic field. Also it does not stop with a tableau of structural interactions between models but is carried further to eliminate the very question of a most real being from its method and to locate the question of Being within the referential nature itself. Being thus appears as coming to presence in the symbolic reference. Only such a continued interest in Being, but severed from myth and metaphysics by the discovery of structures, and such a continued dismantling of meaning, but replenished by the question of Being, will allow one to ground human action upon the symbolic difference. It is this concept of symbolic difference that has to be worked out now in order to understand why the phenomenology of symbols is the middle term or the "missing link" that permits one to ground a political philosophy on Heidegger's understanding of the ontological difference.

III. Ontological Difference and Symbolic Difference

The title "ontological difference" can be understood both metaphysically and phenomenologically. In either case it wants to answer the question, "What is Being?" If one asks in the traditional fashion what a being is "insofar" as it is, this way of questioning already contains the answer. The "insofar," inquantum, answers the question of Being by distinguishing between things and their fact of being (on and ousia, entia and entitas, or again das Seiende and Seiendheit). The ontological difference so understood is indeed the dominant theme in the history of philosophy. Metaphysical ontology questions the sensible substance, the thing that is present to our experience, and distinguishes in it elements of composition that make it be that particular being (act and potency, form and matter, etc.). The ontological difference, understood metaphysically, results from such composition: being, esse, is what makes a being, ens, be. Thus the metaphysical concept of composition introduces being, esse, for the sake of a coherent discourse about this or that being, ens. In these constructions, though, the science of being remains "sought for," as the declared purpose of metaphysics is to understand finite beings out of a most real and self-sufficient being. Thus the very starting point of metaphysical ontology, the sensible substance, is an act of "forgetfulness of Being."

Heidegger's first attempt at raising the question of Being anew takes its starting point not from the composite substance but from that being that raises the question of Being, that is, from human existence or being-there. The key experience of thought now is that beings be there in an open space which lets them appear to thought—the key experience is "that" beings are (hence the misleading title "existentialism") rather than "why" or "what" they are. The phenomenological, as opposed to ousiological, version of the ontological difference does not consider the sensible substance as the paradigm of Being. It does not ask which is the being, ens, that realizes being, esse, primarily and fully; it does not start from the multiple uses of the copula; Being is not construed as the ultimate ground of all that there is, rather being-there is the ground for appearance in a new sense: the ground that allows for an understanding of Being out of what shows itself to thought. The Difference now is a rift between being-there to which beings appear and Being that grants such appearance. Being lets beings appear to being-there. In this account the ontological difference has to be described as letting-be, granting, opening a clearing, and by related metaphors rather than in terms of causality. The goal of such an unlearning of metaphysical speculation is no longer to represent Being out of beings, but to think of it in its own truth. The truth of Being is the ontological difference so understood. To let beings appear to being-there is Being's essential, and historical, way of being. This approach is descriptive of the appearance of beings in being-there, and to that extent it remains phenomenological. It describes the truth of Being as this process of unconcealment.

Thus a new amphibology of Being manifests itself: the verb "to be" signifies both what makes beings be (their beingness, Seiendheit) and the truth or unconcealedness of the showing forth within being-there. The metaphysical sense of the Difference is integrated into the phenomenological sense when Heidegger speaks of "the difference between 'Being' as 'the being of beings,' and 'Being' in respect of its proper sense, that is, in respect of its truth (the clearing)."12 These lines speak of the same—the Difference—twice. Being understood through substantial composition is the "being of beings"; this is the first twoness (Zwiefalt). Being as essential appearance is the truth, or clearing, of the being of beings; this is the second twoness. The quote says the same twice; but the same which is said twice is not the identical. In the first difference being is thought of as constant presence and unshakable ground of beings; in the second difference Being is the presenting, the appearance of being to thought. Being in the first sense constitutes sense objects, and such constitution has been the leading concept of ontology since Aristotle. Being as unconcealment "constitutes" thinking, but this second kind of constitution, a gathering or coming together of Being and thinking, has been obfuscated by the traditional insistence upon object constitution. The two ways of understanding Being are collected into the Difference (capitalized) which thus indicates an equivocity of titles such as 'ground' and 'constitution': in their metaphysical usage these titles are terms, that is, they stop and fix the process of language for the sake of defining things; in their phenomenological usage they manifest the way in which things appear to thinking. Composition and substance on one hand, appearance and unconcealedness on the other introduce severalness into the very heart of our knowledge of Being. Ontology can be both ousiology and phenomenology. The latter does not abolish the former, but it displaces the question. It takes a step backwards to ask how Being comes to be understood as substance, that is, as the constant presence of what is present. This step backwards, which opens up the Difference, is not taken in order to better understand either beings or beingness; rather this is properly the step towards thinking Being itself. In Heidegger's later writings, when the question of Being is no longer the radicalization of a tendency inherent in existence but when the starting point is Being itself with regard to things present and to their presence, the 'destruction' of the metaphysical quest for a constant presence ceases to be simply a project and begins to be actually carried out. The true multifariousness of Being lies in its propensity to let itself be represented as the metaphysical difference between the composite and the cause of its composition, and to let itself be thought of as the difference between what appears and the event of unconcealment or appearance itself. The multifariousness that the Difference points to is not Aristotle's 'pollachos legetai,' said of the copula, but the severalness of beings, beingness and Being, that is, the multiplicity according to which beingness "makes" beings be and Being "lets" them appear. This Difference is the "handling over of presence which presencing delivers to what is present."13 The 'destruction' and the discovery of the severalness of Being that results from it also displace the quest for certainty: "Where certainty is all, only beings remain essential but no longer beingness (Sezendhezt), to say nothing of the clearing of beingness."14 The step backwards thus occurs in two heterogeneous moments: from beings to their beingness and then into Being itself. Or again, from what is present to its presence and then to the event of presencing itself. Or finally, in the language of On Time and Being, from what is 'present' (das Anwesende) to letting 'be-present' (Anwesenlassen) and then to 'letting-be' present (Anwesenlassen). This is not to be understood in the sense of a gradation towards an ever greater originality.15 Rather what is destined to us is manifold in its very origin.

The vocabulary that most appropriately suggests the severalness of Being as it results from the step backwards into the essence of metaphysics is perhaps the opposition between "making" and "letting." Both verbs indicate primarily an attitude of man. All making has a purpose. Every making and every doing, Aristotle says in the opening lines of the Nicomachean Ethics, aims at an end result different from itself. This idea of making, of production, can be seen as permeating all levels of metaphysics: the Good, in Plato, is said to "make" the universe; the active intellect in Aristotle, "makes" all things knowable, it produces intelligibles; Christian philosophy stands and falls with the idea of creation; Kant's transcendental critique begins with the wonderment at how reason can "produce" a priori syntheses; Hegel's World-Spirit is the very notion of fecundity ... In Heidegger's view this poietic essence of metaphysics is carried to the extreme and thus revealed by technology, where the identification between Being and making and between beings and being-made still goes unquestioned. The metaphysical difference is constructed according to the relation between producer and product, i.e., according to the pattern of causation. Calculative thinking which today "captivates, bewitches, dazzles, and beguiles man"16 suggests that—except for some rare historical figures that this is not the place to mention17—philosophers have represented Being out of the difference between making and being made, between cause and effect.

The ascendancy of the representation of causation over philosophy becomes questionable when the primary attitude of thought is "letting" rather than "making." This reversal most deeply affects the schemes of teleology: the beginning (efficient and material cause) and the end (formal and final cause) are no longer the most revelatory categories to describe a phenomenon. Whence and why, the questions of beginning and of purpose, recede behind the acknowledgement that there is being. I should like to suggest this shift in a more descriptive fashion. As the analysis of letting-be and of its consequences will mark the transition from the ontological to the symbolic difference, this step of reflection is crucial. The shift can be sketched in many ways, but the most appropriate seems to be the description of an experience directly opposed to that of making as well as to Whence and Why. This other experience is that of a path. Symbols, by the semantic structure derived from their double sense, precisely open a path to human existence by which their second, hidden meaning lets itself be explored out of their first, apparent meaning. Symbols put man on the road of a distinctive experience of Being. But there is no "end" to the peregrination imposed by a symbol upon its hearer.

To travel a road means first of all to leave one place in order to reach another. The wanderer experiences the succession of places and locations. The curious bystander who sees him pass and questions him about his ways will mostly be interested in the two extremes of his itinerary: Where does he come from, and where is he going? If the wayfarer answers these two questions with satisfactory precision his stopover is accepted. One will offer him lodgings and may recommend a shortcut or a means of transportation which will spare his strength and allow him to arrive at his destination safely and quickly. But if he travels without Whence and Whither, he is suspect. Curious consciousness has learned everything about a road when it is informed about its starting point, the traveler's wherefrom, and its end, his whereto. The succession of places, which is the road proper, is not considered for itself, but only for its usefulness in regard to whether it furthers or hinders the progress towards a destination. For curious consciousness a path appears as nothing more then the shortest passage between two geographical points; its ideal would be to accomplish the transition in zero time.

Such an understanding of the road results from an excessive preoccupation with Whence and Whither, that is, with Why. Where does the road come from, and where does it lead? The two questions arise from the same anxiousness, the desire for reasons. Why the path? Spontaneous consciousness, anxious as it is about causes and goals, does not see the path in itself. Just as there are words for general consumption—all words insofar as they vehiculate a sum of information and not as they symbolize a calling—thus there are also roads for general comsumption: all roads if they are comprehended out of provenance and attainment. The question arises whether Whence and Why are sufficient categories to yield a full understanding of the phenomenon of a path. There are experts in itinerancy whom we might question (Parsifal or Wilhelm Meister, "The Cherubinic Wanderer" or "The Winter Journey" . . .), but we can turn to ourselves. Indeed, already and always we are ourselves engaged upon a road. Where do we come from? Where do we go? Only if we unlearn to question peregrination in this fashion will it show its essence. Whence and Why conceal what peregrine existence knows. The condition for the path to show itself out of itself is to journey without a why and to let be whatever there is: to let be "the lime tree by the fountain at the gate," "the mooncast shadow, my companion," "the organgrinder beyond the village," to let "the wind play with the weathercock" and let "the crow fly hither and thither above my head" . . . (all quotes from Wilhelm Muller's The Winter Journey). A wanderer who has unlearned preoccupation with Whence and Why, who travels in releasement, experiences itinerancy in itself out of itself. His experience follows another 'method' (meta ton hodon, along the way) than knowledge through the causes. The attitude of letting, of letting-be, effects a translation from causal discourse into an existential course. Such abandonment to the path produces a convergence between the order of existing and the order of understanding.

The recognition of a human attitude as a condition for the understanding of Being, that is, the reciprocity between letting-be and thinking,18 has some consequence for the ontological difference. The foundation of a phenomenon is no longer extrinsic as in the metaphysical difference that results from composition, but is intrinsic. To say that in a phenomenon which is 'left' to itself the foundation appears as 'letting-be,' implies a particular kind of appearance; this is neither epiphany nor delusion, but the visibility of the visible itself. Letting-be or releasement is thus the phenomenological attitude. In a phenomenon understood through letting-be the foundation shows itself to be nothing other that letting-be, although not in the sense of a human posture. It is the depth of whatever shows itself to human releasement

It is essential for the establishment of the symbolic difference to see how letting-be or releasement grounds again the identity between Being and thinking. The specter of ontological monism that such a formulation implies has been dissipated above. The ontological difference, when it is thought of in a phenomenological fashion, reveals Being not as a selfsame universal, but as multifarious, as several. We spoke of the severalness of Being in On Time and Being. An analysis of what Heidegger calls the Geviert, the fourfold, would again illustrate the destruction of monism. If the decisive step in the questioning of Being is indeed that from 'making' to 'letting'—beingness 'makes' beings be (the metaphysical moment), and Being 'lets' beings appear (the phenomenological moment)—then releasement, or letting-be, turns from an attitude of man into the essence of Being. What seems to be a simple requirement for man to understand his world19 becomes the way of being of this world itself. A human way of being turns into Being's way of being. Releasement can be an attitude of man only because it is primarily the truth of Being. This reversal from a disposition of thinking into one of Being, the reversal from man's resoluteness into Being's "resolve," discovers beings themselves as showing forth "without why." This discovery of letting-be as the identical truth of thinking and of Being actually overcomes what in the history of metaphysics is called a philosophy of identity. Together with speculative monism this discovery also renders impossible the defense of any practical philosophy derived from such totalitarian monism. If positing is no longer the paradigmatic process of ontology, there are neither speculative positions for thinking left to hold nor any political positions that may ensue.

To formulate now what is meant by the symbolic difference we have to keep in mind what happens in reflecting on the path: at first sight the experience of the path in itself seems to be a simple prerequisite for seeing the things of our world better as they show forth, without reference to Whence or Why. The "without why" at first sight is an attitude, and so is itinerancy. But then Being appears to let beings be, and in a reversal "without why" becomes Being's own way of being. The same reversal affects itinerancy. We remember that a symbol, as the word suggests, unites actively, "throws together," a sign and what it signifies; it unites in an event the manifest and the hidden meaning in a symbolic action, object, or word. I call symbolic difference that way of being of Being itself by which it appears as actively enowning, "throwing together," the beings that it lets be. The ontological difference says how being shows itself to thought; the symbolic difference says how it calls upon existence and thought as upon its own. This calling pertains to the very structure of symbols: their second sense calls upon the interpreter and lets itself be explored by way of a renewed existence. The symbolic difference thus says more than the ontological difference, as it speaks of Being insofar as Being itself urges thought (that is, man) upon a more originary road. Neither the ontological difference nor the symbolic difference are speculative constructions for the sake of some theory of man, although each allocates to man his proper place: the Difference is the place where Being comes to rest and where man comes to himself. The essence of Being appropriates man just as the meaning symbolized by symbols makes man its own. In this sense Being is essentially peregrine. When Heidegger writes that Being leaves itself to thought, that it gives or grants itself, it is no longer man who is seen as committed upon a road. Being as the origin (oriri, to rise, to come forth) of appearance commits itself to a coming, and thus to becoming.

The difficulties that accompany such a rethinking of the ontological difference out of one highly revelatory domain of reality, the symbol, are numerous. They should however be seen in the light of Heidegger's own development. Indeed, what is here called the symbolic difference would have remained unthinkable without the temporalization of Being as undertaken first in Being and Time, then under the title of "history of Being," and finally with regard to language and its essentially historical way of speaking. It should be understood also that such a rethinking would have remained impossible without a reference, sometimes implicit, to Nietzsche's thought that "becoming must appear justified at every moment"20 as well as to Nietzsche's fellowship with Heraclitus.21

Before carrying this reflection into an examination of language as is now due, another trait of the political philosophy that results from the interpretation of symbols is to be retained: quite as the severalness of Being uproots rational certainty, so the peregrine essence of Being uproots practical security. The words seem to suggest this: the experience (Erfahrung) of such peregrination (Fahren) is full of peril (Gefahr). The groundwork for an alternative to organizational political philosophy will have to be so multifarious as to allow for an ever new response to the calling advent by which Being destabilizes familiar patterns of thinking and acting.

IV. The Symbolic Difference in Language

The phenomenological difference becomes thinkable only on the condition of a displacement of inquiry, that is, on the condition that philosophical reflection ceases to be primarily concerned with securing a most real reality, be that the sensible substance, the divine subject, or human subjectivity. If in place of substance, subject and subjectivity we turn our attention to language, this is not to proclaim yet another most real reality—the reassignment every other century of an ens realissimum will never allow for an overcoming of metaphysics. Rather language is that experience of ours which aims at nothing other than manifestation. Speaking is in its very essence phainesthai; it is nothing but showing. As such it provides natural moorage for the phenomenological difference. But what is closest to thought is also the hardest to think. Language is so close indeed to our very being that thinking has to search for a particular area of language in which its manifestative essence may become thinkable for its own sake. This privileged area is that of symbols. Since they are always, in one way or another, dependent upon interpretation, symbols are not only primarily phenomena of language, but they are also the primary phenomena of language.

The most extreme forms of manifestation through language are the most revelatory of what happens in speech as well as writing. We shall again remain decidedly descriptive and look at the case of a derided text in which some general features of language appear clearly. Language is Being that can be understood. Although language occurs originally as the spoken word, a written text provides easier access to the basic characteristics of language than does conversation. A text detaches language from its living process and makes it distinct; it makes it both removed from ourselves and more clearly seen. To narrow down the scope of inquiry still further we question an extremely simplified form of writing: brochures of cheap fiction for easy consumption as they are available at railway stations and similar places. What does language do in schmaltz? It captivates. The romance of hearts and flowers is accessible without much hermeneutic effort. It carries the reader into an illusory elsewhere which at the same time is the lightest to understand—lighter, precisely, than his own reality. As these texts assimilate us to their world, a peculiar kind of conformity, adaequatio, comes about. The illusion "works" because it develops a possibility of being in language, hence in the world, with the least amount of interpretive exaction. We have already understood the content of these brochures before reading the first line. The elsewhere that they propose is only the most familiar of fantasies—so familiar that their reading is actually unnecessary. The traveler in the train who nevertheless leafs through them is thus first of all neither with their heroes nor in a means of public transportation: he is first of all with himself in a mode determined by the words he looks at. Language establishes here a mode of being in the world that is simpler than one's own, and it tends to substitute itself for one's own. The roman du coeur is highly efficacious in momentarily reducing being in the world to utter simplicity. Language thus founds a way of existing. Fundamentally a great work of literature which leaves indelible traces in us does nothing different. In closing such a book one is no longer exactly what one was when opening it. Something similar may happen in conversation. Wherever it occurs, language performs a transformation of reality. The text interprets the reader, literally verifies him. Verum facere, to make true, appears to be an essential trait of language. A partner's distraction in dialogue is not only a discourtesy, it is an untruth. The truth is that man may hear, even that he cannot but hear. He cannot remain indifferent to language.

Words thus carry a claim, an urgency. Such a claim is altogether missed when they are reduced to their psychological impact. This results clearly from the case just described: in maudlin works the authorship does not count, and their understanding does not result from sympathy with the author's mind, as the Romantics would have it. But neither does the claim or address in language stem ultimately from the matter communicated. Not all subject-matters make existential demands. The character of appeal is rather a structural element of language itself. Language is naturally irresistible

The character of appeal is made explicit by and defines a particular region of language, that of symbols. In symbols a second sense calls upon the hearer who responds to it with renewed existence. Thus the symbols only make obvious what language does always and everywhere, even though it conceals its own clarity behind the sum of contents. This essence of language, the openness into which historical existence is called forth, is what a metaphysics of sign and signification cannot think. The essence of language as calling man over to itself remains occultated in metaphysics. To say that the semantic structure of symbols—a scission in meaning and a call to overcome this scission—is paradigmatic for all of language, is not to identify the essence of language with the full meaning, or the second sense, of symbols. What symbols symbolize is not the ontological essence of language, but ontic contents: freedom, rebirth, peace, brotherhood, purity, etc. In the hermeneutics of symbols the second sense is an object of knowledge; but in a phenomenology of language the unthought essence of speech and writing can never be represented as an object of cognition. In speech and writing the essence of language both manifests and hides itself, quite as the full meaning of symbols manifests and hides itself in the apparent meaning: water is more than itself, it "is" also the matrix of the universe, life-giving as well as destructive, producing a second birth or a second death, formless origin and return to formlessness, it purifies and regenerates and therefore "is" health, a new creation, another world. The second sense so uncovered requires interpretation and practice. Likewise speech and writing are more than themselves: they are vocal sounds and letters, phonemes and morphemes, but they also "are" the presencing of the essence of language which they conceal and reveal. Such an inner difference is constitutive of language as it is of symbols. In both of them the mode of signification, or the structure of revelation, is the same: the scission between the absence and presence of the origin, and the call to overcome this scission.

From such a reduction of language and Being to the same essence, that is, from the discovery of the origin which grants both, some consequences result. Firstly, "Being itself' is several, and so is language. Being lets beings be, and language lets words speak. The severalness of language appears in a regression similar to the one developed earlier (beings—beingness—Being): the reason of words is their meaning, just as the reason of beings is their beingness; and language lets words be grounded in meaning just as Being lets beings be grounded in beingness (words—meaning—language).

Secondly, the symballein, the peregrine "throwing together" which had appeared essential to the symbolic difference, now characterizes the Difference altogether, both in its ontological and its linguistic aspects. The origin that discloses and conceals itself in language, as it does in Being, puts man on the road. When thought of in reference to the symbolic difference, human being and human speaking have the same essential structure—upstream peregrination. The same source that shows forth in Being and speaking urges a practice upon man. This common Ursprung cannot be construed metaphysically as beginning, principle, or cause, but it appears phenomenologically as a claim to exist anew, as the claim to a leap, Sprung. The origin "sets over" towards man only if man "sets over" to original Being and speaking. The Satz of the origin requires human iibersetzen, translation or transference. When practice so becomes symballein the severalness of Being is no longer the traditional philosophic fragmentation of the single mystery of Being into the secrets of man (anthropology), the secrets of the world (cosmology) and the secrets of God (theology). Rather the symbolic essence of the Difference solves the age old question of the One and the Many by showing intensities of presence: representational thought and existence fix what is present; "heartier" thought speculates about presence; the "heartiest"22 thought, however, lets presenting be. Thus the heartiest human practice is neither manipulation nor speculation, but releasement.

Thirdly, symballein is the truth both of Being and of language. The symbolic difference is the phenomenological difference. To be sure, symbols constitute only a region within Being and language; but the symbolic essence of the Difference is not regional. This results from the way in which Being and language appear linked together: a thing "is" when language delivers it from lethe, from concealment. Wherever language is missing, but that is properly unthinkable, nothing can be. Thus neither language nor Being are given; however, they give. Understood in their truth, aletheia, they are the same. Being symbolizes itself in beings, and language symbolizes itself in speech and writing. To things the Same (the origin or "It") gives presence, and to thought it gives openness.

It now has to be shown briefly how the vocabulary of the later Heidegger does suggest what we have called the symbolic difference. Heidegger, it is true, would take exception to this title. The word "symbol" is indeed laden with scientific as well as artistic resonances that turn its concept either into a convention among researchers or into an artifice among art producers. What we have called symbol in its original and etymological sense is expressed differently by Heidegger. To circumscribe this matter he has recourse to words like Gebarde, Wink, Brauch, Spur. Some remarks on these words will help suggest why the symbolic difference, with the demand for authentic existence which it implies, is the appropriate tool towards founding anew human practice after "the 'true world' finally became a fable" (Nietzsche).

a) Gesture. In the dialogue about language between Heidegger and a Japanese the visitor imitates a gesture (Gebärde) from a 'No' play. By a single movement of the arm and the hand this gesture makes a mountain landscape appear on the empty stage. Is such a gesture more powerful, more imaginary than words? Does it indicate something about language that words do not immediately show? Indeed, our marvel is at the promptness with which such a gesture brings the mountain scenery before us. The thing evoked is borne to presence, bears itself towards us. "Gesture is the gathering of a bearing."23 But what is it that so gathers? A gesture forces nothing, it only brings to presence. As such it more clearly does what language always does. But, the Japanese says, that which grants the gesture is empty, nothing. The gesture arises-out of the void. It signifies "out of that essential Being which we attempt to add in our thinking, as the other, to all that is present and absent."24 In the gesture the origin of Being and language shows forth in such a way that it signifies a mode of existence: it gathers beings, absent or present, into a unity. What unites them arises from nowhere. The cipherless origin of Being and language is here called emptiness. It is nothing, but it gathers things into one and thereby calls upon existence. It calls for a "counterbearing" (Entgegentragen). The originary unity is a void, no thing, it differs essentially from the objects analyzed by sciences.25 It is quite significant that this meditation about gesture is found in a dialogue: the call for renewed existence occurs most vividly in the living word of conversation. Speaking among humans is responsible only if it is a response to the origin of language, a "counterbearing" to its address. Bearing and counterbearing then are one in a process, in symballein.

b) Hint. In the same dialogue is found the second word, Wink. It refers to the structure of concealment-unconcealment: "the hint is the message of the veiling that opens up."26 The Japanese tries to translate a word from his language which tells of the origin of speech. The fundamental trait of this word in Japanese, we are told, is the hint. Not that the word itself hints at anything or signifies anything; rather the process of signification is reversed: in that word, the origin from which language arises—"the veiling that opens up"—hints to the speaker. The hint points out a path of existence. That which hints to us in language urges us to go closer to the source of language and Being. This source discloses the space in which words and beings are possible. But it also denies itself in words and beings, it stays veiled. As the "beckoning stillness" (die rufende Stille) it addresses thought and existence for a response in thinking and existing. The hint beckons man upon the originary path. It invites the same unity in process as bearing and counterbearing.

c) Usage. This word is again taken from a dialogue, although of a different kind. It stems from Heidegger's interpretation of the Anaximander fragment, one of his most difficult and controversial essays. We shall not discuss whether "usage," Brauch, is an appropriate translation of chreon. Rather, with this translation Heidegger wants to think of an involvement. "Usage" indicates not only utilization and usance, but also a way of recognizing the presence of a thing and of enjoying it, of "being pleased with something and so having it in use." By its usage a thing enters into its proper relation with other things, it comes into its essence. The usage of a thing brings forth its essential being. This coming forth happens through the user's preservation, through his "keeping in hand." The user, Heidegger writes, lets be present what is present. As have the two previous words, "usage" becomes a name no longer for man's attitude but for the way in which the origin of Being and language lets beings be present and lets language speak. "Letting" is not a causal relation, just as use is not the cause for the thing's appearance. "Usage now designates the manner in which Being itself presences as the relation to what is present."27 This relation is an active process which is here called "approaching" (an-gehen) and "becoming involved" (be-handeln). To receive what approaches him thus is for man to become involved with the origin. Usage suggests an originary movement towards man which elicits involvement.

d) Trace. That which does not appear, but which lets beings be and language speak, leaves its trace, Spur, in all that appears. This word is directly related to peregrine identity with the origin. In the opening pages of "Nietzsche's Word 'God is Dead'" Heidegger speaks of the mittence (Geschick) of Being: the traces of the historical mittences must be trodden by thinking and existence. "To each thinker is enjoined one path, his own, whose traces he must tread to and fro, again and again."28 These traces are the manifold marks of the other of all things and words, in things and words. They do not belong to the thinker or any existence, and they lead nowhere. They are "woodpaths." But on them the origin lets itself be experienced. The thinker has to tell what he has experienced on his way to language, i.e., on his way to Being. Such a response to the mittences of Being requires an active tread of a particular kind. Woodpaths arise from nowhere. To be trodden, the traces of the origin require an aimless gait.

To disclose the origin of Being and language Gesture, Hint, Usage, and Trace all ask for a way of thinking which is indistinguishable from a way of existing. Only on the condition of a new turn in thinking and of a return in existing do they disclose the truth of language and being "symbolically," that is, by uniting man to what makes a gesture and a hint and what uses him and leaves its traces. The origin can be understood only upon the condition of a certain practice.


The question of the origin as it is raised by Heidegger, particularly after the 'turn,' undercuts metaphysical constructions not only in thought but also in action. The phenomenological destruction, if it is thought of within symballein, has concrete consequences that reverse the metaphysical way of grounding a practical philosophy. Such reversal becomes thinkable upon the condition that the origin of Being and language, their identical coming-forth, be not represented as the ultimate foundation of both theory and practice; that is, that the quest for one ultimate foundation be abandoned altogether. Then the essence of foundation undergoes a reversal: it is not beings that call for a ground, but Being as the groundless ground calls upon existence. In this sense Heidegger's 'turn' literally operates a subversion: the reversal of the essence of foundation is an overthrow (vertere) from the base or ground (sub-). The middle term that carries the phenomenological destruction into practical subversion is the symbolic difference. It translates the 'turn' in thinking into an 'overturn' in action. In a culture where philosophy has come to cooperate with the existing system to the point of radically abandoning its task of criticism, Heidegger's insistence on releasement and "life without why" as the practical a priori for the thought of Being opens an alternative way to think of life in society. The symbolic difference allows for the elaboration of an alternative type of political philosophy.29 This is not a theory of organization of man into collectivities. But it is certainly not the celebration of pure interiority either. Between a system of social constitution and its negation by spiritual individualism or apolitical solipsism there is a place for a thinking about society which refuses to restrict itself to the pragmatics of public administration as well as to romantic escapes from it. I should agree, though, that if theories of collective functioning and organization are alone to be called political philosophy, then it is better to abandon this title for the practical consequences of the thought of the symbolic difference. This article simply wanted to elaborate the notion of symbolic difference as bridging the gap between the question of Being and that of action.

1 "Political Thinking in Heidegger," Social Research, Vol. 45, No. 1 (Spring 1978), pp. 191-221.

2 In an earlier series of four articles, all in French, I have examined the relation between symbols and language, symbols and the sacred, symbols and poetry, and finally symbols and human action, in: Cahiers Internationaux de Symbolisme, 21 (1972), p. 51-77; 25 (1974), p. 99-118; 27 (1975), p. 103-120; 29/30 (1976), p. 145-169.

3 Meister Eckhart, Die Deutschen Werke, vol. II, Stuttgart, 1970. p. 109: Der mensche, der diz begrifen sol, der muoz s&e abegescheiden sin.

4 In my book Meister Eckhart, Mystic and Philosopher, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 1978, I have defined mysticism as the experience of a disclosure of being which requires a certain attitude from man as its condition.

5 Friedrich Nietzsche, Kritische Gesamtausgabe, ed. G. Colli and M. Mon- tinari, Berlin 1967, vol. V/2, n. 11(163), p. 407f

6 The first quote is from Sein und Zeit, Halle a.d. Saale 5 1941, p. 7, trans. J. Macquarrie and E. Robinson, Being and Time, New York 1962, p. 27; the second is from Zur Sache des Denkens, Tübingen 1969, p. 2, trans. J. Stambaugh, On Time and Being, New York 1972, p. 2. Both translations slightly modified

7 Zur Sache des Denkens, op. cit., p. 87, trans. p. 79. The same attitude towards phenomenology is explained in Unterwegs zur Sprache, Pfullingen 1959, p. 121 f., trans. P. D. Hertz, On the Way to Language, New York 1971, p. 38 f.

8 Vorträge und Aufsätze, Pfullingen 1954, p. 229. Trans. by D. F. Krell, Early Greek Thinking, New York 1975, p. 78.

9 Paul Ricoeur, Le conflit des interpretations, Paris 1969, p. 10, trans. K. McLaughlin, The Conflict of Interpretations, Evanston 1974, p. 6.- In De l'interpretation. Essai sur Freud, Paris 1965. Ricoeur indicates three domains of preparation for such an ontological treatment: the symbol as the locus of the double sense (p. 17); the symbol as the region where the fullness of language can be thought (p. 79); the symbol as a concrete "mixed texture" (p. 476f) Eng. tr. Freud and Philosophy: An Essay on Interpretation, New Haven 1970, p. 7, 69 f. and 494 f.

10 E.g. Claude Levy-Strauss, Anthropologie structurale, Paris 1958, p. 306.

11 The extraordinary "Finale" of L'homme nu, the last volume of Levy-Strauss' Mythologiques, Paris 1971, pp. 559-621 is very ambiguous on this question. On one hand we are told that philosophy will find no food in structuralism, that myths say nothing about the "order of the world" (p. 571). But on the other hand structuralism is said to "discover behind things a unity and a coherence which the simple description of facts can never reveal" (p. 614) and which is so powerful that its discovery inaugurates the twilight of man (p. 620). I wonder if this is not a step from a metaphysics of meaning to one of structure.

12 Martin Heidegger, Unterwegs zur Sprache. Pfullingen 1965, p. 110; trans. P. D. Hertz, On The Way To Language. New York 1971, p. 20.

13 Holzwege, Frankfurt 1950, p. 337; trans. D. F. Krell Early Greek Thinking, New York 1975, p. 52.

14 Nietzsche, Pfullingen 1961, vol. II, p. 26.

15 Zur Sache des Denkens, Tübingen 1969, p. 48; trans. Joan Stambaugh, On Time and Being, New York 1972, p. 45.

16 Gelassenheit, Pfullingen 1959, p. 27; trans. J. M. Anderson and E. H. Freund, Discourse on Thinking, New York 1966, p. 56.

17 Meister Eckhart is one of these, cf my "Trois penseurs du delaissement," in Journal of the History of Philosophy, Oct. 1974 p. 455-477 and January 1975, p. 43-60, as well as "Heidegger and Meister Eckhart on Releasement" in Research in Phenomenology, III, (1973), p. 95-119.

18 In Heidegger the prerequisite for the thought of being is to "let technical devices enter our daily life, and at the same time leave them outside, that is, let them alone," Gelassenheit, Pfullingen 1959, p. 25; trans. J. M. Anderson and E. H. Freund, Discourse on Thinking, New York 1966, p. 54.

19 See the quote from Meister Eckhart above, note 2.

20 Friedrich Nietzsche, Der Wille zur Macht, n. 708, ed. P. Gast and E. Förster-Nietzsche, reprinted Stuttgart 1964, p. 479; trans. W. Kaufmann, The Will to Power, New York 1967, p. 377.

21 Heraclitus' concept of becoming, Nietzsche says, "is clearly more closely related to me than anything else thought to date," Ecce Home, "Die Geburt der Tragödie," n. 3, trans. W. Kaufman, Basic Writings of Nietzsche, New York 1966, p. 729.

22 M. Heidegger, Gelassenheit, Pfullingen 1959, p. 27; trans. J. M. Anderson and E. H. Freund, Discourse on Thinking, New York 1966, p. 56. The translators put "courageous" for herzhaft, which misses the nuance of polemic against calculative representation and production as it is further explained in a brief commentary on the "heart" according to Pascal: Holzwege, Frankfurt 1960, p. 282, trans. A. Hofstadter, Poetry, Language, Thought, New York 1971, p. 127 f.

23 Unterwegs zur Sprache, Pfullingen 1959, p. 107; trans. P. D. Hertz On The Way To Language, New York 1971, p. 18.

24 Ibid. p. 108, trans. p. 19.

25 Was ist Metaphysik? Frankfurt 1960, p. 45. Trans. R. F. Hull and A. Crick, Existence and Being, Chicago 1949, p. 384.

26 Unterwegs zur Sprache, Pfullingen 1959, p. 31, trans. P. D. Hertz, On the Way to Language, New York 1971, p. 44.

27 Holzwege, Frankfurt 1950, p. 339; trans. D. F. Krell, Early Greek Thinking, New York 1975, p. 53.

28 Ibid. p. 194f; trans. W. J. Lovitt, The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays, 1977, p. 55.

29 In the article mentioned above in note 1, I examine five elements towards such an alternative political philosophy: 1) the abolition of the primacy of teleology in action;
2) the abolition of the primacy of responsibility in the legitimization of action;
3) action as a protest against the administered world;
4) a certain disinterest in the future of mankind due to a shift in the understanding of destiny;
5) 'anarchy' as the essence of the origin as well as of originary practice.
These same five elements have been sketched more briefly in "Questioning the Foundation of Practical Philosophy," Human Studies, I, 1978, pp. 357-368, fol- lowed by a reply from Prof. Bernhard P. Dauenhauer.

Reiner Schürmann - Ontological difference and political philosophy
Original in Heidegger Circle Proceedings 1977.