The Need and the Necessity of the First Beginning [178-79]

Heraclitus and Parmenides, agree in their basic positions? Heraclitus claims that beings are one in λόγος—in the anticipatory gathering—and Parmenides teaches that beings are what is perceived in νοεῖν—in perception—and this perceptual anticipatory gathering indicates that the grasping is a suffering as a transformation of man.

Accord with what is original is therefore precisely not an assimilation in the sense that man would simply be φύσις. On the contrary, he is to be distinguished from it, but in a way that accords with it, i.e., in a way that adheres to its measure (adheres to φύσις), comports itself accordingly, and orders this comportment. Even if man himself is precisely not beings as a whole, nevertheless he is the one who is displaced into the midst of beings as the preserver of their unconcealedness. So this perceiving and "preserving cannot be determined as φύσις but must be other: in accord with φύσις, releasing it, and yet grasping it.

What then is it? What is the basic attitude in which the preservation of the wondrous, the beingness of beings, unfolds and, at the same time, defines itself? We have to seek it in what the Greeks call τέχνη. Yet we must divorce this Greek word from our familiar term derived from it, "technology," and from all nexuses of meaning that are thought in the name of technology. To be sure, that modern and contemporary technology could emerge, and had to emerge, has its ground in the beginning and has its foundation in an unavoidable incapacity to hold fast to the beginning. That means that contemporary technology—as a form of "total mobilization" (Ernst Jünger)—can only be understood on the basis of the beginning of the basic Western position toward beings as such and as a whole, assuming that we are striving for a "metaphysical" understanding and are not satisfied with integrating technology into the goals of politics.

Τέχνη does not mean "technology" in the sense of the mechanical ordering of beings, nor does it mean art in the sense of mere skill and proficiency in procedures and operations. Τέχνη means knowledge: know-how in processes against beings (and in the encounter with beings), i.e., against φύσις. To be sure, here it is neither possible nor necessary to enter into the variations of the meaning of the word τέχνη, which are not accidental. We only have to be mindful that this word still, precisely with Plato, at