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BASIC WRITINGS

Rather, precisely the essence of technology must harbor in itself the growth of the saving power. But in that case, might not an adequate look into what enframing is, as a destining of revealing, bring the upsurgence of the saving power into appearance?

In what respect does the saving power grow also there where the danger is? Where something grows, there it takes root, from thence it thrives. Both happen concealedly and quietly and in their own time. But according to the words of the poet we have no right whatsoever to expect that there where the danger is we should be able to lay hold of the saving power immediately and without preparation. Therefore we must consider now, in advance, in what respect the saving power does most profoundly take root and thence thrive even where the extreme danger lies—in the holding sway of enframing. In order to consider this it is necessary, as a last step upon our way, to look with yet clearer eyes into the danger. Accordingly, we must once more question concerning technology. For we have said that in technology's essence roots and thrives the saving power.

But how shall we behold the saving power in the essence of technology so long as we do not consider in what sense of "essence" it is that enframing properly is the essence of technology?

Thus far we have understood "essence" in its current meaning. In the academic language of philosophy "essence" means what something is; in Latin, quid. Quidditas, whatness, provides the answer to the question concerning essence. For example, what pertains to all kinds of trees—oaks, beeches, birches, firs—is the same "treeness." Under this inclusive genus—the "universal"—fall all actual and possible trees. Is then the essence of technology, enframing, the common genus for everything technological? If this were the case then the steam turbine, the radio transmitter, and the cyclotron would each be an enframing. But the word "enframing" does not mean here a tool or any kind of apparatus. Still less does


Martin Heidegger (GA 7) The Question Concerning Technology - Basic Writings (1993)