Kolbenheyer [209–210]

that he got to know more than thirty years ago—at a time when it was the fashion to fabricate biological world views (cf. Bölsche12 and the Kosmos books).

Kolbenheyer does not see, he cannot and does not want to see:

1. that this biology of 1900 is based on the fundamental approach of Darwinism and that this Darwinian doctrine of life is not something absolute, not even something biological, but is historically and spiritually determined by the liberal conception of humanity and human society that was dominant in the English positivism of the nineteenth century.

2. Kolbenheyer does not see and cannot see that his biology of plasma and cellular structure and organism has been fundamentally surpassed, and that today a completely new way of posing the problem of “life” is taking shape, an approach that is deeper in principle.—Destruction of the concept of the organism, which is only an offshoot of “idealism,” isolated subject, “I,” and biological subject. Fundamental constitution: relation to the environment, and this not a consequence of adaptation but, to the contrary, the condition of possibility for adaptation.

3. Kolbenheyer does not see and does not want to see that, even when the essential determination of life is more originary and appropriate than that of the nineteenth century, even then life (the way of Being of plant and animal) does not constitute the dominant whole of reality.

4. Kolbenheyer does not see and cannot see that, even if bodily life is in a certain way the supporting ground of human Being and of the ethnic sequence of its generations, this still does not yet prove that the supporting ground also has to be the determining ground, or even that it can be.

5. Kolbenheyer does not see and cannot see that man as people is a historical entity, that to historical Being there belongs the decision for a particular will to be and fate—engagement of action, responsibility in endurance and persistence, courage, confidence, faith, the strength for sacrifice.

All these fundamental modes of conduct of historical man are possible only on the basis of freedom.

12. {Wilhelm Bölsche (1861–1939), writer on nationalities and nature.} [Several of Bölsche’s books were published by Kosmos, a “society of the friends of nature.”]

Being and Truth (GA 36/37) by Martin Heidegger

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