A peasant positions his ox to drag fallen tree trunks out of the forest onto the path. He does not place the ox here just so that it would stand somewhere. He positions what is placed here in such a manner that it is directed toward application.
Men and women must place themselves in a work service. They are ordered. They are met by a positioning that places them, i.e., commandeers them. One places the other. He retains him. He positions him. He requires information and an accounting from him. He challenges him forth. Let us now enter into the meaning of this word “to position, place, set” so as to experience what comes to pass in that requisitioning through which an inventory arises [der Bestand steht] and is thus a standing reserve.
To place, position, set means here: to challenge forth, to demand, to compel toward self-positioning. This positioning occurs as a conscription [die Gestellung]. The demand for conscription is directed at the human. But within the whole of what presences, the human is not the only presence approached by conscription.
A tract of land is imposed upon, namely for the coal and ore that subsists in it. The subsistence of stone is presumably already conceived within the horizon of such a positioning and even only conceivable in terms of this. The subsisting stone that, as such, is already evaluated for a self-positioning is challenged forth and subsequently expedited along. The earth’s soil is drawn into such a placing and is attacked by it. It is ordered, forced into conscription. This is how we understand the word “ordering” [bestellen] here and in what follows.
Through such requisitioning [Bestellen] the land becomes a coal reserve, the soil an ore depository.1 This requisitioning is already of a different sort from that whereby the peasant had previously tended his field. Peasant activity does not challenge the farmland; rather it leaves the crops to the discretion of the growing forces; it protects them in their thriving. In the meantime, however, even the tending of the fields [die Feldbestellung] has gone over to the same requisitioning [Be-Stellen] that imposes upon the air for nitrogen, the soil for coal and ore, the ore for uranium, the uranium for atomic energy, and the latter
1. The soil, land—homelessness of the standing reserve!