technology? The answer is provided by the natural sciences. The fundamental discipline of the science of the physical is physics. This tells us nothing, to be sure, about the essence of force. But physics provides thinking with an opportunity to pursue how the natural sciences conceive what they name “force.” Physically, natural force is only accessible in its effects, for only in its effects does force demonstrate the calculability of a magnitude. In this calculation, force becomes objective. Only as this object of calculation does it concern natural science. Nature is represented as something actual, placed into measure and number, and presencing objectively in its having acted. This having acted, once again, only counts as presencing insofar as it itself takes effect and proves itself as effective. That which presences of nature is the actual. The actual is the effectual. The presencing of nature consists in effectiveness. In this, nature can bring something into place and set it at the ready, i.e., let it succeed.
Force is that which imposes upon something so that something else follows from it in an assessable manner. The natural forces are represented by physics in the sense of a positioning by means of which positionality places what presences. Nature stands over and against technology in this way and this way only, in that nature as a system for the requisitioning of consequences consists of something effectual and positioned. Kant thought this essence of nature for the first time and set the standard, though without going back to positionality. The effectiveness of the actual—nature—is nothing other than the capacity for the ordering of consequences. This says: nature stands over against technology not as something indeterminately presencing on its own. It does not at all stand over against technology as an object that is opportunely exploited. In the world era of technology, nature belongs in advance in the standing reserve of the orderable within positionality.15
One will object, this may be so, to the detriment of those forces of nature that are, so to speak, tapped by technology. But natural materials, on the contrary, since long ago, long before technology began, lie outside of the technological standing reserve. Chemistry establishes what the materials are in themselves, in their objective actuality.
15. atomic physics