Insight Into That Which Is [4243]

But how does science take the material of nature? It conceives it as matter. What is the fundamental characteristic of matter for physics? It is inertia. What does the physicist understand by inertia? Physically conceived, inertia is continuance in a state of motion. Rest is also such a state, which counts in a physically calculable manner as the limit case of motion. Inertia is resistance against the change of motion. Resistance is a countereffect and indeed against acceleration. As matter, the material is represented in the horizon of motion and in regard to the effectual, i.e., represented in terms of the force that is expended, i.e., must be in place, in order to change the respective state of motion, i.e., to order another one.

For physics, nature is the standing reserve of energy and matter. They are the pieces of the standing reserve of nature. With respect to inertia, matter is determined by energy. Energy, however, is the effectual, the ordering capacity for the ordered positioning of a consequence. Force itself is something orderable that is capable of ordering; it is orderable for its conservation, transformation, and storage capacities—such a cast of characters assigned to a constantly positionable orderability of energy.

Not only natural forces, but also the natural materials are physically-chemically represented as ordering-orderable standing reserve; represented in an essential ambiguity of this word “represented” [vor-gestellt], namely, positioned beforehand and then with regard to the calculation of outcomes.

Due to the essence of technology, nature, which to all appearances stands over and against technology, is already inserted into the standing reserve of positionality as the fundamental standing reserve. Historically, the essence of modern technology begins its reign with the commencement of modern natural science some three and a half centuries ago. What does this say? It does not say that modern technology initially would have been merely natural science and then only later would have emerged as the application of this. It says instead: the essence of modern technology, positionality, in accordance with its essence, began with the fundamental act of requisitioning insofar as it first secured nature in advance as the fundamental standing reserve. Modern technology is not applied natural science, far more is modern natural science the application of the essence of technology, wherein the latter directs itself to its fundamental standing reserve so as to secure it in applicability.

Martin Heidegger (GA 79) Positionality - Bremen and Freiburg Lectures

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