The Turn [71–72]

think, for thinking is the authentic action [Handeln], where action means to give a hand [an die Hand gehen] to the essence of beyng in order to prepare for it that site in which it brings itself and its essence to speech. Without language, all will to contemplation remains without any path or route. Without language, every deed lacks any dimension in which it could move about and have effect. Language is thus never merely the expression of thinking, feeling, and willing. Language is the inceptual dimension within which the human essence is first capable of corresponding to being and its claim and of belonging to being through this correspondence. This inceptual correspondence, properly enacted, is thinking. By thinking we first learn to dwell in the realm in which the conversion of the dispensation of being, the conversion of positionality, takes place.

The essence of positionality is the danger. As danger, being turns away from its essence into the forgetfulness of this essence and thus at the same time turns itself against the truth of its essence. This self-turning that has not yet been considered reigns in the danger. In the essence of danger there is concealed the possibility of a turn in which the forgetting of the essence of being so turns that through this turn the truth of the essence of beyng properly enters into beings.

Presumably, however, this turn from the forgetting of being to the guardianship of the essence of beyng only takes place when the danger, pivotal in its concealed essence, first properly presences as the danger that it is. Perhaps we already stand in the shadows cast in advance of this turn’s arrival. When and how this will dispensationally take place, no one knows. It is also not necessary to know such a thing. A knowledge of this sort would even be most fatal for the human because his essence is to be the one waiting, the one who waits upon the essence of beyng by protecting it in thinking. Only when the human as the shepherd of being waits for the truth of beyng can he at all expect—and without deteriorating into a mere wanting to know—the arrival of another dispensation of being.

But what about when the danger takes place as the danger and thus is first unconcealed as the danger? In order to hear the answer to this question, let us attend to the hint that is preserved in a word of Hölderlin’s. In the later version of the hymn “Patmos” the poet says at the beginning:

Martin Heidegger (GA 79) The Turn - Bremen and Freiburg Lectures

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