Basic Principles of Thinking [88–89]

supposed to find our way without any preparation into that dimension in which the laws of thought and their founding become questionable through dialectic?

To be sure, as soon as the talk is of dialectic someone will bring up dialectical materialism. One takes it for a worldview, passes it off as an ideology. Indeed, by this assessment we sidestep further contemplation instead of acknowledging: The dialectic is today a, perhaps even the, world reality. Hegel’s dialectic is one of those thoughts that—struck up from afar—“direct the world,” equipotent there where dialectical materialism is revered as there where—in only a slightly modified style of the same thinking—it is refuted. Behind this confrontation of worldviews, as one calls it, the struggle for mastery of the earth rages on. Behind this struggle, however, there reigns a conflict in which Western thinking itself is entangled with itself. It begins to unfurl itself into its ultimate triumph, which consists in the fact that this thinking has compelled nature into relinquishing atomic energy.

Is it still irrelevant or even immaterial if we think about . . . thought and attempt a meditation upon its principles? Perhaps in so doing we arrive at thought on its own ground. Perhaps we only come across its trail in that we opportunely still detect the violence of thought, which surpasses every possible quantum of atomic energy and does so infinitely, i.e., in accordance with its essence. For nature would never be able to appear as a standing reserve of energy, as it now is represented, if atomic energy were not challenged forth along with it by thought, i.e., was put in place [ge-stellt] by thought. Atomic energy is the object of a computation and steering performed by a scientific technology that calls itself nuclear physics. That physics reaches this point of positioning nature in this way, however, is a meta-physical incident— if not something else besides.

But if it now were to come to the point that the thinking being [Wesen] is extinguished by atomic energy, where would thinking then remain? What is more powerful, natural energy in its technological-mechanical form or thought? Or do neither of the two, which in this case belong together, have