Jacques Derrida

Heidegger's Ear


(Geschlecht IV)


That was in 1933. In 1935, in the Einführung ..., the style is certainly different, the contextual aim changes a little, since this concerns a seminar and not a rectorate address. But don't we find again an analogous conceptual armature when, reading Heraclitus, Heidegger says again of Kampf, one of the translations for πόλεμος, that it constitutes the opposition (Gegeneinander), maintains in it an "opening"—that is again his word—and at the same time, by just that, gathers in a Sammlung that is a λόγος?

Fragment 53 is the matter at hand and was the subject of an exchange of letters with Carl Schmitt during the summer of 1933. I am going to cite this fragment and first translate it traditionally or conventionally, but Heidegger does not hear it with this ear and the retranslation he proposes and never ceases to retranslate in its turn, from 1935 to 1955, will be the place of essential decisions. Here is the text assumed to be well known and its common translation:

Πόλεμος πάντων μὲν πατήρ ἐστι 'Πόλεμος, war, is the father of all things,' πάντων δὲ βαsileύς 'the king of all things,' καὶ τοὺς μὲν θεοὺς ἔδειξε τοὺς δὲ ἀνθρώπους, τοὺς μὲν δούλους ἐποίησε τοὺς δὲ ἐλευθέρους 'of certain things it establishes—or proves—that they are gods, of other things that they are men; of some it makes slaves, of others free beings.'

What war is in question under the name πόλεμος? Certainly not a human war, then not a war, according to Heidegger, since πόλεμος precedes the men to which it gives birth. Immediately after translating the fragment in a certain way that we will read in a moment, Heidegger adds: "The πόλεμος named here is a conflict (Streit) that prevailed [the French translation says un conflit qui perdomine for waltender Streit] prior to everything divine and human, not a war in the human sense (kein Krieg nach menschlicher Weise)" (EM 47; IM 62).8

The argument is strong since πόλεμος is clearly situated by Heraclitus at the origin, before the gods and before men. Heidegger will always refuse the coarse hearing that would translate this fragment into an anthropology of war, a polemology as human discourse on war, a war discourse or a politics of war. Whatever the affinities, the analogies, or homologies between Schmitt and Heidegger, Heidegger would mark here an irreducible gap [écart] concerning the sense and the aim of what he understands [entend] and of what he means [entend dire]. Whether it is a matter of men or gods, of the anthropology or theology of war. The Heraclitean πόλεμος comes up to the origin, before gods and men. Now the discourse of Schmitt on politics and on the State is not only an anthropology of war, an anthropolemology. He interprets political conceptuality as the secularization of theological concepts. It is a theoanthropolemology. Exactly what Heidegger will not cease to resist in the name of this Heraclitus fragment. Heidegger cites it a great many times; and still twenty years after, in 1955, in Zur Seinsfrage, he protests against every appropriation of the Heraclitean πόλεμος by a discourse of war. This is in an apparently very different context, and on the topology of being that is henceforth written crossed out [sous la rature en forme de croix] (kreuzweise Durchstreichung), Heidegger writes: "This is not a war, but the πόλεμος, which alone makes appear Gods and men, the free and the slaves, in their respective essence, and which leads to an Aus-einander-setzung [in three words, Heidegger's most continual translation for πόλεμος] of being [crossed out]. Compared to which world wars remain superficial. They are always all the less capable of providing [apporter] a decision as they are more technically prepared" (W 418 [252]). Insofar as πόλεμος destabilizes the subject/object representation, against which Heidegger also proposes this crossing out of being, one can think that πόλεμος is not a stranger to this kreuzweise Durchstreichung and that it also participates, like the Durchstreichung, in the play of the fourfold, in the play of its opposable regions (Gegenden), or rather in the very place (Ort) of the crossing through (in die Vier Gegenden des Gevierts und deren Versammlung im Ort der Durchkreuzung [Zur Seinsfrage, in W 405 (239)]) for sky and earth, gods and mortals (see, for example, "Bauen Wohnen Denken," in VA 145; PLT 150—51).

What are Heidegger's meaningful initiatives in the translation of 1935? After citing the fragment, he begins a new paragraph and proposes, without quotation marks, a paraphrastic equivalence that does not officially assume the conventional status of translation and is inscribed then already as an Auseinandersetzung, a πόλεμος, with the ordinary translations. Πόλεμος is already rendered, precisely, by Auseinandersetzung, in one single word: it is a matter of explicating oneself, of struggling, of debating with the other agonistically. For all, all things (πάντων), Heidegger says "allem," but adds actively between parentheses "(Anwesenden)": for all being present, for all that comes to present itself, πόλεμος is πατήρ and βασιλεύς. The most meaningful innovations concern precisely πατήρ and βασιλεύς, which are ordinarily heard and understood as father and king. Πατήρ, Heidegger does not hear or understand as "father," as those that think they know, familiarly, what is a father, but as "Erzeuger," the one that produces or engenders; and he adds between parentheses: "(der aufgehen läßt)": the one that makes bloom, rise, come to presence—and we have recognized above the stake of this word. In βασιλεύς, Heidegger hears and understands not "king," as those that, speaking or not of politics, believe they know what king means (to say), but "waltender Bewahrer" (EM 47), the guardian that governs, rules across [perdomine], reigns over presence. Walten is there again very marked.

In saying generator and guardian in place of father and king, Heidegger deanthropologizes understanding, as if these human figures of father and king were only rhetorical figures to which, if not their literal [propre] sense, at least their own proper enigma or difference would have to be rendered; as if in sum they were an anachronic anthropologization abusively reappropriating Heraclitus's word [parole] in the field of a philosophy, an anthropology, or a political science [une politique] that will always remain latecomers and strangers to the originarity of its λόγος. Heidegger's understanding can seem violent, his ear speaks and writes, but it claims to restore an originary sense against another violence, that of a deafness, of an Überhören that would have closed up the tympanum, buried the clarity of an early [matinale] resonance under layers of wax, archive, and reproduction.

At the beginning of this lecture, Heidegger multiplies the calls to revolution— that is his word (Revolution)—an actual (wirkliche) (EM 41) revolution in our hearing and our experience of the tongue. In particular, of the Greek and German tongues, the most powerful and spiritual (die geistigsten) (EM 43) of tongues. This revolution passes through teachers and must begin with revolutionizing the teaching corps itself (Aber dazu müssen wir die Lehrer revolutionieren) (EM 41) and with transforming the university. One must condemn a science of language that would only be the technical knowledge of a dead mechanics, the history of grammatical forms that have the cold rigidity of a corpse. Heidegger's accent and rhetoric recall the Nietzsche of the Lectures on the Future of Our Educational Institutions.9 As soon as one refinds an "originary rapport with language," one "scents" (spürt) the trace of the dead (das Tote) (EM 40) in the grammatical forms, which have become pure mechanisms. Despite his well-known distrust with regard to vitalist or organicist discourse, Heidegger opposes here, in a traditional way, the originary to technical machination, as the living to the dead. His conclusion, political and pedagogical at once, carries him in 1935, as was already the case at the beginning of the 1920s, in the direction of those, above all students, that want to change the university. That doubtlessly does not reduce to an academic demagoguery. Heidegger not only searches to seduce or to involve the most impatient and most revolutionary students, whether it be a matter of the Nazi "revolution" underway or of a revolution that would wish itself more radical. He does not abstractly condemn the deadly technologization of our rapport with the tongue caught in a "steel network" (Stahlnetz). In place of a teaching "without spirit" (geistlose) (EM 40) of the grammatical technology, he would prefer that one initiate the students into the prehistory and the ancient history of the Germans. But one would fall back into the same ennui if one did not convert the school to the "world of the spirit," in a "spiritual and nonscientific atmosphere" (EM 41).

At that time Heidegger is no longer rector. Yes or no, is he already deceived by what is called the "revolution underway"? The strategy of his discourse is made to render this question too simple. Whether a matter of the nonanthropological interpretation of Heraclitus's πόλεμος or of the revolution in the experience of language, his statements are intended to respond to several expectations. They are consonant with certain expectations that are immediate or narrowly determined in a political and anthropological context, while they are dissonant with them at the same time, if one hears and understands with another ear, that is, by hearing beyond this immediate field of consonance toward the horizon of a more open future. Heidegger would claim thus that his reading of Heraclitus is already an act of spiritual revolution in the rapport with language, beyond the grids of dead knowledge, of philosophy, of history, of anthropology. Let us take an example, doubtless the privileged example in Heidegger's eyes. The meditation devoted to the grammar of the word Sein describes the Greeks' experience of being, and in being their experience of the language that is for them a being. This Greek experience would be a nonquestioning (fraglos) experience of "Dastehen, zum Stand kommen und im Stand bleiben," that is, of οὐσία as παρουσία, which Heidegger hears and translates here as Anwesenheit (EM 46). There again, Heidegger claims to go back short of what he calls "Greek philosophy," which would stop at the Anwesende without questioning it. To determine the originarily Greek apprehension of being as φύσις, before all the later concepts tied to "nature," Heidegger insists on the tension of a double movement: to stand up, to rise, to unfold itself toward the outside while remaining enveloped within itself (das aufgehende Sichaufrichten, das in Sich venveilende Sichentfalten) (EM 47), the originary unity of repose and movement. Now the word that Heidegger privileges to say this originary unity of two contraries is Walten: to govern, to rule, perdominer: to rule across (a somewhat strange French translation), prevail, exercise in any case a power or a force, and not without a certain violence. Very difficult to translate, this word carries a weight all the heavier since, on the one hand, the word is inseparable from a certain πόλεμος, preparing and thus legitimating the citation of Heraclitus, and since, on the other hand, Heidegger makes of this word quite simply, at a certain point, the synonym of An-Wesen, in two words, of presence, indeed of ἀλήθεια. The An- of An-Wesen, what makes come to presence this unfolding of a φύσις remaining however in itself, is the force or the violence of this Walten.

One has trouble translating the sentences that introduce the Heraclitus fragment on πόλεμος to the very extent that the idiomaticity of Walten plays a decisive role in them, the role of decision, the role of the very truth enveloped in the tension of the two contraries:

In diesem Walten Sind aus ursprünglicher Einheit Ruhe und Bewegung verschlossen und eröffnet. "In this Walten repose and movement are enclosed and open on the basis of their originary unity." Dieses Walten ist das im Denken noch unbewältigt überwältigende An-Wesen, worin das Anwesende als Seiendes west. "This Walten is pre-sence (An-Wesen) governing (überwältigende) yet untamed [ungoverned] by thought [in other words, Walten is already governing in presence without having been thought or governed by thought; Walten is at a given moment stronger than thought], An-Wesen in which das Anwesende west, the present presents itself, if you wish, as being." Dieses Walten aber tritt erst aus der Verborgenheit heraus, d. h. griechisch: ἀλήθεια (Unverborgenheit) geschieht, indem das Walten Sich als eine Welt erkämpft. Durch Welt wird das Seiende erst seiend. "But this Walten does not proceed outside of the dissimulation, that is to say in Greek that ἀλήθεια (nondissimulation) comes about only as this Walten 'Sich erkämpft,' obtains itself as a world through struggling [lutte]. It is through world alone that beings become beings." (EM 47)

Walten thus becomes truth, the truth of the struggle for truth, the nondissimulation, insofar as, preceding or prevailing over as it were itself, it obtains itself by a struggle, it sich erkämpft as world. The world is the opening for beings. Walten first conceals itself, forgets itself. It goes out of its crypt, comes about as truth only insofar as it wins itself, obtains itself through struggling (sich erkämpft), carries the day in traversing resistances, putting itself to the test of its own proper resistance. It carries the day over itself, carries itself and carries itself along in itself beyond itself. The power, the force, or the violence of this Walten is the originary φύσις that can come about only in striving, s'efforcant. The force forces itself, strives, s' efforce. Here I am playing with the French idiom to try to get back to Heidegger's idiom. As in the Rectorate Discourse, Walten, Kampf, Sich erkämpfen, is articulated with the lexis of force, but of spiritual force (geistige Kraft). In Sein und Zeit the word Kampf was associated with that of power (Macht) or superpower (Übermacht) as the proof of freedom for finitude. The self-winning and self-struggling—with self and with the other, with self as with the other—is an absolutely originary struggle, φύσις itself. Further on, Heidegger will say: "Der hier gemeinte Kampf ist ursprünglicher Kampf" (EM 47): "The struggle meant here is an originary struggle." The "self-winning" does not come [arrive] to being, being comes [arrive] in the "self-winning."

Let us return to the transcription of what Heidegger hears and understands in tuning into [entend l'écoute du] the Heraclitean πόλεμος. The Heraclitean πόλεμος is then Auseinandersetzung, debate, agonistic explication with the other, struggle of all, for all (πάντων) (allem). Heidegger, as we have seen, adds, between parentheses, after "allem": "(Anwesenden)": for all being, for all that comes to present itself. This addition of a parenthesis is intended to confirm the interpretation according to which the predominance of the Walten, which merges with the Anwesen itself, is at the origin of presence. For all being-present, the πόλεμος is Erzeuger, not the father, a concept too anthropological for a πόλεμος that gives birth to gods and men, but the producer, the generator. Heidegger continues: "aber (auch) waltender Bewahrer," but (also) the prevailing guardian. Whereas the little word "auch" is added between parentheses, "waltender" is not between parentheses. Heidegger adds this "auch" as a matter of course for reasons that are now evident to us. If Walten also means (to say) "reign," the translation of βασιλεύς by guardian-who-reigns, by reigning guardian, reconstitutes to be sure the conventional signification, the royal signification that the simple Bewahrer could somewhat attentuate, depoliticize, and de-anthropologize. But at the same time, the translation renders to the German Walten all its force. The πόλεμος, the Auseinandersetzung, Heidegger then continue.s, makes appear (läßt ... erscheinen) some as God, others as men. Erscheinen lassen, to make appear, to emerge, to unfold—for ἔδειξε—all that clearly means this father does not pro- create. The πόλεμος, the Kampf, is not a creative father, it is a power that brings to light [faire paraître]. End of the transcription: "die einen stellt sie her(aus) als Knechte, die anderen aber als Frei": The same πόλεμος, the same Auseinandersetzung, this time as waltender Bewahrer, "produces some as slaves, but others as free." In saying heraustellen, with the "(aus)" between parentheses, Heidegger plays between: (1) herausstellen, to produce in the sense of placing outside, manifesting, exposing; (2) herstellen, to produce in the sense of fabricate, make; and perhaps also (3) ausstellen, to produce in the sense of expose, exhibit, issue, emit.

The Heraclitean πόλεμος then can no longer have the sense of war: neither between men, nor between men and gods, nor between gods. This dehumanization or this detheologization does not suffer from the faulty interpretative violence that some would be tempted to see in it. There is nothing more "logical." Nothing more "logical" between quotation marks, for we are here at the very place of the originary λόγος as πόλεμος, whose internal contradiction has no more to protect itself against incoherence or to search itself for the guarantee of a logic of good sense, both of which do nothing but derive from the λόγος.

Is there in effect nothing more logical? The πόλεμος, the producer or the prevailing guardian that engenders gods and men, is neither a god nor a man. It.. is more originary than the human or the divine, precedes the opposition that places them face to face. In the beginning, there will have been πόλεμος, a "waltender Streit," the reign of a conflict that is not a war in the human manner (kein Krieg nach menschlicher Weise). Πόλεμος will have made upsurge between men and gods, slaves and freemen not only opposition, faults, gaps [écarts], distances, but also joints and couplings. The conflict, such as it is thought by Heraclitus (Der von Heraklit gedachte Kampf), is that by which the being-present (das Wesende) is separated in opposing itself (in the Gegeneinander, the Auseinandertreten). Conflict gives to the being-present, in presence, its position (Stellung), its status, its stance (Stand), and its rank (Rang), the hierarchy, for example, between freemen and slaves. Dissociation, disjunction, scission, dissension, or secession: in this schiz, this split, of the Auseinandertreten or of the Auseinandersetzung are no doubt opened the faults, the intervals, the gaps, the distances, but also are formed the joints or the couplings (Fugen). For the schiz produced by the πόλεμος must also gather, join up, join together, ally, combine, hold together what it separates or spaces. This will permit concluding that πόλεμος and λόγος, it is the same (dasselbe), the λέγειν of λόγος always being heard and understood in its originary signification of gathering. If one recalls here what will be said of the Heraclitean φιλεῖν as λέγειν in 1955, one can conclude from this that πόλεμος and φιλεῖν, it's originarily the same. And what assures the homology of this τὸ αὔτον, of this reversible tautology between πόλεμος and φιλεῖν, what gathers the tautology with itself, is the λόγος, the power of concentrating of the λόγος, the lovence [aimance] of λόγος, I dare not say the "philology" of Heideggerian hearing; I dare even less to say, while yielding to the temptation, its "otology."

This tautology is otology, for it supposes not only a discourse on the ear, but a discourse of the ear, and of the ear that speaks, of poetizing (dichtende) hearing. If this otology were a monology, it would be in the sense in which Heidegger writes at the end of Der Weg zur Sprache, "Aber die Sprache ist Monolog" (US 265 {GA 12: 45}), not in the idealist sense that he attributes to Novalis's Monolog cited at the beginning of this meditation, but in the sense in which speech alone speaks. Or rather: speech is alone to speak, one cannot speak of speech without speech already speaking, there is no metalanguage, speech is alone to speak in a solitude that alone makes possible the belonging-to-one-another of a Zueinandergehören (US 265—68 {GA 12: 253}), the belonging-to-one-another that makes this singular monology an autoheterology. How is this monology to be distinguished from the speculative proposition of absolute idealism whose synthesis is also heterotautological? This is much too formidable a question that I prefer to leave open here.

In the sentence of the Einführung ... I am going to reread, this otophilology could replace πόλεμος with φιλεῖν or φιλία without the least inconsistency: "(Die Auseinandersetzung trennt weder, noch zerstört sie gar die Einheit. Sie bildet diese, ist Sammlung (λόγος): πόλεμος und λόγος Sind dasselbe)" (EM 47): "(The πόλεμος (Auseinandersetzung) does not dissociate the unity, even less does it destroy it. It forms the unity, is gathering (λόγος). Πόλεμος and λόγος are the same.)" The word λόγος, translated by Sammlung, is between parentheses in this sentence that is itself between parentheses, somewhat like a supplementary and tautological precaution, murmured for anyone who would not yet have understood. Tautology in the tautology about a tautology, this sentence between parentheses was explaining another sentence that was saying however nothing less than world and history. It was saying the world, the becoming-world in and through πόλεμος: "In der Aus-einandersetzung wird Welt" (EM 47): "In the conflict with the other the world comes about." And further on, this becoming world is described as history, historical events [l'événementialité], historiality, the being-history of his- tory proper and authentic: "Dieses Weltwerden ist die eigentliche Geschichte" (EM 48).

How is this originary history of the world to be determined? In other words, how to determine the rapport between the originary Kampf and what we identify as the history of the world, for example, political history [la politique]? Through concern for economy, I shall follow the track [trace] of a response in one single paragraph of the Einführung ..., the paragraph that immediately follows the parenthesis "(... πόλεμος und λόγος sind dasselbe)." In the labyrinth of an ear, this paragraph takes up again and re-ties most of the threads we are following from the beginning. Heidegger recalls in this paragraph that Kampf is originary. Why? "for," "because" (denn) it makes upsurge the contenders as such. Then it precedes them. The struggle that precedes all then fights nothing, that is the very logic of this tautology. This Kampf does not yet have any contenders facing it. It does not make war with someone or something. It is not an "assault," Heidegger says, against something that would be present in front of or before it, against a Vorhandenes. Before it, there is no world, there is nothing. Then, what makes the πόλεμος originary? How does it leave this tautology? How does it leave pure tautology while remaining in otology? It projects and develops (entwirft und entwickelt) what is not yet heard, the unheard, das Un-erhörte, written in two words separated by a hyphen, as if to make the heard better heard in the unheard of what is not heard, but also, as elsewhere for Un-gedacht, to make better heard the not simply negative character of the Un-. In other words, in order to hear the originary πόλεμος, the unheard must be heard. I had recalled a short while ago, concerning the reading of Hölderlin, that Erhören also means (to say) answer, respond to a request, to a prayer or a wish. The originary Kampf sketches and unfolds then what is not yet heard or answered, what then remains yet unaccomplished as the unheard (Un-erhörte) of a non-said (Un-gesagte) and of a non-thought (Un-gedachte) (EM 47).

All that is, as it were, the logical consequence of Kampf's originarity. That is why Heidegger says "denn," "for," "because." But what happens next, then, dann? How does the unheard originarity of the unaccomplished make itself heard then, outside of itself in itself, in a sort of heterotautology, through historical works and events? In Heidegger's elliptical response, I hear above all the "dann" and, once more, the "tragen" that will not have ceased to carry us and carry us away [déporter] since Sein und Zeit: "Dieser Kampf wird dann von den Schaffenden, den Dichtern, Denkern, Staatsmännern getragen " (EM 47): "The [originary] struggle is then carried on (getragen) by those that open (creators), poets, thinkers, statesmen." In the course of the same year, in the seminar on Germanien, to which I take the liberty to refer you, Heidegger is much more explicit about what he calls the three creative "Gewalten" of historial Dasein, to wit, the "powers of poetry, of thought, of the creation of the State (Die Mächte der Dichtung, des Denkens, des Staatsschaffens)" (GA 39: 144). The triad of these creators hears and makes heard finally the unheard of the originary πόλεμος. These three creators carry this unheard, they carry it first in themselves, close by themselves, will I dare to say "bei sich," like a mute voice and to which they respond by taking responsibility for it. They open in this responsibility. This work is theirs, since they carry the unheard in themselves and take responsibility for it. But this work is not theirs, since they only hear the unheard. Their work carries only the seal or the signature of the originary πόλεμος that has projected and developed the unheard. I speak of work for Schaffen, because Heidegger does not stop, in the lines that follow, determining this Schaffen as Werken and Werk, without distinguishing between the three Gewalten of the poet, thinker, and states- man. If the figure of the statesman is somewhat artificially isolated, one can wonder what Heidegger's crafty strategy signifies in 1935. After what has been said of the originary and pre-anthropological, pre-subjective, pre-personal, pre-political, pre-polemological Kampf, no one should have the right to write and to sign "Mein Kampf," without ridiculous presumption, in any case without confining oneself to a very degraded sense of Kampf. Nevertheless, wishing himself a statesman, the institutor of a new order and of a new State, was not the author of Mein Kampf able to appeal to the originary πόλεμος? Supposing Heidegger finds no other objection to his politics, a hypothesis I shall not examine here, Hitler would perhaps have been able to say: the "mein" of Mein Kampf does not signify an anthropologico-subjectivistic reappropriation. In respectful listening to the originary πόλεμος, concerning its most unheard aspect [en ce qu'il a de plus inoui], Mein Kampf says "my" way, that is, "our" way of carrying (tragen) the originary Kampf. I speak, like you, Heidegger, of our responsibility, of the mission (Sendung [GA 39: 151]), of the "historial spiritual mission (Auftrag) of the German people" (SU 10), I carry the responsibility for this mission (Auftrag). My response is our response to the originary Kampf, I am only hearing and developing what it has inaudibly projected. In continuing the principle of such a response, Heideggerian hearing offers no guarantee, supposing such guarantees can ever exist, against the use that the regime at that time can make of this thinking hearing of Heraclitus. Not only does Heidegger then voice agreement with those that have only the Kampf in their mouth, but he can furnish them the most dignified and the most thoughtful justification, which can always deepen rather than dissipate the equivocation and the misunderstanding, the mishearing, the essential sich verhören. Earlier I suggested that Heidegger had not sufficiently thematized or formalized the essential equivocation of all these strategies. But I added that in any case they are never totally objectifiable, thematizable, and formalizable. This limit is even the place of decision, of decision in general, of political decision in particular, its tragic condition of possibility, there where decision cannot finally let itself be guided by a knowledge. And then to say that a strategy or the calculus of a stratagem is not formalizable, is that not still to situate the project of formalization in what I shall call a war economy?

In order to hasten the conclusion of a lecture that is too long, I would like to situate very quickly, in the history of this philopolemology, what accords in a perhaps less visible and hardly audible way, a certain negativity of hearing (nonhearing, incapacity for Horchen, the deafness of the Überhören, of the sich Verhören, disagreement, misunderstanding, mishearing, unwilling- or not-being-able-to-hear) with a certain degeneration of sight on the one hand, with sacrifice on the other. In both cases, this negativity responds to the sense, to the possibility and the necessity of what Heidegger calls in general, but also in this context, Verfall, fall or decay.

Conflict (Kampf) is φύσις inasmuch as it institutes but also inasmuch as it keeps what it institutes. It is institution itself, in the double sense of this word, instituting and instituted. When conflict stops, when one no longer hears what is unheard in the conflict, the being does not disappear, but is no longer kept, affirmed, maintained (behauptet [d. h. als solches gewahrt]), becomes an object (Gegenstand, Vorhandene), an object available there where the world has ceased to become world (keine Welt mehr weltet). It becomes either an object for a gaze (Betrachten, Anblick), or a form or image that faces us, or the object of a calculated production. In this fall of πόλεμος, in this Verfall, the originary φύσις falls (fällt ... herab) from the rank of model (Vorbild) to the rank of reproduction and imitation (Abbilden, Nachmachen). Φύσις, the instituting institution, becomes the Nature (Natur) that is opposed to Art. Φύσις was the originary upsurging of force, power, or violence, of the Gewalten des Waltenden, the φαίνεσθαι in the major sense of the epiphany of the world. The unheard falls now to the rank of spectacle, in the quelled visibility of objects that face us. This decay does not consist in becoming visible, it is also a decay of the eye. Like hearing, seeing suffers when the originary πόλεμος is quelled. When seeing penetrated inside Walten at the moment of the sketch of the work, seeing becomes superficial, an eye of the outside, the simple consideration of the spectator or examination of the inspector (Ansehen, Besehen, Begaffen). Sight degenerates into optics, that is to say, also into the technology of sight—here is the symptom, that is, the fall. This new blindness then no more excludes spectacle than deafness excludes noise; deafness goes hand in hand with a cultural din louder than before (lauter ... als je zuvor). Πόλεμος degenerates into polemics. The creators (poets, thinkers, statesmen) then have been removed from the people; they are regarded as eccentrics or cultural ornaments. They are hardly tolerated (geduldet) (EM 48) when the originary πόλεμος withdraws. This tolerance, this little bit of tolerance is in truth an intolerance.

The brief remark of the Einführung ... on intolerance is supported by a thought of sacrifice, a more radical, harder and more piercing thought that had been developed in the earlier seminar of the same year on Germanien, the first seminar on Hölderlin, in particular in section 10 that inscribes that poem and Hölderlin in the horizon of a thought of Heraclitus, even if Heidegger does not neglect the difference of times between the two. The fact of not hearing (überhören again) the poet that announces the future being of a people is defined as a sacrifice. Überhören is in truth a sacrifice. It is even the sacrifice of truth, and this sacrifice passes through the ear. In truth, this sacrifice of the truth is the very movement of truth. The initiators or the first-born must be sacrificed (müssen die Erstlinge geopfert werden) (GA 39: 146). And this is as valid for poets as for thinkers and statesmen when it is a matter of a fundamental mutation or of a foundation. This necessity for sacrificial exclusion can be interpreted in Heidegger's tone, precisely when he speaks of the fundamental tone (Grundstimmung) or, in this Grundstimmung, when he speaks of the conflict of joy and mourning. But the necessity of the sacrificial foreclosure can also be formalized abstractly and in another tone, like that of Rousseau, for example, when he explains that the founders or the legislators must not belong to the very thing they found or institute: they must be strangers to it or taken for strangers, a priori excluded. Ostracism and sacrifice, suppression, repression, foreclosure, the impossibility of tolerating the founding instance and authority, are structurally part of what is founded. The institution or the foundation cannot itself be founded; it inaugurates above an inaudible abyss, and this knowledge is intolerable. Which, by definition, moreover, is not knowledge. It is the experience of the foundation as the experience of the Abgrund. What founds or justifies cannot be founded or justified. Let us not forget that the same year, in Der Ursprung des Kunstwerkes, truth states itself as an originary conflict (Urstreit), the thetic opposition of the clearing and of the double dissimulation (Gegeneinander von Lichtung und zwiefacher Verbergung). And among the four essential ways for truth to institute itself in the being it opens, there is the founding act of the State and the essential sacrifice (das wesentliche Opfer) (HW 49—50). In Germanien, the allusion to sacrifice comes not long after another reading and another translation of aphorism 53 of Heraclitus (GA 39: 123ff.). We cannot analyze it here closely. Heidegger again complains about the common translation, notably about the translation of πατήρ: by father. In 1966—67, he will no longer protest, it seems, when, in the joint seminar he devotes with Fink to Heraclitus, Fink keeps the words war, father, and king. But let us leave that for the moment. Let us retain only that the seminar on Germanien, in a reading of Heraclitus analogous to that of the Einführung ..., proposes a translation as such, between quotation marks this time, in which the words between parentheses have disappeared. βασιλεύς is not translated by waltender Bewahrer, but by Beherrscher, master or lord. This difference perhaps becomes more significant if one recalls that ἐλεύθεροθς, translated by "free" (Freie) in the Einführung ..., which is, so to speak, normal, was found to be translated at that time by Herren (lords or masters), in opposition to slaves (δοῦλους, Knechte). In the context I have tried, not without violence, to delimit, we would have to, with more time, pay the greatest attention to other motifs I am briefly indicating.

At the focus of this reading, there is not only aphorism 53, but also two other aphorisms of Heraclitus that name πόλεμος. One says that justice (δίκη) is conflict (ἔρις). And the commentary of Heidegger—who writes "δίκη ἔρις—Recht ist Streit"—tends to underscore, against common sense, the reciprocal belonging of justice and of conflict that are in agreement [s'entendent] between themselves, so to speak, in this Zusammengehörigkeit. The other aphorism (67) says god is war and peace, just as god is day and night, winter and summer, abundance and famine—just as god is the fire that transforms itself in this way. Fire will be an important theme of the seminar with Fink. This time translating πόλεμος by war (Krieg), Heidegger does so naturally without warmongering, just as he insists without irenicism on εἰρήνη: god is also peace. One must hear the harmony between war and peace, the Einklang, the accord to which the contradictory (Widerstreit) refers, as well as the contradiction in which the Einklang oscillates or resonates. In this whole thematic configuration, what is said, in the seminar on Der Rhein, of the Feindseligkeit would naturally have had to be meditated on. This word, Feindseligkeit, currently signifies hostility, but it lets itself be translated with difficulty here, above all according to the hearing Heidegger proposes of it. He would lead one to hear and understand a kind of originary enmity (ursprüngliche Feindschaft [GA 39: 245]) that reigns (waltet again) at the crisscross of contraries (in dieser Sich überkreuzenden Gegenstrebigkeit waltet die ursprüngliche Feindschaft). But once more, this originary enmity does not produce the exploding dispersion of contraries, rather it is their originary oneness (ursprüngliche Einigkeit). And that is why enmity would also have the characteristic of beatitude, bliss, Seligkeit. The bliss of this originary enmity constituting the unity of a being, this unity must also preserve "the highest purity" (GA 39: 241). Feindseligkeit would give, so to speak, the secret, idiomatic economy, in a single word, of a reconciliation. Not of a reconciliation in friendship, but of a reconciliation between friendship and enmity, a reconciliation carried in the same ordeal [épreuve], in the non-identical-sameness-of the experience.

Heidegger almost never names the enemy, it seems, nor hatred. Why doesn't he evoke the voice of the enemy if between πόλεμος and φιλία the λόγος assures such a homology? Why this dissymmetry? If I had to try to gather this thought still more by finding again the carrying-distance of Tragen and of Austrag that we have been testing ever since the voice of the friend that each Dasein bei Sich trägt, I would bring this reconciliation together with what Heidegger says elsewhere of Austrag. You know that this word plays a major role not only in certain texts I cited above, notably Die Sprache, but also in Identity and Difference, at the end of the "Onto-theo-logical Constitution of Metaphysics." In its everyday sense, Austrag would be able to be translated by distribution, settlement (for example, the settlement and the solution of a conflict). We have seen how, in Die Sprache, Heidegger also heard it as carrying, indeed the gestation and the carrying-to-term of difference as well as of intimacy (Innigkeit). The French translator of Identity and Difference recalls that Austrag, which he translates by "Conciliation," is also the "somewhat approximate etymological translation" of difference (dis-fero = aus-tragen). And he cites a text of Heidegger (Der europäische Nihilismus, p. 185) specifically stating that "Difference (Unterscheidung), as Differenz, means (to say) that there is a permanent accord (Austrag) between being and beings." And so difference becomes in some way synonymous with peace, another name for accord, harmony or conciliation, indeed reconciliation, since Heidegger also defines Austrag as "the reconciliation of conflict (Der Versöhnung des Streites)."10 In the last pages of "The Onto-theo-logical Constitution of Metaphysics," Austrag, as preamble, threshold, or preliminary place (Vorort) of the essence of the difference between being and beings, also becomes the threshold by which God enters philosophy. But this God of philosophy or of ontotheology is a God to which man cannot address himself: neither by prayer nor by sacrifice (Zu diesem Gott kann der Mensch weder beten, noch kann er ihm opfern) (ID 64). If I understand right, the God that can be addressed beyond ontotheology, the God that would no longer be the God of philosophers and scholars [savants], the God that would no longer be the foundation of being or causa sui, that God that is called by prayer and can hear (Erhören), indeed answer the prayer, would be a God to which it is possible and no doubt necessary to offer sacrifice.

These explicit allusions to sacrifice are doubtless rather rare and discreet. I have indicated three or four of them. But you have at least seen that they already oriented a later and more patient attempt to perceive better what Heidegger will have heard, whether he understood it or not [sous-entendu ou non], I mean, what Heidegger will not have heard under this word sacrifice. In order to continue on this preliminary path today, I thought I had to hear Heidegger, to hear him hearing his own tongue, struggling with it or playing with it. I thought I had to do this up to a certain point, always difficult to discern, that point where, in order to hear the singularity of the idiom, is also required the plurality, indeed the Auseinandersetzung of idioms. More than one ear is necessary. More than an ear. When he speaks of Hölderlin, Heidegger specifically states that each verse must be heard (hören) not by searching for some imitative harmony, some painting of sounds (Klangmalerei), but starting from the "plenitude of its truth, in which the sound and the sense are not yet disjoined (wo Klang und Sinn noch nicht zertrennt sind)" (GA 39: 240). Translation always risks this separation—which is also a war and a sacrifice, the choice perhaps being left among several qualities and several events of sacrifice.

Hölderlin's sacrifice, which the Germans have not heard and understood, is in Heidegger's eyes an exemplary sacrifice. After recalling that the initiator poets are not heard and that they are dedicated to sacrifice, Heidegger adds: "Hölderlin is a poet of this kind (Hölderlin ist ein solcher Dichter)" (GA 39: 146). But who will have heard the one that announces to his people that he has not heard the sacrificed poet? What does someone do who, while speaking, says to his people: '"You do not hear the sacrificed poet,' you do not hear the one who says 'Ich aber bin allein': 'But I am alone'; hear him at last, he is exemplary. Stop sacrificing him"? The mediator or intercessor is necessarily in the same situation, quite as exemplary as the one he would like to make heard and whom for the moment he alone hears. The mediator always says in truth: "Ich aber bin allein," you do not hear me, when will you hear me hearing Heraclitus, Hölderlin, and some others? When will you stop sacrificing me? When will you hear the voice of that strange friend that your Dasein bei sich trägt, of that enemy-friend that speaks to you in the heart of a Feindseligkeit, of this originary enmity that forever gathers us for the best and the worst?

Of course, bien entendu, I reserve for another time the unstable and multiple title I would have liked to give this reading: "le sacrifice de Heidegger," not only the sacrifice in general, but Heidegger's sacrifice, the sacrifice of Heidegger, what he has thought or not of sacrifice, of his own, for example, that he may have offered himself to or that one may still offer him to [qu'il s' y soit offert ou qu'on l'y offre encore]. A bon entendeur, salut: let the hearer beware.


8. Introduction la métaphysique, trans. Gilbert Kahn (Paris: Gallimard, 1967), 72.

9. I take the liberty of referring here to my Otobiographies: l' enseignement de Nietzsche et la politique du nom propre (Paris: Galilée, 1984), 73ff.; The Ear of the Other: Otobiography, Transference, Translation, trans. Peggy Kamuf ("Otobiographies" trans. Avital Ronell) (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1988), 19ff.

10. Questions 1, trans. Henry Corbin, et al. (Paris: Gallimard, 1968), 256, 299.

Jacques Derrida - Geschlecht IV Heidegger's Ear part 4