the autochthony, of man is threatened today at its core! Even more: The loss of rootedness is caused not merely by circumstance and fortune, nor does it stem only from the negligence and the superficiality of man's way of life. The loss of autochthony springs from the spirit of the age into which all of us were born.

We grow still more thoughtful and ask: If this is so, can man, can man's work in the future still be expected to thrive in the fertile ground of a homeland and mount into the ether, into the far reaches of the heavens and the spirit? Or will everything now fall into the clutches of planning and calculation, of organization and automation?

If we reflect upon what our celebration today suggests, then we must observe the loss of man's autochthony with which our age is threatened. And we ask: What really is happening in our age? By what is it characterized?

The age that is now beginning has been called of late the atomic age. Its most conspicuous symbol is the atom bomb. But this symbolizes only the obvious; for it was recognized at once that atomic energy can be used also for peaceful purposes. Nuclear physicists everywhere are busy with vast plans to implement the peaceful uses of atomic energy. The great industrial corporations of the leading countries, first of all England, have figured out already that atomic energy can develop into a gigantic business. Through this atomic business a new era of happiness is envisioned. Nuclear science, too, does not stand idly by. It publicly proclaims this era of happiness. Thus in July of this year at Lake Constance, eighteen Nobel Prize winners

3. The German Bodenstandigkeit is translated rootedness or autochthony depending on a literal or a more figurative connotation. (Tr.)

Discourse On Thinking (GA 16) by Martin Heidegger