Four Seminars [97–98]

What is decisive, Heidegger adds, is to understand that physics cannot leap beyond itself. Such a leap can just as little be accomplished by politics, insofar as it lives today in and for the dimension of science. The most extreme danger is that man, insofar as he produces himself, no longer feels any other necessities than the demands of his self-production. Hence, we once again come to the question of the language of the computer.

In these suppositions, the end of language and the end of tradition are equally visible. What is uncanny, however, is not so much that everything will be extinguished, but instead that this does not actually come to light. The surge of information veils the disappearance of what has been [des Gewesenen], and prospective planning is only a name for the obstruction of the future.

As to the interest of America for the “question of being,” the reality of that country is veiled from the view of those interested: the collusion between industry and the military (the economic development and the armament that it requires).

But the decision does not belong to humans. If this is to become clear, what is most important is the insight that man is not a being that makes himself—without such an insight one remains with the supposedly political opposition between civil and industrial society, and forgets that the concept of society is only another name, a mirror, or an extension, of subjectivity.

The Greeks had neither culture, nor religion, nor social relations. Greek history only lasted three centuries. But essential limitation, i.e., finitude, is perhaps the condition of a genuine existence. For the truly living human, there is always time.

After these thoughts on the times, Heidegger returns to a question opened up in a previous session: how is Hegel’s statement “Pure being and pure nothing are, therefore, the same” to be distinguished from the thesis of “What is Metaphysics?” concerning the relation between being and nothing? Being just as much as nothing are for Hegel the Absolute in its most extreme alienation. But for Heidegger?

The identity of being and nothing is thought in departure from the ontological difference, but in what dimension does Hegel’s determination move, when seen from the ontological difference? Hegel’s proposition does not concern the ontological difference: it is an ontological statement, as the title of Hegel’s work already shows. As such, it is supported by the ontological difference. Actually the entire Logic is a unity of ontological statements which are stated in a dialectical-speculative form, whereby it is understandable that the Logic presents God’s thought before the creation. But what does “creation” mean? Creation is the production of the world. In German: Herstellung; in Greek: ποίησις. Beings are created. Who does the production of beings require? One