Seminar in Le Thor 1969 [107–109]

correspondence with exploitation and consumption; the relation to exploitation and consumption requires the human to be in this relationship. Man does not hold technology in his hand. He is its plaything. In this situation, there reigns a complete forgetfulness of being, a complete concealment of being. Cybernetics becomes a replacement for philosophy and poetry. Political science, sociology, and psychology become prioritized, disciplines which no longer bear the slightest relation to their own foundation. In this regard, modern man is a slave to the forgetfulness of being.

Through this, the state of affairs becomes visible (as far as it will let itself be seen) that the human is “used by being” [utilisé]. In the word “to use” [Brauchen] we hear an echo of the χρή of Parmenides and Anaximander. It thoroughly corresponds to “utilisé,” but in the sense that one has need of that which one “uses.”

Thus the human necessarily belongs to, and has his place in, the openness (and currently in the forgetfulness) of being. Being, however, for its opening, needs man as the there of its manifestation.

For this reason the letter to Jean Beaufret101 speaks of man as the shepherd of being—let us note that here for once the French speaks more clearly than the German: berger [shepherd] is the one who beherbergt [héberge] (provides shelter [Obhut]).102 The human is the placeholder of the nothing.

If being needs something of the human’s kind in order to be, then a finitude of being must accordingly be assumed; that consequently being would not be absolutely for itself, this is the most pointed contradiction to Hegel. For indeed when Hegel says that the Absolute is not “without us,” he says this only in regard to the Christian “God who needs humans.” For Heidegger’s thinking, on the contrary, being is not without its relation to Dasein.103

Nothing is further away from Hegel and all idealism.

101 “Letter on Humanism” in GA 9: 342/Pathmarks, p. 260.

102 The wish of the French seminar participants, to hear the German verb bergen in the French berger, is not supported by an etymological connection (berger stems from the Latin berbicarius [berbix, brebis, sheep] and thus literally means “the shepherd”). But indeed, héberger does come from the same root as the German Herbergen [inn, hostel, shelter].

103 Cf. Martin Heidegger, Kant und das Problem der Metaphysik, GA 3, ed. Friedrich-Wilhelm von Herrmann, 1991, §41, p. 229: “More original than the human is the finitude of Dasein in him.” English translation: Martin Heidegger, Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics, 5th enlarged ed., trans. Richard Taft (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1997), p. 160.

Martin Heidegger (GA 15) Four Seminars