necessity to think factually, where this means to think at all? What is at stake in the fact that the human can [189] withdraw himself from this demand, can evade it, pass it by and misunderstand it, in order then to stray into defenselessness and find himself in a state of neglect?

From where and how, finally, is the demand addressed to the human that he think things, and do so in a way proper to those things themselves? Does the human still have an ear that can hear this address? Do we? Do we understand the language of this address? Do we have any connection to the word that is brought forth into language in this address? The word—what is that, anyway? What does it mean to answer to a demand that determines our essence? Are these questions that were posed just now perhaps the essential questions of ‘logic’? ‘Logic,’ as one says, is the doctrine of correct thinking.

Thinking correctly, thinking from out of the matter itself, and thinking at all are all necessary: however, learning to think is the highest necessity, and not simply for the sake of avoiding mere errors in thinking. Thinking is a necessity so that we may thereby correspond to a perhaps still-hidden determination of the historical human. Perhaps it is the case that, for a long time, all futurity has rested solely upon whether this ability to correspond and to think is bestowed to the historical human, or whether it remains withheld from him. ‘The historical human’: this refers to that particular humanity toward whom a fate is intended—namely, as the to-be-thought. But who today and in the coming days is better able and suited to receive the gift of thinking than the ‘nation of thinkers,’ that nation about whom a particular person who left this nation felt compelled to say that it is the “holy heart of nations”1 and that from out of it comes a “counsel” that “surrounds kings and nations”2? All poetry and play, all building and construction, all care and action, all fighting and suffering, lose themselves in the confused, the dull, the coincidental, and the purely calculated, so long as the simple luminosity of thinking is not there, a luminosity from out of which [190] world and earth appear and can remain as a sign of the true.

But how shall we find the luminosity of thinking, if we do not allow ourselves to be led onto the wide path of thinking and slowly learn to think?

Perhaps there is indeed something even more preliminary: namely, that we must first learn how to learn and learn the ability to learn. In fact, before this preliminary condition there is one even more preliminary: namely, that we ready ourselves to learn how to learn. What does it mean to learn? A single definition cannot answer this, but it can give us a clue: to learn is to knowingly appropriate something according to instruction and hints, in order to give it away as the property of knowledge without losing it and thus becoming impoverished in the

1 Hölderlin, Werke, IV, 129.

2 Ibid., IV, 185.

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