54 • The Fundamental Question of Metaphysics

In all its areas, science today is a technical, practical matter of gaining information and communicating it. No awakening of the spirit at all can proceed from it as science. Science itself needs such an awakening.

4. The last misinterpretation of the spirit rests on the formerly mentioned falsifications that represent the spirit as intelligence, this intelligence as a tool serviceable for goals, and this tool, together with what can be produced, as the realm of culture. The spirit as intelligence in the service of goals and the spirit as culture finally become showpieces and spectacles that one takes into account along with many others, that one publicly trots out and exhibits as proof that one does not want to deny culture in favor of barbarism. Russian communism, after an initially purely negative attitude, went directly over to such propagandistic tactics.

Against these multiple misinterpretations of the spirit, we determine the essence of the spirit briefly in this way (I choose the formulation from my Rectoral Address, because there everything is succinctly brought together in accordance with the occasion): “Spirit is neither empty acuity, nor the noncommittal play of wit, nor the understanding’s boundless pursuit of analysis, nor even world reason, but rather spirit is originally attuned, [38|53] knowing resolution to the essence of Being” (Rectoral Address, p. 13).37 Spirit is the empowering of the powers of beings as such and as a whole.

37. Cf. Reden und andere Zeugnisse eines Lebenweges: 1910–1976, Gesamtausgabe, vol. 16 (Frankfurt: Vittorio Klostermann, 2000), 112; in the original Rectoral Address, the first occurrence of the word Geist at the beginning of this passage is printed in quotation marks. For another English translation, see “The Self-Assertion of the German University,” trans. Lisa Harries, in Martin Heidegger and National Socialism: Questions and Answers, ed. Günther Neske and Emil Kettering (New York: Paragon House, 1990), 9.

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