possible. Technicity in its essence is something that man does not master by his own power.25

SPIEGEL: Which of the trends just sketched out, according to your view, would be most suitable to our time?

Heidegger: I don't see [any answer to] that. But I do see here a decisive question. First of all, it would be necessary to clarify what you mean by "suitable to our time." What is meant here by "time?" Furthermore, the question should be raised as to whether such suitability is the [appropriate] standard for the "inner truth" of human activity, and whether the standard measure of [human] activity is not thinking and poetizing, however heretical such a shift [of emphasis] may seem to be.26

SPIEGEL: It is obvious that man is never [complete] master of his tools-witness the case of the Sorcerer's Apprentice. But is it not a little too pessimistic to say: we are not gaining mastery over this surely much greater tool [that is] modern technicity?

Heidegger: Pessimism, no. In the area of the reflection that I am attempting now, pessimism and optimism are positions that don't go far enough. But above all, modern technicity is no "tool" and has nothing at all to do with tools.

SPIEGEL: Why should we be so powerfully overwhelmed by technicity that ...?

Heidegger: I don't say [we are] "overwhelmed" [by it]. I say that up to the present we have not yet found a way to respond to the essence of technicity.

SPIEGEL: But someone might object very naively: what must be mastered in this case? Everything is functioning. More and more electric power companies are being built. Production is up. In highly technologized parts of the earth, people are well cared for. We are living in a state of prosperity. What really is lacking to us?

Heidegger: Everything is functioning. That is precisely what is awesome, that everything functions, that the functioning propels everything more and more toward further functioning, and that technicity increasingly dislodges man and uproots him from the earth. I don't know if you were shocked, but [certainly] I was shocked when a short time ago I saw the pictures of the earth taken from the moon. We do not need atomic bombs at all [to uproot us]—the uprooting of man is already here. All our relationships have become merely technical ones. It is no longer upon an earth that man lives today. Recently I had a long [209] dialogue in Provence with René Char—a poet and resistance fighter, as you know. In Provence now, launch pads are being built and the countryside laid waste in unimaginable fashion. This poet, who certainly is open to no suspicion of sentimentality or of glorifying the idyllic, said to me that the uprooting of man that is now taking place is the end [of everything human}, unless thinking and poetizing once again regain [their] nonviolent power.


Martin Heidegger (GA 16) “Only a God Can Save Us”: The Spiegel Interview (1966) - Heidegger the Man and the Thinker