question: is it as an "I" that is reduced to its random desires and abandoned to an arbitrary free-will or as the "we" of society; is it as individual or as community; is it as a personal being within the community or as a mere member of the body corporate; is it as a state, nation, or people or as the indifferent humanity of modern man, that man wills and must be that subject which, as the essence of modernity, he already is? Only where, in essence, man has become subject does there exist the possibility of sliding into the unbeing of subjectivism in the sense of individualism. But it is also the case that only where man remains subject does it make any sense to struggle explicitly against individualism and for the community as the goal and arena of all achievement and utility.

The interweaving of these two processes — that the world becomes picture and man the subject — which is decisive for the essence of modernity illuminates the founding process of modern history, a process that, at first sight, seems almost nonsensical. The process, namely, whereby the more completely and comprehensively the world, as conquered, stands at man's disposal, and the more objectively the object appears, all the more subjectively (i.e., peremptorily) does the subiectum rise up, and all the more inexorably, too, do observations and teachings about the world transform themselves into a doctrine of man, into an anthropology. No wonder that humanism first arises where the world becomes picture. In the great age of the Greeks, however, it was as impossible for a humanism to gain currency as it was for there to be anything like a world picture. Humanism, therefore, in the narrower, historical sense, is nothing but a moral-aesthetic anthropology. The name "anthropology," here, does not refer to an investigation of humanity by natural science. Neither does it mean the doctrine established within Christian theology concerning created, fallen, and redeemed humanity. It designates, rather, that philosophical interpretation of man which explains and evaluates beings as a whole from the standpoint of, and in relation to, man (Appendix 10).

The ever more exclusive rooting of the interpretation of the world in anthropology which has set in since the end of the eighteenth century finds expression in the fact that man's fundamental relation to beings as a whole is defined as a world view [Weltanschauung] . It is since then that this term has entered common usage. As soon as the world becomes picture the position of man is conceived as world view. It is, to be sure, easy to misunderstand the term "world view," to suppose it to have to do merely with a disengaged contemplation of the world. For this reason, already in the nineteenth century, it was rightly emphasized that "world view" also means, and even means


The Age of the World Picture (GA 5) by Martin Heidegger