LETTER ON "HUMANISM"


is simultaneously entrenched and covered up as such. Because Marx by experiencing estrangement attains an essential dimension of history, the Marxist view of history is superior to that of other historical accounts. But since neither Husserl nor — so far as I have seen till now — Sartre recognizes the essential importance of the historical in being, neither phenomenology nor existentialism enters that dimension within which a productive dialogue with Marxism first becomes possible.

[171 {GA 9 340}] For such dialogue it is certainly also necessary to free oneself from naive notions about materialism, as well a!t from the cheap refutations that are supposed to counter it. The essence of materialism does not consist in the assertion that everything is simply matter but rather in a metaphysical determination according to which every being appears as the material of labor. The modem metaphysical essence of labor is anticipated in Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit as the self-establishing process of unconditioned production, which is the objectification of the actual through the human being, experienced as subjectivity. The essence of materialism is concealed in the essence of technology, about which much has been written but little has been thought. Technology is in its essence a destiny within the history of being and of the truth of being, a truth that lies in oblivion. For technology does not go back to the τέχνη of the Greeks in name only but derives historically and essentially from τέχνη as a mode of ἀληθεύειν, a mode, that is, of rendering beings manifest. As a form of truth technology is grounded in the history of metaphysics, which is itself a distinctive and up to now the only surveyable phase of the history of being. No matter which of the various positions one chooses to adopt toward the doctrines of communism and to their foundation, from the point of view of the history of being it is certain that an elemental experience of what is world-historical speaks out in it. Whoever takes "communism" only as a "party" or a "Weltanschauung" is thinking too shallowly, just as those who by the term "Americanism" mean, and mean derogatorily, nothing more than a particular lifestyle. The dangera into which Europe as it has hitherto existed is ever more clearly forced consists presumably in the fact above all that its thinking — once its glory — is falling behindb the essential course18 of


a First edition, 1949: The danger has in the meantime come more clearly to light. The collapse of thinking back into metaphysics is taking on a new form: it is the end of philosophy in the sense of its complete dissolution into the sciences, whose unity is likewise unfolding in a new way in cybernetics. The power of science cannot be stopped by an intervention or offensive of whatever kind, because "science" belongs in the gathered setting-in-place [Ge-stell] that continues to obscure the place [verstellt] of the event of appropriation.

b First edition, 1949: Falling back into metaphysics.


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Martin Heidegger (GA 9) Pathmarks