Martin Heidegger • 41
you said that "only a few people are capable of" this new way of thought. Did you want to say that only a very few people can have the insights which in your view are possible and necessary?
H: To "have" them in the utterly primordial sense, so that they can, in a certain way, "say" them.
S: But you did not make clear in this conversation with the Buddhist just how this passing over into reality (Verwirklichung) takes place.
H: I cannot make this clear. I know nothing about how this thinking "has an effect" (wirkt). It may be that the path of thinking has today reached the point where silence is required to preserve thinking from being all jammed up just within a year. It may also be that it will take three hundred years for it "to have an effect."
S: We understand that very well. But since we don't live three hundred years from now, but here and now, silence is denied to us. We politicians, semi-politicians, citizens, journalists, etc., we constantly have to make decisions of one kind or another. We must try to adapt to the system we live in, we must attempt to change it, we must look for the small opportunity of reform and the still smaller one of revolution. We expect help from the philosopher, if only indirect help, help in a roundabout way. And now we hear: I cannot help you.
H: And I cannot.
S: That surely discourages the non-philosopher.
H: I cannot, because the questions are so difficult that it would be contrary to the meaning of the task of thought to step up publicly, as it were, to preach and to impose moral judgment. Perhaps one might risk the following: to the mystery of the superior global power of the unthought essence of technology there corresponds the tentativeness and inconspicuousness of thought, which attempts to meditate this still unthought essence.
S: You do not number yourself among those who could show a way, if people would only listen to them?
H: No. I know of no paths to the immediate transformation of the present situation of the world, assuming that such a thing is humanly possible at all. But it seems to me that the thinking which I attempt would awaken, clarify and fortify the readiness which we have mentioned.