114 § Poetry, Language, Thought


ground of that turn which prevails in all objectiveness against the pure draft, by which the unheard-of center of beings draws all pure forces to itself Technological production is the organization of this parting. The word for parting—Abscheid—in the meaning just sketched, is another basic word in Rilke's valid poetry.

What is deadly is not the much-discussed atomic bomb as this particular death-dealing machine. What has long since been threatening man with death, and indeed with the death of his own nature, is the unconditional character of mere willing in the sense of purposeful self-assertion in everything. What threatens man in his very nature is the willed view that man, by the peaceful release, transformation, storage, and channeling of the energies of physical nature, could render the human condition, man's being, tolerable for everybody and happy in all respects. But the peace of this peacefulness is merely the undisturbed continuing relentlessness of the fury of self-assertion which is resolutely self-reliant. What threatens man in his very nature is the view that this imposition of production can be ventured without any danger, as long as other interests besides—such as, perhaps, the interests of a faith—retain their currency. As though it were still possible for that essential relation to the whole of beings in which man is placed by the technological exercise of his will to find a separate abode in some side-structure which would offer more than a temporary escape into those self-deceptions among which we must count also the flight to the Greek gods! What threatens man in his very nature is the view that technological production puts the world in order, while in fact this ordering is precisely what levels every ordo, every rank, down to the uniformity of production, and thus from the outset destroys the realm from which any rank and recognition could possibly arise.

It is not only the totality of this willing that is dangerous, but willing itself, in the form of self-assertion within a world that is admitted only as will. The willing that is willed by this will is already resolved to take unconditional command. By that resolve, it is even now delivered into the hands of total organization. But


Martin Heidegger (GA 7) The Origin of the Work of Art