Ponderings XI [414–415]

the witches, wherein only intelligent bloodhounds newly cook up the tradition for what is timely, in the opinion that timeliness will by itself guarantee | “life.” Those who calculate are also enchanted— namely, by what amazes them, i.e., by the fact that suddenly new possibilities of discovery are given and again a generation is supplied, in its time to come, with “new” tasks of “exhuming” and “seeking” that which the “previous generation” has overlooked, for which the earlier generation was as little capable as the present generations should be credited with the fact that they now can discover something “new” and be eager for “new sights.”

Folklore of whatever kind and extent never finds the “eternal people,” unless such a people, in its particulars of essential questioning and discourse, is assigned in advance to those who seek the God of the people and who cast a decision for or against Himself into the essential core of the people. For first and only in that way has the people also found itself, i.e., found the necessity to acquire something of the future, instead of retrieving the past and becoming conceited through historiology, and to know that the essential, qua the ever most unique, never recurs and all regression is less than standstill, because it is only a covering over of the essential, if in advance and definitively in intention the eyes are sealed shut and denied a view into the unbounded machination of being, a machination that alone determines the space-time and levels of height for that which | now “is.” But a crude “biologism” (justified within its own purposes) of the folkish [völkisch] ambition for power now seduces the “sensitive” and even more “empathetic” Germans onto the erroneous paths of folklore through which (who could deny it?) there opens up a new and broad field for curiosity, for the pleasure of vicarious “lived experience,” and for imitation.

And yet—the historicism of the prehistorical is even more disastrous than the one of history. For this latter historicism always requires (as its reverse side and complement) action, whereas the former one harbors the intention to “live” again the “primal life” and “life” in the “primal” itself, only because people “occupy” themselves with the ancient “symbols” as multifariously and exclusively as possible and prepare a “cognition” of them—as if the automobile, simultaneously racing right past such an occupation or even utilized in it and for it, as if the thundering of the dive-bomber, as if the loudspeaker bellowing out from some corner of the world, as if the gigantic movie poster, as if the concomitantly clattering typewriter—as if all this were nothing or could be measured by this “life” or could be absent even for a second. As if “the life” which is could be mastered or even merely led by averting the gaze into the certainly stimulating

Ponderings VII-XI (GA 95) by Martin Heidegger