The Question Concerning Technology

all saving power must be of a higher essence than what is endangered, though at the same time kindred to it.

But might there not perhaps be a more primally granted revealing that could bring the saving power into its first shining-forth in the midst of the danger that in the technological age rather conceals than shows itself?

There was a time when it was not technology alone that bore the name τέχνη. Once the revealing that brings forth truth into the splendor of radiant appearance was also called τέχνη.

Once there was a time when the bringing-forth of the true into the beautiful was called τέχνη. And the ποίησις of the fine arts also was called τέχνη.

In Greece, at the outset of the destining of the West, the arts soared to the supreme height of the revealing granted them. They brought the presence [Gegenwart] of the gods, brought the dialogue of divine and human destinings, in radiance. And art was called simply τέχνη. It was a single, manifold revealing. It was pious, προμος, i.e., yielding to the holding sway and the safekeeping of truth.

The arts were not derived from the artistic. Artworks were not enjoyed aesthetically. Art was not a sector of cultural activity.

What, then, was art—perhaps only for that brief but magnificent time? Why did art bear the modest name τέχνη? Because it was a revealing that brought forth and hither, and therefore belonged within ποίησις. It was finally that revealing that which holds complete sway in all the fine arts, in poetry, and in everything poetical that obtained ποίησις as its proper name.

The same poet from whom we heard the words

But where danger is, grows
The saving power also . . .

says to us:

. . . poetically man dwells on this earth.

The poetical brings the true into the splendor of what Plato in the Phaedrus calls το ἐκφανέστατον, that which shines forth most purely. The poetical thoroughly pervades every art, every revealing of essential unfolding into the beautiful.

Martin Heidegger (GA 7) The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays