The Question Concerning Technology

Only when man, as the shepherd of Being, attends upon the truth of Being can he expect an arrival of a destining of Being and not sink to the level of a mere wanting to know.

But what happens there where the danger comes to pass as the danger and is thus for the first time unconcealedly danger?

That we may hear the answer to this question, let us give heed to the beckoning sign that is preserved in some words of Hölderlin. At the beginning of the later version of his Hymn "Patmos," the poet says:

But where danger is, grows
The saving power also.

If now we think these words still more essentially than the poet sang them, if we follow them in thought as far as they go, they say : Where the danger is as the danger, there the saving power is already thriving also. The latter does not appear incidentally. The saving power is not secondary to the danger. The selfsame danger is, when it is as the danger, the saving power. The danger is the saving power, inasmuch as it brings the saving power out of its—the danger's—concealed essence that is ever susceptible of turning. What does "to save" mean? It means to loose, to emancipate, to free, to spare and husband, to harbor protectingly, to take under one's care, to keep safe. Lessing still uses the word "saving" emphatically, in the sense of vindication, i.e., to put something back into what is proper and right, into the essential,8 and to keep it safe therein. That which genuinely saves is that which keeps safe, safekeeping.9

* Von Hellingrath, ed., IV, 227.

8. in das Rechte, wesenhafte zuruckstellen.

9. The preceding three sentences make plain with peculiar force the meaning that Heidegger intends for the verb wahren (to keep safe) and the noun Wahrnis (safekeeping). His equating here of these two words with das Rettende (the saving-power) draws into them all the connotations of freeing and safeguarding that he has just established for the latter. Wahren, ordinarily understood as to watch over, to keep safe, to preserve--and with it Wahrnis-clearly carries, Simultaneously, connotations of freeing, i.e., of allowing to be manifest. The same connotations are resident in all the words built on wahr. They should be heard in Wahrheit (truth) , which, in the discussion now in progress, is often used—sometimes all but interchangeably—with Wahrnis. For the common derivation of wahren and Wahrheit, and hence of other words built on the stem wahr, and for the fundamental meaning therein, cf. SR 164-165.

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