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The Question Concerning Technology

man is carried out beyond man hitherto. Nevertheless, in this way he has only been drawn utterly into being the predetermined essence of man hitherto, the animal rationale. The man who is deranged in this way has nothing in common with the kind of men standing about in the market place "who do not believe in God." For these men are not unbelievers because God as God has to them become unworthy of belief, but rather because they themselves have given up the possibility of belief, inasmuch as they are no longer able to seek God. They can no longer seek because they no longer think. Those standing about in the market place have abolished thinking and replaced it with idle babble that scents nihilism in every place in which it supposes its own opinion to be endangered. This self-deception, forever gaining the upper hand in relation to genuine nihilism, attempts in this way to talk itself out of its anguished dread in the face of thinking. But that dread is dread in the face of dread.

The madman, on the contrary, is clearly, according to the first, and more clearly still according to the last, sentences of the passage, for him who can hear, the one who seeks God, since he cries out after God. Has a thinking man perhaps here really cried out de profundis? And the ear of our thinking, does it still not hear the cry? It will refuse to hear it so long as it does not begin to think. Thinking begins only when we have come to know that reason, glorified for centuries, is the most stiff-necked adversary of thought.


Martin Heidegger (GA 5) The Word of Nietzsche: 'God Is Dead'