The Question Concerning Technology

"to work" understood in this way—namely, as to bring hither and forth—names, then, one way in which that which presences, presences. To work is to bring hither and forth, whether something brings itself forth hither into presencing of itself or whether the bringing hither and forth of something is accomplished by man. In the language of the Middle Ages our German word wirken still means the producing [Hervorbringen] of houses, tools, pictures ; later, the meaning of wirken is narrowed down to producing in the sense of sewing, embroidering, weaving.

The real [

] is the working, the worked [Wirkende, Gewirkte]; that which brings hither and brings forth into presencing, and that which has been brought hither and brought forth. Reality [Wirklichkeit] means, then, when thought sufficiently broadly : that which, brought forth hither into presencing, lies before ; it means the presencing, consummated in itself, of self-bringing-forth. Wirken belongs to the Indo-Germanic stem uerg, whence our word Werk [work] and the Greek ἔργον . But never can it be sufficiently stressed : the fundamental characteristic of working and work does not lie in efficere and effectus, but lies rather in this : that something comes to stand and to lie in unconcealment. Even when the Greeks—that is to say, Aristotle—speak of that which the Romans call causa efficiens, they never mean the bringing about of an effect. That which consummates itself in ἔργον is a self-bringing-forth into full presencing ; ἔργον is that which in the genuine and highest sense presences [an-west] . For this reason and only for this reason does Aristotle name the presence of that which actually presences7 ἐνέργεια and also ἐντελέχεια : a self-holding in consummation (i.e., consummation of presencing) . These names, coined by Aristotle for the actual presencing of what presences, are, in respect to what they express, separated by an abyss from the later modern meanings of ἐνέργεια in the sense of "energy" and of ἐντελέχεια in the sense of "entelechy"-talent and capacity for work.

Aristotle's fundamental word for presencing, ἐνέργεια, is properly translated by our word Wirklichkeit [reality] only if we, for our part, think the verb wirken [to work] as the Greeks thought it, in the sense of bringing hither—into unconcealment, forth—into presencing.8

7. des eigentlich Anwesenden.

8. her-ins Unverborgene, vor-ins Anwesen.