(See Ernout-Meillet, Dictionnaire etymologique de la langue latine (3), 1951, p. 1202: contemplari dictum est a templo, i.e., loco qui ab omni parte aspici, vel ex quo omnis pars videri potest, quem antiqui templum nominabant).18
In θεωρία transformed into contemplatio there comes to the fore the impulse, already prepared in Greek thinking, of a looking-at that sunders and compartmentalizes. A type of encroaching advance by successive interrelated steps toward that which is to be grasped by the eye makes itself normative in knowing. But even now the vita contemplativa still remains distinct from the vita activa.
In the language of medieval Christian piety and theology, the above-mentioned distinction gains still another sense. It contrasts the meditative-monastic life with the worldly-active one.
The German translation for contemplatio is Betrachtung [view or observation] . The Greek θεωρεῖν, to look attentively upon the aspect of what presences, appears now as to observe or consider [Betrachten] . Theory is the viewing, the observation, of the real. But what does observation mean? We speak of a contemplative viewing in the sense of religious meditation and introspection. This kind of viewing belongs in the realm of the vita contemplativa just mentioned. We speak also of the viewing of a picture, in looking at which we find release. In such usage, the word Betrachtung [view] is close to beholding, and it still seems to be of like meaning with the early θεωρία of the Greeks. And yet the "theory" that modern science shows itself to be is something essentially different from the Greek θεωρία. Thus, when we translate "theory" by "observation" we are giving the word "observation" a different meaning, not an arbitrarily invented one, but rather the one from which it is originally descended. If we take seriously what the German
What does Betrachtung mean? Trachten [to strive] is the Latin tractare, to manipulate, to work over or refine [bearbeiten].19
18. "Contemplari is derived from templum, i.e., from [the name of] the place which can be seen from any point, and from which any point can be seen. The ancients called this place a templum."
19. From this point Heidegger continues to use das Wirkliche (the real), but he begins to use forms of the verb arbeiten (to execute, to work, to fashion; [intrans.] to labor) to set forth the way in which modern science, in corresponding to the manner in which the real now presents itself as object in a causal sequence, performs the doing that brings the real forth into its presencing in the modern age. Thus arbeiten and its compounds—bearbeiten (to work over or refine), zuarbeiten (to work toward), umarbeiten (to work around or recast), herausarbeiten (to work out)—are juxtaposed to wirken (to work), discussed above. It has not been possible to show this juxtaposition in the translation. Indeed, the necessity of sometimes translating the verbs formed around arbeiten with uses of the English verb "work" actually functions to obscure it altogether. Heidegger's use here of verbs formed from arbeiten recalls his previous statement : "That which has been brought about, in the sense of the consequent, shows itself as a circumstance that has been set forth in a doing,-i.e., now, in a per forming and executing" (Das Erwirkte im Sinne des Erfolgten zeigt sich als Sache, die sich in einem Tun, d.h. jetzt Leisten und Arbeiten herausgestellt hat) (p. 161).