The Question Concerning Technology

Traveling in the direction that is a way toward that which is worthy of questioning is not adventure but homecoming.

To follow a direction that is the way that something has, of itself, already taken is called, in our language, sinnan, sinnen [to sense] . To venture after sense or meaning [Sinn] is the essence of reflecting [Besinnen] . This means more than a mere making conscious of something. We do not yet have reflection when we have only consciousness. Reflection is more. It is calm, selfpossessed surrender to that which is worthy of questioning.

Through reflection so understood we actually arrive at the place where, without having experienced it and without having seen penetratingly into it, we have long been sojourning. In reflection we gain access to a place from out of which there first opens the space traversed at any given time by all our doing and leaving undone.

Reflection is of a different essence from the making conscious and the knowing that belong to science; it is of a different essence also from intellectual cultivation [Bildung] . The word bilden [to form or cultivate] means first : to set up a preformed model [Vor-bild] and to set forth a preestablished rule [Vorschrift]. It means, further, to give form to inherent tendencies. Intellectual cultivation brings before man a model in the light of which he shapes and improves all that he does. Cultivating the intellect requires a guiding image rendered secure in advance, as well as a standing-ground fortified on all sides. The putting forward of a common ideal of culture and the rule of that ideal presuppose a situation and bearing of man that is not in question and that is secured in every direction. This presupposition, for its part, must be based on a belief in the invincible power of an immutable reason and its principles.

As over against this, reflection first brings us onto the way toward the place of our sojourning.

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