20 Introduction

(being-given or the mode of presence, die Anwesenheit); then it retrogresses further to the self-situating, the self-manifesting as such (the giving, Es gibt, or presencing, das Anwesen). This double step backward54 is one of the ways Heidegger, in his later writings , dismantles the ancient philosophical quest for a stable and credible foundation on which to rest our knowing as well as acting. Manifestation founds nothing. It is therefore gained at the cost of deconstructing historical presence or being manifest'. From the situated entities, to their site , then to the situating—the emerging into the open, presencing—the transcendental retrogradation is deconstructive essentially.

Here is another unfounded question: Is the hypothesis of closure not pure utopia? Indeed, if the truth of being, aletheia, has "as yet never been experienced, " "renouncing the transmitted ways of thinking" strongly resembles the imaginary barter in which a dim present is exchanged for a bright future . In fact, "the step back from the one thinking to the other thinking"55 seems to correspond exactly to t he equivocal idea of a utopia: on one hand the thinking to come would be the excellent place (εὖ-τόπος) where truth radiates, since the historical concealment of presencing, the epoche, would cease. But on the other hand, this future thinking would accentuate lethe, the essential concealment or absence in the heart of presencing; therefore it would also be Nowhere, the no-place (οὐ-τόπος) of truth, a forever unattainable radiance . Does Heidegger not put forward the other thinking as a salvation, opposed to the prospect of a future run by "demonic"56 technology? The demonic is the technological enterprise as it tightens its grip , making the future the age of horror; it is the victory of knowing over thinking, consequently of a knowing that whirls in mere accumulation of information; it is total administration , the ideal of order for the sake of order, without specific content, reifying the political apparently beyond recourse . Does Heidegger not challenge such a prospect of the future with the help of the beneficial exeat called "closure" quite as Thomas More challenged the England of Henry VIII with the blissful isle of Nowhere?—Here , the answer has to follow the same line as my earlier remark regarding anarchists : Utopianism, whether conceived as the theory of the perfect city or as the philosophy of history attaining its future culmination in some universal harmony, is as 'metaphysical' as theoretical anarchism.57 In either case, political thinking consists in weighing the advantages and drawbacks of one theory or another. Nothing of the kind occurs in Heidegger. The pertinent question is therefore not of knowing whether technology may be counteracted, mastered, surpassed, sublimated; whether nature, given over to the rule of reason for two millennia and summoned to surrender its energies to the reign of comfort for two centuries , may be 'restored', whether man can be 'reconciled' with it. About matters such as these the deconstruction has nothing to say. If it did, the double step backward, carefully elaborated by Heidegger, would—for better or worse—once again amount to a "transmitting" between theory