constant companion, the subject, as well. Now everything is marshaled into the service of what Ernst Jünger termed a “total mobilization.”8 The human, too, is now enrolled in cycles of consumption like any other “raw material,” as the war made gruesomely clear. Yet this was by no means simply the enlistment of an otherwise objectively extant being into cycles of consumption, but the birth of an ontologically distinct post-modern age of technological replaceability.

The standing reserve is the mode of presence for all that exists under the dominance of contemporary technology and it is the only permissible mode: “In positionality, the presencing of all that presences becomes standing reserve” (GA 79: 32/31). This is so much the case that “even the object disappears into the objectlessness of standing reserve” (GA 7: 19/19). Heidegger could not be more clear on this point in “The Question Concerning Technology,” where he states that “what stands by in the sense of standing-reserve, no longer stands over against us as object” (GA 7: 17/QCT 17). The object, as Gegenstand, requires an “over and against” (a “gegen”) in which to stand. This space of the gegen, for its part, names a distance between subject and object, the space of representation. But it is precisely this distance that is put in question by positionality: “Nature is no longer even an object [Gegen-stand]” (GA 79: 44/41). Instead of a space between subject and object, there is now a suffusion into that space and a smothering of the difference between subject and object in the general transformation into standing reserve. No space is unclaimed or off limits. Nearly twenty-five years later in the 1973 seminar in Zähringen, Heidegger remains true to this insight, describing how the human “has gone from the epoch of objectivity [Gegenständlichkeit] to that of orderability [Bestellbarkeit]. . . . Strictly speaking, there are no longer objects” (GA 15: 388/FS 74). In the words of the Bremen lectures, “when the standing reserve comes into power, even the object crumbles as characteristic of what presences” (GA 79: 26/25).

While the standing reserve is not an object, Heidegger cautions us against thinking it simply in terms of a resource or stock: “the word here says something more and something essentially other than merely ‘stock’ [Vorrat]” (GA 7: 17/QCT 17, tm). The point bears repeating: the standing reserve is not simply a group of objects available for delivery, it is an ontological change in the nature of being itself.

The technological reign of orderability, of the standing reserve, is essentially different from the order of objectivity and representation found in modern science. Positionality is not to be identified with machination, however much it may appear to be prefigured by it. The challenge facing the thing as a gathering of the fourfold is not a closure into objectivity, but an explosion into “standing reserve” qua commodity. Only

8 Heidegger explicitly wrestles with the notion of mobilization in a set of notes entitled “Important Remarks on ‘Technology’” (GA 76: 325–32). One of these, entitled “Positionality [Ge-Stell] and Total Mobilization,” consists of three critical remarks; first, that positionality conditions beings as a whole and thus the adjective “total” is unnecessary; second, Heidegger wonders whether thinking technology as mobilization still remains within the “instrumental” conception of technology; and lastly, he wonders about the reciprocal relation between the human qua worker and total mobilization, noting that Jünger fails to achieve an ontological purchase on this relation. In the notes entitled “Preparatory Studies to the Technology Lecture,” Heidegger addresses the Jünger connection directly: “The essence of contemporary technology is positionality, not because it is mobilized, but rather the reverse. Because positionality, therefore mobilization” (GA 76: 342). All of these notes serve to show that Jünger’s presence was operative even in the formulation of the lecture “The Question Concerning Technology.”

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