earth, joined by a fourth, the world, with still no mention of sky (the “E” in the center would designate “Ereignis,” the event of appropriation):
In “The Origin of the Work of Art,” however, a text that follows the schema given in the Contributions to Philosophy, Heidegger does indeed mention the sky. He writes of “the light of the day, the breadth of the sky, the darkness of night” (GA 5: 28/21), but he does so in a passage naming the earth (“we name this the earth”; GA 5: 28/21, tm). Light and dark, day and night, these are here aspects of the earth. In the work of the thirties, sky is earth.2
With the fourfold, the sky is disambiguated from the earth, pulled apart from it in order to bring the earth and sky into a still more intimate relation. But it would be wrong to think that the fourfold was just a slight modification of the schema from the 1930s, with sky replacing world. The entire relation is different. Even setting aside the important terminological distinctions that later emerge (“mortals” in place of the “human,” “divinities” in place of “gods”), the fourfold is gathered around the thing, a thing that participates in the worlding of the world. Where the above schema would have the “E” of Ereignis, the event of appropriation, at its center, the fourfold places the reciprocal relation of thing and world. World is not something independent and separate from humans, gods, and earth, it is instead unfolded through their interactions. The fourfold intersects at the world, and each of the four are just as much a part of the world as any other; the earth retains no privilege in this, antagonistic or otherwise.
Even if we accept that during the 1930s, in “The Origin of the Work of Art,” for example, the world played the role that we are now ascribing to the sky, i.e., that of a space for the emergence and radiance of the shining of the earth, the whole tenor of the situation is different by the time of the fourfold. The 1930s relation of earth and world was described in terms of a “conflict” or “strife” (GA 5: 35/26). With the fourfold, however, a new relation takes shape between the earth and the medium for its sensible gleam. Rather than a conflict, the earth and sky are joined in a “marriage” (GA 79: 11/10). Their antagonism is more explicitly a
2 This holds for the first draft of the essay as well; cf. UK1 11.