romanticism of surviving an onslaught of the storm comes to inform Heidegger’s political writings while he is a party member of the National Socialists. The concluding line of his “Rectoral Address,” for example, is a citation from Plato (Rep. 497d9) proclaiming, “all that is great stands in the storm” (cited at GA 16: 117/HNS 13). Endurance is a conquest of the elements and understood as a triumph. Standing firm in the storm is thus a cause for jubilation. Of Hölderlin’s poetry, he writes, “the saying of this poetry is in itself the jubilation of beyng, the jubilating calm of beyng in the enduring of its storm” (GA 39: 255). In the Contributions this enduring brings a freedom: “the freedom of the belonging to the jubilation of beyng” (GA 65: 412/326). By the 1940s, however, we find a more nuanced view presented in the lecture course Hölderlin’s Hymn “The Ister” (1942). Here we read that standing in the storm is not a matter of rigid resistance to its force. Instead, what survives the storm, what remains, is something pliant: “What truly stands steadfast must be able to sway within the counter-turning pressure of the open paths of the storms. What is merely rigid shatters on account of its own rigidity” (GA 53: 64/52).

By the time of the fourfold, these thoughts on the weather are recast with still greater emphasis on lightning and what its sudden flash brings into view. However, this now coincides with a move away from the triumphant tone of the 1930s. In the “Logos” essay of 1951, for example, the confrontation with the storm is no longer a jubilant conquest. Instead, it is the thoughtless contemporary world that clamors for the conquest and dispersal of all storms:

at the beginning of western thinking, the essence of language flashed [blitzte . . . auf] in the light of being. But the lightning flash extinguished suddenly. No one held on to its streak [Strahl] or the nearness of what it illuminated.

We only see the lightning when we place ourselves in the thunderstorm of being. Today the sole concern is with driving away the thunderstorm. We organize all available means for cloud seeding in order to have rest from the thunderstorm. But this rest is no rest. It is only a delusion, primarily the delusion of anxiety before thinking. (GA 7: 233–34/EGT 78, tm)

Whereas before there was a struggle against the storm, here there is almost a charge to preserve it in the name of thinking (recall the 1933 “Creative Landscape” essay). The flash of lightning can only strike from out of the midst of the storm. That is to say, the suddenness, or immediacy, of lightning only arises from out of the medium of a storm. Insofar as we

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