First, the tone of our assertion is in no way negative, though it may easily seem so to an inattentive listener or reader. In general, the proposition does not express a disparaging attitude of any sort. The second point concerns the question whether the assertion is a statement. The way in which our assertion speaks can be adequately indicated only are able to give thought to what the assertion actually says. That possibility will at best present itself at the end of our lectures, or long afterward. It is much more likely that this most fortunate eventuality will still not come about. This is why we must even now pay attention to the question posed for us by the assertion when consider the way in which it speaks, or how it speaks. By "way,,. or "how," we mean something other than manner or mode. "Way" here means melody, the ring and tone, which is not just a matter of how the saying sounds. The way or how of the saying is the tone from which and to which what is said is attuned. We suggest, then, that the two questions-concerning the "tone" of our assertion, and concerning its nature as a statement-hang together.

One can hardly deny, it seems, that the assertion, which speaks of our thought-provoking time and of what in it is most thought-provoking, is a judgment on the present age.


Martin Heidegger (GA 8) What Is Called Thinking?