WHAT IS CALLED THINKING?
that mean? We are still inter vias, between divergent ways. Nothing has been decided yet about which is the one inevitable, and hence perhaps the only, way. Underway, then—we must give particularly close attention to that stretch of way on which we are putting our feet. We meant to be attentive to it from the first lecture on. But it seems that we have still not been fully in earnest about that intention, with all its consequences. As a marker on our path of thought, we quoted the words of the West's last thinker, Nietzsche. He said: "The wasteland grows ..." We explicitly contrasted these words with other statements about the present age, not only because of their special content, but above all in view of the manner in which they speak. For they speak in terms of the kind of way on which Nietzsche's thinking proceeds. That way, however, comes from far away, and at every point gives evidence of that origin. Nietzsche neither made nor chose his way himself, no more than any other thinker ever did. He is sent on his way. And so the words "The wasteland grows ..." become a word on the way. This means: the tale that these words tells does not just throw light on the stretch of the way and its surroundings. The tale itself traces and clears the way. The words are never a mere statement about the modern age, which could be freely taken out of Nietzsche's exposition. Still less are they an expression of Nietzsche's inner experiences. To say it more completely: Nietzsche's words are such an expression, too, of course, if we conceive of language in its most superficial character—as people usually do—and take the view that it presses the internal outward into the external and thus is—expression. But even if we do not take his words "The wasteland grows" in this obvious manner, the mere mention of Nietzsche's name brings rushing to our minds a flood of ideas—ideas which today less than ever offer assurance that they point toward what this thinker really thought.