For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

Being and Time

by Heidegger, Martin (1962)

Key Passage

Equipment can genuinely show itself only in dealings cut to its own measure (hammering with a hammer, for example) ; but in such dealings an entity of this kind is not grasped thematically as an occurring Thing,nor is the equipment-structure known as such even in the using. The hammering does not simply have knowledge about [um] the hammer's character as equipment, but it has appropriated this equipment in a waywhich could not possibly be more suitable. In dealings such as this, where something is put to use, our concern subordinates itself to the "in-order to" which is constitutive for the equipment we are employing at the time ; the less we just stare at the hammer-Thing, and the more we seize hold of it and use it, the more primordial does our relationship to it become, and the more unveiledly is it encountered as that which it is-as equipment. The hammering itself uncovers the specific 'manipulability' ["Handlichkeit"] of the hammer. The kind of Being which equipment possesses-in which it manifests itself in its own right-we call "readiness to hand" [Zuhandenheit] .I Only because equipment has this 'Being-initself' and does not merely occur, is it manipulable in the broadest sense and at our disposal. No matter how sharply we just look [Nur-nochhinsehen] at the 'outward appearance' ["Aussehen"] of Things in whatever form this takes, we cannot discover anything ready-to-hand. If we look at Things just 'theoretically', we can get along without understanding readiness-to-hand. But when we deal with them by using them and manipulating them, this activity is not a blind one ; it has its own kind of sight, by which our manipulation is guided and from which it acquires its specific Thingly character. Dealings with equipment subordinate themselves to the manifold assignments of the 'in-order-to'. And the sight with which they thus accommodate themselves is circumspection. (p.98)


Heidegger, Skills, Meaning, Twentieth Century, Dasein, Being, Phenomenology


Being and Time [1927], Heidegger Citations



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