For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Heidegger's Political Self-Understanding"

by Poggeler, Otto (1992)

Abstract

This anthology is a significant contribution to the debate over the relevance of Martin Heidegger's Nazi ties to the interpretation and evaluation of his philosophical work. Included are a selection of basic documents by Heidegger, essays and letters by Heidegger's colleagues that offer contemporary context and testimony, and interpretive evaluations by Heidegger's heirs and critics in France and Germany.In his new introduction, "Note on a Missing Text," Richard Wolin uses the absence from this edition of an interview with Jacques Derrida as a springboard for examining questions about the nature of authorship and personal responsibility that are at the heart of the book.Richard Wolin is Professor of Modern European Intellectual History and Humanities at Rice University. He is the author of Walter Benjamin, The Politics of Being: The Political Thought of Martin Heidegger, and The Terms of Cultural Criticism: The Frankfurt School, Existentialism and Poststructuralism.

Key Passage

The Holderlin lecture course from summer 1942 again emphasizes the "historical uniqueness" or .. historical singularity" of National Socialism. This singularity is not understood, particularly by those aca-demic partisans and fellow travelers who find in the Greek polis "politics" as it is proclaimed in the twentieth century and required by National Socialism. For Heidegger the Greek polis is the place of what is question-able, where even masters and slaves must come to differentiate them-selves. On the other hand, "(t]he 'political' is the accomplishment of history. Because the political is  thus the technical-historical certainty at the basis of all action, the 'political' is distinguished by the unconditional unquestionability of itself. The unquestionability of the 'political' and its totality belong together." When with the collapse of the Sixth German Army at Stalingrad it finally became obvious to everyone that the German grab at continentally based world domination had failed, Heidegger once again claimed in his Pannenides lecture course of winter 1942.-4.3: .. Technology is our history." Heidegger said-still within junger's op-position between bourgeois and worker-that the "bourgeois world" does not understand .. contemporary Russia's metaphysical passion for technology" which brings everything into "laboring accomplishment." "Whoever has ears to hear, i.e., whoever can see the metaphysical grounds and abysses of history and can take them seriously as metaphysical, could have heard what Lenin was saying already two decades ago: Bolshevism is Soviet power + electrification. That means: Bolshevism is the 'organic,' i.e., the organized and calculative (as + ), merger of the unconditional power of the party with complete technologization."  (p.221)

Keywords

Heidegger, Germany, National Socialism, Nazi, Twentieth Century, National Socialist Education, Junger, Nietzsche

Themes

On Junger, Jünger

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