For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"An Indication of Being—Reflections on Heidegger's Engagement with Ernst Jünger"

by Blok, Vincent (2011)


In the thirties, Martin Heidegger was heavily involved with the work of Ernst Jünger (1895- 1998). Jünger, who had returned from the First World War as a hero and gone on to become famous as a result of his raw descriptions of the Great War in his novel, In Stahlgewittern, subsequently wrote two essays which had a great influence on Heidegger: Die totale Mobilmachung from 1930 and Der Arbeiter from 1932. Heidegger remarks that because of his reading of Jünger, he had, very early, already seen what was much later to be confirmed …

Key Passage

This change in the appearance of the world together with the way people deal with it, leads Jünger to conceive of a new turn of ‘Being’ – the Gestalt of the worker - which is capable of “guaranteeing a new certainty and new rank order of life” (Arb 99). ‘Being’ is understood here in line with the metaphysical tradition, as a Gestalt, form or measure in which reality appears as ordered (see for further details on Jünger’s concept of Being §2). In the case of Jünger’s Gestalt of the worker, this form or measure must be found in work: that is, in the stamped face of reality as work and human dealings with it, grasped in terms of the type of the worker. The shaking of the world order in World War I not only show the technical era of total mobilization (nihilism), but can also be conceived as a new turn of Being ; the Gestalt of the worker. (p.197)


Heidegger, Jünger, Phenomenology, War, Warfare, Being, Gestalt, Mobilization


On Jünger, On Heidegger

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