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

Nietzsche sees the nihilistic character of Platonism, the denial of life in its conception of the Gestalt. His reversal of Platonism takes its point of departure precisely from within the world of becoming and conceives the Gestalt as the product of the will to power of life. The Gestalt is a Herrschaftsgebilde amidst the world of becoming, which serves the power-preservation and power-enhancement of life. The Gestalt is a necessary condition for the power-preservation of life, which would otherwise evaporate in the face of relentless variability (becoming). Nevertheless, this Gestalt is not stable and everlasting, because all stabilization destroys becoming, the principal character of life. Thus the Gestalt has relative duration and in this way serves the power-enhancement of life. In Nietzsche’s conception of the Gestalt, the world of becoming prevails over Being. According to Heidegger, the same reversal of Platonism is at stake in Jünger’s thought. (p.198)


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


On Jünger, On Heidegger

Links to Reference



How to contribute.