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

According to Heidegger, Jünger is the only real follower of Nietzsche, because he doesn’t speak about Nietzsche and his doctrine of the will to power. He sees beings as will to power without describing them: “his way of thinking is itself a Gestalt of the will to power; in Jünger’s language: thinking itself has “work-character” [Arbeitscharakter]”. 25 Jünger calls his own way of thinking heroic realism, because he does not only see the reality of the work-character (Arbeitscharakter) of people and things in the world, but also affirms this in such a way that his own way of thinking has Arbeitscharakter itself. (p.201)


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


On Jünger, On Heidegger

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