For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Jünger’s Concept of the Gestalt of the Worker as the Consummation of Modernity"

by Blok, Vincent (2015)


From 1934–1935 on, Heidegger does not see this positive relation with Junger's concept of work anymore. Heidegger also calls the epoch of the worker "the epoch of the consummation of modernity". Heidegger concentrates on this identification of the subject of The Worker and the way this subject is being discussed in Junger's book. In a note, Heidegger writes: "Junger's descriptions achieve only this: indicating being by showing beings, without questioning this being". But because Junger is absorbed by his responsiveness to the work-character of beings in the whole as worker, he only indicates this essence of the work-world while the question of being itself remains forgotten and concealed. Heidegger calls this new beginning of philosophical reflection a decision. Heidegger speaks about the "great indecisiveness and undecidability of this whole fundamental metaphysical position".

Key Passage

For Heidegger, “being” cannot be associated with work and workers. Work and workers designate in the first instance (human) beings in the world, and so concern in this way metaphysically understood  beings, whereas “Being” concerns the way reality appears together with the way people deal with it. In the epoch of the worker, reality appears as produced and represented (will to power) for representing-producing humanity (will to power). According to Heidegger, this means that the essence of the work-world ( totale Mobil-machung)  has  to  be  found  in  the  machination  of  beings  (  totale  Mobil ma-chung).  12   Machination  indicates  the  makeability  of  beings,  which  consists  of the: “interpretation of beings as re-presentable and re-presented. In one respect  re-presentable  means  ‘accessible  to  intention  and  calculation’;  in  another respect it means ‘advanceable through pro-duction and execution.’ But thought in a fundamental manner, all of this means that being as such is the re-presented and only that which is represented  is  .”   13  This makeability does  not  primarily  depend  on  an  act  of  the  worker.  The  making  (  poiêsis, technê) as human comportment of the worker toward beings is on the con-trary  only  possible  on  the  basis  of  the  appearance  of  the  world    as     repre-sented work ( Machenschaft) for human dealings with it, i.e., for the worker who represents and experiences this work ( Erlebnis ) . 14  To what extent can we call machination and lived experience the essence of the work-world? (p.79)


Heidegger, Ontology, Pragmatism, Relationality, Being, Junger, Zimmermann, Machenschaft


On Jünger, On Heidegger

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