For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

The Worker: Dominion and Form

by Jünger, Ernst (2017)


Written in 1932, just before the fall of the Weimar Republic and on the eve of the Nazi accession to power, Ernst Jünger’s The Worker: Dominion and Form articulates a trenchant critique of bourgeois liberalism and seeks to identify the form characteristic of the modern age. Jünger’s analyses, written in critical dialogue with Marx, are inspired by a profound intuition of the movement of history and an insightful interpretation of Nietzsche’s philosophy. Martin Heidegger considered Jünger “the only genuine follower of Nietzsche,” singularly providing “an interpretation which took shape in the domain of that metaphysics which already determines our epoch, even against our knowledge; this metaphysics is Nietzsche's doctrine of the ‘will to power.’” In The Worker, Jünger examines some of the defining questions of that epoch: the nature of individuality, society, and the state; morality, justice, and law; and the relationships between freedom and power and between technology and nature. This work, appearing in its entirety in English translation for the first time, is an important contribution to debates on work, technology, and politics by one of the most controversial German intellectuals of the twentieth century. Not merely of historical interest, The Worker carries a vital message for contemporary debates about world economy, political stability, and equality in our own age, one marked by unsettling parallels to the 1930s.

Key Passage

The proof for the universal validity of the will to power emerged early on – in a work which managed, at once, to undermine the most unfathomable routes of morality in the old style, and to outwit each of its ruses.This work shows two faces: on the one hand, it belonged to a time which still valued the discovery of universal truths; on the other, however, it recognised, above and beyond such truths, truth itself as an expression of the will to power. Here the decisive explosion occurs: but how would it be possible for life to linger longer than a fleeting instant in this stronger, purer, but also more deadly air of a pan-anarchic space, faced with this sea of “forces storming and flooding in on themselves”, if it does not immediately throw itself into the hardest surf as bearer of an unwavering will to power, possessed of its own nature and of its own purpose? (p.46)


Ernst Jünger, Der Arbeiter, Weimar Republic, Bourgeois Liberalism, Marx, Heidegger, Nietzsche, Technology, Politics, Political Theory, Political Economy, Twentieth Century, German, Social Contract


The Worker: Dominion and Form [1932]

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