For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"The overcoming of the beyng of machenschaft: Heidegger, Jünger, and T. E. Lawrence"

by Bernasconi, Robert (2020)


In 1939 Martin Heidegger made the astonishing claim that the overcoming of the beyng of machination occurs in T. E. Lawrence's Seven Pillars of Wisdom. He arrived at this assessment in the course of his attempt to distance himself from Friedrich Nietzsche and Ernst Jünger. It is well known that Heidegger formulated his understanding of machination in part in response to Jünger's account of total mobilization, but the importance for Heidegger of Jünger's accounts of his experiences at the Front also needs to be recognized. Lawrence presented Heidegger with a very different response to a different kind of war from that of Jünger. This paper highlights some passages in Seven Pillars that help to explain what led Heidegger to believe that Lawrence provided a model of how to avoid some of the pitfalls of Nietzsche's and Jünger's attempts to overcome metaphysics.

Key Passage

Heidegger, by connecting Jünger’s account of work in The Worker with his own account of the work-world in Being and Time, turned a description of the current era into an account of the historical destiny of the West in terms of machination: everything is from the outset of Western metaphysics pre-directed toward producibility. (p.127)


Junger, Heidegger, Nietzsche, Metaphysics, Machenschaft, Machination, Technology


On Jünger, Technology, On Heidegger

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