Heidegger's Political Thinking

By James F. Ward | Go to book overview

7
Poetic Dwelling: Homeland

The age for which the ground fails to come, hangs in the abyss. Assuming that a turn still remains open for this destitute time at all, it can come some day only if the world turns about fundamentally -- and that now means, unequivocally: if it turns away from the abyss. In the age of the world's night, the abyss of the world must be experienced and endured. But for this it is necessary that there be those who reach into the abyss.

"What Are Poets For?" (PLT 92)

IN THE "BREAK-OUT" (Aufbruch) of Greek philosophy, "Western man [abendländische Mensch] first raises himself up from his nationality [Volkstum] and, by virtue of his language, against the totality of what is [auf gegen das Seiende im Ganzen], which he questions and conceives as the being that it is" (RA 471-72). Western man stands up from a "nationality," a determinate people. Thus, the break-out of Greek philosophy means first that it is from this nationality that Western man arises and second that it is from a nationality that this activity springs.1 This thought is continued in the Beiträge. While it is simplistic to hold that the great inception of Western philosophy is the philosophy of the "Greek people," and the "great end" of Western philosophy is "German idealism" and "Nietzsche" (i.e., philosophy of the "German people"), the issue is to determine precisely how philosophy and "the people" are linked (G65 42). What must be asked: "Through what does a people become a people? . . . What is a people? . . . What are we ourselves?" Before these questions all "platonizing ways of thinking" break down. For Heidegger "reflection on the folklike [Volkhafte] is an essential passage," for "a higher rank of Being will be attained if a 'välkisches principle,' as determinative for historical Da-sein is mastered and

-205-

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Heidegger's Political Thinking
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Abbreviations ix
  • Preface xvii
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Retrievals and Settings-Apart 17
  • 2 - The Happening of Crisis 46
  • 3 - How It Stands with Being 82
  • 4 - Properly Human Work 113
  • 5 - The Teaching on Science 139
  • 6 - Politics At/Of the Inception: Plato and the Polis 169
  • 7 - Poetic Dwelling: Homeland 205
  • Epilogue 260
  • Notes 269
  • Bibliography 297
  • Index 311
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