The entry of America into this planetary war is not an entry into history. No, it is already the last American act of America’s history-lessness and self-destruction. This act is the renunciation of the Origin. It is a decision for lack-of-Origin. – Martin Heidegger
Rather amazingly, people who have read Heidegger’s work as a whole continue to see this as indicating Heidegger’s continued support for Hitler. Yet how can one view Heidegger’s rejection of metaphysics as a whole and his announcement of “another beginning” as not indicative of the same decision for lack-of-Origin? Granted, America for Heidegger was the epitome of the refusal to deal with the confrontation of the metaphysical determination of man as rational animal with the revealing of technology. His view of the Nazi party as a failure stems from his perception that despite the initial rhetoric, in reality the Nazis were following the same path of ignoring the necessity for that confrontation as America and Russia. But on which side of the confrontation was Heidegger himself?
As a philosopher, Heidegger was anti-metaphysical. His critique of science was throughout predicated on its lack of thinking, of understanding what it studied, abdicated precisely in favour of explanation-from-origin. In Heidegger’s terms, it was not properly speaking ontological but onto-theological, i.e. it always assumed and wrote out of an assumption of a predetermined ontology originating from the Theos.
In his descriptions of pastoral life, which are not simple descriptions but performative descriptions, the pastoral is seen as tempting, tranquilizing, precisely the terms he uses to describe the essence of the inauthentic. That the descriptions successfully demonstrate the tempting, tranquilizing effects of a “grounded” life has been taken as evidence that Heidegger himself was for the pastoral. That he recognized the power of the temptation, the insidiousness of the tranquilization inherent in the belief that one is so grounded is obvious, and something he performs and demonstrates in front of the reader. That this temptation abrogates the freedom revealed in abground, within which the only possibility of authenticity, or appropriate Da-sein, is simultaneously incontrovertible, if one simply compares the pastoral descriptions with texts such as vom Ereignis and The Question Concerning Technology, and compares the usage of the same terminology.
Technology, seen properly, is seen as a freeing claim. As freeing it opens man to his fundamental anxiety in the face of freedom. The leap into the abyssal ground is also the leap that in which man lands on the ground on which he was born for the first time. The “groundedness” of the pastoral, of the metaphysical as a whole, is onto-theo-logical, mytho-logical, and thus false, inauthentic.
Finally, his famous statement that “only a god can save us” is by no means a nihilistic acceptance of fate, but a statement of a possibility: the possibility that we will not flee from what technology reveals, and in particular from its revealing of the last god, and the implicit passing of this god insofar as it is revealed. The last god, as the operative god hidden in the metaphysical construct of its reality, in passing ends the domain of onto-theology. It is only a possibility, though, we may continue to flee in the face of the knowledge that will reveal all onto-theological judgment as baseless, that will reveal the falsity of onto-theological knowledge, which includes all western science as well as western religion, that will reveal the wealthy and powerful as pathetic book keepers and all history as the miserable tallying-up of their records.