Technology is not equivalent to the essence of technology. When we are seeking the essence of "tree," we have to become aware that That which pervades every tree, as tree, is not itself a tree that can be encountered among all the other trees.
Likewise, the essence of technology is by no means anything technological. Thus we shall never experience our relationship to the essence of technology so long as we merely conceive and push forward the technological, put up with it, or evade it. Everywhere we remain unfree and chained to technology, whether we passionately affirm or deny it. But we are delivered over to it in the worst possible way when we regard it as something neutral; for this conception of it,2 to which today we particularly like to do homage, makes us utterly blind to the essence of technology.
According to ancient doctrine, the essence of a thing is considered to be what the thing is. We ask the question concerning technology when we ask what it is. Everyone knows the two statements that answer our question. One says: Technology is a means to an end. The other says: Technology is a human activity. The two definitions of technology belong together. For to posit ends and procure and utilize the means to them is a human activity. The manufacture and utilization of equipment, tools, and machines, the manufactured and used things themselves, and the needs and ends that they serve, all belong to what tech-
2. "Conception" here translates the noun Vorstellung. Elsewhere in this volume, Vorstellung will usually be translated by "representation," and its related verb vorstellen by "to represent." Both "conception" and "representation" should suggest a placing or setting-up-before. Cf. the discussion of Vorstellung in AWP 131-132.
The current conception of technology, according to which it is a means and a human activity, can therefore be called the instrumental and anthropological definition of technology.
Who would ever deny that it is correct? It is in obvious conformity with what we are envisioning when we talk about technology. The instrumental definition of technology is indeed so uncannily correct that it even holds for modern technology, of which, in other respects, we maintain with some justification that it is, in contrast to the older handwork technology' something completely different and therefore new. Even the power plant with its turbines and generators is a man-made means to an end established by man. Even the jet aircraft and the hi-,h_ frequency apparatus are means to ends. A radar station is of course less simple than a weather vane. To be sure, the construction of a high-frequency apparatus requires the interlocking of various processes of technical-industrial production. And certainly a sawmill in a secluded valley of the Black Forest is a primitive means compared with the hydroelectric plant in the Rhine River.
But this much remains correct: modern technology too is a means to an end. That is why the instrumental conception of technology conditions every attempt to bring man into the right relation to technology. Everything depends on our manipulating technology in the proper manner as a means. We Will, as we say, 11 get" technology "spiritually in hand." We will master it. The will to mastery becomes all the more urgent the more technology threatens to slip from human control.
But suppose now that technology were no mere means, how would it stand with the will to master it? Yet we said, did we
For centuries philosophy has taught that there are four causes: (1) the causa materialis, the material, the matter out of which, for example, a silver chalice is made; (2) the causa formalis, the form, the shape into which the material enters; (3) the causa finalis, the end, for example, the sacrificial rite in relation to which the chalice required is determined as to its form and matter; (4) the causa efficiens, which brings about the effect that is the finished, actual chalice, in this instance, the silversmith. What technology is, when represented as a means, discloses itself when we trace instrumentality back to fourfold causality.
But suppose that causality, for its part, is veiled in darkness with respect to what it is? Certainly for centuries we have acted as though the doctrine of the four causes had fallen from heaven as a truth as clear as daylight. But it might be that the time has come to ask, Why are there just four causes? In relation to the aforementioned four, what does "cause" really mean? From
So long as we do not allow ourselves to go into these questions, causality, and with it instrumentality, and with the latter the accepted definition of technology, remain obscure and groundless.
For a long time we have been accustomed to representing cause as that which brings something about. In this connection, to bring about means to obtain results, effects. The causa efficiens, but one among the four causes, sets the standard for all causality. This goes so far that we no longer even count the causa finalis,_t~ telic finality, as causality. Causa, casus, belongs to the verb cadere, "to fall," and means that which brings it about that something falls out as a result in such and such a way. The doctrine of the four causes goes back to Aristotle. But everything that later ages seek in Greek thought under the conception and rubric "causality," in the realm of Greek thought and for Greek thought per se has simply nothing at all to do with bringing about and effecting. What we call cause [Ursache] and the Romans call causa is called aition by the Greeks, that to which something else is indebted [das, was ein anderes verschuldet].' The four causes are the ways, all belonging at once to each other, of being responsible for something else. An example can clarify this.
Silver is that out of which the silver chalice is made. As this matter (hyle), it is co-responsible for the chalice. The chalice is indebted to, i.e., owes thanks to, the silver for that out of which it consists. But the sacrificial vessel is indebted not only to the silver. As a chalice, that which is indebted to the silver appears in the aspect of a chalice and not in that of a brooch or a ring. Thus the sacrificial vessel is at the same time indebted to the aspect (eidos) of chaliceness. Both the silver into which the aspect is admitted as chalice and the aspect in which the silver appears are in their respective ways co-responsible for the sacrificial vessel.
Finally there is a fourth participant in the responsibility for the finished sacrificial vessel's lying before us ready for use, i.e., the silversmith-but not at all because he, in working, brings about the finished sacrificial chalice as if it were the effect of a making; the silversmith is not a causa efficiens.
The Aristotelian doctrine neither knows the cause that is named by this term nor uses a Greek word that would correspond to it.
The silversmith considers carefully and gathers together the three aforementioned ways of being responsible and indebted. To consider carefully [iiberlegen] is in Greek legein, logos. Legein is rooted in apophainesthai, to bring forward into appearance. The silversmith is co-responsible as that from whence the sacrificial vessel's bringing forth and resting-in-self take and retain their first departure. The three previously mentioned ways of being responsible owe thanks to the pondering of the silversmith for the "that" and the "how" of their coming into appearance and into play for the production of the sacrificial vessel.
Thus four ways of being responsible hold sway in the sacrificial vessel that lies ready before us. They differ from one another, yet they belong together. What unites them from the beginning? In what does this playing in unison of the four ways of being
Today we are too easily inclined either to understand being responsible and being indebted moralistically as a lapse, or else to construe them in terms of effecting. In either case we bar to ourselves the way to the primal meaning of that which is later called causality. So long as this way is not opened up to us we shall also fail to see what instrumentality, which is based on causality, actually is.
In order to guard against such misinterpretations of being responsible and being indebted, let us clarify the four ways of being responsible in terms of that for which they are responsible. According to our example, they are responsible for the silver chalice's lying ready before us as a sacrificial vessel. Lying before and lying ready (hypokeisthai) characterize the presencing of something that presences. The four ways of being responsible bring something into appearance. They let it come forth into presencing [An-wesen].' They set it free to that place and so start it on its way, namely, into its complete arrival. The principal characteristic of being responsible is this starting something on its way into arrival. It is in the sense of such a starting something on its way into arrival that being responsible is an occasioning or an inducing to go forward [Ver-an-lassen].' On the
8. Ver-an-lassen is Heidegger's writing of the verb veranlassen in noun form, now hyphenated to bring out its meaning. Veranlassen ordinarily means to occasion, to cause, to bring about,'to call forth. Its use here relates back to the use of antassen (to leave [something] on, to let loose, to set going), here translated "to start something on its way." Anlassen has just been similarly written as an-lassen so as to emphasize its composition from lassen (to let or leave) and an (to or toward). One of the functions of the German prefix ver- is to intensify the force of a verb. Andr6 Pr6au quotes Heidegger as saying: "Ver-an-lassen is more active than an-lassen. The ver-, as it were, pushes the latter toward a doing [vers un fairel." Cf. Martin Heidegger, Essais et Conf6rences (Paris: Gallimard, 1958), p. 16 n.10 The Question Concerning Technology
But in what, then, does the playing in unison of the four ways of occasioning play? They let what is not yet present arrive into presencing. Accordingly, they are unifiedly ruled over by a bringing that brings what presences into appearance. Plato tells us what this bringing is in a sentence from the Symposium (205b): he gar toi ek tou me onton eis to on ionti hot5ioun aitia pasa esti poiesis. "Every occasion for whatever passes over and goes forward into presencing from that which is not presencing is poiesis, is bringing-forth [Her-vor-bringen]."'
It is of utmost importance that we think bringing-forth in its full scope and at the same time in the sense in which the Greeks thought it. Not only handcraft manufacture, not only artistic and poetical bringing into appearance and concrete imagery, is a bringing-forth, poiesis. Physis also, the arising of something from out of itself, is a bringing-forth, poiPsis. Physis is indeed pot . est . s in the highest sense. For what presences by means of physi . s has the bursting open belonging to bringing-forth, e.g., the bursting of a blossom into bloom, in itself (en heaut5i). In contrast, what is brought forth by the artisan or the artist, e.g.,
The modes of occasioning, the four causes, are at play, then, within bringing-forth. Through bringing-forth, the growing things of nature as well as whatever is completed through the crafts and the arts come at any given time to their appearance.
But how does bringing-forth happen, be it in nature or in handwork and art? What is the bringing-forth in which the fourfold way of occasioning plays? Occasioning has to do with the presencing [Anwesen] of that which at any given time comes to appearance in bringing-forth. Bringing-forth brings hither out of concealment forth into unconcealment. Bringing-forth comes to pass only insofar as something concealed comes into unconcealment. This coming rests and moves freely within what we call reveali [das Entbergen].'o The Greeks have the word
Entbergen and Entbergung join a family of words all formed from bergen -verbergen (to conceal), Verborgenheit (concealment), das Verborgene (the concealed), Unverborgenheit (unconcealment), das Unverborgene (the unconcealed)-of which Heidegger makes frequent use. The lack of viable English words sufficiently numerous to permit a similar use of but one fundamental stem has made it necessary to obscure, through the use of "reveal," the close relationship among all the words just mentioned. None of the English words used-"reveal ... .. conceal," "unconceal'~-evinces with any adequacy the meaning resident in bergen itself; yet the reader should be constantly aware that the full range of connotation present in bergen sounds for Heidegger within all these, its derivatives.12 The Question Concerning Technology 0
Technology is therefore no mere means. Technology is a way of revealing. If we give heed to this, then another whole realm for the essence of technology will open itself up to us. It is the realm of revealing, i.e., of truth. 12
This prospect strikes us as strange. Indeed, it should do so, should do so as persistently as possible and with so much urgency that we will finally take seriously the simple question of what the name "technology" means. The word stems from the Greek. Technikon means that which belongs to technP. We must observe
12. Heidegger here hyphenates the word Wahrheit (truth) so as to expose its stem, wahr. He points out elsewhere that words with this stem have a common derivation and underlying meaning (SR 165). Such words often show the connotations of attentive watchfulness and guarding that he there finds in their Greek cognates, horao, ora, e.g., wahren (to watch over and keep safe) and bewahren (to preserve). Hyphenating Wahrheit draws it overtly into this circle of meaning. It points to the fact that in truth, which is unconcealment (Unverborgenheit), a safekeeping carries itself out. Wahrheit thus offers here a very close parallel to its companion noun Entbergung (revealing; literally, harboring forth), built on bergen (to rescue, to harbor, to conceal). See n. 10, above. For a further discussion of words built around wahr, see T 42, n. 9.
The other point that we should observe with regard to techni is even more important. From earliest times until Plato the word techne is linked with the word epistinio. Both words are names for knowing in the widest'sense. They mean to be entirely at home in something, to understand and be expert in it. Such knowing provides an opening up. As an opening up it is a revealing. Aristotle, in a discussion of special importance (Nicomachean Ethics, Bk. VI, chaps. 3 and 4), distinguishes between epistPmO and technP and indeed with respect to what and how they reveal. Techne is a mode of alitheuein. It reveals whatever does not bring itself forth and does not yet lie here before us, whatever can look and turn out now one way and now another. Whoever builds a house or a ship or forges a sacrificial chalice reveals what is to be brought forth, according to the perspectives of the four modes of occasioning. This revealing gathers together in advance the aspect and the matter of ship or house, with a view to the finished thing envisioned as completed, and from this gathering determines the manner of its construction. Thus what is decisive in technz! does not lie at all in making and manipulating nor in the using of means, but rather in the aforementioned revealing. It is as revealing, and not as manufacturing, that techne is a bringing-forth.
Thus the clue to what the word technE means and to how the Greeks defined it leads us into the same context that opened itself to us when we pursued the question of what instrumentality as such in truth might be.
Technology is a mode of revealing. Technology comes to presence [West] in the realm where revealing and unconcealment take place, where aletheia, truth, happens.
in opposition to this definition of the essential domain of technology, one can object that it indeed holds for Greek thought and that at best it might apply to the techniques of the handcraftsman, but that it simply does not fit modern machine-powered technology. And it is precisely the latter and14 The Question Concerning Technology
What is modern technology? It too is a revealing. Only when we allow our attention to rest on this fundamental characteristic does that which is new in modern technology show itself to us.
And yet the revealing that holds sway throughout modern technology does not unfold into a bringing-forth in the sense of poijsis. The revealing that rules in modern technology is a challenging [Herausfordern] '13 which puts to nature the unreasonable demand that it supply energy that can be extracted and stored as such. But does this not hold true for the old windmill as well? No. Its sails do indeed turn in the wind; they are left entirely to the wind's blowing. But the windmill does not unlock energy from the air currents in order to store it.
In contrast, a tract of land is challenged into the putting out of coal and ore. The earth now reveals itself as a coal mining district, the soil as a mineral deposit. The field that the peasant .formerly cultivated and set in order [bestelltel appears differently than it did when to set in order still meant to take care of and
This setting-upon that challenges forth the energies of nature is an expediting [Fbrdern], and in two ways. It expedites in that it unlocks and exposes. Yet that expediting is always itself directed from the beginning toward furthering something else, i.e., toward driving on to the maximum yield at the minimum expense. The coal that has been hauled out in some mining district has not been supplied in order that it may simply be present somewhere or other. It is stockpiled; that is, it is on call, ready to deliver the sun's warmth that is stored in it. The sun's warmth is challenged forth for heat, which in turn is ordered to deliver steam whose pressure turns the wheels that keep a factory running.
Stellen embraces the meanings of a whole family of verbs: bestellen (to order, command; to set in order), vorstellen (to represent), sicherstellen (to secure), nachstellen (to entrap), verstellen (to block or disguise), herstellen (to produce, to set here), darstellen (to present or exhibit), and so on. In these verbs the various nuances within stellen are reinforced and made specific. All these meanings are gathered together in Heidegger's unique use of the word that is pivotal for him, Ge-stell (Enframing). Cf. pp. 19 ff. See also the opening paragraph of "The Turning," pp. 36-37.16 The Question Concerning Technology
The revealing that rules throughout modern technology has the character of a setting-upon, in the sense of a challengingforth. That challenging happens in that the energy concealed in nature is unlocked, what is unlocked is transformed, what is transformed is stored up, what is stored up is, in turn, distributed, and what is distributed is switched about ever anew. Unlocking, transforming, storing, distributing, and switching about are ways of revealing. But the revealing never simply comes to an end. Neither does it run off into the indeterminate. The revealing reveals to itself its own manifoldly interlocking paths, through regulating their course. This regulating itself is, for its part, everywhere secured. Regulating and securing even become the chief characteristics of the challenging revealing.
Yet an airliner that stands on the runway is surely an object. Certainly. We can represent the machine so. But then it conceals itself as to what and how it is. Revealed, it stands on the taxi strip only as standing-reserve, inasmuch as it is ordered to ensure the possibility of transportation. For this it must be in its whole structure and in every one of its constituent parts, on call for duty, i.e., ready for takeoff. (Here it would be appropriate to discuss Hegel's definition of the machine as an autonomous tool. When applied to the tools of the craftsman, his characterization is correct. Characterized in this way, however, the machine is not thought at all from out of the essence of technology within which it belongs. Seen in terms of the standing-reserve, the machine is completely unautonomous, for it has its standing only from the ordering of the orderable.)
The fact that now, wherever we try to point to modern technology as the challenging revealing, the words "setting-upon," "Ordering," "standing-reserve," obtrude and accumulate in a dry, monotonous, and therefore oppressive way, has its basis in what is now coming to utterance.
ordinarily denotes a store or supply as "standing by." It carries the
connotation of the verb bestehen with its dual meaning of to last and to
undergo. Heidegger uses the word to characterize the manner in which everything
commanded into place and ordered according to the challenging demand ruling in
modern technology presences as revealed. He wishes to stress here not the
permanency, but the orderability and substitutability of objects. Bestand
contrasts with Gegenstand (object; that which stands over against).
Objects indeed lose their character as objects when they are caught up in the
"standing-reserve." Cf. Introduction, p. xxix.
The word stellen [to set upon] in the name Ge-stell [Enfram- V ing] not only means challenging. At the same time it should preserve the suggestion of another Stellen from which it stems, namely, that producing and presenting [Her- und Dar-stellenj which, in the sense of poiesis, lets what presences come forth into unconcealment. This producing that brings forth-e.g., the erecting of a statue in the temple precinct-and the challenging ordering now under consideration are indeed fundamentally different, and yet they remain related in their essence. Both are ways of revealing, of alotheia. In Enframing, that unconcealment comes to pass in conformity with which the work of modern technology reveals the real as standing-reserve. This work is therefore neither only a human activity nor a mere means within such activity. The merely instrumental, merely anthropological definition of technology is therefore in principle untenable. And it cannot be rounded out by being referred back to some metaphysical or religious explanation that undergirds it.
It remains true, nonetheless, that man in the technological age is, in a particularly striking way, challenged forth into revealing. That revealing concerns nature, above all, as the chief storehouse of the standing energy reserve. Accordingly, man's ordering attitude and behavior display themselves first in the rise of modern physics as an exact science. Modern science's way of representing pursues and entraps nature as a calculable coherence of forces. Modern physics is not experimental physics because it applies apparatus to the questioning of nature. Rather the reverse is true. Because physics, indeed already as pure theory, sets nature up to exhibit itself as a coherence of forces calculable in advance, it therefore orders its experiments precisely for the purpose of asking whether and how nature reports itself when set up in this way.
But after all, mathematical physics arose almost two centuries before technology. How, then, could it have already been set upon by modern technology and placed in its service? The facts testify to the contrary. Surely technology got under way only22 The Question Concerning Technology
The modern physical theory of nature prepares the way first not simply for technology but for the essence of modern technology. For already in physics the challenging gathering-together into ordering revealing holds sway. But in it that gathering does not yet come expressly to appearance. Modern physics is the herald of Enframing, a herald whose origin is still unknown. The essence of modern technology has for a long time been concealing itself, even where power machinery has been invented, where electrical technology is in full swing, and where atomic technology is well under way.
All coming to presence, not only modern technology, keeps itself everywhere concealed to the last." Nevertheless, it re_ mains, with respect to its holding sway, that which precedes all: the earliest. The Greek thinkers already knew of this when they said: That which is earlier with regard to the arising that holds sway becomes manifest to us men only later. That which is primally early shows itself only ultimately to men." Therefore, in the realm of thinking, a painstaking effort to think through still more primally what was primally thought is not the absurd wish to revive what is past, but rather the sober readiness to be astounded before the coming of what is early.
Chronologically speaking, modern physical science begins in the seventeenth century. In contrast, machine-power -technology develops only in the second half of the eighteenth century. But modern technology, which for chronological reckoning is the later, is, from the point of view of the essence holding sway within it, the historically earlier.
20. "That which is primally early" translates die anffingliche Friihe. For a discussion of that which "is to all present and absent beings ... the earliest and most ancient at once'~-Le., Ereignen, das Ereignis-see "The Way to Language" in On the Way to Language, trans. Peter D. Hertz (New York: Harper & Row, 1971), p. 127.
Where do we find ourselves brought to, if now we think one step further regarding what Enframing itself actually is? I.t is nothing tec no ical, nothing on the order of a machine. It is t~e way in which the real reveals itself as standing-reseive.
L Enframing is the gathering together that belongs to that setting-upon which sets upon man and puts him in position to reveal the real, in the mode of ordering, as standing-reserve. As the one who is challenged forth in this way, man stands within the essential realm of Enframing. lie can never take up a relationship to it only subsequently. TEus the' _quesf1-5n-__a__s-to how
we are to arrive a F6 asked in this way, always comes too late. But never too late comes the question as to whether we actually experience ourselves as the ones whose activities everywhere, public and private, are challenged forth by Enframing. Above all, never too late comes the question as to whether and how we actually admit ourselves into that wherein Enframing itself comes to presence.The essence of modern technology starts man upon the way
But when we consider the essence of technology, then we experience Enframing as a destining of revealing. In this way we are already sojourning within the open space of destining, a destining that in no way confines us to a stultified compulsion to push on blindly with technology or, what comes to the same
23. "The open" here translates das Preie, cognate with Freiheit, freedom. Unfortunately the repetitive stress of the German phrasing cannot be reproduced in English, since the basic meaning of Freie-open air, open space -is scarcely heard in the English "free."
that the real must present itself to contemporary man in this way.* In truth, however, precisely nowhere does man today any longer encounter himself, i.e., his essence. Man stands so decisively in attendance on the challenging-forth of Enframing that he does not apprehend Enframing as a claim, that he fails to see
himself as the one spoken to, and hence also fails in every way to hear in what respect he ek-sists, from out of his essence, in therealm of an exhortation or address, and thus can never encounter
Thus the challenging Enframing not only conceals a former way of revealing, bringing-forth, but it conceals revealing itself and with it That wherein unconcealment, i.e., truth, comes to pass.
The threat to man does not come in the first instance from the potentially lethal machines and apparatus of technology. The actual threat has already affected man in his essence. The rule of Enframing threatens* man with the possibility that it r-ould be denied to him to enter into a more original revealing and hence to experience the call of a more primal truth.
Thus, where Enframing reigns, there is danger in the highest sense.
In what respect does the saving power grow there also where the danger is? Where something grows, there it takes root, from thence it thrives. Both happen concealedly and quietly and in their own time. But According to the words of the poet we have no right whatsoever to expect that there where the danger is we
But how shall we behold the saving power in the essence of technology so long as we do not consider in what sense of liessence" it is that Enframing is actually the essence of technology?
Thus far we have understood "essence" in its current meaning. In the academic language of philosophy, "essence" means what something is; in Latin, quid. Quidditas, whatness, provides the answer to the question concerning essence. For example, what pertains to all kinds of trees-oaks, beeches, birches, firs-is the same "treeness." Under this inclusive genus-the "universal"fall all real and possible trees. Is then the essence of technology, Enframing, the common genus for everything technological? If that were the case then the steam turbine, the radio transmitter, and the cyclotron would each be an Enframing. But the word "Enframing" does not mean here a tool or any kind of apparatus. Still less does it mean the general concept of such resources. The machines and apparatus are no more cases and kinds of Enframing than are the man at the switchboard and the engineer in the drafting room. Each of these in its own way indeed belongs as stockpart, available resource, or executer, within Enframing; but Enframing is never the essence of technology in the sense of a genus. Enframing is a way of revealing having the character of destining, namely, the way that challenges forth. The revealing that brings forth (poiesis) is also a way that has the character of destining. But these ways are not kinds that, arrayed beside one another, fall under the concept of revealing. Revealing is that destining which, ever suddenly and inexplicably to all thinking, apportions itself into the revealing that brings forth and that also challenges, and which allots itself to man. The challenging reveal30 The Question Concerning Technology
Thus Enframing, as a destining of revealing, is indeed the essence of technology, but never in the sense of genus and essentia. If we pay heed to this, something astounding strikes us: It is technology itself that makes the demand on us to think in another way what is usually understood by "essence." But in what way?
if we speak of the "essence of a house" and the "essence of a state," we do not mean a generic type; rather we mean the ways in which house and state hold sway, administer themselves, develop and decay-the way in which they "essence" [Wesen]. Johann Peter Hebel in a poem, "Ghost on Kanderer Street," for which Goethe had a special fondness, uses the old word die Weserei. It means the city hall inasmuch as there the life of the community gathers and village existence is constantly in play, i.e., comes to presence. It is from the verb wesen that the noun is derived. Wesen understood as a verb is the same as wahren [to last or endure], not only in terms of meaning, but also in terms of the phonetic formation of the word. Socrates and Plato already think the essence of something as what essences, what comes to presence, in the sense of what endures. But they think what endures as what remains permanently [das Fortwiihrende] (aei on). And they find what endures permanently in what, as that which remains, tenaciously persists throughout all that happens. That which remains they discover, in turn, in the aspect [Aussehen] (eidos, idea), for example, the Idea "house."
The Idea "house" displays what anything is that is fashioned as a house. Particular, real, and possible houses, in contrast, are changing and transitory derivatives of the Idea and thus belong to what does not endure.
But it can never in any way be established that enduring is based solely on what Plato thinks as idea and Aristotle thinks as to ti on einai (that which any particular thing has always been), or what metaphysics in its most varied interpretations thinks as essentia.
All essencing endures. But is enduring only permanent enduring? Does the essence of technology endure in the sense of
here in one unarticulated accord. And if we now ponder more carefully than we did before what it is that actually endures and perhaps alone endures, we may venture to say: Only what is granted endures. That which endures primally out of the earliest beginning is what gran tS.25
As the essencing of technology, Enframing is that which endures. Does Enframing hold sway at all in the sense of granting? No doubt the question seems a horrendous blunder. For according to everything that has been said, Enframing is, rather, a destining that gathers together into the revealing that challenges forth. Challenging is anything but a granting. So it seems, so long as we do not notice that the challenging-forth into the ordering of the real as standing-reserve still remains a destining that starts man upon a way of revealing. As this destining, the coming to presence of technology gives man entry into That which, of himself, he can neither invent nor in any way make. For there is no such thing as a man who, solely of himself, is only man.
But if this destining, Enframing, is the extreme danger, not only for man's coming to presence, but for all revealing as such, should this destining still be called a granting? Yes, most emphat-
24. The verb gewfiliren is closely allied to the verbs wfihren (to endure) and wahren (to watch over, to keep safe, to preserve). Gewdhren ordinarily means to be surety for, to warrant, to vouchsafe, to grant. In the discussion that follows, the verb will be translated simply with "to grant." But the reader should keep in mind also the connotations of safeguarding and guaranteeing that are present in it as well.
25. Nur das Gewfihrte wiffirt. Das anffinglich aus der Friihe Willirende ist das Gewfilirende. A literal translation of the second sentence would be,"That which endures primally from out of the early On the meaning
Thus the coming to presence of technology harbors in itself what we least suspect, the possible arising of the saving power.
Everything, then, depends upon this: that we ponde. arising and that, recollecting, we watch over it. How can this happen? Above all through our catching sight of what comes to presence in technology, instead of merely staring at the technological. So long as we represent technology as an instrument, we remain held fast in the will to master it. We press on past the essence of technology.
When, however, we ask how the instrumental comes to presence as a kind of causality, then we experience this coming to presence as the destining of a revealing.
When we consider, finally, that the coming to presence of the essence of technology comes to pass in the granting that needs and uses man so that he may share in revealing, then the following becomes clear:
On the one hand, Enframing challenges forth into the frenziedness of ordering that blocks every view into the coming-to-pass of revealing and so radically endangers the relation to the essence of truth.
On the other hand, Enframing comes to pass for its part in the granting that lets man endure-as yet unexperienced, but perhaps more experienced in the future-that he may be the one who is needed and used for the safekeeping of the coming to presence of truth .17 Thus does the arising of the saving power appear.
The irresistibility of ordering and the restraint of the saving power draw past each other like the paths of two stars in the course of the heavens. But precisely this, their passing by, is the hidden side of their nearness.
When we look into the ambiguous essence of technology, we behold the constellation, the stellar course of the mystery.
The question concerning technology is the question concerning the constellation in which revealing and concealing, in which the coming to presence of truth, comes to pass.
But what help is it to us to look into the constellation of truth? We look into the danger and see the growth of the saving power.
Through this we are not yet saved. But we are thereupon summoned to hope in the growing light of the saving power. How can this happen? Here and now and in little things, that we may foster the saving power in its increase. This includes holding always before our eyes the extreme danger.
The coming to presence of technology threatens revealing, threatens it with the possibility that all revealing will be consumed in ordering and that everything will present itself only in the unconcealedness of standing-reserve. Human activity can never directly counter this danger. Human achievement alone can never banish it. But human reflection can ponder the fact that
But might there not perhaps be a more primally granted revealing that could bring the saving power into its first shining forth in the midst of the danger, a revealing that in the technological age rather conceals than shows itself?
There was a time when it was not technology alone that bore the name techne. Once that revealing that brings forth truth into the splendor of radiant appearing also was called techne.
Once there was a time when the bringing-forth of the true into the beautiful was called techne. And the poijsis of the fine arts also was called techni.
In Greece, at the outset of the destining of the West, the arts soared to the supreme height of the revealing granted them. They brought the presence [Gegenwart] of the gods, brought the dialogue of divine and human destinings, to radiance. And art was simply called techne. It was a single, manifold revealing. It was pious, promos, i.e., yielding to the holding-sway and the safekeeping of truth.
The arts were not derived from the artistic. Art works were not enjoyed aesthetically. Art was not a sector of cultural activity.
What, then, was art-perhaps only for that brief but magnificent time? Why did art bear the modest name techne? Because it was a revealing that brought forth and hither, and therefore belonged within poi0sis. It was finally that revealing which holds complete sway in all the fine arts, in poetry, and in everything poetical that obtained poi~sis as its proper name.The same poet from whom we heard the words
Whether art may be granted this highest possibility of its essence in the midst of the extreme danger, no one can tell. Yet we can be astounded. Before what? Before this other possibility: that the frenziedness of technology may entrench itself everywhere to such an extent that someday, throughout everything technological, the essence of technology may come to presence in the coming-to-pass of truth.
Because the essence of technology is nothing technological, essential reflection upon technology and decisive confrontation with it must happen in a realm that is, on the one hand, akin to the essence of technology and, on the other, fundamentally different from it.
Such a realm is art. But certainly only if reflection on art, for its part, does not shut its eyes to the constellation of truth after which we are questioning.
The closer we come to the danger, the more brightly do the ways into the saving power begin to shine and the more questioning we become. For questioning is the piety of thought.