OF SPIRIT

HEIDEGGER AND
THE QUESTION
JACQUES
DERRIDA
TRANSLATED BY
GEOFFREY BENNINGTON
AND RACHEL BOWLBY
THE UNIVERSITY OF
CHICAGO PRESS
Chicago and London
Originally published as De l'esprit,
© Editions Galilee, 1987
The University of Chicago Press, Chicago 60637
The University of Chicago Press, Ltd., London
© 1989 by The University of Chicago
All rights reserved. Published 1989
Paperback edition 1991
Printed in the United States of America
06 OS 04 03 02 01 00 99 98 97 6 7 8 9 10
Librar of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Derrida, Jacq
ues
[De l'esprit. English]
Of spirit : Heideger and the question / Jacques Derrida
translated
by
Geoffrey Bennington and Rachel Bowlby.
p. cm.
Translation of: De l'esprit.
Bibliography: p.
ISBN 0-226-14317-1 (cloth); 0-226-14319-8 (paper)
1. Heideger, Martin, 1889-1976. I. Title.
B3279.H49D4813 1989
193-dc19
88-32212
e The paper used in this publication meets the minimum
requirements of the American National Standard for
Information Sciences-Permanence of Paper for Printed
Library Materials, ANSI Z39.48-1992.
CIP
TRANSLATORS' NOTE
vii
C HAP T E R
1
C HAP T E R II
7
C HAP T E R III
1
4
C HAP T E R IV
23
C HAP T E R V
31
C HAP T E R VI
47
C HAP T E R VII
S
8
C H A P T E R VIII
7
3
CHAP T E R IX
83
C O N T E N T S
C H A P TER X
99
N O TES
lI
S
The text translated here is that of a lecture given 14 March
1 987 at the end of a conference organized by the College
international de philosophie in Paris, entitled "Heidegger:
Open Questions." The notes were naturally added later. We
give references wherever possible to English translations of
the texts by Heidegger cited by Jacques Derrida. We have
benefted from being able to consult these translations, but
have retranslated throughout in the interests of consistency
and proximity to the versions used by Derrida.
vii
I shall speak of ghost [revenant], of flame, and of ashes.
Ad of what, for Heidegger, avoiding means.
What is avoiding? Heidegger on several occasions uses the
common word vermeiden: to avoid, to fee, to dodge. What
might he have meant when it comes to "spirit" or the "spir­
itual"? I specify immediately: not spirit or the spiritual but
Geist, geistig, gei�tlich, for this question will be, thr ough
and through, that of language. Do these German words al­
low themselves to be translated? In another sense: are they
avoidable?
Sein und Zeit ( 1 927) : what does Heidegger say at that
time? He anounces and he prescribes . He wars [avertit]: a
certain number of terms will have to be avoided ( vermei­
den) . Among them, spirit ( Geist). In 1 953, more than
twenty-fve years later-and this was not just any quarter­
century-in the great text devoted to Trakl, Heidegger notes
that Trakl always took care to avoid ( vermeiden again) the
word geistig. And, visibly Heidegger approves him in this,
he thinks the same. But this time, it is not Geist nor even
geistlich which is to be avoided, but geistig.
How are we to delimit the diference, and what has hap­
pened? What of this meantime? How are we to explain that
in twenty-fve years, between these two waring signals
( "avoid," "avoid using")
'
Heidegger made a frequent, regular,
marked ( if not remarked) use of all this vocabulary includ­
ing the adj ective geistig? And that he often spoke not only
I
C H A P T E R O N E
of the word "spirit" but, sometimes yielding to the em­
phatic mode, in the name of spirit?
Could it be that he failed to avoid what he knew he ought
to avoid? What he in some sense had promised himself to
avoid? Could it be that he forgot to avoid? Or else, as one
might suspect, are things more tortuous and entangled than
this ?
Here one could get into writing a chapter destined for a
diferent book. I imagine its title: "How to Avoid Speak­
ing." 1 What does "avoid" mean, in particular in Heideg­
ger? -and it is not necessarily avoidance or denegation.
These latter categories are insufcient insofar as the dis­
course which habitually puts them to work, that of psycho­
analysis for example, does not take into account the econ­
omy of vermeiden in those places where it exposes itself to
the question of Being. The least one can say is that we are
very far away from this taking into account. And all I should
like to attempt here is to approach it. I'm thinking in partic­
ular of all ,those modalities of "avoiding" which come down
to saying without saying, writing without writing, using
words without using them: in quotation marks, for example,
under a non-negative cross-shaped crossing out (kreuzweise
Durchstreichung) , or again in propositions of the type: "If I
were yet to write a theology as I am sometimes tempted to
do, the word 'Being' ought not to appear in it," 2 etc. Now we
know well enough that, at the date at which he said that,
Heidegger had already made this word disappear while al­
lowing it to appear under a crossing-out-which had thus
perhaps set him going, and a long time since, on the path of
that theology he says he would only like to write but which
he does not not write at this very point, saying it's not that
at all, saying that that'S the last thing he's doing and that he
would have to shut up his thinking-shop if one day he were
to be called by the faith.3 In saying this, is he not showing
that he can do it ? And that he could easily even, be the only
one who could do it?
2
C H A P T E R O N E
The title which imposed itself upon me for this lecture
might have surprised or shocked some of you, whether or
not they recognized the quotation-this time without par­
ody-of a scandalous book, originally anonymous and con­
siged to the fre.4
This title appears today to be anachronistic in its gram­
mar and its diction, as if it took us back to the age when
they still wrote systematic treatises on the model of Latin
compositions in the Ciceronian style (De spiritu), when
what is called French materialism of the eighteenth century
or French spiritualism of following centuries established on
this model the fnest canons of our school rhetoric. The
anachronistic form, or even the provocatively IIretro" char­
acter of this Of Spirit seems even more bizarre in the land­
scape of this conference, for reasons both of style ( nothing
in it recalls a Heideggerian manner) and, if I can say this, of
semantics: spirit, so it seems at least, is not a great word of
Heidegger's. It is not his theme. It would seem that he was
able, precisely to avoid it. And who would dare to suspect in
him that metaphysics-materialist or spiritualist-which
produced the great days and best moments of a French tra­
dition, the very tradition which has so durably marked our
philosophical institutions ?
Because this suspicion appears absurd, because it carries
in it something intolerable, and perhaps too because it
moves towards the most worrying places in Heidegger's itin­
erar discourses, and histor people avoid in their turn
speaking of spirit in a work which nonetheless lets itself be
magnetized, from i ts frst to its last word, by that very thing.
Is it not remarkable that this theme, spirit, occupying­
as I hope to show in a minute that it does-a major and
obvious place in this line of thought, should have been dis­
inerited [forcos d'heritagej? No one wants anything to do
with it any more, in the entire family of Heideggerians, be
they the orthodox or the heretical, the neo-Heideggerians or
the para-Heideggerians, the disciples or the experts. No one
3
C H A P T E R O N E
ever speaks of spirit in Heidegger. Not only this: even the
anti-Heideggerian specialists take no interest in this the­
matics of spirit, not even to denounce it. Why? What is going
on? What is being avoided by this ? Why this fltering out in
the heritage, and this discrimination? Why even when the
legacy is being rej ected does Geist not occupy the place it
deserves alongside the major themes and major terms:
being, Dasein, time, the world, histor ontological difer­
ence, Ereignis, etc. ?
It was perhaps necessary to run the risk of a classical
academicism so as to mark, while yet leaving it open-for
it is not my intention to deal with it-the French dimen­
sion, the Franco- German chronicle in which we are situat­
ing Heidegger during this conference which was also an
Erorterung keeping the questions "open," in view of this
place. De l 'esprit is a thoroughly French title, much too
French to give the sense of the geistige or geistliche of Geist.
But that is the point : it will perhaps be heard better in Ger­
man. Perhaps, at any rate, we will be more properly sensitive
to its Germanness if we let its resonance be heard coming
from a foreign language, so as to put it to the test of trans­
lation, or rather if we put to the test its resistance to trans­
lation. And if we submit our own langage to the same test.
This necessity remains on one side. I will not rely for the
essential j ustifcation of my topic on an introduction or pref­
ace. Here, nonetheless, are three preliminary arguments.
There is frst the necessity of this essential explanation,
the quarrel between languages, German and Rome, German
and Latin, and even German and Greek, the
O
bersetzung as
Auseinandersetzung between pneuma, spiritus, and Geist.
At a certain point, this last no longer allows of translation
into the frst two. "Tell me what you think about translation
and I will tell you who you are," recalls Heidegger on the
subj ect of Sophocles' Antigone.s In this title De l 'esprit, the
Franco-Latin de also announces that, in the classical form
of the enquir and even of the dissertation, I wish to begin
4
C H A P T E R O N E
to treat of spirit-the word and the concept, the terms
Geist, geistig, geistlich-in Heidegger. I shall begin to fol­
low modestly the itineraries, the functions, the formations
and regulated transformations, the presuppositions and the
destinations. This preliminary work has not yet been sys­
tematically undertaken-to my knowledge, perhaps not
even envisaged. Such a silence is not without signifcance.
It does not derive only from the fact that, although the lex­
icon of spirit is more copious in Heidegger than is t hought,
he never made it the title or the principal theme of an ex­
tended meditation, a book, a seminar, or even a lecture. And
yet-I will attempt to show this-what thereby remains un­
questioned in the invocation of Geist by Heidegger is, more
than a coup de force_ force itself in its most out-of-the­
ordinary manifestation. This motif of spirit or of the spiri­
tual acquires an extraordinary authority in its German lan­
guage. To the precise extent that it does not appear at the
forefront of the scene, it seems to withdraw itself from any
destrction or deconstrction, as if it did not belong to a
history of ontology-and the problem will be j ust that.
On the other hand, and this is a second argument, this
motif is reglarly inscribed in contexts that are highly
charged politically in the moments when thought lets itself
be preoccupied more than ever by what is called hist or lan­
gage, the nation, Geschlecht, the Greek or German lan­
guages. From this lexicon, which we are not j ustifed in call­
ing spiritualist or even spiritual-can I risk saying
spirituelle?-Heidegger draws abundantly in the years
1 933-35, above all in the Rectorship Address and the Intro­
duction· to Metaphysics, and also in a diferent way in
Nietzsche. But during the following twenty years, and ex­
cept for one inflection which I will tr to analyze, this same
lexicon gives direction for example to the seminars and
writings on Schelling, Holderlin, and especially Trakl. In
them it even takes on a thematic value which is not without
a certai n novelty.
s
C H A P T E R O N E
Here fnally is my third preliminary argument : if the
thinking of Geist and of the diference between geistig and
geistich is neither thematic nor athematic and if its modal­
ity thus requires another categor then it is not only in­
scribed in contexts with a high political content, as I have
j ust said rapidly and rather conventionally It perhaps de­
cides as to the very meaning of the political as such. In any
case it would situate the place of such a decision, if it were
possible. Whence its privilege, still scarcely visible, for what
are called the questions of the political or of politics which
are stimulating so many debates around Heidegger today­
doubtless in renewed form in France, thanks notably to La­
coue-Labarthe-at the point at which they tie up with the
great questions of Being and truth, of history of the Ereignis,
of the thought and unthought or, for I always prefer to say
this in the plural, the thoughts and the unthoughts of Hei­
degger.
6
II
Open Questions: I recall the subtitle proposed for this
conference. Before really beginning, I must say a few words
about what, today are for me the open questions¯questions
opened by Heidegger and open with regard to Heidegger.
This will permit me to describe the economy or strategy
which imposed the choice of this theme on me today at a
certain point in my reading, at a moment which is no doubt
for me that of the greatest hesitation and the gravest perlex­
ity These few remarks, however preliminary they still re­
main, will perhaps illuminate the path I shall follow.
This attention paid to Geist, which recently gave me my
direction in some readings of Hegel,l is today called forth by
research I have been pursuing for a few years now in a sem­
inar on philosophical nationality and nationalism. Often
enough in this research, it is certain texts of Heidegger's
which constitute the test case itself. These texts are also
under test, especially when it is a question of language and
of place. While pursuing the work to which I had published
a short preface under the title "Geschlecht, diference sex­
uelle, diference ontologique,"2 I attempted to follow the
trace and the stakes of Geschlecht, that frighteningly poly­
semic and practically untranslatable word ( race, lineage,
stock, generation, sex) in the text on Trakl from Un terwegs
zur Sprache. Now in this text one encounters a distinction
which Heidegger would like to be of decisive importance,
between geistig and geistlich, and then a singular divide
right inside the word geistlich. Naturally I intend to return
7
C H A P T E R T WO
to this distinction and this divide which organize the think­
ing of Geschlecht at this point on Heidegger's path .
. On the other hand, still within the same seminar, a read­
ing, as patient as possible, of the Tmaeus-and especially
of what relates to the chora in it, seemed to me to render at
least probl ematical the interpretation of it that Heidegger
puts forward in the Introduction to Metaphysics. Other
questions could then be deployed and articulated among
thems elves on the basis of this example. These questions
concern the general interpretation of the history of onto­
theology or what I shall call, using a word which Heidegger
would have refused and which I myself use for provisional
convenience, the axiom a tics of Destruktion and of the ep­
ochal schema in general. But the use of this word, axiomat­
ics, is suspect only from the point of view of this epochal
schema itself. So one is not obliged to forbid oneself in ad­
vance what Heidegger prescribes that one proscribe. Why
not stand frm and interrogate this prescription and this pro­
scription?
Last year, in preparation for another conference on Hei­
degger, at the University of Essex ( David Krell, who is among
us today organized it and some of you were therel , I held at
Yale a sort of private seminar with some American friends. 3
In replying to their questions or suggestions, I tried to defne
what appeared to me to be left hanging, uncertain, still in
movement and therefore, for me at least, yet to come in Hei­
degger's text. I distinguished four giding threads, and at the
end of this conversation, which I reported to the Essex con­
ference, I had to ask myself: what ties together these four
threads ? What interlaces them? What is the knot of this Ge­
fecht, if, that is, there is one, a single simple knot, which is
never certain-and this is, even, the ultimate or the always
penultimate question.
Now here is the hypothesis I want to put to the test today
by submitting it to you. Following the trace o
f
Heidegger's
spirituality would perhaps approach, not a central point of
8
C H A P T E R TWO
this knot-I believe there i s none-but approach what gath­
ers a nodal resistance in its most economical torsion. I shall
explain in conclusion why what I am presenting politely as
a hypothesis must necessarily turn out to be true. I know
that this hypothesis is true, as though in advance. Its verif­
cation appears to me to be as paradoxical as it is fated. At
stake in it is the truth of truth for Heidegger, a trth the
tautology of which does not even have to be discovered or
invented. It belongs to the beyond and to the possibility of
any question, to the unquestionable itself in any question.
Geist cannot fail to gather this interlacing insofar as, for
Heidegger, as we shall verify. it is another name for the One
and the Versammlung, one of the names of collecting and
gathering.
The frst of the four threads leads, precisely to the ques­
tion, to the question of the question, to the apparently ab­
solute and long unquestioned privilege of the Fragen-of, in
the last instance, the essentially questioning form, essence
and digity of thought or the path of thought. There are in­
deed moments, as we shall see, when Heidegger diferen­
tiates the modes of questioning, asking or interrogating,
even analyzing the refexive repetition of such and such a
question: "why 'why' ? " But, it seems to me, he almost
never stopped identifying what is highest and best in
thought with the question, with the decision, the call or
guarding of the question, this "piety" of thought. 4 This de­
cision, this call or this guarding: is it already the question?
Is it still the question? And why almost never? We must be
patient here. I would have liked, then, to understand to what
extent this privileging of questioning itself remained pro­
tected. Precisely not protected from a question, nor from a
thought of the unthought coming down again to the Heideg­
gerian determination of the un-thought ( one single and
unique thought for every great thinker, and therefore one
un-thought, it simple too, which is only un·gedacht insofar
as it is, in a non-negative way un-gedacht,S so still a
9
C H A P T E R TWO
thought, as i s marked by the intonation, the accentuation,
the emphasis, these modes of avoidance or unavoidance
which I was speaking of j ust now) . Not, then, protected from
a question, but from something else. Now Geist, as I will
attempt to show is perhaps the name Heidegger gives, be­
yond any other name, to this unquestioned possibility of the
question.
A second thread conducts, especially in the great ques­
tion of technology to this typical and exemplary statement :
the essence of technology is nothing technological. This
matrix statement remains, at least in one of its aspects, tra­
ditionally philosophical. It maintains the possibility of
thought that questions, which is always thought of the es­
sence, protected from any original and essential contami­
nation by technology The concern, then, was to analyze this
desire for rigorous non-contamination and, from that, per­
haps, to envisage the necessity one could say the fatal ne­
cessity of a contamination-and the word was important to
me-of a contact originarily impurifying thought or speech
by technology Contamination, then, of the thought of es­
sence by technology and so contamination by technology of
the thinkable essence of technology-and even of a ques­
tion of technology by technology the privilege of the ques­
tion having some relation already always, with this irredu­
cibility of technology It is easy to imagine that the
consequences of this necessity cannot be limited. Yet Geist,
as I will try to suggest, also names what Heidegger wants to
save from any destitution ( Entmachtung). It is even perhaps,
beyond what must be saved, the ver thing that saves (ret­
tet). But what saves would not let itself be saved from this
contamination. What happens here will be in the diference
between Geistigkeit and a certain (non- Christian) Geist­
lichkeit of the Geist whose purity Heidegger wants to save,
a purity internal to spirit, even though he recognizes that
evil ( das Bose) is spiritual (geistich).
10
C H A P T E R TWO
The third thread leads back to what remains for me a ver
old anxiety a still lively suspicion, whether in relation to
Heidegger or to others. It concerns the discourse of animal­
ity and the axiomatic, explicit or not, which controls it. I
have made numerous references to this, over a very long pe­
riod.6 Three years ago, during the work on Geschlecht, and
in a lecture which some of you will know7 I ofered a long
analysis of Heidegger's discourse on the hand, wherever this
discourse takes shape-be it a thematic occurrence, as in a
passage of Was heisst Denken? (monkeys have prehensile or­
gans, but only man "has" the hand; or, rather, the hand­
and not the hands-holds the essence of man) or be it, ten
years earlier, the seminar on Parmenides which takes up
again the meditation around pragma, praxis, pragmata.
These last present themselves as vorhandene or zuhandene,
and so in the domain of the hand lim Bereich der Handl.8
This problem concerns once more the relationship between
animals and technolog This occurs in particular by means
of a very problematical opposition, it seems to me, between
giving and taking. It organizes this passage of Was heisst
Denken? ; it dictates the relations between prehension and
reason ( verehmen, Ver uft I, the relations between speech
and the hand, the essence of writing as handwriting (Hand­
schriftl outside of any technical mechanization or writing
machine. The interpretation of the hand, like the opposition
between human and animal Dasein, dominates in a the­
matic or nonthematic way Heidegger's most continuous dis­
course, from the repetition of the question of the meaning
of Being, the destruction of onto-theolog and, frst of all,
from the existential analytic which redistributes the limits
between Dasein, Vorhandensein, and Zuhandensein. Ever
time it is a question of hand and animal-but these themes
cannot be circumscribed-Heidegger's discourse seems to
me to fall into a rhetoric which is all the more peremptory
and authoritarian for having to hide a discomfture. In these
I I
C H A P T E R TWO
cases it leaves intact, sheltered in obscurity the axioms of
the profoundest metaphysical humanism: and I do mean the
profoundest. This is particularly manifest in the Fundamen­
tal Concepts of Metaphysics,9 around some guiding theses
to whi ch I shall return later: the stone is without world
Iweltlos), the animal is poor in world Iweltarm), man is
world-forming I weltbildend). I tried to bring out the impli­
cations of these theses, their aporetical and nondissimulated
difculty or their interminably preparatory character. Why
does Heidegger present such propositions as "theses," which
is something he practically never does elsewhere, and for
essential reasons ? Do not these "theses" afect in turn all
the concepts used in them, beginning with those of life and
world? One can already see that these difculties commu­
nicate with that of the Fagen Ithe animal isn't really ca­
pable of it) , with that of technology and fnally again, with
that of spirit : what of the relationship between spirit and
humanity spirit and life, spirit and animality?
The fourth thread, fnally leads, through the thinking of
epochality in itself and in the way it is put to work, into
what I shall call, a little provocatively the hidden teleology
or the narrative order. I insisted on the examples of the
chora, of the foreclosure of certain bodies of thought, such
as that of Spinoza on the principle of sufcient reason, etc.
But once again, we shall see that epochal discrimination can
be ordered around the diference-let us call it intraspiritual
diference-between the Platonic- Christian, metaphysical
or onto-theological determination of the spiritual Igeistig),
and another thinking of the spiritual as spoken, for example,
in the GesprQch with Trakl: this time it is the geistliche,
now withdrawn, as Heidegger would like, from its Christian
or ecclesial signifcation.
That, then, is j ust about the point I had reached when I
decided to speak of spirit. I shall do so with a negative cer­
tainty and a hypothesis : the certainty of not fully under­
standing what, in the end, rules Heidegger's spiritual idiom,
I
C H A P T E R TWO
and the hypothesis that more clarity perhaps the ambiguous
clarity of fame, would bring us nearer to the nexus of some
unthoughts, to the interlacing of these four threads.
Needless to say these unthoughts may well be mine and
mine alone. Ad what would be more serious, more drily
serious, they may well give nothing. liThe more original a
thought," says Heidegger, li the richer its Un-thought be­
comes. The Unthought is the highest gift I Geschenk) that a
thought can give."
10
1
3
III
To my knowledge, Heidegger never asked himself "What
is spirit ? /I At least, he never did so in the mode, or in the
form, or with the developments that he grants to questions
such as: "Why is there something rather than nothing? "
"What is Being? " "What is technology? " "What is called
thinking? " etc. No more did he make of spirit one of those
grand poles that metaphysics is supposed to have opposed to
Being, in a sort of limitation (Beschrinkung) of Being, such
as is contested by the Introduction to Metaphysics: Being
and becoming, Being and appearance, Being and thinking,
Being and duty or Being and value. No more did he oppose
spirit to nature, even dialectically according to the most
forceful and permanent of metaphysical demands.
What is called spirit ? What does spirit call up? Was heisst
der Geist? ¯the title of a book Heidegger never wrote. When
they have to do with spirit, Heidegger's statements rarely
take the form of a defnition of essence. Rarely that is to say
exceptionally and we are interested in these exceptions
which are in fact very diferent, and even opposed to each
other. Most often, Heidegger will have inscribed the noun
( Geist) or the adj ective (geistig, geistlich): say in a linked
group of concepts or philosophemes belonging to a decon­
strctible ontology and most often in a sequence going from
Descartes to Hegel, in other words in propositions which I
will again risk calling axiomatic, axiological, or axio-poetic:
the spiritual, then, no longer belongs to the order of these
metaphysical or onto-theological meanings. Rather than a
1
4
C H A P TE R T H R E E
value, spirit seems to designate, beyond a deconstruction,
the very resource for any deconstruction and the possibility
of any evaluation.
What then does he call spirit, Geist?
In Sein und Zeit, it is frst of all a word whose meaning
remains steeped in a sort of ontological obscurity Heidegger
recalls this and asks for the greatest possible vigilance on
this point. The word relates back to a series of meanings
which have a common feature: to be opposed to the thing,
to the metaphysical determination of thing-ness, and above
all to the thingifcation of the subj ect, of the subj ectivity of
the subj ect as supposed by Descartes. This is the series of
soul, consciousness, spirit, person. Spirit is not the thing,
spirit is not the body Of course, it is from this sub;ective
determination of spirit that a delimitation (Abgrenzung)
must disengage, one could say liberate, the existential ana­
lytic of Dasein. Dasein fnds itself given the task of prepar­
ing a philosophical treatise on the question "What is man?"
It should be remembered that it precedes (li�gt vor, Heideg­
ger's emphasis) all biology all anthropology all psychology
One could say all pneumatology this being the other name
Hegel gives to rational psychology which, further, he also
criticizes as an "abstract metaphysics of understanding./I 1
The existential analytic has in particular to mark its dis­
tance from two attempts, two temptations also, and thus
avoid the risk of seeing a genealogy where there is rather a
leap, a rupture, at any rate a radical problematization.
On the one hand, one would get confused-this would be
irefihrend-if one thought of the Cartesian cogito as the
right historical example, the exemplary precedent which
opens the way to the existential analytic. This poses the on­
tological question of the sum which Descartes apparently
left completely out of the question or out of the way [hors
lieu ( vollig unerortet) ( §lO, p. 46) 1 . It would have been nec­
essary to determine the Being of sum in order then to defne
the mode of Being of one's cogitationes. In starting, like
15
C H A P T E R T H R E E
Descartes, from an ego and subj ect given immediately one
misses the phenomenality of Dasein ( ibid. ) . The accusation
'is aimed also at the phenomenology of spirit and, in silence,
at transcendental phenomenology and Husserl 's cogito. Un­
til it has been submitted to an ontological clarifcation, the
idea of the subj ect continues to be bound up with the pos­
iting ( Ansatz) of a subiectum or a hypokeimenon, and there­
fore of some substance or substratum, even if, at the purely
antic level, one is opposed to what could be called " Seelen­
substanz, " to psychic substantialism, or to any reifcation
of consciousness ( Verdinglichung des Bewusstseins) ( ibid. ) .
For in order to rej ect thingifcation or substantialization-a
common gesture at the time of Sein und Zeit-one must
also clarify the ontological provenance of what one under­
stands by " thing," reality or thing-ness ( Dinglichkeit). If one
does not clarify the ontological provenance of thing-ness,
and a fortiori of substantiality everthing one understands
"positively" ( positiv) when one speaks of non-thingifed
Being ( dem nichtverdinglichten Sein) of subject, soul, con­
sciousness, spirit, person, etc., will remain ontologically
problematic. Heidegger had already added to this series the
I and reason. It goes without saying that the unconscious
belongs to the same set. This was earlier on, in §6, entitled
"The task of a deconstruction ( Destruktion) of the history
of ontolog" ( especially p. 22) .
Geist thus forms part of the series of non-things, of what
in general one claims to oppose to the thing. It is what in no
way allows itself to be thingifed. But so long as the Being of
what one understands by thing is not ontologically clari­
fed-not done, apparently by Descartes or Hussed, or by
anyone who might have recommended us not to thingify the
subj ect, soul, consciousness, spirit, person-these concepts
remain problematic or dogmatic. At least they remain so
from the point of view of an existential analytic of Dasein.
All these words, and thus the word spirit, can, certainly des­
ignate domains of phenomenality which a phenomenology
16
C H A P T E R T H R E E
could explore. But one can use them in this way only if one
makes oneself indiferent to all questions about the Being of
each of these entities.
These terms and these concepts have thus no rights in an
analytic of Dasein which seeks to determine the entity
which we ourselves are. Heidegger announces, then, that he
is going to avoid them ( vermeiden) ø In order to say what we
are, who we are, it appears to be indispensable to avoid all
the concepts in the subj ective or subiectal series: in parti c­
ular that of spirit ( §lO, p. 46) .
Now who are we? Here, let us not forget, we are frst and
only determined from the opening to the question of Being.
Even if Being must be given to us for that to be the case, we
are only at this point, and know of "us" only this: the power
or rather the possibility of questioning, the experience of
questioning.
We were speaking a moment ago of the question. Now
precisely this entity which we are, this "we" which, at the
beginning of the existential analytic, must have no name
other than Da-sein, is chosen for the position of exemplar
entity only from the experience of the question, the possi­
bility of the Fragen, as it is inscribed in the network of the
Gefragte ( Being) , the Erfragte ( the meaning of Being), of the
Befragte der Seinsfrage, that is the entity which we are and
which thus becomes the exemplary or privileged entity for
a reading-Heidegger's word-of the meaning of Being. The
point of departure in the existential analytic is legitimated
frst of all and only from the possibility, experience, strc­
ture, and regulated modifcations of the Fragen. Such is the
exemplarity of the entity which we are, of the ourselves in
this discursive situation of Mitsein in which we can, to our­
selves and to others, say we. This exemplarity can become
or remain problematical. But this ought not to dissimulate
a still less apparent problematicity-which is, precisely per­
haps no longer even a problematicity It could not even be
determined as question or problem. For it depends on this
1
7
C H A P T E R T H R E E
point of departure in a refection on the question ( it is better
to say the Pragen) and its structural components. How with­
out confrming it a priori and circularly can we question
this inscription in the structure of the Fragen from which
Dasein will have received, along with its privilege (Vorrang) ,
its frst, minimal, and most secure determination? Even sup­
posing that this structure is described properly by Heidegger
( which is not certain, but I leave that to one side for the
moment) , any worry as to the legitimacy or axiomatic ne­
cessity of such a point of departure in a refection on the
being-abl e-to- question would leave intact neither the prin­
ciple, nor the order, nor fnally the interest of the existential
analytic: in three words, of Sein und Zeit. One would then
tum against it what Heidegger says himself: however provi­
sional the analysis, it always and already demands the assur­
ance of a correct point of departure ( §9, p. 43) .
I insist on this point of departure in the possibility of the
Pragen not only for the reasons I pointed out at the start. A
few years later, when the references to spirit are no longer
held in the discourse of Destruktion and in the analytic of
Dasein, when the words Geist and geistig are no longer
avoided, but rather celebrated, spirit itself will be defned by
this manifestation and this force of the question. Of the
question, then, in the name of which the same words are
avoided in Sein und Zeit. When he says he must avoid them,
Heidegger is right to emphasize that he does so not out of
caprice, stubbornness, or concer for terminological odd­
ness ( §lO, p. 46) . The terms of this series : spirit, but also
soul or psyche, consciousness, ego, reason, subj ect-and
Heidegger adds on life and man too-block any interroga­
tion on the Being of Dasein. They are all linked, as the un­
conscious would be just as well, to the Cartesian position of
the sub;ectum. And even when they inspire the modernity
of eloquent discourses on the non-thingifcation or non­
reifcation of the subj ect, they-and in particular the terms
life and man-mark a lack of interest, an indiference, a re-
C H A P T E R T H R E E
markable "lack of need" ( Bedirfnislosigkeit) for the ques­
tion of the Being of the entity which we are.
Each time one comes across the word "spirit" in this con­
text and in this series, one should thus, according to Heideg­
ger, recognize in it the same indiference: not only for the
question of Being in general but for that of the entity which
we are, more precisely for this lemeinigkeit, this being­
always-mine of Dasein which does not in the frst place refer
to a me or an ego and which had justifed a frst-prdent
and, in the end, negative-reference to Descartes. The
being-mine makes of Dasein something quite other than a
case or an example of the genus of Being as Vorhandene. For
what characterizes Vorh an den sein ? Well, precisely the fact
of being indiferent to its proper Being, to what it properly
is. This indiference distinguishes it from Dasein which, for
its part, has care for its Being. In truth, to the entity as Vor­
handene, its Being is not even indiferent (gleichgiltig) . You
cannot say that a stone is indiferent to its Being without
being anthropomorphic. It is neither indiferent nor not in­
diferent ( weder gleichgiltig noch ungleichgiltig) . Heideg­
ger does not wonder at this point ( §9) , and according to these
categories, about animals. He would doubtless have some
difculties in doing so, but we will come back to this. On
the other hand, it makes sense to say of Dasein that it can
be indiferent to the question of its Being, precisely because
it is not, because it can, also, not be. Its indiference in this
case is only a modalization of its non-indiference. For Das­
ein, whose Being-mine can only pass into discourse by ap­
pealing to personal pronouns ( I am, you are) , indiference
(lndiferenz this time, not Gleichgiltigkeit) is one more way
of relating itself to, interesting itself in, its proper Being, of
not being indiferent to it. This last indiference ( lndiferenz)
to its own Being is not at all that of the stone or the table. It
characterizes the everyday nature of Dasein, what in every­
dayness brings everything down to the average, this Durchs­
chnittlichkeit which Heidegger claims he does not want to
1
9
C H A P T E R T H R E E
denounce as a negative phenomenon. Indiference in this
case "is not nothing," but a "positive phenomenal charac­
teristic. "
Here then are three types of indiference. First, there is
the absolute indiference of the vorhandene entity: the
stone is placed even before the diference between indifer­
ence and its opposite. Second, there is indiference (Indifer­
enz) as a positive phenomenon of Dasein. There is further,
third, the indiference which in the history of metaphysics,
for exampl e since Descartes, manifests this remarkable Be­
durfnislosigkeit nach dem Sein o a . zu fragen_ this lack of
the need to ask questions about Being. And frst of all about
one's proper Being, about the Being of the entity which we
are. This last indiference has a paralyzing efect as much
when facing the thought of the thing-ness of the thing (res,
substantia) as the thought of the subject (hypokeimenon) .
Through this indiference we keep to concepts such as spirit,
soul, consciousness, person, etc. But there is an analogy be­
tween these two last manifestations of indiference, even a
common condition of possibility They lead of necessity to
the limitation of the question of Being, to interpreting the
"who" of Dasein as something which endures in a substan­
tial identity of the type Vorhandensein or of the subj ect as
Vorhandensein. As a result, however much one protests
against the substantiality of the soul, the reifcation of COD­
sciousness, or the obj ectivity of the person, one continues
to dete
rmine the "who" ontologically as a subj ect existing
in the form of Vorhandenheit. The "spirit" granted it in that
case is itself afected by this substantial subj ectivity and this
Vorhandenheit. Now what is the root of this interpretation
that makes of the "who" an enduring form of existence? It
is a vulgar concept of time. The concept of spirit must there­
fore be avoided insofar as it is itself founded on such an in­
terpretation of time. Heidegger submits it to Destruktion in
the course of this de-limitation ( Umgrenzung) of the ana­
lytic of being- there. To say that the essence of being-there is
20
C H A P T E R T H R E E
"existence" in the sense Heidegger gives it then, is also to
say that "the ' substance' of man is not spirit as a synthesis
of the soul and the body but existence" ( §25, p. 1 1 7) .
Let us note in passing that this concept of indiference
does not provide any means of placing the animal. The ani­
mal, as Heidegger recognizes elsewhere, is certainly not a
Vorhandene. So it does not have the absolute indiference of
the stone, but no more does it have any share in the ques­
tioning "we/' the starting point of the analysis of Dasein. It
is not Dasein. Is it indiferent or not indiferent and in what
sense? We will come back to this.
Descartes, then, did not displace medieval theology In
stopping at the distinction between ens creatum and ens in­
fnitum or increatum, medieval theology failed to interro­
gate the Being of this ens. What passes for the rebirth or
modern period of philosophical thinking is only the "root­
edness of a deathly prej udice" whic
h
held back an ontologi­
cal and thematic analytics of Gemit ( §6, p. 95) . On the ho­
rizon, if not on the program of all this deconstruction
( Destruktion) of spirit, there appears to be assigned a task;
the destiny or further becoming of which in Heidegger's
work ought to be followed: the "thematic ontological ana­
lytic of Gemit. " Is there a French equivalent for this last
word? A word f�r word? I don't see one. If one day Sein und
Zeit were to be translated [ into French] , I do not know which
term would be the least inadequate. Boehm and de Waelhens
well understood that it was necessary to avoid all the French
words which might tempt the translator and immediately
throw him of the track: esprit [ spiritt ame [ soulL crur
[heart]. They then imagined a strange stratagem, a foreign
recourse: take up the Latin and Cartesian word mens, which
not only does not translate but reintroduces into the pro­
gram the very thing that had to be avoided. At least the ar­
tifcial detour via mens signals a difculty It escapes the
worst confusion. What would be the worst confusion? Well,
the translation of Gemit by "esprit/, precisely at the very
21
C HAP TER T H R E E
moment when Heidegger prescribes, in this very context,
that one avoid jvermeiden) this word. Now this is the very
word towards which the Martineau-Vezin translation jParis :
Gallimard, 1985) rushes headlong, as if to confuse every­
thing.
The same de-limitation afects just as much the "sciences
of spirit," history as science of spirit or psychology as sci­
ence of spirit jgeisteswssenschaftiche Psychologie) , and all
the conceptual apparatus organized around psyche and life
in Dilth
ey Bergson, in personalisms or philosophical an­
thropologies. Heidegger allows for the diferences between
these, but he inscribes in the same set all those who refer to
life and intentional structure. Whether in Hussed or
Scheler, it is the same inability to interrogate the Being of
the person. Comparable developments are to be found in
The Fundamental Problems of Phenomenology j§15) . In
short, at this point, the concept of spirit, this concept of
spirit must be deconstructed. What it lacks, apart from any
ontological question as to what makes man a unity jsoul,
consciousness, spirit and body) , is thus indeed an analytic
of Gemit.
22
IV
Should we close Sein und Zeit at this point? Do the many
developments devoted to the heritage of the Cartesian graft
add nothing to these premises ? Is this the book's last word
on the theme of spirit ?
Yes and no.
Yes, insofar as the premises and the deconstruction will
never be called into question again. Neither in Sein und Zeit
nor later.
No, because the rhetorical strategy is displaced when a
step is taken, already in the direction of this analytic of Ge­
mit. As early as Sein und Zeit, Heidegger takes up the val­
ues and the word "spirit," simply in quotation marks. He
thus assumes it without assuming it, he avoids it in no
longer avoiding it. To be sure, this un-avoidance now sup­
poses and will henceforth maintain the earlier delimitation.
It does not contradict, but confrms and renews the neces­
sity of avoiding ( vermeidenl, and will always do so. And yet,
along with the word, even enclosed in quotation marks,
something of spirit-doubtless what signals towards Ge­
mit-allows itself to be withdrawn from the Cartesian­
Hegelian metaphysics of subj ectivity Something which the
word "spirit " still names between quotation marks thus al­
lows itself to be salvaged. Spirit returns. The word "spirit"
starts to become acceptable again. The catharsis of the quo­
tation marks frees it from its vulgar, uneigentich, in a word
Latino- Cartesian, marks. There then begins, at the other end
of the same book, the slow work of reappropriation which
2
3
C H A P T E R F O U R
will merge, as I should like to demonstrate, with a re­
Germanization.
This time it has to do with space and time.
As for space, frst of all, Heidegger begins ( this is only a
frst move) by avoiding, purely and simply the traditional
concept of spirit. Dasein is not a spiritual interiority the
s econdar nature of which would have to be derived from a
becoming-spatial . It has its own being-in-space ( ein eigenes
"im- Raum-sein" ) . But this latter is possible only on the ba­
sis of its being-in-the-world in general . One must not say
that being-in-a-world ( das In-Sein in einer Welt) is a spiritual
property ( eine geistige Eigenschaft) . One must not say that
man's spatiality characterizes his body alone. If one did say
this, one would return to the obscure problem of a being­
together, in the form of Vorhandensein of a bodily thing
( Korperding) and a spiritual thing ( Geistding) . The obscurity
of the thing would remain entire. One would be giving in to
the naive opinion (naIve Meinung) according to which a
man, a spiritual thing, would see himself after the fact
( nachtrigich) transposed, transferred, deported ( versetzt)
into a space ( § 1 2, p. 56) .
But in a second move, the same logic this time imposes
recourse to quotation marks. The word "spirit" returns, it is
no longer rej ected, avoided, but used in its deconstructed
sense to designate something other which resembles it, and
of which it is, as it were, the metaphysical ghost, the spirit
of another spirit. Between the quotation marks, though the
grid they impose, one sees a double of spirit announcing it­
self. More precisely spirit visible in its letter, scarcely leg­
ible, becomes as it were the spectral silhouette-but already
legible, this one-of another. The spectrality would be no
more an accident of spirit than of Geist, of the thing and of
the word. Through the word of Cartesian metaphysics or of
the subjective graft, traversing it like an index fnger show­
ing something beyond itself, Heidegger will name, in quo­
tation marks, in other words will wite-negatively indi-
C H A P T E R F O U R
recdy silently-something which is not, to be sure, what
the old discourse called "spirit," but in any case, above all,
not what it would have considered as the opposite of spirit:
the spatial thing, the outside, the body the inanimate, etc.
What is at stake now is to stress that spatiality does not be­
fall a spiritual Dasein which would, through the body fall
after the fact into space. To the contrary it is because Dasein
is not a vorhandene thing that it is spatial, but quite difer­
ently spatial from what one calls physical and extended
things. It is thus because it is "spiritual" ( this time in quo­
tation marks, of course) that it is spatial and that its spatial­
ity remains original . It is by virtue of this "spirituality" that
Dasein is a being of space and, Heidegger even underlines it,
only by virtue of such a " spirituality" We must make our­
selves attentive in the frst instance to these mute signs­
the quotation marks and the underlining:
Neither can the spatiality of Dasein be interpreted as
an imperfection which would be inherent to existence
by virtue of the fatal "union of spirit with a body" Das­
ein can, to the contrary because it is "spiritual " ( "geis­
tig") , and only for that reason ( und nur deshalb) be
spatial according to a modality which remains essen­
tially impossible for an extended corporeal thing. ( §70,
p. 368)
Further on i n the book, the quotation marks provide the
same surveillance around the word "spirit" when it is no
longer a question of space, on this occasion, but of time.
However, despite the analogous logical or rhetorical move­
ment, what is at stake is not symmetrical . The development
now belongs to a veritable thematics of spirit, and more pre­
cisely of the Hegelian interpretation of the relations be­
tween spirit and time ( §82) . If, as Hegel says, "histor which
is essentially history of spirit, unfolds 'in time', " if therefore
"the development of history falls (fo1t) into time," how can
spirit thus fall into time, into this pure sensible order, this
C H A P T E R F O U R
"insensible sensible" I das unsinnliehe Sinnliehe) ? For such
a fall to be possible, the essence of time and the essence of
spirit must have been interpreted in a certain fashion by He­
gel. Heidegger says that he does not wish to criticize Ikritis­
ieren) this double interpretation, treat it as though it were
simply not to his taste. The argumentation now becomes
tortuous and would merit a long analysis . What has to be
brought out? That the idea of a fall of spirit into time pre­
supposes a vulgar concept of time. It is "against" (gegen)
this Hegelian concept of time, against this vulgar concept,
wth it as backdrop, that authentic, proper, nonvulgar tem­
porality stands out, the temporality which forms the tran­
scendental horizon of the question of Being in Sein und
Zeit. For the Hegelian concept of time represents or presents
I darstellt) -Heidegger says this has not been sufciently no­
ticed-li the most radical conceptual elaboration of the vul­
gar understanding of time" 1 §82, p. 428) .
If spirit "fall s" into a time itself determined as negation
of the negation, it must also present itself as negation of the
negation. Its essence is the concept, i. e. , the form of thought
when it thinks itself, the self-conceiving I das sich Begreifen)
as grasping of the non-I l als Erfassen des Nicht-1eh), in other
words a grasping of this diference. There is thus in the pure
concept, the essence of spirit, a diference of diference l ein
Unterseheiden des Unterschieds) . It is j ust this which gives
the essence of spirit the formal apophantic determination
which was required-that of a negation of the negation. And
it is indeed a logical formalization of the Cartesian cogito,
i. e. of consciousness as cogito me cogitare rem, grasping of
self as grasping of non-self. The Hegelian determination of
spirit indeed remains ordered, prescribed, ruled by the epoch
of the Cartesian cogito. It therefore calls for the same decon­
struction. Did not Hegel hail Descartes as the Christopher
Columbus of philosophical modernity?
If there is an identity of formal structure between spirit
and time, i . e. , the negation of the negation, it remains to be
26
C H A P T E R F O U R
explained that one of them appears to "fall " into the other.
In their formal abstraction, spirit and time are outside, ex­
teriorized, divested ( entQussert) , whence their afnity ( Ver­
wandschaft J . But Hegel always conceives of time in vulgar
fashion, as "levelled world-time" the provenance of which
remains hidden. He still interprets time as a Vorh an den es,
an entity standing there in front, facing spirit, itself under­
stood in the sense of subj ectity Time, the being- there of the
concept, and so the being- there of the essence of spirit, is
tere in front, facing spirit, outside it and as its opposite
( steht sie dem Geist als ein Vorhandenes einfach gegenf­
ber) . One must be coming from this vulgar interpretation to
say of spirit that it "falls into time," into a time which is
there in front of it, as though external to it, opposed (gegen­
fber) , present after the fashion of an ob-j ect. But what is
signifed by this fall and this efectuation ( VerwrklichungJ
of spirit into a time which remains foreign or external to it,
even though it has power over it? According to Heidegger,
Hegel says nothing about this, he leaves it obscure. No more
does he ask the question as to whether the essential consti­
tution of spirit as negation of negation is not in fact possible
only on the basis of an originary and non-vulgar temporali­
zation.
Now it is precisely when he undertakes to explicate this
originary temporality that Heidegger fnally takes up the
word "spirit" as his own, and twice, but twce in quotation
marksa We were saying j ust now that these quotation marks,
although analogous, were not simply symmetrical to those
enclosing the word " geistig" i n the analysis of the spatiality
of Dasein. Thi s is due to the obvious privileging of time.
According to the declared proj ect of Sein und Zeit, we know
that time forms the transcendental horizon of existential
analysis, of the question of the meaning of Being and of any
related question in this context.
Two sentences, then, and twice " Der ' Geist ' " in quota­
tion marks.
C H A P T E R F O U R
This i s the frst sentence at the end of the same paragraph
82:
" Spirit" does not frst fall into time, but it exists ( ex­
istiert, italicized) as originary temporalization ( Zeiti­
gung, italicized) of temporality This temporalizes the
time of the world in the horizon of which "history"
[ al so in quotation marks, I emphasize the fact, JD] as
intratemporal happening can appear.
At this point, still playing with the quotation marks, Hei­
degger will displace the fall. Fallen will no longer be the
Pallen of spirit into time, but the lowering, the descent, or
the degradation of an original temporalization into a tem­
porality that is separated into diferent levels, inauthentic,
improper, such as it is represented by the vulgar interpreta­
tion of Cartesian-Hegelianism: as a Vorh an den es. There is
indeed, in quotation marks, a "spirit," but it does not fall
into time. There is indeed a "fall," in quotation marks, but
the falls it causes are from one time to the other, I dare not
say from time to time or now and then [ de temps en temps
au de temps Q autre] . The falls it causes are not from spirit
[ de l 'esprit] into time. But from time into time, one time
into another. And if " spirit" in quotation marks becomes
temporalization itself, one ought just as much to speak of
the fall of one spirit into the other. In the sentence I am
about to read, the " Pallen" in quotation marks ( citing Hegel)
relates back to Verfallen as it is written without quotation
marks in the analytic of Dasein:
" Spirit" ( Der " Geist" ) does not fall into time, but :
factitious existence ( die faktische Existenz) "fall s"
( "fill t ") i n that i t falls ( als verfallende) from ( or out­
side, aus, italicized) originary and proper temporality
( authentic: urspringliche, eigentliche Zeitlichkeit) .
But this "falling" itself has its existenfial possibility in
a mode of its temporalization which belongs to tem­
porality [ §82, p. 4361
28
C H A P T E R F O U R
In a word, in two words, in a word or two, spirit does not
fall into time, as Hegel says. In another sense and with the
obligatory quotation marks, spirit is essentially temporali­
zation. If fall there be, as Heidegger also thinks, it is for rea­
sons that are essential, that form for Sein und Zeit the very
horizon of the question of Being: there is a falling from one
time into the other. It is neither evil nor accident, it is not
an accidental evil. But we already perceive, behind or be­
tween the quotation marks, this spirit which is not other
than time. It returns, in short, to time, to the movement of
temporalization, it lets itself be afected in itself, and not
accidentally as from outside, by something like falling or
Verfallen. We will have to remind ourselves of this much
later when Heidegger insists on the spiritual essence of evil.
But the focus then will be on Geistlichkeit and no longer on
Geistigkeit. This spirituality will determine a semantic
value for the word geistlich, which Heidegget will even want
to de- Christianize, although it belongs in common parlance
to the church code. There is thus a vast distance to cover.
We are still in 1 926-27. Despite its discreet turbulence,
despite this doubling which seems already to afect it with
an obsessive specter, Heidegger does not take up as his own
the word II spirit" j he barely gives it shelter. At any rate, the
hospitality ofered is not without reservation. Even when it
is admitted, the word is contained at the doorstep or held at
the frontier, fanked with discriminatory signs, held at a dis­
tance by the procedure of quotation marks. Through these
artifces of writing it is, to be sure, the same word, but also
another. In order to describe this situation, let us momen­
tarily for convenience, provisionally resort to the distinc­
tion put forard by speech-act theory between use and men­
tion. It would not be to Heidegger's taste, but perhaps what
is at stake is also to put the limits of such a distinction to
the test. Heidegger began by using the word II spirit." More
precisely he frst of all used it negatively he mentioned it
as the word no longer to use. He mentioned its possible use
C H A P T E R F O U R
as what had to be excluded. Then, in a second moment, he
used it on his own account but with quotation marks, as
though still mentioning the discourse of the other, as
though citing or borrowing a word he wanted to put to an­
other use. What counts most is the sentence in which this
subtle-in fact inextricable-interlacing of "use" and
"mention" is done. The sentence transforms and displaces
the concept. With its quotation marks, as with the discur­
sive context which determines them, it calls for another
word, another appellation, unless it alter the same word, the
same appellation, unless it re-call the other under the same.
3
0
v
It's the law of quotation marks. Two by two they s tand
guard: at the frontier or before the door, assigned to the
threshold in any case, and these places are always dramatic.
The apparatus lends itself to theatricalization, and als o to
the hallucination of the stage and its machinery: two pairs
of pegs hold in suspension a sort of drape, a veil or a curtain.
Not closed, j ust slightly open. There is the time this suspen­
sion lasts : six years, the suspense of the spectator and the
tension which follows the credits. Then, suddenly with a
single blow and not three, the lifting [levee] of the quotation
marks marks the raising [lever] of the curtain. And there's a
coup de theatre immediately with the overture: the entry
on stage of spirit itself, unless it's delegating its ghos t, its
Geist, again.
Six years later, 1 933, and here we have the Rectorship Ad­
dress: the curtain-raising is also the spectacle of academic
solemnity the splendor of the staging celebrating the quo­
tation marks' disappearance. In the wings, spirit was waiting
for its moment. And here it makes its appearance. It pre­
sents itself. Spirit itself, spirit in its spirit and in its letter,
Geist afrms itself through the self-afrmation of the Ger­
man university. Spirit's afrmation, inflamed. Yes, infamed:
I say this not only to evoke the pathos of the Rectorship
Address when it celebrates spirit, not only because of what
a reference to fame can illuminate of the terrifying moment
which is deploying its specters around this theater, but be­
cause twenty years later, exactly twenty years, Heidegger
3
1
C H A P T E R F I V E
will say of Geist, without which it is impossible to think
Evil, that in the frst place it is neither pneuma nor spiritus,
thus allowing us to conclude t
h
at Geist is no more heard in
the Greece of the philosophers than in the Greece of the
Gospels, to say nothing of Roman deafness: Geist is flame.
And this could, apparently be said, and thus thought, only
in German.
How are we to explain this sudden infammation and in­
fation of Geist ? Sein und Zeit was all tortuous prudence,
the severe economy of a writing holding back declaration
within a discipline of severely observed markers. So how
does Heidegger get from this to the eloquent fervor and the
sometimes rather righteous proclamation dedicated to the
self-afrmation of the German university? What is the leap
from the one to the other? And what in spite of this is
confrmed and continued from the one to the other?
Each word of the title, die Selbstbehauptung der
deutschen Universitit, is traversed, steeped, illuminated,
determined ( bestimmt) -I mean both defned and des­
tined-called for, by spirit. Self-afrmation, frst of all,
would be impossible, woul d not be heard, would not be what
it is if it were not of the order of spirit, spirit's very order.
The word II order" designating both the value of command,
of leading, duction or conduction, the Firung, and the
value of mission: sending, an order given. Self-afrmati(n
wants to be ( we must emphasize this wanting) the
afrmation of spirit through Fihrung. This is a spiritual con­
ducting, of course, but the Fihrer, the guide-here the Rec­
tor-says he can only lead if he is himself led by the inflex­
ibility of an order, the rigor or even the directive rigidity of
a mission ( Auf trag) . This is also, already spiritual. Conse­
quently conducted from guide to guide, the self-afrmation
of the German university will be possible only through
those who lead, while themselves being led, directors di­
rected by the afrmation of this spiritual mission. Later, we
shall have to recognize a passage between this afrmation
C H A P T E R F I V E
and a certain thinking of consent, of commitment in the
form of a reply of a responsible acquiescence, of agreement
or confdence ( Zusage) , a sort of word given in return. Before
any question and to make possible the question itself.
The German character of this university is not a second­
ary or contingent predicate, it cannot be dissociated from
this afrmation of spirit. As the highest agency of the insti­
tution thus erected, of this "high school " ( hohe Schule) , di­
rected upwards from the heights, spirit can do nothing other
than afrm itself-and this, as we shall hear, in the move­
ment of an authentication or identifcation which wsh
themselves to be propery German.
Right from the opening of the Address, Heidegger himself
emphasizes the adj ective "spiritual" (geistig) . It is thus the
frst thing he stresses. I shall emphasize it in my turn, read­
ing Gerard Granel's [ French) translation: not only because it
is the frst word to be stressed, but because this adjective,
geistig, is the word which twenty years later will be opposed
to geistlich. The latter would no longer have anything Pla­
tonic-metaphysical or Christian-metaphysical about it,
whereas geistig, Heidegger will say then, in his own name
and not in a commentary on Trakl, remains caught in the
metaphysico-Platonic- Christian oppositions of the below
and the beyond, of the low and the high, of the sensible and
the intelligible. Ad yet, in the Rectorship Address, the
Geistigkeit to which Heidegger appeals is already opposed
to "the Christo-theological interpretation of the world
which followed" (Die nachkommende christlich­
theologische Weltdeutung) . l But there is no Geistlichkeit
yet. Is this simply a terminological incoherence, a verbal
adj ustment which takes a certain time? Up to a point, with­
out doubt, but I do not think that things can be reduced to
that.
Here, then, is the frst paragraph of the Rectorship Ad­
dess, the lifting of the quotation marks, which are carried
of, the raising of the curtain on the frst act, the inaugural
3 3
C H A P T E R F I V E
celebration of spirit: cortege, academic procession-spirit is
at the head, and in the highest, since it leads the very lead­
ers. It precedes, anticipates [ previentJ and gives the direction
to be followed-to the spiritus rector ( whose directives we
know better today) and to those who follow him:
To take over the rectorship is to oblige oneself to guide
this high s chool spiritualy ( die Verpfichtung zu geis­
tigen Firung dieser hohen Schule) . Those who follow
masters and pupils, owe their existence and their
strength only to a true common rootedness in the es­
sence of the German university But this essence
comes to the clarity the rank and the power which are
its own only if frst of all and at all times the guiders
[guideursJ ( Fuhrer: I prefer "guide" to "guider," a rather
rare and perhaps neologistic word, which runs the risk
of making us forget that Fihrer was at that time very
common in German) are themselves guided-guided
by the infexibility of this spiritual mission ( jenes geis­
tige Auftrags) , the constraining nature of which im­
prints the destiny of the German people with its spe­
cifc historical character. ( pe S [ 470] )
This fnal sentence speaks, then, of the imprint ( Geprage)
marked in the destiny of the German people. A typological
motif, and even an onto- typological motif, as Lacoue­
Labarthe would put it. Its recurrences in the Rectorship Ad­
dress must be interrogated retrospectively in light of the
letter to Junger ( Zur Seinsfrage) and what relates there to the
modern accomplishment of subj ectity. Without being able to
enter into this problem, I would point out that the fgre of
the imprint is associated here, regularly and essentially
with that of force. Heidegger says sometimes Prigekraft ( p.
S [ 4701 1 or prigende Kraft ( p. 20 [ 477J ) . Now force is just as
regularly j ust as essentially associated with spirit i n the
sense that it is celebrated thereafter without quotation
marks.
34
C H A P T E R F I V E
At the centre of the Address, for the frst time to my
knowledge ( subsequently he does so only twice, in texts on
Schelling and on Trakl l , Heidegger ofers a defnition of
spirit. It is certainly presented in the form of a defnition: S
is P. And without any possible doubt, Heidegger takes it up
for his own. He is no longer mentioning the discourse of the
other. No longer speaking of spirit as in Descartes, Hegel, or
later Schelling or Holderlin, he links this predicative deter­
mination to a series of headings whose importance there is
no need for me to stress. I will name four of them to prepare
for the reading of this defnition.
1 . First there is questioning, Fagen, which manifests
here-and manifests itself-as will : will to know and will
to essence. Even before the defnition of spirit, which
reafrms it, this will had been afrmed earlier in the Ad­
dress:
To will the essence of the German university i s to will
science, in the sense of willing the spiritual historical
mission of the German people ( Wille zum geschicht­
lichen geistegen Auf trag des deutschen Volkes) as a
people that knows itself in its State. Science and Ger­
man destiny must, in this will to essence, achieve
power (Macht ) at the same time. / p. 7 [ 47 1 l J
2. Next there i s the world, a central theme of Sein und
Zeit. Like the renewed quest of Fragen, it marks the pro­
found continuity between Sein und Zeit and the Address.
3. Further, and still linked to force, there is the theme
of earth-and-blood: /I erd- und bluthaften Krifte als
Macht. . . . /1
4. Finally and above all, still in essential and internal con­
tinuity with Sein und Zeit, there is Entschlossenheit: reso­
lution, determination, the decision which gives its possibil­
ity of opening to Eigentlichkeit, the authentic property of
Dasein.
3 S
C H A P T E R F I V E
Here now is this key paragraph, with these four determi­
nations of spirit:
If we want the essence of science in the sense of this
manner of holding frm, questioning ( fragenden) and
exposed, in the midst of the uncertainty of entities in
their totality then this will to essence creates for our
people its most intimate and extreme world of danger,
in other words its true spiritual world ( seine wahrha/t
geistige Welt: geistige is underlined) . For "spirit" [ in
quotation marks, but this time to recall in a still neg­
ative defnition the spirit others talk of] is neither
empty sagacity nor the gratuitous game of j oking [ Spiel
des Witzes: this distinction between spirit and the mot
d'esprit, -between Geist and Witz, recalls the Kant of
the Anthropology noting that a feature of the French
spirit was marked in the fact that French has only one
word, the word esprit, to designate Witz and Geist] , nor
the unlimited work of analysis of the understand­
ing, nor even the reason of the world [ probably an al­
lusion to Hegel] , but spirit is the being-resolved to the
essence of Being ( urspringlich gestimmte, wssende
Entschlossenheit zum Wesen des Seins) , of a resolu­
tion which accords with the tone of the origin and
which is knowledge [ savoir] . And the spiritual
world ( geistige Welt, underlined) of a people is not the
superstructure of a culture, and no more is it an .
arsenal of bits of knowledge [ connaissances] and usa­
ble values, but the deepest power of conservation of its
forces of earth and blood, as the most intimate power
of e-motion ( macht der innersten Erregung) and the
vastest power of disturbance of its existence ( Dasein) .
Only a spiritual world ( Eine geistige Welt alein) guar­
antees the people its grandeur. For it imposes the con­
straint that the constant decision between the will to
grandeur on the one hand, and on the other the laisser­
faire of decadence ( des Ver/alls) , give its rhythm to the
C H A P T E R F I V E
march our people has begn toward its future histor
(pp. 1 3-14 [474-75] )
The celebration corresponds properly literally to an exalta­
tion of the spiritual . It is an elevation. This is not only a
question of the kerygmatic tone, of proclamation or decla­
ration. But of an exaltation in which is declared and erected
the most high. As always, the profound and the haughty are
allied in the most high: the highest of what guides the spir­
itual guides of die hohe Schule and the depth of the forces
of earth and blood. For it is, precisely in them that the spir­
itual world consists. As to what is clear in this exaltation,
spirit has here no longer the sense of metaphysical subj ect­
ity. There is no contradiction with Sein und Zeit in this re­
gard. Spirit does not belong to subj ectity at least in its
psychical or egological form, for it is not certain that the
massive voluntarism of this Address is not still caught up
in the same epoch of subj ectity
One other thing seems as clear: in a sense which would,
to be sure, like to think itself not Hegelian, historicity is
immediately and essentially determined as spiritual . Ad
what is true of history is true of the world. On several occa­
sions, Heidegger associates, with a hyphen, the adj ectives
geistig and geschichtlich: geistig-geschichtlich is Dasein ( p.
17 [ 477] ) , geschichtlich-geistig is the world ( p. 18 [477] ) . This
association will be constant, two years later, in the Into­
duction to Metaphysics. But still in the Address, and still in
order to follow this trace of the question and its privilege, I
shall insist on the following point: the union, the hyphen
[ trait d' union] between spirit and history plays a very signif­
icant role in a passage which makes of the Fragen the very
assignment of spirit. The question is of spirit or it is not :
Such an original concept of science carries the obli­
gation not only of lIobj ectivity" ( II Sachlichkeit" ), but
again and above all of the essentiality and simplicity of
3
7
C H A P T E R F I V E
questioning ( des Fragens) at the center of the spiritual
world which is, historially that of the people (inmitten
der geschichtlich-geistigen Welt des Volkes ) . And even,
it is solely from this that obj ectivity can receive its true
foundation, in other words fnd its genre and its limits.
l ibid. [ 477] )
The s
'
elf-a!rmation of the German university: every
word of the title is, as we said, steeped in the exalting cele­
bration of this spirit. We have j ust seen how the force of its
imprint marks the self-afrmation, signing in the same
stroke the being-German of the people and of their world,
that is, its university as will to know and will to essence. It
remains to confrm that the same spiritual imprint is in­
scribed in the academic organization, in the legislation of
faculties and departments, in the community ( Gemein­
schaft) of masters and pupils:
The faculty i s a faculty only i f i t deploys itself in a
capacity for spiritual l egislation (geistiger Gesetzge­
bung) rooted in the essence of science, so as to give to
the powers of existence (Machte des Daseins) , which
form its urgency the form of the people's one spiritual
world ( die eine geistige Welt des Volkes) ( ibid. [ 4781 )
As for what i s commanded or recommended of spirit in
it, this Address calls for at least three readings, three evalu­
ations, or rather three protocols of interpretation.
1 . To the extent that he countersigns the assignment of
spirit, the author of this Address, as such, cannot exempt
himself from any responsibility
His discourse is frst of all that of response and responsi­
bility Responsibility properly assumed, or even claimed be­
fore diferent authorities. These latter are always associated
among themselves inasmuch as they are united with spirit.
Spirit writes their hyhen, the hyphen between the world,
histor the people, the will to essence, the will to know the
existence of Dasein in the experience of the question.
2. This responsibility is nonetheless exercised according
C H A P T E R F I V E
to a strategy Tortuous, at least double, the strategy can al­
ways hold an extra surprise in reserve for whoever thinks he
controls it.
On the one hand, Heidegger thus confers the most reas­
suring and elevated spiritual legitimacy on everything in
which, and on all before whom, he commits himself, on
everything he thus sanctions and consecrates at such a
height. One could say that he spiritualizes National Social­
ism. Ad one could reproach him for this, as he will later
reproach Nietzsche for having exalted the spirit of ven­
geance into a "spirit of vengeance spiritualized to the high­
est point" ( em hochst vergeistigter Geist der Rache) . 2
But, on the other hand, by taking the risk of spiritualizing
nazism, he might have been trying to absolve or save it by
marking it with this afrmation ( spirituality science, ques­
tioning, etc. ) . By the same token, this sets apart I demarque]
Heidegger's commitment and breaks an afliation. Thi s ad­
dress seems no longer to belong simply to the "ideological"
camp in which one appeals to obscure forces-forces which
would not be spiritual, but natural, biological, racial, accord­
ing to an anything but spiritual interpretation of "earth and
blood. "
3. The force to which Heidegger appeals, and again in
conclusion when he speaks of the destiny of the West, is
thus a "spiritual force" (geistige Kraft) . And we will fnd this
theme of spirit and of the West again, thoug displaced, in
the text on Trakl .
What is the price of this strategy? Why does it fatally tum
back against its "subj ect"-if one can use this word, as one
must, in fact ? Because one cannot demarcate oneself from
biologism, from naturalism, from racism in its genetic form,
one cannot be opposed to them except by rein scribing spirit
in an oppositional determination, by once again making it a
unilaterality of subj ectity even if in its voluntarist form. The
constraint of this program remains ver strong, it reigns over
the maj ority of discourses which, today and for a long time
39
C H A P T E R F I V E
to come, state their opposition to racism, to totalitariani sm,
to nazism, to fascism, etc. , and do this in the name of spirit,
and even of the freedom of ( the) spirit, 3 in the name of an
axiomatic-for example, that of democracy or "human
rights "-which, directly or not, comes back to this meta­
physics of subjectity All the pitfalls of the strategy of estab­
lishing demarcations belong to this program, whatever place
one occupies in it. The only choice is the choice between
the terrifying contaminations it assigns. Even if all forms of
complicity are not equivalent, they are irreducible. The
question of knowing which is the least grave of these forms
of complicity is always there-its urgency and its serious­
ness could not be over-stress ed-but it will never dissolve
the irreducibility of this fact. This "fact" [fait], of course, is
not simply a fact. First, and at least, because it is not yet
done [fait] , not altogether [ pas tout a fait] : it calls more than
ever, as for what in it remains to come after the disasters
that have happened, for absolutely unprecedented responsi­
bilities of " thought " and "action." This is what we should
have to try to designate, if not to nare, and begin to analyze
here.
In the Rectorship Address, this risk is not j ust a risk run.
If its program seems diabolical, it is because, wthout there
being anything fortuitous in this, it capitalizes on the worst,
that is on both evils at once: the sanctioning of nazism, . and
the gesture that is still metaphysical. Behind the ruse of
quotation marks of which there is never the right amount
(
always too many or too few of theml , this equivocation has
to do with the fact that Geist is always haunted by its Geist:
a s
pirit, or in other words, in French [ and English] as in Ger­
man, a phantom, always surprises by returning to be the oth­
er's ventriloquist. Metaphysics always returns, I mean in the
s ense of a revenant [ ghost] , and Geist is the most fatal fgure
of this revenance [ returning, haunting] . Of the double which
can never be separated from the single.
Is this not what Heidegger will never fnally be able to
C H A P T E R F I V E
avoid ( vermeiden) , the unavoidable itself-spirit's double,
Geist as the Geist of Geist, spirit as spirit of the spirit which
always comes with its double? Spirit is its double.
However we interret this awesome equivocality for Hei­
degger it is inscribed in spirit. It is of spirit. He will say so
in speaking of spiritual evil in the text on TrakL But he al­
ready notes it, in another mode, at the beginning of the In­
toduction to Metaphysics, two years after the Rectorship
Address.
In the same way that, in spite of the coup de theatre, the
raising of the curtain or the lifting of the quotation marks,
the Address relaunches and confrms the essential elements
of Sein ud Zeit, so the Einfihrung ( 1 935) repeats the invo­
cation of spirit launched in the Address. It even relaunches
it, explains it, extends it, j ustifes it, specifes it, surrounds
it with unprecedented precautions.
The rhetoric is no longer, to be sure, that of a treatise, as
in Sein und Zeit, nor that of an inaugural and emphatic
speech, as in the Rekoratsrede. Here we have a teaching lan­
gage, which partakes of both genres simultaneously No
more than in 1 933 does it rehabilitate the concept of spirit
de constrcted in Sein und Zeit. But it is still in the name of
spirit, the spirit which guides in resolution toward the ques­
tion, the will to know and the will t o essence, that the other
spirit, its bad double, the phantom of subj ectity turns out to
be warded of by means of Destruktion.
Is this duplicity the same as the equivocality or the am­
bigity which Heidegger recalls right at the beginning of the
Introduction, when he speaks of the Zweideutigkeit in
which "every essential form of spirit" stands? 4 The more
singular a fgure of spirit, the more tempted one is to be mis­
taken about it, through comparison and confusion. Now
philosophy is one of the essential forms of spirit : indepen­
dent, creative, rare among the possibilities and the necessi­
ties of human Dasein in its historiality Precisely because of
its essential rarity a singularity always inspires mistakes,
4
1
C H A P T E R F I V E
just as Zweideutigkeit inspires Missdeutung. The frst mis­
interpretation consists in demanding frst of all-we are still
vety familiar with this program today-that philosophy pro­
cure for the Dasein and the age of a people the foundations
of � culture, and then denigrating philosophy when it is use­
less from this point of view and does not serve that culture.
Second expectation, second mistake: this fgure of spirit,
philosophy ought at the very least to procure system, syn­
opsis, world-picture ( Weltbild), map of the world ( Welt­
karte!, a sort of compass for universal orientation. If philos­
ophy cannot ground culture, then it should at least alleviate
and facilitate the technico-practical functioning of cultural
activities, and lighten the burden on science by taking of its
hands epistemological reflection on its presuppositions, its
concepts and its fundamental principles ( Grundbegrife,
Grundsitze) + What is expected of the philosopher? That he
be the functionar of the fundamental. These misunder­
standings, more full of life today than ever, are sustained,
notes Heidegger ( and who will argue with him? ) , by teachers
of philosophy
Self-afrmation or self-presentation of spirit: all that the
Rectorship Address announces in these terms is renamed in
the Einfihrung. One could say from the title and name of
Einfihrung. The assignment of the question is here imme­
diately associated with that of the Fihrung said to be spiri­
tual. The Einfihrung opens with a meditation on the ques­
tion, or more precisely on the introduction to the question,
on what introduces, induces, and conducts to within the
question, the Hineinfihren in das Fragen der Grundfrage
( p. 1 5 \
21
1 J
·
There is no questioning except in the experience of the
question. Questions are not things, like water, stone, shoes,
clothes, or books. The Hineinfihren into the question does
not conduct or induct something, it guides, conducts to­
wards the experience, the awakening or the production of
the question. But as nothing ought to dictate the question,
C H A P T E R F I V E
nor precede it in its freedom, the Fihren is already ques­
tioning. It comes before, it is an already questioning fore­
coming of the question ( ein fragendes Vorangehen) , a pre­
questioning, ein Vor-fragen. In this wa� if nothing precedes
the question in its freedom, not even the introduction to
questioning, then the spirit of spiritual conduction (geistige
Firung) -spoken of in both the Rectorship Address and
the Introduction to Metaphysics-can be interpreted,
through and
t
hrough, as the possibility of questioning. It re­
sponds and corresponds to this possibility unless this latter
already responds or corresponds to it, in the ties and obliga­
tions or even the alliances of such a correspondence, as also
in the experience of this co-responsibility This discourse on
spirit is also a discourse on the freedom of spirit.
Given that nothing precedes it, spiritual duction remains
itself un-conducted, and thus breaks the circle of empty re­
fection which threatened the question of being in its fun­
damental form: "Why are there entities and not nothing? "
That was the frst sentence of the book. There was a risk
that the reflexive machine would make i t circle ad infni­
tum in the question of the question: why "why" ? etc. Hei­
degger speaks rather of a leap ( Sprung) of the question. The
leap makes the originar upsurge ( Ursprung) surge, liberates
i t without having to introduce the question from anything
other than an already questioning conduction: and this is
spirit itself Spirit wakes, awakens rather [lutotJ ¯earlier
[plus totJ ¯from the Vor-fragen of the Fihrung. Nothing an­
ticipates this power of awakening, in its freedom and its res­
olution ( Entschlossenheit) . What comes before and in front,
what anticipates and questions before all else ( vor) , is spirit,
the freedom of spirit. As Fihrer, it goes or comes on the way
in front, up in front, before all politics, all psychagogy all
pedagogy
For in all honesty we must make clear the fact that at the
very moment at which he runs the risk of placing this the­
matics of the Fihrung in the service of a determinate poli-
43
C H A P T E R F I V E
tics, Heidegger gives it to be understood that he is breaking
in advance with any such service. In its spiritual essence,
this free conducting must not give rise to any camp­
following [ sui vismel, one should not accord it any following,
any follower, any Gefolgschaft, any aggregation of disciples
or partisans . One can naturally extend to the party what
Heidegger says, to exclude them, of the School as academic
study technical apprenticeship, or professional training.
Undoubtedly it will be difcult to understand what can be
meant by a Fihrung which mandates, demands, or com­
mands without being followed, obeyed, or listened to in any
way However spiritual it be, one will say, it must surely
guide. Certainly Heidegger would say here, but if one fnds
it difcult to understand, that means that one remains im­
prisoned in a logic of the understanding and does not accede
to this freedom of listening, to this fdelity or modality of
following which would have no relationship to the mindless
following of Gefolgschaft. Perhaps. But it is also the case
that, on the other hand, if it is not further reduced to its
discursive modalities or to interrogative utterances, this
questioning belongs through and through, that is to say es­
sentially to will and to will as the will to know. I( Fragen ist
Wissen- wollen" ( p. 16 [ 22J ) .
All this conducts the Einfihrung back t o the Rectorship
Address, and again to the thematics of resolution ( Ent­
schlossenheit) . This last plays a decisive role, in fact the role
of decision itself, in Sein und Zeit. The paragraph defning
questioning as will to know also reminds us that will itself
is a being-resolved ( Entschlossensein) .
Although at least i n appearance-the appearance of a less
emphatic tone-the Einfihrung begins to mark a political
retreat in relation to the Rectorship Address, in fact it pro­
poses a kind of geopolitical diagnosis, of which all the re­
sources and all the references return to spirit, to spiritual
historiality with its already tried and tested concepts: the
44
C H A P T E R F I V E
fall or decadence ( Verfall ) are spiritual, so too force is spiri ­
tua1.
Geopolitical, then: Europe, Russia, and America are
named here, which still no doubt means j ust Europe. But the
dimension remains properly geopolitical . Thinking the
world is determined as thinking the earth or the planet.
Heidegger denounces, then, a "spiritual decadence" ( geis­
tigen Verfall) . Peoples are in the process of losing their last
"spiritual forces " through this. Thi s last expression returns
often. The Verfall of spirit cannot allow itself to be thought
other than in its relation to the destiny of being. If, in ques­
tioning, the experience of spirit appears proportional to
"danger," the German people, "our people," this "metaphys­
ical people" ( das metaphysische Volk) par excellence, is at
once the most spiritual ( Heidegger specifes this clearly later
on in speaking of language), and the most exposed to danger.
For it is caught in a vice ( p. 29 [36] ), in the middle (in der
Mitte) between its European neighbors, Russia and Amer­
ica. S On it devolves the "great decision" ( die grosse
Entscheidung) which will engage the destiny of Europe, the
deployment of "new spiritual forces from this middle place"
( neuer geschichtlich geistiger Krafte aus der Mitte) . Empha­
sis, emphase: the word "spiritual " is again italicized both to
mark that the fundamental determination of the relation to
being occurs there, and to ward of the possibility of a poli­
tics other than of spirit. A new commencement is called for.
It is called for by the question: " Wie steht es um das Seint "
What about Being? And this commencement, which is frst
a recommencement, consists in repeating ( wederholen) our
historially spiritual existence (Anfang unseres geschicht­
lich-geistigen Daseins) . The "we" of this "our" . . . is the
German people. I referred too hastily to a geopolitical diag­
nosis, at the point where the discourse is neither that of
knowledge nor clinical or therapeuticø But geopolitics con­
ducts us back again from the earth and the planet to the
45
C H A P T E R F I V E
world and to the world as a world of spirit. Geopolitics is
none other than a Weltpolitik of spirit. The world is not the
earth. On the earth arrives an obscuring of the world ( Welt­
verdisterung) ( p. 34 [ 45] ) : the fight of the gods, the destruc­
tion of the earth, the massifcation of man, the pre­
eminence of the mediocre.
VI
What do we call the worl d? What is the world i f i t grows
obscure in this manner ? Reply: liThe world is always a spir­
itual world" (p. 34 [ 45] ) .
The word geistig is once more italicized. Just recently ex­
cluded, II avoided," a little later under tight surveillance,
hemmed in, compressed, constrained to use quotation
marks, here it is now swelling, exclaimed, acclaimed, mag­
nifed, at the head, no doubt, of all the emphasized words.
Then Heidegger immediately adds ( it's the very next sen­
tence) : "Das Tier hat keine Welt, auch keine Umwelt, " the
animal has no world, nor any environment. Inevitable con­
sequence: the animal has no spirit since, as we have j ust
read, every world is spirituaL Animality is not of spirit. Ad
one ought to draw from this proposition all the conse­
quences which would impose themslves with regard to the
determination of man as animal rationale. We will not be
able to do so here, any more than we shall have time to de­
ploy the analysis which this interpretation of animality
would demand. I limit myself to the most indispensable
schema. Without rshing towards what might be dogmatic
in the form of this proposition, and traditional ( one would
be almost tempted-wrongly-to say Cartesian) about its
content, one can note frst the following paradox: at frst
sight the sentence appears expressly to contradict the three
theses lengthily elaborated or problematized, but not refuted
( to the contrary) in the lectures from the winter semester of
47
C H A P T E R S I X
1 929-30 in Freiburg, in answer to the question, "What is the
world? "
I recall these three theses. 1 . The stone is without world
( weltlos ) . 2. The animal is poor in world ( weltarm) . 3. Man
is world-forming, if one can thus translate weltbildend.
These theses not only prepare for the question, "What is
the world? " They must also reply to a certain question of
life: how can the essence of life be accessible and determin­
able? Biological and zoological sciences presuppose access
to the essence of the animal creature, they do not open up
that access. This at least is what Heidegger afrms in a clas­
sical gesture, subj ecting regional knowledge to regional on­
tologies and the latter to a fundamental ontology and then
disqualifying, on this matter, any logic of the vicious circle
or of the dialectic. ! These theses, then, are presented as
"metaphysical " and not scientifc (p. 277) . Access to thi s
metaphysical dimension, i n the positive sense i n which
Heidegger then used the term, is closed just as much for the
sciences as for philosophical anthropologies, such as that of
Scheler, for example. Sciences and anthropologies must, as
such, presuppose, without being able to exibit it, the ani­
mal or human world they make their obj ect.
What does weltarm mean? What does this poverty of
world mean? We cannot here do j ustice to Heidegger's pa­
tient, laborious, awkward, sometimes aporetical analysis.
The word "poverty" (Armut ) could, but this is only a frst
appearance, enclose two presuppositions or two hypotheses.
On the one hand, that of a diference of degree separating
indigence from wealth ( Reichtum) . The animal would be
poor, man rich i n world, and therefore i n spirit, since the
world is spiritual : less spirit for the animal, more spirit for
man. On the other hand, if it is poor in world, the animal
must certainly have some world, and thus some spirit, un­
like the stone which is without world: weltlos. Heidegger
rej ects purely and simply the frst hypothesis, whatever dif­
fculty this implies for the maintenance of this word,
C H A P T E R S I X
strange here, " poverty." The diference he is talking about
between poverty and wealth is not one of degree. For pre­
cisely because of a diference in essence, the world of the
animal-and if the animal is poor in world, and therefore in
spirit, one must be able to talk about a world of the animal,
and therefore of a spiritual world-is not a species or a de­
gree of the human world ( p. 294) . This poverty is not an in­
digence, a meagreness of world. It has, without doubt, the
sense of a privation ( Entbehrung) , of a lack: the animal does
not have enough world, to be sure. But this lack is not to be
evaluated as a quantitative relation to the entities of the
world. It is not that the animal has a lesser relationship, a
more limited access to entities, it has an oter relationship.
We will specify it in a moment. But the difculties are al­
ready piling up between two values incompatible in their
"logic" : that of lack and that of alterity The lack of world
for the animal is not a pure nothingness, but it must not be
referred, on a scale of homogeneous degrees, to a plenitude,
or to a non-lack in a heterogeneous order, for example that
of man. So what j ustifes this concept of lack or privation
once the animal world is no longer a species of the human
world? For though the animal is deprived of world, if then it
"has no world," according to the brtal formula of the Intro­
duction to Metaphysics, it must be the case that its being­
deprived, its not-having of world is absolutely diferent on
the one hand from that of the stone-which has no world
but is not deprived of it-and on the other hand from the
having-a-world of man.
This analysis, certainly has the interest of breaking with
diference of degree. It respects a diference of structure
while avoiding anthropocentrism. But it remains bound to
reintroduce the measure of man by the very route it claimed
to be withdrawing from that measure-this meaning of lack
or privation. This latter is anthropocentric or at least re­
ferred to the questioning we of Dasein. It can appear as such
and gain meaning only from a non-animal world, and from
49
C H A P T E R S I X
our point of view. What is more, can one not say j ust as le­
gitimately that the having-a-world also has for man the sig­
nifcation of some unheimliche privation of world, and that
these two values are not opposed?
Let 's start again. If the animal has no world, and therefore
no spiritual world, if it is not of spirit, this not-having-a­
world ( Nichthaben von Welt) has a sense radically diferent
from that of the stone which for its part is without world
( weltlos) but could not, precisely be deprived of one. The
animal has no world either, because it is deprived of it, but
its privation means that its not-having is a mode of having
and even a certain relation to having-a-world. The wthout
of the wthout- world does not have the same sense and does
not bespeak the same negativity for animal and for stone:
privation in one case, pure and simple absence in the other.
The animal has a world in the mode of not-having, or, con­
versely, it is deprived of world because it can have a world.
Heidegger talks of a "poverty" ( or privation) as a form of not­
having in the being- able-to-have (Armut-Entbehren-als
Nichthaben im Habenkonnen) ( §50, p. 307) . No doubt this
being-able, this power or potentiality does not have the
sense of an Aristotelian dynamis. It is not a virtuality ori­
ented by a telos. But how can one avoid the return of this
schema?
The animal has and does not have a world. The proposi­
tion seems contradictory and logically impossible, as Hei­
degger recognizes ( p. 293) . But he adds that "metaphysics and
essentiality have a logic diferent from that of the sound
understanding of man." For reasons we have recognized, and
in trth out of wariness of Hegelian Reason, Heidegger is
not in a hurry to resolve these contradictions of the under­
standing on the basis of a speculative and dialectical power
of absolute reason. ( It would here be necessary precisely
around the problem of animality to reelaborate the question
of Heidegger's relationship to Hegel . Once the diferences
had been recognized and pointed up, troubling afnities
5
0
C H A P T E R S I X
might again show through. ) The logical contradiction be­
tween the two propositions ( the animal does and does not
have a world) would mean simply that we have not yet suf­
fciently elucidated the concept of world-the guiding
thread of which we are following here since it is none other
than that of spirit. Spirituality Heidegger insists on this, is
the name of that without which there is no world. It is there­
fore necessary to manage to think this knot which laces to­
gether the two propositions: the animal has no world, the
animal has a world. And therefore the animal has and does
not have spirit.
We were j ust saying that poverty must mark a diference
that was qualitative, strctural and not quantitative. With
the stone, the diference is clear. The stone has no access to
entities, it has no experience. As for the animal, it has ac­
cess to entities but, and this is what distinguishes it from
man, it has no access to entities as such. This privation ( Ent­
behrung) is not that ( Privation) which Heidegger situates in
Sein und Zeit ( §32, p. 1 49) within the strcture of the "as
. . . ," of "something as something" ( die Struktur des Etwas
als Etwas) . This strcture of the "understanding of the
world" ( Weltverstehen) can or must give rise to an anti­
predicative and preverbal clarifcation ( Auslegung) . It is not
to be confused with the "as" of the statement. The experi­
ence of , "privation" which Heidegger describes in this con­
text is not more original than that of "seeing with under­
standing." Rather, it presupposes it and derives from it. What
can be said of Dasein in this regard cannot be said of the
animal, but the discrepant analogy between these two "pri­
vations" remains troubling. The animal can have a world
because it has access to entities, but it is deprived of a world
because it does not have access to entities as such and in
their Being. The worker bee, says Heidegger, knows the
flower, its color and its scent, but it does not know the fow­
er's stamen as a stamen, it does not know the roots, the
number of stamens, etc. The lizard, whose time on the rock,
C H A P T E R S I X
in the sun, Heidegger describes laboriously and at length
( and it makes one long for Ponge) , does not relate to the rock
and the sun as such, as that with regard to which, precisely
one can put questions and give replies. And yet, however
little we can identify with the lizard, we know that it has a
relationship with the sun-and with the stone, which itself
has none, neither with the sun nor with the lizard.
Let us pick up here on a feature which is more than
merely amusing. It seems to me signifcant and we should
dwell more on it if there was time. In Zur Seinsfrage, some
twenty-fve years later, as we know Heidegger proposes to
write the word Being under a line of erasure in the form of a
cross ( Kreuzweise Durchstreichung) . This cross did not rep­
resent either a negative sign or even a sign at all, but it was
supposed to recall the Geviert, the fourfold, precisely as
"the play of the world," brought together in its place ( Ort) ,
at the crossing of the cross. The place, for Heidegger, is al­
ways a place of collecting together ( Versammlung) . The lec­
ture on "The Thing" ( 1 950) deciphers in this play of the
world-recalled in this way by an erasing of "Being"­
the becoming-world of the world, das Welten von Welt, the
world which is in that it worlds ( itself ) or makes itself
worldly (Die Welt ist, indem sie weltet ) . We know the type
and the necessity of this formulation. It means in this case
that one cannot derive or think the world starting from any­
thing else but it. But look at this other proposition of cross­
ing- through ( Durchstreichung) from twenty-fve years ear­
lier, and already concerning a certain relation to the Being
of the entity Heidegger writes :
When we say that the lizard is stretched out on the
rock, we should cross through ( durchstreichen) the
word "rock, " to indicate that while what the lizard is
stretched out on is doubtless given him in some way
(irgendwe, italicized) , but is not known [ or recognized]
as ( als, italicized) rock. The crossing- through does not
C H A P T E R S I X
only mean: something else is apprehended, as some­
thing else, but: it is above all not accessible as entty
( iberhaupt nicht als Seiendes zuginglich) . ( pp. 29 1-92)
Erasure of the name, then, here of the name of the rock
which would designate the possibility of naming the rock
itself, as such and accessible in its being-rock. The erasing
would mark in our language, by avoiding a word, this inabil­
ity of the animal to name. But this is frst of all the inability
to open itself to the as such of the thing. It is not of the rock
as such that the lizard has experience. That is why the name
of the rock must be erased when we want to designate what
the lizard is stretched out upon. Elsewhere, later, in a text
cited by Michel Haar: 2 "The leap from the animal that lives
to man that speaks is as great, if not greater, than that from
the lifeless stone to the living being." This inability to name
is not primarily or simply linguistic; it derives from the
properly phenomenological impossibility of speaking the
phenomenon whose phenomenality as such, or whose ver
as such, does not appear to the animal and does not unveil
the Being of the entity In the l anguage of Sein und Zeit ( §
3 1 ) , one would say that i t i s a matter of a privation of Welt­
verstehen, not in Weltverstehen. Here the erasure of the
name would signify the non-access to the entity as such. In
being written or not at all being written ( for in crossing­
through, Heidegger lets what he crosses through be read and
he says in this very place that one "ought" to cross through,
but he doesn't, as if he were crossing-through the crossing­
through, avoiding avoidance, avoiding without avoiding) , it
is as if, for the animal lacking access to the entity as such,
the latter, i. e. the Being of the entity were crossed out in
advance, but with an absolute crossing-out, that of priva­
tion. And one can indeed talk of crossing-through, for there
is privation of what, thus, should or could be accessible. One
does not speak of privation or crossing-through for the stone.
But-I repeat, to emphasize both the subtlety of the analysis
5 3
C H A P T E R S I X
and the difculty signaled by this equivocation of terminol­
ogy-we must distingish the animal's privation ( Entbeh­
rung) from Dasein's privation ( Privation) in comprehension
of the worl d. On the other hand, because of an enigmatic
chiasmus which crosses out the crossing-through, the
Durchstreichung in question here has a sense radically dif­
ferent from that which obliterates the word "Being" in Zur
Seinsfrage. What is signaled by this animal crossing­
through, if we can call it that ? Or rather, what is signaled by
the word "crossing-through" which we write a propos of the
animal "world" and which ought, in its logic, to overtake all
words from the moment they say something about the
world? The crossing-through recalls a benumbedness ( Be­
nommenheit) of the animal. Heidegger proposes a descrip­
tion of this which is patient but, it seems to me, awkward.
Benumbedness seems to close of access to the entity as
such. In trth it does not even close it of, since closure im­
plies opening or aperity an Ofenbarkeit to which the ani­
mal does not even have access. It would be necessary to
cross through the word "closure" too. One cannot say that
the animal is closed to the entity. It is closed to the very
opening of the entity ( p. 361 , for example) . It does not have
access to the diference between the open and the closed.
However problematic, however aporetical even, these the­
ses remain, for us but also for Heidegger who seems to rec­
ognize the fact, for example at the end of §63, their strategy
and axiomatics will remain remarkably constant. It is al­
ways a matter of marking an absolute limit between the liv­
ing creature and the human Dasein, of taking a distance not
only from all biologism and even all philosophy of life ( and
thus from all political ideology which might draw its inspi­
ration more or less directly from them) but also, as Michel
Haar rightly recalls, from a Rilkean thematics which links
openness and animality Not to mention Nietzsche, but
we'll come back to that in a moment.
S4
C H A P T E R S I X
We must no doubt recognize, right down to details, the
force and necessity of principle in these analyses which
break with anthropomorphism, biologism and its political
efects, while allowing for the subtle but decisive phenom­
enal structure of the " as such. " It seems to me, however, that
they founder on essential difculties. It could be shown that
everything in them still comes down to what the word
"spirit" means, to the semantics which regulates the use of
this term. If the world is always a spiritual world, as Heideg­
ger never stops repeating in the Introduction to Metaphys­
ics; if, as Heidegger also recognizes at the end of these anal­
yses, the three theses, but especially the middle one, remain
problematical so long as the concept of world has not been
clarifed, this is indeed because the spiritual character of the
world itself remains obscure. Now let us not forget that it is
in connection with the analysis of the world, and as an es­
sential predicate of the world, that the word " spirit" breaks
free, if I can put it like that, of its quotation marks, and
ought to carr beyond the epoch of Cartesian-Hegelian sub­
j ectity. So much so that we should now have to say of spirit
what one says of the world for the animal : the animal is poor
in spirit, it has spirit but does not have spirit and this not­
having is a mode of its being-able-to-have spirit. On the
other hand, if privative poverty indeed marks the caesura or
the heterogeneity between non-living and living on the one
hand, between the animal and human Dasein on the other,
the fact remains that the very negativity the residue of
which can be read in this discourse on privation, cannot
avoid a certain anthropocentric or even humanist teleology.
This is a schema which the determination of the humanity
of man on the basis of Dasein can no doubt modify displace,
shift-but not destroy
In speaking of teleology I am not imputing to Heidegger
the concept of a progress conceived in evolutionist fashion,
of a long march orienting the animal world towards the hu-
5 5
C H A P T E R S I X
man world along a scale of beings. But, whether one wishes
to avoid this o

not, the words "poverty" and "privation"
imply hierarchization and evaluation. The expression "poor
in world" or "without world," just like the phenomenology
supporting it, encloses an axiology regulated not only upon
an ontolog but upon the possibility of the onto-logical as
such, upon the ontological diference, the access to the
Being of the entity then the crossing- through of the cross­
ing- through_ i . e. opening to the play of the world and frst of
all to the world of man as welt bilden d. I do not mean to
criticize this humanist teleology It is no doubt more urgent
to recall that, in spite of all the denegations or all the avoid­
ances one could wish, it has remained up till now (in Hei­
degger's time and situation, but this has not radically
changed today) the price to be paid in the ethico-political
denunciation of biologism, racism, naturalism, etc. If I ana­
lyze this "logic," and the aporias or limits, the presupposi­
tions or the axiomatic decisions, above all the inversions
and contaminations, in which we see it becoming en­
tangled, this is rather in order to exibit and then formalize
the terrifying mechanisms of this program, all the double
constraints which structure it. Is this unavoidable? Can one
escape thi s program? No sign would suggest it, at least nei­
ther in " Heideggerian" discourses nor in "anti­
Heideggerian" discourses. Can one transform this program?
I do not know. In any case, it will not be avoided all at o
n
ce
and without reconnoitering it right down to its most tor­
tuous ruses and most subtle resources.
What are the symptoms that this situation now lets us
read i n Heidegger's text ? If the analysis put forward indeed
brings out that the animal is not in the human world in the
mode of Vorhandenheit ( p. 402) , any more than the entity is
in general for the animal in the mode of Vorhandenheit,
then one no l onger knows what modality of Being to reserve
for the animal-for itself and for us, for the human Dasein.
There is no animal Dasein, since Dasein is characterized by
C H A P T E R S I X
access to the l i as such" of the entity and to the correlative
possibility of questioning. It is clear that the animal can be
after a prey it can calculate, hesitate, follow or try out a
track, but it cannot properly question. In the same way it
can use things, even instrumentalize them, but it cannot
gain access to a tekhne. Allow me to note in passing that
three of my guiding threads lace together in this knot: the
question, the animal, technology3
But as, on the other hand, the animal is not a Dasein, nor
is it Vorhandensein or Zuhandensein for us, as the original
possibility of a Mitsein with it is not seriously envisaged,
one cannot think it or talk of it in terms of existential or of
categorical, to go back to the pair of concepts which struc­
ture the existential analytic of Sein und Zeit. Can one not
say then, that the whole deconstruction of ontolog as it is
begun in Sein und Zeit and insofar as it unseats, as it were,
the Cartesian-Hegelian spiritus in the existential analytic,
is here threatened in its order, its implementation, its con­
ceptual apparatus, by what is called, so obscurely still, the
animal ? Compromised, rather, by a thesis on animality
which presupposes-this is the irreducible and I believe
dogmatic hyothesis of the thesis-that there is one thing,
one domain, one homogeneous type of entity which is
called animality in general, for which any example would
do the j ob. This is a thesis which, in its median character,
as clearly emphasized by Heidegger ( the animal between the
stone and man) , remains fundamentally teleological and tra­
ditional, not to say dialectical .
These difculties-such at least is the proposition I sub­
mit for discussion-never disappear from Heidegger's dis­
course. They bring the consequences of a serious mortgag­
ing to weigh upon the whole of his thought. And this
mortgage indeed fnds its greatest concentration in the ob­
scurity of what Heidegger calls spirit.
5
7
VI I
But as to what is guiding or inspiring Heidegger here, is it
possible to distingish between the obscurity of the concept
or the word Geist and the obscurity of spirit itself? Correla­
tively is it possible to distinguish between the obscurity of
the concept of world and the obscurity even the darkening,
of the world itself ( Weltverdisterung) , if the world is always
"world of spirit" ? Perhaps it is preferable to speak here of
darkening rather than of obscuring. This last word [ obscur­
cissement] , chosen by Gilbert Kahn for the French transla­
tion, risks remaining too intellectual and pointing, in the
style of Descartes or Valery towards what can afect the clar­
ity of the idea. Precisely because it has to do with the world
( Weltverdisterung) , and not with the idea or even with rea­
sonj because, in the profundity of a more romantic pathos,
by its appeal to the foundations ( Grinden) and the "profund­
ities " ( Tiefe) , this essay on spiritual Fihrung does not how­
ever give "rules for the direction of spirit" ( ad direction em
ingenii) , perhaps the word /I darkening" is more suitable for it.
The question seems unavoidable, and precisely in this
form. For in the passage from the Einfihrung which we took
as our starting point j ust now Heidegger was meditating
frst of all on the darkening of the world itself, and thus of
spirit. If the concept of world and that of spirit, which is
inseparable from it, remain obscure, is this not because the
world and spirit are themselves-histori cally-darkened?
5
8
C H A P T E R S E V E N
Darkened for man and not for animal s? There is an Ent ­
mach tung of spirit. I t corresponds t o this darkening of the
world. It renders spirit destitute by depriving it of its power
or its force ( Macht ) , of its dynasty. I shall translate En tmach ­
tung by "destitution" fro
m
now on, because spirit thereby
loses a power which is not "natural . " Such a loss has noth­
ing to do wi th animal benumbedness. It is exactly at the
moment when he is beginning to elucidate this destitution
of spirit that Heidegger declares, in the passage cited j ust
now that "animals have no world" :
What does "world" mean when we are speaking of the
darkening of the world? The world is always world 0/
spirit ( geistige Welt ) . Animals have no world, nor do
they have a world- environment. The darkening of the
world implies this destitution ( Entmacht ung) of spirit,
its dissolution, consuming, its repression, and its mis­
interpretation ( Aufosung, Auszehrung, Verdringung
und Missdeutung) . We are attempting at present to elu­
cidate ( verdeutlichen) this destitution of spirit from
iust one perspective, and precisely that of the mi sin­
terretation of spirit. We have said: Europe is caught in
a vice between Russia and America, which metaphys­
ically come down to the same thing in regard to their
belonging to the world I to the character of their world,
or rather to their character-of-world, WeltcharakterJ
and their relation to spirit ( Verhiltnis zum Geist ) . The
situation of Europe is all the more fatal in that the des­
titution of spuit derives from Europe itself, and-even
if it has been prepared for by something before-was
defnitively determined, on the basis of Europe's own
spiritual situation ( aus seiner eigenem geistigen Lage) ,
in the frst half of the nineteenth century. In our coun­
tr in this period there occurred what we like to desig­
nate in the summary phrase "the collapse ( Zusammen­
bruch) of German idealism. " This formula is, so to
speak, the shield behind which take refuge the already
5 9
C H A P T E R S E V E N
commenced vacancy of spirit ( die schon anbrechende
Geistlosigkeit) , the dissolution of spiritual forces ( die
Aufosung der geistigen Michte) , the refusal of any or­
iginary questioning ( alles urspringlichen Fragens ) of
the foundations ( Grinden) , and, fnally our attach�
ment to all those things. For it is not German Idealism
which has collapsed, it was the age ( Zeitalter) which
was not strong ( stark) enough to remain equal to the
grandeur, the breadth, and the original authenticity
( Urspriglichkeit) of this spiritual world, that is, to re­
alize it ( verwrklichen) truly which means something
quite diferent from simply applying maxims and ideas
( "points of view": Einsichten) . Dasein has begun to
slide in a world without the depth ( Tiefe) from which,
each time in a new way the essential comes to man
and comes back towards him, and thus forces him into
a superiority that allows him to act in distinguished
fashion. All things are fallen to the same level [ ø . . ] The
predominant dimension has become that of extension
and number. ( pp. 34-35 [45-6] )
This discourse on the destitution of spirit calls for some
remarks of principle.
1 . It is not a discourse on crisis. No doubt Heidegger ap­
peals to a historial decision supposing the experience of a
krinein. No doubt he also wants to awaken Europe and phi­
losophy to their responsibility before the task of the ques­
tion and the orig
l
nary question of grounds. No doubt he i s
suspicious, in the frst instance, that a certain techno­
scientifc obj ectivity represses and forgets the question. No
doubt Husserl too asks himself, "How is the spiritual con­
fgration of Europe ( die geistige Gestalt Europas) character­
ised? " I And yet Heidegger's discourse on the destitution of
spirit and on the responsibility of Europe remains, despite
many non-fortuitous analogies, in spite of the temporal co­
incidence ( 1 935) , radically heterogeneous with respect to
the Crisis of European Sciences and 1anscendental Phe-
60
C H A P T E R S E V E N
nomenology or the Crisis of European Humanity and Phi­
losophy One could even go further: through the appeal Hus­
serl makes to a transcendental subjectivity which remains
in the Cartesian tradition-even if sometimes to awaken it
against Descartes-this discourse on the crisis might con­
stitute one of the symptoms of the destitution. And if there
is a "weakness " of the age to explain the posited "collapse
of German Idealism" we were j ust speaking of, it would, in
part, be linked with the Cartesian heritage as interpreted in
Sein und Zeit, with this non-questioning of Being presup­
posed by the metaphysics of subj ectivity in particular in He­
gel but also in Husserl.
Heidegger would no doubt have denounced the same
Cartesian heritage in The Crisis of Spirit ( 1 9 1 9) , that other
discourse from the interwar period in which Valer in such
a diferent style, wonders whether one can speak of a "deg­
radation" in the history of the European "genius" or
"Psyche. " Here, too, one cannot overlook the common focus
towards which, between 1 91 9 and 1 939, the discourses of
worry gather or rush headlong: around the same words (Eu­
rope, Spirit), if not in the same language. But the perspective
would be falsifed and the most acute diference missed if
certain analogies between all these discourses-troubling
and signifcant, although local-were selected, on the pre­
text, for example, that Heidegger might have subscribed to
such and such a formulation. Thus Valer asks himself:
"Must the phenomenon of exploitation of the globe, the
phenomenon of equalization of techniques and the phenom­
enon of democracy which allow one to foresee a diminutio
capitis of Europe, be taken as absolute decisions of destiny?
Or have we some freedom against this menacing conjura­
tion of things ? " 2
2. If Entmachtung dooms spirit to impotence or power­
lessness, if it deprives it of its strength and the nere of its
authority ( the French translation by Gilbert Kahn has "en-
61
C H A P T E R S E V E N
ervation" of spirit) what does this mean as far as force is
concerned? That spirit is a force and is not a force, that it has
and has not power. If it were force in itself, if it were force
itself, it would not lose force, there would be no Entmach­
tun
g
. But if it were not this force or power, the Entmachtung
would not afect it essentially it would not be of spirit. So
one can say neither the one nor the other, one must say
both, which doubles up each of the concepts: world, force,
spirit. The structure of each of these concepts is marked by
the relation to its double: a relation of haunting. A haunting
which allows neither analysis nor decomposition nor disso­
lution into the simplicity of a perception. And it is because
there is doubling that Entmachtung is possible-only pos­
sible, since a ghost does not exist and ofers itself to no per­
ception. But this possibility is sufcient to make the desti­
tution of spirit a priori inevitable [fatale] . When one says of
spirit or of the spiritual world that it both has and does not
have force-whence the haunting and the double-is it only
a matter of contradictory utterances ? Of that contradiction
of the understanding at which thought should not come to
a halt, as Heidegger said of the animal which both has and
does not have the world, spirit, the question? Would the
ghost vanish before thought like a mirage of the understand­
ing, or even of reason?
3. Heidegger says that destitution is a movement proper
to spirit, proceeding from within it. But this inside m
u
st
also enclose the spectral duplicity an immanent outside or
an intestine exteriority a sort of evil genius which slips into
spirit's monologue to haunt it, ventriloquizing it and thus
dooming it to a sort of self-persecuting disidentifcation.
Moreover, a little later in the same passage, Heidegger
names the demonic. Evidently not the Evil Genius of Des­
cartes ( which is, however, in German bose Geist ) . The hy­
perbolical hypothesis of the Evil Genius, to the contrary
gives way precisely before that which constitutes evil for
C H A P T E R S E V E N
Heidegger, the one who haunts spirit in all the forms of its
destitution: the certainty of the cogito in the position of the
sub;ectum and therefore absence of originary questioning,
scientifc methodologism, leveling, predominance of the
quantitative, of extension and of number-so many motifs
which are " Cartesian" in type. All of that, which accepts lie
and destruction, is evil, the foreigner: foreign to spirit in
spirit. When Heidegger names the demonic ( Einfihrung, p.
35 [ 46] ) , he specifes, in a brief parenthesis: in the sense of
destrctive malignity ( im Sinne des zerstorerisch Bosarti­
gen) . Spiritual essence of evil. Some of Heidegger
'
s formula­
tions here are literally Schellingian. We shall meet them
again in the text on Trakl which includes at its center a
thinking of evil as torment of spirit. The "spiritual night,"
or the "spiritual (geistlichel twilight" ( expressions of Trakl 's
that Heidegger will want to remove from the metaphysics of
Geistigkeit as well as from the Christian value of Geist­
lichkeit-a word which will itself thus fnd itself doubledl
are not without their profound relationship with what is
said twenty years earlier of the darkening of world and spirit.
Just as the Entmachtung of spirit is not without relation­
ship, in the Introduction to Metaphysics, with the decom­
position of man, or rather-we shall come to this-with the
"verwesende Geschlecht, " the 0 des Menschen verweste Ges­
talt of Trakl as Heidegger will interpret it in Unterwe
g
s zur
Sprache.
The destitution of spirit is thus a self-destitution, a res­
ignation. But it must be that an other than spirit, still itself
however, afects and divides it. This Heidegger does not say
at least in this form, even though, it seems to me, it must
imply the return of thi s double when he speaks of the de­
monic.
4. The resignation of spirit produces, and produces itself
as, Umdeutung and Missdeutung: as diference or interpre­
tative mutation, and also as misinterpretation of the mean-
C H A P T E R S E V E N
ing of spirit, of spirit itself. We cannot here go through the
several pages analyzing the four great types of Um- and
Missdeutungen. But each word would be worth it.
a) There is frst the resignation of spirit into intelligence
( In teligenz) , understanding / Verstindigkeit) , calculation
( Berechnung) , mass distribution ( massenhafte Verteilung) ,
the reign of the literati and the aesthetes, of what is "merely
spiritual" ( das Nur- Geistreiche: in the sense of wit, of being
clever) . What has pretensions to be an intellectual culture of
spirit thus manifests only a simulacrum and lack of spirit.
Needless to say the form of the propositions I was advancing
j ust now ( paradoxes, discursive contradictions-and thus a
structure of haunting) would in Heidegger's eyes betray the
same resignation of spirit before the calculating authority of
the understanding. Must I specify that I would not subscribe
to this diagnosis ? Without suggesting a diferent one, all I
am doing or trying to do here is to begin to think through­
I will not even say to question-the axiomatics of this di­
agnosis, the status it assigns to the understanding in what is
still an extremely Hegelian way and that includes the im­
perative, or even the "piety" of questioning. We will return
to this later on.
b) Secondly there is the instrumentalization of spirit.
Like Bergson, and at least on this point ( and we know now
that Heidegger read him more than his texts would lead one
to think) , Heidegger here associates intelligence ( Intelli­
genz) , that falsifcation of spirit, with the instrument ( Werk­
zeug and instrumentalization. Marxism is named twice in
this paragraph: the transformation of spirit into superstruc­
tural or powerless intellect or, symmetrically if that is the
word, the organization of the people as a living mass or a
race. Here are a few lines at least to let the tone of this teach­
ing be heard. His target is the cult of the body in Russia as
much as in Germany I think it was one year before the
memorable Berlin Olympic Games in 1 936 ( again the
Greek- German axis and the elevation towards the II gods of
C H A P T E R S E V E N
the stadium") , during which a Fuhrer refused to shake hands
with Jesse Owens, the black sprinter:
Every tre force and true beauty of the body ever
sure aim and boldness of the sword ( Kiihnheit des
Schwert
e
s) , but also every authenticity ( Echtheit) and
every ingeniousness of understanding-all are founded
in spirit, and fnd their elevation ( Erhohung) and their
fall / Verfal) only in the power or the powerlessness of
spirit ( Macht und Ohnmacht des Geistes) . ( p. 36 [ 47] )
c) When the spiritual world resigns before the instrument,
it becomes culture or civilization ( Kultur) . To explain this,
Heidegger cites his inaugural lecture of 1 929 ( "What i s
Metaphysics ? " ) . He takes from i t this passage distinguishing
between the bad unity of the university technical and ad­
ministrative unity whose unity is only nominal, and truly
spiritual unity Only this last is a true unity for what is
proper to spirit is, precisely to unify In outlining what the
university lacks, Heidegger gives a defnition of spirit which
will not, I think, shift throughout the rest of his work: /
I
eine
ursprunglich einigende, verpfichtende geistige Macht, " a
spiritual power which originally unites and engages, assigns,
obliges.
d) Fourth form of resignation: the reference to spirit can
become a theme of cultural propaganda or political maneu­
ver, especially when Russian communism changes tactics
and invokes spirit in its support after having campaigned
against it. Heidegger's argument appears terribly equivocal
at this point: mutatis mutandis, what about his own tac­
tics-and these tactics are also political-when they
change, moving from a deconstruction to a celebration of
spirit ?
Ater denouncing this fourth misinterpretation, Heideg­
ger again defnes spirit, this time citing the Rectorship Ad­
dress. But what is it that now becomes spectacular in this
quotation? Discreetly spectacular enough, however, for no
C H A P T E R S E V E N
attention ever to have been paid it ? 3 The silent play of the
quotation marks. For we are taking seriously what is being
played for in this play We are still interested in this drama­
turgy-which is also a pragmatics-of signals for reading,
and in what is at stake in these typographical marionettes,
in this sleight of hand, this handwriting that is artisanal and
so agile. The hand calculates very fast. Silently it contrives,
apparently without contrivance, the instantaneous alterna­
tion of a forti da, the sudden appearance, then disappearance
of these little aphonic forms which say and change every­
thing according as one shows or hides them. And when one
puts them away after exhibiting them, one can speak of a
repression, a suppression, others would say a denegation, let'
us say a bringing to heel Imise au pas) . The operation is
properly conducted, conducted by a master's hand. I recall
that in German "quotation mark" is Anfihrungsstriche or
Anfihrugszeichen. Anfihren, to conduct, to take the head,
but also to dupe, to make fun of Ise payer la tete) or brain­
wash somebody
What is spectacular here? No doubt this : on this one oc­
casion, the suppression-one dare not say the censorship­
of the quotation marks operates within the quotation of an
already published text-a text by the same author, the only
published version of which includes quotation marks, the
very ones which the quotation, of the same author by the
same author, suddenly removes. In the defnition of spirit
put forward in the Rectorship Address, the quotat
i
on marks
still remained, an already quite exceptional residue. They
disappear in the quotation given in the Introduction to
Metaphysics two years later.
This is the only modifcation, and Heidegger does not
point it out. And yet he goes so far as to indicate the number
of the page he has j ust quoted from the Rectorship Address.
One must therefore be extremely curious to notice a revi­
sion thus passed over in silence. It operates, perhaps with
the lucidity of inadvertence, like the erasure of one remorse
66
C H A P T E R S E V E N
by another: invisible crossing-out, scarcely perceptible
crossing-out of what already-as quotation marks always
do-sketches the polite movement of a crossing-out. Here
then is the defnition of spirit ( open the quotation marks for
the quotation, lift the quotation marks around Geist in the
quotation thus 1/ actualized" ) :
Spirit [in quotation marks in the Address] i s neither
empty sagacity nor the gratuitous game of j oking, nor
the unlimited work of analysis of the understanding,
nor even the reason of the world, but spirit [here the
quotation marks had already been removed in the Ad­
dress] is the being-resolved [ or the determined opening:
Entschlossenheit] to the essence of Being, of a resolu­
tion which accords with the tone of the origin and
which is knowledge. 4
How to awaken spirit ? How to lead it out of resignation [de­
mission] to responsibility? By calling it back to the care of
the question of Being and in the same movement, in it, to
the taking charge of the sending ( Sendung) , of a mission, the
historial mission of our people, as the middle of the West:
Spirit i s the full power given to the potencies of entities
as such and in totality ( die Ermichtigung der Michte
des Seienden als solchen im Ganzen) . Where spirit
reigns ( herrscht) , the entity as such becomes always
and on every occasion more entity ( seiender) . This is
why the questioning toward entities as such in totality
the questioning of the question of Being, is one of the
fundamental questions for a reawakening of spirit ( Er­
weckung des Geistes) , and thereby for the originary
world of a historial Dasein, and thereby to master the
danger of a darkening of the world, and thereby for a
taking up of the historial mission (geschichtliche Sen­
dung) of our people, inasmuch as it is the middle of the
West. ( p. 38 [ 48 ] )
The awakening of spirit, the reappropriation of its potency
thus passes, once more, through the responsibility of ques-
C H A P T E R S E V E N
tioning, as it is entrusted, assigned, destined to "our
people. /I The fact that the same chapter should, in its con­
clusion
,
open onto the destiny of language ( Schicksal der
Sprache) in which is grounded the relation ( Bezug) of a
people to Being, shows clearly enough that all these respon­
sibilities are interwoven: that of our people, that of the ques­
tion of Being, and that of our language. Now at the begin­
ning of the chapter on the grammar of the word "be," it is
again the spiritual quality which defnes the absolute privi­
lege of th
e German language.
Why this incommensurable privilege of one language?
And why
is this privilege determined with regard to spirit ?
What would the "logi c" of this be, if one can still speak of
logic in a region wherein i s decided the originarity of lan­
guage in general [le langagej and a given language [langue] ?
The "logic" j ustifying such a privilege is strange, natu­
rally un
ique, but also irrefutable and entrsted to a sort of
paradoxy the formality of which would be worth long devel­
opments . According to one's mood, it calls forth either the
most serious or the most amused reflections. ( That's what I
like about Heidegger. When I think about him, when I read
him, I
'
m aware of both these vibrations at the same time.
It's always horribly dangerous and wildly funny certainly
g
rave and a bit comical. ) In the well-known passage I am
g
oing to quote, I shall emphasize two features which have
perhaps not been given all the necessary attention:
The fact that the formation ( AusbildungJ of western
grammar should be due to Greek reflection ( Besin­
nung) on the Greek language gives this process all its
signifcance. For this language is, along with German
( neben der deutschenJ ( from the point of view of the
possibilities of thinking) , both the most powerful of all,
and the most spiritual ( geistigsteJ . ( p. 43 [ 57] ) .
Two features t o emphasize, then, and two very odd dis­
symmetries.
68
C H A P T E R S E V E N
1 . The frst dissymmetry unbalances the relationship be­
tween Greek and German on the one hand, all the langages
of the world on the other. Heidegger does not just mean to
recall that one always thinks in a language and that whoever
afrms this must still do so in his or her language without
the ability or the duty to place himself or herself in some
metalinguistic neutrality For one must indeed sign this
theorem in one's own langage. Such a signature is never
individual. It commits, via the langage, a people or a com­
munity No, such a proposition, which could correspond to
a sort of linguistico-cultural, anthropological relativism­
all communities think and think equally in their lan­
guage-does not correspond to Heidegger's thinking. It does
not correspond, he would say with thought, insofar as
thought corresponds uniquely with Being and can corre­
spond with Being only according to the singular event of a
langage capable of naming, of calling up Being-or, rather,
of hearing itself called by Being.
That the j oint privilege of German and Greek is absolute
here with regard to thought, to the question of Being, and
thus to spirit, is implied by Heidegger everywhere. But in
the interview with Der Spiegel, he says it in a calmly arro­
gant way perhaps a bit naively at once on his gard and de­
fenseless and, I would say in "our" language, sans beaucoup
d'esprit. Faced with such opinionating, it is tempting to add
a very Latin exclamation mark to my title: de l'esprit, what
the devil ! ( return of the devil in a moment, and of the double
at the heart of Geist ) .
This then i s a certain Heidegger, when the mike or Der
Spiegel is held up to him:
I am thinking of the special relationship, inside the
German language, with the language of the Greeks and
their thought. It is something which the French are al­
ways confrming for me today When they begin to
think, they speak German: they say defnitely that
they would not manage it in their language. 5
C H A P T E R S E V E N
One imagines the scene of these confdences, or rather of
this " confrmation. " Heidegger certainly did not make it up:
"they" go to complain about their language to the master
and, one supposes, in the master's language. In its abyssal
depth, this declaration is not necessarily without truth-it
even becomes a truism if one accepts a fundamental axio­
matics according to which the meaning of Geist, Denken,
Sein, and a few other words cannot be translated and so can
be thought only in German, even if one is French. What else
can one say and think in German? But the dogma
t
ic assur­
ance, aggravated by the discourteous tone of a declaration
which is literally invasive, as much in what it says as in
what it shows, would in itself be enough to raise certain
doubts about it. The insolence is not even provocative; it is
half asleep in tautology Fichte said some analogous things,
in the name of the same " logic," in his Addess to the Ger­
man Nation: he who thinks and thus wishes for "spiritual­
ity" in its "freedom" and in its "eternal progress," is Ger­
man, he is one of us (ist unsers Geschlechts) , wherever he
was born and whatever language he speaks. Conversely he
who does not think and does not wish for such a "spiritual­
ity" even if he was born German and seems to speak Ger­
man, even if he has so- called linguistic competence in Ger­
man, "he is non-German and foreign for us " ( undeutsch und
fremd fir uns ) , and it is to be wished that he separate him­
self from us totally"6
2. This break with relativism i s not, however, a euro­
centrism. There would be several ways of demonstrating
this. One of them would consist in recalling that it is not
eurocentric in virtue of this frst raising of the stakes: it is a
central- europa-centrism. For another dissymmetry will
come along one day precisely at the place of Geist, and burst
open the Graeco- German axis. Twenty years later, Heidegger
will have to suggest, in short, that the Greek language has
no word to say-nor therefore, to translate-Geist: at least
a certain Geistlichkeit, if not the Geistigkeit of Geist. The
7
0
C H A P T E R S E V E N
Greek language: in other words the language of philosophy
as well as that of the Gospels. For while Heidegger seems to
concede, in a reading of Schelling, and from Schelling's
point of view that Geist, which in any case has never been
Spiritus, at least names the same thing as pneuma, 7 in his
Gesprich with Trakl, he afrms that Geist and geistlich in
Trakl refer frst of al to fame and not to breath or pneu­
matic inspiration. The adj ective geistlich would thus lose
even the connotation of Christian spirituality by which it is
normally opposed to the secular or to metaphysical Geistig­
keit. The Geist of this Geistlichkeit could be thought only
in our language.
It turns out then that of the two twinned languages,
Greek and German, which have in common the greatest
spiritual richness, only one of them can name what they
have and are in common par excellence: spirit . And to name
is to ofer for thinking. German is thus the only language, at
the end of the day at the end of the race, to be able to name
this maximal or superlative (geistigste) excellence which i n
short i t shares, fnally only up to a certain point with Greek.
In the last instance, it is the only language in which spirit
comes to name itself. In the last instance, in the last place :
for this separation between Geist and pneuma will be
marked only in 1 953, at the moment when the diference
between geistig and geistlich will also be marked and then,
within geistlich, the diference between the traditional
Christian meaning and a more originary meaning. But in
1 935, in the Introduction to Metaphysics, what Greek and
German have in common is still the greatest geistigkeit, the
one that in 1 953 will be defned (in reality denounced) as a
Platonic inheritance.
There too, the violence of the dissymmetry should not
come as a surprise. It too comes very close to truism or tau­
tology To say as Heidegger is still doing in the Introduction,
that the privilege shared by Greek and German is that of
Geist is already to interrupt the sharing and accentuate
7
1
C H A P T E R S E V E N
once more the dissymmetry One cannot ask for the Greek's
approval. If s/he had given it, s/he would at least have done
so in his or her langage. S/he would have said: yes,
Pneuma, sure, our two languages, from the point of view of
the possibility of thinking ( noein? ), are the most pneumatic
or pneumatological . S/he would have perhaps used other
words too, but would not have failed to claim the prerogative
of Greek, the only one to be able to say and think that. More
likely in the l ogic of this fabulous truism, 8 one can bet that
the Greek would not have dreamed for a moment, and for
good reason, of associating German with this claim. Not for
an instant, not even provisionally as Heidegger still does in
1 935.
VIII
During the same years, as we know the strategy of inter­
pretation also concerns Nietzsche. It is supposed
'
to with­
draw him from any biologistic, zoologistic, or vitalistic reap­
propriation. This strategy of interpretation is also a politics.
The extreme ambiguity of the gesture consists in saving a
body of thought by damning it. One unearths in it a meta­
physics, the last metaphysics, and orders all the signifca­
tions of Nietzsche's text according to it. As in Hegel, we
would still apparently be dealing with a metaphysics of ab­
solute subj ectity But unconditioned subj ectity is here no
longer that of the willing which knows itself, i. e. that of
spirit, but the absolute subj ectity of the body of impulsions
and afects : the unconditioned subj ectity of the will to
power. The history of modern metaphysics, which deter­
mines the essence of man as animal rationale, divides as
follows. There are two symmetrical sides to unconditioned
subj ectity: rationality as spirit on the one hand, animality as
body on the other:
By virtue of this fact, the unconditioned essence of
subj ectity necessarily unfolds as brutalitas of bestiali­
tas. [ . . . 1 Homo est brutum bestiale. 1
But we should think this thing that Nietzsche calls li the
blond beast" metaphysically without rushing towards a phi­
losophy of life, towards a vitalism or a biologism, without
conferring the meanings "vital" or "biological " on the to­
tality of entities. It would be necessary to do the opposite,
73
C H A P T E R E I G H T
which is also something quite diferent: to reinterpret the
vital on the basis of the will to power. This IIhas nothing
'vital ' or 'spiritual ' about it: to the contrar the 'vital' ( the
'living' ) and the ' spiritual ' are, as belonging to entities, de­
termined by Being in the sense of the Will to power" ( vol II,
p. 300 [ III, 224] ) . .
In the same way the thought of race ( Rassengedanke) is
interpreted in metaphysical and not biological terms ( vol . II,
p. 309 [ III, 23 1 ] ) . By thus inverting the direction of determi­
nation, is Heidegger alleviating or aggravating this "thought
of race" ? Is a metaphysics of race more or less serious than
a naturalism or a biologism of race? Let us leave the question
of this still equivocal strategy suspended too.
On this view, Nietzsche would not therefore be proposing
a philosophy of life or a Darwinian explanation of rational­
ity and therefore of spirit in the Hegelian sense, that other
part of the rational animal. Heidegger nonetheless takes is­
sue with those for whom the spirit, according to Nietzsche,
would be II /the soul's adversary', and therefore the adversary
of life" ( Il Geist als Widersacher der See1e, " d.h. des Lebens )
( vol. I , p. 58 1 [ III, 93] ) . No, Nietzsche does not disavow or
deny spirit, he does not avoid it. Spirit is not the adversary
( Widersacher) but the scout ( Schrittmacher) -it draws and,
once again, leads the soul whose path it breaks. When it
opposes soul, i . e. life, when it does this harshly this is in
favor and not to the detriment of life.
Spirit/soul/life, pneuma/psyche/zoe or bios, spiritus/an­
ima/vita, GeistISeele/Leben-these are the triangles and
squares in which we imprudently pretend to recognize
stable semantic determinations, and then to circumscribe or
skirt round the abysses of what we ingenuously call trans­
lation. Later we shall wonder what the opening of these
angles might mean. And primarily what goes on between
spirit and psyche.
The relationship of spirit to soul would situate the focal
74
C H A P T E R E I G H T
point, so to speak, of those 1 942 lectures collected under the
title liThe Essence of the Poet as Demigod," and especially
in the chapter devoted to l i the spirit which grounds histori­
ally" ( Der geschichtlich grindende Geist ) . 2 The attempt is
to elucidate some lines by H6lderlin published by Beissner
in 1 933:
nemlich zu Hauss ist der Geist
nicht im Anfang, nicht an der Quell. Ihn zehret die Hei-
math.
Kolonie liebtg und tapfer Vergessen der Geist.
Unsere Blumen erfreun und die Schatten unserer Wilder
den Verschmachteten. Fast wire der Beseeler verbrandt.
I shall not venture to translate these few lines, especially
not the frst two whose syntax, the place and intonation of
the "nicht," have been for quite a while now the subj ect of
a debate which it is perhaps not indispensable to get in­
volved in here.
"Who is the ' spirit' ? " asks Heidegger ( p. 1 57) . Who is the
spirit who
"
ZU Hauss ist . . . Inicht im Anfang, nicht an der
Quell - « . " ?
At that time, he explains, the word "spirit " has a univocal
meaning, even if it is not fully developed. H6lderlin gets this
essential meaning from the thought of Hegel and Schelling.
But one would go astray i f one concluded that H6lderlin bor­
rowed the metaphysical concept of spirit to take it on here
or there in poetry First, a poet, and a poet of H6lderlin's
rank, does not borrow does not take on something like a
II concept. " Secondly his poetic Auseinandersetzung with
metaphysical thought leads him to send it packing, to 1I 0ver-
come" it in this ver relationship. Even if his word Geist lets
itself be determined by German metaphysics, it is not iden­
tical with it, it cannot be reduced to what German meta­
physics thinks, in systematic mode, in its concepts of sub­
j ective or obj ective spirit. 3 For these metaphysical systems,
7
5
C H A P T E R E I G H T
the Geist is the unconditioned absolute which determines
and gathers every entity. It is thus, as spirit, the I
I
gemein­
same Geist, II the spirit of gathering ( rather than common
spirit) . In its metaphysical concept, inasmuch as it gathers,
spirit is, par excellence, thought, thinking itself ( Denken) . It
is properly ( eigentlich) , it is truly spirit inasmuch as, think­
ing the essential, it gathers-which it does by thinking it­
self, thus fnding itself at home, close up to itself (zu Hauss) .
Its thoughts do not simply belong t o it, they are-and this
is Holderlin's line of verse-thoughts of the spirit which
gathers into community:
des gemeinsamen Geistes Gedanken sind.
One should not read in this a metaphysical proposItIOn
I
I
astray" in a poem. The hymn poetically meditates spirit as
what is; and what is assigns to ever entity the sending or
the mission of its Being. This assignment or mission is spo­
ken all along the chain of Geschick, Schickliche, Schicksal,
Ges chich te, whose untranslatability is not foreign to the
fact that the language in which the chain is deployed is itself
the proper place or even the irreplaceable idiom of this as­
signing mission, of this sending of history itself. Given that
man has a privileged relationship to the entity as such, his
opening to what is sent-dispensed, destined-to him con­
fers on him an essential Geschichtlichkeit. This is what al­
lows him to be and to have a history.
Let us suppose that this interpretation of spirit-that
which gathers or in which what gathers is gathered-is not
in fact a metaphysical proposition astray in the poem. It will
still be necessary to take seriously at least two obvious
things. On the one hand, Heidegger's formulation is the
same, whether he is dealing, ten years later, with spirit in
the work of Trakl which he also wants to withdraw from
pneumatology or metaphysical and Christian spirituality or
whether-some years before these lectures on Holderlin-
C H A P T E R E I G H T
with the course on Schelling ( 1eatise of 1 809 on the Es­
sence of Human Freedom) . This course emphasizes the
"unifying" essence of spirit which is " originally unifying
unity" ( urspringlich einigende Einheit) ( p. 1 54 [ po 1 28 ] ) .
With regard to this unity Heidegger writes then: "In that
it is a unity spirit is lvev/a" (Als solche Einheit ist del
Geist 3VEU!U) .
What he names then i n das Wehen ( a word which means
breath but is never far from sufering or sighing, from the
breathless or breathless-making "spiration" of spirit) is only
the breath ( Hauch) or spiration of what properly unites in
the most originary fashion: love. But for Schelling, spirit is
less high than love, of which it is only the breath. Spirit
manifests the breath of love, love in its respiration. It is eas­
ier to name ( and it also profers the Verb) than love-love
which "was present" ( da war) , if one can say so, before the
separation of ground and existent. How is love to be desig­
nated? How can we name the Ver High of what is above
spirit and thus moves spirit, breathes it in or exales it? How
should we designate ( bezeichnen) it, Schelling asks:
For even spirit is not yet the Most High; it is only
spirit, that is the breath of love. But it is love which is
the Most High. It is what was present before ground
and existence were ( in their separation) , all the same it
was not yet present as love, but . . . but how can we
designate it ? ( Ibid. )
"Here the 'verb' ( das Wort ) also abandons the thinker,"
Heidegger then notes. "Here" : in this place where it is a
question of speaking love, the Most High, the sole and uni­
fying origin of language-in other words, of breathing.
"Also" the thinker, because the verb, the word ( das Wort ), is
thus the moment of breathing or spirit which at a certain
point has no word. For, in that it is language, it cannot go
back or raise itself up to name that which set it in motion,
7
7
C H A P T E R E I G H T
before it or higher than it: its origin, love. What Schelling
says here ( and Heidegger then comments upon), of the inf­
nite desire in God, of separation, of nostalgia ( Sehnsucht ) ,
and of the evil whose possibility is due to the divisibility of
Geist in man ( and not in God) ( p. 1 69) -a11 this leaves legi­
ble traces in the readings of Trakl and, frst, of H6lderlin, to
whom I return briefly
That spirit founds history and that the sending remains
for man a future, the coming of future [ avenirJ or the to­
come l a- venir] of a coming: this is what H6lderlin thinks as
a poet. And since, in imposing on him this word from the
French language, I have spoken a great deal of spirit as a rev­
enant, Heidegger would say here, in another language, that
it is necessary to think of "returning" [la revenanceJ starting
from a thought-always yet to come-of coming. Returning
itself remains to come, from the thinking in it of coming, of
coming in its very coming. This is what H6lderlin thinks,
that of which he has experience and preserves experience as
a poet. To be a poet ( dichten) in this sense is to be dedicated
to this experience and this preserving. In that it founds his­
toria11y spirit fnds its place, it takes place frst in the poet,
in the soul ( See1e) of the poet. The soul is here the synonym,
an "other word" for "Mut" or " Gemit . " Gerit is not spirit,
but the poet's Gemit receives, lodges spirit, it gives place in
him to the welcoming of spirit, of Geist¯coming or coming
back [revenant] in him.
Das Kommende in seinem Kommen wird erfahren und
bewahrt im Dichten. Der geschichtlich grindende
Geist muss daher zuerst seine Statte fnden im "Mut"
des Dichters. Das andere Wort fir das "Gemit" ist
"Seele." ( p. 1 60)
What is missing in the metaphysics of subj ectity we read
in Sein und Zeit, is a correct interpretation of Cerit. There
is no doubt that Heidegger claims to come across it here in
C H A P T E R E I G H T
listening to H6Iderlil. 4 The soul is not the principle of life
for animals and plants, but the essence of Gemut which
welcomes to itself the thoughts of spirit:
Des gemeinsamen Geistes Gedanken sind
Still endend in der Seele des Dichters.
The thoughts of spirit inhabit the soul of the poet, they
are at home there, native, heimisch. The poet gives soul
rather than giving life. He is the Beseeler, not the animator
or the ringleader but the one who insufates the soul. He
gives spirit its space, he makes it reign in what is. By saying
what is, he lets it appear in its Begeisterung. The Begeiste­
rung of the poet, his passion, his enthusiasm-I daren' t say
his "inspiration" ( and like "animator," it is always the Latin
word which seems to betray) -opens this saying of spirit:
"Dichten" ist das Sagen der Gedanken des Geistes: Dicht­
en ist dichtender Geist.
The space of a l ecture does not allow an analysis of the
reading Heidegger proposes of the lines:
nemlich zu Hauss ist der Geist
nicht im Anfang, nicht an der Quell. Ihn zehret die Hei­
math.
We should have to listen to Adorno and to Beda Allemann,
who have contested this reading. We should also have to
take into account the subtle attention Heidegger pays to the
Betonung ( as in Der Satz vom Grund) , to the diferent pos­
sibilities of marking the tonal accent, for example that of
nicht in the line I have just quoted ( p. 1 6 1 ) . I must be con­
tent with picking out from this reading the words or the mo­
tifs which could guide us in the recognition of a traj ectory
This movement follows a sort of limit. Given this, it
touches both sides of the limit and makes division almost
impossible. It is the limit between a metaphysical thinking
of spirit, under which fall the systematic philosophemes of
Hegel, of Schelling, but also, for a certain dimension of his
79
C H A P T E R E I G H T
saying, of H6lderlin, and, on the other hand, the other hand­
out of this divide, those Dichter who are the same H6lder­
lin, the same but an other, and Tkl.
The words or the motifs which could guide us in this tra­
j ector turn out to be those speaking of the motif, the move­
ment, the trajectory We are always dealing with a thought
not of the circle but of the return, of a turning of the Rick­
kehr towards the home ( Heimat, heimisch, "nemlich zu
Hauss " ) . It belongs to the essence of spirit that it only is
properly ( eigentlichl if it is close to itself [ aupres de soi l . It
is thus that der gemeinsame Geist gathers itself. This desire
for gathering or re-membering installs in it that nostalgia,
that Sehnsucht, in which, the course on Schelling reminds
us, the term Sucht has, etymologically nothing to do with
the suchen of research, but with evil, siech, illness, epi­
demic. This evil is inscribed in desire, and, like desire itself,
it carries in it a motivity an "adversed mobility" ( gegenwen­
dige Bewegtheit) : go out of oneself and return into oneself
( Schelling . . . , p. 1 50 [po 1 25] ) . The evil of this Sehnsucht
which gives the impulsion to go out of oneself i n order to
return to oneself, or to return to oneself so as to go out of
oneself, is the essence of spirit of which H6lderlin speaks as
poet. "In spirit," says Heidegger, " there reigns the nostalgia
for its own essence." ( G, vol. 53, p. 1 63) .
Given this, at the beginning of this expropriation­
reappropriation, in this ex- appropriation, spirit is never at
home. It is on the basis of this sort of originary de­
p
ropriation that Heidegger interprets
Kolonie liebt, und tapfer Vergessen der Geist.
It loves the colony, and valiant forgetting, Spirit. 5
We should have to analyze another motif too. All I can do
here is to situate it on the same path. The motif of fre. It
crosses that of return, and Heidegger interprets it through
80
C H A P T E R E I G H T
the experience of the Germans between the frst line of Del
Ister which says to the fre "come," "come now! " an apos­
trophe which, in instituting fre as what comes, as the com­
ing or the future [ aveniIJ of what comes, comes itself, the
apostrophe, from the fre it calls and which, in a turning, in
truth calls for it, will always already have called for it, made
the poet speak like the fre:
!etzt komme, Feuer!
Now come, Oh fre!
-between this and the letter to B611endorf ( 4 December
1 801 ) which speaks of a " fre of heaven" originarily as nat­
ural to the Greeks as to us the clarity of Darstellung.
HOlderlin is he who has been strck by the God of light.
"He is, " says Heidegger, "on the return path ( auf der Ruck­
kehr) from hi s walk towards the fre ( von der Wanderung
zum "Feuer" ) " ( G, vol . 53, p. 1 70) .
And i n this sketch of a fnal stanza for Bread and Wine,
the last of the fve lines which hold Heidegger's attention
here names the consumption, the burning, fre, or even the
cremation or incineration of the Beseeler, of the one who
animates, of the one who carries the soul, in other words the
gift of the spirit. H6lderlin, the Beseeler, is consumed in fre,
close to becoming ash:
Unsere Blumen enfreun ud de Schatten unserer Wilder
den Verschmachten. Fast wire der Beseeler verbrandt. (Ibid.
p. 1 66)
Our fowers enchant and the shadows of our woods
He who consumes himself. He would be almost ash the ani­
mator.
Why have I been selective like this in these readings of
Schelling and Holderlin? Why leave the path open to this
fre of spirit only? Because one can begin-such at least is
8 1
C H A P T E R E I G H T
my hypothesis-to recognize in it, in its very equivocation6
or indecision, the edging or dividing path which ought, ac­
cording to Heidegger, to pass between a Greek or Chris­
tian-even onto-theological-determination of pneuma or
spiritus, and a thinking of Geist which would be other and
more originary Seized by German idiom, Geist would
rather, earlier (lutot, plus tot], give to think fame.
IX
What is spirit ?
Everything suggests that, from as early as 1 933, the date
at which, lifting at last the quotation marks, he begins to
talk of spirit and in the name of spirit, Heidegger never
stopped interrogating the Being of Geist.
What is spirit? Final reply in 1 953: fre, fame, burning,
confagration.
Tenty years later, then, and what years!
But we are going to speak of the "year" ( Jahr) , and pre­
cisely in order to approach what "later" sometimes means .
What comes very late, the latest, can also lead back closer
to an origin, or return lrevenir], rather, to the origin before
the origin, earlier even than the beginning.
The Gesprich with Trakl, I that collocution of Denker
and Dichter, strikes the reply Between thinker and poet,
Gesprich does not signify conversation, as it is sometimes
translated, nor dialogue, nor exchange, nor discussion, and
still less communication. The speech of the two who speak,
the language which speaks between them divides and gath­
ers according to a law a mode, a regime, a genre which can
receive their name only from the very thing which is said
here, by the language or speech of this Gesprich. Language
speaks in speech. It speaks about itself, refers to itself in
deferring itself. Here we shall not read a Gesprich between
Heidegger and Trakl on the subiect of spirit. The Gesprich
will be defned as a determinate mode of speech only from
C H A P T E R N I N E
what is said of spirit, of the essence of Geist as it divides and
gathers in confagration.
What is spirit ?
The reply is inscribed in maxims which translate certain
poetic statements by Trakl, in a form which one would call
ontological if ontology were still the dominant regime of
these texts.
"Doch was ist der Geist? /I Heidegger indeed asks . What
is
spirit? Reply: II Der Geist ist das Flamm en de /I ( p. 59
[ 1 79] ) . Further on, "Der Geist ist Flamme"( p. 62 [ 1 8 1 ] ) .
How to translate? Spirit is what infames ? Rather, what
infames itself, setting itself on fre, setting fre to itself?
Spirit is flame. A flame which inflames, or which inflames
itself: both at once, the one and the other, the one the other.
Conflagration of the two in the very confagration.
Let us try to bring our language closer to this furace. A
furnace of spirit, in that double genitive by which spirit af­
fects, afects itself and gets afected by fre. Spirit catches
fre and gives fre; let us say that spirit in-flames, in one or
two words, both verb and noun. That which both catches ( or
takes) and gives is fre. The fre of spirit. Let us not forget
what was said above and that we are going to re-read once
again: spirit gives soul ( psyche) , it does not only give it up
in death.
Spirit in-fames, how is this to be heard or understood
[ entendre] ? Not: what does it mean? But how does it s
o
und
and resound? What about the consonance, the singing, the
praise, and the hymn in this Gesprich with a poet ? And in
order to open up this question, perhaps it is necessary to
think even that, even those of whom Heidegger said: "Their
singing is poetic speech" ( fhr Singen ist das Dichten) . To
which he adds, setting the question going again: how? how
much? What does it mean, poetic speech? To what do we
give that name? What is so called, so calls? IIfnwefer? Was
heisst DichtenF
In this Gesprich, there will be no deciding whether the
C H A P T E R N I N E
thinker speaks in his name' or in correspondence with Trakl.
In the face of such statements, there will be no deciding
whether visible or invisible quotation marks, or even some
still more subtle marks, must suspend the assigning of a
simple responsibility In order to decide, a long meditation
would be necessary before such an assigning, as to what
Heidegger says at the beginning about double speech and
doubly addressed speech-Gesprich and Zwesprache-be­
tween thinker and poet. It would be necessary to meditate
on the diference but also the reciprocity ( Wechselbezug) be­
tween the Erorterung ( the situation, the thought of the site,
Ort ) and the Erliuterung ( the elucidating reading, the "ex­
plication") of a Gedicht, the diference between Gedicht and
Dichtungen, etc. Just as I cannot translate these words with­
out lengthy formalities, so for lack of time I will have to
restrict myself to this gross afrmation which I think is
hardly contestable: statements like those I have j ust cited
and translated by spirit in-fames are obviously statements
of Heidegger. Not his own, productions of the subj ect Mar­
tin Heidegger, but statements to which he subscribes appar­
ently without the slightest reluctance. On the one hand, he
opposes them to everything which he is in the process of
opposing, and which forms a sufciently determining con­
text. On the other hand, he supports them in a discourse of
which the least one can say is that it does not bear even the
trace of a reservation. It would thus be completely irrelevant
to reduce these statements in ontological form to "com­
mentaries./I Nothing is more foreign to Heidegger than com­
mentary in its ordinary sense-if indeed the word has any
other, the concept of which might lay claim to any rigor.
Certainly Heidegger's statements let themselves be carried,
conducted, initiated here by lines of Trakl's which they
seem rather to precede or at tract, guide in their turn. To set
in motion [agirl, even. But it is precisely of the coming and
going according to this double movement ( ducere/agere) , of
this double orientation, that the Gesprich speaks. The year,
8;
C H A P T E R N I N E
spirit, fre, will be j ust that, a return of the coming-going.
And yet we shall try up to a certain point, and provisionally
to distinguish what is due to [revient a] Heidegger. What he
says of fame and of spirit certainly lets itself be initiated by
the lines in Trakl. Lines which he picks out and chooses in
a discreet but extremely active way Spirit and fame are
linked, for example, in the last poem, Grodek, which names
II Die heisse Flamme der Geistes, lithe ardent flame of
spirit " [ 1 79] , or the opening of the poem An Luzifer: "Dem
Geist leih deine Flamme, glihende Schwermut, " li To spirit
give up your flame, ferent melancholy" [ 1 80] .
Given this, the question does not expect to fnd out who
says II spirit-in-flames"-they both say it in their fashion­
but to recognize what Heidegger says of spirit in order to
situate such an utterance, both to explain it and to lead it
back to its place-if it has a place, and one that is absolutely
its own.
Faced with Geist this time, with the Geist Trakl is talk­
ing about, Heidegger is not interested in deconstructing its
meaning, or reinscribing it into metaphysics or even Chris­
tian theology. On the contrar he intends to show that
Trakl's Gedicht ( his poetic work if not his poems) has not
only crossed the limit of onto-theology: it allows us to think
such a crossing [ franchissement] which is also an enfran­
chisement [ afranchissement ] . This enfranchisement, still
equivocal in H6lderlin, as we have just seen, is univocal in
Trakl. Never elsewhere did Heidegger attempt to save poetic
univocity as he does in a certain passage of this text, which
I must be content merely to quote: IIUnique of its kind, the
rigor of the essentially plurivocal language of Trakl is, in a
higher sense, so univocal ( eindeutig) that it even remains
infnitely superior to any technical exactitude of the con­
cept in its simply scientifc univocity" ( p. 75 [ 1 92] ) .
This Erorterung of Trakl's Gedicht is, s o it seems to me,
one of Heidegger's richest texts : subtle, overdetermined,
more untranslatable than ever. And, of course, one of the
86
C H A P T E R N I N E
most problematic. With a violence that I can neither hide
nor assume, I shall have to extract from it the spectrum
[spectre] which replies to the names and attributes of spirit
( Geist, geistig, geistlich) . As I am continuing to study this
text, on the other hand, with a more ftting patience, I hope
one day to be able-beyond what a lecture allows me to do
today-to do j ustice to it by also analyzing its gesture, its
mode, and its status (if it has one) , its relationship with phil­
osophical discourse, with hermeneutics and poetics, but
also what it says of Geschlecht, of the word Geschlecht, and
also of the place ( Ort) , and of animality For the moment, I
shall follow only the passage of spirit.
Heidegger seems at frst to place his trust in the word
geistlich which he fnds in Verklirter Herbst ( Tansfgured
Autumn) . At the moment of this nonfortuitous encounter
and from the ver opening pages, some determining deci­
sions have been taken, already drawing their authority from
the idiom of Old High German [ 1 6263] . In this Gesprich,
everthing seems to open and let itself be guided by the in­
terretation of a line from Frihling der Seele ( Springtime of
the Soul ) :
Es i s t die Seele ein Fremdes auf Erden.
Yes, the soul is a stranger upon the earth.
Heidegger immediately disqualifes any "Platonic" hearing
of this. That the soul is a "stranger" does not signify that
one must take it to be imprisoned, exiled, tumbled into the
terrestrial here below fallen into a body doomed to the cor­
ruption ( Verwesen) of what is lacking in Being and in truth
is not. Heidegger does thus indeed propose a change of
meaning in the interpretation. This change of meaning goes
against Platonism, comes down to an inversion, precisely of
meaning itself [Ie sens memeL the direction or orientation
of the soul's movement. This reversal of meaning-and of
the meaning of meaning-passes in the frst place through
C H A P T E R N I N E
a listening to language. Heidegger frst repatriates the word
{remd from the German language, leading it ba
c
k to its " al­
thochdeutseh" meaning, {ram, which, he says, "properly
means" ( bedeutet eigentlich) : to be on the way towards ( un­
terwegs naehJ elsewhere and forwards ( anderswohin vor­
warts ) , with the sense of destination ( Bestimmung) rather
than of wandering. And he concludes from this that, far from
being exiled on the earth like a fallen stranger, the soul is
on the way towards the earth: Die seele sucht die Erde erst,
{ieht sie nieht, the soul only seeks the earth, it does not fee
it ( p. 41 [ 1 63] ) . The soul is a stranger because it does not yet
inhabit the earth-rather as the word "{remd" is strange be­
cause its meaning does not yet inhabit, because it no longer
inhabits, its proper althochdeutsch place.
Given this, by one of those metonymies which are the
miracle of this j ourney Heidegger assigns to the soul ( ein
Fremdes from another poem, Sebastian im Traum) the de­
cline called for by a thrush. Then he distinguishes this de­
cline ( Untergang) from any catastrophe or any erasure in the
Verrall. Now the word "spiritual " ( geistlich) belongs to
the same stanza as the line "Yes, the soul is on the earth a
stranger" :
. . . Geistlich dimmert
Bloue fber dem verhauenen Waldo . . .
It is therefore geistlich, spiritually, that the azure blue o
f
the
sky becomes crepuscular ( dammert ) . This word, geistlich,
often returns in Trakl's work. Heidegger announces, then,
that it must be an object of meditation. And it will indeed
be one of the maj or threads, if not the most visible, in this
interlacing. The azure becomes crepuscular "spiritually, "
geistlich. Now this becoming-crepuscular, this Damme­
rung, which does not signify a decline ( Untergang) nor an
occidentalization, is of an essential nature ( wesentliehen
Wesens) ( p. 47 [ 1 64] ) . And what proves this, according to
88
C H A P T E R N I N E
Heidegger? Well, another poem of Trakl 's, entitled, precisely
Geistliche Dimmerung, in which the last line speaks of the
"spiritual night " ( die geistliche Nacht) ø On the basis of this
crepuscule or spiritual night is determined the spirituality
of the year ( das Geistliche der Jahre) spoken of in another
poem, Unterwegs. What is the year? The year, das [ahr, is a
word of Indo-European origin. It apparently recalls the
march ( ier, ienai, gehen) , insofar as it translates the race or
course of the sun. It is thus this Gehen, this going of day or
year, morning or evening, sunrise or sunset ( Gehen, Au/­
gang, Untergang) which Trakl here determines under the
word das Geistliche. Crepuscule or night, as geistlich, does
not signify the negativity of a decline but what shields the
year or shelters this course of the sun ( ibid. ) . Spiritual is the
gait of the year, the revolutionary coming-going of the very
thing which goes ( geht ) .
This spiritual j ourney would permit an interpretation of
the decomposition or corruption ( Verwesen) of the human
form spoken of in Siebengesang des Todes ( 0 des Menschen
verweste Gestalt) . By that very fact, it also guides the inter­
pretation of this second blow ( Schlag) which strikes Ges­
chlecht, i. e. both the human species and sexual diference.
This second blow transforms the simple duality of diference
(Zweifache) by imprinting agonistic dissension (Zweitracht)
upon i t. It is not here a question of a history of spirit, i n the
Hegelian or neo-Hegelian sense, but of a spirituality of the
year: what goes ( geht, gehen, ienai, Jahr) but goes returning
rather towards morning, towards the earlier. Let us s ay-in
an indecently hasty formalization-that Heidegger's pur­
pose would, in the end, come down to showing that the
morning and night of this spirituality are more originary in
Trakl 's Gedicht thus understood, than the rising and setting
of the sun, the Orient and the Occident, the origin and dec­
adence current in the dominant, i. e. metaphysico- Christian
interpretation. This morning and this night would be more
C H A P T E R N I N E
originary than any onto-theological history any history and
any spirituality apprehended in a metaphysico-Platonic or
Christian world.
What then is signifed by this supplement of originarity?
Does it have the slightest determinable content ? That could
be one of the forms of the question towards which we are
making our way But also a frst sign signaling towards what
precedes or exceeds questioning itself.
Geschlecht is fallen ( verfallene) . Its falling would be nei­
ther Platonic nor Christian. It is fallen because it has lost its
tre blow ( den rechten Schlag) . It would thus fnd itself on
the way towards the true blow of this simple diference, to­
wards the softness of this simple duality ( die Sanftmut einer
einfaltigen Zwefalt) in order to deliver duality ( Zwefache)
from dissension ( Zwetracht) . It is on the way the way of a
retur towards this true bloW that the soul follows a stran­
ger ( ein Fremdes), a foreigner ( Fremdling) .
Who is this stranger? Heidegger follows his steps in
Trakl's poem. The stranger, the other ( ener "in the old lan­
guage" [pp. 50f. ( 1 65f. ) ) ), that one (Tener) , over there, the one
from the other bank, is the one who plunges into the night
of the spiritual twilight. To do so he leaves, separates him­
self, says farewell, withdraws, de-ceases. He is der Ab­
geschiedene. This word, in its common use, means the sol­
itar or the dead ( the defunct, the deceased) . But without
here being withdrawn from death, he is above all marked by
the separation of the one who goes away toward another sun­
rise (Aufgang) . He is the dead man, of course, and the dead
man who separates himself insofar as he is also the de­
mented: der Wahnsinnige, a word which again Heidegger
wants to awaken under its common signifcation. He recalls
that wana "means " ohne, "without," and that Sinnan "sig­
nifes originarily" ( bedeltet urspringlich) : to travel, to tend
towards a place, to take a direction. Sense is always the di­
rection ( sens) of a road ( sent and set in Indo-European) : the
stranger, he who is de- ceased, is not simply dead, or mad, he
9
0
C H A P T E R N I N E
is on the way to an elsewhere. This is what should be under­
stood when Trakl writes : Der Wahnsinnige ist gestorben
( The madman is dead) or Man begribt den Fremden ( The
stranger is interred) .
This stranger, the usual translation would say i s dead,
mad and buried. His step carries him into the night, like a
revenant, towards the more matutinal dawn of what is not
yet born, towards the un-born ( das Ungeborene) ¯Artaud
would perhaps say the in-nate.
/I Revenant " is not a word of Heidegger's, and no doubt he
would not like having it imposed on him because of the neg­
ative connotations, metaphysical or parapsychic, that he
would be at pains to denounce in it. I will not, however, ef­
face it, because of spirit, all the doublings of spirit that still
await us, and especially because of what seems to me to call
for it in Trakl 's text, at least as I would be tempted to read
it. But even more, out of fdelity to what, in Heidegger's text,
hears the coming and going of this dead man as a coming
back [revenirJ from night to dawn, and fnally as the return­
ing [revenirJ of a spirit. To comprehend this re-venance
which goes towards a younger morning, to understand that
the end of "verwesenden Geschlechtes" of the decomposing
species precedes the beginning, that death comes before
birth, and the "later" before the "earlier," it is necessary to
arrive, precisely at a more originary essence of time; to reo
turn "before" the interpretation of time which has ruled
over our representation at least since Aristotle. As end of the
verwesenden Geschlechtes the end seems to precede the be­
ginning (Anbeginn) of the unborn species ( des ungeborenen
Geschlechtes) . But this beginning, this more matutinal
morning ( die frihere Frihe) has already sublated, surpassed,
in fact overtaken ( iperholt) the end. And the originary es­
sence of time ( das urspringliche Wesen der Zeit) will indeed
have been guarded in this archi-origin. If we do not under­
stand how the end seems to precede the beginning, it is bee
cause this originary essence is kept beneath a veil. We are
9
1
C H A P T E R N I N E
still prisoners of the Aristotelian representation of time:
succession, dimension for a quantitative or qualitative cal­
culation of duration. This dimension can let itself be repre­
sented either mechanically or dynamically or even in rela­
tion to the disintegration of the atom (p. 57 [ 1 76] ) .
Once again, after covering a huge amount of ground, i t is
on the basis of a more originary thinking of time that we
will open ourselves to a more appropriate thinking of spirit.
For at this point a question imposes itself on Heidegger in
the face of all the meanings we have j ust recognized and dis­
placed, and which all determine the Abgeschiedenheit of
the Stranger: if the poet says of the dawn, the night, of the
stranger's year, of his j ourneying, his departure, in short, of
his de-cease ( Abgeschiedenheit) , that they are spiritual,
what is then the meaning of this word, geistlich�
To listen superfcially to him, Heidegger notes, Trakl
seems to restrict himself to the common meaning of the
word: to its Christian meaning, and even to that of a certain
ecclesiastical holiness. Some of Trakl's lines even appear to
encourage this interpretation. However, other lines show
clearly according to Heidegger, that the clerical sense is not
dominant. The dominant meaning tends rather [ plutot] to­
wards the "earlier" [ plus tot] of the one who has been dead
for a long time. A movement towards that more than matu­
tinal Frie, this more than vernal initiality, the kind which
comes even before the frst day of spring ( Frihling) , before
the principle of the primum tempus, comes the day before
the day before [l'avant- veille] . This Frihe as it were keeps
vigil for [ veille] the vernal itself; it is already the promise of
the poem Frihling der Seele ( Springtime of the Soul ) .
The promise must be stressed. The word versprechen ( to
promi se) speaks the singular Frihe promised ( verspricht ) by
a poem entitled Frihling der See1e. But we also fnd it again
near the conclusion, when Heidegger is speaking of the West
( Abendand and Abendlindisches Lied are the titles of two
C H A P T E R N I N E
other poems) . Referring to the poem entitled Herbstseele
(Autumn Soul ) , he distinguishes between the West which
Trakl gives us to think and that of Platonic- Christian Eu­
rope. He writes of this West what is also valid for the archi­
or pre-oriental Frihe-and again emphasizes the promise:
"This West is older, i . e. friher, more precocious [ more ini­
tial, but no word fts hereJ and thereby promising more ( ver­
sprechender) than the Platonic- Christian West and, quite
simply more than the one we imagine in the European
fashion. 3
Versprechender: promising more not because it would be
more promising, because it would promise more, more
things, but promising better, more apt [ propreJ for the prom­
ise, closer to the essence of an authentic promise.
Thi s promise poses nothing, pro-mises nothing, it does
not put forward, it speaks. One could say that this Sprache
verspricht, and I would say ( Heidegger does not say it like
this) that it is in the opening of this Sprache that the speak­
ing of the Dichter and that of the Denker cross in their Ges­
prach or their Zwesprache. Naturally the promise of this
Versprechen can be corrupted, dissimulated, or can go astray
It is even this afliction of the promise that Heidegger is
meditating here when he speaks of the European Platonic­
Christian West and the Verwesen of humanity or, rather, of
Geschlecht. This Verwesen is also a corruption of the Ver­
sprechen, a fatal corruption which does not befall Sprache
as an accident.
In another context,4 pretending to play without playing
with Heidegger's famous formula ( Die Sprache spricht) , Paul
de Man wrote: Die Sprache verspricht. He was not playing,
the game is at work in language itself. One day he sharpened
up this formula as Die Sprache verspricht sich: languag� or
speech promises, promises itself but also goes back on its
word, becomes undone or unhinged, derails or becomes de­
lirious, deteriorates, becomes corrupt j ust as immediately
93
C H A P T E R N I N E
and j ust as essentially It cannot not promise as soon as it
speaks, it is promise, but it cannot fail to break its prom­
ise-and this comes of the structure of the promise, as of
the event it nonetheless institutes. The Verwesen is a Ver­
sprechen. In saying this, I have perhaps, doubtless even (how
could one be sure? ) left the order of commentar if such a
thing exists. Would Heidegger subscribe to an interpretation
which would make of this Versprechen something other
than a modality or modifcation of Sprache? He would,
rather [ plutotl, earlier [ plus tot] , see the very coming, in the
promise, for better and for worse, of the given word. It re­
mains to fnd out whether this Versprechen is not the prom­
ise which, opening every speaking, makes possible the very
question and therefore precedes it without belonging to it:
the dissymmetry of an afrmation, of a yes before all oppo­
sition of yes and no. The call of Being-every question al­
ready responds to it, the promise has already taken place
wherever language comes. Language always, before any
question, 5 and in the very question, comes down to [revient
a) the promise. This would also be a promise of spirit.
By promising better, by according itself with what is most
essentially promise in the best promise, what is verspre­
chender thus announces the day before the day before: what
has already taken place, in some sense, even before what we,
in our Europe, call the origin or the frst day of spring [Ie
premier temps du printempsJ . That a promise announce or
salute what has taken place "before" the previously-that
is the style of temporality or historiality that is a coming of
the event, Ereignis or Geschehen, which we must think in
order to approach the spiritual, the Geistliche hidden under
the Christian or Platonic representation. The "must" of this
"we must think" in truth accords its modality to that of the
promise. Thought is fdelity to this promise. Which means
that it is only what it should be if it listens-if it both hears
and obeys.
We have j ust seen why this use of the word geistlich
94
C H A P T E R N I N E
ought not to be Christian. And why despite so many ap­
pearances, Trakl or at least Trakl 's Gedicht ought not to be
essentially Christian. Heidegger here inscribes invisible
quotation marks in the use of the same word. This word is
thus divided by an internal diference. As for the adj ective
geistig, which, as we saw he used extensively without quo­
tation marks and took for his own, continually from 1933,
now he brtally sends it packing, without more ado. With
what can look like a fagrant lack of consistency he behaves
as though he had not been celebrating the Geistigkeit of
Geist for twenty years. This word, in the name of which, and
from what a height, he had denounced all the forms of "des­
titution of spirit," he now inscribes in the massive and
crudely typecast form of the metaphysico- Platonic tradition,
the tradition responsible for or symptomatic of this Ver­
wesen of Geschlecht: the corruption of the human race in
its sexual diference. Here he is now recognizing the whole
of Platonism in this word. It is better to quote here the pas­
sage in which reappears the vermeiden, the gesture of avoid­
ing, which I mentioned at the start. It resounds here like a
delayed echo of the same word in Sein und Zeit, a quarter of
a centur earlier. But an abyss henceforth amplifes the res­
onance. Heidegger has just noted that geistlich does not
have the Christian sense. He then pretends to wonder why
Trakl said geistliche and not geistige Dimmerung or geis­
tige Nacht. Here is the passage:
Why then, does he avoid ( vermeidet er) the word
"geistig" ? Because "Geistige" names the contrary op­
posed to the material ( Stofichen) . This contrary rep­
resents ( stellt . . . vorl the diference between two do­
mains and, in a Platonic-Occidental language, names
the abyss ( Kluft ) between the supra sensible ( noeton)
and the sensible ( aistheton) .
The spiritual thus understood ( Das so verstandene
Geistige) which has meanwhile become the rational,
the intellectual and the ideological, belongs with its
9
S
C H A P T E R N I N E
oppositions to the apprehension of the world ( Weltan­
sicht ) of the "verwesenden Geschlecht, " of Geschlecht
in decomposition. ( p. 59 [ 1 78-79] )
The degradation of the spiritual into the "rational," "intel­
l ectual, " "ideological " is indeed what Heidegger was con­
demning in 1 935. From this point of view the continuity of
his remarks appears incontestable. But, in 1 935, he was
speaking in the name of Geistigkeit and not of Geist­
lichkeit, especially not of that ( non- Christian) Geistlichkeit.
He was speaking in the name of what he has j ust defned as
the Platonic origin of the misinterpretation and degradation
of spirit. At least he was doing so literaly since he con­
stantly made use of the word "geistig, " but the distinction
between the letter and something else ( for example the
spirit ) has precisely no pertinence here other than a
Platonic-Christian one.
Those are, then, negative approaches to the essence of
spirit. In its most proper essence, as the poet and thinker
allow it to be approached, Geist is neither Christian Geist­
lichkeit nor Platonic-metaphysical Geistigkeit.
What is it, then? What is GeisU In order to reply to this
question in an afrmative mode, still listening to Trakl, Hei­
degger invokes the flame.
Sp
iri
t in-fames: how to hear or understand this ?
It is not a fgre, not a metaphor. Heidegger, at least,
would contest any rhetoricizing reading. 6 One could at­
tempt to bring the concepts of rhetoric to bear here only
after making sure of some proper meaning for one or other
of these words, spirit, flame, in such and such a determinate
langage, in such and such a text, in such and such a sen­
tence. We are far from that and everything comes back to
this difculty
Not being able to follow Heidegger here step by step, I
shall simply mark out the reading I should like to propose
with a few traits. Why traits� Because the motif of the trait
C H A P T E R N I N E
will, so to speak, make an incision within the flame. And
the trait will be something quite diferent from what we
mean in French by trait d'esprit.
1 . First trait. Heidegger does not simply rej ect the deter­
mination of spirit as spiritus and pneuma, in the passage I
am going to quote. Rather, he derives it, he afrms the de·
pendence of breath, wind, respiration, inspiration, expira­
tion, and sighing in regard to fame. It is because Geist is
fame that there is pneuma and spiritus. But spirit is not
{rst, not originarily pneuma or spiritus.
2. Second trait. In this movement, the recourse to the
German language appears irreducible. It appears to make the
semantics of Geist depend on an "originary meaning" ( ur­
springliche Bedeutung) entrusted to the German idiom
gheis.
3. Third trait. In the afrmative determination of spirit­
spirit in-fames-the internal possibility of the worst is al­
ready lodged. Evil has its provenance in spirit itself. It i s born
of spirit but, precisely of a spirit which is not the
metaphysico-Platonic Geistigkeit. Evil is not on the side of
matter or of the sensible matter generally opposed to spirit.
Evil is spiritual, it is also Geist, whence this other internal
duplicity which makes one spirit into the evil ghost of the
other. In the passage I am going to quote, this duplicity af­
fects all the thinking up to and including that of ash, that
whiteness of ash which belongs to destiny consumed and
consuming, to the conflagration of the flame which burns
itself up. Is ash the Good or the Evil of flame?
I frst translate a few lines before picking out some o
t
her
traits :
But what is spirit ? In his last poem, Grodek, Trakl
speaks of the "burning flame of spirit" ( heissen
Flamme des Geistes) ( 201 ) . Spirit is what fares up ( das
Flammende: spirit i n fames ) and i t i s perhaps only as
such that it blows ( that it is a breath, ein Wehendes) .
Trakl does not understand spirit primarily as pneuma,
9
7
C H A P T E R N I N E
not spiritually ( nieht spirituel: a very rare occurrence
of this word in Heidegger) , but as the fame which
fames l or infames itself, entfammt: what is proper to
spirit is this auto- afective spontaneity which has need
of no exteriority to catch fre or set fre, to pass ecstat­
ically outside itself; it gives itself Being outside itself,
as we shall see: spirit in fames-gives and catches fre
all by itself, for better and for worse, since it also afects
itself with evil and is the passage outside itself ], it
raises ( or hunts out, auf;agt) , it displaces [ or deposes or
frightens, transports or transposes, deports: entsetzt,
one word, a whole semantics which plays an important
role in this text and will soon reappear in the etymo­
logical derivation of " Geist"J , it takes out of reach ( aus­
ser Passung bringt) . The burning up is the radiance of
a reddening glare. What burns itself up is Being­
outside-itself ( das Ausser-sieh) which illuminates and
makes shine, which also, however ( indessen aueh), can
devour tirelessly and consume everything up to and in­
cluding the white of the ash (in das Weisse der Asehe
verzehren kann) ,
"The flame i s the brother of the palest" i s what we
read in the poem Verwandlung des Basen ( 1 29) ( Tans­
mutation of the Evil One) . Trakl envisages " spirit" on
the basis of this essence which is named in the origi­
nary meaning ( in der urspringliehen Bedeutung) of the
word " Geis t, " for gheis means : to be thrown ( aufge­
braeht) , transported [ or transposed, deported: entsetzt,
again-and I believe this is the most determining pred­
icateJ, outside itself ( ausser siehl . ( pp. 59-60 [ 1 79J )
x
This is neither the place nor the time-it is too late-to
reawaken the wars of etymology nor, though I am so often
tempted to do so, all the ghosts fapping in the wings of this
1/ alchemi
c
al theater/' as Artaud would say And one of the
most obsessing ghosts among the philosophers of this al­
chemy would again be Hegel who, as I have tried to show
elsewhere, l situated the passage from the philosophy of na­
ture to the philosophy of spirit in the combustion from
which, like the sublime efuvia of a fermentation, Geist­
the gas-rises up or rises up again above the decomposing
dead, to interiorize itself in the Aufhebung.
Let us then leave etymology and ghosts-but is it not the
same question? -and keep ourselves provisionally to the in­
teral logic of this discourse, or more precisely to the way
in which this interiority or rather this familial internaliza­
tion, is constituted: this domestication in a place where the
thought about spirit appears at its most idiomatic, when the
flame of Geist, for better or for worse, burns in the hearth of
one language only I said s omething about it just now when
I marked the double dissymmetry determining the Graeco­
German couple. What has j ust been clarifed on this subject ?
Apparently we have a trio of languages : Greek ( pneumaL
Latin ( spiritus L German ( Geist ) . Heidegger does not disqual
ify the immense semantics of breathing, of inspiration or
respiration, imprinted in Greek or Latin. He simply says
they are less originary2 But this supplement of originary sta­
tus he assigns to German only has meaning, and can only
99
C H A P T E R T E N
be said, inside a triangle or a linguistico-historical triad, and
only if one grants a sort of history of the meaning of the
II
thing II pneuma-spiritus- Geist which is both European and,
by means of Geist interpreted in this way has a bearing be­
yond or before Western Europe in its usual representation.
To someone who reproached him with not caring about
other languages, what could Heidegger say? First of all this,
perhaps : what he thinks in his language-and one does not
think outside a language-is held in this intra-translational
triangle. He would say that Geist does have a more originary
sense than pneuma and spiritus, but historially it is held in
a relationship of translation such that the German thinker
inhabits this space, and only in this triangular place outside
which one can certainly encounter all kinds of meanings of
at least equal worth, themselves calling forth tempting anal­
ogies, but for which translation as pneuma, spiritus, or
Geist would demonstrate a levity abusive and ultimately
violent for the languages thereby assimilated.
I would not dispute the very strong "logic" of this re­
sponse if the historial triangle could legitimately be closed.
In fact, it seems that it is closed only by an act of brutal
foreclosure. "Foreclosure" fgures a word common in vari­
ous codes ( la� psychoanalysis) to say too rapidly and too
frmly something of this avoiding which we are cautiously
trying to think through here. Such a "foreclosure/' then,
seems certainly signifcant in itself, in its content, but what
interests me here is simply its value as a symptom, as it
were, and to maintain a question of principle: what justifes
the closure of this triangle "historially" ? Does it not remain
open from its origin and by its very structure onto what
Greek and then Latin had to translate by pneuma and spiri­
tus, that is, the Hebrew ruah?
A clarifcation, frst, as to the ultimate dimensions of this
question; it concerns less a historial avoiding, as I have just
overhastily suggested, than the ver determination of a his­
toriality in general from the limits which such an avoiding
1 00
C H A P T E R T E N
would come along to set. What Heidegger names Ge­
schichte, and all the meanings he associates with this,
would be deployed in the advent and as the very instituting
of this triangle.
Without
b
eing a
b
le t o invoke here the vast corpus of pro­
phetic texts and their translations, without doing any more
than recalling what makes it permissible to read a whole
tradition of Jewish thought as an inexhaustible thinking
about fre;3 without citing the evidence from the Gospels of
a pneumatology which has an ineradicable relationship of
translation with ruah, I will refer only to one distinction,
made by Paul in the First Epistle to the Corinthians ( 2: 1 4) ,
between pneuma and psyche. Corresponding to the distinc­
tion between ruah and nephech, it belongs-if it is not its
opening-to the theologicophilosophical tradition in
which Heidegger continues to interpret the relationship be­
tween Geist and Seele. 4
Once this immense problem has been pointed out, can
one not wonder about the legitimacy of the historial closure
of speech in which Heidegger repeats and claims to go be­
yond the European race from East to West? Leaving aside the
fact that, among other traits, for example those that some­
times make it a "holy spirit" ( ruah haqqodech, ruah qod­
ech) , the ruah can also, like Geist, carry evil within it. It can
become ruah raa, the evil spirit. Heidegger delimits not only
this or that misinterpretation of Geistigkeit in the name of
an authentic Geistigkeit, as he did in 1 933-35, but also the
whole European and Christian-metaphysical discourse
which holds to the word geistig instead of thinking the geis­
tliche in the sense supposedly given it by Trakl . Given this,
it is his own strategy of 1 935, entirely dominated by a s till
limited use of the word geistig, which is targeted, compre­
hended, compromised, and even de constructed by this new
delimitation.
Now this is the moment at which Heidegger violently
closes or encloses the European in idioms which had, how-
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C H A P T E R T E N
ever, incorporated the translation of at least one language
and of a historiality which is here never named, never
thought, and which perhaps would no longer submit to his­
torial epochality and to the histor of Being. What, then,
would be the most appropriate place for the questions we are
pointing to here? Perhaps that which Heidegger himself sit­
uates beyond history or the epochality of Being: a certain
thinking of Ereignis.
The allusion to the ruah raa, to the evil spirit, leads me
towards another of the traits which I must underline.
Spirit-in flames-deploys its essence ( west) , says Heideg­
ger, according to the possibility of gentleness ( des San/ten)
and of destrction ( des Zerstorerischen) . The white of ash,
one could say here fgures that destruction according to rad­
ical eviL Evil and wickedness are spiritual ( geistlich) and
not simply sensible or material, by simple metaphysical op­
position to that which is geistig. Heidegger insists on this
with formulas which are sometimes literally Schellingian,
in the wake of the 1 809 'eatise on the Essence 0/ Human
Freedom and the course Heidegger devoted to it in 1 936.
Why can this continuity appear both natural and troubling?
Because the " Schellingian" formulas which sustain this in­
terpretation of Trakl seem to belong, following Heidegger's
own course, to that metaphysics of evil and the will which
at the time he was trying to delimit rather than accept. What
is more, Heidegger also tried, in 1 936, to withdraw this
Schellingian thinking of evil, however metaphysical it still
was (or because it had the authenticity of a great metaphys­
ics) from a purely Christian space. 5 But the distinctions can
never be so simple in the tangled topology of these displace­
ments. Some of the formulas of the essay on Trakl recall the
course on Schelling precisely in this gesture towards going,
so to speak, beyond Christianity. But the same formulas con­
frm a metaphysics of evil, a metaphysics of the will, thus
also that metaphysics of humanitas and animalitas which
we have recognized in the teaching of the same period ( In-
102
C H A P T E R T E N
troduction to Metaphysics, 1 935) and which Heidegger, so it
seems to me, never went back on. 6 Here is one among so
many other possible examples, and I choose it for reasons of
proximity. Heidegger writes of the Metamorphosis of the
Evil One, immediately after evoking the "original signifca­
tion" of the word Geist :
Thus understood, spirit deploys its essence ( west ) in
the possibility of gentleness and destruction. Gentle­
ness does not submit to some repression ( schligt kei­
neswegs nieder) the being-outside-itself of confagra­
tion ( des Entfammenden) , but holds it gathered
( versammelt) in the peace of friendship. Destruction
comes from the frenzy which consumes ( verzehrt) it­
self on its own insurrection and in this way pushes the
evil one ( das Bosartige betreibt ) . Evil is always the evil
of a spirit. Evil, and its malignity is not the sensible,
the material. No more is it of a simply "spiritual "
nature ( "geistiger " Natur) . Evil is spiritual ( geistlich)
[ . . . ) . ( p. 60 [ 1 79) )
Now in his Schelling he wrote:
an animal can never be "wicked," even if we some­
times express ourselves in these terms. For to wicked­
ness belongs spirit ( Denn zur Bosheit gehort Geist ) .
The animal can never leave the unity proper to the de­
termined place in nature which is its own. Even when
an animal is " cunning," "malicious, " this malice re­
mains limited to a quite determined feld, and when it
manifests itself, this is always in circumstances
equally very determinedi and then it comes into play
automatically Man, on the contrary is that being who
can overturn the elements which compose his essence,
overturn the ontological ft ( die Seynsfuge) of his Da­
sein and disj oin it ( ins Ungefige) . [ . . . ) It is therefore
to man that is reserved the dubious privilege of being
able to fall lower than the animal, while the animal is
not capable of this mal-version ( Verkehrung) of prin-
1 0
3
C H A P T E R T E N
ciples. [ . . . ] The ground of evil thus resides in the pri­
mordial will ( Urwllen) of the primar base. (pp. 1 73-
74 [p« 1 46] )
Let us fnally situate a last trait, the trait itself, Riss. This
word also traces diference. It returns often to bespeak the
retreat by which spirit relates to itself and divides in that
sort of internal adversity which gives rise to evil, by inscrib­
ing it, as it were, right in the fame. Like fre-writing. This
is not an accident. It does not befall, after the event and as
an extra, the flame of light. Flame writes, writes itself, right
in the flame. Trait of confagration, spirit in-flames-traces
the route, breaks the path:
To the extent that the essence of spirit resides in
confagration ( in Entfammen), it breaks the path
( bricht er Bahn) , makes its clearing and sets it on the
road. As fame, spirit is the tempest ( Sturm) which
"storms the sky" ( "den Himmel sturmt " ) and gives it­
self over to "ousting God" ( " Gatt erjagt " ) . Spirit pur­
sues ( jagt) the soul on the way (in das Unterwegs) . . . .
( Unterwegs zur Sprache, p. 60 [ 1 79-80] )
The path-breaking [ frayage] of this trait ( trace, attraction,
contraction) thus, and frst of all, brings spirit back to soul.
Spirit throws and pursues soul on the way in the way opened
by its fre, and this is the being- on-the-way ( Unterwegs) of
migration but also of overtaking, of precipitation or antici­
pation ( wo sich ein Vorauswander begibt) according to that
temporality which makes the end appear before the begin­
ning. It is thus that spirit transposes, deposes, and deports
into the foreign ( versetzt in das Fremde) , it transports the
soul. Thus, again, "Es ist die Seele ein Fremdes auf Erden. "
This deportation is a gift. "The spirit is what makes a gift of
soul " ( Der Geist ist es, der mit Seele beschenkt) . This is
why it is also, in a still H6lderlinian formulation, the Be­
seeler. " Conversely the soul guards (hutet) spirit, "nour­
ishes" it, and this in so essential a fashion that we may pre-
10
4
C H A P T E R T E N
sume, Heidegger adds, that there would be no spirit without
soul. Guard and nourishment would again stress, in the
sense of a tradition, the femininity of the soul, here indis­
sociably coupled-and we will not invoke the grammar of
genders-with a masculine spirit which draws on, hunts,
chases, sends on the way and' marks with its trait-and,
what is more, a trait of flame. 7
Solitar and voyaging, the soul must assume the weight
of its destiny ( Geschick) , It must gather itself in the One,
carry and carry itself towards the essence assigned to it, mi­
gration-but not wandering. It must carr itself before, to
encounter spirit ( dem Geist entgegen) . Fervor of Gemit,
flame or ardent melancholy the soul must consent, or lend
itself, to spirit :
Dem Geist leih deine Flamme, glihende Schwelmut
The soul is great according to the measure of this flame and
of its sadness:
o Schmelz, du fammendes Anschaun
Del Grossen Seele!
(Das Gewt tel [ 1 83))
This is the trait, the division or adversity even inside sad­
ness, for sadness has in itself, proper to itself, an essence of
adversity ( Dem Schmerz eignet ein in sich gegenwendiges
Wesen) . It is in the mark ( Riss) of the fame that sadness
carries away tears apart, or snatches at the soul.
'' 'Flamm end' reisst der Schmerz fort, " Heidegger says in
his commentar on Das Gewtter, "The Storm./I Sein For­
ciss zeichnet die wanderde Seele in die Fuge des Stir­
mens und Tagens ein . ø . . It is difcult to translate. As often,
I paraphrase instead-and the word Fuge is more resistant
than others: the dominant mark inscribes the voyaging soul
in adj ustment, the j ust according of the storm and the pur­
suit which, mounting to the assault of the sky ( den Himmel
stirmend ) , would like to deliver itself to ousting God ( Gott
10
5
C H A P T E R T E N
erjagen mochte) . Across all these modifcations ( Riss, Fort­
riss, Rickniss, but also Zug, Bezug, Grundzug, ziehen), the
trait or the re-trait of what has trait [ a trait) inscribes evil.
The trait engraves sadness in the essence of spirit 's relation
to itself which gathers and divides itself in this way It is in
sadness that spirit gives the soul. Which in turn bears the
spirit. In the soul, then, rules the fundamental trait ( Grund­
zag) of sadness. It is its essence. And it is the essence of the
Good. By the same fundamental trait, the Good is the Good
only in sadness. Sadness carries of [ emporte) (ortreisst),
and properly ( eigentlich), in the re-trait of its tearing trait
( als zurickreissender Riss) .
A doubly remarkable trait. Redoubled, itself a double
mark, and right on the spirit, it is the spirit in which it in­
scribes itself, traces itself, retires, or retracts. It belongs to
the fame it divides. And it has an essential afnity with the
blow the strike, the imprint ( Schlag), from which Heidegger,
in his langage, interprets Geschlecht, in its just striking
and then in the bad blow which deposes or corrupts it into
verwesende Geschlecht whose duality is dedicated to dis­
sension ( Zwetracht) . The blow the just but also the bad
one, the second, the wound, the malediction ( these are Hei­
degger's words) which strike the human Geschlecht, are
blows of spirit. The vocabulary often still appears Schellin­
gian. B Just one quotation: "But who has guard over this pow­
erful sadness for it to nourish the burning flame of spirit?
That which bears the impress of the spirit ( Was vom Schlage
dieses Geistes ist) belongs to that which sets on the way
That which bears the impress of this spirit is called geist­
lich."
On the other hand, the diference or duality inscribed by
the trait or even by the impress is not considered by Heideg­
ger as a division. It is the relation of spirit itself to itself
as gathering together. The trait gathers. The word Ver­
sarmlung ( gathering) traverses, dominates, and overdeter­
mines this whole meditation. It gathers all that is gathering:
106
C H A P T E R T E N
the place ( Ort) , the de-cease ( Abgeschiedenheit) , the soul
which solitude carries toward the "unique" and gathers in
the One (in das Bine) ( p. 61 [ 1 80] ), the Gem i t, and fnally
the one itself ( EinJ of Ein Geschlecht, that One which is,
apparently the only word italicized in Trald's work. This
One is not, Heidegger says, identity indiference, or sexual
uniformity but the most matutinal morning to which the
stranger's march will have destined him. Now the Ver­
sammlung, this gathering in the One, is also called Geist by
Heidegger, and he does so in formulations which here again
often recall Schelling. The separation of what takes its de­
parture in de-cease is none other, in its very burning up, than
spirit, " der Geist und als dieser das Versammelnde " : spirit
and, as such, what gathers (p. 66 [ 1 85] ) .
It is too late and I won' t keep you here until morning.
Schematizing to the extreme, one can perhaps see two
paths of thought here crossing under Heidegger's step. And
without criticizing, without even asking questions in pre­
tense of conclusion, I shall hold, in the very dry description
of these two paths, only to what can still say something to
us-at least I imagine it can-about our steps, and about a
certain crossing of our paths. About a we which is perhaps
not given.
One of the paths-its trail can be followed in the reading
of Trakl-would lead back to the spirituality of a promise
which, without being opposed to Christianity would be for­
eign to it, and even at the origin of Christianity (to which
we can give several names) , still more radically foreign to
Platonic metaphysics and all that follows from it, foreign to
a certain European determination of the course from East
to West. What is most matutinal in the Frihe, in its best
promise, would in trth be of an other birth and an other
essence, origin-heterogeneous [heterogene a l 'origine] to all
the testaments, all the promises, all the events, all the laws
and assignments which are our very memory Origin-heter­
ogeneous : this is to be understood at once, all at once, in
1 0
7
C H A P T E R T E N
three senses: ( 1 ) heterogeneous from the origin, originarily
heterogeneous; ( 2) heterogeneous with respect to what is
called the origin, other than the origin and irreducible to it;
( 3) heterogeneous and or insofar as at the origin, origin­
heterogeneous because at the origin of the origin. Heteroge­
neous because it is and although it is at the origin. " Be­
cause " and " although " at the same time, that's the logical
form of the tension which makes all this thinking hum. The
circle which, via death, decline, the West, returns towards
the most originary that towards which we are called by the
Gesprich between Heidegger and Trakl, would be quite
other than the analogous circles or revolutions the thinking
of which we have inherited, from what are called the Testa­
ments up to and including Hegel or Marx, not to mention
some other modern thinkers. Given this, these words:
/I circle, decline, West" would be paleonyms. They deserve
only the quotation marks necessar to suspend them in a
writing or reading which must carry us beyond. I would be
tempted to say of this trail that on the one hand it seems to
promise, hail, or save more or better, since it makes appeal
to something quite diferent. An announcement which is
more provocative, disturbing, irruptive. But on the other
hand, at least as to what puts it to the test in the reading of
Trakl, this trail appears to be scarcely passable, even as the
impassable itself. Right down into the detail of what I shall
dare to call the explication de texte, or at any rate the elu­
cidation ( Erliuterung, which Heidegger distinguishes from
the Erorterung), the gestures made to snatch Trakl away
from the Christian thinking of Geist seem to me laborious,
violent, sometimes simply caricatural, and all in all not very
convincing. I shall try to explain what I mean elsewhere. It
is with reference to an extremely conventional and doxical
outline of Christianity that Heidegger can claim to de­
Christianize Trakl's Gedicht . What is origin-heterogeneous
would in that case be nothing other-but it's not nothing-
108
C H A P T E R T E N
than the origin of Christianity: the spirit of Christianity or
the essence of Christianity.
One can, then, imagine a scene between Heidegger and
certain Christian theologians, perhaps the most demanding,
most patient, most impatient. In its program or its type, this
meeting has not, moreover, failed to occur. In any case its
"logic" seems prescribed. It would in truth be an odd ex­
change. Let us understand by that that the places can some­
times be exchanged in a disturbing way And as, since the
beginning of this lecture, we have been speaking of nothing
but the " translation" of these thoughts and discourses into
what are commonly called the "events" of "history" and of
"politics" ( I place quotation marks around all these obscure
words) , it would also be necessary to "translate" what such
an exchange of places can imply in its most radical possibil­
ity. This "translation" appears to be both indispensable and
for the moment impossible. It therefore calls for quite other
protocols, those in view of which I have proposed this read­
ing. What I am aiming at here is, obviously enough, any­
thing but abstract. We are talking about past, present, and
future "events," a composition of forces and discourses
which seem to have been waging merciless war on each
other ( for example from 1 933 to our time) . We have here a
program and a combinatory whose power remains abyssal.
In all rigor it exculpates none of the discourses which can
thus exchange their power. It leaves no place open for any
arbitrating authority Nazism was not born in the desert. We
all know this, but it has to be constantly recalled. And even
if, far from any desert, it had grown like a mushroom in the
silence of a European forest, it would have done so in the
shadow of big trees, in the shelter of their silence or their
indiference but in the same soiL I will not list these trees
which in Europe people an immense black forest, I will not
count the species . For essential reasons, the presentation of
them defes tabular layout. In their bushy taxonomy they
10
9
C H A P T E R T E N
would bear the names of religions, philosophies, political re­
gimes, economic structures, religious or academic institu­
tions. In short, what is j ust as confusedly called culture, or
the world of spirit.
The frst, then, those I called theologians and all those
they might represent, would say to Heidegger: "But what
you call the archi-originary spirit, which you claim is for­
eign to Christianity is indeed what is most essential in
Christianity Like you, it's what we would like to revive
under the theologemes, philosophemes, or common repre­
sentations. We give thanks for what you say you have a right
to all our gratitude [reconnaissance] for what you give us to
hear and think-and which we do indeed recognize [recon­
naissons] . It's precisely
'
what we have always been seeking.
And when you speak of promise, this Versprechen, of a more
than matutinal dawn beyond a beginning and an end of his­
tory before and beyond East and West, do you realize j ust
how close to us you are? Ad even more so when you speak
of fall j Verfal ) and malediction ( Fluch) . And even more so
when you speak of spiritual evil . And even more so when,
in the trace of this line from Trakl,
Gott sprach eine sanfte Flamme zu seinem Herzen:
o Mensch!
'
you name this word of God, his Sprechen-which we are
tempted to link with the Versprechen just mention
e

when you accord it with a Zusprechen or a Zuspruch ( in­
struction [mandement] , consolation, exortation) (p. 79
[ 1 96] ) , which calls us to the En tsprechung, to correspon­
dence. Ad even more so when you speak of a resurrection
to come of the Menschenschlag from the dawn ( in ein kom­
mendes Auferstehen des Menschenschlages aus der Frihe
( p. 67 [ 1 85] ) or of salvation and the blow which saves (rettet) ;
and when, making clear above all that this mission or this
s ending of the blow struck ( das Geschick des Schlages)
strikes with diference ( specifes by separating: verschligt)
1 10
C H A P T E R T E N
the Menschengeschlecht, i. e. saves it ( d. h. rettet ) ( p. 80
! 1 95J ), you say that this ' i. e. ,' this j oining of blow and salva­
tion in an archi-originary and yet-to- come event, is a
hymn-let 's say a hymn of praise-which the poet sings,
and not stories which historians tell. When you say all that,
we who would like to be authentic Christians think that
you are going to the essence of what we want to think, re­
vive, restore, in our faith, and even if we have to do it against
these common representations with which you wish at all
costs to confuse Christianity ( which elsewhere you know so
well ) , against certain theologemes or certain onto­
theological philosophemes. You say the most radical things
that can be said when one is a Christian today. At this point,
especially when you speak of God, of retrait, of flame and
fre-writing in the promise, in accord with the promise of
return towards the land of pre-archi -originarit it is not cer­
tain that you would not receive a comparable reply and sim­
ilar echo from my friend and coreligionary the Messianic
Jew. I'm not certain that the Moslem and some others
wouldn't j oin in the concert or the hymn. At least all those
who in religions and philosophies have spoken of ruah,
pneuma, spiritus and, why not, Geist. "
Since I'm doing the questions and answers here, I imagine
Heidegger's reply We can reconstruct it on the basis of the
program of typical strategies which he has, after all, be­
queathed to us : "But in afrming that Trakl's Gedicht-and
everything I say along with it-is neither metaphysical nor
Christian, I am opposing nothing, especially not Christian­
ity nor all the discourses of the fall, of malediction, of the
promise, of salvation, of resurrection, nor the discourses on
pneuma and spiritus, nor even ( I' d forgotten that one) on
mah. I'm simply trying, modestly discreetly to think that
on the basis of which all this is possible. That ( on the basis
of which . . . . ) , because it has always been veiled, is l1 0t yet
what it makes possi ble. That 'on the basis of which,' that
more than originary Frii he, is not yet thinkable, it remains
I I I
C H A P T E R T E N
to come. A circle draws this Frihe from the day before the
day before up to that morning which has not yet come, and
this circle is not-not yet or already no more-the circle of
European metaphysics, or the eschatologies, the messian­
isms or apocalypses of all sorts. I did not say that the fame
was something other or opposite then pneumatological or
spiritual breathing, I said that it is on the basis of fame that
one thinks pneuma and spiritus or, since you insist, ruah,
etc. I simply said, Geist is not frst of all this, that, or the
other."
This retreat [retraite] of Heidegger
'
s, of which we have the
regular, typi cal, and recurrent signs in his text, is one of the
two paths in the crossing I mentioned a moment ago and
which further runs the risk-crossing is not a neutral
word-of recalling the cross-shaped crossing-through under
which one leaves Being or God to suHer. 9 Heidegger
'
s retrait,
in this crossing, would be one of the two steps, or rather
[ plutot] the step toward the "earlier" [Ie "plus tot "] . It leads
to making this powerful thinking repetition into a retrait or
an advance towards the most originary the pre-archi-origi­
nary which only thinks more [ qui ne pense plus] -and thus
better-by thinking nothing more [rien . . . de plus] , nothing
other in any case, no other content than what is there, even
as the promise of the future, in the legacy of metaphysics or
the traditions-let's say religious ones-and, more gener­
ally in this world of which, in 1 935, Heidegger said it is al­
ways a spiritual world. But if one made of this an obj ection
or reproach against Heidegger, if one said to him that this
repetition adds, invents or discovers nothing, that it merely
redoubles hollowly by an experience which is, all in all, that
of truth as memory and memory as promise, the event of a
promise which has already taken place, Heidegger, I imag­
ine, woul d reply: "in what you call the path of repetition
which adds nothing ( but what do you want to add? Do you
fnd that what we have in our memory the abyss of our
memory is not enough? ) , the thinking of this Frihe to
1 1 2
C H A P T E R T E N
come, while advancing towards the possibility of what you
think you recognize, is going towards what is quite other
than what you think you recognize. It is indeed not a new
content. But access to thought, the thinking access to the
possibility of metaphysics or pneumato-spiritualist religions
opens onto something quite other than what the possibility
makes possible. . It opens onto what remains origin­
heterogeneous. What you represent as a simply ontological
and transcendental replica is quite other. This is why with­
out opposing myself to that of which I am trying to think
the most matutinal possibility without even using words
other than those of the tradition, I follow the path of a rep­
etition which crosses the path of the entirely other. The en­
tirely other announces itself in the most rigorous repetition.
And this repetition is also the most vertiginous and the
most abyssal."
"Yes, precisely" his interlocutors would then reply
"that's just what we're saying, at the same crossing of paths,
and these paths would be equally but otherwise circular: we
are appealing to this entirely other in the memory of a prom­
ise or the promise of a memory That's the truth of what we
have always said, heard, tried to make heard. The misunder­
standing is that you hear us better than you think or pretend
to think. In any case, no misunderstanding on our part, from
now on, it's enough to keep talking, not to interrpt¯be­
tween the poet an9 y6u, which means j ust as much between
you and us¯this Zw�sprache. It's enough not to interrupt
the colloquium, even
'
when it is already late. The spirit
which keeps watch in returning [ en revenant, as a ghost] will
always do the rest. Through fame or ash, but as the entirely
other, inevitably"
1 1
3
N O T E S
( Unless otherise indicated, all notes are the author's . )
CH A PTER I
1 . This is the title of a chapter in a book published simulta­
neously with the present work: Psyche. Inventions de I' autre
( Paris: Galilee, 1 987) , pp. 535-95. See too, in the same book, "Des­
istance, " pp. 597-638.
2. Reply to students at the University of Zurich ( 1 95 1 ) . Seminar
translated and presented by F. Fedier and D. Saatdjian in the j ournal
POesie 1 3 ( 1 980) . The passage I quote and to which I return in
"Comment ne pas parler" (in Psyche) was also translated in the
same year by J. Greisch in Heidegger et Ia question de Dieu ( Paris :
Grasset, 1 980), p. 334.
3. "Within thought, nothing can be accomplished which could
prepare or contribute to the determination of what happens in faith
and grace. If faith were to call me in this way, I should shut up shop.
Of course, within the dimension of faith, one still continues think­
ing; but thought as such no longer has any task to fulfl. " Report of
a session of the Evangelical Academy in Hofgeismar, December
1 953, translated by J . Greisch in Heidegger et Ia question de Dieu,
p. 335.
4. Since the whole of this discourse will be surrounded by fre, I
recall briefly that Helvetius's book De I'esprit was burned at the
foot of the great staircase of the Palais de Justice on 10 February
1 759 by order of the Parlement of Paris, after the king had with­
drawn its privilege and Pope Clement XII had forbidden it to be
read in any language. The author's second, more or less sincere,
retraction is well known: I quote from it a few lines which are not
N O T E T O P A G E 4
without their bearing, although extremely indirect, on what we are
dealing with here: "I did not want to attack either the nature of the
soul, or its origin, or its spirituality, as I thought I had made clear
at several points in this work: I did not want to attack any of the
truths of Christianit� which I profess Sincerely in all the rigor of
its dogma and moralit� and to which I take pride in submitting all
my thoughts, all my opinions, and all the faculties of my being, in
the certainty that anything which does not conorm to its spirit
cannot conform to the truth. "
As is also well known, Rousseau agreed neither with Helvetius
nor with his persecutors. Fire again: "A few years ago, on the ap­
pearance of a famous book ( De l' esprit) , I resolved to attack its prin­
ciples, which I found dangerous. I was carrying out this undertak­
ing when I leared that the author was being prosecuted.
Immediately I threw my papers into the fre, judging that no duty
could authorize the baseness involved in joining with the crowd to
crush a man of honor in oppression. When everything had calmed
down, I had the opportunity to air my feelings about the same sub­
j ect in other writings; but I did so without naming the book or its
author" ( Lettres de la Montagne, 1 764 [in Oeuvres completes, 4
vols ( Paris: Gallimard, 1 959-69) , vol 3. p. 693) .
From spirit-to fre [ de l 'esprit-au feu) : since this could be the
subtitle of this note, let us address a thought to the heretics of the
Libre Esprit. The author of the Mirouer des simples ames, Mar­
guerite de Porette, was bured in 1 31 0. Also burned were the writ­
ings of the Ranters, against whom, in England in the seventeenth
century, the same accusations were made as against the Libre Es­
prit several centuries earlier. See Norman Cohn, The Pursuit of
t
he
Mllennium: Revolutionary Millenarians and Mystical Anarchists
of the Middle Ages, revised and expanded edition ( London: Temple
Smith, 1 970) , p. 1 50.
5. Í Í
Sage mir, was du vom Ubersetzen haIst, und ich sage dir
wer du bist. " Immediately afterwards the matter is raised of the
translation, which is itself "deinon, " of the deinon: "furchtbar, "
gewaltig, "
ÍÍ
ungewohnlich, " and, in less

correct" but more
true" fashion, says Heidegger, " unheimlich. " ( "Die Bedeutung des
deinon, " in Gesamtausgabe, Bd. 53, pp. 74f) I invoke this passage
because the enigma of the deinon leaves its mark on all the texts
we shall have to approach.
I I 6
N O T E S T O P A G E S 7 - 1 1
CHA P TER II
1 . "Le puits et la pyramide: Introduction i la semiologie de He­
gel," in Marges-de la philosophie ( Paris: Minuit, 1 972) , pp. 79-
1 27 [ trans. Alan Bass, Margins of Philosophy ( University of Chi­
cago Press, 1 982), pp. 69-1 08] . Glas ( Pari s: Galilee 1 974) [ trans.
John P. Leavey, Jr. , and Richard Rand ( University of Nebraska Press,
1 986) ) treats the word and concept of Geist in Hegel as its most
explicit theme.
2. " Heidegger," Cahiers de l 'Here 45 ( 1 983) , pp. 41 9-30, re­
printed in Psyche, pp. 395-41 4 [trans. in Research in Phenomenol­
ogy 13 ( 1 983), 65-83] .
3. They were Thomas Keenan, Thomas Levine, Thomas Pepper,
and Andrzej Warminski . I want to express here my gratitude to
them; this book is dedicated to them, as well as to Alexander Gar­
cia Dittmann, in memory of "Schelling."
4. "Denn das Fragen ist die Frommigkeit des Denkens" : "For
questioning is the piety of thought." This is the last sentence of
"Die Frage nach der Technik" ( 1 953) in Vortrige und Aufsitze
( pfullingen: Neske, 1 954) , pp. 13-44 [ trans. William Lovitt, in Mar­
tin Heidegger: Basic Writings, ed. David Farrell Krell ( London:
Routledge, 1 978) , pp. 287-31 7] . A little earlier, Heidegger had just
determined, in a way, what he understood by the word " pious"
( fromm) . At this point he writes of art when it had no other name
than tekhne: lilt was a single, manifold revealing ( einziges, vielfol­
tiges Entbergen) . It was pious ( fromm), plOmos [what comes in the
frst rank, at the head], i. e. yielding to the holding sway and the
safekeeping of truth ( figsam dem Walten und Verwahren der
Wahrheit ) " ( p. 38 [3 1 6] ) .
5. "What is unthought in a thinker's thought i s not a lack inher­
ent in his thought. What is u-thought is there in each case only
as the un¯ thought« " What Is Called Thinking�, trans. Fred D.
Wieck and J. Glenn Gray ( New York: Harper and Row, 1 968) , p. 76.
'
See too on this point "Desistance," in Psyche, pp. 61 5f.
6. No doubt earlier than Glas, one of whose themes it is. See pp.
35 [ 27] , 1 63 [ 1 44] , and passim. See too La Carte postale ( Pari s:
Aubier-Flammarion, 1 98 1 ), p. 502, n. 20 [ trans. Alan Bass, The Post
Card ( University of Chicago Press, 1987) , p. 474, n. 5 1 ] .
7. Given as a seminar in Paris and as a lecture at a conference at
I I
7
N O T E S T O P A G E S 1 1 - 3 9
Loyola University ( Chicago), subsequently published in English as
Geschlecht II: Heidegger's Hand, " i n Deconstruction and Philos­
ophy ed. John Sallis ( Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1 986) .
The French version of this lecture can be found i n Psyche, pp. 41 5-
5 1 .
8. Parmenides, Gesamtausgabe, Bd. 54, pp. 1 1 8f.
9. Die Grundbegrife der Metaphysik, Gesamtausgabe, Bd. 29/
30, §§44f.
10. "What Is Called Thinking? " p. 76.
CHA PTER III
1 . "Introduction" to The Philosophy of Spirit, in the Encyclo­
pedia, §378. In the same introduction, Hegel defnes the essence of
spirit as liberty and as the capacity in its formal determination, to
support infnite sufering. I think I must quote this paragraph to
anticipate what will be said later about spirit, liberty, and evil for
Heidegger: "This i s why the essence of spirit is formally liberty
the absolute negativity of the concept as self-identity. According to
this formal determination, it can abstract all that is exterior and its
own exteriority, its own presence: it can support the negation of its
individual immediacy, infnite sufering: that is, conserve itself af­
frmative in this negation and be identical for itself. This possibil­
ity is in itself the abstract universality of spirit, universality which­
is-for-itself " (§ 382) .
CH A P TE R V
1 . The Self-Assertion of the German University [ trans. Karsten
Harries, Review of Metaphysics, 38, no. 3 ( 1 985) , 470-80( 473) . Ger­
ma/French bilingal edition ( Toulouse: T. E. R. , 1 982) , p. 10. Here­
after frst reference is to this edition.
2. IIWho Is Nietzsche's Zarathustra? " Vortrage und Aufsatze
( Pfullingen: Neske, 1 954 [ 2 ed., 1 9591 , pp. 101-26, (p. 1 21 ) [ trans.
in Nietzsche, 4 vol s ( London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1 981-87) ,
vol . 2, pp. 21 1-33 ( p. 288) ] . Of course, this is not a "reproach," nor
even a refutation. Heidegger always denies doing thi s. He never
criticizes or refutes. This is, according to him, the "game of the
1 18
N O T E S T O P A G E S 4 0 - 5 7
smallminded" ( Keingeisterei) , as he explains precisely after the
passage I have just quoted and the question he asks in it (p. 1 21
(229) ) . He had frst o f all applauded Nietzsche for thinking revenge
"metaphysically"-the dimension of revenge not being primarily
"moral " or "psychological (p. 1 1 2 [221 J ) . Then he sketches the
movement leading to the limit of Nietzsche's thougt as the ac­
complishment of metaphysics, in the place where something ap­
pears in Nietzsche's thought which it can no longer think. And it
is precisely the spirit of revenge ( Geist der Rache) , which would
perhaps not be overcome ( merely " spiritualized to the highest de­
gree") by this discourse on the imprint (Aufprigen) , that Nietzsche
talks about : "Ver Werden den Charakter des Seins aufzuprigen­
das ist der h6chste Wille zur Macht" (p. 1 20 [228] ) .
3. This liberty of spirit always IUns the risk rigorously deter­
mined by the Hegel text quoted above ( n. I, chap. 3) : that of a
merely formal liberty and of an abstract universality.
4. "Tede wesentliche Gestalt des Geistes steht in der Zweideu­
tigkeit " ( p. 7; [ trans. R. Manheim, Introduction to Metaphysics
( New Haven: Yale University Press, 1 959) , p. 9J .
5. The indictment of America, its "pseudo-philosophy and its
"patented psychology, " etc. , continues for a long time, no doubt
reaching its apogee in 1 941 . See Grundbegrife ( Gesamtausgabe,
Bd. 5 1 ) , pp. 84 and 92.
C H A P T E R VI
1. Gesamtausgabe, Bd. 29/30, p. 276.
2. "Le chant de la terre" ( The Song of the Earth) , Cahiers de
l 'Here ( 1 987 ) . p. 70.
3. If animals cannot properly question beyond their vital inter­
ests, can Vasein, properly and in all rigor? Can it not be demon­
strated that the question does no more than defer, indeed by the
most overdetermined means ( through diference and diferance of
diference) the quest and the inquir thus only defecting living
interest, with alteration and the most discontinuous mutation thus
also remaining j ust a detour? Only being-for-death as such can
seem to suspend and liberate the question in its rootedness in life.
And this is doubtless what Heidegger would say. Later, he was to
1 1
9
N O T E T O P A G E 6 0
stress that animals cannot have experience ( erfahren) of "death as
death. " Which i s why they cannot speak ( Unterwegs zur Sprache
[ Pfullingen: Neske, 1 959] , p. 21 5) [ trans. Peter D. Hertz, On the
Way to Language ( New York: Harper and Row 1 97 1 ) , p. 1 07] . But
does Dasein have experience of death as such, even by anticipa­
tion? What could that mean? What is being-for- death? What is
death for a Dasein that is never defned essentially as a living
thing? This i s not a matter of opposing death to life, but of won­
dering what semantic content can be given to death in a discourse
for which the relation to death, the experience of death, remains
unrelated to the life of the living thing. ( The problem of life was
broached by Didier Franck at this same conference. See too "Ges­
chlecht," in Psyche, p. 41 1 . )
C H A P T E R VII
1 . "Philosophy and the Crisis of European Humanity, " in The
Crisis of European Sciences and Phenomenology Husserliana, Bd.
VI, pp. 3 1 8f. ( p. 352) [ trans. David Carr ( Evanston: Northwestern
University Press, 1 970) , pp. 269-99 ( p. 273) ] . This fgure of Europe
is, precisely, " spiritual," in that it is no longer assigned a geograph­
ical or territorial outline. It i s what gives its name to the "unity of
a spiritual life, action, and creation. " Can this " spiritual " deter­
mination of European humanity be reconciled with the exclusion
of "Eskimoes, Indians, travelling zoos or gpsies permanently wan­
dering all over Europe" ? Right after asking the question "How is
the spiritual fgre of Europe to be characterized? " Husserl adds :
"Im geistigen Sinn gehoren ofen bar die englischen Dominions,
die Vereinigten Staaten usw zu Europa, nicht aber die Eskimos
oder Indianer der Tahrmarktsmenagerien oder die Zigeuner, die
dauerd in Europa herumvagabundieren. " The retention of the
English colonies in " spiritual " Europe would be proof of a ludi­
crous enough kind-by the comic load weighing down this sinister
passage-of a philosophical non-sequitur whose gravity can be
measured in two dimensions: ( 1 ) It is apparently necessar there­
fore, in order to save the English dominions, the power and culture
they represent, to make a distinction between, for example, good
and bad Idians. This is not very "logical," either in "spiritualist"
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N O T E T O P A G E 6 0
logc or in "racist" logic. ( 2) This text was delivered in 1 935 in
Vienna!
Why is it necessary to recall this passage and quote it today? For
several reasons. ( 1 ) On the basis of an example taken from a dis­
course which in general is not suspected of the worst, it is useful
to recall that the reference to spirit, to the freedom of spirit, and to
spirit as EUIOpean. spirit could and still can ally itself with the pol­
itics one would want to oppose to it. And this reference to spirit,
and to Europe, is no more an external or accidental orament for
Hussed's thought than it is for Heidegger's. It plays a major, orga­
nizing role in the transcendental teleolog of reason as Europocen·
tric humanism. The question of the animal is never very far away:
"j ust as man, and even the Papuan [my emphasiS-J. D. } represents
a new stage in animality in contrast to the animals, so philosophi­
cal reason represents a new stage in humanity and in its reason"
( Krisis . o . , quoted in my Introduction to the Origin of Geometry
[Paris: PUF, 1 962) ; trans. John P. Leavey, Jr. [Brighton: Harvester,
1 978}, p. 1 62 [ po 1 46} , to which I take leave to refer the reader here) .
The "new stage" is clearly that of European humanity. It is ( ougt
to be) traversed by the telos of transcendental phenomenolog as,
for Heideger, it ought to be by the responsibility of the originary
questioning on Being, beyond even transcendental subj ectivity and
the animal rationale. ( 2) Husserl and Heidegger are often, quite
rightly, placed in opposition, not only in their thought but in their
political history. Although he contests the facts or the stori es, Hei­
degger is often accused of having participated in the persecutions
sufered by Husser!' And the fact remains, beyond any possible
contestation, that he erased (he didn't cross out this time, he
erased) the dedication of Sein und Zeit to Husserl so that the book
could be republished, in a gesture which reconstitutes the erasure
as an unerasable, mediocre, and hideous crossing-out. This isn't
the place to deal with these problems and facts in their full scope.
But it is right that there should not be too many lacunae or injus­
tices in this interminable trial, constantly being extended with
new evidence. Under the rbric of spirit and of Europe-since this
is our only subject here-we must not forget what certain "vic­
tims" wrote and thought. And still in the name of spirit. Would
Heidegger have subscribed to what Husserl said of the gpsies?
I lI
N O T E T O P A G E 6 1
Would he have thrown the "non-Aryans" out of Europe, as did he
who knew he was himself "non-Aran, " i. e. Husserl ? Ad if the
reply is "no, " to all appearances "no, " is it certain that this is for
reasons other than those which distanced him from transcendental
idealism? Is what he did or wrote worse? Where is the worse? That
is perhaps the question of spirit.
2. Variete ( Paris: Gallimard, 1 924) , p. 32. The comparative anal­
ysis of these three discourses-Valery's, Hussed's and Heideg­
ger's-on the crisis or destitution of spirit as spirit of Europe,
would bring out an odd confgration, and paradigmatic features
which are exchanged in a reglated way. Valery sometimes seems
closer to Hussed, sometimes closer to Heidegger, sometimes far
from both. He speaks of li the lost illusion of a European culture"
( p. 1 6) . He begins by evoking ash and ghosts [revenantsJ . "We knew
quite well that all the apparent earth was made of ashes, that ash
signifes something. We perceived through the breadth of history
the ghosts of immense ships loaded with wealth and spirit" ( pp.
1 1-1 2) . Further on is the famous passage about "the immense ter­
race of Elsinore, which stretches from Basle to Cologne, which
touches the sands of Nieuport, the marshes of the Somme, the
chalk of Champagne, the granite of Alsace, " all those places from
which "the European Hamlet watches million of specters" ( p.
1 9: this was only in 1 91 9) . Then Valery distinguishes the European
Hamlet from his double, "an intellectual Hamlet," who " meditates
on the life and death of truths. His ghosts are all the obj ects of our
disputes" and he " does not really know what to do with all these
skulls" ( Leonardo, Leibniz, Kant, Hegel, Marx) : "Farewell, ghosts !
The world no longer needs you. Nor me. The world, which baptizes
with the name of progress its tendency toward a fatal precision,
seeks to unite to the favors of life the advantages of death. A certain
confusion reigs still, but a little more time and everything will
become clear; we shall in the end see the appearance of the miracle
of an aimal society, a perfect and defnitive ant-hill" (pp. 20-22) .
Later, in 1 932, i n "La Politique de l'esprit, notre souverain bien"
[ "The Politics of Spirit-our Sovereign Good"J ( Variete III [ Paris:
Gallimard, 1 936J , pp. 1 93-228), Valery proposes what is, all in all,
a rather classical, or even neo-Hegelian, negative-dialectic defni­
tion of spirit as that which in the end " always says no," and frst of
all no to itself. Valery says of this defnition that it is not "meta-
122
N O T E T O P A G E 6 1
physical," by which he means, very metaphysically, a physical, eco­
nomic, energetic power of transformation and opposition: "But I
must now complete this picture of disorder and this composition
of chaos, by showing you that which sees it and feeds it, can neither
stand it nor deny it, and, in its essence, never stops dividing against
itself. I mean spirit. By this name "spirit, " I do not at all mean a
metaphysical entity [look at Valery's invisible quotation marks] ; I
here mean very simply a power of transformation which we ca
isolate [ . . . ] by considering [ . . . ] certain modifcations [ . . . J
which we can attribute only to an action very diferent from that
of the energies of nature; for it consists on the contrary in opposing
to each other those energies which are given to us, or else in link­
ing them together. This opposition or coercion is such that there
results from it either a gain of time, or a saving of our own forces,
or an increase in power, precision, freedom, or duration for our
lives" (pp. 2 1 6-1 7) . The negative economy of spirit which is none
other than the origin of its freedom, opposes spirit to life and
makes consciousness into a " spirit of spirit." But this spirit always
remains man's. Man "thus acts against nature, and his action is
one of those opposing spirit to life [ . . . ] . He has acquired to difer­
ent degrees self-consciousness, that consciousness which means
that, in occasionally moving away from all that is, he can even
move away from his own personality; the self can sometimes
consider its own person as an almost foreign obj ect. Man can ob­
serve himself ( or thinks he can) ; he can criticize himself, constrain
himself; that's an original creation, an attempt to create what I
shall venture to call the spirit of spirit" (pp. 220-21 ) . It is true that
this opposition of spirit and life is sometimes apprehended as a
simple phenomenon, or even an appearance: "Thus spirit seems to
abhor and fee the very processes of deep organic life [ . . . ]. Spirit,
in this way indeed opposes itself to the running of the life· machine
[ . . . ] it develops the fundamental law [ . . . ] of sensibili ty" ( pp.
222-23) .
Under the brilliant singularity of Valery's aphorism or trait d'es­
prit, one recognizes those profound invariables, those repetitions
which their author opposes, precisely, as nature to spirit. The phi­
losophemes come under the same program and the same combi­
natory as those of Hegel, Husserl, and Heidegger. There is simply
dissociation or permutation of the features concerned. For ex-
I3
N O T E S T O P A G E S 6 6 - 6 7
ample: ( 1 ) If it is opposed to nature and life, spirit i s history and "in
general, happy peoples have no spirit. They don' t much need it " ( p.
237) . ( 2) Europe is not defned by geography or empirical history:
"You will excuse my giving to these words 'Europe' and 'European'
a sigifcation slightly more than geographical, slightly more than
historical, but as it were, functional" ( Variete, p. 4 1 ) . Only this last
word would have provoked the protests of the other participants in
this geat and fabulous European colloquium-and especially of
the Germans : this functionalism i s both too naturalistic and too
technicist, too "obj ectivist," "mechanistic, " "Cartesian," etc. ( 3)
Crisis as destitution of spirit: "What then i s this spirit? I n what
way can it be touched, struck, diminished, humiliated by the cur­
rent state of the world? Whence this great pity of the things of
spirit, this distress, this anguish of the men of spirit ? " ( Variete, p.
34; see too "La Liberte de l' esprit" [ "The Freedom of Spirit" J
[ 1 939J , in Oeuvres, ed. Jean Hytier, 2 vols. [ Pari s: Gallimard, 1 960J ,
II, pp. 1 077-99) . And this is indeed what they are all wondering, in
this imaginary symposium, in this invisible university where, for
more than twenty years, the greatest European minds [ espritsJ met.
They echo each other, discuss or translate the same admiring an­
guish: "So, what i s happening to us ? So, what is happening to Eu­
rope? So, what is happening to Spirit? Where is it coming to us
from? Is it still from spirW"
And, to conclude, ash: "Kowledge having devoured everything,
no longer knowing what to do, consider this little pile of ashes and
this wisp of smoke it made of the Cosmos and a cigarette" ( Cahiers
[ 26] , p. 26) .
3. Beda Allemann, for example, writes : Spirit is one of those
words which Heidegger only uses in quotation marks after Being
and Tme. It is one of the fundamental expressions of absolute
Metaphysics " ( H6lderlin und Heidegger, 2d ed. [ Zurich: Atlantis,
1 954] , p. 1 67) . It is the opposite which is true, and massively so, as
we are constantly confrming. After Sein und Zeit, precisely, Hei­
degger no longer writes spirit in quotation marks. There i s even, as
we shall shortly see, an instance of him efacing the quotation
marks retroactively in an earlier publication, the Rectorship Ad­
dress.
4. I am quoting from Gerard Granel's translation ( p. 1 3) , since I
did so above for the same passage. It difers considerably from that
1 24
N O T E S T O P A G E S 6 9 - 7 2
of Gilbert Kahn in the Introduction. But the diference obviously
has nothing to do with the play of quotation marks.
5. "Martin Heidegger interroge par Der Spiegel. Reponses et
questions sur l'histoire et la politique" [ "Martin Heidegger Inter­
viewed by Der Spiegel: Responses and Questions on History and
Politics, " trans. William J. Richardson, S. J. as 'I /Only a God Can
Save us' : The Spiegel Interview, " in T Sheehan, ed, Heideger, the
Man and the Thinker ( Chicago: Precedent Publishing, 1 98 1 ) , pp.
45-67 ( p. 62) 1 , trans. Jean Launay ( Mercure de France, 1 977) , pp.
66-67.
6. Fichte, Reden an die deutsche Nation ( Hamburg: Felix Reiner
Verlag. 1 978) . p. 1 22.
7. Schellings Abhandlung
U
ber des Wesen der menschlichen
Freiheit (1809) ( Tibingen: Niemeyer, 1 97 1 ), p. 1 54 [ trans. Joan
Stambaugh, Schelling' s Teatise on the Essence of Human Free¯
dom ( Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 1 985) , p. 1 281 .
8. As we were suggesting above, all this seems "a little comical,"
despite the seriousness of the issues. To remain sensitive to this
humor, still to be able to laugh at some move or other, coul d be­
come an obligation ( political or ethical, if one so wishes) , and a
chance, despite the suspicions explicitly loaded onto the Witz, or
wt, or the French esprit [ j okel, the chance de l 'esprit, by so many
German philosophers. I this concert of European languages, we
can already hear Greek, German, Latin, French. But let us at this
point leave what perhaps remains too close to the European center,
constrained, compressed in the "vice," oppressed and even re­
pressed in the "middle. " For the purposes of being able to take a
breather, is not eccentricity de rigueur? So I will recall in the orig­
inal langage Matthew Arnold's English wit. Readers of Friend­
ship's Garland will remember "the great doctrine of Geist, " and
how in Letter I, "I introduce Arminius and ' Geist' to the British
public. " A few fragments to encourage the reading or rereading of
someone who, even in the nineteenth century, was not completely
deaf to a certain untranslatability of Geist. At any rate, ' he realized
he should leave Geist untouched in its language: " ' Liberalism and
despoti sm! ' cried the Prssian; 'let us go beyond these forms and
words. What unites and separates pcople now is Geist . = . . There
you will fnd that in Berlin we oppose 'Geist/-intelligence, as you
or the French might saY, -to 'Ungeist. ' The victory of 'Geist' over
N O T E T O P A G E 7 "
'Ungeist' we think the great matter in the world . . . . We North­
Germans have worked for 'Geist' in our way . . . in your middle
class ' Ungeist' is rampant; and as for your aristocracy you know
'Geist' is forbidden by nature to fourish in an aristocracy . . . . What
has won this Austrian battle for Prssia is ' Geist' . . . I will give you
this piece of advice, with which I take my leave: 'Get Geist '. "
"Thank God, this d--d professor ( to speak as Lord Palmerston) is
now gone back to his own Intelligenz-Staat. I half hope there may
next come a smashing defeat of the Prussians before Vienna, and
make my ghostly friend laugh on the wrong side of the mouth. "
Closely linked to Culture and Anarchy these twelve fctional let­
ters were collected into a book in 1 871 . Arnold took great pleasure
in playing the role of editor and in writing footnotes : "I think it is
more self-important and bete if I put Ed. after every note. It is
rather fun making the notes. " This was a letter to his publisher:
bete is italicized, because it is in French in the text, as esprit is in
Kant's Anthropology ( see above) . It is what I would like to stress in
my tum. Ad that this fable of Geist go by the lips of a spirit of
this "ghostly friend" one would like to get to laugh, "half hope,"
"on the wrong side of his mouth."
By the way [ in English in the text), Get Geist is barely translat­
able into French, and not only because of Geist, but because of Get.
Profoundy untranslatable is the hidden profundity of the word Get
which means have, become and be, all three. Get Geist: ( 1 ) have,
obtain, gain, or apprehend ( some) Geist. ( 2) Be or become, learn
how to become, yourself, Geist. Ad Geist then functions as an
attribute ( become " spirit" as one would say "get mad," "get
drnk, " "get married," "get sick, " "get well" or "get better" and as
a noun ( " get religion," convert yourself ) -in short, become or
have, yourself, spirit itself. Do we not see the resistance of this
untraslatability-the sameness in the relation to itself, in itself,
of a Geist which is what it has, becomes what it has or ought to
have been-thus transferred, by a trait d'esprit and underhandedly
[so us la manche: also "under the [ English) Channel "-trans. ), on
the other side [a gauche: literally "to ( or on) the left") , towards the
frst word, i. e. the verb in the Babelian sentence: Get Geist? The
wit [esprit) depends on the' performative and entirely initial force
of these two words : inj unction, demand, prayer, desire, advice, or·
der, prescription. No report precedes the mark of spirit, no histor
I6
N O T E S T O P A G E S 7 3 - 8 4
can have preceded this remarkable trait d'esprit. Culture and an­
archy. In the beginning-no beginning [ pas de commencement:
also a beginning step"] . Spirit apostrophizes itself in this verb, i t
addresses it to itself and says ( to) itself, says it to itself, let it say it
to itself and let it be well understood: in the beginning, there will
have been, ghost of the future perfect, Get Geist: de 1 'esprit.
C H A P T E R VIII
1 . Nietzsche, 2 vols. ( pfullingen: Neske, 1 961 ), vol. 2, p. 200 [vol .
4, p. 1 48] .
2. Gesamtausgabe, Bd. 53, pp. 1 56f.
3. "The work of spirit, according to the doctrine of modern
Idealism, is the act of positing ( das Setzen) . Because spirit is con­
ceived of as subj ect and thus is represented ( vorgestellt) within the
subj ect-object schema, the act of positing (Thesis) must be the syn­
thesis between the subj ect and its obj ects" ( Unterwegs zur
Sprache, p. 248 [ 1 1 8 1 ) .
4. Also, perhaps, in the constant reading of Meister Eckhart,
who says for example: "Now Augustine says that, in the upper part
of the soul, which is called mens or gemite, God created, at the
same time as the being of the soul, a power kraft) which the mas­
ters call receptacle (sloz) or case ( schrin) of spiritual forms or for­
mal images [ "ideas"I . " Renovamini . . . spiritu mentis vestrac,
trans. Jeanne Ancelet-Hustache, in Sermons ( Paris : Seuil, 1 979) ,
vol. III, p. 1 5 1 . See too Psyche, pp. 583f.
5. Allemann, H61derlin und Heidegger, p. 1 67.
6. The trth of quotation marks: this equivocation is concen­
trated in the interpretation of the quotation marks in which
Nietzsche encloses the word " truth" ( see Nietzsche, vol. I, pp.
5 1 1f. [vol. 3, pp. 34£] .
C H A P T E R IX
1 . "Die Sprache im Gedicht, Eine Erorterng von Georg Trakls
Gedicht" ( 1 953) , in Unterwegs zur Sprache, pp. 39£. [ 1 59-981 .
2. P. 70 [ 1 88] . The necessary path would here lead from speech
N O T E T O P A G E 9 3
to saying ( sagen), from saying to poetic saying (Dichten), from
Dichten to song ( Singen, Gesang), to the accord of consonance
( Einklang) , from this to the hymn and thus to praise. I am not here
pointing to an order of logical consequences, nor to the necessity
to regress from one meaning to another. It is merely a question of
pointing to a problematic in which I cannot get involved here ( I try
to do so elsewhere: see "Comment ne pas parler," in Psyche, pp.
570£) and in which these meanings appear indissociable for Hei­
degger. The hymn exceeds the ontological, theoretical or consta­
tive utterance. It calls to praise, it sings praise beyond what is, and
perhaps even-we'll come back to this later-beyond that form of
"piety" of thought that Heidegger one day called the question,
questioning ( Pragen) . In this text, Heidegger entrusts his whole in­
terpretation, at decisive moments, to the place of and listening to
a tone, a word which carries the Grundton, and this is the stressed
( betont ) word: " one, " Ein in "Ein Geschlecht . . . . " ( Dieses betonte
"Ein Geschlecht " birgt den Grundton » - . . ) p. 78. He ceaselessly
appeals to listen to what the poem says insofar as it sings it in a
Gesang. This word is sometimes translated as hymn but Heidegger
also insists on the value of gathering. The Gesang is all at once (in
einem) , he says, "lied, tragedy, and epos" ( p. 65) ) . A few years later,
Heidegger specifes further this link between the song ( lied ) and
the hymn ( the act of honoring, praising, laudare, singing the
praises) . Praise is always sung. On Das lied, by Stefan George:
"Thinking-assembling-Ioving, such is the saying: peacefully in­
cline oneself in the happiness of j oyfulness, venerate in j ubilation
( ein ;ubelndes Verehren) , celebrate ( ein Preisen), sing the praise ( ein
Loben) : laudare. Laudes is the Latin word for songs ( Laudes lautet
der lateinische Name fir die lieder) . Saying songs means singing
( Leider sagen heisst: singen) . Plainsong ( der Gesang) is the gather­
ing of song ( die Versammlung des Sagens in das lied ) . ( "Das
Wort," in Unterwegs » . . , p. 229 [ 1 48] . See too "Der Weg zur
Sprache" [ 1 959] , this time on H6lderlin, on Gesprich and Gesang,
in Unterwegs . « - , p. 226 [ 1 35] . )
3. Pp. 59, 77 [ 1 75, 1 94] . See too "H61derlins Erde und Himmel,"
in Erliuterung zu Holderlins Dichtullg, 5th ed. ( Frankfurt : Kloster­
mann, 1 98 1 ) , pp. 1 528 1 ( p. 1 53) . For everything we are discussing
here, see too pp. 43-46, 50, 56-60, 64-68, 84-94, 1 20-23, 1 75, and
passim.
1 28
N O T E S T O P A G E S 9 3 - 9 4
4. Paul de Man, Allegories of Reading ( New Haven: Yale Uni­
versity Press, 1 979), Chapter I I , "Promises ( Social Contract) , " p.
277. I have addressed these problems and cited some of Heidegger' s
references to the promise in Memoires-for Paul de Man ( New
York: Columbia University Press, 1 986) , Chapter 3, "Acts: The
Meaning of a Given Word," pp. 91-1 53 ( pp. 95f) .
5. Before any question, then. I t is precisely here that the "ques­
tion of the question" which has been dogging us since the begin­
ning of this j ourney, vacillates. It vacillates at this moment when
it is no longer a question. Not that it withdraws from the infnite
legitimacy of questioning, but it tips over into the memory of a
langage, of an experience of language "older" than it, always an­
terior and presupposed, old enough never to have been present in
a "experience" or a "speech act"-in the usual sense of these
words. This moment-which is not a moment-is marked i n Hei­
degger's text. When he speaks of the promise and the "es gibt, " of
course, and at least implicitly, but in literal and extremely explicit
fashion in "Das Wesen der Sprache," in Unterwegs - . s , especially
pp. 1 74f. [ 71f. l . Everthing begins from the question mark ( Frage­
zeichen) when one interrogates the essence of langage. What is
the essence of language? The essence ( das Wesen) ? of language ( der
Sprache) ? Schematically: at the moment at which we pose the ul­
timate question, i. e. when we interrogate (Anfagen) the possibility
of any question, i. e. language, we must be already in the element
of langage. Langage must already be speaking for us-it must,
so to speak, be already spoken and addressed to us ( muss uns doch
die Sprache seIber schon zugesprochen sein) . Anfrage and Nach­
frage presuppose this advance, this fore- coming [ prevenantel ad­
dress (Zuspruch) of language. Language is already there, in advance
(im voraus) at the moment at which any question can arise about
it. In this it exceeds the question. This advance is, before any con­
tract, a sort of promise of originary alliance to which we must have
in some sense already acquiesced, already said yes, given a pledge
[ gage!, whatever may be the negativity or problematicity of the dis­
course which may follow. This promise, this reply which is pro­
duced a priori in the form of acquiescence, this commitment of
language towards language, this giving of langage by language and
to language is what Heidegger at this point regularly names Zu­
sage. And it i s in the name of this Zusage that he again puts in
1 2
9
N O T E T O P A G E 9 4
question, if one can still call it this, the ultimate authority, the
supposed last instance of the questioning attitude. I will not trans­
late the word Zusage because it brings together meanings which in
general we keep separate: promise, agreement or consent, originary
abandonment to what is given in the promise itself. "What is our
experience ( was erfahren wr) when we sufciently meditate ( be­
denken) on this ? That questioning ( Fragen) is not the gesture
proper to thinking ( die eigentliche Gebirde des Denkens) [the
word Gebirde, gesture and gestation, is itself a theme of medita­
tion elsewhere, p. 22-"Language," trans. Albert Hofstadter in Po­
etry Language, Thought ( New York: Harper and Row, 1 971 ), pp.
1 89-21 0 ( p. 200) ] , but-listening to the Zusage of what must come
to the question" ( p. 1 75 ( 7 1 ) ) .
The question is thus not the last word in language. First, be­
cause it is not the frst word. At any rate, before the word, there is
this sometimes wordless word which we name the "yes. " A sort of
pre-originary pledge [ gage] which precedes any other engagement
in language or action. But the fact that it precedes language does
not mean that it is foreign to it. The gage engages in language­
and so always in a language. The question itself is thus pledged­
which does not mean linked or constrained, reduced "to silence, on
the contrary-by the pledge of Zusage. It answers in advance, and
whatever it does, to this pledge and of this pledge. It is engaged by
it in a responsibility it has not chosen and which assigns it even its
liberty. The pledge will have been given before any other event. It
is nonetheless, in its ver coming before, an event, but an event of
which the memory ( memoire) comes before any particular recol­
lection ( souvenir) and to which we are linked by a faith which de­
feats any narrative. No erasure is possible for such a pledge. No
going back.
After recalling the fact that, in the history of our thought, ques­
tioning would be the trait ( Zug) which gives thought its measure­
because thought was frst of all foundational, always in quest of the
fundamental and the radical-Heidegger returs to one of his pre­
vious statements. Not, indeed, to put it in question, still less to
contradict it, but to reinscribe it in a movement which exceeds it:
"At the end of a lecture entitled The Question Concering Tech­
nology, it was said some time ago: 'For questioning ( das Fragen) is
the piety (Fr6mmigheit J of thought' . Pious ( frommJ is understood
1
3
0
N O T E T O P A G E 9 4
here in the old sense of 'docile' ( figsam) , that is, docile to what
thought has to think. It is a feature of the experiences which pro­
voke thought that sometimes thought does not sufc�ently take
stock of the insights it has j ust gained, by failing to get the measure
of them, to think them through. This is the case with the sentence
quoted: ' questioning is the piety of thought'
f Î
( pp. 1 75-76 [ ni l .
On the basis of this, the whole lecture "Das Wesen der Sprache"
will be ordered according t o this thinking of Zusage. I t is under­
standable that Heidegger denies proceeding to an artifcial and for­
mal, " empty
"
ff
reversal ( Umkehrung) . But it has to be admitted
that the thought of an afrmation anterior to any question and
more proper to thought than any question must have an unlimited
incidence-nonlocalizable, without possible circumscription-on
the quasi-totality of Heidegger's previous path of thought. It is not
a Umkehrung, but it is something other than a turning ( Kehre) .
The turing still belongs to the question. Heidegger says this ex­
plicitly. This step transforms or deforms (as you like) the whole
landscape to the extent that that landscape had been constituted
before [ devant] the-inflexible-law of the most radical question­
ing. Limiting myself to a few indications among many, let me re­
call that the point of departure of the analytic of Dasein-and
therefore the proj ect of Sein und Zeit itself-was assigned by the
opening of Dasein to the question; and that the whole Destruktion
of ontolog took as its target, especially in post- Cartesian moder­
nity an inadequate questioning of the Being of the subj ect, etc.
This retrospective upheaval can seem to dictate a new order. One
would say, for example, that now everything has to be begn again,
taking as the point of departure the en-gage [l'en-gage: d. langage]
of the Zusage so as to construct a quite diferent discourse, open a
quite diferent path of thought, proceed to a new Kehre if not to an
Umkehrung, and remove-a highly ambiguous gesture-the rem­
nant of Aufklirung which still slumbered in the privilege of the
question. In fact, without believing that we can henceforth not
take account of this profound upheaval, we cannot take seriously
the imperative of such a recommencement. For a number of rea­
sons :
1 . First of all, this would involve a complete lack of understand­
ing of the irreversible necessity of a path which, from the vantage
of the narrow and perilous passage to which it leads thinking, per-
1
3
1
N O T E T O P A G E 9 4
mits, very late on, to see diferently, at a given moment, its unique
past ( breaching, path of langage and writing) which inscribes in it
all the rest, including the passage in question, the passage beyond
the question. Even if one can retrace one's steps, thanks precisely
to this discovered passage, the return does not signify a new depar­
ture, from a new principle or some degree zero.
2. A new point of departure would not only be impossible, it
would make no sense for a thinking which never submitted to the
law of the system and even made the systematic in philosophy into
one of its most explicit themes and questions.
3. The order to which Heidegger's path of thought entrusts itself
was never an "order of reasons. / I What sustains such an order in
Descartes, for example, calls forth the questions we have already
discussed.
These are so many reasons for not re-commencing when it is
already too late, always too late. Ad the structure of this gage can
thus be translated: "it is already too late, always too late. /I Once
these reasons have been understood, retrospection can, indeed
must, instead of disqualifying or recommencing everything, lead
to another strategy and another stratigraphy. Heidegger's j ourey
crosses, constitutes, or leaves certain strata up until now scarcely
Visible, less massive, sometimes almost imperceptible-for Mar­
tin Heidegger as much as for anyone. In their rarity, precariousness,
or very discretion, these strata appear prominent after the event, to
the extent that they restructure a space. But they do this only by
assiging so many new tasks to thought, and to reading. All the
more so in that, in the example which concerns us here, it is pre­
cisely a question of the very origin of responsibility. This is much
more, and other, than an example. On the basis of which one can
search , in the whole of Heidegger's work, before there is any ques­
tion of the gage of the Zusage in language, before any question of
the en-gage, before the privilege of the question is placed in ques­
tion, before 1 958-if one wants a date-for markers and signs al­
lOWing one to situate in advance and in its necessity the passage
thus discovered. These signs and markers exist, and we are better
prepared now to recognize them, interpret them, reinscribe them.
And this is useful not only for reading Heidegger and serving some
hermeneutical or philological piety. Beyond an always necessary
exegesis, this re-reading sketches out another topology for new
1
3
2
N O T E T O P A G E 9 4
tasks, for what remains to be situated of the relationships between
Heidegger's thought and other places of thought-or of the en­
gage-places which one pictures as regions but which are not ( eth­
ics or politics, but also, again, philosophy science, all the sciences
ad, immediately, those unstable and unsituatable discourses­
lingistics, poetics, pragmatics, psychoanalysis, etc. )
What, retrospectively could these signs and markers be ? In a
note such as this I can only point to a few of them among others,
in the driest of fashions.
A. Everything in Sein und Zeit ( §§58, 59, 60) which concers the
sense of the "appeal " ( Rufsinn) and imputability ( rather than re­
sponsibility or culpability), "the " Schuldigsein " before any "moral
consciousness. "
B. Everything in Sein und Zeit and the Introduction to Meta­
physics which concerns Entschlossenheit and the possibility of as­
suming ( Uberehmen) the mission ( Sendung) (Introduction to
Metaphysics, p. 38 [ 50J ) and therefore the originary questioning it
assigns. The opening to the assignment of the question, responsi­
bility resolution with respect to the question are necessarily pre­
supposed by questioning itself. They are not confused with it. The
question is not suspended but sustained by this other piety, held
ad dependent on it [ La question n'est pas suspendue mais sou­
tenue par cette autre piete, tenue et suspendue a elleJ .
C. Everything which concerns Verlasslichkeit, a certain orig­
nar "trustworthiness, " in The Origin of the Work of Art ( permit
me to refer here to La Verite en peinture ( Paris: Flammarion, 1 979) ,
pp. 398f. [trans. Geof Bennington and Ian McLeod, The Tuth in
Painting ( University of Chicago Press, 1987) , pp. 349f. J .
D. Everything which concers the "yes" and the "no," the say­
ing ( Sagen) of which is not primarily a logical or propositional
statement (Aussagen) -in the passage from the course on Schelling
which, moreover, deals symmetrically with afrmation and nega­
tion (p. 1 43 [po 1 1 9J ) .
E. Everything which concerns the promise ( Versprechen or Ver­
heissen), for example in Was Heisst Denkenl ( see above, n. 4) .
But since my purpose bound me t o privilege the modalities of
avoiding ( vermeiden) -and notably the silent dramaturgy of prag­
matic signs ( such as quotation marks or crossings- through) , I move
on to this third example of crossing through: that of a question
1
3 3
N O T E T O P A G E 9 4
mark. Heidegger had frst suggested that the question mark after
Das Wesenl or der Sprachel attenuated what might be pretentious
or familiar in the title of a discourse on the essence of language.
Now after having recalled that this con-fdent listening to the Zu­
sage was the very gesture of thought, its most proper scope or be­
havior ( Gebarde), he concludes the necessity-a certain necessity
not to be confused with dogmatic certainty-of crossing through
again the question marks ( die Fragezeichen weder streichen) ( p.
1 80 ( 76) ) .
[ Pause for a moment : to dream of what the Heideggerian corpus
would look like the day when, with all the· application and consist­
ency required, the operations prescribed by him at one moment or
another would indeed have been carried out: avoidfl the word

spirit," at the very least place it in quotation marks, then cross
through all the names referring to the world whenever one is speak­
ing of something which, like the animal, has no Dasein, and there­
fore no or only a little world, then place the word flBeing" ever­
where under a cross, and fnally cross through without a cross all
the question marks when it's a question of language, i. e. , indirectl�
of everything, etc. One can imagine the surface of a text given over
to the gawing, ruminant, and silent voracity of such an animal­
machine and its implacable fl logic." This would not only be simply
flwithout spirit," but a fgure of evil. The perverse reading of Hei­
degger. End of pause. )
To the extent that, in this singular situation which relates it to
a pledge of this kind, thought is a "listening" ( Horen) and a letting­
oneself-say ( Sichsagenlassenl, and not a questioning (kein Fragen),
then, says Heidegger, "we must still cross through the question
marks. " Which, he adds, does not mean a return to the habitual
form of the title. That is no longer possible. The "letting itself be
said" which urges the crossing through of the question mark is not
a passive docilit� much less an uncritical compliance. But no more
is it a negative activity busy submitting everything to a denial that
crosses through [ ue denegation raturante) . It subscribes. Before
us, before everything, below or above everything, it inscribes the
question, negation or denial, it en-gages them without limits in the
correspondence with langue or parole ( Sprache) . Parole must frst
pra� address itself to us: put in us its trust, its confdence, depend
on us, and even have already done it ( muss sich die Sprache zuvor
1
34
N O T E T O P A G E 9 4
uns zusagen oder gar schon zugesagt haben) . The already is essen­
tial here, saying something of the essence of this parole and of what
en-gages in it. At the moment when, in the present, it entrusts or
addresses itself to us, it has already done so, and this past never
returs, never again becomes present, it always goes back to an
older event which will have already engaged us in this subscribing
to the en-gage. Towards this fore-coming address ( Zuspruch) . On
two occasions, Heidegger writes this, which seems to defeat trans­
lation: Die Sprache west als dieser Zuspruch ( pp. 1 80-8 1 [ 76] ) . At
an interval of a few lines, the French translator ofers two diferent
formulations: ( I ) "Speech deploys itself as this addressed speech
(La parole se deploie en tant que cette parole adressee) "; ( 2)
"Speech deploys itself as this address { La parole se deploie en tant
que cette adresse) . " [The English translation also has two versions :
1 . "Langage persists as this avowal "; 2. "Language is active as this
promise" (p. 76) -trans. ] The two translations are correct, even if
they are condemned to incompleteness and to trying in vain to be
complete. Address here is at once the direction, the relation, prac­
tically the apostrophe of the relation to (zu) , and the content of
what is addressed with concer [ prevenancel { one of the common
meanings of Zuspruch: assistance, consolation, exhortation) , in the
always anterior concern of this appeal addressed to us. Not only in
parole ( Sprache) , but in langue ( Sprache) , the en-gage engaging in a
langue as much as in parole. Parole is engaged in langue. Ad what
is deployed here ( west ) is the essence ( Wesen) of Sprache. All lan­
guage on Wesen must be redeployed otherise on the basis of what
is written in this way: "Das Wesen der Sprache: Die Sprache des
Wesens" (p. 1 8 1 [ 76] ) . The colon erases a copula and does the j ob of
crossing through. Crossing through of Being, of Sein and is t, not of
Wesen. In place of this erasure or of this colon, the copula "is"
would reintroduce confusion in this place and would relaunch the
question just where it lets itself be exceeded.
Thought about Ereignis takes its bearings from this acquies­
cence which responds-en-gages-to the address. And the proper
of man arrives only in this response or this responsibility. At least
it does this when, and only when, man acquiesces, consents, gives
himself to the address addressed to him, that is to his address, the
one which only properly becomes his own in this response. After
naming Ereignis in this context, Heidegger recalls that the Zusage
1 3
S
N O T E S T O P A G E S 9 6 - 9 9
does not wander around in the void. ''It has already touched. " ( Sie
hat schon getrofen) . Who else but man? ( Denn der Mensch ist nur
Mensch, insofer er dem Zuspruch der Sprache zugesagt, fir die
Sprache, sie zu sprechen, gebraucht ist) ( p. 1 96 [ 90] ) .
At the Essex conference I referred t o above, Fran�oise Dastur
reminded me of this passage of Unterwegs zur Sprache which in­
deed passes question. I dedicate this note to her as a pledge of grat­
itude.
6. On this point, I permit myself to refer to La mythologie
blanche in Marges-de la philosophie ( Paris: Minuit, 1 972L pp.
249-324 [ 207-71 t and "Le retrait de l a metaphore/' i n Psyche: In­
ventions de l 'autre ( Pari s: Galilee, 1 98n 63-93 [trans. Enclitic, 2: 2
( 1 978) , pp. 5-34] .
C H A P T E R X
1 . Glas, especially pp. 1 4, 20, 22, 3 1 , 70, 1 06, 262-63 [ 8, 1 4, I S,
24, 59, 91 , 235] . Given that we are tring to mark the continuity of
a tradition in those places where the thematics of fre, hearth,
guard, and nation cross, it is appropriate to quote Hegel once again:
"We shall see in the history of philosophy that in the other coun­
tries of Europe, where the sciences and the formation of intelli­
gence have been cultivated with zeal and consideration, philosophy
has, its name apart, disappeared and perished in its very memory
and idea, but is has been preserved as a particular property (Eigen­
timlichkeit) of the German nation. We have received from nature
the superior mission ( den h6heren Beruf) of being the guardians of
the sacred fre ( die Bewahrer dieses heiligen FeuersL as the family
of the Eumolpidae at Athens garded the mysteries of Eleusis and
the islanders of Samothrace had the charge of conserving and car­
ing for a superior cult, as in the past the World-Spirit ( der Weltgeist )
reserved the Jewish nation for supreme consciousness so that it
might rise up in the middle of that nation as a new spirit. " Lectures
on the History of Philosophy ( Oxord: Clarendon Press, 1 985) , pp.
1-2. This speech had begun (it too) by evoking "all the forces of
spirit/' the "spirit of the world/' and "pure spirituality." At this
point, in the margin of this inaugural address to the university, He­
gel alluded to the "pale ghost" ( schale Gespenst ) opposed to the
seriousness and superior need of Prussian intelligence. On the in-
N O T E S T O P A G E S 9 9 - 1 0 1
terpretation of Judaism by Hegel, see too Glas, pp. 43-l O5 and pas­
sim. And on what "links up with Heidegger's ghost," or what can
happen, for example on the telephone; "with the ghost or Geist of
Martin," see La carte postale, pp. 25-26 [ 21 ] .
2. On the one hand, this could come back, up to a certain point
and in traditional fashion, to the reserations formulated by Hegel
as to pneumatology ( see above, chap. 3, n. 1 ) . But on the other
hand, one could also contest the distinction between pneuma and
the fame or gas of a fre whose meaning would be marked only in
the word Geist. Things are certainly more entangled than this. One
must frst of all recall that, in the De spiritu (XV 478a 1 5 ) , Aristotle
speaks of a "psychic fre." It is however true that psyche is not
pneuma; and Aristotle associates pneuma rather with solar fre and
heat, with the vapor and gas which are its natural efects. But be­
yond the immense problem opened up here by the determination
of physis, it is difcult to dissociate absolutely pneuma from heat
ad fre, even if the source of that heat and fre remains as
f f
natural "
as the sun. I refer here to Helene Ioannidi 's rich analysis, "Q
u
'est­
ce que I e psychique? " in Philosophia, 1 5-6 ( 1 985-86) , pp. 286f.
For example the following, on the relationship between sperm and
soul : "Animal warmth is not fre but pneuma, hot air, gas . The
nature of pneuma is analogous to the astral element . . . 'fre engen­
ders no animal, and it is clear that no being is formed in matter on
fre, be it damp or dr. On the contrary, solar heat has the power to
engender as does animal warmth, not only that which is mani­
fested through sperm, but if some other natural residue is pro­
duced, it too possesses, no less than sperm, a vital principle. ' Emit­
ted by the male, the psychic principle is contained in the seminal
body which the male emits. The psychic principle includes both
what is inseparable from the body and that divine something, the
intellect, which is independent of it. " (On p. 294, the author adds
in a' note: "Under this term pneuma, according to a note of P.
Louis's, Aristotle naturally understands vapor, gas, air, fuid. " )
3. The references would be too numerous here. One of the most
peculiar, in this context, would be to Franz Rosenzweig, and what
he says of fre, spirit, blood, and promise in The Star of Redemption
( London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1 9 7 1 ) , p. 298f.
4. Here too the references would be too numerous and doubtless
useless. Let us make clear however that Paul distinguishes between
1 3
7
N O T E T O P A G E 1 0 2
the "psychi c man" ( psychikos anthropos ) -also translated as "an­
imalis homo " or "natural man"-and "spiritual man" ( pneumati­
kosI ( spiritualis) _ The former does not accept what comes from the
spirit of God ( ta tau pneumatos tau theau) . Holy spirit which can
also, as pneuma, be a parole soufee. Matthew: "for it is not you
who will speak; it is the Spirit of your father ( to pneuma tau patros)
which will speak in you" ( 1 0: 20) . Pneuma ( spiritus) can be sacred
(hagion, sanctus) or impure ( akatharton, immundus) ( see for ex­
ample Matthew 1 2: 43; Mark 1 : 26, 3: 1 1 , etc. ) .
To my knowledge, Heidegger alludes to the Holy Spirit
( pneuma hagion) only once, in a diferent context. But fre is not
far away. It is a question of glossa, lingua, langue, language, that
family of words which also makes so difcult the translation of
Sprache, all at once parole, langage, and langue. Heidegger notes
that, from this point of view "Die Sprache ist die Zunge "
( speech-language-is tongue [la parole-Ia langue-est la lan­
gue) ) ; and he quotes Luther's translation of the Vulgate: '" . . . And
there appeared to them tongues (Zungen), dispersed (zerteilt) like
fre ( we von Feuer) . . . and they began to preach with other
tongu
e
s (mit anderen Zungen) ' . Nonetheless this new capacity to
discourse ( Reden) i s not understood as simple loquacity ( Zungen­
fertigkeit, silver-tonguedness) but full of pneuma hagion, the sa­
cred breath ( vom heiligen Hauch) " ( Unterwegs zur Sprache, p. 203
[
96-7) ) .
5. Mter having recognized that it is "j ust as impossible i n phi­
losophy to retur with a single leap to Greek philosophy as it is to
abolish by decree the Christianity which entered Western history
and consequently philosophy, " after having specifed that the be­
ginning of philosophy was "grandiose" because it "had to over­
come its most powerful antagonist, the mythical in general, and
the Asiatic in particular," Heidegger adds: "It is certain that Schell­
ing, from the treatise on freedom onwards, emphasizes more and
more the positivity of Christianity; but having said that, one has
still decided nothing with regard to the essence and signifcation
of his metaphysical thinking, which thereby is still not under­
stood, and even remains incomprehensible. [ . . . ) with this inter­
pretation [of evil as sin) the essence of evil comes to light more
clearlY
I
even if in a quite determined direction. But evil is not to be
reduced to sin and cannot be grasped under the heading of sin
N O T E S T O P A G E S I 0 3 - I l
alone. To the extent that our interpretation is attached to the real
fundamental metaphysical question, the question of Being, it is not
in the shape of sin that we question evil, but it is in the optic of
the essence and trth of Being that we seek to situate it. Ad by
that ver fact it also appears, in mediate fashion, that the ethical
horizon does not sufce to conceive of evil and that, much more
than this, ethics and morality only aim, on the contrary, to legislate
with a view to fxing the attitude to be adopted faced with evil, in
the sense of the victory to be won against it, of the rej ection or the
diminishing of evil " ( Schelling, p. 1 75 [po 1 46] ) .
6. Even when, in The Letter on Humanism for example, these
same heroes are mutually reinforcing in their opposition to "meta­
physics," to the metaphysics of will or that which "thinks man on
the basis of animalitas" and not "in the direction of his humani­
tas. " "The body of man is something essentially other than an an­
imal organism. The error of biologism is not overcome by the fact
of adding the soul to the corporeal reality ( dem Leiblichen) of man,
and spirit to this soul, and to spirit the existential character, and
by proclaiming louder than ever the high value of spirit" [ trans.
Frank A. Capuzzi, i n Basic Writings, pp. 1 93-242 ( p. 204) ] .
7. See what was said above about height, direction, and erection
( p. 36) . To avoid once again any simple or unilateral assigation,
one could also cite Emmanuel Levinas: "The problem in each of
the paragraphs on which we are commenting at present consists in
reconciling the humanity of men and women with the hypothesis
of a spirituality of the masculine, the feminine being not its correl­
ative but its corollary, feminine specifcity or the diference of the
sexes which it announces not being situated from the outset at the
level [hauteur] of the constitutive oppositions of Spirit. A auda­
cious question: how can the equality of the sexes result from the
priority of the masculine? " ( "Et Dieu crea la femme, " in Du sacre
au saint [ Paris: Minuit, 1 977] , p. 1 41 ) . I have quoted and interpreted
this passage in "En ce moment meme dans cet ouvrage me voici,"
in Psyche, p. 1 1 5. This interpretation is also concerned with the
questions of quotation marks, ashes, and the psyche in Levinas.
8. See for example what is said of discord ( Zwetracht), of " dis­
tinction" as a minting ( character), and the about-turn as " Um­
schlag" ( Schelling « v - , pp. 21 5-1 7 [pp. 1 77-
79] ) .
9. See "Comment ne pas parler."
1
39

OF
THE

SPIRIT
AND QUESTION

HEIDEGGER

JACQUES DERRIDA

TRANSLATED GEOFFREY AND

BY

BENNINGTON BOWLBY

RACHEL

THE

UNIVERSITY

OF

CHICAGO

PRESS

Chicago an d London

Originally published as De l'esprit,

© Editions Galilee, 1987
The University of Chicago Press, Chicago 60637 The University of Chicago Press, Ltd., London

© 1989 by The University of Chicago
All rights reserved. Published 1989

Paperback edition 1991
Printed in the United States of America 06 OS 04 03 02 01 00 99 98 97 6 7 8 9 10

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Derrida, Jacques [De l'esprit. Eng lish] Heidegger and the question / Jacques Derrida

Of spirit
p. cm.

:

translated by G eo ffrey Bennington and Rachel Bowlby. Translation of: Bibliography: De l'esprit. p.

ISBN 0-226-14317-1 (cloth); 0-226-14319-8 (paper)

1. Heidegger, Martin, 1889-1976.
B3279.H49D4813 193-dc19 1989

I. Title.
88-32212 CIP

e The

paper used in this publication meets the minimum

requirements of the Ameri can National Standard for

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TRANSLAT O RS' vii NOTE C HAP T E R 1 C HA P T E R 7 II C HAP T E R 14 III C HAP T E R 23 IV C HAP T E R V 31 C HAP T E R 47 VI C HA P T E R S8 VII CHAPTER 73 VIII C HA P T E R 83 IX .

C O N T E N T S C H A P TER 99 X N O TES lI S .

" The notes were naturally added later. entitled "Heidegger: Open Questions. We have benefited from being able to consult these translations.The text translated here is that of a lecture given 14 March 1 987 at the end of a conference organized by the C ollege international de philosophie in Paris. but have retranslated throughout in the interests of consistency and proximity to the versions used by Derrida. vii . We give references wherever possible to English translations of the texts by Heidegger cited by Jacques Derrida.

spirit ( Geist). What is avoiding? Heidegger on several occasions uses the common word vermeiden: to avoid. to flee. regular. marked (if not remarked) use of all this vocabulary. includ­ ing the adj ective geistig? And that he often spoke not only I . of flame. he thinks the same. avoiding means. and of ashes . geistig. gei�tlich. for Heidegger. Among them. He warns [avertit]: a certain number of terms will have to be avoided ( vermei­ den ) . Do these German words al­ low themselves to be translated? In another sense : are they avoidable? Sein und Zeit ( 1 927): what does Heidegger say a t that time ? He announces and he prescribes . Heidegger approves him in this. to dodge. Heidegger notes that Trakl always took care to avoid ( vermeiden again) the word geistig. And of what. But this time. What might he have meant when it comes to " spirit" or the "spir­ itual"? I specify immediately: not spirit or the spiritual but Geist. through and through. and what has hap­ pened? What of this meantime ? How are we to explain that in twenty-five years. How are we to delimit the difference. it is not Geist nor even geistlich which is to be avoided. between these two warning signals ( " avoid." "avoid using"') ' Heidegger made a frequent. that of language. but geistig. for this question will be. more than twenty-five years later-and this was not just any quarter­ century-in the great text devoted to Trakl. And. In 1 953. visibly.I shall speak of ghost [revenan t].

using words without using them : in quotation marks. Heidegger had already made this word disappear while al­ lowing it to appear under a crossing-out-which had thus perhaps set him going. is he not showing that he can do it ? And that he could easily. saying that that'S the last thing he's doing and that he would have to shut up his thinking-shop if one day he were to be called by the faith. sometimes yielding to the em­ phatic mode. under a non-negative cross-shaped crossing out (kreuzweise Durchstreich ung). does not take into account the econ­ omy of vermeiden in those places where it exposes itself to the question of Being. . are things more tortuous and entangled than this ? Here one could get into writing a chapter destined for a different book. as one might suspect. as I am sometimes tempted to do. be the only one who could do it? 2. in particular in Heideg­ ger? -and it is not necessarily avoidance or denegation. on the path of that theology he says he would only like to write but which he does not not write at this very point. even." 1 What does " avoid" mean. and a long time since. I imagine its title: "How to Avoid Speak­ ing.3 In saying this. And all I should like to attempt here is to approach it." 2 etc. in the name of spirit? Could it be that he failed to avoid what he knew he ought to avoid? What he in some sense had promised himself to avoid? Could it be that he forgot to avoid ? Or else.C H A P T E R O N E of the word " spirit" but. that of psycho­ analysis for example. writing without writing.those modalities of "avoiding" which come down to saying without saying. for example. saying it's not that at all. the word 'Being' ought not to appear in it. or again in propositions of the type: " If I were yet to write a theology. These latter categories are insufficient insofar as the dis­ course which habitually puts them to work. I'm thinking in partic­ ular of all . at the date at which he said that. Now we know well enough that. The least one can say is that we are very far away from this taking into account.

is not a great word of Heidegger's. and perhaps too because it moves towards the most worrying places in Heidegger's itin­ erary. spirit. to avoid it. for reasons both of style (nothing in it recalls a Heideggerian manner) and. of semantics: spirit. the very tradition which has so durably marked our philosophical institutions ? Because this suspicion appears absurd. precisely. by that very thing. The anachronistic form. originally anonymous and con­ signed to the fire. be they the orthodox or the heretical. discourses. or even the provocatively IIretro" char­ acter of this Of Spirit seems even more bizarre in the land­ scape of this conference. the neo-Heideggerians or the para-Heideggerians. people avoid in their turn speaking of spirit in a work which nonetheless lets itself be magnetized. It is not his theme. as if it took us back to the age when they still wrote systematic treatises on the model of Latin compositions in the Ciceronian style (De spiritu). when what is called French materialism of the eighteenth century or French spiritualism of following centuries established on this model the finest canons of our school rhetoric. whether or not they recognize d the quotation-this time without par­ ody-of a scandalous book.4 This title appears today to be anachronistic in its gram­ mar and its diction. the disciples or the experts. and history. And who would dare to suspect in him that metaphysics-materialist or spiritualist-which produced the great days and best moments of a French tra­ dition. occupying­ as I hope to show in a minute that it does-a major and obvious place in this line of thought. No one 3 .C H A P T E R O N E The title which imposed itself upon me for this lecture might have surprised or shocked some of you. in the entire family of Heideggerians. Is it not remarkable that this theme. should have been dis­ inherited [forclos d'heritagej? No one wants anything to do with it any more. from its first to its last word. because it carries in it something intolerable. so it seems at least. It would seem that he was able. if I can say this.

so as to put it to the test of trans­ lation. And if we submit our own language to the same test." in view of this place. the Franco-German chronicle in which we are situat­ ing Heidegger du ring this conference which was also an Erorterung keeping the questions "open. the quarrel between languages. nonetheless. De l 'esprit is a thoroughly French title. are three preliminary arguments. and even German and Greek. time. and even of the dissertation. the Franco-Latin de also announces that. There is first the necessity of this essential explana tion. etc.C H A P T E R O N E ever speaks of spirit in Heidegger." recalls Heidegger on the subj ect of Sophocles' Antigone. German and Rome. Why? What is going on? What is being avoided by this ? Why this filtering out in the heritage. I wish to begin 4 . Perhaps. while yet leaving it open-for it is not my intention to deal with it-the French dimen­ sion. much too French to give the sense of the geistige or geistlich e of Geist. at any rate. Here. But that is the point : it will perhaps be heard better in Ger­ man. we will be more properly sensitive to its Germanness if we let its resonance be heard coming from a foreign language. This necessity remains on one side. and Geist. Ereignis. this last no longer allows of translation into the first two. ? It was perhaps necessary to run the risk of a classical academicism so as to mark. Not only this: even the anti-Heideggerian specialists take no interest in this the­ matics of spirit. the world. ontological differ­ ence. Dasein. "Tell me what you think about translation and I will tell you who you are. German and Latin. At a certain point. and this discrimination ? Why even when the legacy is being rej ected does Geist not occupy the place it deserves alongside the major themes and major terms: being. the Obersetzung as Auseinan dersetzung between pneuma. not even to denounce it.s In this title De l 'esprit. in the classical form of the enquiry. spiritus. history. or rather if we put to the test its resistance to trans­ lation. I will not rely for the essential j ustification of my topic on an introduction or pref­ ace.

as if it did not belong to a history of ontology-and the problem will be just that. a book. But during the following twenty years. Holderlin. or even a lecture . the functions. the Greek or German lan­ guages. It does not derive only from the fact that. he never made it the title or the principal theme of an ex­ tended meditation. this same lexicon gives direction for example to the seminars and writings on Schelling. I shall begin to fol­ low modestly the itineraries.C H A P T E R O N E to treat of spirit. This preliminary work has not yet been sys­ tematically undertaken-to my knowledge. Such a silence is not without significance. the presuppositions a nd the destinations. perhaps not even envisaged. and also in a different way in Nietzsche. To the precise extent that it does not appear at the forefront of the scene. although the lex­ icon of spirit is more copio us in Heidegger than is t hought. in the moments when thought lets itself be preoccupied more than ever by what is ca lled hist ory. the terms Geist. geistig. Geschlecht. and ex­ cept for one inflection which I will try to analyze. From this lexicon. and this is a second argument. which we are not justified in call­ ing spiritualist or even spiritual-can I risk saying spirituelle?-Heidegge r draws abundantly in the years 1 933-35.the word and the concept. and e spe cia lly Trakl. s . . a seminar. This motif of spirit or of the spiri­ tual acquires an extraordinary authority in its German lan­ guage. above all in the Rectorship Address and the Intro­ duction· to Metaphysics. more than a co up de for ce force itself in its most out-of-the­ ordinary manifestation. geistlich-in Heidegger. it seems to withdraw itself from any destruction or deconstruction. On the other hand. this motif is regularly inscribed in contexts that are highly charged politically. the nation. In them it even takes on a thematic value which is not without a certai n novelty. lan­ guage. the formations and re gulated transformations. And yet-I will attempt to show this-what thereby remains un­ questioned in the invocation of Geist by Heidegger is.

In any case it would situate the place of such a decision. for what are called the questions of the political or of politics which are s timulating so many debates around Heidegger today­ doubtless in renewed form in France. as I have just said rapidly and rather conventionally. 6 . still scarcely visible. It perhaps de­ cides as to the very meaning of the political as such. for I always prefer to say this in the plural. of the thought and unthought or. of history. of the Ereignis.C H A P T E R O N E Here finally is my third preliminary argument : if the thinking of Geist and of the difference between geistig and geistiich is neither thematic nor athematic and if its modal­ ity thus requires another category. if it were possible. thanks notably to La­ coue-Labarthe-at the point at which they tie up with the great questions of Being and truth. then it is not only in­ scribed in contexts with a high political content. the thoughts and the unthoughts of Hei­ degger. Whence its privilege.

especially when it is a question of language and of place. stock. Naturally I intend to return - 7 .II Open Questions: I recall the subtitle proposed for this conference. Before really beginning. which recently gave me my direction in some readings of Hegel. generation. today. and then a singular divide right inside the word geistlich. This attention paid to Geist. This will permit me to describe the economy or strategy which imposed the choice of this theme on me today. Often enough in this research. These few remarks. at a certain point in my reading. While pursuing the work to which I had published a short preface under the title "Geschlecht. that frighteningly poly­ semic and practically untranslatable word (race. between geistig and geistlich. lineage. difference ontologique. sex) in the text on Trakl from Un terwegs zur Sprache. however preliminary they still re­ main. difference sex­ uelle. at a moment which is no doubt for me that of the greatest hesitation and the gravest perplex­ ity. These texts are also under test. Now in this text one encounters a distinction which Heidegger would like to be of decisive importance.l is today called forth by research I have been pursuing for a few years now in a sem­ inar on philosophical nationality and nationalism. it is certain texts of Heidegger's which constitute the test case itself. are for me the open questions questions opened by Heidegger and open with regard to Heidegger. I must say a few words about what. will perhaps illuminate the path I shall follow."2 I attempted to follow the trace and the stakes of Geschlech t.

the ultimate or the always penultimate question. as patient as possible. I held at Yale a sort of private seminar with some American friends. Why not stand firm and interrogate this prescription and this pro­ scription? Last year. if. which I reported to the Essex con­ ference. On the other hand. yet to come in Hei­ degger's text. and at the end of this conversation. Now here is the hypothesis I want to put to the test today by submitting it to you. which is never certain-and this is. . of the TImaeus-and especially of what relates to the chora in it. seemed to me to render at least problematical the interpretation of it that Heidegger puts forward in the Introduction to Metaphysics. for me at least. I distinguished four guiding threads. still within the same seminar. These questions concern the general interpretation of the history of onto­ theology or what I shall call. in preparation for another conference on Hei­ degger. I tried to define what appeared to me to be left hanging. there is one. not a central point of 8 . who is among us today.3 In replying to their questions or suggestions.C H A P T E R TWO to this distinction and this divide which organize the think­ ing of Geschlech t at this point on Heidegger's path . organized it and some of you were therel. a read­ ing. that is. the axiom a tics of Destruktion and of the ep­ ochal schema in general. at the University of Essex (David Krell. a single simple knot. uncertain. I had to ask myself: what ties together these four threads ? What interlaces them? What is the knot of this Ge­ flech t. even. So one is not obliged to forbid oneself in ad­ vance what Heidegger prescribes that one proscribe . Following the trace of Heidegger's spirituality would perhaps approach. But the use of this word. axiomat­ ics. still in movement and therefore. using a word which Heidegger would have refused and which I myself use for provisional convenience. Other questions could then be deployed and articulated among thems elves on the basis of this example. is suspect only from the point of view of this epochal schema itself.

then. to the question of the question. It belongs to the beyond and to the possibility of any question. when Heidegger differen­ tiates the modes of questioning. The first of the four threads leads. precisely. to the ques­ tion. Its verifi­ cation appears to me to be as paradoxica l as it is fated. essence and dignity of thought or the path of thought. Geist cannot fail to gather this interlacing insofar as. At stake in it is the truth of truth for Heidegger. for Heidegger.C H A P T E R TWO this knot-I believe there i s none-but approach what gath­ ers a nodal resistance in its most economical torsion. this "piety" of thought.o f. to understand to what extent this privileging of questioning itself remained pro­ tected. to the unquestionable itself in any question. the essentially questioning form. to the apparently ab­ solute and long unquestioned privilege of the Fragen .. I shall explain in conclusion why what I am presenting politely as a hyp othe s is must necessarily turn out to be true. and therefore one un-thought. in a non-negative way. in the last instance. Precise ly not protected from a question. even analyzing the reflexive repetition of such and such a question : "why 'why' ? " But. which is only un·gedacht insofar as it is. I would have liked.4 This de­ cision. as we shall see. he almost never stopped identifying what is highest and best in thought with the question. a truth the tautology of which does not even have to be discovered or invented. one of the names of collecting and gathering. nor from a thought of the unthought coming down again to the Heideg­ gerian determination of the un-thought ( one single and unique thought fo r every great thinker.S so still a 9 . There are in­ deed moments. the call or guarding of the question. as we shall verify. asking or interrogating. as though in advance. I know that this hypothesis is true. it is another name for the One and the Versammlung. it simple too. with the decision. un-gedacht. this call or this guarding: is it already the question ? Is it still the question? And why almost never? We must be patient here. it seems to me.

Now Geist.C H A P T E R TWO thought. as I will attempt to show. especially in the great ques­ tion of technology. is perhaps the name Heidegger gives. b eyond what must be saved. even though he recognizes that evil ( das Bose) is spiritual (geistlich). protected from a question. as i s marked by the intonation. protected from any original and essential contami­ nation by technology. The concern. the accentuation. always. tra­ ditionally philosophical. to envisage the necessity. It maintains the possibility of thought that questions. It is easy to imagine that the consequences of this necessity cannot be limited. then. be­ yond any other name. the emphasis. a purity internal to spirit. This matrix statement remains. Yet Geist. the very thing that saves (ret­ tet). A s econd thread conducts. these modes of avoidance or unavoidance which I was speaking of j ust now). It is even perhaps. the privilege of the ques­ tion having some relation already. Contamination. from that. Not. with this irredu­ cibility of technology. But what saves would not let itself be saved from this contamination. then. which is always thought of the es­ sence. at least in one of its aspects. to this typical and exemplary statement : the essence of technology is nothing technological. as I will try to suggest. per­ haps. of the thought of es­ s ence by technology. and so contamination by technology of the thinkable e ssence of technology-and even of a ques­ tion of technology by technology. also names what Heidegger wants to save from any destitution ( Entmachtung). to this unquestioned possibility of the que stion. What happens here will be in the difference between Geistigkeit and a certain (non-Christian) Geist­ lichkeit of the Geist whose purity Heidegger wants to save. was to analyze this desire for rigorous non-contamination and. one could say the fatal ne­ cessity of a con tamination-and the word was important to me-of a contact originarily impurifying thought or speech by technology. then. but from something else. 10 .

whether in relation to Heidegger or to others. it seems to me. This occurs in particular by means of a very problematical opposition.7 I offered a long analysis of Heidegger's discourse on the hand. dominates in a the­ matic or nonthematic way Heidegger's most continuous dis­ course. praxis. betwe en giving and taking. a still lively suspicion. pragm a ta. like the opposition between human and animal Dasein. or. explicit or not. it dictates the relations between prehension and reason ( vernehmen. and Zuhandensein. Vorhandensein. the essence of writing as handwriting (Hand­ schriftl outside of any technical mechanization or writing machine. and. but only man "has " the hand.6 Three years ago. and in a lecture which some of you will know. Vern unft I. I have made numerous references to this. the hand­ and not the hands-holds the essence of man) or be it. It organizes this passage of Was h eis s t Denken? . the relations between speech and the hand. the destruction of onto-theology. and so in the domain of the hand l im Bereich der Handl. from the repetition of the question of the meaning of Being. the seminar on Parmenides which takes up again the meditation around pragma.8 This problem concerns once more the relationship between animals and technology. It concerns the discourse of animal­ ity and the axiomatic. These last present themselves as vorhandene or zuhandene. which controls it. ten years earlier. from the existential analytic which redistributes the limits between Dasein. wherever this discourse takes shape -be it a thematic occurrence. first of all. Every time it is a question of hand and animal-but these themes cannot be circumscribed-Heidegger's discourse s eems to me to fall into a rhetoric which is all the more peremptory and authoritarian for having to hide a discomfiture. In these II . during the work on Geschlecht. over a very long pe­ riod. The interpretation of the hand.C H A P T E R TW O The third thread leads back to what remains for me a very old anxiety. rather. as in a passage of Was heisst Denken? (monkeys have prehensile or­ gans.

beginning with those of life and world? One can already see that these difficulties commu­ nicate with that of the Fragen Ithe animal isn't really ca­ pable of it). metaphysical or onto-theological determination of the spiritual Igeistig). But once again. of the foreclosure of certain bodies of thought. the axioms of the p rofoundest metaphysical humanism: and I do mean the profoundest. That. Il. for example. now withdrawn. such as that of Spinoza on the principle of sufficient reason. through the thinking of epochality. This is particularly manifest in the Fun damen ­ tal Concepts of Metaphysics. the animal is poor in world Iweltarm). in itself and in the way it is put to work.9 around some guiding theses to which I shall return later: the stone is without world Iweltlos ). I tried to bring out the impli­ cations of these theses. into what I shall call. as Heidegger would like. we shall see that epochal discrimination can be ordered around the difference-let us call it intraspiritual difference-between the Platonic-Christian. with that of spirit : what of the relationship between spirit and humanity. Why does Heidegger present such propositions as " theses. the hidden teleology or the narrative order." which is something he practically never does elsewhere. again.C H A P T E R TWO cases it leaves intact. man is world-forming Iweltbildend). sheltered in obscurity. with that of technology. then. from its Christian or ecclesial signification . I shall do so with a negative cer­ tainty and a hypothesis : the certainty of not fully under­ standing what. and for essential reasons ? Do not these " theses" affect in turn all the concepts used in them. spirit and animality? The fourth thread. finally. is just about the point I had reached when I decided to speak of spirit. leads. in the end. in the GesprQch with Trakl: this time it is the geistliche. their aporetical and nondissimulated difficulty or their interminably preparatory character. . spirit and life. rules Heidegger's spiritual idiom. etc. and another thinking of the spiritual as spoken. and finally. I insisted on the examples of the chora. a little provocatively.

And what would be more serious. The Unthought is the highest gift I Geschenk) that a thought can give . Needless to s ay. more drily serious. these unthoughts may well be min e and mine alone. would bring us nearer to the nexus of some unthoughts. liThe more original a thought." says Heidegger. li the richer its Un-thought b e­ comes ." 10 13 . perhaps the ambiguous clarity of flame. they may well give nothing.C H A P T E R TWO and the hypothesis that more clarity. to the interlacing of these four threads .

that is to say exceptionally. and we are interested in these exceptions which are in fact very different. in a sort of limitation (Beschriinkung) of Being. Heidegger will have inscribed the noun ( Geist) or the adjective (geistig. Being and appearance. Heidegger's statements rarely take the form of a definition of essence. axiological. or with the developments that he grants to questions such a s : "Why is there something rather than nothing? " "What is Being ? " "What is technology ? " "What is called thinking ? " etc. What is called spirit ? What does spirit call up ? Was heisst der Geis t? the title of a book Heidegger never wrote. or Being and value. according to the most forceful and permanent of metaphysical demands. No more did he oppose spirit to nature. no longer belongs to the order of these metaphysical or onto-theological meanings. Most often. or in the form. and most often in a sequence going from Descartes to Hegel. or axio-poetic: the spiritual. geistlich ): say in a linked group of concepts or philosophemes belonging to a decon­ structible ontology. Being and thinking. When they have to do with spirit. such as is contested by the Introduction to Metaphysics: Being and becoming. in other words in propositions which I will again risk calling axiomatic. Rarely. he never did so in the mode. Being and duty. Rather than a - 14 . then. even dialectically. Heidegger never asked himself "What is spirit ? /I At least. and even opposed to each other. No more did he make of spirit one of those grand poles that metaphysics is supposed to have opposed to Being.III To my knowledge.

spirit. Heidegger recalls this and asks for the greatest possible vigilance on this point. The word relates back to a series of meanings which have a common feature : to be opposed to the thing. the very resource for any deconstruction and the possibility of any evaluation. he also criticizes as an "abstract metaphysics of understanding./I 1 The existential analytic has in particular to mark its dis­ tance from two attempts. of the subjectivity of the subject as supposed by Descartes.ective determination of spirit that a delimitation (Abgrenzung) must disengage. one could say liberate. it is first of all a word whose meaning remains steeped in a sort of ontological obscurity.C H A P TE R T H R E E value. What then does he call spirit. and above all to the thingification of the subj ect. the exemplary precedent which opens the way to the existential analytic. Dasein finds itself given the task of prepar­ ing a philosophical treatise on the question "What is man?" It should be remembered that it precedes (li�gt vor. it is from this sub. two temptations also. This poses the on­ tological question of the sum which Descartes apparently left completely out of the question or out of the way [hors lieu ( vollig u nerort e t) (§lO. to the metaphysical determination of thing-ness. Geist? In Sein und Zeit. This is the series of soul. further. person. spirit is not the body. the existential ana­ lytic of Dasein. beyond a deconstruction. Of course. all anthropology. and thus avoid the risk of seeing a genealogy where there is rather a leap. Heideg­ ger's emphasis) all biology. It would have been nec­ essary to determine the Being of sum in order then to define the mode of Being of one's cogitationes. In starting. this being the other name Hegel gives to rational psychology which. On the one hand. one would get confused-this would be irrefiihrend-if one thought of the Cartesian cogito as the right historical example. like 15 . p . a rupture. consciousness. 46 ) 1 . spirit seems to designate. all psychology. One could say all pn eumatology. Spirit is not the thing. at any rate a radical problematization.

and thus the word spirit. It is what in no way allows itself to be thingified. All these words. one is opposed to what could be called " Seelen­ subs tanz. 22). person. des­ ignate domains of phenomenality which a phenomenology 16 . person-these concepts remain problematic or dogmatic. spirit. even if. Un­ til it has been submitted to an ontological clarification. Heidegger had already added to this series the I and reason. con­ sciousness. Geist thus forms part of the s eries of non-things. certainly. everything one understands "positively" ( positiv) when one speaks of non-thingified Being ( dem nichtverdinglichten Sein ) of subject. can. in §6. apparently. The accusation 'is aimed also at the phenomenology of spirit and. the idea of the subj ect continues to be bound up with the pos­ iting (Ansatz) of a subiectum or a hypokeimenon. or to any reification of consciousness ( Verdinglich ung des Bewusstseins ) (ibid. and there­ fore of some substance or substratum. etc. in silence.C H A P T E R T H R E E Descartes. and a fortiori of substantiality. But so long as the Being of what one understands by thing is not ontologically clari­ fied-not done. at the purely antic level. at trans cendental phenomenology and Husserl's cogito. soul. ) . If one does not clarify the ontological provenance of thing-ness. by Descartes or Hussed. or thing-ness (Dinglichkeit). For in order to reject thingification o r substantialization-a common gesture at the time of Sein und Zeit-one must also clarify the ontological provenance of what one under­ stands by " thing. At least they remain so from the p oint of view of an existential analytic of Dasein . of what in general one claims to oppose to the thing. spirit. It goes without saying that the unconscious belongs to the same set. " to psychic substantialism. will remain ontologically problematic.. ) . This was earlier on." reality. entitled "The task of a deconstruction (Destruktion) of the history of ontology" ( especially p . from an ego and subj ect given immediately. consciousness. soul. one misses the phenomenality of Dasein (ibid. or by anyone who might have recommended us not to thingify the subj ect.

Now who are we? Here. We were speaking a moment ago of the question. as it is inscribed in the network of the Gefragte (Being). who we are. must have no name other than Da-sein. that he is going to avoid them (verm eiden) In order to say what we are. the possi­ bility of the Fragen. of the ourselves in this discursive situation of Mitsein in which we can. Even if B eing must be given to us for that to be the case. Now precisely this entity which we are. let us not forget. This exemplarity can become or remain problematical. p. per­ haps no longer even a pro blem ati city.C H A P T E R T H R E E could explore. it appears to be indispensable to avoid all the concepts in the subj ective or subiectal series: in parti c­ ular that of spirit (§lO. of the Befragte der Seinsfrage. that is the entity which we are and which thus becomes the exemplary or privileged entity for a reading-Heidegger's word-of the meaning of Being. and know of "us " only this: the power or rather the possibility of questioning. But this ought not to dissimulate a still less apparent problematicity-which is. we are first and only determined from the opening to the question of Being. is chosen for the position of exemplary entity only from the experience of the question. Such is the exemplarity of the entity which we are. struc­ ture. The point of departure in the existential analytic is legitimated first of all and only from the possibility. precisely. say we. this "we" which. to our­ selves and to others. 17 . 46). then. experience. the experience of questioning. and regulated modifications of the Fragen. at the beginning of the existential analytic. we are only at this point. the Erfragte ( the meaning of Being). It could not even be determined as question or problem. Heidegger announces. These terms and these concepts have thus no rights i n an analytic of Dasein which seeks to determine the entity which we ourselves are. But one can use them in this way only if one makes oneself indifferent to all questions about the Being of each of these entities. For it depends on this .

and most secure determination? Even sup­ posing that this structure is described properly by Heidegger (which is not certain. as the un­ conscious would be just as well. along with its privilege (Vorrang). nor the order. it always and already demands the assur­ ance of a correct point of departure ( §9. subject-and Heidegger adds on life and man too-block any interroga­ tion on the Being of Dasein. One would then tum against it what Heidegger says himself: however provi­ sional the analysis. any worry as to the legitimacy or axiomatic ne­ cessity of such a point of departure in a reflection on the being-abl e-to-question would leave intact neither the prin­ ciple. They are all linked. when the words Geist and geistig are no longer avoided. 43 ) . When he says he must avoid them. of Sein und Zeit. but also soul or psyche. can we question this inscription in the structure of the Fragen from which Dasein will have received. ego. when the references to spirit are no longer held in the discourse of Destruktion and in the analytic of Dasein. And even when they inspire the modernity of eloquent discourses on the non-thingification or non­ reification of the subject.ectum. or concern for terminological odd­ ness (§lO. an indifference. consciousness. I insist on this point o f departure in the possibility of the Pragen not only for the reasons I pointed out at the start. A few years later. in the name of which the same words are avoided in Sein und Zeit. spirit itself will be defined by this manifestation and this force of the question. reason. but I leave that to one side for the moment). with­ out confirming it a priori and circularly. but rather celebrated. stubbornness. minimal. How. nor finally the interest of the existential analytic : in three words. 46) . Heidegger is right to emphasize that he does so not out of caprice. to the Cartesian position of the sub. they-and in particular the terms life and man-mark a lack of interest. The terms of this series : spirit. then. p.C H A P T E R T H R E E point of departure in a reflection on the question (it is better to say the Pragen) and its structural components. Of the question. its first. p. a re- .

In truth.C H A P T E R T H R E E markable " lack of need" (Bediirfnislosigkeit) for the ques­ tion of the Being of the entity which we are. interesting itself in. For what characterizes Vorh an den sein ? Well . The being-mine makes of Dasein something quite other than a case or an example of the genus of Being as Vorh an dene. also. not Gleichgiiltigkeit) is one more way of relating itself to. indifference (ln differenz this time. according to Heideg­ ger. its Being is not even indifferent (gleichgiiltig). for its part. because it can. to what it properly is. Its indifference in this case is only a modalization of its non-indifference. Each time one comes across the word "spirit" in this con­ text and in this series. For Das­ ein. and according to these categories. Heideg­ ger does not wonder at this point ( § 9 ). its proper Being. this being­ always-mine of Dasein which does not in the first place refer to a me or an ego and which had justified a first-prudent and. negative-reference to Descartes . of not being indifferent to it. has care for its Being. about animals. It is neither indifferent nor not in­ different ( weder gleichgiiltig noch ungleichgiiltig) . recognize in it the same indifference: not o nly for the question of Being in general but for that of the entity which we are. to the entity as Vor­ handene. this Durchs­ chnittlichkeit which Heidegger claims he does not want to 19 . On the other hand. whose Being-mine can only pass into discourse by ap­ pealing to personal pronouns (I am. in the end. You cannot say that a stone is indifferent to its Being without being anthropomorphic. it makes sense to say of Dasein that it can be indifferent to the question of its Being. the fact of being indifferent to its proper Being. precisely because it is not. more precisely for this lemeinigkeit. It characterizes the everyday nature of Dasein. one should thus. This last indifference (lndifferenz) to its own Being is not at all that of the stone or the table. He would doubtless have some difficulties in doing so. you are). but we will come back to this. precisely. what in every­ dayness brings everything down to the average. This indifference distinguishes it from Dasein which. not be.

20 . there is indifference (Indiffer­ enz) as a positive phenomenon of Dasein. one continues to dete rmine the "who" ontologically as a subject existing in the form of Vorhandenheit. consciousness. . the reification of COD­ sciousness. To say that the essence of being-there is . There is further. As a result. etc. for example since Descartes. Firs t. Through this indifference we keep to concepts such as spirit. zu fragen this lack of the need to ask questions about Being. They lead of necessity to the limitation of the question of Being. substantia ) as the thought of the subject (hypokeimenon). Now what is the root of this interpretation that makes of the "who" an enduring form of existence ? It is a vulgar concept of time. The concept of spirit must there­ fore b e avoided insofar as it is itself founded on such an in­ terpretation of time." Here then are three types of indifferen ce. manifests this remarkable Be­ durfnislosigkeit nach dem Sein . The " spirit" granted it in that case is itself affected by this substantial subj ectivity and this Vorh an denh eit. Heidegger submits it to Destruktion in the course of this de-limitation ( Umgrenzung) of the ana­ lytic of being-there. person. Second.C H A P T E R T H R E E denounce as a negative phenomenon. This last indifference has a paralyzing effect as much when facing the thought of the thing-ness of the thing (res. about the Being of the entity which we are. the indifference which in the history of metaphysics. But there is an analogy be­ tween these two last manifestations of indifference. there is the absolute indifference of the vorhandene entity: the stone is placed even before the difference between indiffer­ ence and its opposite. third. to interpreting the "who" of Dasein as something which endures in a substan­ tial identity of the type Vorh andensein or of the subj ect as Vorhandensein. even a common condition of possibility. or the obj ectivity of the person. however much one protests against the substantiality of the soul. soul. ." but a "positive phenomenal charac­ teristic. Indifference in this case "is not nothing. And first of all about one 's proper Being.

The ani­ mal. is certainly not a Vorhandene. but no more does it have any share in the ques­ tioning "we/' the starting point of th e analysis of Dasein. If one day Sein und Zeit were to be translated [into French]. which not only does not transla te but reintroduces into the pro­ gram the very thing that had to be avoided. 9 5 ) . there appears to be assigned a task. as Heidegger recognizes elsewhere. precisely at the very 21 .C H A P T E R T H R E E "existence " in the sense Heidegger gives it then. Boehm and de Waelhens well understood that it was necessary to avoid all the French words which might tempt the translator and immediately throw him off the track : esprit [ spiritt ame [soulL creur [heart]. is also to say that "the 'substance' of man is not spirit as a synthesis of the soul and the body but existen ce" (§25. then. Is it indifferent or not indifferent and in what sense ? We will come back to this . What passes for the rebirth or modern period of philosophical thinking is only the "root­ edness of a deathly prejudice" which held back an ontologi­ cal and thematic analytics of Gemiit (§6. They then imagined a strange stratagem. the translation of Gemiit by "esprit/. So it does not have the absolute indifference of the stone. a foreign recourse : take up the Latin and Cartesian word mens. if not on the program of all this deconstruction (Destruktion) of spirit. p. did not displace medieval theology. On the ho­ rizon. It escapes the worst confusion. What would be the worst confusion? Well. In stopping at the distinction between ens creatum and ens in­ finitum or increatum. I do not know which term would be the least inadequate. the destiny or further becoming of which in Heidegger's work ought to be followed: the " thematic ontological ana­ lytic of Gemiit. At least the ar­ tificial detour via mens signals a difficulty. medieval theology failed to interro­ gate the Being of this ens." Is there a French equivalent for this last word ? A word f�r word ? I don't see one. 1 1 7 ). p . Let us note in passing that this concept of indifference does not provide any means of placing the animal. It is not Dasein. Descartes.

Heidegger allows for the differences between these. and all the conceptual apparatus organized around psyche and life in Dilthey. at this point. B ergson. as if to confuse every­ thing. the concept of spirit. that one avoid jvermeiden ) this word. The same de-limitation affects just as much the "sciences of spirit. In short. this concept of spirit must be deconstructed. 1985) rus h e s headlong. Comparable developments are to be found in The Fun dam en tal Problems of Phenomen ology j§15 ) . spirit and body). it is the same inability to interrogate the Being of the person. but he inscribes in the same set all those who refer to life and intentional structure. Now this is the very word towards which the Martineau-Vezin translation jParis : Gallimard. apart from any ontological question as to what makes man a unity jsoul. consciousness. is thus indeed an analytic of Gemiit. 22 . What it lacks.C HAP TER T H R E E moment when Heidegger prescribes. Whether in Hussed or Scheler. in this very context." history as science of spirit or psychology as sci­ ence of spirit jgeisteswissensch aftliche Psychologie). in personalisms or philosophical an­ thropologies .

Something which the word " spirit " still names between quotation marks thus al­ lows itself to be salvaged. And yet. this un-avoidance now sup­ poses and will henceforth maintain the earlier delimitation. along with the word. To be sure. marks . Spirit returns. He thus assumes it without assuming it.3 . already. No. As early as Sein und Zeit. Neither in Sein un d Zeit nor later. uneigentlich. There then begins. in a word Latino-Cartesian. and will always do so. at the other end of the same book. Yes. The catharsis of the quo­ tation marks frees it from its vulgar. he avoids it in no longer avoiding it.IV Should we close Sein und Zeit at this point? Do the many developments devoted to the heritage of the Cartesian graft add nothing to these premises ? Is this the book's last word on the theme of spirit ? Yes and no. because the rhetorical strategy is displaced when a step is taken. even enclosed in quotation marks. insofar as the premises and the deconstruction will never be called into question again. something of spirit-doubtless what signals towards Ge­ miit-allows itself to be withdrawn from the Cartesian­ Hegelian metaphysics of subj ectivity. Heidegger takes up the val­ ues and the word " spirit. It does not contradict. The word "spirit" starts to become acceptable again. in the direction of this analytic of Ge­ miit." simply in quotation marks. the slow work of reappropriation which 2. but confirms and renews the neces­ sity of avoiding ( verm eidenl.

purely and simply. one sees a double of spirit announcing it­ self. the same logic this time imposes recours e to quotation marks. The obscurity of the thing would remain entire. avoided. Heidegger begins ( this is only a first m o ve ) by avoiding. This time it has to do with space and time. with a re­ Germanization. in the form of Vorhandensein of a bodily thing (Korperding) and a spiritual thing ( Geistding) . in quo­ tation marks.C H A P T E R F O U R will merge. The spectrality would be no more an accident of spirit than of Geist. The word " spirit" returns. transferred. this one. One must not say that being-in-a-world ( das In-Sein in ein er Welt) is a spiritual property ( ein e geistige Eigenschaft). As for space. But this latter is possible only on the ba­ sis of its being-in-the-world in general. becomes as it were the spectral silhouette-but already legible. If one did say this. it is no longer rej ected. One would be giving in to the naive opinion (naIve Meinung) according to which a man. Between the quotation marks. a spiritual thing. But in a secon d move. first of all. deported (versetzt) into a space ( § 1 2. as I should like to demonstrate. the s econdary nature of which would have to be derived from a becoming-spatial . would see himself after the fact (nach triiglich ) transposed. of the thing and of the word. 5 6 ) . and of which it is.of another. one would return to the obscure problem of a being­ together. scarcely leg­ ible. More precisely. traversing it like an index finger show­ ing something b eyond itself. the traditional concept of spirit. the spirit of another spirit. Dasein is not a spiritual interiority. spirit visible in its letter. p. through the grid they impose. in other words will write-negatively. Through the word of Cartesian metaphysics or of the subjective graft. as it were. the metaphysical ghost. indi- . Heidegger will name. One must not say that man's spatiality characterizes his body alone. but used in its deconstructed sense to designate something other which resembles it. It has its own being-in-space (ein eigenes "im-Raum -s ein " ) .

to be sure. it is because Dasein is not a vorhan dene thing that it is spatial. silently-something which is not. "history. but of time. above all. However. on this occasion. not what it would have considered as the opposite of spirit: the spatial thing. the quotation marks provide the same surveillance around the word "spirit" when it is no longer a question of space. and only for that reason ( und n ur deshalb) be spatial according to a modality which remains essen­ tially impossible for an extended corporeal thing. which is essentially history of spirit. this .11t) into time. the inanimate. etc. It is thus because it is "spiritual" ( this time in quo­ tation marks." how can spirit thus fall into time. to the contrary. what is at stake is not symmetrical . only by virtue of such a " spirituality. It is by virtue of this "spirituality" that Dasein is a being of space and. because it is "spiritual " ( "geis­ tig"). what the old discourse called " spirit. The development now belongs to a veritable thematics of spirit.C H A P T E R F O U R recdy. the body. What is at stake now is to stress that spatiality does not be­ fall a spiritual Dasein which would. despite the analogous logical or rhetorical move­ ment." We must make our­ selves attentive in the first instance to these mute signs­ the quotation marks and the underlining: Neither can the spatiality of Dasein be interpreted as an imperfection which would be inherent to existence by virtue of the fatal "union of spirit with a body. as Hegel says. unfolds 'in time'. the outside." Das­ ein can. into this pure sensible order. p.368) Further on in the book. Heidegger even underlines it. ( § 70. but quite differ­ ently spatial from what one calls physical and extended things. To the contrary. through the body. If. of course ) that it is spatial and that its spatial­ ity remains original. and more pre­ cisely of the Hegelian interpretation of the relations be­ tween spirit and time ( §8 2 ) . fall after the fact into space." if therefore "the development of history falls (fo." but in any case.

the negation of the negation. Its essence is the concept. i. the self-conceiving I das sich Begreifen ) as grasping of the non-I l als Erfassen des Nich t-1eh ).6 . a difference of difference l ein Un terseheiden des Un terschieds). prescribed.e.. It is "against" (gegen ) this Hegelian concept of time. It therefore calls for the same decon­ struction. proper. with it as back drop.e. the essence of time and the essence of spirit must have been interpreted in a certain fashion by He­ gel. the essence of spirit. treat it as though it were simp ly not to his taste. in other words a grasping of this difference. that authentic.428 ). nonvulgar tem­ porality stands out. ruled by the epoch of the Cartesian cogito. What has to be brought out? That the idea of a fall of spirit into time pre­ supposes a vulgar concept of time.C H A P T E R F O U R "insensible sensible " I das unsinnliehe Sinnliehe)? For such a fall to be possible. There is thus in the pure concept. it remains to be 2. i. it must also present itself as negation of the negation. against this vulgar concept.e. the form of thought when it thinks itself.. Heidegger says that he does not wish to criticize Ikritis­ ieren ) this double interpretation. p. If spirit "fall s " into a time itself determined as negation of the negation. The Hegelian determination of spirit indeed remains ordered. And it is indeed a logical formalization of the Cartesian cogito. the temporality which forms the tran­ scendental horizon of the question of Being in Sein und Zeit. For the Hegelian concept of time represents or presents I dars tellt)-Heidegger says this has not been sufficiently no­ ticed. i. Did not Hegel hail Descartes as the Christopher Columbus of philosophical modernity ? If there is an identity of formal structure between spirit and time. The argumentation now becomes tortuous and would merit a long analysis . It is just this which gives the essence of spirit the formal apophantic determination which was required-that of a negation of the negation.lithe most radical conceptual elaboration of the vul­ gar understanding of time" 1 §82. of consciousness as cogito me cogitare rem. grasping of self as grasping of non-self.

facing spirit. According to the declared proj ect of Sein und Zeit. In their formal abstraction. But Hegel always conceives of time in vulgar fashion. Hegel says nothing about this. and so the being-there of the essence of spirit. opposed (gegen ­ fiber). ex­ teriorized. even though it has power over it? According to Heidegger. as though external to it. is there in front. One must be coming from this vulgar interpretation to say of spirit that it "falls into time." in to a time which is there in fron t of it. outside it and as its opposite (steh t sie dem Geist als ein Vorhandenes einfach gegen fi­ ber). then. No m ore does he ask the question as to whether the essential consti­ tution of spirit as negation of negation is not in fact possible only on the basis of an originary and non-vulgar temporali­ zation. Thi s is due to the obvious privileging of time. Now it is precisely when he undertakes to explicate this originary temporality that Heidegger finally takes up the word "spirit" as his own. as "levelled world-time" the provenance of which remains hidden. . and twice " Der 'Geis t ' " in quota­ tion marks . the being-there of the concept. and twice. spirit and time are outside. But what is signified by this fall and this effectuation ( Verwirklich ungJ of spirit into a time which remains foreign or external to it. although analogous. facing spirit. . whence their affinity ( Ver­ wandsch aft J . itself under­ stood in the sense of subj ectity. Time. present after the fashion of an ob-ject. an entity standing there in front. were not simply symmetrical to those enclosing the word " geistig" in the analysis of the spatiality of Dasein.C H A P T E R F O U R explained that one of them appears to "fall" into the other. we know that time forms the transcendental horizon of existential analysis. He still interprets time as a Vorh an d en es. divested (entQussert). he leaves it obscure. of the question of the meaning of Being and of any related question in this context. Two sentences. but twi ce in quotation mark s We were saying just now that these quotation marks.

italicized) of temporality. Fallen will no longer be the Pallen of spirit into time. in quotation marks. such as it is represented by the vulgar interpreta­ tion of Cartesian-Hegelianism: as a Vorh an den es. eigen tlich e Zeitlichkeit) . but it exists ( ex­ is tiert. a "spirit. I emphasize the fact. There is indeed a "fall. The falls it causes are not from spirit [de l 'esprit] into time. p. the descent. italicized) as originary temporalization (Zeiti­ gung. one ought just as much to speak of the fall of one spirit into the other. But this "falling" itself has its existenfial possibility in a mode of its temporalization which belongs to tem­ porality. This temporalizes the time of the world in the horizon of which "history" [also in quotation marks. [§82. There is indeed. but : factitious existence ( die fak tische Existenz ) "fall s " ( "fiill t " ) i n that i t falls ( als verfallen de) from (or out­ side. I dare not say from time to time or now and then [de temps en temps au de temps Q autre] . one time into another." in quotation marks. inauthentic. still playing with the quotation marks. improper. but the lowering. italicized) originary and proper temporality ( authentic : urspriingliche. At this point." but it does not fall into time. Hei­ degger will displace the fall. 4361 28 . or the degradation of an original temporalization into a tem­ porality that is separated into different levels. aus. JD] as intratemporal happening can appear. but the falls it causes are from one time to the other. And if " spirit" in quotation marks becomes temporalization itself. In the sentence I am about to read. But from time into time. the " Pallen " in quotation marks (citing Hegel) relates back to Verfallen as it is written without quotation marks in the analytic of Dasein: " Spirit" (Der " Geist" ) does not fall in to time.C H A P T E R F O U R This i s the first sentence at the end of the same paragraph 82: " Spirit" does not first fall into time.

spirit does not fall into time. it lets itself be affected in itself. He mentioned its possible use . the same word. by something like falling or Verfallen. but also another. to time. It returns. Despite its discreet turbulence. It is neither evil nor accident. behind or be­ tween the quotation marks. despite this doubling which seems already to affect it with an obsessive specter. If fall there be. We will have to remind ourselves of this much later when Heidegger insists on the spiritual essence of evil. provisionally resort to the distinc­ tion put forward by speech-act theory between use and men­ tion . held at a dis­ tance by the procedure of quotation marks. in short. In order to describe this situation. but perhaps what is at stake is also to put the limits of such a distinction to the test. This spirituality will determine a semantic value for the word geistlich. It would not be to Heidegger's taste. he first of all used it negatively. as Hegel s ays. which Heidegget will even want to de-Christianize. to the movement of temporalization. although it belongs in common parlance to the church code. flanked with discriminatory signs. in two words. as from outside. There is thus a vast distance to cover. let us momen­ tarily. in a word or two. that form for Sein und Zeit the very horizon of the question of Being: there is a falling from one time into the other. But the focus then will be on Geistlichkeit and no longer on Geis tigkeit. for convenience. spirit is essentially temporali­ zation. We are still in 1 926-2 7 . But we already perceive. this spirit which is not other than time. Heidegger does not take up as his own the word II spirit" j he barely gives it shelter.C H A P T E R F O U R In a word. he mentioned it as the word no longer to use. the word is contained at the doorstep or held at the frontier. Through these artifices of writing it is. it is for rea­ sons that are essential. Heidegger began by using the word II spirit. and not accidentally. the hospitality offered is not without reservation." More precisely. In another sense and with the obligatory quotation marks. as Heidegger also thinks. to be sure. Even when it is admitted. it is not an accidental evil. At any rate.

Then. unless it alter the same word. as with the discur­ sive context which determines them. unless it re-call the other under the same. he used it on his own account but with quotation marks.C H A P T E R F O U R as what had to be excluded. it calls for another word. as though citing or b orrowing a word he wanted to put to an­ other use. With its quotation marks. in a second moment. another appellation. 30 . as though still mentioning the discourse of the other. What counts most is the sentence in which this subtle-in fact inextricable-interlacing of "use" and "mention" is done. The sentence transforms and displaces the concept . the same appellation.

a veil or a curtain. Not closed. spirit in its spirit and in its letter. and these places are always dramatic. but be­ cause twenty years later. And there's a coup de thea tre immediately.v It's the law of quotation marks. the suspense of the spectator and the tension which follows the credits. and here we have the Rectorship Ad­ dress: the curtain-raising is also the spectacle of academic solemnity. the lifting [levee] of the quotation marks marks the raising [le ver] of the curtain. And here it makes its appearance. The apparatus lends itself to theatricalization. inflamed. In the wings. Heidegger 31 . Two by two they s tand guard : at the frontier or before the door. unless it's delegating its ghos t. suddenly. again. Six years later. Spirit's affirmation. not only because of what a reference to flame can illuminate of the terrifying moment which is deploying its specters around this theater. inflam ed: I say this not only to evoke the pathos of the Rectorship Address when it celebrates spirit. spirit was waiting for its moment. There is the time this suspen­ sion lasts : six years. its Geist. with the overture : the entry on stage of spirit itself. assigned to the threshold in any case. Spirit itself. exactly twenty years. the splendor of the staging celebrating the quo­ tation marks' disappearance. just slightly open. with a single blow and not three. Then. 1 933. It pre­ sents itself. Yes. Geist affirms itself through the self-affirmation of the Ger­ man university. and als o to the hallucination of the stage and its machinery: two pairs of pegs hold in suspension a sort of drape.

die Selbstbeh a uptung der deutschen Universitiit. an order given. Self-affirmati()n wan ts to be (we must emphasize this wanting) the affirmation of spirit through Fiihrung. Self-affirmation. conducted from guide to guide. Later. This is a spiritual con­ ducting. apparently. spirit's very order. thus allowing us to conclude th at Geist is no more heard in the Greece of the philosophers than in the Greece of the Gospels. the guide-here the Rec­ tor-says he can only lead if he is himself led by the inflex­ ibility of an order. Conse­ quently. by spirit. the severe economy of a writing holding back declaration within a discipline of severely observed markers. already. be said. duction or conduction. is traversed. directors di­ rected by the affirmation of this spiritual mission. and the value of mission: sending. but the Fiihrer. the self-affirmation of the German university will be possible only through those who lead. the Fiihrung. of course. first of all. the rigor or even the directive rigidity of a mission (Auftrag) . to say nothing of Roman deafness : Geis t is flame. without which it is impossible to think Evil.C H A P T E R F I V E will say of Geis t. we shall have to recognize a passage between this affirma tion . And this could. steeped. illuminated. while themselves being led. of leading. The word II order" designating both the value of command. determined ( bestimmt)-I mean both defined and des­ tined-called for. and thus thought. would not be what it is if it were not of the order of spirit. How are we to explain this sudden inflammation and in­ flation of Geist ? Sein un d Zeit was all tortuous prudence. only in German. that in the first place it is neither pneuma nor spiritus. would be impossible. would not b e heard. So how does Heidegger get from this to the eloquent fervor and the sometimes rather righteous proclamation dedicated to the self-affirmation of the German university? What is the leap from the one to the other? And what in spite of this is confirmed and continued from the one to the other? Each word of the title. spiritual. This is also.

the inaugural 33 . geistig. Heidegger himself emphasizes the adjective " spiritual" (geistig) . with­ out doubt. of the sensible and the intelligible. read­ ing Gerard Granel's [French) translation: not only because it is the first word to be stressed. Before any question and to make possible the question itself. but because this adjective. but I do not think that things can be reduced to that. The latter would no longer have anything Pla­ tonic-metaphysical or Christian-metaphysical about it. And yet. the raising of the curtain on the first act. is the first paragraph of the Rectorship Ad­ dress. Right from the opening of the Address. in the Rectorship Address. in his own name and not in a commentary on Trakl. the lifting of the quotation marks. As the highest agency of the insti­ tution thus erected. a verbal adjustment which takes a certain time? Up to a point. of commitment in the form of a reply. of this "high school " (hohe Sch ule). Is this simply a terminological incoherence. in the move­ ment of an authentication or identification which wish themselves to be properly German. I shall emphasize it in my turn. as we shall hear. it cannot be dissociated from this affirmation of spirit. the Geistigkeit to which Heidegger appeals is already opposed to " the Christo-theological interpretation of the world which followed" (Die nachkommende christlich­ th eologisch e Weltdeu tung ) .C H A P T E R F I V E and a certain thinking of consent. Heidegger will say then. which are carried off. of agreement or confidence (Zusage). The German character of this university is not a second­ ary or contingent predicate. remains caught in the metaphysico-Platonic-Christian oppositions of the below and the beyond. is the word which twenty years later will be opposed to geistlich. spirit can do nothing other than affirm itself-and this. It is thus the first thing he stresses. of the low and the high. l But there is no Geistlichkeit yet. whereas geistig. of a responsible acquiescence. Here. di­ rected upwards from the heights. a sort of word given in return. then.

since it leads the very lead­ ers. Now force is just as regularly. It precedes. Heidegger says sometimes Priigekraft (p. S [47011 or priigen de Kraft (p. and in the highest. Without being able to enter into this problem. then. I would point out that the figure of the imprint is associated here. which runs the risk of making us forget that Fiihrer was at that time very common in German) are themselves guided-guided by the inflexibility of this spiritual mission (jenes geis­ tige Auftrags ). 20 [477J ) . But this essence comes to the clarity. associated with spirit in the sense that it is celebrated thereafter without quotation marks. academic procession-spirit is at the head. the constraining nature of which im­ prints the destiny of the German people with its spe­ cific historical character. and even an onto-typological motif. Its recurrences in the Rectorship Ad­ dress must be interrogated retrospectively in light of the letter to Junger (Zur Seinsfrage) and what relates there to the modern accomplishment of subj ectity. just as essentially. 34 . owe their existence and their strength only to a true common rootedness in the es­ sence of the German university.C H A P T E R F I V E celebration of spirit: cortege. anticipates [previen tJ and gives the direction to be followed-to the spiritus rector (whose directives we know better today) and to those who follow him: To take over the rectorship is to oblige oneself to guide this high s chool spiritually ( die Verpflich tung zur geis­ tigen Fiihrung dieser h oh en Sch ule ) . the rank and the power which are its own only if first of all and at all times the guiders [guideursJ ( Fuhrer: I prefer "guide" to "guider. masters and pupils. A typological motif. Those who follow. regularly and essentially. of the imprint ( Geprage) marked in the destiny of the German people. (p S [470] ) . This final sentence speaks. as Lacoue­ Labarthe would put it. with that of force." a rather rare and perhaps neologistic word.

1 .tself-as will: will to know and will to essence. he links this predicative deter­ mination to a series of headings whose importance there is no need for me to stress. the decision which gives its possibil­ ity of opening to Eigen tlichkeit. Heidegger takes it up for his own. I will name four of them to prepare for the reading of this definition. the authentic property of Dasein.und bluth aften Kriifte als Mach t. It is certainly presented in the form of a definition: S is P. Even before the definition of spirit. wh ich manifests here-and manifests i. or later S chelling or Holderlin. Next there i s the world. Science and Ger­ man destiny must. Finally. 3S . Like the renewed quest of Fragen. in the sense of willing the spiritual historical mission of the German people ( Wille zum geschich t­ lichen geistegen Auftrag des deutschen Volkes) as a people that knows itself in its State. achieve power (Mach t ) at th e same time. Further. First there is ques tioning. for the first time to my knowledge (subsequently he does so only twice. in this will to essence. there is the theme of earth-and-blood: /I erd. . Fragen. determination. Hegel. there is Entschlossenheit: reso­ lution. No longer speaking of spirit as in Descartes. which reaffirms it. a central theme of Sein und Zeit. and still linked to force. . /1 4. Heidegger offers a definition of spirit. He is no longer mentioning the discourse of the other.7 [47 1 l J 2 . still in essential and internal con­ tinuity with Sein und Zeit. And without any possible doubt. it marks the pro­ found continuity between Sein und Zeit and the Address. 3. and above all.C H A P T E R F I V E At the centre of the Address. this will had been affirmed earlier in the Ad­ dress : To will the essence o f the German university i s t o will science. . in texts on Schelling and on Trakl l. /p.

questioning ( fragenden ) and exposed. then this will to essence creates for our people its most intimate and extreme world of danger.C H A P T E R F I V E Here now is this key paragraph. the word esprit. as the most intimate power of e-motion (mach t der innersten Erregung) and the vastest power of disturbance of its existence (Dasein ) . of a resolu­ tion which accords with the tone of the origin and which is knowledge [savoir]. to designate Witz and Geist]. -between Geist and Witz. wissen de En tschlossenh eit zum Wesen des Seins). arsenal of bits of knowledge [connaissances] and usa­ ble values. but spirit is the being-resolved to the essence of Being ( urspriinglich gestimmte. For it imposes the con­ straint that the constant decision between the will to grandeur on the one hand. but the deepest power of conservation of its forces of earth and blood. and no more is it an . with these four determi­ nations of spirit: If we want the essence of science in the sense of this manner of h olding firm. nor even the reason of the world [probably an al­ lusion to Hegel]. And the spiritual world (geistige Welt. Only a spiritual world (Eine geistige Welt allein ) guar­ antees the people its grandeur. For "spirit" [in quotation marks. nor the unlimited work of analysis of the understand­ ing. nor the gratuitous game of joking [ Spiel des Witzes: this distinction between spirit and the mot d'esprit. in other words its true spiritual world (seine wahrha/t geistige Welt: geistige is underlined) . give its rhythm to the . recalls the Kant of the Anthropology noting that a feature of the French spirit was marked in the fact that French has only one word. but this time to recall in a still neg­ ative definition the spirit others talk of] is neither empty sagacity. and on the other the laisser­ faire of decadence ( des Ver/alls ). underlined) of a people is not the superstructure of a culture. in the midst of the uncertain ty of entities in their totality.

the hyphen [trait d'union] between spirit and history plays a very signif­ icant role in a passage which makes of the Fragen the very assignment of spirit. (pp. literally. with a hyphen. the adjectives geistig and geschich tlich : geistig-geschich tlich is Dase.C H A P T E R F I V E march our people has begun toward its future history. 18 [477] ) . And what is true of history is true of the world. One other thing seems as clear : in a sense which would. 1 3 -14 [474-75]) The celebration corresponds properly. to an exalta­ tion of the spiritual . The question is of spirit or it is not : Such an original concept of science carries the obli­ gation not only of lIobj ectivity" ( II Sachlichkeit" ). This association will be constant. 17 [477] ) . and still in order to follow this trace of the question and its privilege. precisely. spirit has here no longer the sense of metaphysical subject­ ity. but again and above all of the essentiality and simplicity of 37 . the profound and the haughty are allied in the most high : the highest of what guides the spir­ itual guides of die hohe Schule and the depth of the forces of earth and blood. It is an elevation. Heidegger associates. in them that the spir­ itual world consists. This is not only a question of the kerygmatic tone. Spirit does not belong to subj ectity. in the In tro­ duction to Metaphysics. at least in its psychical or egological form. On several occa­ sions. But still in the Address. geschich tlich -geistig is the world (p. of proclamation or decla­ ration. I shall insist on the following point: the union. historicity is immediately and essentially determined as spiritual. But of an exaltation in which is declared and erected the most high. As always. two years later. for it is not certain that the massive voluntarism of this Address is not still caught up in the same epoch of subj ectity. like to think itself not Hegelian.in (p. There is no contradiction with Sein und Zeit in this re­ gard. As to what is clear in this exaltation. to be sure. For it is.

We have just seen how the force of its imprint marks the self-affirmation. And even. that of the people (inmitten der geschich tlich -geistigen Welt des Volkes ) . These latter are always associated among themselves inasmuch as they are united with spirit. the p eople. the existence of Dasein in the experience of the question. 2. its university as will to know and will to essence. libid. in the legislation of faculties and departments.C H A P T E R F I V E questioning ( des Fragens ) at the center of the spiritual world which is. or even claimed be­ fore different authorities. the will to essence. the hyphen between the world. It remains to confirm that the same spiritual imprint is in­ scribed in the academic organization. [477] ) ' The s elf-a!firmation of th e German university: every word of the title is. Responsibility properly assumed. which form its urgency. this Address calls for at least three readings. that is. or rather three protocols of interpretation. as such. [4781 ) A s for what i s commanded or recommended of spirit in it. To the extent that he countersigns the assignment of spirit. T his responsibility is nonetheless exercised according . history. it is solely from this that objectivity can receive i ts true foundation. the author of this Address. cannot exempt himself from any responsibility. signing in the same s troke the being-German of the people and of their world. steeped in the exalting cele­ bration of this spirit. His discourse is first of all that of response and responsi­ bility. as we said. three evalu­ ations. Spirit writes their hyphen. the form of the people's one spiritual world ( die eine geistige Welt des Volkes) (ibid. the will to know. so as to give to the powers of existence (Mach te des Daseins). 1 . in other words find its genre and its limits. in the community ( Gemein ­ sch aft) of masters and pupils : The faculty i s a faculty only i f i t deploys itself in a capacity for spiritual legislation (geistiger Gesetzge­ bung) rooted in the essence of science. historially.

on the other hand. and on all before whom. even if in its voluntarist form. Heidegger thus confers the mo s t reas­ suring and elevated spiritual legitimacy on everything in which.2 But. at least double. but natural." 3. And one could r ep roach him for this. etc . The constraint of this program remains very strong. Tortuous. Thi s ad­ dress seems no longer to belong simply to the "ideological" camp in which one appeals to obscure forces-forces which would not be spiritual.C H A P T E R F I V E to a strategy. on everything he thus sanctions and consecrates at such a height. and again in conclusion when he speaks of the destiny of the West. accord­ ing to an anything but spiritual interpretation of "earth and blood. The force to which Heidegger appeals. this sets apart I demarque] Heidegger's commitment and breaks an affiliation. the strategy can al­ ways hold an extra surprise in reserve for whoever thinks he controls it. as one must. What is the price of this strategy? Why does it fatally tum back against its " subj ect"-if one can use this word. And we will find this theme of spirit and of the West again. racial. he commits himself. by once again making it a unilaterality of subjectity. ques­ tioning. one cannot be opposed to them except by rein scribing spirit in an oppositional determination. in the text on Trakl. it reigns over the majority of discourses which. ) . is thus a " spiritual force " (geistige Kraft) . today and for a long time 39 . as he will lat er reproach Nietzsche for having exalted the spirit of ven­ geance into a " spirit of vengeance spiritualized to the high­ est point" ( em hochst vergeistigter Geist der Rache). he might have been trying to absolve or save it by marking it with this affirmation (spirituality. By the same token. from racism in its geneti c form. though displaced. biological. One could say that he spiritualizes National Social­ ism. in fact ? Because one cannot demarcate oneself from biologism. from naturalism. by taking the risk of spiritualizing nazism. science. On the one hand.

to nazism. This "fact" [fait]. of course. or in other words. Of the double which can never be separated from the single. haunting] . The question of knowing which is the least grave of these forms of complicity is always there-its urgency and its serious­ ness could not be over-stress ed-but it will never dissolve the irreducibility of this fact. because it is not yet done [fait]. if not to narne. whatever place one occup ies in it. If its program seems diabolical. a phantom. this equivocation has to do with the fact that Geist is always haunted by its Geist: a s pirit. Is this not what Heidegger will never finally be able to . directly or not.. In the Rectorship Address. Metaphysics always returns. and at least. All the pitfalls of the strategy of estab­ lishing demarcations belong to this program. not altogether [ pas tout a.3 in the name of an axiomatic-for example. . and do this in the name of spirit. comes back to this meta­ physics of subjectity. I mean in the s ense of a revenan t [ghost]. it capitalizes on the worst.and the gesture that is still metaphysical. Even if all forms of complicity are not equivalent. they are irreducible. state their opposition to racism. is not simply a fact. it is because. The only choice is the choice between the terrifying contaminations it assigns. without there being anything fortuitous in this. as for what in it remains to come after the disasters that have happened. fait] : it calls more than ever." This is what we should have to try to designate. First. to fascism. this risk is not just a risk run. for absolutely unprecedented responsi­ bilities of " thought " and " action. to totalitarianism. that of democracy or "human rights "-which. etc. and Geist is the most fatal figure of this revenance [returning. Behind the ruse of quotation marks of which there is never the right amount ( always too many or too few of theml. always surprises by returning to be the oth­ er's ventriloquist. in French [and English] as in Ger­ man. and even of the freedom of ( the) spirit. and begin to analyze here. that is on both evils at once : the sanctioning of nazism.C H A P T E R F I V E to come.

No more than in 1 933 does it rehabilitate the concept of spirit de constructed in Sein un d Zeit. as in Sein und Zeit. as in the Rekoratsrede. extends it. at the beginning of t h e In ­ troduction to Metaphysics. a singularity always inspires mis takes. turns out to be warded off by means of Destruktion.C H A P T E R F I V E avoid ( vermeiden ). The rhetoric is no longer. when he speaks of the Zweideutigkeit in which " every essential form of spirit" stands ? 4 The more singular a figure of spirit. Here we have a teaching lan­ guage. that the other spirit. Now philosophy is one of the essential forms of spirit : indepen­ dent. two years after the Rectorship Address. the raising of the curtain or the lifting of the quotation marks. the phantom of subjectity. that of a treatise. However we interpret this awesome equivocality. to be sure. explains it. 41 . Is this duplicity the same as the equivocality or the am­ biguity which Heidegger recalls right at the beginning of the In troduction. nor that of an inaugural and emphatic speech. surrounds it with unprecedented precautions. creative. Geist as th e Geist of Geist. spirit as spirit of the spirit which always comes with its double? Spirit is its double. Precisely because of its essential rarity. It even relaunches it. in another mode. the spirit which guides in resolution toward the ques ­ tion. the will to know and the will t o essence. which partakes of both genres simultaneously. so the Einfiihrung ( 1 93 5 ) repeats the invo­ cation of spirit launched in the Address. But it is still in the name of spirit. He will say so in speaking of spiritual evil in the text on TrakL But he al­ ready notes it. the unavoidable itself-spirit's double. the more tempted one is to be mis­ taken about it. In the same way that. rare among the possibilities and the necessi­ ties of human Dasein in its historiality. its bad double. through comparison and confusion. justifies it. the Address relaunches and confirms the essential elements of Sein und Zeit. specifies it. in spite of the coup de th eatre. It is of spirit. for H ei ­ degger it is inscribed in spirit.

on what introduces. notes Heidegger ( and who will argue with him ? ). But as nothing ought to dictate the question. The Hineinfiihren into the question does not conduct or induct something. are sustained. induces. These misunder­ standings. The Einfiihrung opens with a meditation on the ques­ tion. and lighten the burden on science by taking off its hands epistemological reflection on its presuppositions. Second expectation. the Hin einfiihren in das Fragen der Grundfrage (p . and conducts to within the question. the awakening or the production of the question. . second mistake: this figure of spirit.C H A P T E R F I V E just as Zweideutigkeit inspires Missdeutung. clothes. map of the world ( Welt­ karte!. a sort of compass for universal orientation. Grunds ii tz e ) What is expected of the philosopher? That he be the functionary of the fundamental. then it should at least alleviate and facilitate the technico-practical functioning of cultural activities. more full of life today than ever. 1 5 \ 2 1 1 J · There is no questioning except in the experience of the question. or more precisely on the in troduction to the question. it guides. Questions are not things. its concepts and its fundamental principles ( Grundbegriffe. like water. world-picture ( Weltbild ). The first mis­ interpretation consists in demanding first of all-we are still vety familiar with this program today-that philosophy pro­ cure for the Dasein and the age of a people the foundations of � culture. shoes. and then denigrating philosophy when it is use­ less from this point of view and does not serve that culture. philos ophy. ought at the very least to procure system. The assignment of the question is here imme­ diately associated with that of the Fiihrung said to be spiri­ tual. stone. conducts to­ wards the experience. by teachers of philosophy. One could say from the title and name of Einfiihrung. or books . Self-affirmation or self-presentation of spirit: all that the Rectorship Address announces in these terms is renamed in the Einfiihrung. . If philos­ ophy cannot ground culture. syn­ opsis.

There was a risk that the reflexive machine would make it circle a d infini­ tum in the question of the question: why "why" ? etc. For in all honesty we must make clear the fact that at the very moment at which he runs the risk of placing this the­ matics of the Fiihrung in the service of a determinate p oli- 43 . Spirit wakes. As Fiihrer. in its freedom and its res­ olution ( En tschlossenheit). awakens rather [plut o t J earlier [plus t o t J from the Vor-fragen of the Fiihrung. as the possibility of questioning. as also in the experience of this co-responsibility. in the ties and obliga­ tions or even the alliances of such a correspondence. then the spirit of spiritual conduction (geistige Fiihrung)-spoken of in both the Rectorship Address and the In troduction to Metaphysics-can be interpreted. and thus breaks the circle of empty re­ flection which threatened the question of being in its fun­ damental form: "Why are there entities and not nothing ? " That was the first sentence of the book.C H A P T E R F I V E nor precede it in its freedom. before all politics. ein Vor-fragen. through and through. Given that nothing precedes it. a pre­ questioning. up in front. What comes before and in fron t. is spirit. what anticipates and questions before all else ( vor). Hei­ degger speaks rather of a leap ( Sprung) of the question. in front. It comes before. In this wa� if nothing precedes the question in its freedom. This discourse on spirit is also a discourse on the freedom of spirit. it goes or comes on the way. liberate s i t without having t o introduce the question from anything other than an already questioning conduction: an d this is spirit itself. unless this latter already responds or corresponds to it. Nothing an­ ticipates this power of awakening. not even the introduction to questioning. it is an already questioning fore­ coming of the question ( ein fragendes Vorangehen ). The leap makes the originary upsurge ( Ursprung) surge. the Fiihren is already ques­ tioning. spiritual duction remains itself un-conducted. all pedagogy. all psychagogy. the freedom of spirit. It re­ sponds and corresponds to this possibility.

obeyed. in fact it pro­ poses a kind o f geopolitical diagnosis. it must surely guide. Perhaps. to exclude them. in fact the role of decision itself. Heidegger would say here. But it is also the case that. this questioning belongs through and through. any aggregation of disciples or partisans . one will say. technical apprenticeship. any Gefolgschaft. that means that one remains im­ prisoned in a logic of the understanding and does not accede to this freedom of listening. and again to the thematics of resolution (E. one should not accord it any following. this free conducting must not give rise to any camp­ following [sui vismel. but if one finds it difficult to understand. I( Fragen ist Wissen-wollen " (p. if it is not further reduced to its discursive modalities or to interrogative utterances. to will and to will as the will to know. that is to say es­ s entially. in Sein und Zeit. or professional training. or com­ mands without being followed. of the School as academic study. This last plays a decisive role. to this fidelity or modality of following which would have no relationship to the mindless following of Gefolgschaft. In its spiritual essence. with its already tried and tested concepts: the 44 . or listened to in any way. 16 [22J ) . on the other hand. The paragraph defining questioning as will to know also reminds us that will itself is a being-resolved (En tschlossensein ) . demands. Heidegger gives it to be understood that he is breaking in advance with any such service. any follower. to spiritual historiality.n t­ s chlossenheit). Undoubtedly it will be difficult to understand what can be meant by a Fiihrung which mandates. One can naturally extend to the party what Heidegger says. Certainly. All this conducts the Einfiihrung back t o the Rectorship Address. Although at least i n appearance-the appearance of a less emphatic tone-the Einfiihrung begins to mark a political retreat in relation to the Rectorship Address. However spiritual it be.C H A P T E R F I V E tics. of which all the re­ sources and all the references return to spirit.

" the German people. Heidegger denounces. Thinking the world is determined as thinking the earth or the planet. If. then. then : Europe. 29 [36] ). which still no doubt means just Europe. and America are named here. and to ward off the possibility of a poli­ tics other than of spirit. . so too force is spiri­ tua1. consists in repeating ( wiederholen ) our historially spiritual existence (Anfang unseres geschich t­ lich-geistigen Dasein s). Empha­ sis. A new commencement is called for. I referred too hastily to a geopolitical diag­ nosis. in ques­ tioning. is at once the most spiritual (Heidegger specifies this clearly later on in speaking of language). Geopolitical. But the dimension remains properly geopolitical. a " spiritual decadence" (geis­ tigen Verfall) . 45 . is the German people. the deployment of "new spiritual forces from this middle place" (neuer geschich tlich geistiger Krafte aus der Mitte) . the experience of spirit appears proportional to "danger. "our people. at the point where the discourse is neither that of knowledge no r clinical or the rap eu ti c But geopolitics con­ ducts us back again from the earth and the planet to the . The Verfall of spirit cannot allow itself to be thought other than in its relation to the destiny of being. This last expression return s often. Russia and Amer­ ica.S On it devolves the "great decision" ( die grosse En tscheidung) which will engage the destiny of Europe. Peoples are in the process of losing their last " sp iritual forces " through this. and the most exposed to danger. . in the middle (in der Mitte) between its European neighbors. emph ase: the word "spiritual " is again italicized both to mark that the fundamental determination of the relation to being occurs there. The "we" of this " our" . For it is caught in a vice (p.C H A P T E R F I V E fall or decadence ( Verfall ) are spiritual. Russia. which is first a recommencement." this "metaphys­ ical people " (das metaphysische Volk ) par excellence. It is called for by the question: " Wie steh t es um das Sein t " What about Being? And this commencement.

On the earth arrives an obscuring of the world ( Welt­ verdiis terung) (p. the massification of man. The world is not the earth. . 34 [45] ) : the flight of the gods.C H A P T E R F I V E world and to the world as a world of spirit. Geopolitics is none other than a Weltpolitik of spirit. the destruc­ tion of the earth. the pre­ eminence of the mediocre.

no doubt. but not refuted (to the contrary) in the lectures from the winter semester of 47 . auch keine Umwelt. hemmed in. at the head. 34 [45 ] ) . Just recently ex­ cluded. and traditional ( one would be almost tempted-wrongly-to say Cartesian) about its content. II avoided. here it is now swelling. compressed. any more than we shall have time to de­ ploy the analysis which this interpretation of animality would demand. every world is spirituaL Animality is not of spirit. I limit myself to the most indispensable schema. Then Heidegger immediately adds (it's the very next sen­ tence ) : "Das Tier hat keine Welt. one can note first the following paradox: at first sight the sentence appears expressly to contradict the three theses lengthily elaborated or problematized. constrained to use quotation marks. We will not be able to do so here. mag­ nified.VI What d o we call the world? What is the world i f i t grows obscure in this manner ? Reply : liThe world is always a spir­ itual world" (p. exclaimed." a little later under tight surveillance. " the animal has no world. of all the emphasized words . nor any environment. Without rushing towards what might be dogmatic in the form of this proposition. as we have just read. acclaimed. And one ought to draw from this proposition all the conse­ quences which would impose themslves with regard to the determination of man as animal rationale. The word geistig is once more italicized. Inevitable con­ sequence: the animal has no spirit since.

whatever dif­ ficulty this implies for the maintenance of this word. in answer to the question. Access to this metaphysical dimension. laborious. The word "poverty" (Armut) could. in the positive sense in which Heidegger then used the term. if it is poor in world. What does weltarm mean? What does this poverty of world mean? We cannot here do justice to Heidegger's pa­ tient. that of a difference of degree separating indigence from wealth (Reich tum ) . On the one hand. man rich in world.C H A P T E R S I X 1 929-30 in Freiburg. Man is world-forming. These theses not only prepare for the question. are presented as "metaphysical " and not scientific (p. such as that of Scheler. On the other hand. 2. 3. and thus some spirit. "What is the world? " They must also reply to a certain question of life: how can the essence of life be accessible and determin­ able ? Biological and zoological sciences presuppose access to the essence of the animal creature. . any logic of the vicious circle or of the dialectic. The animal is poor in world (weltarm ) . as such. 1 . if one can thus translate weltbilden d. on this matter. subjecting regional knowledge to regional on­ tologies and the latter to a fundamental ontology. without being able to exhibit it. The animal would be poor. they do not open up that access. Heidegger rejects purely and simply the first hypothesis. but this is only a first appearance. more spirit for man. enclose two presuppositions or two hypotheses. awkward. the ani­ mal or human world they make their obj ect. un­ like the stone which is without world: weltlos. and therefore in spirit. This at least is what Heidegger affirms in a clas­ sical gesture. the animal must certainly have some world. and then disqualifying. 277). presuppose. is closed just as much for the sciences as for philosophical anthropologies. then. "What is the world? " I recall these three theses. ! These theses. since the world is spiritual : less spirit for the animal. for example. The stone is without world ( weltlos ) . sometimes aporetical analysis. Sciences and anthropologies must.

This poverty is not an in­ digence. But the difficulties are al­ ready piling up between two values incompatible in their "logic" : that of lack and that of alterity. on a scale of homogeneous degrees. for example that of man. This analysis.C H A P T E R S I X strange here. It is not that the animal has a lesser relationship. its not-having of world is absolutely different on the one hand from that of the stone-which has no world but is not deprived of it-and on the other hand from the having-a-world of man. So what justifies this concept of lack or privation once the animal world is no longer a species of the human world? For though the animal is deprived of world." according to the brutal formula of the Intro­ duction to Metaphysics. to a plenitude. and therefore in spirit. But this lack is not to be evaluated as a quantitative relation to the entities of the world. to be sure. It can appear as such and gain meaning only from a non-animal world. has the interest of breaking with difference of degree. But it remains bound to reintroduce the measure of man by the very route it claimed to be withdrawing from that measure-this meaning of lack or privation. but it must not be referred. and from 49 . It respects a difference of structure while avoiding anthropocentrism. The lack of world for the animal is not a pure nothingness. it must be the case that its being­ deprived." The difference he is talking about between poverty and wealth is not one of degree. one m ust be able to talk about a world of the animal. certainly. We will specify it in a moment. a more limited access to entities. This latter is anthropocentric or at least re­ ferred to the questioning we of Dasein. it has an other relationship. " poverty. It has. and therefore of a spiritual world-is not a species or a de­ gree of the human world (p. without doubt. if then it "has no world. or to a non-lack in a heterogeneous order. the sense of a privation (En tbehrung). 294) . For pre­ cisely because of a difference in essence. of a lack: the animal does not have enough world. a meagreness of world. the world of the animal-and if the animal is poor in world.

( It would here be necessary. be deprived of one.307). precisely around the problem of animality. and therefore no spiritual world. or. can one not say just as le­ gitimately that the having-a-world also has for man the sig­ nification of some unheimliche privation of world. The animal has no world either. because it is deprived of it. The without of the without-world does not have the same sense and does not bespeak the same negativity. if it is not of spirit. The animal has a world in the mode of not-having. for animal and for stone : privation in one case. and that these two values are not opposed? Let 's start again.C H A P T E R S I X our point of view. con­ versely. Heidegger is no t in a hurry to resolve these contradictions of the under­ standing on the basis of a speculative and dialectical power of absolut e reason. If the animal has no world. does not have the sense of an Aristotelian dynamis. The proposi­ tion seems contradictory and logically impossible. it is deprived of world because it can have a world. precisely. It is not a virtuality ori­ ented by a telos. No doubt this being-able. but its privation means that its not-having is a mode of having and even a certain relation to having-a-world.a­ world (Nich th a b en von Welt) has a sense radically different from that of the stone which for its part is without world ( weltlos) but could not. Heidegger talks of a " poverty " ( or privation) as a form of not­ having in the being-able-to-have (Arm ut-Entbehren-als Nich thaben im Habenkonnen ) ( §50. as Hei­ degger recognizes (p. this power or potentiality." For reasons we have recognized. p. to reelaborate the question of Heidegge r 's relationship to Hegel .293 ) .having . What is more. this not . Once the differences had been recognized and pointed up. But he adds that "metaphysics and essentiality have a logic different from that of the sound understanding of man. troubling affinities 50 . But how can one avoid the return of this schema? The animal has and does not have a world. pure and simple absence in the other. and in truth out of wariness of Hegelian Reason.

it has no experience. . says Heidegger. The experi­ ence of . The animal can have a world because it has access to entities. the animal has a world. 1 49) within the structure of the "as . etc. It is there­ fore necessary to manage to think this knot which laces to­ gether the two propositions: the animal has no world. it has ac­ cess to entities but. . and this is what distinguishes it from man. whose time on the rock." Rather. it does not know the roots. As for the animal. The stone has no access to entities. the number of stamens. It is not to be confused with the "as" of the statement. its color and its scent. p. but the discrepant analogy between these two "pri­ vations" remains troubling. What can be said of Dasein in this regard cannot be said of the animal. With the stone. Heidegger insists on this. The lizard. And therefore the animal has and does not have spirit. but it does not know the flow­ er's stamen as a stamen. but it is deprived of a world because it does not have access to entities as such and in their Being. We were j ust saying that poverty must mark a difference that was qualitative. knows the flower. is the name of that without which there is no world. The worker bee. ) The logical contradiction be­ tween the two propositions ( the animal does and does not have a world) would mean simply that we have not yet suf­ ficiently elucidated the concept of world-the guiding thread of which we are following here since it is none other than that of spirit. This privation (Ent­ behrung) is not that (Priva tion ) which Heidegger situates in Sein un d Zeit (§32. . "privation " which Heidegger describes in this con­ text is not more original than that of "seeing with under­ standing. structural and not quantitative. This structure of the "understanding of the world" ( Weltverstehen ) can or must give rise to an anti­ predicative and preverbal clarification (Auslegung) . . Spirituality. it presupposes it and derives from it. it has no access to entities as such ." of "something as something" ( die Struktur des Etwas als Etwas).C H A P T E R S I X might again show through . the difference is clear.

the fourfold. at the crossing of the cross. but it was supposed to recall the Geviert. Let us pick up here on a feature which is more than merely amusing.C H A P T E R S I X in the sun." brought together in its place ( Ort). neither with the sun nor with the lizard. Heidegger describes laboriously and at length (and it makes one long for Ponge). some twenty-five years later. italicized). The crossing-through does not . precisely. This cross did not rep­ resent either a negative sign or even a sign at all. but is not known [or recognized] as ( als. The lec­ ture on "The Thing" ( 1 950) deciphers in this play of the world-recalled in this way by an erasing of "Being"­ the becoming-world of the world. italicized) rock. which itself has none. the world which is in that it worlds ( itself ) or makes itself worldly (Die Welt ist. we should cross through ( durchstreichen ) the word "rock. It means in this case that one cannot derive or think the world starting from any­ thing else but it. The place. precisely. as "the play of the world. In Zur Seinsfrage. But look at this other proposition of cross­ ing-through (Durchstreichung) from twenty-five years ear­ lier. one can put questions and give replies. We know the type and the necessity of this formulation. in dem sie weltet) . for Heidegger. is al­ ways a place of collecting together ( Versammlung) . however little we can identify with the lizard." to indicate that while what the lizard is stre tched out on is doubtless given him in some way (irgen dwie. It seems to me significant and we should dwell more on it if there was time. we know that it has a relationship with the sun-and with the stone. as we know. and already concerning a certain relation to the Being of the entity. does not relate to the rock and the sun as such. das Welten von Welt. as that with regard to which. Heidegger writes : When we say that the lizard is stretched out on the rock. And yet. Heidegger proposes to write the word Being under a line of erasure in the form of a cross (Kreuzweise Durchstreichung).

Elsewhere. as if he were crossing-through the crossing­ through. by avoiding a word. later. thus. if not greater. it is as if. not in Weltverstehen. this inabil­ ity of the animal to name. as some­ thing else. but he doesn't. but: it is above all not accessible as en tity (iiberhaupt nich t als S eiendes z ugiin gli ch) . That is why the name of the rock must be erased when we want to designate what the lizard is stretched out upon. And one can indeed talk of crossing-through. as such and accessible in its being-rock." This inability to name is not primarily or simply linguistic. in a text cited by Michel Haar:2 " The leap from the animal that lives to man that speaks is as great. does not appear to the animal and does not unveil the Being of the entity. for there is privation of what. avoiding avoidance. to emphasize both the subtlety of the analysis 53 . Here the erasure of the name would signify the non-access to the entity as such. than that from the lifeless stone to the living b eing. In the language of Sein und Zeit ( § 3 1 ). for the animal lacking access to the entity as such.C H A P T E R S I X only mean: something else is apprehended. one would say that i t i s a matter of a privation of Welt­ verstehen. One does not speak of privation or crossing-through for the stone . the latter. It is not of the rock as such that the lizard has experience. but with an absolute crossing-out. Heidegger lets what he crosses through be read and he says in this very place that one "ought" to cross through. it derives from the properly phenomenological impossibility of speaking the phenomenon whose phenomenality as such. the Being of the entity. But-I repeat. ( pp . In being written or not at all being written (for in crossing­ through. i. were crossed out in advance. 29 1-92) Erasure of the name. here of the name of the rock which would designate the possibility of naming the rock itself. avoiding without avoiding). that of priva­ tion. then.e. The erasing would mark in our language. should or could be accessible. or whose very as such. But this is first of all the inability to open itself to the as such of the thing.

in its logic. it seems to me. for example ) . an Offenbarkeit to which the ani­ mal does not even have access. because of an enigmatic chiasmus which crosses out the crossing-through. Heidegger proposes a descrip­ tion of this which is patient but. It would be necessary to cross through the word " closure" too. In truth it does not even close it off. for us but also for Heidegger who seems to rec­ ognize the fact. 3 6 1 . S4 . It is closed to the very opening of the entity (p. One cannot say that the animal is closed to the entity. to overtake all words from the moment they say something about the world? The crossing-through recalls a benumbedness (Be­ nommenheit) of the animal. but we'll come back to that in a moment. It does not have access to the difference between the open and the closed. It is al­ ways a matter of marking an absolute limit between the liv­ ing creature and the human Dasein. as Michel Haar rightly recalls. of taking a distance not only from all biologism and even all philosophy of life (and thus from all political ideology which might draw its inspi­ ration more or less directly from them) but also. what is signaled by the word "crossing-through" which we write a propos of the animal "world" and which ought. these the­ ses remain. for example at the end of §63.C H A P T E R S I X and the difficulty signaled by this equivocation of terminol­ ogy-we must distinguish the animal's privation (Entbeh ­ rung) from Dasein's privation (Priva tion ) in comprehension of the world. their strategy and axiomatics will remain remarkably constant. from a Rilkean thematics which links openness and animality. However problematic. On the other hand. awkward. if we can call it that ? Or rath er. Benumbedness seems to close off access to the entity as such. What is signaled by this animal crossing­ through. since closure im­ plies opening or aperity. Not to mention Nietzsche. the Durchs treich ung in question here has a sense radically d if ­ ferent from that which obliterates the word "Being" in Zur Seinsfrage. however aporetical even.

of its quotation marks. but especially the middle one. that they founder on essential difficulties. In speaking of teleology. as H eideg­ ger never stops repeating in the In troduction to Metaphys­ ics." It seems to me. the residue of which can be read in this discourse on privation. Now let us not forget that it is in connection with the analysis of the world. if I can put it like that. right down to details. cannot avoid a certain anthropocentric or even humanist teleology. between the animal and human Dasein on the other. This is a schema which the determination of the humanity of man on the basis of Das ein can no doubt modify. as Heidegger also recognizes at the end of these anal­ yses. the fact remains that the very negativity. of a long march orienting the animal world towards the hu- 55 . So much so that we should now have to say of spirit what one says of the world for the animal : the animal is poor in spirit. If the world is always a spiritual world. biologism and its political effects. It could be shown that everything in them still comes down to what the word "spirit" means. I am not imputing to Heidegger the concept of a progress conceived in evolutionist fashion. that the word " spirit" breaks free.C H A P T E R S I X We must no doubt recognize. On the other hand. the three theses. however. while allowing for the subtle but decisive phenom­ enal structure of the " as such. and ought to carry beyond the epoch of Cartesian-Hegelian sub­ jectity. it has spirit but does not have spirit and this not­ having is a mode of its being-able-to-have spirit. to the semantics which regulates the use of this term. remain problematical so long as the concept of world has not been clarified. displace. the force and necessity of principle in these analyses which break with anthropomorphism. and as an es­ sential predicate of the world. if. if privative poverty indeed marks the caesura or the heterogeneity between non-living and living on the one hand. shift-but not destroy. this is indeed because the spiritual character of the world itself remains obscure.

But. . in which we see it becoming en­ tangled. naturalism. The expression "poor in world" or " without world. the words "poverty" and "privation " imply hierarchization and evaluation. but this has not radically changed today) the price to be paid in the ethico-political denunciation of biologism. If I ana­ lyze this " logic. Is this unavoidable? Can one escape this program? No sign would suggest it." and the aporias or limits.thro ugh i . for the human Dasein . racism. whether one wishes to avoid this o � not.C H A P T E R S I X man world along a scale of b eings. opening to the play of the world and first of all to the world of man as welt bilden d. it will not b e avoided all at on ce and without reconnoitering it right down to its most tor­ tuous ruse s and most subtle resources." just like the phenomenology supporting it. It is no doubt more urgent to recall that. in spite of all the denegations or all the avoid­ ances one could wish. then the crossing-through of the cross­ ing. the presupposi­ tions or the axiomatic decisions. then one no l onger knows what modality of Being to reserve for the animal-for itself and for us. encloses an axiology regulated not only upon an ontology but upon the possibility of the on to-logical as such. e . upon the ontological difference. above all the inversions and contaminations. What are the symptoms that this situation now lets us read in Hei d egger's text ? If the analysis put forward indeed brings out that the animal is not in the human world in the mode of Vorhan denheit (p. since Dasein is characterized by . Can one transform this program? I do not know. etc. There is no animal Dasein. it has remained up till now (in Hei­ degger's time and situation. all the double constraints which structure it. at least nei­ ther in " Heideggerian" discourses nor in "anti­ Heideggerian" discourses. I do not mean to criticize this humanist teleology. 402). any more than the entity is in general for the animal in the mode of Vorh andenheit. the access to the B eing of the entity. this is rather in order to exhibit and then formalize the terrifying mechanisms of this program. In any case.

its con­ ceptual apparatus. It is clear that the animal can be after a prey. They bring the consequences of a serious mortgag­ ing to weigh upon the whole of his thought. rather. on the other hand. the animal is not a Dasein. the anim al. This is a thesis which. hesitate. for which any example would do the job.C H A P T E R S I X access to the lias such" of the entity and to the correlative possibility of questioning. but it cannot properly question. as it is begun in Sein un d Zeit and insofar as it unseats. it can use things. technology. in its median character. follow or try out a track. 57 . remains fundamentally teleological and tra­ ditional.3 But as. to go back to the pair of concepts which struc­ ture the existential analytic of Sein un d Zeit. not to say dialectical. no r is it Vorh andensein or Zuhandensein for us. as the original possibility of a Mitsein with it is not seriously envisaged. by what is called. Can one not say. And this mortgage indeed finds its greatest concentration in the ob­ scurity of what Heidegger calls spirit. it can calculate. so obscurely still. Allow me to note in passing that three of my guiding threads lace together in this knot: the question. which is called animality in general. one domain. but it cannot gain access to a tekhne. one cannot think it or talk of it in terms of existen tial or of categorical. as clearly emphasized by Heidegger ( the animal between the stone and man). even instrumentalize them. that the whole deconstruction of ontology. In the same way. by a thesis on animality which presupposes-this is the irreducible and I believe dogmatic hypothesis of the thesis-that there is one thing. the animal ? Compromised. one homogeneous type of entity. is here threatened in its order. These difficulties-such at least is the proposition I sub­ mit for discussion-never disappear from Heidegger's dis­ course. its implementation. as it were. the Cartesian-Hegelian spiritus in the existential analytic. then.

Heidegger was meditating first of all o n the darkening of the world itself. and thus of spirit. For in the passage from the Einfiihrung which we took as our starting point j ust now. which is i ns e p a rable from it. The question seems unavoidable. and precisely in this form. if the world is always " world of spirit" ? Perhaps it is preferable to speak here of darkening rather than of obscuring. If the concept of world and that of spirit. this essay on spiritual Fiihrung does not h ow­ ever give "rules for the direction of spirit" (ad direction em ingenii). by its appeal to the foundations ( Griinden ) and the "profund­ ities " ( Tiefe). in the profundity of a more romantic pathos.VII But a s to w h at is guiding or inspiring Heidegger here. chosen by Gilbert Kahn for the French transla­ tion. perhaps the word /I darkening" is more suitable for it. towards what can affect the clar­ ity of the idea. of the world itself ( Weltverdiisterung). is this not because the world and spirit are the mselves-his tori cally-darkened ? 58 . is it possible to distinguish between the obscurity of the concept of world and the obscurity. even the darkening. risks remaining too intellectual and pointing. Precisely because it has to do with the world ( Weltverdiisterung). remain obscure. in the style of Descartes or Valery. and not with the idea or even with rea­ sonj because. is it possible to distinguish between the obscurity of the concept or the word Geist and the obscurity of spirit itself? Correla­ tively. This last word [obscur­ cissemen t].

" Such a loss has noth­ ing to do with animal benumbedness. in the passage cited j u s t now. Verdriin g un g und Missdeutung). I t corresponds t o this darkening o f the world. and its mis­ interpretation (Auflosung. or rather to their character-of-world. because spirit thereby loses a power which is not "natural. and-even if it has been prepared for by something before-was definitively determined. nor do they have a world-environment. It renders spirit destitute by depriving it of its power or its force (Mach t ). Auszehrung. The situation of Europe is all the more fatal in that the des­ titution of spuit derives from Europe itself. Weltch arak terJ and their relation to spirit ( Verh iiltn i s zum Geis t ) . on the basis of Europe 's own spiritual situation (aus sein er eigenem geis tigen Lag e ) . We are attempting at present to elu­ cidate (verdeutlichen ) this destitution of spirit from iust one perspective. and precisely th at of the misin­ terpretation of spirit. so t o speak. its dissolution. which metaphys­ ically come down to the same thing in regard to their belonging to the world I to the character of their world. the shield behind which take refuge the already 59 . I s h a ll translate En tm ach ­ tung by "destitution " fro m now on. in the first half of the nineteenth century. that " animals have no world" : What does " world" mean when we are speaking of the darkening of the world ? The world is always world 0/ spiri t (geistige Welt). We have said : Europe is caught in a vice between Russia and America." This formula is. its repression. It is exactly at the moment when he is beginning to elucidate this destitution of spirit that Heidegger declares. The darkening of the world implies this desti t uti on (En tm a ch t ung) of spirit. consuming.C H A P T E R S E V E N Darkened for man and not for animals? There is an En t ­ mach tung of spirit. of its dynasty. Animals have no world. In our coun­ try in this period there occurred what we like to desig­ nate in the summary phrase "the collapse (Zusamm en ­ bruch ) of German idealism.

6 ] ) . It is no t a discourse on crisis. that a certain techno­ scientific obj ectivity represses and forgets the question. finally. our attach� ment to all those things. Dasein has begun to slide in a world without the depth ( Tiefe) from which. No doubt he is suspicious. to re­ alize it ( verwirklichen ) truly. the breadth. No doubt Heidegger ap­ peals to a historial decision supposing the experience of a krinein. in the first instance. that is. ] The predominant dimension has become that of extension and number. 34-35 [45 . radically heterogeneous with respect to the Crisis of European Scien ces and 1tanscenden tal Phe- 60 . the essential comes to man and comes back towards him. " How is the spiritual con­ figuration of Europe ( die geistige Gestalt Europas) character­ ised ? " I And yet Heidegger's discourse on the destitution of spirit and on the responsibility of Europe remains. the refusal of any or­ iginary questioning ( alles urspriinglichen Fragens ) of the foundations ( Griin den ). the dissolution of spiritual forces ( die Auflosung der geistigen Miich te). and the original authenticity ( Ursprii'nglichkeit) of this spiritual world. (pp. No doubt he also wants to awaken Europe and phi­ losophy to their responsibility before the task of the ques­ tion and the origlnary question of grounds. it was the age (Zeitalter) which was not strong (stark ) enough to remain equal to the grandeur. This discourse on the destitution of spirit calls for some remarks of principle. despite many non-fortuitous analogies. each time in a new way. and.C H A P T E R S E V E N commenced vacancy of spirit ( die schon an brechende Geistlosigkeit). . and thus forces him into a superiority that allows him to act in distinguished fashion. All things are fallen to the same level [ . No doubt Husserl too asks himself. 1 . in spite of the temporal co­ incidence ( 1 935 ). For it is not German Idealism which has collapsed. which means something quite different from simply applying maxims and ideas ( "points of view " : Einsichten ) .

Thus Valery asks himself: "Must the phenomenon of exploitation of the globe. if not in the same language." Here. with this non-questioning of Being presup­ posed by the metaphysics of subj ectivity. if it deprives it of its strength and the nerve of its authority (the French translation by Gilbert Kahn has "en- 61 . be taken as absolute decisions of destiny ? Or have we some freedom against this menacing conjura­ tion of things ? " 2 2. that Heidegger might have subscribed to such and such a formulation. that other discourse from the interwar period in which Valery.C H A P T E R S E V E N nomenology or the Crisis of European Humanity an d Phi­ losophy. it would. One could even go further: through the appeal Hus­ serl makes to a transcendental subjectivity which remains in the Cartesian tradition-even if sometimes to awaken it against Descartes. the phenomenon of equalization of techniques and the phenom­ enon of democracy. the discourses of worry gather or rush headlong: around the same words (Eu­ rope. on the pre­ text. for example. between 1 9 1 9 and 1 939. one cannot overlook the common focus towards which. Heidegger would no doubt have denounced the same Cartesian heritage in The Crisis of Spirit ( 1 9 1 9). in part. But the perspective would be falsified and the most acute difference missed if certain analogies between all these discourses-troubling and significant. in particular in He­ gel but also in Husserl. although local-were selected. which allow one to foresee a diminutio capitis of Europe. too. be linked with the Cartesian heritage as interpreted in Sein un d Zeit. Spirit). in such a different style. If En tmach tung dooms spirit to impotence or power­ lessness.this discourse on the crisis might con­ stitute one of the symptoms of the destitution. And if there is a "weakness " of the age to explain the posited "collapse of German Idealism" we were just speaking of. wonders whether one can speak of a " deg­ radation" in the history of the European " genius" or " Psyche.

The hy­ perbolical hypothesis of the Evil Genius. So one can say neither the one nor the other. the question ? Would the ghost vanish before thought like a mirage of the understand­ ing. or even of reason ? 3 . spirit. as Heidegger said of the animal which both has and does not have the world. Evidently not the Evil Genius of Des­ cartes ( which is. proceeding from within it. spirit. it would not be of spirit. But this inside m u st also enclose the spectral duplicity. a sort of evil genius which slips into spirit's m o nologue to haunt it. to the contrary. gives way precisely before that which constitutes evil for . if it were force itself. one must say both. ventriloquizing it and thus dooming it to a sort of self-persecuting disidentification. there would be no En tmach ­ tun g . But this possibility is sufficient to make the desti­ tution of spirit a priori inevitable [fatale] . A haunting which allows neither analysis nor decomposition nor disso­ lution in to the simplicity of a perception.C H A P T E R S E V E N ervation " of spirit) what does this mean as far as force is concerned? That spirit is a force and is not a force. When one says of spirit or of the spiritual world that it both has and does not have force-whence the haunting and the double-is it only a matter of contradictory utterances ? Of that contradiction of the understanding at which thought should not come to a halt. since a ghost does not exist and offers itself to no per­ ception. which doubles up each of the concepts : world. it would not lose force. that it has and has not power. Moreover. an immanent outside or an intestine exteriority. And it is because there is doubling that En tm ach tung is possible-only pos­ sible. force. a little later in the same passage. Heidegger says that destitution is a movement proper to spirit. Heidegger names the demonic. the En tm ach tung would not affect it essentially. in German bose Geist). But if it were not this force or power. If it were force in itself. The structure of each of these concepts is marked by the relation to its double : a relation of haunting. however.

All of that. 4. a res­ ignation.ectum and therefore absence of originary questioning. is evil. even though. Just as the En tm a ch tung of spirit is not without relation­ ship. We shall meet them again in the text on Trakl which includes at its center a thinking of evil as torment of spirit. the one who haunts spirit in all the forms of its destitution : the certainty of the cogito in the position of the s u b. When Heidegger names the demonic ( Einfiihrung. and produces itself as. Some of Heidegger 's formula­ tions here are literally Schellingian." or the "spiritual (geis tlich e l twilight" ( expressions of Trakl 's that Heidegger will want to remove from the metaphysics of Geistigkeit as well as from the Christian value of Geis t ­ lichkeit-a word which will itself thus find itself doubled l are not without their profound relationship with what is said twenty years earlier of the darkening of world and spirit. The destitution o f spirit is thus a self-destitution. 35 [46] ). " the 0 des Menschen verweste Ges ­ talt of Trakl as Heidegger will interpret it in Un terwegs zur Sprach e . Um deu tung and Missdeutung: as difference or interpre­ tative mutation. scientific methodologism. the foreigner : foreign to spirit in spirit. he specifies. or rather-we shall come to this-with the " verwesen de Geschlech t. it seems to me. with the decom­ position of man. at least in this form. which accepts lie and destru ction. predominance of the quantitative. affects and divides it. But it must be that an other than spirit. Spiritual essence of evil. in a brief parenthesis: in the sense of destructive malignity (im Sinn e des zerstorerisch Bosarti­ gen ) . of extension and of number-so many motifs which are " Cartesian " in type. in the In tro duction to Metaph ysics. The "spiritual night. leveling. it must imply the return of this double when he speaks of the de­ monic. p. The resignation of spirit produces. This Heidegger does not say.C H A P T E R S E V E N Heidegger. still itself however.and also as misinterpretation of the mean- .

C H A P T E R S E V E N ing of spirit. the form of the propositions I was advancing just now (paradoxes. His target is the cult of the body. Like Bergson. Heidegger here associates intelligence (In telli­ genz). Needless to say. What has pretensions to be an intellectual culture of spirit thus manifests only a simulacrum and lack of spirit. the reign of the literati and the aesthetes. a) There is first the resignation of spirit into intelligence (In telligenz ) . that falsification of spirit. understanding / Verstiin digkeit).and Missdeu tungen.Geistreiche: in the sense of wit. calculation (Berechnung). the status it assigns to the understanding in what is still an extremely Hegelian way. Must I specify that I would not subscribe to this diagnosis ? Without suggesting a different one. there is the instrumentalization of spirit. if that is the word." of questioning. or even the "piety. Here are a few lines at least to let the tone of this teach­ ing be heard. discursive contradictions-and thus a structure of haunting) would in Heidegger's eyes betray the same resignation of spirit before the calculating authority of the understanding. all I am doing or trying to do here is to begin to think through­ I will not even say to question-the axiomatics of this di­ agnosis. I think it was one year before the memorable Berlin Olympic Games in 1 936 (again the Greek-German axis and the elevation towards the II gods of . We will return to this later on. of what is "merely spiritual" ( das Nur. b) Secondly. But each word would be worth it. of being clever) . symmetrically. the organization of the people as a living mass or a race. in Russia as much as in Germany. and at least on this point (and we know now that Heidegger read him more than his texts would lead one to think). We cannot here go through the several pages analyzing the four great types of Um . and that includes the im­ perative. with the instrument ( Werk ­ zeug and instrumentalization. Marxism is named twice in this paragraph: the transformation of spirit into superstruc­ tural or powerless intellect or. mass distribution (massenhafte Verteilung). of spirit itself.

To explain this. however. Heidegger's argument appears terribly equivocal at this point: m u tatis m u tan dis. especially when Russian communism changes tactics and invokes spirit in its support after having campaigned against it. and truly spiritual unity. Heidegger gives a definition of spirit which will not. technical and ad­ ministrative unity. I think. shift throughout the rest of his work: / I eine ursprunglich einigende. during which a Fuhrer refused to shake hands with Jesse Owens. whose unity is only nominal. Heidegger cites his inaugural lecture of 1 929 ( "What is Metaphysics ? " ) . But what is it that now becomes spectacular in this quotation ? Discreetly spectacular enough. for what is proper to spirit is. it becomes culture or civilization (Kultur). and find their elevation (Erhoh ung) and their fall / Verfall ) only in the power or the powerlessness of spirit (Mach t und Ohnmach t des Geistes) . but also every authenticity (Ech theit) and every ingeniousness of understanding-all are founded in spirit. the black sprinter: Every true force and true beauty of the body. In outlining what the university lacks. d) Fourth form of resignation: the reference to spirit can become a theme of cultural propaganda or political maneu­ ver. precisely. 36 [47] ) c) When the spiritual world resigns before the instrument. obliges.C H A P T E R S E V E N the stadium"). " a spiritual power which originally unites and engages. this time citing the Rectorship Ad­ dress. every sure aim and boldness of the sword (Kiihnheit des Schwert es). what about his own tac­ tics-and these tactics are also political-when they change. Heideg­ ger again defines spirit. (p. verpflichtende geistige Mach t. assigns. Only this last is a true unity. moving from a deconstruction to a celebration of spirit ? After denouncing this fourth misinterpretation. to unify. He takes from it this passage distinguishing between the bad unity of the university. for no .

to make fun of Ise payer la tete) or brain­ wash somebody. For we are taking seriously what is being played for in this play. Silently it contrives. the instantaneous alterna­ tion of a forti da. I recall that in German " quotation mark" is Anfiihrungss triche or Anfiihrungszeichen. The operation is properly conducted. We are still interested in this drama­ turgy-which is also a pragmatics-of signals for reading. The hand calculates very fast. What is spectacular here? No doubt this : on this one oc­ casion. the very ones which the quotation. to take the head. in this sleight of hand. the quotati on marks still remained. And when one puts them away after exhibiting them. one can speak of a repression. of the same author by the same author. an already quite exceptional residue. the sudden appearance. conducted by a master's hand.C H A P T E R S E V E N attention ever to have been paid it ? 3 The silent play of the quotation marks. This is the only modification. And yet he goes so far as to indicate the number of the page he has just quoted from the Rectorship Address. like the erasure of one remorse 66 . apparently without contrivance. this handwriting that is artisanal and so agile. In the definition of spirit put forward in the Rectorship Address. others would say a denegation. suddenly removes. the only published version of which includes quotation marks. They disappear in the quotation given in the In troduction to Metaphysics two years later. the suppression-one dare not say the censorship­ of the quotation marks operates within the quotation of an already published text-a text by the same author. and Heidegger does not point it out. but also to dupe. a suppression. It operates. then disappearance of these little aphonic forms which say and change every­ thing according as one shows or hides them. to conduct. and in what is at s take in these typographical marionettes. Anfiihren. One must therefore be extremely curious to notice a revi­ sion thus passed over in silence. perhaps with the lucidity of inadvertence. let' us say a bringing to heel Imise au pas).

and thereby to master the danger of a darkening of the world. the reappropriation of its potency. and thereby for the originary world of a historial Dasein. inasmuch a s it is the middle o f the West. This is why the questioning toward entities as such in totality. of a mission. thus passes. Where spirit reigns (herrsch t). of a resolu­ tion which accords with the tone of the origin and which is knowledge. and thereby for a taking up of the historial mission (geschich tliche Sen ­ dung) of our people. once more. as the middle of the West: Spirit is the full power given to the potencies of entities as such and in totality ( die Ermiich tigung der Miich te des Seienden als solchen im Ganzen ). scarcely perceptible crossing-out of what already-as quotation marks always do-sketches the polite movement of a crossing-out. through the responsibility of ques- .C H A P T E R S E V E N by another: invisible crossing-out. the entity as such becomes always and on every occasion more entity (seiender). in it. but spirit [here the quotation marks had already been removed in the Ad­ dress] is the being-resolved [ or the determined opening: En tschlossenheit] to the essence of Being. is one of the fundamental questions for a reawakening of spirit (Er­ weck ung des Geistes). the historial mission of our people.4 How to awaken spirit ? How to lead it out of resignation [de­ mission ] to responsibility ? By calling it back to the care of the question of Being and in the same movement. nor even the reason of the world. Here then is the definition of spirit ( open the quotation marks for the quotation. to the taking charge of the sending ( Sendung). nor the unlimited work of analysis of the understanding. 38 [48 ] ) The awakening of spirit. nor the gratuitous game of j oking. the questioning of the question of Being. (p. lift the quotation marks around Geist in the quotation thus 1/ actualized " ) : Spirit [in quotation marks in the Address] i s neither empty sagacity.

It's always horribly dangerous and wildly funny. it calls forth either the most serious or the most amused reflections. if one can still speak of logic in a region wherein i s decided the originarity of lan­ guage in general [le langagej and a given language [langue] ? The " logic" justifying such a privilege is strange. Why this incommensurable privilege of one language ? And why is this privilege determined with regard to spirit ? What would the " logic" of this be. that of the ques­ tion of Being. 43 [57] ) . certainly grave and a bit comical. ) In the well-known passage I am going to quote. natu­ rally unique. and that of our language. but also irrefutable and entrusted to a sort of paradoxy. the formality of which would be worth long devel­ opments . then. and the most spiritual (geistigsteJ . open onto the destiny of language ( Schicksal der Sprach e ) in which is grounded the relation (Bezug) of a people to Being. For this language is. (That's what I like about H eidegger. Now at the begin­ ning of the chapter on the grammar of the word "be.C H A P T E R S E V E N tioning. when I read him. and two very odd dis­ s ymm etries . shows clearly enough that all these respon­ sibilities are interwoven : that of our people. Two features t o emphasize. (p. along with German (neben der deu tschen J (from the point of view of the possibilities of thinking). I ' m aware of both these vibrations at the same time." it is again the spiritual quality which defines the absolute privi­ lege of t he German language. assigned. According to one's mood. in its con­ clusion . as it is entrusted. When I think about him./I The fact that the same chapter should. 68 . both the most powerful of all. destined to "our people. I shall emphasize two features which have perhaps not been given all the necessary attention: The fact that the formation (AusbildungJ of western grammar should be due to Greek reflection (Besin ­ n ung) on the Greek language gives this process all its significance.

It does not correspond. It commits. Faced with such opinionating.C H A P T E R S E V E N 1 . B ut in the interview with Der Spiegel. This then i s a certain Heidegger. When they begin to think. of calling up Being-or. at once on his guard and de­ fenseless and. The first dissymmetry unbalances the relationship be­ tween Greek and German on the one hand. to the question of Being. which could correspond to a sort of linguistico-cultural. That the joint privilege of German and Greek is absolute here with regard to thought. Heidegger does not just mean to recall that one always thinks in a language and that whoever affir ms this must still do so in his or her language without the ability or the duty to place himself or herself in some metalinguistic neutrality. It is something which the French are al­ ways confirming for me today. and thus to spirit. No. Such a signature is never individual. in " our" language. when the mike o r Der Spiegel is held up to him : I a m thinking o f the special relationship. and of the double at the heart of Geist ) . he would say. is implied by Heidegger everywhere. via the language.5 . all the languages of the world on the other. sans beaucoup d'esprit. they speak German: they say definitely that they would not manage it in their language. For one must indeed sign this theorem in one's own language. insofar as thought corresponds uniquely with Being and can corre­ spond with Being only according to the singular event of a language capable of naming. with the language of the Greeks and their thought. such a proposition. inside the German language. he says it in a calmly arro­ gant way. what the devil! (return of the devil in a moment. I would say. anthropological relativism­ all communities think and think equally in their lan­ guage-does not correspond to Heidegger's thinking. a people or a com­ munity. rather. of hearing itself called by Being. perhaps a bit naively. with thought. it is tempting to add a very Latin exclamation mark to my title : de l'esprit.

In its abyssal depth. " 6 2. one supposes. Sein. What else can one say and think in German? But the dogmatic assur­ ance. Conversely. however. One of them would consist in recalling that it is not eurocentric in virtue of this first raising of the stakes : it is a central-europa-centrism. he is one of us (ist unsers Geschlech ts ). There would be several ways of demonstrating this. precisely at the place of Geist." Heidegger certainly did not make it up : "they" go to complain about their language to the master and. a euro­ centrism. even if one is French." in his Address to th e Ger­ man Nation : he who thinks and thus wishes for "spiritual­ ity" in its " freedom" and in its "eternal progress. it is half asleep in tautology. The 70 . he who does not think and does not wish for such a " spiritual­ ity. aggravated by the discourteous tone of a declaration which is literally invasive. Fichte said some analogous things. Heidegger will have to suggest. this declaration is not necessarily without truth-it even becomes a truism if one accepts a fundamental axio­ matics according to which the meaning of Geist. Twenty years later. in short. For another dissymmetry will come along one day. and burst open the Graeco-German axis. The insolence is not even provocative. "he is non-German and foreign for us " (un deutsch und fremd fiir uns )." is Ger­ man. would in itself be enough to raise certain doubts about it. Denken.Geist: at least a certain Geistlichkeit. in the master's language. in the name of the same " logic. to translate. wherever he was born and whatever language he speaks." even if he was born German and seems to speak Ger­ man. This break with relativism i s not. if not the Geistigkeit of Geist. even if he has so-called linguistic competence in Ger­ man. or rather of this " confirmation. as much in what it says as in what it shows. that the Greek language has no word to say-nor therefore. and it is to be wished that he separate him­ self from us totally.C H A P T E R S E V E N One imagines the scene of these confidences. and a few other words cannot be translated and so can be thought only in German.

what Greek and German have in common is still the greatest geistigkeit.7 in his Gespriich with Trakl. finally. German is thus the only language. that the privilege shared by Greek and German is that of Geis t is already to interrupt the sharing and accentuate 71 . It too comes very close to truism or tau­ tology. in the In troduction to Metaphysics. The Geist of this Geistlichkeit could be thought only in o ur language. and from Schelling's point of view. in the last place : for this separation between Geist and pneuma will be marked only in 1 953. And to name is to offer for thinking. But in 1 935. at the moment when the difference between geistig and geistlich will also be marked and then. the difference between the traditional Christian meaning and a more originary meaning. For while Heidegger seems to concede. it is the only language in which spirit comes to name itself. In the last instance. It turns out then that of the two twinned languages. that Geist. the violence of the dissymmetry should not come as a surprise. at the end of the day. To say. within geistlich. at least names the same thing as pn euma.C H A P T E R S E V E N Greek language : in other words the language of philosophy as well as that of the Gospels. which have in common the greatest spiritual richness. to be able to name this maximal or superlative (geistigste) excellence which in short it shares. only up to a certain poin t with Greek. In the last instance. as H eidegger is still doing in the Introduction. in a reading of Schelling. There too. which in any case has never been Spiritus. only one of them can name what they have and are in common par excellence : spirit . at the end of the race. he affirms that Geist and geis tlich in Trakl refer first of all to flame and not to breath or pneu­ matic inspiration. Greek and German. the one that in 1 953 will be defined (in reality denounced) as a Platonic inheritance. The adjective geistlich would thus lose even the connotation of Christian spirituality by which it is normally opposed to the secular or to metaphysical Geistig­ keit.

8 one can bet that the Greek would not have dreamed for a moment. and for good reason. Pneuma. in the logic of this fabulous truism. not even provisionally. are the most pneumatic or pneumatological. S/he would have said: yes. More likely.C H A P T E R S E V E N once more the dissymmetry. If s/he had given it. s/he would at least have done so in his or her language. Not for an instant. . from the point of view of the possibility of thinking (noein ? ). of associating German with this claim. the only one to be able to say and think that. S/he would have perhaps used other words too. sure. our two languages. as Heidegger still does in 1 93 5 . but would not have failed to claim the prerogative of Greek. One cannot ask for the Greek's approval.

without rushing towards a phi­ losophy of life. but the absolute subj ectity of the body. which deter­ mines the essence of man as animal rationale.e. and orders all the significa­ tions of Nietzsche's text according to it. towards a vitalism or a biologism. the last metaphysics. The history of modern metaphysics. One unearths in it a meta­ physics. that of spirit. animality as body on the other: By virtue of this fact. . of impulsions and affects : the unconditioned subj ectity of the will to power. The extreme ambiguity of the gesture consists in saving a body of thought by damning it. . 1 But we should think this thing that Nietzsche calls li the blond beast" metaphysically. But unconditioned subj ectity is here no longer that of the willing which knows itself. 1 Homo est brutum bestiale. It would be necessary to do the opposite. [ . the strategy of inter­ ' pretation also concerns Nietzsche. 73 . As in Hegel. we would still apparently be dealing with a metaphysics of ab­ solute subj ectity. divides a s follows. This strategy of interpretation is also a politics. zoologistic. the unconditioned essence of subj ectity necessarily unfolds as brutalitas of bestiali­ tas. as we know. There are two symmetrical sides to unconditioned subjectity: rationality as spirit on the one hand. without conferring the meanings "vital" or "biological" on the to­ tality of entities. It is supposed to with­ draw him from any biologistic. i. or vitalistic reap­ propriation.V III During the same years.

When it opposes soul. 93] ) . i. Later we shall wonder what the opening of these angles might mean. that other part of the rational animal. this is in favor and not to the detriment of life. de­ termined by Being in the sense of the Will to power" (vol II. and then to circumscribe or skirt round the abysses of what we ingenuously call trans­ lation. p. according to Nietzsche. 23 1 ] ). life. would be II /the soul's adversary'. By thus inverting the direction of determi­ nation. Spirit/soul/life. Nietzsche would not therefore be proposing a philosophy of life or a Darwinian explanation of rational­ ity.e. leads the soul whose path it breaks. the thought of race ( R assengedanke) is interpreted in metaphysical and not biological terms (vol. des Leben s ) (vol. The relationship of spirit to soul would situate the focal 74 . On this view. GeistISeele/Leben-these are the triangles and squares in which we imprudently pretend to recognize stable semantic determinations. once again. 224] ) . p. when it does this harshly. No. the 'vital' ( the 'living' ) and the 'spiritual' are. Heidegger nonetheless takes is­ sue with those for whom the spirit. pneuma/psyche/zoe or bios. is Heidegger alleviating or aggravating this "thought of race" ? Is a metaphysics of race more or less serious than a naturalism or a biologism of race? Let us leave the question of this still equivocal strategy suspended too. and therefore the adversary of life" ( Il Geist als Widersacher der See1e. " d. II. And primarily what goes on between spirit and psyche. This IIhas nothing 'vital' or 'spiritual ' about it: to the contrary. Spirit is not the adversary ( Widersach er) but the scout (Schrittmacher)-it draws and. 309 [III. and therefore of spirit in the Hegelian sense. I . as belonging to entities. 5 8 1 [III.C H A P T E R E I G H T which is also something quite different: to reinterpret the vital on the basis of the will to power. In the same way. spiritus/an ­ ima/vita. he does not avoid it. . 300 [III. p.h. Nietzsche does not disavow or deny spirit.

his poetic Auseinan dersetzung with metaphysical thought leads him to send it packing. h e explains. . does not take on something like a IIconcept. I shall not venture to translate these few lines.3 For these metaphysical systems. Ihn zehret die Heim a th . 75 .2 The attempt is to elucidate some lines by H6lderlin published by Beissner in 1 933 : n emlich zu Hauss ist der Geist nich t im Anfang. it cannot be reduced to what German meta­ physics thinks. Who is the spirit who " ZU Hauss ist . Inich t im Anfang. " Who is the 'spirit' ? " asks Heidegger (p. Un s ere Blum en erfreun un d die Schatten uns erer Wiilder den Verschm a ch teten . to 1I0vercome" it in this very relationship. Fa s t wiire der Beseeler verbran dt.C H A P T E R E I G H T point. But one would go astray if one concluded that H6lderlin bor­ rowed the metaphysical concept of spirit to take it on here or there in poetry. and a poet of H6lderlin's rank. H6lderlin gets this essential meaning from the thought of Hegel and Schelling. First. Kolonie li e b t." Secondly. Even if his word Geist lets itself be determined by German metaphysics. . especially not the first two whose syntax. it is not iden­ tical with it. " ? At that time. does not borrow. the place and intonation of the "nicht. even if it is not fully developed. a poet. so to speak. nich t an der Q u ell. u n d tapfer Vergessen der Geist. ." and especially in the chapter devoted to lithe spirit which grounds histori­ ally" (Der geschich tlich griin dende Geist). 1 5 7 ) . in its concepts of sub­ jective or obj ective spirit. of those 1 942 lectures collected under the title liThe Essence of the Poet as Demigod. . in systematic mode. nich t an der Quell ." have been for quite a while now the subj ect of a debate which it is perhaps not indispensable to get in­ volved in here. the word "spirit " has a univocal meaning.

thinking itself (Denken ). think­ ing the essential.C H A P T E R E I G H T the Geist is the unconditioned absolute which determines and gath ers every entity. it is truly spirit inasmuch as. as spirit. Schicksal. inasmuch as it gathers. spirit is. destined-to him con­ fers on him an essential Geschich tlichkeit. Given that man has a privileged relationship to the entity as such. This assignment or mission is spo­ ken all along the chain of Geschick. Its thoughts d o n o t simply belong t o it. Ges chich te. they are-and this is Holderlin's line of verse-thoughts of the spirit which gathers into community: des gem einsam en Geis tes Gedanken sin d. thus finding itself at home. It is thus. Heidegger's formulation is the same. The hymn poetically meditates spirit as what is. It will still be necessary to take seriously at least two obvious things. thought. the II gemein­ same Geist. II the spirit of gathering (rather than common spirit) . and what is assigns to every entity the sending or the mission of its Being. It is properly ( eigentlich ). it gathers-which it does by thinking it­ self. whos e untranslatability is not foreign to the fact that the language in which the chain is deployed is itself the proper place or even the irreplaceable idiom of this as­ signing mission. ten years later. whether he is dealing. par excellence. On the one hand. with spirit in the work of Trakl which he also wants to withdraw from pneumatology or metaphysical and Christian spirituality. This is what al­ lows him to be and to have a history. his opening to what is sent-dispensed. In its metaphysical concept. Let us suppose that this interpretation of spirit-that which ga thers or in which what gathers is gathered-is not in fact a metaphysical proposition astray in the poem. of this sending of history itself. close up to itself (zu Hauss ) . One should not read in this a metaphysical proposItIOn I I astray" in a poem. Schickliche. or whether-some years before these lectures on Holderlin- .

all the same it was not yet present as love.C H A P T E R E I G H T with the course on Schelling ( 1teatise of 1 809 on the Es­ sence of Human Freedom ) . it is only spirit. is thus the moment of breathing or spirit which at a certain point has no word. What he names then in das Weh en ( a word which means breath but is never far from suffering or sighing. It is eas­ ier to name (and it also proffers the Verb) than love-love which "was present" ( da war)." Heidegger then notes. . Spirit manifests the breath of love. But it is love which is the Most High. but how can we designate it ? (Ibid . Heidegger writes then : "In that it is a unity. but . "Also" the thinker. breathes it in or exhales it? How should we designate (bezeichn en ) it. before the separation of ground and existent. . It is what was present before ground and exis t e n ce were ( in their separation). With regard to this unity. Schelling asks : For even spirit is not yet the Most High. from the breathless or breathless-making "spiration " of spirit) is only the breath (Hauch ) or spiration of what properly unites in the most originary fashion: love. the word (das Wort ). that is the breath of love. 1 54 [po 1 28 ] ) . spirit is lrvev/-la" (Als solch e Einh eit ist del Geist 3tVEU!lU). But for S chelling. love in its respiration. of which it is only the breath. How is love to be desig­ nated? How can we name the Very High of what is above spirit and thus moves spirit. ) "Here the 'verb' ( das Wort ) also abandons the thinker. it cannot go back or raise itself up to name that which set it in motion. For. the sole and uni­ fying origin of language-in other words. in that it is language. 77 . "Here " : in this place where it is a question of speaking love. of breathing. if one can say so. Thi s course emphasizes the "unifying" essence of spirit which is " originally unifying unity" ( urspriinglich einigende Einh eit) (p. the Most High. because the verb. spirit is less high than love.

of Geist coming or coming back [reven ant] in him. of nostalgia ( Sehnsuch t). 1 69 )-a11 this leaves legi­ ble traces in the readings of Trakl and. In that it founds his­ toria11y. I have spoken a great deal of spirit as a rev­ en an t. of the infi­ nite desire in God. of coming in its very coming. spirit finds its place. 1 60 ) What is missing in the metaphysics o f subj ectity. in imposing on him this word from the French language. the coming of future [avenirJ or the to­ come la-venir] of a coming: this is what H6lderlin thinks as a poet. This is what H6lderlin thinks. it gives place in him to the welcoming of spirit.C H A P T E R E I G H T before it or higher than it: its origin. love. an "other word " for "Mut" or " Gemiit." (p. and of the evil whose possibility is due to the divisibility of Geist in man (and not in God) (p. from the thinking in it of coming. To be a poet ( dich ten ) in this sense is to be dedicated to this experience and this preserving. The soul is here the synonym. - Das Kommende in seinem Kommen wird erfahren und bewahrt im Dichten. is a correct interpretation of Cerniit. Returning itself remains to come. lodges spirit. There is no doubt that Heidegger claims to come across it here in . first. of H6lderlin. That spirit founds history and that the sending remains for man a future. What Schelling says here ( and Heidegger then comments upon). in another language. And since. in the soul ( See1e) of the poet. to whom I return briefly. Der geschichtlich griindende Geist muss daher zuerst seine S tatte finden im "Mut" des Dichters. that it is necessary to think of "returning" [la revenanceJ starting from a thought-always yet to come-of coming. " Gern ii t is not spirit. Heidegger would say here. we read in Sein und Zeit. it takes place first in the poet. Das andere Wort fiir das "Gemiit" ist " S eele. but the poet's Gemiit receives. of separation. that of which he has experience and preserves experience as a poet.

he lets it appear in its Begeisterung. but the essence of Gemut which welcomes to itself the thoughts of spirit: Des gem einsamen Geis tes Gedanken sin d Still enden d in der Seele des Dich ters. He gives spirit its space. He is the Beseeler. 1 6 1 ) . By s aying what is. to the different pos­ sibilities of marking the tonal accent. The space of a l ecture does not allow an analysis of the reading Heidegger proposes of the lines : nemlich zu Hauss ist der Geist nicht im Anfang. they are at home there. m a th. nich t an der Quell. I must be con­ tent with picking out from this reading the words or the mo­ tifs which could guide us in the recognition of a traj ectory. heimisch . The poet gives soul rather than giving life. his passion. but also. Ihn zehret di e Hei ­ We should have to listen to Adorno and to Beda Allem ann . We should also have to take into account the subtle attention Heidegger pays to the Betonung (as in Der Satz vom Grund ). for example that of nich t in the line I have just quoted ( p. who h ave contested this reading. This movement follows a sort of limit. of Schelling. " it is always the Latin word which seems to betray ) -opens this saying of spirit: "Dich ten " ist das Sagen der Gedanken des Geistes: Dich t­ en ist dich ten der Geist. The thoughts of spirit inhabit the soul of the poet. Given this. for a certain dimension of his 79 .. not the animator or the ringleader but the one who insufflates the soul. it touches both sides of the limit and makes division almost impossible. he makes it reign in what is. under which fall the systematic philosophemes of Hegel. native. his enthusiasm-I daren 't say his "inspiration" ( and like " animator. It is the limit between a metaphysical thinking of spirit.4 The soul is not the principle of life for animals and plants. The Begeiste­ rung of the poet.C H A P T E R E I G H T listening to H6Iderlil).

All I can do here is to situate it on the same path. 53. that Sehnsuch t." (G. and Heidegger interprets it through 80 . the course on Schelling reminds us. the trajectory. The motif of fire. on the other hand. illness. or to return to oneself so as to go out of oneself. is the essence of spirit of which H6lderlin speaks as poet. siech. It is on the basis of this sort of originary de­ p ropriation that Heidegger interprets Kolonie liebt. This evil is inscribed in desire. and Tnikl. in which. the other hand­ out of this divide. 1 63 ) .5 We should have to analyze another motif too. at the beginning of this expropriation­ reappropriation. The evil of this Sehnsucht which gives the impulsion to go out of oneself in order to return to oneself. . like desire itself. und tapfer Vergessen der Geist." says Heidegger. Given this. 1 50 [po 1 25 ] ) . the term Such t has. nothing to do with the such en of research. The words or the motifs which could guide us in this tra­ jectory turn out to be those speaking of the motif. in this ex-appropria tion. It belongs to the essence of spirit that it only is properly ( eigentlich l if it is close to itself [aupres de soil. of a turning of the Riick­ kehr towards the home (Heima t. p. "nemlich zu Hauss " ) . We are always dealing with a thought not of the circle but of the return. " there reigns the nostalgia for its own essence. spirit is never at home. heimisch.C H A P T E R E I G H T saying. it carries in it a motivity. epi­ demic. and. It is thus that der gemeinsame Geist gathers itself. of H6lderlin. . an " adversed mobility" ( gegenwen­ dige Bewegtheit) : go out of oneself and return into oneself ( S chelling . It loves the colony. "In spirit. the move­ men t. etymologically. those Dich ter who are the same H6lder­ lin. This desire for gathering or re-membering installs in it that nostalgia. It crosses that of return. but with evil. and valiant forgetting. vol. Spirit. p. . and. the same but an other.

of the one who carries the soul. is consumed in fire. the Beseeler. the burning.C H A P T E R E I G H T the experience of the Germans between the first line of Del Ister which says to the fire "come. the last of the five lines which hold Heidegger's attention here names the consumption. from the fire it calls and which. close to becoming ash : Unsere Blum en enfreun un d die Schatten unserer Wiilder den Verschmachten . He would be almost ash the ani­ mator. "He is. HOlderlin is he who has been struck by the God of light. the apostrophe. And i n this sketch of a final stanza for Bread and Win e. 53. 1 70 ) . Why have I been selective like this in these readings of Schelling and Holderlin? Why leave the path open to this fire of spirit only ? Because one can begin-such at least is 81 . made the poet speak like the fire : !etzt komme. p. Oh fire! -between this and the letter to B611endorf ( 4 December 1 80 1 ) which speaks of a " fire of heaven" originarily as nat­ ural to the Greeks as to us the clarity of Darstellung. will always already have called for it. in other words the gift of the spirit. in truth calls for it. as the com­ ing or the future [aveniIJ of what comes. H6lderlin. (Ibid. in a turning. Fast wiire der Beseeler verbran dt." " come now ! " an ap os­ trophe which. in instituting fire as what comes. comes itself. " on the return path (auf der R u ck ­ kehr) from his walk towards the fire ( von der Wanderung zum "Feuer" ) " ( G. of the one who animates. " says Heidegger. 1 66) Our flowers enchant and the shadows of our woods He who consumes himself. Feuer! Now come. vol . or even the cremation or incineration of the Beseeler. p. fire.

in its very equivocation6 or indecision. Seized by German idiom. . to pass between a Greek or Chris­ tian-even onto-theological-determination of pn euma or spiritus.C H A P T E R E I G H T my hypothesis-to recognize in it. give to think flame. and a thinking of Geist which would be other and more originary. plus tot]. earlier (plutot. Geist would rather. ac­ cording to Heidegger. the edging or dividing path which ought.

a mode. a genre which can receive their name only from the very thing which is said here. I that collocution of Denker and Dich ter. Between thinker and poet. TWen ty years later. rather. The Gespriich will be defined as a determinate mode of speech only from . then. from as early as 1 933. lifting at last the quotation marks. refers to itself in deferring itself. Language speaks in speech. the latest. What is spirit? Final reply. Here we shall not read a Gespriich between Heidegger and Trakl on th e s ubiect of spirit. as it is sometimes translated. can also lead back closer to an origin. conflagration. earlier even than the beginning. a regime. The Gespriich with Trakl. and what years! But we are going to speak of the "year" (Jahr). strikes the reply.IX What is spirit ? Everything suggests that. burning. flame. in 1 953 : fire. he begins to talk of spirit and in the name of spirit. to the origin before the origin. Gespriich does not signify conversation. Heidegger never stopped interrogating the Being of Geist. The speech of the two who speak. by the language or speech of this Gespriich. and pre­ cisely in order to approach what "later" sometimes means . nor exchange. nor discussion. or return lrevenir]. nor dialogue. and still less communication. It speaks about itself. the date at which. What comes very late. the language which speaks between them divides and gath­ ers according to a law.

Let us try to bring our language closer to this furnace. perhaps it is necessary to think even that. That which both catches (or takes) and gives is fire.C H A P T E R N I N E what is said of spirit. the singing. the praise. what inflames itself. 62 [ 1 8 1 ] ) . setting the question going again : how ? how much ? What does it mean. What is spirit ? The reply is inscribed in maxims which translate certain po etic statements by Trakl. poetic speech? To what do we give that name? What is so called. or which inflames itself: both at once. "Der Geist ist Flamme"(p. To which he adds. "Doch was ist der Geist? /I Heidegger indeed asks . there will be no deciding whether the . Spirit catch es fire and gives fire. it does not only give it up in death. setting itself on fire. even those of whom Heidegger said: "Their singing is poetic speech" (fhr Singen ist das Dich t en ) . A flame which inflames. Conflagration of the two in the very conflagration. in a form which one would call ontological if ontology were still the dominant regime of these texts . of the essence of Geist as it divides and gathers in conflagration. A furnace of spirit. setting fire to itself? Spirit is flame . how is this to be h eard or understood [ en ten dre] ? Not: what does it mean? But how does it s ound and resound? What about the consonance. Spirit in-flames. Further on. 59 [ 1 79] ). How to translate? Spirit is what inflames ? Rather. affects itself and gets affected by fire. Let us not forget what was said above and that we are going to re-read once again: spirit gives soul ( psyche). in that double genitive by which spirit af­ fects. and the hymn in this Gespriich with a poet ? And in order to open up this question. The fire of spirit. so calls? IIfn wiefern ? Was h eisst Dich ten F In this Gespriich. the one the other. What is spirit ? Reply: II Der Geist ist das Flamm en de /I ( p . in one or two words. the one and the other. let us say that spirit in-flames. both verb and noun.

and which forms a sufficiently determining con­ text. Just as I cannot translate these words with­ out lengthy formalities. he opposes them to everything which he is in the process of opposing. or even some still more subtle marks. Ort ) and the Erliiuterung (the elucidating reading. In order to decide. con ducted. On the other hand. before such an assigning. a long meditation would be necessary. as to what Heidegger says at the beginning about double speech and doubly addressed speech. initiated here by lines of Trakl's which they seem rather to precede or attract. The year. etc. In the face of such statements. so for lack of time I will have to restrict myself to this gross affirmation which I think is hardly contestable: statements like those I have just cited and translated by spirit in -flam es are obviously statements of Heidegger. must suspend the assigning of a simple responsibility. But it is precisely of the coming and going according to this double movement (ducere/agere). productions of the subject Mar­ tin Heidegger.C H A P T E R N I N E thinker speaks in his name'or in correspondence with Trakl. Heidegger's statements let themselves be carried. that the Gespriich speaks. On the one hand. but statements to which he subscribes appar­ ently without the slightest reluctance. the difference between Gedich t and Dichtungen. To set in motion [agirl. of this double orientation. It would be necessary to meditate on the difference but also the reciprocity ( Wechselbezug) be­ tween the Erorterung ( the situation./I Nothing is more foreign to Heidegger than com­ mentary in its ordinary sense-if indeed the word has any other. Not his own. Certainly. he supports them in a discourse of which the least one can say is that it does not bear even the trace of a reservation. the thought of the site. It would thus be completely irrelevant to reduce these s tatements in ontological form to " com­ mentaries. there will be no deciding whether visible or invisible quotation marks. even. the " ex­ plication " ) of a Gedich t. 8. guide in their turn.Gespriich and Zwiesprach e-be­ tween thinker and poet. the concept of which might lay claim to any rigor. .

the rigor of the essentially plurivocal language of Trakl is. so univocal ( eindeutig) that it even remains infinitely superior to any technical exactitude of the con­ cept in its simply scientific univocity" (p. Spirit and flame are linked. a return of the coming-going. And yet we shall try. for example. and provisionally. is univocal in Trakl. to distinguish what is due to [revien t a] Heidegger. Given this. Never elsewhere did Heidegger attempt to save poetic univocity as he does in a certain passage of this text. of course. he intends to show that Trakl's Gedich t (his poetic work if not his poems) has not only crossed the limit of onto-theology: it allows us to think such a crossing [ franchissement] which is also an enfran­ chisement [affran chissement]. gliihende Sch wermut. as we have just seen. Faced with Geist this time. in a higher s ense. Grodek. will be just that.C H A P T E R N I N E spirit. s o it seems to me. up to a certain poin t. or reinscribing it into metaphysics or even Chris­ tian theology. Lines which he picks out and chooses in a discreet but extremely active way. What he says of flame and of spirit certainly lets itself be initiated by the lines in Trakl. and one that is absolutely its own. fire. in the last poem. lithe ardent flame of spirit " [ 1 79]. On the contrary. one of Heidegger's richest texts : subtle. with the Geist Trakl is talk­ ing about. overdetermined. And. This enfranchisement. Heidegger is not interested in deconstructing its meaning. both to explain it and to lead it back to its place-if it has a place. one of the 86 ." liTo spirit give up your flame. the question does not expect to find out who says IIspirit-in-flames"-they both say it in their fashion­ but to recognize what Heidegger says of spirit in order to situate such an utterance. more untranslatable than ever. This Erorterung o f Trakl's Gedich t is. or the opening of the poem An L uzifer : "Dem Geist leih deine Flamme. which names II Die h eisse Flamme der Geistes. fervent melancholy" [ 1 80]. 75 [ 1 92] ) . still equivocal in H6lderlin. which I must b e content merely to quote: IIUnique of its kind.

precisely. Yes. of the word Geschlech t. Heidegger does thus indeed propose a change of meaning in the interpretation. the soul is a stranger upon the earth. As I am continuing to study th i s text. geistig. its mode. At the moment of this nonfortuitous encounter and from the very opening pages.63 ] . This reversal of meaning-and of the meaning of meaning-passes in the first place through . tumbled into the terrestrial here below. With a violence that I can neither hide nor assume. on the other hand. everything seems to open and let itself be guided by the in­ terpretation of a line from Friihling der Seele ( Springtime of the Soul ) : Es i s t die Seele ein Frem des auf Erden. For the moment. of meaning its elf [Ie sens memeL the direction or orientation of the soul's movement. In this Gespriich. and of animality. Heidegger immediately disqualifies any " Platonic" hearing of this. I shall have to extract from it the spectrum [spectre] which replies to the names and attributes of spirit ( Geist. comes down to an inversion.C H A P T E R N I N E most problematic. I shall follow only the passage of spirit. and its status (if it has one). already drawing their authority from the idiom of Old High German [ 1 62. with hermeneutics and poetics. I hope one day to be able-beyond what a lecture allows me to do today-to do justice to it by also analyzing its gesture. its relationship with phil­ osophical discourse. some determining deci­ sions have been taken. exiled. Heidegger seems at first to place his trust in the word geistlich which he finds in Verkliirter Herbst ( Ttansfigured Autumn ) . geistlich ) . fallen into a body doomed to the cor­ ruption ( Verwesen ) of what is lacking in Being and in truth is not. but also what it says of Geschlech t. That the soul is a " stranger" does not signify that one must take it to be imprisoned. and also of the place ( Ort). with a more fitting patience. This change of meaning goes against Platonism.

Then he distinguishes this de­ cline ( Untergang) from any catastrophe or any erasure in the Verrall. which does not signify a decline ( Untergang) nor an occidentalization. with the sense of destination ( Bestimm ung) rather than of wandering. Now this becoming-crepuscular. according to 88 . this D amm e ­ rung. And it will indeed be one of the major threads. the soul is on the earth a stranger" : . The soul is a stranger because it does not yet inhabit the earth-rather as the word "{remd" is strange be­ cause its meaning does not yet inhabit. And what proves this. Given this. the soul only seeks the earth. spiritually. {ram. in this interlacing. geistlich. . which. Now the word "spiritual " ( geis tlich ) belongs to the same stanza as the line "Yes. "properly means " ( bedeu tet eigentlich ) : to be on the way towards ( un ­ terwegs n a eh J elsewhere and forwards ( anderswohin vor­ warts ). Heidegger first repatriates the word {remd from the German language. its proper althochdeu tsch place. the soul is on the way towards the earth : Die seele sucht di e Erde erst.C H A P T E R N I N E a listening to language . {lieh t sie ni eh t . often returns in Trakl's work. Heidegger assigns to the soul ( ein Frem des from anoth er poem. The azure becomes crepuscular " spiritually. then. it does not flee it ( p . he says. if not the most visible. . It is therefore geistlich. by one of those metonymies which are the miracle of this j ourney. leading it ba c k to its " al­ thoch deu tseh " meaning. . This word. Geistlich diimm ert Blo ue fi ber dem verhauenen Waldo . far from being exiled on th e earth like a fallen stranger. And he concludes from this that. 47 [ 1 64] ) . that the azure blue of the sky becomes crepuscular ( damm ert) . is of an essential nature ( wesen tliehen Wesens) ( p ." geistlich. . 4 1 [ 1 63 ] ) . because it no longer inhabits. Heidegger announces. S e ba stian im Traum ) the de­ cline called for by a thrush. that it must be an object of meditation.

This spiritual j ourney would permit an interpretation of the decomposition or corruption ( Verwesen ) of the human form spoken of in Siebengesang des Todes ( 0 des Menschen verweste Gestalt).e. Un terwegs. is a word of Indo-European origin. morning or evening. it also guides the inter­ pretation of this second blow ( Schlag) which strike s Ges­ chlech t. i. Let us s ay-in an indecently hasty formalization-that Heidegger's pur­ pose would. Geistliche Diimmerung. Crepuscule or night. sunrise or sunset ( Gehen. geh en. the Orient and the Occident. gehen ). in Trakl's Gedich t thus understood. than the rising and s etting of the sun. . but of a spirituality of the year: what goes ( geht. Un tergang) which Trakl here determines under the word das Geistlich e. It is not here a question of a history of spirit. i. Au/­ gang. towards the earlier. This second blow transforms the simple duality of difference (Zweifach e) by imprinting agonistic dissension (Zweitra ch t) upon it. ienai.e. the revolutionary coming-going of the very thing which goes ( geh t ) . as geistlich. an oth er poem of Trakl's. in the Hegelian or neo-Hegelian sense. By that very fact. This morning and this night would be more . ) . das [ahr. does not signify the negativity of a decline but what shields the year or shelters this course of the sun ( ibid .C H A P T E R N I N E Heidegger? Well. It is thus this Gehen. this going of day or year. come down to showing that the morning and night of this spirituality are more originary. What is the year? The year. Spiritual is the gait of the year. ien ai. metaphysico-Christian interpretation. in the end. entitled. insofar as it translates the race or course of the sun. both the human species and sexual difference. in which the last line speaks of the " spiritual night " (die geistliche Na ch t ) On the basis of this crepuscule or spiritual night is determined the spirituality of the year ( das Geistliche der Jahre) spoken of in anoth er poem. precisely. Jahr) but goes returning rather towards morning. It apparently recalls the march (ier. the origin and dec­ adence current in the dominant.

the one from the other bank. to take a direction. Its falling would be nei­ ther Platonic nor Christian. But without here being withdrawn from death. the other ( ener "in the old lan­ guage" [pp. he is above all marked by the separation of the one who goes away toward another sun­ rise (Aufgang).C H A P T E R N I N E originary than any onto-theological history. says farewell. separates him­ self. Sense is always the di­ rection (sen s ) of a road (sen t and set in Indo-European ) : the stranger. ( 1 65ff. What then is signified by this supplement of originarity? Does it have the slightest determinable content ? That could be one of the forms of the question towards which we are making our way." and that Sinn an " sig­ nifies originarily" ( bedelitet urspriinglich ) : to travel. He is der Ab­ geschieden e. Who is this stranger? Heidegger follows his steps in Trakl's poem. de-ceases . is the one who plunges into the night of the spiritual twilight. that the soul follows a stran­ ger ( ein Fremdes ). or mad. To do so he leaves. the way of a return towards this true bloW. and the dead man who separates himself insofar as he is also the de­ mented: der Wahnsinnige. the deceased) . means the sol­ itary or the dead ( the defunct. 50ff. withdraws. This word. ))). in its common use. a word which again Heidegger wants to awaken under its common signification. that one (Tener). He recalls that wan a " means " ohne. over there. Geschlech t is fallen ( verfallene). of course. to­ wards the softness of this simple duality (die Sanftm u t einer einfaltigen Zwiefalt) in order to deliver duality (Zwiefache) from dissension (Zwietrach t). The stranger. is not simply dead. he 90 . But also a first sign signaling towards what precedes or exceeds questioning itself. a foreigner (Fremdling). he who is de-ceased. to tend towards a place. It is on the way. "without. It would thus find itself on the way towards the true blow of this simple difference. He is the dead man. It is fallen because it has lost its true blow ( den rechten Schlag) . any history and any spirituality apprehended in a metaphysico-Platonic or Christian world.

mad and buried. As end of the verwesenden Geschlech tes the end seems to precede the be­ ginning (An beginn ) of the unborn species (des ungeborenen Geschlech tes ) . to understand that the end of " verwesen den Geschlech tes " of the decomposing species precedes the beginning. and the " later" before the " earlier. We are - 91 . out of fidelity to what. precisely. But even more. I will not. towards the more matutinal dawn of what is not yet born. This is what should be under­ stood when Trakl writes : Der Wahnsinnige ist gestorben (The madman is dead) or Man b egriibt den Fremden ( The stranger is interred) . i s dead. If we do not under­ stand how the end seems to precede the beginning.C H A P T E R N I N E is on the way to an elsewhere. the usual translation would say. all the doublings of spirit that still await us. and especially because of what seems to me to call for it in Trakl 's text. towards the un-born ( das Ungeb orene) Artaud would perhaps say the in -nate. that death comes before birth. metaphysical or parapsychic. ef­ face it. This stranger. becaus e of spirit. /I Revenan t " is not a word of Heidegger's. and finally as the return­ ing [revenirJ of a spirit. And the originary es­ sence of time ( das urspriingliche Wesen der Zeit) will indeed have been guarded in this archi-origin. in Heidegger's text. and no doubt he would not like having it imposed on him because of the neg­ ative connotations. To comprehend this re-venance which goes towards a younger morning. hears the coming and going of this dead man as a coming back [revenirJ from night to dawn. at a more originary essence of time. surpassed. But this beginning." it is necessary to arrive. it is bee cause this originary essence is kept beneath a veil. to reo turn "before" the interpretation of time which has ruled over our repres entation at least since Aristotle. this more matutinal morning (die friihere Friihe) has already sublated. at least as I would be tempted to read it. that he would be at pains to denounce in it. His step carries him into the night. however. in fact overtaken ( iiperholt) the end. like a revenan t.

C H A P T E R N I N E still prisoners of the Aristotelian represen tation of time : succe ssion. what is then the meaning of this word. his departure. The dominant meaning tends rather [ plutot] to­ wards the " earlier" [ plus tot] of the one who has been dead for a long time. geistlich � To listen superficially to him. or even in rela­ tion to the disintegration of the atom (p. when Heidegger is speaking of the West (A bendlan d and A b en dliindisch es Lied are the titles of two . of his journeying. or dynamically. 57 [ 1 76] ) . it is already the promise of the poem Friihling der Seele ( Springtime of the Soul ) . Heidegger notes. This Friih e as it were keeps vigil for [ veille] the vernal itself. This dimension can let itself be repre­ sented either mechanically. in short. For at this point a question imposes itself on Heidegger in the face of all the meanings we have j ust recognized and dis­ placed. the kind which comes even before the first day of spring (Friihling). dimension for a quantitative or qualitative cal­ culation of duration. i t is on the basis of a more originary thinking of time that we will open ourselves to a more appropriate thinking of spirit. other lines show clearly. of his de-cease (Abgeschiedenheit). However. before the principle of the prim um tempus. Some of Trakl's lines even appear to encourage this interpretation. The word versprechen ( to promise) speaks the singular Friihe promised ( versprich t) by a poem entitled Friihling der See1e. Trakl seems to restrict himself to the common meaning of the word: to its Christian meaning. after covering a huge amount o f ground. that they are spiritual. according to Heidegger. comes the day before the day before [l'avan t-veille] . of the stranger's year. this more than vernal initiality. But we also find it again near the conclusion. and even to that of a certain ecclesiastical holiness. the night. and which all determine the A bgeschiedenheit of the Stranger : if the poet says of the dawn. The promise must b e stressed. Once again. A movement towards that more than matu­ tinal Friih e. that the clerical sense is not dominant.

and I would say (Heidegger does not say it like this) that it is in the opening of this Sprache that the speak­ ing of the Dich ter and that of the Denker cross in their Ges­ prach or their Zwiesprach e. dissimulated. This Verwesen is also a corruption of the Ver­ sprechen. Paul de Man wrote: Die Sprache versprich t.e. the game is at work in l angua ge itself. In another context. a fatal corruption which does not befall Sprache as an accident.4 pretending to play without playing with Heidegger's famous formula (Die Sprache sprich t). of Geschlech t.C H A P T E R N I N E other poems). It is even this affliction of the promise that Heidegger is meditating here when he speaks of the European Platonic­ Christian West and the Verwesen of humanity or. closer to the essence of an authentic promise. but promising better. Thi s promise poses nothing. Naturally the promise of this Versprechen can be corrupted. i. m ore than the one we imagine in the European fashion. becomes undone or unhinged. because it would promise more. it does not put forward. more apt [ propreJ for the prom­ ise. derails or becomes de­ lirious. rather. or can go a stray. becomes corrupt j ust as immediately 93 . more things. One could say that this Sprache verspricht. friiher. One day he sharpened up this formula as Die Sprache versprich t sich : languag� or speech promises. quite simply. more precocious [more ini­ tial.3 Versprechender: promising more not because it would be more promising. but no word fits hereJ and thereby promising more ( ver­ sprech ender) than the Platonic-Christian West and. he distinguishes between the West which Trakl gives us to think and that of Platonic-Christian Eu­ rope. He was not playing. deteriorates. promises itself but also goes back on its word. pro-mises nothing. He writes of this West what is also valid for the archi­ or pre-oriental Friih e-and again emphasizes the promise : "This West is older. it speaks. Referring to the poem entitled Herbstseele (Autumn Soul ).

The call of Being-every question al­ ready responds to it. the Geistliche hidden under the Christian or Platonic representation. Ereignis or Geschehen. it is promise. This would also be a promise of spirit. earlier [ plus tot]. It cannot not promise as soon as it speaks. in the promise. as of the event it nonetheless institutes. It re­ mains to find out whether this Versprechen is not the prom­ ise which. that is a coming of the event. I have perhaps. the promise has already taken place wherever language comes. rather [ plu totl.C H A P T E R N I N E and just as essentially.5 and in the very question. We have just seen why this use of the word geistlich 94 . Language always. of the given word. see the very coming. comes down to [revien t a) the promise. if such a thing exists. in some sense. what is verspre­ ch en der thus announces the day before the day before: what has already taken place. in our Europe. call the origin or the first day of spring [Ie premier temps du prin tempsJ . even before what we. Thought is fidelity to this promise. Would Heidegger subscribe to an interpretation which would make of this Versprechen something other than a modality or modification of Sprache? He would. makes possible the very question and therefore precedes it without belonging to it: the dissymmetry of an affirmation. opening every speaking. The "must" of this "we must think" in truth accords its modality to that of the promise. By promising better. That a promise announce or salute what has taken place "before" the previously-that is the style of temporality or historiality. of a yes before all oppo­ sition of yes and no. Which means that it is only what it should be if it listens-if it both hears and obeys. doubtless even (how could one be sure ? ) left the order of commentary. which we must think in order to approach the spiritual. by according itself with what is most essentially promise in the best promise. In saying this. but it cannot fail to break its prom­ ise-and this comes of the structure of the promise. The Verwesen is a Ver­ sprechen. before any question. for better and for worse.

" he now inscribes in the massive and crudely typecast form of the metaphysico-Platonic tradition. a quarter of a century earlier. he had denounced all the forms of " des­ titution of spirit. . Here is the passage: Why. With what can look like a flagrant lack of consistency. in a Platonic-Occidental language. now he brutally sends it packing. He then pretends to wonder why Trakl said geistliche and not geistige Diimmerung or geis­ tige Nach t. the intellectual and the ideological. without more ado. Heidegger here inscribes invisible quotation marks in the use of the same word. . It resounds here like a delayed echo of the same word in Sein un d Zeit. It is better to quote here the p a s ­ sage in which reappears the verm eiden. the tradition responsible for or symptomatic of this Ver­ wesen of Geschlech t: the corruption of the human race in its sexual difference. he used extensively without quo­ tation marks and took for his own. This word is thus divided by an internal difference. then. which. This word. names the abyss (Kluft ) between the suprasensible (noeton ) a nd the sensible ( aistheton ) . does he avoid ( vermeidet er) the word "geistig" ? Because " Geistige" names the contrary op­ posed to the material ( Stofflich en ) . Here he is now recognizing the whole of Platonism in this word. But an abyss henceforth amplifies the res­ onance. which I mentioned at the start. as we saw. the gesture of avoid­ ing. belongs with its 9S . And why. despite so many ap­ pearances.C H A P T E R N I N E ought not to be Christian. Trakl or at least Trakl's Gedich t ough t not to be essentially Christian. vorl the difference between two do­ mains and. This contrary rep­ res ents (stellt . Heidegger has just noted that geistlich does not have the Christian sense. continually from 1 933. The spiritual thus understood (Das s o verstan dene Geistige) which has meanwhile become the rational. As for the adjective geistig. he behaves as though he had not been celebrating the Geistigkeit of Geist for twenty years. and from what a height. in the name of which.

then ? What is GeisU In order to reply to this question in an affirmative mode. at least. " of Geschlech t in decomposition. he was speaking in the name of Geistigkeit and not of Geist­ lichkeit. flame. especially not of that (non-Christian) Geistlichkeit. would contest any rhetoricizing reading. n egative approaches to the essence of spirit. Why traits � Because the motif o f the trait . Hei­ degger invokes the flame .6 One could at­ tempt to bring the concepts of rhetoric to bear here only after making sure of some proper meaning for one or other of these words. in such and such a determinate language. in such and such a sen­ tence. (p. In its most proper essence." "ideological" is indeed what Heidegger was con­ demning in 1 93 5 . still listening to Trakl. At least he was doing so literally. He was speaking in the name of what he has j ust defined as the Platonic origin of the misinterpretation and degradation of spirit. Heidegger. in such and such a text.C H A P T E R N I N E oppositions to the apprehension of the world ( Weltan ­ sich t) of the " verwesen den Geschlech t. in 1 935. as the poet and thinker allow it to be approached. since he con­ stantly made use of the word "geistig. then. We are far from that and everything comes back to this difficulty. not a metaphor. I shall simply mark out the reading I should like to propose with a few traits. 59 [ 1 78-79] ) The degradation of the spiritual into the "rational. " but the distinction between the letter and something else (for example the spirit ) has precisely no pertinence here other than a Platonic-Christian one. spirit. Sp irit in -flames: how to hear o r understand this ? It is not a figure." "intel­ lectual. No t b eing able to follow Heidegger here step by step. What is it. From this point of view the continuity of his remarks appears incontestable. Those are. Geist is n either Christian Geist­ lichkeit n or Platonic-metaphysical Geistigkeit. But.

the internal possibility of the worst is al­ ready lodged. so to speak. Heidegger does not simply rej ect the deter­ min ation of spirit as spiritus and pn euma. Trakl does not understand spirit primarily as pneum a. that whiteness of ash which belongs to destiny consumed and consuming. S e con d trait. Evil is not on the side of matter or of the sensible matter generally opposed to spi rit . It appears to make the s e m antics of Geist depend on an " originary meaning " (ur­ spriingliche Bedeutung) entru s ted to the German idiom gheis. And the trait will be something quite different from what we mean in French by trait d 'esprit. and sighing in rega rd to flame. precisely. 97 . 1 . this duplicity af­ fects all the thinking up to and including that of ash. Third trait. not originarily pn eum a or spiritus. In the affirm ati ve determination of spirit­ spirit in -flam es . It is born of spirit but. it is also Geist. First trait. respiration. expira­ tion. In this movement. inspiration. the recourse to the German language appears i rreducible . Rather. he affirms the de· pendence of breath. 2.C H A P T E R N I N E will. 3 . Trakl speaks of the " burning flame of spirit" (heissen Flamme des Geistes ) ( 20 1 ) . Spi rit is what flares up ( das Flammen de : spirit in flames ) and it is perhaps only as such that it blows ( that it is a breath. to the conflagration of the flame which burns itself up. of a spirit which is not the metaphysico-Platonic Geistigkeit. Grodek. Evil is spiritual. make an incision within the flame. But s pirit is not {irst. In the passage I am going to quote. he derives it. wind. whence this other internal duplicity which makes one spirit into the evil ghost of the other. ein Wehendes ) . Is ash the Good or the Evil of flame ? I first translate a few lines before picking out some o ther traits : But what is spirit ? In his last poem. It is because Geist is flame that there is pneum a and spiritus. Evil has its provenance in spirit itself. in the passage I am going to quote.

it takes out of reach ( a us­ ser Passung bringt). deports: entsetzt. which also. to pass ecstat­ ically outside itself. en tflammt: what is proper to spirit is this auto-affective spontaneity which has need of no exteriority to catch fire or set fire. " for gheis means : to be thrown ( aufge­ braeh t). as we shall see: spirit in flames-gives and catches fire all by itself. a uf. transports or transposes. but as the flame which flames lor inflames itself. it displaces [or deposes or frightens. 59. (pp. "The flame i s the brother o f the palest" i s what we read in the poem Verwandlung des Basen ( 1 29) ( TIans­ mutation of the Evil One). deported: en tsetzt.C H A P T E R N I N E not spiritually (nieh t spirituell: a very rare occurrence of this word in Heidegger). The burning up is the radiance of a reddening glare.60 [ 1 79J ) . transported [or transposed. it raises (or hunts out. since it also affects itself with evil and is the passage outside itself ]. outside itself ( ausser sieh l . it gives itself Being outside itself. What burns itself up is Being­ outside-itself ( das Ausser-sieh ) which illuminates and makes shine. can devour tirelessly and consume everything up to and in­ cluding the white of the ash (in das Weisse der Aseh e verzehren kann ) . however (indessen aueh ).agt). for better and for worse. again-and I believe this is the most determining pred­ icateJ. a whole semantics which plays an important role in this text and will soon reappear in the etymo­ logical derivation of " Geist"J. Trakl envisages " spirit" on the basis of this essence which is named in the origi­ nary meaning (in der urspriingliehen Bedeu tung) of the word " Geis t. one word.

and keep ourselves provisionally to the in­ ternal logic of this discourse. nor.x This is neither the place nor the time-it is too late-to reawaken the wars of etymology. or rather this familial internali z a­ tion. Geist­ the gas-rises up or rises up again above the decomposing dead. like the sublime effluvia of a fermentation. and can only ­ 99 . when the flame of Geist. of inspiration or respiration . I said s omething about it just now.2 But this supplement of originary sta­ tus he assigns to German only has meaning. He simply says they are less originary. or more precisely. though I am so often tempted to do so. And one of the most obsessing ghosts among the p hilosophers of this al­ chemy would again be Hegel who. for better or for worse. we have a trio of languages : Greek ( pneumaL Latin (spiritus L German ( Geist). l situated the passage from the philoso phy of na­ ture to the philosophy of spirit in the combustion from which. all the ghosts flap p ing in the wings of this 1/ alchemi c al theater/' as Artaud would say. Let us then leave etymology and ghosts-but is it not the same question? . when I marked the double dissymmetry determining the Graeco­ German couple. to the way in which this interiority. is constituted: this domestication in a place where the thought about spirit appears at its most idiomatic. to interiorize itself in the Aufhebung. as I have tried to show elsewhere. Heidegger does not di squ al ify the immense semantics of breathing. burns in the hearth of one language only. What has j ust been clarified on this subject ? Apparently. imprinted in Greek or Latin.

first. and to maintain a question of principle: what justifies the closure of this triangle "historially " ? Does it not remain open from its origin and by its very structure onto what Greek and then Latin had to translate by pneuma and spiri­ tus. and only if one grants a sort of history of the meaning of the II thing II pneuma-spiritus. it seems that it is closed only by an act of brutal foreclosure .Geist which is both European and. in its content. but historially it is held in a relationship of translation such that the German thinker inhabits this space. " Foreclosure" figures a word common in vari­ ous codes ( la� psychoanalysis) to say too rapidly and too firmly something of this avoiding which we are cautiously trying to think through here. or Geist would demonstrate a levity abusive and ultimately violent for the languages thereby assimilated. To someone who reproached him with not caring about other languages. as it were. that is. but what interests me here is simply its value as a symptom. by means of Geist interpreted in this way. as to the ultimate dimensions of this question. and only in this triangular place ou tside which one can certainly encounter all kinds of meanings of at least equal worth. seems certainly significant in itself. spiritus. what could Heidegger say? First of all this. has a bearing be­ yond or before Western Europe in its usual representation.C H A P T E R T E N be said. than the very determination of a his­ toriality in general from the limits which such an avoiding 1 00 . the Hebrew ruah ? A clarification. as I have just overhastily suggested. inside a triangle or a linguistico-historical triad. In fact. I would not dispute the very strong "logic" of this re­ sponse if the historial triangle could legitimately be closed. Such a "foreclosure/' then. it concerns less a historial avoiding. themselves calling forth tempting anal­ ogies. but for which translation as pneuma. He would say that Geist does have a more originary sense than pn euma and spiritus. perhaps : what he thinks in his language-and one does not think o u ts i d e a language-is held in this intra-translational triangle.

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would come along to set. What Heidegger names Ge­ schich te, and all the meanings he associates with this, would be deployed in the advent and as the very instituting of this triangle . Without b eing a b le t o invoke here the vast corpus o f pro­ phetic texts and their translations, without doing any more than recalling what makes it permissible to read a whole tradition of Jewish thought as an inexhaustible thinking about fire;3 without citing the evidence from the Gospels of a pneumatology which has an ineradicable relationship of translation with ruah, I will refer only to one distinction, made by Paul in the First Epistle to the Corinthians ( 2 : 1 4 ), between pneum a and psyche. Corresponding to the distinc­ tion between ruah and n eph ech, it belongs-if it is not its opening-to the theologico philosophical tradition in which Heidegger continues to interpret the relationship be­ tween Geist and Seele.4 Once this immense problem has been pointed out, can one not wonder about the legitimacy of the historial closure of speech in which Heidegger repeats and claims to go be­ yond the European race from East to West? Leaving aside the fact that, among other traits, for example those that some­ times make it a "holy spirit" (ruah haqqodech, ruah qod­ ech ), the ruah can also, like Geist, carry evil within it. It can become ruah raa, the evil spirit. Heidegger delimits not only this or that misinterpretation of Geistigkeit in the name of an authentic Geistigkeit, as he did in 1 933-35, but also the whole European and Christian-metaphysical discourse which holds to the word geistig instead of thinking the geis­ tlich e in the sense supposedly given it by Trakl. Given this, it is his own strategy of 1 935, entirely dominated by a s till limited use of the word geistig, which is targeted, compre­ hended, compromised, and even de constructed by this new delimitation. Now this is the moment at which Heidegger violently closes or encloses the European in idioms which had, how-

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ever, incorpora ted the translation of at least one language and of a historiality which is here never named, never thought, and which perhaps would no longer submit to his­ torial epochality and to the history of Being. What, then, would be the most appropriate place for the questions we are pointing to here ? Perhaps that which Heidegger himself sit­ uates beyond history or the epochality of Being: a certain thinking of Ereignis . The allusion to the ruah raa, to the evil spirit, leads me towards another of the traits which I must underline. Spirit-in flames-deploys its essence ( west), says Heideg­ ger, according to the possibility of gentleness ( des San/ten ) and of destruction ( des Zerstorerisch en ) . The white of ash, one could say, here figures that destruction according to rad­ ical eviL Evil and wickedness are spiritual ( geistlich ) and not simply sensible or material, by simple metaphysical op­ position to that which is geistig. Heidegger insists on this with formulas which are sometimes literally Schellingian, in the wake of the 1 809 'D:eatise on the Essen ce 0/ Human Freedom and the course Heidegger devoted to it in 1 936. Why can this continuity appear both natural and troubling? Because the " Schellingian" formulas which sustain this in­ terpretation of Trakl seem to belong, following Heidegger's own course, to that metaphysics of evil and the will which at the time he was trying to delimit rather than accept. What is more, Heidegger also tried, in 1 936, to withdraw this Schellingian thinking of evil, however metaphysical it still was (or because it had the authenticity of a great metaphys­ ics) from a purely Christian space.5 But the distinctions can never be so simple in the tangled topology of these displace­ ments . Some of the formulas of the essay on Trakl recall the course on Schelling precisely in this gesture towards going, so to speak, beyond Christianity. But the same formulas con­ firm a metaphysics of evil, a metaphysics of the will, thus also that metaphysics of hum anitas and anim alitas whi ch we have recognized in the teaching of the same period (In 102

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troduction to Metaphysics, 1 93 5 ) and which Heidegger, so it seems to me, never went back on.6 Here is one among so many other possible examples, and I choose it for reasons of proximity. Heidegger writes of the Metam orph osis of th e Evil On e, immediately after evoking the " original significa­ tion" of the word Geist : Thus understood, spirit deploys its essence ( wes t ) in the p ossibility of gentleness and destruction. Gentle­ ness does not submit to some repression (schliigt kei­ neswegs nieder) the being-outside-itself of conflagra­ tion ( des En tflammenden ), but holds it gathered ( versammelt) in the peace of friendship. Destruction comes from the frenzy which consumes ( verzehrt) it­ self on its own insurrection and in this way pushes the evil one ( das Bosartige betrei bt). Evil is always the evil of a spirit. Evil, and its malignity, is not the sensible, the material. No more is it of a simply " spiritual " nature ( "geistiger " Natur). Evil is spiritual ( geistlich ) [ . . . ) . (p. 60 [ 1 79 ) ) Now in his Schelling he wrote: an animal can never be " wicked," even if we some­ times express ourselves in these terms. For to wicked­ ness belongs spirit (Denn zur Bosheit gehort Geist). The animal can never leave the unity proper to the de­ termined place in nature which is its own. Even when an animal is " cunning," " malicious," this malice re­ mains limited to a quite determined field, and when it manifests itself, this is always in circumstances equally very determinedi and then it comes into play automatically. Man, on the contrary, is that being who can overturn the elements which compose his essence, overturn the ontological fit ( die Seynsfuge) of his Da­ sein and disjoin it (ins Ungefiige). [ . . . ) It is therefore to man that is reserved the dubious privilege of being able to fall lower than the animal, while the animal is not capable of this mal-version ( Verkehrung) of prin1 03

" Conversely. after the event and as an extra. it breaks the path ( brich t er Bahn ). in a still H6lderlinian formulation. 1 737 4 [ p 1 46] ) o Let us finally situate a last trait. writes itself. of precipitation or antici­ pation ( wo sich ein Vorauswan dern begibt) according to that temporality which makes the end appear before the begin­ ning. in the way opened by its fire. right in the flame. spirit is the tempest ( Sturm ) which "storms the sky" ( " den Himmel sturm t " ) and gives it­ self over to "ousting God" ( " Gatt erjagt " ) ." This deportation is a gift. the soul guards (h utet) spirit. . It returns often to bespeak the retreat by which spirit relates to itself and divides in that sort of internal adversity which gives rise to evil. by inscrib­ ing it. "The spirit is what makes a gift of soul" (Der Geist ist es. Spirit pur­ sues ( jagt) the soul on the way (in das Un terwegs ) . This is why it is also. "nour­ ishes" it. [ . As flame. deposes. the trait itself. This is not an accident. It does not befall. the flame of light. the Be­ seeler. Trait of conflagration. and deports into the foreign ( versetzt in das Fremde). and first of all. as it were. ] The ground of evil thus resides in the pri­ mordial will ( Urwillen ) of the primary base. attraction. (pp . and this in so essential a fashion that we may pre1 04 . again. . 60 [ 1 79-80] ) The path-breaking [ frayage] of this trait ( trace. and this is the being-on-the-way ( Un terwegs) of migration but also of overtaking. It is thus that spirit transposes. makes its clearing and sets it on the road. Like fire-writing. spirit in-flames-traces the route. Riss. . ( Un terwegs zur Sprache. it transports the soul. der mit Seele beschenk t). p. This word also traces difference. Thus. "Es ist die Seele ein Frem des auf Erden. . Flame writes. brings spirit back to soul. contraction) thus. right in the flame. . breaks the path : To the extent that the essence of spirit resides in conflagration (in En tflammen ). Spirit throws and pursues soul on the way.C H A P T E R T E N ciples.

" The Storm. It is difficult to translate. 7 Solitary and voyaging. mounting to the assault of the sky (den Himm el stiirmen d ). a trait of flame.C H A P T E R T E N sume. sends on the way." Heidegger says in his commentary on Das Gewitter. the femininity of the soul. 105 . As often. tears apart. Fervor of Gemiit. or lend itself. mi­ gration-but no t wandering. the soul must consent. proper to itself. It is in the mark ( Riss ) of the flame that sadness carries away. Guard and nourishment would again stress. '' 'Flamm end' reisst der Schmerz fort. and' marks with its trait-and. to spirit : Dem Geist leih deine Flamm e. I paraphrase instead-and the word Fuge is more resistant than others: the dominant mark inscribes the voyaging soul in adjustment. the soul must assume the weight of its d es ti ny ( Geschick ) . It must carry itself before. Heidegger adds. would like to deliver itself to ousting God ( Gott ./I Sein For­ criss zeichnet die wandern de Seele in die Fuge des Stiir­ mens und Tagens ein . that there would be no spirit without soul. in the sense of a tradition. chases. what is more. here indis­ s ocia bly coupled-and we will not invoke the grammar of genders-with a masculine spirit which draws on. . to encounter spirit ( dem Geist en tgegen ). for sadness has in itself. carry and carry itself towards the essence assigned to it. flame or ardent melancholy. or snatches at the soul. du flamm endes Anschaun Del Grossen Seele! (Das Gewittel [1 83)) This is th e trait. the just according of the storm and the pur­ suit which. the division or adversity even inside sad­ ness. It must gather itself in the One. gliihen de Sch welm ut The soul is great according to the measure of this flame and of its sadness: o Schmelz. . an essence of adversity (Dem Schmerz eignet ein in sich gegenwendiges Wesen ) . hunts.

itself a double mark. are blows of spirit. And it is the essence of the Good. interprets Geschlech t. Across all these modifications (Riss. Redoubled. in its just striking and then in the bad blow which deposes or corrupts it into verwesen de Geschlech t whose duality is dedicated to dis­ sension (Zwietracht). It is in sadness that spirit gives the soul. the trait or the re-trait of what has trait [a trait) inscribes evil. from which Heidegger. The trait engraves sadness in the essence of spirit 's relation to itself which gathers and divides itself in this way. the second. the Good is the Good only in sadness. It is its essence. the malediction ( these are Hei­ degger's words) which strike the human Geschlech t. Bezug. and properly ( eigentlich ). rules the fundamental trait ( Grund­ zag) of sadness. retires. The word Ver­ sarnmlung (gathering) traverses." On the other hand.C H A P T E R T E N erjagen moch te). but also Zug. It is the relation of spirit itself to itself as gathering together. And it has an essential affinity with the blow. dominates. the difference or duality inscribed by the trait or even by the impress is not considered by Heideg­ ger as a division . in his language. A doubly remarkable trait. and right on the spirit. the just but also the bad one. Fort­ riss. the strike. Which in turn bears the spirit. it is the spirit in which it in­ scribes itself. In the soul. in the re-trait of its tearing trait (als zuriickreissen der Riss) . The trait gathers. It belongs to the flame it divides . or retracts. B Just one quotation: "But who has guard over this pow­ erful sadness for it to nourish the burning flame of spirit? That which bears the impress of the spirit ( Was vom Schlage dieses Geistes ist) belongs to that which sets on the way. and overdeter­ mines this whole meditation. the wound. zieh en ). the imprint (Schlag). It gathers all that is gathering: 106 . The blow. That which bears the impress of this spirit is called geist­ lich . then. Grundzug. Riickniss. The vocabulary often still appears Schellin­ gian. By the same fundamental trait. Sadness carries off [emporte) (fortreisst). traces itself.

the de-cease (Abgeschiedenheit). but the most matutinal morning to which the stranger's march will have destined him. origin-heterogeneous [h eterogene a l 'origine] to all the testaments. all at once. all the laws and assignments which are our very memory. in the very dry descrip tion of these two paths. Heidegger says. About a we which is perhaps not given . than spirit. and about a certain crossing of our paths. This One is not. The separation of what takes its de­ parture in de-cease is none other. the soul which solitude carries toward the "unique" and gathers in the One (in das Bine) (p. the Gem ii t. Schematizing to the extreme. in its very burning up. I shall hold.C H A P T E R T E N the place ( Ort). and he does so in formulations which here again often recall Schelling. identity. would in truth be of an other birth and an other essence. in 1 07 . and finally the one itself ( Ein J of Ein Geschlecht. Origin -heter­ ogeneous : this is to be understood at once. would be for­ eign to it. What is most matutinal in the Friih e. And without criticizing. what gathers (p. indifference. 66 [ 1 85 ] ). Now the Ver­ sammlung. th at One w hi c h is. without even asking questions in pre­ tense of conclusion. the only word italicized in Trald's work. all the events. as such. is also called Geist by Heidegger. " der Geist und als dieser das Versammelnde " : spirit and. this gath ering in the One. all the promises. One of the paths-its trail can be followed in the reading of Trakl-would lead back to the spirituality of a promise which. only to what can still say something to us-at least I imagine it can-about our steps. s till more radically foreign to Platonic metaphysics and all that follows from it. in its best promise. foreign to a certain European determination of the course from East to West. one can perhaps see two paths of thought here crossing under Heidegger's step. apparently. It is too late and I won't keep you here until morning. and even at the origin of Christianity (to which we can give several names ). without being opposed to Christianity. 6 1 [ 1 80] ). or sexual uniformity.

the gestures made to snatch Trakl away from the Christian thinking of Geist seem to me laborious. An announcement which is more provocative. this trail appears to be scarcely passable. since it makes appeal to s omething quite different. even as the impassable itself. irruptive. hail.C H A P T E R T E N three senses: ( 1 ) heterogeneous from the origin. from what are called the Testa­ ments up to and including Hegel or Marx. would be quite other than the analogous circles or revolutions the thinking of which we have inherited. The circle which. via death. I would be tempted to say of this trail that on the one hand it seems to promise. West" would be paleonyms. at least as to what puts it to the test in the reading of Trakl. these words: /I circle. 108 . and all in all not very convincing. Right down into the detail of what I shall dare to call t he explication de texte. Heteroge­ neous because it is and although it is at the origin. violent. the West. (3) heterogeneous and or insofar as at the origin. ori gin ­ heterogeneous because at the origin of the origin. But on the other hand. returns towards the most originary. that's the logical form of th e tension which makes all this thinking hum. or at any rate the elu­ cidation (Erliiuterung. decline. or save more or better. I shall try to explain what I mean elsewhere. What is origin -h eterogeneous would in that case be nothing other-but it's not nothingh e t ero gene ou s . sometimes simply caricatural. disturbing. that towards which we are called by the Gespriich between Heidegger and Trakl. Given this. decline. It is with reference to an extremely conventional and doxical out line of Christianity that Heidegger can claim to de­ Christianize Trakl's Gedich t. originarily (2) heterogeneous with respect to what is called the origin. which Heidegger distinguishes from the Erorterung). other than the origin and irreducible to it. " Be­ cause " and " although " at the same time. They deserve only the quotation marks necessary to suspend them in a writing or reading which must carry us beyond. not to mention some other modern thinkers .

What I am aiming at here is. we have been speaking of nothing but the " translation" of these thoughts and discourses into what are commonly called the "events " of " history" and of "politics" (I place quotation marks around all these obscure words). In its program or its type. Let us understand by that that the places can some­ times be exchanged in a disturbing way." a composition of forces and discourses which seem to have been waging merciless war on each other (for example from 1 933 to our time). It therefore calls for quite other protocols. We are talking about past. And even if. it would have done so in the shadow of big trees. obviously enough. imagine a scene between Heidegger and certain Christian theologians. but it has to be constantly recalled. most patient. any­ thing but abstract. In their bushy taxonomy. I will not count the species . it would also be necessary to " translate" what such an exchange of places can imply in its most radical possibil­ ity. Nazism was not born in the desert. it had grown like a mushroom in the silence of a European forest. moreover. perhaps the most demanding. In any case its " logic" seems prescribed. and future " events. most impatient. the presentation of them defies tabular layout. And as. One can. It leaves no place open for any arbitrating authority. far from any desert. In all rigor it exculpates none of the discourses which can thus exchange their power. We all know this. since the beginning of this lecture. It would in truth be an odd ex­ change. they 1 09 . present. This " translation" appears to be both indispensable and for the moment impossible. those in view of which I have proposed this read­ ing.C H A P T E R T E N than the origin of Christianity: the spirit of Christianity or the essence of Christianity. this meeting has not. We have here a program and a combinatory whose power remains abyssal. then. For essential reasons. failed to occur. in the shelter of their silence or their indifference but in the same soiL I will not list these trees which in Europe people an immense black forest.

or common repre­ sentations. consolation. The first. of a more than matutinal dawn beyond a beginning and an end of his­ tory. making clear above all that this mission or this s ending of the blow struck ( das Geschick des Schlages ) s trikes with difference ( specifies by separating: verschliigt) 1 10 . is indeed what is most essential in Christianity. what is just as confusedly called culture. and when. do you realize just how close to us you are ? And even more so when you speak of fall j Verfall ) and malediction ( Fluch ). And even more so when. Like you. or the world of spirit. We give thanks for what you say. It's precisely what we have always been seeking. which you claim is for­ eign to Christianity. to correspon­ dence. o Gott sprach eine sanfte Flamme zu seinem Herzen : ' Mensch ! you name this word of God. it's what we would like to revive under the theologemes. this Versprechen. In short. exhortation) (p. 6 7 [ 1 8 5 ] ) or of salvation and the blow which saves (rettet). in the trace of this line from Trakl. before and beyond East and West. philosophemes. those I called theologians and all those they might represent. 79 [ 1 96] ). economic structures. And when you speak of promise. philosophies. then. his Sprechen-which we are tempted to link with the Versprechen just mentione d­ when you accord it with a Zusprechen or a Zuspruch ( in­ struction [mandemen t]. And even more so when you speak of spiritual evil .C H A P T E R T E N would bear the names of religions. which calls us to the En tsprech ung. political re­ gimes. And even more so when you speak of a resurrection to come of the Mensch enschlag from the dawn (in ein k om­ mendes Auferstehen des Mensch enschlages aus der Friihe (p. religious or academic institu­ tions. would say to Heidegger: "But what you call the archi-originary spirit. you have a right to all our gratitude [reconnaissance] for what you give us to hear and think-and which we do indeed recognize [recon ­ ' naissons].

in our faith. pneuma. is l1 0 t yet wha t it makes possible. I'm not certain that the Moslem and some others wouldn't join in the concert or the hymn.. restore. When you say all that. in accord with the promise of return towards the land of pre-archi -originarity. because it has always been veiled. after all. of flame and fire-writing in the promise. you say that this 'i. of the promise. discreetly. You say the most radical things that can be said when one is a Christian today. the Messianic Jew. is not yet thinkable. and even if we have to do it against these common representations with which you wish at all costs to confuse Christianity (which elsewhere you know so well). I'm simply trying. against certain theologemes or certain onto­ theological philosophemes. of resurrection. and not stories which historians tell. it is not cer­ tain that you would not receive a comparable reply and sim­ ilar echo from my friend and coreligionary. modestly. of malediction.e. re­ vive.h.' that more than originary Friihe." Since I'm doing the questions and answers here. nor all the discourses of the fall.' this j oining of blow and salva­ tion in an archi-originary and yet-to-come event. ).C H A P T E R T E N the Mensch engeschlech t. i. I imagine Heidegger's reply. I am opposing nothing. why not. especially not Christian­ ity. of retrait. be­ queathed to u s : "But in affirming that Trakl's Gedicht-and everything I say along with it-is neither metaphysical nor Christian.e. . we who would like to be authentic Christians think that you are going to the essence of what we want to think. spiritus and. to think that on the basis of which all this is possible. At this point. is a hymn-let 's say a hymn of praise-which the poet sings. nor the discourses on pneuma and spiritus. That 'on the basis of which. nor even (I'd forgotten that one ) on mah . saves it ( d. rettet ) ( p . . We can reconstruct it on the basis of the program of typical strategies which he has. Geist. . of salvation. especially when you speak of God. 80 ! 1 95 J ). it remains III . At least all those who in religions and philosophies have spoken of ruah. That ( on the basis of which .

Geist is not first of all this. would be one of the two steps. if one said to him that this repetition adds. I did not say that the flame was something oth er or opposite then pneumatological or spiritual breathing. etc. Heidegger. the messian­ isms or apocalypses of all sorts. in 1 935. or the eschatologies. that. I imag­ ine. and this circle is not-not yet or already no more-the circle of European metaphysics. would reply: " in what you call the path of repetition which adds nothing ( but what do you want to add? Do you find that what we have in our memory." This retreat [retraite] of Heidegger 's. . that it merely redoubles hollowly. more gener­ ally. de plus]. the pre-archi-origi­ nary which only thinks m ore [ qui ne pense plus]-and thus better-by thinking nothing more [rien . even as the promise of the future. But if one made of this an objection or reproach against Heidegger. in the legacy of metaphysics or the traditions-let's say religious ones-and.9 Heidegger 's retrait. It leads to making this powerful thinking repetition into a retrait or an advance towards the most originary. ruah. in this world of which. invents or discovers nothing. I said that it is on the basis of flame that one thinks pneuma and spiritus or. of which we have the regular. the abyss of our memory. that of truth as memory and memory as promise. since you insist. all in all. I simply said. is not enough ? ). or the other. nothing other in any case. Heidegger said it is al­ ways a spiritual world. is one of the two paths in the crossing I mentioned a moment ago and which further runs the risk-crossing is not a neutral word-of recalling the cross-shaped crossing-through under which one leaves Being or God to suHer. typical. the thinking of this Friihe to 112 . by an experience which is. and recurrent signs in his text. A circle draws this Friihe from the day before the day before up to that morning which has not yet come.C H A P T E R T E N to come. . or rather [ plutot] the step toward the "earlier" [Ie "plus tot "]. the event of a promise which has already taken place. no other content than what is there. in this crossing.

not to i n terrupt be­ tween the poet an 9 y6u. The misunder­ standing is that you hear us better than you think or pretend to think. But access to thought. with­ out opposing myself to that of which I am trying to think the most matutinal possibility. the thinking access to the possibility of metaphysics or pneumato-spiritualist religions opens onto something quite other than what the possibility makes possible. which means j ust as much between you and u s this Zwi�sprach e. And this repetition is also the most vertiginous and the most abyssal. What you represent as a simply ontological and transcendental replica is quite other. In any case." - 113 . no misunderstanding on our part. even when it is already late. but as the entirely other. "that's just what we're saying. from now on. heard. It opens onto what remains origin ­ heterogen eous. without even using words other than those of the tradition. The en­ tirely other announces itself in the most rigorous repetition. and these paths would be equally but otherwise circular: we are appealing to this entirely other in the memory of a prom­ ise or the promise of a memory. tried to make heard.C H A P T E R T E N come. The spirit which keeps watch in re turning [en revenant. inevitably. it's enough to keep talking. I follow the path of a rep­ etition which crosses the path of the entirely other. It's enough not to interrupt ' the colloquium. as a ghost] will always do the rest. at the same crossing of paths. . while advancing towards the possibility of what you think you recognize. Through flame or ash." his interlocutors would then reply." "Yes. This is why. precisely. It is indeed not a new content. is going towards what is quite other than what you think you recognize. That's the truth of what we have always said.

The passage I quote and to which I return in " Comment ne pas parler" (in Psyche ) was also translated in the same year by J. all notes are the author's . Inven tions de I'autre (Paris: Galilee. December 1 953. 334." Report of a session of the Evangelical Academy in Hofgeismar. pp . Seminar translated and presented by F. See too. Greisch in Heidegger et Ia question de Dieu (Paris : Grasset." pp. 1 987). "Within thought. nothing can be accomplished which could prepare or contribute to the determination of what happens in faith and grace. If faith were to call me in this way. p. Since the whole of this discourse will be surrounded by fire. in the same book. 597. more or less sincere. p .NOTES (Unless otherwise indicated. Of course. Fedier and D. Saatdjian in the journal POeVsie 13 ( 1 980). one still continue s think­ ing. after the king had with­ drawn its privilege and Pope Clement XIII had forbidden it to be read in any language. 2. retraction is well known : I quote from it a few lines which are not . 1 980). ) C H A PTE R I 1 . within the dimension of faith. "Des­ istance. 3. 335. Greisch in Heidegger et Ia question de Dieu.638. Reply to students at the University of Zurich ( 1 95 1 ) . I should shut up shop . but thought as such no longer has any task to fulfil. 4. 535-95 . translated by J. This is the title of a chapter in a book published simulta­ neously with the present work: Psyche. The author's second. I recall briefly that Helvetius's book De I'esprit was burned at the foot of the great staircase of the Palais de Justice on 10 February 1 759 by order of the Parlement of Paris.

und ich sage dir wer du bist. 53. vol 3. p. Also burned were the writ­ ings of the Ranters. Sage mir. which I found dangerous. or its origin. " ungewohnlich. II /I II II II II6 . in the certainty that anything which does not conform to its spirit cannot conform to the truth. " gewaltig. all my opinions. as I thought I had made clear at several points in this work : I did not want to attack any of the truths of Christianit� which I profess Sincerely in all the rigor of its dogma and moralit� and to which I take pride in submitting all my thoughts. let us address a thought to the heretics of the Libre Esprit. the same accusations were made as against the Libre Es­ prit several centuries earlier. was burned in 1 3 1 0. was du vom Ubersetzen haIst. I was carrying out this undertak­ ing when I learned that the author was being prosecuted. Rousseau agreed neither with Helvetius nor with his persecutors. From spirit-to fire [de l 'esprit-au feu) : since this could be the subtitle of this note. " of the deinon : "furch tbar. The author of the Mirouer des simples ames. I had the opportunity to air my feelings about the same sub­ ject in other writings. " unheimlich . When everything had calmed down. " and. 74f£' ) I invoke this passage because the enigma of the deinon leaves its mark on all the texts we shall have to approach." in Gesamtausgabe. on what we are dealing with here: "I did not want to attack either the nature of the soul. p. The Pursuit of the Millennium : Revolutionary Millenarians and Mystical Anarchists of the Middle Ages. 693). judging that no duty could authorize the baseness involved in joining with the crowd to crush a man of honor in oppression. 1 959-69). 1 764 [in Oeuvres completes. or its spirituality. in England in the seventeenth century. " ( "Die Bedeutung des deinon. Immediately I threw my papers into the fire. " Immediately afterwards the matter is raised of the translation. although extremely indirect. against whom.N O T E T O P A G E 4 without their bearing. 1970). says Heidegger. I resolved to attack its prin­ ciples. 5. 4 vols ( Paris: Gallimard. pp. which is itself "deinon . but I did so without naming the book or its author" (Lettres de la Mon tagn e. in less correct" but more true" fashion." As is also well known. and all the faculties of my being. 1 50. revised and expanded edition (London: Temple Smith. Bd. on the ap­ pearance of a famous book (De l'esprit). Mar­ guerite de Porette. Fire again : "A few years ago. See Norman Cohn.

See pp. 1 98 2). Fred D. Th e Post Card ( University of Chicago Press. 7. pp. p. David Farrell Krell (London: Routledge. vielfo. 1 986)) treats the word and concept of Geist in Hegel as its most explicit theme. William Lovitt. what he understood by the word " pious" ( fromm ). n. "What is unthought in a thinker's thought i s not a lack inher­ ent in his thought." i n Marges-de la philosophie ( Paris: Minuit. n. and passim. " Heidegger. Thomas Pepper.1 1 CH A P TE R II 1 . A little earlier. 3 . 1 63 [ 1 44]. and Richard Rand ( University of Nebraska Press. manifold revealing (einziges." in Psyche. and Andrzej Warminski . 502. 6 1 5ff. 1 9 7 8 ). in memory of "Schelling. 1 98 1 ). Jr. At this point he writes of art when it had no other name than tekhne: lilt was a single. p. 38 [3 1 6 ] ) . 287-3 1 7]. "Le puits et la pyramide: Introduction it la semiologie de He­ gel. 1 9 72).e. Alan Bass. in a way. 5 . 4 1 9-30. p. pp. I I7 . 69. Glas (Paris: Galilee 1 9 74) [trans. 395-4 1 4 [trans. 1 954). one of whose themes it is. See too La Carte pos tale ( Paris: Aubier-Flammarion. 2. this book is dedicated to them. pp. re­ printed in Psyche. 5 1 ] . Given as a seminar in Paris and as a lecture at a conference at . trans." Cahiers de l 'Herne 45 ( 1 983). What is un -thought is there in each case only as the un th ough t " What Is Called Thinking�. in Mar­ tin Heidegger: Basic Writings. yielding to the holding sway and the safekeeping of truth ( fiigsam dem Walten und Verwahren der Wahrheit ) " (p. I want to express here my gratitude to them. 35 [27]. Wieck and J. Alan Bass. pp. It was pious ( fromm ). Thomas Levine. John P." This is the last sentence of "Die Frage nach der Technik" ( 1 953 ) in Vortriige und Aufsiitze (pfullingen: Neske. 791 2 7 [trans. 76. 20 [ trans." 4.1 08 ] . 65-83 ] .. "Denn das Fragen ist die Frommigkeit des Denkens" : "For questioning is the piety of thought. 1 968). as well as to Alexander Gar­ cia Diittmann. Margins of Philosophy (University of Chi­ cago Press. 6 . They were Thomas Keenan. 474.N O T E S T O P A G E S 7. at the head]. pp. Heidegger had just determined. ' See too on this point "Desistance. plOmos [what comes in the first rank. pp. i. in Research in Phenomenol­ ogy 13 ( 1 983 ).l­ tiges En tbergen ). No doubt earlier than Glas. 198 7). Leavey. ed. Glenn Gray (New York: Harper and Row. pp. 13-44 [trans.

in the Encyclo­ pedia. the "game of the 1 18 . Ger­ man/French bilingual edition ( Toulouse: T. The French version of this lecture can be found in Psych e. it can abstract all that is exterior and its own exteriority. 1 986).R. 10. 1 9591." in Deconstruction and Philos­ ophy. "Introduction" to The Philosophy of Spirit. 470-80(473 ) . 2. 1 1 8f£. John Sallis (Chicago: University of Chicago Press. in its formal determination. subsequently published in English as Geschlech t II: Heidegger's Hand. in Nietzsche. ed. and evil for Heidegger: "This is why the essence of spirit is formally liberty. According to this formal determination. The Self-Assertion of the German University [trans. II CH A PTE R II I 1 . § §44ff. Gesamtausgabe. Review of Metaphysics. 9 . 1 954 [2 ed. pp. universality which­ is-for-itself " (§ 382).8 7 ). Bd. 4 vols ( London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.. 1 9 8 1. 2. Hegel defines the essence of spirit as liberty and as the capacity. the absolute negativity of the concept as self-identity. 1 9 82). pp. Gesamtausgabe. p. vol. 1 2 1 ) [trans. 54. 3 ( 1 985). 8 . IIWho Is Nietzsche's Zarathustra ? " Vortrage un d Aufsatze (Pfullingen: Neske. He never criticizes or refutes. this is not a "reproach. Bd. (p. Of course. liberty.N O T E S T O P A G E S 1 1 . to support infinite suffering.E. I think I must quote this paragraph to anticipate what will be said later about spirit. CH A P TE R V 1 . This is. Heidegger always denies doing this. according to him. no. Die Grundbegriffe der Metaphysik. Here­ after first reference is to this edition. 76. "What Is Called Thinking? " p. its own presence: it can support the negation of its individual immediacy. This possibil­ ity is in itself the abstract universality of spirit. 10. pp. 288 ) ] . pp. §378. infinite suffering: that is.. 38. Parmenides." nor even a refutation. 2 1 1-33 (p. 4 1 55 1. 101-26. 29/ 30. Karsten Harries.3 9 Loyola University ( Chicago ). conserve itself af­ firmative in this negation and be identical for itself. In the same introduction.

Gesamtausgabe. in the place where something ap­ pears in Nietzsche's thought which it can no longer think. p. 1 1 2 [22 1 J ) . II II C H A P T E R VI 1. 1 2 1 (229) ). thus only deflecting living interest. Bd. which would perhaps not be overcome (merely " spiritualized to the highest de­ gree " ) by this discourse on the imprint (Aufpriigen ). Cahiers de l 'Herne ( 1 98 7 ). "Le chant de la terre" ( The Song of the Earth ). 1 959). H e had first o f all applauded Nietzsche for thinking revenge "metaphysically"-the dimension of revenge not being primarily "moral " or "psychological (p. Then he sketches the movement leading to the limit of Nietzsche's thought as the ac­ complishment of metaphysics. 5 1 ).5 7 smallminded " (Kleingeisterei). 84 and 92. properly an d in all rigor? Can it not be demon­ strated that the question does no more than defer. can Vasein. Bd. 4.N O T E S T O P A G E S 4 0. he was to 1 19 . 3 . 9J. 1 20 [228 ] ).. Later. with alteration and the most discontinuous mutation thus also remaining just a detour ? Only being-for-death as such can seem to suspend and liberate the question in its rootedness in life. its "pseudo-philosophy and its "patented psychology. R. 70. 3 ) : that of a merely formal liberty and of an abstract universality. 7. pp. that Nietzsche talks about : "Vern Werden den Charak ter des Seins aufzupriigen­ das ist der h6chste Wille zur Macht" (p. Manheim. This liberty of spirit always IUns the risk rigorously deter­ mined by the Hegel text quoted above (n. continues for a long time. 2. "Tede wesentliche Gestalt des Geistes steh t in der Zweideu­ tigkeit" (p." etc. 29/30. And it is precisely the spirit of revenge ( Geis t der Rache). p. as he explains precisely after the passage I have just quoted and the question he asks in it (p. no doubt reaching its apogee in 1 94 1 . p. See Grundbegriffe (Gesamtausgabe. chap. indeed by the most overdetermined means ( through difference an d differance of difference) the quest and the inquiry. [trans. In troduction to Metaphysics (New Haven: Yale University Press. I. And this is doubtless what Heidegger would say. 3. The indictment of America. 276. 5. If animals cannot properly question beyond their vital inter­ ests.

(The problem of life was broached by Didier Franck at this same conference. but of won­ dering what semantic content can be given to death in a discourse for which the relation to death. 273 ) ] . " in The Crisis of European Sciences an d Phenomenology. to make a distinction between. " spiritual. 2 1 5 ) [trans. 1 07]. This figure of Europe is. Bd. and creation. the experience of death. 352) [trans . " The retention of the English colonies in " spiritual " Europe would be proof of a ludi­ crous enough kind-by the comic load weighing down this sinister passage-of a philosophical non-sequitur whose gravity can be measured in two dimensions: ( 1 ) It is apparently necessary. On the Way to Language ( New York : Harper and Row. the power and culture they represent. there­ fore. Hertz. 1 9 70). VI. 1 959]. Indians. 1 9 7 1 ). die dauern d in Europa herumvagabun dieren. This is not very "logical. for example. 4 1 1 ." in Psyche." either in " spiritualist" 120 . die Vereinigten Staa ten usw. remains unrelated to the life of the living thing. But does Dasein have experience of death as such. zu Europa. pp. Peter D. good and bad Indians." Which is why they cannot speak ( Un terwegs zur Sprache [Pfullingen: Neske. See too "Ges­ chlecht. nich t aber die Eskimos oder Indianer der Tahrmark tsmenagerien oder die Zigeuner. David Carr (Evanston : Northwestern University Press. in order to save the English dominions. " Philosophy and the Crisis of European Humanity. Husserliana. 269-99 (p.N O T E T O P A G E 6 0 stres s that animals cannot have experience (erfahren ) of "death as death. (p. travelling zoos or gypsies permanently wan­ dering all over Europe" ? Right after asking the question "How is the spiritual figure of Europe to be characterized ? " Husserl adds : "Im geistigen Sinn gehoren offen bar die englischen Dominions. pp." Can this " spiritual " deter­ mination of European humanity be reconciled with the exclusion of "Eskimoes. It is what gives its name to the "unity of a spiritual life. p." in that it is no longer assigned a geograph­ ical or territorial outline. even by anticipa­ tion? What could that mean ? What is being-for-death? What is death for a Dasein that is never defined essen tially as a living thing? This is not a matter of opposing death to life. ) C H A P T E R VII 1 . p. precis ely. p . 3 1 8f£. action.

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logic or in "racist" logic. (2) This text was delivered in 1 935 in Vienna ! Why is it necessary to recall this passage and quote it today? For several reasons. ( 1 ) On the basis of an example taken from a dis­ course which in general is not suspected of the worst, it is useful to recall that the reference to spirit, to the freedom of spirit, and to spirit as EUIOpean .spirit could and still can ally itself with the pol­ itics one would want to oppose to it. And this reference to spirit, and to Europe, is no more an external or accidental ornament for Hussed's thought than it is for Heidegger's. It plays a major, orga­ nizing role in the transcendental teleology of reason as Europocen· tric humanism. The question of the animal is never very far away: "just as man, an d even the Papuan [my emphasiS-J.D.} represents a new stage in animality in contrast to the animals, so philosophi­ cal reason represents a new stage in humanity and in its reason" (Krisis . . , quoted in my Introduction to the Origin of Geometry [Paris : PUF, 1 962); trans. John P. Leavey, Jr. [Brighton: Harvester, 1 9 78 }, p . 1 62 [po 1 46}, to which I take leave to refer the reader here). The "new stage" is clearly that of European humanity. It is ( ought to be) traversed by the telos of transcendental phenomenology as, for Heidegger, it ought to be by the responsibility of the originary questioning on Being, beyond even transcendental subj ectivity and the animal rationale. (2) Husserl and Heidegger are often, quite rightly, placed in opposition, not only in their thought but in their political history. Although he contests the facts or the stories, Hei­ degger is often accused of having participated in the persecutions suffered by Husser!' And the fact remains, beyond any possible contestation, that he erased (he didn't cross out this time, he erased) the dedication of Sein und Zeit to Husserl so that the book could be republished, in a gesture which reconstitutes the erasure as an unerasable, mediocre, and hideous crossing-out. This isn't the place to deal with these problems and facts in their full scope. But it is right that there should not be too many lacunae or injus­ tices in this interminable trial, constantly being extended with new evidence. Under the rubric of spirit and of Europe-since this is our only subject here-we must not forget what certain "vic­ tims" wrote and thought. And still in the name of spirit. Would Heidegger have subscribed to what Husserl said of the gypsies?
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Would he have thrown the "non-Aryans " out of Europe, as did he who knew he was himself "non-Aryan," i.e. Husserl ? And if the reply is "no," to all appearances "no," is it certain that this is for reasons other than those which distanced him from transcendental idealism ? Is what he did or wrote worse? Where is the worse? That is perhaps the question of spirit. 2. Variete ( Paris : Gallimard, 1 924), p. 32. The comparative anal­ ysis of these three discourses-Valery's, Hussed's and Heideg­ ger's-on the crisis or destitution of spirit as spirit of Europe, would bring out an odd configuration, and paradigmatic features which are exchanged in a regulated way. Valery sometimes seems closer to Hussed, sometimes closer to Heidegger, sometimes far from both. He speaks of li the lost illusion of a European culture" (p. 1 6). He begins by evoking ash and ghosts [revenan tsJ . "We knew quite well that all the apparent earth was made of ashes, that ash signifies something. We perceived through the breadth of history the ghosts of immense ships loaded with wealth and spirit" (pp. 1 1-1 2). Further on is the famous passage about " the immense ter­ race of Elsinore, which stretches from Basle to Cologne, which touches the sands of Nieuport, the marshes of the Somme, the chalk of Champagne, the granite of Alsace," all those places from which " the European Hamlet watches million of specters" (p. 1 9 : this was only in 1 9 1 9 ). Then Valery distinguishes the European Hamlet from his double, " an intellectual Hamlet," who " meditates on the life and death of truths. His ghosts are all the objects of our disputes" and he " does not really know what to do with all these skulls" (Leonardo, Leibniz, Kant, Hegel, Marx): "Farewell, ghosts ! The world no longer needs you. Nor me. The world, which baptizes with the name of progress its tendency toward a fatal precision, seeks to unite to the favors of life the advantages of death. A certain confusion reigns still, but a little more time and everything will become clear; we shall in the end see the appearance of the miracle of an animal society, a perfect and definitive ant-hill" (pp. 20-22) . Later, in 1 932, i n " L a Politique d e l'esprit, notre souverain bien" ["The Politics of Spirit-our Sovereign Good"J ( Variete III [Paris: Gallimard, 1 936J, pp . 1 93-228 ), Valery proposes what is, all in all, a rather classical, or even neo-Hegelian, negative-dialectic defini­ tion of spirit as that which in the end " always says no," and first of all no to itself. Valery says of this definition that it is not "meta1 20 20

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physical," by which he means, very metaphysically, a physical, eco­ nomic, energetic power of transformation and opposition : "But I must now complete this picture of disorder and this composition of chaos, by showing you that which sees it and feeds it, can neither stand it nor deny it, and, in its essence, never stops dividing against itself. I mean spirit. By this name "spirit," I do not at a l l mean a metaphysical entity [look at Valery's invisible quotation marks]; I here mean very simply a power of transform a tion which we can isolate [ . . . ] by considering [ . . . ] certain modifications [ . . . J which we can attribute only to an action very different from that of the energies of nature; for it consists on the contrary in opposing to each other those energies which are given to us, or else in link­ ing them together. This opposition or coercion is such that there results from it either a gain of time, or a saving of our own forces, or an increase in power, precision, freedom, or duration for our lives" (pp. 2 1 6-1 7). The negative economy of spirit which is none other than the origin of its freedom, opposes spirit to life and makes consciousness into a " spirit of spirit." But this spirit always remains man 's. Man " thus acts against nature, and his action is one of those opposing spirit to life [ . . . ]. He has acquired to differ­ ent degrees self-consciousn ess, that consciousness which means that, in occasionally moving away from all that is, he can even move away from his own personality; the self can sometimes consider its own person as an almost foreign object. Man can ob­ serve himself ( or thinks he can); he can criticize himself, c onstrain himself; that's an original creation, an attempt to create what I shall venture to call the spirit of spirit" (pp. 220-2 1 ) . It is true that this opposition of spirit and life is sometimes apprehended as a simple phenomenon, or even an appearance: "Thus spirit seems to abhor and flee the very processes of deep organic life [ . . . ]. Spirit, in this way, indeed opposes itself to the running of the life· machine [ . . . ] it develops the fundamental law [ . . . ] of sensibili ty" (pp. 222-23 ) . Under the brilliant singularity o f Valery's aphorism o r trait d'es­ prit, one recognizes those profound invariables, those repetitions which their author opposes, precisely, as nature to spirit. The phi­ losophemes come under the same program and the same combi­ natory as those of Hegel, Husserl, and Heidegger. There is simply dissociation or permutation of the features concerned. For exI2.3

in Oeuvres." " mechanistic. II. the greatest European minds [espritsJ met. 2 vols. (2) Europe is not defined by geography or empirical history: "You will excuse my giving to these words 'Europe' and 'European' a signification slightly more than geographical. this distress." etc. the Rectorship Ad­ dress. in this invisible university where. [Paris: Gallimard. 3 . discuss or translate the same admiring an­ guish: "So. 1 954]. 1 3 ). Only this last word would have provoked the protests of the other participants in this great and fabulous European colloquium-and especially of the Germans : this functionalism is both too naturalistic and too technicist. [Zurich : Atlantis. slightly more than historical. as we are constantly confirming. 26). There is even. struck. writes : Spirit is one of those words which Heidegger only uses in quotation marks after Being an d Tim e. It is one of the fundamental expressions of absolute Metaphysics " ( H6lderlin und Heidegger. 1 960J. this anguish of the men of spirit ? " ( Variete. Hei­ degger no longer writes spirit in quotation marks. 4. what is happening to Spirit? Where is it coming to us from? Is it still from spirW " And. ash: "Knowledge having devoured everything. and massively so. humiliated by the cur­ rent state of the world? Whence this great pity of the things of spirit. 4 1 ) . no longer knowing what to do. Jean Hytier. too "objectivist. 1 67 ) . since I did so above for the same passage. p. for more than twenty years. p. happy peoples have no spirit. for example. what is happening to us ? So. as we shall shortly s ee. 23 7 ) . After Sein und Zeit. consider this little pile of ashes and this wisp of smoke it made of the Cosmos and a cigarette" ( Cahiers [26]. in this imaginary symposium. I am quoting from Gerard Granel's translation (p. They don't much need it " (p. 1 07 7-9 9 ) .6 7 ample: ( 1 ) If it is opposed to nature and life. Beda Allemann. It differs considerably from that fI 1 24 . see too " La Liberte de l'esprit" ["The Freedom of Spirit" J [ 1 939J." " Cartesian. but as it were. to conclude. p. They echo each other. 34. It is the opposite which is true. 2d ed. functional" ( Variete.N O T E S T O P A G E S 6 6 . pp. an instance of him effacing the quotation marks retroactively in an earlier publication. ed. spirit is history and "in general. precisely. diminished. ( 3 ) Crisis a s destitution o f spirit: "What then is this spirit? I n what way can it be touched. what is happening to Eu­ rop e ? So. p. And this is indeed what they are all wondering.

1 9 7 1 ). or wit. But the difference obviously has nothing to do with the play of quotation marks. Readers of Frien d­ ship 's Garland will remember "the great doctrine of Geist. . could be­ come an obligation (political or ethical. and a chance. ' he realized he should leave Geist untouched in its language : " 'Liberalism and despotism ! ' cried the Prussian." For the purposes of being able to take a breather. " in T. -to 'Ungeist. S ch ellings A bh an dlung Uber des Wesen der menschlichen Freiheit (1809) (Tiibingen: Niemeyer. is not eccen tricity de rigueur? So I will recall in the orig­ inal language Matthew Arnold's English wit. 8. Heidegger.' The victory of 'Geist' over ­ . Jean Launay (Mercure de France. 1 9 78). 'let us go beyond these forms and words. pp . still to be able to laugh at some move or other. even in the nineteenth century. What unites and separates pcople now is Geist ." oppressed and even re­ pressed in the " middle. Reponses et questions sur l'histoire et la politique " ["Martin Heidegger Inter­ viewed by D er Spiegel: Responses and Questions on History and Politics.N O T E S T O P A G E S 6 9 . To remain sensitive to this humor. compressed in the "vice. as you or the French might saY. 62)1.J. 45 -67 (p. Reden an die de u tsche Na tion (Hamburg: Felix Reiner Verlag. 6. by so many German philosophers. "Martin Heidegger interroge par Der Spiegel. the chance de l 'esprit. 1 9 85). or the French esprit [jokel. pp. Latin. A s w e were suggesting above. 1 977). was not completely deaf to a certain untranslatability of Geist. trans. " and how in Letter I. . if one so wishes). Sheehan. 1 54 [trans. 66-67.7 2 of Gilbert Kahn in the In troduction . At any rate. Sch elling's Treatise on the Essen ce of Human Free dom (Athens. William J. Joan Stambaugh. 1 28 1 . all this seems "a little comical. 1 98 1 ). Ohio: Ohio University Press. we can already hear Greek. 1 22 . But let us at this point leave what perhaps remains too close to the European cen ter. S. p. German. 5. There you will find that in Berlin we oppose 'Geist/-in telligence. In this concert of European languages. ed. French. as 'I /Only a God Can Save us' : The Spiegel Interview. . 7. Richardson. the Man and the Thinker ( Chicago : Precedent Publishing." trans. "I introduce Arminius and 'Geist' to the British public. constrained. despite the suspicions explicitly loaded onto the Witz. p." A few fragments to encourage the reading or rereading of someone who. Fichte. p." despite the seriousness of the issues.

And that this fable of Geist go by the lips of a spirit of this "ghostly friend" one would like to get to laugh. . become or have. Profoundly untranslatable is the hidden profundity of the word Get which means have. . ( 2 ) Be or become. the verb in the Babelian sentence : Get Geist? The wit [esprit) depends on the' performative and entirely initial force of these two words : inj unction." " get well" or " get better" and as a noun ( " get religion." "get sick. by a trait d'esprit and underhandedly [so us la m an che: also "under the [English) Channel"-trans. . )." convert yourself )-in short. . prescription. but because of Get.N O T E T O P A G E 7 " 'Ungeist' we think the great matter in the world . yourself. becomes what it has or ought to have been-thus transferred. become and be. prayer. and as for your aristocracy. I half hope there may next come a smashing defeat of the Prussians before Vienna. of a Geist which is what it has. It is what I would like to stress in my tum. demand. in your middle class 'Ungeist' is rampant. And Geist then functions as an attribute ( become " spirit" as one would say "get mad. learn how to become. ." "on the wrong side of his mouth." Closely linked to Culture and Anarchy. with which I take my leave: 'Get Geist '. as esprit is in Kant's An thropology ( see above)." "get drunk. because it is in French in the text. gain. no history I2." By the way [in English in the text). yourself. you know 'Geist' is forbidden by nature to flourish in an aristocracy. Arnold took great pleasure in playing the role of editor and in writing footnotes : "I think it is more self-important and bete if I put Ed. No report precedes the mark of spirit. desire. in itself.e. towards the first word. or apprehend (some) Geist. and make my ghostly friend laugh on the wrong side of the mouth. these twelve fictional let­ ters were collected into a book in 1 8 7 1 . this d--d professor ( to speak as Lord Palmerston) is now gone back to his own Intelligenz-Staat. . I will give you this piece of advice. What has won this Austrian battle for Prussia is 'Geist' . It is rather fun making the notes. and not only because of Geist. " "Thank God. . . advice. Get Geist: ( 1 ) have. all three." " get married. . or· der. . on the other side [a gauche: literally. Do we not see the resistance of this untranslatability-the sameness in the relation to itself. after every note. We North­ Germans have worked for 'Geist' in our way . Geist.6 . "to ( or on) the left"). "half hope. Get Geist is barely translat­ able into French. spirit itself." This was a letter to his publisher: bete is italicized. obtain. i.

it addresses it to itself and says ( to ) itself. [vol. there will have been. 2. See too Psyche.8 4 can have preceded this remarkable trait d'esprit. the act of positing (Thesis) must be the syn­ thesis between the subject and its objects " ( Un terwegs zur Sprache. at the same time as the being of the soul. 2 vols. Because spirit is con­ ceived of as subject and thus is represented (vorgestellt) within the subject-object schema." Renovamini . 1 9 6 1 ). Culture and an­ archy. Eine Erorterung von Georg Trakls Gedicht" ( 1 953 ). spiritu men tis vestrac. who says for example : "Now Augustine says that. 3. which is called m ens or gemiite. pp. Get Geist: de 1 'esprit. 3. pp. The truth of quotation marks: this equivocation is concen­ trated in the interpretation of the quotation marks in which Nietzsche encloses the word " truth" (see Nietzsche. 583ff. 1 48 ] . let it say it to itself and let it be well understood : in the beginning. 5 1 1ff. p. perhaps. I. in Sermons ( Paris : Seuil. p. 6. p p . a power kraft) which the mas­ ters call receptacle (sloz ) or case (schrin ) of spiritual forms or for­ mal images [ "ideas"I. III. in the upper part of the soul. says it to itself. [ 1 59-981. p. p. trans. pp. /I C H A P T E R VIII 1 . 39££. p. .N O T E S T O P A G E S 7 3 . pp. is the act of positing ( das Setzen ). 34££ ] . 4. God created. . vol. in Un terwegs zur Sprache. H61derlin und Heidegger. 53. Also. 1 67. (pfullingen: Neske. "The work of spirit. In the beginning-no beginning [pas de commencement: also a beginning step " ] . 1 5 1 . according to the doctrine of modern Idealism. 248 [ 1 1 8 1 ). Gesamtausgabe. 2. 1 56ff. vol. 70 [ 1 8 8 ] . P. "Die Sprache im Gedicht. 1 9 79). C H A P T E R IX 1 . 200 [vol . in the constant reading of Meister Eckhart. ghost of the future perfect. 2. Jeanne Ancelet-Hustache. Nietzsche. Allemann. 4. vol. B d . The necessary path would here lead from speech . Spirit apostrophizes itself in this verb. 5 .

Heidegger specifies further this link between the song (lied ) and the hymn ( the act of honoring. theoretical or consta­ tive utterance . " lied. See too " H61derlins Erde und Himmel. and perhaps even-we'll come back to this later-beyond that form of "piety" of thought that Heidegger one day called the question. I am not here pointing to an order of logical consequences. . Praise is always sung. . 1 94]. Saying songs means singing (Leider sagen h eisst: singen ). 229 [ 1 48]. The hymn exceeds the ontological. such is the saying: peacefully in­ cline oneself in the happiness of joyfulness. The Gesang is all at once (in einem ). Heidegger entrusts his whole in­ terpretation. See too "Der Weg zur Sprache" [ 1 959]. laudare. tragedy. . On Das lied." in Erliiu terung zu Holderlins Dichtullg. Laudes is the Latin word for songs (Laudes lau tet der lateinisch e Name filr die lieder). 5 70££. A few years later. and passim. 1 98 1 ). to the accord of consonance ( Einklang). . 56-60. ) 3. It is merely a question of pointing to a problematic in which I cannot get involved here (I try to do so elsewhere : see "Comment ne pas parler. nor to the necessity to regress from one meaning to another. 1 75. it sings praise beyond what is. celebrate (ein Preisen ). 1 53 ) . . in Un terwegs .68. from this to the hymn and thus to praise. see too pp. (Frankfurt : Kloster­ m ann. This word is sometimes translated as hymn but Heidegger also insists on the value of gathering. . ( "Das Wort.8 1 (p. at decisive moments. 128 . ) and in which these meanings appear indissociable for Hei­ degger. . 5th ed. 7 7 [ 1 75." Ein in " Ein Geschlecht . he says. 6 5 ) ) . 64. It calls to praise. 5 9 . p. Gesang). . venerate in jubilation (ein . . Plainsong ( der Gesang) is the gather­ ing of song ( die Versammlung des Sagens in das lied ) . 84-94. p. He ceaselessly appeals to listen to what the poem says insofar as it sings it in a Gesang. 78 . " (Dieses betonte "Ein Geschlech t " birgt den Grun dton . For everything we are discussing here. ) p ." in Un terwegs . P p . from Dichten to song ( Singen." in Psyche. singing the praises ) . praising. 5 0.N O T E T O P A G E 9 3 to saying (sagen ). a word which carries the Grun dton. questioning (Pragen ) . . sing the praise ( ein Loben ) : laudare. . 226 [ 1 3 5 ] . 1 52. .u belndes Verehren ). to the place of and listening to a tone. pp. and epos" (p. this time on H6lderlin. 1 20-23. 43-46. by Stefan George : "Thinking-assembling-Ioving. In this text. from saying to poetic saying (Dich ten ). on Gespriich and Gesang. pp . and this is the stressed ( beton t ) word: " one.

This promise. and at least implicitly. . "Acts: The Meaning of a Given Word. before any con­ tract. [ 7 1ff. vacillates. Anfrage and Nach ­ frage presuppose this advance. It is precisely here that the "ques­ tion of the question" which has been dogging us since the begin­ ning of this j ourney. i.l. this commitment of language towards language. then. This moment-which is not a moment-is marked in Hei­ degger's text. 95ff ). in advance (im voraus) at the moment at which any question can arise about it. What is the essence of language? The essence (das Wesen ) ? of language (der Sprache) ? Schematically: at the moment at which we pose the ul­ timate question. but it tips over into the memory of a language." in Un terwegs ." p . this giving of language by language and to language is what Heidegger at this point regularly names Zu­ sage. Chapter 3. This advance is. language. Everything begins from the question mark (Frage­ zeichen ) when one interrogates the essence of language. 1 74ff. Chapter I I .9 4 4. Allegories of Reading (New Haven : Yale Uni­ versity Press.1 53 (pp. 9 1. always an­ terior and presupposed." pp.e. " of course. And it is in the name of this Zusage that he again puts in . so to speak. 1 9 79 ). old enough never to have been present in an "experience" or a "speech act"-in the usual sense of these words. a sort of promise of originary alliance to which we must have in some sense already acquiesced. 2 7 7 . we must be already in the element of language. this fore-coming [ prevenan tel ad­ dress (Zuspruch ) of language. whatever may be the negativity or problematicity of the dis­ cours e which may follow. of an experience of language "older" than it. when we interrogate (Anfragen ) the possibility of any question. 1 986). Language must already be speaking for us-it must. Not that it withdraws from the infinite legitimacy of questioning. Before any question. but in literal and extremely explicit fashion in "Das Wesen der Sprache. 1 29 . be already spoken and addressed to us (muss uns doch die Sprache seIber schon zugesprochen sein ). 5. I have addressed these problems and cited some of Heidegger's references to the promise in Mem oires-for Paul de Man (New York: Columbia University Press. . In this it exceeds the question. Paul de Man. When he speaks of the promise and the " es gibt. It vacillates at this moment when it is no longer a question. this reply which is pro­ duced a priori in the form of acquiescence. already said yes. given a pledge [gage!. i. especially pp.N O T E S T O P A G E S 9 3 .e. Language is already there. "Promises ( Social Contract).

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question, if one can still call it this, the ultimate authority, the supposed last instance of the questioning attitude. I will not trans­ late the word Zusage because it brings together meanings which in general we keep separate: promise, agreement or consent, originary abandonment to what is given in the promise itself. " What is our exper ien c e ( was erfahren wir) when we sufficiently meditate ( be­ denken ) on this ? That questioning (Fragen ) is not the gesture proper to thinking (die eigen tliche Gebiirde des Denkens) [the word Gebiirde, gesture and gestation, is itself a theme of medita­ tion elsewhere, p. 22- "Language," trans. Albert Hofstadter in Po­ etry, Language, Though t (New York : Harper and Row, 1 9 7 1 ), pp. 1 89-2 1 0 (p. 200 )], but-listening to the Zusage o f what must come to the question" ( p . 1 75 ( 7 1 ) ) . The question is thus not the last word in language. First, be­ cause it is not the first word. At any rate, before the word, there is this sometimes wordless word which we name the "yes." A sort of pre-originary pledge [ gage] which precedes any other engagement in language or action. But the fact that it precedes language does not mean that it is foreign to it. The gage engages in language­ and so always in a language. The question itself is thus pledged­ which does not mean linked or constrained, reduced "to silence, on the contrary-by the pledge of Zusage. It answers in advance, and whatever it does, to this pledge and of this pledge. It is engaged by it in a responsibility it has not chosen and which assigns it even its liberty. The pledge will have been given before any other event. It is nonetheless, in its very coming before, an even t, but an event of which the memory (memoire) comes before any particular recol­ lection (souvenir) and to which we are linked by a faith which de­ feats any narrative. No erasure is possible for such a pledge. No going back. After recalling the fact that, in the history of our thought, ques­ tioning would be the trait (Zug) which gives thought its measure­ because thought was first of all foundational, always in quest of the fundamental and the radical-Heidegger returns to one of his pre­ vious statements . Not, indeed, to put it in question, still less to contradict it, but to reinscribe it in a movement which exceeds it: "At the end of a lecture entitled The Question Concerning Tech ­ n ology, it was said some time ago : 'For questioning ( das Fragen ) is the piety (Fr6mmigheitJ of thought'. Pious ( fromm J is understood
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here in the old sense of 'docile' ( fiigsam ), that is, docile to what thought has to think . It is a feature of the experiences which pro­ voke thought that sometimes thought does not suffic�ently take stock of the insights it has just gained, by failing to get the measure of them, to think them through. This is the case with the sentence quoted: 'questioning is the piety of thought' (pp. 1 75-76 [ni l . O n the basis o f this, the whole lecture "Das Wesen der Sprache " will be ordered according t o this thinking o f Zusage. I t is under­ standable that Heidegger denies proceeding to an artificial and for­ mal, " empty " reversal ( Umkehrung) . But it has to be admitted that the thought of an affirmation anterior to any question and more proper to thought than any question must have an unlimited incidence-nonlocalizable, without possible circumscription-on the quasi-totality of Heidegger's previous path of thought. It is not an Umkehrung, but it is something other than a turning (Kehre). The turning still belongs to the question. Heidegger says this ex­ plicitly. This step transforms or deforms (as you like) the whole landscape to the extent that that landscape had been constituted before [devant] th e-inflexible-law of the most radical question­ ing. Limiting myself to a few indications among many, let me re­ call that the point of departure of the analytic of Dasein-and therefore the proj ect of Sein und Zeit itself-was assigned by the opening of Dasein to the question; and that the whole Destruk tion of ontology took as its target, especially in post-Cartesian moder­ nity, an inadequate questioning of the Being of the subj ect, etc. This retrospective upheaval can seem to dictate a new order. One would say, for example, that now everything has to be begun again, taking as the point of departure the en-gage [l'en -gage: d. langage] of the Zusage so as to construct a quite different discourse, open a quite different path of thought, proceed to a new Kehre if not to an Umkehrung, and remove-a highly ambiguous gesture- the rem­ nant of Aufkliirung which still slumbered in the privilege of the question. In fact, without believing that we can henceforth not take account of this profound upheaval, we cannot take seriously the imperative of such a recommencement. For a number of rea­ sons : 1 . First of all, this would involve a complete lack of understand­ ing of the irreversible necessity of a path which, from the vantage of the narrow and perilous passage to which it leads thinking, perII II "

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mits, very late on, to see differently, at a given moment, its unique past (breaching, path of language and writing) which inscribes in it all the rest, including the passage in question, the passage beyond the question. Even if one can retrace one's steps, thanks precisely to this discovered passage, the return does not signify a new depar­ ture, from a new principle or some degree zero. 2. A new point of departure would not only be impossible, it would make no sense for a thinking which never submitted to the law of the system and even made the systematic in philosophy into one of its most explicit themes and questions. 3 . The order to which Heidegger's path of thought entrusts itself was never an " order of reasons./I What sustains such an order in Descartes, for example, calls forth the questions we have already discussed. These are so many reasons for not re-commencing when it is already too late, always too late. And the structure of this gage can thus be translated: " it is already too late, always too late./I Once these reasons have been understood, retrospection can, indeed must, instead of disqualifying or recommencing everything, lead to another strategy and another stratigraphy. Heidegger's journey crosses, constitutes, or leaves certain strata up until now scarcely Visible, less massive, sometimes almost imperceptible-for Mar­ tin Heidegger as much as for anyone. In their rarity, precariousness, or very discretion, these strata appear prominent after the event, to the extent that they restructure a space. But they do this only by assigning so many new tasks to thought, and to reading. All the more so in that, in the example which concerns us here, it is pre­ cisely a question of the very origin of responsibility. This is much more, and other, than an example. On the basis of which one can search , in the whole of Heidegger's work, before there is any ques­ tion of the gage of the Zusage in language, before any question of the en-gage, before the privilege of the question is placed in ques­ tion, before 1 95 8-if one wants a date-for markers and signs al­ lOWing one to situate in advance and in its necessity the passage thus discovered. These signs and markers exist, and we are better prepared now to recognize them, interpret them, reinscribe them. And this is useful not only for reading Heidegger and serving some hermeneutical or philological piety. Beyond an always necessary exegesis, this re-reading sketches out another topology for new
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I move on to this third example of crossing through: that of a question 133 . Everything which concerns the promise ( Versprechen o r Ver­ heissen ). 38 [50J ) and therefore the originary questioning it assigns. 349ff. pragmatics. moreover. The Tru th in Painting (University of Chicago Press. 198 7)." the say­ ing ( Sagen ) of which is not primarily a logical or propositional s tatement (Aussagen )-in the passage from the course on Sch elling which. retrospectively. p. n. J . They are not confused with it. for what remains to be situated of the relationships between Heidegger's thought and other places of thought-or of the en­ gage-places which one pictures as regions but which are not (eth­ ics or politics. in the driest of fashions. ten ue et suspendue a elleJ . pp. Geoff Bennington and Ian McLeod.N O T E T O P A G E 9 4 tasks. [trans. philosophy. a certain origi­ nary " trustworthiness. all the sciences and. 1 9 79).60) which concerns the sense of the " appeal " ( Rufsinn ) and imputability (rather than re­ sponsibility or culpability). those unstable and unsituatable discourses­ linguistics. The question is not suspended but sustained by this other piety. deals symmetrically with affirmation and nega­ tion (p. science. etc. Everything in S ein und Zeit ( § § 5 8. C . Everything which concerns Verlasslichkeit. immediately." B. for example in Was Heisst Denken l (see above. again. psychoanalysis. 1 43 [po 1 1 9 J ) . could these signs and markers be ? In a note such as this I can only point to a few of them among o thers. Everything in Sein und Zeit and the In troduction to Meta ­ physics which concerns Entschlossenheit and the possibility of as­ suming ( Ubernehm en ) the mission (Sendung) (In troduction to Metaphysics. Everything which concerns the "yes" and the "no. 59. but also.and notably the silent dramaturgy of prag­ matic signs (such as quotation marks or crossings-through ). D. 398ff. pp. held and dependent on it [La question n 'est pas suspendue m ais sou­ tenue par cette autre piete. poetics. responsi­ bility. But since m y purpose bound m e t o privilege the modalities of avoiding ( vermeiden ) ." in The Origin of the Work of Art (permit me to refer here to La Veri te en pein ture ( Paris: Flammarion. 4 ) . "the " Schuldigsein " before any " moral consciousness. ) What. A. E . The opening to the assignment of the question. resolution with respect to the question are necessarily pre­ supposed by questioning itself.

End of pause. [Pause for a moment : to dream of what the Heideggerian corpus would look like the day when. with all the· application and consist­ ency required. and silent voracity of such an animal­ machine and its implacable fllogic. and finally cross through without a cross all the question marks when it's a question of language. indirectl� of everything. and not a questioning (kein Fragen ). he concludes the necessity-a certain necessity not to be confused with dogmatic certainty-of crossing through again the question marks (die Fragezeichen wieder streichen ) (p. ruminant. it en-gages them without limits in the correspondence with langue or parole ( Sprache). then cross through all the names referring to the world whenever one is speak­ ing of something which. he adds. in this singular situation which relates it to a pledge of this kind." at the very least place it in quotation marks. depend on us. then. then place the word flBeing" every­ where under a cross. 1 80 (76) ).. Parole must first pra� address itself to us: put in us its trust. the operations prescribed by him at one moment or another would indeed have been carried out: avoidfl the word spirit. negation or denial. and there­ fore no or only a little world. says Heidegger. does not mean a return to the habitual form of the title. Heidegger had first suggested that the question mark after Das Wesen l or der Sprachel attenuated what might be pretentious or familiar in the title of a discourse on the essence of language. etc. One can imagine the surface of a text given over to the gnawing. it inscribes the question. i.e. thought is a " listening" (Horen ) and a letting­ oneself-say ( Sichsagenlassen l. has no Dasein. It subscribes. That is no longer possible. its most proper scope or be­ havior ( Gebarde). its confidence. The "letting itself be said" which urges the crossing through of the question mark is not a passive docilit� much less an uncritical compliance. Now after having recalled that this con-fident listening to the Zu­ sage was the very gesture of thought." Which.N O T E T O P A G E 9 4 mark.) To the extent that. But no more is it a negative activity busy submitting everything to a denial that crosses through [une denegation raturan te) . and even have already done it (muss sich die Sprache zuvor fI fI 134 . before everything. below or above everything. "we must still cross through the question marks. like the animal." This would not only be simply flwithout spirit." but a figure of evil. The perverse reading of Hei­ degger. Before us.

And what is deployed here ( west ) is the essence ( Wesen ) of Sprache. 1 8 1 [76] ) . The colon erases a copula and does the j ob of crossing through. the copula "is" would reintroduce confusion in this place and would relaunch the question just where it lets itself be exceeded. Towards this fore-coming address (Zuspruch ) . the French translator offers two different formulations: ( I ) "Speech deploys itself as this addressed speech (La parole se deploie en tan t que cette parole adressee ) " . and only when. exhortation). in the present. "Language persists as this avowal " . that is to his address. which seems to defeat trans­ lation : Die Sprache west als dieser Zuspruch (pp. At the moment when. " Language is active as this promise" (p. and this past never returns. In place of this erasure or of this colon." [The English translation also has two versions : 1 . it entrusts or addresses it se lf to us. not of Wesen .8 1 [ 76] ). man acquiesces. the one which only properly becomes his own in this response. At an interval of a few lines. Parole is engaged in langue. Heidegger writes this. the relation. Crossing through of Being. 2. gives himself to the address addressed to him. even if they are condemned to incompleteness and to trying in vain to be complete. consents. in the always anterior concern of this appeal addressed to us. On two occasions. Heidegger recalls that the Zusage 13S . At least it does this when. consolation. All lan­ guage on Wesen must be redeployed otherwise on the basis of what is written in this way: "Das Wesen der Sprache: Die Sprache des Wesens " (p. After naming Ereignis in this context. saying something of the essence of this parole and of what en-gages in it. The alrea dy is essen­ tial here. it has already done so. an d the content of what is addressed with concern [preven ancel {one of the common meanings of Zuspruch : assistance. 76)-trans. it always goes back to an older event which will have already engaged us in this subscribing to the en-gage. 1 80. Not only in parole (Sprache). but in langue ( Sprach e). prac­ tically the apostrophe of the relation to (zu ). of Sein and is t. the en-gage engaging in a langue as much as in parole. ( 2 ) "Speech deploys itself a s this address {La parole s e deploie en tan t que cette adresse) . Thought about Ereignis takes its bearings from this acquies­ cence which responds-en-gages-to the address. never again becomes present. And the proper of man arrives only in this response or this responsibility.N O T E T O P A G E 9 4 uns zusagen oder gar schon zugesagt h a ben ) . ] The two translations are correct. Address here is at once the direction.

1-2. This speech had begun (it too) by evoking "all the forces of spirit/' the " spirit of the world/' and "pure spirituality. disappeared an d perished in its very m emory and idea. 1 4. especially pp. pp. I permit myself to refer to La mythologie blan che in Marges." At this point." (Sie hat schon getrof{en ). He­ gel alluded to the "pale ghost" (schale Gespenst) opposed to the seriousness and superior need of Prussian intelligence. philosophy has. On this point. in the margin of this inaugural address to the university. Given that we are trying to mark the continuity of a tradition in those places where the thematics of fire. pp. insofern er dem Zuspruch der Sprache zugesagt. Enclitic. C H A P T E R X 1 . 1 96 [90] ) . 24. gebra uch t ist) (p. its name apart. sie zu sprech en . guard. 1 4. Who else but man? (Denn der Mensch ist nur Mensch.N O T E S T O P A G E S 9 6. 1 9 72L pp. 1 9 8 n 63-93 [trans. A t the Essex conference I referre d t o above. hearth. I S . fiir die Sprache. Fran�oise Dastur reminded me of this passage of Un terwegs zur Sprache which in­ deed passes question. On the in- . We have received from nature the superior mission ( den h6heren Beruf ) of being the guardians of the sacred fire ( die Bewahrer dieses h eiligen FeuersL as the family of the Eumolpidae at Athens guarded the mysteries of Eleusis and the islanders of Samothrace had the charge of conserving and car­ ing for a superior cult. ''It has already touched. I dedicate this note to her as a pledge of grat­ itude. it is appropriate to quote Hegel once again : "We shall see in the history of philosophy that in the oth er coun­ tries of Europe. as in the past the World-Spirit ( der Weltgeist) reserved the Jewish nation for supreme consciousness so that it might rise up in the middle of that nation as a new spirit. Gl a s. 20. but is has been preserved as a particular property (Eigen ­ tiimlichkeit) of the German nation. 5 -34] . 70. 9 1 ." Lectures on the History of Philosophy ( Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1 06. 3 1 . 249-324 [207-7 1 t and "Le retrait d e l a metaphore/' i n Psych e: In ­ ven tions de l 'a u tre (Paris: Galilee. 59.9 9 does not wander around in the void.de la philosophie (Paris: Minuit. 2 : 2 ( 1 9 7 8 ). and nation cross.63 [8. 22. 23 5 ] . 262. 6. 1 9 8 5 ). where the sciences and the formation of intelli­ gence have been cultivated with zeal and consideration.

pp . . One of the most peculiar." ) 3. it is difficult to dissociate absolutely pneum a from heat and fire. according to a note of P. on the relationship between sperm and soul : "Animal warmth is not fire but pneuma." It is however true that psyche is not pneuma. On the contrary. would be to Franz Rosenzweig. Let us make clear however that Paul distinguishes between II 1 37 . blood. The nature of pneuma is analogous to the astral element . gas. and Aristotle associates pneuma rather with solar fire and heat. 478a 1 5 ). in the De spiritu (XV. For example the following. 3. one could also contest the distinction between pneuma and the flame or gas of a fire whose meaning would be marked only in the word Geist. gas . p. pp. to the reservations formulated by Hegel as to pneumatology (see above. solar heat has the power to engender as does animal warmth." or what can happen.l O5 and pas­ sim. But on the other hand. no less than sperm. the psychic principle is contained in the seminal body which the male emits. even if the source of that heat and fire remains as natural " as the sun. a vital principle. The psychic principle includes both what is inseparable from the body and that divine something. and promise in The Star of Redemption (London : Routledge and Kegan Paul.1 0 1 terpretation of Judaism by Hegel. Aristotle speaks of a "psychic fire.N O T E S T O P A G E S 9 9 . n. 1 9 7 1 ). 'fire engen­ ders no animal. Louis's. for example on the telephone. 286ff. this could come back. with the vapor and gas which are its natural effects. 294. spirit. 298ff. Aristotle naturally understands vapor. see too Glas. 4. but if some other natural residue is pro­ duced. pp. up to a certain point and in traditional fashion. 43. Here too the references would be too numerous and doubtless useless. the intellect. The references would be too numerous here. fluid. it too possesses." see La carte postale. "with the ghost or Geist of Martin. and it is clear that no being is formed in matter on fire. "Q u 'est­ ce que Ie psychique? " in Philosophia. I refer here to Helene Ioannidi's rich analysis. But be­ yond the immense problem opened up here by the determination of physis. 1 5-6 ( 1 985-86). the author adds in a ' note : "Under this term pneuma.' Emit­ ted by the male. 2. hot air. chap. in this context. One must first of all recall that. . and what he says of fire. 25-26 [2 1 ] . be it damp or dry." (On p. On the one hand. And on what "links up with Heidegger's ghost. 1 ) . not only that which is mani­ fested through sperm. which is independent of it. air. Things are certainly more entangled than this.

" after having specified that the be­ ginning of philosophy was "grandiose" because it "had to over­ come its most powerful antagonist. "Die Sprache ist die Zunge " (speech-language-is tongue [la parole-Ia langue-est la lan ­ gue) ). imm undus ) (see for ex­ ample Matthew 1 2 : 43. language. but having said that. and they began to preach with other tongu es (mit an deren Zungen )'. Heidegger alludes to the Holy Spirit ( pn euma h agion ) only once.N O T E T O P A G E 1 0 2 the "psychic man" ( psychikos an thropos ) . . emphasizes more and more the positivity of Christianity. langue. . . and langue. sanctus) or impure (akatharton. langage. it is the Spirit of your father ( to pneuma tau patros ) which will speak in you" ( 1 0 : 20 ) . and the Asiatic in particular. Matthew : "for it is not you who will speak. which thereby is still not under­ stood. that family of words which also makes so difficult the translation of Sprache. . all at once parole. But fire is not far away. Pneuma (spiritus ) can be sacred (hagion. But evil is not to be reduced to sin and cannot be grasped under the heading of sin . Mark 1 : 26. 203 [ 96-7) ) . It is a question of glossa. To my knowledge. the mythical in general. from the treatise on freedom onwards. from this point of view. etc. silver-tonguedness) but full of pn euma hagion. . ). 5 . Mter having recognized that it is "just as impossible i n phi­ losophy to return with a single leap to Greek philosophy as it is to abolish by decree the Christianity which entered Western history and consequently philosophy. And there appeared to them tongues (Zungen ). dispersed (zerteilt) like fire (wie von Feuer) . and even remains incomprehensible. be a parole soufflee. as pn euma. the sa­ cred breath ( vom h eiligen Hauch ) " ( Un terwegs zur Sprache. Holy spirit which can also. lingua. . [ . Nonetheless this new capacity to discourse (Reden ) is not understood as simple loquacity (Zungen ­ fertigkeit.also translated as "an ­ imalis h om o " o r "natural man"-and "spiritual man" (pneum a ti­ kosI (spiritualis)_ The former does not accept what comes from the spirit of God ( ta tau pn eumatos tau theau). ) with this inter­ pretation [of evil as sin) the essence of evil comes to light more clearlYI even if in a quite determined direction. one has still decided nothing with regard to the essence and signification of his metaphysical thinking. in a different context." Heidegger adds: "It is certain that Schell­ ing. and he quotes Luther's translation of the Vulgate : '" . Heidegger notes that. p. 3 : 1 1 .

" in Psyche. 2 1 5-1 7 [pp. p . and by proclaiming louder than ever the high value of spirit" [trans. Capuzzi. and erection (p. See "Comment n e pas parler. 1 1 5 ." to the metaphysics of will or that which " thinks man on the basis of animalitas " and not "in the direction of his humani­ tas. and spirit to this soul. 7 . 6 . and the about-turn as " Um ­ . feminine specificity or the difference of the sexes which it announces not being situated from the outset at the level [ha uteur] of the constitutive oppositions of Spirit. p. ethics and morality only aim." "The body of man is something essentially other than an an­ imal organism. 1 9 7 7]. This interpretation is also concerned with the questions of quotation marks. in The Letter on Humanism for example. alone. 1 93-242 (p. .I l. Frank A. p. of " dis­ tinction" as a minting (character). the question of Being. See for example what is said of discord (Zwietracht). 8.N O T E S T O P A G E S I 0 3 . 1 39 . schlag" ( Schelling 9 . to legislate with a view to fixing the attitude to be adopted faced with evil. pp. on the contrary. direction. 36). 1 4 1 ). The error of biologism is not overcome by the fact of adding the soul to the corporeal reality ( dem Leiblichen ) of man. one could also cite Emmanuel Levinas : " The problem in each of the paragraphs on which we are commenting at present consists in reconciling the humanity of men and women with the hypothesis of a spirituality of the masculine. that the ethical horizon does not suffice to conceive of evil and that. 1 7 7. Even when. but it is in the optic of the essence and truth of Being that we seek to situate it. . in mediate fashion. these same heroes are mutually reinforcing in their opposition to "meta­ physics. ashes." . in the sense of the victory to be won against it. 1 75 [po 1 46] ). and to spirit the existential character. And by that very fact it also appears. pp . and the psyche in Levinas. it is not in the shape of sin that we question evil. I have quoted and interpreted this passage in "En ce moment meme dans cet ouvrage me voici." in Du sacre au sain t [Paris: Minuit. in Basic Writings. much more than this. 204 ) ] . of the rej ection or the diminishing of evil " (Schelling. An auda­ cious question: how can the equality of the sexes result from the priority of the masculine ? " ( "Et Dieu crea la femme. To the extent that our interpretation is attached to the real fundamental metaphysical question. the feminine being not its correl­ ative but its corollary. To avoid once again any simple or unilateral assignation.79 ] ) . See what was said above about height.

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