“For the Few and the Rare”

Heidegger 2

A fragment from “Contributions to Philosophy” – M. Heidegger, translated by Parvis Emad and Kenneth Maly, Indiana University Press, 1999.

5. For the Few and the Rare

“For the few who from time to time again ask the question, i.e., who put up anew the essential sway of truth for decision.

“For the rare who bring along the utmost courage for solitude, in order to think the nobility of be-ing and to speak of its uniqueness.

“Thinking in the other beginning is in a unique way originarily historical: the self-joining enjoining of be-ing’s essential swaying.

“We must risk a projecting-open of be-ing’s essential swaying as enowning, precisely because we do not know the mandate of our history. May we be able to experience in a fundamental way the essential swaying of this unknown, in its self-sheltering.

“May we indeed want to unfold this knowing, so that the unfamiliar which is assigned to us lets the will be in solitude and thus forces Da-sein to be steadfast by way of the utmost reservedness over against the self-sheltering.

“The nearness to the last god is silence. This silence must be set into work and word in the style of reservedness.

“To be in the nearness of the god—whether this nearness be the remotest remoteness of undecidability about the flight of gods or their arrival—this cannot be counted as “happiness” or “unhappiness.” The steadfastness of be-ing carries its own measure within itself—if it still needs a measure at all.

“But to whom among us today is this steadfastness allotted? We are hardly capable of being prepared for the necessity of being’s steadfastness—or even of hinging at this preparedness as the beginning of another course of history.”

(Source: Part I, page 9 of “Contributions to Philosophy”)