Excerpt #1 — Heidegger, On Nihilism

From Martin Heidegger, Contributions to Philosophy (of the Event) transl Richard Rojcewicz & Daniela Vallega-Neu (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2012), 109-110.

I make no claim to perfectly understand the later Heidegger (1889–1976), who, I am told by many specialists, is notoriously difficult even in German. (Contributions was written between 1936-1938, and most consider this to be after the date of his famous “turn”.) The editorial insertions in brackets are my own. Please do correct me if my reading is wrong.

I have often tried to press home the idea that Secularism is not simply something that a society does, or an idea that an individual might hold to (or might not hold to), but is the result of several unique historical events that have changed our horizons through events that were not engineered and cannot be reversed, that is the entire framework of our age, and determines every option we might take within it, even seemingly opposite ones. This is not a recipe for hopelessness, but for honesty. (Secularism too shall pass, I suggest, and it is yet to be seen what comes after it, although it will not simply reverse secularity, or a return to some supposed earlier golden age, or even a better one, much less shall it realize our pet ideology.) Heidegger, for all I can tell, seems to be saying something similar about Nihilism.

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