Country Path Conversations (Studies in Continental Thought)
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First published in German in 1995, volume 77 of Heidegger’s Complete Works consists of three imaginary conversations written as World War II was coming to an end. Composed at a crucial moment in history and in Heidegger's own thinking, these conversations present meditations on science and technology; the devastation of nature, the war, and evil; and the possibility of release from representational thinking into a more authentic relation with being and the world. The first conversation involves a scientist, a scholar, and a guide walking together on a country path; the second takes place between a teacher and a tower-warden, and the third features a younger man and an older man in a prisoner-of-war camp in Russia, where Heidegger’s two sons were missing in action. Unique because of their conversational style, the lucid and precise translation of these texts offers insight into the issues that engaged Heidegger’s wartime and postwar thinking.
work was even considered to be, if I may say so, something still more negative. S chol a r : Namely? G u i de : A failure in the face of rest. S chol a r : A rest which, of course, they could never equate with a mere doing nothing. S ci en t ist : Yet every doing is then necessarily once again a moving and thus a denial of rest. S chol a r : And even if rest is something other than  a mere doingnothing, also in rest the human must after all stay somewhere. G u i de : That in which the human
chol a r : To what is not determined by the essence of the will belongs, among others things, thinking. I say, “among other things,” because after all various kinds of things, not only thinking, lie outside the essential sphere of the will. S ci en t ist : The answer to my question regarding what you really willed in our meditation on thinking, must therefore, precisely grasped, say “not a willing,” and in no way as you said, “a nonwilling.” This expression seduced us into demanding a
earlier characterized the horizon—in terms of its relation to us, while what we are in fact seeking is what the open that surrounds us is in itself. If we say this surrounding open is, in itself, the region, then this word must name something other than what comes to encounter us. S ci en t ist : Moreover, this coming-to-encounter is in no way a—and even less the—basic trait of the region. What then does this word signify?  S chol a r : The word gegnet44 means the free expanse. Does this
especially the belonging-together of Dasein and Sein or of thinking and being,21 as well as such claims as “the essence of nearness appears to lie in bringing near that which is near, in that it holds it at a distance.”22 The first country path conversation concludes with an interpretation of a one-word fragment from Heraclitus, Ἀγχιβασίη (Anchibasie¯ ), which suggests that proper knowing is neither a matter of maintaining an objective and disengaged distance, nor of 20. The Greek word horizon
heals by soothing, but never removing, the pain. O l der M a n : However, as you yourself said, what was painful was that you remained barred from thinking. But it seems to me now that what was painful consisted rather in that you were no longer able to know in what sense you are one who thinks—and that means, after all that we have said, one who waits. You  were already one who waits whenever the event of the devastation distressed you. If we were not already in essence those who wait, then