Volume 26, Issue 2, Autumn 2021
Only a God Can Save Us ("Nur noch ein Gott kann uns retten")
The (Techno-)Poetical Rescue
This essay examines the notion of “poetical rescue” in Heidegger, which derives from Heidegger’s commentary on Hölderlin’s lines from “Patmos,” “Yet where danger is, grows also that which rescues.” Heidegger’s remarks on the two-faced essence of technology draw on these lines, characterizing the enframing as both the danger and the possibility of saving. The turn from danger to rescue depends on the possibility of a poetic revealing, which has been overshadowed, even disallowed, by the dominant revealing in modernity—namely, das Gestell. To free the possibility of the poetic revealing and the rescue spreading from it, humans, as Heidegger remarks, need to learn to become mortals. To be mortal means here being “capable of death as death”—that is, becoming attentive to the nothingness pulsing in every moment. The rescue Heidegger explores is thus the freeing of the experience proper to being mortal in the midst of a revealing that orders all that exists into the ready availability of a standing-reserve.