Babette E. Babich on the eventuality of questioning.
In the later Zollikon Seminars, referring to the subtitled theme of the Beiträge: Vom Ereignis, Heidegger will declare that “as long as one understands being as presence . . . one cannot understand technology and surely not the event of appropriation [Ereignis] at all.”
Nietzsche’s thinking offers Heidegger the preliminary expression of the task of thinking at the end of philosophy, corresponding to the eventuality of Ereignis as such in the Beiträge. It is noted here that for Heidegger, the question of Ereignis is linked to the question of science and of art or technology. Thus in the Nietzsche lecture courses Heidegger emphasizes that the question concerning technology can he illuminated in terms of Nietzsche’s own reflective self-assessment of his own first work, The Birth of Tragedy. As Nietzsche expressed it in his “Attempt at a Self-Criticism,” “the task is to regard science through the lens [Optik] of the artist, but art is that of life” (Birth of Tragedy §ii). For Heidegger, what Nietzsche says here is typically misunderstood: “Half a century,” he wrote in 1936/37, “has passed in Europe since these words were written. In these decades, this point has been again and again misinterpreted and, indeed, especially by those who sought to struggle against the increasing rootlessness and devastations of science” (Nl, 218).
Heidegger is here contending that it was not Nietzsche’s claim that what we need is to add a bit more sparkle to science, making it more lively adding a touch of Lebenskunst to the scientist’s world, nor indeed was he suggesting that we attend to the aesthetic dimension in science. “The phrase demands knowledge of the event of nihilism which knowledge in Nietzsche’s view at the same time embraces the will to overcome nihilism, indeed by means of original grounding and questioning” (Nl, 220). This same project of overcoming invokes Hölderlin as well as Heidegger himself with his signature project of redoubled questioning: questioning questioning.