Front Porch Republic on ‘Weird Christianity
In his essay, “Nietzsche’s Word: ‘God is Dead,’” Heidegger traces the dynamics of the nihilism Nietzsche foresaw. When Nietzsche declared that the highest values were being de-valued, Heidegger points out that this presumes humankind has the ability to value beings and existence as a whole. Underneath the cycle of valuing and revaluing, which may appear ‘nihilistic,’ the deeper nihilism lies in the attempt of humans to act as arbiters of beings’ worth, even the worth of existence itself. Whereas Nietzsche thought the way out of this nihilism came through acceptance of this role as arbiter of values, Heidegger saw something more sinister at work. The conclusion to this nihilism is not the existential freedom of humanity to take control of its destinies; it is the consummation of a technological frame. ‘Technology’ here means the treatment of beings in the most debased manner of valuation: objectification of something as a resource for exploitation to satisfy the consumptive needs of a dominant subject. All the while, in the middle of this valuing, de-valuing, and re-valuing—an eternal return of the same—the worst is happening, to put it in Heidegger’s most provocative sense: nothing is going on with Being. You can interpret that as deeply or superficially as you’d like, and I still think you would come away with a bit of the truth Heidegger meant.