Here is what is needed: a new carefulness for
language; not the invention of new terms as I
once thought, but a return to the original
richness of our own language, a language that
is constantly dying away.
A possible answer to the practical question, What is to be done? appears, as we have seen, to depend on a preliminary answer to the economic question: How do things, actions, and words enter into mutual presence today? Heidegger is more assertive about this preliminary question than about its practical corollary. He suggests that the contemporary mode of economic interrelatedness is one in which the origin as pure presencing can be delivered from the origin as rule; that it is one in which aletheiological freedom can be delivered from our liberties under principial surveillance. Whether as presencing or as principle, the origin is what gives rise to thinking and acting inseverably. But as presencing and as principle it does not give rise to them in the same way. Anticipatory thinking, which Heidegger hopes merely to prepare, could answer the question, What is to be done? by pointing toward releasement: What is to be done is what presencing always does, let entities be. However, the economic context today does not yet allow for such a serene answer to the question of acting. The phenomenology of technology has to be more modest, or more combative. What is to be done at the age of closure? Set presencing free, prepare releasement, actively liberate ourselves from epochal principles, and make sure that fewer and fewer of them will prevail (see below, Part V).
If Aristotle’s Physics has indeed remained the “foundational book” of philosophy, then his concept of archē is the one that teaches us how the origin has been understood by the mainstream tradition in the West, a tradition which today climaxes in technology. Secondly, once this continuity has been revealed, the origin Heidegger contests—princeps-principium—will be more easily described. Lastly, the representations that are to be resisted (like so many obsessions or bad habits) will have to be opposed to Ursprung, the origin that is to be retained and set free. These three guiding terms, archē, principium, and Ursprung, do not translate into one another. In each of the tongues in which it has articulated itself, the origin has been heard differently.2 It may be a Heideggerian idée fixe to trace such πολλαχῶς λέγεταɩ (the many ways something is spoken of) in order to understand presencing as freedom and the deconstruction as the liberating of that freedom. His etymologist idée fixe, however, has its advantages. The pair ἄϱχεɩν-ἄϱχεσϑαɩ, to rule and to be ruled, expresses quite clearly which thought pattern is bound to wither away at the end of metaphysics. The pair princeps-principium, the authoritative and the rational first, exhibits how metaphysics integrates both the organization of life and the order of reasons into a concept of origin in which time is forgotten. And nothing better indicates the “event” than the word Ursprung, ‘primordial springing forth’, which tells us how time is reintroduced into the origin.