A Farmer’s Destiny

Alexander Draxl


Heidegger’s idealization of the countryside is frequently mentioned in scholarship, especially in connection with his artwork essay. A note from 1946 provides an opportunity to revisit Heidegger’s fascination with rural life. On a small slip of paper in the notorious Schwarze Hefte, Heidegger claimed that when he became a philosopher, he missed his true calling: to be a farmer. At first glance, this statement sounds like a quip, hardly worthy of serious consideration. This article, however, argues that several insights can be derived from it. First, the claim that farming was his destiny necessitates a reconsideration of Heidegger’s self-understanding as a thinker. Second, the influence of Heidegger’s reinvention on his late philosophy raises questions about the periodization of his work. Third, Heidegger’s agricultural vocation inspired him to make an astonishing prediction about the future of his thinking: before his thinking can come to fruition, it must first be completely forgotten. (AD)

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