"I will tell you who you are"
Heidegger on Greco-german destiny and Amerikanismus
"I will tell you who you are." Heidegger said it. It was a promise. He made it in the 1942 lecture course on Hölderlin's poem "Der Ister" (GA 53, 76). But it was always more than a promise. To tell someone who they are is a far from innocent act. There is a certain "danger" involved (EHD 33), even a violence, to which Heidegger might have been expected to be particularly sensitive. It is not the violence of telling someone what they are. Heidegger knew the difference between the two questions "What is man?" and "Who is man?" (EM 110; IM 144. See also SZ 45; BT 71). To propose an identity in the form of a name, even a name like Dasein, calls for a decision on the part of those who hear the call. What will be found to be at issue here is the decision to be a people. And not just any people, but das Volk.
Bernasconi, R. (1995)., "I will tell you who you are": Heidegger on Greco-german destiny and Amerikanismus, in B. Babich (ed.), From phenomenology to thought, errancy, and desire, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 301-313.
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