Between Destruction and Desertification. Heidegger’s Thought around WWII

Luca Di Blasi

Destruction and novelty are deeply connected in Heidegger’s thought, especially between the late 20’s and the 40’s, when he developed his “history of Being“ (“Seinsgeschichte”). Heidegger distinguished (initially in a messianic, finally in a dualistic and antagonistic way) destruction as condition of possibility for “another beginning” (event) from a “desertification” (“Verwüstung”) as nihilistic and destructive tendency leading to the /impossibility /of any decision and the lost of a real novelty. His Antisemitism of the late 30’s and 40’s was associated with it. Confusingly, his radical separation of a positive and negative destruction went hand in hand with a difficulty to distinguish one from another. This difficulty is reflected in Heidegger’s struggle with Nietzsche and National Socialism in the years around 1938. In my talk, I will focus on this uncertainty and its philosophical and political aspects.