Sunday, 9 September 2018

Heidegger’s Philosophical Opposition to Space Travel

Martin Heidegger
Martin Heidegger, in his interview to Der Spiegel magazine on September 23, 1966, articulated his philosophical opposition to the idea that human beings might one day travel to other planets, leaving earth behind. Here’s an excerpt from the interview:
Der Spiegel: Well, we have to say that indeed we prefer to be here, and in our age we surely will not have to leave for elsewhere. But who knows if man is determined to be upon this earth? It is thinkable that man has absolutely no determination at all. After all, one might see it to be one of man's possibilities that he reach out from this earth toward other planets. We have by no means come that far, of course -- but where is it written that he has his place here?  
Heidegger: As far as my own orientation goes, in any case, I know that, according to our human experience and history, everything essential and of great magnitude has arisen only out of the fact that man had a home and was rooted in a tradition. Contemporary literature, for example, is largely destructive. 
In the interview Heidegger also says that he was "shocked to see pictures of the earth taken from the moon. We do not need atomic bombs at all [to uproot us] — the uprooting of man is already here. All our relationships have become merely technical ones. It is no longer upon an earth that man lives today." He was appalled by the idea of any man venturing too far from his place of birth.

For Heidegger, philosophy is all about preserving the traditions and coming home in the end. He insisted that in the time of death, a man must return to soil of his home. When he died, following his wish, his body was buried in the Church cemetery at Messkirch, the town of his birth, despite the fact that he had long since left the faith.

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