- Martin Heidegger, "Nur noch ein Gott kann uns retten," Der Spiegel 30 (Mai, 1976): 193-219. Trans. by W. Richardson as "Only a God Can Save Us" in Heidegger: The Man and the Thinker (1981), ed. T. Sheehan, pp. 45-67
Apparently Heidegger is not very optimistic of his own philosophy?SPIEGEL: About two years ago in an exchange with a Buddhist monk, you spoke of "a completely new method of thinking" and said that this new method of thinking is, "at first, possible for but few men to achieve." Did you mean to say by this that only very few people can have the insights that in your opinion are possible and necessary?
Heidegger: [Yes, if you take] "have" in the completely original sense that they are able in a certain way to give utterance to [these insights].
SPIEGEL: Fine but the transmission [of these insights] into actualization you did not make apparent even in this dialogue with the Buddhist.
Heidegger: And I cannot make it apparent. I know nothing about how this thought has an "effect." It may be, too, that the way of thought today may lead one to remain silent in order to protect this thought from becoming cheapened within a year. It may also be that it needs 300 years in order to have an "effect."
SPIEGEL: We understand very well. However, since we do not live 300 years hence but here and now, silence is denied us. The rest of us -- politicians, half-politicians, citizens, journalists, etc. -- must constantly make decisions. We must adapt ourselves to the system in which we live, must seek to change it, must scout out the narrow openings that may lead to reform, and the still narrower openings that may lead to revolution. We expect help from philosophers, even if only indirect help -- help in roundabout ways. And now we hear only: I cannot help you.
Heidegger: Well, I can't.
SPIEGEL: That must discourage the nonphilosopher.
Heidegger: I cannot [help you], because the questions are so difficult that it would run counter to the sense of this task of thinking to suddenly step out in public in order to preach and dispense moral censures. Perhaps we may venture to put it this way: to the mystery of the planetary domination of the un-thought essence of technicity corresponds the tentative, unassuming character of thought that strives to ponder this unthought [essence].
SPIEGEL: You do not count yourself among those who, if they would only be heard, could point out a way?
Heidegger: No! I know of no way to change the present state of the world immediately, [even] assuming that such a thing be at all humanly possible. But it seems to me that the thinking that I attempt might be able to awaken, clarify, and confirm [a] readiness [for the appearance of' a god] that I have mentioned already.
SPIEGEL: A clear answer! But can -- and may -- a thinker say:  just wait -- we will think of something within 300 years?
Heidegger: It is not simply a matter of just waiting until something occurs to man within 300 years, but rather to think forward without prophetic claims into the coming time in terms of the fundamental thrust of our present age that has hardly been thought through [at all]. Thinking is not inactivity, but is itself by its very nature an engagement that stands in dialogue with the epochal moment of the world. It seems to me that the distinction between theory and practice comes from metaphysics, and the conception of a transmission between these two blocks the way to insight into what I understand by thinking. Perhaps I may refer to my lectures under the title, "What is Called Thinking?" that appeared in 1954.33 Maybe this, too, is a sign of our time, that of all my publications, this is the least read.
It seem there is something in Buddhism that can give humanity some hope, like within the next 300 years?
Anyone has any comments on the above.