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Nietzsche, according to Heidegger, 'sees the Greek "world" exclusively in a Roman way, that is, in a way at once modern and unGreek ... The entire thinking of the Occident from Plato to Nietzsche thinks in terms of this delimitation of truth as correctness.' (Heidegger: Parmenides, p.43) Whereas the purpose of the word, the λογος, in the original Greek view, was to let what is concealed appear, it now becomes the Roman iudicium, veritas, rectitudo, attaining certainty, what is right: 'the Latinisation occurs as a transformation of the essence of truth and Being within the essence of the Greco-Roman domain of history. This transformation is distinctive in that it remains concealed but nonetheless determines everything in advance. This transformation of the essence of truth and Being is the genuine event of history. The imperial as the mode of Being of a historical humanity is nevertheless not the basis of the essential transformation of αληθεια into veritas, as rectitudo, but is its consequence, and as this consequence it is in turn a possible cause and occasion for the development of the true in the sense of the correct.' (p.42)

So in Nietzsche, seeing things through 'Roman' eyes, the true is the right, conformity to the real, and since 'the basic feature of reality is will to power, what is right must conform itself to the real, hence must express what the real says, namely, will to power.' And, Heidegger continues, 'Power can only be assured by the constant enhancement of power. Nietzsche recognised this very clearly and declared that within the realm of essence of the will to power the mere preservation of an already attained level of power already represents a decrease in the degree of power.' (pp.52 and 58).

The difference here between the Greek and the Latin understandings of 'truth' corresponds to a longstanding Greek Orthodox criticism of Latin Christianity which, according to the Greeks, lays too much emphasis on the justice of God. This in turn derives from a misunderstanding of the Platonic 'ideas' according to which Justice has to be an 'eternal' absolute. Heidegger criticises this Latin version of the 'ideas' in the Essence of Truth, which discusses the famous cave analogy in Plato's Republic. No time to go into this here but briefly the Greek ιδεα is something seen (Greek ιδειν, to see) - a shape, a form. What the Romans would see as a single, absolute and eternal idea of Justice, the Greeks would see as the single shape or form of the plurality of events that constitute the αιων, hence a story (Greek μυθος). It is the 'Roman' view - a 'real' world of frozen absolutes - that Heidegger regards as the 'metaphysics' that has finally revealed its true content in Nietzsche's 'will to power.'

In the Introduction to Metaphysics (pp.41-2) Heidegger presents Europe in general and Germany in particular as caught between two pincers - America on the one side, and Russia (at that time Bolshevik Russia) on the other, two societies given over to the Will to Power, expressed both in a desire to dominate politically and in the constant urge towards greater technological proficiency, a drive which is still going strong in our day. He was not blind to the fact that the impulse had come from Western Europe, from the whole tendency of Western thought, beginning with 'the Greeks'. He saw it as a problem of philosophy rather than of politics, or perhaps more simply he tried to approach it from within the domain of his own specialisation, which was philosophy. I as a Christian attached to the Eastern Orthodox tradition note that whereas according to Heidegger the Will to Power such as we experience it today developed within the context of Latin Christianity, it did not develop to anything like the same extent in the context of Greek Christianity. I find myself wondering if the Greeks might have understood their own language and culture better than Heidegger thought they did.