He likens this to learning to swim, which we may be able to get an idea of from a book, but “only the leap into the river tells us what is called swimming.” Heidegger's “Was Heißt Denken” seeks to lead its reader to the cliff where she can jump into the current of thinking and thereby learn to swim, that is, to think.
Heidegger sets out to establish a pathway to the region where we can ourselves make the leap into Thinking.
Rational thought, representational thought, dialogical thought, and all this thought amounts to what Heidegger calls “ratio about ratio”; which means quite simply, that we may call our thinking “thinking”, but, we do not know what it is to Think.
If we want to understand what it is to Think, with a capital T, and not merely with the lower case t, as this difference is usually represented in Heidegger scholarship, then we need to go backwards into history and look at the formation of thinking about Thinking.
But Heidegger’s legacy also bears a dark stain, one that his influence has never quite managed to wash out.
Heidegger joined the Nazi Party in the spring of 1933, ran the University of Freiburg on behalf of the regime, and gave impassioned speeches in support of Adolf Hitler at key moments, including during the plebiscites in the fall of 1933, which solidified popular support for Nazi policies.
(Heidegger and the Myth of the Jewish World Conspiracy). Fewer still have rivaled his reach: Heidegger deeply influenced some of the twentieth century’s most important philosophers, among them Leo Strauss, Jean-Paul Sartre, Hannah Arendt, and Jacques Derrida.
Indeed, few modern thinkers have been as productive: once published in their entirety, his complete works will comprise over 100 volumes.
The representational idea that appears in ones mind is compared with the universal idea, the eternal essence of the thing as the specific thing that it is.
Introductory Philosophy courses often resort to questions about chairs, what exactly about this particular chair makes it an instance of “chairness”, and Plato’s answer is that the actual chair is but an imperfect instantiation of the Ideal Chair.