We do not mind misogyny in politics—heck, we practice it
in philosophy, we denounce it and talk about it, and go on practicing it. Ditto
racism. Ditto anti-Semitism. But for me it matters that we are prepared to
tolerate Heidegger’s misogyny (he gets a free pass: think of Arendt, not that
we actually do) but not his anti-Semitism.
1. What Eignung is to artifacts and acorns, Ereignis is to ex-sistence – but with an important twist.
Ereignis does have to do with κίνησις, and κίνησις does have to do with incompleteness
However, Ereignis applies exclusively to existential κίνησις.
2. Ex-sistence is unique in being already “complete” in its incompleteness, already “whole” as never being whole.
Ex-sistence is perfectly “perfect” in its imperfection, its inability to achieve complete self-coincidence.
In SZ, what accounted for ex-sistence’s finitude (its open-ended-ness vs. full selfpresence) was called “thrownness.” But in 1936 Heidegger began calling thrownness “Er-eignis” (“ap-propri-ation”), a term modeled on Eignung.
3. Appropriation names the fact that ex-sistence has been brought a priori into its proper ownness (er-eignet) as the finite, mortal Open (GA 73,1: 226.26; GA 12: 128.29-30.; 248.16; 249.5–6).
The word “Ereignis” simply reinscribes the basic structure of ex-sistence that SZ had called thrownness. (GA 65:34.8–9; 239.5; 252.23–25; 322.7–8 with SZ 325.37; GA 9: 377, note d; GA 73, 1: 642.28-29; etc.)
Appropriated ex-sistence is Zu-sein: as possibility, ex-sistence is in the condition of ever-becoming.
To name this asymptotic condition of ex-sistence, Heidegger adopted Heraclitus’ hapax legomenon ̓Αγχιβασίη, “ever approaching” (fragment 122).
4. Appropriation is not an “event” in any sense of that term (GA 14: 25.33; GA 11: 45.19-20; GA 70.1719). It is an existential fact, the very facticity of ex-sistence.
The historian may protest that to be interested in Aristotle, al-Kindi, or Kant, is unlike voting for a politician: it need involve no approval of the author’s worldview. I’ve met many experts in Aristotelian cosmology, and not one of them has thought that the Sun orbits the Earth, as Aristotle did. So we might treat the bigotry of the past the way we treat the scientific mistakes of the past. That is, rather than detaching hateful remarks from the rest of the theory, we detach ourselves, offering an objective analysis of these thinkers’ ideas without ever adopting those ideas as our own. This will often involve situating the thinkers in their historical context. We might for example note – as a historical observation, not as a matter of praise or blame – that when Plato argued in the Republic that women can do everything men can do, but not so well, he was being unusually ‘feminist’ for his time – while simultaneously being sexist by modern standards.
This seems a reasonable solution, but it will not be enough for those philosophers who do not see themselves as ‘mere’ historians, but seek truth in historical works. Most notorious in this regard is the case of Heidegger. There is an ongoing debate as to whether his Nazism effectively poisons his thought as a whole, making it off limits as a source of philosophical inspiration.
1. Heidegger interprets δύναμις as a moving thing’s Eignung (GA 9: 215.25; GA 19: 265.14; etc.), its condition of
• coming-into-its-own/eigen, coming-ad-proprium, that is:
• being ap-propri-ated by and unto its τέλος.
2. Two examples, one from nature (ϕύσις), the other from human know-how (τέχνη): 2.1 Nature (ϕύσις): An acorn has the δύναμις/Eignung of being an oak tree.
It is “drawn” into its proper wholeness by its τέλος (“oak tree”). This τέλος lies within the acorn; it is the origin and ordering (ἀρχή) of its movement.
Put otherwise, the acorn already has itself in its τέλος (ἐν τέλει ἔχει), but not fully.
The realness (actuality) of the acorn has the form of ἐν-τελ-έχεια ἀ- τελής.
2.2 Know-how (τέχνη): Guiding the construction of a cabinet is the carpenter’s know-how (τέχνη).
The process begins with the carpenter’s prior projection of an idea of the outcome, the εἶδος προαιρετόν that will function as the τέλος of the activity.
The wood that has been selected as appropriate (geeignet) for the task then undergoes a process of appropriation (Eignung) to being a cabinet.
In this case the process is guided not by an internal τέλος, as with the acorn, but by the external τέλος residing in the mind of the carpenter who first projected the outcome (GA 9: 191-93).
4. In short, Eignung names the reality of a something that is in the process of being brought-ad-proprium, still coming into its proper status as complete and whole.
In fact, this computer-generated statement is itself an artwork called Variable by the Instanbul-based artist Selcuk Artut. At the press of a button, Variable generates a new artist’s statement for one of eight different screens. Each screen chooses a title for the art piece, like “movement,” “presence,” or “weakness,” and then each statement is concocted with a machine learning algorithm that was trained on the book Being and Time by the philosopher Martin Heidegger. Artut writes that he was inspired by the book’s complexity; his algorithm remixes Heidegger’s text and transforms it into new meditations on the nature of being, an appropriate topic for contemporary art, which so often ponders the same questions. All the statements sound appropriately vague and baffling–just like actual artist statements.
It seems to me the postmodernism generator has been doing something similar with simple algorithms for a couple decades. Using machine learning for the same ends just consumes more energy -- carbon.
¶ 5:46 PM0 comments
In 1971, I wrote my PhD dissertation on a comparative study of Mawlana (Rumi) and Meister Eckhart. Karl Löwith was my supervisor. I found out there is actually similarities between western philosophers and Muslim mystics (Sufis)—that the comparisons are not without merit. I published it under the title of Historical Sociology. In this book, I showed that Mawlana, Eckhart and Heidegger’s ideas are not philosophical but mystical. Gadamer read my works and told me that I was right, he told me that “for the last thirty years, I’ve been saying that my dear teacher, Heidegger, is a mystic, but no one believes me. You are the first one that has written this down.”
It is surprising that Mr. Ayatollahi, Davari Ardakani and Dinani also believed this and they told me once that Heidegger’s being a mystic is the reason that they agree with his ideas. I told them that because I believe that Heidegger is a mystic, I am rejecting and criticizing him; because Heidegger is deviating from the rational German philosophy.