In 3:AM Cornelius Fitz reviews Fredric Jameson's Raymond Chandler.
I only wish more of the book was dedicated to giving a Heideggerian reading of Chandler’s hard-boiled detective fiction. Heidegger, who describes language as “the house of being”, is an overlooked source for literary criticism, and there are serious ontological questions that continually overlap with the aesthetic.
Heidegger, however, was antipathetic towards aesthetic experience. In ‘The Age of the World-Picture’ he describes an “essential phenomenon” of modernity being “art’s moving into the purview of aesthetics.” This is problematic because the art work has become “the object of mere subjective experience”, and thus is considered to be “an expression of human life”. Heidegger was crucially aware of the commodification of artworks, wondering whether they “stand and hang in museums and exhibitions” as “the works they themselves are, or are the not rather here as objects of the art industry?” In ‘The Origin of the Work of Art’, he mentions how “works are shipped like coal from the Ruhr and logs from the Black Forest”.
Around sixty years ago, German philosopher and and seminal thinker Martin Heidegger wrote an essay titled “Building Dwelling Thinking,” that proposed views on the topic, and pondered on the meaning of what it is to dwell. Taking off in this vein, Mumbai art space Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke celebrates its tenth anniversary with an exhibition that traverses themes of belonging, migration, communities and of course, dwelling.
Had Heidegger ever come up with a saying to sum up his philosophy it would have been: ‘I dwell, therefore I am.’ For him, identity is bound up with being in the world, which in turn means having a place in it. We don’t live in the abstract space favoured by philosophers, but in a particular place, with specific features and history. We arrive already entangled with the world, not detached from it. Our identity is not secured just in our heads but through our bodies too, how we feel and how we are moved, literally and emotionally.
Instead of presenting it as a puzzle to be solved, Heidegger’s world is one we should immerse ourselves in and care for: it is part of the larger ‘being’ where we all belong.
With A Gentle Collapsing II, Hartley references Plato’s notion of artifacts being in a “state of becoming.” In this instance, by making the audience explicitly aware of the building’s natural demise, viewers become all the more appreciative of its presence and its obviously finite existence. This too is a nod to another philosopher—Martin Heidegger—who said “mortals nurse and nurture things that grow and specifically construct things that do not grow.”
The quote's from "BDT", in Poetry Language Thought p. 151.
Among the different reasons for the lack of philosophy here is the tendency to find refuge in the security of comfort – whether economic, social or intellectual. Unlike other disciplines, philosophy seeks to disrupt normal habits of thinking about life by forcing one to search for answers to questions that may not be answered in his lifetime. This makes philosophical thinking incongruent with time and space.
That is why Martin Heidegger deems that “all essential philosophical questioning is necessarily untimely”. Only by becoming untimely does philosophy become timeless, and the questions it raises remain intact beyond time and space. However, for a complacent mind it is easy to become timely than untimely, for the latter entails an excruciating excursion into realms that are mentally demanding and may cause alienation from mainstream society.
We can say that the word ['truth'] has at least three different meanings; but it is mistaken to assume that any one of these theories can give the whole grammar of how we use the word, or endeavour to fit into a single theory cases which do not seem to agree with it.
The German philosopher Heidegger describes our experience of being alive (“being” or “sein” in German) with a metaphor. It is as if each of us exists in a clearing ( of a forest) – Die Lichtung des Seins. The idea to be conveyed with the metaphor is that what any person knows is “inside their clearing” but, beyond the edge of the clearing, “the forest” is an area of darkness or, more accurately, of unknowing. The idea of unknowing here does not carry any moral or ethical connotations – it is not necessarily a personal or group failing – though it might be. After all there is no way in which each of us can know about everything. While one can create a “bigger clearing to live in” – by research, study, learning – as well as more generally by being open minded – there will always be a limit to what one can get to know in a lifetime.
The term holzwege was coined by the philosopher Heidegger. It describes an overgrown forest path recognizable only to woodsmen. It may seem to be a path that leads nowhere, but finding oneself in the middle of woods and uncertain which course to take can open the door to unexpected experiences. In effect, there are many paths one can choose to explore.