Monday, May 22, 2006
In Miguel de Beistegui's collection The New Heidegger, one of the essays concerns time and space. The first half of the essay examines its subject as investigated in Being and Time, and then the second half approaches it through a quotation from the Contributions, which leads into a discussion of Ereignis.
Heidegger gathers the various determinations of the Augenblicksstätte [the site of the moment], which we shall have to clarify one by one, in the following, arguably complex terms:
The site of the moment: uniqueness and assault of the greatest rapture [Entrückung] in the domain of the hint, out of the gentle captivation [Berückung] of that which refuses itself and hesitates, proximity and distance in the domain of decision, the 'where' and 'when' of the history of beyng, clearing and concealing itself from within the occurring of the fundamental attunement of reservedness--such is the fundamental experience of the there and thus of time-space. [P. 261]
'Rapture' and 'captivation', 'refusal' and 'hesitation', 'proximity' and 'distance', 'decision', and 'reservedness' are all terms, or concepts, which need to be clarified. They all point to a certain transformation of Heidegger's thought. This, of course, is making things more difficult for us: in connection with his early thought, and the project of fundamental ontology in particular, we witnessed a remarkable production of new ideas and concepts. We now need to familiarize ourselves with a new set of concepts, and with a decisive reworking of the assumptions governing the early work. Only later will we be able to ascertain the necessity of this new direction.

Let me begin by noting the fact that, in the passage I've just quoted, time and space are thought from out of what emerges as their originary unity, from the 'and' itself. This unity is the very movement of Ereignis. If I choose to leave this word untranslated at this point, it is for the same reasons that forced us to leave the word Dasein untranslated. In fact, it's a word--a decisive and pivotal philosophical term--that's even harder to translate than the term 'Dasein'. On one level, Heidegger retains the ordinary meaning of the word, that of event. Since the beginning of our enterprise, we've seen how insistent Heidegger is that we think of being, Sein, and of Dasein itself, not as a thing, or a substance, but as a movement, and a verb. The same, you recall, went for truth, which, as a result of his early texts on Aristotle, Heidegger understood as an activity, an aletheuein. So, it is perhaps not surprising that he is now explicitly interpreting being (or, as he now calls it, beyng) as an event. Naturally, the event in question is no ordinary event. It is not just an event, that is, the irruption of something new in time, the happening of something in historical time. It is not one event along this chain of events we ordinarily refer to as 'history'. Rather, it is the irruption, or the coming about of time and space as such, the advent of history as the open realm in which world-events take place. It points not to historical events and facts, but to the origin of history itself, to what we could call historicity, or the eventfulness of events. It is, if you will, the founding event--except that,as we shall see, it is itself without foundation. As the founding event, it musn't be mistaken for something like a creative act--whether that creation be the work of an omnipotent God or the result of physical forces that produced the laws of nature as we know them. The event in question is neither theological nor cosmological. It is not an event that took place once, and from which everything else unfolds, but the event that does not cease to take place, and in the taking place of which a world is opened up, and beings find their own place. It is the advent of presence, or the opening up of being. As such, Heidegger uses the term 'Ereignis' to designate the nature of the relation between being and beings, between being and the human and between being and time (as well as space). In each instance, what's at stake is what he began by calling the ontological difference, and to which philosophical thought was to turn as towards its primary subject-matter. In the thinking of Ereignis, there is a great continuity with respect to the early work. We should think of Ereignis--Heidegger's most significant philosophical term from the 1930s onwards--as a deepening and a reworking of the problematic of the ontological difference and the quest for the unifying sense of being with which he began.

P. 82-83
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