After BT Ereignis becomes important again and jostles with Geschehen for Heidegger's favor. Both are contrasted with Vorgang and Vorkommnis. Sometimes they amount to Begebenheit, as a historical event (XXXI, 196, 231). But later they are distinguished from it: Begebenheiten are visible, dramatic, but superficial public events, while Geschehen and Ereignis may be inconspicuous but are profoundly important (LXV, 28). Nihilism is not just one historical Begebenheit among others, but a long, drawn-out Ereignis in which the truth about beings as a whole slowly changes and advances towards an end determined by nihilism (NIV, 4f.). '[O]nly the greatest Geschehen, the profoundest Ereignis, can still save us from lostness in the bustle of mere Begebenheiten and machinations. Something must happen [sich ereignen] to open up being for us and put us back in it...' (LXV, 57). Geschehen is often interchangeable with Ereignis. But Geschehen is verbal, and having no plural, cannot refer to distinct events. 'Metaphysics is the basic happening [Grundgeschehen] in Dasein', but it is not a distinct event in Dasein's career: 'It is Dasein itself' (What Is Metaphysics?, 109). 'What happens [geschieht] is the history of being' (NIV, 243), but the 'history of beyng knows rare Ereignisse at long intervals which are for it only moments', events such as 'the assignment of truth to beyng, the collapse of truth, the consolidation of its unessence (correctness)', etc. (LXV, 227f.). But das Ereignis often refers to the supreme event that constitutes the Anfang, the 'beginning', the essencing of beyng, the initial revelation of being that first enables us to identify beings. Here Heidegger exploits to the full its supposed kinship with eigen, etc: 'it is no longer a matter of dealing "with" something and displaying it as an object, but of being handed over [übereignet] to the Er-eignis, which amounts to a change of man's essence from "rational animal" [...] to Da-sein' (LXV, 3). Being appropriates man and makes him Da-sein, the site of being's revelation: 'Beyng as Er-eignis. The Er-eignung makes man the property [Eigentum, lit. 'owndom'] of beyng. [...] property is belongingness to the Er-eignung and this is beyng' (LXV, 263). Beyng as Ereignis is not 'becoming, 'life', or 'movement' in Nietzsche's sense. To view beyng in these terms -- which depend on being as beingness -- makes it an object. We must not make assertions about it, but 'say it in a saying that belongs to what the saying brings forth and rejects all objectification and falsification into a state (or a "flux")[...]' (LXV, 472).
In BT Ereignis is still used for an event that happens to me. It can apply to 'a storm, refurbishing one's house or the arrival of a friend, hence to things that are present-at-hand, ready-to-hand or there-with-us' (BT, 250). Vorkommnis and vorkommen are usually reserved for the vorhanden, the present-at-hand' (cf BT, 119). Words beginning with vor- are often associated with the present-at-hand and the theoretical, objectifying attitude, as when 'coming across oneself' [Sich-vorfinden] perceptually' is contrasted with 'finding oneself in a mood [gestimmtes Sichbefinden]' (BT, 135). But this does not apply when vor- has a temporal force, whether of anticipation, e.g. vorweg, 'ahead', or of antecedence, e.g. vorgängig, 'previous(ly)'. The most potent word for 'happening' in BT is (das) Geschehen, which Heidegger associates with its relative Geschichte, 'history'. Geschehen is understood verbally as 'happening', not as an individual 'event'. It is thus quite distinct from Geschehnis, which occurs only twice in BT, to distinguish the 'processes [Vorgänge] of nature and the events [Geschehnisse] of history (18) and to refer to not fully theoretical 'assertions about events in the world around us' (158). A burst pipe or car crash are Geschehnisse, but not Geschehen: only Dasein 'happens'. Dasein's happening is the 'specific movement in which Dasein is stretched along and stretches itself along' between its birth and its death (BT, 375). Exploration of this shows us how Dasein 'pulls itself together' into a unified self and thereby gives rise to history: "Or does the personality of the person, the humanity of the man, have its own temporality and correspondingly a "steadfastness" of its own, in virtue of which too the Geschehen-character of man's Dasein, i.e. the essence of history in the authentic sense, determines itself in a radically different way from the Vorgang-character of present-at-hand nature? (XXXI, 173). Dasein is a happening, not a substance in and to which various things happen. In pulling itself together it 'repeats" or retrieves the historical past.
Heidegger applies Vorgang and Vorkommnis(se), to present-at-hand, usually natural events. It is misleading to assimilate different types of event -- the warming of a stone, an animal's seeing and grasping -- under the heading of Vorgang in the sense of a sequence of Vorkommnisse. Animals engage in behaviour (Benehmen), stones do not (XXIX, 344f). Early on he distinguishes Vorgang from Ereignis. An experience is not a Vorgang, an occurence that is an Objekt for me, but an Ereignis. He writes Er-eignis and thus links it to eigen, etc: 'Experiences [Erlebnisse] are Er-eignisse, in so far as they live off what is one's own [aus dem Eigenen leben] and life lives only thus' (LVI/LVII, 75). A 'situation' contains 'not static elements, but "Ereignisse". The happening [Geschehen] of the situation is no "Vorgang" -- as e.g. an electrical discharge observed in a theoretical attitude in a physics laboratory. Ereignisse "happen to me" ['passieren mir']' (LVI, 205). A situation is not neutral; it provides Motivation.
Michael Inwood's dictionary on Ereignis and other happenings.
event, happening, occurrence 1. The most general term for an event is Ereignis, from sich ereignen, 'to happen, occur'. The words come from Auge, 'eye', and were until the eighteenth century spelt Eräugnis, eräugnen, lit. 'placing/to place before the eye, becoming/to become visible' -- as Heidegger knew (OWL, 260/129). Heidegger also uses, Ereignung (Eräugnung), 'event(uating)', which is similar to Ereignis, but more verbal. The words became associated with (sich) eignen, 'to be suitable, belong', anereignen, 'to appropriate', and eigen, '(one's) own', since some dialects pronounced äu as ei. 2. Begebenheit, 'event', comes from begeben, 'to issue, put [coins, etc.] in circulation' and sich begeben, 'to betake oneself; expose oneself [to danger]; to come to pass'. It is 'often, but not necessarily, something out of the ordinary' (DGS, 110). 3. Vorgang, from vorgehen, 'to proceed, go on, happen', is 'something changing, evolving, a process. The plural is used of a vague, undefined series of happenings. It thus contrasts with the specific term Ereignis' (DGS, 111). 4. Geschehnis, 'event, incident, happening', is from geschehen, originally 'to hurry, rush on, run', but now 'to happen'. It is 'the most abstract term for "happening". Its use is confined to the written word' (DGS, 111). The nominalized infinitive is also used for 'happening(s), event(s)'. 5. Vorkommnis(se), 'occurrence(s)', from vorkommen, 'to come forth, occur, etc.', is a 'happening that concerns a person' (DGS, 111).
Perhaps the best way to distinguish them is via a reference to the philosophical distinction between ontological and ontic levels. The status of the ting is purely ontic, it stands for an irreducible excess of the ontic that eludes Lichtung, the ontological clearance within which entities appear: the Thing is a paradox of an ontic X in so far as it is not yet an 'inner-worldly' entity, appearing within the transcendental-ontological horizon. In contrast, the status of a is purely ontological--that is to say, a as the fantasy-object is an object that is an empty form, a frame that determines the status of positive entities. (this is how we are to interpret Lacan's statement according to which fantasy is the ultimate support of our 'sense of reality'.) Therein resides the enigma of the relationship between the Thing and a: how can the surplus of the ontic over ontological horizon convert into the surplus of the ontological; how can the plenitude of the Real convert into a pure lack, into an object that coincides with its own absence and, as such, keeps open the clearing within which ontic entities can emerge?
Joan Stambaugh's translation of that paragraph from Die Erinnerung in die Metaphysik.
What happens in the history of Being? We cannot ask in this manner, because there would then be an occurence and something which occurs. But occurrence itself is the sole happening. Being alone is. What happens? Appropriation appropriates. Perduring the opening out, the origin takes the parting to itself. The appropriating origin is dignity as truth itself reaching into its departure. Dignity is what is noble which appropriates without needing effects. The noble of the worthy Appropriating of the origin is the unique release as Appropriation of freedom, which is unconcealment of concealment--because it belongs to the ground-less.
Stanley Rosen on what's right, what's wrong and what path to go down next.
The attempt to appropriate or enter the experience underlying Heidegger's journey towards Being leads to the following conclusion. We may agree with Heidegger's motivation perception of the concealed presentation of Being within beings. Equally plausible is his substitution of Being-in-the-world for Husserlian intentionality. But we should not be swayed by his longing to avert the human gaze from beings to Being. Heidegger himself gives a perfectly explicit account of why this is impossible:
What happens in the history of Being? We cannot ask the question in this way, because then there would be a [process of] happening and that which happens. But happening itself is the only event [Geschehnis]. Being alone is. What happens? Nothing happens, if we are persuing that which happens in happening. Nothing happens, event e-vents [Das Ereignis er-eignet].
I stated previously that Heidegger never discusses nobility. I can underline this point by citing from the same passage, a few lines later, the following assertion:
The eventing origin is honor [or "dignity":die Würde] as the truth itself as that which towers in its absence. Honor is the noble [das Edle] that e-vents, without requiring effects [ohne des Wirkens zu bedürfen].
It follows that the effects or events of the e-venting of Being are themselves dishonorable or ignoble at worst and void of merit at best. Despite Heidegger's continuous assertion--or implication when he is not asserting--that the quest for Being will illuminate our experience of beings, I believe that the opposite is the case. The more we meditate on Being, the less we see of beings.
On the other hand, the more carefully we inspect beings, the more clarity we achieve about Being. This clarity may be analytical and it may be mythical. But it is clarity about Being, and not some inferior construct called "the Being of the existent" or the being of beings. This is because there is no difference between the Being of beings (as distinguished from being qua being) and Being. On Heidegger's own testimony, the event of Being is an e-venting in which nothing happens. Even on Heideggerian grounds, the event (or the e-vent) is the worlding of a world; and Being is the process by which worlds come to be, not some process in addition to this by which nothing comes to be. Metaphysics goes beyond ta phusika or onta in thinking the whole. But this thinking, as it is found in Plato, is not a science of being qua being. It is the attempt to understand the implications of our capacity to do what we believe to be best. One such implication may well be that we are required to consider being qua being. But the more important question is the place of such an investigation within the totality of human existence and therefore of my existence because "human existence" does not itself exist except as a derivative of the existence of you and me. And there is not some other world to which we aspire as metaphysicians, but only a better version of this world. we conclude, as we begin, not in the hermeneutical circle, but in the circle of the everyday, which resists all our attempts to transform it into a derivative not of the will to power, but of the decadence of the emancipated will. The last stage of European history, which is of course last only in the sense that it is our stage, is not the will to will, but the illusion of the spontaneity of the imagination. The clarification of this illusion is the next task that is posed by the question of Being.
I received the news in an email almost exactly a year ago. As so often in recent years, Rorty voiced his resignation at the "war president" Bush, whose policies deeply aggrieved him, the patriot who had always sought to "achieve" his country. After three or four paragraphs of sarcastic analysis came the unexpected sentence: " Alas, I have come down with the same disease that killed Derrida." As if to attenuate the reader's shock, he added in jest that his daughter felt this kind of cancer must come from "reading too much Heidegger."
[M]uch as Heidegger noted in Being and Time, one doesn't notice objects of gear until they break down and cease being functional; so, as long as you're rocking hard and hitting all of the 1/8ths, 1/16ths, and 1/32nds as the tabs are flying at you, people don't realize that you're playing a keytaur. Phenomenologically speaking, you are a Guitar Hero; when you rock, the keytaur looks just enough like a guitar for everyone to interact with and phenomenally relate to the experience as someone ripping apart a bitching guitar standard.
The keytaur is less prone to string breakage than real guitars, never goes out of tune, and you don't have to develop your pinkie muscles to reach those 7th chords, thus deferring those intrusive present-at-hand self-conscious-at-the-simulacrum moments, as such.
Still, watching the young ones at last Friday's social playing with their keytaurs, I didn't think they had half the faux-thentic chops of my generation's great air-guitarists. We used our imaginations in my days! Watch a geetar hero stick his tongue out to complete a riff, and you realize it is just another program directing someone to press buttons on a game controller.
¶ 8:41 AM0 comments
Rorty recapitulated the ideas of numerous philosophers, including Nietzsche, Heidegger, Wittgenstein, and Derrida--all of whom believed that the effort to acquire absolute knowledge of the whole of reality had reached an endpoint in our time.
The philosophers (or rather, the anti-philosophers) in this tradition also tended to treat the terminus of philosophy as an epochal event. Nietzsche and Heidegger, in particular, believed that the demise of philosophy signaled the immanent collapse of the intellectual and cultural foundations of Western civilization, which they heralded with a mixture of dread and elation. The West, they insisted, was on the brink of a millennial shift to a new dispensation beyond Judeo-Christianity, beyond modernity, beyond rationality, beyond science, beyond good and evil. It was impossible to anticipate precisely what this new world would look like. All we could know is that it would differ as profoundly from what came before as the rationalistic world of Plato and Aristotle differed from the pre-philosophic world of Homeric myth.
Here Rorty broke decisively with his continental-European precursors.
Business Affairs on the benefit of Daseining Paris, or Hiltontology.
Commenting on the “flatness” and “drabness” of the modern cultural experience, Dreyfus says: “[W]hen there are no shared examples of greatness that focus public concerns and elicit social commitment, people become spectators of fads and public lives, just for the excitement,” Ms. Hilton is far from being an “example of greatness.” However, as she stumbles through life, I believe she will continue to “focus public concerns and elicit social commitment,” if only by way of counter-example.
Richard Rorty, R.I.P.. Not for the first time, but somewhat more authoritative this time. Still, you might wait for an official (objective?) announcement from Stanford before sending flowers.
¶ 6:32 AM1 comments
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Xudong Zhang asks Fredric Jameson about Heidegger.
X.Z.: A particular figure to mention here might be Heidegger. What is Heidegger's role in the constitution of philosophical-theoretical operations, both in Marxism historically and in your own case?
F.J.: It depends on the national situations. I studied in Germany in the early 1950s. Heidegger had not been allowed to teach again until 1951. The Germany I knew was intellectually Heideggerian. The Frankfurt School's influence came only much later. Meanwhile, in France, he had French disciples. The French soldiers who captured him in the woods around Heidelburg asked for his autograph. Nonetheless, the penetration of Heidegger in France after the war was much slower. Then we have to mention Derrida, who clearly placed a certain Heidegger on agenda. But this was not the Heidegger that the Germans knew, not the ontological Heidegger. Rather, this was the destruction-of-metaphysics Heidegger, who played a different role. To think of Derrida as a Heideggerian is a very odd thing, because he certainly does not take ontological positions of the Heideggerian type. He is not interested in ontology. For him, that is the more deplorable side of Heidegger. But Heidegger is essential to the operation of deconstruction because of the historical problems--essentially problems in the history of philosophy--which were also posed by him. So it is very complicated. I think Heidegger is now gone in Germany, a country now massively, almost completely, dominated by Habermas. Of course there are now American Heideggerians, and this is a thriving industry. New manuscripts are still coming out. My own formation is Sartrean; therefore there was a lot of Heidegger I did not need any more, because Sartre's version was selective and to my mind more "advanced" (in the way it posed the problem of the other, for example, or in the originality of its relationship to psychoanalysis).
I would like to add, though, that I think there is a part of Heidegger which is very consistent with Marxism. This is the so-called pragmatic Heidegger: the Heidegger of the tool, of work, and production, and so forth. This is the phenomenology of daily life, which for all kinds of historical and philosophical reasons was never part of Marxism. It is an empty framework or square in the whole Marxist problematic that was not developed. But the Althusserians thought that the notion of everyday life was ideological. So the pragmatic side of Heidegger becomes very attractive as a basis for the Marxian notion of praxis. Some of that was also in Sartre in a different form. Sometimes in Heidegger's Sein und Zeit that whole analysis of Dasein as active first and contemplative only later on seems to me to be sharp and more usable within a Marxist framework.
X.Z.: How do you describe the presence of Heidegger in your own language? Or, is there any?
F.J.: When I studied in Germany I read some of Heidegger fairly intensively, although I was much more interested in Sein und Zeit, the so-called existential Heidegger, than the later, "ontological Heidegger." I have always admitted that I found Heidegger's ontology very attractive, provided that it is understood to be a utopian one rather than a description. I think this is the problem of all phenomenology, by the way. It is a utopia rather than a description of our alienation, of what we actually live. But then there is a big problem in Heidegger, which I think is the whole notion of modernity and technology. It seems to me that this problem does not achieve a philosophical solution in Heidegger. It marks a problem he never adequately solved. The famous "Ge-stell" was so enigmatic that I do not think that anybody has really cracked that nut and found a concept there, let alone a translation. I think that it is a place Heidegger wishes desperately to think. Obviously the postmodern framework with this new technology of cybernetics and so forth makes it more urgent to try to think this in different ways, which Heidegger never encountered. So I guess I could say that at various moments of my life I have been a fellow traveler of Heidegger. But I cannot say that this was the strongest influence on my own work, except for this notion of activity, production, praxis, and so forth.
X.Z.: So the perceived Heideggerian moment in your work, when you use terms such as "Being" and "deconcealment," should be understood in utopian terms.
F.J.: Yes, exactly. I think there they can serve as a very dramatic way to mark the space of utopia. But it is not the only language I would use. And it of course has its disadvantages. From a utopian perspective, a "being" is essentially the individual human being and the being of Nature, so the social is evacuated from those later things in ways that are less useful for us.
The human being is the guardian of the clearing, of the disclosive appropriating Event [of being]. He is not the clearing himself, not the entire clearing, nor is he identical with the whole of the clearing as such. But as the one ecstatically "standing out" into the clearing, he himself is essentially cleared, and thus cleared himself in a distinguished way. Therefore, he is related to, belongs to, and is appropriated by the clearing. Da-sein's being needed as the shepherd of the clearing is a distinguished manner of belonging to the clearing.
Up to the eighteenth century, Ereignis was spelled Eräugnis (from "to place before the eye, " "to be disclosed") and then was associated with Eigen (one's own) and Ereignis (happening, event). Heidegger combines all of these meanings in Ereignis, i.e. Eräugnis (disclosing), Eigen (appropriating), and Ereignis (event).
From Jacques Taminaux's book on Arendt's intellectual relationship with Heidegger:
In the use Heidegger makes of [Ereignis], the word does not designate anything particular, nothing being, nothing plural, but merely the movement of appropriation that Being is and to which the thinker corresponds. That Ereignis thus understood as appropriating event--indicating that Being withdraws from all those ontic appearances to which it gives rise--exceeds every plurality and ultimately every sharing of words is something that Heidegger himself suggest when he writes in one of the densest texts on that theme: "What remains to be said? Only this: Appropriation (Ereignis) appropriates" [P. 24]. The fact that in the relationship to Ereignis thus understood what is at stake is less the dialogue of one with oneself(in which the thinking activity consists) than thaumazein (inasmuch as it extracts its speechless sign from every plurality) is something that Heidegger himself suggests when he connects Ereignis to what he calls Eraugnis, i.e., to a gaze that collects and gathers.
Ereignis, therefore, needs a seeing that corresponds to it intimately, just as in Being and Time Dasein's ownmost (eigentlich) can-be needed the twinkling of the eye, the Augenblick. One more bios theoretikos, or more precisely thaumazein, leads the speculative thinker to devour worldly events.
Glossary: thaumazein: Wonder; as in Socrates: "wonder belongs to the philosopher". Eraugnis: Archaic spelling of Ereignis. I have only come across it in a translators' note in Zollikon Seminars. bios theoretikos: the contemplative life, as opposed to bios politikos; see Aristotle's Ethica Nicomachea.
¶ 8:08 PM0 comments
Coury says maidens on the mind keep western professional thinkers from pondering the full profundity.
Guhyasamaja tantra explains it very profoundly and in a very fine language, a language very unique and aspired by many great western philosophers-metaphysicians. Heidegger says that language is a transcendental horizon for which throughout his life he longed for. Later, Derrida in his margins of philosophy said about him that there is a certain kind of nostalgia in Heidegger, the hope that being could find its true expression in one word. Even Derrida took language as highest philosophy and profoundly meditated in his book. on grammatology. Indian mystic philosophers had reached the limit of language thousand years back in Sutra language. In sutras they preached the profoundest truths. Forty verses of Guhyasamaja tantra is written in a very mystical and profound language; its each verse is formed by taking one varna of evam maya srutam thus interpreting the real intent of the secret verse. This flight of language would not have come into existence if Tantriks had been involved in Sexual pleasure.
One remarkable spin-off from this early research was Being and Time, the 1962 translation with Edward Robinson of Heidegger's Sein und Zeit (1927), arguably the most important German philosophical text of the 20th century. A formidable task, its publication defied those sceptics who regarded Heidegger as untranslatable. Although a new and somewhat easier translation by Joan Stambaugh appeared in 1996, the Macquarrie-Robinson work continues to be recommended as the more literal rendering of the original. It has even been remarked by German students that Heidegger becomes more comprehensible when read in this translation. Plans to revise and update the translation had to be abandoned after the early death of Robinson in a road accident.
Heidegger's own mystical tendencies are all too often enlisted toward theological ends, although he made clear on many occasions his own views of such misappropriations, especially when considering philosophy's prior churchly service as handmaiden.
Even so, he had the (as is related below by the Dominican friar Reiner Schuermann, later a professor at The New School for Social Research after leaving his religious order) perhaps unfortunate habit of talking of "ineffable experiences" and the "Something Else of which philosophy itself can no longer speak." In other words, that it might be possible to stop doing philosophy, and still have something to say about it after the fact.
Post WWI Modernism (or what I call postmodernism) is about the re-assertion of irrational—Nietzsche’s will, Heidegger’s geist, Freud’s libido, Jung’s collective unconscious, Picasso’s dissociated cubism, the subjectivism of Derrida, the relativity and uncertainty principles in physics. It’s romanticism without the optimism. It’s about fragmentation, disintegration, radical subjectivity, radical individualism, loss of community and loss of a sense of belonging to something larger.
I assume that should have been Hegel's Geist and the subjectivism of Descartes, or perhaps Heidegger's Seyn and the différance of Derrida, but really it's just another example of that radical disintegration inherent in the zeitgeist. Debug.Assert(real == wrong, "Postmodernism detected.");
¶ 9:00 PM2 comments