Saturday, May 15, 2010
Christopher Yates on the distress in Ereignis.
[T]he answer to the question, “How is this [echo of the happening of Beyng] to be experienced?”, obtains in the unconcealing soundings of distress. Distress, to be sure, “must still be experienced”. This need is derivative of the fact that Da-sein is a “crisis.” It is at once “the name for the manner and way in which beings are actually beings [in metaphysics],” and the ground of a “future humanness”. The encroachment of metaphysics means the larger possibility of Ereignis is beset by a certain anxiety: “will beings join the jointure of Beyng?”

In order to investigate the situational and original needs that carry forward the echo of the truth of Beyng in a compelling distress let us consider the descriptive analysis with which Heidegger begins §55 of Contributions.
The echo of the truth of Beyng and its happening itself comes from within the distress of the forgottenness of being. This distress commences from its depth as lack of distress. Forgottenness of being is not aware of itself; it presumes to be at home with ‘beings’ and with what is ‘actual,’ ‘true’ to ‘life,’ and certain of ‘lived-experience.’ For it only knows beings. But in this way of the presencing of beings, beings are abandoned by being. Abandonment of being is the ground of the forgottenness of being. But abandonment of beings by being sustains the illusion that beings are now ready to be handled and used, not needing anything else. But abandonment of Beyng is debarring and warding off of Ereignis. With the unfolding of the forgottenness of Beyng—in which the other beginning and thus also Beyng resonates—the echo must resonate and commence from within the abandonment of Beyng.
The first and last sentences in this selection speak of an accomplishment which may only be understood after elucidating the interrelated meanings of ‘depth,’ ‘forgottenness,’ ‘abandonment,’ ‘lack,’ and ‘illusion.’ To begin, if the echo arises from distress, the depth which provides this ‘commencement’ must first be explored.

In the period in which the thought of Contributions takes shape (1936-1938) distress does not enter into Heidegger’s discourse simply as a diagnostic of thinking’s situation under machination. Distress is there at the outset of the first beginning in an original and compelling way: philosophical thinking requires a time-space site for questioning. According to Heidegger’s 1937-38 lecture course, Basic Questions of Philosophy, the distress is that of “not knowing the way out or the way in” to this ungrounded, though essential, space where being and non-being await determination. Though man first arises out of this distress, it is markedly a distress of Being – a distress pertaining “to the truth of Being itself” and not to man, properly speaking. Man is transported into a “basic relation to beings as such” where beings as a whole, through wonder, “can be determined in their beingness”. At the same time, man’s need to think the question of the Being of beings, already an “essentially misleading” question, is bound up in a transformation of the essence (Wesen) of truth.

The basic disposition is not, however, simply wonder in the sense of θαυμάζειν. Distinct from mere ‘curiosity’ concerning the ‘unusual’ (according to amazement, admiration, and astonishment), wonder displaces man into a specific perception of beings.8 But wonder does not satisfy the instigating distress. There is no “way out or way in,” but rather a movement of man “before and into the unusualness of everything in its usualness.” The result is an experience Heidegger describes as “essentially suffering”. Suffering (Leiden) arises in what becomes the necessary correspondence between the entity that questioning grasps (fassen, begreifen) and the thinker who, in grasping, is constrained to “the pure acknowledgment of the unconcealedness of beings”.
From "The Necessity of Distress and the Abandonment of Being in Heidegger’s Beiträge zur Philosophie (Vom Ereignis)".
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