Clare Pearson Geiman concludes her essay "Heidegger's Antigones
" with the call to indeterminate action.
What Heidegger is calling for here is a radical departure from politics as we have understood it up to now that is, as the human agents personal or collective attempt to systematically order and control both physical and human nature. Heidegger offers no principles of justice, no treatise on the proper organization of institutions, no way to guarantee a better future—in short, no systematic guidelines for action whatsoever. The utter indeterminacy of what Heidegger is calling for leads many to accuse him of a reckless and stubborn quietism in the face of pressing issues facing humankind. But it is precisely Heidegger’s point that the conception of politics (and of thinking itself) as the violent and willful imposition of a “program” on Being is what we need to let go of. He calls us to consider that the factors that drive our modern politics, in all its plurality, in the direction of the consolidation of power and control and (sometimes subtly but often violently) in the direction of conformity and homogenization cannot in turn be effectively overcome by exerting a counter force, by attempting to control and secure the human drive to control, by demanding conformity to another universal norm. Gelassenheit, on the other hand, means, in part, letting politics as the polos come to us. Heidegger argues that the “being-with” and interaction that would make up a more vital and essential human community require that we risk “exposure” to the other (a word he ties to “care”) and suggests that it is a mistake to think that we can properly engage and listen to others so long as we are simultaneously protecting and advancing our own separate spheres and identities. The openness that would appropriately situate human Being is only possible in the move away from all attempts to systematize and control, from all attempts to fix the historical appearance of Being in some manageable form. Heidegger is calling for a new kind of respons-ibility, one that has its measure and only safeguard in the willingness to risk openness and let be. This of course entails a very real political risk, yet it remains compelling that the best way to confront large-scale violence is to reshape our personal and political action in such a way that it is fundamentally nonviolent. Poetic thinking points to just such a move.