Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Continuing with Christopher Fynsk on the appropriation of the human.
If we attempt to pry too firmly at the break or interruption I am describing, or if we attempt to detach the relation between Ereignis and human kind from the Be-wëgung that occurs in the essence of language (in der Sage ereignete Bewëgung), in other words, if we lose sight of the fact that we are thinking the limit of the Sprachwesen, we will hypostatize the terms of the relations involved here and lose hold precisely of the relational character out of which they are to be thought. But we should remember at the same time that this effort to mark the limit of language and to think it from the basis of the relation between Ereignis and humankind is the very point of this essay (I refer again to the last sentence of the essay’s second paragraph), and we should pause to consider what is at stake in this almost laborious effort. Of course, Heidegger is answering the demands of the “step back,” the exigency of what calls to thinking — he is answering a “logic” of sorts. But what purpose does this emphasis on the human relation serve, or what happens with this emphasis? We have an important clue, I believe, in the citations of Goethe that furnish a precedent for the usage of eignen in its proximity to zeigen and zeichnen. Indeed, it would seem that only the richness of the pen ultimate line of the six cited (of which I will cite the last two) motivate Heidegger’s curious turn to Goethe at this moment in the essay:
Nur weil es dem Dank sich eignet
Ist das Leben schävzenswert.
Only because it owns [or lends] itself to thanking
Is life estimable.
Heidegger will inquire near the end of his essay about the conditions of a transformation in our relation to language, and it is clear from this text (as well as from others I will consider) that one of the conditions for such a transition involves our acceding to a comportment of thanks: Gelassenheit, renunciation, and so on. But in the context of the essay, it appears that the significant thing about such comportment is that it allows for the emergence of physis in language, or what Heidegger called the “earth” in “The Origin of the Work of Art”: an opening to the Natürliche der Sprache in and through the bodying of language. Das Leben owns itself to thanks, Goethe writes. In the movement of language, this owning occurs in the Lauten des Wortes, which Heidegger annotates, as we have seen, as follows: Lauten und Leiben — Leib und Schrift (“Sounding and Bodying — Body and Writing”). I will try to demonstrate how Heidegger generates these terms, but I would emphasize here again that what distinguishes the human appropriation to language is a bodily answering: “The appropriation of humans as listeners for saying has this distinguishing character, that it releases the human essence into its own, but only so that humans as those who speak, that is, those who say, may counter the saying in virtue of what is proper to them. This is: the sounding of the word. The countering saying of mortals is answering”. Thus, at the limit of language, thought as the relation between humankind and language — the Brauch — in and by which language is set under way in the movement of the Wegformel, Heidegger inscribes the body. The way for the articulation of language opens in and through the human body. Language does not come to language (Die Sprache ais die Sprache zur Sprache bringen) except via the countering bodying of human speaking.

Pp. 97-8
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