Thursday, June 14, 2012
Lev Kreft on relaxing Gelassenheit.
Heidegger developed his non-concept Gelassenheit after World War II. Its meaning remains uncertain and controversial, something different from notions of everyday conversation. In Slovene, however, it has been translated as sproščenost, which is parallel to English ‘relaxedness’, thus producing hybridity between notions of relaxedness, relaxation and releasement, which is, together with letting-go, a proper English translation of Gelassenheit.
. . .
[W]hat is the object of Heidegger’s love, if there is any love at all? If it is a philosophical love for wisdom or truth, it has to mean that neither wisdom nor truth is conceptual and discursive. It definitely has nothing to do with objectification of the world, and it is a state without passions and emotions, but also without any technical appetites that lead to possession of objects and utilitarian relationship with them. It might seem more mystical than it really is because in contemporary culture we can’t imagine what went without explanation in more religious cultures: that possession and appropriation is not the way to truth and wisdom. Quiet contemplation of a letting-be attitude allows aletheia, a truth of things themselves that lies beyond any captured technical truth, to be felt. But relaxed Heideggerians might be upset to find out that even a technical interpretation that understands releasement as a relaxing technique of the Asian kind can easily be derived from Heidegger’s text. Another possibility is an understanding of letting-be as postmodern “let it be” as a releasement from ideological activism of previous times, or even Paul McCartney’s “Let It Be,” a vision of Mother Mary healing stress and tension of making-an-album.
But is it slack?
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