Thursday, November 28, 2013
At Speakout, Ahmed R Teleb reviews Nancy J. Holland’s Ontological Humility: Lord Voldemort and the Philosophers.
The fatal error Heidegger saw in most philosophy since Plato is its attempt to squeeze things and beings through a flat window of perception or project their shadows onto a screen of representational thinking–this error he called “not letting beings be.” This tendency to put beings in human terms, especially in terms of human use, reached its ultimate limits in his era–our era–as suggested by the very title of his work, “The Age of the World Picture.” Man’s desire to apprehend, control, put to use, on the rise since Descartes, not only alienates man from nature and others, but from himself and from an authentic life. In the “Cartesian Self” he saw not just a fantasy–that wishes away the background context that makes life possible–but a dreadfully poor one. The Cartesian Self for Heidegger is as great a threat as the nuclear age. The modern view of the world as thing to be conquered, used, employed ignores the “gift” that is the ultimate ground of Being.
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