Monday, June 08, 2015
Simon Critchley on being indebted.
What does the uncanny call give one to understand? Conscience’s call can be reduced to one word: “Guilty!” (SZ 280). But what does Dasein’s guilt really mean? It means that because Dasein’s being is thrown projection, it always has its being to be. That is, Dasein’s being is a lack, it is something due to Dasein, a debt that it strives to make up or repay. This is the ontological meaning of guilt as Schuld, which means guilt, wrong, or even sin, but can also mean debt. To be schuldig is to be guilty or blameworthy, but it also means to give someone their due, to be owing, to be in someone’s debt. Schulden are debts, which have a material origin as Nietzsche argues in the Genealogy of Morals and which I have tried to analyze at length elsewhere in relation to Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. Life is a series of repayments on a loan that you didn’t agree to, with ever-increasing interest, and which will cost you your life – it’s a death-pledge, a mort-gage. As Heidegger perhaps surprisingly writes (although it should be recalled that he was writing in troubled economic times): “Life is a business whether or not it covers its costs” (SZ 289). Debt is a way of being. It is, arguably, the way of being. This is why credit, and the credence in credit, its belief structure, is so important.
Pp. 73-4
We’re getting close to Roberto Esposito’s interpretation of the “munus” of community, with this difference that the debt first concerns Mitsein, the being-with. It does not belong, nor is “proper” to Dasein. JL Nancy is not very far either (Critchley has read Being Singular Plural).
Thanks for the indicating those.

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