Tuesday, May 10, 2016
Pete Trawny on atopographical thinking.
The “ever-strange” can be clarified philosophically only through the distinction between beings and being, i.e., through the splitting off of being from beings, a splitting off that is still termed the “ontological difference” at the beginning of the 1930s. Being itself is the fully other to beings. It is so much other that it must be thought as the not-being (Nicht-Seiende). This being (Sein) withdraws itself, is concealed, and can be experienced only as the “truth of beyng,” in the sense of a concealment, of a withdrawal into particular and fundamental moods. Since it contains nothing known and usual, it can be characterized as the “ever-strange.”
We can extend Heidegger’s thought a bit further. We can pose a question concerning the atopography of the foreign, an atopography that could liberate the foreign and its place or placelessness from a boring dialectic of foreign and familiar. In such a xenology, a philosophy of the foreign as the foreign of philosophy— i.e., as a thinking of the foreign that would not itself remain untouched by this—could perhaps develop. Heidegger’s thinking of the foreign shows how extreme he thought the consequences of revolution to be and how radically he thereby destroyed every form of politics—even the Platonic. The revolution was for him a total being-historical upheaval, not only of the accustomed lifeworld, but also of philosophy, science, art, and religion. Clearly, the National Socialists could not have held something like this to be anything but the remote idea of a daydreamer. Heidegger well knew why he entrusted such ideas only to the Black Notebooks, why he—as he says—“kept them silent.”
Such questions of philosophy are certainly not unknown since the Neoplatonism of a Plotinus, since the mystical theology of a Pseudo-Dionysius, or since certain sermons of Meister Eckhart. Seen this way, Heidegger shows himself to belong to a particular tradition of thought that acknowledges the foreignness of philosophical truth and defends this against comfortable simplifications. All in all, we can say that behind the revolutionary pathos of Heidegger’s style, for which the taste of the times is responsible, there stand enticing philosophical questions.
Pp. 48-9
Translated by Andrew J. Mitchell.
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