Pete Trawny on atopographical thinking.
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
(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.
Translated by Andrew J. Mitchell.