We do not mind misogyny in politics—heck, we practice it in philosophy, we denounce it and talk about it, and go on practicing it. Ditto racism. Ditto anti-Semitism. But for me it matters that we are prepared to tolerate Heidegger’s misogyny (he gets a free pass: think of Arendt, not that we actually do) but not his anti-Semitism.
1. What Eignung is to artifacts and acorns, Ereignis is to ex-sistence – but with an important twist.
Ereignis does have to do with κίνησις, and κίνησις does have to do with incompleteness2. Ex-sistence is unique in being already “complete” in its incompleteness, already “whole” as never being whole.
However, Ereignis applies exclusively to existential κίνησις.
Ex-sistence is perfectly “perfect” in its imperfection, its inability to achieve complete self-coincidence.3. Appropriation names the fact that ex-sistence has been brought a priori into its proper ownness (er-eignet) as the finite, mortal Open (GA 73,1: 226.26; GA 12: 128.29-30.; 248.16; 249.5–6).
In SZ, what accounted for ex-sistence’s finitude (its open-ended-ness vs. full selfpresence) was called “thrownness.” But in 1936 Heidegger began calling thrownness “Er-eignis” (“ap-propri-ation”), a term modeled on Eignung.
The word “Ereignis” simply reinscribes the basic structure of ex-sistence that SZ had called thrownness. (GA 65:34.8–9; 239.5; 252.23–25; 322.7–8 with SZ 325.37; GA 9: 377, note d; GA 73, 1: 642.28-29; etc.)4. Appropriation is not an “event” in any sense of that term (GA 14: 25.33; GA 11: 45.19-20; GA 70.1719). It is an existential fact, the very facticity of ex-sistence.
Appropriated ex-sistence is Zu-sein: as possibility, ex-sistence is in the condition of ever-becoming.
To name this asymptotic condition of ex-sistence, Heidegger adopted Heraclitus’ hapax legomenon ̓Αγχιβασίη, “ever approaching” (fragment 122).
The historian may protest that to be interested in Aristotle, al-Kindi, or Kant, is unlike voting for a politician: it need involve no approval of the author’s worldview. I’ve met many experts in Aristotelian cosmology, and not one of them has thought that the Sun orbits the Earth, as Aristotle did. So we might treat the bigotry of the past the way we treat the scientific mistakes of the past. That is, rather than detaching hateful remarks from the rest of the theory, we detach ourselves, offering an objective analysis of these thinkers’ ideas without ever adopting those ideas as our own. This will often involve situating the thinkers in their historical context. We might for example note – as a historical observation, not as a matter of praise or blame – that when Plato argued in the Republic that women can do everything men can do, but not so well, he was being unusually ‘feminist’ for his time – while simultaneously being sexist by modern standards. This seems a reasonable solution, but it will not be enough for those philosophers who do not see themselves as ‘mere’ historians, but seek truth in historical works. Most notorious in this regard is the case of Heidegger. There is an ongoing debate as to whether his Nazism effectively poisons his thought as a whole, making it off limits as a source of philosophical inspiration.
1. Heidegger interprets δύναμις as a moving thing’s Eignung (GA 9: 215.25; GA 19: 265.14; etc.), its condition of
• coming-into-its-own/eigen, coming-ad-proprium, that is:2. Two examples, one from nature (ϕύσις), the other from human know-how (τέχνη): 2.1 Nature (ϕύσις): An acorn has the δύναμις/Eignung of being an oak tree.
• being ap-propri-ated by and unto its τέλος.
It is “drawn” into its proper wholeness by its τέλος (“oak tree”). This τέλος lies within the acorn; it is the origin and ordering (ἀρχή) of its movement.2.2 Know-how (τέχνη): Guiding the construction of a cabinet is the carpenter’s know-how (τέχνη).
Put otherwise, the acorn already has itself in its τέλος (ἐν τέλει ἔχει), but not fully.
The realness (actuality) of the acorn has the form of ἐν-τελ-έχεια ἀ- τελής.
The process begins with the carpenter’s prior projection of an idea of the outcome, the εἶδος προαιρετόν that will function as the τέλος of the activity.4. In short, Eignung names the reality of a something that is in the process of being brought-ad-proprium, still coming into its proper status as complete and whole.
The wood that has been selected as appropriate (geeignet) for the task then undergoes a process of appropriation (Eignung) to being a cabinet.
In this case the process is guided not by an internal τέλος, as with the acorn, but by the external τέλος residing in the mind of the carpenter who first projected the outcome (GA 9: 191-93).
In fact, this computer-generated statement is itself an artwork called Variable by the Instanbul-based artist Selcuk Artut. At the press of a button, Variable generates a new artist’s statement for one of eight different screens. Each screen chooses a title for the art piece, like “movement,” “presence,” or “weakness,” and then each statement is concocted with a machine learning algorithm that was trained on the book Being and Time by the philosopher Martin Heidegger. Artut writes that he was inspired by the book’s complexity; his algorithm remixes Heidegger’s text and transforms it into new meditations on the nature of being, an appropriate topic for contemporary art, which so often ponders the same questions. All the statements sound appropriately vague and baffling–just like actual artist statements.It seems to me the postmodernism generator has been doing something similar with simple algorithms for a couple decades. Using machine learning for the same ends just consumes more energy -- carbon.
In 1971, I wrote my PhD dissertation on a comparative study of Mawlana (Rumi) and Meister Eckhart. Karl Löwith was my supervisor. I found out there is actually similarities between western philosophers and Muslim mystics (Sufis)—that the comparisons are not without merit. I published it under the title of Historical Sociology. In this book, I showed that Mawlana, Eckhart and Heidegger’s ideas are not philosophical but mystical. Gadamer read my works and told me that I was right, he told me that “for the last thirty years, I’ve been saying that my dear teacher, Heidegger, is a mystic, but no one believes me. You are the first one that has written this down.” It is surprising that Mr. Ayatollahi, Davari Ardakani and Dinani also believed this and they told me once that Heidegger’s being a mystic is the reason that they agree with his ideas. I told them that because I believe that Heidegger is a mystic, I am rejecting and criticizing him; because Heidegger is deviating from the rational German philosophy.
The philosopher Heidegger believed that impending death is an essential feature of human existence. “Heidegger saw death as a pervasive feature of your being in the world and not just an unfortunate event that happens at the very end,” says [Taylor] Carman. “He thought we can’t really understand ourselves unless we see ourselves as finite.” After all, “If my time is finite, what’s important and how do we live?”
Heidegger and Bentham had different notions of honesty around death. While Heidegger believed that anxiety about death was inevitable in life, Bentham’s point was to “demystify our mortality and finitude and render it tractable,” says Carman. Both, though, were considerably more honest about death than most. And this honesty makes life all the more meaningful.
[P]hilosophers from Socrates onwards have been in the business of questioning accepted communal pieties, often at their own peril. One lineage beginning with Plato has thus seen philosophers repeatedly attracted to forms of tyrannical government. For in these regimes, their controversial wisdom can directly shape policy, by-passing any need to court popular consent. The most influential 20th century figure in this lineage of ‘Platonic political philosophy’ is Alexander Dugin’s philosophical hero, the German philosopher Martin Heidegger....
“A different, special, exclusive place in the history of philosophy that can be set aside for Heidegger should be recognized,” Dugin has proclaimed: "in the case that we fully trust Heidegger, immerse ourselves in his thinking, and make him our highest authority, … even in the event that his deeds went beyond the accepted norms of common morals. Geniuses are forgiven by everyone."...
Heidegger’s Germanism might then seem to pose a sizeable problem for a Russian ethno-nationalist like Dugin. But the latter’s fidelity to Heidegger sees him proposing to carry the German thinker’s anti-modernist project forwards, by relocating it on different “Indo-European”, Slavic or Russian soil. For Dugin, the “putrefaction” of the West diagnosed by Heidegger meant that Nazism could not break out from modernity. One needed to look further East: to the untapped telluric riches of the Russian narodi (very roughly, “people”) and its language.
With the phrase "Je est un autre" Rimbaud anticipated the unconcious as being an essential part of the subject. Moreover, Rimbaud's "I', in the transitional poetry between Romanticism and Modernism, to which Rimbaud's statement should be seen as belonging, is not only a questioning of a stable, indivisible subject, that is, the unity of the subject with itself, the subject's, but also a breaking up of the lyrical subject and the Cartesian self-identity of the "I" of poetry. Indeed, what Rimbaud can be said to precursor is the free play of Modernism and even more so of Postmodernism.
Heidegger first asks about how rhythmos relates to the incompatible terms nearness and the unapproachable, which, according to the Greek poet Archilochos, is supposed to keep the human being in line. Second, he asks if poetry still has the force to save language from the Gestell of modern science as represented by the sciences of language, linguistics, and informatics. Third, Heidegger answers these questions by answering that Rimbaud remains vital to poetry if poets keep asking these questions in their poetry, which means becoming a seer that can hear the call of the unknown. For poets to be able to do this they must find a way to make the unknown still, the rhythm of poetry must still the unknown.
P. 138From James M. Magrini and Elias Schwieler's Heidegger on Literature, Poetry, and Education after the “Turn”: At the Limits of Metaphysics.
The statements of Derrida and Heidegger might have the appearance of complimenting non-Western philosophy for avoiding the entanglements of Western metaphysics. In actuality, their comments are as condescending as talk of ‘noble savages’, who are untainted by the corrupting influences of the West, but are for that very reason barred from participation in higher culture.
In the end, Jim neither flees nor fights, refusing the "anxious" retreat and escape from his destiny, and refuses to fight as if recognizing the uselessness of mere human machinations in acts of doing violence through the power of techne. Rather, he understands what is required is a "self-opening or a stance of receptivity that relates to beings by looking beyond them," to their "source and ground in concealment and mystery". In direct relation to the understanding of Heidegger's poetizing of the ταμηχανα, against which no one can avail themselves, Jim releases himself over to an approaching destiny, realizing there is "no escape" and "nothing to fight for," and so he solemnly with the "hearty' knowledge of Being (as φρην), declares, "Time to finish this". It is not Jim's death per se that is of supreme interest but, rather, der Augenblick, the 'right time." or time of Being's historical presencing and appropriation (Ereignis), when Jim takes up the δεινον prior to ever standing before Doramin and uttering his final words, "I am come ready and unarmed". In this moment (der Augenblick) Jim becomes because he already is, what is poetized, the story, the telling, the saying (muthos), namely, the supreme unhomely One (to deinotaton), which for Heidegger indicates that he is "nothing other than becoming homely in being unhomely," and in the poetic telling, it must be understood, and this is what sets the telling of from a saying associated with works of "free inventing [Erfinden] in the sense of will imagining by authors and poets, that the telling "always remains only as a potential for being that pertains to risk--as something to be poetized and poetically decidable".
P. 174From James M. Magrini and Elias Schwieler's Heidegger on Literature, Poetry, and Education after the “Turn”: At the Limits of Metaphysics.
For Heidegger, authenticity could only be achieved within a community. Authentic existence, he argued, unfolds as a “co-happening” with others – not strangers, but people with whom we are connected. He situated authenticity as an emergent aspect of individuality that was amplified by a community’s shared past. In other words, authentic being (Dasein) outside of a grounded community – the underlying premise of which tourism scholars have claimed is the existential basis of travel – is, according to Heidegger, impossible. The world of Dasein is a world shared not with humans in general but those who share the same norms, assumptions, and, in short, culture.
In the first part of the book, which draws extensively on Heideggerian philosophy, Baracco and Wright argue that Boyd’s work deviates from mainstream international modernism and displays an “affinity with cultures and sensibilities that are in touch with the history, geography and culture of their places.” This point is well taken and, like Baracco and Wright’s suggestion that Boyd’s buildings were spatially ingenious and established a relevant dialogue with their context, it is widely accepted. Thus, when reading the first part of the book, a question emerges: Do we need Heideggerian theory to validate these observations? And, more broadly, does Boyd’s work need to be theorized in this way? What does drawing out parallels between Heidegger’s “critique of the objectifying nature of Western thought” and his philosophy to mitigate the modern overemphasis for rational representation through “meditative thinking” as a coexisting and parallel sensibility of “calculative thinking” on the one hand, and the “spatial continuity” recognized in Boyd’s work on the other, add to our knowledge of the architect’s thought and design approach? Particularly given that – to the authors’ admission – Boyd was “hardly involved with the field of philosophy, and there is no evidence that he read or discussed any work by the German philosopher.”
Rumi goes beyond identity to geographies of “placement” and settled habitation in any sense. Hence: “do not belong to any land, or to any known or unknown sea. Nature cannot own or claim me, nor can Heaven.” The question arises, particularly in our current context of diasporic and reverse diasporic migration, refugee migration and more: Can one ever claim to be “placeless”? Surely, we are “thrown” as Heidegger would have it (a brutally expressive metaphor), not “merely’ into “the world”, but also into a specific life world by virtue of birth and conditioning? Yet, our own unsettled diasporic consciousness points to a portal beyond the entrapment in any given life world. Our “thrownness” is challenged gently or forcefully disrupted by exposure to multiple lifestyles and value systems.
For Jim, in Conrad's novel, the moment of decision is the moment when all hope is gone, when complete uncertainty governs, it is an instant in which life and death come together as one, when there is no difference between them, when time is suspended for an in an instant. At that moment there is the leap, the jump that changes everything. The decision to jump cannot even be said to be a choice, it is pure de-cision, in which existence is put on hold. From thereon causality and consequences rule, whatever they might be, and existence and meaning are put into play again. But exactly in the moment of decision there is an instant of clearing or aletheia, which takes place as an Ereignis, as what we propose to name the cision of enowning [Ereignis].
An essential de-cision is thus a suspension of decision, but comes to happen, ereignet, in the turning that opens up for the truth of Being and the Being of truth. Moreover, and to translate this in terms of Conrad's novel, it is the de-cision that is staged in Lord Jim through Jim's jump from the Patna. The jump, in the way Heidegger conceives the leap, is necessary for us to be able to think essentially about the de-cision and about doubt viewed as the Abgrund of Conrad's novel as a work that leads us to the limit of metaphysics. This means conceiving the jump not only as part of the plot of the novel but also, at the same time, as the leap (der Sprung) into the other beginning, which makes it possible to think the de-cision and doubt essentially. This is, furthermore, the movement (Satz) that leads us to the leap, which lets us make the jump to essential thinking as the other beginning. The other beginning is a beginning that provides a path to think the unthought as other than a form of representational thinking and hermeneutical thematization.
P. 155From James M. Magrini and Elias Schwieler's Heidegger on Literature, Poetry, and Education after the “Turn”: At the Limits of Metaphysics.
because the word says, and is, beyng, it intrinsically bears the structure of beyng itself, a structure previously covered over by language (and by the opinions that think concomitantly with it) and expressed in "categories", in accord with the predominance of metaphysics.
P. 241, Ponderings X.
Asked if there was any way philosophy — or ordinary people, for that matter — might get us out of this world-historical mess, Heidegger gave an infamous reply: “Only a god can save us.” This cryptic phrase has kept the commentators busy for the last 40 years, but Zabala is not necessarily interested in joining the fray. Too many thinkers have taken Heidegger’s invocation of divinity “too literally,” he says, on the very first page of his book, and quickly moves on. As if to reinforce the idea, his book’s dust jacket reproduces an image of Cattelan’s controversial sculpture The Ninth Hour (1999), which depicts Pope John Paul II struck down by a meteorite. There’s no dithering over the divine here. Zabala wants to answer in the affirmative the question that Heidegger evaded with talk of an absent god: Surely there is something we can do.
Livingston stresses a reading of Heidegger's conception of being (presencing) as intentional. For as with Frege's theory of sense, whereby sense consists of being an intentional entity that is neither the object signified nor the utterance or psychological processes associated with the utterance, so too for Heidegger, on Livingston's reading, the presencing of being is neither to be confused with beings, nor is it reducible to the psychological processes of a subject -- yet another being. Although seeking to avoid psychologism, Heidegger was nonetheless committed to understanding the manner in which the theoretical (our use of categories) is already 'given in pretheoretical experience and in the kind of availability of objects that is displayed in ordinary, nontheoretical life'.
Truth is not a relation that is “just there” between two beings that themselves are “just there”—one mental, the other physical. Nor is it a coordination, as philosophers like to say these days. If it is a relation at all, it is one that has no analogies with any other relation between beings. If I may put it this way, it is the relation of existence as such to its very world. It is the world-openness of existence that is itself uncovered— existence whose very being unto the world gets disclosed/uncovered in and with its being unto the world.
Aristotle certainly did not really see this phenomenon, in any case not in the ontological structure that is proper to it. But even less did he invent anything like a copy-theory of truth. Rather, he stuck to the phenomena and understood them as broadly as possible. That is, he avoided a fundamental error in seeing, and thus kept the road open— only, of course, to have it thoroughly blocked again.
The swelling feeling of threat, mixed with love of military and, to a lesser extent the police, seem to have amalgamated, of late, into emotions tightly wound into the US flag and national anthem. They represent symbols of who we are: good, decent people misdirected into believing that a nation which starts more wars than any others is ‘exceptional’ and the military that does so is religion. Bring any American out of there shell of work, family, hobbies and friends and into the Heidegger ‘Open’ of the world and they will see that – yes, America is still great for its ability to incorporate people worldwide into an experimental venture where freedom and opportunity, at least in theory, are allowed. But it is also a storm cloud raining upon the world.
To equate man exclusively with his ontological structure is inadequate. The inadequacy of this position lies in the fact that man, ontologically revealed and defined, can be conscious of this state of being only insofar as it realizes itself as being something other than the practical states of being such as the political, social, and economic. These forms are for the ontological, the "other." These "other" forms of being are historical and describe man's doings, creations, and achievements. These are descriptive items or adjectives. They describe man as he does things. These adjectival qualifications belong to man and describe him, not ontologically but historically.
The ontological dimension of man transcends all adjectival qualifications. The adjective can only describe one aspect of the ontological dimension but cannot exhaust it or identify itself with it. The dimension of Being transcends all other dimensions and each adjective can bring forth only one aspect of Being, It is this fact which limits each adjectival qualification and points to the inexhaustible nature of Being.