Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Slavoj Žižek on overcoming positionality.
[W]hen Heidegger speaks about the 'essence of technology,' he has in mind something like the frame of a fundamental fantasy which, as a transparent background, structures the way we relate to reality. Gestell, Heidegger's word for the essence of technology, is usually translated in English as 'enframing'. At its most radical, technology does not designate a complex network of machines and activities, but the attitude towards reality which we assume when we are engaged in such activities: technology is the way reality discloses itself to us in contemporary times. The paradox of technology as the concluding moment of Western metaphysics is that it is a mode of enframing which poses a danger to enframing itself: the human being reduced to an object of technological manipulation is no longer properly human; it loses the feature of being ecstatically open to reality. However, this danger also contains the potential for salvation: the moment we become aware and fully assume the fact that technology itself is, in its essence, a mode of enframing, we overcome it -- this is Heidegger's version of traversing the fantasy.
Pp. 29-30
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
In Japan Times, a report on a new exhibition of the paintings of Shunso Hishida.
[H]e also had a major influence outside Japan, especially on thinkers such as German philosopher Martin Heidegger and American poet Ezra Pound, who were interested in radical forms of traditionalism.
An unacknowledged influence, in so far as I can tell.
Monday, October 20, 2014
In Foreign Affairs, Gregory Fried reviews Peter Trawny's Heidegger und der Mythos der jüdischen Weltverschwörung. It's mainly a recap of L'affaire Heidegger.
Whatever the philosopher’s motivations, the notebooks will almost certainly spell the end of Heidegger as an intellectual cult figure, and that is a welcome development.
This is somewhat hyperbolic. Yes, scholars translate Heidegger's works, and study and comment on them, but I don't see any evidence of a cult. Who are the cult leaders? Where does the cult gather? Are they those dour chaps in black turtlenecks? Is there any empirical evidence for the existence of the cult? It sounds like a metaphysical straw man to me. Does the end of Heidegger include banning his works, as Faye recommends, and Fried reports uncritically, while poo-pooing Faye's critics? Academic philosophy will remain stuck in its rut, unless it removes its political correctness blinkers, and returns to Aristotle and genuine philosophical inquiry.
Sunday, October 19, 2014
In Appendix 1 of GA 40, Heidegger reflects on Introduction to Metaphysics.
The lecture course gets stuck halfway, not just because in its narrow way of posing the question it is not brought to an end--cf. projection! from the understanding of Being to the happening of Being!--but because at bottom it does not escape from the shackles of the understanding of Being. And it fails to do so because the question--even the fundamental question--in no way draws into the essential, that is, into the essential unfolding of Being itself.
The explication of the concept of Being and its history is important--the fact of the understanding of Being and its factuality is important, but all this only if the oblivion of Being is opened up as an authentic happening and thrust into this history, i.e. into the disempowerment of phusis, into the end of "metaphysics," into the urgency of the necessity of the other inception as the grounding of Being-here.
Pp. 233-4
Saturday, October 18, 2014
For your fragrant consideration: Dasein.
We borrow our name from existentialist philosophers Hegel and Heidegger, who used the term 'Dasein' (prounounced: DAH-zyne) to define 'human being' as the marriage between self awareness and sensual experience.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
In the Jewish Review of Books, Seyla Benhabib responds to Richard Wolin's contentions and shortfalls.
Wolin has always misconstrued how Arendt transformed and indeed subverted Heideggerian categories, for example by translating “das Man” into human plurality; “being-unto-death” into natality; and by emphasizing the human condition of acting and speaking in the world with others. Had Arendt slavishly followed Heidegger’s thinking, which, as she observed many times, is destructive to the political realm, she would not have been one of 20th-century’s greatest political thinkers. But for Wolin, Arendt is always a foolish woman in love!
Friday, October 10, 2014
The Globe and Mail is underwhelmed by the new Douglas Coupland.
Coupland is right that technological advancement deserves meditation on these positives and negatives, and that sometimes it seems like “this sort of reflection is nonexistent.” This has been a truism of technological philosophy since McLuhan, and even since Heidegger’s The Question Concerning Technology (1954). But isn't this book – or any piece of sci-fi doomsday prophecy about sentient computers enslaving mankind – precisely that sort of reflection? Coupland seems to believe that companies should be mulling over the far-reaching, abstracted end-results of their R&D, that they should retain an in-house media guru. But can he really believe that CEOs are debating the deeper ethics of their bottom line?... When he gets to them, Coupland’s conclusions feel more like premises: the Internet connects people! The Internet is good… but also, sometimes bad! We prefer faster Internet to slower Internet! That he arrives at these basic deductions while sipping literal scotch in a glass tower overlooking Shanghai is nothing short of infuriating; a caricature of a man out-of-touch.
He did once coin the term Microserfs, which sums up modern work more succinctly than a stack of Harvard Business Reviews.
Thursday, October 09, 2014
Simon Critchley's Bowie book arrived last week.
If I were even more of a Heideggerian bore than I am, we could talk about the link between voice (die Stimme) and mood (die stimmung) as that basic activity through which a world is disclosed to us, and disclosed, moreover, emotionally rather than rationally. Bowie's genius, then, is one of interpretation in the sense of Auslegung, or laying (legen) something out (aus), making it accord with us or resound for us sonorously in a way that can hit us hard or soft.
But we need to add an important caveat to this line of thought. Music like Bowei's is not a way of somehow recalling human beings affectively to a kind of pre-established harmony with the world. That would be banal and mundane, literally. Rather, Bowie permits a kind of deworlding of the world, an experience of mood, emotion, or Stimmung that shows that all in the world stimmt nicht--i.e., is not in agreement or accord with the self. In this sense, music is a discord with the world that can allow a certain demundanization, a withdrawal that might permit us to see things in a utopian light.
For when Ereignis is not sufficient.

Appropriation appropriates! Send your appropriations to enowning at gmail.com.

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