In the Guardian, Orhan Pamuk visits Anselm Kiefer.
In Kiefer’s aesthetics, books themselves are sacred, as well as the texts they carry. His art conveys this feeling by accentuating the “thingness” – to use Heidegger’s term – of letters, words and texts. When we look at the enormous books he has sculpted in recent years from sheets of lead and other metals, they tell us that their sacred quality exists in their textures as much as it does in the texts within.
To highlight the defining relation between Dasein and the tools that surround it, Heidegger introduced another neologism: 'being-in'. This does not refer to a spatial relation - in the way the water can be in the glass – but captures the idea that we deal with the world from inside a network of reference, which is set up by the way equipment refers to one another. The structure, in which things get significance is explained in terms of tools, their function, the product of using tools, and the environment where tasks are pursued. To exemplify, a hammer as tool refers to banging nails into wood, in order to build a bookshelf. All these actions and beings have meaning within the environment provided by the carpenter’s workshop. The final element in this chain is the for-the-sake-of-which. This is the final purpose of an activity, for example completing the bookshelf. As the purpose of a task, it can be actualised and then disappear, before being replaced by another such aim.
By trawling through Heidegger’s Gesamtausgabe Faye thinks he has uncovered the
key to the deciphering Heidegger’s cryptography. Codebreaker Fay has found a text in
which Heidegger himself admits that “being itself” is a cipher standing for nothing less
than the Nazi notion of the Fatherland.
As is often his wont, Faye provides no page reference for the text he is referring to,
much less the context of the remark. To check out Faye’s claim, the diligent reader has
to go searching for the text, which is found tucked away at GA 39: 121.22 = 109.28-
29, where Heidegger is commenting on Hölderlin’s essay “Das Werden im Vergehen”
(“Becoming in Dissolution,” ca. 1800), which speaks of the “Fatherland.” And once
we do locate the passage, we discover that Faye has intentionally rearranged the
citation in both French and German. He radically alters the meaning of the passage by
surreptitiously shifting a pair of scare quotes from where they belong in the original
German. Faye’s switcheroo may seem like a trivial matter, but it hardly is that, once he
sets about interpreting the sentence.
Heidegger’s text (italicized in the original German):
Das “Vaterland” [in Hölderlin’s text] ist das Seyn selbst.
The “Fatherland” [in Hölderlin’s text] is being itself.
(To paraphrase Heidegger:)
My philosophical term das Seyn selbst is what Hölderlin, in
his essay “Das Werden im Vergehen,” expresses poetically as
La Patrie est “l’être” même.
The Fatherland is “being” itself.
(To paraphrase Faye:)
The Fatherland of Nazi ideology is what Heidegger really meant
by his philosophical code-word “being itself.”
Anyone who has studied Heidegger’s Hölderlin interpretations knows two things: first,
that das Seyn selbst is a name for the clearing; and second, that Heidegger finds that
philosophical term articulated poetically by Hölderlin in a variety of ways: “das
Vaterland,” “das Heilige,” “die Natur,” “Chaos,” “die Allerschaffende,” “das Geschick”—
the list goes on. But by cryptically shifting the quotation marks from
Vaterland to Seyn, Faye radically changes the meaning of the passage: what Heidegger
really meant by “being itself” was the Nazi notion of the Fatherland.
However, the truth will out. Faye blundered in his French text by providing
Heidegger’s original German phrase along with the doctored French one, thereby
discrediting his own reading of the text.
Whether one agrees with Heidegger’s interpretations of Hölderlin, or whether one
thinks (as I do) that they are often too idiosyncratic and tendentious, one still has to
understand what Heidegger is saying in his original German sentences, whether they
be in his readings of Hölderlin or in his letters to Nazi friends. However, Faye doesn't
bother with that kind of scholarship. He already knows what he wants to find, even if
that entails falsifying Heidegger’s sentences.
From "Emmanuel Faye: The Introduction of Fraud into Philosophy?", forthcoming.
¶ 10:51 AM0 comments
[W]hen objects are not free anymore to reveal themselves in terms of destining and there is nothing concealed in their revealing, since technology cannot be thought separately from enframing, then we have the danger of destining of revealing. River is not a river in the sense that freely destining its revealing as poesis, and since it is ordered, and it has become a standing reserve, there is nothing concealed about it and it fails to reveal itself as bringing-forth. As long as the world is treated as a standing reserve, Dasein will only see himself but nothing more wherever he encounters an object.
Heidegger, a major influence on a swath of the present day environmental movement, had famously claimed that modern technology was "challenging" to the earth, whereas more primitive forms of machinery had been in greater harmony with the flows of nature. The Heideggerian point of view, which remains prominent, deserves to be challenged.
It was upgrading to the GPS guided plow that cleaved the harmony.
¶ 5:04 PM0 comments
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Nick Land on Bataille's problem with reason.
A dialectical illusion is the error—exposed by transcendental critique—through which
reason pretends to the transcendence of itself. It is associated, on the one hand, with an
objectivistic interpretation of the intellectual forms of a representation as independently
existing structures of things in themselves, and, on the other hand, with an attempt to
grasp the subject as if it were an entity separable from its own operations, the latter being
a mistake that Kant entitles paralogism. Descartes’ ontology of extended and thinking
substance exemplifies both of these errors. Such dialectic is the object of critique, and is
always a confusion between conditions of possibility and their products. Kant describes
this confusion as one between conditions of objectivity and objects, which in Marx’s case
are producers (labour power) and commodities, in Heidegger’s being and beings, in
Derrida’s writing and the sign, etc. Such confusions misconceive the transcendental as
the transcendent, performing a gesture that can be described as ‘metaphysics’ (fetishism,
ontotheology, logocentrism). For Bataille it is the effaced difference between utilization
(expenditure) and utility which bears the brunt of critical aggression, engaging an error to
which he gives the uncompromising label ‘reason’. Profane thought (reason) interprets
transcendental condition of value).
Agent Swarm has a letter from Badiou to Deleuze (1994).
the decision to think Being, not as simple unfolding, neutral, entirely actual, with no depth, but as virtuality constantly traversed by actualisations; the fact that these actualisations are like the populating of a cut (cut of the plane of immanence for you, cut of beings for Heidegger); all that entails a logic of reserved power, that I think is common, in this century, to Heidegger and to you.
In City Journal, Jerry Weinberger reviews Arthur M. Melzer's Philosophy Between the Lines: The Lost History of Esoteric Writing.
As Strauss discovered, the Enlightenment conspiracy to rationalize the world aimed not simply to defang meddlesome prelates. Its thinkers, confronted with their inability to refute the claims of faith and revelation, turned to a “Napoleonic strategy” to laugh them out of the world and to use material prosperity and rational calculation to bludgeon the religious impulse. They wanted to force the harmony of theory and practice, philosophy and politics, by subordinating politics to philosophy. The rationalistic, Procrustean bed of the French Revolution, however, provoked the counter-Enlightenment, exemplified by Burke and the German Historical School that praised custom and local tradition over reason’s calculation. And later, Heidegger’s existentialism described the claims of such rational calculation as a massive attempt to hide from the groundlessness and especially the fatefulness of life. For Heidegger, genuine thinking required grasping resolutely the brute fact of what you are, not what you ought to be. The paradoxical result, says Melzer, was again to harmonize philosophy and politics, but this time by subordinating philosophy to the arbitrariness of political life.
The modern Enlightenment project of Napoleonic conquest really was dogmatic, as Heidegger argued. But classical rationalism was not, as Heidegger failed to see. It was inquiring and skeptical and involved living both within the “mysterious nature of the whole” and the “fundamental and enduring problems” of human life. Classical rationalism held “that we are more familiar with the situation of man as man than with the ultimate causes of that situation.” For Strauss, says Melzer, nothing more than the permanence of the fundamental problems is needed to legitimize reason as classical philosophy understood it.