In Full Stop, Tyler Malone interviews Simon Critchley. He's got a new book on Bowie.
Anxiety for Heidegger is the mood that first reveals the self. It’s the mood where the self is first precipitated, precipitated against the world. The world as it were drops away, slips away. What’s revealed is me, but not me as some substance, rather me as a nothing — a me that is a kind of mood of anxiety or boredom or a bundle of neurons or whatever it might be. That’s the zone that music speaks to. That’s the claim I’d like to make, as strange as it seems.
In practice, we have replaced authenticity with detachment, alienation and mimicry. Instead of celebrating Being in the most existential manner we learned to pre-mediate what being a ‘woman’, ‘Jew’, ‘black’, ‘gay’ should sound like. We learned to envisage what our identification ‘may entail’ and to react as our identification demands. What I describe above is the practical result of the ‘forgetfulness of Being,’ a term coined by the great German philosopher Martin Heidegger.
Kiefer’s fascination is with the way materiality deteriorates. A Heideggerian-Borgesian masterwork is his installation of lead books on lead shelves, which shows them falling out of their bindings, slumping in disorder. Perhaps this work takes literally Derrida’s assertion that the Logos, the Word of God and of Truth, that used to guide Western civilization, has collapsed.
In The Los Angeles Review of Books, Gregory Fried reviews the Black Notebooks.
[Heidegger] wants to rebuild the university from the ground up, to take nothing as a given, to unite the faculty and students across the disciplines in a spirit of questioning that seeds the ground for that other inception of history. He sees this task as requiring a hardness and daring for radical change, but everywhere he finds resistance from Spießbürgerei, a word almost impossible to translate: it expresses such a depth of virulent contempt for the cowardice, lack of imagination, and conformism of the many who pretend to be Nazi revolutionaries that “bourgeoisie” or “yuppiedom” would not even scratch the surface of Heidegger’s loathing.
The conference started from a sombre premise. What Heidegger called Gestell, or “enframing” – the rather terrifying notion that in our industrial, technological world, entities only exist by being regarded as resources, or means to an end – has spread its remorseless dominion over the Earth. The university itself is heading towards becoming a sort of simulacrum, in Baudrillard’s terms, where an essentially meaningless exercise in going through hoops is rewarded by a certificate. As for the earth itself, talk of natural resources, natural capital, ecosystem services and so on, which treats the Earth as a service provider for the global capitalist economy, has become so commonplace that its essential strangeness goes unnoticed.