Remainder recognizes, with Szymborska's poem, that we know, in the end, "less than little/And finally as little as nothing," and so tries always to acknowledge the void that is not ours, the messy remainder we can't understand or control—the ultimate marker of which is Death itself. We need not ever read a word of Heidegger to step in these murky waters. They flow through the "mainstream" of our canon. Through the negations of Beckett. The paradoxical concrete abstractions of Kafka. The scatological thingy-ness of Joyce at his most antic. The most famous line of Auden ("Poetry makes nothing happen"). They flow through our own lives in the form of anxiety, which is, in Freud's opinion, the only real emotion we have.
The giving-belonging of Ereignis does not pertain to something owned, something that can be given or appropriated, some property or possession. It speaks only of the possibility of giving and of belonging that wells up in and exceeds every being that is given and belongs in the order of a unifying 'together'. It speaks not of appropriation of property, but of the possibility of Being appropriate, well-suited, fitting. It speaks of 'owning' not in the sense of something I own that I can exchange or dispossess, but in the sense of that which is my ownmost, that which I can not give up, that which cannot be given because it is purely giving as such.
Continuing with Fredric Jameson on the chasm between Earth and World, from "The Synoptic Chandler".
Heidegger's deployment of this opposition at the moment he touches on the art object as such points a way out of this dilemma. It is the materiality of the object, he tells us, the sonority of the language, the smoothness of the marble, or the slick density of the oil paint, that marks the part of Earth in it; while it is the semiotic features of the work, the meanings and meaningfulness - what is paraphrasable in the verse, the functions of the building, the object imitated by the painting - that indicate the part of World. What seems crucial here - and specifically Heideggerian — is that the opposition between Earth and World be understood as irreducible in the last instance, no matter how much each becomes implicated in the other, no matter how crushing the preponderance of one term in their struggle. Thus, the work of art itself, exhibited in that worldly place that is the museum, and drawn into a web of social and worldly relationships — those of sale and investment, interpretation and evaluation, pedagogy, tradition, sacred reference — must always somehow scandalously exceed all those worldly relationships by the ultimate and irreducible materiality of its earthly element, which cannot become social: there is a colour that cannot be made altogether human. In the same way, clearly, the work's emergence as a kind of aerolith in sheer space – a meteor from the void, taking a place, being measurable, weighing, being accessible to the physical senses — can never quite entitle it to full inert status as a thing among other things. Allegorically, indeed, this primal opposition in Heidegger’s aesthetic can be read as a refusal of fundamental philosophical dualisms while acknowledging the inevitability of their existence and persistence. The meanings of world suggest any number of idealisms in which reality is thought to have been successfully assimilated to Mind once and for all, while the resistance or Earth marks the resurgence of the various materialisms that try to stage their sense of the fragility of meanings in physical reality by way of meaningful words. The ontology that wishes to escape ideological imprisonment in either idealism or materialism can then only do so by foretelling the inevitable temptations of both and using them against each other in a permanent tension that cannot be resolved.
I will suggest, then, that world, from the Heideggerian perspective, be understood in different terms as History itself, that is to say, as the ensemble of acts and efforts whereby human beings have attempted, since the dawn of a human age, to bring meanings out of the limits and constraints of their surroundings. Earth, meanwhile, is everything meaningless in those surroundings and what betrays the resistance and inertia of sheer Matter as such and extends as far as what human beings have named as death, contingency, accident, bad luck, or finitude. What is distinctive about Heidegger’s proposal is the insistence not merely that these two 'dimensions' of reality are radically incommensurable with each other, and somehow unrelatable in terms of either, but also that philosophy, and following it, aesthetics, and perhaps even politics as well, must now find its specific vocation, not in the attempt to paper over the difference or to mystify it and theorize it away, so much as to exacerbate and hold it open as an ultimate situation of unresolvable tension. (I avoid the word 'contradiction', since it is so often wrongly felt to promise its own resolution in idealist fashion.)
This is the perspective from which the work of art emerges, not to heal this rift or even to assuage what is seen as an incurable wound in our very being, this gap between History and Matter, or World and Earth. Rather, the great or authentic works (for Heidegger's aesthetic, like aesthetic systems as such, necessarily includes a normative moment) are those whose vocation consists in holding the two incommensurable dimensions apart and in allowing us thereby to glimpse them simultaneously in all their scandalous irreconcilability: to grasp Earth or Matter in all its irreducible materiality, even and particularly there where we have been thinking about it in terms of meaning and human and social events: and to grasp World or History in its most fundamental historicities even where we have been assuming it to be inert nature or nonsocial landscape. Although its aesthetic relevance would have been utterly alien and repugnant to him, Adorno aptly captured the spirit of this alternation-in-tension when in another context he recommended that we constantly defamiliarize our philosophies of human history by rethinking them in terms of natural history, and demystify our positivistic impressions of natural history by thinking them through again in historicist and social ways. But in Heidegger, at least in these privileged instances among which the work of art is numbered, the alternation becomes a blinding simultaneity, both dimensions now momentarily coexisting.
"A toothless prophet is not listened to with the respect that is his due," mumbled Voltaire, who was famous for his gummy grin. On the head of the pessimist Schopenhauer sprouted two ridiculous tufts that made him resemble the poodles he so famously preferred to the company of humans. Heidegger's little square moustache looked better on Hitler. Hegel had the baggy facial skin of a geriatric bloodhound. John Stuart Mill looked like a skull with sideburns, a product no doubt of his utilitarian diet.
"Wait," Girlfriend called out. "Plato was a shag!"
Sure enough, he looked like Cary Grant in a toga.
"But the statues are all fake, made four hundred years after he died. There's no real images of him anywhere."
Then a revelation came to us. Plato was the problem. With his ideals of other-worldy perfection and beauty he turned his eye away from the real world, while pig-faced Socrates and the motley crew of repulsives that followed him, rubbed our noses in reality. Perhaps, we thought, this could be the flaw in our culture: we've been so obsessed with platonic idealised beauty that we've failed to face the immense ugliness behind the skin-deep smiles.
Fredric Jameson on the chasm between Earth and World, from "The Synoptic Chandler".
Everything I have said so far, however, suggests the necessity of thinking these formal peculiarities in Chandler according to some scheme that is capable of flexing dualisms while remaining deeply suspicious of them, and that programmatically avoids the attribution of any a priori content to terms hitherto implicitly predefined by such traditional oppositions as subject and object or nature and culture. This is, as is well known, the very programme of Heidegger’s philosophical revolution, and I hope it will not be taken as an ideological endorsement of this particular philosophy when I suggest that its speculative machinery — particularly as evidenced in The Origins of the Work of Art — may well turn out to offer a theoretical solution to some of the problems posed by Chandler’s narrative structures. The juxtaposition of the detective story novelist and the Central European philosopher—sage — rendered even more incongruous by the palpable high-cultural conservatism of Heidegger himself, and his more general suspicion of modernity and technology as such, let alone of formal and aesthetic reproducibility - may be justified, from a different angle, by the way in which the philosophers aesthetic proposition assimilates in advance the act of poetic inauguration he wishes to think to other forms of the inaugural or the originative: to the philosophical itself, for example, which reopens the question of Being; or to the religious; or to the political, in which a new type of society and new social relations find themselves - from Romulus to Lenin - instituted in what can only be described as a revolutionary act and break. Although Los Angeles lacks any radical legendary foundational act of this kind, the historical novelty of its structure — which has so often been transferred to Chandler, as the writer equally often considered to be that city's epic poet — may encourage us to consider the relevance of Heidegger's argument which, to be sure, mobilizes the far more classical texts of the Greek temple and the more explosive modernity of Van Gogh's oil painting. Any attempt to adapt narrative as such to Heidegger’s scheme would seem, however, to do it violence at the same time as (no matter how classical the narrative in question) it would require a good deal or analytical and interpretive ingenuity.
For the terms of Heidegger’s aesthetic - which seeks, as we shall see, to include and transcend space as such - are still expressed in a spatial metaphor that tends to immobilize them, to impose on them a kind of static condition that may initially make them seem more suited to the visual arts and architecture (something his own examples, as we have seen, do nothing to overcome). Indeed, he predicates the work of art (and, by implication only, the other inaugural acts I have enumerated) as emerging from a gap or rift between World and Earth. I will of course attempt to name this gap or rift in other ways and with codes quite unrelated to these, but it is initially clear, none the less, that such language continues to figure incommensurability on the model of the mountain crevice, the glacial crack or fissure, the unbridgeable chasm or canyon between plateaux that can no longer be reunited or even recombined in the unity of a single thought: the world of Fawn Lake as it were, versus the world of Altair Street in Bay City. But this is not yet a satisfactory way or reformulating the Heideggerian 'gap', since in its initial version both sides of the tension seemed to be given to us in the terms of one, the Earth, while in our translation it is the opposite term, World, which serves this same function.
Heidegger claims, [it is] god-less thinking which must abandon the god of philosophy, god as causa sui, is thus perhaps closer to the divine God. Here this means only: god-less thinking is more open to Him than onto-theo-logic would like to admit. Purely rational philosophical deduction had defined God very finitely: God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omni-benevolent. This is the definition of the metaphysical theistic god. Heidegger is claiming that one who thinks without a strict, traditional, theistic perception of God, or without a perception of God at all, may have a more divine relationship with Him than those who perceive him as merely the causa sui because by reducing Him to merely the first cause, the onto-logical thinker places this transcendent being into a theistic box. By defining God, humans have limited God.
If the city had a brain, the Toronto Reference Library is it. It’s big, public and one of the few places where everybody can bump into each other. Men in suits read statistics near the guy who waves his arms and reads to himself aloud, consumed by madness and Heidegger.
An interview with the guy that makes the Dreyfus podcasts happen.
Is there resistance to that?
There are some faculty members who don’t want to participate. The faculty who do sign up find it worthwhile to make their content available to students. Beyond that, they add value to lifelong learners around the world. ABC World News did a story a while back on a trucker who was listening to a lecture on Heidegger by Professor Hubert Dreyfuss. He was learning how to think like a philosopher while he was hauling these loads across the country.
Surely we can call Simone de Beauvoir an existentialist without much ado? True, it is a label she later came to accept, yet not easily. De Beauvoir herself seems to have been adverse to labels, even ‘existentialist’. When she was first introduced to the philosopher Jean Grenier at the Café de Flore in 1943, he asked her: “And you Madame, are you an existentialist?” De Beauvoir writes of her reaction: “I had read Kierkegaard. In the context of Heidegger people had for some time talked about the philosophy of ‘Existenz’: but I was not familiar with the word ‘existentialist’, which Gabriel Marcel had just launched. Furthermore, Grenier’s question hurt my modesty and my pride.” In a way existentialism is an anti-label kind of philosophy. We are reminded not to pigeonhole people, including ourselves, too easily – a temptation which will invariably lead us into the trap of ‘bad faith’. Existentialism is also the philosophy of choice, which was of great interest to de Beauvoir. Choice operates on all levels of human existence, from choosing a career to choosing a candybar.
The Nietzschean journey from ape to man to Star Child that shapes the plot of 2001 is in fact an exploration of man's relationship with technology, which led to global destruction in Dr. Strangelove. However, here Kubrick seems concerned with technology's positive potential. Echoing Heidegger, the film suggests that in technology, the process that is transforming nature and humans into "standing reserve," mere resource to be used and then thrown away, there lies a "saving power." Yes, technology and the capitalism that makes it proliferate are the result of a mad quest that threatens all living things, but 2001 proposes that this quest may not be as blind as we think. It may be guided by a higher consciousness. In the film, technology leads us to the discovery that it is within ourselves, not outside of us, that the solution to the problem of technology – a solution Heidegger called poiesis, or pure creativity – is hiding.
From the film, it would seem at first that interplanetary travel is the key to that discovery. This is where 2001 becomes allegorical. In reality, technology's saving power has nothing to do with spaceships or space travel but with cinema itself. The Black Monolith that appears at the Dawn of Man, on the moon, in space and in the astronaut Bowman's psyche at the moment of death, is not simply a throwback to Masonic symbolism or the Philosopher's Stone. The Black Monolith is the movie screen.
The Dartmouth Review interviews its founder, Jeffrey Hart. He gets to the fundamental question when asked a question about choosing the quotidian.
TDR: What do you think of Sarah Palin’s selection?
JH: I think she is a good woman. She is extremely ignorant. She appeals to the more extreme part of the Republican base, on all the social issues. It hasn’t come up that she is a religious crackpot; she believes in the end of days and what they call the Rapture, in which the just are wished up to heaven and the rest are left with Armageddon.
She believes in Creationism, which is not intelligent design, but a literal belief in the six days of the creation, and God Rested... that is a poem, not a scientific statement. It is just a poetic answer to the question of why there is something rather than nothing. So they say “In the beginning….” That is an account for creating word and the world, and that is perfectly all right—as long as you understand that the universe was not actually created in six days. The radiation from the Big Bang has been measured, and the universe is about 13.7 billion years old. That still leaves open the question, what was there before the beginning, before the Big Bang: can something come from nothing? In the first paragraph of his Introduction to Metaphysics, Heidegger says that “the question why there is something rather than nothing is the fundamental question of metaphysics.” That leaves the door open to religion, but it doesn’t mandate the God of scripture.
Neal Stephenson explains the object of consciousness.
"What of our second evening's giscussion? Has Saunt Atamant anything to say about that?"
"I have been thinking about that very hard. You see, nine of his treatises are mostly about space. Only one is about time, but it is considered harder to read than the other nine put together! But if there is applicability of his work to the Hylaean Flow, it is hidden somewhere in the Tenth Treatise. I re-read it last night; this was my Lucub."
"And what did Atamant’s copper bowl tell him of time?" Lodoghir asked.
"I should tell you first that he was knowledgeable abour theorics. He knew that the laws of theorics were time-reversible, and that the only way to determine the direction of time's arrow was to measure the amount of disorder in a system. The cosmos seems oblivious to time. It only matters to us. Consciousness is time-constituting. We build time up out of instantaneous impressions that flow in through our sensory organs at each moment. Then they recede into the past. What is this thing we call the past? It is a system of records encoded in our nerve tissue — records that tell a consistent story."
"We have heard of these records before," Ignetha Foral pointed out. "They are essential to the Hemn space picture."
"Yes, Madame Secretary, but now let me add something new. It is rather well encapsulated by the thought experiment of the flies, bats, and worms. We don't give our consciousness sufficient credit for its ability to take in noisy, ambiguous, contradictory givens from the senses, and sort it out: to say 'this pattern of givens equals the copper bowl that is in front of me now and that was in front of me a moment ago,' to confer thisness on what we perceive. I know you may feel uncomfortable with religious language, but it seems miraculous that our consciousness can do this."
"But absolutely necessary from an evolutionary standpoint," Lodoghir pointed out.
"To be sure! But none the less remarkable for that. The ability of our consciousness to see - not just as a speelycaptor sees (by taking in and recording givens) but identifying things - copper bowls, melodies, faces, beauty. ideas — and making these things available to cognition — that ability, Atamant said, is the ultimate basis of all rational thought. And if consciouness can identify copper-bowlness, why can't it identify isosceles-triangleness, or Adrakhonic-theoremness?"
"What you are describing is nothing more than Pattern recognition, and then assigning names to patterns," Lodoghir said.
"So the Syntactics would say." replied Zh'vaern. "But I would say that you have it backwards. You Procians have a theory - a model — of what consciousness is, and you make all else subordinate to it. Your theory becomes the ground of all possible assertions, and the processes of consciousness are seen as mere phenomena to be explained in the terms of that theory. Atamant says that you have fallen into the error of circular reasoning. You cannot develop your grounding theory of consciousness without making use of the power consciousness has of seizing on and conferring thisness on givens, and so it is incoherent and circular for you to then employ that theory to explain the fundamental workings of consciousness."
"I understand Atamant’s point," Lodoghir said, "but by making such a move, does he not exile himself from rational theoric discourse? This power of consciousness takes on a sort of mystical status — it can't be challenged or examined, it just is."
"On the contrary, nothing could be more rational than to begin with what is given, with what we observe, and ask ourselves how we come to observe it, and investigate it in a thorough and meticulous style."
"Let me ask it this way, then: what results was Atamant able to deliver by following this program?"
"Once he made the decision to proceed in this way, he made a few false starts, went up some blind alleys. But the nub of it is this: consciousness is enacted in the physical world, on physical equipment-"
"Equipment?" Ignetha Foral asked sharply.
"Nerve tissue, or perhaps some artificial device of similar powers. The point being that it has what the Ita would call hardware. Yet Atamant’s premise is that consciousness itself, not the equipment, is the primary reality. The full cosmos consists of the physical stuff and consciousness. Take away consciousness and it's only dust; add consciousness and you get things, ideas, and time. The story is long and winding, but eventually he found a fruitful line of inquiry rooted in the polycosmic interpretation of quantum mechanics. He quite reasonably applied this premise to his favorite topic—"
"The copper bowl?" Lodoghir asked.
"The complex of consciousness-phenomena that amounted to his perception of a copper bowl," Zh'vaern corrected him, "and proceeded to explain it within that framework."
I never thought of analyzing the joke and why I chose it until I started reading Plato And A Platypus Walk Into A Bar, a book by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein which is subtitled, Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes. The authors use good news/ bad news jokes to illustrate the views of twentieth century German existentialist, Martin Heidegger, who believed that human existence is "being-toward-death".
According to Heidegger, "To live authentically, we must face the fact or our own mortality squarely and take responsibility for living meaningful lives in the shadow of death. We must not try to escape personal anxiety and personal responsibility for denying the fact of death."
I had no idea this is what I was doing when I told that joke or others like it. For example, there is the one about an artist who asked the owner of the gallery that displayed his works how things were going with the sale of his paintings. The gallery owner replied, "There's good news and bad news. A man came in and asked if you were a painter whose work would become more valuable after your death.
When I told him I thought you were, he bought every painting of yours that was in the gallery." "Great, that's terrific," gushed the painter. "But what's the bad news?" The gallery owner looked at the artist mournfully, "The bad news is that the man who bought the paintings was your doctor."
Let us consider such a primary consciousness; for example, the perception of this copper ashtray. The ashtray stands before us in the perception as enduring physical being. Reflection permits us to distinguish: the perception itself (the perceptual apprehension taken concretely in union with the data of apprehension: the perceptual appearance in the mode of certainty, say) and that which is perceived (which must be described in evident judgments based on perception). What is perceived is also something meant: the act of meaning "lives" in the act of perceiving. As reflection shows, the perceptual apprehension in its mode is itself something constituted in immanent time, standing before us in the unity of its presence, although it is not something meant. It is constituted through the multiplicity or now-phases and retentions. The contents of apprehension as well as the apprehension-intentions to which the mode of certainty belongs are constituted in this way. The contents of sensation become constituted as unities in sensuous impressions: the apprehensions become constituted in other impressions - act-impressions which are combined with the sensuous impressions. The perception as a constituted phenomenon is, for its part, perception of the physical thing.
Prof. Moshe Zimmerman, a Hebrew University historian, doesn't think academic institutions should invade the private lives of their students and professors. "There are things that are understood, and there's no need to impose regulations on them," he says. "For example, a student is forbidden to copy exams or cheat on seminar papers. Regulations are imposed only when people are under pressure and obligated, and then it once again becomes simple to bypass them. In light of the atmosphere that has been created, it is very logical that such regulations are being unleashed. Will it substantially change the nature of the relationships between the sides? I'm not convinced. We historians become suspicious when a specific law gets imposed, because it's a sign that its framework does not suffice. From an historical perspective, as soon as laws are legislated, it means the phenomenon exists. I don't know if the relationship between Martin Heidegger and Hannah Arendt, who was his student and lover, was appropriate, but it didn't stop them from being very important philosophers and intellectuals. There are things with which we shouldn't interfere."
Heidegger introduces the theme of anxiety quite suddenly in “What is Metaphysics,” characterising it as a “fundamental mood” without much of a prior argument. He then goes on to make a familiar distinction between fear and anxiety, aligning the former with an object to be surmounted. Anxiety, on the other hand, lacks any discernible object to be overcome, as such.
Stephan Käufer reviews a book on Martin and maths.
"Later investigations will reveal what I owe to my esteemed teachers of mathematics and physics; and I also will not let the influence of Professor Finke go to waste, who awakened the love and understanding for history in me, an unhistorical mathematician." So wrote Martin Heidegger in the preface to his 1914 doctoral dissertation, The Theory of Judgment in Psychologism. For all their breadth and depth the later investigations never do show much of an influence by the professors who taught Heidegger calculus and differential equations while he was enrolled in Freiburg University's Faculty for Mathematics and Natural Science. Rather it was the few courses Heidegger took during those years on neo-Kantian logic and epistemology that shaped his initial philosophical attempts. Nevertheless, Heidegger discusses topics of mathematics and the mathematical character of modern science in various guises in writings and lectures throughout his career. And since so much of his thought is devoted to ontology, it is an interesting question to what extent Heidegger's ontology is a mathematical ontology.
That's not just any star on the tombstone, that's the sun.
Clearly Heidegger's hidden source are the songs of that great Saturnian, and jazz pianist, Sun Ra. Just check out his album titles: Nothing Is, Lanquidity [that's Gelassenheit in the jazz vernacular], Strange Celestial Road [AKA Holzwege], Oblique Parallax [a clear reference to the ontological difference], The Creator of the Universe [Seyn], Voice of the Eternal Tomorrow [Ereignis], When Angels Speak of Love [Arendt-Heidegger correspondence], Destination Unknown [The Self-Assertion of the German University]. Obvious, really.
¶ 10:41 AM0 comments
Deleuze, unique among post-structuralists, was interested in a cosmology/metaphysics. [Most post-structuralists, Derrida being the classic example, were interested in linguistics]. For Deleuze, Western philosophy is too buit traditionally around substance (from Plato through Aristotle on down) and should rather be interested in Event or events. This is somethign akin to Heidegger’s distinction between the Being of beings (Event) and Dasein (being-in-the-world) except that Delueze has a background in physics and mathematics (interestingly) so his view of the Event is much more spatio-temporal than Heidegger’s more cultural-praxis oriented understanding.
The Event Captuo says is that which happens within what is happening but is never captured by what is happening. God for Captuo is a name we use to point to the Event related to the name of God. God then is an Event not a be-ing. It’s a non-essential understanding of God. Event however for me is a little too static. I would prefer Rabbi Cooper’s notion that God is a Verb. God-ing if you will. Event-ing.
We are so used to enjoy a certain and constant economic growth that when our economy takes a turn, instead of slowing down and changing our lifestyle, it seems we prefer to increase our speed and fall into the abyss.
We see the real, undeniable danger, but we can’t see the salvation because our eyes are only looking short term (the current crisis) instead of long-term (the road ahead).
That change in our level of understanding needed to overcome the crisis, poetically expressed by Hölderlin and philosophically explained by Cummins, finds a new meaning in Martin Heidegger, a German philosopher. Heidegger translates Hölderlin as, “Where danger is, grows the saving power also.”
According to Heidegger, the extreme danger Hölderlin was talking about is the very essence of our technology that, in dehumanizing and reifying people, gives origin to the current capitalist and materialist system, essentially created to exploit people and nature.
The “saving power,” according to Heidegger, is the possibility that, as a reaction to the dehumanizing essence of technology and its cold and calculating “thought system,” a new system will be created where neither humankind nor nature would be labeled as mere “resources.”
And what of the drink given to the gods? A "libation" for the gods, traditionally, is drink that is poured out onto an object or the ground, a sacrifice, and that may seem to be what Heidegger has in mind here: indeed he calls the drink for gods "Spende und Opfer", donation and sacrifice. A libation of this kind may even be what he has in mind—but the drink that is given to the gods need not be poured out in this way. Mortals may drink it, as they do in the sacrament of communion, in church: and then the wine, which is said to be "the blood of Christ", makes the god present to us. Yet, too often, it does so in only in abstract way, in which we are not opened up to divinity itself. In fact, the wine is most given over to divinity not in the formal communion of the church as such, but in the living communion of the feast among friends. Heidegger writes of the wine poured from the jug that it "stills the celebration of the feast into the high." Recall his saying that the δαίμονες are "the uncanny ones who present themselves in the ordinary": in the ordinary wine, the δαίμονες, die Göttlichen present themselves; they are the uncanny ones in that they awaken us to the uncanniness of the ordinary, the mystery of its being. Drinking wine when we eat together, if we will let it, calms and relaxes us on one hand and strikes us with the intensity of its flavour on the other; it can help to open us up to the presencing-to-us of the food, of the wine itself, and of our companions—it beckons us, "stilling" our inattentive activity, to the happening of being in the feast. The "offering" of the wine is an offering of ourselves—in the wine which Heidegger describes as given over to the god, we give ourselves over to divinity, to the mystery that Es gibt Sein.
We must recognise that screen scanning is but one kind of reading, a lesser one, and that it conspires against certain intellectual habits requisite to liberal-arts learning. The inclination to read a huge Victorian novel, the capacity to untangle a metaphor in a line of verse, the desire to study and emulate a distant historical figure, the urge to ponder a concept such as Heidegger's ontic-ontological difference until it breaks through as a transformative insight: those dispositions melt away with every 100 hours of browsing, blogging, IM-ing, Twittering, and Facebooking.
What’s your favorite hobby? Probably reading. I’ve been reading a lot of books on economic justice, like Elizabeth Warren’s book, The Two-Income Trap; Jeff Faux, who wrote a book called The Global Class War; and I just got done reading a book on philosophy called On Time and Being, by Heidegger. So I read a lot.
Northwestlaw's Weblog goes out for some ballet, and notes an excellent interview with Twyla Tharp.
She then starts interviewing the interviewer and asks him why he does it. He responds by saying that there is something profound in art that makes it the province of philosophers, citing Aristotle, Nietzsche and Heidegger, among others. Tharp then says that she thinks of her work as pre-Socratic. After some brief discussion back and forth she says “turn that thing off so we can have a serious talk” and the tape is instantly over.
Tharp thinking of herself as pre-Socratic fascinates me. (what I would give to have heard the ensuing talk.) She like to thin of herself as coming form a time before Plato had inflicted a sense of rigid and perfect system of ideal “thing,” which morphed into the gnostic notion that the ideal, true reality, is someplace else and our lives a spent with shadows within a cave. Aristotle of course was able to lay a rigid system of taxonomy and categorization on this dim world of shadows so that everything had a place. Then he imposed a system of logic to enable us to trudge among the categories. Tharp sees herself as before all that when the world was full of mystery, explained by myth and metaphor.
Slavoj Žižek on the uses and misuses of Heidegger.
What the ecology of fear obfuscates is thus a far more radical dimension of terror. Today, with the prospect of the biogenetic manipulation of human physical and psychic features, the notion of "danger" inscribed into modern technology, elaborated by Heidegger, becomes a commonplace. Heidegger emphasizes how the true danger is not the physical self-destruction of humanity, the threat that something will go terribly wrong with biogentic interventions, but, precisely, that nothing will go wrong, that genetic manipulation will function smoothly - at this point, the circle will, in a certain manner, be closed and the specific openness that characterizes being-human abolished. That is to say, is the Heideggerian danger (Gefahr) not precisely the danger that the ontic will "swallow" the ontological (with the reduction of man, the da [here] of Being, to just another object of science)? Do we not encounter here again the formula of the fear of the impossible: what we fear is that which cannot happen (since the ontological dimension is irreducible to the ontic) will nonetheless happen . . .
The insufficiency of this reasoning is double. First, as Heidegger would have put it, the survival of the being-human of humans cannot depend on an ontic decision of humans. Even if we try to define the limit of the permissible in this way, the true catastrophe has already taken place: we already experience ourselves as in principle manipulable; we just freely renounce the possibility of fully deploying the potential. "In the technological age, what matters to us most is getting the 'greatest possible use' out of everything." Does this not throw a new light on how ecological concerns, at least in their predominant mode, remain within the horizon of technology? Is the point of using the resources sparingly, of recycling, and so forth, not precisely to maximize the user of everything?
"I believe philosophy elevates our consciousness and dreaming is about entering and accessing that consciousness" said Wren. "It is imperative to sleep on these ideas in order to let them enter our thinking; they're not easy to understand. At the same time, it is easy to be put to sleep when reading this kind of doublespeak."
The philosophical quotes embroidered on the pillows are solely about aesthetics, and they range from Heidegger's The Origins of Work of Art to Bachelard's Poetics of Space.