Thursday, November 03, 2011
Continuing with Thomas Sheehan on movement and the concept of Ereignis.
A natural moving being, for example a plant, must maintain and not abolish its absence, preserve and not fully actualize its dynamis, if it is to remain what it is. While using dynamis as power for presence (entelecheia...), a moving being conserves it as possibility (... tou dynatou hei dynaton). There are various ways of expressing this. We may say that the plant constantly “goes back into” its dynamis (Insichzurückgehen) as it comes forth into appearance. Or we may say that the plant again and again seeks (re-peats) and draws upon (re-trieves) its dynamis in order to appear. In order to name this process of drawing upon dynamis for the sake of energeia while allowing dynamic to remain relatively absent, Heidegger comes up with "Eignung," "appropriation." This is Heidegger’s proper title for movement, and it is the basic model of the concept of Ereignis. But there is a lot of mileage between Aristotelian kinesis and the unique "movement" that is the emergent topos. Three examples, will illustrate how this Eignung respectively (a) operates externally in the movement of constructing an artifact, (b) takes on the formal pattern of “retrieve” in natural movement, and (c) is radically transformed into the pattern of retrieve stricte dicta in resolve, temporality and historicity.

(a) While underway and unfinished, the process of constructing a table is the on-going appropriation (Eignung) of the appropriate wood (das Geeignete, to dynamei on) unto the incompletely attained eidos “table.” Note that in the generation of artifacts the appropriation-process is external to the product and does not provide its own appropriate material. The eidos prohaireton "table," which is the guiding force of the movement of construction, does not provide any wood but sends the carpenter to the lumberyard to buy it. (b) By contrast the movement of natural beings introduces a new element into the appropriation-process. In the growth of a plant the very process of generation is a "self"-provision of the appropriate material The plant "orders up" (bestellt) its own seed, which develops naturally into a flower which in turn "orders up" a new seed. This process of "ordering up" is the most primitive form of "retrieve." The becoming of a plant is the plant’s appropriation of its own dynamis unto its own energeia. In so doing, the plant takes over what it properly is (to ti en einai, Wesen, Gewesenheit), i.e., it appropriates what it already is in dynamis by becoming it in incomplete energeia - Kinesis (and therefore physis) is already a primordial structure of retrieve, namely, becoming what one already is. (e) The appropriation-process is radically transformed when the movement that is physis becomes the movement that is logos in the human existence. In his 1922 course on Aristotle Heidegger first pointed out how for the Greeks logos is a form of kinesis, but a unique one, as he indicates four years later: "The movedness [Bewegtheit] of existence is not the motion [Bewegung] of something present-at-hand" (SZ 374 f.). Human existence is that unique form of movement which, by stretching ahead of itself towards its death, opens the realm of sense-as-such. In its ordinary condition, however, existence hides this movement from itself and falls back on various forms of stability, such as accepting handed down meanings rather than waking up to the generation of sense-as-such. The act of resolve is the self-appropriating insight or self-disclosive retrieval whereby existence accepts and understandingly becomes the most proper possibility it already is, its dying. This constitutes a "retrieve of itself" (Wiederholung ihrer selbst, SZ 308), a "coming back to what one already properly is" (Zurückkommen auf das eigenste Gewesen, SZ 326), a "return to the possibilities one already is"(Rückgang in Möglfchkeiten des dagewesenen Daseins, SZ 385). In that dimension of retrieve called historicity Heidegger speaks of a "Sichüberliefern der Mõglichkeiten" (SZ 383 f.), which is not the "handing down" of possibilities as the existing English translation has it, but a "freeing up" of possibilities for oneself, a destruction-retrieve formally homologous with the classical therapeutic process delineated by Freud and with the process of reactualization of archetypes in primitive cultures. To draw upon proper possibility in the act of resolve or in historical retrieve is not to pull dynamis into full present appearance (cf. "... nicht, um es abermals zu verwicklichen” SZ 385), but rather to bring it indirectly into presence precisely by leaving it possible, i.e, in absence. In resolve one lets the possibilizing absence be present when one chooses the dying, hence finitely present, self that one is. Anticipation thus constitutes the "revering" of the "repeatable possibilities of existence" (SZ 391).

Pp. 310-2
I realize that early on MH relied on his profound study and understanding of Aristotle. Hence Sheehan's analysis of the way that the early MH adapted Aristotle to his developing views of strife are helpful. But MH eventually moved away from such a mechanistic analysis of Dasein and physical process.

Sheehan's analysis reminds me of the view that describes human walking as the interruption of a continual falling down.

"The act of resolve is the self-appropriating insight or self-disclosive retrieval whereby existence accepts and understandingly becomes the most proper possibility it already is, its dying."

Yes, one can fall down by walking, just as one will die while living. But walking is not falling down and living is not just postponed dying.
Post a Comment

<< Home
For when Ereignis is not sufficient.

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

View mobile version