In Thrive Global, Robert Stolorow on our metaphysical planet
Heidegger, in his later work, is said to have moved away from phenomenology and toward a metaphysical realism. It is probably more accurate to say that he moved toward a complex amalgam of the two. This characterization certainly holds for his lecture, “Building Dwelling Thinking” (1951), which gives important glimpses into the ontological significance of the earth. Indeed, Heidegger claims in this essay that the fundamental character of the human kind of being (existence) is dwelling. Such dwelling requires a space, a location, a home, and that home is the earth. In this vision, the earth provides grounding for the human kind of being. For humans, to be is to dwell on earth, and to dwell requires that they safeguard and preserve the earth that grounds them. Characteristically, such protectedness is sought in metaphysical illusion — the transformation of this vulnerable planet into an invincible everlasting entity. This age-old metaphysical illusion is not faring well in the face of the perils of climate change.