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lundi, 21 décembre 2020

Heidegger Against the Traditionalists


Heidegger Against the Traditionalists

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1. Introduction

Those on the New Right are bound together partly by shared intellectual interests. Ranking very high indeed on any list of those interests would be the works of Martin Heidegger and those of the Traditionalist [1] [2] school, especially René Guénon and Julius Evola. My own work has been heavily influenced by both Heidegger and Traditionalism. Indeed, my first published essay (“Knowing the Gods [3]”) was strongly Heideggerian, and appeared in the flagship issue of Tyr [4], a journal that describes itself as “radical traditionalist,” and that I co-founded. This is just one example; many of my essays have been influenced by both schools of thought.

In my work, I have made the assumption that Heidegger’s philosophy and Traditionalism are compatible. This assumption is shared by many others on the Right, to the point that it is sometimes tacitly believed that Heidegger was some kind of Traditionalist, or that Heidegger and the Traditionalists had common values and, perhaps, a common project. These assumptions have never really been challenged, and it is high time to do so. The present essay puts into question the Heidegger-Traditionalism relationship.

Doing so will allow us to accomplish three things, at least:

(a) Arrive at a better understanding of Heidegger. This is vital, for my own study of Heidegger (in which I have been engaged, off and on, for over thirty years) has convinced me that he is not only the essential philosopher for the New Right, he is the only great philosopher of the last hundred years — and quite possibly the greatest philosopher who ever lived. I don’t make such claims lightly, and feel that I have only recently come to truly appreciate how much we need Heidegger. Yet reading Heidegger is extremely difficult. The present essay will help to clarify his thought by putting it into dialogue with the Traditionalists, whose writings are much more accessible, and much more familiar to my readers.


(b) Arrive at a better understanding of Traditionalism. We will find that in important ways Heidegger’s thought is not compatible with Traditionalism. The reason for this is that from a Heideggerian perspective Traditionalism is fundamentally flawed: it is thoroughly (and naïvely) invested in the Western metaphysical tradition which, according to Heidegger, sets the stage for modernity. In other words, because Traditionalism uncritically accepts the validity of Western metaphysical categories, it buys into some of the foundational assumptions of modernity. In the end, Traditionalism has to be judged a thoroughly modern movement, an outgrowth of the very epoch reviled by the Traditionalists themselves. All this, again, becomes clear only if we view Traditionalism, and Western intellectual history, from a Heideggerian perspective. I will argue that that perspective is correct. Thus, part of the purpose of this essay is to convince those on the Right that they need to take a more critical approach to Traditionalism.

(c) Arrive at a new philosophical approach. Although I will argue that Heidegger and Traditionalism are not compatible, the case can nonetheless be made that Heidegger is a traditionalist of sorts, and that, for Heidegger, something like a “primordial tradition” does indeed exist (though it is markedly different from the conceptions of Guénon and Evola). In short, through an engagement with Heidegger’s thought, and how it would respond to Traditionalism, we can arrive at a more adequate traditionalist perspective — one that shares a great many of the values and beliefs of Guénon and Evola, while placing these on a surer philosophical footing. In turn, I will also show that there are limits to Heidegger’s own approach, and that it is flawed in certain ways. Here we achieve a perfect symmetry, for these flaws are perceptible from a traditionalist perspective, broadly speaking. What I will have to say on this latter topic will also be of great interest to anyone influenced by Ásatrú, or the Germanic pagan revivalist movement.

In the end, we will not arrive simply at a fusion of Heidegger and Traditionalism, since both are transformed through the dialogue into which I put them. We will arrive instead at a new philosophical perspective, a new beginning and a new “program” for Western philosophy, one that has rejected Western metaphysics and that seeks to prepare the way for something yet to come, something beyond the modern and the “post-modern.” This new beginning is possible because the groundwork was laid by Heidegger, Guénon, and Evola (to name only three).


The project described above is quite ambitious, and it cannot be carried out in a single essay. Thus, the present text is the first in a series of several projected essays. (The outline of the series is presented as an Appendix, at the end of this essay.) Here, I will limit myself to a basic survey of Heidegger in relation to Traditionalism, his knowledge of Traditionalist writings, and the criticisms he would likely have leveled against this school of thought.

2. Anti-Modernism in Heidegger and the Traditionalists

The primary reason Heidegger gets associated with Guénon and Evola is that all three were trenchant critics of modernity. Heidegger and the Traditionalists hold that modernity is a period of decline, that it is a falling away from an “originary” [2] [5] position that was qualitatively different, and immeasurably superior. Further, the terms in which these authors critique modernity are often remarkably similar.

Consider these lines from Heidegger’s Introduction to Metaphysics, worth quoting at length because they sound like they could have come straight out of Guénon’s The Reign of Quantity and Signs of the Times:

When the farthest corner of the globe has been conquered technologically and can be exploited economically; when any incident you like, at any time you like, becomes accessible as fast as you like; when you can simultaneously “experience” an assassination attempt against a king in France and a symphony concert in Tokyo; when time is nothing but speed, instantaneity, and simultaneity, and time as history has vanished from all Dasein of all peoples; when a boxer counts as the great man of a people; when the tallies of millions at mass meetings are a triumph; then, yes then, there still looms like a specter over all this uproar the question: what for? — where to? — and what then? The spiritual decline of the earth has progressed so far that peoples are in danger of losing their last spiritual strength, the strength that makes it possible even to see the decline [which is meant in relation to the fate of “Being”] and to appraise it as such. This simple observation has nothing to do with cultural pessimism — nor with any optimism either, of course; for the darkening of the world, the flight of the gods, the destruction of the earth, the reduction of human beings to a mass, the hatred and mistrust of everything creative and free has already reached such proportions throughout the whole earth that such childish categories as pessimism and optimism have long become laughable. [3] [6]

In a later passage, Heidegger emphatically reiterates much of this: “We said: on the earth, all over it, a darkening of the world is happening. The essential happenings in this darkening are: the flight of the gods, the destruction of the earth, the reduction of human beings to a mass, the preeminence of the mediocre.” [4] [7] Consider also this passage:

All things sank to the same level, to a surface resembling a blind mirror that no longer mirrors, that casts nothing back. The prevailing dimension became that of extension and number. To be able — this no longer means to spend and to lavish, thanks to lofty overabundance and the mastery of energies; instead, it means only practicing a routine in which anyone can be trained, always combined with a certain amount of sweat and display. In America and Russia, then, this all intensified until it turned into the measureless so-on and so-forth of the ever-identical and the indifferent, until finally this quantitative temper became a quality of its own. By now in those countries the predominance of a cross-section of the indifference is no longer something inconsequential and merely barren but is the onslaught of that which aggressively destroys all rank and all that is world-spiritual, and portrays these as a lie. This is the onslaught of what we call the demonic [in the sense of the destructively evil]. [5] [8]

Finally, let us consider a passage from a later text, What Is Called Thinking? (1953):

The African Sahara is only one kind of wasteland. The devastation of the earth can easily go hand in hand with a guaranteed supreme living standard for man, and just as easily with the organized establishment of a uniform state of happiness for all men. Devastation can be the same as both, and can haunt us everywhere in the most unearthly way — by keeping itself hidden. Devastation does not just mean a slow sinking into the sands. Devastation is the high-velocity expulsion of Mnemosyne. The words, “the wasteland grows,” come from another realm than the current appraisals of our age. Nietzsche said, “the wasteland grows” nearly three quarters of a century ago. And he added, “Woe to him who hides wastelands within.” [6] [9]


These passages give a fairly good summation of the essentials of Heidegger’s critique of modernity, which is worked out in much greater detail in his entire oeuvre. (Arguably, Heidegger’s confrontation with modernity is the central feature of his entire philosophy.) We may note here, especially, four major points. [7] [10] I will set these out below, along with quotations from Guénon’s Reign of Quantity, for comparison:

(a) The predominance of the “quantitative” in modernity; the triumph of the quantitative over the qualitative:

Guénon: “The descending movement of manifestation, and consequently that of the cycle of which it is an expression, takes place away from the positive or essential pole of existence toward its negative or substantial pole, and the result is that all things must progressively take on a decreasingly qualitative and an increasingly quantitative aspect; and that is why the last period of the cycle must show a very special tendency toward the establishment of a ‘reign of quantity.’” [8] [11]

(b) The cancellation of distance in the modern period; the increasing “speed” of modernity:

Guénon: “[Events] are being unfolded nowadays with a speed unexampled in the earlier ages, and this speed goes on increasing and will continue to increase up to the end of the cycle; there is thus something like a progressive ‘contraction’ of duration, the limit of which corresponds to the ‘stopping-point’ previously alluded to; it will be necessary to return to a special consideration of these matters later on, and to explain them more fully.” [9] [12]


“The increase in the speed of events, as the end of the cycle draws near, can be compared to the acceleration that takes place in the fall of heavy bodies: the course of the development of the present humanity closely resembles the movement of a mobile body running down a slope and going faster as it approaches the bottom . . .” [10] [13]

(c) Modernity’s leveling effect; the destruction of an order of rank:

Guénon: “It is no less obvious that differences of aptitude cannot in spite of everything be entirely suppressed, so that a uniform education will not give exactly the same results for all; but it is all too true that, although it cannot confer on anyone qualities that he does not possess, it is on the contrary very well fitted to suppress in everyone all possibilities above the common level; thus the ‘leveling’ always works downward: indeed, it could not work in any other way, being itself only an expression of the tendency toward the lowest, that is, toward pure quantity . . .” [11] [14]

(d) Modernity’s reduction of everything to uniformity:

Guénon: “A mere glance at things as they are is enough to make it clear that the aim is everywhere to reduce everything to uniformity, whether it be human beings themselves or the things among which they live, and it is obvious that such a result can only be obtained by suppressing as far as possible every qualitative distinction . . .” [12] [15]


In later works, Heidegger explicitly ties modernity’s will towards uniformity to the “mechanization” of human beings. The spirit of technology becomes so totalizing that finally human beings themselves are “requisitioned” (to use a Heideggerian expression) and integrated as subsidiary mechanisms within the vast machine of modernity. In this connection, consider this passage from Guénon, worth quoting at length:

Servant of the machine, the man must become a machine himself, and thenceforth his work has nothing really human in it, for it no longer implies the putting to work of any of the qualities that really constitute human nature. The end of all this is what is called in present-day jargon ‘mass-production,’ the purpose of which is only to produce the greatest possible quantity of objects, and of objects as exactly alike as possible, intended for the use of men who are supposed to be no less alike; that is indeed the triumph of quantity, as was pointed out earlier, and it is by the same token the triumph of uniformity. These men who are reduced to mere numerical ‘units’ are expected to live in what can scarcely be called houses, for that would be to misuse the word, but in ‘hives’ of which the compartments will all be planned on the same model, and furnished with objects made by ‘mass-production,’ in such a way as to cause to disappear from the environment in which the people live every qualitative difference. [13] [16]

One last quotation from Guénon: “Man ‘mechanized’ everything and ended at last by mechanizing himself, falling little by little into the condition of numerical units, parodying unity, yet lost in the uniformity and indistinction of the ‘masses,’ that is, in pure multiplicity and nothing else. Surely that is the most complete triumph of quantity over quality that can be imagined.” [14] [17]

It would be pointless to amass further such quotations from Guénon since his work is replete with them — and since many of my readers are much more familiar with Guénon’s work than with Heidegger’s. It would be equally pointless to quote the many virtually identical observations from Evola (who is probably much more familiar to my readers even than Guénon). A substantial amount of Evola’s work is occupied with elaborating and extending Guénon’s critique of modernity, to which Evola devoted entire volumes (e.g., Revolt Against the Modern World, Ride the Tiger, Men Among the Ruins, etc.). However, their positions diverge when Evola advocates that the superior man respond to modernity by “riding the tiger” (i.e., utilizing certain negative elements of the modern world, which might destroy lesser men, for the positive purpose of self-realization).

3. The Evola Quotation in Heidegger’s Nachlass

The foregoing has hopefully demonstrated to the reader that Heidegger and Guénon held strikingly similar views on modernity. Although Heidegger knew individuals who respected Guénon (e.g., Carl Schmitt and Ernst Jünger), no evidence has emerged that Heidegger actually read Guénon’s work. Very recently, however, evidence has emerged that Heidegger read Evola. However, far from supporting the idea that Heidegger was influenced by Evola or sympathetic to him, an examination of this evidence will demonstrate exactly where Heidegger parts company with Traditionalism. [15] [20]


Amongst Heidegger’s Nachlass (the papers left behind after his death) a handwritten note has been found in which the philosopher quotes a passage from Friedrich Bauer’s 1935 German translation of Revolt Against the Modern World (Erhebung wider die moderne Welt). Here is the passage as Heidegger copied it out:

Wenn eine Rasse die Berührung mit dem, was allein Beständigkeit hat und geben kann — mit der Welt des Seyns — verloren hat, dann sinken die von ihr gebildeten kollektiven Organismen, welches immer ihre Größe und Macht sei, schicksalhaft in die Welt der Zufälligkeit herab.

And here is a translation:

When a race has lost contact with what alone has and can give it permanence [or “stability,” Beständigkeit] — with the world of Beyng [Seyns] then the collective organisms formed by it, whatever be their greatness and power, are destined to sink down into the world of contingency.

For comparison, here is the entire passage from Bauer’s text:

Wenn eine Rasse die Berührung mit dem, was allein Beständigkeit hat und geben kann — mit der Welt des “Seins” — verloren hat, dann sinken die von ihr gebildeten kollektiven Organismen, welches immer ihre Größe und Macht sei, schicksalhaft in die Welt der Zufälligkeit herab: werden Beute des Irrationalen, des Veränderlichen, des “Geschichtichen,” dessen, was von unten und von außen her bedingt ist. [16] [21]

We immediately notice two things when Heidegger’s handwritten version is compared to the original. First, Heidegger has rendered Sein as Seyn. [17] [22] Second, Heidegger replaces a colon with a period and omits the last part of the sentence entirely. The part after the colon can be translated as follows: “[to] become prey to the irrational, the changeable, the ‘historical,’ of what is conditioned from below and from the outside.” Why did Heidegger make these changes? Fully answering this question will allow us to see that Heidegger actually rejects Evola’s Traditionalism in the most fundamental terms possible.

First of all, it is likely that this undated note comes from sometime in the 1930s. During this time, Heidegger began utilizing Seyn, an archaic German spelling of Sein (Being). [18] [23] But why? What did this signify? It was not simply eccentricity on Heidegger’s part. By Seyn, Heidegger meant something distinct from Sein, which refers to the Being that beings have (“Being as such”). Seyn instead refers to what Heidegger calls elsewhere “the clearing” (die Lichtung). This metaphorical expression refers to a clearing in a forest, which allows light to enter in and illuminate what stands within the clearing. Thomas Sheehan describes Heidegger’s clearing as “the always already opened-up ‘space’ that makes the being of things (phenomenologically: the intelligibility of things) possible and necessary.” [19] [24] The clearing is what “gives” Being.


Heidegger writes in “The End of Philosophy and the Task of Thinking” (1964):

The forest clearing is experienced in contrast to dense forest, called Dickung in our older language. The substantive “opening” [Lichtung] goes back to the verb “open” [lichten]. The adjective licht “open” is the same word as “light.” To open something means: to make something light, free and open, e.g., to make the forest free of trees at one place. The openness thus originating is the clearing. . . . Light can stream into the clearing, into its openness, and let brightness play with darkness in it. But light never first creates openness. Rather, light presupposes openness. However, the clearing, the opening, is not only free for brightness and darkness, but also for resonance and echo, for sounding and the diminishing of sound. The clearing is the open region for everything that becomes present and absent. . . . What the word [opening] designates in the connection we are now thinking, free openness, is a “primal phenomenon” [Urphänomenon], to use a word of Goethe’s. [20] [25]

Consider a simple example. I approach an unfamiliar object sitting on my doorstep. I cannot place it; try as I might it remains a mystery. But as I approach closer still, all is revealed: I see now that it is an Amazon box. In this moment, what has occurred is that the Being of the object — what it is, what its meaning is — becomes present to me. [21] [26] In order for this to be possible at all, I must bear within me a certain special sort of “openness,” within which the Being of something makes itself known or makes itself present. [22] [27]

Contrary to how empiricists tend to conceive things, I don’t actually experience myself as hanging a label onto the object or slotting it within a mental category. This is an analysis after the fact of experience, not what I actually experience. If we are truer to the phenomenon than the empiricists (i.e., if we are good phenomenologists) we have to report that the experience is actually one in which the Being of the thing seems to “come forth,” or to display itself as we explore the object. But, again, this is only possible because of the “openness” referred to earlier. In this openness, Being displays itself; it is “lit up” within the space of the metaphorical “clearing.”


Thus, for Heidegger it is possible to speak of something deeper or more ultimate than Being itself (hence, an Urphänomenon): that which allows our encounter with the Being of beings in the first place; the open clearing. When Heidegger famously refers to “the forgottenness of Being” (Vergessenheit des Seins) he is actually referring to the forgottenness of the clearing. [23] [28] The clearing is forgotten in the sense that we have forgotten that in virtue of which Being is given to us. As I will discuss later, Heidegger holds that the Western metaphysical tradition, beginning with the Pre-Socratics, systematically forgets the clearing, and he traces all of our modern ills to this forgetting. He writes: “In fact, the history of Western thought begins, not by thinking what is most thought-provoking, but by letting it remain forgotten.” [24] [29]

Now, by contrast, when Evola speaks of “the world of being” (Welt des Seins; mondo di essere) in this passage and elsewhere, he is referring to a Platonic realm of timeless essences that are the true beings, in contrast to the changeful, impermanent terrestrial beings we encounter with the five senses. Traditionalism is heavily dependent on this Platonic metaphysics. Consider, for example, Evola’s words from the very beginning of Revolt:

In order to understand both the spirit of Tradition and its antithesis, modern civilization, it is necessary to begin with the fundamental doctrine of the two natures. According to this doctrine there is a physical order of things and a metaphysical one; there is a mortal nature and an immortal one; there is the superior realm of “being” and the inferior realm of “becoming.” Generally speaking, there is a visible and tangible dimension and, prior to and beyond it, an invisible and intangible dimension that is the support, the source, and the true life of the former. [25] [30]

Not only does Heidegger reject this Platonic metaphysics, he sees it as the first major stage in the decline of the West. Its inception is essentially identical with the “forgottenness” of the clearing spoken of a moment ago. All the aspects of modernity Heidegger was quoted earlier as deploring are ultimately traceable, he believes, to Platonic metaphysics. Thus, Heidegger completely rejects the idea that a “race” declines when it has “lost contact” with being, in the Platonic sense of “being” meant by Evola. Quite the reverse: a race — our race — has declined precisely through its turn toward Platonic metaphysics, and its turn away from the clearing. Thus, when Heidegger swaps Sein for Seyn, he is entirely changing the meaning of what Evola is saying. He is rewriting the passage so that it agrees with his own position: the decline of the West stems from its forgottenness of Seyn (the clearing) and its embrace of the Platonic Sein of the Western metaphysical tradition.


Heidegger omits the last part of Evola’s sentence for similar reasons. Let us look again at those words. Evola tells us that when a race has lost contact with “the world of being” it will “become prey to the irrational, the changeable, the ‘historical,’ of what is conditioned from below and from the outside.” Heidegger omits these words because he rejects Evola’s dichotomy between “being” and “the historical.” Heidegger argues, in fact, that Beyng/the clearing is inherently historical (geschichtlich), and changeable (veränderlich). The Being of things actually changes as culture changes. This is the same thing, fundamentally, as saying that the meaning of things changes over time.

But could the Being/meaning of the Amazon box on my doorstep ever change? Of course. Imagine a future world without Amazon, or one in which Amazon has been declared a monopoly and broken up into a number of different, competing entities. No more Amazon boxes on doorsteps. When you do see them, you see them in museums and you no longer see them simply as utilitarian objects. You no longer think, on glimpsing one, “Oh, my copy of Being and Time has arrived,” or some such. Instead, the Amazon box takes on a new meaning: as a symbol of a dark time we are, happily, well beyond; a time in which we allowed companies like Amazon not only to corner the market and put all smaller competitors out of business, but to shape the information we have access to through censorship and the banning of books [31].

Thus, if the Being or meaning that things have for us changes over the course of history, as culture and circumstances change, then, contra Evola, Being is inescapably “changeable” and “historical.” Evola also says that a race which loses contact with his idea of being falls prey to “the irrational” (das Irrational, in the German translation). Would Heidegger endorse this as well? Is his idea of Being “irrational”? Well, Heidegger does argue that historical-cultural shifts in Being/meaning are not fully intelligible to human beings. The reason for this is that it is always within Beyng/the clearing that things are meaningful or intelligible to us. It therefore follows that Beyng/the clearing itself is not ultimately intelligible. In a highly qualified sense, we could thus describe it as “irrational.” That Evola implicitly endorses the equation of being with “the rational” in this passage is extremely ironic. As we will see in a later installment, Heidegger argues that this equation is a key feature of the modern inflection of the Western metaphysical tradition, and that all the modern maladies Evola decries are ultimately attributable to it.

imagesMHpenser.jpgHeidegger would have regarded Guénon and Evola as philosophically naïve—for several reasons. First, they uncritically appropriate the Western metaphysical tradition in the name of combating modernity. Yet, as I have already mentioned, Heidegger argues that that tradition is implicated in the decline of the West. Second, the Traditionalists naïvely assert that this metaphysical tradition is “perennial” or timeless. They take Platonism as preserving elements of a primordial tradition that antedates Plato by millennia. They hold that the time of Plato belongs to the Kali Yuga (the fourth age, the decadent “Iron Age”), but they take Plato (and other ancient philosophers) to be preserving an older, indeed timeless wisdom. However, this is pure speculation, for which there is no solid scholarly evidence. [26] [32]

A further Heideggerian objection to Traditionalism may be considered at this point, and it is an extremely serious one. Both Heidegger and the Traditionalists decry rootless modern individualism. However, Heidegger’s critique goes much further. Recall that for the philosopher Being is inherently historical and changeable. What things are for us, or what they mean, is determined in part by our historical situation. Human Dasein is always embedded in a set of concrete historical, cultural circumstances. Heidegger writes: “Only insofar as the human being exists in a definite history are beings given, is truth given. There is no truth given in itself; rather, truth is decision and fate for human beings; it is something human.” [27] [33] This does not, however, mean that truth, as human, is something “subjective”:

We are not humanizing the essence of truth: to the contrary, we are determining the essence of human beings on the basis of truth. Man is transposed into the various gradations of truth. Truth is not above or in man, but man is in truth. Man is in truth inasmuch as truth is this happening of the unconcealment of things on the basis of creative projection. Each individual does not consciously carry out this creative projection; instead, he is already born into a community; he already grows up within a quite definite truth, which he confronts to a greater or lesser degree. Man is the one whose history displays the happening of truth. [28] [34]


As a result of this stance, Heidegger rejects both the Enlightenment ideal of a “view from nowhere,” as well as rootless, modern cosmopolitanism.

Consider, however, the following lines from The Reign of Quantity. Guénon writes disapprovingly of “those among the moderns who consider themselves to be outside all religion” —  i.e., freethinking individualists. He asserts that such men are “at the extreme opposite point from those who, having penetrated to the principial unity of all the traditions, are no longer tied to any particular form.” This latter position, of course, is that of Guénonian Traditionalism itself. In a footnote, he then approvingly quotes Ibn ‘Arabî: “My heart has become capable of all forms: it is a pasture for gazelles and a monastery for Christian monks, and a temple for idols, and the Kaabah of the pilgrim, and the table of the Thorah and the book of the Quran. I am the religion of Love, whatever road his camels may take; my religion and my faith are the true religion.” [29] [35]

Though Guénon contrasts the position of the modern freethinker to the Traditionalist, Heidegger would doubtless argue that there is a fundamental identity between them. The freethinker imagines that he has freed himself from any cultural-religious context and become a kind of intellectual or spiritual cosmopolitan. Yet the Traditionalist thinks the exact same thing. The only difference is that the freethinker believes he has cast off religion or “spirituality” itself, whereas the Traditionalist imagines that he adheres to a decontextualized, ahistorical, and universal spiritual construct called “Tradition.” This standpoint too is fundamentally modern.


One might object, however, that Guénon’s decision to convert to Islam and “go native” in Cairo, where he spent the last twenty years of his life, indicates that he was aware that tradition could not be a free-floating abstraction, and that to be a true Traditionalist one had to choose a living tradition and immerse oneself in it. This is true, as a statement of Guénon’s views. But the very idea that one can choose a tradition buys into the modern conception of the autonomous self who may, from a standpoint of detachment from any cultural or historical context, survey the different traditions and select one. It is no use here to point out that all Muslims must, in a sense, “choose” Islam, as it is not an ethnic religion but a creedal one, whose faith all adherents must profess, and to which anyone may convert. This is a valid point, but a superficial one. Islam emerged from a cultural and historical context quite alien to the West, and which no Westerner may ever truly enter.

4. Conclusion

Let us now consider a couple of objections to this Heideggerian critique of Traditionalism.

First, defenders of Traditionalism might respond that Guénon and Evola are primarily grounded in the Indian tradition, and not in Western metaphysics at all. There are essentially two pieces of evidence for this claim. The first is Guénon and Evola’s endorsement of the Hindu cyclical account of time, of the yugas, which is indeed quite ancient. Both seem to accept this teaching in very literal terms, right down to the traditional Hindu calculations of the time span of each yuga (which strike most modern readers as arbitrary inventions). Second is the primacy granted by both thinkers to Vedanta. Both Guénon and Evola regard the teachings of the Upanishads as an expression of a very ancient ur-metaphysics, which constitutes a “perennial philosophy.”


The dependence of the Traditionalists on the Indian tradition is very real. The trouble, however, is that they interpret the Indian materials in terms of the categories and terminology of Western metaphysics. Indeed, this is especially true of Guénon, who shows no signs of recognizing that there is anything problematic about understanding the Upanishads in terms derived from Platonic and Aristotelian philosophy. For example, right at the beginning of The Reign of Quantity, Guénon discusses the duality of Purusha and Prakriti using the categories of “essence and substance” — then, a page later, he appeals to “form and matter,” then to “act and potency.” [30] [38] This is all Aristotelian terminology. Moreover, there is no attempt on Guénon’s part to recover the “originary” sense of these terms in Aristotle. Instead, he unhesitatingly adopts the medieval scholastic understanding of these distinctions.

It may be that Guénon thought it was valid to discuss Vedanta in Platonic-Aristotelian terms because he regarded the Platonic tradition as itself an expression of the perennial philosophy. Thus, he simply decided a priori that Vedanta and Platonism are two streams flowing from the same source: primordial Tradition. But, again, this is pure speculation. The bottom line is that Guénon and Evola do accord special primacy to the Indian tradition over Western metaphysics — but they see the former almost entirely through the lens of the latter. Thus, despite their interest in Indian thought, they are still thoroughly beholden to Western metaphysics.


It remains to consider a further, much more significant, objection to these Heideggerian critiques of Traditionalism. The primary objection I have raised against Guénon and Evola is that they are thoroughly committed to Western metaphysics. This is a problem because Heidegger argues that the Western tradition is not only a falling away from a more primordial encounter with Being, it actually makes possible the modern decadence that Traditionalists rightly reject. But why we should follow Heidegger in any of this? Why should we accept Heidegger’s negative evaluation of Western metaphysics? Why should we accept the thesis that Platonic metaphysics made modernity possible? The next essay in this series will be devoted to addressing just these questions. It will be the first of several essays offering a compressed summary and commentary on Heidegger’s history and critique of metaphysics, demonstrating that the claims he makes are both plausible and profound. Heidegger is right in thinking that Western metaphysics lies at the root of modernity. We will begin with Heidegger’s critique of Plato.

What did Heidegger have to say about tradition? In “The Age of the World Picture” (1938) He warns us against “merely negating the age” and writes that “The flight into tradition, out of a combination of humility and presumption, achieves, in itself, nothing, is merely a closing the eyes and blindness towards the historical moment.” [31] [39] But Heidegger also argues that the turn toward metaphysics is a turn away from a more authentic way of encountering Being. It is in this latter conception that we find what may be the equivalent of “primordial tradition” in Heidegger’s thought. One of the conclusions that will be defended in this series of essays is that while Heidegger is clearly not a Guénonian or Evolian Traditionalist, he is actually more traditionalist than the Traditionalists.

Appendix. Outline of the Series:

Part One (the present essay): Why Heidegger and Traditionalism are not compatible; major errors in Traditionalism from a Heideggerian perspective.

Part Two: Heidegger’s history of metaphysics, focusing on his critique of Platonism. This account will deepen our understanding of why Heidegger would regard Traditionalism as a fundamentally modern movement, as well as deepen our understanding of modernity.

Part Three: The continuation of our account of Heidegger’s history of metaphysics, from Plato to Nietzsche. Among other things, Part Three will discuss Evola’s problematic indebtedness to German Idealism, especially J. G. Fichte, whose philosophy (I will argue) is like a vial of fast-acting, concentrated modern poison.

Part Four: From Nietzsche to the present age of post-War modernity, which Heidegger characterizes as das Gestell (“enframing”). Part Four will deal in detail with this fundamental Heideggerian concept, which is central to his critique of technology.

Part Five: How Heidegger proposes that we respond to technological modernity. His project of a “recovery” of a pre-metaphysical standpoint; his “preparation” for the next “dispensation of Beyng.” His phenomenology of authentic human “dwelling” (“the fourfold”), and Gelassenheit.

Part Six: A call for a new philosophical approach, building upon Heidegger and the Traditionalists, while moving beyond them. Three primary components: (1) The recovery of “poetic wisdom” (to borrow a term from G. B. Vico): Heidegger’s project of the recovery of the pre-metaphysical standpoint now applied to myth and folklore, and expanded to include non-Greek sources (e.g., the pre-Christian traditions of Northern Europe); (2) Expanding Heidegger’s project of the “destruction” of the Western tradition to include the Gnostic and Hermetic traditions, Western esotericism, and Western mysticism; (3) Finally, social and cultural criticism from a standpoint informed by the critique of metaphysics, critique of modernity, and recovery of “poetic wisdom.”




[1] [40] I will capitalize the “t” in Traditionalism to indicate the school of Guénon, Evola, et al., as opposed to “traditionalism” in the looser, broader sense of the term. This device is necessary, as I will be using the term in both senses. I should also note that it is primarily the Traditionalism of Guénon and Evola that I am concerned with here. I am comparatively less interested in the “softer” Traditionalism of figures like Coomaraswamy, Schuon, Huston Smith, etc. Most of the objections raised against Guénon and Evola herein would apply to these authors as well.

[2] [41] “Originary” (ursprünglich) is a term frequently used by Heidegger.

[3] [42] Martin Heidegger, Introduction to Metaphysics, trans. Gregory Fried and Richard Polt (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2000), 40-41. This was originally a lecture course given by Heidegger in 1935. It was published for the first time in German in 1953. The material in square brackets was added by Heidegger when the lecture course was published in 1953.

[4] [43] Fried and Polt, 47.

[5] [44] Fried and Polt, 48-49. Bracketed phrase added by Heidegger for the 1953 edition.

[6] [45] Martin Heidegger, What is Called Thinking?, trans. J. Glenn Gray (New York: Harper Perennial, 1968), 30.

[7] [46] One point is omitted from the discussion below, one which my readers might expect me to discuss: “the flight of the gods.” What Heidegger means by this, however, is complicated, and far from obvious. I will discuss this issue in a later essay.

[8] [47] René Guénon, The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times, trans. Lord Northbourne (Hillsdale, NY: Sophia Perennis, 2001), 43.

[9] [48] Reign, 42

[10] [49] Reign, 43. For similar remarks see Julius Evola, Meditations on the Peaks, trans. Guido Stucco (Rochester, Vermont: Inner Traditions, 1998), 45-46.

[11] [50] Reign, 51-52.

[12] [51] Reign, 48.

[13] [52] Reign, pp. 60-61. Compare this to some remarks by Alexandre Kojève: “Hence it would have to be admitted that after the end of history men would construct their edifices and works of art as birds build their nests and spiders spin their webs, would perform their musical concerts after the fashion of frogs and cicadas, would play like young animals and would indulge in love like adult beasts.” See Introduction to the Reading of Hegel, ed. Raymond Queneau and Allan Bloom, trans. James H. Nichols, Jr. (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1969), 159 (footnote).

[14] [53] Reign p. 194.

[15] [54] The discovery of the note in 2015 received some attention in the German press. Writing in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung [55], Thomas Vasek claims that “textual comparisons suggest that Heidegger had not only read Evola, as this note indicates, but was also influenced by his ideas from the mid-thirties on, from his critique of science and technology, his anti-humanism and rejection of Christianity, to his ‘spiritual’ racism.” This is a completely baseless, and, indeed, ludicrous assertion, as I will shortly demonstrate. See Greg Johnson’s analysis of the Heidegger note, and Vasek’s article, here [56].

[16] [57] Julius Evola, Erhebung wider die moderne Welt, trans. Friedrich Bauer (Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 1935), 65. The translator actually leaves out portions of Evola’s text, but since Heidegger only read the translation and not the original, these omissions do not concern us here. For the full passage in English translation, see Julius Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World, trans. Guido Stucco (Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions, 1995), 56-57.

[17] [58] The “s” at the end of Seins/Seyns in the passage simply indicates the genitive case. The nominative is Sein/Seyn.

[18] [59] Anglophone translators of Heidegger have adopted the convention of rendering Seyn as “Beying.”

[19] [60] Thomas Sheehan, Making Sense of Heidegger: A Paradigm Shift (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2015), 20.

[20] [61] Martin Heidegger, Basic Writings, ed. David Farrell Krell (New York: Harper and Row, 1977), 384-385. This essay was translated by Joan Stambaugh; italics added.

[21] [62] Sheehan argues at length that, for Heidegger, Being and meaning are identical.

[22] [63] This way of expressing things should be understood as figurative, and preliminary. Actually, Heidegger wants to entirely avoid a “subjective” treatment of the clearing as some sort of “faculty” or Kantian a priori structure that I “bear within me.” The reason, at root, is that this treatment of the clearing is phenomenologically untrue. I do not, in fact, experience the clearing as something “in me” that is “mine.” Still less do I experience it as something over which I have any kind of influence or control. There is thus no real basis for “subjectivizing” the clearing; for locating it “within the subject.” Indeed, Heidegger critiques the subject/object distinction prevailing in philosophy since Descartes, which locates certain “properties” as “within” a subject, as if this subject is a kind of cabinet in which we dwell, removed from an “external world.” See Heidegger, Being and Time, trans. Joan Stambaugh, rev. Dennis J. Schmidt (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2010), 60-61.

[23] [64] Generally speaking, this is correct. Unfortunately, Heidegger is inconsistent with his use of Sein/Seyn, sometimes referring to Being, sometimes to the clearing that gives Being.

[24] [65] What is Called Thinking?, 152.

[25] [66] Revolt, 3.

[26] [67] The Traditionalists are in much the same position as the Renaissance “Hermeticists” who falsely believed that the Corpus Hermeticum contained an Egyptian wisdom that far antedated Plato and the Greeks, and from whom those philosophers had taken their basic doctrines. In reality, the Corpus Hermeticum was no older than the first century BC, and it derived its doctrines, in large measure, from Plato and his school.

[27] [68] Martin Heidegger, Being and Truth, trans. Gregory Fried and Richard Polt (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 210), 134. Italics in original.

[28] [69] Being and Truth, 136. Italics in original.

[29] [70] Reign, 62-63.

[30] [71] Reign, 11-12.

[31] [72] Martin Heidegger, Off the Beaten Track, trans. Julian Young and Kenneth Haynes (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 72.


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[3] Knowing the Gods: https://counter-currents.com/2020/10/summoning-the-gods-essays-on-paganism-in-a-god-forsaken-world/

[4] Tyr: https://arcanaeuropamedia.com/collections/journal/products/tyr-myth-culture-tradition-vol-1

[5] [2]: #_ftnref2

[6] [3]: #_ftnref3

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[19] here: https://counter-currents.com/what-is-a-rune-other-essays-order/

[20] [15]: #_ftnref15

[21] [16]: #_ftnref16

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[31] the banning of books: https://counter-currents.com/the-white-nationalist-manifesto-order/

[32] [26]: #_ftnref26

[33] [27]: #_ftnref27

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[35] [29]: #_ftnref29

[36] Image: https://counter-currents.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/clearycover.jpg

[37] here: https://counter-currents.com/summoning-the-gods-order/

[38] [30]: #_ftnref30

[39] [31]: #_ftnref31

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[55] Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: https://www.genios.de/document?id=FAZ__FNUWD1201512304749384%7CFAZT__FNUWD1201512304749384

[56] here: https://counter-currents.com/2016/02/notes-on-heidegger-and-evola/

[57] [16]: #_ftn16

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jeudi, 10 décembre 2020

La perception des idées de Martin Heidegger et Carl Schmitt en Chine


La perception des idées de Martin Heidegger et Carl Schmitt en Chine

Par Xie Dongqiang

Traduction de Juan Gabriel Caro Rivera

Ex: https://www.geopolitica.ru/es

Martin Heidegger

Martin Heidegger était un penseur allemand, l'un des plus grands philosophes du XXe siècle. Il a créé la doctrine de l'Être comme l'élément fondamental et indéfinissable, mais faisant partie intégrante de l'univers. Il est l'un des plus éminents représentants de l'existentialisme allemand.

Franz_Brentano_portrait.jpgSelon lui, la philosophie, pendant plus de 2000 ans d'histoire, a prêté attention à tout ce qui a les caractéristiques de l'"être" dans ce monde, y compris le monde lui-même, mais a oublié ce que cela signifie. C'est la "question de vie" de Heidegger, qui traverse toutes ses œuvres comme un fil rouge. Une des sources qui a influencé son interprétation de ce thème a été les travaux de Franz Brentano (photo) sur l'utilisation des différents concepts de l'être dans Aristote. Heidegger commence son œuvre principale, L’Etre et le Temps, par un dialogue tiré du Sophiste de Platon, qui montre que la philosophie occidentale a ignoré le concept d'être parce qu'elle considérait que sa signification allait de soi. Heidegger, pour sa part, exige que toute la philosophie occidentale retrace dès le début toutes les étapes de la formation de ce concept, appelant à un processus de "destruction" de l'histoire de la philosophie. Heidegger définit la structure de l'existence humaine dans son ensemble comme "Sorge" (= le Souci), qui est l'unité de trois moments : "être dans le monde", "courir en avant" et "être avec le monde de l'être". La "Sorge" est la base de "l'analyse existentielle" de Heidegger, comme il l'a appelée dans L'être et le temps. Heidegger pense que pour décrire une expérience, il faut d'abord trouver quelque chose pour laquelle une telle description a un sens. Ainsi, Heidegger déduit sa description de l'expérience à travers le Dasein, pour lequel l'être devient une question. Dans L’Etre et le Temps, Heidegger a critiqué la nature métaphysique abstraite des façons traditionnelles de décrire l'existence humaine, comme l’"animal rationnel", la personnalité, l'être humain, l'âme, l'esprit ou le sujet. Le Dasein ne devient pas la base d'une nouvelle "anthropologie philosophique", mais Heidegger le comprend comme une condition pour la possibilité de quelque chose comme "anthropologie philosophique". Selon Heidegger, le Dasein est "Sorge". Dans la partie sur l'analyse existentielle, Heidegger écrit que le Dasein, qui se trouve jeté au monde entre les choses et les Autres, trouve en lui la possibilité et l'inévitabilité de sa propre mort.

L'essence de la pensée de Heidegger est la suivante : l'individu est l'existence du monde. Parmi tous les mammifères, seuls les humains ont la capacité d'être conscients de leur existence. Ils n'existent pas en tant que "je" associé au monde extérieur, ou en tant qu'entités qui interagissent avec d'autres choses dans ce monde. Les gens existent grâce à l'existence du monde et le monde existe grâce à l'existence des gens. Heidegger pense également que les gens sont en contradiction : ils prédisent une mort imminente, ce qui entraîne des expériences douloureuses et effrayantes.

Quant à l'adoption du Soi et du temps en Chine, Wang Heng souligne dans Foreign Philosophy que cela fait partie de l'existentialisme. Cela est probablement dû à l'atmosphère idéologique de lutte pour la liberté et la libération de l'homme dans les années 1980. Chacun croit que l'existence ou la survie est comprise comme un libre choix de l'individu. Il semble maintenant que la lecture de L'Être et le Temps par les Chinois était un peu inappropriée. Car dans L'Être et le Temps, Heidegger a sévèrement critiqué les valeurs dites modernes de subjectivité, de liberté individuelle et de libération de l'homme.

Heidegger a également des considérations idéologiques plus profondes. Liu Jinglu a souligné dans son article "Sur la critique de la métaphysique traditionnelle de Heidegger" que Heidegger s'intéresse à une question plus fondamentale, la question fondamentale de la métaphysique ou de la philosophie occidentale, et même la question clé de la civilisation occidentale. Heidegger estime que, si nous voulons comprendre l'existence, nous devons partir de l'existence réelle des êtres humains ; "l'être" ne peut être considéré comme un objet réel, tout comme l'existence humaine. L'essence d'un être humain est "l'être", c'est-à-dire que les gens n'ont pas une essence définie. Il est probable que les gens se tournent vers l'avenir et fassent face à leur propre mort.


Après la Première Guerre mondiale, la civilisation occidentale moderne a été confrontée à une grave crise, c'est-à-dire à de profonds doutes sur le rationalisme moderne. Depuis le XVIIIe siècle, les Occidentaux ont senti qu'ils pouvaient comprendre le monde par la raison, la science et la technologie et établir un ordre social et politique rationnel, réalisant ce que Kant appelait la "paix perpétuelle". Mais la Première Guerre mondiale a fortement entamé cette confiance. C'est le contexte idéologique de l'Être et du Temps de Heidegger. Heidegger a posé la question suivante : cette philosophie rationaliste moderne peut-elle vraiment expliquer et transformer le monde ? La conclusion de L’Etre et le Temps est que le rationalisme moderne en tant que base philosophique de la civilisation moderne n'est pas enraciné en lui-même, parce que la connaissance rationnelle des gens est enracinée dans les émotions spécifiques de la vie des gens.

Plus tard, Heidegger a qualifié la crise du monde moderne de nihilisme. Il a déclaré que le nihilisme n'est pas une crise morale, qu'il ne signifie pas que notre vie a perdu son fondement moral, et qu'il n'est même pas une crise des valeurs comme Nietzsche l'a compris. Selon lui, la crise du nihilisme est la crise de toute la civilisation moderne en tant qu'époque technologique. Car l'essence de la technologie est d'abord de transformer l'"être" en un objet reconnaissable, un "être" compréhensible, puis de le conquérir et de le contrôler. La technologie, c'est comme le formatage d'un ordinateur, le formatage de tout. Le monde de l'existence humaine n'a donc plus aucun mystère et plus aucune source de sens. Heidegger a dit qu'à l'ère de la technologie, pourquoi les dieux se sont-ils enfuis ? Parce que les dieux doivent rester là où ils ne peuvent pas être atteints. Au niveau le plus profond, la pensée ultérieure de Heidegger nous oblige à réfléchir à de nombreuses questions fondamentales pour la survie de l'homme à l'ère de la technologie. Car à l'ère de la technologie, les gens sont confrontés non seulement à la fuite des dieux, mais aussi à d'importantes questions éthiques et morales qui sont étroitement liées à nos vies particulières. Heidegger nous demandera s'il y a un domaine que les humains ne peuvent pas comprendre et contrôler. Dans une période ultérieure de sa vie, il a cru que "l'être" est la source de toutes les pensées, et que nous devrions toujours trembler devant lui. Bien que l'être soit hors de portée de nos pensées, toutes nos pensées proviennent de ses dons.

Dans une interview intitulée "À propos de Heidegger et de sa philosophie", le professeur Wu Zengding, du département de philosophie de l'université de Pékin, estime que, bien que l'étude de Heidegger en Chine ait porté à l'origine sur l'Être et le Temps, de nombreux chercheurs se sont penchés sur ses pensées ultérieures, en particulier sur les pensées postérieures aux traditions de la pensée traditionnelle chinoise. Autre exemple : l'implication de Heidegger dans le nazisme et dans d'autres problèmes sont aujourd'hui très populaires dans les milieux universitaires et idéologiques occidentaux ; les universitaires chinois, bien qu'ils soient également concernés par ces questions, ne les considèrent pas comme les plus importantes dans la pensée de Heidegger.


En outre, Wu Zhengding a souligné dans des interviews que l'importance fondamentale de Heidegger pour les universitaires chinois est qu'il leur fournit une référence particulièrement bonne pour comprendre les traditions philosophiques occidentales. Les érudits chinois croyaient inconsciemment que la civilisation occidentale progressait d'une lumière à l'autre et d'un progrès à l'autre : la Grèce antique était le point de départ et la modernité la fin. Mais Heidegger offre l'image inverse de la pensée. Elle aurait pu être pensée aussi bien à l'époque présocratique, à l'époque des Grecs et des Occidentaux qui, à cette époque, auraient pu avoir une compréhension plus réelle et plus profonde de l'"être", mais la civilisation moderne a oublié cette expérience mentale de l'"être".

En outre, Heidegger est également d'une grande importance chez les universitaires chinois pour comprendre la tradition idéologique de la Chine. Par exemple, les universitaires chinois ont utilisé le cadre de la philosophie occidentale ou de la métaphysique pour comprendre la pensée chinoise. Les chercheurs chinois ont donc toujours douté de l'existence de la philosophie dans la Chine ancienne. La science existe-t-elle ? L'épistémologie et la métaphysique existent-elles ? Les universitaires chinois pensent qu'une partie de la pensée chinoise est éthique et une autre métaphysique, mais quelle que soit la manière dont on l'explique, elle ne correspond pas à la philosophie occidentale, c'est-à-dire à la métaphysique. Mais aux yeux de Heidegger, les universitaires chinois auront le sentiment que la métaphysique occidentale elle-même peut être problématique, et qu'il n'est pas nécessaire de l'utiliser comme condition préalable et standard pour comprendre et expliquer la pensée chinoise, ou pour se plier délibérément à une école ou un système occidental particulier.

Carl Schmitt

Carl Schmitt est un théologien, juriste, philosophe, sociologue et théoricien politique allemand. Schmitt est l'une des figures les plus importantes et les plus controversées de la théorie juridique et politique du XXe siècle, grâce à ses nombreux ouvrages sur le pouvoir politique et la violence politique.


Dans La notion du politique, Schmitt a écrit que la principale différence en politique est la différence entre amis et ennemis. C'est ce qui sépare la politique de tout le reste. L'appel judéo-chrétien à aimer ses ennemis s'inscrit parfaitement dans la religion, mais il ne peut être concilié avec la politique, qui implique toujours la vie et la mort. Les philosophes moraux se soucient de la justice, mais la politique n'a rien à voir avec le fait de rendre le monde plus juste. Les échanges économiques ne nécessitent que de la concurrence, pas de l'extinction. La situation est différente en ce qui concerne la politique. Schmitt dit : "La politique est la confrontation la plus intense et la plus extrême". La guerre est la forme la plus violente de la politique, et même s'il n'y a pas de guerre, la politique exige toujours que vous traitiez vos adversaires comme hostiles à ce que vous croyez.

Les conservateurs ont été plus attentifs aux opinions politiques de Schmitt que les libéraux. Schmitt pense que les libéraux ne sont jamais devenus des politiques. Les libéraux ont tendance à être optimistes sur la nature humaine, mais toutes les vraies théories politiques supposent que les gens sont mauvais. Les libéraux croient en la possibilité d'un gouvernement neutre qui peut régler les positions conflictuelles, mais pour Schmitt, comme tout gouvernement ne représente que la victoire d'une faction politique sur une autre, une telle neutralité n'existe pas. Les libéraux insistent sur le fait qu'il existe des groupes sociaux qui ne sont pas limités à l'État ; mais Schmitt estime que le pluralisme est une illusion car aucun État réel n'a permis à d'autres forces, comme la famille ou l'église, de s'opposer à son pouvoir. En bref, les libéraux s'inquiètent des autorités parce qu'ils critiquent la politique, ils ne s'impliquent pas dans la politique.

978-1-137-46659-4.jpgLe professeur Xiao Bin a souligné dans son livre "De l'État, du monde et de la nature humaine à la politique : la construction du concept politique de Schmitt", que l'homme lui-même est un être dangereux. "Il prétend que la politique est un danger pour les gens." La question suivante qui se pose lorsque l'on participe à la politique est d'expliquer ce qu'est la politique, en particulier la nature de la politique. La survie de l'unité nationale exige comme condition préalable une distinction entre ennemis et amis. Une politique fondée sur la séparation des ennemis et des amis est non seulement le destin inévitable de l'unité de la nation et de l'État, mais aussi la base de son existence. Schmitt a une compréhension unique de la nature de la politique : la norme de la politique est de séparer les amis et les ennemis. En fait, ce que nous appelons la politique implique la relation entre un ami et un autre, et la différence est l'intensité de cette différence. Cependant, nous ne pouvons pas ignorer le fait que les origines théologiques les plus secrètes et les plus mystérieuses et le nationalisme allemand ont un niveau de critères différent pour séparer les amis des ennemis.

En matière de politique, l'Est et l'Ouest parlent surtout de la compréhension de la nature humaine. Schmitt a également reconnu ce point : une question fondamentale de la philosophie politique est le débat entre le "mal" ou le "bien" dans la nature humaine. Dans son livre Le concept du politique, Schmitt soutient que les êtres humains sont par nature incertains, imprévisibles et qu'il s'agit toujours d'un problème non résolu. La conception confucéenne chinoise de la nature humaine met davantage l'accent sur le "développement de l'esprit". L'Occident, qui est très différent de l'Orient dans son tempérament spirituel, admire encore plus la "philosophie spirituelle". La civilisation maritime et l'histoire des affaires uniques de l'Occident ont permis à la connaissance et à l'intelligence de pénétrer et de dominer la politique. Selon Schmitt, le "bien" signifie l'existence de la "sécurité", le "mal" signifie le "danger". Le "danger" apporte de la vitalité au monde.

Selon Schmitt, la politique est toujours dominée par la nécessité de distinguer entre amis et ennemis. Les amis et les ennemis ne sont pas créés à partir de rien. Du point de vue de la théorie du contrat social : dans un état de nature, qu'il s'agisse d'un état de coexistence pacifique entre les gens ou d'un état de guerre lorsque les gens vivent ensemble comme des loups, les conflits sont inévitables. Marx a compris que l'État a été créé avant l'antagonisme des classes et que la politique est un produit de la lutte des classes. Cependant, Marx a mis l'accent sur la lutte des classes, et le but ultime est d'éliminer les classes et de supprimer la base économique créée par les classes. Marx a démontré la possibilité de l'élimination des classes, c'est-à-dire la réalisation de la liberté et de la libération de toute l'humanité : le communisme.

imagescs.jpgDu point de vue ci-dessus, la politique émerge des conflits humains et les phénomènes politiques de la société humaine sont inévitablement associés aux conflits et à la coopération. Même si vous comprenez la politique en termes de bonté et de moralité, comme Aristote, elle ne peut pas cacher l'existence du mal. Sous le bien suprême se trouve la crise du mal. L'homme est l'existence de l'incertitude, l'homme est un animal politique naturel, et où qu'il soit, il y aura des conflits. Dans les conflits, il y aura inévitablement deux camps opposés et la politique ne peut pas se débarrasser du conflit... Les deux aspects du conflit et de la confrontation nous donnent une base logique pour la division en amis et ennemis.

Schmitt a une vision pessimiste et négative du monde humain du point de vue de la théologie religieuse. L'état idéal de perfection n'existe que dans le Royaume de Dieu. Même la paix de Dieu serait inévitablement libérée de l'inimitié et des conflits. Ce mysticisme pessimiste détruit le caractère actif et optimiste des gens. Marx appelait la religion l'opium du peuple. La vie politique doit être construite sur la base matérielle d'une époque particulière. Bien que Schmitt ait attaqué le marxisme, sa philosophie politique n'a apparemment pas réussi à se libérer des chaînes de la théologie. Cette recherche de l'éternité et de la métaphysique absolue relie la philosophie politique à de mystérieuses traditions théologiques et souligne le statut absolu des facteurs politiques. La vision politique de l'ennemi et de l'ami fournit une méthode d'argumentation et affaiblit le souci humaniste qui existe dans la tradition de la philosophie politique occidentale.

La vision politique des ennemis et des amis de Carl Schmitt est la clé de notre compréhension de son concept politique. Plusieurs expositions, comparaisons et même arguments autour des pensées politiques de Schmitt sur les ennemis et les amis dans l'histoire ne sont pas sans fondement. Selon la compréhension de Gao Quanxi, il l'a même appelé "un penseur plein de mordant". Sous le couvert du nationalisme, Schmitt a compris la politique comme un ennemi de l'État national et l'a combattue. L'idée de théologie politique indique, à un niveau plus profond, que ce qui distingue les ennemis du Christ et lutte contre eux est la politique. Selon lui, "le lien systématique entre les prémisses théologiques et politiques est clair. Cependant, la participation théologique tend à confondre les concepts politiques car elle fait entrer la division des ennemis et des amis dans le domaine de la théologie morale". Avec une vision aussi pessimiste de la nature humaine, il n'est pas difficile d'adopter une attitude sceptique et jalouse à l'égard de la nature humaine. L'énoncé du mal sexuel dans un sens existentiel souligne que le contenu des actions humaines est entièrement déterminé par des impulsions, comme les animaux, et croit que cela est inévitable en fin de compte, ce qui vient de leur foi chrétienne. La vision politique que Schmitt a des amis et des ennemis est une combinaison de ces deux niveaux.

dimanche, 12 avril 2020

Günter Figal: Nietzsche und Heidegger über die Kunst der Moderne


Günter Figal: Nietzsche und Heidegger über die Kunst der Moderne (21.01.2010)

Ringvorlesung der Nietzsche-Forschungsstelle der Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften am Deutschen Seminar der Universität Freiburg in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Studium generale. Gottfried Benn nannte Nietzsche das "größte Ausstrahlungsphänomen der Geistesgeschichte". Entscheidend wirkte er auf Thomas Mann, Hofmannsthal, Musil, Benn, Freud und Heidegger. Zahlreiche Autoren weltweit stehen bis heute im Bann seines revolutionär modernen Denkens. Ausgehend von Erfahrungen des 19. Jahrhunderts, entwickelte Nietzsche eine intellektuelle Sprengkraft, die bestehende Wertvorstellungen, gewohnte Formen des Philosophierens und auch die Konventionen der Wissenschaft erschütterte. An der Schwelle zum 20. Jahrhundert wurde er eine Leitfigur moderner Lebensphilosophie, Kulturkritik und Anthropologie. Die Vorlesungsreihe, bei der führende Nietzsche-Spezialisten zu Wort kommen, will alle diese Aspekte umfassend beleuchten.

samedi, 11 mai 2019

Why We Should Read Heidegger


Why We Should Read Heidegger

by Matt McManus

Ex: https://quillette.com

This the final instalment in a series of essays by Matt McManus examining the work and legacies of the totalitarian philosophers.

I must make a confession here: Martin Heidegger was one of the first philosophers I really and truly loved. When I was around 19 years old, one of the summer jobs I worked was as a traffic counter. We were responsible for counting the number of cars that went through street lights, which needless to say was a profoundly boring task. I often passed the time by reading, and began delving into philosophy for the first time—there is something about sitting by the side of the road for 11 hours that enables speculation. Heidegger’s dense and strange books were often infuriatingly opaque, but once I began to understand them I was thrilled. Here was someone who thought and wrote in a way that no one else seemed to, and who was emphatically unafraid of tackling the biggest and most novel philosophical questions. As a critical young man, I was also enraptured with his damning critique of modernity and especially technology. I was so absorbed by it that I identified as a Heideggerian well into my early PhD, writing an undergraduate thesis on “authenticity” and my L.L.M thesis on Heidegger, Wittgenstein, and Anglo-American legal theory.

Unfortunately, this admiration was always tempered by a significant counterweight; the awkward matter of Heidegger’s politics. My father was a human rights lawyer who made his living prosecuting ex-pat Nazis hiding in Canada, and I was brought up in a household in which the evils of the Hitler regime were transparently visible. When I was 12 years old, I started to volunteer for a number of human rights groups, and learned more about the horrors of Nazism from survivors and commentators. This shocked my young conscience. How could my philosophical hero, a man who embodied all the intellectual virtues I admired—critical mindedness, creativity, an emphasis on authenticity—relate himself to Nazism? This question only became more challenging as the depth of his association with Nazism and anti-Semitism became clearer to me.

Heidegger and Politics

In this series so far I have written pieces analyzing the work of Rousseau, Marx, and Nietzsche. Each remains a controversial thinker, and with good reason. But, unlike these earlier figures, Heidegger is not simply peripherally or problematically associated with a damning political movement. Rousseau wrote many worrying things about the authority to be ceded to the “General Will,” but never lived to see the Jacobins unleash the terror in its name. Karl Marx was a revolutionary who was certainly unafraid of violence, but would most likely have been horrified by the totalitarian movements erected in his name. Nietzsche was, of course, no liberal or egalitarian, but he also was an unrelenting foe of German nationalism who would have found the Nazi appropriation of his writings comical were the consequences not so devastating.

hei.jpgBut Heidegger not only joined the Nazi party, he remained a member until it ceased to exist at the end of the Second World War. He attended conferences for Nazi intellectuals, at which he delivered speeches. Heidegger infamously reported faculty members to the gestapo if he regarded them as insufficiently loyal to the new regime. And, even after the war, when the full horrors of the Nazis’ crimes became apparent, he had little to say in repentance or critique. Heidegger’s most public attempt to explain his support for Nazism—a 1966 interview with Der Spiegel magazine—was detailed but notably free of self-examination. This raises a serious problem, as Richard Rorty pointed out in his essay on Heidegger in Philosophy and Social Hope. How could one of the greatest thinkers of the twentieth century ally himself with its most sinister and monstrous political movement?

To understand this development, it helps to understand Heidegger’s critique of modernity and modern life. This Heidegger presented for the first time in Being and Time and subsequently developed in Introduction to Metaphysics and his later work on technology and the history of Western thought. For Heidegger, modern thought is in some respects a regression from the truly epochal thinking of earlier ages. Where the Greeks, especially the pre-Socratics were willing to tackle the biggest questions of human life, most modern people were largely unconcerned with such seemingly abstract and uncommercial questions. Figures like Parmenides pondered questions such as “What is Being?” and associated the answer with a whole range of issues pertaining to the meaning of existence and, by extension, human life.

By contrast, later thinkers like Descartes asked a narrower set of questions. Rather than concerning themselves with Being itself, they asked instead “How can I think what is true?” This may seem like an innocuous shift, but it heralded a movement towards what would later be called technical reason. As modernity continued on its course, questions about existence and its meaning were increasingly dismissed in favor of “technical questions” such as “How can I understand the empirical world accurately, so it can be manipulated in my interests?” Modern people were unconcerned with “Why there is something instead of nothing at all,” which for Heidegger was the key question of metaphysics, and indeed for the human life of Dasein—that being for whom Being is a question. Instead, they wanted to generate ever more powerful systems of knowledge, such as the technical sciences, so the world could be more easily broken down and instrumentalized. The “enframing” of the world which results from technical reason blocks us from developing our more authentic selves. As he put it in “The Question Concerning Technology“:

Enframing blocks the shining-forth and holding-sway of truth. The destining that sends into ordering is consequently the extreme danger. What is dangerous is not technology. There is no demonry of technology, but rather there is the mystery of its essence. The essence of technology, as a destining of revealing, is the danger. The transformed meaning of the word “Enframing” will perhaps become somewhat more familiar to us now if we think Enframing in the sense of destining and danger. The threat to man does not come in the first instance from the potentially lethal machines and apparatus of technology. The actual threat has already affected man in his essence. The rule of Enframing threatens man with the possibility that it could be denied to him to enter into a more original revealing and hence to experience the call of a more primal truth.

The ascendancy of technical reason and instrumentalization, Heidegger thought, generated highly inauthentic individuals who were unable to live meaningful lives. This is because the primary purpose of existence was regarded as the pursuit of a kind of materialist satisfaction. This was true across political forms, which is partly why Heidegger claimed that the hyper-partisan distinction between Left and Right is actually trivial. Both liberal capitalism and its great rival communism are equally devoted to the modernist pursuit of materialist satisfaction. The only difference between them is over the most efficient means to pursue that goal. They are “metaphysically the same” in their efforts to “enframe” the world using technical reason, and result in the same belief about the point of existence.

black.jpgBy contrast, Heidegger stressed that materialist satisfaction can never provide a truly meaningful existence. On the contrary, it can only produce tremendous anxiety as we recognize that the limitations of our lives and the inevitability of death will one day bring the party to an end. At that point, our pursuit of material satisfaction and wealth will turn out to have been meaningless. Heidegger argues that many of us realize this, and feel contempt for the vulgarity and emptiness of our societies. Nevertheless, rather than acknowledge this uncomfortable fact, we retreat into the inauthentic world of “das man” or the “they.” We try to ignore the inevitability of our annihilation by conforming to the expectations of consumer society, disregarding the deeper questions that drive us, and believing that, as long as we go about our business, death—and the confrontation with our own inauthenticity—can be postponed indefinitely.

For Heidegger, this frightened retreat into the world of the “they” was symptomatic of the impact of technical reason and instrumentalization across the world. Being and Time was a call for authenticity in an age apparently dedicated to running from it. Authenticity would mean facing up to the reality of our own future annihilation, and to try and live beyond the “they” by committing ourselves to a truly great project which will provide our lives with a worthy end. This project will of course be doomed to ultimate failure, because the finiteness of time available to us will ensure it is never fully completed. But the meaning of our lives comes from choosing as worthy a project as possible and pursuing it with as much dedication as one can muster.

This is an immensely inspiring critique, and I can only gesture at its power in this short article. Many commentators, myself included, tend to interpret Being and Time as a call for a unique form of individualism. This isn’t what one might call liberal individualism, which Heidegger associated with technical reason and the world of the “they.” Liberal individualism meant little more than mindless conformity, as each indistinguishable figure went about pursuing their menial pleasures in cooperation and competition with one another. It is also philosophically implausible for Heidegger. The atomistic conceit of figures like Jefferson or Mill, that we are “born free” and use technical reason to analyze the world from scratch, was a vulgarization of true philosophy. Heidegger repeatedly stressed that we are always “thrown” into a world of social meanings that fundamentally shape our outlook on the world. The authentic individuality Heidegger favored comes from making use of these meanings to shape something fundamentally new, but which grows organically out of what came before. But this of course means that a decadent and damaged society will not provide its members with the tools necessary to live authentic existences. It must therefore be condemned and refashioned as necessary.

This hostility to liberalism and communism explains a great deal of the attraction Heidegger felt towards Nazism. Its reverence for the traditional practices and beliefs of the German volk and its call for the liberal individual to surrender himself to a greater collective cause must have appealed to him a great deal, both in its conservative and radical dimensions. There also seems to be a sense in which the earlier anti-liberal individualism of Being and Time gives way to a more social vision. The most obvious example of this was the way his concept of Dasein—which he had earlier used to refer to a singular “being” who questioned the nature of “Being”—is given a twist in the Rectoral address. Now it referred to the nation and its destiny.

Heidegger’s writings during that period seem to reflect this new emphasis, reaching a pitch in his criticisms of liberalism and communism, and his suggestion that Nazi Germany had a unique destiny in rescuing the Western world. Some of this may also be attributable to personal arrogance on Heidegger’s part, and his belief that a totalitarian political movement could carry out the kind of sweeping philosophical reforms he wished to see take place on a grand scale. Heidegger later admitted that he was naïve when it came to politics, though I think his lover Hannah Arendt expressed it better. He was a great fool to think that Nazism, a hyper-modern totalitarian movement bent on world conquest and the submission of all individual wills to Adolph Hitler, was an ideological instrument useful to the project of creating a more authentic world. It is likely that his own life-long attraction to German traditionalism and national identity blinded him to the extremism of its policies. Ironically, in his efforts to escape from the world of the “they,” he submitted his immense philosophical intelligence to the most inauthentic movement imaginable.

Conclusion: What Can We Learn from Heidegger

schw.jpgHeidegger was one of the greatest philosophers in the twentieth century, despite his contemptible politics. There remains much we can learn from him, if we take care to isolate the gems of insight from the dangerous currents underneath. This is often a challenge whenever one is dealing with a critique of modernity that is powerful enough to be convincing. One must always take care not to trade the imperfect for the tyrannical.

Heidegger’s analysis of authenticity remains more pressing than ever in our postmodern culture. Many people believe that our purpose in life remains a form of self-satisfaction. Today, however, this includes an emphasis on the expression of a given identity, various forms of left-wing agitation, and the emergence of postmodern conservatism. At his best, Heidegger would warn us that this emphasis on identity can lead us to live inauthentic existences. The efforts of postmodern conservatives to provide stability for their sense of identity by excluding those who are different reflects this tendency; a temptation Heidegger himself fell into against the better inclinations of his philosophy. We long for a sense of stability in our identities, but this longing is antithetical to the quest for true authenticity. What we must recognize is that identity is always unstable because it is framed by the tasks we set for ourselves. Our identity is always unstable because an authentic person is always seeking to become something greater than they were before. The choice available is to accept this instability or retreat into the world of the “they.”

Heidegger focused our attention on mysterious questions that are too frequently ignored. In particular, the questions of ontology: What does it mean to be? What does it mean to say this or that particular thing exists? Why is there something instead of nothing at all? And so on. He was wrong to criticize scientific technical reason for its indifference to these questions. Indeed, many seminal figures, from Einstein to Lee Smolin, were preoccupied by these ontological issues. But we are no doubt still prone to ignoring them in favor of questions that permit clearer answers. Indeed, our economically minded society often dismisses apparently unanswerable ontological questions with the claim that they’re a waste of time that could be spent more wisely on more efficient tasks.

But Heidegger also pointed out that asking ontological questions can and does play a fundamental role in our personal lives, and that dismissing them may prevent us from reflecting on what is truly important. Each of us is indeed “thrown” into the world for a short period of time. No one truly knows from whence we came, and each of us fears the annihilation to which we must inevitably return. Pondering these issues, as well as the more general question of where anything came from and what it is moving towards, can help us bring deeper focus to life.

Matt McManus is currently Visiting Professor of Politics and International Relations at Tec de Monterrey. His forthcoming books are Overcoming False Necessity: Making Human Dignity Central to International Human Rights Law and What is Post-Modern Conservatism? He can be reached at garion9@yorku.ca or followed on Twitter @MattPolProf

dimanche, 02 septembre 2018

Martin Heidegger und die Lügenpresse


Volk und Bewegung  ( Ausgabe 3/4 - 2018)

Martin Heidegger und die Lügenpresse

Dr. Tomislav Sunic

Die Ausdrücke  „Fake news“ und Lügenpresse werden heute oft im öffentlichen Leben gebraucht, besonders in rechtsnationalen Kreisen, die dem liberalen System kritisch gegenüber stehen.  Das deutsche Wort Lügenpresse ist jedoch kein Synonym für das neue amerikanische Modewort  Fake news, obgleich beide gleicher begrifflicher Familie entstammen und beide auf falsche oder lügenhafte politische Auslegungen verweisen.

Ich muss zuerst zwei Punkte unterstreichen. Im heutigen System in Europa und Amerika sind es die Maßmedien, die das Verhalten der Politiker beeinflussen. Vor dem Fall der Mauer in Berlin 1989, und noch vor und nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg, als Heidegger tätig war, war es umgekehrt:  es waren die Politiker bzw. die Regierungen, die immer das letzte Wort in der Medien-Berichterstattung hatten.

Das  deutsche Wort „Gerede“, welches von Martin Heidegger in seinem Hauptwerk Sein und Zeit gebraucht wird, hat keine  abschätzige Bedeutung wie das Wort Fake news oder das deutsche Wort Lügenpresse, obgleich auch das Wort „Gerede“ den beiden  Worten zugeordnet sein kann, insbesondere wenn man den leeren Worten heutiger Politiker oder Medien  zuhören muss. Man kann auch, statt des Wortes „Fake news“ oder „Lügenpresse“ das einfache Wort „Propaganda“ benutzen.

Das Wort Propaganda gehört auch derselben Begriffsfamilie an wie die Worte Gerede, Lügenpresse oder Fake news.  Heideggers Wort „Gerede“ wurde  in englischer Sprache mit dem Ausdruck  „idle talk“ übersetzt und in  französischer Sprache mit dem Worte „bavardage“. Wenn diese übersetzten Worte wiedermal ins Deutsche übersetzt werden, dann entsprechen sie den deutschen Wörtern „Geschwätz“, „Gerüchte“ oder „Tratsch und Klatsch“.  Um den vollen Sinn von Heideggers Darstellung des Begriffs vom Gerede zu bekommen, wäre es am besten, das Wort Gerede mit dem amerikanischen Umgangssprachewort „bullshitting“ zu ersetzen oder das deutsche Wort „spinnen“ oder „jemanden verarschen“ zu benutzen. Allerdings benutzt Heidegger nie die Umgangssprache in seiner sehr schwierigen Prosa. Mit dem Wort Gerede beschreibt Heidegger allerdings die Ziellosigkeit und die Nichtigkeit  der öffentlichen Kommunikation in der Weimarer Republik, wo er auch im Jahre 1926 sein Hauptwerk schrieb.

Ehe wir vorangehen sollten wir ein paar Worte über Martin Heidegger verlieren. Abschließend  gebe ich euch ein paar Beispiele aus der Tagespolitik und aus heutigen  Medien in Amerika und Europa, die den Begriff des Geredes, der Fake news oder der Lügenpresse teilweise veranschaulichen.

Es gibt ein zweifaches Problem mit Heidegger. Das erste Problem, wie schon vorher erwähnt, liegt in seiner schwierigen Sprache, die auch für viele deutsche Leser rätselhaft klingt und demzufolge oft an verschiedenen und falschen Auslegungen seiner Werke schuld gewesen ist. Außerdem gibt es viele nicht-deutsche Experten und Heideggerianer, die Heidegger kritisch bewerten. Sie tun dies aufgrund seiner übersetzten Werke ohne Kenntnis der deutschen Sprache. Das geht einfach nicht im Falle Heideggers. Heideggers Sprache, so wie seine Botschaft  kann man nicht verstehen, ohne gute Kenntnis der deutschen Sprache. Meine Empfehlung ist die folgende: Man muss gleichzeitig Heidegger in deutscher und  in andern Fremdsprachen lesen, um eventuell etwas von ihm zu lernen. 

Das zweite große Problem ist noch schwieriger und es betrifft Heideggers politische Beziehungen. Heidegger war von 1933 bis 1945 Mitglied der NS Partei. Er war nie politisch aktiv. Seine Werke sind auch keine politischen Traktate gegen den Liberalismus, Bolschewismus oder Parlamentarismus. Sein Hauptanliegen ist die Spekulation über das Wesen des Seins und des menschlichen Daseins und keineswegs die Beschreibung der politischen und geistigen Lage Europas in der Vorkriegszeit und nachher. Da er jedoch Mitglied der NS-Partei war, wird er heute oft von linken Kritikern als Vordenker des NS etikettiert. Wir sollten auch hier unterstreichen, wie die Wörter  „Nationalsozialismus“ und  „Faschismus“ ihre einstige Bedeutung heute verloren haben und als Sinnbild für das absolute Böse gelten. Demzufolge sei Heidegger auch ein absolutes Monster.

Manche von Heideggers Kritikern erblicken in jedem Satz von ihm den Wegweiser zu Ausschwitz. Trotz alledem ist heute Heidegger der meistzitierte Philosoph und seine Auslegungen über menschliche Entfremdung in der modernen Gesellschaft werden von zahlreichen Linksintellektuellen zitiert. Daraus kann man schließen, dass viele seiner linken Kritiker, die ihn kritisch als Nazi-Philosophen bewerten von dem NS-Gedankengut unbewusst fasziniert sind, ohne es in der Öffentlichkeit zugeben zu wollen.


Die gelegentliche kriminalisierende und kritische Auslegung von Heideggers Werken aufgrund seiner frühen Zugehörigkeit zur NS-Partei kann man auch umkehren. Wenn ein Philosoph solchen Kalibers wie Heidegger der Fürsprecher des Reiches des absoluten Bösen gewesen wäre, dann sollte man sich auch  fragen, ob dieses Reich des absoluten Bösen, wo Heidegger tätig war, tatsächlich so böse war wie es heute in offizieller Geschichteschreibung dargestellt wird.     

Gehen wir jetzt zurück zu Heideggers Beschreibung des Begriffes Gerede und versuchen wir eine Parallele zur heutigen Fake news und Lügenpresse zu ziehen. Hier sind ein paar kurze Zitate aus Heideggers Buch, aus seinem Paragraph über das Gerede. Dieser Paragraph trifft auch gut auf die heutigen allwissenden Meinungsmacher zu. Zitat:

Das Gerede ist die Möglichkeit, alles zu verstehen ohne vorgängige Zueignung der Sache. Das Gerede behütet schon vor der Gefahr, bei einer solchen Zueignung zu scheitern. Das Gerede, das jeder aufraffen kann, entbindet nicht nur von der Aufgabe echten Verstehens, sondern bildet eine indifferente Verständlichkeit  ( Sein und Zeit  1927, § 35. Das Gerede).

Lassen Sie uns auch erklären, worauf Heidegger mit seinem Begriff vom Gerede zielt und wie dieser Begriff zur heutigen Lügenpresse oder zu Fake news passt, oder einfach gesagt, zu moderner Systempropaganda und ihren Schreiberlingen.

Laut Heidegger sind wir in die Welt hineingeworfen, ohne dass uns irgendjemand vordererst gefragt hätte, ob wir in dieser Welt leben wollen oder nicht. Unser Dasein in der heutigen Welt ist ständig den verschiedenen Herausforderungen ausgesetzt, die uns das heutige System als Freiheit verkaufen will, wenn auch diese Freiheit in Wirklichkeit  eine neue geistige Versklavung bedeutet.  Damit verliert unser Dasein heute seine Authentizität,  oder heideggerianisch gesagt, seine Eigentlichkeit. Das System, in dem wir heute leben, betrügt unter dem Mantel der Demokratie und der Menschenrechte ihre Bürger. Es ist eine Scheinwelt! Heidegger schreibt weiter: Zitat: „So kommt die Sprache unter die Diktatur der Öffentlichkeit. Diese entscheidet im Voraus, was verständlich ist und was als unverständlich verworfen werden muß.“ (§ 27. Das alltägliche Selbstsein und das Man in SuZ). Mit anderen Worten gesagt, ich darf nicht  entscheiden, was Wahrheit und was Lüge ist, sondern muss diese Entscheidung dem System und seinen Medien überlassen.

Im folgenden Paragraphen (§ 37, SuZ, Die Zweideutigkeit) schreibt Heidegger weiter:

„Zwischen das ursprüngliche Miteinandersein schiebt sich zunächst das Gerede. Jeder paßt zuerst und zunächst auf den Andern auf, wie er sich verhalten, was er dazu sagen wird. Das Miteinandersein im Man ist ganz und gar nicht ein abgeschlossenes, gleichgültiges Nebeneinander, sondern ein gespanntes, zweideutiges Aufeinanderaufpassen, ein heimliches sich-gegenseitig-Abhören. Unter der Maske des Füreinander spielt ein Gegeneinander“.

Was kann  man heute aus diesem Paragraphen lernen? Wie können wir diese Sätze von Heidegger weiter erläutern? Auf gut Deutsch: in dieser angeblich freien Gesellschaft, in der wir heute leben, bespitzelt laut Heidegger jeder jeden und bewacht die gute Aufrechterhaltung der Political Correctness seiner Mitbürger. Wir können daraus schließen, dass  das moderne System nicht mehr die Polizei mit Gummiknüppeln oder Maschinegewehren benötigt; das System verwendet den Gesinnungsterror durch die Bildung der öffentlichen Meinung und seiner Lügenpresse, wobei sich jeder verpflichtet fühlt, den Anderen zu kontrollieren und sich selbst zu zensurieren.

Die politischen Auswirkungen des Geredes und das damit verbundene Wort Fake News wurden treffend vom englischen Schriftsteller George Orwell illustriert. Um die Bedeutung der liberalen Fake news, bzw. der Systempropaganda besser zu begreifen, ist die Lektüre von Orwell unerlässlich. Orwell benutzt das Wort „newspeak“, welches  ins Deutsche mit dem richtigen Worte „Neusprech“ übersetzt  wurde. Orwell hatte eine revolutionäre Arbeit geleistet indem er das Gerede, falsche Nachrichten, oder  kurz gesagt Lügenpresse, in einer zugänglicher Sprache gut lesbar gemacht hatte.


Fake news in heutiger politischer Kommunikation sind gar nichts Neues. Jene von uns, die lange Zeit im Kommunismus gelebt haben kennen die zersetzende  Trageweite der Fake news oder Lügenpresse sehr gut. Die offizielle Sprache und das tägliche Gerede in den ehemaligen kommunistischen Ländern Osteuropas bestand aus bedrohlichen, aber auch aus himmlischen Redewendungen, die mit fremden Worten geschmückt  waren, um ihren kommunistischen Autoren den Duft intellektueller Unfehlbarkeit zu verleihen. Die kommunistischen Sprüche erinnern an die Sprache der ehemaligen kommunistischen Zeitungen „Neues Deutschland“ in der DDR, oder „Rude Pravo“ in der Tschechoslowakei oder „Pravda“ in der Sowjetunion.

Jeder Satz in diesen Zeitungen hatte die Größe eines ganzen Absatzes und belegte fast ein Viertel der Zeitungsseite. Für solche kommunistische  sprachliche Folter erfanden die französischen antikommunistischen Intellektuellen vor etwa fünfzig Jahren, den Ausdruck "Holzsprache" (langue de bois). Der Ausdruck "Holzsprache" ist in Frankreich mittlerweile ein beliebtes und sarkastisches Schlagwort für unverständliche Sprache der politischen Eliten geworden.  Ebenso benutzten antikommunistische  Dissidenten in der ehemaligen DDR das ähnliche Wort  "Betonsprache" zur Bezeichnung der staatlich geförderten Fake News oder Lügenpresse  Eine ähnliche, jedoch elegantere Methode politischer Propaganda, bzw. die Förderung der Lügenpresse, sieht man heute in den sogenannten freien Medien in der EU und den USA.

Geben wir jetzt einen schnellen Überblick über manche Wörter  und Ausdrücke, denen wir täglich in der öffentlichen Rede sowie in unserer Gesetzgebung in unserem System begegnen. Das erste Anzeichen aller tyrannischen Regierungen, einschließlich des modernen  liberalen  Systems  ist der Überschuss an abstrakten paradiesischen Wörtern wie „Demokratie“, „Menschrechte“, „Humanität“, „Vielfalt“, „Toleranz“, usw.

Wenn wir kritisch darauf eingehen wollen, bemerken wir sofort, dass diese Wörter unterschiedliche Bedeutungen in unterschiedlichen historischen Epochen hatten. Diese Wörter haben oft  gegensätzliche Auslegungen je nach der Gesinnung ihrer Ausleger. Zum Bespiel bedeuten Menschrechte für einen Albaner etwas anderes als für einen Serben; für einen Palästinenser haben Menschenrechte eine andere Bedeutung als für einen Juden in Israel oder in New York. Besonders in Amerika begegnet man häufig solchen sentimentalen Weltverbesserungssprüchen, die schon längst ihren Platz in der Gesetzgebung  gefunden haben. Hier sind manche: Diversity oder „Vielfalt“ auf Deutsch,  ethnic sensitivity training, auf Deutsch „ethnisches Bewusstseinstraining“, oder  affirmative action das ins Deutsche mit dem Ausdruck „positive Diskriminierung“ übersetzt wurde.

Anderseits benutzt das System auch seine Höllensprache, mit dem Ziel en Regimekritiker, wie im Kommunismus, zu dämonisieren. Sollte ein Regimekritiker als Dämon bezeichnet werden, gelten fortan keine Menschenrechte mehr für ihn. Er ist kein Mensch mehr. Er sei  Dämon und demzufolge muss jeder Dämon abgeschlachtet  werden oder in spezielle Anstalten eingekerkert werden.

Sehr viel von diesem Neuwort—Gerede, welches meistens aus Amerika stammt, taucht mehr und mehr in  der europäischen Gesetzgebung auf – und besonders in den Systemmedien wie in der FAZ  oder Frankfurter  Rundschau, usw.  Allmählich  gewöhnen  sich die Bürger an solche Sprüche und Schlagworte und nehmen sie als etwas ganz  Normales hin. So ist beispielsweise der Ausdruck hate speech oder „Hassrede“ ein amerikanischer sehr abstrakter und undefinierbarer Ausdruck, der heute auch viel in Europa verwendet wird. Weiter haben wir die Ausdrücke, die auch schwer ins Deutsche übersetzt  werden können und deren Ziel es ist, den politischen Gegner zu kriminalisieren und zu dämonisieren. Was heißt „Hassrede“ eigentlich? Jemandes freie Rede ist immer die Hassrede von jemand anderem.

Im Gegensatz zu anderen europäischen Sprachen ist die deutsche Sprache die reichste Sprache, die besonders  geeignet ist zum Philosophieren und tiefsinnigen Nachdenken. In der deutschen Sprache kann man immer neue zusammengesetzte Wörter erschaffen, was uns Heideggers selbst in seinen Texten stets vormacht. Trotzdem erlaubt die deutsche Sprache auch die Zusammenstellung grotesker, zweideutiger Wörter, die wenig Sinn ergeben und die, wenn in andere Sprachen übersetzt, völlig andere Bedeutung tragen und damit oft gefährliche geistespolitische Missverständnisse hervorrufen. Das ist der Fall mit dem Titel des Paragraphen 130 aus dem deutschen Strafgesetzbuch. Das Wort  "Volksverhetzung" ist  ein Gerede-Konstrukt, dessen Sinn sehr dehnbar ist und sich gut zu verschiedenen Auslegungen eignet. Auf den ersten Blick ist es verboten, laut dem Wort Volksverhetzung, gegen das deutsche Volk zu hetzen;  tatsächlich aber ist  die reale oder angebliche Hetze gegen nicht-deutsche Bevölkerungsteile, die  in der BRD leben, mit dem Wort gemeint.


Wir sollen auch versuchen, uns in die Perspektive eines amerikanischen oder  französischen Juristen oder Sprachwissenschaftlers einzufühlen. Wie begreift er das  deutsche Wort „Volksverhetzung“? Dieses Wort  wird  in englischer Sprache mit „ incitement to hatred" oder "incitement of popular hatred" übersetzt, was im Englischen eine völlig andere Bedeutung hat. In der französischen Sprache wird das Wort „Volksverhetzung“ mit dem Ausdruck  „l'incitation à la haine“ übersetz, was auf Deutsch rückübersetzt  „Aufstachelung zum Hass“ bedeutet. Hetze ist jedoch kein Hass! „Popular incitement“,  wie es in der amerikanischen Übersetzung heißt, kann auf Deutsch auch „beliebte  oder populäre Aufstachelung oder Anstiftung“ bedeuten! Wir sollten immer beachten, dass das deutsche Wort Volk kein begriffliches Äquivalent in andern europäischen Sprachen besitzt.

Dieses deutsche Neuwort „Volksverhetzung“ ist jedoch von den Behörden als Code für die sogenannten deutschen Rassisten oder Holocaustleugner konzipiert worden. Mit diesem schwerfälligen zusammengesetzten Substantiv sind in den letzten Jahrzehnten dennoch Hunderte von Deutschen im Gefängnis gelandet.

Falsche Nachrichten oder Fake news sind nicht nur das Kennzeichen der Mainstream-Medien und Politiker, sondern verbreiten sich auch in anderen Bereichen des geschriebenen Wortes, besonders in der modernen Geschichtsschreibung und im Hochschulwesen. Wenn die meisten Medien lügen, dann müssen wir zum Schluss kommen, dass die meisten Medienexperten, die meisten Universitätsprofessoren, und die meisten Befürworter des Liberalismus auch zu Lügen bereit sind. Unsere Pflicht ist es, uns gegen die Fake News, Lügenpresse, das Gerede und die Gesinnungspolizei zu wehren.    


mardi, 24 avril 2018

Ronald Beiner’s Dangerous Minds


Ronald Beiner’s Dangerous Minds

Ronald Beiner
Dangerous Minds: Nietzsche, Heidegger, and the Return of the Far Right
Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018

index.jpgRonald Beiner is a Canadian Jewish political theorist who teaches at the University of Toronto. I’ve been reading his work since the early 1990s, starting with What’s the Matter with Liberalism? (1992). I have always admired Beiner’s clear and lively writing and his ability to see straight through jargon and cant to hone in on the flaws of the positions he examines. He is also refreshingly free of Left-wing sectarianism and willing to engage with political theorists of the Right, like Leo Strauss, Eric Voegelin, Michael Oakeshott, and Hans-Georg Gadamer. Thus, although I was delighted that a theorist of his caliber had decided to write a book on the contemporary far Right, I was also worried that he might, after a typically open and searching engagement with our outlook, discover some fatal flaw.

But it turns out that an honest confrontation with our movement is a bridge too far. Beiner does not even wish to engage with our ideas, much less critique them. Instead, he uses the rise of the Right simply as lurid packaging to sell his publisher a book that focuses on Nietzsche and Heidegger. (The cover is of the torchlight march at Unite the Right, which is supposed to look sinister.)

Beiner’s target is not the Right, but the Left, specifically those who think that Nietzsche and Heidegger can be profitably appropriated for Left-wing causes. To combat this view, he mounts a persuasive case that Nietzsche and Heidegger are deeply anti-liberal thinkers. Thus, although Dangerous Minds is sensationalist and dismissive in its treatment of our movement, it is nevertheless extremely useful to us. If anyone wants to understand why Nietzsche and Heidegger are so useful to the New Right, Beiner gives a clear and engaging account in a bit more than 100 pages.

Since Beiner wants to cast our movement in the worst possible light, he naturally begins with Hailgate [2]:

In the fateful fall of 2016, a far-right ideologue named Richard B. Spencer stirred up some fame for himself by exclaiming in a conference packed with his followers not far from the White House: “Hail Trump! Hail our people! Hail victory!” On the face of it, this mad proclamation would appear to have nothing in common with the glorious tradition of Western philosophy.

But think again.

Beiner then quotes Spencer denouncing “fucking middle class” values and proclaiming “I love empire, I love power, I love achievement.” We even learn from a Jewish female reporter that Spencer will sometimes “get a boner” from reading about Napoleon. (Another triumph of press engagement [3].)

This is Nietzsche’s work, declares Beiner.

Beiner goes on to call Spencer a “lunatic ideologue” (p. 11) and an advocate of “virulently antiliberal, antidemocratic radicalism” (p. 12). He blames it all on a graduate seminar on Nietzsche that Spencer took at the University of Chicago. This is laying it on a bit thick, since Spencer is not offering a system of ideas. He’s just name-dropping and Nietzsche-posting to impress middlebrow journalists. Perhaps sensing this, Beiner turns his attention to a prolific author of essays and books, Alexander Dugin. Beiner easily establishes the Nietzschean and Heideggerian pedigree of Dugin’s dangerous ideas.

Naturally, at this point, I was wondering if I was next, so I flipped to the back of the book to see if my name appeared in the index. But there is no index. (This from a serious academic publisher?) So I continued to read. By the end, I was a bit relieved, and maybe a bit miffed, to receive no mention at all in Dangerous Minds. Nor is Counter-Currents mentioned by name, although it is referred to on page 12 as “One of the typically odious far-right websites” and on page 150 as “Another far-right outfit of the same ilk” as Arktos. In the first case, Beiner refers to James O’Meara’s review of Jason Jorjani’s Prometheus and Atlas [4], but he does not name O’Meara or give the url of the review. (Jorjani is, however, singled out for abuse as a “crackpot philosopher.”) In the second case, Beiner provides the url of my Heidegger commemoration [5] but does not cite the author or title. Beiner is known as a Left-wing admirer of Leo Strauss and Allan Bloom. These glaring oversights might lead those of a Straussian bent to think that Beiner regards Counter-Currents, James O’Meara, me, and perhaps Collin Cleary [6], who is also noticeably omitted, to be of central importance. But of course he has plausible deniability.


Beiner zeroes in on equality as the essential issue that divides the Left and the Right:

A view of society where all individuals are fundamentally equal or a view of society where people can live meaningful lives only under the banner of fundamental hierarchy: this is an either/or, not a moral-political choice that can be submitted to compromise or splitting the difference. . . . [O]ne either sees egalitarianism as essential to the proper acknowledgement of universal human dignity, or one sees it as the destruction of what’s most human because its incompatible with human nobility rightly understood. (p. 8)

This is basically correct, but I have two caveats.

First, I think equality and liberty are genuine political values. But they are not the most important values. Individual self-actualization and the pursuit of the common good are more important than individual liberty, for instance. And justice is more important than equality, since justice requires unequal people receive unequal treatment. But even here, justice demands that unequal status and rewards be proportionate to unequal merit. By this Aristotelian view of justice, however, most forms of contemporary social and political inequality are grossly unjust.

This is why I oppose people on the Right who praise “hierarchy” as such. Not all hierarchies are just. Thus one can defend the principle of hierarchy without embracing ideas like hereditary monarchy, aristocracy, and caste, much less slavery. These are at best merely imperfect historical illustrations of the principle of hierarchy, not blueprints for the future.

Second, the notion of “universal human dignity” is simply an article of faith, like Stoic and Christian ideas of providence and liberal ideas of progress. Progress and providence are our trump cards against ultimate misfortune. They allow us to keep believing that things will work out in the end. “Dignity” is really a trump card against dehumanization: it is the assertion that no matter how botched, degraded, and corrupt a human being is, he is still a human being; he still possesses some intrinsic worth that he can use, as a measure of last resort, to gain some consideration from the rest of us. But when aliens land and discover that human beings are delicious, appeals to the universal dignity of rational beings are not going to save us. True nobility requires that we face reality and dispense with such moralistic illusions.


But that does not mean that we dispense with empathy for others. I have zero patience for people on the Right who defend slavery, colonialism, imperialism, and genocide. They are guilty of another form of providential wishful thinking, for they apparently feel themselves invulnerable to the sufferings they would cheerfully inflict on others. It does not occur to them that others could do the same to them. But nobility requires thinking and living without such illusions. You might be high and mighty today, but you are not bulletproof (which is really all Hobbes meant by equality). Empathy allows us to imagine ourselves in the positions of others. Fortune can elevate or lower us into the positions of others. And if none of us are immune to fortune, then we should create a political system in which we could morally bear to trade places with anyone, a society in which all social stations are fundamentally just. This leads to the sort of live-and-let-live ethos that is at the core of ethnonationalism as I define it.

This is why I don’t regard Alexander Dugin and Richard Spencer as contributing anything to White Nationalism, which is the advocacy of ethnic self-determination for all white peoples. Instead, they are simply apologists for Russian imperial revanchism. Spencer regards ethnonationalism as “petty,” siding with the UK against Scottish independence, the EU against Brexit, and Spain against Catalan independence. But although he opposes the UK leaving the EU, he opposes Ukraine joining it. He praises the EU as a transnational, imperial organization — but not NATO. Clearly, he is more interested in shilling for Russian geopolitical interests than in setting forth a coherent moral and political framework for white survival. I can’t blame Beiner for focusing on Dugin and Spencer, however, because they embrace all of Nietzsche’s most lurid and questionable ideas as well as his good ones.

Beiner on Nietzsche

According to Beiner’s chapter on “Reading Nietzsche in an Age of Resurgent Fascism,” the “one central, animating Nietzschean idea” is: “Western civilization is going down the toilet because of too much emphasis on truth and rationality and too much emphasis on equal human dignity” (p. 24). (This passage also illustrates the vulgar and often hysterical tone of Beiner’s polemic. Dangerous Minds has a rambling, informal, often autobiographical style that makes it read like an extended blog post. Beiner also peppers his prose with exclamation points, sometimes 4 or 5 to the page, to drive his points home. I began to worry that he would soon resort to emoticons.)

Nietzsche offers two arguments against liberalism. First, liberalism destroys the meaning of life. Second, liberalism destroys human nobility.

For Nietzsche, a meaningful life requires a normative culture as the context or “horizon” in which each individual is immersed and formed. In short, a meaningful life is rooted in ethnic identity, although Nietzsche does not put it in these terms, as he was deeply alienated from and ambivalent about his own German identity. A normative culture provides an encompassing worldview and a hierarchy of values. These need not be “true” in any metaphysical sense to provide foundations for a meaningful life. Hence the danger of modernity’s high value for truth and rationality. These horizons are always plural (there are many different cultures), and they are closed (they generate differences between insiders and outsiders, us and them; thus they are “political” in Carl Schmitt’s sense of the word).

Liberalism destroys meaning because it is cosmopolitan and egalitarian. Its cosmopolitanism opens horizons to other cultures and undermines attachment to one’s own culture. Its egalitarianism overthrows value hierarchies that make people feel bad about themselves. The result is the collapse of rootedness and meaning and the emergence of nihilism. This is why Nietzsche “regards old-fashioned nineteenth-century liberalism — to say nothing of radicalized twentieth- and twenty-first century versions — as rendering culture per se impossible” (p. 34).

Nbgev.jpgBeiner doesn’t offer a very clear account of why Nietzsche thinks liberalism undermines human nobility. The short answer is that it is simply the political application of the slave revolt in morals, in which the aristocratic virtues of the ancients were transmuted into Christian and eventually liberal vices, and the vices of the enslaved and downtrodden were transmuted into virtues.

But what makes us noble in the first place? Like Hegel, Nietzsche believes that human nobility shows itself by triumphing over the fear of death and loss and doing beautiful and noble things in spite of them. Thus, human nobility is essentially connected with facing up to the tragic character of human life and finding the strength to carry on.

Liberalism, like Platonism, Stoicism, and Christianity, is anti-tragic because it is based on faith in providence, the idea that the universe is ruled by and directed toward the good — appearances to the contrary notwithstanding. Providence denies the ultimate reality of loss, finitude, and evil, blinding us to the tragic dimension of life and replacing it with the stoner mantra that “it’s all good.” It is a delusion of ultimate metaphysical invulnerability to evil and loss.

Modern liberals replace faith in providence with faith in progress, which they believe will result in the perfection of mankind and the amelioration of human suffering and evils. It is a false vision of the world that smothers the possibility of human nobility. Although Beiner has the chutzpah to suggest that maybe Nietzscheans can ennoble themselves by enduring life in the “iron cage” of modernity and learning to love the Last Man (p. 116). (Why not ennoble oneself even more by living with head-lice as well?)

The plurality of horizons also means the possibility of existential conflict and the necessity of choosing and taking responsibility for one’s choices. As Schmitt argued, however, the whole liberal ethos is to replace the government of responsible choosers — the sovereign — with the government of laws, rules, and anonymous bureaucrats.

Beiner doesn’t delve too deeply into Nietzsche’s views of nobility because he wants to hang them on Nietzsche’s praise of slavery, caste, war, and cruelty. But while it is true that these phenomena accompanied the emergence of aristocratic values — and most of what we recognize as high culture, for that matter, for the leisure that gave rise to science and culture was secured by the labor of slaves — one can legitimately ask if it is possible to bring about a rebirth of aristocratic values and high culture without first becoming barbarians again. For instance, this is the utopia offered by Social Credit, the preferred economic theory of interwar Anglophone fascists, who hoped to unleash human nobility and creativity once machines put us all out of work.

But if we cannot renew civilization without starting over from scratch, then I would gladly hit the reset button rather than allow the world to decline endlessly into detritus. Thus, on Nietzschean and Heideggerian grounds, it makes sense to try to renew the world, because if one fails, that failure might contribute to the civilizational reset that we need. Indeed, the more catastrophic the failure, the greater the chance of a fresh start. The only way we can’t win is if we don’t try.


Beiner on Heidegger

Beiner’s chapter on “Reading Heidegger in an Age of Resurgent Fascism” is less incisive than his account of Nietzsche, largely because he does not see how close Heidegger really is to Nietzsche. Beiner takes Heidegger’s question of Being at face value and finds it rather bizarre that Heidegger could think that modern civilization is going to hell because of forgetting about Being. But for Heidegger Being = meaning [7], and the modern oblivion of Being is basically the same thing that Nietzsche meant by the collapse of closed normative horizons and the rise of nihilism. Indeed, Heidegger’s concept of Dasein simply refers to man as a being situated within and defined by horizons of meaning. The occlusion of these horizons by the false individualism and cosmopolitanism of modernity leads to nihilism, a life deprived of meaning.

Heidegger thought National Socialism could bring about the spiritual renewal of the German people — and presumably any other nation that tried it — by rejecting cosmopolitanism and individualism and reaffirming the rootedness, community, and the closed horizon of the nation. He rejected National Socialism when he came to see it as just another form of modern technological nihilism. Nietzsche, of course, rejected German nationalism, but Heidegger’s thinking was truer to the implications of Nietzsche’s thinking about the closed cultural horizons that grant meaning.

Beiner is at his best in his reading of Heidegger’s “Letter on Humanism,” his post-war statement publicly inaugurating “the late Heidegger.” Beiner correctly discerns that Heidegger’s lament against the “homelessness” of modern man and his loss of Heimat (homeland) is an expression of the same fundamentally reactionary, anti-modern, anti-cosmopolitan, and pro-nationalist sentiments that led him to embrace National Socialism. Indeed, there’s good reason to think that Heidegger never changed his fundamental political philosophy at all. The only thing that changed was his evaluation of National Socialism and his adoption of a more oblique and esoteric way of speaking about politics under the repressive conditions of the Occupation and the Federal Republic. Carrying out Heidegger’s project of offering a case for a non-nihilistic, non-totalitarian form of ethnonationalism is the project of the New Right as I define it.

Heidegger and the Holocaust

Beiner, like many Jewish commentators, seems to feel that Heidegger owes him a personal apology for the Holocaust. We are told that Heidegger’s silence about the Holocaust is unforgivable. But when we point out that Heidegger did say something about the Holocaust, namely that it was a sinister application of mechanized modern mass slaughter to human beings, we are told that this view is also unforgivable, since the Holocaust somehow transcends all attempts to classify and understand it. Which would seem to require that we say nothing about it at all, but we have already learned that this is unforgivable as well.

Beiner tells the story of Rudolf Bultmann’s visit to Heidegger after the war, when he told Heidegger, “Now you must like Augustine write your retractions [Retractiones] . . . in the final analysis for the truth of your thought.” Bultmann continues: “Heidegger’s face became a stony mask. He left without saying anything further” (p. 119).

Beiner treats this as outrageous. But Heidegger’s reaction is not hard to understand. He had nothing to retract. He felt that he had done nothing wrong. He was not responsible for the war or the Holocaust. They were none of his doing or his intention. They were part and parcel of the very nihilism that he opposed. The fact that the National Socialist regime went so terribly wrong did not refute Heidegger’s basic diagnosis of the problems of modern rootlessness and nihilism but rather proved how all-pervasive they were. Nor did anything the Nazis did refute the deep truth of ethnonationalism as the political corollary of spiritually awakening from the nightmare of liberal modernity. Thus Heidegger absolutely refused to say anything about the war or the Holocaust that could be interpreted as conceding that modern liberal democracy had somehow been proven true. Instead, he continued to make essentially the same arguments as he made before the war, but in more esoteric terms by focusing on rootlessness and technology.


Bultmann was telling Heidegger to lie, to retract beliefs he believed were true, and to do it in the name of “the truth of [his] thought” when in fact the only motive could be to win the approval of the victors. But that approval was something Heidegger decided to do without. Frankly, Bultmann was making an indecent proposal, and Heidegger’s stony silence was admirably restrained.

Beiner mentions that according to Gadamer, Heidegger “was so preoccupied by modernity’s forgetfulness of Being [rootlessness, nihilism] that even the Nazi genocide ‘appeared to him as something minimal compared to the future that awaits us’” (p. 107). Here’s another unforgivable statement breaching Heidegger’s unforgivable silence. But this unforgivable statement is, unfortunately, quite prophetic. For the consummation of global technological civilization, including the erasure of borders and the destruction of roots, will lead to a genocide far vaster and more complete than the Holocaust. I refer the reader to my essays “White Extinction [8],” “White Genocide [9],” and especially “Why the Holocaust Happened, and Why It Won’t Happen Again [10].”

A New Age of Gods?

Both Nietzsche and Heidegger think that spiritual health requires unreflective belief in and commitment to a closed, normatively binding cultural horizon. Christianity, post-Socratic philosophy, and the Enlightenment, however, made self-reflection and universal truth into transcendent values. But as Nietzsche argued, this was a self-defeating move, for Christianity could not stand up to rational criticism. Reason soon escaped the control of the Church, which led to the downfall of Christianity (Nietzsche’s “death of God”), the erasure of the West’s horizon, and the rise of modern nihilism. It follows that the return to spiritual health requires the emergence of a new age of unreflective belief and commitment. Giambattista Vico called this an “Age of Gods,” the first age of a new historical cycle.

The great question is: can a new “Age of Gods” emerge within the context of our present civilization, or must the modern world perish utterly, completely liquidating the Western tradition of philosophy, science, and liberalism, so that mankind can truly believe, belong, and obey again? The new horizons and myths that we need, moreover, cannot be “chosen,” for adopting a belief system as a matter of choice is not an alternative to nihilism, it is just an expression of it. Genuine belief is not chosen. It chooses you. It does not belong to you. You belong to it.

Nietzsche believed that a new age of gods could be imposed by great philosopher-legislators who could create new myths and new tables of values. Under Nietzsche’s sway, Heidegger believed this as well, and it accounts for why he thought National Socialism could lead to a spiritual renewal of Germany. It was only later that Heidegger realized that National Socialism was not an alternative to nihilism, but an expression of it.

It was at this point that Heidegger began his great confrontation with Nietzsche in the mid-1930s. Heidegger later told Gadamer that “Nietzsche ruined me.” Nietzsche ruined Heidegger by offering him nihilism as a cure for nihilism. Nietzsche made Heidegger a Nazi. Heidegger overcame Nazism by overcoming Nietzsche.

heidegger.jpgIn Heidegger’s later terminology, Nietzsche and National Socialism were both “humanistic,” premised on the idea that the human mind creates culture, whereas in fact culture creates the human mind. No genuine belief can be chosen. It has to seize us. This is one of the senses of Heidegger’s later concept of Ereignis, often translated “the event of appropriation”: the beginning of a new historical epoch seizes and enthralls us. This is the meaning of Heidegger’s later claim that “Only a god can save us now” — as opposed to a philosopher-dictator.

One could, however, read Nietzsche in a non-humanistic way, if one sees his rhapsodies to the Übermensch, the philosopher-legislator, and the coming century of global wars (yes, Nietzsche predicted that) not as a solution to modern nihilism, but as an intensification of it to the breaking point as a way of hurrying along the downfall of the modern world and inaugurating a new age of gods. (“That which is falling should also be pushed.”) If this is Nietzsche’s true view, then offering nihilism to cure nihilism is not a self-contradiction, it is just sound homeopathic medicine.

Beiner asks “are any of us really prepared to entertain the possibility of the comprehensive cancelling-out of modernity to which Heidegger in his radicalism seems committed?” (p. 105). Elsewhere he asks “. . . with what do we undertake to replace [liberal modernity]? A regime of warriors and priests? A return from Enlightenment to magic?” (p. 132). But Beiner is asking these questions from within liberal modernity, and of course from within that perspective, people are going to cling to liberalism simply out of fear. From Heidegger’s point of view, we will only have a solution when individuals can no longer pose such questions. Instead, the answers will be imposed upon us by historical forces outside our comprehension or control.

A Smug Criticism of Smugness

Beiner’s conclusion, “How to Do Theory in Politically Treacherous Times,” is, like the rest of his book, directed to Leftist academics. He makes a strong case against the smugness and complacency of contemporary political theorists, who think they can ignore the Right because we have been refuted by history: “For Rawls, Rorty, and Habermas, Nietzsche has been refuted by history and sociology. He hasn’t! He can only be refuted by a more compelling account of the human good” (p. 125). This is excellent advice, but it ill-accords with Beiner’s own supremely smug, question-begging, and dismissive tone throughout Dangerous Minds. Judging from what he does, as opposed to what he says, Beiner’s real aim is not to intellectually engage the Right, but to censor and suppress it. But if Beiner really does want to debate the philosophical foundations of the New Right, I’m game.

Should We Read Heidegger and Nietzsche?

If Nietzsche and Heidegger are so dangerous to liberal democracy, shouldn’t something be done to keep their books out of the hands of impressionable young men?

Beiner ends his discussion of Nietzsche by referring to Leo Strauss’s advice to Canadian conservative political philosopher George Grant, who was about to embark on a series of popular radio lectures on Nietzsche. Strauss viewed Nietzsche as a profoundly dangerous thinker and advised Grant not to talk about Nietzsche at all but simply refer to his “epigones” Freud and Weber. The only reason Beiner brings this up, of course, is to plant the idea that academics should drop Nietzsche from the canon. Beiner, however, strenuously denies that this is his intent in his Introduction:

Hopefully no reader of my book will draws from it the unfortunate conclusion that we should just walk away from Nietzsche and Heidegger — that is, stop reading them. [Of course reading them does not necessarily entail teaching them, especially to undergraduates.] On the contrary, I think that we need to read them in ways that make us more conscious of, more reflective about, and more self-critical of the limits of the liberal view of life and hence what defines that view of life. But if one is handling intellectually radioactive materials, one has to be much less naïve about what one is dealing with. . . . We need to open our eyes, at once intellectually, morally, and politically, to just how dangerous they are. (p. 14)

But this seems disingenuous in light of Beiner’s repeated assertion that Nietzsche and Heidegger should have censored their own ideas insofar as they are dangerous to liberal modernity:

There is a kind of insane recklessness to Nietzsche — as if nothing he could write, no matter how irresponsible, no matter how inflammatory, could possibly do any harm. All that matters is raising the stakes, and there is no such thing as raising the stakes too high. (p. 63)

One has to ask: “To whom does Beiner think Nietzsche is being irresponsible? What could his thought possibly harm?” The answer, of course, is the modern liberal democratic world, the world that Nietzsche rejects, the world that Nietzsche crafted his doctrines to destroy.

MHages.jpgBeiner is even more blatant in his advocacy of self-censorship in Heidegger’s case:

Near the end of his life, Heidegger decided to include the Black Notebooks (including explicitly racist passages conjuring up a diabolical conspiracy on the part of “World Judaism” [sic: World Jewry]) in the official Collected Works, whereas any reasonably sane person would have burned them, or at least burned the most incriminating passages. It’s as if he either were trying to spur a revival of fascist ideology or intended to confess to the world just how grievously stained he had been by that ideology. All of this is thoroughly damning. (pp. 113–14)

Again, one must ask: “Sane by whose standards? Incriminating to whom? Damning by whose standards?” The answer, of course, is: modern liberal democrats. But Heidegger thought these people were intellectually benighted and morally corrupt. So why should be censor his thought to conform to their sensibilities? To hell with them. He was addressing himself to freer minds, to a better world, to generations yet to come.

At the beginning of his Heidegger chapter, Beiner also writes:

The question I’m raising in this chapter is whether, finding ourselves now in a political landscape where the possibility increasingly looms of Heidegger as a potential resource for the far right, it might be best for left Heideggerianism (a paradox to being with) to close up shop. (p. 67)

Since virtually everyone teaching Heidegger in academia today is a Leftist, this basically amounts to removing Heidegger from the canon. Beiner’s talk of looming possibilities and potential resources is off the mark, for Heidegger already is a resource and inspiration for the New Right, and he knows this. (Frankly, I hope Left-wing Heideggerians close up shop soon. It would be an ideal opportunity to launch the Heidegger Graduate School [11].)

It is absurd to wish that Nietzsche and Heidegger had censored their ideas to remove their challenges to the system they despised and wished to destroy. If liberals want to stop these ideas from influencing policy, they need to refute them. Demanding censorship is simply an admission that one cannot refute ideas rationally and thus must repress them. Asking one’s opponents to engage in self-censorship takes some brass. If liberals can’t refute anti-liberals like Nietzsche and Heidegger, they are just going to have to screw up their resolve and do their own censorship. This is hardly a stretch, sadly, since the suppression of dissent is second nature to modern academics. It’s really all they have left.

Indeed, if wishing aloud that Nietzsche and Heidegger had censored themselves has any practical meaning today, it is as a suggestion that political theorists and philosophers censor themselves and their syllabi, i.e., remove Nietzsche and Heidegger from the canon.

If Beiner is really arguing that Leftists should stop teaching Nietzsche and Heidegger, he apparently did not anticipate what would happen if his book fell into the hands of Rightist readers like me. For Dangerous Minds, despite its obnoxious rhetoric and smug dismissal of our movement, is a very helpful introduction to Nietzsche and Heidegger as anti-liberal thinkers. Thus I recommend it highly. And if I have anything to say about it, this book will help create a whole lot more dangerous minds, a whole new generation of Right-wing Nietzscheans and Heideggerians.


Article printed from Counter-Currents Publishing: https://www.counter-currents.com

URL to article: https://www.counter-currents.com/2018/04/ronald-beiners-dangerous-minds/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: https://www.counter-currents.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Beiner.jpg

[2] Hailgate: https://www.counter-currents.com/2016/11/the-alt-right-obituary-for-a-brand/

[3] press engagement: https://www.counter-currents.com/2018/03/in-bed-with-the-press/

[4] James O’Meara’s review of Jason Jorjani’s Prometheus and Atlas: https://www.counter-currents.com/2016/09/jason-jorjanis-prometheus-and-atlas/

[5] Heidegger commemoration: https://www.counter-currents.com/2017/09/remembering-martin-heidegger-7/

[6] Collin Cleary: https://www.counter-currents.com/2012/06/heidegger-an-introduction-for-anti-modernists-part-1/

[7] for Heidegger Being = meaning: https://www.counter-currents.com/2014/12/making-sense-of-heidegger/

[8] White Extinction: https://www.counter-currents.com/2017/06/white-extinction-2/

[9] White Genocide: https://www.counter-currents.com/2015/09/white-genocide/

[10] Why the Holocaust Happened, and Why It Won’t Happen Again: https://www.counter-currents.com/2016/03/why-the-holocaust-happened/

[11] Heidegger Graduate School: https://www.counter-currents.com/2016/02/graduate-school-with-heidegger/

dimanche, 31 décembre 2017

Les trois liens de l’étudiant à la nation selon Heidegger


Les trois liens de l’étudiant à la nation selon Heidegger

par Pierre Dortiguier
Ex: https://www.jeunenation.com

Il ne s’agit point de médire de notre enseignement, mais d’en déplorer l’écroulement national, si l’on prend au sérieux les résultats statistiques de sa partie primaire, hier classée au plus bas en Europe, pour ce qui est de l’arithmétique, et à une place médiocre, sinon alarmante pour un pays se voulant une grande puissance dans le monde, en grammaire. L’effort du présent ministre est à noter, après les folies ou divagations de ses prédécesseurs, d’introduire  la discipline d’une dictée quotidienne, mais cela ressemble, à user d’une métaphore militaire, à une distribution de cartouches sans fusil, car tout l’édifice logique de la grammaire, qui est un art de bien penser, est depuis longtemps écroulé.

MH-univ1.jpgL’on parlera de réussites individuelles, ou de succès statistiques « d’apprenants » dans les examens généraux de fin d’études – mot absurde puisqu’il n ‘y aura pas eu de vrai commencement et de fondation assurée -, et de carrières, mais que vaut un savoir au sein d’une nation ou d’une nature de peuple fragilisée, et ignorant qu’elle porte en elle un destin, lequel la broiera si elle ne le maîtrise ? Cette question s’est posée au professeur Heidegger, le terme de professeur étant plus proche de la profession de foi que de l’exercice mécanique de répétitions vides, brillantes mais infécondes, comme une coque de noix vide.

Lui-même n’eût point été surpris du délabrement de ce corps étudiant, car son engagement politique et celui de sa nation meurtrie et recouvrant cette santé de l’âme qu’est la vérité (selon le mot de Descartes) fut de surmonter le nihilisme ou réduction au néant de la culture entendue comme volonté populaire de garder le savoir et de se former par lui.

Dans un précédent article nous traduisions l’Appel de ce même  Heidegger à ses collègues d’approuver l’appel du Guide du peuple allemand à quitter l’O.N.U. de son temps, la S.D.N. ou Ligue, Société des Nations de Genève, pour suivre son propre devoir. Nous reprenons ici le texte déjà traduit en 1987 par un défunt ancien maître de philosophie à l’université de Toulouse, Gérard Granel (1930-2000), que nous retraduisons de nouveau, pour être plus fidèle au texte allemand, du discours  dit de Rectorat, adressé par Heidegger à ses étudiants de Fribourg-en-Brisgau, tenu le 27 mai 1933, lors de la solennité de sa prise en charge :

« La prise en charge  du Rectorat est l’obligation de  la conduite  spirituelle de cette école supérieure. La suite  [le mot Gefolgschaft étant employé au sens ancien chevaleresque d’une suite accompagnant un guide] des maîtres et des élèves croît et se renforce seulement  à partir de l’enracinement véritable et commun  dans l’essence  de l’université allemande. Mais cette essence  n’accède  d’abord à la clarté, au rang et à la puissance, que si  préalablement et en tout temps les guides sont eux-mêmes guidés par  l’inflexibilité de cette charge spirituelle  qui fait entrer de force le destin du peuple allemand dans  l’empreinte  de son histoire. »

Heidegger indique le sens d’être un Guide et en même temps un Guidé ! Alors s’évanouissent toutes les caricatures ou fantômes de fascisme que nous servent les fast-food de l’esprit.

« Car le décisif dans (l’acte) de conduire  [« im Führen »] n’est pas le pur et simple aller de l’avant, mais est la force  de pouvoir aller seul, non pas par égoïsme et plaisir de dominer, mais en vertu d’une détermination très profonde et d’une obligation très étendue. Une telle force oblige à l’essentiel, crée la sélection des meilleurs et éveille l’authentique suite  de ceux  qui sont d’un nouveau courage. Mais nous n’avons pas besoin d’abord d’éveiller. La corporation allemande est en marche [die deutsche  Studentenchaft ist auf dem Marsch].

Et ceux qu’elle cherche, ce sont  ces guides par lesquels elle  veut  élever  sa propre détermination  à une vérité  fondée, savante et la placer  dans la clarté de la parole qui agit  significativement et de l’œuvre.

A partir de la décision  de la corporation étudiante allemande de tenir ferme au destin allemand  dans son  extrême détresse advient  une volonté d’essence de l’Université. Cette volonté est une vraie volonté, pour autant que la corporation étudiante  grâce au nouveau droit estudiantin  se place lui-même sous la loi de son essence et par là  délimite avant tout cette essence. Se donner à soi-même la loi, est la plus haute liberté. »


La fausse liberté académique

Heidegger de poursuivre en dénonçant les slogans dont on abreuve  aujourd’hui la masse qui est invitée à tout sauf à connaître cette essence populaire ou nationale, au point que le mot traditionnel de peuple (Volk) est  en langage officiel de moins en moins usé en Allemagne, remplacé par du « social », pays   où – sachons le – le père de Madame Merkel, pasteur passé à l’Est après guerre pour mette son séminaire sous la coupe du ministre de l’Instruction Publique, de famille israélite berlinoise immigrée, au début du XXe siècle, de Suisse,  nommé Gyzi, père de l’actuel chef berlinois de « La Gauche » (Die Linke), refusa d’admettre la réunification du pays de novembre  1989 :

« La tant vantée « liberté académique » sera repoussée de l’université allemande; car cette liberté  était inauthentique [unech]), parce que seulement négatrice. Elle signifiait  surtout insouciance, arbitraire des vues et des inclinations,  licence [Ungebundenheit]  dans le faire et laisser-faire. Le concept de liberté de la corporation étudiante allemande  est maintenant  ramené à  sa vérité. A partir d’elle  se déploient à l’avenir  lien et service de la corporation étudiante.

Ce qui s’impose à l’étudiant : le lien de la nation au savoir.

1.Le premier lien est dans la communauté du peuple [Volksgemeinschaft].Il fait un devoir d’avoir part , en  aidant à porter  et en  co-agissant, aux efforts et à la capacité de tous les états [terme préféré à celui plus égoïste  et autodestructeur, au plan national, de classe] et membres du peuple. Ce lien  est dorénavant  affermi et enraciné  dans l’existence  estudiantine par le service du travail.

2. Le deuxième lien est attenant à l’honneur et au sort  de la nation au milieu des autres peuples. Elle réclame la disponibilité,  assurée dans  le savoir et le pouvoir  et  sanctionnée  par la discipline, à l’engagement  jusqu’au bout. Ce lien  embrasse et parcourt  dans l’avenir  toue l’existence  étudiante  comme un service de défense [Wehrdienst].

Le distingué Granel traduit par « service militaire », la Wehrmacht étant littéralement une force de défense, tout comme la vérité, selon la même origine indo-germanique, est une défense de la réalité contre les forces destructrices.

Le dernier point, ou lien, – [le mot allemand de Bindung ne signifie pas proprement  une obligation, mais un attachement, un lien, comme un membre est lié au corps, à l’organisme)] –  est le plus important et touche au vif notre société qui n’est plus digne de cette qualification.


3. Le troisième lien de la corporation étudiante est liée à la charge  spirituelle  du peuple allemand. Ce peuple  œuvre à son destin, tandis qu’il insère son histoire  dans la manifestation de la surpuissance  de toutes les  puissances de l’existence humaine  façonnant le monde, et entreprend de  combattre   toujours à nouveau  pour son monde spirituel. Ainsi exposé  au questionnement   extrême  de l’existence propre, ce peuple veut être  un peuple spirituel. Il exige de lui-même  et pour lui-même  dans ses guides et  protecteurs, la clarté la plus  dure  du savoir le plus élevé, le plus étendu et le plus riche. Une jeunesse étudiante  qui se risque tôt  dans la virilité et déploie  sa volonté  sur le sol futur de la nation, se contraint à partir du fond [von Grund aus] à ce savoir. Pour elle le  service du savoir [Wissensdienst] ne devra plus être le dressage accablant  et rapide  à une vocation « distinguée ». Parce que  l’homme d’Etat et le maître, le médecin  et le juge, le pasteur et l’architecte guident [führen] l’existence populaire-étatique  et dans ses traits fondamentaux  éveillent aux forces  de l’être humain façonnant le monde et  se tiennent acérées, pour cette raison  ces métiers et l’éducation attachée à eux sont confiés au service du savoir.

Le savoir n’est pas au service des vocations, mais  à l’inverse: les vocations [ou métiers] suscitent et régissent   ce suprême et essentiel savoir  du peuple  pour sa propre existence. Mais ce savoir  n’est pas pour nous  la prise de connaissance  tranquille  d’entités et de valeurs en soi, mais au contraire  la plus aiguisée dangerosité de l’existence  au milieu  de la surpuissance des étants. Le questionnement de l’être  en général  arrache au peuple  travail et combat  et le contraint à son Etat  auquel appartiennent les vocations.

Les trois liens – par le peuple au sort de l’Etat dans la charge spirituelle – sont pour l’essence allemande également originels  [gleichursprünglich]. Les trois des services qui en jaillissent – service du travail service de défense et service du savoir – sont également nécessaires et de rang égal.

Le but de l’enseignement: faire germer ce que le temps seul mûrira

Après la guerre, Heidegger poursuit cet effort ou patience de pensée, en citant le poète Heinrich von Kleist qui assurait que le sens de  l’effort de penser, travailler, combattre, ou l’effort en un mot qui les lie tous, de poétiser ou, pour le dire mieux, de  renforcer et serrer de plus près le travail de l’activité scientifique dans lequel s’épanouit le philosophie, devait déboucher un siècle plus tard sur la germination d’une créativité qui continuerait de faire renaître l’existence, celle des peuples et du savoir dont ils sont  l’enveloppe. Ce message est dans la vidéo aux sous-titres anglais ci-dessus.

Cela exige sérieux, continuité de l’effort, persévérance, un questionnement constant de notre origine, ce qui va plus loin et plus haut que l’imitation de modèles, et qu’il entend par la métaphysique. Inutile de dire que notre présent monde a ce dernier terme en horreur. Aussi l’avenir se dérobera-t-il à lui.

Pierre Dortiguier

VIDEO: https://archive.org/details/MartinHeideggerVolkPhilosopher

mardi, 22 août 2017

Heidegger Against the West


Heidegger Against the West

by Jeff Love

Ex: http://www.rowmaninternational.com

Martin Heidegger's thought has had a truly global impact. Yet, while his influence on European philosophers is well documented, we cannot say the same regarding other parts of the world, like China, Iran, and Japan. Heidegger's influence in the countries of the former Soviet bloc is an especially rich case, in part because of the powerful brand of resistance to western thought that has taken root most noticeably in Russia. Indeed, these radical strains of resistance to the west have become more important than ever now that at least one advisor of a sitting president of the United States has openly cited Russian extremists in what seems to be a subversive gesture of solidarity. Heidegger has perhaps never been more directly influential in politics - world politics - than he is now, despite the various scandals that attend his thought in the west.

Before returning to this point, let me give a brief sketch of the history of Heidegger reception in Russia and Eastern Europe.

The crucial factor here is of course political. In the earliest years of Heidegger's fame, the 1920s and 1930s, the Soviet Union was actively engaged in the creation of the world's first socialist state whose primary philosophical allegiance was to dialectical materialism or 'diamat.' After the relative openness of the 1920s, the restrictive ideological controls imposed in the 1930s ensured that almost any other form of philosophy was censured as bourgeois, reactionary or counter-revolutionary. Heidegger's open support for the National Socialist party in 1933 did nothing to improve matters. Phenomenology made greater inroads into Eastern Europe during the interwar period, perhaps most notably in Czechoslovakia, but the consolidation of Soviet power throughout Eastern Europe after the German defeat in 1945 meant that Heidegger's thought could not be openly studied there either prior to the momentous changes of 1989. As all witnesses concur, it was neither easy nor safe to study Heidegger in the post-war period, neither in the Soviet Union, nor in the countries of the Eastern block.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union, formalised by the official dissolution of the latter in December of 1991, the situation changed radically. But this radical change had been prepared for some years in advance. Heidegger's thought became already in the 1960s a furtive source of resistance, primarily to the rigid dogmas of dialectical materialism. But it also became later on a source of inspiration for broader resistance to the hegemony of western modes of thinking itself. If the former applies to Heidegger's reception both in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, the latter applies almost exclusively to the post-Soviet situation in Russia where traditional forms of resistance to the west exploited Heidegger's critique of metaphysics for their own purposes. It is well to emphasise this astonishing conjuncture since it features two levels of Heideggerian influence, both of which were and are perceived as emancipatory, although that emancipation itself is far more problematic.

It is far more problematic precisely because emancipation from the strictures of dogmatic Marxism seems more acceptable than emancipation from the west in toto, moreover as emancipation that condemns western culture as tyrannous, banal and numbing 'Americanism.' This distinctively Russian phenomenon will occupy me for the rest of my brief essay.

VLbibi.jpgHeidegger's thought came to prominence in the post-Soviet era through the work of a remarkable polyglot translator and charismatic philosopher, Vladimir Bibikhin (1938-2004). Not only did Bibikhin translate Being and Time into Russian, he also cultivated a generation of young philosophers through his widely-attended lectures at the University of Moscow. It is difficult to apply a label to Bibikhin's thought, and I shall not try to do so. Suffice it to say that Bibikhin attempted to graft Heidegger onto central currents in Russian thought in such a way as to renovate Russian culture in the post-Soviet era, not as a wholesale rejection of western thought but as an effort at correcting its sometimes baleful influence, especially in regard to the insensate selfishness and venality that made strong inroads into post-Soviet Russia under the guise of promoting a free market and capitalist democracy. Bibikhin fought against the hypocrisy of American democracy as reflected in Russia, the ostensibly principled pursuit of freedom concealing there, as elsewhere, naked greed and exploitation.

Alexander Dugin took a different path. Dugin emerged from the shadows of far-right nationalist movements in the 1990s and seems to have come into his own in the Putin era as an advocate of a harshly anti-liberal, anti-American political stance. His 'fourth political theory' encourages resistance to the hegemony of modern liberalism, epitomized in its decadence by the United States, and develops a concept of multi-polarity whereby different cultural identities might be free to co-exist without having to submit to the hegemony of the United States. If this thinking may seem to reflect platitudes of post-colonialist thought, Dugin's advocacy of 'Eurasianism,' of Russia's destiny as a mediating entity between West and East, often referred to as an ideology of empire, as well as his reliance on thinkers such as Julius Evola and Carl Schmitt, suggest a profoundly conservative orientation not typically associated with post-colonialism.

Heidegger's thought has grown increasingly prominent as a source of inspiration for Dugin. Rather than grafting Heidegger's thought onto central currents of the Russian tradition, Dugin views Heidegger as offering a powerful productive example to Russian thought. For it is Heidegger, according to Dugin, who shows most clearly that western thought is exhausted and at an end such that it can - and indeed must - be totally overcome. The other beginning Heidegger proclaims in the 1930s as an overcoming of the exhaustion and sterility of western thought becomes a rallying cry for Dugin as well: Russian thought may offer a corresponding example by freeing itself of the suffocating hegemony of the west, of Americanism, to create a new multi-polar world. Yet, it should be noted that Russia becomes thereby a new beacon of freedom, a new centre in a multi-polar world. The ostensibly liberating proclamation of multi-polarity thus ends up reflecting little more than the venerable tradition of Russian 'Messianism' whereby it falls to Russia to save the world - in this case to save the world from the west, as the beneficent'star arising in the East' referred to by another unrepentant nationalist, Fyodor Dostoevsky in The Brothers Karamazov over 136 years ago.

Jeff Love
Author of Heidegger in Russia and Eastern Europe



vendredi, 09 juin 2017

Greg Johnson - A New Beginning: Heidegger & Ethnic Nationalism


Greg Johnson - A New Beginning: Heidegger & Ethnic Nationalism

Despite being the major philosopher of the 20th century, Martin Heidegger is most liberals’ worst nightmare; for Heidegger is ‘one of us’ – one of us politically, one of us philosophically, one of us spiritually, one of us in every way.  But, because he is someone who is of such towering importance to western thought it is difficult for the liberals to ridicule, stigmatize or belittle his contribution and ideas.  Therefore the liberal ploy, rather in the way they’ve dealt with Tolkien, Ezra Pound, Celine, TS Eliot and hundreds of others, has been to pretend he never really had politically incorrect views at all.  The recent publication however of more and more hitherto unpublished works by him - including ‘The Black Notebooks’ – has refocussed attention on his (meta)political position and its importance as an integral part of his entire worldview.  This has made the aforementioned liberal strategy increasingly untenable…. to the point where the dam is about to burst.  Here, Greg Johnson, one of the world’s foremost Heideggerians, will speak to us about how the ongoing unveiling of more and more of Heidegger’s thinking will increasingly lead to Ethnic Nationalism, ‘this thing of ours’, becoming supremely fashionable.  

Greg Johnson is the editor and owner of Counter Currents website and publishers.  He is the author of 6 books, including his just released 'In Defence of Prejudice'. 



jeudi, 08 juin 2017

Le jeune Heidegger 1909-1926


Le jeune Heidegger


Sophie-Jan Arrien et Sylvain Camilleri (éd.)

2711623025.jpgEUR 28,00
La philosophie de Heidegger ne commence pas avec Être et Temps. On trouve en amont du maître-ouvrage de 1927 une réflexion riche et autonome, dont il n’est pas exagéré de dire qu’elle forme un continent à part entière au sein de l’œuvre. Ce recueil vise justement à présenter la pensée du « jeune Heidegger » (1909-1926) et à lui accorder toute l’attention qu’elle mérite. Coups de sonde dans les premiers écrits et les premiers cours de Freiburg et de Marburg, les études ici rassemblées laissent entrevoir une recherche absolument originale, déjà fort mature et aux singulières potentialités. Des interprétations phénoménologiques de la vie facticielle y côtoient des confrontations avec le néo-kantisme, des appels précoces à l’herméneutique, des détours subtils par la théologie et des références à la religion vécue. Plutôt que de réduire ces premiers travaux à un simple tracé menant tout droit à l’analytique existentiale du Dasein, cet ouvrage s’efforce de dévoiler leur signification et leur importance intrinsèques. Investiguant notamment l’intérêt du jeune Heidegger pour le Pseudo-Duns Scot, Dilthey, Rickert, Natorp, Paul, Augustin, Aristote et Luther, il propose un aperçu de la complexité des influences et des idées qui structurent la première pensée du philosophe. Il s’agit ainsi d’ouvrir selon des perspectives plurielles un corpus pouvant non seulement donner une impulsion nouvelle aux études heideggeriennes mais également inciter à développer les possibilités du travail herméneutique, à refonder la phénoménologie et à interroger autrement la donne théologique.

Vrin - Problèmes & Controverses
288 pages - 13,5 × 21,5 cm
ISBN 978-2-7116-2302-0 - mars 2011

L' inquiétude de la pensée - L'herméneutique de la vie du jeune Heidegger


L' inquiétude de la pensée
L'herméneutique de la vie du jeune Heidegger (1919-1923)
Collection: Epimethée
Discipline: Philosophie
Catégorie: Livre
Date de parution: 04/06/2014
32,00 €
Livraison en France métropolitaine uniquement.


Entre 1919 et 1923, Heidegger caresse le vœu de faire « exploser l’ensemble du système traditionnel des catégories ». Ce sont les travaux de cette période qu’il s’agira ici de sonder pour en dégager l’originalité et l’intérêt philosophiques propres, sans nécessairement les considérer sous l’éclairage rétrospectif du projet ontologique d’Être et Temps (1927). Le jeune philosophe soupçonne les concepts philosophiques traditionnels de masquer le mouvement de la vie et d’éteindre l’inquiétude native de la pensée. Il exige donc que les questions fondamentales de la philosophie soient désormais interprétées à partir de la concrétude de la vie. C’est ce qu’on a appelé rétrospectivement son « herméneutique de la facticité ». La « vie » devient dès lors le leitmotiv de la pensée du jeune Heidegger, pointant vers une sphère originaire, celle de l’expérience facticielle, d’où le philosopher trouve sa provenance, dont il doit rendre compte et où il revient toujours. Ainsi, que Heidegger soumette à son herméneutique critique (ou « destruction ») les thèses de Lask, Rickert, Natorp, Dilthey, Husserl, Paul, Augustin, Luther ou celles d’Aristote, la sauvegarde de la mobilité inquiète de la vie et de la pensée fait fonction de véritable critère d’originarité au sein de cette première charge du philosophe contre la conceptualité métaphysique.


Nombre de pages: 392
Code ISBN: 978-2-13-062453-0
Numéro d'édition: 1
Format: 15 x 21.7 cm



Chapitre 1 – L’idée de la philosophie
La philosophie comme problème

L’insuffisance de l’épistémologie
Le lieu de l’origine

Chapitre 2 – Du vécu à la vie
La question du vécu

Le primat du théorique en question
La science des vécus de conscience chez Natorp et Husserl
L’avancée méthodologique de Heidegger

Chapitre 3 – Penser la vie
Éléments pour une « philosophie de la vie »

La vie comme archiphénomène
Vers une phénoménologie herméneutique de la vie facticielle

Chapitre 4 – Chemins de la destruction
Repères méthodologiques

Destruction du concept de vie
Destruction du concept d’histoire
Destruction du concept de vécu : constitution et cohésion

Chapitre 5 – La destruction de l’expérience facticielle de la vie
Vie et philosophie

Expérience facticielle de la vie chrétienne primitive. L’interprétation heideggerienne de Paul
Heidegger et Augustin : le soi en question
Aristote : de la vie à l’être
L’athéisme de la philosophie


Autour de l'auteur

Sophie-Jan Arrien est docteur de l’université Paris Sorbonne et professeur à l’université Laval (Québec).

dimanche, 06 novembre 2016

World Religion of the Future

World War II was not a struggle between nationalism and globalism. It was a battle between conflicting visions of world order: a deracinating, soulless global marketplace vs. an Indo-European planetary hegemony based on a future pan-Aryan religion. At least, that is how the leader of the Kyoto School saw it.

tomo.jpgDespite his claim that the cultural crisis brought on by worldwide technological advancement could not be solved by a wholesale adoption of Eastern traditions such as Zen Buddhism, Martin Heidegger engaged in many conversations with… Japanese scholars throughout his philosophical career. His first and perhaps most significant encounter with the East took place as early as 1919, eight years before the publication of Being and Time. After having attended Heidegger’s 1918 lectures, one of his Japanese students, Tomonobu Imamichi, introduced Heidegger to the concept of “being in the world.” In The Book of Tea (1906), Tomonobu’s teacher, Okakura Kakuzo had used these words to describe an aspect of Zhuangzi’s spiritual vision.

tea03864558-us-300.jpgThe Book of Tea uses the tea ceremony to explore the wabi-sabi aesthetic experience cultivated in Japanese Zen arts and crafts. The early German translation of The Book of Tea uses the words das-in-der-Welt-sein, which, via Imamichi, found their way into the heart and soul of Heidegger’s 1927 magnum opus. Interestingly, Heidegger’s philosophical career not only begins under Japanese influence, it also ends with it. One of the essays in his last work On the Way to Language is “A Dialogue on Language” between “a Japanese and an inquirer” who remain significantly unnamed

In his “Introduction to Heideggerian Existentialism”, Leo Strauss makes much of Heidegger’s ‘Eastern’ response to the crisis of world-enframing technology in the absence of a genuine global society. Strauss observes that modern technology is forcing the material conditions of a World Society upon us, without a common world culture as its basis. It is the unification of mankind on the basis of the lowest common denominator. This leads to “lonely crowds” suffering from a pervasive sense of alienation and anomie. Furthermore, Strauss recognizes that no genuine culture in the world has ever arisen without a religious basis, without addressing man’s need for something noble and great beyond himself. So the world society, being wrought largely as a consequence of apparently valueless technological forces, is ironically one in need, not merely of a universal ethics, but of one world religion. The world religion must emerge out of the deepest reflection on the crisis of cultural relativism, and on the essence of the technological forces bringing it about:

[Heidegger] called it the “night of the world.” It means indeed, as Marx had predicted, the victory of an ever more completely urbanized, ever more completely technological West over the whole planet – complete leveling and uniformity… unity of the human race on the lowest level, complete emptiness of life… How can there be hope? Fundamentally, because there is something in man which cannot be satisfied by the world society: the desire for the genuine, for the noble, for the great. The desire has expressed itself in man’s ideals, but all previous ideals have proved to be related to societies which were not world societies. The old ideals will not enable man to overcome the power, to weaken the power, of technology. We may also say: a world society can be human only if there is a world culture, a culture genuinely uniting all men. But there never has been a high culture without a religious basis: the world society can be human only if all men are genuinely united by a world religion.

Explicating Heidegger, Strauss explains that in order for it to be possible to overcome technology, which is not at all the same as rejecting it, there must be a sphere of thought or contemplation beyond the rationalism developed by the Greeks and forwarded in Western science and technology. This must be an understanding of the world from behind or beneath the will to mathematize all beings with a view to instrumental manipulation of them on demand (bestand). It must understand the difference between Being and beings, and that Being is no-thing that can be mastered. The to be which is always as present at hand, is taken by Rationalism as the standard of being – that which really is, is always present, available, accessible. Instead, Strauss thinks that: “a more adequate understanding of being is intimated by the assertion that to be means to be elusive or to be a mystery.” Strauss claims that “this is the Eastern understanding of Being” and he adds that: “We can hope beyond technological world society, we can hope for a genuine world society, only if we become capable of learning from the East… Heidegger is the only man who has an inkling of the dimensions of the problem of a world society.”

nishida001-7a112.jpg…The thinkers of the Kyoto School of Philosophy were in favor of the war and have been collectively referred to as the “philosophers of nothingness”. Some of them had a constructive vision of how the Buddhist understanding of the void could complement the techno-scientific thinking of the West in order to bring about a new global civilization. Key figures among them, such as Nishida Kitaro, were students of Heidegger as early as the 1920s, and like Heidegger they saw the world war as the means to bring about a global culture that would ground techno-scientific development in a spirituality transcending insular and traditional values.

Remember that the Indian caste system that Nietzsche so admired, and that was based on regimented and hierarchically stratified class divisions, was a function of the Aryan conquest of the native Dravidian population of India. This origin is reflected in the Sanskrit name for the “caste” of the caste system, varna, which literally means “color” so that it was once a color-coding system. The four classes were: the Brahmins – the Vedic priests or scholars (including those who engaged in various proto-scientific practices); the Kshatriyas – the caste of knightly warriors, including feudal lords as chief amongst them; the Vaishyas – the business class, including both farmers and various types of merchants; and the Shudras – menial laborers, usually involved in undignified or hard labor. Finally, there were also “outcaste untouchables” that were relegated to an inhumanly low status. “Prince” Siddhartha Gotama belonged to the Kshatriya class.

The Buddha was a light-skinned blue eyed Aryan whose father was a feudal lord and who was expected to become a knight. In his late writings, Nishida Kitaro explains how it is that “Indian culture”, from which Japan inherited Buddhism (including the symbol of the swastika that is ubiquitous at Japanese temples) and which shares the Aryan or ‘Indo-European’ ethnic roots of European culture, “has evolved as an opposite pole to modern European culture… and may thereby be able to contribute to a global modern culture from its own vantage point.” What is the “global modern culture” that Nishida envisions?

Well, he certainly views it as having a religious basis and he thinks that the world war during which he is writing is a means to achieving it: “And does not the spirit of modern times seek a religion of infinite compassion rather than that of the Lord of ten thousand hosts? It demands reflection in the spirit of Buddhist compassion. This is the spirit which says that the present world war must be for the sake of negating world wars, for the sake of eternal peace.” In every true religion the divine is an absolute love that embraces its opposite, to the extent of even becoming Satan, and this is the meaning of the concept of upaya or shrewdly bringing to bear “skillful means” in Mahayana Buddhism so that “the miracles” of “this world may be said to be… the Buddha’s expedient means.” This all-embracing character of the divine, as that which encompasses what one would take to be its opposite, “is the basic reason why we are beings who can be compassionate to others and who can experience the compassion of others. Compassion always signifies that opposites are one in the dynamic reciprocity of their own contradictory identity.”

A God who is the Lord (Dominus) in the sense of an ultimately transcendent substance cannot be a truly creative God. Creation ex nihilo would be both arbitrary and superfluous; it must be out of love that God or Buddha creatively manifests the world from out of its own self-negation. Nishida believes that the school of Prajnaparamita thought in Mahayana Buddhism, established by Nagarjuna, has a deeper and more adequate understanding of this than pantheistic Western thinkers of dialectical synthesis, such as the Hegelians, who remain within the realm of reason even in their negative theologies. Nishida nevertheless refers to his ontology of the absolute’s self-expression and transformation as “Trinitarian” and compares it to Neo-Platonic thought.

However, Neo-Platonism and all pagan western thought falls short insofar as it fails to see Satan or “absolute evil” as an aspect of God. He adds: “The absolute God must include absolute negation within himself, and must be the God who descends into ultimate evil. The highest form must be one that transforms the lowest matter into itself. Absolute agape must reach even to the absolutely evil man. This is again the paradox of God: God is hidden even within the heart of the absolutely evil man. A God who merely judges the good and the bad is not truly absolute.” In passages such as these we see that Shunyata (in Sanskrit, Mu in Japanese) is not the Nothing of Descartes at all. Quite to the contrary of serving as an entirely distinct polar opposite of a Perfect Being that would exonerate the latter from being the source of any imperfection, this Nothingness is an inner dynamic tension within Being – as expressed in the spectral incompleteness and interdependent interpenetration of all beings. The battle between God and Nothingness in the heart of man, the “dynamic equilibrium” between “is” and “is not”, may be paradoxical but it is also the existential ‘ground’ of the volitional person. “Radical evil” lies ineradicably at the root of our freedom. We are always already “both satanic and divine.” Nishida claims that the Buddha – or any other conception of divinity – outside of one’s own existential potentiality is not the true Buddha:

Only in this existential experience of religious remorse does the self encounter what Rudolf Otto calls the numinous. Subjectively speaking, the encounter is a deep reflection upon the existential depths of the self itself; and as the Buddhists say, it means to see our essential nature, to see the true self. In Buddhism, this seeing means, not to see Buddha objectively outside, but to see into the bottomless depths of one’s own soul. If we see God externally, it is merely magic. …Illusion is the fountainhead of all evil. Illusion arises when we conceive of the objectified self as the true self. The source of illusion is in seeing the self in terms of object logic. It is for this reason that Mahayana Buddhism says that we are saved through enlightenment. But this enlightenment is generally misunderstood. For it does not mean to see anything objectively… It is rather an ultimate seeing of the bottomless nothingness of the self that is simultaneously a seeing of the fountainhead of sin and evil.

In this Zen injunction to kill any conception of a Buddha outside oneself, Nishida does not deny the cycle of birth and death or samsara as an empirical or phenomenological fact, he simply insists that the truly religious consciousness is one that has recognized the identity of samsara and nirvana. On his terms, and according to the sages of the esoteric Buddhist tradition, nirvana does not mean to attain some state distinct from and after samsara but to recognize that in every moment of the cycle of reincarnation the perfection beyond the impurity of karma is already present. This does not mean that the self “transcends its own historical actuality – it does not transcend its own karma – but rather that it realizes the bottomless bottom of its own karma.”


This relatively late Mahayanist view is anathema to the teaching of Siddhartha Gotama and the early Indian Buddhism founded on it. According to the Buddha Dharma, just as there are physical, biological, and psychological laws operative in the cosmos, there is also an ethical law. The law of karma is a lawful relationship between one’s actions, including verbal and unspoken mental acts that express one’s volition (cetana), and both the realm within which one is reborn as well as the conditions of life that one experiences within this realm. The ethical quality of one’s volition is supposed to resonate with the qualitative character of a certain realm of existence, and to tune into this realm, as it were, as a consequence of being on the same wavelength. Within these more general parameters what one experiences within a given realm of existence is conditioned by one’s actions both within the present life and in past lives. The fundamental presupposition here is that even if an action or intention does not appear to bear fruit (phala) presently, it reverberates in ways that one may remain unconscious of until it finally yields some tangible results (vipaka) – possibly later in one’s present life, but perhaps not until a future life.

While psychological research in the wake of the coming spectral revolution in Science might validate certain classes of phenomena associated with Buddhism as genuine natural phenomena, it is likely to reveal significant Buddhist misunderstandings of these very same phenomena and to profoundly challenge Buddhist codes of ethics. This is the case with the Reincarnation research of the late Dr. Ian Stevenson… What would disturb Buddhists most about Stevenson’s apparent validation of one of the central tenants of their religion is that the ethical idea of karma is untenable in light of his scientific research into the reality of Reincarnation as a natural phenomenon. What Stevenson found is that a person’s strong psychic impression of localized bodily injury at the time of a violent death or terrible accident, could affect fetal development of the body to be subsequently inhabited by that person to produce a birthmark or birth defect corresponding to the site of injury and even the shape or type of injury. In other words there are many cases of the following type: an innocent person is attacked and has his arm hacked off by a murderer and while the victim is reborn with that arm badly deformed, the murderer not only gets away scot free in his present incarnation, he also does not suffer any apparent ill effects in his subsequent incarnation.

Nirvana is the goal of the path, the aim of the Buddha Dharma. Yet, it is the most obscure element of Gotama’s teachings and, unlike karma, meditation, and the moral disciplines, it is one of the ideas most unique to his understanding of the Dharma as compared to the various pre-Buddhist forms of Sanatana Dharma (aka. ‘Hinduism). It is referred to at times as an element or a state, a state of supreme bliss, and yet it is supposed to be beyond any conditioned state, whether painful or even pleasurable. At times Siddhartha discusses Nirvana as if it were attainable amidst the present life and at other times it seems like a total annihilation that a perfectly enlightened person can pass into upon the disintegration of what will be his final body. What, then, is the difference between this annihilation and the so-called “annihilationism” that is one of the wrong views most destructive of an ethical life? Is the Buddha Dharma, in its original form, essentially a grand doctrine of suicide? Does it opt out of actual suicide because it will not do any good, since the underlying tendencies of the psyche are still active and will reorganize around a new physical aggregate, so that suicide can only be truly successful by unbinding the threads of this psyche – by disintegrating the soul?


Nirvana means “snuffing out” or “blowing out”, as in putting out a flame or fire. Orthodox Buddhists of the Theravada tradition most directly descended from the teachings of Gotama suggest that the answer to the perplexing question as to who attains Nirvana and where he attains it, namely as to whether a Buddha or arahant exists in Nirvana after death or is annihilated and passes into nothingness, can be simply answered by saying that the perfectly enlightened person simply “goes out” or is “put out.” He was a flame burning with the fire of life, but this fire of ceaseless suffering has been put out. Phew! Can there be a more pessimistic and nihilistic view of life? At least the man who actually commits suicide affirms a life that would be worth living by comparison to his own, which he judges intolerable only as compared to some ideal. He would also be affirming a sense of history wherein the future can be meaningfully different from any past epoch, an understanding of time that warrants a historical struggle – even if not one that he can personally bear to participate in here and now. It is above all in Japan where this early Buddhist nihilism gave way to the world-historical ethos of the fiery forge.

Nishida draws a distinction between physical, biological, and historical life. The teleological irreversibility of time in the course of organic development is key to his distinction between the first two. Whereas the world of biological life forms remains partially spatial and material, in the human world time negates space and the spatialized chronological ‘time’ relevant to inorganic physics. As Nishida puts it: “We can even say that there is no death for a merely biological being. For death entails that a self enter into eternal nothingness. It is because a self enters into eternal nothingness that it is historically irrepeatable, unique, and individual.” Only in the face of this “eternal death” qua nothingness is genuine individuation possible and only the real individual becomes agitated by the religious question. A being who carries out its moral duty for duty’s sake, in other words out of adherence to what Kant frames as the categorical imperative, would have no individuality; religion can have no meaning for such an abstract subject without any concrete will. Groundless nothingness (Shunyata) is the unstable and ghostly horizon of one’s finite existence, and existential awareness of this ultimate and inescapable negation of one’s self is not a merely noetic reflection.

Nishida approvingly attributes to Fyodor Dostoyevsky the “standpoint of freedom” which holds that: “There is nothing at all that determines the self at the very ground of the self.” From the vantage point of his own time, Nishida sees the spirit of Dostoyevsky as the closest point of contact between Japanese spirituality and the West. He admonishes the Japanese for having remained too insular and that the spiritual sense for the ordinary and everyday that Japan shares with Dostoyevsky has hitherto been too superficial. “At this juncture,” he says, “it must come to possess an acute Dostoievskian spirit in an eschatological sense, as the Japanese spirit participating in world history.” Nishida hopes that “in this way” the hybridized Japanese civilization “can become a point of departure for a new global culture.” Nishida sees the way that the Yahweh “folk religion of the Jewish race” evolved into a world religion, and one that served as the basis for a medieval European culture that he clearly admires, as a model for a potential globalizing evolution of Japanese tradition. The “scientific” secularization characteristic of modern Western civilization, wherein “old worlds lose their specific traditions”, is a necessary phase in the formation of “a global humanity.” It is, in a dialectical sense, a negatively determinative moment in “the world’s transformation.” However, it must be recognized that “science is also a form of culture” and that “the world of science may also be said to be religious.” The failure to recognize this has been chiefly responsible for the fact that “such a thing as the decline and fall of the West has been proclaimed.”


Dostoyevsky diagnosed the causes of this decline perspicaciously in Notes From Underground (1864), which is widely considered the first existentialist novel. It is a response to the situation of the Cartesian ego, which… is sadistically enmeshed in murderous machinery over which he takes himself to have no control. The underground man is crippled by his hyperconsciousness. He is unlike the common man of action insofar as he can trace all effects back to ever receding causes such that, for example, he is incapable of mistaking vengeance for justice, since the would-be target of a retributive act is not ultimately responsible for it. He is also unlike people who are cruel only out of stupidity, because he cannot even stop at the egoistic passions that they take to be primary causes. Under a more intensely rational scrutiny, comprehending these passions also dissolves them as any solid basis for action. The underground man challenges the claim that other materialistic rationalists make, to the effect that a person cannot but act in such a way as is to his advantage.

nishesp.jpgDostoevsky asks us to suppose that we were able to arrive at a formulation of the laws of nature, including biological and psychological laws, so precise that we could calculate, in every case, what a man will do by knowing what is at that moment to his advantage – not as an individual – but as an organism that microcosmically expresses the survivalist egoism of Nature. A man who became aware of this calculation would spitefully do something else, anything else, just to prove that he was not “a piano key” or an “organ pedal” whose thoughts and passions could in principle be encompassed by a formula, tabulated, and predicted according to statistical probability. Dostoevsky equates the sum total of any comprehensive formula for the laws of nature, of the kind that physicists today are still searching for under the rubric of a theory of everything, with “an endlessly recurring zero” because it nullifies meaningful action.

The underground man would act contrary to his advantage, he would humiliatingly sacrifice himself to others, to be beaten and brutalized, to be impoverished through impossible generosity, and in every other way to fail and suffer in life just so as to demonstrate that life “is not simply extracting square roots.” On the one hand, he knows that “two times two makes four”, in other words the laws of nature cannot be changed and so “there is nothing left for you to do or to understand.” On the other hand, he has a painful awareness that “Consciousness… is infinitely superior to two times two makes four.” The underground man decides that “if you stick to consciousness, even though you attain the same result, you can at least flog yourself at times, and that will, at any rate, liven you up. It may be reactionary, but corporal punishment is still better than nothing.”

If “natural science and mathematics” were able to prove to him that even this reaction were predictable in accordance with some “mathematical formula”, he “would purposely go mad in order to be rid of reason” and moreover, he would try to hurl the whole of the world into an abyss of “chaos and darkness and curses.” This is what the underground man is referring to when he admits:

The long and the short of it is, gentlemen, that it is better to do nothing! Better conscious inertia! And so hurrah for underground! …But after all, even now I am lying! I am lying because I know myself as surely as two times two makes four, that it is not at all underground that is better, but something different, quite different, for which I long but which I cannot find! Damn underground!

Nishida is in search of what the underground man could not find as a cure to the mechanistic materialism dominating science under the Cartesian paradigm, but what he believed that Dostoevsky himself did find – albeit in an overly Judeo-Christian form that would benefit from a deconstructive encounter with the abyssal void of Zen.

Consciousness always consists of both an extending out over oneself as one’s world and a determination of oneself by that world, so that ‘subjectivity’ and ‘objectivity’ are abstractions of a creative world-forming process that one can intuit in the abyssal or groundless inner depths of the self prior to the interpretation of it as an ego. Nishida thinks “discovery in the scientific domain exemplifies the same point”, namely “seeing by becoming things and hearing by becoming things.” Nishida goes so far as to proclaim the ontological priority of the religious form of life over both scientific practice and social mores: “Both science and morality have their basis in the religious form of life.” Nishida later repeats this point with respect to scientific practice: “Active intuition is fundamental even for science. Science itself is grounded in the fact that we see by becoming things and hear by becoming things. Active intuition refers to that standpoint which Dogen characterizes as achieving enlightenment ‘by all things advancing.’” According to Nishida, the religious form of life is more fundamental than scientific cognition and the knowledge gained by means of it; the quest for scientific knowledge is a mode of the essentially religious character of our existence:

I hold that even scientific cognition is grounded in this structure of spirituality. Scientific knowledge cannot be grounded in the standpoint of the merely abstract conscious self. As I have said in another place, it rather derives from the standpoint of the embodied self’s own self-awareness. And therefore, as a fundamental fact of human life, the religious form of life is not the exclusive possession of special individuals. The religious mind is present in everyone. One who does not notice this cannot be a philosopher.

Nishida proclaims that, “A new cultural direction has now to be sought. A new mankind must be born… a new global culture.” Although Nishida admits that “the new age must primarily be scientific”, he sees a radicalization of the immanent view of divinity in Dostoyevsky and Russian mysticism in general through an encounter with Japanese Buddhism as playing a key role in defining “the religion of the future.” Yet the Buddhism that contributes to the formation of the religion of the new age, the religion of the global culture, must transcend the racial character of the Japanese: “From the perspective of present-day global history, it will perhaps be Buddhism that contributes to the formation of the new historical age. But if it too is only the conventional Buddhism of bygone days, it will merely be a relic of the past. The universal religions, insofar as they are already crystallized, have distinctive features corresponding to the times and places of the races that formed them.” It is inevitable that our ethos reflects a national character, but “the nation does not save our souls.” A true nation or civilization must be based on a world religion, and not the other way around.

The has been an excerpt from “Kill A Buddha On The Way,” the tenth chapter of Prometheus and Atlas (Arktos, 2016).

Right On Radio: #8 – The Promethean Destiny of Man with Jason Reza Jorjani


Prometheus and Atlas

In Prometheus & Atlas, Dr. Jorjani endeavors to deconstruct the nihilistic materialism and rootless rationalism of the modern West by showing how it was grounded on a dishonest suppression of the spectral and why it has a parasitic relationship with Abrahamic religious fundamentalism. Rejecting the marginalization of ESP and psychokinesis as “paranormal,” Prometheus & Atlas […]

Price: $36.50

mercredi, 25 mai 2016

DIEGO FUSARO: Dis-godding (Heidegger). The Holy under Assault from Economy



Dis-godding (Heidegger)

The Holy under Assault from Economy

2016. DIEGO FUSARO: www.filosofico.net –www.diegofusaro.com
inserting sub-titles Luciana Zanchini – Firenze

vendredi, 06 mai 2016

Presentazione del volume "Martin Heidegger - La verità sui Quaderni neri"


mardi, 19 avril 2016

Sur Heidegger et la question du management de Baptiste Rappin


Heidegger contre les robots

Sur Heidegger et la question du management de Baptiste Rappin

par Francis Moury

Ex: http://www.juanasensio.com

"Un monde dominé par la Force est un monde abominable, mais le monde dominé par le Nombre est ignoble".
Georges Bernanos, La France contre les robots (1946), in Essais et écrits de combat (Éditions Gallimard, coll. Bibliothèque de la Pléiade-NRF, 1995, tome 2), p. 1042.

«Il n'est pas besoin d'être prophète pour reconnaître que les sciences modernes dans leur travail d'installation ne vont pas tarder à être déterminées et pilotées par la nouvelle science de base, la cybernétique. [...] Cette science correspond à la détermination de l'homme comme être dont l'essence est l'activité en milieu social. [...] La fin de la philosophie se dessine comme le triomphe de l'équipement d'un monde en tant que soumis aux commandes d'une science technicisée et de l'ordre social qui répond à ce monde. [...] Fin de la philosophie signifie : début de la civilisation mondiale en tant qu'elle prend base dans la pensée de l'Occident européen.»
Martin Heidegger, La Fin de la philosophie et la tâche de la pensée (1964), conférence traduite et prononcée par Jean Beaufret en 1964 durant un colloque organisé à Paris par l'Unesco, éditée in Question IV en 1977, reproduite in Questions III + IV (Édition Gallimard, collection Tel, 1990), pp. 284 à 286.
«Et si le management était à Heidegger ce que les Sophistes furent à Platon ?» Inattendue et savoureuse question. Le sous-titre Cybernétique, information et organisation à l'époque de la planétarisation précise l'ampleur philosophique, sociologique et politique de l'enjeu du livre. Avouons qu'à l'âge du transhumanisme, ils éveillent la curiosité la plus métaphysique comme la plus heideggerienne. Baptiste Rappin s'est appuyé, pour y répondre, sur trente-six livres et articles de Heidegger, rédigés de 1923 (Ontologie – Herméneutique de la factivité) à sa mort, y compris sur les Correspondances, par exemple celles avec Hanna Arendt et Karl Jaspers.

On accède aux révélations espérées d'abord par une bibliographie sélective des œuvres citées de Heidegger puis par une division d'essence musicale des matières, revendiquée comme telle, placée sous les auspices cosmologiques de Pythagore et de sa célèbre harmonie des sphères. Elle comporte un Prélude dans lequel certaines thèses de Jean-François Mattéi sur l'histoire de la philosophie sont résumées et approuvées. Jean-François Mattéi qui est d'ailleurs régulièrement cité et, boucle bouclée, à nouveau convoqué au dernier chapitre. Les citations disséminées de ce dernier ne sont pas vraiment ad usum delphini : il faut, pour en tirer la substantifique moelle, les remettre en situation dans l'histoire de l'histoire de la philosophie (1). Sur les rapports entre les présocratiques, Platon, Aristote, Plotin et les gnostiques, on se doute que tout ne peut pas être résumé en une figure – fût-elle «pentadique» (voir p. 24) et quelques citations. Même remarque pour l'histoire de la logique formelle, qui ne peut pas être résumée en quelques pages. De tels résumés sont certes clairs et commodes (sauf exception : la définition du syllogisme à la p. 193 est incompréhensible) mais ils ne dispenseront pas le lecteur de recourir aux ouvrages classiques s'ils veulent les dominer. Ce prélude correspond donc bien à sa définition : il est riche de potentialités et on y sent déjà souffler l'esprit du philosophe de la Forêt noire, ce qui, en ce qui me concerne, est essentiel sinon même, aujourd'hui, l'essentiel.

C'est à partir du second chapitre (Présence de la cybernétique dans l'œuvre de Heidegger, pp. 63 et suivantes) de la seconde partie que l'étude prend réellement son envol et devient passionnante. Baptiste Rappin analyse la manière dont la cybernétique et le management sont critiqués par Heidegger en étudiant cinq de ses conférences des années 1960-1970. Dès lors, on mesure, presque en temps réel, en quoi Heidegger fut le digne héritier de G.W.F. Hegel et de Friedrich Nietzsche : c’est une même capacité à interpréter la dynamique du présent à la lumière dialectique du commencement grec qui les réunit pour l'éternité.

Au carrefour du capitalisme, du marxisme, du structuralisme, la grande affaire scientifique de l'après-guerre à partir de 1945 fut bien celle de la révolution informatique des sciences cognitives et de l'intelligence artificielle, de la cybernétique de Norbert Wiener (1948) récupérée par la généralisation sociologique des instruments du «management» mis au point par l'américain Frederick Winslow Taylor vers 1910. Sa définition est, ici, celle donnée en 1970 par Henri Fayol : prévoir, organiser, commander, coordonner et contrôler (2).
Cette révolution cybernétique, informatique et scientifique visait par essence l'universalité et fascina logiquement autant le monde libre que le bloc communiste marxiste : les philosophes, les ingénieurs informaticiens, les linguistes, les organisateurs industriels et scientifiques des deux blocs furent mobilisés pour organiser les sociétés sous l'angle de la gestion globale, interactive. Trouver des ponts philosophiques et techniques entre l'homme et la machine, concilier sous de nouveaux angles le capital et le travail, augmenter la puissance technique du calcul, augmenter celle des organisations sur les individus, étaient des éléments du programme cybernétique de management du réel industriel, civil, scientifique, financier et militaire. Lorsque Heidegger critique la cybernétique, il tient philosophiquement compte de cette visée mondiale, par-delà la scission contingente de la bipolarité politique dans laquelle il vivait. Rechercher la cause métaphysique de la décadence du «logos» en calcul : c'est un des aspects du projet métaphysique de Martin Heidegger dès la fin de la Première Guerre mondiale. L'intérêt du livre de Baptiste Rapin est de montrer en quoi cette enquête heideggerienne fut aussi déterminante dans la constitution de son ontologie phénoménologique que ses recherches purement métaphysiques et phénoménologiques.
Ces cinq conférences de Heidegger constituent la matière disséquée dans la troisième partie du livre de Baptiste Rappin. En voici la bibliographie chronologique par date de rédaction :
Langue de tradition et langue technique (conférence de 1962)
La Fin de la philosophie et la tâche de la pensée (conférence de 1964)
L'Affaire de la pensée (conférence de 1965)
Entretien accordé au journal allemand Der Spiegel (1966)
La Provenance de l'art et la destination de la pensée (1967)
cyb069828-p4V.jpgQuelle définition peut-on donner de la cybernétique ? On peut dire qu'elle est l'héritière de la sophistique, ce qui placerait Heidegger par rapport à elle, selon Baptiste Rappin, dans la situation où fut Platon par rapport aux Sophistes : «La cybernétique, loin du fracas tonitruant des bombes atomiques, opère en silence la réduction des bruits dans la tranquillité circulaire des boucles de rétroaction. Elle prépare le monde paisible de la gouvernance qui succédera à la belligérance des États souverains. Héritière, par la maîtrise des codes, des effets rhétoriques de la sophistique; par l'attention aux inputs, de la philosophie sensualiste; par la planification des finalités, de la technoscience moderne, la cybernétique représente le double de la philosophie à l'époque de la fin de la philosophie» (p. 99).
Heidegger considère la cybernétique comme la conséquence de l'erreur métaphysique occidentale. Conséquence placée au même niveau et mise sur le même plan que ces autres conséquences qu'étaient l'oubli de l'être au profit de l'étant, la contagion démocratique, le mercantilisme et le règne de l'argent, la prédominance de la technique sur l'art, le remplacement du langage faisant sens par celui véhiculant de l'information, celui du calcul logistique (puis logique mathématique) sur la philosophie (3).
De ce point de vue, la cybernétique fait cause commune avec la linguistique dans sa tentative de détruire le monde originaire de la philosophie en remplaçant la langue par une métalangue. Baptiste Rappin, après avoir démontré que les théories cybernétiques de l'information constituent, selon les termes mêmes de Heidegger en 1962, «l'agression la plus violente et la plus dangereuse contre le logos», cite (p. 220) cet extrait d’Acheminement vers la parole : «la métalinguistique est la métaphysique de la technicisation universelle de toutes les langues en un seul instrument, l'instrument unique d'information, fonctionnel et interplanétaire». En transformant la parole en instrument de transmission de messages binaires issus de la logique mathématique, la cybernétique informatique tend à modifier l'essence même de l'homme. Poussant la thèse un peu plus loin, Heidegger considère (dans son cours sur Parménide, en 1942-1943) que seule l'écriture manuelle est ontologiquement personnelle et humaine : à partir du moment où la machine à écrire se substitue à la main, une certaine impersonnalité s'empare, nolens volens, du locuteur. (4)
Quant au «management» (à ne surtout pas confondre avec l'administration d'une entreprise, car Baptiste Rappin soutient que ces deux termes distincts recouvrent aussi des finalités opposées), il constituerait, en somme, l'application pratique, le passage à l'acte du modèle promu par la cybernétique. Son histoire et sa critique sont nourries, détaillées, intéressantes : si on souhaitait un équivalent moderne de la sophistique, alors, assurément, le management en serait un, et de taille puisqu'il vise par essence à dominer, à contrôler et à augmenter son emprise, du fait même de sa visée pratique première : créer une organisation (qu'elle soit économique ou non) et augmenter sa puissance, dans un contexte de flux permanent, de différenciation constante, de catastrophe entropique. Montrer en quoi le platonisme, le néoplatonisme, le gnosticisme (tous les trois clairement bien que succinctement résumés) peuvent être utilisés pour ou contre ce mouvement postmoderne (Deleuze, Derrida, Lyotard sont aussi convoqués) et en quoi Heidegger se situe par rapport à eux tous, est un des aspects les plus inattendus de cette seconde section de la troisième partie. Une pensée de la technique, de l'organisation, du travail, du système réactif tel que Norbert Wiener l'avait conçue, me semblerait cependant convoquer deux noms ici presque absents : ceux de Spinoza (à cause du conatus) et de Hegel (à cause du travail comme négativité). Je remarque, à ce propos, que les études de Heidegger sur Hegel ne font pas partie de la bibliographie utilisée. Dommage, car il y aurait eu matière à quelques remarques intéressantes. Baptiste Rappin a utilisé le monumental traité (volontairement inédit du vivant de l'auteur, écrit en 1936-1938, traduit par François Fédier en 2013 pour Gallimard et la Bibliothèque de philosophie-NRF) intitulé Apports à la philosophie dans lequel l'organisation est un thème majeur. Mais Heidegger analyse d'une manière très variable le sujet dans ce traité : la technique des extraits cités, largement employée par Baptiste Rappin, trouve ici une limite car rien d'unifié ne peut s'en dégager.
Heidegger n'est pas, contrairement à l'image entretenue depuis longtemps par certains de ses exégètes, ennemi de l'organisation ni hostile à la technique : simplement, il met en garde contre la possibilité d'une dérive philosophique manifestée par leur mauvais usage. Et il est assez fasciné par leur succès, annonçant les ambitions transhumanistes qu'il a clairement entrevues.
Nous pouvons considérer que ce livre de Baptiste Rappin, traitant en apparence d'un simple aspect de la pensée de Heidegger et bien que ce ne fût donc pas son objet premier, y introduit assez bien.

Est-ce à dire que nous pourrions négliger les introductions historiques de Georges Gurvitch (1930), Alphonse de Waelhens (1942), de Jean-Paul Sartre (1943), du père Maurice Corvez (1961), de Jean Beaufret (de 1946 à 1982) qui reposaient sur un plus petit corpus de textes heideggeriens ? Non, car ces textes qu'ils connurent, ils surent les lire et les étudier avec une pénétration indéniable. Dans le cas de Heidegger, il faut faire justement ce que fait Baptiste Rappin : revenir aux textes mêmes ou y venir à mesure qu'ils sont accessibles. Tant que l'édition des œuvres complètes n'est pas achevée ni totalement traduite, l'étude des textes de Martin Heidegger, des plus amples aux plus brefs, des plus célèbres aux plus méconnus, est encore devant nous comme tâche. Nous ne saurons vraiment quelle place et quel rang exacts peuvent être attribués à chaque texte qu'une fois que l'ensemble sera connu, pas avant. Toutes les études parues depuis la mort de Heidegger à nos jours sont des éléments utiles, analytiques, mais il n’n reste pas moins que e temps de la synthèse est prématuré, en dépit des nombreuses tentatives déjà effectuées.
Baptiste Rappin indique (dans sa très utile note n°201 de la p. 94) que l'édition allemande des œuvres complètes de Martin Heidegger est organisée d'une manière tétralogique :
– La première section rassemble les textes publiés du vivant de l'auteur,
– La deuxième section édite ses cours professés, rédigés ou préparés et les rédactions des auditeurs,
– La troisième section publie des textes volontairement ou non inédits du vivant de l'auteur,
– La quatrième section comportera des fragments et des notes.
Ni l'Allemagne ni la France ne disposant encore d'une édition achevée des œuvres complètes, il est donc, je le répète, absolument prématuré de vouloir en élaborer une interprétation d'ensemble. Nous ne pouvons que lui poser des questions ponctuelles, soigneusement circonscrites, relatives aux volumes déjà publiés et traduits. Le livre définitif sur le système de Martin Heidegger et son évolution existera peut-être un jour mais il est actuellement impossible de l'écrire : c'est un livre à venir. Quant à la division tétralogique allemande qui semble pertinente, elle ne pourrait avoir de réelle utilité que si, à l'intérieur de chaque section, l'ordre chronologique de rédaction était adopté comme critère de classement et de numérotation des tomes. Une édition critique doit, en effet, permettre au lecteur de savoir, à vue d'œil, à quelle période de rédaction appartient un texte publié, un cours, un texte inédit, un fragment ou une note. Il faut qu'elle permette de l'apercevoir physiquement sans effort excessif de recherche du volume rangé dans une bibliothèque. Raison pour laquelle je préconise qu'on classe systématiquement, dans une bibliothèque physique, selon l'ordre chronologique de rédaction par Heidegger les volumes traduits en français de ses Œuvres à mesure qu'ils sont publiés pour la Bibliothèque de philosophie éditée par la NRF qui n'a pas, pour sa part, adopté cette division tétralogique, ce qui, en somme, facilite l'opération préconisée.


Passons à présent aux quelques remarques d'usage sur la présentation matérielle de ce volume. Les mots allemands, grecs et latins sont systématiquement traduits lorsqu'ils sont employés : ce livre est donc un outil précis pouvant servir d'initiation sémantique au vocabulaire philosophique couramment employé par Heidegger. Les références bibliographiques aux œuvres de Heidegger (notamment à celles publiées par la Bibliothèque de Philosophie-NRF des éditions Gallimard) sont présentées au début du livre dans leur ordre chronologique de rédaction, ce qui est très bien. Leurs titres sont abrégés en sigles constitués d'une, deux ou trois lettres, ce qui l'est moins. Si le lecteur n'a pas encore trop de mal à se souvenir que «P» = cours universitaire de Heidegger sur Parménide (1942-1943), il en aura peut-être davantage pour mémoriser que «AFP» = L'Affaire de la pensée (une conférence de 1965) mais, à mesure que la lecture progresse, on finit par retenir les sigles les plus fréquemment cités. Les quatre volumes des Questions ne sont pas datés comme les autres. Il était pourtant possible de dater chaque tome (même si l'édition Gallimard récente groupe deux tomes par volume) en indiquant, entre parenthèses, après la mention de chaque tome, la date de l'article le plus ancien en ouverture, celle du plus récent en fermeture, séparées par un trait d'union. Ce sont les traductions françaises les plus récentes qui sont citées et utilisées : nous sommes donc en présence d'un commode outil pédagogique. Bien qu'il ne couvre pas l'ensemble du corpus heideggerien, il en cite de nombreux extraits. Les références bibliographiques aux auteurs antiques, modernes et contemporains, sont, quant à elles, disséminées dans les notes. Une table des matières existe, mais aucun index des noms cités n’a été inclus, ce qui est toujours regrettable. Quelques relâchements de langue sont à signaler : «...le destin des deux catégories ne saurait être pris en vue qu'à travers leur intime proximité...» (en haut de la p. 94). Ce bizarre «pris en vue» (dont on se doute qu'il provient d'une traduction plus ou moins littérale de Heidegger) évoque une prise de vue photographique, mais pouvait être avantageusement remplacé par le simple participe passé «envisagé». Des coquilles disséminées, parfois même dans les citations : «...Cette section ne fit pas publiée...» (en haut de la p. 93) au lieu de «ne fut pas». Passons cependant sur ces défauts stylistiques et ces problèmes matériels mineurs tant l'intérêt du livre est évident. Dans le tableau n°3, enfin, intitulé Quelques lois de la logique symbolique à la p. 195, il faudrait rajouter mentalement entre crochets la négation [non pas] pour bien lire l'équivalence posée entre la formule de logique mathématique : z(x - y) = (zx – zy) et sa traduction exemplaire en langage normal : «Les Européens (les hommes mais non les femmes) = les Européens hommes mais [non pas] les Européens femmes».

(1) Exemple : p. 169, à propos de la théorie de la causalité chez Aristote, Baptiste Rappin cite un article de Jean-François Mattéi, Les Deux souches de la métaphysique chez Aristote et Platon (paru en 2000) dans lequel ce dernier affirme que : «au bout du compte, tant chez Aristote que chez Platon, la tendance formelle et analytique l'emporte sur la tendance causale et synthétique, même si les deux registres continuent à se faire face». Rien de nouveau sous le soleil car c'était déjà, au moins en partie, la thèse de Léon Robin, soutenue dans son article Sur la conception aristotélicienne de la causalité (1910) réédité in Léon Robin, La Pensée hellénique des origines à Épicure (Éditions P.U.F., 1942). Cette thèse fut critiquée par Pierre Aubenque dans Le Problème de l'être chez Aristote (1962, deuxième partie, chapitre II, alinéa 3, 5e tirage P.U.F., 1983, pp. 456 et sq. Sur l'histoire française des études aristotéliciennes depuis Ravaisson, je renvoie le lecteur à mon article intitule Le Positivisme spiritualiste d'Aristote (http://www.juanasensio.com/archive/2010/09/04/positivisme-aristote-felix-ravaisson-francis-moury.html) et sur Heidegger et la pensée antique, à mon article Heidegger ex-cathedra 2 : philosophie antique (http://www.juanasensio.com/archive/2015/06/08/heidegger-ex-cathedra-2-philosophie-antique-par-francis-moury.html).

2) Est-ce à dire que la formule «Savoir pour prévoir afin de pouvoir» d'Auguste Comte annonçait la révolution cybernétique d'une part, celle du management d'autre part ? La question mériterait qu'on s'y intéresse, à condition de se souvenir du mot célèbre de son disciple Littré qui, lorsqu'on lui citait le nom de Comte, répondait : «Lequel ? Car ils sont deux...», en faisant allusion à la dichotomie doctrinale entre le premier Comte du Cours de philosophie positive (1830-1842) et le second Comte du Système de politique positive (1851-1854).

3) La critique de la civilisation moderne et contemporaine par Heidegger rejoint la critique catholique par bien des aspects. Lisons les premières lignes d’Yvonne Pellé-Douël, dans Saint Jean de la Croix et la nuit mystique (Éditions du Seuil, coll. Maîtres spirituels, 1960, introduction, p. 3) : «C'est avec violence que Jean de la Croix se présente à nous, comme une insulte, comme un coup. Rien de commun entre ce moine du XVIe siècle espagnol, dévoré d'austérité, perdu dans le rien de toute chose humaine, enseveli dans la solitude, muet sur lui-même, forcené dans sa quête de Dieu, et l'homme du XXe siècle, soucieux de la terre et de son rendement, du monde et de son exploration, pris à la gorge par l'urgence des problèmes humains, essayant fébrilement d'humaniser le cosmos, sous peine de disparition, attaché de tout son poids au sol.» Il est vrai que cette critique rejoint la critique mystique du monde par les autres religions, mais il faut ici se souvenir que Heidegger avait consacré sa thèse à Duns Scot, pas à Bouddha ni à Luther ni à Mahomet. Duns Scot sur qui saint Jean de la Croix avait, d'ailleurs, aussi suivi des cours.

4) Baptiste Rappin ne mentionne pas Sartre qui pousse l'idée au bout de sa logique, dans L'Être et le néant (1943), dont le titre, soit dit en passant, rend évidemment hommage au grand traité heideggerien Être et temps de 1927. Les rapports avec autrui nous forcent à nous aliéner, y compris et surtout lorsque nous leur parlons. Cf. Émile Bréhier, Les Thèmes actuels de la philosophie (éditions P.U.F., 1951, 7e tirage de 1967, p. 71 : «M. Sartre a une bien curieuse remarque à propos de la communication à autrui de nos pensées par le langage. «Le fait même de l'expression, écrit-il, est un vol de pensée, puisque la pensée a besoin des concours d'une liberté aliénante pour se constituer comme objet.» Ainsi voilà mes auditeurs soupçonnés de me voler ma pensée, à cause sans doute de la pression qu'ils exercent sur moi pour me contraindre à l'exprimer en un langage compréhensible pour eux.» On peut, il est vrai, et sans même remonter jusqu'à l'antiquité, lire une idée assez comparable chez Thomas Hobbes, in De la nature humaine, V, 8 (Vrin, 1971), p. 47.

51rZ2qg6d8L._SX339_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgAcheter Heidegger et la question du management de Baptiste Rappin sur Amazon.

00:05 Publié dans Philosophie | Lien permanent | Commentaires (1) | Tags : philosophie, martin heidegger, heidegger, cybernétique | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook

vendredi, 19 février 2016

Heidegger, ein Faschist?


Heidegger, ein Faschist?

von Prof. Dr. Paul Gottfried

Ex: http://www.blauenarzisse.de

Im Oktober ist im Karolinger-​Verlag die Schrift „Heidegger und der Antifaschismus“ von Bernard Willms erschienen. Herausgegeben wurde sie von Till Kinzel.

Heidegger-​Studien in Hülle und Fülle vorliegen, legte Willms etwas Originelles hin, als er durch seinen bündig gefassten Band Heideggers politische Kritiker auseinandernahm. Eine Schwemme an überhitzten Denunziationen kreist um Heideggers Einsatz für die „Deutsche Revolution“, die in seiner Freiburger Rektoratsrede von 1933 anklang, nachdem er eine Woche zuvor der NSDAP beigetreten war.

9770789a0f33e588bdf77280b57e9f04_L.jpgDie antisemitischen Äußerungen von Heidegger

Ausgehend von einem bahnbrechenden Band (1987) des chilenischen Kommunisten Victor Farias, sind einander jagende Anti-​Heidegger-​Demontagen zuhauf erschienen. Samt und sonders zielen sie darauf ab, Heideggers ideenpolitische Reise zum Faschismus von seiner Kinderstube bis zu seinem Tod aufzuzeigen. Auf seinem Lebensweg tauchen vermeintlich gewisse Charakteristika auf, im besonderen Abscheu vor der Moderne, Judenhass, und (bei Farias) eine Reihe von katholisch angehauchten tiefreaktionären Haltungen.

Willms, der sein Buch 1991 vollendete, war nicht imstande, die in den letzten zehn Jahren veröffentlichten Werke von Peter Trawny über die „Schwarzen Hefte“, die die antisemitischen Aussprüche aus Heideggers zwischen 1938 und 1941 niedergelegten „Überlegungen“ zusammentragen, und die Kinzel in seinem bibliographischen Anhang aufführt, zu besprechen. Aber meiner Ansicht nach ist dieser für Skandal sorgende Renner Willms Einschätzung kaum abträglich. Heideggers Anzüglichkeiten über Juden, dass sie „entwurzelt“ seien und zu einem krassen Händlertum gehören, sind klischeehaft und zwar schimpflich, aber kommen der Nazi-​Rassentheorie an Lästerlichkeit bei weitem nicht gleich. Leicht wäre es, ebenso unglimpfliche Bemerkungen zu Juden bei Churchill oder anderen zu finden. Dergleichen habe ich schon bei diesen Prominenten ausgebuddelt. Dem Anklagebrief entgegenzuhalten, ist aber die Tatsache, dass Heidegger vor 1933 von jüdischen Studenten umschwärmt wurde. Die berühmteste ist sicherlich die deutsche Jüdin Hannah Arendt. Seinem jüdischstämmigen Gönner und engem Freund Edmund Husserl hatte er zudem Sein und Zeit (1927) gewidmet.

Die größte Dummheit seines Lebens

Auch während des Krieges hielt Heidegger die seinem Tagebuch vertrauten antijüdischen Äußerungen nicht für „druckfähig“. Schon im April 1934 trat er verdrossen aus seiner Rektoratsstelle aus, und nach dem Krieg kennzeichnete er sein mit verschränkten Verweisen auf das Griechentum beschwingte Lob auf das Dritte Reich als die „größte Dummheit meines Lebens“. Leider genügt dieser begrenzte Reueausdruck keineswegs, um der Schlägerei ein Ende zu machen. Beim deutschen Intellektuellentum, so Willms, floriert eine Heimindustrie, die Heidegger eine lebenslange Anfälligkeit für die Nazi-​Bewegung unterstellt. Von dem verdeutschten Farias, über Bernd Martin, Hugo Ott und Jürgen Habermas bis zu Trawny schießen die Verrisse wie Pilze aus dem Boden.

Sie sind bestrebt, so Willms, Heidegger ins ärgste erdenkliche Licht zu rücken und hantierten mit fragwürdigen Kontinuitäten, um die beabsichtigte Bilanz zu ziehen. Aus der denunziatorischen Wortflut erschließen sich bestimmbare Grundmotive, die Willms akribisch untersuchte. Zuallererst ersparen sich die Denunzierenden die Mühe, Heideggers Seinsphilosophie zu bewältigen, eine erschöpfende Aufgabe angesichts der Verstricktheit des zu berücksichtigenden Lesestoffs. Statt mit stilistisch schweren Texten ringen zu müssen, kann sich der Kritiker mit politischen Mahnungen begnügen. Die seinsphilosophische Grübelei fühlt man sich berechtigt abzutun, denn sie entsprang einem Feind unserer jeweiligen Demokratie und ohnehin einem eingefleischten Faschisten.

Postmoderne Wende

Zum zweiten tauchten die vielfältigen Anklagen gegen Heidegger im Zusammenhang einer aufgeheizten Auseinandersetzung in Frankreich und anschließend in Deutschland zwischen einerseits den Modernisten, Linksdemokraten sowie Kommunisten, und andererseits den Vertretern der Postmoderne auf. Die postmodernen Vordenker, vor allem Jacques Derrida und Jean-​Francois Lyotard, reißen sich von Marx und anderen fortschrittlichen Vordenkern los, so der Jammerchor, um auf einen antidemokratischen, zeitfremden Mystiker ihre Spannkraft zu richten. Damit die Abgelenkten auf die rechte Bahn zurückgebracht werden können, tut es not, Heidegger in seiner vollen Niedertracht zu entlarven.

In Anknüpfung daran – und hier steckt das wahre Herzstück der Arbeit – bezeugen die Anstürme auf Heidegger den steten Versuch der ihn Denunzierenden, ihren Antifaschismus als Gründungslehre der aus der Besatzung entstandenen menschenrechtlichen deutschen Demokratie zu unterstreichen. Jedesmal wenn ein Möchtegern-​Prominenter Heidegger schlechtmacht, attestiert er seinen Mitbürgern oder seinen gleichgestimmten Kollegen, dass er anständiger ist. Als Paradebeispiel führt Willms Karl Jaspers an, der mit der „schnodderigen Bemerkung“ den Reigen eröffnete: „Heidegger weiß nicht, was die Freiheit ist.“

Wer Faschist ruft, will seine eigene moralische Überlegenheit beweisen

Stark geprägt von Heideggers Existenzphilosophie, die er in einer volkstümlichen Gestalt, den breiten Massen zugänglich machte, setzte Jaspers einen weitaus helleren Denker herab, um seine moralische Überlegenheit zu beweisen. Die Sache noch weiter trübend, so Willms, wusste Jaspers Bescheid, dass Heidegger einen philosophischen Freiheitsbegriff eingehend ausgearbeitet hatte. Was Jaspers mit seiner Urteilfindung bezweckte, war sich über einen höher zu rangierenden Kopf moralisch emporzuheben. Und mit seinem Gestus bekannte er sich zu der antifaschistischen Nachkriegsordnung, die für Heidegger keinen Platz übrig hatte.

Noch zeitbedeutender ist darüber hinaus, dass der politisch und kulturell grundlegende Antifaschismus den eingeschworenen Kommunisten und sonstigen Linkstotalitären eine rauschende Willkommenskultur bescherte. Namhaften kommunistischen Fürsprechern, am merkwürdigsten Berthold Brecht und Jean-​Paul Sartre, war alle Ehre im antifaschistischen Kampflager beschieden. Abbitte mussten Antifaschisten keineswegs leisten, auch wenn sie für Stalin und Mao unverschämt eingetreten waren. Während es gehalten sei, Heidegger wegen seiner 1933 verübten Verirrung laufend zu verdammen, belobigt man dennoch „antifaschistische” Kommunisten als vorbildliche Demokraten.

Hoffnung auf eine schicksalshafte Geschichtswende

Im Gegensatz zu dem heuchlerischen Gefasel der Sittenwächter sei die Auffassung, die Heideggers ehemaliger Assistent Karl Löwith in Denker in dürftiger Zeit (1953) darbietet, wenigstens vertretbar, dass Heideggers emotional aufgeladener Sinn der Schicksalshaftigkeit zu seiner eingangs positiven Haltung zum Dritten Reiches den Weg bahnte. Die Erwartung einer weltbewegenden Geschichtswende, die die „Destruktion“ aller bestehenden Wertsysteme nach sich ziehen muss, öffnete dem in die Rektoratsrede eingeflochtenen Thema „Nationalrevolution“ Tür und Tor.

Löwith sucht eine begriffliche Überleitung von Heideggers Denkansätzen zu seiner folgenschweren Entscheidung im Gefolge einer verhängnisvollen Regierungsveränderung. Er führt aus, dass Heideggers Aufbruch von einem subjektiven Dasein, das in Sein und Zeit herausgestellt wird, zu einem alles durchdringenden Seinsbegriff gewisse Weiterungen mittrug. Diese als philosophisch eingeordnete Wende hatte eine Politik der apokalyptischen Erwartung zur Folge. Seiner zeitlich begrenzten Empfänglichkeit für den 1933 vorgefallenen Erdenrutsch eilte Heideggers geistige Umorientierung voran.

Beiläufig erwähnt: Löwith, ein protestantischer Akademiker jüdischer Abkunft, wurde nach 1933 gedrängt, aus Deutschland nach Italien zu flüchten. Dort traf er mit seinem in Urlaub gegangenen Mentor zusammen, der drauflos redete, wie durch und durch begeistert er war von der Neuordnung. Der entflohene Ex-​Anhänger wurde von Entsetzen gepackt, als er Heideggers Ergüssen zuhörte. Nicht nur war er aus seiner Heimat hinausgedrängt worden. Ebenso beunruhigend war die sonderbar anmutende Begeisterung seines Freundes, den er nicht mehr wiedererkannte. Im Unterschied zu den jetzt in Schwung gekommenen Anti-​Heidegger-​Moralisten kreidete Löwith aber seinem gefallenen Idol später kein Festhalten seiner ehemaligen Haltungen an. Heidegger war eben eine im Wandel stehende und nicht immer auf einen glücklichen Ausgang zustrebende Denkfigur.

Bernard Willms: Heidegger und der Antifaschismus. Wien: Karolinger, 2015.

vendredi, 01 janvier 2016

La fortuna di Heidegger in Oriente

La fortuna di Heidegger in Oriente

Ex: http://4pt.su

“Un tempo l’Asiatico portò tra i Greci un oscuro fuoco ed essi, con la loro poesia e il loro pensiero, ne composero la natura fiammeggiante disponendola in una forma dotata dichiarezza e di misura”.     

M. Heidegger, Aufenthalte

La fortuna di Heidegger in Iran

Nel 1977 Hans Georg Gadamer notava come Was ist Metaphysik?, la prolusione tenuta da Heidegger a Friburgo in Brisgovia nel 1929, avesse avuto una vasta risonanza fuori dalla Germania e come il pensiero heideggeriano fosse rapidamente penetrato in aree culturali ascrivibili all’Oriente. “È assai rivelativo – scriveva Gadamer – che siano state tanto immediate le traduzioni in giapponese e persino in turco, in lingue cioè che non rientrano nell’area linguistica dell’Europa cristiana. Sembra pertanto che il tentativo heideggeriano di pensare oltre la metafisica abbia riscontrato una precipua disponibilità alla sua ricezione proprio dove la metafisica greco-cristiana non orientava tutto il pensiero come suo sfondo naturale”1.

Tre anni più tardi un ex allievo persiano di Heidegger, Ahmed Fardid (1909-1994), diventava l’elemento di spicco di un organismo fondato dall’Imam Khomeyni, il Consiglio Supremo per la Rivoluzione Culturale Islamica, e costituiva il punto di riferimento di un gruppo di intellettuali che si richiamava esplicitamente al pensiero heideggeriano e si contrapponeva al gruppo dei “popperiani”.

“Gli ‘heideggeriani’ – si legge nell’articolo di un loro avversario – si erano proposti un obiettivo essenziale: la denuncia della democrazia in ogni sua forma, in quanto del tutto incompatibile con l’Islam e con la filosofia. Cercavano di dimostrare che Socrate era stato giustiziato perché avversario della democrazia e sostenevano che l’ordinamento politico difeso dal suo discepolo Platone era antesignano del governo islamico. (…) Fino al 1989 gli ‘heideggeriani’ furono la forza filosofica dominante nel sistema creato da Khomeini. Il primo ministro di allora, Mir Hussein Musavi, e il giudice supremo Abdul Kerim Erdebili (…) appartenevano entrambi al gruppo degli ‘heideggeriani’. Per un breve periodo i ‘popperiani’ furono in grado di invertire parzialmente la rotta del potere, ma la loro sorte fu segnata quando la presidenza della Repubblica Islamica venne conquistata da Mahmud Ahmadinejad. Il nuovo presidente era infatti un attivo seguace di Fardid e di Heidegger”2.

La fortuna di Heidegger nella Repubblica Islamica dell’Iran venne ufficializzata dal convegno internazionale organizzato nel 2005 a Teheran dall’Istituto Iraniano di Filosofia e dall’Ambasciata della Confederazione Elvetica sul tema “Heidegger e il futuro della filosofia in Oriente e in Occidente”. Il prof. Reza Davari-Ardakani, un ex allievo di Ahmed Fardid diventato presidente dell’Accademia delle Scienze, espose i risultati dei suoi studi sul pensiero di Heidegger. Il prof. Shahram Pazouki, che oltre ad aver tenuto due corsi su Heidegger aveva assegnato tesi di dottorato su “Dio nel pensiero di Heidegger” e sulla “Filosofia dell’arte di Heidegger”, stabilì un confronto fra Sohrawardi e il filosofo tedesco, indicando la gnosi islamica e la filosofia di Heidegger come i mezzi ideali per la comunicazione spirituale tra l’Asia e l’Europa. Benché attestato su posizioni distanti da quelle degli relatori precedenti, il prof. Bijan Karimi riconobbe l’importanza fondamentale del pensiero heideggeriano dell’essere nel mantener viva la dimensione del sacro3.

Dell’attuale situazione degli studi filosofici in Iran si è occupato anche Jürgen Habermas, che l’ha riassunta in questi termini: “Davari-Ardakani è oggi presidente dell’Accademia delle Scienze e passa per essere uno dei ‘postmoderni’. Questi hanno assunto innanzitutto l’analisi heideggeriana dell’ ‘essenza della tecnica’ e la utilizzano come la critica più coerente della modernità. Suo contraltare è Abdul Kerim Sorus, che difende – in quanto ‘popperiano’ – una divisione cognitiva tra religione e scienza, anche se personalmente tende a identificarsi con una certa corrente mistica islamica. Davari è un difensore filosofico dell’ortodossia sciita, mentre Sorus, come critico, ha già perso molta della sua pur scarsa influenza”4.

L’interesse manifestato dall’intellettualità iraniana nei confronti di Heidegger può trovare una spiegazione in ciò che dice Henry Corbin, studioso di Sohravardi e traduttore francese di Was ist Metaphysik?5, circa le corrispondenze esistenti fra la teosofia islamica e l’analitica heideggeriana. “Quello che cercavo in Heidegger, quello che ho compreso grazie a Heidegger, è la stessa cosa che ho cercata e trovata nella metafisica islamico-iraniana, in alcuni grandi nomi (…) Non molto tempo fa Denis de Rougemont ricordava, con un certo umorismo, che all’epoca della nostra gioventù aveva constatato che la mia copia di Essere e tempo recava sul margine numerose glosse in arabo. Credo che per me sarebbe stato molto più arduo tradurre il lessico di un Sohravardi, di un Ibn ‘Arabi, di un Molla Sadra Shirazi, se prima non mi fossi impegnato nella traduzione dell’inaudito lessico tedesco di Heidegger. Kashf al-mahjûb significa esattamente ‘disvelamento di ciò che è occulto’. Pensiamo a tutto quello che Heidegger ha detto circa il concetto di aletheia6.

heidegger2.jpgMa questa analogia non è la sola che possa essere citata. Lo stesso Corbin ne sottintende un’altra dello stesso genere allorché, avvalendosi di una terminologia heideggeriana, ci ricorda che “il passaggio dall’essere (esse) all’ente (ens), i teosofi islamici lo concepiscono come il porre l’essere all’imperativo (KNEsto). È in forza dell’imperativo Esto che l’ente è investito dell’atto di essere7.

Osiamo allora abbozzare altre corrispondenze: per esempio, quella che si può intravedere fra l’Andenken, la “rimemorazione” finalizzata a mantener vivo il problema dell’essere, e il dhikr, la “rimemorazione” rituale cui il sufismo assegna il compito di attualizzare la presenza divina nell’individuo.

Così l’Ereignis, l’”evento” che si configura come l’Essere stesso in quanto tempo originario e costituisce perciò lo spazio di un nuovo apparire divino, viene ad assumere le dimensioni di una realtà ierostorica, individuabile nel momento della Rivelazione o in corrispondenza della parusia del Mahdi o comunque su uno sfondo escatologico.

O ancora: l’essere-per-la-morte, la decisione anticipatrice in cui viviamo la morte come la possibilità più incondizionata e insuperabile, non trova un parallelo islamico nel hadîth profetico riportato da As-Samnânî  “morite prima di morire” (mûtû qabla an tamûtu)?

Heidegger e l’Estremo Oriente

L’Oriente islamico non è la sola area culturale dell’Asia in cui il pensiero di Heidegger ha suscitato interesse. Non è un caso che Unterwegs zur Sprache8 cominci con un colloquio tra l’Autore e un Giapponese buddhista, Tomio Tezuka: in Giappone, dove Heidegger è il filosofo europeo più tradotto e dove sono stati affrontati temi quali “le religioni nel pensiero di Heidegger”9 o “Heidegger e il buddhismo”10, le prime pubblicazioni sul suo pensiero risalgono agli anni Venti del secolo scorso11, ossia al periodo in cui i corsi del filosofo a Friburgo e a Marburgo cominciarono ad essere frequentati da studiosi buddhisti giapponesi. Tra questi, a suscitare l’interesse di Heidegger per il Giappone pare sia stato il Barone Shûzô Kuki (1888-1941), “un pensatore che riveste nel panorama filosofico giapponese ed europeo di questo secolo una singolare importanza”12; tornato in patria, Kuki tenne corsi su Heidegger presso l’Università Imperiale di Kyôto.

I contatti di Heidegger col Giappone proseguirono dopo la guerra: nel 1953 egli conobbe personalmente Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki (1870-1966), il noto studioso e divulgatore del buddhismo zen, del quale aveva letto i pochi libri accessibili. “Se comprendo correttamente quest’uomo, – aveva detto di lui – questo è quanto io ho cercato di dire in tutti i miei scritti”13. Da parte sua, Suzuki rievocò così l’incontro avuto con Heidegger: “Il tema principale del nostro colloquio è stato il pensiero nel suo rapporto con l’essere. (…) ho detto che l’essere è là dove l’uomo, che medita l’essere, avverte se stesso, senza però separare sé dall’essere (…) ho aggiunto che nel Buddhismo Zen il luogo dell’essere è mostrato evitando parole o segni grafici, poiché il tentativo di parlarne finisce inevitabilmente in una contraddizione”14.

Nel 1954 ebbe luogo il colloquio con Tomio Tezuka (1903-1983), traduttore, oltre che di Goethe, Hölderlin, Rilke e Nietzsche, anche di alcuni testi di Heidegger. Dopo essere stato sollecitato a chiarire numerose questioni relative al vocabolario giapponese, Tezuka chiese a Heidegger quale fosse il suo parere circa il significato attuale del cristianesimo per l’Europa. Il filosofo definì il cristianesimo “imborghesito”, espressione di “religiosità convenzionale” e per lo più privo di una “fede viva”15.

Nel 1958 Heidegger tenne all’Università di Friburgo un seminario che vide la partecipazione di Hôseki Shin’ichi Hisamatsu (1889-1980), monaco zen di scuola rinzai e maestro di calligrafia16. Dopo che Heidegger ebbe chiesto a Hisamatsu di illustrare la nozione giapponese di arte e la relazione fra arte e buddhismo zen, ebbe luogo un dialogo sul carattere dell’opera d’arte e sulla sua origine, che Hisamatsu attribuì al libero movimento del non-ente (nicht-Seiende). Heidegger concluse il seminario riproponendo il celebre kôan del Maestro Hakuin Ekaku (1686-1769): “Ascolta il suono del battito di una sola mano!”17.

L’interesse di Heidegger per lo Zen e la consonanza esistente fra il suo pensiero e questa forma di buddhismo sono state riassunte da uno studioso nepalese nei termini seguenti: “Il disinteresse per ciò che è ‘rituale’ e l’attenzione data allo spirito da parte dello Zen potrebbero essere considerati equivalenti al rifiuto di Heidegger della struttura filosofica convenzionale delle nozioni, dei termini e delle categorie classiche in favore di un ‘filosofare vero’”18.

Nel 1963 ebbe luogo uno scambio di lettere tra Heidegger e Takehiko Kojima, direttore di un’istituzione filosofica giapponese. In una lettera aperta pubblicata su un giornale di Tokyo, Kojima si riferiva alla conferenza di Heidegger sull’era dell’atomo19 considerandola un discorso rivolto ai Giapponesi stessi. Con l’occidentalizzazione, proseguiva Kojima, è scesa sul Giappone quella notte che Kierkegaard e Nietzsche avevano già vista incombere sull’Europa. “L’unica cosa a cui possiamo credere – concludeva – è una parola tale che, precorrendo il mattino del mondo, del quale non possiamo sapere in che momento arriverà, sia in grado di scendere in questa lunga notte. Possa una tale parola sempre di nuovo giungerci vicino, richiamare il nostro passato e risuonare nel futuro”20. Nella sua risposta, prendendo atto del dominio mondiale che la scienza moderna assicura all’Occidente (“ovunque regna lostellen che provoca, assicura e calcola”), Heidegger affermava l’insufficienza del pensiero occidentale di fronte al problema posto dalla potenza dello stellen. Affermava poi che il pericolo più grande non consiste tanto nella “perdita di umanità” denunciata da Kojima, quanto nell’ostacolo che impedisce all’uomo di diventare ciò che ancora non ha potuto essere. Infine enunciava la necessità di un “passo indietro” che consentisse di meditare sulla potenza dello stellen; ma un tale meditare, concludeva, “non può più compiersi attraverso la filosofia occidental-europea finora esistente, ma neppure senza di essa, cioè senza che la sua tradizione, fatta propria in modo rinnovato, venga impiegata su una via appropriata”21.

Heidegger_green_crop.jpgNel 1964 avvenne l’incontro di Heidegger col monaco buddhista Bikkhu Maha Mani, docente di filosofia all’Università di Bangkok, che era venuto in Europa per conto della Radio tailandese. “Convinto sostenitore di un uso misurato della tecnologia e dei mass media come strumenti educativi, in Germania aveva voluto incontrare Heidegger proprio per confrontarsi sul problema della tecnica”22. Nel colloquio privato che ebbe luogo fra i due il giorno prima che venisse registrato un loro dialogo sul ruolo della religione, destinato ad essere trasmesso da un’emittente televisiva di Baden-Baden, Heidegger parlò di “abbandono” e di “apertura al mistero” e domandò al suo ospite che significato avesse, per l’Orientale, la meditazione. “Il monaco risponde del tutto semplicemente: ‘Raccogliersi’. E spiega: quanto più l’uomo, senza sforzo di volontà, si raccoglie, tanto più dis-fa [ent-werde] se stesso. L”io’ si estingue. Alla fine, vi è solo il niente. Il niente, tuttavia, non è ‘nulla’, ma proprio tutt’altro: la pienezza [die Fülle]. Nessuno può nominarlo. Ma è, niente e tutto, la piena realizzazione [Erfüllung]. Heidegger ha compreso e dice: ‘Questo è ciò che io, per tutta la mia vita, ho sempre detto’. Ancora una volta il monaco ripete: ‘Venga nella nostra terra. Noi La comprendiamo’”23.

Non diverse le parole del professor Tezuka: “Noi in Giappone siamo stati in grado di intendere subito la conferenza Was ist Metaphysik? (…) Noi ci meravigliamo ancor oggi come gli Europei siano potuti cadere nell’errore d’interpretare nihilisticamente il Nulla di cui si ragiona nella conferenza accennata. Per noi il Vuoto è il nome più alto per indicare quello che Ella vorrebbe dire con la parola ‘Essere’”24.

Infatti nella prolusione del 1929, subito tradotta in giapponese dal suo allievo Seinosuke Yuasa (1905-1970), Heidegger si era soffermato sul problema del Niente, argomentando che il Niente si identifica con lo sfondo originario tramite cui l’ente appare e che, siccome tale sfondo dell’ente coincide con l’Essere, fare esperienza del Niente equivale a fare esperienza dell’Essere.

Una tale convinzione non poteva non trovare ulteriore sostegno nella dottrina taoista, secondo la quale “tutte le cose vengono all’esistenza mediante l’essere (yu), e questo mediante il wu, termine che non traduciamo semplicemente come ‘non-essere’ (…), bensì come l”essere non-essere’, cioè l’atto che trascende e determina il porsi della realtà”25. Oltre a manifestare per il Chuang-tze un interesse che è attestato da varie parti26, nell’estate del 1946 Heidegger tradusse in tedesco i primi otto capitoli del Tao-tê-ching, avvalendosi della mediazione di uno studioso cinese, Paul Shih-yi Hsiao (1911-1986)27, che del testo di Lao-tze aveva già pubblicato una versione italiana28.

Frequenti riferimenti a Heidegger si trovano nel commento che accompagna la traduzione del Tao-tê-ching iniziata nel 1973 da Chung-yuan Chang, autore di diversi studi sul taoismo e sul buddhismo ch’an. Rievocando un suo colloquio dell’anno precedente con Heidegger, Chang si sofferma sull’affinità del pensiero di quest’ultimo col taoismo, in relazione sia alla poesia sia al problema del Niente; osserva che la nozione heideggeriana di Aufheiterung (“schiarita”) è presente nella tradizione cinese e designa “un modo per entrare nel Tao”29; ricorda che Heidegger e lui concordarono nell’identificare la nozione diLichtung (“radura”) con quella taoista di ming; ecc.

L’individuazione di tutte queste analogie, lungi dal costituire un banale gioco di parole e di concetti, ci rimanda alla vitale necessità del Dasein europeo di confrontarsi con quello asiatico. Lo ha detto d’altronde lo stesso Heidegger in Aufenthalte: “Il confronto con l’asiatico fu per l’esserci greco una profonda necessità. Esso oggi rappresenta per noi, in maniera assai diversa ed entro un orizzonte molto più ampio, la decisione sul destino dell’Europa”30.


1. H. G. Gadamer, Prefazione, in: M. Heidegger, Che cos’è metafisica?, Libreria Tullio Pironti, Napoli 1982, p. ix.

2. Amir Taheri, Mollarin Felsefe [La filosofia dei mullah], “Radikal” (Istanbul), 8 marzo 2005.

3. Dieter Thomä, Heidegger und der Iran, “Neue Zürcher Zeitung”, 10 dicembre 2005.

4. Jürgen Habermas trifft in Iran auf eine gesprächbereite Gesellschaft, “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung”, 13 giugno 2007.

5. Martin Heidegger, Qu’est-ce que la Métaphysique?, trad. par H. Corbin, Gallimard, Paris 1938.

6. Philippe Némo, De Heidegger à Sohravardî, “France-culture”, 2 giugno 1976 (www.amiscorbin.com).

7. H. Corbin, Il paradosso del monoteismo, Marietti, Casale Monferrato 1986, p. 7.

8. Trad. it.: M. Heidegger, Da un colloquio nell’ascolto del Linguaggio, in: In cammino verso il Linguaggio, Mursia, Milano 1973, pp. 83-125.

9. M. Inaba, Heideggâ no Shii no Shûkyôsei, Tokyo 1970.

10. T. Umehura e M. Oku, Heideggâ to Bukkyô, Tokyo 1970.

11. Satô Keiji, Heideggâ Hihan-sono Riron-Keitai ni tsuite, Tokyo 1926; Yoneda Shôtaro, Heideggâ no Kanshinron, Keizaironso XXVI-1, Kyoto 1928.

12. C. Saviani, L’Oriente di Heidegger, Il Melangolo, Genova 1998, p. 54.

13. W. Barrett, Zen for the West, in: Zen Buddhism: Selected Writings of D. T. Suzuki, W. Barrett ed., Doubleday Anchor Books, Garden City 1956, xi.

14. D. T. Suzuki, Erinnerungen an einen Besuch bei Martin Heidegger, in: Japan und Heidegger (hrsg. H. Buchner), Sigmaringen 1989, p. 169.

15. T. Tezuka, Drei Antworten, in Japan und Heidegger, cit., p. 179.

16. H. Sh. Hisamatsu, La pienezza del nulla, Il Nuovo Melangolo, Genova 1985; Idem, Una religione senza dio, Il Nuovo Melangolo, Genova 1996.

17. M. Heidegger – Hôseki Shinichi Hisamatsu, L’arte e il pensiero, in: C. Saviani, L’Oriente di Heidegger, cit., pp. 97-104.

18. Kumar Dipak Raj Pant, Heidegger e il pensiero orientale, Il Cerchio, Rimini 1990, p. 66.

19. Trad. it. in: M. Heidegger, L’abbandono, Il Melangolo, Genova 1986, pp. 25-43.

20. M. Heidegger, Briefwechsel mit einem japanischen Kollegen, in: Japan und Heidegger, cit., p. 220.

21. M. Heidegger, Briefwechsel mit einem japanischen Kollegen, cit., p. 226.

22. C. Saviani, L’Oriente di Heidegger, cit., p. 77.

23. H. W. Petzet, Auf einen Stern zugehen. Begegnungen mit Martin Heidegger 1929 bis 1976, Societäts Verlag, Frankfurt a. M. 1983, p. 191.

24. M. Heidegger, Da un colloquio nell’ascolto del Linguaggio, cit., p. 97.

25. P. Filippani-Ronconi, Storia del pensiero cinese, Boringhieri, Torino 1964, p. 58.

26. C. Saviani, L’Oriente di Heidegger, cit., pp. 41-42.

27. P. Shih-yi Hsiao, Heidegger e la nostra traduzione del Tao Te Ching, in: C. Saviani, L’Oriente di Heidegger, cit., pp. 105-118.

28. P. Siao Sci-Yi, Il Tao-te-King di Laotse, Laterza, Bari 1941.

29. Ch.-y. Chang, Reflections, in: Erinnerung an Martin Heidegger (hersg. G. Neske), Pfullingen 1977, p. 66.

30. M. Heidegger, Soggiorni. Viaggio in Grecia, Guanda, Parma 1997, p. 31.

vendredi, 29 mai 2015

Heidegger, Revolution und Querfront


Heidegger, Revolution und Querfront

 Heideggers Denken [2] ist, das erzähle ich jedem der es hören will (und auch allen anderen), unumgänglich für ein echtes Verständnis unsere Zeit und der Aufgabe unseres Lagers. Mit einer gewissen Genugtuung erlebe ich daher den heimlichen, neuerlichen Aufstieg Heideggers zum „geistigen König“ vieler rechtsintellektueller Kreise, der im Moment stattfindet. Dieser Prozess ist oft „subkutan“ und geht tiefer als etwa Dugins offener Makaraismus.

Ich sehe darin manchmal sogar eine „ideen- und seinsgeschichtliche Notwendigkeit“.Was bedeutet aber dieser Prozess, in dem das Erscheinen der schwarzen Hefte nur als „Katalysator“ wirkte, nun für die „akademische“ Bearbeitung Heideggers? Ich glaube: sie zerfällt.

Was bisher als Bruchlinie und innerer Widerspruch bestand, die „Hassliebe“ zu Heidegger, der fast alle wesentlichen Debatten der neueren Philosophie vorweggenommen hat, den man „auf Knien verachtet“ – wird zum Krater. Ein Krater in den viele, die ihre akademischen Karriere auf dem „Nazi-Philosophen“ aufgebaut haben, nun zu stürzen drohen. Verzweifelt versuchen nun einige, die, warum auch immer, Heidegger als Forschungsschwerpunkt gewählt haben, sich am Rand zu halten. Sie tun das meist, indem sie die „Nützlichkeit“ Heideggers für den Gesamtprozess des Fortschritts, der „Emanzipation“, also der Zerstörung aller Kulturen, Völker, Grenzen und Geschichten beteuern.

Ein entlarvendes Indiz dieser Verzweiflung ist seit kurzem im Webblog der Wochenzeitung Jungle World nachzulesen [3]. Zugegeben: es stellt eine „mutige“ Verzweiflung, eine Flucht nach vorne dar, ausgerechnet im Leib und Magenblättchen der antideutschen Poptifa eine Apologie Heideggers zu verfassen und darin sogar – welch Blasphemie –den Gottvater der Kritischen Theorie  Theodor W. Adorno zu kritisieren.

Trotz meiner Sympathie für diesen Versuch und jedes echte, rein philosophische Interesse muß ich in diesem Text klarstellen: Nein. Heideggers Denken ist für das, was heute unter „Emanzipation“ firmiert, für das Projekt des Menschheitsweltstaates und der „befreiten Gesellschaft“, nicht nur unbrauchbar – es ist sein einziger, wahrer und letzter Feind.

Das ehrliche Interesse Christian Schmidts zeigt sich, wenn er Heidegger gegen die plumpen Verdikte jüngster Zeit, sowie gegen Emmanuel Faye und Adorno in Schutz nimmt. Er erkennt die Wurzel des große Unbehagen über und der Hysterie gegen Heidegger in der Ungeheuerlichkeit: „dass Heidegger ein Nazi war und trotzdem einen bedeutsamen Beitrag zur Philosophie geleistet hat. Nationalsozialismus und Geist dürfen einfach nicht zusammengehen.“

Uns ist dieses „Was nicht sein darf, kann nicht sein“ nur allzu bekannt. Ist man beispielsweise erst einmal als Neurechter „enttarnt“, ist ab sofort von vornherein klar, dass man keinerlei echtes philosophisches Interesse an allen Fragen haben, sondern sie nur für sinistre Ideologien „instrumentalisieren“ kann . Fast die gesamt Sekundärliteratur zu Heidegger durchzieht dieser boshaft-neidische Zug, der seinem Denken immer „Strategien“, bewusste „Wortwahlen“, „Taktiken“ etc. unterstellt. Schmidt ist hier eine angenehme Ausnahme. Dieser verdiene eine „ernsthaftere Analyse, als ihn ein rein philologischer Nachweis nationalsozialistischer Motive“.

In seinem Text gelingt ihm so ein tieferer Aufbruch in Heideggers Denken, doch am Ende, sonst wäre er wohl auch nicht in der Jungle World erschienen, wird das gelockerte Denken wieder fest in das „linke“ Politprojekt eingefügt. Das Leitmotiv dazu ist, wie bei fast der gesamten linken Nietzsche und Heidegger Lektüre, eine seltsame Trennung zwischen „Fragen und Denken“, zwischen Kritik und Anregung, Destruktion und Konstruktion sowie revolutionären und konservativen Momenten. Doch ich greife vor.

„Heidegger war ein Denker der Revolution, des Umbruchs und sogar der Freiheit.“ Er antwortet „auf Fragen, die sich auch linken Konzeptionen einer Überwindung des Kapitalismus stellen.“ , so stellt es Schmidt provokant in einen Raum, den er von Heidegger-Hassern besetzt weiß. Seit den Schwarzen Heften hat sich hier die Sprache sogar verschärft. Heideggers Denken ist „kontaminiert“, „entstellt“, „erledigt“, „unvertretbar“. Es verweise wie das „Winterhilfswerk auf die Gaskammern“ (Scheit/Gruber, 13, 2014). Man scheint nur einen Fußbreit vom Autodafé entfernt. Wie will Schmidt hier dagegen halten?

Er greift Heideggers Konzept der „Zuhandenheit“ auf, das  in seiner „Fundamentalontologie“ in Sein und Zeit als wesentlich für das menschliche Dasein ist. Die uns umgebenden Dinge verstehen wir, indem wir sie gebrauchen, im Vollzug und in ihrem gegenseitigen Verweisungszusammenhang. In dieser „ontischen“ Erfahrung von dem was als Seiendes alltäglich erleb- und persönlich nachvollziehbar ist, muss nach Heidegger jede „große“ philosophische Frage immer neu ansetzen. Es geht um ein Primat der „Erfahrung“, die Offenheit für das Phänomen, in der Heidegger auch seinem eigenen geistigen Ahnherren Husserl treu blieb.

Schmidt sieht diesen Ansatz scheinbar als eine Art Mittel gegen den Verblendungszusammenhang und die Verdinglichung bestimmter sozialer Strukturen und Rollen, sowie politischer und ökonomischer Ordnungen. Wie Nietzsches genealogische Kritik (Foucault hat das auf den Punkt gebracht), so soll Heideggers „ontisch-ontologische“ Kritik also dazu dienen, die Gewordenheit und Veränderbarkeit der Verhältnisse zu erkennen, was einen Bruch ihrer blinde Reproduktion ermöglicht. Damit die „Revolution“ nicht ihre Kinder frisst, damit nicht nur ein König den anderen ersetzt, muss es eine fundamentale Kritik der Verhältnisse geben, zu der Schmidt Heideggers Denken fruchtbar machen will. Das Ausgehen vom Ontischen, vom Vollzug und der Existenz, kann so gefestigte Formen auflockern, die Kokonstitutivität von Mensch und Umwelt, Einzelnem und Gesellschaft erkennbar machen und, frei nach Marx die Verhältnisse „zum Tanzen bringen“. Schmidts Ansatz, den ich hier etwas „ausgemalt“ habe, ist bis hierhin zuzustimmen.

Auch Heideggers NS-Engagement ist als „philosophisch-revolutionärer Akt“ gegen eine alte bürgerlich-metaphysische Geisteswelt durchwegs richtig interpretiert. Dieser Beweggrund zeigt sich gerade in seiner Enttäuschung am bornierten Rassenbiologismus der Nazis.

Schmidts Beschreibung von Heideggers „seinsgeschichtlichem Antisemitismus“ scheint mir hingegen etwas verkürzt. Heideggers Seinsgeschichte, in der Schmidt ihn – gleich Hegel – Völkern bestimmte Rollen zuschreiben sieht, ist meiner Ansicht nach eher seine spätere Revision eines gewissen „Germanozentrismus“, und einer auf das Dasein fokussierten „Ungeschichtlichkeit“. Ich sehe hier, ähnlich wie Peter Trawny, ein tieferes „philosophisches“ Problem in der Grundfrage von Tat und Denken, von „historischer Rolle“ und der Überwindung des Historismus vorliegen, das einer seperaten Betrachtung bedürfte.

Schmidt sieht Heideggers Fazit aus dem NS in einer Art des „antitotalitären“ Fragens, welches am konkret-gesellschaftlichen ansetzt und auch „abwegigen Fragestellungen“ Raum gibt. Damit sei Heideggers Nützlichkeit für eine „befreite Gesellschaft“ vor allem in einer Art Idolatrieverbot zu sehen. Die „Undarstellbarkeit“ der Utopie und der befreiten Gesellschaft, im Hier und Jetzt, wäre so in Heideggers „Warnen und Wehren“, in seinem Hüten des Seins als eine Art blochsches Hoffnungsprinzip, als negative Utopie aufgehoben.

So schön das anmutet: es ist einfach falsch. Ja, Heideggers Denken ist eine Bewahrung des „Anderen“, des Ungedachten, des „Nichts“ als eines offenen, weiten Raums der Möglichkeit. Er ist ein Aufhalter, eine Wächter gegen die imperialistische Vernunft und die totalitäre Aufklärung. Doch das, was in diesem Raum liegt, ist NICHT als „befreite Gesellschaft“ vorgezeichnet, wie Schmidt es trotz aller beteuerter Offenheit voraussetzt. (Und Heideggers Dasein, möchte man gegen Satre ergänzend hinzufügen, ist NICHT die „Menschheit“.)

Heideggers spätes „mystisches“ Denken ist nicht von seinem frühen kritischen Fragen zu trennen. Die revolutionäre „Jemeinigkeit“ des Daseins, die jede Wahrheit in die Relation seiner Lebenspraxis stellt, ist untrennbar mit der Frage nach dem Sein und der Offenheit für jenes Geheimnis verbunden, dessen Alleinbesitz auch der Marxismus ideologisch behauptet. Die Rezeption Nietzsches und Heideggers in der Linken ist hier meist schwerst schizophren und versucht, das „kritisch-emanzipatorische“ aus dem ganzen Rest des Denkens zu destillieren.

Wo Nietzsche als fröhlicher Wissenschaftler genealogisch alle Werte als Prägungen und Setzungen entlarvt und das Hohelied der Vielfalt singt, ist er gut genug. Wo er aber genau dieses Setzen, die Exklusivität und das Sonderrecht bejaht, gar den Polemos und die Tragik preist und als Zarathustra neue Werttafeln verkündet, wird er geflissentlich ignoriert. Heideggers radikale, für mich unüberbietbare Kritik wird ebenso gehört und soll ebenso „fruchtbar“ gemacht werden, wo er aber glasklar gegen jedes sozialistisch-marxistische Fortschritts-Projekt einer Befriedung und „Befreiung“ der Welt spricht – wird er ebenso verleugnet.

Hier mutet besonders seltsam an, dass Schmidt gerade an die Zuhandenheit der Dinge und die Wahrheit als Offenbarkeit des Vorhanden „kommunistisch“ andocken will. Geht Heidegger doch in der Analyse „menschlicher Praxis“ viel tiefer als Marx. Dieser bleibt, egal wie flexibel ihn die geistige Verrenkung neuerer linker Lektüre verbiegt, letztlich an einer Grenze stehen: Es ist der „Humanismus“ und in dessen Gefolge der „Gebrauchswert“ der Dinge für den Menschen und seinen „quälbaren Leib“, die Vernutzung und Anpassung der Natur für seine Bedürfnisse. In Marxens zutiefst modernem Denken lässt sich kein unantastbarer Eigenbereich der Dinge, Menschen, Völker, Kulturen und der Erde aufrechterhalten. „Zwischentöne sind Krampf im Klassenkampf“– so platzt der doofer Agitprop mit der tiefen Wahrheit des ganzen Projekts heraus.

Die „Illusion der Technikeuphorie“ die Schmidt kritisiert, ist in „Sowjetmacht + Elektrifizierung“ nicht nur „collateral damage“, sondern Essenz des marxistischen Projekts. Man will als Abkömmling der Aufklärung den Menschen vom „Naturzwang“ befreien. Den „Menschen“? Was man im Grunde „befreien“ will, ist das Hirngespinst des nackten cartesianischen Subjekts aus allen, wirklichen ethno-kulturell gewachsenen, geschlechtlichen „Hüllen“. Im Namen eines totalen Egalitarismus, indem sich mit allen „Ungleichheiten“ konsequenterweise auch Zeit, Grenzen, Freiheit und Identität auflösen müssen.

Gleichheit und Freiheit sind „dialektisch“, wie bereits Horkheimer wusste. Dabei sind die Linken selbst geistig unfrei. Ihr Denken speist sich noch „von der Flamme Platos“, Paulus, Descartes und Bacons. Sie hängen der Illusion eines „versöhnten Subjekts“ und einer idealen Welt an, die seit Nietzsche und Heidegger unhintergehbar „tot“ ist. Ihr denken ist, wie Gianni Vattimo schreibt, „noch immer in Bezug auf eine mögliche ‚vollkommene‘, letzte, ganzheitliche, Anwesenheit des Seins (auch wenn sie, wie in der negativen Dialektik Adornos, oder im Utopismus Blochs, diese Vollkommenheit lediglich als regluatives Ideal begreift)“, gerichtet. Es „riskiert damit, uns überhaupt nicht zu befreien.“ (Gianni Vattimo,“Jenseits des Subjekts“, S. 34)

Aus ihrer geistigen Ohnmacht und ihrem Versagen, dessen schlechtes Gewissen sich in Amokläufen gegen die „Nazis“, die „Saboteure“ der heilen Welt von Zeit zu Zeit Luft macht, sprießt der Wildwuchs des postmodernen Denkens. (Ein gewisser „Ekel“ vor diesem, sowie ein bestimmter „elitärer Zug“, der sich in besserem Mode/Musik-Geschmack niederschlägt, ist vielleicht das, was antideutschen Linken und Neuen Rechten gemein ist.) Man muss es Leuten wie Schmidt beinhart ins Gesicht sagen: Eure „freie Assoziation der Individuen“ im „Ende der Geschichte“ ist genau das, was sich heute im Gestell einer vernetzten Betonwelt zeigt, in deren wuchernden „Nicht-Orten“ (Augé) die „Nichtmenschen“, Charaktermasken des Kapitals grassieren. Es ist eure Welt! Ihr habt sie erschaffen, nicht wir.

heid83465038146.jpgIhr habt „den Krieg gewonnen“, habt „gesiegt“. Ihr habt alle kulturellen, geistigen und metapolitischen Machtzentren inne – und wohin habt ihr uns gebracht? Eure epochale Ohnmacht gegenüber Positivismus, Kapitalismus, Liberalismus und eure postmodernen Zerfransungen, die Routine gewordene, aktivistische „Gesellschaftskritik“, die keine Sau interessiert – all das beweist: Ihr lebt in einer ideologischen Nische des Empires (Negri & Hardt), werdet von ihm alimentiert und habt euch damit zurecht gefunden. Heidegger gehört euch nicht, weil ihr seine wahre Botschaft und Kritik nicht hören wollt: darin nämlich, worauf sie, über das Kritisierte hinweg, verweist: das Ungedachte. Das Kommende, das oft gerade von dort her kommt, wo das Heute nur Chaos, Wahnsinn, Bosheit und Krankheit sieht.

Es ist vielleicht gar nicht schlecht, wenn die “Schwarzen Hefte“ Heidegger aus einer falschen Eingemeindung „freigesprengt“ haben, selbst wenn darunter die „neutrale“, akademische Bearbeitung seiner Texte leidet. Heideggers Denken ist mit dem politischen und moralischen Betrieb, in den sich das akademischen Philosophieren eingereiht hat, sowieso unvereinbar.

Wer aus Heidegger „tooltips“ zur „befreiten Gesellschaft“ herausliest, zeigt auch, wie man Heidegger nicht lesen sollte. Das Erscheinen eines solchen Artikels in der Jungle World ist aber dennoch positiv zu werten. Wieder sehe ich hierin ein Indiz für eine seltsame, tektonische Plattenverschiebung des Denkens.

Die Verhältnisse geraten aus den Fugen. Doch nicht nur in der „Tiefe“ der Geistesgeschichte: Deutsche Pegidisten feiern mit russischen Nachtwölfen den 8./9. Mai, antideutsche Linke feiern den US-Imperialismus, Rechte und Linke konvertieren zum Islam, und ein Türke ist der lauteste Patriot Deutschlands. Politische Identitäten verfließen.

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mercredi, 25 mars 2015

Heidegger on Nietzsche, Metaphysics, & Nihilism


Heidegger on Nietzsche, Metaphysics, & Nihilism

By Greg Johnson 

Ex: http://www.counter-currents.com

Heidegger’s central philosophical topic has a number of names: the sense (Sinn) or meaning of Being, the truth (Wahrheit) of Being, the clearing (Lichtung) of Being, the “It” that “gives” Being, and the “Ereignis” (“event” or “appropriation”) of Being, referring to the mutual belonging of man and Being.[1] All of these words refer to that-which-gives and that-which-takes-away different “epochs” in the history of Being, which are comprehensive, pervasive, and fundamental ways of interpreting the world and our place in it. 

Heidegger’s topic is shrouded in mystery, for that-which-gives each epoch in the history of Being is hidden by the very epoch that it makes possible. This mystery is built right into the dual meanings of Heidegger’s names for his topic.

The word “Lichtung” refers both to Being (that which lights up beings) and also to the clearing that makes it possible for the light to illuminate beings—and the light attracts our attention to itself while leaving the clearing that makes it possible in darkness. The “it” that gives Being is hidden behind Being, its gift. Ereignis is the mutual belonging of man and Being, in which man in enthralled by the world opened up by the event and thus oblivious to the event itself. Heidegger even hears the mystery of Being in the word “epoch,” which refers both to the historical spans of particular dominant ways of interpreting the world, and, when heard in the Greek as “epoche,” refers to the withholding of that which grants the epochs, the giver that hides behind its gift.

Now we are in the position to begin to think through the connection that Heidegger draws between metaphysics and nihilism. Heidegger’s thesis is that nihilism is the consummation of Western metaphysics. To this end, I wish to comment on one of my favorite texts by Heidegger, the two lectures entitled “The Eternal Recurrence of the Same and the Will to Power.” These lectures beautifully epitomize Heidegger’s vast two-volume work on Nietzsche, and they gather together and display the unity of themes discussed by Heidegger over a period of more than 50 years.

Heidegger’s thesis is that “Nietzsche’s philosophy is the consummation of Western metaphysics.”[1] For Heidegger, Nietzsche’s philosophy represents the epitome of modern nihilism, the ultimate manifestation of the nihilistic impulse built into Western metaphysics from the very beginning. Heidegger’s thesis that Nietzsche is the last metaphysician of the West is a stunning thesis, a thesis very difficult to defend, for Nietzsche is widely regarded as the first post-metaphysical thinker, not the last and ultimate metaphysical thinker.

Traditional metaphysics is constructed around the dualisms of permanence and change and of appearance and reality. The permanent is identified with Being, which is said to be a reality that lies beyond the world of appearances, the world of change, the realm of becoming. Nietzsche seems to overcome these dualisms by collapsing the distinctions between permanence and change, appearance and reality, Being and becoming. Therefore, Nietzsche seems to go beyond metaphysics.

How, then, does Heidegger establish Nietzsche as the last metaphysician of the West? Another way of putting this question is: How does Heidegger establish that Nietzsche’s attempt to overcome metaphysics is a failure? What does Heidegger think that a genuine overcoming of metaphysics requires?

Nietzsche’s Metaphysics

When Heidegger uses the word “metaphysics” pejoratively, he refers to the metaphysics of presence: “These positions take the Being of beings as having been determined in the sense of permanence of presence” (p. 162). Another word for the metaphysics of presence in the Heidegger lexicon is “Platonism.” Platonism is a view that cannot necessarily be identified with Plato’s own views. Platonism, rather, is the pervasive interpretation of Plato’s views in the tradition. Platonism identifies Being with permanence as opposed to change, presence as opposed to absence, identity as opposed to difference.

The latter terms of these pairs—change, absence, difference—are identified with non-being. In the world around us, rest and motion, presence and absence, identity and difference are all mixed together.

Thus the Platonist concludes that this world is not the true world; it is not the realm of Being, but the realm of becoming, which is a mere blurred image or decayed manifestation of Being. Becoming is merely a veil of appearances which cloaks and hides that which is real, namely Being.

The Platonic realm of Being is identified as the place of forms or essences. The world of becoming is the world in which we find individual men, individual dogs, individual chairs, individual tables. All of these individuals come into being, change, and pass out of existence. The world of Being contains not individual men, but the essence of man, or “manhood.” It does not contain individual dogs, but the essence of dog, “doghood.”

Forms or essences, unlike individuals, do not come into being; they do not change; and they do not pass away. While particulars that become exist in time, forms of essences exist outside of time in eternity. Because particulars in time are infected with change, absence and difference, we cannot have certain knowledge of them; at best, we can have only tentative opinions about things in the world around us. We can have certain knowledge only of the forms or essences that make up the realm of Being.


Heidegger holds that the metaphysics of presence—the interpretation of Being as presence—and also the Platonic distinction between the world of Being and the world of becoming is retained in Nietzsche’s allegedly post-metaphysical doctrines of the Will to Power and the Eternal Recurrence of the Same. What is the Will to Power? And what is the Eternal Recurrence of the Same?

Nietzsche called the ultimate constituent of the world Will to Power. This is a highly anthropomorphized name for something that is neither a will (for there is no agent behind it that wills); nor is it “to power” (for it is not directed toward the goal of power, or any other goal). Will to Power is Nietzsche’s name for chaos, which he conceived of as a virtual infinity of points of force charging and discharging entirely without pattern or purpose. Heidegger defines the “Will to Power” as “the essence of power itself. It consists in power’s overpowering, that is, its self-enhancement to the highest possible degree” (p. 163).

The Will to Power is the constant exercise of power as an end in itself.

The Will to Power makes possible the constant exercise of power by positing limits for itself and then exceeding them; Will to Power first freezes itself into particular forms and then overcomes and dissolves them.

The Will to Power is Nietzsche’s account of what the world is.

The Eternal Recurrence of the Same is a concept derived from the ancient Epicureans and Stoics. Both the Stoics and Epicureans believed that the cosmos is finite. The cosmos consists of matter and void, and there is only so much matter and so much void. Matter, however, is not fully inert. Matter has both inert and animate dimensions. Matter has the tendency to remain at rest or in motion, which the Epicureans represented by matter falling through the void. But matter also has a non-inert aspect that causes it to swerve from its fall or to move from rest to motion by its own power. The Epicureans represented this aspect of matter as the famous “clinamen” or “swerve” of the atoms. The Stoics represented this as divine logos, which following Heraclitus, they represented as fire. Matter, in short, is in some sense vital and animate; it is alive and ensouled. Matter’s vital principle allows order to form out of chaos. Matter’s inert dimension allows order to dissolve back into chaos.

Given a finite amount of matter and a finite void, given that matter has both a tendency to give rise to order and dissolve order, and given that time is infinite, the Epicureans and Stoics argued that the random play of chaos within a finite cosmos over an infinite amount of time not only gives rise to order, but gives rise to the same order an infinite number of times. Everything that is happening now has already happened an infinite number of times before and will happen an infinite number of times in the future. The Same events will Recur Eternally, hence the Eternal Recurrence of the Same. As Woody Allen once put it, “Eternal Recurrence of the Same. Does that mean I’ll have to sit through the Ice Capades again?” And the answer is: “Yes.” Not only will he have to sit through it again an infinite number of times, he already has sat through it an infinite number of times. It’s deja-vu all over again.

Nietzsche takes this argument over completely. The Will to Power corresponds precisely to the two aspects of matter discussed by the Epicureans and Stoics.

The animate aspect of matter that gives rise to form and organization corresponds to the Will to Power’s tendency to posit order.

The inert aspect of matter that causes form and organization to dissolve back into chaos corresponds to the Will to Power’s tendency to overpower and dissolve the very order that it posits.


Nietzsche holds that the Will to Power is finite and that time is infinite. Given the possibility of endlessly rearranging a finite Will to Power over an infinite amount of time, the same kinds of order will inevitably repeat themselves, and they will repeat themselves and infinite number of times: Eternal Recurrence of the Same.

Just as Will to Power is Nietzsche’s account of what the world is, The Eternal Recurrence of the Same is Nietzsche’s account of how the world is.

Nietzsche claims to have abolished metaphysics because he abolishes the dualism between appearance and reality, Being and becoming, presence and absence, identity and difference, etc. All of these pairs of opposites are found blended together in the Will to Power and the Eternal Recurrence of the Same. There is no realm of pure presence, pristine identity, total rest, and separate essences, lying behind the world that appears to us.

Heidegger’s critique of this claim is twofold. First, he argues that the basic elements of Platonism are still at work in Nietzsche. Second, he argues that Nietzsche really does not understand what it would take to overcome metaphysics.

How is Nietzsche a Metaphysician?

Heidegger argues that Nietzsche’s doctrines of Eternal Recurrence and Will to Power are metaphysical in two ways. First, the accounts of Eternal Recurrence and Will to Power still buy into the metaphysics of presence. As Heidegger puts it:

“Recurrence” thinks the permanentizing of what becomes, thinks it to the point where the becoming of what becomes is secured in the duration of its becoming. The “eternal” links the permanentizing of such constancy in the direction of its circling back into itself and forward toward itself. What becomes is not the unceasing otherness of an endlessly changing manifold. What becomes is the same itself, and that means the one and selfsame (the identical) that in each case is within the difference of the other. . . . Nietzsche’s thought thinks the constant permanentizing of the becoming of whatever becomes into the only kind of presence there is–the self-recapitulation of the identical. (pp. 164–65)

Elsewhere, Heidegger writes:

Will to Power may now be conceived of as the permanentizing of surpassment, that is of becoming; hence as a transformed determination of the guiding metaphysical projection. The Eternal Recurrence of the Same unfurls and displays its essence, so to speak, as the most constant permanentizing of the becoming of what is constant. (p. 167)

Will to Power and the Eternal Recurrence of the Same, in short, think Being in terms of presence too, by making becoming itself permanent, by making becoming recapitulate the identical, by making the motion of becoming circular, thus bringing a kind of eternity into time itself.

The second way in which Heidegger argues that Nietzsche is a metaphysician is somewhat more elusive and difficult. Heidegger writes on page 168:

From the outset, the Eternal Recurrence of the Same and Will to Power are grasped as fundamental determinations of beings as such and as a whole—Will to Power as the peculiar coinage of “what-being” . . . and Eternal Recurrence of the Same as the coinage of “that-being.”

Heidegger claims that this distinction is “co-extensive” with the basic distinction that defines and sustains metaphysics. “What-being” or “whatness” refers to the identity of beings. “What-being” or “thatness” refers to the existence of beings. To talk about the identity of a thing is to talk about what it is in contrast to the identity of different things, the things that it is not. When we talk about the existence of something, we are talking about the fact that it is, as opposed to the idea of its non-existence.

Now, in Platonism, the identity of a particular being is endowed by its form. A particular dog has its identity as a dog because it is related to the Form of dog, or “dogness.” A particular man has his identity as a man because he is related somehow to the essence of man, or “manhood.” A particular dog has his existence as a concrete individual dog because a bit of the material world has been informed by the essence of dog. So, for Platonism, the identity or whatness of a particular being is explained by its essence and its individual existence or thatness is explained by its materiality.

Heidegger holds that this Platonic distinction is present in the distinction between the Will to Power and the Eternal Recurrence of the Same. Will to Power names the whatness or identity of all beings. Therefore, it corresponds to the Platonic form. Eternal Recurrence names the thatness or existence of beings. Therefore, it corresponds to the instantiation of the Platonic Form in a bit of the spatio-temporal world. Will to Power is the principle of identity. Eternal Recurrence is the principle of existence. This dualism, Heidegger claims, is not overcome by Nietzsche, so Nietzsche does not overcome metaphysics.

Indeed, Heidegger claims that Nietzsche represents the culmination of metaphysics. To understand this, we must understand how, precisely, Nietzsche fails to overcome metaphysics. And to understand this, we need to know what Heidegger thinks a genuine overcoming of metaphysics would require.

What Constitutes a True Overcoming of Metaphysics?

Heidegger thinks that a genuine overcoming of metaphysics requires that we think his distinctive topic, the distinctive matter of his thinking: that which gives and that which takes away the different epochs of the history of Being. It requires that we think the Truth of being, the Meaning of Being, the Clearing of Being, the Event of Being, etc. Heidegger mentions his distinctive topic in a number of places in these lectures:

It first appears on page 164 (second paragraph):

What this unleashing of power to its essence is [i.e., that which grants the interpretation of Being as Will to Power], Nietzsche is unable to think. Nor can any metaphysics think it, inasmuch as metaphysics cannot put the matter [die Sache, the topic] into question.

It also appears on page 165 (second paragraph):

This “selfsame” [Being interpreted as Eternal Recurrence] is separated as by an abyss from the singularity of the unrepeatable enjoining of all that coheres. Out of that enjoining alone does the difference commence.

Here Heidegger contrasts Nietzsche’s metaphysics of history (which encloses becoming in the circle of Being through the idea of the eternal recurrence of the same) with his own view of the history of Being as a sequence of unrepeatable contingent singularities in which new epochs in the history of Being displace one another.


One can ask, however, if Heidegger himself does not ultimately subscribe to a kind of cyclical history, since he seems to believe that (1) the pre-Socratic Greek sense of Being as the dynamic interplay of presence and absence is correct, even though it overlooked the conditions of its own emergence, and (2) that it is possible to return to this correct interpretation of Being, either (a) reflectively, with an appreciation of its importance in the light of the subsequent tradition, or (b) naively, though the liquidation of the present civilization and a return to barbarism, which may be the meaning of Heidegger’s famous claim that “only a god can save us now,” meaning a return to naive belief.

Heidegger’s topic shows up again in the very next paragraph:

Thought concerning truth, in the sense of the essence of aletheia, whose essential advent sustains Being and allows it to be sheltered in its belonging to the commencement, is more remote than ever in this last projection of beingness.

Here aletheia refers to that which both grants a new epoch in the history of Being and shelters its advent in mystery.

There is also an extensive discussion of the topic from the bottom of page 166 throughout the entirety of page 167.

Heidegger claims that Nietzsche does not overcome metaphysics because the overcoming of metaphysics requires that one think that which grants different epochs in the history of Being and Nietzsche does not think this topic. Heidegger adds, furthermore, that Nietzsche not only fails to overcome metaphysics, he actually make this overcoming more difficult because he fosters the illusion that metaphysics is already overcome, thereby enforcing our oblivion to that which grants metaphysics, thereby making us less likely to think this topic and thus to effect a genuine overcoming of metaphysics. As Heidegger writes on 166:

Inadequate interrogation of the meaning of Nietzsche’s doctrine of Return, when viewed in terms of the history of metaphysics, shunts aside the most intrinsic need that is exhibited in the history of Western thought [i.e., the need to think that which grant metaphysics]. It thus confirms, by assisting those machinations that are oblivious to Being, the utter abandonment of Being.

It is at this point that we can understand why Heidegger thinks that Nietzsche is not only a metaphysician, but the culmination of metaphysics. Metaphysics thinks the Being of beings, but does not think the meaning of Being, the clearing of Being, etc. Nietzsche is the culmination of metaphysics because Nietzsche’s metaphysics not only fails to think that which grants Being, but actually makes this altogether impossible because it fosters the illusion that metaphysics has been finally overcome.

A further reason for regarding Nietzsche as the culmination of metaphysics can be appreciated by examining Heidegger’s definition of nihilism. Heidegger defines the modern technological age, the age of nihilism as “the age of consummate meaninglessness” (p. 174). Consummate meaninglessness is equivalent to the interpretation of Being in terms of man’s own subjective needs: Being as certainty; Being as intelligibility; Being as availability and deployability for human purposes. The world is meaningless because wherever we look, we only encounter projections of our own overweening subjectivity and will to power. The essence of modernity is the idea that everything can be understood and controlled.

This view of the world is made possible by our failure to think about what grants it, what makes it possible, the source of this epoch in the history of Being. Heidegger claims that we cannot understand the origin of the idea that we can understand everything. We cannot control the emergence of the idea that we can control everything. Trying to understand the origins of nihilism forces us to recognize that there is a mystery that cannot be explained or controlled. And this encounter with mystery is alone sufficient to break the spell that everything can be understood and controlled. It is thus a real overcoming of metaphysics and of its culmination in the nihilism of technological modernity.


1. See my essay “Heidegger’s Question Beyond Being,” http://www.counter-currents.com/2014/10/heideggers-question-beyond-being/ [4]

2. Martin Heidegger, Nietzsche, vol. III: The Will to Power as Knowledge and as Metaphysics, ed. David Farrell Krell, trans. Joan Stambaugh, David Farrell Krell, and Frank A. Capuzzi (New York: Harper and Row, 1987), p. 161.

Article printed from Counter-Currents Publishing: http://www.counter-currents.com

URL to article: http://www.counter-currents.com/2015/03/heidegger-on-nietzsche-metaphysics-and-nihilism/

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[2] Image: http://www.counter-currents.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/NietzscheSeated.jpg

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[4] http://www.counter-currents.com/2014/10/heideggers-question-beyond-being/ : http://www.counter-currents.com/2014/10/heideggers-question-beyond-being/

vendredi, 06 mars 2015

Ernst Jünger, il soldato che discuteva di mitragliatrici con Heidegger


Ernst Jünger, il soldato che discuteva di mitragliatrici con Heidegger

Dalla sua avventurosa vita – quasi come ricordi del ragazzino di famiglia scappato di casa per arruolarsi nella Legione Straniera – da lì, sono riemerse le tracce di ferite. Nelle screpolature della sua pelle di vecchissimo, come tracciati di radici profonde, per la marchiatura del tempo, sono sbucati dal buio dei ricordi i segni cavallereschi, le tacche sulla carne. Nessuno per esempio aveva notato sull’avambraccio un segno secco. Forse occultato dalla rigenerazione della vita quotidiana, ieri, la morte glielo ha ripescato: disteso lungo il suo percorso raggrinzito di corpo morto. Dei suoi capelli bagnati nell’acqua gelida del fiume, bianchissimi fili, la rigidità cadaverica ha catturato l’impercettibile alito, un elmo che è quasi un’aureola. Una foto in bianco e nero restituisce il taglio all’altezza delle orecchie, a nuca nuda, in parallelo con gli alettoni aerodinamici del cappottone d’ordinanza. Le linee telefoniche raccontano già della “mobilitazione totale“ del governo, dei potentissimi professori, degli “amici francesi“, che sul grande morto – innamorato come tutti i morti del ricordo di tutto ciò che è vita – stanno “approntando il memoriale“. Tedesco e “parigino“ a un tempo, della sua avventurosa vita, per tutti i centodue anni portati in faccia al mondo per lui sempre più estraneo, Ernst Jünger porterà sulla bara il fasto di un’esistenza eccezionale, dentro la bara invece, trascinerà “l’addio al mondo“. Era anche un dandy: “La volontà regna sul mondo diventato materiale dell’oggettivazione incondizionata”. È stato “sublime” (glielo diceva un altro dandy). Disse, un giorno, a fondamento del suo destino: “Meglio un delinquente che un borghese”. Sublime bacchettatore di Hitler, che pure era stato suo sodale segreto nella “società di Thule”, schizzinoso rispetto alla pietas del demos, al fondatore del Terzo Reich, rinfacciava sempre l’eccessivo democraticismo, l’insopportabile volgarità plebea delle “camicie brune”. Qualcuno commissionò l’eliminazione di Jünger, Hitler che candidamente lo riconosceva “come un superiore in gradi”, un “vero capo”, lo salvò dai sicari.
Nella sua essenza di testimone, nel suo essere stato passeggero dei battelli a vapore e del Concorde, nel suo essere stato tutto quel che Ernst Jünger è stato, hippy e notabile prussiano, entomologo e romanziere, arrivando adesso all’Oriente Eterno, chiuderà la sua estrema scommessa. Al cospetto dell’Onnipotente, certamente, da algido chirurgo del Nulla qual è, l’orologiaio del Nichilismo sta portando sulle sue spalle di grande morto, l’immagine a lui più profondamente vera, la sua forma, e dunque la divisa. Dell’habitus militare, Jünger ha offerto l’esempio assoluto. Scrittore, infaticabile diarista, interlocutore e protagonista in quell’officina di vampe che fu la Rivoluzione Conservatrice, Jünger non chiude solo un capitolo nella storia della letteratura, ma brucia con la sua morte l’ultimo modo possibile di essere “uo­mo d’arme”. Arrivando davanti a Dio, infatti, davanti al Dio lungamente cercato nelle sua passeggiate quotidiane nel piccolo cimitero del suo villaggio, la sua anima si specchia levigata nella ruvida stoffa grigioverde del soldato. È morto il soldato dunque, l’ultimo vero soldato planetario, erede di Ludovico Ariosto e di Ercole Saviniano Cirano de Bergerac. Innamorato del sogno cavalleresco, ad Alberto Moravia, in un’intervista-dialogo confidò: “Nella guerra nucleare i due giocatori faranno saltare in aria la scacchiera”, e non si capì bene se il cruccio nucleare fosse, per il vecchio Jünger, più un fastidioso ostacolo per la guerra o per la pace. Ritenuto a torto purificato nel dopoguerra, ma forse fortunatamente non troppo purificato, nelle lunghe passeggiate con Martin Heidegger e Carl Schmitt, dopo i primi quindici minuti di conversazione metafisica, arrivati a un altopiano, si lasciavano prendere la mano da altre curiosità, tipo: “Secondo voi, una mitragliatrice collocata qui, quale inclinazione di tiro potrebbe avere?”. Combattente volontario delle due guerre mondiali, di due sconfitte, della prima ne ricordava “di Londra, Parigi e Mosca, lo straordinario entusiasmo della gioventù, l’ebbrezza”, della seconda intuì da subito l’ambiguità: “O ci sarà una rivoluzione, o sarà una lunghissima guerra di trincea, come nel 1914-1918”. Nato a Heidelberg nel 1895, Ernst Jünger è stato decorato due volte con la Croce di Ferro, la più alta onorificenza a cui ogni galantuomo belligerante avrebbe potuto aspirare. La prima l’ebbe dalle mani dell’Imperatore, la seconda, invece, l’ha ricevuta dal suo maldestro allievo, per aver salvato dei dissennati che si erano spinti troppo avanti nella trincea nemica per scattare delle fotografie. Disse: “Fui comunque divertito dall’idea di ricevere la Croce di Ferro per la seconda volta”. Era anche un dandy.

Pietrangelo Buttafuoco

Il 17 febbraio di 17 anni fa moriva Ernst Jünger.

vendredi, 19 décembre 2014

Making Sense of Heidegger


Making Sense of Heidegger

By Greg Johnson

Ex: http://www.counter-currents.com

Thomas Sheehan
Making Sense of Heidegger: A Paradigm Shift [2]
New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014

SheehanCover2-194x300.jpgMaking sense of Heidegger just got a whole lot easier.

When I was in graduate school, Aristotle and Heidegger were the two philosophers I studied most thorougly. Heidegger is a notoriously difficult writer, so naturally I sought out secondary literature for guidance. Unfortunately, most Heidegger literature is not particularly helpful. The best guides to Heidegger I discovered were Otto Pöggeler [3], Graeme Nicholson [4], Michael Zimmerman [5], Richard Polt [6], and Thomas Sheehan [7] — especially Sheehan.

Sheehan’s work was particularly important for me, because he pays special attention to Heidegger’s debts to Aristotle and Husserl, debts which cannot be overestimated but are usually given short shrift. I found Sheehan’s writing to be so penetrating, while at the same time clear and engaging, that I went on to read practically everything he wrote, for instance his books Karl Rahner: The Philosophical Foundations [8] and The First Coming: How the Kingdom of God Became Christianity [9], which I never would have read for the subject matter alone.

Two of Sheehan’s articles were particularly fateful for my subsequent intellectual development, for he was the first person I ever read who mentioned Julius Evola [10] and Alain de Benoist, [11] although my ultimate reactions were certainly not what he was aiming for.

Once I was out of graduate school, however, I stopped following the secondary literature on Heidegger, even the really good stuff. By then, I could read Heidegger on my own, without training wheels. And since I was a mere “amateur” Heideggerian, I had no professional credentials to maintain.

Of course I continued to follow new releases of Heidegger’s own writings. And I admit to picking up a few pieces of secondary literature: Polt’s The Emergency of Being [12], Charles Bambach’s Heidegger’s Roots: Nietzsche, National Socialism, and the Greeks [13], Julian Young’s Heidegger’s Later Philosophy [14], and, just for the fun of it, Adam Sharr’s Heidegger’s Hut [15]. But I was pretty much on the wagon until November, when I decided to review Alexander Dugin’s dreadful book [16] on Heidegger.

Fortunately, when I bought Dugin, Amazon suggested I might also like Thomas Sheehan’s Making Sense of Heidegger. Never have I clicked a “buy” button more quickly. The book arrived as soon as it was published, actually on the day I finished reading Dugin. But still, it felt late, decades late. I wish Sheehan had published this book 25 years ago. 

A Paradigm Shift

Making Sense of Heidegger argues for a “paradigm shift” in Heidegger interpretation: from Being to meaning, and from meaning to the source of meaning. According to Sheehan, Heidegger’s ultimate concern is with the question: what makes meaning possible? What makes it possible for beings to be meaningfully present to a knower? (For Heidegger, a scientific account of how the sense organs and the brain operate is not an adequate answer to this question, because science presupposes the meaningful presence of eyeballs, gray matter, etc.)

Sheehan makes a crushingly convincing case for his thesis, marshaling quotes from the nearly 100 volumes of Heidegger’s published writings, analyzing Heidegger’s basic terminology, establishing equivalencies among his terms, establishing equivalencies between Heideggerese and more intelligible idioms, re-translating and paraphrasing difficult texts in light of his analysis, and laying it all out step-by-step, with summaries and repetitions along the way, so you never lose the thread of the argument.

As you will see from some of the quotes below, Sheehan’s prose can be dense, bristling with hyphenated phrases, neologisms and unfamiliar terms, and words and phrases in German, Latin, and untransliterated ancient Greek. It is a lot more forbidding and thorny than it needs to be, which artificially limits the audience and impact of Sheehan’s argument to professional scholars and educated, dedicated amateurs. One wishes that Sheehan’s editors had forced him through one more draft with an eye to making this book intelligible to bright undergraduate students, which would have been possible for a writer of his proven skill. But still, the book is clear “in itself” and, unlike most literature on Heidegger, actually worth the effort. Heidegger is yet to find his Alan Watts, but whoever he may be will have to read this book.

Sheehan’s book has 10 chapters in three parts plus an Introduction and a Conclusion, occupying 294 pages altogether, plus three short appendices, a long and detailed bibliography of Heidegger’s writings in German and English translations, a briefer biography of other works cited, and two indexes: one of German, English, and Latin terms, the other of ancient Greek terms.

Sheehan’s Thesis

Sheehan states his basic thesis in his Foreword and Introduction (chapter 1) entitled “Getting to the Topic.”

Heidegger is famously interested in “Being” (Sein). Yet Sheehan argues that Heidegger’s concept of Being has been systematically misunderstood by most Heidegger scholars. In the philosophical tradition, talk of Being refers to objective, mind-independent reality, indeed “ultimate” reality — such as God, or atoms in void, or an underlying mental or material “stuff” — that gives rise to the beings we perceive around us.

For Heidegger, however, “Being” refers to the meaningful presence of beings to a knower. Heidegger makes this understanding quite explicit in “The End of Philosophy and the Task of Thinking” where he glosses “the Being of beings” as “the presence of that which is present.”[1] Present to whom? Heidegger calls the one to whom beings show up Dasein. (In ordinary German, “Dasein” means existence. Heidegger treats it as a compound of Da [there] and Sein [Being], hence “the place of Being,” i.e., the one to whom beings are present.)

Heidegger does not question the existence of mind-independent objects, although he was certainly skeptical of accounts of “ultimate” mind-independent realities. But for Heidegger, Being is ultimately involved with the human knower. Indeed, it always has been. One of the most remarkable features of Heidegger’s interpretations of Parmenides, Heraclitus, Plato, and Aristotle are his arguments that even their accounts of Being are implicitly cast in relation to the human knower.

For Heidegger, then, Being = the meaningful presence of beings to man. Thus ontology (the branch of metaphysics that deals with Being) is equivalent to phenomenology, which studies the disclosure of beings to man.

But this is just the beginning of Sheehan’s paradigm shift, for Heidegger’s ultimate concern is not Being (understood phenomenologically) but something beyond Being [17]. In Being and Time, Heidegger calls this the “sense” (Sinn) of Being (hence the title Making Sense of Heidegger). Heidegger has many other names for this something “beyond” Being: the temporality (Zeitlichkeit) of Dasein, the truth (Wahrheit) of Being, the essence (Wesen) of Being, Being itself or Being as such (das Sein selbst), the manifestness (Offenbarkeit) of Being, the clearing (Lichtung) of Being, the event of appropriation (Ereignis), etc.

For Sheehan, all of these names point to the same topic: the source of meaningful presence, what which opens up the “space” in which beings are meaningfully present to a knower. “The single issue that drove Heidegger’s work was not being-as-meaningful-presence but rather the source or origin of such meaningful presence” (p. xv).

In Sheehan’s terms, this source is the “thrownness” (Geworfenheit) or “thrown openness” (der geworfener Entwurf) of Dasein, to use the language of Being and Time. Or it is the “clearing” (Lichtung) or “appropriated clearing” (die ereignete Lichtung) of the later Heidegger. But both vocabularies refer to the same thing: the a priori (always-already-operative) conditions that make possible meaningful presence to a knower. “The always-already-operative thrown-open clearing is the ‘thing itself’ of all Heidegger’s work” (p. 21). So I do not wear out the hyphen key on my computer, I am just going to boil this all down to one word: the clearing.

Before we go any further, I need to define the clearing (Lichtung) and another key term of Heideggerese: appropriation (Ereignis). 

The Clearing

In ordinary German, Lichtung means “clearing,” like a clearing in the forest. The verb lichten means to clear land. Lichtung is related to Licht (light), because a clearing allows light to reach the forest floor and illuminate whatever enters the clearing. (“Light from above” is the literal meaning of “epiphany.” The clearing allows light from above.) Heidegger uses the metaphor of the clearing to refer to the conditions allow beings to be meaningfully present to a knower. The clearing is the “space” in which beings become present.

We can see and hear physical objects in physical space. We can see and hear them, because there is a space between us which our senses can traverse. Physically, light and sound come to us, but from the first person point of view, our eyes and ears reach out for experience.

Just as we see and hear things in physical space, Heidegger believes that things have meaning in a “space” as well. Because Heidegger is talking about meaning, not seeing, this use of clearing exploits another sense of lichten: to weigh anchor, to lighten a load, to free up. In this sense, Lichtung is a free and open space: the space in which beings can be meaningfully encountered.

heidegger-1.jpgEach object has meaning within a larger network or “world” of meanings supplied by language, culture, and tradition. Worlds of meaning are collective. In hermeneutics, such contexts of meaning are called “horizons,” for just as the horizon is the boundary of the visible world, horizons are the context in which things have meaning. But what opens up these horizons, these worlds of meaning?

In Being and Time, Heidegger speaks of man as Dasein, the place (da) of meaning (Sein), and man is opened up as the space of meaning by “temporality” (Zeitlichkeit), the temporal structure of our consciousness of meaning. This is the sense in which for Heidegger “time” is the “horizon” of “Being” (meaning). In his later writings, summarized in the 1962 lecture “Time and Being,” Heidegger offers new terms. Instead of Being, he speaks of (meaningful) presence (Anwesenheit). Instead of time as the horizon of Being, he speaks simply of the clearing in which beings become meaningfully present.

For Heidegger, the clearing is intrinsically hidden. As Sheehan puts it, quoting Heidegger at the end:

As the ultimate presupposition, the clearing must always be presupposed in any attempt to know it. It always lies “behind” us, so to speak, and it will always remain behind us (i.e., unknowable) even when we turn around to take a look at it. Consequently, we cannot go “beyond” or “behind” it without contradicting ourselves. We cannot (without moving in a vicious circle) seek the presupposition of this ultimate presupposition of all our seeking. “There is nothing else to which appropriation could be led back or in terms of which it could be explained.” (p. 227)

Heidegger’s term of the intrinsic hiddenness of the clearing is Seinsvergessenheit (forgottenness of Being), although what is forgotten is not Being but the clearing, and it has not been forgotten because it has been hidden and overlooked throughout the history of Western philosophy. 


For Heidegger, Ereignis refers to the intimate and reciprocal relationship of man and meaning: meaning cannot exist without man, and man cannot exist without meaning.

In ordinary German, Ereignis means “event.” However, from its first appearance as a technical term in Heidegger’s lectures in 1919, it means more than an event. Contrary to Sheehan, who insists Ereignis does not mean an event at all, Heidegger introduces the term in the context of talking about processes of consciousness and “lived experience” (Erlebnis, which he hyphenates as Er-lebnis to intensify the sense of process). For Heidegger, Ereignis is the name of a more intimate connection between knower and known than Er-lebnis. To emphasize this intimacy, this mutual belonging between knower and known, Heidegger introduces a hyphen (Er-eignis), turning it — against all etymology — into a compound term meaning “to make one’s own,” to take possession. Heidegger later approved the French appropriement (appropriation, as in taking possession) as a translation of Ereignis. For Heidegger, the appropriation of man and meaning is mutual and reciprocal: we belong to one another.

The sense in which Ereignis also means “event” has to do with what Heidegger calls Seinsgeschichte, which is his account of the emergence of different worlds of meaning (such as the modern world, which is defined by the presupposition that all beings are transparent to consciousness and available for manipulation). Heidegger claims, in his late essay “Time and Being,” that these ages simply happen, one after another, and since these ages set the outward boundaries of intelligibility, we cannot get behind their succession to understand their why and wherefore. Meaning happens. Worlds of meaning happen. We can make sense of things within these worlds of meaning. But we cannot make sense of meaning itself. What gives meaning is hidden behind its gift.

These collective worlds of meaning are created and sustained by man, but they are not created by human consciousness. (There is more to man than consciousness. Even within the mind, consciousness is just the tip of the iceberg.) For Heidegger, language, culture, and traditions create human consciousness; human consciousness does not create language, culture, and tradition. Human consciousness and creativity take place only within a space opened by language, culture, and tradition.

Heidegger does not deny that Shakespeare wrote plays, Handel wrote oratorios, and Klee painted pictures. But he would deny that their creations are entirely individual and entirely products of the conscious mind. If they were, they would be contrived and probably unintelligible. Human creativity is situated in existing worlds of meaning and traditions of practice, and it carries these forward. Humans are not disembodied consciousnesses who can create ex nihilo.

Thus when it comes to explaining deep historical transformations, Heidegger does not think that philosophers, poets, or other “hidden legislators” hatch ideas and plans and propagate them to the rest of the culture. Rather, he claims that such individuals are merely the first ones to become conscious of and articulate stirrings in the Zeitgeist.

This would seem obscurantist, were it not for the fact that it does capture our experience of being shaped and enthralled by collective worlds of meaning before we even attain self-consciousness. It would seem disempowering, if it did not imply that dissenting ideas, too, are not merely the subjective dreams of marginal individuals but rather our awareness of historical forces far greater than ourselves. Perhaps dissent occurs to us only when change is already underway. 

Part One: Aristotelian Beginnings

In What is Called Thinking? Heidegger recommends that his students spend ten or fifteen years studying Aristotle before they pick up Nietzsche. The same advice could apply to Heidegger himself. Thus Part One of Sheehan’s book is called Aristotelian Beginnings, encompassing chapter 2, “Being in Aristotle,” and chapter 3, “Heidegger Beyond Aristotle.” These chapters focus on Aristotle, but they also pay sufficient attention to Heidegger’s readings of Plato and the pre-Socratics to constitute a good introduction to Heidegger’s interpretation of ancient philosophy.

The chapter on “Being in Aristotle” deals with Heidegger’s reading of Aristotle as a proto-phenomenological thinker whose account of Being implicitly defines Being in relationship to the human knower: “. . . ousia [Being] is the intelligible appearance or meaningful presence (aletheia [truth] and parousia [presence]) of things in logos, and thus that ousia is the openness or availability of things to human beings” (p. 25). When Heidegger read Aristotle in light of Husserl’s account of “categorial intuition” in the Sixth Logical Investigation, Heidegger was able to focus on the phenomenon of intelligible presence (as opposed to mere sense experience), which then led him to his own distinct question: what is the source of intelligible presence? This is the topic of chapter 3.

These chapters are a tour de force. They brought me back to my graduate seminars in Aristotle and rekindled my first feelings of astonishment at Aristotle’s genius. Although this section is quite thorough and illuminating, at 76 pages, it becomes a bit of a slog. Sheehan himself suggests that some readers might be tempted to skip to the second section, on Being and Time, and read the Aristotle chapters later. I followed his advice, and I am glad I did. I think that he should have followed his own advice and made this the third and final section of the book.

Yes, one understands Being and Time better with a background in Aristotle, but that does not mean that we need to read about Heidegger’s interpretation of Aristotle first. All of us read Being and Time first anyway. And we all had questions that were later clarified by understanding Heidegger’s debts to Aristotle, Husserl, etc. Sheehan’s order of exposition could have followed that path of discovery, and his book would have much more accessible for it. 

A New Level of Inquiry?

At the beginning of chapter 3, Sheehan argues that there are three levels to Heidegger’s topic. According to Sheehan, Heidegger’s ultimate topic is: (1) not Being (meaning), (2) not the meaning of Being (the meaning of meaning = the clearing), but (3) the meaning of the meaning of Being (the meaning of the meaning of meaning = the clearing of the clearing). In Sheehan’s words:

Heidegger’s question turns out to be

1. not “Whence beings?” — the answer to that is: being; 2. nor even “Whence being at all?” — the answer to that is: the open clearing; 3. but rather “Whence and how is there ‘the open’?” or equally “Whence and how is there the clearing?” (p. 69)

This is news to me.

Sheehan offers the following quote from Heidegger in support of this:

When the being-question is understood and posed in this way, one must have already gone beyond being itself. Being and another now come into language. This “other” must then be that wherein being has its emergence and its openness (clearing — disclosing) — in fact, wherein openness itself has its own emergence. (p. 69)

For Heidegger, the clearing is the ultimate condition of meaning. It is what makes everything else intelligible. And that means that it itself is not intelligible, meaning that we cannot place it in a wider context, i.e., a clearing of its own. If we could put it in a clearing of its own, then it would not, by that very fact, be the ultimate condition of meaning. This leaves us with two options.

  1. First, one can accept that the clearing is unintelligible. Heidegger arrived at this conviction in 1930 in his lecture “On the Essence of Truth,” in which he argued that the ultimate context of meaning cannot be made meaningful. As Sheehan puts it, “the clearing is intrinsically ‘hidden’: always present-and-operative but unknowable in its why and wherefore” (p. 116).
  2. Second, one can claim that the clearing makes itself intelligible. And that is what Heidegger seems to be doing in the passage above: the “‘other’ . . . wherein being has its emergence and its openness (clearing — disclosing)” is our clearing. Then he claims that the clearing is “in fact, wherein openness itself [the clearing] has its own emergence.”

Of course, if the clearing is entirely unintelligible, then everything Heidegger says about it is nonsense. It frequently seems that way, but it is not. This implies that something like the second position is true: we “encounter” the clearing “in” the clearing, and although we cannot “get behind” it to make “ultimate” sense of it, we can still say a lot about it. For one thing, we can talk about the functions it performs. For another thing, we can understand why we cannot understand it.

Sheehan interprets the quote from Heidegger as follows:

We note here again the two elements of Heidegger’s own question (1) the move “beyond being” to its “whence” — namely, the clearing; and (2) the move “beyond the clearing” to its “whence” — namely Ereignis as the appropriation of ex-sistence. (p. 69)

I do not, however, think that Ereignis is “beyond the clearing” so much as it is a description from “within” the clearing of how the clearing operates, namely the clearing simply happens, and we can’t get behind it to understand why it happens or what is causing it. Ereignis is another term for the basic inscrutability of the clearing. 

Part Two: The Early Heidegger

Part Two is divided into three chapters: chapter 4, “Phenomenology and the Formulation of the Question”; chapter 5, “Ex-sistence as Openness”; and chapter 6, “Becoming Our Openness.”

The first chapter is a very accessible and engaging account of Heidegger’s basic phenomenological approach to ontology: We are immersed in a world of meaning. The world is always-already meaningful, before we even try to make sense of it. For Heidegger, this world of meaning, this meaningful presence of beings to us (Dasein), is Being. Heidegger’s overriding question is: what makes meaningful presence (Being) possible? What opens man up, allowing the meaningful presence of beings?

The second chapter deals with this question in terms of Being and Time, which aimed “to show that and how meaningful presence — ‘being in general’ — is made possible by and occurs only within human openedness as the clearing” (p. 134). 

Man’s Openedness

heidegg.jpgHeidegger distinguishes between individual instances of openedness, which he calls Dasein, and the structure of human openedness itself, which he calls Existenz and Da-sein (although he is not always consistent about using the hyphen). Sheehan renders the latter two terms as “ex-sistence,” from the Latin ex + sistere, to be forced to stand ahead or beyond. This forced aspect is captured by “openedness” as opposed to mere “openness.”

On pp. 136-37, Sheehan points out an interesting quote from a posthumously published collection of 1941-42 notes,[2] where Heidegger claims that the “da” in Dasein should not be translated as here, there, here/here, etc. (Which of course would include my preferred rendition “place.”) Instead, Heidegger claims that the “da” is not locative at all, but refers to the “openedness” of human ex-sistence. Of course, I do not think that anyone who translated the “da” as here, there, etc. thinks it refers to a literal place, any more than the clearing is a literal clearing.

Sheehan gives a series of very interesting quotes from Heidegger on the “da”:

[The “da”] should designate the openedness where things can be present for human beings, and human beings for themselves.

. . . being human, as such, is distinguished by the fact that to be, in its own unique way, is to be this openedness.

The human being occurs in such a way that he or she is the “Da,” that is, the clearing of being. (p. 137)

The Da refers to that clearing in which things stand as a whole, in such a way that, in this Da, the being of open things shows itself and at the same time withdraws. To be this Da is a determination of man.

[Ex-sistence] is itself the clearing.

The clearing: the Da is itself ex-sistence.

The point is to experience Da-sein in the sense that human being itself is the Da, that is, the openedness of being, in that a person undertakes to preserve it, and in preserving it, to unfold it (See Sein und Zeit, p. 132f. [= 170f.]).

Ex-sistence must be understood as being-the-clearing. Da is specifically the word for the open expanse.

Ex-sistence [das Da-sein] is the way in which the open, the clearing, occurs, within which being as cleared is opened up to human understanding. 

To bethe clearing — to be cast into the clearing as the open = to-be-the-Da. (p. 138)

Human ex-sistence means that man is not defined by what he is at present, what is simply there, what is simply actual, what shows up to an outside observer as a being occupying a delimited space at the present time. When we view human ex-sistence from the inside, we realize that to be human means to be forced outside the present, the actual, and into the future, the possible. This compulsion is what Heidegger means by “thrownness.”

This thrownness outside the present and the actual is what makes man “open” to meaning. Humans ex-sist by projecting ahead of themselves a range of possibilities, a range of concrete potential ways of being. These possibilities are given to us by our past. They are also finite: we do not have all possibilities, and the possibilities that we do have cannot be simultaneously realized.

It is only in light of these possibilities that we “return” to what is present and actual and render it meaningfully present. For instance, if look across the prairie and see an oncoming storm, I am “ahead of myself” in appraising what might happen, and in light of those possibilities, what is present shows up to me in terms of its serviceability for shelter or escape.

This temporal structure in which the past creates possibilities in terms of which we render things (past and present) as meaningfully present is the temporality (Zeitlichkeit) of Da-sein, which for Heidegger is the “horizon” of Being (meaning), i.e., that which opens man up, that which creates the space in which meaningful presence is possible. This temporal structure of being thrown into future possibilities and returning to render things meaningfully present is also the structure of logos. In Being and Time, Heidegger equates “the temporality [Zeitlichkeit] of discourse [Rede = logos]” with that of “Dasein [ex-sistence] as such” (quoted on p. 150).

Heidegger describes human ex-sistence by saying that “possibility is higher than actuality” and that human existence is a matter of “excess.” Both of these claims point to the fact that human existence exceeds what is given and actual (to the outside observer). We exceed the actual and present into a realm of future possibilities.

On page 136, Sheehan makes a couple of dubious inferences from these claims.

First, that the priority of possibility over actuality is incompatible with a classical ethics of self-actualization, as if Plato and Aristotle did not recognize that each man has many possibilities besides the actualization of his nature in accordance with virtue; as if Aristotle believed, for example, that one can only hit the mean rather than stray into excess or defect.

Second, he claims that the idea of human ex-sistence being in “excess” of human actuality overturns the Greek idea of moderation (nothing in excess), as if the very notion of temperance did not imply the possibility of excess and defect in the pursuit of pleasure, and as if the very existence of human potentiality refutes the pursuit of virtue when in fact it is what makes it possible and necessary. Heidegger’s “excess” is the space in which virtue, as well as the vices of excess and defect, become possible. 

Becoming Who We Are

The third chapter of Part Two, “Becoming Our Openness,” does extraordinary work in illuminating some of Being and Time’s most alluring yet elusive and obscure ideas, namely its existential and practical (but, as well shall see, not moral) dimension, which is encapsulated in the injunctions of the 17th-century German mystic Angelus Silesius, “Human being, become what you essentially are!” and of Pindar, “Become what you already are!”

Now, as a follower of the Platonic or Aristotelian idea of an ethics of self-actualization, I would interpret what we “already” or “essentially” are as our daimon, our ideal self, which exists in potency and whose actualization is the well-being (eudaimonia) we all seek.

For Heidegger, what we already are is not a single determinate potentiality, but a whole range of possibilities — possibilities that could include self-actualization but also self-betrayal, virtue as well as vice, good as well as evil. Thus the choice Heidegger is discussing is not the moral choice between good and evil, but the existential choice between embracing or rejecting our freedom. And for Heidegger, our freedom means a whole range of possibilities, not just the good ones.

But in what sense are we even faced with such a choice? Long before we are mature enough to reflect upon who we really are, people have been telling us who we are. These external spectators (the crowd) look upon us as actual, present beings and ascribe traits to us: jock, bimbo, nerd, preacher’s kid, etc. Because we don’t know better, we actually come to internalize these traits. But what are the chances that these descriptions actually fit, that they really capture who we are?

But before we can become who we really are — and as an Aristotelian, I think that is meaningful and possible — we need to embrace our freedom, meaning our whole range of possibilities, including the inevitability of our death and the possibility that we might die at any time, which gives a certain urgency to our mission.

“They” tell us that who we are. But when we look within, we discover that we are thrown ahead into a range of future possibilities. We are not what we are (right now), i.e., actuality. Rather, we are what we are not (yet), i.e., possibility. We are free either to accept the fact of our freedom, which is what Heidegger calls authenticity, or to flee it into inauthenticity, which basically boils down to shrugging off the burden of freedom and letting others determine our identity for us.

But what makes our freedom, such as it is, possible? Heidegger’s answer would have to be: the things that determine us, which for him come down to our heritage: our language, culture, traditions, historical epoch, and the like. I would add our genetic heritage as well — our race, our sex, our individual traits — although that is a topic for another time. All of these give us certain possibilities, while making other things impossible. For example, being a prince or a peasant make certain things possible, other things impossible

And since it is in light of these possibilities that what is given becomes meaningfully present, our openedness as a whole is historically conditioned and particularized.

And if authenticity means embracing rather than fleeing our freedom, that is equivalent to embracing rather than fleeing from the heritage that determines us as well as frees us.

Heidegger talks about authentic Dasein “becoming its fate,” but he might as well have said amor fati, for one can come to love our limits when one appreciates that they are the conditions of our freedom.

Heidegger’s own discussion of our relationship to our past is primarily in terms of making our heritage meaningfully present in light of future possibilities, and retrieving/carrying forward certain elements. However, it strikes me that a deeper relationship with our past is implied by authenticity: not picking and choosing elements of our heritage that show up to us within our openedness, but embracing heritage as a condition of openedness — which, as an ultimate condition of intelligibility, remains obscure to us.

The affirmation of a form of historical identity so deeply constitutive of our self and self-consciousness that it can never be objectified, much less criticized or discarded, would place Heidegger in the tradition of anti-rationalist conservatism of David Hume and Edmund Burke. Sheehan — whose own Left-wing, progressivist agenda becomes more apparent as the book goes on — emphasizes the transcendental rather than the historical elements of Heidegger’s account of openedness, and freedom rather than the boundaries that make it possible. 

Part Three: The Later Heidegger

Part Three is divided into three chapters: chapter 7, “Transition: From Being and Time to the Hidden Clearing”; chapter 8, “Appropriation and the Turn”; and chapter 9, “The History of Being.” The first two chapters can be discussed as a unit, because they deal with the same topic: Heidegger’s concept of the “turn” (Kehre) which in its primary sense is identical to his concept of Ereignis.

One of Sheehan’s most important accomplishments is his clarification of the multiple sense of Heidegger’s “turn.” The “turn” is usually thought of as a shift in Heidegger’s thinking, either within Being and Time or between Being and Time and Heidegger’s later thought. Sheehan argues, however, that the fundamental sense of the turn is identical to Ereignis, i.e., it refers to the mutual dependence of man and meaning: meaning cannot exist without man, and man cannot exist without meaning.

The unity of man and meaning can, however, be viewed under different aspects: from the side of man or from the side of meaning. Being and Time was originally planned to have two divisions, each divided into three parts. In 1927, Heidegger published only parts 1 and 2 of division one. Part 3 was not published, and the manuscript was either lost or destroyed. Division two was never begun.

In Being and Time, parts 1 and 2, Heidegger approaches the man/meaning unity from the man side, using the phenomenological method to describe the temporal structure of ex-sistence which opens the space of meaningful presence. In the unpublished part 3, Heidegger was to approach the same unity from the side of meaning. Instead of showing how man opens up the space of meaning, he was to show how the space of meaning claims man. As Heidegger put it, the first parts of Being and Time deal with “human being in relation to the clearing” while part 3 deals with “the clearing and its openness in relation to human being” (quoted in Sheehan, p. 244).

This shift in perspective is often misinterpreted as the turn in Heidegger’s thought. But it is intimately related to the primary sense of the turn: the unity of man/meaning, which allows us to look at it from either side.

Heidegger never published Being and Time, division one, part 3. Sheehan does an important service by gathering all the testimonies about the lost text to reconstruct its outline and contents, to speculate about its teaching, and to explain why it was never published.

In the 1930s, Heidegger’s approach to his abiding topic — what makes meaningful presence possible — shifted from transcendental phenomenology to what he called Seinsgeschichte, which explores the different dispensations of Being/worlds of meaning in Western (and now world) history. This shift is also misinterpreted as the turn in Heidegger’s thought.

However, this turn, like the other, is made possible by the primary sense of the turn. Indeed, the turn within Being and Time and the turn from Being and Time to the late Heidegger are attempts to execute the same shift of perspective: from a transcendental/human-side approach to a meaning-sided approach to the man/meaning unity. Why did the first turn fail, and why did the second take a historical form?

The first turn failed because every discourse requires a context. A phenomenology of human ex-sistence provided the context for the first parts of Being and Time, but when Heidegger set aside the transcendental phenomenological method and the human-centered standpoint, he needed another context, another standpoint, from which to explore the man/meaning relationship from the side of meaning. But he lacked this context at the time he was writing Being and Time.

In 1930, Heidegger came to the realization, discussed above, that if the clearing is the ultimate condition of meaning, it itself remains unintelligible. But, although one cannot get beyond the clearing, perhaps one can say something about it from inside. But how? The outline of Being and Time, division two — which was to be a dismantling of Western ontology, moving from Kant to Descartes to Aristotle — certainly provided a clue.

For Heidegger, meaning embodied in language, culture, and tradition constitutes human consciousness, not vice-versa. But to say more about how history shapes human consciousness, one would have to compare different historical epochs. Heidegger is not, however, interested in ordinary intellectual and cultural history, but in the succession of fundamental interpretive slants — the a priori, i.e., hidden and always-already-operative assumptions about the nature of man and world — that cut through and unify entire cultures and ages. This brings us to Sheehan’s next chapter, “The History of Being,” to which I will attend in due course.

Inflating the Human

Heidegger’s belief that socially embodied meaning constructs individual consciousness — i.e., that consciousness is not “behind” history but history is “behind” consciousness — is the substance of his “anti-humanism.” “Anti-humanism” is something of a misnomer, though, since history and culture are just as “human” as individual consciousness. Heidegger is really opposed to the subject-centered transcendental method and the idea that the individual creates his own world of meaning, as opposed to receiving and passing on collective meanings to which he might contribute some small improvements.[3] The transcendental method also goes hand-in-hand with a dismissal of transcendent metaphysics. Sheehan writes:

The paradox of Being and Time as published is that the finitude of ex-sistence guarantees the infinitude of ex-sistence’s reach. Our structural engagement with meaning is radically open-ended and in principle without closure. Yes, there is an intrinsic limit to that stretch: ex-sistence can encounter the meaning only of material things, for as embodied and thrown, ex-sistence is “submitted” exclusively to sensible things rather than being open to trans-sensible (“meta-physical”) reality. But that notwithstanding, the search for the meanings of spatio-temporal things meets no barrier inscribed “thus far and no farther,” because we can always ask “Why no farther? What am I being excluded from?” and thus transcend the barrier, if only interrogatively. And secondly, yes, ex-sistence is thoroughly mortal and will certainly die, and its death will mark the definitive end to its search for meaning. But although it will surely end, perhaps even tragically, ex-sistence will nonetheless go out with its glory intact, insofar as it will die as an in-principle unbounded capacity for the meaning of everything it can sensibly encounter. (p. 192)

First, it strikes me as vacuous to say that we can make sense of everything by stipulating that one of those “senses” includes awareness that we have not made sense of something. Second, if this notion of the Faustian infinitude of ex-sistence’s reach is an accurate description of Being and Time, parts 1 and 2, it strikes me as precisely the kind of human-centric teaching that was to be modified by the turns in Heidegger’s thinking within Being and Time, and from Being and Time to the later Heidegger.

Indeed, as Sheehan continues to set forth this Faustian interpretation of Heidegger, it looks suspiciously like what Heidegger came to call the “essence” of technology, i.e., the a priori assumption that all beings are in principle knowable and disposable by man:

Structurally and in principle we are able to know everything about everything, even though we never will. Such ever-unrealized omniscience comes with our very ex-sistence. (Husserl: “God is the ‘infinitely distant man.’”) This open-ended possibility is a “bad infinity,” which in this context denotes the asymptosis of endless progress in knowledge and control. Heidegger’s philosophical critique of (as contrasted with his personal opinions about) the modern age of science and technology cannot, on principle be leveled against our ability to endlessly understand the meaning of things and even to bring them under our control, because this possibility is given with human nature, as Aristotle intimated and as Heidegger accepts in principle. What troubles Heidegger, rather, is the generalized overlooking of one’s mortal thrown-openness in today’s Western, and increasingly global, world. The mystery of human being consists in both the endless comprehensibility of whatever we can meet and the incomprehensibility of why everything is comprehensible. Everything is knowable — except the reason why everything is knowable. (p. 193)

The claim that we are able to “know everything about everything” strikes me as every bit as dogmatic as any claim of transcendent metaphysics. (Even if we knew everything about a particular subject, could we ever know that we knew everything?) And since when is “knowing” everything equivalent to “understanding the meaning” of everything, i.e., interpreting everything? Surely this kind of talk — which every academic knows can go on forever — is not necessarily equivalent to endless progress in knowledge.

Sheehan makes it quite clear that he thinks this Faustian viewpoint is not just “early Heidegger” but “late Heidegger” too. He also gives the strong impression that he thinks it is true:

. . . once Heidegger has established this argument about man’s a priori projectedness, he can and must affirm the obvious: that within the limits of our thrownness, we ourselves do indeed decide the meanings of things on our own initiative, whether practically or theoretically. . . . Yes, we are structurally thrown-open; but nonetheless it is we ourselves, as existentiel actors, who decide the current whatness and howness of things, their jeweiliges Sein. What is more, there is in principle no limit to what we can know about the knowable or do with the doable. There should be no shrinking back from the human will, no looking askance at the scientific and technological achievements of existentiel “subjects” in the modern world . . . Underlying the whole of Heidegger’s philosophy is the fact that we cannot encounter anything outside the parameters that define us as human — as a thrown-open, socially and historically embodied logos. But granted that much, we also cannot not make sense of anything we meet, whether in practice or in theory. . . . Heideggerians seem a bit anxious about the practical (not to mention technological) achievements of the existentiel subject — including socio-political projects for “changing the world.” However, as to zoon logon to echon [living beings possessing reason] we possess the power not only to make sense of things cognitively but also to remake the world as we see fit, for better or worse. But we possess that power only because we are possessed by the existential ability to make sense and change the world . . . (pp. 208–9)

This sense of being “possessed” by the ability to know and do anything captures the enthralling quality of every dispensation of Being, including the a priori assumption of technological civilization, which Heidegger calls Gestell or Ge-Stell. (Gestell is another untranslatable bit of Heideggerese which means the a priori assumption that for man everything is transparent and available. This is the “essence” of technology, meaning the prevailing mode of disclosing beings that makes modern technological civilization possible.)

But whereas Sheehan thinks we should be celebrating this worldview, Heidegger sought to awaken us from it, to break the spell. How? By showing us that the idea that everything can be understood and controlled is itself an Ereignis, a dispensation of meaning that we cannot understand or control. And if we can’t know why everything is knowable, isn’t that a refutation of the idea that everything is knowable?

Sheehan himself says: “Everything is knowable — except the reason why everything is knowable,” although he does not draw the conclusion Heidegger would like. If we cannot know why we think we can know everything, then we cannot know everything. Simply put, Heidegger is offering a counter-example to the idea we can know and control everything, and a single counter-example is sufficient to refute a universal generalization.

Heidegger’s counter-example is not, moreover, just a single instance that could be partitioned off as an exception to the rule, for what dispenses modernity is ultimately the whole of Western — and now global — civilization, understood as a realm of embodied meaning. We stand at the center of a circle — or better, a sphere — of meanings shading off into mysteries in all directions, and each time we bring a new mystery into the light, we understand that it is a gift from that which remains concealed.

Deflating the Trans-Human

Sheehan’s tendency to inflate the human (the subject-centered) is matched with a tendency to deflate the trans-human, historical dimensions of Heidegger’s thought. This is particularly evident in his discussion of Ereignis. In keeping with his program of breaking us out of both the egocentrism of the phenomenological method and the vaulting ambitions of the Gestell, Heidegger speaks of Ereignis and the clearing almost as if they have wills of their own. Sheehan, however, dismisses this as merely “reifying” language that:

. . . presents Ereignis or Sein selbst or Seyn as if it were a quasi-something that “catches sight” of human being, calls it into its presence, and makes it its own, as in such unfortunate sentences as . . . . “Er-eignen originally means: to bring something into view, that is, to catch sight of it, to call it into view, to ap-propriate it.” The “something” that is allegedly “brought into view” is ex-sistence; and this hypostatizing language makes it seem that something separate from ex-sistence “sees” ex-sistence and makes it its own property. . . . The danger that constantly lurks in Heidegger’s rich and suggestive lexicon is that his technical terms will take on a life of their own as words and then get substituted for what they are trying to indicate, the way some scholarship treats the clearing (or das Sein selbst) “as if it were something present ‘over against’ us as an object.” Thus Heidegger’s key term Ereignis – especially when English scholarship leaves it in the German — risks becoming a reified thing in its own right, a supra-human Cosmic Something that enters into relations with ex-sistence, dominates it, and sends Sein to it while withholding itself in a preternatural realm of mystery. To avoid such traps and to appreciate what Heidegger means by Ereignis, we must always remember that the term bespeaks our thrown-openness as the groundless no-thing of being-in-the-world, which we can experience in dread or wonder. Above all we should apply Heidegger’s strict phenomenological rule to appropriation itself: “avoid any ways of characterizing it that do not arise out of the personal claims it makes on you.” (pp. 234–35)

But Heidegger’s language does not suggest a false opposition between human ex-sistence and the clearing (which are just two different ways of viewing the same thing). Instead, Heidegger is trying to articulate a real opposition between the individual ego and socially-embodied meaning. Heidegger is trying to communicate that meaning is not created by the individual ego, but instead the individual ego is created by socially-embodied meaning. When individuals reflect upon language, culture, and history, we experience them as things that existed before our consciousness emerged, as things that will continue to exist after our consciousness has ended, and as external forces that envelop and enthrall us. They do stand over against us as objects — and also behind us as conditions of our subjectivity. Ereignis is not a “supra-human Cosmic Something” but a supra-individual Cultural-Linguistic-Historical Something. This something does enter into a relation with each individual Dasein. It does dominate us. It does send worlds of meaning to us while withholding itself in a realm of mystery, a mystery that is not “preternatural” but historical and thus “preterindividual.” This is not, in short, the “reification” of ideas but simply good, honest phenomenology: characterizing the experience of appropriation/the clearing as it actually occurs to us.

There is no question that Heidegger’s writing is highly rhetorical, with a penchant for mystical, religious, and prophetic forms of expression. The desire to get through the rhetoric to what Heidegger is really saying is completely understandable and commendable, and Sheehan has done more than any scholar I know to get to Heidegger’s real message. But once one arrives at this understanding, one cannot merely give Heidegger’s rhetoric the brush-off, like an annoyingly chatty cab driver once he has gotten you to your destination. One has to turn back to the rhetoric and try to understand why Heidegger adopted it in the first place.

One also needs to understand the contents of Heidegger’s teachings to separate the purely psychological dimensions of this thought. Heidegger was clearly an odd duck. He writes repeatedly about aberrant mental states in the 1920s and ‘30s, and in 1945–’46 he suffered a nervous breakdown. Heidegger’s biographers can provide many more psychological details. But before a competent psychiatrist tries to make sense of Heidegger’s psyche, he should read Sheehan to make sense of his thought.

The History of Being

Sheehan’s chapter 9, “The History of Being” and Conclusion, chapter 10, “Critical Reflections,” can be discussed as a unit, because they deal with the same essential subject matter. (Chapter 10 focuses on Heidegger’s essay “The Question Concerning Technology,” which discusses the Gestell, which is the present dispensation in the history of Being.) As usual, Sheehan marshals a host of useful quotations, etymologies, and distinctions.

These chapters deal with Heidegger at his most anti-humanist, anti-modernist, and ultra-conservative. And, as you might already suspect, Sheehan is quite unsympathetic. At one point. Sheehan summarizes what he thinks is of enduring value in Heidegger:

. . . a phenomenological rereading of traditional being as the meaningfulness of things; a persuasive explanation of how we make sense of things, both in praxis and in apophantic discourse; the grounding of all sense-making in the a priori structure of human being as a mortal dynamism of aheadness-and-return; and, based on all of that, a strong philosophical exhortation, in the tradition of Greek philosophical protreptic, to become what we already are and to live our lives accordingly. (p. 267)

This is basically Being and Time, plus a couple of lectures, “What is Metaphysics?” and “On the Essence of Truth,” with a cut-off around the end of 1930.

Heidegger interprets the trajectory of Western — and now global — history as one of decline from classical Greek and Roman civilization to the present day. Heidegger traces this decline in terms of the history of metaphysics, but contra Sheehan, Heidegger does not believe that philosophers are the “hidden legislators” of mankind, i.e., that philosophical ideas are the foundation of culture and the driving force of history. Rather, in keeping with his anti-humanism, Heidegger holds that historical change arises from inscrutable sources, and philosophers, as well as poets like Sophocles and Hölderlin, merely receive and articulate the deepest currents of the Zeitgeist.

As articulated by the pre-Socratics and the Attic tragedians, Heidegger thinks the deepest a priori assumptions of the classical view of the world are that man is a mortal being inhabiting a splendid world bounded by mystery and necessity, boundaries that man cannot transgress in thought or deed without hubris that courts nemesis. The deepest a priori assumptions of modernity are that all boundaries of thought and action, including human mortality itself, are ultimately temporary, i.e., that everything is in principle knowable and controllable by man.

Heidegger’s distinction between the classical and the modern corresponds roughly to Spengler’s distinction between classical and Faustian civilizations, although Heidegger places both within a single historical narrative of decline, whereas Spengler regards them as separate civilizational organisms each of which has undergone its own phase of decline, with the decline of the West still occurring today.

Sheehan points out that Heidegger names only two dispensations in the history of Being, both of them modern: the age of the world picture (the a priori assumptions of early modernity) and the Gestell (the a priori assumptions of present-day global technological civilization).

Sheehan dismisses Heidegger’s claim that the decline of the West is caused by man’s deepening oblivion of the clearing. But setting aside the question of causation, it is actually an accurate description of the decline, for oblivion of the clearing is equivalent to oblivion of human finitude, of the dependence of the individual on collective embodied meaning, and of the ineluctable mystery of the ultimate source of meaning — and all of these are traits of the Gestell. Forgetting the clearing is forgetting one’s place, metaphysically speaking. To the Greeks, this is hubris. Technology, surely, can exist without hubris. But could modernity?

Sheehan presents a wonderful quilt quotation from Heidegger’s 1935 lecture course Introduction to Metaphysics illustrating Heidegger’s conservative lament at the civilizational consequences of modernity:

. . . the hopeless frenzy of unchained technology and the rootless organization of the average man . . . spiritual decline . . . the darkening of the world, the flight of the gods . . . the destruction of the earth, the reduction of human beings to a mass, the preeminence of the mediocre . . . the disempowering of spirit, its dissolution, diminution, suppression, and misinterpretation . . . all things sinking to the same depths, to a flat surface resembling a dark mirror that no longer reflects anything and gives nothing back . . . the boundless etcetera of the indifferent, the ever-the-same . . . the onslaught of what aggressively destroys all rank, every world-creating impulse of the spirit . . . the regulation and mastery of the material relations of production . . . the instrumentalization and misinterpretation of spirit. (p. 282) 

In this same lecture course, Heidegger famously declared that the “inner truth and greatness of National Socialism” was its potential to reverse these tendencies, to preserve human rootedness, distinct identities, and traditional social structures from the deracinating and leveling forces of “global technology.” Sheehan suggests that Heidegger added this comment when he edited the lectures for publication in 1953, but if so, it is consistent with the rest of the lectures, as indicated by Sheehan’s own quilt quotation. (National Socialism falls outside the purview of Sheehan’s book, but he makes sure we know he’s against it.)

Sheehan is also dismissive of Heidegger’s postwar thoughts on the way out of the modern dispensation, particularly in his 1949 lecture “The Turn,” which is obscure even for Heidegger. The lecture also adds to the confusion about Heidegger’s concept of the turn by introducing a new sense of Kehre. This “turn” refers to the advent of the next dispensation of Being, in which mankind awakens “from oblivion of Being, to oblivion of Being.” Here Being refers to the clearing. Oblivion of Being refers to the intrinsic hiddenness of the clearing as well as to our lack of awareness of the intrinsic hiddenness of the clearing. Our awakening, therefore, refers to becoming aware of the intrinsic hiddenness of the clearing, which is equivalent to awakening to the fact that we cannot understand and control the dispensations of Being, which should overthrow the hubristic assumption that we can understand and control everything.

Sheehan again laments the “perverse rhetoric of hypostatization and reification that Heidegger employs, as if Being Itself, after centuries of ‘refusing Itself’ to humankind, suddenly chooses to turn and show Itself” (p. 265). But again, this is Heidegger’s description of how historical change presents itself to him. If the human will cannot control history, but history changes anyway, then history would seem to have a will of its own.

If we cannot control history, then what is the meaning of dissent? If ideas do not shape history, does that imply that dissenting ideas are merely subjective, private, and ineffectual? Not necessarily. Heidegger would have to hold that dissenting ideas are themselves dispensations of Being. If they are out of step with the present dispensation, perhaps they are the first glimmers of a new one. It is not surprising, therefore, that Heidegger occasionally adopts the tone of a prophet. If you find it annoying, just remember that it is far less pretentious than the idea that philosophers are the architects of history.

Heidegger is just one prophet of this new dispensation. It first stirred in 18th-century critics of the Enlightenment like Vico, Rousseau, and Herder. In the 19th century, it was taken up by such movements as Romanticism, Transcendentalism, utopian socialism, the pre-Raphaelites, and Arts and Crafts, as well as various Symbolists, Decadents, and dandies. In the 20th century, it stirred the prophets of deep ecology, agrarianism, and natural living like Aldo Leopold, Savitri Devi, J. R. R. Tolkien, E. F. Schumacher, Wendell Berry, and Carlo Petrini. It overlaps significantly with neo-paganism, Traditionalism, and Western seekers of Eastern wisdom, as well as with mystical and traditional forms of Christianity. It is also at work in the ongoing resistance to globalization, which, according to sociologists Charles Lindholm and José Pedro Zúquete, embraces the European New Right as well as movements of the Left.[4]

We should also remember that the man/meaning relationship is one of mutual dependency. Yes, collective meanings have the advantage in relation to any individual. But meaning depends upon man just as man depends upon meaning. The present dispensation may have claimed and shaped us, but it still needs us to sustain it. That means that each individual faces choices that sustain or undermine the present dispensation.

We sustain it whenever we participate in the global technological system, whenever we demand things that are faster, cheaper, easier, and more available. We undermine it whenever we prefer the local to the global, the beautiful over the useful, the earthy over the plastic, distinct peoples over monoculture and miscegenation, the acceptance of reality over the striving for power, the unique over the mass-produced, the ecosystem over the economic system, etc. Heidegger is just one face in a giant Sgt. Pepper’s collage of anti-modernists, along with generations of Wandervogel and hippies, historical preservationists and organic gardeners, Identitarians and Zapatistas, monkeywrenchers and tree-spikers, druids and swamis, down to flannel-clad hipsters tending bees and brewing beer in Brooklyn. When enough of us live as if the new dispensation is already here, perhaps it will arrive.

Sheehan complains that Heidegger’s account of the a priori assumptions of modernity is not based on fine-grained historical analysis. I guess it seems insufficiently inductive to him. (Yes, the oil industry seems in the grip of world-dominating hubris. But what about the coal industry?) But this seems to miss the point. We will not encounter the a priori assumptions of modernity in front of us, for they are already behind us, within us, structuring how we see the world and ourselves. Since we are all more or less modern men, we can test the truth of Heidegger’s claims simply through self-reflection.

Sheehan dates himself a bit by complaining that the 96 volumes of Heidegger’s Complete Edition published to date make no mention of Kapitalismus — as if Heidegger’s analysis of modernity needed recourse to Marxist buzzwords, as if he had not transcended the opposition of capitalism and socialism and revealed their underlying metaphysical identity.

* * *

Although I am nonplussed by Sheehan’s criticisms of Heidegger, I have some of my own. I am skeptical of his post-Kantian transcendental quarantine of metaphysics. I am skeptical of his biological race-denial and would like to explore his rationale. I am not so sure that the clearing is intrinsically hidden at all, or hidden in a non-trivial way.

But my main objection to Heidegger is his terrible writing. I long ago lost count of the Heideggerian words that actually don’t mean what they seem to mean. Heidegger translator David Farrell Krell recounts, “Occasionally, I would bring [Heidegger] a text of his that simply would not reveal his meaning; he would read it over several times, grimace, shake his head slightly, and say, ‘Das ist aber schlecht!’ (That is really bad!).”[5] I wish I could get back every hour I wasted reading Derrida and Foucault. I don’t feel the same way about Heidegger. But especially with certain works, I feel like those South African miners who have to sift through mountains of rubble for a pocketful of gems. When it comes to making sense of Heidegger, the philosopher was his own worst enemy, which makes Thomas Sheehan’s scholarly career a work of friendship. Making Sense of Heidegger is an indispensable book on an unavoidable thinker.[6]


1. Martin Heidegger, “The End of Philosophy and the Task of Thinking,” translated by Joan Stambaugh, in On Time and Being, trans. Joan Stambaugh (New York: Harper & Row, 1972), p. 62 and Basic Writings, revised and expanded, ed. David Farrell Krell (New York: HarperCollins, 1993), p. 438.

2. Martin Heidegger, Das Ereignis, ed. Friedrich Wilhelm von Herrmann, Gesamtausgabe, vol. 71 (Frankfurt a.M.: Klostermann, 2009). In English: The Event, trans. Richard Rojcewicz (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2013).

3. Even a Shakespeare’s contributions to the English language are small compared to what he inherited.

4. Charles Lindholm and José Pedro Zúquete, The Struggle for the World: Liberation Movements for the 21st Century (Stanford, Stanford University Press, 2010).

5. David Farrell Krell, “Work Sessions with Martin Heidegger,” Philosophy Today 26 (1982), p. 138.

6. As a book, Making Sense of Heidegger is not particularly attractive, but it is well-edited. I spotted only a few mistakes: p. ix: GA 6 should be Nietzsche, vols. 1 and 2; p. 210: “breaks” should be “brakes”; p. 262: “synchronic” and “diachronic” are reversed.


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[4] Graeme Nicholson: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0391040162/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0391040162&linkCode=as2&tag=countecurrenp-20&linkId=7AIWHTOM6APM5UME

[5] Michael Zimmerman: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0253205581/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0253205581&linkCode=as2&tag=countecurrenp-20&linkId=IZ2GJZ7YR3UL5H4S

[6] Richard Polt: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0801485649/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0801485649&linkCode=as2&tag=countecurrenp-20&linkId=JLH6XS5DXZ4KEIOA

[7] Thomas Sheehan: http://religiousstudies.stanford.edu/people/tom-sheehan/publications/

[8] Karl Rahner: The Philosophical Foundations: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0821406841/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0821406841&linkCode=as2&tag=countecurrenp-20&linkId=XCYALCQLMK4E5U6B

[9] The First Coming: How the Kingdom of God Became Christianity: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0394511980/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0394511980&linkCode=as2&tag=countecurrenp-20&linkId=RQJJPA34JP3GNFSW

[10] Julius Evola: http://religiousstudies.stanford.edu/wp-content/uploads/1986-DIVENTARE-DIO-EVOLA-NIETZSCHE-HEIDEGGER.pdf

[11] Alain de Benoist,: http://religiousstudies.stanford.edu/wp-content/uploads/1981-MYTH-AND-VIOLENCE-Part-I.pdf

[12] The Emergency of Being: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0801479231/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0801479231&linkCode=as2&tag=countecurrenp-20&linkId=NJPTKIC7O77R43IU

[13] Heidegger’s Roots: Nietzsche, National Socialism, and the Greeks: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0801472660/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0801472660&linkCode=as2&tag=countecurrenp-20&linkId=RFMQEB3RJFMA2FQU

[14] Heidegger’s Later Philosophy: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0521006090/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0521006090&linkCode=as2&tag=countecurrenp-20&linkId=SKA2FPQKGCWBDAWV

[15] Heidegger’s Hut: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0262195518/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0262195518&linkCode=as2&tag=countecurrenp-20&linkId=3JUYH4MLG37XBLAN

[16] Dugin’s dreadful book: http://www.counter-currents.com/2014/11/dugin-on-heidegger/

[17] beyond Being: http://www.counter-currents.com/2014/10/heideggers-question-beyond-being/

[18] Image: http://www.counter-currents.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/clearing-lighting.jpg

00:05 Publié dans Philosophie | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0) | Tags : martin heidegger, heidegger, philosophie | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook

samedi, 13 décembre 2014

Lille, 27 juin 2014: Révolution conservatrice


La révolution conservatrice allemande (extrait)

Lille, 27 juin 2014

(conférence prononcée avec une solide angine de poitrine; amusant de se revoir alors que l'on est là, à l'article de la mort, en présence de la Camarde, envoyée promener au nom de Heidegger, de Mohler, du "kaïros". Eugène Krampon a eu le mot qu'il fallait: "T'as failli faire comme Molière! Mourir sur scène! Quel artiste tu fais!).


mardi, 18 novembre 2014

Heidegger et les antinazis de papier...


Heidegger et les antinazis de papier...

par Robert Redeker

Vous pouvez découvrir ci-dessous un point de vue de Robert Redeker, cueilli sur le site de Valeurs actuelles et consacré à Heidegger. Professeur de philosophie et essayiste, Robert Redeker a récemment publié Le soldat impossible (Pierre-Guillaume de Roux, 2014).

Heidegger et les antinazis de papier

1097_140401_emmanuel_philo.jpgÀ nouveau l’affaire Heidegger occupe les gazettes ! Cette histoire, répétée tous les dix ans, du nazisme de Heidegger — dont témoigne le livre de Peter Trawny, Heidegger et l’Antisémitisme (Seuil) est un marronnier destiné à amuser ceux qui ne s’intéressent pas à Heidegger, qui ne le lisent ni ne le travaillent, ni ne travaillent avec lui. On ne voit pas quel est son intérêt, à part céder à la mode grotesque mais payante de l’antifascisme policier. Une fois que l’on a dit que l’homme Heidegger était nazi, on n’a rien dit du tout ! Ce n’est pas l’homme Heidegger dans son entier qui était nazi, encore moins le philosophe Heidegger, mais le particulier Martin Heidegger, à certains moments de son existence. Heidegger n’était pas “un” nazi, il était par moments nazi. L’article un est ici d’une importance capitale.

Quant à l’oeuvre philosophique de Heidegger, elle est simplement la plus géniale du XXe siècle, et de loin. Elle est par endroits, elle aussi, “dangereuse”.

L’antiheideggérianisme de trop nombreux journalistes et de quelques philosophes en mal de succès est un antinazisme facile, un antinazisme de papier, qui, certes, pour les meilleurs, s’appuie sur une lecture du maître de Messkirch, sans s’accompagner néanmoins d’une méditation de cette pensée.

Le présupposé des commissaires du peuple ne laisse pas d’être inquiétant : les lecteurs de Heidegger sont des nazis en puissance, autrement dit ce sont des demeurés capables de se laisser contaminer ! Les chiens de garde chassant en meute Heidegger militent avec le même présupposé méprisant quand il s’agit de Céline, de Schmitt, de Jünger et d’Evola. (Carl Schmitt et Julius Evola, voire René Guénon et Ezra Pound sont des auteurs qui demandent de grands efforts à l’intelligence : le présupposé des policiers de la pensée tombe dès lors à côté de la plaque.)

Les vrais lecteurs de Heidegger savent que cette propagande facile s’attaque à un monstre qu’elle fabrique elle-même, « le sozi de Heidegger », selon la fine invention lexicale de Michel Deguy. Cette notion de “sozi”, amalgame sémantique de “sosie” et de “nazi”, est heuristique, conservant une valeur descriptive s’étendant bien au-delà du mauvais procès intenté au philosophe allemand. Elle est un analyseur de la reductio ad hitlerum appliquée aux auteurs que l’on veut frapper d’expulsion du champ de la pensée. Leo Strauss a pointé les dangers pour la vérité de la reductio ad hitlerum : « Nous devrons éviter l’erreur, si souvent commise ces dernières années, de substituer à la réduction ad absurdum la réduction ad hitlerum. Que Hitler ait partagé une opinion ne suffit pas à la réfuter. »

Une question s’impose : et si le prétendu nazisme de Heidegger fonctionnait un peu comme l’éloge de Manu, de la société de caste, de la chevalerie germanique, chez Nietzsche, c’est-à-dire comme une machinerie “inactuelle” destinée à exhiber autant qu’abattre “l’actuel”, le dernier homme, l’homme planétaire-démocratique ? Peut-être est-ce une stratégie philosophique de ce type-là qui se joue dans le prétendu nazisme de Heidegger ? Dans ce cas, ce qui paraît inacceptable chez Heidegger aux lecteurs superficiels, aux commissaires politiques de la vertu et au gros animal (l’opinion publique) acquiert le même statut philosophique que ce qui paraît inacceptable chez Nietzsche. Nos antinazis de papier — épurateurs de culture qui se comportent, en voulant exclure les ouvrages de Heidegger des programmes du baccalauréat et de l’agrégation, comme les destructeurs des bouddhas de Bâmyân — s’en rendront- ils compte ?

Robert Redeker (Valeurs actuelles, 12 novembre 2014)

mercredi, 02 avril 2014

Heidegger’s Black Notebooks

Heidegger’s Black Notebooks:
The Diaries of a Dissident National Socialist

By Greg Johnson

Ex: http://www.counter-currents.com

In December of 2013, the German and French press began reporting that Martin Heidegger’s so-called Black Notebooks (Schwartze Hefte), forthcoming as volumes 94 to 96 of his Gesamtausgabe (Complete Edition), contain passages that constitute an anti-Semitic “smoking gun” (or maybe just a smoking chimney [2]).

On Monday, March 3, I received the first volume of the Black Notebooks, more than 500 pages written from 1931 to 1938. The second and third volumes, which have just been released and are in transit, contain writings from 1939 to ’40 and 1940 to ’41. All told, the three volumes contain more than 1,200 pages of Heidegger’s most private philosophical musings, the seeds of many of his contemporary and later lectures and writings.

It turns out that the passages in which Heidegger discusses Jews are found in the second and third volumes of the Black Notebooks (as well as in volume 97 of the Gesamtausgabe). Professor Peter Trawny, the editor of the Black Notebooks, has also written a small volume, Heidegger und der Mythos der jüdischen Weltverschwörung (Heidegger and the Myth of the Jewish World Conspiracy), which is due out this spring and which quotes and discusses the passages on Jews from volumes 95 to 97.

I will read and review these books in good time, but based on the quotes leaked so far, I predict that these passages will do little harm to Heidegger’s philosophical reputation.

Heidegger is still the most influential philosopher of the 20th century, despite the fact that it has long been known that he joined the National Socialist German Workers Party in 1933 and remained a member until 1945. It has, moreover, long been known that Heidegger spoke against the “Jewification of German intellectual life” (Verjudung des deutschen Geisteslebens). But, we are told, Heidegger was only a “spiritual” or “cultural” anti-Semite rather than a racial one. Beyond that, Heidegger opposed displays of vulgar and petty anti-Semitism while he was Rector of the University of Freiburg. It is also cited in Heidegger’s defense that he cheated on his German wife with Hannah Arendt, who was Jewish, and with Elisabeth Blochmann, who was half-Jewish.

Undatierte Aufnahme des deutschen Philosophen Martin Heidegger (1889-1976).

In sum, his defenders argue that Heidegger may have been a National Socialist, but he was never a particularly orthodox one, because the National Socialist ideology did not cohere with Heidegger’s own philosophy. And it is Heidegger’s philosophy that is of permanent importance, not his temporary dalliance with National Socialism.

Now, however, based on leaked lines from the Black Notebooks (that maybe amount to 1 or 2 pages out of 1,200), Heidegger’s detractors are claiming that this proves that anti-Semitism was not just a matter of “private insights” but that it is “tied to his philosophy [3],” indeed it is at the “core [4]” of Heidegger’s thought, that Heidegger’s Nazi problem is “deeper” and “bigger” than had been thought, that this constitutes a “debacle [5]” for contemporary Continental philosophy, and that from now on, it will be “hard to defend [5]” Heidegger.

Of course we need to take this all with a grain of salt, since the sources of these comments are (1) Heidegger’s publishers, who, I believe, are cynically using this controversy — abetted by Heidegger’s gleeful detractors — to create advance publicity and sell books — and with great success, since before they were even released, the Black Notebooks were philosophical bestsellers on Amazon.de; (2) Heidegger’s editor Peter Trawny, who has a book of his own to sell; and (3) journalists who love controversies.

I predict that after Heidegger’s actual remarks and Trawny’s commentary are finally released, and hundreds of thousands of Euros have changed hands, and thousands of readers have weighed the evidence: (1) we will have learned some new details about Heidegger and the Jews but nothing that will alter the existing picture, (2) both Heidegger’s defenders and detractors will be confirmed in their existing opinions, and (3) and some observers of the intellectual hysteria and thuggery surrounding even a whisper of anti-Semitism might conclude that Jewish power and freedom of thought are incompatible. That conclusion certainly began dawning on me as I read my way through the last controversy about Heidegger and National Socialism, which was launched in 1987 by Victor Farias’ Heidegger y el Nazismo.

For what it’s worth, I think it is a mistake to frame the Heidegger-National Socialism question as a matter of whether National Socialism was “inside” or “outside” Heidegger’s philosophy. It is clear that Heidegger thought that National Socialism was “outside” his philosophy — or any philosophy, for that matter, i.e., that it was a movement containing many conflicting and confused intellectual strands.

The real issue is whether Heidegger thought that his philosophy could transform National Socialism into an intellectually coherent, philosophically grounded movement, a movement that understood its “inner truth and greatness” (as he put it in 1935), namely the confrontation of historical man with global technological civilization.

And the answer to this question is clearly: yes. Heidegger thought that his philosophy could provide the foundations for a kind of National Socialism — which is, by the way, one of the reasons for his enduring influence on the New Right.

Now it appears that Heidegger also turned his attention to the Jewish question. Again, it is a mistake to read too much into a few leaked lines, but we are told, for instance, that Heidegger speaks of Jews as “rootless” and “calculating,” which for Heidegger are general traits of modernity. But it is not yet clear whether Heidegger regarded Jews as the subjects or the objects of modernity, or both.

Heidegger apparently regarded Jews as hypocritical insofar as they live according to the principle of race (Rasseprinzip) but attack Germans for seeking to do the same. Heidegger also reportedly notes that Jews foment wars to advance their interests but are loath to shed their own blood.

Such remarks instantaneously transform modern liberal journalists into elderly Victorian spinsters, clutching invisible cameo brooches at their throats as their cheeks blanch (the original meaning of “appalled”) and all ratiocination is paralyzed by the vapors. But a quick comparison of Jewish political preferences [6] in the United States and Israel proves the hypocrisy charge, and a cursory knowledge of Jewish lobbying for the US to attack Iraq, Iran, and Syria [7] proves the warmongering charge. Nothing, apparently, has changed.

In the initial reception of the Black Notebooks — as with everything else in European and American life — the tiny Jewish tail is wagging the dog. But when scholars turn their attention from a few sentences about Jews to the 1,200+ pages of other material in the Black Notebooks, the contrived controversy about anti-Semitism will be quickly forgotten. For, judging from the first volume, there are materials here of far greater importance.

For instance, in volume one, the second notebook (entitled Überlegungen und Winke [Reflections and Hints] III) begins in the fall of 1932 and runs through the spring of 1934, i.e., the entire period of Heidegger’s most intense political involvement with National Socialism and his Rectorship at the University of Freiburg. It is, in truth, the diary of a dissident National Socialist.

The opening words express high hopes: “A glorious awakening popular will stands in a great world darkness” (p. 109). Heidegger outlines plans for reforming the university system. But he had far greater ambitions than that, namely, to put National Socialism upon firm philosophical foundations, namely, his own philosophical foundations: ”The metaphysics of Dasein must according to its innermost structure deepen and broaden into a metapolitics ‘of’ the historical people” (p. 124).

Heidegger records his frustrations with”vulgar National Socialism” (p. 142) — a mass movement based in biological racism. He analyzes such basic concepts as the “people” (Volk), “socialism,” “wholeness” (Ganzheit), and the masses. He remarks that “National Socialism is a barbaric principle” (p. 194) and that “National Socialism in its present form is scarcely a ‘Worldview,’ and if it persists in its present ‘form’ can never become one” (p. 196).

Heidegger also records his frustration with the Rectorship, which eventually led to his resignation. On April 28, 1934, the day after his resignation was accepted, he writes “The end of the Rectorate . . . Long live mediocrity and clamor [Lärm]!” (p. 162). The final page is a confession of despair: “‘The Self-Assertion of the German University’ [the title of Heidegger's Rectoral Address] or — the small intermezzo in a great error” (p. 198). He foresees the complete absorption of the university by technical-instrumental modernity — and, by implication, the absorption of National Socialism itself, betraying its potential to offer a real alternative.

Scholars will be discussing these and other issues raised by the Black Notebooks long after the Lärm about anti-Semitism has died away.

Judging from the first volume, the Black Notebooks are where Heidegger initially drafted many of the ideas that characterize his later thinking. And, as with his lecture courses, they are expressed with great clarity and directness, poles apart from the contrived obscurity of many of the works he published in his lifetime, as well as posthumous works like Contributions to Philosophy, all of which read, as Flannery O’Connor put it, “like some evil incantation in gibberish” (“Good Country People”).

Heidegger stipulated that the Black Notebooks and related texts be published only at the end of this Complete Edition. I think he was saving the best for last.

Article printed from Counter-Currents Publishing: http://www.counter-currents.com

URL to article: http://www.counter-currents.com/2014/03/heideggers-black-notebooks/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.counter-currents.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Heiddeger.jpg

[2] smoking chimney: http://www.fpp.co.uk/Auschwitz/docs/fake/SWCsmokeFake.html

[3] tied to his philosophy: http://chronicle.com/article/Release-of-Heidegger-s/144897/

[4] core: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/mar/13/martin-heidegger-black-notebooks-reveal-nazi-ideology-antisemitism

[5] debacle: http://www.zeit.de/2014/01/heidegger-antisemitismus-nachlass-schwarze-hefte

[6] Jewish political preferences: http://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/category/jewish-attitudes-in-israel-versus-the-diaspora/

[7] Jewish lobbying for the US to attack Iraq, Iran, and Syria: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article1438.htm

lundi, 03 février 2014

Heidegger over de richtingloze mens


“De poging om planmatig een ordening aan de aardbol op te leggen is tevergeefs als de mens zichzelf niet schikt naar het toespreken van de landweg. Het gevaar dreigt dat de hedendaagse mensen doof blijven voor zijn spreken. Tot hun oor dringt alleen nog maar het lawaai van apparaten door, die ze bijna voor de stem van God houden. Aldus raakt de mens verstrooid en richtingloos. (…) Het Eenvoudige is ontvlucht. Zijn stille kracht is verdord.”


Voor Heidegger is de mens ingebed in een groter gebeuren waar hij geen vat op heeft, maar die zich wel af en toe laat onthullen. De vrijheid van de mens ligt in het feit dat hij de grond sticht waarop een wereld wordt ontworpen. Op deze manier brengen wij de zijnden in de wereld aan het licht. Daarom verstaat Heidegger het begrip waarheid als een dynamisch spel waarin verhulling en onthulling elkaar afwisselen. De techniek verstoort de mens echter in dit spel, blijkt uit bovenstaande citaat. Hij is als het ware zijn centrum verloren waaraan hij zijn stabiliteit in dit dynamische spel verleent.




HEIDEGGER, Martin, De landweg, Budel: Uitgeverij DAMON, 2001, 20.

Ex: http://prachtigepjotr.wordpress.com

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