Is Being a Knowing?
The work, or, better, the rigour of philosophy, is to see what discernment already forces on us. The gauge or measure is available only to the philosopher who becomes worthy of philosophy through the other philosophers, and for them. Such is the millennial horizon of philosophy from which we must ask about our presuppositions:
- We are not presupposing the thesis: (That the question,) “Whither Being?”, is not a question pertaining to the alteration of things.
- We, now, do not presuppose ““Whither Being?” is not a question pertaining to the alteration of things.
- Whereas we question what we, now, know.
If we question what we know we at the same time question the supposed knowledge of being. Being is supposed to be something other than knowing. Knowing has its limit in that it must know something. It has its limit, also, in that it must be for something. One knows trees and stars and human beings. One knows how to take a stroll, to ski, and to read. It could be that something brewing in history, that we are, is already known, but not yet expressed. We don’t assume it, we only investigate the possibility.
“The history that we are” does not refer to history as it is laid down by statement and artifact. It refers to the history of Being. But how would one “know” at all about that? A preliminary investigation into the foundations of this ‘position’ in thought is necessary. It has its origins in modernity, and was wholly unknown to antiquity. It was “wholly unknown”, but perhaps for that reason it was lived, or, better, it was. Cf. the German conclusion that in Kant, what was to come to utter clarity, knowledge as representation, was completed. Knowledge as representation (not in the Kantian sense, but in the sense of bringing to absolute clarity in the logos, in the Critique of Pure Reason as explication) is clarity about what is foggy, but it is not insight purely. I put that down as a schema. Anyone who thinks it must gauge the reality of the schema. The phenomenological intuition, as the animus of the individual being, as the substance that is something, as thought by Husserl, who, in his turn, credits Descartes with this ‘pure insight’, is to the Apollonian clarity, known to Holderlin as the the proper and true German characteristic, of what was most theirs, is philosophy as insight, over and above the haze of the anima, of pre-philosophy, and the history of the coming to clarity.
What we are looking at is whether this is a doctrine about being, which would be a knowledge, or if the claim in Heidegger, that philosophy is not a science, can be reached at all. It has to be reached and not known. Heidegger says, this way of thinking, reached by the work of a few, can be taught to many. He says this is like the modern technologies that are themselves based on principles of physics that are properly understood by only a small group of philosophically-minded physicists, such as Einstein, Niels Bohr and Heisenberg.
The philosophical attitude is that of discernment. The emotional envelopment in the state of pure doing, the platonic notion of the ready-to-hand, as what is impromptu in being is discerning in so far as, there, too, as in the light of a logical inspection of the beings, according to philosophical discussion, as in the Socratic dialogs, a sense of the separation of all beings is somehow given. It is in this sense that Heidegger says, the animal is “poor in Being”. The animal participates in the discernment, but not in the dialogic thought. This kind of diremption is supposed to be the primary problem named in the quandary: Is it ever pausable to say Being without some kind of rubric? It is named again in the question: How did it happen that Being, the Greek ‘on’, became the one and the many (hen and ta panta)? Heidegger says, that, I freely admit, I have “not gotten to the bottom of”.
Someone who wants to, apart from this investigation, look into the problem of Being, might take this path: Through the intense literary vividness of Dilthey, in what he discloses of the ‘possibility of existence’ called the historial, come to better understand the serious philosophical work of Husserl, which is totally misunderstood everywhere. I will not pursue that path here, but look at another way. Let us take up the rubric lebensraum, which is a concept of Friedrich Ratzel. I don’t intend to say anything about Ratzel or his concept, but rather to use this concept apart from Ratzel, for the purpose of approaching the thinking of Being, first in counterpoint to the knowing of being, but then as an approach to the understanding of Heidegger’s way of producing Being as Time (i.e., the time of the animus or intention of the world).
Lebensraum does not say, what is for the English language speaker quite similar sounding, Grossraum. That is a concept of political policy or doctrine. Lebensraum says, this is a living space. The life-space is then a “development space”. The body is not something that, at some time, gets as an addition, some life. It is not a receptacle into which life is poured, rather, as Dilthey called it, it is a lived-body. Leben-drive, i.e., instinct, is not something that resides in a lived-body. If we want to ask why this view, concerning the duality of substance had such a millennial power over intelligent human beings, it is because in death something remains. Like Aristotle, one must observe, the change is absolute and not a matter of the subtraction of some entity called “life”.
The ‘doctrine’ of Being wants to bring this suggestive development of our thinking to the point of insight. To be convinced of an argument is to know something. But the doctrine of Being wants to ‘see’, as it were, in “time”. But “time” doesn't mean in the alteration of things. It means in Being as time. In the alteration of things resides both psychological quality, as time, and time as the analysis of things contrasted with things. Being as time says “time”, but it in no way names what anyone has ever meant by time. It names the Historial. All we have done is somehow present an equivalence of terms. But, we would have to be able to ‘see’ it, which would be the same as, thinking it in the way Heidegger says can be taught widely. If it can be taught widely, this method must be readily available to the reader of Heidegger. Or at least to the specialists who study Heidegger. In fact something closer to the reverse is true, they do not even look for it.
The concept of lebensraum tells us nothing about the millennial power of the Greek doctrine of logos, as the constituting judgment, and the assertion. Nietzsche spoke of the corruption of tradition, and his critique was, and is, as Spengler tells us, “unanswerable”. But if the doctrine of logos was supposed to assure the fruitful participation of the philosophers in the search for truth, what are they doing know amidst the decay? Nietzsche held that the constituting judgment, as the ground of the world, was ‘becoming’. He spoke of the “sovereignty of becoming”. If I come to apprehend a thing, in the constituting judgment, I by no means reach the “truth” or the thing in itself. But, says Nietzsche, so long as what I assert is according to the constituting judgment, I speak the world (as it is). More there is not.
Everything in the project of historial being recoils form the loss of the fruitful participation in the millennial, teleological, animus of the philosophers. This suggests that through some deep need a project was invented. So Nietzsche himself believed. That would be his “life-giving lie”. But, Husserl, least of all, seemed susceptible of such a motive. There had never been a more sober and, if we may say so, dry, mind in all of philosophical life. Such a mind has not an ounce of Rausch, or the rushing feeling that carries one away, in it. If Heidegger, in following his master has everything of the fanatic in his gaze, Descartes, nonetheless, who Husserl places the beginning of the historial, can not have been guilty of Nietzsche's “lie”. Since, he was working towards the project of objectivism, as the securing of the ground of thought in apodictic splendour, as the transfer of the certainty of basic maths to the region of a physical nature concept (according to the essential interest in motion laid down by Galileo).
What ‘tears it’ between the aging Husserl, and the young turk, if we may put it that way, Heidegger, is the question of the end of the animus of philosophy. It seems that only if the whole of the history of the project, of the Western world from Plato to the end, were laid down, could the, as Husserl himself put it, “point” of the matter be grasped. Then there is some reason to suspect Heidegger of going too far in this, but that is superficial evidence. One needs to ‘see’ it all. “A wild animal reduced to possession” has got in it the animus of the ‘house broken’ thing. If it goes free, straying according to Artemis (who is the barbaric one, and the butcher) and then returns, we know that it is not able to abandon its teleology. The philosopher, too, has strayed, so that one asks, is this one a philosopher, and that one? Or have they begun to do “something else”? For the most part it is obvious that those who are supposed to be doing “something else” are simply vacuous epigones, who merely fidget about in confusion. One could only know this, however, if one could come into the animus of the historial and see whether or not it has pooled up in an “end” or, whether, by counterpoint, it is in Nietzsche's sense, a corruption and a “lie”.
The approach to the things presupposes, and actively offsets itself, from the traditional avenue. It continues in its own way. The question is whether the realization of the end of the seeking for the ground, itself amounts to having found the foundation. Philosophy was episteme ratio, the search for the truth or fact itself for the sake of reasoning beings. The search always meant the search for the agreement of those who know, the compulsion to agree because if one looked in a very serious way, and checked everything out, one would find no flaw. It was assumed that reason was not part of the “muddle” of the senses. The doctrine of Being doesn’t continue to contemplate the problems of philosophy in this sense. It does not consider the “muddle” of the Hericliteans as the ‘irrational’, as the opposite of the securing of the truth of the thing known. It doesn't deal with the question it now ‘sees’ to be artificial, and wrongheaded (as taken abstractly, by the current philosophers and thinkers, but not as the necessary historial growth). At first philosophy is faced, at the first beginning, with the logos as the gravity of man as man, over and against the nature of the things. This distinctive diremption belongs to a season of Western thought. To Western being as a Historial flowering. It is more simply expressed as the contrast of the traditional things, with the human will. Therefore, it is no great surprise that, for all the positivist fuss about the object, and the ideal, those who know the tradition know also that this problem too is presupposed, and can not become forcible from the phenomena, as something evinced. It has power only for those hypnotized by the thoughtlessness of what approaches divine revelation, i.e, as Strauss used to say, the things we got from parents and teachers when we were young.
Being, is not supposed to be grasped in the ‘seeing’, but it is suggested by the fact that when we see the necessity of the beings, as individuals that through their intentionality, their mind or animus, open a world, one can then see further, and open up the insight into Being through the grasping of all that is thought. The concepts, like windows, can be ‘seen’, but the concept of concept can not be seen. So it is at the end of thinking. Concept means, for example, that a tree and a cat can be enumerated. The world is such that numbering is there. It is thought as a opening in the world, and not as some doctrine or ability. It is not episteme, it is a animus of the anima, or a way of thinking of the being that is there. All the thinking in the historial thinkers, presupposes the opening out from the substance onto the psychological being of man, and the objectivist vision of the beings or things. When Heidegger, for example, speaks of humans, he does not mean anything that anyone normally means when they say that word. The time named, in the sense of Being as time, is the conceptions, such as the math conception, in their world constituting animus. Which is, of course, not a knowable thing, because it lies at the singular foundation, prior to what is knowable.