The Disadvantages of Rauch
In Storm of Steel Ernst Jünger thinks of a time when he packed his lunch in a gasmask case, strapped to his belt. He hadn’t any conception of mustard gas.
Clement Greenberg and Mies van der Rohe: I don’t want to be interesting I want to be good. This is the way of looking that avoids philosophy, it is not reactionary, but it is sub-philosophical. Good here does not mean that from all things I have rescued or recalled that which is best simply. I.e., the thing that the whole calls for, and can never exceed—its veriest meaning. Rather, it means, of those things that people look at, in just the same way that the Rocky Mountains contain proper mountains, and not only hills, my work is one of those mountains. Like other mountains, one can still go about asking about the exact height, and which is taller, but no one can say with the slightest probity, that is no mountian. Leo Strauss, in a similar way, understood men like John Searle as public menaces. Because through their flight in the face of thought, they kicked up a storm of confusion about the world essence. All serious problems are regarded as bunk since the reflections necessary to draw them into consciousness, to fill them with cogency for thought, are blocked. But this action does not stop the end of metaphysics, rather it prevents human beings from facing it.
The view of the world essence is not some opinion. It is not some sentence that states a proposition. It is not some orientation that one might learn if one got the right training. It is not some procedure or method. But when we find the thinking place of the Element we are close already to solipsism and to nihilism. It seems that a prescription is needed, so that to rescue the thought that is obscured a moral action must come first. In order to save face one can say, this reflection was possible in a window of history, not because it was sought, but since it so happened by some infinitely enigmatic dispensation, but that we now might go back to it, but only through digging back. In a certain way all this is obviated by the fact that those who are called, and will not stand sleepily beside the perpetual overpowering of thought, do not propose any activity as a task. It is only that it befalls them and is them. Thus it is not a moral prescription. These rationalizations can’t be outstripped, as there is no higher judge of them. Only the normative of the philosophy department can prescribe rules of how to move in thought and how not to move in thought.
But it seems to me valuable, at least for the moment, to stay with the “shatter zones” on the historicist frontier which stand between Husserl (& co.) and Strauss. Can one continue the old projects or pursuits without degenerating into fundamentalism or the miasma of simpleminded and philistine evasions?
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