Thought in contradistinction to reason according to Dostoevsky and Heidegger
What is placed under the questioning:
1.Thought is not reason.
2.Philosophy is not Science.
Are these supposed to be wishes? One asks: Are these presuppositions? Are these theses?
The presupposition unlike the wish does not claim to want the thing to be so, but it acts as though it were so. It reminds us more of the wager. But, our initial guidance, by way of clarifying several distinctions, suggests the difficult and more-or-less cavalier way of thought when it wants to be, not normative, not communicative in order to say, but when it wants to take up what is. The presupposition is organized by the influence of a comprehensive or circumlocutory look, an attempt to overcome all errors of a naive kind through seeing what is, and an invigilating which tries to bring out what is worthy by seeing it.
The presupposition in this case. That of the historial. Presents itself as a destiny, not in the ways of thinking, in the Weltanschauung, but in Being. Strauss grants this as sufficient, i.e., as not falling prey to a simple error.
The thesis, if we parse, if we make a determination for thought, is an orientation according to reason as rational distinction, it does not simply look at thought, it uses thought as the means for its work. The binding character of such abstractions appeal directly to Geist or the rational spirit, and not to the “simple inspiration” of psyche. Abstraction in the sense of Geist is intelligible only when thought philosophically, only when thought in the Western fashion, as over and against the prosthesis, i.e., the concretion of the individual ergon (the perfect work, i.e., and thing as common sense thinks it). Freud speaks of the prosthetic, because when he unconsciously tries to harmonious the “black tide of mud” and the concrete historial world of the individual things, he involuntarily grows along with Plato. Those who know of this must be familiar with the mention of the Republic (by Freud), where Plato assumes the search into ideology, that which is behind the appearances as psuke, is a senseless procedure leading to confusion.
If thought were qualified by common sense it would be determined by common sense, but thought according to the phenomena would be the historial. This thought would be brought about by a “radically mysterious dispensation of fate”. If it were brought about by the nature of someone who, was not merely erudite, but gifted by nature, this “nature” would have to be reinterpreted outside the canons of Western thought or reason. We have already said more than what an unconstrained willingness to learn could make clear to itself without great preparatory work. The question in regard to what is “clear” means: Is it clearer to reach a scientific understanding, i.e., that colour is spectrum, that thought is the activity of neurons and so on, than it would be to think over what the thing is in some other way? Classically put: Is the grand view from the high place, that of the Emperor in the box overlooking the action in the theatre, on the floor and behind the proscenium, more clear than that of the small detail afforded to the private sight of the actor or common theater goer? Is the ‘ideal type’ and the law progressively clarifying and strengthening? Does it abandon common sense entirely and leap into the spectrum and the neurons? Does it find scrupulous and continuous clarity when it plunges into the exterior object, taken as reason for the folk experience, as seen by the grand synthesizing intellect?
Kant and Hegel understand this intellect as the intensification of the abstract, as the concentrated limit state of the human ratio. If it is a limit state, standing still is the limit state of movement, it is thought logically, according to the principle of excluded middle. The implication is that mathematics, the physics of Newton, is related to the common sense. Locke says first that the solid things are primary qualities, but later he sees this was a bias of the common sense, with its congenital respect for pain. Dostoevsky’s Shatov, form the novel ‘Demons’:
“Shatov had radically changed some of his former socialistic convictions abroad and had rushed to the opposite extreme. He was one of those idealistic beings common in Russia, who are suddenly struck by some overmastering idea which seems, as it were, to crush them at once, and sometimes forever. They are never equal to coping with it, but put passionate faith in it, and their whole life passes afterwards, as it were, in the last agonies under the weight of the stone that has fallen on them and has already crushed them half to death.”
Again, later in the novel:
“But are there really no ways of dying without pain?”
“"Imagine"—he stopped before me—"imagine a stone as big as a large house; it’s hanging and you’re under it; if it falls on you, on your head, would it be painful?"
"A stone as big as a house? Of course it would be frightening."
"I’m not talking about fear. Would it be painful?"
"A stone as big as a mountain, weighing millions of pounds? Of course it wouldn't be painful."
"But really stand there and while it hangs you will fear very much that it will be painful. The most learned man, the greatest doctor, all, all will be very much frightened. Every one will know that it won't hurt, and every one will be afraid of the pain."”
Attempting to attach human sentiment to what happens seems a servile glance at the irrational world of the past. Even Locke, we see, must exclude, only in afterthought, his own conscience trust of his own nature, but if he thinks it as the enemy of truth, as the bringer of defect, at least some basic features of the so-called blank slate must remain? How could they?
Heidegger disentangles the teaching of the West from those of the human being or what he calls Da-sein. At the same time he understands this thinking, his own, as that history, the current worlding. When thinking is reason it is emphatically political in its activity, its chief suppressed presupposition is that the individual thing, what can not be reduced and is perfect, is the same as the particular, the part of the whole. That the concretion, is thought in the same thought as the abstraction. Leo Strauss says, in our opinion it sounds strange that Comte speaks of science as chiefly flourishing among the white race, that “our opinion”, i.e., the modern or contemporary opinion, that of circa 1960, is already too distant to accept the thinking of Comte as plainly the case. But, he says, when we look we see without any ‘racism’, that it was simply so in Comte’s time. Even more difficult is it to accept that philosophy belongs to a specific movement, of the thinking of the abstraction over and against the concrete. Strauss says “we must not be squeamish”. We must act in an Enlightened manner, and not narrowly in the manner of the newspapers, i.e., in the way that even the “meanest intellects” can see. Something more is needed.
Dostoevsky understands the thinker in the light both of the psychologist, i.e., the psychologist in the sense of whoever asks about what is behind human motivation but not evident to the positive spirit as the searcher after reasons, ultimately as the searcher according to the principle of sufficient reason. And, in the light of the emotional thinking that befalls the thinker as thinker, that shows in the “deep lying glint of the eye”, not as an idea or opinion, but as something that if it were to become an idea simpliciter, and not a felt-idea, would be at once made banal.
Heidegger shows the thinker as the one who thinks grounds simpliciter. He goes then, deeper than the principles of logic, and joins Husserl, with the logos simpliciter. The principle of identity does not control the thought that a book is. What he says is that if we ask why, as the genera out of which reason as cause and effect, and reason as the common sense or folk answer arises, the why leads only to the being of the being, the child's question about the why, insisting on more reasons ad infinitum, to the fatality in the bizarre and wild grounds of philosophy as questioner after final causes, we must stop this regression in the alleged sobriety of the being as first answer to the why. It seems that the separation of the basic cognition, form what is thought, is still active in the thinker who questions.
The thinker who questions is not the poet since the poet is supposed to not ask why, even in the sense that the thinker's why does not seek here and there for reasons, but only answers the why at once, saying, it is by way of Being, but the poet is supposed to be like the crape myrtle and the animal and the keyboard one types with, in so far as what is represented in the logos is not the product of the questioning but of the mere saying. The poet as poet merely says, but the thinker questions after the why, without going into the abstraction of the reasons.
Thought is not reason. Philosophy is not science. What needs to be thought is the sense in which thought is not reason according to the why of thought. It could be a normative distinction that is laid down in a thesis, but unsupported by the existence of beings on the earth. The approach which says “Philosophy is not science” abstracts something it calls philosophy from the reasoning that becomes cause and effect in its essence. Out of all uses of the logos, science becomes one, not because someone said it was in order to lay down a rule for thought, but because it did in history, because this became completely victorious in the being of man as man.
When the movement of thought is phenomenological in the extreme, as in Husserl, it is very like the poetic, if the poetic asks no why. The presence of the why indicates a knowing. As a ground to place the because, to hand over to the question what it wants. The thought of the questioning in Heidegger admits the hermeneutic interpretive method as a provisional activity, as skill in knowing how to deal with whatever the phenomenological seeing sees. When Dostoevsky feels the idea he too moves over the poetic in that he wants the gathered idea to move and overtake the being, under the tendency of the being to nurse the idea, and to be lived by the idea, in a kind of keeping that guards. The keeping can not be a psychology of hidden motivations, such as we see in Dostoevsky and Nietzsche, e.g., in the so-called pale criminal. It is not operative as a prosthetic apart from the human being, like something we can consult, like a table of causes for whatever happens. This too is meant in the sense that Heidegger says, if we want to know what Husserl's phenomenology is, we can not, as with Hegel, learn the matter apart from reading Husserl. Normally it is supposed to be proper to read Hegel to understand Hegel since knowledge of the primary material is by general fiat promulgated as the method of scholarship, but the thought of Hegel is conveyable by secondary sources, this is what Heidegger implies. It is essentially possible to learn many things, even philosophy, through byways. But the thinking that is at the same time, like a paideia, like something that shows one how to lead oneself in thought, according to a knowledge about how to move in thought, is not generic in principle.
By comparing this notion of thought to paideia we say that just as the Greek axiom, as finding, existentially, something worthy in thought, can be compared to the principle, as the thing of first importance for thought, and to the ground as a reason for something, the basis of a way of thinking, if we are to be enabled to think about, without striking out into the absence of thought, as a loosing of the way in the anything goes, as a kind of suicide rather like 'returning' to brute being, the being of the animal that does not question according to reason, one must have some means to lead the thinkers in the peculiar movement of thinking that is by and for the thinking in the movement of the thought through its history to its own being in the light of itself. In the Greek thinking this movement implies the archaic return to music, in the current age it implies the mathematical: hence the unbearable lightness is set off against the heaviest stone—where is it set off? In the way the wave makes its journey into the annihilation at the shore, the “where” of what is located amid the knowledge of the questioning seeks some stronger determinant for its ecology, shunting immediate glances at its predicament, seeking rest in the consolation of a congealed solid certitude. In practice, in the repetition of formulaic answers, and sneering unwillingness to face the difficulty. Abandonment to the relative becomes seeing what is in the positive phenomenon as it gains and crests and passes and breaks.