A Note on the “Self Reserved and Egotistical”
Assuming what leads, we wonder what is. Whereas what is wonders to choose us. dixi
'Sometimes I wonder which is more difficult: to instill an awareness of Politics in the Germans or to convey to Americans even the slightest inkling of what philosophy is all about.' Hannah Ardent
According to the British attitude Heidegger is egotistical, and wonders about what things are for him. And not for the rubric, the impersonal, the work. This isn’t an attitude, but a thinking of the world. According to German thought, the work called Heidegger demands to be placed above the other texts, and is not the work of some man with a biography. This seems strange, can one really believe it? The reason is that the manifestation of reason’s experience is not some idiosyncratic matter, but all that differs in this one philosophy is the force in which the work is constituted. It was in the air anyway, but here it is caught in a way that demands we look at it and most of all, hear it. It was there, it is part of what is, it is now handed over to all in the work. But, for the British, everything has to do with the ego. Why? Because philosophy does not exist for British, only politics does. Philosophy is something that, if one hadn’t had it, one would get on with life in the same way. It is an activity for reflective people, and perhaps good for exercising the mind. To English thought, philosophy is something alien.
True enough, amongst German professors, one too, finds parochial pettiness. But here German does not name some people, but a fundamental experience of thought. One that understands what is higher as higher. In fact, the current situation we call the American thinking. The British no longer has a proper existence. The British thinking is that thinking that always wants to get on with it, and which always wants to pass over whatever is roughly working. It is an ancestral thinking, a traditional thought that looks at life without demanding much. If it sees someone who is drawn to something more, it perceives the egotist. Everything that seriously wants to learn is despised by such thinking, since such thinking is fiddling about with something that is already pleasant enough, and might be worse.
How does Heidegger appear to German thought? As something that one can see demands the right respect, because the quality of it can be seen. One need only listen to Leo Strauss speak of Heidegger, because he sees the value of the work. It is not objective, as the thing Americans like. It is not subjective, as the thing one might or might not prefer. But whoever sees the work knows what is demanded by such work. Therefor the care for the work called Heidegger, by Heidegger, is the care of what belongs to the work. And the work is in the hands of the one who might always fail to give what is proper to the work, and so this one is bound to that work. What appears as egotism is what is most unknown in our time, duty. Duty is alien and, if one thinks of it, repelent.