Thursday, February 9, 2017

Something as Something and Heidegger as a German Thinker (Contra a British or World-thinker, or a shunted/Marxist Thinker)


The Eleventh Hour of the Lecture on Leibniz’ “Machten” principle, recommences in the seventh paragraph:

The words Hegel spoke on October 22, 1818 at the opening of his lecture course at the University of Berlin seem to stand in opposition to this:

The courage of truth, faith in the power of the spirit, is the first condition of philisophic studies; one should honor oneself and deign to esteem the highest things.One cannot think highly enough of the greatness and power of the spirit; the sequestered nature of the universe harbors no power which can oppose the courage of cognition; it is necessary that it opens itself before one and lay its riches and its profundities before one’s eyes and bring joy to them.


Leibniz was of the view, that however close one would look at the brain, one would never discover the mind. Everything, he said, which is in the mind, is first in the senses, except the mind itself. In this sense one encounters the improper usage of the phrase “German Idealism”. Since, in the ordinary sense, anything seen, is a matter of an idea, what one looks straight at, a presentation, a recognition that something is something, the understanding seeing some kind of thing. Someone who sees a pile of junk, might at first wonder, what is that doing there?, and someone might say, that is a my backpack, and it may be answered: I understand. Such an exchange brings out various difficulties, but what is mainly at stake with the idea is the understanding of what is there. 

Whatever is there, says Leibniz, is prior to what is in the mind? Yet, this seems strange. Something Is missing.  The something, of which the idea speaks as the something we understand. Something comes to be the something. All the time many things are not there, which then are presented to understanding, for instance the beating of the heart. This is not a matter of the inaccessibility to the senses of something that requires, e.g., a stethoscope, because we can not hear it, but it is a matter of whether it is presented or not. The difference between, Verstellung, as the British “representation”, which falls under some far-fetched “mode” of “knowing”, and the proper translation “presentation” is again compounded by the lack of knowledge about what such changes in thought mean, and where they move. Again, the thought we find in Heidegger, of presence, that of what is there in the understanding, and what is there in thought, is another thinking which falls under the catch phrase: in everything close by there is something still worthy of thought. 

At first the intelligent neophyte will take the view that terms are largely unimportant, but that what accrues to them is to be considered the scene of all the real action. This manner of thinking is naive of the way language speaks to the world, or, speaks the world. It thinks like one who is thinking an objectified mass. When in Heidegger there so-happens the attempt to bring the common thinking, for instance of Kant’s notion of heteronomy, under, e.g., the title inauthenticity, he was not at all making the mistake of taking the actual word used as some random factor, like a controlled condition which merely leads one like an indices into whatever material one would keep in the specific modification of some concept. Rather the consideration of the word had everything to do with the philosophizing itself, with the thinking. The attempt to go beyond all rubric involves the thinking of rubrics themselves, and not merely what they point to, as though they were formal things, hanging in a place beyond the stars, in the true Sky. One should not take this as a chance to fall to collecting exact words, in the sense that one need have only the original word, but rather what matters most is the inclusion of what the word includes and keeps in the sense that it wants to say how the something and the something have their common Elemental Fate. 

 “One cannot think highly enough of the greatness and power of the spirit,”

The question of how Geist is to be understood is first to be settled by speaking of the human. Geist is what is most human. But, that is arbitrary, or, it only speaks dialectically about the whole of this Spirit, in such a way as to remain totally unintelligible, to not be predicated of the something (as something/predication). If human beings find themselves in a situation of asking about their freedom, in the Polis, at the dawn of Western Thought, it implies the existence of some gift that is absent in the surrounding world. This is the “spirit”. The inverted commas indicate the enigmatic character of the subject when it is envisaged in the primitive. The freedom, from a very early date, bifurcates, so that being free from shackles and being free from human arbitrariness, or irrationality, come to grow in different directions, but, always from one trunk. The Earth and the Sky develop, at the close of philosophy Nietzsche fights endlessly with an abyss which without tiring fills man, who is all too human, with the towering glance of Apollo, and the brutal thrusts of Dionysus. The Element is thought as the Will to Will.

The more sophisticated Marxist thought finds no common ground with the British science. Yet, it is sympathetic to, for instance, Darwin. Now we are trying to show the position of German thought as over and against one of its strands, presupposing that German thought was something deeper, as in Strauss, Arendt, Max Scheler, and Dilthey as over and against, for instance, Lukacs [this could mean, if one likes, Zizek]. The British thought has no inkling of any of this. Except in the most external and vague manner. This Spirit in Hegel has everything in common with the Marxist position, but what we should make clear to ourselves is that the sentimental teleology of Marxist thought, the constant claim to false-consciousness, to abjuring of the teleological glance, prevents one to face the situation. If the situation is faced the “mythological” character of Heidegger disappears at once, for it is simply what must be faced by anyone who takes seriously the fact of their existence. Likewise, the critique that claims Heidegger could not overcome the distinction between the rational and the irrational is on the path of the rational teleology. To say it again: The British thought never comes close to philosophy, and the thoughts we presuppose to be bastardized German thinking eschew, out of a sense of the favouring of what is choiceworthy in the semi-concealed teleology, the “radically mysterious dispensation of Fate”. 

“One cannot think highly enough of the greatness and power of the spirit; the sequestered nature of the universe harbors no power which can oppose the courage of cognition..”

In reading this statement we will be struck by the ostensible violence anyone who wanted to read this in a ‘Heideggerian” fashion must do to the “Spirit” and the “cognition”. But this is really impossible if we take the philosophy called Heidegger at its word. In fact, as we have discussed in early posts, it is impossible to speak of a reading “out” of a text in any way except a way that is correct, and correct in a way that the word correct must be understood to keep within itself a decidedly pejorative note. But, what is more, one can not think of this matter as a reading “into”, in the light of this thinking. There was nothing standing there in the “progress” of the Sun, where what the word is as a sign which points to the substance or meaning, and the mark used to write is too large to allow for only the one or the other to remain correct as it creeps up on the thinker from behind, and comes to rest in the moment of its presence. It is in this region that the greater care of the thinker which Heidegger prescribes comes to the fore. Even the word prescribe, as though it came from an understanding that still worked with the eternal and omniscient Sky, and the brutality of the corrupt Earth with its blind instincts, understands the prescription in another way, and doesn’t even truly understand what this “another” is supposed to say, except correctly.

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