Preliminary thesis on the approach to an identification with the ergon of Aristotle according to the questioning guided by a text of Heidegger
Without going into detail about all that the beginning of this chapter
offers that is new in comparison to that of chapter one, we can see
one thing clearly: the passage again has to do with the folding [Faltung]
of the being. The being with respect to the categories and the being
with respect to δύναμις and ενέργεια are again mentioned in the same
order. But then a third is added, namely, the true-or-untrue being. The
being is not (διχώς) dually folded but (τριώσ) triply folded. Thus the question of the unfolding
of the being and the origin of this unfolding becomes noticeably more complicated;
the inner interconnection of the three foldings becomes more impenetrable.
Various sentiments of existence which belong to groups are styled world views. They lay claim to no absolute, yet, in proxy, they play a virtual absolute to the varied scatterings of life experiences. They are not opinions. A number of such views come to the general attention of the age, not of this or that age. They were never known in former times. After the break down of agricultural dependence, peoples, set free, began to cultivate the figure of the worker. The rustic existence of the "foreign slaves", serfs, peasants, ceased to exist. The civilizations, which had, until the turn of the century that led into Napoleon’s annihilating storm, ceased to exist in Europe. Hereditary nobles according to styles of breeding, in the oscillating eddies of that coming to be which preceded the American notion of education as distinguished from training, the only proper French, Spanish, English, Germans and so forth, withered and blew away. Various magical identifications, which allowed the ego to invest itself in safe houses, gave the meaning of life found their fons et origo in the age. Each one could no longer be distinguished, in the crudest sense, from brainwashing (or, ideology). No one has the power to see the others as anything but sheltered by trance.The frightening power of the human being to superimpose its sense-of-the-world on others, extended in all directions, and was only limited by the constraint of human personality. This concerns us, when we read Aristotle, for the reason that we want to know how things were with him, and not in some other way.
The classist can always come close to such a knowing, but in each age the account given by whoever guards such knowing, shows its peculiar aspect. Therefore, one can not take the doctrine of reading out of texts as a proper rule, for it is not equal to the profound power of the human being. Insofar as one speaks in the modern style, this potential remains thought as human. As has been discussed above, we bring something of our own to Aristotle, asking him and being answered according to our own concern. (More has been said on this topic, and the surrounding issues, in earlier entries.)
According to one powerful and often rehearsed verbal (rather than philosophic) account, Aristotle was mainly a kind of biologist (and in a secondary sense a polymath of unprecedented largeness of interest), highly concerned with taxonomizing the region of nature where the living things are to be observed, indistinguishable in the decisive respect, from post-Darwinian researchers into the sphere of natural species. This account is plausible insofar as we presuppose that Plato was an idealist and his student a realist. And that species, the Latin for eidos, says more or less the same thing as the American word, which is the same, species. If idealism means that the relative weight is given to the one doing the perceiving, rather than to the real thing, as it exists apart from the observer, no such idealism was ever discussed in any ancient text (since the common sense meaning of something existing apart from us is not in question in an idealism, but included in the "representation" of the "subject"). If species is understood as naming a term in a classificatory apparatus, unconcerned in principle with the life of the subject matter, it is doubtful that it even applies to the modern life sciences, which yet come into conflict with the fundamental understanding of nature in physics. Yet, also, Aristotle does not understand species in the sense of a group of animals that one has gone forth and observed empirically, that have through a series of transformations reached their current state. Rather, even in Latin species still chiefly concerned itself with the look of a thing. Species is, let us say it again, the translation of eidos. For who? Not for the Romans, but, rather, for the Schoolmen. Everything that has been saved in the world, in the gigantic storm of the ages, still, considered rightly, hangs over but some 24 hundred years. At the same time, this reckoning in years is obscure, and can't hold. Here we must forgo, the excursus into that matter.
What is eidos? It is a name for the thing most commonly called intelligence, the ability to think in patterns. More exactly, to come to see that one has before one a pattern. Nothing is presupposed in this sense of the word eidos. That is, intelligence is not taken to be a feature of some objectified being (which, for its part, exists only in so much as it can be calculated), or, in the brain. No more is it a manner of dealing with sense data, which allows one to, after being so stimulated, to throw forward a representation in the style of a “primary quality”. If Aristotle were to treat an essence, f.i., of the placentals, as a specific subdivision of the genus of Mammals, he would do the same thing as when he speaks of dunamis and energeia, with respect to ousia. Which is to say, he notices a pattern, which is part of what is there (NB: the "there" (read: "Da") is not set off against Geist). That certain animals have the specific difference, i.e., the peculiarity, of gestating their young in pouches, gives the essence Marsupial. Ergo, when we move from Plato to Aristoteles, the student of Plato, we do not leap, with a thud in our chests, from Pythagoras to Darwin. Here we ask about the eidos, in the manner of Plato, and in the modified answer to Plato, of the material. It is not as though a class of people were waiting, such that from youth onward we would be entranced by their sentiments, and find an amazing sense of self-worth in our identification with some image of ourselves, f.i., as a sophisticated person, or, as a worker, or as a emancipatory political agent, rather, from within the self-evident patterns, one discusses opinions, which are identical to what one is, in the sense that when addressed by the logos, one can be moved to transform one’s opinion. What is lost is this: a discourse, in the style of dialogic exchange, on the material. There is no great reason to think Aristotle did not produce such a discourse. But we don’t have it. Instead we have a treatise which speaks to us in-one-way.
In what follows we will consider what is put down as though it were eating into the being of someone who had been moved through discussion to the opinion (doxa). The material is not an eidos, thus, in what other way is it supposed to be presented to the students at the Lyceum? What hatches out and grows with the young, is not the same as what germinates in whosoever is already standing on their own feet. At first we must see the intelligibility of what was thought. Being moved to change one’s view says something different from that the argument is intelligible. The notion that Plato won every contest of wrestling in the Greek world, and also at Thebes, and then went on to throttle the Persian king in personal combat, though intelligible, will not move us to the region where it holds sway, provided we are in some way adequately informed about the life of Plato and have some sense.