Nothing on the Horizon: Introductory Passages of Heidegger’s “Being and Time”

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10 Responses

  1. Avatar Han Fei says:

    Your Heidegger articles have piqued somewhat of an interest in this illustrious philosopher (although not without reservations mind you). And I won’t hide the least my preference of this sort of critique to the periodic brood over the utterings from bearded imperialist Santa.

    Heidegger was as far as I know the only major 20th century philosopher of note who deeply reinvigorated the question of being as such, something which was almost hysterically denounced by most modern thinkers like Russell and so on, as outdated, irrelevant, and superceded with scientific theory. There were of course others, but in common matter, these were relegated to the obscure folds of “theological thinking” which modern literatia politely assumes apriori to be rubbish. Nowadays most publications of the philosophy department deal with analytical philosophy (which I see as word math or linguistical exegesis) or ethics, i.e. the practical applicability of concepts and ideas in context of a postmodern liberal democratic society. In this I think the influence of Heidegger is quite important because at least it tries to give meaning to the ennui experienced via a “present” situation where science leaves no stone unturned in terms of, so to speak, something essentially qualitative in our existence outside of the descriptions formed by mundane observations of reality. That is why perhaps he sought the truth in the absolute power of political systems where the “supernatural” was realized through the historical process in the form of the fuhrer, the swastika and the Reich. So in short, politics and metaphysics might be intimately interrelated to Heidegger.

    Secondly, Heidegger seems to have been favorably predisposed to the field of theology and the Medieval period, in which I presume he found an element superior to the apparently prevalent reign of metaphysics (Meister Eckhart perhaps?). Likewise when he draw back towards the Greek literary tradition of the pre-Socratic era, he sought to evince the basis characterized by the unity of the paranormal and the normal world, as well as the temporality of all things present in it. So Heideger had no problem with the supernatural, existence of Gods even, so long as it comported to his essentially pagan view of temporality of the process of being, i.e. the narrative of its primordial germination, flourishing into maturity, and fatal effort to stave off its termination. In fact there is room for something eternal in this view, as being manifests itself in its interminable cyclicity, as evoked for example, in the Nibelung Ring saga. A similar line was expressed by Julius Evola, who in his own terms, saw behind the hidden strictures of the Medieval European period a re-awakening of the ancient, Solar principle of a traditional epoch more closely connected to the essence of Being than the succeeding periods corresponding to the darkening and degeneration of the human spirit.

    Nowadays I’ve noticed an increased number of Orthodox theologians somewhat drawing upon Heidegger to illustrate the doctrine of immanence; the inseparability of the being of God from the created world (though that doesn’t mean pantheically substant to it), as opposed to a dualistic conception of being as something separated from “it”, not only in case of the world but also the human soul. What I mean to demonstrate by this is that Heidegger’s ideas stem from an important and I think, necessary condition of the 20th century where materialism and determinism appear to have the final say, but cannot yet cross the parapet of the final bastion of the human language itself, which in at core reflects metaphysics.

    • Avatar Malić says:

      Quite so, although never forget that any notion of eternity is a no-no for him. Yet no one sums him up like his contemporary followers: anti-Platonism, anti-Jewishness and anti-Christianity comprises the essence of his thought.

      (You’ll get a blockbuster sequel, patience)

      • Avatar Han Fei says:

        I don’t see how anything said about Jews in that video reflects a falsehood of some sort. To say that Jews, due to their unique position in history, played an immense role in the great upheavals and cultural trends of the current era, to me is not a controversial statement at all, but a factual statement. It shouldn’t be gleaned from this however, that they deserve to be persecuted or somehow “avenged” for their mere fact of physical existence as such, as opposed to any action or activity of those belonging to their kind may undertake.

        After all, during the period when Europe was under a clear and distinct Christian leadership, the activity of the Jews was severely restricted, and they were made to know their place and distance in society. The leaders of the Christendom, both in the East and West, feudal and sacral alike, well understood the hazard posed by unchallenged Jewry. It is no wonder then perhaps, that the periods in which the influence of the Church was strongest, were also the least violent times for the Jews in terms of the frequency of pogroms and persecutions that they experienced. The same applies to the Muslim world.

        • Avatar Mihai says:

          I must agree with Han on this one.
          Post war “holocaust industry” has made it virtually impossible to speak intelligently on such topics.
          but there should be no surprise that different peoples have certain traits and tendencies inherited from their particular historical circumstances, much like an individual inherits certain genetical traits which influence his psychology in a number of ways. Not upholding determinism, of course.

          The influence of Jewish circles in both the French and Bolshevik revolutions (especially in the latter) are historically well recorded.
          I do, however, somewhat agree that to open such topics of discussion is usually a can of worms due to the immediate rise of anti-jewish comments of the extremely vulgar type.

          • Avatar Malić says:

            Concerning “Holocaust industry”, absolutely. Concerning vulgar anti-jewish comments, that’s no problem. I’m worried about subtle ones. I had some exchanges with people of that sort. I’ll just tell you that you get a feeling that someone had his sense of humor surgically removed. Very ominous sign indicating scarcity in spirit department, or worse. One exorcist said that Devil is completely deprived of it due to vanity. Certain analogy I think applies to such people.

            Btw. I don’t think many people of Jewish descent had anything to do with the leaders of French Revolution.

        • Avatar Malić says:

          Well, it wasn’t exactly the point that I was making, but to comment on this also – I don’t think that this is not debatable at all. One can argue that in Middle Ages every dissenting culture was kept at the distance or, in the case of Christian heretics, eradicated. The important thing is that both we and this alt right bozo live in radically different world, one that is, in the case of Europe, created and severely marked by the war fueled to a supreme extent by antisemite conspiracy theories, for the most part identical to what you can find online today. In this war, Jews were identified by its initiators as a prime enemy of one – to use Johnson’s apt term – “provincial” culture, destined to rule the world. What I find undebatable is that the very mention of some kind of moral justification of this – which alt right figureheads regularly do – makes one’s skin crawl. We can’t take history into consideration without considering our present and what immediately molded it, and antisemitism was an important part of what made Europe into a slaughterhouse and an attempt to eradicate the whole people based on it solely being the people.

          Ironically enough, these alt right characters prove their complete disconnect from European culture by having no sense of their immediate history, but, then again, they all in fact crave to have themselves a world modeled on the idea of the success of Nazis in WWII. Johnson’s idea of white nationalist state rests on an assumption of shipping the undesirables abroad, which was precisely the model of German “final solution”, before it, er…, got out of hand. So, I just cannot fathom his geeky coolness without some blood boiling in my veins.

          But this is the point: antisemitism of Heidegger and Johnson is as Medieval as Elon Musk’s Iphone. It is essentially, as it seems to me, anti-Christian. While, for the sake of argument, we can define Catholic relationship to Judaism as one of denouncing, yet socially tolerating, the incompatible religion, antisemitism of Heidegger and Johnson is denouncing it because being Jew means being proto-Christian, i.e. what they see as one having a racial basis for cosmopolitism, universalism, etc. Somewhat different, but equally negative, stance is applied to Platonism as the supposed root of modern science and technology.

          So I think it’s a completely different phenomena from what you point out – a worlds apart thing. Heidegger’s posing of the question of Being was a colossal failure precisely because it is inherently anti-metaphysical and explicitly subversive towards tradition. He was a very cautious man, very obscure writer, but from this lecture I clearly see what I years before found buried at the root of his thought. It is German, not yours. And it will never be yours or mine, if only in the case that Das Reich leads us in some kind of “multipolar world” where we’ll reap the benefits of the breadcrumbs from the table of some Schwarzwald based college of Germanic shamans. Or perhaps Russian …

          See, this is the mentality behind it: truth is finite and revealed to ‘always mine’ existence (Dasein). My past is my future in the sense that original temporality springs from the absolute decision to face my own finitude – running-forth-towards-death in early Heidegger’s terminology – which brings me in front of my own ‘always-been-there-but-likely-not-for-too-long’. This ‘authentic’ existence presents me only with the possibility to accept my meaningless condition passed down by history and make it meaningful by the absolutely resolute act of projecting it into future, not in the sense of some cosmopolitan ideal, because that’s inauthentic given that I can comprehend only ‘always mine’ existence, still less in the sense of grasping the root of my soul, because that’s a fairy tale, but in the sense of projecting incomprehensible destiny of my Volk. Namely, destiny comes to pass precisely because of isolated individual giving meaning to the future based on the past his been thrown into.

          The main danger to this idea is the assumption of the existence of Eternity which is apriori meaningful and existence which is rooted in it, hence also apriori meaningful, because it denies this absolute freedom and kinda kills the bravado of the heroic privat dozent. Christianity is ultimately the expression of this danger for Heidegger because it makes it absolute: it makes it civilization building. As,in his view, everything comes from “ground up”, i.e. from contingent existence, this religion also is a product of existential project of certain Volk , existence of which is an antidote and quite a nuisance for his heroic Graeco-Germanic Dasein, so it is necessarily “Semite Dasein raus!” for him, because this also necessarily means “Jesus raus!”. As for Platonism (as a whole, not merely Plato’s dialogues), which he systematically ignored throughout his career because, if tackled, it would soon kill his whole project on philosophical grounds, it is a deviation of that violent and tragic Graeco-German spirit, that has to be dealt with severely in order to bring about “the new beginning” of the past – a tragic world of pre-philosophy Greeks.

          So that’s why I see Johnson’s understanding of Heidegger as quite correct. And, needles to say, I reject both of them.

          • Avatar Mihai says:

            Just to clarify: I was responding only to Han’s comment, not to the video, which I haven’t even watched. I guess it was a completely off-topic intervention on my side.

          • Avatar Malić says:

            KT is built upon the premise of being off-topic ha, ha.

          • Avatar Han Fei says:

            Thank you for taking the trouble of replying in such a comprehensive way. I think it clears up most of the ambiguities that might have been brought up in the podcast.

            Of course as a non-white non-European myself, I find certain aspects of Jew-hate incomprehensible just as an outsider would find incomprehensible, say the hatred between the Serbs and the Croats, or Russians and Ukrainians. The Jews in my view, ARE a nation of a sorts, and as such they do have a certain existential driven goal which characterizes their collective behavior as an organized group, the nature of which doesn’t lie so far outside rational assessment. But this type of realization can’t ignore the other side of the argument – Otto Weininger noted that any “accusation” towards Jews in a sense involves an inevitable projection of the social faults already prevalent within the greater society. Which again is why I stress that when and where a predominant Christian culture was in a state of stability and strength, generally speaking there was no discussion of any sort of “Jewish problem”.

            To me Heidegger’s importance is that his thought stems from a seemingly insurmountable intellectual position arrived at by modernity which rejects any sort of statement which refers to an absoluteness of meaning of any kind. The latter is relegated to a sporadic, particular sense – the scientific. In fact, philosophy in so far as it deals with the first principle, is no longer valuable. Now Heidegger went ahead and did something remarkable- coming from a total and absolute assumption of existence as a basic principle, he strove to arrive to an understanding of being which not only brings it back to the forefront of attention, but supersedes any previous conceptions with regards to it, which a scientific worldview finds intolerable. I find that at the very least Heidegger is onto something when he characterizes this sort of thinking he elucidated, as being a product of the historical circumstances of our age.

            As for Greg, I think, his statement at the end of the video that a lumped together collection of misfits, hipsters and other green frog people, somehow represents some sort of New Beginning in history, is self explanatory. It’s no wonder that counter-currents has gone down sharply in quality of its dailies over the years.

          • Avatar Malić says:

            The problem is that he reaches deep and then tries to destroy. This is great summing up of my opinion on him by accomplished philosopher. Unfortunately, most of the humor is lost in translation (entire article was originally written in a mock Heideggerian style)

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