Re: "The Fourfold"

Maybe I'm missing something really profound, but I've always thought
Heidegger's invocation of the "fourfold" (living on earth under heaven among
mortals in the presence of the gods, or something like that) was just his
nostalgia for peasant life (although I doubt he wanted to *be* a peasant, but
rather to retreat as a tenured professor to a little log hut among the
peasants). One of Heidegger's Holderlin quotes is: Poetically man dwells on
earth. The fourfold certainly seems "poetic".

In this mailing list I have previously cited a question the Der Spiegel
interviewers asked Heidegger in the "Only a God Can Save Us" interview. I
think it is relevant to repeat it here, with the notation that Heidegger did
*not* respond to the question: "Evidently you experience an opposition in
your person which is such that many of the by-products of your activity can
really only be explained by the fact that, with various parts of your being,
which are not concerned with your philosophical core, you cleave to many
things which you as a philosopher know have no substance -- concepts, for
example, like 'homeland.' 'roots,' or the like...."

If language is the house of being, then the fourfold, as contents of
linguistically sustained world, really don't seem to be essential (and Dasein
could get on just as well in a city or a spaceship). If the fourfold is
essential, then the ontological difference was a mistake.

Brad McCormick

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