Re: on the other hand...

Yes, my last communication got truncated, as they say in the internet biz, and
a bit scrambled, so I shall try again, for what it is worth.

Well, I find Chris's posts on authenticity good and to the point. But I would
like to come at it from a slightly different angle. In the Origin of the Work
of Art, Heidegger presents the following description of the peasant woman and
her shoes.

"The peasant woman wears her shoes in the field. Only here are they
what they are. They are all the more genuinely so, the less the peasant
woman thinks about the shoes while she is at work, or looks at them at
all, or is even aware of them. She stands and walks in them. That is
how shoes actually serve."

Heidegger here is speaking about the authenticity of the shoes, as
they are given equipmentally, which is what he is speaking about. And
he picks out this particular item because he is writing at a time when
he had been developing his four-fold (earth, sky, divinities,
mortals); and the shoes are involved in presenting the world (earth) to the
woman (on which Heidegger waxes poetic, about working, trudging,
winds, paths, fallow fields -- the whole idealized rural ball of wax
[yes, I know, Heidegger comes from a rural background, but he left it
in many different ways]). But what is central to this description, and
to Heidegger's imposed re-narrativization of this peasant woman, is
that the shoes are most authentic to the extent that she does not
think about them. And by extension, the world, with all its
equipmentalities, its tools, those pieces of the world of techne that
constitute the human world ("human reality"? ;-), pace Derrida) would
all be most authentic (on this account) to the extent the user does
not think about them, does not have to think about them, is in a
relation to them and their use that is not named, needs no name, is
one with its use (if I can use "one" in that familiar non-numeric
sense). That is, equipment is most authentically equipment to the
extent it is not noticed to be equipmental; its equipmentality may be
revealed most starkly when it is broken, and no longer equipment, but
this is precisely the moment that authenticity ceases to be relevant.

Now, can we make that little leap that is the obvious next step? Can
we say that this holds true as will for you-know-who (the subject, the
self, the awareness, consciousness, "man" -- pick your poison -- all
those philosophical and phenomenological notions that, as Heidegger
would say, Dasein is not, and that Dasein precisely is? Is "one" (the
"other" non-numeric "one") authentic only to the extent one does not
think about oneself, one is not conscious of oneself as a self, or in
personhood, or as consciousness? Let us say so. Let me accept that
this is Heidegger's meaning. Two things follow immediately. The
inauthentic, one's thrownness into the world, one's living in das Man,
as das Man, is precisely the extent to which one thinks, names,
objectifies, ideates and idealizes what for Heidegger is ontological,
or authentic. In other words, what Heidegger is referring to by the
term "thinking" is what has not yet been named, ideated, objectified
-- or what one returns to to "exist in the nameless." And what das Man
then represents is everything else -- which Husserl, without benefit of
the distinction Heidegger is making through the ontological difference,
set aside as "the natural attitude," and bracketed out in the
phenomenological reduction. It is in this way that das Man is at all
times both other and not other, separate and inseparable from Dasein.
And I would only add that these are not contradictions, or aporias, but
what Derrida would call moments of the limit transgressed. In effect,
to ask about authenticity, to interpret das Man, to inquire into the
relation between Dasein and das Man, in any way that is at all real in
the real world, is always already das Man, das Man's questions and
concerns -- inauthentic in the sense that Heidegger is using the term
(and it is important to reiterate what someone already said on this
list, that this is not a moral or ethical valuation). All
interpretation belongs to das Man, even an interpretation of what
belongs to das Man; and it is thus very different, as an endeavor, from
the analytic of Dasein -- which then must be something else.

The other thing that follows from this (just to plays games with the
20th century) is that if authenticity accrues to what is not thought
in its equipmentality, and inauthenticity is already an aspect of
naming, claiming, and objectifying (ones self, one's thoughts, as
ideas, as well as anything else), then the authentic is, in the
language of consciousness, the unconscious. But for Heidegger, the
authentic is thinking. Thus, there is no such thing as the
unconscious. It could have no being in the existentiality of Dasein.
This might have something to do with why Freud reads more like a
novelist than anything else (Paul Auster comes to mind as in the same
"vein" [vain?]), and why some people have so much trouble reading
Heidegger; the anglo-american context, with its acceptance of the
categories and objectifications of psy-an gets in the way.


PS: I don't think this is what I originally wrote in the truncated
post; but that was eons ago.

--- from list [email protected] ---


Partial thread listing: