Re: authenticity again

Chris, Chris, Lois, Michael,

Hello. I too have been enjoying this rather heated exchange, but in
a rather perverse way. I don't believe that it's possible either to
entirely eliminate or fully capture Heidegger-the-man in these
philosophical texts; and, insofar as he's effected this profound
ontological earthquake, and insofar as (Lois points out) his
ontological analyses simply *are* overlaiden with (what he himslef
calls) ontic concerns, the ethical is deeply (perhaps inextricably)
emmeshed in the ontological. And it's not as simple (though as
you've demonstrated this itself is far from simple) as authentic vs.
inauthentic (Heidegger's Nazism can no longer, or not much longer,
be excluded from the ontological debate (the ontic/ontological
border has always already been crossed).
Here's where the perverse element of my enjoyment comes in:
these questions: the implicit (even explicit) ethical content of
ontological thinking; the attempt to deconstruct the metaphysical
tradition by subverting the Cartesian subject with the
phenomenological-existential analyses of Da-sein (and, as Michael
points out, though without acknowledging the power of Dreyfus's
reading, the difficulty of thinking ourselves *as* Dasein rather
than subjects over-against an objectiove world); perhaps even the
motivations underlying Heidegger's thinking of the authentic in B&T
as those motivations evolve in the later writings, all intersect
around a theme which your very dialogue both presupposes and
contributes to--the construction of the self that takes place in thi
technological medium of communication. In '43, alongside another
defense of 'philosophy,' we listen-in as Heidegger finds himself
insisting to his students, who apparently didn't take him seriously
the first time, that he really meant what he said when he told them
during his previous lecture that the change from hand-writing to
typewriting conceals a hidden change in the destiny of the history
of being. If Heidegger found typewriting (which, ironically, is
coming back into fashion through nostalgia) to be a falling-away
from the direct connection of the hand-being-thinking that
handwriting facilitated, what would he think of the internet? We
could imagine that Heidegger the man might be deeply dismayed by the
very idea of a Heidegger-group on the net (might he not have in
store for us one of his infamously precipitous condemnations, i.e.,
those distance-destroying embracers of technology haven't the
faintest whisp of understanding of the essence of my thinking... ).
Maybe Heidegger wouldn't react this way (or maybe he would while
still being secretly thrilled, and then finally coming around and
cozying up to the idea, as he did to his popularity in France), but
it is hard to imagin Heidegger-the-man not condemning out of hand
this very medium gathered around the desire to talk about
Heidegger-the-philosoher, let alone embracing it (Derrida the man
has yet to get his powerbook hooked up to the net).
But here it is useful, for heuristic purposes at least, to
distinguish between Heidegger-the-man and the tools of thought and
critique which he left behind. So here I guess I am calling for a
little Heideggerian reflexivity: what sort of selves are we
constructing through this technological medium? What sorts of
stands are we taking on the being of our there, when our there
defies traditional metaphysically-based attempts at localization,
conceptualization, representation, etc.? What, where, and how are
we here; how do we find ourselves self-constructing and
deconstructing? And, finally the reason for the perverse element of
my fascination with your exchanges, why is hostility always on deck
(if not ready to hand)? Can the propensity to the flame be
understood simply as a loss of the face-to-face (a technological
confirmation of Levinas's critique of the lack of the ethical in the
Heideggerian ontology), or does this ready rage not bespeak a more
inarticulate, if not ineffable longing, the longing for, and
readiness to battle for, a new self-understanding, a
post-metaphysical understanding of self articulated precisely
through this technological medium, a desire to seize the positive
potentialities of technology, perhaps achieving some measure of the
homecoming through alterity for which Heidegger called? Could this
call still be bouncing off technological relay-stations, waiting for
us to answer it?
As we respond within technology, we respond to
technology, and to our (emerging) selves, and thus to being.

Iain Thomson
UCSD Philosophy

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