Re: "Letter on Humanism"--Reading 11

Hi folks,

here's more muddled and hyperbolic rantings from bunkerphil. if you're tired
of this, you may be in luck, because I've about had it with Heidegger, he's
about to drive me crazy. but maybe it's only a phase though. i've been
through this before after all, usually stopping myself when it became clear
to me that throwing my copy of Basic Writings into the fire is, well, a bit
ironic.

I wrote:
>> I don't think an uprooting of Heidegger at this level would be very
>> effective. His roots go too deep in the West. I mean, if you pull him up
by
>> the roots simply because he fudged a little bit about the early history of
>> Being, you would unfortunately fail to extricate the way his thought
>> resonates with modernity in the West, and your solution would be not be
>> decisive. It doesn't matter so much how metaphysics arose, what matters
is
>> to note Heidegger's persuasive account of its utter triumph and sway over
>> 'man'.

Anthony Beavers writes:
>I find your comments very interesting, but I don't see why you think that
>uprroting Heidegger at this level would be very effective.

i'm saying that the history of Being is now, as "we" speak, in the territory,
the stage of development, deep in the beginning pages of Being and Time.
Being is still being squeezed out of this kernel, at a very particular point
in H's career. It is an OBJECTIVE process. it is not anything we can get
out of, until at least the current latest rampage of science into the history
Being has been played out far enough to acheive a rough equilibrium. it will
only end with some sort of massive shock, unfortutely most likely to be an
ecological disaster. it still stands in awe at the totality of assignments
that constitutes the world, only now its moved from the workshop to the as
yet vague object of all these new sciences: chaos, complexity, artificial
intelligence, cyberspace (from which these musings are brought to you), a
concept that is operating for the moment as an entirely new region for the
mind, an expansion in the realm of mind. of course, science has always been
like this, but at the moment we're facing a flood of science into regions new
regions of the intellect. heideggers workshop is now lighting up for us in
all sorts of minute new ways that Heidegger did not anticipate.

If I am
>correct, the reaction against metaphysics that I am here seeking already
>happened with the early Christological and Trinitarian controversies of
>the 4th Century.

that's all well and good, there have always been these sorts of outbreaks,
and they always succeed in their battle with the current bad news science is
bringing, simply by joining the enemy and filling in the gaps in the grand
painting with colors from their own little pallete

but it *is* intriguing. i wonder how much, however, it is prepared to engage
with the current dispensation of metaphysics? that which today is making its
way inexorably through various disciplines of science. the uncovering of
Being must begin in the region where Being now is. the contours of the
region of Being today is significantly different to that in which this attack
was launched. today however, specific tendrils extending from the realm of
sccience are currently providing new breathing space for the dasein style
world of B&T. new ways of being fueled, new ways of discharging energy.
where metaphysics marches forward with such sweeping velocity that the wind
carries you along, and its sickly sweet odor pervades every room in whicch
you will be likely to open a book, wafting tanalizing into the tightest shut
student cubicle. these singularities surronding being are still being shaped
and molded by new more and more minute valves being uncovered and opened up
in the uncharted gaps of mind and science. vast new charts are being drawn
up. the charts of the future as they are emerging in fantasy now look like
various geometrical shapes, fractal paintings, curved solids, networked
neurons. this carucopia that the arms explosion spawned is one giant trough
for the giant pool of metaphyhsical lust. what this says is that today, we
are still under the sway of dasein world, in spite of the fact that for
heidegger, dasein world was a prelimenary before going on to better things.
in class analysis terms you might think of it like benjamin's picture of the
temporal lag of modernity, which sets up a space for capital to continually
exploit with more and more fine detail, more and more penetrating into the
very common sense at teh deepest level.

today, the sheer speed of history is opening up a big space for new
metaphysical conceptions of man. a biolgical creature, a creature of
darwinian selection, a creature with a mind which parses the cosmos. man's
head is bulging real big right now. you want to come at it from the other
side, the jewish side, but the jews have long since assimilated. in other
words, levinas is building a castle on shifting sands, (to quote the bible,
yikes!) insofar as such a perspective needs to be one which is in fact
situated. in other words, as its 'situation' recedes into history one no
longer has any place from which to mount such a critique. greekness is
projected at thinkers from the vast majority of academic billboards. the jew
in einstein pays lip service to god, stopping at the precipice for no good
reason anymore, least of all becuase its about some thing like "his people".
the diaspora, has been funneled, like everything else, into capital and
technology.

we're all greek now. we've got greek eyes which can slice through matter.
we are the gazers and the gazed upon of the panopticon. we're outfitted
with slick machinery we've got gadgets implanted in our skin. greekness has
been democritized on the wave of capital and technology. the component of
the heidegger machine that makes the exhaustive inventory of all the ways man
is straitjacketed, dasein in B&T, cannot simply be shut off without a
complete disconnection from heidegger. to fail to note how Being *is* today
is too take B&T from the mouth of heidegger as the tablets from the mountain.
that machine came to the conclusion that 'language is the house of being."
the rest was on the way to language. but if we restart the machine again,
well see that metaphysics is breaking out all around this academic cloister.
(man as cyberman) if we consider it a closed book, then we simply dwell
with heidegger in his mountain hut, with no idea why we're there.

Insofar as the West has been founded on Christianity,
>one could argue that this religious basis already uproots Heidegger's
>fetish for the Greeks long ago.

One could argue this, but it is hard to maintain with a straight face if
you've absorbed The Genealogy of Morals or The Antichrist, all of which make
up a shockingly persuasive expose on how christianity picked up all the loose
ends of morality and employed them in its nefarious scam against man, and
then begans to consume all of its own body parts with its unholy drive toward
"truth". meet the new roots. It's a horror story of monsters way beyond
anything human. The fetish is not Heidegger's only. By now it's more like
those bacteria which reside in the intestinal tract, foreign elements to
"man", yes, but if we did away with them we'd be in trouble. the Greek thing
is not properly characterized as a fetish, which implies somehow that is is
simply contingent, at best a meaningless nervous tick, or at worst a sick
sort of Nazi gross out thing, conjuring images of swastikas and marching
aryan girls. I'm afraid that this reading of Heidegger does not engage with
the present, it does not take him seriously on a fundamental level. It
effectively retreats to the monastery and keeps alive some historical museum
piece. As long as we're on the Heidegger list we ought, IMHO, to be
audacious about listening to him.

I am not fundamentally interested in
>redeeming Heidegger; instead I am trying to understand the significance
>of transcendence in the interim period between Greece and the
>Renaissance. I believe that in contemporary philsophical debate, a Jewish
>perspective and a Greek perspective are well-represented. What is missing
>is a recapitulation of the early Greek and Latin Patristics. This is not
>to say that I am necessarily interested in revitalizing Christianity.
>Instead, I am trying to look at how it solved the Jewish/Greek problem.
>My hope is to make apparent in the context of contemporary debate the
>fruitfulness of dealing with transcendence in the manner of the early
>Church. The reason I am using Heidegger at all is because he seems to
>capture the essence of the Greek way of thinking. Levinas is his natural
>partner insofar as he begins to articulate the "essence" of the Judaic,
>though I am sure that he wouldn't like this phrase.

thank you for clarifying this, this is indeed interesting. i'd like to hear
more about where you are taking this.

for my part, however, i haven't come across, in my limited travels, much in
the way of a Jewish perspective, so apparently I'm missing something. if
such a thing could be resurrected, i'd be very happy about it. the momentary
jewish solidarity nurtured through the first half century of intense european
oppression of jews yeilded much interesting thought, Freud, Benjamin, Adorno,
Derrida and maybe you could find residues of this in current academic vogues
of cultural studies, lit crit, and such. but the more interesting thrust
seems to be along the lines of nietzsche, heidegger, foucault, deleuze, all
of which seem to be geared toward a more immanent critique of scientific and
technological modernity, "greek" to the core.

but maybe I'm blind. but i'm open to enlightenment, i would hope.
>
>Actually, then, Heidegger works very well for my project. But because my
>analysis is unfolding on two levels (contemporary phenomenology and
>"world" history), I need to understand the extent to which Heidegger's
>historical claims are accurate. So, while it might appear that I am
>trying to do away with him through critique, I am more so trying to
>determine the extent to which he represents a Greek voice.

where is this greek voice located? heraclitus, parminedes, plato, aristotle
speak to us to the extent that their voices are ventriloquized by Being.
>
>Also, because I believe an important voice is missing in contemporary
>debate, I think it will be very fruitful (that is, effective) to continue
>with this line of critique.

it could very well be. i need more convincing, though.

as far as where we might find help from beyond the totalitarianism of the
western cosmos, I see sense some light coming from Spinoza. also from the
East. but as for christianity, i'm still reeling from a christian
upbringing. :-)





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