Re: Gravity and Light



On Sun, 14 May 1995, Hagen Finley wrote:

> I think the account in SZ is most persuasive when read from the
> perspective of the participant. From that vantage point the reality of
> worlds worlding seems unassailable. Explanations of how the clearing came
> about are fundamentally related back to an understanding of our present
> predicament.
> Part of the thinking I have been putting forward here has been, from
> the perspective of the participant, one's position in the clearing, or on
> the board of play, filters the manner in which the world worlds. I doubt
> seriously I can see the full spectrum of the light that the clearing
> affords. I've been studying the manner in which worlds world for more than
> a decade now, and in spite of the tools I have acquired along the way, I
> still find that it is very difficult to see beyond my own sphere of
> experience. For example, I doubt seriously I have any real understanding of
> how either the very wealthy or the very poor interpret themselves or their
> world. I'm probably equally ignorant of the differences that accompany
> ethnic, religious, and regional interpretations. From the perspective of
> the participant one can talk about a unified interpretation of being which
> maps onto, or immanates from beneath my world, but there are limits to my
> field of perception, and at some point the my clearing transforms into my
> horizon.
> It strikes me as foolish to imagine that my horizon line is also the
> horizon of the clearing itself. This picture leads to two possible
> conclusions: First, one could argue that there is just one clearing and any
> movement in any direction will demonstrate that the region beyond my view is
> no different that the region I inhabit now. Second, one could argue that the
> fabric of the culture is woven out of a variety of materials and that while
> there may be some threads that extend through the entire bolt, many threads
> are shorter thus allowing different regions of the cloth to take on a
> different texture.

While we could argue for years whether your vision of reality is correct,
I should point out it is not Heidegger's. In Metaphysical Foundations of
Logic, in a part in which he points out common misunderstandings of his
fundamental ontological project, the one he is most polemical about
(which is to say, the most common misunderstanding in his mind) is that
Dasein = me. He specifically says that Dasein does not mean the
individual, self-enclosed ego, nor a type of what I would call a
small-scale perspectivism. He claims (and the slope is slippery here)
that he used the term "self" to ward of egoistical interpretations. I
think what he means by self is world, which is equivalent to the how of
the world, or as we would put it, the system of intelligibility in which
we move. Since world worlds differently (gives different horizons),
there is still a large-scale perspectivism - so large in fact I wonder if
perspective can be the appropriate term.

I realize that my interpretation bucks 70 years of the understanding of
Being and Time, so that alone makes it questionable. It does, however,
receive some support from Heidegger himself, and also contributes to
explaining another puzzle, which is how Heidegger goes from the
individual to generation and folk. According to the standard
interpretation, authenticity comes when the individual rips himself free
from the dominant interpretation of das Man through the confrontation
with death and wanting to have a conscience. The question then is how
Heidegger then gets to geneneration and Volk in section 74. Usually,
this is dismissed as sort of an optional, personal idiosyncracy on
Heidegger's conservative, Catholic upbringing or whatever. I would argue
that if self=world, then the opposition relevant in Being and Time is not
really individual vs. society, but rather community (Gemeinschaft) vs.
society (Gesellschaft), and thus that the introduction of Volk later is
not incidental, but the point of the book.



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