Das Man

I think this discussion is very interesting. It reminds me of a couple of
things. First of all, and incidentally, has anyone used "the Many" to
translate Das Man, rather than "the they"? Secondly, the sense I get
concerning Heidegger and Das Man is that it is an interpretive principle
that CAN be brought to bear, but has more of an "optional" character than
Heidegger's style suggests. H's formulations posit rather strongly. Das Man
does this, Das Man does that. Also: and this is generally the case in H for
me: the imposition of the category can be problematic. Where does the line
between the many and the self-same and mitsein get drawn? What about the guy
I kind of know, but not too well? How about the attractive woman in the
vegetable section who reminds me of my sister, with whom I had a nice
conversation that seemed a little "personal", despite our anonymity? To be
sure, we can interpret this according to categories: She is moving from Das
Man into Mitsein, albeit NOT through the "call of conscience", unless that
is the way she gets to me, or something like that.

It is very difficult. Taken in certain ways, the establisment and
discernment of the division Das Man/Not Das Man can take place very crudely
and even violently, on the one hand, and on the other hand can take place
with great subtlety and fluency...according to the mixed and various forms
of maturity which Dasein manifests, as H notes. But let me give an example
of a violent one: First of all, Das Man is rarely, if ever, unstratified.
Rather, we find "types" in Das Man: let's look at sixties American Dasein.
Das Man as, variously: pigs, the establishment, people who are square,
unhip, prowar, etc. Where can you have the "undifferentiated many"? I think
this occurs only in a particular zone of experience, if it ever occurs at
all. And alternatively, the mitsein: "Us" (like a paperback book published
in the sixties of the same name, full of authentic stream of consciousness
reports, circles of friends, intentional communities, people in the
movement, etc.)

I don't know... what do others think? Am I getting this accross?



"It is only after one ceases to reduce public affairs to the business of
dominion that the original data in the realm of human affairs will appear, or,
rather, reappear, in their authentic diversity." -- Hannah Arendt

Crises of the Republic; lying in politics, civil disobedience on violence,
thoughts on politics, and revolution. Hannah Arendt [1st ed.] New York,
Harcourt Brace Jovanovich [1972] pages 142-143

Tom Blancato
[email protected]

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