Re: Das Man

On Fri, 19 May 1995, Tom Blancato wrote:

> 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

> 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?

"Man" in german means "one" as in the third person impersonal singular
pronoun. Just as in english, it refers to no determinate being; hence
Heidegger refers to it as "niemand", nobody. It thus cannot refer to any
particular group of people, nor can it receive determinations. "The
They" is misleading because it gives an Orwellian dimension to it that is
missing in the german. It is not "They" who are responsible, as if the
world were under the thrall of some internationalist conspiracy or
another, but no one. A very, very similar articulation can one find in
certain writings of Karl Marx, who attributes quite a causal effect to
something called capital - NOT capitalists - but capital. The problem
with capital is that it controls everyone without regard to the human
good; in short, no one is in control. This is the very problem: if no
one is in control, how do we get control? Marx: proletariat revolution.
Heidegger: ?.

As for Dreyfus' interpretation, I simply don't see this positive value to
das Man because I don't equate das Man with the tradition.


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