#1: Modern Midas
#2: The Flight East
Instinctively we know something is very wrong with our world, so we turn East because we feel there is in the Orient some wisdom lacking in our own tradition.
#4: The Virtues of Seinlassen
Perceive here means the same thing as receive (…) In noein what is perceived concerns us in such a way that we take it up specifically, and do something with it. But where do we take that which is to be perceived? How do we take it up? We take it to heart. What is take to heart however is left exactly as it is (…) Taking to heart: to keep at heart.” (WHD 203)
“We translate Legein with letting-lie-beofre us, and noein with taking-to-heart (…) Letting things lie before us is necessary to supply us whit what, lying thus before us, can be taken to heart” (…) legein and noein enter into one another, in a give and take (…) the conjunction of noein and legein first announces what is called thinking” (208) “letting-lie-before us and taking-to-heart beings in being” (WHD 224)
Perceive here means the same thing as receive (…) In noein what is perceived concerns us in such a way that we take it up specifically, and do something with it. But where do we take that which is to be perceived? How do we take it up? We take it to heart. What is take to heart however is left exactly as it is (…) Taking to heart: to keep at heart.” (WHD 203)
“We translate Legein with letting-lie-beofre us, and noein with taking-to-heart (…) Letting things lie before us is necessary to supply us whit what, lying thus before us, can be taken to heart” (…) legein and noein enter into one another, in a give and take (…) the conjunction of noein and legein first announces what is called thinking” (208) “letting-lie-before us and taking-to-heart beings in being” (WHD 224)
Think is to Thank
What does being command us to do? Being commands us to be attentive to it, to marvel at its awe and mystery and once we’ve done that, protect it and shelter it so that we can bestow its essence on it.
To think is to “care for”, a guardianship of something precious (the thing’s essence) that we have been entrusted with and this not only gives the world back its dignity, but also to man. The telos of Dasein is a
"thinking that lets things be"and allows him to rise tall as Bieng steward and not its mere exploiter.
Believe it or not, this book was born out of a Tolkien quote that has stayed with me since my college days.
In the third book of Tolkien’s The Lord Of The Rings, as Middle Earth is about to engage in the battle for its survival against the forces of the Dark Lord, Gandalf desperately tries to enrol Denethor’s help for the coming battle.
Denethor, the acting Steward of Gondor, is apathetic and unwilling to join the common cause. It’s really not his problem.
“The Lord of Gondor -Denethor says referring to himself- is not to be made the tool of other men’s purposes, however worthy. And to him there is no purpose higher in the world as it now stands than the good of Gondor; and the rule of Gondor, my lord, is mine is no other man’s, unless the king should come again.”
In other words, for Denethor the danger’s too big, the enemy too great, the allies too few and the outcome uncertain.
In times like these Denethor’s worldly wisdom counsels, it¡s better to look after himself, protect his own fiefdom and keep a low profile. Look after your own affairs and save whatever you can from the apocalypse. You are not responsible for the fate of world. After all, saving the world is not in your job description, so you can’t be accountable for it.
This answer enrages Gandalf not only because of its self-centredness but also its blindness. Gondor is part of Middle Earth. So if Middle Earth were to fall Gondor would go down too.
Denethor’s refusal to heed Gandalf’s “all hands on deck!” is akin to a chef in a cruise ship saying he’d rather stay in his kitchen to look after dinner than going out to help the foundering vessel.
Pumping out sea water that’s gushing in and threatening to sink the ship is in the chef’s job description. Let others take care of it while he
does what his paid to do: prepare dinner for the guests.
Denethor and the chef fail to see their dependence -mitsein or being with others-, and thus their responsibility for the good of the whole.
That’s why Gandalf’s answer is scathing (and inexplicably left out of the film version, since it gives name to the final movie of the trilogy).
“Unless the king should come again?” said Gandalf. “Well, my lord Steward, it is your task to keep some kingdom still against that event, which few now look to see. In that task you shall have all the aid that you are pleased to asked for. But I will say this: the rule of no realm is mine, neither of Gondor, nor any other, great or small. But all worthy things that are in peril as the world now stands, those are my care. And for my part, I shall not wholly fail of my task, though Gondor should perish, if anything passes through this night that can still grow fair or bear fruit and flower again in days to come. For I also am a steward. Did you not know?”
Gandalf’s words merit comment. In essence what he’s saying is that the king might not return, the ship might not survive but we’re all called to do what we can for the vessel that holds us. This is our prime responsibility. It might not be in our job description but it is our responsibility.
In the wake of destruction that our modern way of life has wreaked, we human beings have a tendency to act like Denethor: shouldering the common burdens of our planet is not our job, nor our problem. It’s for the government or the green activists or the corporations or the politicians to do something… to save the whole while we keep to tending our own interests, our own little kitchen, our Gondor.
Gandalf’s reply comes from a different place, a different worldview: it might not be his job to do something (“the rule of no realm is mine”) but the simple fact that he can spare and nurture and care for all that has been endangered makes him responsible to look after it and protect it.
He is also a Steward he says, appointed to that position not by a king or a corporation or a title or the voters but by his very human nature (all worthy things that are in peril as the world now stands, those are my care).
Gandalf’s words struck me so deeply that I wrote them in the back of a framed picture I hung on my first office wall and it has since stayed with me as the preeminent definition of what it means to be human. To be human is to care for the whole, to be a steward.
So you can imagine my delight and surprise when I stumbled upon the works of the later Heidegger and found the exact same idea buried in his particularly difficult language: “Man is the shepherd of Being”.
So I put together this little book of meditations as a sort of “Heidegger meets the Lord of the Rings”, so we realise how we’ve all become Denethors and how much our Planet and our own well being requires we become Gandalfs.
My purpose is neither to contribute to the vast and complex Heidegger scholarship out there, nor to give an exact account of his philosophy.
My aim is to invite you to take up Heidegger’s quest, to “give him a thought” and consider what he says as addressed particularly to you, in whatever circumstance you happen to be.
Once this is done, we will lose our guide, we’ll let Heidegger go because, as Heidegger knew all two well, the present state of the world doesn’t demand scholars. It demands we learn to think our lives under a perspective different by that afforded by our current consumption and productivity-based worldview .
To think we must become questionable to ourselves but before we do that we must find a guide who makes us. H choose N, I chose H. To fin a teacher is to “give him a thought” to consider what he says as addressed personally to us. And when that has been achieved we must lose our guide so we’re not mere scholars or megaphones repeating their words, but that under their influence we set thought free so whatever seeds they have planted in us might grow free. This is why H counselled his students to burn their notes and why he said Wege niche Werke and why he called Sartre’s philosophy a “brilliant misunderstanding of his own”. In the end each of us must think his own thought with his own materials and follow his own compass.
In WHD Heidegger points out there are two ways to approach a thinker’s thought. One is to utilise him, try to understand him in context and thus produce history of philosophy and or scholarship. The other is to try to take up the thinker’s quest, to use.
In WHD Heidegger points out that to think is a calling, much like being an artist or a doctor.
At the beginning of S&Z H says
"the point is not to listen to a series of propositions but rather follow the movement of showing", that is the point is not to understand H and make a scholarly debate about his words but try to share in his experiences for only thus we can understand him according to phenomenology. Poetry si well geared for this task because in good poetry there is nothing to understand, the goal it seeks is we undergo the experience that led to the writing of the poem.
At present the historical lens through which we see the World is Das Gestell, a productive-efficient enframing of Being that allows us to see only “raw materials” and resources. In order to see the concealed side (Earth) we must learn a different kind of thought.
When a tool breaks down it becomes conspicuous, we notice it for the first time and see beyond its handiness. The world is breaking down and it has become conspicuous.
Another death-denying means is Das Gestell, a consumer-centric worldview that perceives the beings only as raw materials for our productive processes. This has unleashed a tremendous violence on the world -the violation of human and non-human nature- in order to produce goods, as if by consumption and productivity we could extend life or avoid death.
N was the first to see and think through the consequences of man’s growing technological expertise and he wondered if man was ready for the mastery he could achieve technically. His answer was no because the type of man that has been brewing ever since the dawn of Western thought is “the last man”. A many who has settled in the trivial flatlands of everyday thought (verfallen) and is unable to see or even imagine a life beyond such triviality. He is the last man because he cannot rise up to the task he’s called to, yet has all the technical power to dominate the Earth.
Technology is a way of revealing the world to man but a way that has no respect for Being, this oblivion of Being allows man to deceive himself, deceive others and ultimately degrade everything into a “resource” a reserve of energy in stand by for the transformation process. It is a way of revealing incapable of respect and awe in the face of something haven beaten the odds against its not being and prevail against them. Technology blinds us to what is imagining what could be and because it cannot comprehend any other thought than that of usefulness it prevents us from a worldview in which our mission is safekeeping (not for the use of other generations) but safekeeping the essence of a Being’s truth.
Das Gestell is a one-dimensional encounter with the world, our contemporary will to power, a manic behaviour that sees the world as something that can be grabbed, overcome, devoured, turned into something useful.
Although man has always transformed Nature, technology has not always meant the rape or torture of the Earth.
"beautiful glow of heathendom"). Their tech was limited by conservation, they had limits on how deep there could intervene with Nature, the limit was that their actions were supposed to help and nurture, to create the circumstances for nature’s powers, to propitiate the natural blossoming.
In Gestell to be is to:
Under the sway of Das Gestell humans became essentially productive beings, which means their though processes consist of:
Enframing is an impoverishing of reality, to make it the image and likeness of our ego, one-dimensional so we can ignore all our ego has no use for. Things cease to be in themselves and become beings for us. But beings have a life and function independent of human egos and wills. They are beings-in-themsleves. But Das Gestell obscures this to such a degree that even the most ardent Earth defendants are not aware of this: their discourse is peppered with his it is our responsibility to protect and conserve “natural resources“ for the sake of future generations. That is, nowhere do we find the idea that nature must be protected for its own sake, because it is valuable and because such is our mission in life.
Modern tech is a violation, a rape, an essential harm done to Nature, by not allowing it to become what it is, by maiming it metaphysically. And the tragedy is that Gestell is so pervasive that we are unable to see the aspect of being-for.itself of beings and not seeing it we don’t have the ability to stand in a gentle, careful, nurturing relation to things. Al we can do when we see through the eyes of Gestell are resources waiting for us to impose our will on them and exploit them at our pleasure as Genesis commands.
Gestell presents us no limits and creates the illusion everything is there for us, waiting to be used, sucked up into our transformation processes. This is the way modern tech reveals being. We can neither belong, hear or respond to being seen thus and that is why Gestell is Gefahr, the greatest danger, for it obscures that there can be appropriation, ereiginis, dwelling and stewardship. It only allows us to see potential, that is destruction of the essence of being to turn them into something they are not.
83.- To be modern is to be chained to technology whether we embrace it or deny it. So instead of decrying or defending it we should do well to understand it. Understanding is not merely to be correct for something might be true or correct without even suspecting what the thing is in essence. We must seek the true by way of the correct.
84.- We tend to explain things by way of the 4 causes without asking where they came from or why there are 4 or how they relate to one another. A cause is what brings something about but not in mere cause-effect mode of causa efficiens but in the deeper sense of that to which another is indebted (Aition), that is what is corresponsible for something (ie the hylé or matter of a silver chalice, the aspect –formal cause of it-; the plan or project which it should fulfill and finally the silversmith who made it).
85.- All of these causes are responsible for the silver chalice’s presence as a silver chalice: they’re causes because the allow Anwesen the coming forth into presence; they’re responsible for setting something underway so it can arrive (be present). This bringing forth into blossom or plenitude is Poiesis, either as Physis which blooms of itself (En Hautoi) or as techné, the bringing forth that is propitiated by another (En Alloi): art, technology, etc.
86.- In either case there is an unconcealment of Ursprung, a bringing forth or revealing. Technology is revealing too. Techné is a form or Aletheuien: it reveals what neither stands overtly before us nor what freely brings itself forth: the possibility of framing the energy of the world as a reserve –not to be used or consumed on the spot- but to be stored up. A challenging of the earth to give us more than is immediately necessary. But this way of understanding or framing the earth as a storehouse changes our relationship to it for instead of placing seeds into the earth –entrusting them to its mysterious forces- and cooperating and watching over it as the peasant does, we challenge the earth and even force it to yield the maximum at minimum expense, so that what it produces in excess might be stored and kept in standing by mode.
87.- The technological mindframe unlocks the energy stored in the earth to transform it, store it & distribute it. Everything is always fed into the next process so that things are never themselves but resources or reserves in stand by mode between one process and the next. Since everything is “at hand”, waiting to be called up, man himself becomes ensnared in this process: he becomes a resource who stands by until the energy he is extracting, storing or distributing is needed; then, he too comes into the service of technology.
88.- This “standing by” of man makes him lose sight that life is not like this, it’s just enframed or trapped in the technological way of revealing. And once man has been claimed in a way or revealing that is based on challenging the earth, he too becomes part of the challenge because a truth always presupposes an adopted method & the method of technology is enframing (Gestell) everything into a mold of calculating forces & energy. Enframing is setting up reality in such a way that it yields certain sought after truths (technological enframing sets up things in productive yield).
89.- To avoid being “used up” by this enframing –ie to become a mere resource- a return to the Ursprung is needed. For in it lie the possibilities that unfold and become realities, the destiny that determined how a thing is revealed. Only by rethinking the Ursprung can man be free of the enslaving power of technology –which is not machinery- but a mind frame. For freedom is neither will nor arbitrariness, nor free obeisance to the law: freedom is to conceal and bring to light. Aletheia: a concealment of the obvious & a bringing forth what isn’t obvious. An eclipsing of the dominant form of thought (technological) to allow another way (ontological) to come forth.
90.- Man is in danger of seeing nothing but what technology wants him to see: objects in reserve. And the danger is great for any Ursprung carries with it the risk of one sided misconstruement of the unconcealed but in technology in this misconstruement all other possibilities are blocked for man falls under the illusion that all that exists is by his making so that man is in risk of never again finding his essence (as Dasein, not creator).
91.- Enframing banishes all possibility of relating to others and the world in ways that don’t conceive them as resources; and it especially obscures our ability –our mission- of being Dasein: the clearing in which Being comes forth into presence, the space in which Aletheia happens.
92.- This the threat oto man is not technology or machine, but the mind frame that accompanies them and can no longer hear or experience the call of a more primeval truth. Yet the salvation is near the danger so that it might be that technology can provide the solution for while enframing keeps us in the frenzy of ordering that endangers our relation to truth, it might well be that the same frenzy awakens us to our mission of safekeeping the essence of truth.
93.- For thinkers, philosophers, artists are summoned to do here and now the little things that may strengthen the saving power of techné in the Greek sense, which is to bring forth the true into the beautiful, a revealing that makes present by questioning and living in modes not available to the forces that drive technology forth.
All journeys must have a point of departure and ours is a Cave. Not Plato’s dark Cave where all we know are shadows of wooden figures but Heidegger’s Cave. No gloomy hole in the ground where people are chained and passive spectators at the mercy of the puppeteers.
Everything here’s bright and bustling with ceaseless activity. Motor and pedestrian traffic fill the street with movement and purposeful sound.
The streets are lined with stores full of clothes and gadgets. Supermarket aisles burst with goods boasting their natural origin.
Modernity is mysterio-phobic. If ever it comes across a mystery it wants to solve it. It wants to put Nature on the “torture table” as Francis Bacon would say. It takes apart and seeks to do away with mystery and when it can’t, it simply ignores it (as with the Big Bang Theory).
Science’s thought is to amass knowledge and has done so with great success but it does not think in that it never asks why a thing is, only how it works. We have hypothesis and facts and the scientist confronts his world with a prejudiced view, a view within Gestell, a view of how we can take advantage of something. Science veritably is about
"putting Nature on the torture table and wresting from it its secrets" (Bacon), while thought is Gelassenheit.
N does not in effect say the last men are the ones with which it all ends, rather that the last development of human nature is durable: they have built a world in which they are comfortable and, H, adds, have set it up in such a way that it cannot be even questioned. They blink, says H because the have set up a world of glitter and glimmer but no substance, and also their attention spans are those of a blink so man cannot entertain deep thought, only blink and move on to the next glimmering thing.
The übermensch is so because he passes over the last man. And the last men have a particular way of framing ideas, N calls it “Vengeful Thinking”. Modern man is dominated by a spirit of revenge, a suffering that stems from his suffering and alienation and this suffering wants to punish (put Nature in the torture table, she is a wretch we have to snatch richness from). Modern man’s way of thinking is always reactive, it is set up to attack the world, pounce on it to prove he is better.
The last men form ideas (blink) in that quick reactive way N calls revenge. What do they want to avenge? Their suffering. It must be dearly paid. Man suffered from alienation, from not being at home in the world he has built and he will project his suffering upon the world. (From Adam & Eve we have this victim mind frame, made suffer by God as punishment and make the world suffer for it. We’re avenging God! Avenging our expulsion from Paradise). But a victim always -Camus says- is waiting to pounce on the opportunity to turn into executioner: you threw us out of Paradise, we’ll prove we can live without you.
Camus knew fill well that the man who suffers is prone to become an executioner and quick to use his gallows. The more Modern man loses touch with Being, the more he denies the care for existence (his and other beings’) the more alienated he becomes and the more he seeks someone/sometthing to pay for his misfortune and suffering. Thus a great violence is unleashed on the world, a banality of eveil, people hurting other beings for the fun of it, people whose entertainment is destruction of all they cannot reach or understand. This tendency is revealed in our making fun or bullying or trying to abate all that is beautiful, worthy, excellent. People who destroy property because they don’t have access to it, people who mock those more intelligent or hardworking than they could ever be, those who kill living being our of delight on inflicting pain and this who would drag anyone they can into their pigsty so they can prove we’re al pigs at heart. All of those people have fashioned themselves as victims and seethe with a lust for revenge that will give them the empty satisfaction of destruction, abasement, suffering.
The first mark is that it is reactive one must have suffered in rider to seek revenge, so vengeful thought is always prompted by an external act or happenstance, it does not emerge as an action, but rather as re-action to an stimulus real or imagined.
Secondly it always aims to inflict damage it wills to cause pain equal or grater than the one inflicted on the executioner. It is bent on causing as much damage, abasement, destruction or humiliation as it possibly can for only thus does it consider to have gotten “even”.
The last mark of vengeful thought is that the satisfaction it gets is empty for whatever steps it took to get even do not correct the problem or remedy the suffering. They might pull someone else down to level, but they don’t uplift us out of our misery, nor does it quell our own pain or prevent it from happening again. It destroys and alienates us further rather than help us create and reproach us to our real nature. It denies us the one attitude that could help us make peace with ourselves & the world: care.
Metaphysical thought is a way of revealing being but this mode of revealing has led to a progressive oblivion of being. From the Greek revealing as physics, to the Medieval of God’s Creation for human use, to Modern objects, to Postmodern resources for the transformation process, all western thought has been a progressive loss of our respect and responsibility for Being. And this culture has levelled our possibilities so that competing world views have been turned into marginal and irrelevant practices.
Das Gestell deliberately obscures being-for.itself for without it there is no limit to the exploitation and manipulation we can exert, there is even no ground for the concept of violation, nor for the ability to stand in relation in a way other than its own violent stance.
We see all that surrounds us as useful or not but we have lost from sight that usefulness is not a characteristic of things per se but rather a characteristic derived from context (useful to me in this situation). By using Gestell as our frame of reference we assign value to things only in relation to their usefulness and ignore other values (being) it might have.
Man has always been enframed by will. Schelling and Schopenhauer overtly identify will with vein and classical& medieval thought id him as perception and appetites, that is for us to be is to perceive and desire. This unity of perception and desire is not innocent but circular onto itself: we see as a means to desire and desire as a means to see. The result is a skewed perception: a perception that bends Being to become an object at hand to satisfy our desires, a Midas lens, that already sees Being as things over which to exert its will to power.
Will 2 Power already has a design for Being, so it does not respect what is but strives for what it wants it to be. The W2P sets upon everything in order to maintain it on standby or transform it according to its desire or plan. To
"reduce in stature and decompose"is what our loaded perception leads to.
H agrees with N that we are the last men but the damage he thinks will not be reverted by our becoming ubermenschen, because the ubermensch is so in virtue of his will to power, the will to overcome man. In this the ubermensch is identical to the last man, he only hears himself, his desires to transcend himself, he knows nothing of Wu Wei.
Being is bifrontal, like the Roman god Janus. It is a rich sphere full of facets. Like the moon, Being has two faces. One is concealed to us (the Earth). The other is visible to us (World). But the World, that which we see is determined by historical circumstance.
We’d be wrong to interpret Heidegger’s loss of the gods in a theological key, meaning that we somehow have to “go back” to a monotheistic or medieval worldview presided by a Godhead. Rather, loss of gods means we’ve lost a shared ethos and the authoritative figures who, generation after generation, can kindle our collective imagination so we think of our world as sacred, our role as that of the steward and our relationships based on something other than self-interest.
Moods affect how we experience the world. The mood proper to philosophy for Plato & ATT was awe or astonishment, but for Descartes at the dawn of the Modern era, it was doubt. Our culture’s point of departure are doubt and pleasure which feed a scarcity mentality (we count there will be enough for all). Whereas before man was awed at the fact that no want went unsatisfied by Nature in her Providence. So we exploit & hoard.
The last man is ensnared in the world of Das Man and cannot form ideas, he merely consumes what is out there. It has lost its ability to see beauty, truth, love, longing, creation. He has neglected his world because he has neglected to understand his true nature.
Man is not ready to manage his own power because he has lost the will to create institutions, to be a link in the Great Chain of Being: he does not revere tradition, he is not capable of solidarity with others, he does not respect authority, he does not want to live responsibly. Thus there aren’t the conditions out of which a future might grow. Man aspires to live fast, for today, free to do as he pleases and fulfil his every whim and desire. He does not dream of true freedom, freedom of mastery: freedom to subject himself to a harsher law in order to overcome himself.
The oblivion or forgetting of being is grounded on seinverlassenheit, the abandonment or neglect of being. Since our tradition’s beginnings being has been colonised by the human ego, by our needs and desires, we’ve neglected to thing Being fro itself and that is why H says N is the culmination of MF: this kind of neglect can only lead to the rampant will to power. Gestell is but the triumph of our egoistical representation of Being.
A deficient way of being with others is being absorbed in the “they”, since Dasein’s consciousness is always absorbed by its surroundings, and cultural surroundings are always the creations of anonymous others, Dasein’s actions and being are determined by the they. If unaware of its absorption in the tyranny of the anonymous “one”, Dasein lives inasuthentically, unawares of its possibilities and rather living in the averageness of what the “They” find acceptable which is to say a mindset that squashes every mystery, levels down what it cannot understand and forces one to conform to mediocrity.
The They cannot be found or pointed out, they simply exercise a subtle and invisible coercion for us to conform. But this coercion is really a voluntary submission, a surrendering of our decision making capabilities, a fear of ostracism and ridicule that makes us forfeit our possibilities. If, however, we would “make it” then the They would absolve us from the deviation of its standards and even admire us as Hesse knew too well.
Das Mann lives in the public eyes, it thrives on seeing and being see in, on passing judgement on all it sees. Yet the fate of Dasein cannot be paraded in public. Choices from the heart are seldom comprehensible to the public eye and they will find more opposition the deeper they are felt in the heart. ´”The light of a public obscures it all”`wrote Heraclitus (Epicurus?) because things undertaken for the public eye muddle our intentions, we begin to try to please instead of doing what we desire for its own sake. It also means the public, the ubiquitous and anonymous Das Mann only understands and judges based on its epidermic reasons, so it is bound to misunderstand and misrepresent anything done from the core of authenticity.
Fitting in (as opposed to fitting with) is Das Man’s happiness, fitting in that is doing things as they are done, so we’re accepted. Instead of choosing our own possibilities, many think this is a kind of happiness, but it is only shallow, for to be happy is to ek-sist, to take care of being and not merely fitting in with our culture & surroundings. (H&H)
In the world of Das Man everyone strives to do what everyone else is doing so that we fit in, not with Being or our possibilities, but rather with other alienated beings. We struggle to belong to group of malfunctioning, unhappy human beings. The result is if we’re lucky we all end up with the same suburban unhappiness whether it is fulfilled or not (we sigh to keep up with the Joneses or wish we could be like them). Our happiness is superficial and false, a shallow make believe.
When we take care of beings we encounter others as they are and they are what they do. This means others also encounter us through what we do, stripping us of our real self and placing our real possibilities at their whims. When we bow to this anonymous ‘they’ that expects us to act and do in certain ‘correct’ or ‘expected’ ways, we are under the dictatorship of averageness: a way of being that enjoys, reads, sees, judges and is shocked by what the enjoy, read, see, judge and shocks ‘them’. ‘They decide what is proper and allowed and all that comes to the fore is squashed: ‘they’ flatten awe of discovery, manipulate what they did not invent, boast to understand what they cannot grasp. Everything is leveled down, everything is public so that all of Dasein’s responsibility and genuine possibility is taken away from it by ‘they’. This ‘they’ runs Dasein’s everyday affairs; its ways are dependence and inauthenticity (SuZ)
Da-sen understands itself in terms of its possibilities -to be or not to be itself- and our existence is decided by our seizing or neglecting those possibilities. Unfortunately our culture levels those possibilities, allowing us to see only those that serve Das Gestell. (B&T)
Our mode of being at any given time helps us develop or decays our understanding of Being. Our current absorption into Das Gestell has made our understanding of Being decay so that we no longer aware of the true nature of the world nor of our unique human possibilities as Da-Sein. (B&T)
Dasein is its past, it is shaped by its choices. But choices are a given over which we exercise choice. The range and depth of those “givens” are presented to us by our culture as “obvious” and “evident”. This obscures that culture itself is arbitrary and groundless and that the range of choices it gives us is neither absolute nor the only possibility. Since our current culture is taken over by Gestell, we must break free from our culture in order to see other possibilities for ourselves (B&T)
The levelling force of the They is everywhere and nowhere, it si everyone and no one. It takes over Dasein’s awareness and unburdens it from its confer about its existential possibilities. It allows him to be content with whatever Das Mann has decreed it should be (it’s in). It makes Dasein inauthentic, unaware of its possibilities and turns him into a clone of what he sees around, a life shaped by external, anonymous forces rather than by choice and will.
The world and its possibilities are levelled under the leadership of the They until they become mere wishes. But wishes cannot satisfy Dasein for on wishes for what is already available (consumption) and not of creation of itself. Thus Dasein feels angst and struggles to repress it through busyness, abuse, consumption, etc.
By robbing us of our motivation to stand in a careful, gentle, nurturing relation to being, das Gestell also maims human nature, it harms us essentially by impeding we develop our own most nature: Da-Sein, the being where Being presences.
Our fundamental way of being is concern about our possibilities, we have to choose which to realise and which to let pass, but we have no guide and all the time we’re conscious of time passing, of the limited nature of our presence in the world and we feel compelled to do something about it but we don’t know what.
Our angst in the midst of he world of Das Mann makes individuation possible for Dasein becomes aware of its true potentialities: being authentic or not, living up to its potential or drifting through life. Angst can make Dasein become concerned with its own potential for being, his discovery of what he is uniquely capable of as a human being even if those capabilities are neither appreciated nor understood by Das Mann.
We’re lost in the world but not at ease. We somehow feel we must abandon our headless chicken self in order to do something with our lives. To create our authentic selves angst is our ally. The malaise that nags at our conscience and tells us time’s getting short and we’re still not living up to our potential and that there must be to life something more than the joys and afflictions of consumer culture, that is angst.
Angst if faced properly, if we refuse to impoverish it and call it mere boredom or depression, if we refuse to repress it or do away with it by entertainment, the ray, activism or drugs can lead us to a ocher experience of life and ourselves. But we must sit with it, abide by it, question it and face it.
Dasein carries its Da –both in the sense of the space it occupies and as the clearing it provides- as long as it is (Sein). This can be seen in the fact that we have good/bad moods (a form of clearing) because we always are already in a mood; that is, a mode of attunement to our Da (good/bad/neutral) That we feel ‘burdened’ by life is an indictment that our being has been betrayed, delivered to the they or circumstance where its possibilities cannot be realized. In our fleeing from a mood we reveal ourselves as thrown into the ‘they’ who then becomes us (131-5).
Dasein is always in the midst of possibilities. It has let some of them go by, it cannot realize them all and must choose. This choosing is entrusted to Dasein, it is free for Being. But since Dasein is also always in the midst of the ‘they’ one of the possibilities it has let go is that of choosing for himself, thus failing to recognize itself as a being free to find himself. So Dasein’s first chore is to find himself and grasp himself in its potentialities (ie in the ability to choose for himself, Dasein finds himself, but he first has to realize he can). Dasein must become transparent to itself (not driven by ego-opaque desires which are detected from the outside). This transparency is a form of sight that also lets beings encountered show themselves as they are
Dasein reveals itself to itself in Angst, an uneasiness from which springs its project and will to overcome its current situation with decision. But decision and will depend on care, we strive toward or away from something because we care. Thus the link between being and truth is exclusive of Dasein: things are, Dasein comprehends. Dasein flees its Angst which is to say it turns to the world and even falls prey to it because it is running from its own groundlessness. But the Verfallen robs Dasein of its possibilities for authenticity since it understands itself only in terms of the they.
Angst reveals we know we are both alone and great and that we realize there is no one to help us become, so we feel small and impotent. Thus Dasein falls because it flees its existential discomfort and prefers to turn to the world and others for a sense that he has a place in existence, as a care taker or role player. Without these it becomes impossible who or what we are and Angst appears(188-9).
Angst is not a sign of existential failure rather it is our natural state and we create distractions to flee from it. Fear is not Angst (undetermined), fear is concrete and aimed at loosing the distractions we’ve set up for ourselves: roles, fame, money, things, relations. It’s an error to try to cure Angst with therapy and pills since only it can make us progress towards authenticity. Angst individualises. As beings free and projected towards potentiality we care for it and ourselves by moving beyond what we are towards what we could be. The jump into nothingness –neither being able to remain here not having success guaranteed- is the risk that creates Angst
One of the means we rely on to to deny our mortality is the Verfallen, a life structured around the denial of death by entertainment, idle talk, gossip, chatter. What Fowles calls the Nemo.
Dasein is for the most part immersed and mastered by Das Mann and this is evident from its usual way of communication -idle talk and gossip- which are part of a desire to participate in matters without real thought or understanding. Both are groundless and demand only we believe them.
Idle talk, chatter and curiosity create the conditions for Dasein to fall prey to the world, being absorbed by it instead of ke.sisting, that is taking care of the world. We become entangled in the world, not seeing beyond the possibilities of Das Mann. The “normalcy” of this type of existence gives us tranquility since we are living “as everyone else does”. But these standards we have assumed as normal are inauthentic.
We experience our everyday world as concern.
"Life is concern (Sorge), more particularly in the inclination toward making things easy for oneself". Heidegger here plays with Sorge (concern) and Besorge (Providing) as our fundamental worries, a worry for our well-being that makes us lose ourselves in the world. (There’s a wonderful HDT quote that says we’re more often than not bent on being starved before we even feel hungry).
We are anxious for what the future may bring but bored with our routines to ensure our future, we experience life as a burden and desire to be care-free, relieved of our responsibility to plan, provide and make something out of ourselves. We go into our world -into what our civilisation has provided- in order to evade ourselves from our fundamental anxiety and boredom. We fall into the Verfallen (idle talk, chatter, entertainment) and the world of Das Man (where the steps to become something are chartered and mapped out in advance). We fear life, not death. We fear we will not acquit ourselves in a worthwhile manner and by running we guarantee this will be so.
Ambiguity is a result of these 2 because we can no longer decide who has understood what he discloses and who hasn’t (insecurity could also be explained). Even the test of action fails for the interest span of the they is so limited that one cannot actually prove by example, action or life who has grasped truth and who merely talks about it to fuel idle talk which will quickly move on to the next subject at hand. All 3 –curiosity, idle talk and ambiguity-constitute what it is to be “in”, but to be “in” is to be robbed of the genuine possibilities of what we thought, understood or created. So to remain “in” these possibilities have to be left behind, abandoned in favor of new ones and so we go astray of what we are called to be. Then the Mitsein becomes against another for everyone intrudes into everyone’s choices, thought and possibility and keeps track and listens to the others (Dosto’s neighbor and Sartre’s hell). (174-5)
This being against the other is Verfallen, entanglement. Dasein becomes absorbed in day to day taking care of the world and the they world as ruled by idle talk, curiosity and ambiguity: it has fallen away from itself and prey to the world, which is tempting and part of Dasein’s nature. Then Dasein falls prey and does not see beyond the possibilities offered to it by society: the they tranquilizes us into thinking we are living a rich and rewarding life by going places, getting things and meeting people, we are always busy and don’t realize this is the ensnarement of ambiguity, curiosity and idle talk. (176-8)
Is being in the throes of things as they’ve been publicly defined and interpreted creates uninhibited busyness and alienation to the point that even the remedy for returning to oneself -therapy- is alienation in the form of self-entangled (being caught up in the false I, me, mine).
Since we no longer have a sense of community nor a role to take care of the Earth we feel alone and adrift in the world. We are rootless and alienated from each other and from Nature. As a consequence we fear death and seek to dry it by any and all means.
The Loss of the gods (sacredness) entails the loss of community & of our role as stewards.. Because when we lose sight of the sacredness of existence we lose a worldview presided by a commitment to a shared ethos and our need to care for one other and our world. All that we are left with are objects, resources and raw materials to exploit according to the rules of our self-interest.
When absorbed in the everydayness of the world of Das Mann, Dasein is who he is not, he is they, whatever they are in his time and epoch. Dasein is alienated from himself and his possibilities and cannot access his authentic self by simply pulling away from the herd, but rather by inner effort, by a modification of his relationship to himself and others.
The Greek word Aisthou means to grasp in awe or amazement (Hillman, Force of Character, 201) and its contrary to be anaisthou, to be anaesthetised is to live with our sense blunted, in the world of Das Mann,
The fact that anyone can talks about anything produces ambiguity in our everyday lives & confusion: we no longer know who is offering real insight and who is bluffing. We forget the authentic is silent: those who are really on to something are not in the public eye so as not to counterfeit their intentions. Chatter robs us of the ability to go deep, for together with idle talk and curiosity it only feed on what is currently “in” while insight and understanding take time.
Idle talk (Gerede) is the mode of discourse that belongs to the Verfallen, it is chit-chat, political debate, gossip. In all these modes of talk, language does not allow us to listen to the being of beings because language is being used in a superficial way. Language is abused and so we fail to listen, which is to say, it fails to make us think.
Our words designate being, living organisms but we use them in oblivion of that which they point to because our language has been degraded to idle talk, it is no longer in contact with its own rich content. Idle talk is language that no longer puts us in contact with the being of beings. It is words used lightly, words that have become hollow and no longer give us to think when we utter or listen to them. They are no longer symbols but one dimensional concepts, that do not resonate with reality or our experience of it but only remit us to a mental image.
We are immersed in and mastered by the they. This is not a choice but rather an ontological category we are thrown into the they (culture) from the start. In the world of they communication is impossible: its place is taken by idel talk and gossip. Idle talk does not want to find the grounds for that about which it speaks, it merely wants to pass things along, even if it does not understand them. Idle talk is the possibility of understanding everything with appropriation of the matter: it divests us from genuine understanding and breeds indifference for inquiry: we already know. This idle talk breeds “average understanding” but genuine discovery, understanding and communication musct come from fighting this tendency and appropriating things anew. That is to say all genuine understanding comes against the they which wants to determine what one is and how one sees. (167-170)
With alienation and self-entanglement Dasein begins to plunge Vefallen. Then its life is characterised by eddying, being sucked into endless busyness that is ultimately going nowhere.
Since we no longer know what things are we eddy in constant activity, gathering knowledge for its sake but no longer knowing how it can help us grow as human beings and preserve the inner and outer conditions of growth. We might as well ask
"Where is wisdom we have lost in knowledge"for wisdom is precisely knowing what things are.
Dasein is always in a mood and most times it is boredom. Feeling burdened with life, Dasein seeks to evade itself from life, to distract itself. Being in the midst of the world it is surround by possibilities and he looses and identifies with all these possibilities. But the more possibilities it realises, the less they hold him because in order to be engaged, Dasein must first allow itself to be bored so it can find what it really is (a Da-sein), that is not throw itself into possibilities but discover its potentialities. Only then will he have an engaging project to dispel his boredom and need for entertainment.
Another manifestation of Das Mann is the pelace of curiosity in our lives: while Dasein’s curiosity is the desire to see (cognition free of the constraints of practicality and work, otium in its Greek sense), Das Mann’s curiosity is restlessness and desire to flee into the next thing. It is not a curiosity that lingers to contemplate and wonder at Being burt rather distraction: being everywhere and nowhere, never dwelling anywhere, never resting in anything. A frantic boredom.
A similar tendency of the they is curiosity –seeing without care- as opposed to science –seeing with care- that is letting Being disclose itself to us not for practical or economical reasons but as itself. Care is seeing possibilities and taking care of them. It is to become intrigued not just temporarily and just with the outward appearances but engaged in Aletheia. Curiosity leaps from novelty to novelty: it does not stay because it’ll be bored. It needs distraction. By contrast care is thaumazein, wondrous contemplation of being. Together with idle talk, curiosity is a way of knowing and communicating about what has not had the chance to be understood or wondered because we have not let ourselves be engaged extistentially in this inquiry: we read and see what they want because it is of these things that the they takes note and talks about (profound things it has not grasped) (171-3)
Parmenides said “being is” and we pass his saying up as obvious. Of course being is, what else could it do? But the fact that we pass it up shows how easy it is to forget being, for we can write volumes on what a thing is and how and why it is, but when we say it is, we become mute and have nothing more to say. Yet, if we were to take those two words away “being is”, there would be no “hook” on which to hang all the other predicates on.
Beings are either a what (categories) or a who (existentials). Yet this mode of understanding is not fit to understand Dasein for it is neither object nor subject. And it is also unfit to study life for life is neither object nor Dasein. (SuZ45-50)
This is not to say man is unhappy. He is, but the kind of happiness available to him is that one invented by the last men, the happiness of utilitarianism, of surplus pleasure over pain, of comfort and security, desire satisfaction. A happiness that has to be endlessly, continuously fed.
Consists of desire satisfaction which is achieved through will to power. Ours is a subjective, utilitarian, hedonistic happiness which has not only proven unsustainable but is superficial and not lasting (oe even real as we can see many profoundly unhappy people who have it all).
Such unhappiness in the midst of abundance means we must look for a different source of happiness, one that responds to our inner longings and our very nature.
That the result of our lack of thought is devastation, the wasteland grows, But a wasteland is not merely that we have destroyed what once grew, devastation is not destruction but the annihilation of the very conditions that growth depende on. Devastation is the destruction of the future. And the wasteland is not only the natural world, but the state of our spirits.
"Woe to him who hides wastelands within" said Nietzsche for we are devastating the very fabric of our spirit. And even as great comfort and happiness are possible amidst the devastation of the world, so inner devastation can go hand in hand with great abundance. And the root cause of the growth of the devastation is that we are still not thinking, our lack of memory, our oblivion of being. “
Devastation is the high velocity expulsion of Mnemosyne"wrote H. This oblivion has imperilled our personal and collective future.
The person who knows it is coming to and end and refuses to help them como to a conclusion. The one who knowing the end is near deludes himself and others into thinking it can be fixed. For in doing so he delays the inevitable and prevents the birth of the new. The mission of hurrying the demise of the old is heroic and bound to be misunderstood as nihilism. But N knew, that is why he wrote
"we must learn to die on time".
Modernity’s destitution can be traced back to:
We cannot feel fulfilled because we have no home. We’ve turned our home into a warehouse (much like the people on the hoarding TV show). No one can feel at home in a warehouse because to dwell is to spare, take care of (hüten) and a warehouse is by definition the lobby to the destruction and transformation process. Nothing is spared in the warehouse, it is doomed already.
Tech has made all other forms of relating to Being marginal, that is why philosophy must undertake an “upheaval of what is habitual” through history, for history reveals to us other cultures and projects built around different concepts of being. We must study other metaphysics and cultures not as holy grails, but as way to learn to see and apprehend things in non technological moods (Aletheia)
Ever since the nineteenth century there has been a numinous halo surrounding the East. In our collective imagination, the East is the birthplace of meditation and yoga, the land of cryptic sages and millennial wisdom, a profoundly spiritual geography that practices godless religions and knows the secrets of living well.
From Goethe to Kipling and Hesse, from Heisenberg to Jung, Martin Buber and Heidegger, there is hardly a Modern western man of deep thought that has not felt the allure of the East.
So it comes as no surprise that as soon as we feel the stirrings of spirituality, we all want to travel East. Japan, India, China, Tibet, Nepal are our spiritual destinations par excellence.
But we need not travel far these days: that which we seek of the East is readily available in our own living rooms, around the corner or two blocks down.
Meditation programs for download are a dime a dozen these days and our bustling cities and towns are peppered with oriental dojos and yoga studios offering an oasis for the harried soul.
Everyday millions of us make the pilgrimage to our little corner of the East to find release.
The questions that seldom pop up in our heads as we engage Eastern thought and practice are: What does our own worldview deny us that we so frantically search in the East? From what exactly do we seek release?
The answers are obvious: In Eastern practice we seek Enlightenment, release from the frantic pace of our lives, stress control, peace of mind. Termed negatively we might say we seek release from “Stress”, “The Rat Race”, “Modern Life”, “Mental Chatter”, “Anxiety”…
But these are only clichés that get us nowhere near finding a useful answer.
Truth is we might each rationalise it a bit differently -either in terms of striving for the enlightenment we lack or in terms of getting rid of the anxiety we have- but at rock bottom we are all running away from Nature’s Masterpiece: our own brains.
Watts: Much of what we take to be wisdom is really not having had the opportunity.
Domination or dialogue?
Goethe: “He who knows himself and other, will also recognise that East and West cannot be separated”
Kipling: Oh, East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet.”
Heidegger on the East:
“el pensamiento se modifica sólo por contacto con el pensamiento que tiene su mismo origen y destino. ¡Nada de budismo! Lo contrario: para cambiar nuestra forma de pensar es necesario apoyarnos en nuestra tradición europea y reapropiárnosla . Solo así podremos -ya no imitar al Oriente- sino dialogar fecundamente con él”.
Man does not have memory so he might fill it with information, memory is devotion: it keeps safe all that gives us food for thought, all that is worth thinking about. Memory is not thought but the enclosure that makes thought possible, it preserves and harbours what is to be thought about. All that is ni danger of oblivion because it is so familiar to us: Being.
Our nature is endowed with a well concealed gift: the gift of thought. But in order to receive such a gift, we must get involved with thought, realise what it really means. But thought is done through language and modern language has been flattened and we’re no longer prone to abide by the rich wellspring of meanings of a word. To think is to listen to the meandering history of words and let them resonate inside us.
In order to think we must first admit to ourselves we don’t yet know how to think. This is tough since for the past 25 centuries we’ve described ourselves as soon logon, the animals who think. Yet thought is not a given but rather a possibility of our nature we must develop.
Thought we use them interchangeably, they are different ways to relate to things or thoughts. To use is to preserve, to let be, and respect its nature. Like the hand that changes forms to adapt to a thing and takes its form so it can handle it, when we use, we adapt, we respond to the demands of the thing itself. To utilise or need is to make the thing or thinker adapt to us, making violence to its essential nature, forcing it into a mild so it becomes what we desire it to become. To think is to use: preserve and adapt, create a community by creating a welcome and a place to stay, a dwelling for Being.
To think is to give our minds over to thought provoking things and the thought provoking things are gifts given to us because we live inter-esse, between things. By being inter-esse we find things interesting. But today “interesting” is the fleeting, the in, the soon to be boring. That is why in order to think we must first unlearn to “think”.
As with Angst, the current state of affairs is the beginning of our recovery because what is thought provoking is what makes us worry, usually by its not being there. Thus sickness is thought provoking because it speaks of lost health and nihilism is thought provoking because it speaks of meaning that should be there but is not.
To say that we are still not yet thinking implies we can do so, but we need to focus on thought provoking things. Usually we think the thought provoking is the worrisome, the negative, the problems to be solved. While that which is lofty, joyous or beautiful we assign to feeling or emotion. But the beautiful, lofty and joyous are the most thought-provoking and even the most dangerous (in the sense that they can claim us like nothing else can?)
To think is to remember, to gather thought back to its origin, to keep in sight what is it about a being that makes it worthy and memorable (its physis in the sense of its persisting in presenting).
The departure point of all thought is to become questionable to ourselves, to become thought provoking to our own selves.
In order to catch up to his technical progress, man must be rational. But rational not in the sense of materialism and productivity, but rather rational as the Greeks understood it when they defined man as the rational animal:
"the rising presence which can make appear that what is present", the Dasein.
We are called to think and what calls to be thought is our very nature. Things command us to think, but command is not to give orders but rather commend, entrust, surrender into safe-keeping. Things call invite us to get underway of sheltering and safe keeping them, to allow them to be themselves. This starts us, gets us underway from Verfallen to Dasein, that is underway to fulfilling our own essence. To think is
"an invitation to be who we are".
Thinking will not yield practical results or application, it dos not solve cosmic riddles of give us the power to act. Thinking is a humbler pursuit whose aim is to remind us of Being in order that we dwell on this Earth as human beings. And it is not for everyone, for it is essentially a call, like the call to become an artist or an entrepreneur.
Thinking directs us to the sphere of devotion, memory and thanks. But what we today think of as thought is really delusion and it’s worse than blindness for not only does it not see, but it thinks what it sees is the only possible reality.
What today passes as thought is the delusion of people standing at the side of a road discussing what thought is and pushing ideas around, without actually ever setting their feet on the road and getting underway. They’ve yet to take a step in that direction for the call of thought is not responded to by erudition. Thought is only answered by thinking and thinking is a calling that does not happen in public. It is everyman’s sojourn in enigmatic solitude that he -and he alone- can answer thought by thinking.
When we think in the original sense of the word we do something very special with the object of our thought: we take it to heart, we leave it as it is and don’t modify it to suit us. To take something to heart we must first let it lie before us as it is, that is what To Legein & To Noein meant. It was not logic and ration, a set of tools to construct reality, but rather a mode of contemplation.
To take to heart is to care enough about being that we let it be, we let it become unconcealed and become aware of its presence.
Thinking is memory, gathering a gathering that happens when we let being lay before us, when we take it seriously enough to respect its essence and shelter it from oblivion and manipulation.
Presence is not mere duration on the act of being but the conjunction of a thing being there with our awareness of it. A conjunction of Presence and Clearing, a communion between the beholden and the beholder. And this clearing made in the heart, makes us grateful. So to think is to thank. To thank that our ability to receive is indeed filled by the world. Thus not “I think therefore I am” but rather “I listen and everything speaks to me”.
"Is a remembering of who we are as human beings and where we belong. It is a gathering and focusing of our whole selves on what lies before us and a taking to heart and mind these particular things before us in order to discover in them their essential nature and truth."
106.- Questions are paths to an answer but in philosophy answers are not mere data, they’re a transformation in thinking. Thinking is above all, the realization of the ground in which all beings become, perish and persist and such a ground is Being. That which grants everything is presence in its own way of being present. Being lets everything be present in its own way: green as green, round as round, house as house, music as music: it grants with generosity so everything can show itself as it is.
107.- The end of philosophy is not its decline or impotence but its completion –which must not be confused with its perfection- but as having gathered all that was hers, gathered all its possibilities: the development matrix for the scientific & psychological disciplines
108.- The unfolding and independence of the sciences leaves a task for philosophy anew: thinking in a concealed way that ist neither metaphysics nor science; a thinking that is less than philosophy and even less possible: an awakening in man of possibilities yet unfathomable; a reinstatement of something said long ago and forgotten in technology: a return to the luminosity of Aletheia, the sacredness of Being.
109.- It is for philosophy at this hour not to shine the light of reason but to create the space where that light might shine and illuminate. It is for it to create the Lichtung where the light can shine, for the light does not create its open space, it presupposes it. It is for philosophy to heed the clearing of Being: to experience Aletheia.
110.- Aletheia happens in the clearing it is neither scientific nor metaphysical truth, it is the truth of unconcealed presence. The presence of sacredness of Being. How clearing and presence happen, how are they given is the task of philosophy.
98.- To think is to hold, to heed protectively, not to let a thing out of our memory (gathering devotion, abiding with something). We think about what is “most thought provoking” and that is that we are not yet thinking. We have acted too much, thought too little. To think is not to “be interested” since what we find interesting we forget the next minute. Interesting becomes boring
99.- We have not yet come under the sway of essential thinking, despite science’s progress. Science in fact doesn’t think, it lacks Seinlassen; it struggles with reality to place it in a factic/mathematical mold so it does not let the Ursprung unconceal itself.
100.- Memory recollects thought, it gathers it back to the source. Thinking is never polemics: it speaks not against but for a matter. To think is to incline towards what gives us the gift of the provoking thought, to draw ourselves into what withdraws from us. To think is to be imbibed by the thing itself, it is not to write, for writing already puts distance from this embezzlement and into the refuge of pen and paper.
101.- We think about what “calls us” to thinking. Call is no command, it reaches us, invites us. And one who’s being invited must return the hospitality by safekeeping and offering shelter in turn. But this hospitality is threatened by commonness for language –once it has become current- pretends to be the norm and obscures meanings more closely related to Ursprung so we forget what it is to what we owe this hospitality and safekeeping. To forget what is, is to lose ourselves for we are essentially Dasein, a clearing for Being to show itself.
In order to make culture whole again, the metaphysical outlook must be overcome because metaphysics blocks from view the mystery of things (what it is to be) while it supplants it with what being you are. In its search for patterns, metaphysics created the view everything is an essence and accidents which Modernity translated into objects with characteristics. Metaphysics made it simple to lose sight of the gods, to take Being as an act for granted.
According to Nietzsche, philosophers are the doctors of culture. They are tasked with making culture whole (Heil) again. But Heidegger points out that in order to make it whole, the missing aspect has to be recovered, that is, the mystery, the sacredness. In a word, the holy (Heilig).
If we are to articulate a shared ethos or vision it needs to be non-theistic since no theistic view could win the adherence of most humans today (though a case can be made to involve them from their own religious perspectives: the green monastery).
Starting from the authors named above it’s crucial to find out:
The question here is: how do we recover the gods? What would it entail? Would it be a personal quest or a general rectification of things?
A good place to start to answer these questions is to look into pre-Modern cultures that have preserved a sense of sacredness (Chinese, Native American) or individuals who seem to get it: poets, Thoreau.
Nietzsche (Gay Science):
“What is needed is new philosophers… There is another world to discover - and more than one! On board ship, philosophers! The sea lies open again; perhaps there has never been such an open sea"
The Task of Philosophy is To Recover the Task of Man (Dasein)
The Biz of philosophers is to make explicit the covert judgements of reason and take a second look at what is “evident” (Being) (B&T)
Truth is not a relation of the ideal to the real (Methexis) nor an adequatio of ratio to res. Truth is Aletehia, a disclosedness of beings as themselves. But Aletheia exists only as long as Dasein exists. So that if no one thinks of Being anymore the truth of being will be lost and reality misconstrued. The task of philosophy is to think about being, which is to say the task of philosophers is to become and help others become Daseins.
Our world is thouhjy provoking because it lacks thought and because of it, as Nietzsche saw in the 1880s `”The wasteland grows”.
What calls for thinking? Instead of trying to give a quick answer, we must stay with the question, for it will lead to the one thought that belongs to each thinker (Mine might well be: what is dwelling?)
In H’s and N’s view each thinker has but one thought and by holding fast to it we are claimed and gripped by it (our intelligent obsession) and we will forever hover over the center of this one thought. For N that thought was to start philosophy anew and for H the oblivion of Bieng, I’ve come to stewardship and hold fast to it see where it might lead.
H claims the overcoming of the spirit of revenge of modern man cannot be dealt with from the framework of ethics, psychology or religion, since they work only with injunctions of the type “Thous shalt not” but leave intact the framework of what is man (the lord of being) without challenging that he is instead the stewards of being. The approach we need is one that addresses us ontologically: what is man? The place where being can unfold. This approach in one stroke challenges our relation to Being and only thus can the spirit of revenge (dominate the world and make it subservient to our needs) can be overcome and with it Das Man.
In “Letter” H reproaches modern ethics for being too lenient on us and not asking with enough depth, that we merely act according to a standard accepted by our society instead of living up to our full potential. That we’ve forgotten our place in the world and try to patch it up with ungrounded moral rules (N and MacIntyre make the same point). Ethos once meant abode as well as character and it may well be that one’s character is related to one’s manner of dwelling.
Mood is not dependent on our experience of the world, rather it is already constitutive of how we experience things, how being happens to us, how we fit together with being. The proper mood for philosophy is awe (Plato, ATT) but Descartes mood is doubt. In order to philosophise, we must first attain the mood in which it can be done.
To think is to listen. By listening to words, we hear the being of beings, but if we forget a word’s roots, if we use them lightly, if we abuse it, then we fail to listen. Perhaps the fundamental task of philosophy is to rescue language from everyday use and abuse, to
"protect the power of the most elemental words in which Dasein expresses itself from being flattened by the common understanding to the point of unintelligibility".
While in H not everyone is able to become a philosopher or steward, he sees them as necessary to recover the sunken Atlantidean perception and creating or living that new way of relating & perceiving being
Being able to see differently does not entail the abolition of technology and a fall back into Luddism, but rather the overcoming of Das Gestell, the development of an ability to see things as sacred rather than just as objects. Modern science cannot do this because its power and usefulness derive form enframing everything as an object to be calculated, measured, weighted, broken open to peer into ints entrails.
What we need is not an abolition but a “turning”, a new unveiling of reality.
"Everything depends on this: that we ponder"writes H, that we engage in the kind of thinking which allows ‘“the arising of the saving power”` (QCT).
Philosophy must defend our key concepts lest they become so flat they no longer point to the reality of being. So few concepts now link back to our experience of being. We today have knowledge about things but no knowledge of, no experience of that reality. Art wants to take us back to that raw experience of things but our world of images takes us away.
A phainomenon is what “shows itself in daylight” (Greek phis), it’s concept of truth is not correspondence to some idea in our minds, but a simple apprehension of what it (an apprehension not seen through the lens of Gestell).
In a sense what H is saying is what the Oriental Tradition has said over & over, that our perception is tainted by lack of awareness, that our image of the world is decaying where everything & everyone is just a thing & nothing is sacred or awe inspiring anymore because that is how our Western Tradition has taught us to see. But behind the appearances of things there is a richer reality -a web of life as mysterious as it is wondrous- waiting for us to discover it. To do so entails
"cleaning the doors of perception" -making a Lichtung- in the midst of our mental jungle so we can see the world without the mediating concepts of our centuries old prejudices. We need a new type of perception that is not a function of ego, that allows us to free beings and see them as they really are.
In the Daoist tradition the end of all meditation and spirituality is to be Yang, that is empty, like the mother of all things because the matrix nurtures and allows a being to show itself as is. H echoes the wisdom of the Dao that says:
"Do not improve the world, it cannot be improved. It is already sacred. If you try to improve it, you will ruin it." In QCT H echoes this with the plea to return to sacredness, to make the world sacred by letting it be.
The cultivation of receptivity makes diaphanous the sacredness of the world. By making a “Clearing” we become aware of “The Presence” (that s why H thought later in life tha a better title for B&T would have being C&P).
It can be the foundation of of a different relation to the world (ecology), others (Mitsein) 6 ourselves. Ecologically we free beings and accept they too have a right to be in this world for their sakes, that we do not own rivers, woods, sky, and animals that dwell (Chief Seattle) but treat them as sacred nodes in the web of life. In relation to others we no longer see them as enemies we’ve too protect from with laws and ethics tha we can flaunt when no one else is watching. And in relation to ourselves, we stop thinking of ourselves as a machine that has to be kept in top form to be productive and have barely down time to recuperate strength. Instead of being bound by external constraints, it’s our understanding that binds us to a certain way of acting and being and as Socrates knew our understanding binds us more tightly that law because the mind tends to congruence with itself.
For Dasein to recover itself it must care so much for Being that it lest things speak for themselves (thus in order to recover itself Dasein must first recover Being by learning to listen to it, or in other words, learn to grasp the world from a radically different perspective than that of the ego (Enowning??)
We approach our world from different perspectives: To want, to hate, to be curious about create different relation to the objects around us. Phenomenology requires we set aside our prejudices and learn to see directly, abiding by what we see, without asking -out of curiosity- what we “can do with it”.
There are 2 fundamental ways to perceptive things: in a way that impoverishes it or in a way that cherishes all its potential. The scientific and tech perspective approaches things from a perspective already loaded with expectation: what we can do with it, how can we use it or transform it into something we can use. This perspective knows not how to abide by things.
H believes our modern way of seeing has impoverished beings, it has pigeonholed them into one of two categories (subject/object) and beholds them only through the eyes of how they can be useful to us. We´re not only missing a category (NHLBs) but a vast range of truths about being, so our worldview has become impoverished.
To cultivate receptivity is to fix our attention and make certain it is free of interference so other things drop away and become irrelevant, when we overcome the distraught state of temporal dispersion (thinking about past & future) and concentrate on our present experience (flow), she we set everything aside and prepare to enter in a relationship with the other by giving it our undivided attention (which according to Simone Weil is a form of prayer), when we let the other speak to us. when in the face of the other we are limp, relaxed, open and receptive.
When we take care of things we come across pragmata, useful things. But what is obscured by our Gestalt or contextual perception is that there is no such thing as a useful thing: it’s the context that makes the thing useful. A hammer is only useful if it is suited to the task at hand but this handiness –its use as a tool for a particular task- obscures its original being: the more we use it the less we are aware of what it is. Thus we never really encounter beings in conceptual virginity, rather we come upon being in our everydayness by circumspection (seeing objects in context). In these cases our attention is always upon the work to be carried out, not the tool. (SuZ 69-70)
But understanding remains a private affair, it requires not only the engagement of curiosity does not afford but the quiet and communication that run counter to idle talk and ambiguity. A Dasein that does not understand plunges into itself psychologically and eddies in its own inauthenticity which is entangled everydayness and thus dissatisfying
In order to learn to think we must stay clear of polemics for
"Polemics fails from the outer to assume the attitude of thinking". Because we never think against a subject but for it. In polemics we already assume we know and must defend or convince the other of what we know. The more public the polemics the less the probability of arriving at truth.
Only a man capable of withdrawal can transfigure existence for creativity comes only to those who are capable of reverence.
"It is the stillest words that bring on the storm. Thoughts that come on dove's feet guide the world". The man who can change the world is never found in the strident worlds of politics, power, media or money, nor in the human herd. Rather like Zarathurstra and N, they are to be found in rare air:
"30 thousand feet above human affairs, amidst the ice and the high mountains."
H’s position can be better understood from the Daoist perspective. The will to power with its action & manipulation can be likened to the Yin force. always full of itself and pursuing some far off goal. The cultivation of receptivity is the Yang force, a nurturing force settled on the present well being of things, it is empty and thus creates space, it lets be rather than impose its will, it shelters.
True philosophy is first and foremost self affliction for we must cause ourselves much affliction by refusing to run from angst and boredom, we must cause ourselves much disquiet by refusing to take the easy way out, in order to gain authenticity.
Philosophy is for H
"A Propedeutic for alert existence". And our alertness begins by realising we tend to see things and others (NHLBs) as objects ready to serve some useful purpose of our ego. A first step out of Gestell is to restore to others the freedom to be not as a resource for our needs/wants but as things that exist for themselves first and foremost. This freeing up form the stranglehold of our ego is Seinlassen.
Men who summon the
"supreme courage to solitude in order to think the nobility of Being"might become Being’s seekers, preservers, custodians who can create a philosophy or way of life which can
"provide the people with a spiritual place of abiding".
"To think is above all else to listen"In order to reach the foothills of thought we must stay clear of prejudice, of thinking we already know, and must be ready to listen what things want to tell us. And the first thing they tell us is how strange it is that they are at all.
Though H does’t make the connection explicitly to listen in Greek is related to obedience. To listen (prosecho/ akouo) translates as pay heed, attend, perceive, bring near, be attentive, devote thought and effort. So to listen is to obey, since H does point out that thought does all these things and is key to dwelling
"in order to dwell, we must learn to listen"H writes. That is, in order to dwell we must be silent and pay heed to the world around us so we bring it close to us and can understand/obey what their nature commands.
A step in the right direction, a must if we’re t get closer to Being and allow Ereignis to happen.
For H, “coming to silence is the ‘logic’ of philosophy”, it allows Being to manifest itself.
How does one discover the nature of these givens? (ultimate concerns) In one sense the task is not difficult. The method is deep personal reflection. The conditions are simple: solitude, silence, time, and freedom from the every- day distractions with which each of us fills his or her experiential world. (p. 8)
All contemplative disciplines share a love of stillness, silence, and attention (Gifts of Spirit).
Often we must be silent; holy names are lacking,
Silence—does this merely mean: to say nothing, to remain speechless? Or can only he who has something to say be truly silent? (Elucidations p. 216)
To learn the free use of one’s own possibilities means to devote oneself more and more exclusively to being open for that which is assigned, to be alert to what is coming, to possess a sobriety which without staggering in varied courses holds fast to that one thing which is necessary. A sober, observant openness for the holy is at the same time an attunement to quietness, the rest that corresponds to the “restfulness” of which he thinks. This resting is the ability to remain in what is his own. Such remaining is present only as a learning journey, the homecoming return to the origin of what is his own. (Elucidations, p. 141)
Since the point of art is to be beautiful – to facilitate the ‘feeling of the beautiful’13 (WR I: 202) – it follows that it must seek to promote ‘disinterested’ perception, perception which occurs ‘under the complete silence of the will’ (WR I: 187). What follows from this is that art must never be calculated so as to rouse the appetites. (Young Schopenhauer 114)
a word or term invoking the dynamic attempt to experience truth is, for Heidegger, die Sigetik.
“in itself sigetic, precisely bearing silence in the most explicit meditation.” (Contributions, Ss 23)
In Letter H asserts that ontology -the recovery of Being- is the original ethics. The Dao echoes this where it says
"when the Dao disappears there is ethics, when ethics disappear we have ritual." This is why mindful heeding is so important: while ritual is just mindless repetition, ethics is an externally enforced respect for the world, whereas if one experiences the world’s sacredness one internally and with inner conviction not just do no harm but actively nurture and protect.
When a thing has broken down and we become aware of it beyond its fitting in the context of its usefulness for us, we do a double take on things and free them from our enflaming. This is heedful circumspection, a looking around attending to things themselves.
The relation between truth & beauty, thought and love has been obscured by our Western will to power, to act over things. For centuries we’ve thought to little and acted too much and the weld chaos is the result. We’ve imposed our wills on the world and crushed our ability to listen. But to think is to listen: to pay heed to what things are.
Physis in Greek did not mean a realm of beings (as does Natura in latin) it was rather a verb, an action constantly being undertaken by beings to come forth, to come and stay in presence. So physis is subtle: unlike the tech world that is constantly calling to us and demanding to be heard, physis does not impinge on us, challenge or confront us. It hides so that if one is pre-occupied or looking the other way, one might miss it completely (see Dillard’s essay on Seeing). Nature requires our attention to be disengaged, free, alert and ready to be summoned at a moment’s notice so we micht notice what appears from nothingness. Physis arises and waits. It is and ´”Ereignis waiting to happen”`but in order for it to happen to us, we must be presencing it.
Dasein presences Being only when it has no expectations, then whatever emerges s thrilling and brands Dasein to Ereignis and the doorstep of eudaimonia. For in those cases we’re doing what is fitting for human beings to do: receive and appropriate Being. This experience is rare not only because we’ve forgotten it belongs to our lot but because of all the Being happening in the Universe there are relatively few capable of actually receiving being: us.
Taking care is ‘to linger with something’ to dwell with things and let them be in this dwelling –which entails the refusal to manipulate things- perception takes place. And by realizing its dwelling with Dasein opens up a possibility: that of a different relation to beings, one not presided by the subject/object paradigm but one based in Seinlassen. In order to gain phenomenological access to beings we must reject the prejudice that crowds our perception. (SuZ61-68)
To be heedful or aware is to bring near with our intention (direction of awareness). Thus, to discover something we must first free it or relieve it of the familiar context and heed it per se. Making room or granting space (Gelassenheit) is a priority of Dasein. Unfortunately Dasein is usually crowded or preoccupied with the world and cannot be heedful or give care which is in essence a betrayal of its one essential possibility
Poets are those rare beings that can recognise the mystery of Being intuitively. But they go beyond that: they are able to articulate it for the rest of us, so that their words resonate deeply with those familiar with meditative thought who, nonetheless, cannot put it in words of their own. Poets are “gods”. Homer has Ulysses confront a priest and a poet and kill the priest and spare the poet because it did not feel right to kill one close to the gods (check Hamilton)
In order to see part of what is concealed from us, we need to learn a different kind of thinking. Heidegger names this type of thought “meditative thinking” and it entails allowing the mystery of Being to presence while allowing it to remain a mystery.
In order to appreciate being we must be absorbed by it, not in the way of Verfallen (entangled) but in the sense of become one with (arrobar?) and this presupposes we refrain from production and manipulation and learn to adopt the attitude of “merely lingering with” the world.
In the Dao this “lingering with” is Wu-Wei, not trying to impose on the world our agenda, will or mindset, but rather a surrendering of the will to the rhythms and movements of the world, being attuned to its fluctuations rather than struggle to “have it our way”. As H put it
"the essence of truth is freedom", meaning we only get to really understand the other’s essence when we free him from our expectations and allow ourselves to experience him as himself.
Truth is beauty because the essence of truth is the disclosure of what is hidden and what is hidden is beauty (Being). For this reason poetry has a lot to do with thinking.
Philosophy allows us to approach reality from a perspective that frees up our world from the clutches of the sci-eco-tech worldview. It does not add to being (it is not a romanticising or fictionalisation of being) but rather allows it to show itself in its full potential, unfolding aspects we cannot see with our sic-tech glasses.
We have lost poises, the ability to see the world as a sacred place, a place where origin self-discloses.
102.- The essence of man is language. Language as voice or writing shows affections of the soul (Aristotle), that is what we care about. Those affections of the soul are what is present for us for language is “a labor of spirit as articulated by thought” (Wilhelm von Humboldt). Language is then a synthesis of object and subject, presence of Being and awareness or care.
103.- Language is not identical as speech for we can say a lot in not saying, silence is too a form of speech, as it is hearing for speech is also hearing: that is, choosing the exact word that resonates with our caring. Hearing is speech in advance and we can hear language only because we belong to it (we hear and speak only about that which we care for).
104.- Hearing & speech require the open space, a space that is the bestowal of the thing’s language to itself. Propriation is then a simple, near way of dwelling in the world. The human way to dwell is to allow a way back to things themselves, to keep that road open which takes us back to Being
105.- Language is the house of Being because it alone gathers and guards the true essence and the way back to it both by selecting words, hearing them resonate and making the propritiative silence for them to speak.
To do “meditative thinking” one must make a Lichtung to allow the presenting of things as they are, not as we have made them out to be in order to satisfy our ego. If we let things be we’ll come to understand we never can really explain them, not in the sense of whence they came or how.
The Dao is emptiness and from it spring the 10 thousand things as from a womb, in virtue of its allowing space for the other, life nestles in it and is nurtured, so the Lichtung is a conceptual emptiness from which in-sight into the real nature of things can spring.
Just as islands are not free to choose what seeds will grown on their shores, but are dependent on the winds and tides to carry seeds to them, we cannot force life and ideas to grow on our souls. All we can do is to be receptive, to clear our fields so the seeds of Being can find the right conditions and nurture those seedlings by keeping our ecosystems free of the “will to power” plague. By keeping our east fallow and receptive we foster the appearance of Being. But such receptiveness requires we are vigilant and mindful lest the jungle of our mental chatter (verfallen) takes up every square inch in our little planet and like the Little Prince’s Babobabs, sucks out the nutrients and make real thought impossible.
It is useful to let things lie before you and take them to heart, but in order for us to partake in things ontologically we must first make a Lichtung so that the presence elf being enfolds us and we become not just aware of the existence of the beings around us, but indeed that we fulfil our own existence as Dasein. That is thinking and nothing else.
"the problem of Being is ultimately a problem of freedom"for it is our inability to free the world from our manipulative and controlling perspective what stands in the way of our ability to relate to it in a deeper way.
45.- Origin is essence, the source of essence. The origin of a work of art is the artist but an artist is such because of his work. So both depend on art itself to be what they are. Art may be said to be a thing with a peculiar form: stone carved in certain ways, a canvas painted, a series of notes or words arranged in a particular order. In this sense, art is symbolic: the sym ballein or bringing together of two things (thing & form), it is what makes public something other than itself, an allegory.
46.- Art is then a ‘thing’ but a thing maybe a piece of wood or stone, it may also be an airplane or radio, or even death and judgment (the ‘last things’). Lifeless objects and objects of use are for us ‘things’ but we hesitate to call a ‘thing’ something that is alive.
47.- The first sense of a thing (as wood or stone) is the substratum or ground on which some qualities are assembled (stone is grey, bulky, shapeless, but this things are underlaid by the thing itself). The Greeks called this ground Hypokeimenon, what is already there. The characteristics –Symbebekota- were “what always turned up along with the core and occurs always with it”. Thus the sense of a thing for the Greek mind is always a sense of presence.
48.- But the Latins translated these voices into substantia & accidens; the words were translated but not the Greek experience of presence. The words are rootless -& with them Western thought- for the Ursprung or original presence or experience is missing. Without Ursprung things are just familiar, lifeless objects of use, that inspire no awe or wonder.
49.- We transpose our way of understanding into things themselves so we lose sight of what was once amazing in the world. This violence, concealment or manipulation of things into conceptual molds has made many a thinker disavow thought & embrace feeling & mood. But it’s not by disavowing thought that we get to that primal experience we feel has been lost in logic/ language, but by making thought more thoughtful or aware of itself.
50.- This is effected by giving space to the thing (Gelassenheit) which sounds simple but is, in effect, complicated. There are 3 ways to go about understanding a thing: a) to let only sense perception –sounds, sight, feelings- prevail without interpretation; b) to forget sense perception in interpretation; or c) to let the thing be self contained. The first pushes things too close to us (we could not listen to a storm but to wind and rain); the second pushes them too far away from us (it becomes only Gestalt); while the third allows us to discover the constancy –prevailing- of a thing in its true Being.
51.- To learn Gelassenheit we have to go beyond the form-matter prejudice, for form-matter are themselves originated in a theory were all that is, is made, it is equipment either made by a creating God for humans or by humans themselves. But equipment –useful things- are only an intermediate way of understanding Being; one that ‘judges’ or catalogs Being either as ‘things’ (not useful) or as ‘works’ (as in art) which again turns out to be ‘merely aesthetic’, that is, not useful.
52.- This useful criteria shackles thought and allows no insight into Being so that usefulness has boundless presumption & becomes the evident category with which all else should be measured. What is needed then is to keep this presupposition at bay & not try to force out way into the nature of Being, but rather let it reveal itself to us as “something other” than a piece of equipment.
53.- Equipment is revealed as process, matter/form and usefulness. For example a pair of shoes is made by hands, leather to work in the fields. These are all ‘earth’ elements or ‘mere things’ but a thing to reveal its true nature a thing must also make diaphanous its ‘world’ elements; that is, the meaning it gathers from its being a piece of equipment & something more. Van Gogh’s shoe allows us to see beyond the useful character into something else: into the essence of equipment that comes from reliability.
54.- The reliable character of equipment is both what turns it into a familiar (dull) obhect & ends up turning it into a ‘mere thing’ (when it breaks down & is no longer reliable). This discovery of the true Being of equipment was made not by description, matter & form or process but by looking at a work of art. Aletheia –unconcealment of Being- occurs in the work of art.
55.- Art brings to light the truth of Being, art is –contrary to common opinion- not a place for mere beauty but rather beauty is the nimbus that comes with Aletheia as it happens. Truth is an event, not a correlation or agreement for there is no adequatio of mind to anything that could yield a Greek Temple. Yet the temple is and it is beautiful because it lets the timeless nature of Being to show itself in Aletheia.
56.- There is then something pregiven to the artist (a glimpse into Being) that is given in such a way that can be re-given in a poem, a painting, a building. And this what is pregiven and expressed is at once true of particulars (the Roman fountain) as of universals (every Roman fountain, every pair of peasant shoes). What art discovers is essence.
57.- Truth happens in art almost clandestinely, that is the truth of art, not the idea that there is a thing (canvas, wood) on which a form (landscape, carving) is superimposed. For art is no chimera, half matter, half form; it is and was projected from inception as a place for disclosure of original truth.
58.- A work of art in a gallery or modern theatre has already become interpreted being; its world –the original one in which it had live meaning has decayed and withdrawn. It is the work of art in its world what brings out earth, the invisible, sheltering element in which human worlds dwell. Earth is what conceals itself yet supports all that is (silence is earth, music is world) and these are not two structures superimposed in each other but different modes of Being: one towards concealment (earth) one towards making itself known & eclipsing the rest (world). A work of art opens a space into which this strife earth/world comes to the fore.
59.- Useful things in as much as they are world, eclipse the earth or material on which they depend –‘uses it up’- while art brings to the fore the earth element –stone, gem, color- & conceals the effort (world) in such bringing forth. One conceals itself, the other boasts; one highlights the individual true natures of its elements, the other pretends they do not exist (a good metaphor for good leadership). Earth shelters and secludes itself, world opens up & reveals. In the delicate balance of the work of art world opens up a space where earth can be itself (in contrast to science that ‘opens’ up by reducing or destroying, art is Gelassenheit of earth).
60.- Earth, if allowed, shines forth: colors shine, rock gleams but provided we don’t try to analyze & decompose it but rather appreciate it & not ‘use up’ its nature. It is by letting be tha pigments, rock qualities, words are not mere instruments, that they regain their weight, significance & true Being.
61.- The work of art has then a happening, a truth, a spontaneous forthcoming or self-revealing of earth in the midst of world; a perpetual strife between concealing and revealing that highlights or carries beyond each nature or mode of Being & by contrasting them makes them overt (silence/sound), The work of art creates a space in which this strife is not solved (as in science) nor mystified (as in religion) but kept open indeterminately.
62.- Truth means today correspondence, certainty even. But that man can be deceived points to a concealment essence of things. Truth is therefore never an existent state, it is a happening. It is this character of reality –partly overt, partly covert- that allows decision to exist. For decision means that we both know and don’t know at the same time.
63.- A work of art opens a region, a space in which nothing is deducted or rightly represented (a Greek temple does not represent anything but itself). In art truth is unconecealed and this revelation is its beauty. Unconcealed truth –aletehia- is beautiful because it expresses Being.
64.- In art Origin is present, essence is shown, brought forth. Techné is not mere craftsmanship though craftsmanship is necessary for techné, techné is knowing, a having seen Aletheia –Being unconcealed- and thus striving to bring it forward, to let it emerge. Art is the epiphany of truth.
65.- This epiphany occurs in strife: world seeks to reveal, earth to conceal. Between them they create a space where neither wins, the result is then neither nakedness (science) nor mystery (religion) but a chimera, a being between that is beautiful, mysterious and revealing. Truth is comprehending but not mastering, beholding but not controlling, seeing but intuiting there is more to a thing/person than that which we are able to grasp.
66.- The strife or art does not conceal it has been made, but its createdness dose not make it sink into ordinariness. The fact that art is created gives it relevance, it is an extraordinary presence amongst other manufactured objects. For the space opened by the work or art transports us out of the realm of the ordinary so that an ordinary piece of wood or color is a gateway to the truth that is happening in the work. It allows us to be in the midst of beings.
67.- Art takes us to an ecstatic entry into the world of Being where knowing is willing and willing is knowing, for we want to preserve that open space that the work of art has opened for us to step in and witness the unconcealment of Being. This ‘experience’ is neither fleeting passion nor a knowing art’s formality. It is a bringing us into affiliation, a making us accomplices of the Truth being concealed & revealed simultaneously in the work of art.
68.- Art is the happening of Truth, it is creation for it comes out of nothing, there is no thing that produces it, rather it springs from what is beyond things & concealed by them. This beyond is also concealed in words, for language allows a thing to manifest the aspect under which it’ll be known. Thus, all art is in essence poetry: the naming of its truth.
69.- A work of art is so inasmuch as it removes us from commonplace perception & makes our own essence shine forth & stand in the midst of Being. In this moment occurs a bestowal, a founding of truth, for truth is Ursprung, a fountain, a leap beyond, an overflowing of the awesome character of Being that can never run out. A work of art never runs out of its power –which is Aletheia- & so becomes timeless for it speaks to every generation as to whereas the primitive lacks he resources to go on & be reinterpreted by different Gestalts or worldviews. Aletheia is numinous.
70.- Art is historical in as much as it is the preserving of truth in the work. Art lets truth originate, it is not mere experience but a recognition that Beauty and the truth of Being go together; that if art is beautiful it is not because a form was imposed on matter, but rather because ‘forma’ took light from Being and then became aidos (image) which was cast upon hylé. This bringing together or hylé & aidos (as a result of having perceived Aletheia) becomes the energeia in the work of art (its numinous character). It is this energeia which becomes presence (actuality), then is depicted poorly as reality and objectivity which then –in the guided aesthetic experience- is to become lived experience. But if we do not remember the whole process Beauty-Aletheia, becomes merely an object of art & an aesthetic experience.
So beings must be interrogated with regard to their being, but in such a way that first they have already made themselves accessible as they are and not falsified by our preconceptions and theories (SuZ)
To be for the Greeks was ousia, to be present. Phenomenon (from Greek Phainestai/Phaino) “to show itself, to bring to light” comes from phos/light. A phenomenon is what can show itself/be brought into daylight (can be made visible) And what is being made accessible is Aletheia, from alethes, to discover or uncover what a thing really is (as opposed to pseudesthai to conceal, cover or deceive). What is true is aesthesis, the sensual apprehending of something (colors for the eyes, sounds for the ears), pure Noein or apprehension of beings as such (red qua red not qua “beautiful red ball”). SuZ
Thought is not far from love for as Hölderlin says
"who has thought the deepest, loves what is most alive". This means that deep thought reveals life, existence, Being and speaks to us in the language of love, care and admiration.
From our discussion so far it seems clear that in Heidegger’s diagnostics Modern society’s ailment is Gestell, our inability to snap out of the technological perception that turns the world into a warehouse of resources. It should also be clear that this ailment is synonymous with what Heidegger calls “loss of the Gods”.
A first conclusion then would be that in order for us to start dwelling we need to turn our back on technology and become Luddites. In fact, many a Heidegger critic accuses him precisely of that. Yet this conclusion is far from what Heidegger has in mind. To help us understand what Heidegger means let us travel back in time to 5th century BC Greece and listen to a myth created by Protagoras, the only Sophist Plato admired.
Protagoras, like Heidegger, is trying to pinpoint what makes dwelling possible and this is what he comes up with: After many failed attempts at making viable a “superior” human race, Zeus fashioned the current one from clay. Like the rest of Zeus’ creations, man was not given any special gift. He was not placed at the center of creation, nor made in Zeus’ “image and likeness”.
The god of the Greeks was fair and so he sent Prometheus a trunk with all the gifts he’d fashioned for all creatures: speed and agility to hunt, thick furs and hides to resist the weather, the ability to swim or fly, sharp claws and teeth to tear prey apart, the know how to climb trees and dig burrows, etc.
These gifts were to be distributed fairly amongst all the creatures and Prometheus was to hand them out. But Prometheus’ brother Epimetheus beat him to it and started distributing gifts left and right. He thought he’d done a good job of it until this pathetic creature came along and Epimetheus found to his dismay he had not reserved a gift for it.
The creature was, of course, man and it was left with empty hands: he was weak, unable to run fast or swim or fly. He had no ability to climb or dig, nor teeth or claws to eat or defend itself. He was naked: his skin exposed to heat and cold. He was indeed pathetic and hopeless.
When Prometheus came back and saw what his brother had done he was furious. But there was nothing to be done: the gifts had been handed out and there was no claiming them back.
A deep sense of compassion moved Prometheus: without gifts, man would not survive long. So Prometheus did the one thing that was in his power to do to right Epimetheus unjust oversight: he went to Olympus and stole the sacred fire of the gods.
The fire was called “techne”, practical intelligence and with it man was able to create protheses for himself: he lacked claws and teeth? It didn’t matter because with techne he could fashion tools for himself.
He had been denied speed or the ability to fly? With techne he could build cars and airplanes and be able to do both.
He had no gift for climbing or burrowing? No problem. With techne he could make ladders and assemble bulldozers.
His skin was exposed to the elements? With techne he could build weapons and kill animals for their hide, he could fell trees and build himself fires, he could quarry mountains and build himself houses, townships, cities.
There was indeed very little man could not do one he had received the fire of practical intelligence.
But Zeus was appalled: the fire of the gods was a gift too powerful to harness. Man, he knew, was not up to the task of mastering it.
Sure, man could do a lot with techne, but without restraint techne would be man’s -and creation’s- undoing. That’s why -Protagoras said- after punishing Prometheus for having violated Themis, Zeus sent Hermes with two additional gifts for humankind:
Aidos and Dike. Shame and Justice, so that humankind would be bound in friendship and not perish again.
Why, we must ask, of all the possible gifts did Zeus send us these two? And why on Earth send us “Shame” rather than some positive feeling like brotherhood or compassion?
The short answer is that Protagoras knew that without shame and justice technology is bound to imperil our survival and that of our world. And this the very same point Heidegger makes when he speaks of Gestell.
So, in order to close the door on Luddism, let us unravel what Protagoras and Heidegger mean.
Notice first that neither suggests Zeus take the gift of techne back, or that we return it. We are technological beings, our very survival is bound up with our technological abilities, so the answer is not doing away with our power, but rather, learning to use it well.
This is were “Shame and Justice” come in.
First, let us look at “Shame”. The Greek word aidos -usually translated as shame- is a complex concept. We feel shame when deep in our hearts we know we’ve done some wrong, when we know we’ve overstepped our limits, when we’ve failed to live up to a moral ideal or social convention.
Amongst us, shame is a reaction to having violated a deeply held principle or having fallen short of the expectations we or others had of ourselves.
In its Greek sense, however “aidos” is not just a bad feeling at having fallen short of some personal mark or social convention, but rather it is the shame of having transgressed the natural order of things, of having failed ourselves and others in essential ways (as humans).
Aidos is felt in the aftermath of hubris, for it is a failure of reverence. So, when Protagoras says Zeus sent aidos to men in order to temper the effects of technology this is what we must understand:
Technology gives us the ability to transgress the natural order of things, it places in our hands the power to destroy, damage, rape and experiment with -human and non-human- living beings.
By itself, technology knows no restraint. Its only limit is what at any given time it is able to do. Its only rule is its own advancement.
If, let’s say, at a given time it is possible for it to create a lethal injection and test it on a child (as it was possible during Nazi Germany), it will do so in the name of its own progress.
If it is possible for it to extract six instead of two eggs from a hen, it will do so regardless of the pain and suffering it causes.
If it is possible for it to fell a rainforest in a day, it will do so without a thought to the damage to the biosphere, the needs and rights of the human and non human inhabitants of the forest or to the life-saving plant species that could become extinct in the process.
Technology or, in Heidegger’s terms, Das Gestell -the technological mindframe- feels no regrets, no reverence, no shame.
It transforms without pause, destroys mindlessly, eats up constantly, consumes endlessly and to such extent that mankind has become the first and only species threatened not by its failure to adapt to its environment but by its success in adapting the environment to its wants and needs.
And this means we have lost aidos. We have lost reverence.
We no longer feel our mission is not to exploit but rather to protect, preserve and nurture every creature in our world and its habitat so they can flourish.
We no longer care for what things are, for what they feel. All of our concern is how we make them useful to us.
This is what Heidegger calls “loss of the gods” -not that the worship of the Judeo-Christian God has declines- but rather that we no longer hold anything sacred.
There are no limits to what we do because our only limit is technological and technology’s only limit, we have seen, is what it can do.
But to be able to do something is a poor reason for actually doing it. This is the lesson of aidos: that even if we can do certain things, preserving our humanity demands we abstain from doing them. That we forego the hubris of believing we are masters of the Planet when we are, in effect, only its stewards.
One of the things non Modern cultures had was aidos. A sense of shame, reverence.
To step back is to become aware that the tech of our civilisation is a giant machinery of exploitation: of man by man, of earth and NHLBs by man. This tech civ recognises no untouchables, no sacrality, it makes everything available, uncaring of whether it destroys the ground that supports it. It is a manner of unsupporting, of turning being into inventory, of hybris.
The stance of Gelssaneheit is always difficult for a being whose essential condition is concern and anxiety for its own future. We are always planning, always foreseeing, always looking after ourselves and so we tend to see only how things can serve us and pay no attention to their essential richness.
Thought is literal concentration (gathering up), devotion, thoughtful meditation, abiding by something so we can faithfully re-produce it. Thought is an inclination of the heart towards being. Think comes from the old English word “thanc” that points to think/thank. To think if to be grateful.
In thinking we’re grateful to thought for letting us abide close to things and hold them in thoughtful meditation and by doing so, thought bestows on us the gift of our own nature: essential man (Da-sein) the shelter where essences can abide. The “thanc” is the heart’s care and whenever we’re able to take things to heart it touches us and reveals our own nature.
"The First duty of love is to listen". Paul Tillich
For a brief time in the history of thought to think was to unconcealed, Aletheia. It was effected by Legein -let lie before us- and Noein -to take to heart and preserve the integrity of what lay before us. These two unfolded into each other naturally and were a process of give and take, we gather in order to preserve, and preserve in rode rot gather.
To let lie is not to grasp or manipulate, to take to heart is not owning. To let lie and take to heart imply respect for that which engages our attention: Being. To think is then to respect Being as it is, disclose it, think it because its mysterious nature is what calls us again and again to thinking.
Ereignis is “event” the event of mutual appropriation of human and being. It takes hold of us and we of it, we fit together Being with our capacities to be receptive of it. When we fit, we’re at home, we dwell. (H&H)
Er-eignen originally means to take in with the eyes, to catch sight of, to glance towards what calls -to appropriate. Appropriation is catching sight of what calls to be seen, we appropriate being when we catch sight of it. Enowning is appropriation as in another’s love: I make it my own without removing it from the other. Ererignis is to make the other’s being my own without misrepresenting its essence. To allow the other to arrive at its essence while at the same time us arriving at our essence as beings capable of being receptive of being.
Only after withdrawal, solitude and silence can we create a mood which stems form the relation we have chosen vis a vis Being. And the final stage is jubilation which comes from having been able to sit still and think for
"to think about something in H's sense is to return dignity to it"(Safranski)
Having lost poises, we have lost Ereiginis, the experience of transport and enchantment, of rapture when we let things show up as
"radiant, charismatic, sacred"beings.
Once Er has happened we care for that Being, we are concerned for its well-being and want to protect it and preserve it. We take it into our car, which is to say we dwell with it.
Why do we care after going through an Er experience? Because our experience
"is essentially affective and not merely coloured by affective states", this means that
"the mood one is in is not independent of one's experience of the world; it is rather constitutive of the way we experience things". To put it another way: we don’t experience the world as it is, we experience it according to the mood we’re in. A person in a bad mood will experience the world as a nuisance and obstacle (do a reality check at rush hour!).
"Moods (partially) determine how being happens to us, moods determine how we fit with being".
We Er-eigen something, we take it with our eyes, catch a glimpse of it, we make it ours (entwining) while at the same time we are appropriated, enraptured by the experience. Then we achieve our essence as the being who can receive Being and at the same time the thing achieves its essence as it is, beholden for what it really is and not as an instrumento for some other end (bird house, shade bringer, etc).
If we are to save our world from extinction, we must recover the gods, that is we must articulate a culture where we can once a agin relate to one another in a spirit of community (Mitsein), and regain our roles as shepherds of being or stewards and guardians of the world’s sacredness. Only thus can we feel at home in the world, firmly rooted in a web of meaningful relationships and a sense of mission. Then and only then can we reach our true essence as human beings, Daseins or beings specially related to Being and “inner spaces” where being happens. To this enlightened state Heidegger calls “dwelling”.
"The divine is not some region in the beyond but a transformed reality within man and his relation to nature. An enhanced, adventurous, wide-awake life... jubilation at being in the world". (Safranksi, 286).
The Modern worldview is a
"total mobilisation" vs life and the Earth, which by turning spirit into instrumental reason has resulted in the "darkening of the world, the flight of the gods, the destruction of the earth, the transformation of men into mass, and the hatred and suspicion of everything free and creative". (Safranksi, 289)
Reverence was expressed in the festival. Festivals gave pre Modern man a sense of sacred space and time.
Art is festive because the real artist does not judge but rather tries to reproduce what he sees. His method is descriptive not prescriptive and thus he is able to create something in which `”each thing -a tree, a mounting, a house, the cry of a bird -loses all indifference and commonplaceness.”´. Art reveals mystery without trying to explain it or attempt to discover its causes or usefulness. It is a different relation to being because man’s stance has shifted from control to awe.
What do we need to step out of the clutches of Gestell and our violent relation to Being, the Earth and each other? H’s answer is the festival, a stepping out of our mode of doing, working, rushing. A time out that unlike our weekends does not mean to merely entertain ourselves & restore our energies to go back to work but rather a celebratory occasion, a feast, an ecstatic state of coming to oneself and escaping our
"perceptual illusions of harried everydayness". A time for re-creation, for being so we might encounter the world’s numerousness, its radiance. A festival which is to see the world through poetic or meditative thinking, so we see the world and our existence as a miracle gifted to us.
Seen through mood of the festive state, the world reveals itself as contingent, as mysterious, fragile and worthy of our protection. We feel gratitude and wonder, that we’ve been gifted with the opportunity to be, wonder that we are in such a beautiful place as this planet. We then enter the festive state, a celebration of the world, of life, of the fact that we are and that there is something rather than nothing.
This mood transforms our sight and thus our relation and action: we no longer take for granted, no longer see through the blunted perspective of productivity, we no longer neglect that beings have to be protected and nurtured by us. We care. We see the divine everywhere, the “beautiful glow of heathendom” which means we see gods everywhere and are moved to authentic care, moved by beings’ owness to respect, reverence, protect and nurture them. We
"obey a protecting"of the essential being of beings, we become poets, we dwell.
Dos han sido los grandes absolutos para fundar la verdad: Dios y la razón y ambos murieron en la obra de Nietzsche.
La muerte de Dios implica la imposibilidad de fundar la acción humana sobre criterios absolutos y eternos, y si bien implica la pérdida de la brújula existencial, es también un momento liberador que nos permite prescindir de ideas incuestionadas e incuestionables en las que gusta anidar la sinrazón.
La muerte de Dios es la resurrección de la responsabilidad humana, de sus creaciones, de sus verdades y sus valores.
No hay ya necesidad de convencer sino de mostrar, de permitir que lo que es se manifieste. La verdad no es recetario, es una experiencia auténtica, original, nueva.
La verdad no está en Dios, ni en la Razón, está en lo que el ser humano es, en lo que ha visto cuando se ha dejado arrobar por la verdad originaria.
Lo contrario de la verdad no es el error, sino el olvido del Ser, un olvido que nos permite pasar de largo frente al misterio, ver sin mirar.
La verdad que hay que descubrir no es prestada (Re Montaigne y la erudición vs la sabiduría), es un dejar que la razón se ilumine de su propia fuente, es una verdad que es experiencia: la Aletheia.
Salvo la obra de arte, todo intento de comunicar esta experiencia, la desfigura; la verdad filosófica es incomunicable. Por eso se impone una nueva vía para el pensar filosófico.
El hombre es poder ser, un haz de posibilidades que no se realizan en su mayoría: somos seres más de posibilidad que de realidad.
Existimos, es decir existimos, estamos fuera, estamos situados o colocados. Por eso la existencia misma implica ya perspectiva y perspectiva parcial.
Esa perspectiva parcial es para Heidegger el Dasein, el ser ahí, ser en el mundo, que es la tendencia a ver el mundo desde la perspectiva de la cultura imperante, no desde una perspectiva personal.
El mundo en que vivimos es el mundo del “se” y del “uno” (Das Man) que son formas impersonales que imponen sus leyes y perspectiva sobre el ser auténtico que somos: en este mundo “se trabaja para vivir y uno vive como Dios manda”.
Cuando vivimos en este ámbito vivimos, pensamos, juzgamos y actuamos como “se” vive, pensamos como “se” piensa, juzgamos como “se” juzga y actuamos como “se” actúa: “Uno” no entra en el trasfondo, “uno” no se cuestiona.
Esto es la caída (Verfallen) de Heidegger que acaba por confinarnos en el hablar repetitivo, el chisme, la moda. Nos hundimos en el Dasein porque ahí nos sentimos en casa, a gusto. Es la zona de comfort donde nada nos hace cortocircuito ni nos cuestiona.
Pero para ser auténtico -para realizar de todas las posibilidades que nos son más propias y no las que la sociedad quiere de nosotros- requerimos encontrarnos (Befindlichkeit) porque la forma más impropia de vida de un ser de posibilidades es vivir de la forma tan poco realizante de posibilidades que la sociedad espera de nosotros (no nos exige ser más, sino ser normales).
Al vivir de la forma como se vive en la sociedad en la que hemos nacido es no abandonar nunca sus prejuicios y, por tanto, esquivarnos a nosotros mismos. Es fugarnos de nuestras posibilidades más auténticas.
Y es que la existencia inautentica es vivir ignorando la muerte -que no es otra cosa sino el cese de toda posibilidad- y ser incapaces de apropiarnos de nuestras posibilidades más propias por haber aceptado por norma los esquemas impuestos por la opinión pública.
Encontrarse es escuchar la voz de la conciencia no porque lo que diga sea moral, sino por que esa voz habla en silencio, se manifiesta como como angustia o “no saber estar” y que nos remite a nosotros mismos.
La conciencia, en su insistir silencioso nos pide asumir nuestras posibilidades: que vivamos una vida propia y no una prestada, ajena, alienada.
A diferencia de las planas y animales “somos” en la medida en que nos definimos. Somos el ser que debe lograr su propio ser y tenemos una deuda con nosotros mismos: nos debemos llegar a ser.
La conciencia no habla, invoca a nuestro ser más auténtico, ese que hemos perdido en el mundo del ser ahí. Pero sólo el hombre que ha pasado por el Befindlichkeit, que se ha encontrado a sí mismo, puede relacionarse con las cosas de tal modo que ellas lo lleven a la verdad.
El filósofo auténtico es para Heidegger quien se ha encontrado y jalándose de sus propios cabellos ha dejado atrás la comprensión miope y vulgar del Dasein. Porque quien es ahí se ha dispensado de vivir una experiencia original y simplemente habla de la experiencia de otros sin haberla vivido.
Esta falla -vivir de la experiencia de otros- no es para Heidegger producto de una perversidad moral. Es un problema metafísico que se deriva de la estructura o naturaleza misma del hombre y la verdad. El hombre por naturaleza se olvida del Ser (gaflah?) y la verdad siempre se oculta a plena vista.
La verdad, originalmente solo puede ser robada, extraída (casi como el potro de torturas de Bacon) aunque luego Heidegger modificará su postura y dirá: la verdad solo se aprehendo dejando ser (Gelassenheit) lo que implica desasir al ser, dar un paso atrás, dejarlo en libertad para que se muestre a sí mismo. Es por vía del Gelassenheit que se accede a la Aletheia.
Pero solo el hombre auténtico -el que ya no asume la perspectiva del Dasein- es capaz de retirarse y dejar que el ser se manifieste porque sólo él está a salvo de los prejuicios de su tiempo.
Y es que la verdad que busca Heidegger no es la de la ética, la física o ciencia. No se trata de encontrar el manual de instrucciones que nos digan como vivir.
La esencia de la verdad no es correspondencia -adecuación de la pensamiento a la realidad según la fórmula de Aquino- esa verdad notarial no es “la verdad”.
La esencia de la verdad es la libertad, dirá Heidegger, porque libertad es seinlassen -dejar ser al ente- no deformarlo para que sea lo que queremos que sea; se trata de retroceder ante el ser para permitirle que se manifieste como lo que es (Pyknosis?)
A la verdad llega el hombre auténtico porque es capaz de paciencia y la serenidad del desasimiento, del darle a cada cosa libertad para manifestarse en su riqueza total.
El Misterio hunde sus raíces en el olvido, así como la vida en el Dasein porque el olvido del Misterio hace que la vida del hombre se desenvuelva entre sus deseos y propósitos más inmediatos. La riqueza de las posibilidades del hombre se reduce notablemente: toda su energía es invertida en satisfacer esos deseos y propósitos inmediatos.
30.- Just like ‘Being’, the question of ‘Truth’ (not this or that particular truth) seems too general to be useful. ‘Common sense’ –which is nothing but the ‘obviousness’ in which we base our intellectual security- precludes we look into it for common sense is at odds with philosophy.
31.- If what we take to be ‘the usual concept of truth’ is nothing but correspondence –correspondence of an object to itself (it’s round) and the correspondence of an object to a statement about it (the ball is round). This adequation is theological in its roots: truth being what a thing was in the Creator’s mind (essence) but when stripped of theology, this truth is the ‘accordance to man’s mind’ of science & logic.
32.- “The essence of truth is freedom” but this is not an arbitrary ‘making things what I want them to be’ for the roots of untruth & concealment are in man, which in turn means ‘truth’ of beings is beyond man, in things themselves (remember ontology’s & phenomenology’s guidelines are provided by things).
33.- A transformation of thinking is called for, for freedom is letting things be –not in the sense of neglecting & indifference- but in the sense of creating about them an open space where they are not merely objects to be used/handled by us.
34.- Aletheia is to ‘unconceal’ to withdraw prejudice & preconception so a being can reveal to us how and what he is beyond our everyday (useful) conception of it. To Ek-sist is to engage in this disclosedness of Being. To deny oneself the possibility of Ek-sistence is to cover up and distort truth, to live in semblance.
35.- Truth as freedom is to be attuned to all the possibilities of a being, not just to ‘feel’ them. But this attunement is only open to a ‘beginner’s mind’ one that has not yet turned perception dull by familiarity, for familiarity is the enemy of Aletheia. Letting things be supposes an attunement (sensibility) to that which is more fleeting and unconsidered.
36.- The concealment of things is proper to the essence of things, to conceal is to accept that a thing is & what things conceal is the mystery of Being, that is the ground of what they are. Being is then pre-essential (existence precedes essence). This pre-essential Being is what is concealed & forgotten by man, who then clings to objects that are readily available to satisfy his immediate needs & desires. To reside in the sphere of ‘mere objects’ is not to let the mystery of Being surface.
37.- Even if forgotten the mystery shows itself –appears as symptom- and that is the clutter of life that fills the voids left by forgotten part of reality. Thus, man plans & strives, possesses and aspires to new things unawares it’s Being what he has lost & is striving after.
38.- Man makes himself the “measure of all things” & loses sight of the mystery of Being as things are only objects to satisfy his needs and thus being immersed or entangled in the world belongs together with forgetting the concealed truth. This passing by the mystery is erring. Errancy is forgetting Being, confusing it with historical being.
39.- Error can be said in many senses: falseness of judgment, lack of knowledge, wasting time, making a mistake or being led astray from Being. As such, error is also what makes possible to return to the mystery for experiencing errancy might make us alert to our myopic awareness. To glimpse a way out of the mystery of errancy is to question ourselves for Being as such.
40.- Sophistry thinks this questioning for Being is an attack on common sense, while philosophical thinking is a “stern gentleness” to entreat the essence of things into the open & allow –as Kant would have it- no external imposition or decree.
41-. The essence of truth is the truth of essence; that is, we must bring forth the truth of an essence into a sheltering (from external pressure/internal prejudice) that clears (makes light) so we let things “essentially unfold” in an open space or clearing of our intelligence. To this bringing into an open, safe space for essence to show we call Aletheia.
In order to be up to the task of wielding his dominion over the earth in a way that leads to a higher purpose than mere ego aggrandisement, man must become a master of himself, he must subject himself to himself and overcome himself. He must become a superman -not in the sense of augmenting his powers but qualitatively changing his nature. Such supermen already exist amongst us but the are not to be found in the top echelons of society and culture exercising the will to power. Rather the supermen pass up the public limelight and retreat not just from the public eye but in the face of Being in order to make a Lichtung and be turned unto Daseins.
The overcoming of himself can be best understood by breaking up the journey into 3 stages:
1) Point of departure: clearly the PD is what one must leave behind and this is the world of Das Man, its thoughtless, hectic and mindless lifestyle; the superficial curiosity and opinionated and cluttered existence must be overcome. (1 & 2)
2) The Act of leaving behind: is a journey of transformation proper, Zarathustra’s tightrope, a transformation of our perception, our getting new eyes so we’re capable of welcoming, accepting, sheltering and protecting Being so we attain the full measure of Dasein. (3, 4, 5 & 6)
3) The point or arrival is our ability to dwell, to perceive ourselves and other beings as existing for our own sake, to become a space for the dwelling of being, to become its shepherds or stewards. (7, 8 & 9)
Man must overcome his fractured nature and go beyond the drives, perceptions and motivations of the last man. This change is qualitative, he is not the last man writ large (Superman in the Nazi sense) but its opposite: he rejects the boundless, quantitative (more! more! more!) progress of the last man. He is H writes
"poorer, simpler, tenderer, tougher, quieter and more self-sacrificing, and slower of decision and more economical of speech". A man of simple and modest pleasure and joyous restraint.
What calls us to think (our Dasein nature) añsp wants to be tended, cared for, husbanded by thought: our nature demands to be surrendered to us for our safekeeping. So the most thought provoking thing turns out to be our own nature inviting us to bestow upon ourselves the gift of our own nature.
We are is such a way that our essence is shown in our existence, we can be authentic -for ourselves and project- or inauthentic -lost in everyday mindlessness and averageness. We can be a who or a what (someone with a project who master his time and possibilities) or a piece of driftwood tossed here and there by whatever happens in our life. Existence is Ek-sistenz: being able to raise the level of our awareness beyond that of a thing (what), beyond the world of das Mann.
To be authentic is not to treat the other as equipment or a resource and philosophy as propedeutic for alert existence is care in action, self.caring so that in caring by ourselves we become fit to be with others (Mitsein), fit for Dwelling.
Authenticity is the name H gave to our relation to Being (Bezug sum Seyn), to our ability to see beyond our modern prejudice, to our ability to see & relate to others and our world in a different mode than that of productivity. To be poets and raise the world back to life, to awaken from the night of the Gods (Hölderlin).
Dasein is possibility but as such it is not given: it runs the risk of losing itself or never finding itself. The main obstacle to Dasein’s finding itself is ontic reality: the everyday indifference of ‘averageness’ SuZ
To be authentic is not so much an exceptional state of the subject (Ilumination) but how we perceive the “they”.
Care is our attunement to things, our concern for people but both are already interlocked with care for the self since this is Dasein’s very nature. Dasein can be authentic by being aware of its own possibilities and not leave them at the disposal of others in which case his project assumes the social context of inauthenticity. Taking care always presupposes the possibilities of the world: we don’t choose what we care for, it urges us
Dasein is the being with the most distinctive relationship to Being, in that we are beings who can ask ourselves about it, are concerned about our own being, our Existenz & what it means (conscious of Being and the fact it is limited) (B&T)
Man has broken himself in two -a physical and a metaphysical half- and has neither understood, nor has been able to reconcile the pieces. He has failed to see his task as Dasein is to be the physical being who can reckon with Being.
We are beings uniquely designed to receive Being, to bestow and preserve the essence of other beings: that’s what it means to ek-sist: to guard the truth of being.
To be Dasein is to gehören (belong) to being, hören (listen to it) and entsprechen (respond accordingly) to what we have heard. It is to obey Being. Presencing Being is a call to the human nature.
71.- Ever since the 16th century philosophy has been judged & has judged itself with the standards of science. It thinks it must elevate itself to a science or lose validity. Yet in such an effort thinking is abandoned & judged with a dwarf standard that does not measure up to it. Thinking is to embrace & love a thing, to bestow its essence back to it, to let it be & return to it the “quiet power of the possible” instead of objectifying it to make it accessible to everyone.
72.- Language is the house of truth not an instrument for our trafficking & dominating other beings. Before speaking we must let ourselves “be claimed again by Being” so that its priceless essence is again bestowed upon our words, though they be few. Meditating & caring is the essence of true humanism.
73.- The essence of man is further from the beastliness of animals & closer to to god’s essence, for we ek-sist, stand out in our relation to Being. It is only in us –when we provide the “Da”- that Being occurs. We are the clearing for Being to show itself. So we are more akin to the gods than to animals.
74.- One must be an enemy of humanism not because one champions inhumanity or barbarism, but because “humanism” (Sartre’s, Marx’s, Freud’s) sells us short. They do not realize the full dignity of man, which is to be the guardian of the truth of Being. It is by his presence –but not by his decision- that Being comes to presence & departs. Man’s destiny is to care for Being. Yet we cling to beings forgetting the truth of Being, we are ensnared (Verfallen) not thinking about the essence of the things we surround ourselves with.
75.- To be authentic or inauthentic is no moral qualification but rather an ecstatic relation to the truth of Being, but to be in relation to Being means to be related to beings but to go beyond them. To provide a clearing for them. Only when this clearing is provided can the holy show itself & radiate truth & only thus can man not be alienated as Marx rightly diagnosed. For homelessness is the abandonment of Being by beings, to leave Being with no thought.
76.- Contra Marx, the way out of alienation is not to be the “lord of Beings” but the shepherd of Being, the one in charge & care for its truth. Only a true humanism searches for humanity in the essence of Being. For this nearness is neither property nor possession, rather a Gelassenheit of Being so that things are not degraded to objects. Only then can the holy be thought, when its house (Being) is no longer neglected.
77.- An ethics from ontology must be thought specially as technology & its plans is looked upon as the only reliable truth but this ethics must not be thought apart from ontology. For ethics is a dwelling place for the essence of man to appear and in so far as what is man is brought to light the gods, too, make their presence felt. Ethics is then thought as a “recollection of Being & nothing else”: for having visited the abode of Being this recollection can become the standard for our conduct. Such an experience is indeed theoria in which we can live & move.
78.- Thinking (as Gelassenheit) is superior to practical/ production for it modifies our relation to beings though it might seem inconsequential & too humble an occupation. Thinking is the advent of Being. Once thinking has been accomplished it becomes the rigor of meditation, carefulness is saying, frugality in words, attentiveness in the way we live and relate to others. And this is true humanism.
This “exemplary being” is which the question of Being must be first elicited is the being which itself can inquire after Being; the being who as a mode of being inquires after the possibilities of Being: Dasein (existence or presence) SuZ
Dasein is a being unlike any other for it is the only being concerned about its Being & its way to relate to Being is Existenz. Dasein understands itself in terms of Existenz, the possibility to be itself or not. These possibilities Dasein stumbled upon & seizing or neglecting these possibilities is Existenz. To realize this option is to be “existentiell” but mere being is not existential unless Dasein realizes its purest possibility: inquire into the nature of life & its possibilities SuZ
Dasein’s nature is to heed, to care for. When we ‘care’ for something we are ‘occupied’ by it and this only happens when familiarity has not made us insensible to them or when they break down. SuZ
To say that we have impoverished ourworldview is to say we have devalued our essence, for our essence isa precisely to be aware & preserve the full range of truths and the authentic essence of all beings. When we fail to do this we fail to be up to our most essential task and full potential of our nature.
If we’re able to respond to beings call, if we have such ability -to be responsible- for and to Being, then we’re able to thank as we think for we realise how privileged we are and we dwell and become happy in the deep sense of being eudaimon.
If we lose the gods, we lose also the part of our soul that communicates with them, the daimon. Without the daimon we don’t pay heed to our needs of transcendence, thus we lose the opportunity to achieve eudaimonia.
Being happy in the deep sense is dwelling in a way that is fitting for us as human beings, that is letting Being happen to us, receiving being since we are the only ones capable of it. (H&H)
A daimon is not a god, it is a divine spirit, something linking man to gods. To care for the daimon is the task of philosophy because to be eudaimon is what we all want. To be eudaimon is to be stretched between facticity and transcendence.
"Da-Sein is the *between* between man and gods" (H).
Ek-sistenz happens to us when we let Ereignis take place, when we allow for the mutual appropriation of being & human being. In these moments of contemplation we might say we’re happy: we fit together with being, want nothing, strive for nothing, we are relieved of concern, we’re in the here and now. We feel at home. We have fitted our capacity to receive Being with the gift being offers to us and which is nothing else than itself.
They have the same root “hap” which came form “luck, chance, lot” and also points to “suitable, fitting, convenient” (a happy turn of phrase is one that is suited to the occasion), thus happiness etymologically points to a life suitable to humans: a happiness based on how being happens to us.
Plato takes note of the relationship between fitting and happiness when he makes dikaiosyné the virtue which helps the should do its ergón or proper function which is to achieve eudaimonia. To be happy one must be just and that means `”to live within the limits set by our necessary wants”‘ (Republic, B1). The frizzed city, the same as the frenzied soul know no limits and become unjust. The message is further driven home with Protagoras myth of aidós. To be eudaimon is to recognise limits: both in relation to consumption and in relation to the Earth and the reverence we owe to it because of its sacred nature. Thus the just man is the reverend man, the one who is able ti fit in with being rather than lord it over the Earth for the sake of his limitless, frenzied wants.
Happiness is a ´”sort of fitting”´(Richard Kraut), a fortunate one. Humans are happy when they have the fortune of finding themselves dwelling, when they can indulge in those experiences in which the happening of Being is most apparent.
To dwell is the deepest kind of human happiness but H warns, such happiness
"cannot be encountered directly"for it is a relationship between ourselves and our surroundings. Happiness is then an event that cannot be sought but only propitiated by making a lichtng, by cultivating receptivity, bu learning to think we arrive at Ereiginis and an altered perception of Being that paves our way for an altered relation to Being.
The moment existence arises it shares a world. Being in the world is, from the start, being with others. There is never a moment when we are “lone individuals” who must decide to enter a social contract with others. We are always with others. That we might think we’re alone, for, against or indifferent to others is a defective perception born of the Modern myth of individuality.
Philosophy is an exercise in courage, a letting
"nothingness encounter us"and see if we cannot turn this nothing into something worthwhile. And this begins by experiencing authentic care which is to say we turn away from concern about our needs and wants (Sorge) and begin to care for others in their own nature, we protect and nurture then rather than use and exploit them.
What we care for determines and defines our nature, we become what we are able to gather together in thought because we become devoted to it, we shelter and learn to protect its essence and dwell with it.
To have an inner world is to be with (Mitsein), it is to care. Dasein is constantly caring because it is bound up with the world and its possibilities, Our essential being is Mitsein (not an afterthought or social contract or decision): to-be-with (not just be in), to care for the world.
Being with is to take care of other’s concer, but we might do that authentically or inauthentically. When we unburied the other of his concern, we take over and make the other helpless, dependent or dominated by us, we are taking car inauthentically. Authentic care is considerate and tolerant as seeks to SHARE concern, to support and nurture to the extent the other can’t do it for himself (subsidiary).
In order to be capable of AC we have to break away from seeing others as objects. When we see others as objects we seek to manipulate them and “order” them according to our ideas & needs. We also stay out of other’s ways because we know in their eyes we’re things to be used. Blake said
"I must create my own system or be enlsaved by another man's"and that is essentially what happens when we relate to others as objects. Jom Rohn has this saying that
"others have very little planned for you"and this exactly what happens when we don’t see others as beings in their own right. We should always help the other in a way that does not castratre him but help him help himself. De Beauvoir and Freire take up this idea in their works on helping the oppressed. Social leaders are usually inauthentic in their care (as well as the Church) for they want their followers not only to do as they say but to need them always.
Care is neither will, wish, predilection or urge. Care is founded on Angst, which is the dizzying discovery that neither the world (existing) nor being in the world with others can for itself make us feel at home. In order to feel at home we must act, take care of things. Otherwise we might have a house but not a home.
Care is concern and as such it implies 3 things:
A) A horizon of time: caring implies a desire that that for which we care for prevail or happen.
B) We care for what is already important to us, so it implies a concern for ourselves.
C) What we care for are others in their relation to us, so we imply Mitsein in car, for to discover our potentialities is also to discover the world in which those possibilities exist and what makes them possible.
See Red Book B&T 39 and Boff
If we tai care to be a compassionate attention that is concerned above all with the growth and well-being of the other, a taking to heat that helps its potential develop with the best interests of the other at heart, then it’s obvious that where there is no care, where neglect runs rampart, the wasteland in bound to grow because there is no one fostering nor nurturing the potential. Rather growth is being prevented and manipulated with the interests of the ego at hand, the ego of the one who’s doing the manipulating and exerting its will to power. such “concern” for a self-serving growth hurts the essence of the one who’s growing and makes him grow in a way that hurts its essence so he cannot be fruitful.
The absence of growth, the devastation doesn’t just hurt the other, but it hurts us because in caring for others we actualise ourselves also (Mayerhoff) and bu being unable to care for the other we too become bare and unable to unfold our own potential as Dasein. By not caring, by being so concerned for ourselves and our wellbeing we become inhospitable ecosystems to Being and become full of clutter (mental and physical) instead.
When care- selfless, compassionate attention attuned to the present needs of the other and ready to respond with his best interests at heart- is bestowed, both the care and the caregiver flourish, regardless whether they’re human, non human living beings or ecosystems. Thus, care is the antidote to the wasteland and the key attitude of the Steward. It to is the opposite to the will to power and “concern” for it does not entail an end result that will benefit me but a process that will enrich us both.
In caring what is important is to support the other’s process of growth, not to control the outcome or tailor it to our desires. Since process happens in the present, in order to respond to the other’s needs adequately, the other must be present. This in contrast to will to power which is “offended by time” since it is always a projection into the future outcomes and is always manhandling beings according to its future idea or that outcome.
To treat others and NHLBs as resources is to fail to see them as Dasein, as places where Being occurs, and thus mistreat them. For H writes
"these entities are not objects of concern, but rather of solicitude". Solicitude is the type of care we own one another for
"this kind of solicitude prtains essentially to authentic care -that is, to the existence of the other, not a 'what'" (suZ, 121,2).
• To care for another person, in he most significant way, is to help him grow and actualize himself.
• In the sense in which a man can ever be said to be at home in the world, he is at home not through dominating or explaining, or appreciating but through caring and being cared for.
• In the caring experience we see the other as having worth in its own right, as something or someone valuable and worth protecting, with capabilities and potentialities that need to grow and I could shelter or foster.
• “Devotion is essential to caring, just as it is an integral part of friendship.
• Devotion is my being there for the other with consistency and under unfavorable conditions-
• “Patience is an important ingredient in caring: I enable the other to grow in its own time and in its own way. By being patient I give time and thereby enable the other to find itself in its own time. But space is also an element of patience.
• Listening is a way to give the other person time to think and feel, to work his troubles and try to impose order on them.
• Honesty is also a key virtue for I must see the other as it is, not as I would like him to be.
• Trust: to trust the other is to let go; it includes and element of risk and a leap into the unknown, both of which take courage.
• Humility is present since caring is to be responsive to the other’s needs, so we must constantly learn and adjust our help, never presume we already know or that we have fixed a course.
• In caring we show hope that those possibilities will indeed come to fruition in a way beneficial to the other and that we’ve somehow encouraged them along.
• Courage is needed to go into the unknown, to know that in helping grow we are changing a relationship and that such change might exclude us in the future.
• In caring the other is primary, there is a selflessness in caring which implies heightened awareness and greater responsiveness to the needs of the other. That it is why in caring we actualize ourselves too.
• To care is not to focus on results, but rather on the process itself.
• “In the broad sense being-with characterizes the process of caring itself: in caring for another person we can be said to be basically with him, in his world in contrast to simply knowing about him from outside”.
• Caring provides an integrating center for our activities and experiences, it gives us a deep seated, enduring harmony, a relationship very distinct from either accommodating ourselves to the world or trying to subjected to our will.
• It is a submission of sorts, a giving up of certain things and activities, but it is a liberating submission like that of the craftsman to his materials. By caring we find our place in the world.
• “If caring is to be inclusive enough to enable me to be in place, it must be rooted in my distinctive powers. It must not involve me in a peripheral way only; I must be able to make use of my particular gifts. Unless my distinctive powers are sufficiently called into play, my caring cannot significantly order my life.”
• One must also care for the appropriate others -one of whom must be myself- and those who have developed a relationship of trust to me, that need caring for and that we can create ourselves mutually. This is true of a person, a role, an idea, an animal.
• I am and must always be on call for my appropriate others.
We approach our world from different perspectives: we want, hate, desire, are curious, etc. Each perspective creates a different relation to the object we approach. Phenomenology requires we “set aside our prejudices, learn to see directly and abide by what we see, without asking out of curiosity what we can do with it” (GA, 20,37).
Although it claims neutrality, the scientific-technological perspective approaches the world from a perspective already loaded with expectations. It always approaches things from the perspective of what we can do with it, how can we trasform it and use it.
This perspective not only does it not abide, but it impoverishes the world.
According to Heidegger, there are two fundamental perspectives from which we can approach reality: either we impoverish or we aloow it to manifest its full potential.
Heidegger believes since Descartes, our Modern approach to the world and to each other is of the former kind. The Cartesian worldview has pigeonholed reality into two basic categories -subject or object- and beholds them only through the lens of how they might be transformed or turned into something useful to us.
This worldview misses the rich spectrum of being that is neither inanimate nor can it be said to be fully subjective. The Non Human Living Beings -animals and plants- manifest being through a vast array of variations that we altogether miss when we treat them as objects. This is to impoverish our worldview.
But to say our worldview has become poor is to Heidegger cognate with saying we have devalued our essence. For the essence of man is precisely his awareness and ability to preserve the true nature of all beings. When we fail to do this, we fail in our most essential task.
Philosophy or what Heidegger later calls “poetic thinking” provides a way to free reality from the clutches of our scientific, technological and economic expectations. It gives us a way to approach reality in a way we can access it in all its richness.
Contrary to what we might think, “poetic thinking” is not about embellishing reality, nor enriching it. It is not fictional or creative, superimposing on things a layer of subjective perceptions. Rather, poetic thinking is a way to approach being in a way we allow it to unconceal all its potential, revealing to us inner truths that we could not possibly fathom from our narrow rational, scientific perspective.
Even if scientific, rational thought claim to approach reality from a “neutral” perspective that separates object from subject and pays attention only to the facts, Heidegger reminds us this way of seeing is neither neutral nor natural. “Facts” are already a man made category, one that has decided to mutilate reality, cutting it off from life as we perceive it.
For, Heidegger says, we experience life as care, as concern. “Life, he writes, is concern, more particularly in the inclination towards making things easy for oneself” (GA, 61, 109/RS 114).
Concern (Sorge) and providing (Besorge) are the fundamental movements we oscilate between. This concern or worry for ourselves, “for making things easy for oneself” often delivers us into the stream of endless activity in the world.
We “fall” which is to say we forget our nature and also become mutilated beings, headless chickens constantly busy in providing for themselves. Yet our activism produces stress and existential angst, a malaise that invades us and insists there must be something more to life than the afflictions of the rat race and the joys of consumer culture.
This angst, if faced properly -that is if we refuse to impoverish it and treat it as “mere boredom or depression” which must be done away by way of entertainment, therapy, activity or drugs- has the potential to lead us to a deeper perspective if only we learn to abide by it, sit it out and face it.
This facing our boredom is philosophy, whose first movement is truly a Largo desolato. Heidegger calls the beginning of philosophy “Selbstkümmerung”, self-affliction for we indeed cause ourselves much disquiet by refusing to run away from our boredom and by learning to sit with our angst. But this refusing to sugarcoat or cover our angst is the first step to authenticity.
That is why for Heidegger, philosophy is a propedeutic for “alert existence” (RS, 125).
This alertness makes us sensible to the automatic tendency to see our surroundings -Non Human Living Beings and other humans included- in terms of ready-at-hand objects, “resources” whose sole purpose is to be there to satisfy some desire, want or whim of ours.
To see our surroundings in terms of resources is to Heidegger Seinvergensenheit: oblivion of Being. A forgetfulness of who and what our surroundings are and an amnesia of our essential task.
Thus, the first task for a philosophy of alert existence is to restore Being: that is, to remind us that other people, non human living beings and the Earth are not mere “resources” standing by to be used up or transformed into useful stuff for our comfort, but rather that they are rich beings that do not exist for our sake.
This freeing up reality from the stranglehold of our modern ego, is what Heidegger calls Gelassenheit, a letting things be so that we can be alongside them and not lord over them. “Man -Heidegger reminds us- is not the owner of being, but its shepherd.”
The stance of Gelassenheit allows a being to deploy all its essential richness does not come easy to us for, as we said, we oscillate existentially between Concern and Providing. We are always aware of our time horizon and always “ahead of ourselves”: anticipating, planning, forseeing…
This constant concern creates our fundamental mood: anexiety over the future, preocupation with the routines necessary to acquire enough for ourselves and ours. Life is a burden for man: he longs to be care-free, to have all his needs and wants secured, to be relieved of the responsibility to have to plan, provide and make something of himself.
We go into the world not only to get what we need, but also to evade ourselves from this angst and boredom. And in doing so we fall into the world of Das Man, a world rife with entertainment, idle talk and chatter where we no longer have to create our meaningful plan but rather just follow a set of well ordered steps -study, work, marriage, children, Sunday worship- to have our angst appeased.
We fear life, not death.
We fear we will not acquit ourselves well of the burden of existence. That we will get to the grave without having realized our true potential, that our lives will amount to nothing. And this fear of failure makes us run precisely in the direction that guarantees we will get the results we fear.
And it will be so as long as philosophy is seen and studied as an academic pursuit, rather than an existential one. Authentic philosophy, Heidegger reminds us, is an exercise in courage, a letting “nothingness encounter us” so we might realize meaning is not bestowed but created. So we might turn this nothingness into something worthwhile.
By letting nothingness encounter us we become aware of the uncanniness that we are and that the world is. And it awes us and surprises us there is such richness and diversity of events of being, for all we encounter is a manifestation of being. And then each manifestation becomes an epiphany.
Then inauthentic care -concern for other beings only in as much they serve some purpose and satisfy some need- can give rise to authentic care. For we understand now that “these entities are not objects of concern, but rather of solicitude” (SuZ, 121).
Solicitude appears only when we have realized our surroundings are not equipment or resources, but rather that they too are Daseins as ourselves. Solicitude is the kind of care we owe another: “This kind of solicitude -Heidegger writes- pertains essentially to authentic care, to the existence of the Other, not a “what”…”(SuZ, 122).
That is solicitude appears when we start seeing beyond the subject/object divide, when we are ready to bestow on others the richness of their essence, when we are authentic. For the mark of the authentic man is not to treat himself or others as equipment or resources (RS, 167).
The moment we can do that, we have enriched our world and self-affliction gives way to philosophy as “care in action”, for in caring for others we become fully humans, able to perform our essential task of preserving essences and thus able to abide by things, able to be-with others (Mitsein) and capable of dwelling.
The human essence stands at the crossing points of the four regions. Dasein is the intersection where Earth, sky, gods and mortals meed. In man the divinities beckon to the holy (heilig) and the whole (heil). To realise how all that is points to a sacred mystery, an ursprung that calls in turn for reverentia, that we stand in awe of it, that we let ourselves be affected by the awareness of Being.
94.- We attain dwelling by building and the way in which we are in the world is dwelling. We dwell which means also to cherish, protect, preserve & care for. We build a dwelling earth.
95.- We are dwellers which means we remain in a place where we are at peace, free from harm & danger. To dwell is to spare or free something so it is at peace in its essence. To dwell is to be at peace, to free or spare things from being manipulated through oblivion of their essence. To dwell is to admit the fourfold essence to be manifested in a thing: earth, sky, men & god.
96.- To be with, Mitsein, is to learn the unity of the 4 fold: to save, which means to remember the sacred in things & not merely to appreciate the instrumental. To dwell is to be at peace with things as they are in essence & not to have the constant urge to make them part of the transformation process. We must learn to be Dasein for only he who is “there” for Being, truly lives authentic life. While he who neglects neither lives nor dies. To dwell is to stay with things.
97.- A thing whose essence is preserved gathers the 4 fold way in itself. It is not merely an object with accidents lying on it. The “accidents” already pertain to the thing, they belong to it for the thing allows a site or locale for the 4 fold: it allows its truth to appear. To allow truth to appear is to dwell, so our basic homelessness is not a shortage of houses but the fact that we no longer think (use language) for the sake of dwelling.
In on tic (day to day) reality we understand our being essentially related to the world (Mitsein) but the way we understand the world is reflected back upon us & thus distorts Dasein (i.e if I perceive the world as a competitive arena I tend to understand myself/my worth in terms of my success or failure in that arena).
Dasein is not isolated, for its Da (there) is already a Mitdasein (being there with others) thus our self is not the conceptual, isolated ‘self’ of Descartes but ontically we cannot discover ourselves either (for being absorbed in the world of others we are not ourselves). To find Dasein we must first acknowledge that others are our reference point, one that is not accidental but essential (we define ourselves by reference to others). This being with does not go away when we are alone, for alone is a deficient mode of ‘being with’, the reference to others is still there: their lack determines our aloneness. This mode of Being, deficient as it were, is also possible in other ways: being for, being against, indifference, aloofness, and these modes of concern preside our everyday being with others. Other ways of concern are paternalistic: to take away someone’s care and make it our own; and the authentic care which makes care transparent for the other and frees him for it: that way of taking care is tolerance and considerateness (114-123).
To make the other transparent and free is to disclose the other, something that happens only when we concern ourselves with it/him. A feat only possible if we have befriended ourselves, for only then can we feel our relatedness to the other
To live well one must be just, Socrates teaches. He who is just is eudaimon, To be just is to do what is fitting. Fitting points to limits. To be just is to observe proper limits: to distinguish between needs and wants. The “fevered city” (fevered soul) does not fit inside its own borders, it becomes unjust as it impinges and consumes that of other cities and towns. It
"disregards the limits set by their necessary wants". But modern happiness consists exactly in this: not respecting limits, hoarding all we can, need it or not, making no distinction between needs and wants.
In Greek meant “abode” and “character” so ethos designates our relationship to other beings: our manner of dwelling is related to our character and viceversa.
Modern happiness is based on the opposites of what makes eudaimonia: no limits, no reverence, no adios. Everything is there, ready to be turned into an object of pleasure and nothing commands our respect and awe.
H equates lingering with (see above) with dwelling and defines it as
"the refusal of every manipulation and use" to perceive what is present in our terms. Dwelling is a result of Seinlassen because in freeing the world we’ve agreed to dwell in it.
To dwell in the world is to take care of it, we become involved with things in the world and we take them into our care. We are affected by it, we let or affect for it show, we feel it. (H&H)
To dwell, H says is
to be at peace, to be brought to peace, to remain in peace... to be preserved from harm, to be taken care of...
take care of no only means we don not harm but that we... leave something in its nature or when we gather something back to its nature
To dwell is to take care-for-each thing in its nature. The fundamental character of dwelling is to take care of. (BDT)
To dwell is both to be taken care of -to feel free, safe and protected in our essence- as it si to take care of -be mindful and protective of things., to ket things come out of their
"injurious neglect"and become obedient to a protecting. To dwell is to switch from exploitation to conservation but not out of fear we’ll run out or our children will not see, but rather out of a sense of mission.
Why does this change us? Because we are determined by what interests us & what interests us is what we care about. If I care for nothing but myself and my things I’m an egoist, that is a person unable to experience plenitude because plenitude comes from being-with-and-for-oothers.
So a change in interests -in inter-esse in how we are between beings- changes our relationships and ourselves.
The dweller is the one who lets things be, by sparing and preserving them so they can come to the fruition of their essence. Dwelling is guardianship but in order to be able of it, we must cultivate receptivity & poetic thought so we might appropriate things as they are in the festive state of Ereignis and not as objects there for us in the enflaming of Das Gestell.
By not being able to dwell we not only wreak devastation on the earth but we deny ourselves our own essence, For to be human is to be a being who dwells”.
Building has dwelling as its goal. To dwell is to remain in place, that’s why the Old German bauen is related to bin (as in Ich bin): we are as long as we dwell on the Earth.
But dwelling also means to cherish and protect, to preserve and care for, to till the soil and cultivate the land. So there is a building that does not mean to construct or “make something (aedificare)”, but rather cultivare, simply preserving and nurturing what its.
Dwelling is also to be at peace and it means to spare: to safeguard the essence of all beings that are with us (Mitsein). These other beings are the Earth that blossoms and fruits, rises as plant and animal; the sky with its stars, sun, moon, weather; the divinities and other humans. Dwelling is preserving the fourfold unfolding of these essences. (Making a Lichtung for all 4 to show themselves)
Preserving is saving and keeping safe and that means snatching these things from danger so we can set them free in their essence (Seinlassen). This dwelling means to “stay with things”, that is to pay heed to and care for:
∘ The earth and not subjugate or exploit it;
∘ The sky and not turn night into day or viceversa into a “harrassed contest”;
∘ The divinities and wait for their intimations
∘ Our essential nature as mortals whose true nature is that of dwelling places for all other Beings (Da-sein).
Our nature as dwelling places is to make room, to free up space and become a locale or site where the four the fourfold can gain admittance and shelter. Building, then creates locales by delimiting spaces where one can dwell, building is to let dwell (Gelassenheit) and to build is tikto, to bring forth (from which techné springs).
“Only if we are capable of dwelling can we build”: only if we can let-be can we bring forth our own essence and that of the world. And this process of dwelling (paying heed and caring for) is ultimately effected by thought but unless (heedful) thought can be paid to building (bringing forth), our dwelling in this Earth will forever be imperiled.
We must learn to dwell.
Stewardship today faces no obstacle as formidable as vengeful thought, that is why N preached “deliverance from revenge” as the one hope, the bridge that man must cross if he is to fulfil his higher nature.
We think of the turning as a reversal in H thought, but it is not. Die Kehre, the turn is what we must to to appropriate being. We must turn to things, rather than have them turn to us.
"Insight into that which is...is the Ereignis of the turning within being". That is, in order to really have an insight into reality we must turn to it, let it appropriate us as we appropriate it, we enown it, it becomes ours as is, not as we wish it to be.
But it is awesome that things are. Being is something things DO. They are constantly preserving and offering their essence to those beings that can receive it: us. When we catch sight of a Beings essence we can appropriate it without taking it from him (as we would do with someone’s love, we make it ours but not by snatiching ut but by sharing it).
Our salvation and that of the world depends that we engage in thinking of the kind that allows flourishment and release of the things and openness to mystery: meditative & poetic thinking.
And though it may be true that only a god can save our culture as a whole, we as individuals can begin the restoration and become “beings who dwell”, who
"foster the saving power in its increase·.
There is no “world turning”, only a personal turning, a caring for things that is both passive (non noccere) and active (bringing forth).
Dwelling is the practice of guardianship: to snatch something from danger, to set free, to refrain from subjugation, to allow its sacredness to come through, to cultivate by
"listening to the request made by the land", to accept the `”quiet gift”´of the night and prepare the ground for the return of the gods.
We are shepherds of Being not its lords and what does a shepherd do? He listens to his flock, gathers it, protects it, nurtures it. He listens and obeys to it so it can flourish and persevere in its essence.
Man’s role as steward allows him to be devout, mediative, grateful, reverent, relaxed. There is no gain but a transformed relationship to the world, started by the difficult first step which in this case is a step back.
"The shepherds live invisible and outside the wasteland of the devastated earth".
We are the sole guardians of the world’s sacredness, the only beings who are there for the wellbeing of the whole, the beings whose sole mission is to take care of things, preserve them in their essence, let them be.
When we turn away from that mission -and indeed we have gotten it backwards- we are left homeless: we forget Being and seek refuge in beings, we fear death for we see it not as the holy ground of Being (ursprung) from which we know nothing about, but as nothingness and annihilation.
Guardianship is an ethics (to ponder the dwelling place of a human being), it is a taking care of the oikos (home), so it is an ecological ethics, but one that encompasses the human realm -by helping others out of their misery, helping them make the turn, and become dwellers, to
"initiate the profound transformation".
To become a dweller, a guardian is to become voluntarily marginalised, to turn oneself into a cell of resistance to Das Gestell and seeking to create other such cells.
in how we’ve become Denethors and how we can once again become, like Gandalf, the Stewards that we are called to be by our very essence.
Being a Steward. What does it mean being a Steward. To me, above all the word embraces a truly human way to live in the 21st century. A lifestyle based first and foremost on the first item in the Hippocratic oath: Primum non nocere.
First, do no harm.
We have inflicted so much damage on our world, it reels against the abuse we have piled on our fellow human beings, nature and those non human living beings we share the world with. I will not make an argument here for the unsustainability of our current lifestyles but will rather remind us that in treating the world thus we have also lost our humanity.