[lit-ideas] upstairs

  • From: palma <palmaadriano@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 17 Feb 2015 07:21:01 +0200

"The comet itself, the monkey itself, Coca-Cola itself, resonate in cellars
of being where no relation reaches.", contemporary heideggerians in the
cellars, went for wine & found being - this is a real quote, I am in no
need of the permission of self styled nazis to read what I want

On Tue, Feb 17, 2015 at 3:41 AM, Omar Kusturica <omarkusto@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

>  The original comment was:
>  Why not just go ahead and say that everyone who does NOT make it his
> central business in life to read Heidegger and ponder his Nazism is
> stooopid.
>  Obviously it was meant somewhat sarcastically, but I don't think that it
> can be fairly construed as 'calling people stupid.'
>  O.K.
> On Tue, Feb 17, 2015 at 2:38 AM, John McCreery <john.mccreery@xxxxxxxxx>
> wrote:
>> So be it.
>>  John
>> On Tue, Feb 17, 2015 at 10:29 AM, Omar Kusturica <omarkusto@xxxxxxxxx>
>> wrote:
>>> Well, you obviously misunderstood.
>>> On Tue, Feb 17, 2015 at 2:27 AM, John McCreery <john.mccreery@xxxxxxxxx>
>>> wrote:
>>>> Perhaps a simple misreading. But I have never liked calling anyone
>>>> stupid.
>>>>  John
>>>> On Tue, Feb 17, 2015 at 10:21 AM, Omar Kusturica <omarkusto@xxxxxxxxx>
>>>> wrote:
>>>>> Hm... are you sure that you read what I wrote ? Or was it a deliberate
>>>>> misreading ?
>>>>>  O.K.
>>>>> On Tue, Feb 17, 2015 at 2:07 AM, John McCreery <
>>>>> john.mccreery@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>>>>>> For the same reasons that we do not say of those who make it the
>>>>>> central business of their lives to read the Holy Quran or the Holy Bible
>>>>>> stupid. One, it is not polite. Two, there have been some very smart 
>>>>>> people
>>>>>> who have followed this path. Three, how they came to make whatever it is
>>>>>> the central business of their lives is a fascinating question. Four,
>>>>>> failure to find a shared vocabulary of motives may leave only fight or
>>>>>> flight as options. Four is, quite likely, not terribly relevant to 
>>>>>> devotees
>>>>>> of Heidegger, now a small group armed only with an odd vocabulary. On the
>>>>>> other hand, if one of them writes the next *Mein Kampf *and a new
>>>>>> generation of right-wing populists take up the cause.....
>>>>>>  John
>>>>>> On Tue, Feb 17, 2015 at 9:00 AM, Omar Kusturica <omarkusto@xxxxxxxxx>
>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>> Why not just go ahead and say that everyone who does not make it his
>>>>>>> central business in life to read Heidegger and ponder his Nazism is
>>>>>>> stooopid.
>>>>>>>  O.K.
>>>>>>> On Mon, Feb 16, 2015 at 7:13 PM, <cblists@xxxxxxxx> wrote:
>>>>>>>> Initially, I, like many others, succumbed to the (fallacious)
>>>>>>>> argument (similar to 'jump[ing] at finally having a good reason not to 
>>>>>>>> have
>>>>>>>> to struggle with one of the most arduous and complex of contemporary
>>>>>>>> philosophers'  which Bernard-Henry Levy points out):
>>>>>>>> 'Heidegger was a nazi.  Therefore he had nothing of philosophical
>>>>>>>> value to say.'
>>>>>>>> It was only after coming to Germany in the mid-1990's and reading
>>>>>>>> of the extraordinary impact that Heidegger has had on 'Continental'
>>>>>>>> philosophy that I thought I had perhaps better at least have a look.  
>>>>>>>> And I
>>>>>>>> was both reluctant and careful; I spent two years reading the 
>>>>>>>> biographical
>>>>>>>> and critical literature (in German, French and English) on Heidegger 
>>>>>>>> and
>>>>>>>> nazism before actually reading anything written by Heidegger himself.
>>>>>>>> It was, in a way, the poet Paul Celan who *permitted* me to read
>>>>>>>> Heidegger at all.  Celan, and then the Christian theologian Rudolf 
>>>>>>>> Bultmann.
>>>>>>>> Bultmann and Heidegger were colleagues at Marburg in the 1920's.
>>>>>>>> They attended each other's seminars; and Bultmann appears to have been
>>>>>>>> caught up along with the others who quickly recognized Heidegger and 
>>>>>>>> his
>>>>>>>> teaching as something extraordinary :
>>>>>>>> ". . . thinking has come alive again, the intellectual treasures of
>>>>>>>> the past, long believed to be dead, have been made to speak again, and 
>>>>>>>> it
>>>>>>>> has been found that they bring forth very different things than one
>>>>>>>> sceptically assumed.  There is a teacher; one can perhaps learn 
>>>>>>>> thinking .
>>>>>>>> . . that thinking, that springs as a passion from the simple fact of
>>>>>>>> being-born-into-the-world . . . ." <1 - see footnotes below>
>>>>>>>> What Heidegger did for the intellectual treasures of classical
>>>>>>>> philosophy - making them speak again in a living, passionate voice - 
>>>>>>>> is no
>>>>>>>> doubt what Bultmann hoped to do with the spiritual treasures of 
>>>>>>>> Christian
>>>>>>>> scripture and tradition.
>>>>>>>> "Bultmann saw man as a questioning being in search of
>>>>>>>> self-understanding and affirmed that only the New Testament provides
>>>>>>>> authentic answers to the questions about the basis of human existence. 
>>>>>>>> . .
>>>>>>>> . Bultmann developed a kerygmatic theology in which the historicality 
>>>>>>>> of
>>>>>>>> the earthly Jesus is largely bypassed, while attention is focused on 
>>>>>>>> the
>>>>>>>> existential significance of the preached Christ for the hearer, who 
>>>>>>>> must
>>>>>>>> respond in the ever-present moment with faith (characterized as
>>>>>>>> 'decision')." <3>
>>>>>>>> During the Hitler years in Germany, Bultmann refused to modify his
>>>>>>>> teaching in any way to suit nazi ideology, and he supported the 
>>>>>>>> Confessing
>>>>>>>> Church - the German Protestant movement organized to resist nazi church
>>>>>>>> policy.<2>  (Perhaps the member of the Confessing Church best-known 
>>>>>>>> today
>>>>>>>> is Dietrich Bonhoeffer.)  Bultmann may well have hoped that an 
>>>>>>>> existential
>>>>>>>> ('demythologized') interpretation of Christianity would serve as some
>>>>>>>> answer to the woeful failing of much Christian theology in guiding
>>>>>>>> Christians in their 'moment' of 'decision' when faced with nazism.
>>>>>>>> Celan's relationship with Heidegger is well-documented <4>; the
>>>>>>>> ambivalence of his feelings towards and about *this* 'Meister aus
>>>>>>>> Deutschland' (see note <5>) is amply evidenced in his words and actions
>>>>>>>> during their several meetings.  After one such meeting in Heidegger's 
>>>>>>>> cabin
>>>>>>>> on Todtnauberg, Celan wrote in the guestbook:
>>>>>>>> "In the cabin-book, with the view of the Brunnenstern [literally
>>>>>>>> 'fountain-star' - see note <6>], with a hope in my heart of a 'coming 
>>>>>>>> word'
>>>>>>>> [kommendes Wort]."
>>>>>>>> Bultmann's account of his reconciliation with Heidegger after the
>>>>>>>> war has become for me *central* in striving to come to some 
>>>>>>>> understanding
>>>>>>>> of Heidegger's failure to speak that 'word'.  Many, not just Celan, 
>>>>>>>> awaited
>>>>>>>> from Heidegger some account or explanation of how he had been led into
>>>>>>>> error.  They awaited an *apologia*; not so much an admission of guilt 
>>>>>>>> and
>>>>>>>> request for forgiveness, but an explanation of what had seduced him, 
>>>>>>>> as a
>>>>>>>> key perhaps to understanding the seduction of so many others, and 
>>>>>>>> possibly
>>>>>>>> even as some small light of use for the examination, and search for a 
>>>>>>>> way
>>>>>>>> out, of . . . well, I can only *allude* to it as 'that horrific 
>>>>>>>> darkness'.
>>>>>>>> 'Das kommende Wort' was, for many, to be 'ein losendes Wort' - a word 
>>>>>>>> of
>>>>>>>> 'solution', of 'liberation'.  Some, no doubt, even hoped (but how could
>>>>>>>> *any* man fulfill *this* expectation?) for a word of *absolution* and
>>>>>>>> *redemption*.
>>>>>>>> Bultmann was well aware that they were all waiting in vain.
>>>>>>>> He recounts how Heidegger called him 'out of the blue' one day in
>>>>>>>> 1945: 'Hello - it's Martin calling.'  Bultmann was so little prepared 
>>>>>>>> to
>>>>>>>> hear from Heidegger that he responded: '*Which* Martin?'  Heidegger 
>>>>>>>> came
>>>>>>>> quickly to the point: 'I want to ask for your forgiveness . . . .'  
>>>>>>>> The two
>>>>>>>> met, and the dark chasm that had yawned between them closed
>>>>>>>> 'spontaneously'.  The trust - and friendship - of their days in 
>>>>>>>> Marburg was
>>>>>>>> joyfully renewed.  They ate and drank together . . . and then when it 
>>>>>>>> came
>>>>>>>> time to part, Bultmann returned to the subject of Heidegger's telephone
>>>>>>>> call:
>>>>>>>> "'Now,' I said to him, 'you must, like Augustine,  write your
>>>>>>>> _Confessions_ . . . not in the least for the sake of the truth in your
>>>>>>>> thought.'  Heidegger's face turned to a petrified mask.  He left, 
>>>>>>>> without
>>>>>>>> saying a word . . . ." <7>
>>>>>>>> Heidegger's involvement with nazism is deeply troubling for anyone
>>>>>>>> who comes into contact with his writing, is forced to acknowledge its
>>>>>>>> genius, and worries about its moral integrity.  Some say that 
>>>>>>>> Heidegger's
>>>>>>>> philosophy is a thing of evil;  not only is it 'de-humanizing', but it 
>>>>>>>> has
>>>>>>>> corrupted much of 20th century philosophy<8>.  At the other end of the
>>>>>>>> spectrum is the view that "Heidegger's philosophy is not compromised 
>>>>>>>> in any
>>>>>>>> of its phases [by his involvement with nazism], and that the 
>>>>>>>> acceptance of
>>>>>>>> it is fully consistent with a deep commitment to liberal democracy." 
>>>>>>>> <9>
>>>>>>>> The range of opinion is as wide as the list of works expressing those
>>>>>>>> opinions is long.
>>>>>>>> Heidegger lived long enough to oversee the beginnings of the
>>>>>>>> enterprise which is still issuing the authoritative editions of his 
>>>>>>>> work.
>>>>>>>> It is an impressive corpus which will run to over a hundred volumes.  
>>>>>>>> But
>>>>>>>> how much - if any - of one's time and intellectual energy should one 
>>>>>>>> spend
>>>>>>>> reading the work of an ex-nazi, who made speeches counselling 
>>>>>>>> unquestioning
>>>>>>>> obedience?
>>>>>>>> Celan and Bultmann permit me to read Heidegger, but they also
>>>>>>>> caution me to go very carefully.  The fact that Celan would have 
>>>>>>>> anything
>>>>>>>> to do with Heidegger compels me to refrain from condemning him 
>>>>>>>> outright;
>>>>>>>> the ambivalence of Celan's feelings warns me that there is much for 
>>>>>>>> which
>>>>>>>> Heidegger must ever remain on trial.  I accept Bultmann's word that
>>>>>>>> Heidegger's acknowledgment of guilt was sincere; I am both saddened and
>>>>>>>> troubled (as I'm sure he was) by Heidegger's failure to fulfill the
>>>>>>>> responsibilities that followed from that acknowledgment, and that 
>>>>>>>> guilt.<10>
>>>>>>>> It is not possible for me to convey the effect that reading and
>>>>>>>> listening (there are several hours of his talks available on 
>>>>>>>> recordings) to
>>>>>>>> Heidegger has had on my life.  I still remember the week of ecstasy - 
>>>>>>>> yes,
>>>>>>>> I literally 'stood outside myself' and watched as I went about my 
>>>>>>>> regular
>>>>>>>> 'business', with a significant portion of my intellect locked in a 
>>>>>>>> posture
>>>>>>>> of critical admiration of such logical integrity - that followed my 
>>>>>>>> first
>>>>>>>> apprehension of Aristotle.  The same ecstatic reverie is occasioned by 
>>>>>>>> my
>>>>>>>> ever-growing appreciation of Kant's architectonic.  And there are no 
>>>>>>>> words
>>>>>>>> to describe those moments and places which are the (timeless spaceless)
>>>>>>>> realm attained when thinking in the purely formal (no, *not* symbolic!)
>>>>>>>> languages of logic.  And for a time, such was the impact that some of 
>>>>>>>> the
>>>>>>>> writings of Martin Heidegger had on my . . . well, will you understand 
>>>>>>>> if I
>>>>>>>> leave it at 'being in the world'?
>>>>>>>> When I have tried to write about this before, I have (with more
>>>>>>>> than a hint of dark irony) invoked the characters of both the 
>>>>>>>> 'harlequin'
>>>>>>>> ("the man has enlarged my mind") and Marlow ("the farthest point of my
>>>>>>>> navigation and the culmination of my experience") from Conrad's _Heart 
>>>>>>>> of
>>>>>>>> Darkness_.  (I have found since that I am not the first to use 
>>>>>>>> metaphors
>>>>>>>> drawn from this work when talking of Heidegger.)  Yes, 'the man has
>>>>>>>> enlarged my mind' is meant in a positive, adulatory way - but 'farthest
>>>>>>>> point' and 'culmination' . . . well, here the 'darkness' draws in; I am
>>>>>>>> stopped and cannot seem to get further; I don't see my way *forward*
>>>>>>>> clearly, and am gravely concerned.  (Allow me a switch of metaphor 
>>>>>>>> here -
>>>>>>>> from 'river' to 'bridge'.)  Celan and Bultmann permit me to explore the
>>>>>>>> massive span of Heidegger's work; but at the same time they caution me 
>>>>>>>> as I
>>>>>>>> venture out and away from familiar shores.  At its heart - running
>>>>>>>> somewhere close to the center of all of his work - is Heidegger's 
>>>>>>>> notion of
>>>>>>>> 'authenticity'.  For all that talk of a significant 'turning' ['die 
>>>>>>>> Kehre']
>>>>>>>> in his thought, _Sein and Zeit_ remains the keystone of an arch that
>>>>>>>> reaches from the pre-socratic to the post-modern.  And it is not just 
>>>>>>>> I who
>>>>>>>> has, for all of their appreciation of Heidegger's genius, remained
>>>>>>>> convinced that there is a serious flaw somewhere in the heart of that 
>>>>>>>> stone.
>>>>>>>> - Chris Bruce
>>>>>>>> Kiel, Germany
>>>>>>>> <1>  Hannah Arendt as quoted in Ruediger Safranski, _Ein Meister
>>>>>>>> aus Deutschland: Heidegger und seine Zeit_, Frankfurt a.M.: Fischer
>>>>>>>> Taschenbuch Verlag, 1998 [1994].  I have, for convenience, followed 
>>>>>>>> Ewald
>>>>>>>> Osers' translation [_Martin Heidegger: Beyond Good and Evil_, 
>>>>>>>> Cambridge,
>>>>>>>> Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1998] here, but have been forced to 
>>>>>>>> modify
>>>>>>>> some minor infelicities.  English  readers, Safranski, and Heidegger
>>>>>>>> himself have been poorly served by Osers' error-laden work.
>>>>>>>> <2> Information from the entry for Bultmann on the _Encyclopedia
>>>>>>>> Britannica CD: 1999 Standard Edition_, Chicago: Encyclopedia 
>>>>>>>> Britannica,
>>>>>>>> Inc., 1999.
>>>>>>>> <3>  From Geoffrey Turner's entry, "Bultmann, Rudolf Karl", in Alan
>>>>>>>> Bullock and R.B. Woodings, ed. _The Fontana Dictionary of Modern 
>>>>>>>> Thinkers_,
>>>>>>>> London: Fontana Paperbacks, 1990 [1983].
>>>>>>>> <4> Safranski's account in his _Ein Meister aus Deutschland:
>>>>>>>> Heidegger und seine Zeit_ is as good as any I have read.
>>>>>>>> <5>  Safranski's title refers to Celan's 'Todesfugue'; in German
>>>>>>>> *everyone* is expected to recognize the reference (so much so that it 
>>>>>>>> is
>>>>>>>> nowhere in the book explicitly stated) which this title makes to the 
>>>>>>>> line
>>>>>>>> from that poem: "der Tod ist ein Meister aus Deutschland" [death is a
>>>>>>>> master from Germany].  Harvard U. Press chose instead to make 
>>>>>>>> reference to
>>>>>>>> Nietzsche with the subtitle of their English translation.
>>>>>>>> <6> In front of Heidegger's cabin is a wooden pillar-like conduit
>>>>>>>> for water from a well, topped with a (to my mind, at any rate,
>>>>>>>> 'Escher-like') three-dimensional carving of a star.  A picture of it 
>>>>>>>> can be
>>>>>>>> seen in Paul Heinz Koster, ed. _Deutschland deine Denker_, Hamburg: 
>>>>>>>> Verlag
>>>>>>>> Gruner + Jahr, 1984 [5. Auflage].  (I am compelled to note here that 
>>>>>>>> the
>>>>>>>> account in that book of Heidegger's involvement with nazism is not only
>>>>>>>> somewhat facile, but misleading.)
>>>>>>>> <7>  This account is found in many places. I have taken it from
>>>>>>>> Hugo Ott, _Martin Heidegger: Unterwegs zu seiner Biographie_, Frankfurt
>>>>>>>> a.M. / New York: Campus Verlag, 1992 [1988].  The translations are my 
>>>>>>>> own -
>>>>>>>> I have rendered the telephone conversation in idiomatic (but I hope
>>>>>>>> felicitous) English.
>>>>>>>> <8>  The most damning indictments of Heidegger's philosophy and its
>>>>>>>> influence I have seen are two books by Hassan Givsan: _Heidegger - das
>>>>>>>> Denken der Inhumanitaet: ein ontologische Auseinandersetzung mit 
>>>>>>>> Heideggers
>>>>>>>> Denken_ [Heidegger - the thought of inhumanity: an ontological debate 
>>>>>>>> with
>>>>>>>> Heidegger's thought] (Wuerzburg: Verlag Koenigshausen & Neumann, 1998) 
>>>>>>>> and
>>>>>>>> _Eine bestuerzende Geschichte: warum Philosophie sich durch den "Fall
>>>>>>>> Heidegger" korrumpieren lassen_ [an alarming story: why philosophy has
>>>>>>>> allowed itself to be corrupted by the 'Heidegger case'] (Wuerzburg: 
>>>>>>>> Verlag
>>>>>>>> Koenigshausen & Neumann, 1998).
>>>>>>>> <9> Julian Young. _Heidegger, philosophy, Nazism_, Cambridge, U.K.:
>>>>>>>> Cambridge University Press, 1997.
>>>>>>>> <10> It is was once my conjecture  that Heidegger chose 'to pass
>>>>>>>> over in silence' this subject in order to maintain a certain - well, 
>>>>>>>> for
>>>>>>>> the moment I will call it 'philosophical integrity', in his 'corpus'.  
>>>>>>>> The
>>>>>>>> man Heidegger was fallible - this he admitted personally in his 
>>>>>>>> confessions
>>>>>>>> of shame (to Jaspers) and guilt (to Bultmann).  But he could not bear 
>>>>>>>> to
>>>>>>>> see his *work* so flawed - and to this end he was even guilty of 
>>>>>>>> tampering
>>>>>>>> (in 'minor' but highly controversial, ways) with his manuscripts.  A
>>>>>>>> written, or even publicly announced (for that, like his other public
>>>>>>>> 'utterances', would be transcribed and find its way into the corpus),
>>>>>>>> 'confession' could compromise the integrity of his work.
>>>>>>>> Recent (and ongoing) publication of Heidegger's notebooks has
>>>>>>>> revealed that the matter is perhaps at once both simpler and more 
>>>>>>>> complex
>>>>>>>> than I or many others thought. But I continue to side with those who 
>>>>>>>> argue
>>>>>>>> that Heidegger's personal failings are no excuse to dismiss his 
>>>>>>>> writings
>>>>>>>> without critical engagement with them.
>>>>>>>> Jonathan Rees expresses it as well as anyone: "Philosophy is about
>>>>>>>> learning to be aware of problems in your own thinking where you might 
>>>>>>>> not
>>>>>>>> have suspected them. It offers its readers an intellectual boot camp, 
>>>>>>>> where
>>>>>>>> every sentence is a challenge, to be negotiated with care. The greatest
>>>>>>>> philosophers may well be wrong: the point of recognising them as great 
>>>>>>>> is
>>>>>>>> not to subordinate yourself to them, but to challenge yourself to work 
>>>>>>>> out
>>>>>>>> exactly where they go wrong." [Jonathan Rees; "In Defence of 
>>>>>>>> Heidegger",
>>>>>>>> _Prospect_, >March 12, 2014]
>>>>>>>> - Chris Bruce
>>>>>>>> Kiel, Germany
>>>>>>>> --
>>>>>>>> ------------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>>>>> To change your Lit-Ideas settings (subscribe/unsub, vacation on/off,
>>>>>>>> digest on/off), visit www.andreas.com/faq-lit-ideas.html
>>>>>>   --
>>>>>> John McCreery
>>>>>> The Word Works, Ltd., Yokohama, JAPAN
>>>>>> Tel. +81-45-314-9324
>>>>>> jlm@xxxxxxxxxxxx
>>>>>> http://www.wordworks.jp/
>>>>  --
>>>> John McCreery
>>>> The Word Works, Ltd., Yokohama, JAPAN
>>>> Tel. +81-45-314-9324
>>>> jlm@xxxxxxxxxxxx
>>>> http://www.wordworks.jp/
>>  --
>> John McCreery
>> The Word Works, Ltd., Yokohama, JAPAN
>> Tel. +81-45-314-9324
>> jlm@xxxxxxxxxxxx
>> http://www.wordworks.jp/

palma,   etheKwini, KZN


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