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        “Heidegger” as no mirror of
the few and the rare
June 10, 2016    
        gary e. davis


I’ve seen so much trivialization of Heidegger’s Project that I have to think that there’s some kind of academic syndrome in play: Scapegoating the analyst of scapegoating, dismissing the critique of academic dismissiveness, and diminishing the critic of diminishment, as if systematically (among a small number of readers who cite each other) concealing Heidegger’s Project. “The few and the rare” is a rubric in Heidegger’s posthumous work that has long figured into dismissiveness toward that difficult work, a rubric that is cynical rather than arrogant, I think.

Jewish scholars can be forgiven for projecting fictional views of Heidegger to further proper feelings of revenge toward Germany of the 1930s, but it doesn’t advance understanding of how critique of ideology is formulated (elements of which Heidegger was frequently sketching and rendering in his notebooks), let alone furthering understanding of Heidegger’s Project. The upshot of such fictions—rightly worth dismissal and diminishment, on their own terms—is to steer academic interest away from Heidegger‘s Project (as well as unwittingly being an exposé of one’s own casual sense of reading, which is self-incriminating, in the sense that Deconstruction would show how pretenses of assertion become self-undermining).

I can take perverse comfort in that. Good riddance to such fictions! They have nothing to do with Heidegger’s Project. Persons who are seriously engaged with Heidegger’s work will surely recognize differences between academic chat and thoughtfulness. The speciousness of extracting isolated themes from their contexts of inquiry should be easy to recognize. Artificial constellations mirror the constellator, not Heidegger. Heidegger’s “the few and the rare” are at least those who dwell with issues carefully, the scarcity of which invites Heidegger’s cynicism about prospects for transforming academia.

Of course, development of philosophical critique includes articulation of ideology (invalidities) that motivates what’s relevant to philosophical conceptuality.

Especially interesting to me is how vastly the use/mention distinction matters to Heidegger, showing as framing of words and notions with quote marks obsessively.
The difference between [a] subscription to ideology (confessing one’s views; narrating without quote marks) and [b] framing ideology (narrating how The Story goes, what is allegedly the case) may be missed by readers of Heidegger who are not attuned to how phenomenological critique may develop itself from sketch to exploratory argument.

He was interested in the academic correlates of German ideology, as these infected possibilities for renewing philosophy, which deserved to have a leading place in university reform. A philosophical notion of systematic scapegoating (or what dynamic psychotherapy calls “projective identification”—disowned implicature) was part of what Heidegger was shaping. Obsession of some scholars with misreading and mis-constellating marginalia merits a diagnostic attitude toward that, in terms of Heidegger’s large-scale contexts.

Basically, Heidegger in his Notebooks is exploring how to get to a new beginning for philosophy. That “other beginning” or “second beginning” was unknown. The character of the new development belonged to the future academic community—if it could get beyond its self-concealing legacy that was leading to disaster.

Heidegger’s critique of The Whole (so to speak—sway of Time) had no Alternative “Telos” to yet advocate. The Second Beginning was to emerge from futurity of Unknown Originarity (so to speak). The Future belongs to we who enown futurity. The Event of Appropriation widely and highly opens ways into academic community re-forming Primordiality.

His published writing during his lifetime is meant, among many intents, to exemplify
how he reads (“reading” issues as well as others’ texts). So, implicitly he’s showing how
to read his pathwaying through eras of exploratory thinking, especially: how he regards the too-quickly written, unfinished Being and Time during his mid-career years. The notebooks document a development whose narrative is “simply” the resultant volumes of ways-not-works. The notebooks supplement and anticipate his conceptual prospecting.

I haven’t yet detailed much about how I read Heidegger’s available notebook that other readers find culpable. At this writing, I’ve detailed a couple of readings. Perhaps more will appear in coming months.

Or maybe not. In the near-term, I don’t want to give more time to dismissive, diminishive readings, because time spent on diagnosis of others’ readings (critical hermeneutics) is time taken away from my own explorations.

Heidegger—who was sarcastic more often than most critics apparently notice—was resigned to letting the uncanny protect his solitude. He writes, circa 1937, Notebook 5, p.276:

I now know more clearly, that indeed precisely misinterpretation of all my work (e.g., as a “philosophy of existence” [allusion to Karl Jaspers and kindreds]) is the best and most lasting protection against the premature using up of what is essential. And it must be so, since immediate effectiveness must remain foreign to all essential thinking, and because such thinking in its truth, must be prevented from becoming “familiar” and “understandable” to contemporaries. For [otherwise] that would mean what is to be disclosively questioned in thinking had been degraded to something Already commonplace.



Be fair. © 2016, g. e. davis.