Thursday, November 21, 2013

Heidegger's lament and hope for Arrival

from MIndfulness, 1939, pp.377-8

Heidegger is 50 years of age when he wrote the following, below, ending a retrospective sense of his career—as if anticipating that his life may end soon—and having a large body of work that is to remain unpublished while he’s alive. Of course, he does live to work decades beyond this Moment in his pathmaking, which will antedate this Moment (especially his work of 1946 to the mid-'50s). But here, 1939, he anticipates that, in any event, he is likely to be misunderstood.
The worst that could happen to these efforts would be the psychological-biographical analysis and explanation, that is, the counter-movement to what is precisely assigned to us, namely, to [annul counter-movement, i.e., to] place everything “psychic-emotional”—however intimately this has to be preserved and enacted—at the service of that aloneness which is demanded by the work that strikes one as strange....

What would happen if the pack of the curious once throws itself at the “posthumous works”! It cannot be expected from this commotion to grasp anything at all or to transform what is grasped into the futural. For the gang of the curious only longs for that which completes this gang’s own already established calculation and confirms it in each case.

If deep down these “posthumous works” do not possess the power of “letting-go-ahead”—do not possess the power of path-opening-grasping-ahead into an entirely other and quite drawn-out questioning—[then] these “posthumous works” would not be worth being pondered upon....

The least that may perhaps remain is the dynamics of the raising of the only question. And this may show that today the strongest and most consuming exertion of a modest power still cannot accomplish anything against the rigidness of beings for restoring be-ing as the sphere of the coming to pass of the arrival or [else] the flight of the last god.

And yet—ahead of all “results,” all propositions and all concepts—there is the long pathway that perhaps occasionally succeeds in flashing the determining power of a great future.

The splendor of Da-sein rests upon the alternating, and overreaching, struggle that consumes within and belongs to the self, shelters and conceals the most reticent, and yet remains inexpressibly grateful for every little help.