Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Heidegger: to malicious readers

Toward the end of Heidegger’s Collected Works (GA: Gesamtausgabe, “Total Output”), in a volume of “Comments” (Anmerkungen 2, #77, in GA 97), Heidegger makes a critical comment (c1946) about claims of prophecy as “will to power” (leading, e.g., to heinous messiansm), which—Heidegger notes—includes the Jewish tradition of prophets—a comment that a noted Jewish scholar of Heidegger agrees with (Allen Scult) in some detail. (I might do a long posting someday on Scult’s comment about Judaism during the Babylonian Exile). Heidegger ends his main comment with a parenthetical comment. Quoting that now from another Jewish scholar’s translation of Heidegger’s parenthetical comment in German:
Heidegger: “...(A note for jackasses: this [his] remark [about prophecy] has nothing to do with ‘anti-Semitism’ [sic: H’s quote marks, as he continues...], which is as foolish and abominable as the bloody, and above all unbloody, actions of Christianity against ‘the heathens’ [sic]. The fact that even Christianity brands anti-Semitism ‘un-Christian’ is a mark of the high development of the refinement of its power technique.)…”
The quote marks are as important as the notion of “They” in Being and Time or a notion of enframing in critique of ideology.

This power technique—i.e., perhaps, a capacity for deceitful posturing, which relates to the 1930s’ well-known Vatican support for fascism (as well as relating to Heidegger leaving the Catholic Church before WW-I)—is the political dimension of what Heidegger later (c1954) calls the “ontotheological” character of metaphysics (Identity and Difference, which Heidegger, 1969, regarded as among his most important sets of lectures, according to the English translator at that time).

But there’s a difference between metaphysical-ism and metaphysics, a difference which is integral to Heidegger’s thinking, but easy to miss, because he notes the difference in terms of misunderstanding his de-construction of metaphysics.