Wednesday, November 20, 2013

a note on the phenomenality of a text

A given passage in the transcript of a Heidegger lecture is presumably expressive of what he intended to draw attention to. But that’s not always the case!

As he notes in the second Appendix of Mindfulness, 1939! (p. 373), “In all the lecture-courses, the occasional remarks about contemporary circumstances are factually without relevance....Occasional references are mostly responses to the queries from the audience.”

This is profoundly implicative for “scholarly” narratives that pull isolated, odd passages from various lecture courses and then proffer the lot as a constellation of symptoms.

But the text of a lecture is not a transcription of a recording, while the lecture itself is engaged with interactive occasions, some of which are retained from the stenography because they were instructive for Heidegger. There’s no explanation for why he chose to keep note of “occasioned references,” apart from the immanent context of the lecture. But the real immanence there isn’t recorded. So we are obligated, I think, to look to the text’s context, not external events, for insights.

But the armchair diagnostician—a would-be prosecutor?—unwittingly confesses his own issues when occasioned references are regarded as slips of character on Heidegger’s part.

I tell you: It would be great fun to dwell in detail with the sense of “strife” (Greek polemos) that Richard Polt and Gregory Fried find in “Heidegger’s” Being and Truth, which is about the Greek roots of the Christian notion of struggle, not a longing for messianism.

To be continued.