Thursday, March 7, 2019
for a sound silence
I’m saddened that Heidegger’s texts are still objects for broad stroke journalistic polemic, rather than opportunities for philosophy. Heidegger wasn’t being poetic when he appealed to the unmet need for thinking. He appreciated the realities of European nihilism that had led the German university to appease, if not vocally support, the transition of Germany into another war, leading to the Holocaust, echoing in Cold War tendencies toward military-industrial disaster.
These days, an air of continuing scandal about Heidegger is useful for academic careers that weren’t alive when the “Silence” in Europe was deafening. I will never forget my exiting from witnessing the entire nine hours of the “Shoah” document-ary in one day—Silent. There was “Nothing” to say. (There was ultimate Nothing-ness escaping words.) Anyone who might have approached me to ask “What do you have to say about that?” would have seen me stare blankly (like blank-faced children in war), turn away, walk away silent.
Scholars weaponize invalid charges of “Nazi sympathy,” if not “antisemitism” to—evidently—defend against something, I don’t know: Was it disappointed young hopes for philosophy that met Heidegger’s texts and loved that until they were faced with his “failure” to bridge for them the Silence lived and the only possible option of beginning again as if another apocalypse isn’t possible, because we’re enabling that to be part of our essence: “Never Again” happens due to we who are making it so in futures, not because we live bound to—so to speak—the Depres-sive Position. There is no guidance for beginning from Nothingness.
Time does not originate from the past. God did not create the world. We created God as our idealized futurity. Catholic modernity betrayed itself.
There is no future in cynical willfulness. The wake of Nothingness is nothing. Children are born in love with being, and Nothingness is not possible. It’s not even namelessly there to elude a name. There is no nothing to the intrinsic value—it is love—of being.
Opportunistic “scholarship” grounds nothing: Heidegger was not ever supportive of authoritarianism, not ever ethnocentric, not ever in denial about the Holocaust. In fact, he was far more attuned than most academics of his era to what’s necessary to counter and to avoid authoritarianism (in short: education, enabling creative potential locally, framing critique of the nihilistic conceptuality of academic Dialectics in audacious conceptual prospecting, etc.). He was more attuned than most others of his peers to what’s necessary to counter and avoid ethnocentrism (beyond the ghost of Holy Roman Empire that was still very much alive in the 1920s), attuned to what’s necessary to counter and avoid tendencies toward planetary crisis.
It is no mere point of poetics that the cosmos is black and Silent.
Life on Earth has completely disappeared more than four times.
Nothing will Arrive from the stars to keep humanity from disappearing.
I started the “Heidegger studies” project midstream in my own journey, motivated by silliness of some academic voices about Heidegger and political times, but which was teaching me why fair reading of Heidegger’s texts is elusive for some of the more insistent voices (making their careers dependent on claims about their “Heidegger” [self-incriminating interpretation] as—Omygod—a “Nazi,” an “antisemite”). Decades of that by now have failed to vindicate bad faith claims of critical validly, in terms of what Heidegger wrote. But that doesn’t stop needy readers from prosecuting him for not saying publicly what they want, as if Heidegger is culpable for moving on.
I don’t want to reiterate now what I’ve highlighted in various excursions about invalid reading, but I recognize that I haven’t done a fully well-ordered organization of the project, such that I can easily point to a set of critical themes in one place that gathers what I’ve rendered about how others’ reading goes wrong. (So, what about my reading? You tell me! I love to learn.)
Analytical reading can be very tedious, but its practicality may be to exemplify how thoughtful reading might well go, in the silence of one’s intimacy of thinking. The outcome is to be insightfully fruitful for one’s work, then maybe for youth who don’t yet have to live with elder difficulties that drove an emancipatory interest, because interest in self formation is intrinsic. It’s what gives emancipatory interest Point: to advance potential and futurity. Like preventive health care avoids primarily becoming medical intervention, by advancing capability for being well, not by policing backsliding.
The pages so far at the “Heidegger studies” project are occasioned brevities that constellate a loose potpourri, not because I lack interest in comprehensive cohering, but because I’m generally interested in other things these days—for example (relative to Heidegger): How can leading minds of the 20th century be brought into interplay with particularly 21st century work (a grand bibliophilia?), for the sake of our options for making—ideally—wholly flourishing lives that contribute to ecologically flourishing humanity?
So, I want to ignore opportunistic scholars who need to secure their employment contracts (if not gain tenure) with fictions of “Heidegger” mirroring their ways of instrumentalist reading.
Is a politics of others’ silence a deflection of some sort? What’s going on when a colleague with Heidegger at his cabin is stirred by Heidegger’s patient, silent fascination with the other’s presence? (“summer, 1946”) What of the fact that Being and Time spawned a school of psychoanalysis before such a thing as Frankfurt School Critical Theory was dreamed up?...that Heidegger only taught Being and Time with a seminar group of psychiatrists? That Derrida and others sought to meld hermeneutics with psychoanalysis in an era of literary-theoretical psychoanalysis of textual intimacy?...that potential intimacy of phenomenality happens in the inter-mirroring liminality of play?
A psychoanalysis of silence may be too intimate, possibly too uncanny, “like finding your unconsciousness playing with your credibility, even framing your confident pretentiousness, Gary.”
(And “the soul sings of the blue spring by keeping it silent” .)