Heard over the Internet Wall.
Inauthentic being: = racial impurity
Being-there: = true German (Levinas joked that the problem with Heidegger's
'Being-there' was that it usually entailed being in someone else's country)
Das Mann: + The Jews/the urban masses (in a sideswipe at Georg Lukacs, H'
says that it is unthinkable that Das Mann could be a subject, still less a
Destruction of ontology: = book burning
The stand in History: = The third Reich Being-towards-death: the SS
Farias book didn't say anything that anyone didn't know, but was received as
it it made groundbreaking factual revelations. This is a curious point, often
made by Heidegger apologists. Oh yes, we all knew that he was a Nazi, that's
so old hat. The effect is to say, all you ignoramuses ... didn't you know,
everyone knew that. But of course everyone did not know that, because the
Heidegger apologists minimised and played down H's actions (saying that he had lapsed
his membership, or that he was a secret critic or that he left in 1943 - all
untrue). The reason that Farias' book was _treated_ as if its revelations were
groundbreaking was because for all but the in crowd who secretly guarded the
knowledge, the extent of Heidegger's complicity, the letters to the Gestapo
denouncing Nobel laureates, the anti-Jewish agitation - all these things had been
so played down by H's apologists that Farias' book was indeed a revelation.
After all, if these things were so well known, why was it only _after_ Farias'
book that Derrida, Lyotard, Lacoue-Labarthe felt the need to reflect upon the
relationship between Heidegger's fascism and his philosophy? It was because
Farias made it an issue in a way that they shied away from. Only two conclusions
are available: either the replies to Farias were unworthy, shallow pugilism,
whose only point was to shout him down, or, these authors, including Derrida
were in Farias' debt. It was Farias who brought the issue to the public
attention, while Heidegger's supporters, seemingly sleepwalking, thought it was not
an issue - at least not until around 1980, when, after Farias wrote, it was the
most pressing issue, the urgent issue the one that had to be addressed. But
at the same time, Farias really wants to put Heidegger the philosopher, not
Heidegger the citizen, on trial. This is a comically unHeideggerian approach.
What would Heidegger make of the separation between citizen and philosopher, that
Christian follows all the other Heidegger apologists in hiding behind? Is
this an authentic approach, in the way that Heidegger would see authenticity? I
don't think so. I would say that Heidegger would denounce such an approach. He
would disdain the 'publicness' and 'idle chatter' of 'citizenship'. He would
surely decline to accept the bad conscience of bifurcating himself into citizen
(After all, if Heidegger weren't Heidegger, who would care . . .?) And on
that score, the book is a joke. Farias can't even get the plain grammatical sense
of _Being and Time_ right. He translates participles as past tense, doesn't
understand the basics about German word order, etc. My sophomores can do better
with that text. Terrible sin, to get the tense wrong. How much greater it
stands than mistaking the holocaust for a renewal of the German spirit. Only
someone who is on the defensive could make such a partisan judgement against
Farias' book, which is very good indeed. You hope to smother with ridicule the book
that made it clear that Heidegger's philosophy and his politics were not
isolated or discrete compartments in his life, but, as he understood himself,
wholly integrated. Heidegger's philosophy is an intellectual working up of the
same base prejudices of German reaction that were the well-springs of Fascism.
Heidegger rightly recognised the correlation between the two.
None of that's to exonerate Heidegger, Yes, it is. You are aiming to
exonerate Heidegger 'the philosopher', hoping that his philosophy can somehow be
insulated against his actions and his goals. But that is absurd: the philosopher
was the Nazi, the philosophy is Fascism. or Derrida. I think Derrida is mostly
wrong in judging Heidegger's attachment to the Nazis, but I think he's right to
insist that we should continue to read him. I am not clear where you disagree
with D.. Would it be unfair to say that you think D. is too harsh on H.?
Bourdieu's take on Heidegger ... Heidegger is always trying to talk about the
political, but he doesn't want to do political or social science. He wants to
retrieve the privilege of philosophical language without dirtying it with the
empirical research or everyday perception. Bourdieu's conclusion is that, although
Heidegger is complicit with the Nazis, he isn't simply an ideologue for them,
since his conception of human being is never tied to race--it's tied to
language. Apologetics. More sophisticated than 'it wasn't me', but apologetics none
the less. 'If Heidegger had only taken the time to do some sociology then he
would have been ok.' (As it happens, a great deal of German sociology was
complicit in the reaction, so there's no saving grace there.) Boudieu's solution,
at least as you describe it, seems pretty weak to me. It is naive to accept
the excuse that Heidegger was never taken in by Rosenberg's race theories -
Heidegger's own excuse. It's naive because it is an unduly formal understanding of
fascism. Fascism = naturalistic theory of race. Heidegger did not share in
that, so Heidegger's not a Nazi. A case of the sillygism, I would say. First,
racial ideology was only one aspect of reactionary thinking in Germany at that
time. It didn't chime with Heidegger because it clashed with another aspect,
the rejection of scientific reasoning. Second, anyone who does not hear the
resounding echo of fascism in Heidegger's preoccupation with language is not
listening. The quest for the Ur- language, was fundamental to German reaction at
the turn of the century. Heidegger's interests here closely correlate with the
crank theories of the German origins in the black forest and the original Aryan
people. It's so cheesy, it's embarrassing to look at today, even more
embarrassing to think anyone takes this Nordic Valhalla crap as a serious
contribution to philosophy.
Or maybe it's a recognition that stupidity and intelligence are, let's guess,
historically determined? Oh what, as in stupid is just an ideological
construct. No. Stupid is stupid. Of course if you want to persuade people to read
Heidegger and Derrida, I can see that you would want to make a case for
stupidity, or at least pretend there was no difference between stupidity and
intelligence. Shame that Heidegger did not think so when he welcomed the gassing of the
How come you guys persist in defending the monstrous indefensible - don't
you begin to have doubts? I mean doesn't EVEN THE HIGHLY EDUCATED URBANE YOU
begin to have doubts - little itzy-bitz gnawing doubts that you could be -
might be - TERRIBLY wrong?
The pendulum of opinion is swinging. My advice to academics - go with the
flow, don't tie the wagon of your ambition to a turd.. ;-)
Jud Evans - ANALYTICAL INDICANT THEORY.
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