Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Nietzsche and Heidegger, both apposite allies of the Grece’s philosophical project

Like Nietzsche, Heidegger believes that whenever Dasein “runs ahead toward the past,” the “not yet actual” opens to the inexhaustible possibilities of what “has been” and what “can be.” He also follows Nietzsche in viewing the regenerative impulses of mythic time as inherent to history. In thus emphasizing man’s inherent temporality, both Heidegger and Nietzsche reject the abstract universalism of the mechanical and teleological conceptions of becoming (suitable for measuring matter in motion or the Spirit’s progression toward the Absolute), just as they both dismiss decontextualized concepts of being (whether in the form of the Christian soul, Descartes’ ego cogito, Marx’s species man, or Rawls’ disembodied individual).
Heidegger, however, differs from Nietzsche in making being, not will, the key to temporality. Nietzsche, he claims, neither fully rejected the metaphysical tradition he opposed nor saw beyond beings to being.(n103) While denying modernity’s faith in progress and perpetual overcoming (the Aufhebung which implies not only transcendence, but a leaving behind), Nietzsche’s “will to power” allegedly perpetuates modernity’s transcendental impulse by positing a subjectivity that is not “enowned” by being. As a possible corrective to this assumed failing, Heidegger privileges notions of Andenken (the recollection that recovers and renews tradition) and Verwendung (which is a going beyond that, unlike Aufhebung, is also an acceptance and a deepening) — notions implying not simply the inseparability of being and becoming, but becoming’s role in the unfolding, rather than the transcendence of being.(n104)
Despite these differences, the anti-metaphysical, anti-modernist aims Nietzsche and Heidegger share makes them both apposite allies of the GRECE’s philosophical project. This is especially evident in the importance they attribute to becoming and to origins. Heidegger, for example, argues that whenever being is separated from becoming and deprived of temporality, as it is in the Christian/modern logos, then being (in this case, abstract being, rather than being-in-the-world) becomes identified with the present, a now-point, subject to the determinisms governing the inorganic objects of Newtonian physics.(n105) This implicit denial of ecstatical temporality allegedly causes the prevailing philosophical tradition to “forget” that being exists in time, as well as space, and is not an essence posited by God or the laws of nature.(n106) By rethinking being in terms of human temporality and restoring it to becoming, Heidegger, like Nietzsche, makes time the horizon of all existence, thereby freeing the existential from the inorganic properties of space and matter.
Moreover, since it is inseparable from becoming, and since becoming occurs in a world-with-others, being is necessarily situated in a “context of significance” saturated with history and tradition. As man pursues his project in terms of present worldly concerns, the various existential modes of these concerns, as well as the “world” itself, are informed by interpretations stemming from a history of interpretation. Just as “every age must write its own history afresh” (R. G. Collingwood), every man is compelled to engage his existence in light of what has been handed down to him — in light, in other words, of the totality of meaning and purpose defining his world.(n107) His future-directed project is indeed only conceivable in terms of the world into which he is thrown. Man therefore makes his history, but does so as a “bearer of meaning,” whose convictions, beliefs, and representations have been bestowed by the past.(n108) This meaning-laden matrix constitutes the “t/here” [da] in Dasein, without which being (qua being-in-the-world) is inconceivable.(n109) And because there can be no Sein without a da, no existence without a specific framework of meaning and purpose, man, in his ownmost nature qua being, is inseparable from this matrix that “makes possible what has been projected.”(n110) Being is indeed inherent only in “the enowning of the grounding of the t/here.”(n111) The Philosophical Foundations of the French New Right by Michael Torigian 3:09 PM

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