"In order to provide the distance of present-day man from the 'desert'..., I will say of the 'desert' that it is the most complete abandonment of the concerns of the 'present-day man,' being the continuation of the 'ancient man' which the enactment of festivals regulated. He is not a return to the past; he has undergone the decay of 'present-day man' and nothing has more space within him than the devastation which it leaves--it gives to the 'desert' its 'desert-like' truth. The memory of Plato, of Christianity, and above all--the most dreadful--that of modern ideas, extend behind him like fields of ashes. But between the unknown and him the chirping of ideas has been silenced, and this is what makes him similar to 'ancient man': he’s no longer the rational (would-be) master of the universe, but it’s dream."
Georges Bataille, Inner Experience
Well, there are doubts, but it seems not too late to read Being and Time. Let’s do that then, what say? A Public School reading group to that effect. There’s a certain pressure to read Being and Time, I think. It feels ethical-political. Isn’t there something we can’t help caring about, that’s insisting, wanting to come out of the cold and into language? Probably that’s already not right, what I said, since I’m not clear as to what cares. I would like to be. That’s an interest and I know there are others, ontologically yours, which you may already associate with Being and Time. Maybe it has to do with what controls the pieces we play in a game that appeared somehow from somewhere. How and where? Our regime for what matters appears to Heidegger as one of a set, not only the latest but also possibly the last. So everything would be at stake. Strange that this might be precisely our inheritance, our historical Dasein. We’ll see. Just saying.
The coming revolution/community/insurrection is, or rather must be metaphysical, or more precisely phenomenological. We must change our relation to ourselves, to time, to others, to being-as-such. As we attempt to grasp what must be done, we must also understand what is on the most fundamental level. What is our relation to being, and how does time, the present, the past, the future, our memories and the moments when we feel alive color our experience of living. What are the distracted subjects we inhabit, and who must we become? Although a contested figure, Heidegger presents some challenging material to help grapple with these philosophical questions potentially underlying any dream of a better, different future or at least a different relation to the present. In any case, he appears and echoes in a number of texts that feel relevant along a whatever trajectory, and it might not hurt to try and read the text. As a supplement to the larger work that needs to be done, a reading group on Being and Time is commencing. Please join.
So do what it takes to read Being and Time together. If you please, start with a warm-up text by H. from 1949, Letter on Humanism
, which was his trenchant response to Sartre’s Existentialism is a Humanism
, a talk that S. gave around that time. The Letter on Humanism is contained in H.’s Basic Writings. Two sessions for discussion of that, before commencing the long ek-stasy of B&T. We’ll use the Macquarrie & Robinson
translation of. The suggested calendar is one two-hour session per week, Thursday evenings seven to nine.Twenty-five pages a week? First meeting on Jan 30. The place TBA.