John Dunn

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Heidegger under the carpet

Friday, 1 May 2020

Heidegger in beret on Dr John Dunn. Jung and others fell and worshipped before the power of One; to aspire for us all to become as One; to bring about One world; to proffer a perennial ‘truth’ common to all religions. This is Tikkun, the return to the One. This is the end-game of Spinozism in which freedom is the recognition of this necessity. And the price of this necessary freedom? Answer - the end of the creative imagination, death of the self and the end of humanity.

Looked at this way, the roll call of Spinozists, not surprisingly, sweeps up the whole socio-cultural, literary and philosophical cannon of the West. The cannon of ‘rebels’ duped by Luria’s rehashed kabbalism is long but, in my new enlightened context, a few of its members come randomly to mind: Jung, Nietzsche, Hegel, Locke, Berkeley, Baudelaire, Blake, Steiner, Marx and Engels, Heidegger and more, my own hitherto heroes and villains alike; and yes, even Fichte, Coleridge and Gentile.

Yes - my list includes Heidegger

The underlying unity that he describes is "Dasein as being-in-the-world”.

The individual has no separate existence as a human being.

The individual is porous and open to the world of objects.

He is an indistinguishable continuation of the world of objects.

There is no boundary delineating where human starts and human ends.

To be human is in Heidegger’s conception to be part of a deeper underlying unity - the Unus Mundus of Jung if you like.

The individual is not even a distinguishable part of the Oneness, he is at best a mode of existence of the Oneness.

Yet Heidegger backtracks from his head-on challenge to the philosophical concept of humanness as a separate subject capable of a knowledge of the objects in the world around him.

Dasein may be thrown into the world, but Heidegger insists that Dasein is capable of shaking off this thrown condition by acting upon the world in concrete situations. This movement is what Heidegger called projection (Entwurf) and it is the very experience of what Heidegger will call, later in Being and Time, freedom. To act in such a way is for him to be authentic.

So this being that is porous and inseparable from the world around him is now, nevertheless, capable of acting upon it and changing it.

So how does this inseparable being suddenly and miraculously discover its freedom to act authentically?

Anxiety is the key according to Heidegger. It awakens the individual to his freedom to act upon the world separately and authentically.

And yet all this authenticity proves futile in the face of death.

Heidegger now insists that death is not to be outstripped (unüberholbar).

Death is that limit against which the potentiality-for-being (Seinkönnen) is to be measured. It is that essential impotence against which the potency of individual freedom shatters itself.

Heidegger at this point joins Spinoza, Marx, Engels and Stalin in his version of the familiar refrain ‘freedom is the recognition of necessity’. And in the face of death it has to be said that this aphorism is hard to overturn.

Death for Heidegger sets the limit to separateness as a human being. In the end all is subsumed into the Oneness. In this context therefore, human life is a temporary aberration, something with which Heidegger reluctantly had to deal. Ironically, Heidegger had to deal with this because of the uniquely human ability to stand back and think about this aberration.

In the end he shoves the aberration of humanness under the carpet of death. This is vulgar Tikkun.

© John Dunn.

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