Tuesday, December 15, 2020

being minds thinking newly



philo-Sophia: A stargazer might think that love beyond all reason is the insatiable curiosity that a black night sky coldly, Silently mirrors.

So, finding archetype mirrored in actual affection is a healthy modulation of enspirited appeal.

Such was evidenced in recent reading of new things by J. A. Gosetti-Ferencei (and some old things I regrettably missed).

Fun!, I had—more than she probably knows, given my burying of affectionate irreverance (premised on authentic engagement) in blog-al woods. But I was disappointed that she’s not really a Heidegger scholar—which is fine: My admir-
ation of her path isn’t dependent on her sense of Heidegger!: She shows bad faith reading, furthered in her recent book on existentialism (which I’ll discuss later). But her own, authentic pathmaking is a continuing pleasure to follow.

Jennifer G.-F. was (2004) an intimate partisan of Hölderlin, there and ever since an explorer of ways to marry philosophy and Literature, which is basically why
I enjoy keeping in touch with her publishing.

Early December, I sent her a short note of appreciation (though asserting a starkly different view of her sense of Heidegger), to which she responded briefly, in part: “Dear Gary, I am grateful for your so careful and engaged reading of my work, and for your sense of a trajectory including my own efforts to think newly…..” Unsurprisingly, she’s “snowed under with end of semester matters,”—probably literally (living under “nor’easter” weather rivers).

A few days later, I wrote her something she can read when she gets time, reproduced below.

Why that takes the path it does is a long story. I’ll give more context later,
not relevant to my overt points.


December 7
subject: on “efforts to think newly”

That’s what students want from teaching: thinking newly. I admire “my own efforts to think newly.”

In light of that, new paths begin—which is so trite to say? But regarded in terms of inspiring young careers or helping student formation of flexible thinking,
it’s not trite at all, because they’ll have multiple careers (little can they foretell!) calling for creative adaptability. O, save the humanities, university budget hawks!

Thinking newly launches. Poetic revealing contributes to that—contributes
to opening and instilling senses of manifold perspectivity.

So, the designs of Heidegger’s thinking are not primarily aesthetic. He is being therapeutic. The prevailing motif of his life is teaching, and the prevailing motif of his teaching is emancipatory: evincing openings by others’ ownmost experi-
ence. Heidegger is merely a midwife—a hermeneutical middleman (“from en-
owning”).

You probably saw the video of Heidegger—TV interview—toward the end of his life where he so reticently said (I’m paraphrasing) that the point of thinking is
to draw our shared terms into new thinking, not institute new vocabulary. 

A difficulty there is that common ways of thinking are commonly intractable.
A therapeutic can’t work like critique because critique doesn’t work for that with which one’s life is invested. Psychotherapists know that well: displacement, resistance, projective identification,.. It’s no wonder that Heidegger’s lecture “Time and Being” puts a listener/reader into a boring trance, only to suddenly interject ritualized narrative about “denial” and “withholding” and “withdrawal” vis-√†-vis matters of “time.”

A common strategy in change processes is to nudge—something which has become popular in progressive public policy. Heidegger talks of “hints.” 

A delightful example of that: I had a colleague who was somewhat narcissistic, but also remarkably talented. One effect of that was that she was a workaholic who was dismissive of criticism because no one could touch her control of her job. She was also hurting herself (stress, depression, intolerance). But you couldn’t tell her she was being unusually hard on herself. 

So, when I came across a fabulous article on self-compassion (a clinician-based step-by-step process for gaining compassion toward yourself), I knew I couldn’t route it to her. So, I sent it to everyone in my department, in the spirit of “Hey, here’s something interesting!” The only person who emailed me back to thank me for sending it around was her—which she said with a tone of gratitude that she never showed to anyone in person.

That gave her permission—control—over enowning the insightful process.
The event of my sharing with everyone allowed her fragile dignity to own
the event of its distribution as especially hers to acknowledge.

We can’t imagine how intractable Heidegger’s colleagues were about thinking newly, outside of their Kantian mandarin-ized complexes of Catholic-aristocratic-careerist pretenses that fed into why the German university lacked authentic self-assertion. 

For instance, how were elites to own the need to be “in the shoes” of folks like whomever wore those shoes framed by Van Gogh? What is it to be able to be there in the shoes of the man Van Gogh hallmarked? It’s like asking the elite to face the strife between feeling and idea in their own lives—between body and mind, in principle—between earth and world. 

But experience-distant tropography can evince enowning by others what they will not let be said directly to them.

Heidegger notes in Being and Time “Common sense misunderstands under-
standing. And therefore common sense must necessarily pass off as ‘violent’ anything that lies beyond the reach of its understanding, or any attempt to go out so far” (363). Note the internal quote marks: the so-calledness.

So, the epochal struggle between Earth (one’s life) and world is an archetype
of how strife may go for oneself, mirrored by experience-distant art. The work of art faces one with the “violence” of strife-ridden embodied self-identity, exempli-
fying the violating of oneself that the times do to us all, but in a way that can be safely enowned in one’s solitude.

Relatedly, the artists’ Shock of the New echoes the incessant future shock of modernity with which we strive to come to terms. I recall Cher in “Moonstruck” lovingly slapping Nicolas Cage: “Snap out of it!”: Open yourself to the care that you already always are.

Heidegger hesitates in B&T to venture “the most violent of Interpretations. But if not, what does it mean to ‘summon one to guilty being’?” (333). “It may be that our method demands this ‘violent’ presentation of possibilities of existence” (360). 

How do we learn to deal with the violence of being violated by the strife of embodied identity? 

Thinking newly—Heidegger notes at the beginning of “The End of Philosophy and the Task of Thinking” is not about representing (grasping) a different perspective (just as, in What Is Called Thinking?, that’s not about re-presentation of views). It’s about experiencing renewal in one’s ownmost way—enowning
the experience, be it even due to a provocative event that may re-appropriate one whose mirrored strife must be owned freely, not by confronatation (especially not by the Negative Critique of the German Idealist tradition that can’t find a basis for itself in shared identity-in-difference: a basis of belonging together in the same humanity, lack of which leads to nihilism—already portending another war in the mid-1930s for want of a valid sense of nation—like Biden pleading to re-found “the soul of America” in the face of authoritarian audacity).

But immanence of avoidable war-again is posed modestly in “The Origin of the Work of Art”: Says Heidegger, “...Occasionally we still have the feeling that violence has long been done to the thingly element of things and that thought has played a part in this violence…” Occasionally, as thought has played to make thingness of us all. 

Seeing the violence done to things, mirrored at a scale of world and Earth, gives experience permission to appreciate in solitude the violence done to oneself
at a scale of one’s whole life—the scale of that "lifeworld" (Earth/World) that Husserl cribbed from Heidegger (which was Husserl’s effort to shape his own idiom for Heidegger’s notion of in-the-world-being, in Husserl’s Crisis lectures—contemporaneous with Heidegger delivering his “Origin…” lecture repeatedly). Indeed, art is being-historical thinking. 

And who neighbors the stars in the night? “To the child in man,” the stars constellate themselves, gain meaning, gain gestalt—show cohering, like poetic revealing: mirroring one’s own potential for belonging to our intrinsic openness to “finding” meaning, like a rapture of self-constellating stars—the gods themselves mirroring us like a play of “The Thing” [Heidegger lecture]
because [at the end of “Conversation on a Country Path] “she binds together.... she neighbors [by] work[ing] only with nearness.”

The archetypal feminine, lost from man, is the key—as much as anything—
to finding care, empathy, and compassion that she gives one in—as one clinical psychoanalyst calls—"the motherhood constellation.” It is already always one’s own. 

But, as every woman knows, you can’t tell a traditional man what’s best.
You have to show him in a way that lets him discover what-gives, as if it’s his idea. “It just came to you out of nowhere”: the granting that gave up self-withholding, the bearing that gave up self-denial, the belonging that gave up
self-withdrawal. It gives time. It gives being well.

I find a cosmic joke in the very beginning of “Time and Being”: You think he hasn’t started yet, but actually he’s ending: Klee is artist of the Earth. Trakl is artist of mortality. Heisenberg is artist of the cosmos. So, where’s the artist of
the divine, rounding out the fourfold? 

It gives the lecture. But he’d be the last to say that the fourfold was in play through him. Everything is about “we”: “If we were shown...”; if the poem was “recited to us”; and, re: Heisenberg, he’s with “the rest of us.” 

With “us,” like “Why I stay in the provinces,” he is ultimately calling for enowning: “The new concept of finitude is thought in this manner,” ends the “Summary of a Seminar”: “that is, in terms of Appropriation itself, in terms of the concept of one’s own.” 

“The following lecture calls...,” not him calling. As the end of the “Summary
of a Seminar” fiinally quotes: “One had to be there, if one was called, but to call oneself was the greatest error that one could make.”

He was, he avowed, “a precursor” in a strife of world and Earth that was so commonly shocking that no foretelling was conceivable.

From enowning, he echoes the history of being, he plays forth with poetic revealings, he takes leaps at unexpected points, and We ground things for ones
to come. The Appropriation appropriates through manifold events, appealing through poetic revealing.

We are to stand for a long while (our earth), to hear often (our mortality),
to follow with challenge (our cosmic situation—Alone together)—to give time (which is divine). 

Yet, what are we to give the diviner—the teacher who contributes to philosophy “from enowning”? We are, I surmise, to proactively, authentically be well with our time.