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Caputo (MEHT:9-11) – Mestre Eckhart: "sobre desapego"

domingo 20 de março de 2022


In Being and Time, Heidegger   stressed the need for a certain “foreconception” (Vorgriff) of a subject matter which sketches out [10] beforehand the general dimensions of the matter to be understood (SZ, §32, 150/191). This foreconception does not prejudice the results of further investigation but rather establishes the horizon within which the material can be understood. It is precisely with such a foreconception that we wish to supply the reader of the present study. For the relationship of Heidegger to the mystics is not something with which we are all already familiar, and Meister Eckhart   himself, while an important figure in the history of Western philosophy, does not enjoy the ready familiarity of an Aristotle   or a Descartes  . Thus we lack the terms in which to conceptualize this relationship; we lack the “horizon” which allows it to come into view. And so long as that is so, it will be impossible to formulate with any precision the “problem” of the mystical element in Heidegger’s thought  , i.e., the precise difficulties that are involved in the kinship of thinking, mysticism  , and philosophy. Thus our study will rely upon the dynamics of the “hermeneutic circle”: we shall first establish in a preliminary way the kinship between Heidegger and Eckhart; then, we will step back from this relationship in order to formulate our question about it. Then in Chapter Four we will return to this relationship in order to study it in detail and so, on that basis, to assess its import.

The most suitable way to introduce the reader to the proximity of thinking and mysticism is to direct our attention to two equally short and penetrating treatises by Eckhart and Heidegger, which have as their common theme the problem of the “nothing” (das Nichts  ). I refer to a treatise by Meister Eckhart entitled On Detachment and to Heidegger’s What is Metaphysics  ?, including not only the 1929 lecture but also the “Postscript” which he added in 1943. Heidegger delivered his lecture six hundred years after the death of Eckhart, who must have died sometime between 1327 and 1329. It is a matter of no small wonder how very close these two treatises are to one another, separated as they are by six centuries of German thought. It is as though in these two works as in these two authors as a whole the beginning and the end of German thought touch one another. In What is Metaphysics? Heidegger in fact illustrates for us how his “thinking” goes   back to its origin in this case to the origin of German thought and of the German language itself to “retrieve” it, to take it over and make it his own. For Eckhart stands at the fountain-head of the development of German thought and of the formation of the German language. Heidegger’s famous essay, enigmatic to so many readers, actually belongs to an old tradition   in German thought and is familiar to those who know the ways of the “old masters” of German thought, even as it was to its Japanese readers (US, 108-9/19).

I shall attempt in the next two sections of this Chapter, first, to sketch the main lines of Eckhart’s reflections in On Detachment, and then to show how in What is Metaphysics? Heidegger, to a great extent, retrieves in his own way and for his own purposes the thoughts of this “old master of thinking” (G [1], 36/61). By means of this comparative analysis   we will be in a position to see some of the main lines of the relationship between these two thinkers. Needless to say, this comparison will have been worked out only imperfectly in the opening Chapter. It will have to be refined and nuanced in a number of ways in order to portray this relationship fairly and accurately, a task which is reserved for Chapter Four. In the final section of this Chapter, I will formulate the “problem” which is presented by the relationship of Heidegger to the mystical tradition.

Ver online : John Caputo

[1GA13 Gelassenheit. 2. Auflage. Pfullingen: Verlag Günther Neske, 1960.