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Caputo (MEHT:xvii-xviii) – Angelus Silesius e Heidegger

domingo 20 de março de 2022


IN The Mystical Element in Heidegger  ’s Thought I argued that it is misleading to speak of Heidegger as a mystic. At best, I said, one should take note of a certain mystical “element,” a certain “analogy” between Heidegger and mysticism  , but in the end Heidegger is separated by an abyss   from mysticism. I have the sense   that it is the “mystical” in my title which some readers have fastened on, while I meant to stress the “element,’’ that it is “only an analogy.’’ For it is important to keep a sense of the distance between Heidegger and the mystics.

For Heidegger, the matter for thought (the Sache) is the history of Being as it unfolds in the West, the language of Being as it addresses us across the epochs, while for Eckhart   it is the silent and timeless unity of the soul   with God  , where my ground and God’s ground are one. Heidegger’s concern is with the event of manifestness, the historical happening of truth from the early Greeks to the present, a “secular” event which has to do with the movement of the saecula, while Eckhart’s is with the sacred unio mystica. At best, one can see a certain structural analogy between the way in which, in Eckhart, God overtakes the soul which remains open to Him and the openness of thinking to Being in Heidegger.

It is certainly true that Meister Eckhart is one of the masters from whom Heidegger learned something about “thinking.” In Der Satz vom Grund   (1957), Heidegger takes up a couplet from the German mystical poet Angelus Silesius  , “The Rose Is Without Why,” which sets to verse an expression from Meister Eckhart, which Heidegger uses to delimit Leibniz  ’s metaphysical principle “nothing is without reason.” For Heidegger, the poet does not violate metaphysics   frontallyby putting forth a capricious and irrational proposition. Instead, he steps beyond the sphere of propositional discourse and brings to words an experience of the rose which lies beyond the sphere of influence of the prestigious principles of metaphysics. In the poet’s verse a new region is opened up, on the other side of representational thinking. In the poet’s experience of the rose, thinking and Being have undergone a transformation and an emancipation from the constraints of objectifying, metaphysical thinking.

But while it is clear that the mysticism of Silesius, and ultimately of Eckhart, is a “model” for Heideggerian thinking, what is most instructive of all, I think, about this comparison is the way in which Heidegger differs from Eckhart. For there is a certain notion of “danger” in Heidegger’s thought which is not to be found   in Eckhart’s religious mysticism. There is a dark and ominous side to Ereignis  , which is thought at times by Heidegger as a high and dangerous play (Spiel), as a game in which the stakes are high, in which we are ourselves the beings at stake, as a game whose outcome is dark and uncertain. The danger, the Gefahr, is that the essence of man and of truth will be perverted once for all, that the grip of the Gestell will be unbreakable, that the world-night will grow darker. The movements of the Ereignis, the sequence of epochal configurations, the rhythm of the Geschicke are all groundless. We remember the Heideggerian formulas of a kind of deep redundancy, or tautologousness (always different yet always the same): Es ereignet well   es ereignet. Es spielt well es spielt. It does what it does, groundlessly. It plays because it plays. I found it strange when I later read Derrida  ’s criticism of Heideggerian “hope,” for it seemed to me that there is nothing sanguine about Seinsdenken.

Ver online : John Caputo