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Caputo (MEHT:xxi-xxiv) – Heidegger jamais místico

quinta-feira 22 de setembro de 2022


The other point that emerges clearly from The Mystical Element in Heidegger  ’s Thought is how much this religious mysticism differs from Heidegger’s own path, how much Heidegger is not a mystic. The disconcerting thing about Heidegger, the thing about Heidegger which gives no comfort, is not that he is a mystic, as the sneering references to Seinsmystik made by his critics imply, but the fact that he is not, that the path he stakes out is ominous, uncertain, exposed on all sides to the “danger.” And that, I think, is something about Heidegger which we today, in the epoch of différance, are likely to miss. For we are accustomed to the French critique of Heidegger which singles out Heidegger’s nostalgia for Being, for the master name and unique word of Being, his metaphysics   of hope. That critique, I would say, springs from an incomplete rendering of Heidegger, one which cuts short his deconstructive critique of metaphysics. it is a reading whose shortcomings can be readily seen by setting Heidegger’s Denkweg against Eckhart  ’s mystical and religious way beyond metaphysics. Compared to the way of the religious mystic, Heidegger pursues a darker, riskier, more uncertain path, always exposed to the dark play of the Ereignis  , a path with markedly Nietzschean tones. vis-à-vis recent French thought and “Nietzsche   aujourd’hui,” Heidegger looks more like Eckhart; vis-à-vis Eckhart, Heidegger looks more like Nietzsche.

True, Heidegger has his eschatological moments, and it is the merit of Derrida  ’s critique of Heidegger to have pointed them out and so to have prepared the way for a more chastened, disciplined, suspicious reading of Heidegger. For example, Heidegger writes in 1955:

There was a time when it was not technology alone that bore the name techne  . Once that revealing that brings forth truth into the splendor of radiant appearing also was called techne.
Once there was a time when the bringing-forth of the true into the beautiful was called techne. . . .
In Greece, at the outset of the destining of the West, the arts soared to the supreme height of the revealing granted them. It [art] was pious, promos, i.e., yielding to the holding-sway and the safe-keeping of truth ....
What, then, was art perhaps only for that brief but magnificent time? [1]

There is a dream-like, indeed I would even say Camelot-like quality replete with the brief shining momentto this discourse. It has given way to nostalgia; it portrays a world which, if it existed at all, was available only to Greek, male freemenwhose piety was built upon a system of violent exclusion and différance. And when Heidegger writes in “The Saying of Anaximander  ” that thinking the Being of beings “may well   bring about a situation which releases a different destiny of Being” (Hw [2] 309/25), when he talks about the transition from the end of philosophy to the “new beginning,” then he gives way to the hope which is the other side of nostalgia. Thinking becomes recollecting and aspiring; time is a circle in which what comes about in the primordial beginning traces out the possibility of what can come again. Such thinking is nostalgic, eschatological, a higher-order, more sublated version of metaphysics.

I would say that this rendering of Heidegger is refuted by Heidegger himself, by a deeper, more suspicious, more critical Heidegger. For it is Heidegger’s view that withdrawal, lethe  , concealment is inscribed in the “essence” (Wesen as the process of coming into presence) of Being. And in virtue of that very negativity there can be no privileged, primordial sending of Being neither in the “first” beginning, nor at the end in the transition to a new beginning; nor indeed can there be a clear demarcation of beginning/end. Every age is equally subject to the law of withdrawal, every epoch is equally “epochal.” The very structure of the giving of Being implies its self-withholding (epochein), so that every epoch is equally subject to différance, withdrawal, violence, the fury of the Unheil. There can be no privileging or hierarchizing of epochs which is a fundamental gesture of a metaphysical conception of history. To the extent that Heidegger indulges in this sort of thing his “history of metaphysics” remains under the spell of a “metaphysics of history.’’

On Heidegger’s own terms, oblivion, withdrawal, is ineradicable, and possesses what might be called, in a language we can no longer trust, a structural necessity. If withdrawal is the very condition which grants the possibility of history, then there can be no point in history where oblivion is overcome. To “awaken” to this oblivion, which is what “overcoming” means, can have no historical correlate, cannot be instantiated somewhere inside historywhether in a “brief but magnificent time” in the first beginning or in some “new beginning.” Wakefulness does not emancipate us from the oblivion, but to it. It does not point back to a primal   time nor does it hail a coming future, but it gives us a certain way of reading that history as the history which is effected by the withdrawal.

And so I prefer a demythologized Heidegger, divested of heroic stories (mythos  ) about magnificent times and the days to come, divested of the entire metaphysico-eschatological mode. I prefer a more radical Heidegger arising from the renunciation of Heideggerian mythos, issuing in a more radical thought of aletheia  , in which aletheia as shining glimmer, effulgence, and light is delimited in favor of a-letheia. By inserting the hyphen Heidegger disrupts the nominal unity of the word, exposing the a-lethic play, the play of the epochs as they rise up and pass away. A-letheia is not the shine which things take on in any given epoch, past or coming, but the very granting of the epochs. It is not the truth of Being, but the very granting of Being and truth, and hence their delimitation. A-letheia is not an historical word, not a word deployed in any natural, historical language, spoken by any historical people. It points to that process by which historical worlds and languages spring up, that happening (Eregnis) which produces history, Being, world, and truth as effects. Thus understood, the matter to be thought for Heidegger is the opening in which history and metaphysics, time and Being, are granted. That is why Heidegger wrote in 1964 that today Being and Time would bear the name Lichtung und Anwesenheit, that is, the Opening (Lichtung) in which Being as presence (Anwesenheit) is granted.

Accordingly the “overcoming of metaphysics” has nothing to do with pronouncements about Being’s story, about great beginnings, promised comings, or even ominous and foreboding forecasts. Rather, it consists in awakening to the oblivion, which constitutes metaphysics and makes the history of metaphysics possible, as an oblivion. It consists in raising our level of vigilance about idolatry, about worshipping idols which are the produced effects, the constituted products of the difference, the Aus-trag, the Ereignis. It prays Being to rid us of Being; it thinks beyond Being to that which grants Being.

Released from all teleological, eschatological story-telling, the history of Being is such as it is, an unfolding of difference, the unfolding of the manifold senses of Being. There are many senses of Being, many truths of Being, playing themselves out, playing because they play, none of which enjoys special privileges and canonical authority. A-letheia: that means, the play of the epochs, released from all metaphysical rule, springing up from the withdrawal only to recede again.

Now, it is this groundless play of Being, playing because it plays, to which, I think, The Mystical Element in Heidegger’s Thought   is singularly [xxiv] attentive. Without fully setting forth the more radical account of Heidegger’s thought which I have sketched here, it makes this eschatological Heidegger questionable. It underlines the “danger” to which thinking and Being are exposed, the uncertainty which inhabits the history of Being. The kingdom is in the hands of a child playing a game of draughts with the epochs. And it is the mystery of that play, of what is withdrawing in that play, that seems to me what is deepest in Heidegger (infra, pp. 245-54).

Ver online : John Caputo

[1Martin Heidegger, The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays, trans. W. Lovitt (New York: Harper & Row, 1977), p. 34.

[2GA5 Holzwege. 4. Auflage. Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann, 1963.