Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Response to an Email on Heidegger

To be honest, I think Heidegger is on to the true point: that point is the "forgetfulness" of being (a-letheia = LETHE, Homer's stream/river of oblivion, was one of the rivers of the underworld and its goddess. The others were the Styx, Akheron, Pyriphlegethon and Kokytos. The alpha ("a") is the negative of oblivion or forgetfulness and therefore "remembering."

Therefore, Heidegger's whole insight is the recovery of the experience of the "I" (Dasein)- Being - which which has been forgotten by the abstractive tendency of the mind (conceptualization). It has given us science and technology, but not reality (which is the self as imaging the divine Persons).

An actual work of H. that would be most instructive and give authenticity to your exchange with ?? is H.'s "Early Greek Thinking" - Harper Collins [1984] which is a scant 123 pages and most insightful if taken from the meaning of faith as the "I"- gift in the experience of self-transcendence. This is not H's point, but it can be ours. Faith, then, is the return to authenticity of being by overcoming the forgetfulness of "being" (the acting self). As H. offers on p. 13, The Anaximander Fragment (700-600 B.C. exactly at the time of the Exile) was the first disclosure of Being and the beginning of Greek philosophy as the rationality of the West. In the light of Benedict's Regensburg talk, this little work is decisive for an insight into H.'s mind (as I know it). H. sees Plato and Aristotle as already in decline (300 B.C.) from this "Axial" moment of 700-600 B.C. And H. sees the present moment 2,000 as our new emergence from "forgetfulness" of Being.

I quote:

"Do we stand in the very twilight of the most monstrous transformation our planet has ever undergone, the twilight of that epoch in which earth itself hangs suspended? Do we confront the evening of a night which heralds another dawn? Are we to strike off on a journey to this historic region of earth's evening? Is the land of evening (Abendland: the Occident - West) only now emerging?...What can all merely historiological philosophies of history tell us about our history if they only dazzle us with surveys of its sedimented stuff; if they explain history without ever thinking out, from the essence of history, the fundamentals of their way of explaining events, and the essence of history, in turn, from Being itrself. Are we the latecomers we are? But are we also at the same time precursors of the dawn of an altogether different age, which has already left our contemporary historiological representations of history behind?" Early Greek Thinking -The Dawn of Western Philosophy" 17.

Consider Benedict XVI’s meaning of “The New Evangelization” in terms faith as the experience of Christ by experiencing the self as gift receiving Christ [as Our Lady].

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