Comments: 16
Murder by Death 2 months ago
Because he was too self involved to begin with? (not that he ever really became completely un-self-involved.)

He had me with this at the start; I definitely agree with allowing things/others to just be and the necessity of accepting their beingness without turning away from it, but he lost me with Unverborgenheit; that concept, to me, smacks of human divinity. That by merely observing something we "allow" it to unhide; that without humanity there is no reason for being. I not only reject that notion, but think it's caused a fair number of problems in this world along the lines of Genesis' "and man was given dominion over the beasts". Who is to say that humans don't require (other) animals to enable them to unhide? So I go back to disliking Heidegger.
BrokenTune 2 months ago
I totally agree with you. Who's to say other beings are not able to do this? Who's to say that humans are the be all and end all?
And I still disagree absolutely with his notions - even in his "turning"- that things are, or even are "unhidden", for a purpose.

I'm also still miffed that he of all of the group was the one that got the recognition and was taught. Tho, I have to say I am no longer surprised in my cynical old age to see the guy who speaks the greatest amount of BS being hailed as a great communicator. FFS.

Oh, and, needless to say, I am not a fan.

Murder by Death 2 months ago
Heidegger sucks club? ;-)

I have to wonder how much recognition he'd have gotten in a different political climate ... but then I think, would he have changed his philosophy to suit whatever political climate he was in? I don't like him, but I have to admit he is an enigma.
BrokenTune 2 months ago
I totally cracked up when Bakewell pointed out that she only found one genuinely nice thing that Heidegger may have done (when he invited someone for a visit).
Heidegger got a mention last night during one of those talk shows I don't usually watch (@BT: Markus Lanz) -- one of the guests was a philosopher / author who just published a book on four major German philosophers from the decade from 1919 to 1929 -- Ludwig Wittgenstein, Walter Benjamin, Ernst Cassirer and, well, Martin Heidegger (Wolfram Eilenberger: "Zeit der Zauberer", https://www.amazon.de/Zeit-Zauberer-gro%C3%9Fe-Jahrzehnt-Philosophie/dp/3608947639/ -- and yes, BT, before you ask, the titular allusion Thomas Mann is deliberate).

During the discussion (which for once was actually quite interesting, thanks largely to the participation of Eilenberger and journalist Dunja Hayali), Eilenberger pointed out the aspects of Heidegger's philosophy that paved the way to his later turning full-blown Nazi; including and in particular, his frequent emphasis of conclusions (or "choices") that are allegedly "without alternative" -- i.e., the fundamentally anti-democratic notion that there is only one path forward, or only one solution to a given (perceived or real) problem: something that's a prominent part of the rhethoric of every dictator -- including and in particular the Nazis -- and which we're beginning to see more and more frequently again in today's debate, too.

And on a related note: Have either of you seen this? https://lithub.com/never-before-published-hannah-arendt-on-what-freedom-and-revolution-really-mean/
BrokenTune 2 months ago
There was a particular instance that Bakewell recited in her book about when Heidegger had to write a professional reference for someone (I'm still at work so can't look up who it was right now) during the Nazi era (again, will need to look up dates later) where he wrote in the actual reference that the guy's political views were questionable (or something along those lines).
Now I know he wasn't great with words and all that language stuff, but nothing can convince me that he did not have a choice what to write in that reference.
He was asked to change the wording and point blank refused on the grounds that it would be wrong of him to change what he had said.

Total utter f....g "$%$%$£%$ ....

He cannot have been as blind as not to see what impact this would have on the guy. He could not have been as ignorant as not to know what he was doing.

So, he had no choice but to write the reference like that? And he had no choice but to not revise it when the opportunity presented itself?

That is such a poor excuse, but it goes along with your comment about how the same rhetoric is being used again these days. That and other ridiculous lies.

Thanks for the link to the Arendt book. I'm sure it will appear on my TBR shortly. :D



I haven't read Bakewell yet, so can't comment on the specific instance you mention, but Heidegger wasn't a fatalist in the sense of saying that nobody ever had a choice about anything (and actually, I'd be surprised to hear he'd have resorted to "but I didn't have a choice" in that particular sort of situation -- rather, I'd have expected him to go full professorial bluster "well, she was crap, I tell you she was and unlike you I know about these things, so there" ... but, again, I haven't read Bakewell yet). HOWEVER, crucially, he did hold that in a big national crisis there was no room to dilly-dally, but it took a "strong leader" to show the way ahead and point to the only way available out of the crisis. Which excellently played into the Nazi propaganda, because that is exactly what they did -- cause / play up people's wide-spread feeling of anxiety and uneasiness over the failing economy (etc.), which then had people scrambling for a strong man's guiding hand: Heidegger provided the philosophical underpinnings for precisely that strategy. Which is exactly what we're seeing again all over the place these days -- immigrants, economic recession, Brexit, you name it. It was (and is) part of Trump's playbook. It is part of the Brexiteers' playbook. It is part of the playbook of parties such as AfD, FPÖ, Front National, Cinque Stelle, etc. And it kills me that after all this time, people still fall for this sort of crap -- which is why I think it was so crucial that it was taken to that particular forum last night, because it's a widely popular program, and Eilenberger did an excellent job putting it in easily understandable terms. This sort of thing should happen much more frequently.

The lecture by Arendt reproduced at the link I included is available (interestingly) in German translation, for EUR 8,00 (for a 64-page book ...) (https://www.amazon.de/Die-Freiheit-frei-zu-sein/dp/3423146516/) -- or in the original English, as part of the compilation mentioned at the end of the article ("Thinking Without a Banister: Essays in Understanding, 1953-1975": https://www.amazon.co.uk/Thinking-Without-Banisters-Understanding-1954-1975/dp/0805242155 -- I checked the table of contents to be on the safe side). The English language compilation looks a bit on the expensive side as a hardcover, but I've still opted for including that on my TBR (not the German translation of the single lecture), even at the risk that it (the English compilation) will never be released as a more economical edition ... for one thing, there is no such thing as too much of Hannah Arendt, and this is a whopping 600-page brick, and somehow I'd rather read her in English than translated into German "after the fact" by someone else. Then again, I also have to confess that, Arendt or no Arendt, I balk at the idea of spending EUR 8,-- for a 64-page book (a large part of which is introduction and editorial comment, to boot) when, by spending EUR 30,--, I can have 600 pages' worth of her as-yet unpublished writings ...
BrokenTune 2 months ago
I found the part in Bakewell's book:

"The philosopher Max Müller, who studied with Heidegger and worked as his assistant, found himself in trouble with the regime in 1937 for writing political articles and working for a Catholic youth group. Freiburg’s vice rector, Theodor Maunz, told Müller that Heidegger had been approached for a report on his student’s politics, and had given him a generally good assessment ‘as a human being, educator, and philosopher’. On the other hand, he had included an observation that Müller had a negative opinion of the state. A single sentence like that meant doom. ‘Go to him,’ Maunz told Müller. ‘Everything else will be fine if he crosses out that sentence.’ Müller turned to Heidegger – but Heidegger pedantically stuck to his point, saying, ‘I gave the only answer that corresponds to the truth. But I have wrapped it in a cover of justifiable, good things.’ ‘That won’t help me,’ replied Müller. ‘The sentence is there.’ Heidegger said: ‘As a Catholic, you should know that one must tell the truth. Consequently, I cannot cross out the sentence.’ Müller disputed the theology behind this, but Heidegger was unmoved: ‘No, I will stick to what I was asked. I can’t take back my whole report now and say I won’t write one at all, because people already know that I have given one to the university to be passed on. Nothing can be done. Don’t hold it against me.’ "

Bakewell, Sarah. At The Existentialist Café: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails (pp. 90-91). Random House. Kindle Edition.
BrokenTune 2 months ago
Thanks for the links again - I'll have a browse but yeah, EUR8 for 64 pages is rather steep. I'd be tempted with the brick, too. I'll have a browse at the uni library here, too, that is the sort of thing I would expect them to have, too.

The tv program does sound lovely and I'll check if it is available online. It is a timely discussion for all the reasons you mention. I am delighted to hear that the program was arranged.
As much fun as it is to throw about memes etc., it does not make people think. Memes etc. somewhat take away the points of discussion and with that take away an avenue for people to engage in the thought process that is required in discussions and that is required to distinguish between crap and valid argument. So, an elaborated explanation in the form of the program is brilliant. I hope people watched it.
Sigh. So Heidegger was a coward, too (AND hiding behind being a Catholic). What in the *world* did Arendt ever see in him?!

Anyway, I was rather surprised to see this topic come up during a late night talk show, but yeah, more power to them for including it; I agree. Memes may be in synch with the average modern millisecond attention span, but they hardly ever reach critical mass when it comes to fostering thought-processes (except if they're used in a similar way to political advertising, that is ... both overt and covert; i.e., flooding the airwaves and the internet).
BrokenTune 2 months ago
What in the world indeed!
I really just don't get it.
It *can't* just have been his looks and the fact that he was her professor, can it? Surely even at a very young age, she would not have been *that* easily impressed ...?

Btw, when updating my bookshelves I came across this:
https://www.dtver.de/downloads/leseprobe/f---1205.pdf

It's not the entire play, but at least enough to get an idea of its structure and topical approach ...
BrokenTune 2 months ago
Cool. Thanks. Will have a read of it this weekend. :)

Then I hope to not read much about Heidegger for quite some time.

I also still can't get my head around how he managed to stay so popular - or rather - how his material has stayed so popular. It really puzzles me.
Ditto. Hopefully I'll find Bakewell and Eilenberger somewhat illuminating on the topic ... individually and between the two of them combined.

Btw, I also keep finding enticing stuff by Arendt outside of her blockbuster hits ... https://www.amazon.co.uk/Crises-Republic-Hannah-Arendt/dp/0156232006/
Murder by Death 2 months ago
I'm showing up at the end of the discussion here, though thanks very much TA for the links to Arendt's other work - I'll be checking them out later this afternoon.

I do have to, however, pipe up and say this: as soon as BT mentioned the anecdote, I KNEW which one she was referring to, and Heidegger's actions didn't strike me as cowardly, so much as a cruel expression of what he perceived as personal power. There's no way he was so naive as to think that that one line wasn't going to have serious, possibly fatal, repercussions for Müller. There is truth, and then there is wilful endangerment of another; as a Catholic AND a philosopher, Heidegger should have known the difference. This was the moment I hated him; Bakewell managed to soften my views eventually, but never past extreme dislike.
BrokenTune 2 months ago
Agreed. I have no doubt he was a coward, too, but from Bakewell's descriptions it does strike me as if Heidegger did cause quite a lot of grief on purpose.