intro to heidegger
November 14, 2015


October 18th, 2015

i don't normally like to remind myself that i am, only, a conventional mind, but there has been nothing but this in england. there is weight around my waist, the product of an almost impressive avoidance of exercise in the past couple of weeks. reviewing my syllabus, i have done little in the way of reading, developing, and learning italian. the words i have read lose interest, soon, to impatience or desire or to be reading, writing or coding, or something fresher.

i lack application for many mens' words. some sentences interrogate ideals and concepts that do not bear any relevance to where i wander, in this city. i find nothing romantic about them. i lingered late last night in a dormitory kitchen, wanting to turn uncertain habitation into eager kisses, grounding with bodies what words and politics get tangled in my head. i think she was just being friendly, and, despite its promises, my mind prefers decided unspokenness and shies away from outspoken decision. my mood is the word of others, because i fear blame and recognition through my own part. i do not want my own desires to surface at the expense of others'.

A different world (the reader's) slips into the author's place.

of course, what i really ought to do is bring my desires to the social as questions. last night, i asked myself, many times, what she was wanting. i desired to know that i might more ethically form and configure my own desires, but absurdly did not ask her. the pond where we played more often than not has two aerated origins, surfaced as questions, answers that are sunken deep to the bottom, barely visible in the ripples. my water is murky. hers must be very clear if we are to find resolution. our bodies are the guilty ones, and they are their own judge. just before i fell asleep last night, it reminded me of its impressions as nothing more than passive witness.

This mutation makes the text habitable, like a rented apartment.

the heidegger i have failed to read several times this week is open, between world, earth and work. from page 47:

"We ask: What relation do the setting up of a world and the setting forth of the earth exhibit in the work itself?"1

part of the answer comes in the next sentence

"The world is the self-disclosing openness of the broad paths of the simple and essential decisions in the destiny of an historical people"2.

i was sort of with this until

"in the destiny of an historical people"

the world is the surface of the pond, latticed with the ripples of questions whose source i tried to make clear in agreeing to join her in a kitchen for earl grey tea at midnight. perhaps marty is saying we ought to recognize the origin of these excuses, because we are an historical people whose decisions have cause and consequence.

in the streets they fill with the forests of their desires and goals. In the same way the users of social codes turn them into metaphors and ellipses of their own quests.

and the earth:

"The earth is the spontaneous forthcoming of that which is continually self-secluding and to that extent sheltering and concealing"2.

i think if i had leaned over and kissed her when she was showing me the pics of her choir, when she was younger, my murky desires would have become spontaneously clear.
heidegger continues:

"world and earth are essentially different from one another and yet are never seperated. The world grounds itself on the earth, and earth juts through the world. But the relation between world and earth does not wither away into the empty unity of opposites unconcerned with one another. The world, in resting upon the earth, strives to surmount it"2.

cudos to the world last night for triumphing over the earth.

"As self-opening [the world] cannot endure anything closed. The earth, however, as sheltering and concealing, tends always to draw the world into itself and keep it there"2.

as with all successful academics, marty's answer is 'yes and no'. in the limited case of my last-night, the earth wouldn't let the world get out, and the world did its best to ignore the injunctions of the earth. in their contention

"the opponents raise each other into the self-assertion of their natures"2.

for work:

"In setting up a world and setting forth the earth, the work is an instigation of this striving. This does not happen so that the work should at the same time settle and put an end to the conflict of an insipid agreement, but so that the strife may remain a strife."

art (that lonely moment where i want what did or didn't happen to have an other recognition) curates and frames the world's squabble with the earth, like a snapchat catching my eyes on the nape of her neck, while she laughs at something her friend said.

"It is because the struggle arrives at its high point in the simplicity of intimacy that the unity of the work comes about in the fighting of the battle. The fighting of the battle is the continually self-overreaching gathering of the work's agitation. The repose of the work that rests in itself thus has its presencing in the intimacy of the striving."7.

i'm a little loathe to suddenly make this a battle, marty - we certainly could have avoided the conflict had we just been clear in the first place. but i do agree that the intimacy would have had more presence had we ever made it through the conflict of earth and world.

the viewer reads the landscape of his childhood in the evening news.

heidegger goes on to talk about concealment, which i don't want to denigrate by considering in the light of my internal romantics. i do not want to transfix his philosophy in my own consideration, but only to pour it inside my example intimacy to capitalize on my own understanding. if i take martin's phrases without this context, i can't get anything from him. he's no equipment. i have no mind to get caught up in the analytics of his philosophical ideals. that

"Truth, in its nature, is un-truth"8

just sinks straight to the bottom, without a buoy from my own happenings.

i would much rather work with light attire
and make a generally, efficient, imprint
than weigh
heavy
on everyone
and do a really very good job of being absolutely specific.

"Indeed we achieve our most primordial (closest) relationship with equipment not by looking a the entity in question, or by some detached intellectual or theoretical study of it, but rather by skilfully manipulating it in a hitch-free manner"9.

this is to say, i got a little lost in the middle of marty's essay, when he started talking about truth. it seemed as though his mind-and-not-his-body was at one of those networking events that happen for the investment bank agencies, ensuring to spend equal time between beauty, truth, and art, and innovatively wrestling with all of their normal questions in such a way that his essentially normal answers impressed; to be fair to martin, though, i know nothing about asset management.

maybe it is important.

The thin film of writing becomes a movement of strata, a play of spaces.

i loaded the stanford encyclopaedia of philosophy's primary article on marty and his philosophy on my computer screen. this tells me that in order to grasp his later philosophy, i really ought to first become thoroughly familiar with his magnum opus, 'being and time | time and being'. there is something called da sein that is important to his phenomenology, whose projects and possiblities are bound up in the ways in which other entities may become intelligible, in publics, performativity, and the essence of ourselves scattered in the world.

He insinuates into another person's text the ruses of pleasure and appropriation: he poaches on it, is transported into it, pluralizes himself in it like the internal rumblings of one's body.

so i wandered to 'building, thinking, dwelling', a text for which every thing gathers in something called the fourfold. was there nothing of simplicity in your desires, marty? no basic kisses for which semantics were unnecessarily complicated?

is this what you call thinking?

is this where you dwell?

is this where language dwells for you?

is this to talk about philosophical architecture only by way of the sky's metaphor?

is this the bridge, holding up the sky and gathering the earth as landscape around the stream?

Renters make comparable changes in an apartment they furnish with their acts and memories; as do speakers, in the language into which they insert both the messages of their native tongue and, through their accent, through their own "turns of phrase," etc., their own history; as do pedestrians, in the streets they fill with the forests of their desires and goals.


all bolded quotes taken from: decertau, michel. 'the practice of everyday life'.


  1. heidegger, martin. 'the origin of the word of art'. 'poetry, language, thought' trans. albert hofstadter, pub. harper perennial, modern classics, 2001, original copy. harper & row, 1971, pg 47

  2. ibid, pg 47

  3. ibid, pg 48

  4. ibid, pg 53

  5. wheeler, michael. 'martin heidegger'. 'the stanford encyclopedia of philosophy' ed. edward n. zalta, url. http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2015/entries/heidegger/ , section 2.2.2

author Lachlan Kermode

Written by Lachlan Kermode who lives and works in Princeton. You should check out his Resume, GitHub, or Twitter.