Tag Archives: Heidegger

The obscure, the enigmatic, the elusive

One might think that, if Heidegger had anything worth saying, he could have communicated it in ordinary language.

The fact is that he does not want to be ordinary, and he may not even want to communicate in the usual sense. He wants to make the familiar obscure, and to vex us. George Steiner thought that Heidegger’s purpose was less to be understood than to be experienced through a ‘felt strangeness’. It is something like the  ‘alienation’ or estrangement effect used by Berthold Brecht in his theatre, which is designed to block you from becoming too caught up in the story and falling for the delusion of familiarity. Heidegger’s language keeps you on edge. It is dynamic, obtrusive, sometimes ridiculous and often forceful; on a page of Heidegger things are typically presented as surging or thrusting, as being forced forward, lit up or broken open. Heidegger admitted that his way of writing produced some ‘akwardness’, but he thought that a small price to pay for overturning the history of philosophy and bringing us back to Being.

Sarah Bakewell, At The Existentialist Café: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails

(more here) 


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Filed under the unknown, the writing process

The question and the answer

Unlike beings, Being is hard to concentrate on and it is easy to forget to think about it. But one particular entity has a more noticeable Being than others, and that is myself, because, unlike clouds and portals, I am the entity who wonders about its Being. It even turns out that I have a vague, preliminary, non-philosophical understanding of Being already otherwise I would not have thought of asking about it. This makes me the best starting point for ontological inquiry I am both the being whose Being is up for question and the being who sort of already knows the answer.

Sarah Bakewell, At The Existentialist Café: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails

This is from the chapter on Heidegger

(from here) 

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