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 from Heidegger

Sometimes it seems as if modern humanity were rushing headlong towards this goal of producing itself technologically. If humanity achieves this, it will have exploded itself, i.e. its essence qua subjectivity, into thin air, into a region where the absolutely meaningless is valued as the one and only ‘meaning’ and where preserving this value appears as the human ‘domination’ of the globe.

We must insist over and over that what is at stake in the question of truth as raised here is not simply an alteration of the previous concept of truth, nor a supplementation of the usual representation, but a transformation of humanity itself.

We are attempting to learn thinking. The way is long. We dare take only a few steps. If all goes well they will take us to the foothills of thought. But they will take us to places which we must explore to reach the point where only the leap will help further. The leap alone takes us into the region where thinking resides. We shall therefore take a few practice leaps right at the start, though we won’t notice it at once, nor need to…In contrast to a steady progress, where we move unawares from one thing to the next and everything remains alike, the leap takes us abruptly to where everything is different, so different that it strikes us as strange. Abrupt means the sudden sheer descent or rise that marks the chasm’s edge. Though we may not founder in such a leap, what the leap takes us to will confound us.

The more original a thought, the richer its unthought becomes.

How…is it still possible to preserve a tradition which may have to survive underground for a long time?

Maybe history and tradition will fit smoothly into the information retrieval systems that will serve as a resource for the inevitable planning needs of a cybernetically organized mankind. The question is whether thinking too, will end in the business of information processing.

Science is the new religion.

[Science is] to a quite unimaginable degree, through and through dogmatic; dealing with un-thought-through conceptions and preconceptions.

Physics as physics can make no assertions about physics. All the assertions of physics operate after the manner of physics. Physics is not itself the object of possible physical experiment. 

Phenomenology is more of a science than natural science is.

This is especially true if one understands science (Wissenschaft) in the sense of primordial knowledge (wisdom).

…it seems necessary to characterise our entirely different method as specifically engaging in our relationship to what we encounter…In a sense, what is characteristic of phenomenology is the will not to resist this engaging-oneself.

The relation that constitutes knowing is one in which we ourselves are related and in which this relation vibrates through our basic posture.

what is knowable and what is known are each determined in their essence in a unified way from the same essential ground. We may not separate either one, nor will we encounter them separately. Knowing is not a bridge that somehow subsequently connects two existent banks of a stream, but is itself a stream that in its flow first creates the banks and turns them towards each other in a more primordial way than a bridge ever could.

When it is claimed that brain research is a scientific foundation for our understanding of human beings, the claim implies that the true and real relationship of one human being to another is an interaction of brain processes, and that in brain research itself, nothing else is happening but that one brain is in some way ‘informing’ another.  Then, for example, the statue of a god in the Akropolis museum, viewed during the term break, that is to say outside the research work, is in reality and truth nothing but the meeting of a brain process in the observer with the product of a brain process, the statue exhibited. Reassuring us, during the holidays, that this is not what is really implied, means living with a certain double or triple accounting that clearly doesn’t rest easily with the much faulted rigour of science.

We hear, not the ear…Of course we hear a Bach fugue with our ears, but if we leave what is heard only at this, with what strikes the tympanum as sound waves, then we can never hear a Bach fugue…if we hear, something is not simply added to what the ear picks up; rather what the ear perceives and how it perceives will already be attuned (gestimmt) and determined (bestimmt) by what we hear, be this only that we hear the titmouse and the robin and the lark…Our hearing organs…are never the sufficient condition for our hearing, for that hearing which accords and affords us whatever there really is to hear.

The same holds true for our eyes and vision. If human vision remains confined to what is piped in as sensations through the eye to the retina, then, for instance, the Greeks would never have been able to see Apollo in a statue of a young man….

If we take thinking to be a sort of hearing and seeing, then sensible hearing and seeing is taken up and over into the realm of nonsensory perception…In Greek such a transposing is called metaphorein. The language of scholars names such a carrying-over “metaphor”. So thinking may be called a hearing and a listening, a viewing and a bringing into view, only in a metaphorical sense. Who says “may” here? Those who assert that hearing with the ears and seeing with the eyes is genuine hearing and seeing.”

The essential realm in which biology moves can never be grounded in biology as a science.

We cannot say that the organ has capacities, but must say that the capacity has organs….capability, articulating itself into capacities creating organs characterizes the organism as such.

The significance, indeed the necessity of the genetic approach is clear to everyone. It seems self-evident. But it suffers from a deficit which is all too easily and therefore all too often overlooked. To be in a position to explain an illness genetically, we need first of all to explain what the illness in itself is. It can be that a true understanding of the essence of an  illness…prohibits all causal-genetic explanation….Those who wish to stick rigidly to genetic explanation, without first of all clarifying the essence of that which they wish to explain, can be compared to people who wish to reach a goal, without first of all bringing this goal in view. All explanation reaches only so far as the explication of that which is to be explained [ie the nature and meaning of an illness].

Whoever insists on a genetic explanation without first of all bringing to light the essence of what needs to be explained is like a man who wishes to reach a goal without having previously brought the goal itself into view…What good is all explaining if what has to be explained remains unclear? Or does one indeed hold the mistaken view that what is unclarified in itself could ever be clarified by a [genetic] explanation.

You cannot heal a single human being, (not) even with psychotherapy, if you do not first restore his relationship to Being.

A disposition can confine man in his corporeality as in a prison. Yet it can also carry him though corporeality as one of the paths leading out of it.

Modern man must first and above all find his way back into the full breadth of the space proper to his essence. That essential space of man’s essential being receives the dimension that unites it to something beyond itself…Unless man first establishes himself beforehand in the space proper to his essence and there takes up his dwelling, he will not be capable of anything essential within the destining now holding sway.

We always go through spaces in such a way that we already experience them by staying constantly with near and remote locations and things. When I go toward the door of the lecture hall, I am already there, and I could not go to it at all if I were not such that I am there. I am never here only, as this encapsulated body; rather, I am there, that is, I already pervade the room, and only thus can I go through it.

Where is the boundary of the body? “Every body is my body.”

When I direct someone towards a windowsill with a gesture of my right hand, my bodily existence as a human being does not end at the tip of my index finger. While perceiving the windowsill….I extend myself bodily far beyond this fingertip to that windowsill. In fact, bodily I reach out even further than this to touch all the phenomena, present or merely visualised, represented ones.

We know by now a great deal – almost more than we can encompass – about what we call the body, without having seriously thought about what bodying is. It is something more and different from merely ‘carrying a body around with one’.

The bodying of life is nothing separate by itself, encapsulated in the ‘physical mass’ in which the body can appear to us…

Feeling is the very state, open to itself, in which we stand related to things, to ourselves and to the people around us…Feeling is the very state, open to itself, in which human being hovers.

What we call feeling or mood…is more reasonable – that is, more intelligently perceptive – because more open to Being, than all reason…which was misinterpreted as being rational.

Every feeling is an embodiment attuned in this or that way, a mood that embodies in this or that way.

A mood makes manifest ‘how one is’ and ‘how one is faring’. In this ‘how one is’, having a mood brings Being to its There.

In all pleasure – and not just in pleasure – in every mood there lies a sort of play.

…all conventional, objectifying representations of a capsule-like psyche, subject, person, ego or consciousness in psychology and psychopathology must be abandoned in favour of an entirely different understanding. The new view of the basic constitution of the human being may be called Da-sein or being-in-the-world. Of course, this Da does not mean what it does in the ordinary sense – a location near an observer. Rather, to exist as Da-sein means to hold open a domain through its capacity to receive-perceive the significance of the things that are given to it by virtue of its own ‘clearing’ (Gelichtetheit).

How are other human beings present? Are they related to other humans as you are related to a glass on water on the table in front of you?

Being-here as an existing human being is always one and the same as being-there with you.

Why is love beyond all measure of other human possibilities so rich and such a sweet burden for the one who has been struck by it?  Because we change ourselves into that which we love, and yet remain ourselves. Then we would like to thank the beloved, but find nothing that would do it adequately. We can only be thankful to ourselves. Love transforms gratitude into faithfulness to ourselves and into an unconditional faith in the Other. Thus love steadily expands its most intimate secret. Closeness here is existence in the greatest distance from the other- the distance that allows nothing to dissolve - but rather presents the “thou” in the transparent, but “incomprehensible” revelation of the “just there”. That the presence of the other breaks into our own life - this is what no feeling can fully encompass. Human fate gives itself to human fate, and it is the task of pure love to keep this self-surrender as vital as on the first day.

Freedom is only to be found where there is burden to be shouldered. In creative achievements this burden always represents an imperative and a need that weighs heavily upon man’s mood, so that he comes to be in a mood of melancholy. All creative action resides in a mood of melancholy, whether we are clearly aware of the fact or not, whether we speak at length about it or not. All creative action resides in a mood of melancholy, but this is not to say that everyone in a melancholy mood is creative.

As a creative and essential activity of human being, philosophy stands in the fundamental mood of melancholy.

Philosophy, then, is not a doctrine, not some simplistic scheme for orienting oneself in the world, certainly not an instrument or achievement of human Dasein. Rather, it is this Dasein itself insofar as it comes to be, in freedom, from out of its own ground. Whoever, by stint of research, arrives at this self-understanding of philosophy is granted the basic experience of all philosophizing, namely that the more fully and originally research comes into its own, the more surely is it "nothing but" the transformation of the same few simple questions. But those who wish to transform must bear within themselves the power of a fidelity that knows how to preserve. And one cannot feel this power growing within unless one is up in wonder. And no one can be caught up in wonder without travelling to the outermost limits of the possible. But no one will ever become the friend of the possible without remaining open to dialogue with the powers that operate in the whole of human existence. But that is the comportment of the philosopher: to listen attentively to what is already sung forth, which can still be perceived in each essential happening of world. And in such comportment the philosopher enters the core of what is truly at stake in the task he has been given to do. Plato knew of that and spoke of it in his Seventh Letter:

"In no way can it be uttered, as can other things, which one can learn. Rather, from out of a full, co-existential dwelling with the thing itself - as when a spark, leaping from the fire, flares into light - so it happens, suddenly, in the soul, there to grow, alone with itself."


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