A Comment on ‘Why Heidegger is interesting

comment on the above

This is a most useful introduction to Heidegger. It seems to me  the key to the problem he is on about is related directly to the Darwinian theory of evolution as the presentation indicates. I’m surprised he does not seem to say more about it in the Notebooks quoted – but maybe he does elsewhere.

That theory makes Time, in itself, a force that makes history. We do not know and cannot know what happened millions and billions of years ago. We cannot observe it, experiment with it or test it scientifically. We can have conjectures and theories galore but Darwinism insists that we do know what happened, and what will happen, and Time explains it all. Pigs will fly given Time enough to evolve.

The past was essentially and inevitably partial, inadequate and inferior compared to the present just as the present is to the future as we are on a course of evolutionary progress whether we like it or not. The present is a sort of waiting room on a journey and therefore not really worth taking that seriously as we are going elsewhere. But the problem is – we are not. The present is the only valid thing to consider and we don’t have that long to do so.

But the Darwinian attitude disables the mind from doing this. We know it all, don’t we? We need to just dot the i’s and cross the t’s. We can glibly explain to our  own satisfaction  millions of years of change as if it was but the blink of an eye with phrases that get more meaningless the more one thinks about them – so we don’t think too much about them.

And anyway, of what significance can we be in the aeons of Time?

To me that is what Heidegger is trying to cope with.  Being – meaning our actual human existence – is something we have made pathetic and not worth really thinking about too much. He wants to change that.

I think that what is practically useful in Heidegger are some of his insights – as his overall philosophy is fairly impenetrable. These insights are being confirmed all around us so there is likely to be some merit in his philiosophy – for want of a better word.

For example, his comparing and contrasting of Bolshevik Russia and America. That Russia was/is more than Bolshevism but that America is not more than Americanism which is “destroying everything in the delusion of the “Happiness” of all. Nihilism reaches its peaks in Americanism.”

Also useful is his idea that nation states are based on metaphysical constructs and do not reflect human realities – as is clearly the case in more and more parts of the world today – including a part quite close to here.

Belfast, 25 May, 2014

Jack Lane

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