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Simón Royo Hernández – Anarchism as Political Ontology in Martin Heidegger

The Anarchist Library

2022 03 31

Author: Simón Royo Hernández
Title: Anarchism as Political Ontology in Martin Heidegger
Date: 13/06/2008
Source: Translated from rebelion.org/el-an-arquismo-como-ontologia-politica-en-martin-heidegger/

The former Dominican priest of Dutch origin and German parents, taken in by Hannah Arendt in the United States who died of AIDS in 1993, Reiner Schürmann, was the one who, in his 1982 book, Le Principe d’Anarchie. Heidegger et la Question de l’Agir,[1] has bequeathed us the best interpretation of the possible ethics and politics that would derive from Heideggerian ontology. Schürmann presents the politics that would derive from Heidegger’s thought as a refusal of the principles (archai) and foundations for action, as well as of the meaning or finality (télos) of action.

Schürmann thus offers us the political correlate of Heidegger’s ontology in terms of an anarchic mysticism in which two options are common, the first being life without why and for what, as a project thrown into the world of the first Heidegger, which would lead us to the emanation of the sense of the individual self, as in the Oscar Wilde of The Soul of Man under Socialism,[2] man as that entity who gives the law individually and singularly to himself, and the second, life without why or for what, but as an opening to being in its unfolding. The latter leads us to Gelassenheit as the attitude of a mysticism of acting without work, which arises from abandoning oneself and letting things be through us, so that events can happen to us. Between these two options there would be a third option which could be called rootedness, which would be the opposite of uprooting. But this option for tradition, the root, taken up and urbanised by Gadamer, would take us back to the foundations and meanings with which each community envelops its members, so that for this reason other forms of linkage such as the Deleuzian rhizome would be taken into account. Heidegger could not entirely consider rootedness in a cultural way; his counter-figuration of the Heimatlösigket, of uprooting, would be co-pertenancy with physis, seeking to understand this in a deeper way than that which refers to the biological life of the entities of nature.

We thus see three respects or alternatives to the metaphysical positions that are legitimised by their appeal to principles and finalities:

. Man as the thrown entity, as a project that singularly has to forge his own ethics, create his own values, valid exclusively for himself. Here there is individual choice and decision, like that of the Kierkegaardian ethical subject, the artist of Nietzsche and Oscar Wilde or the free individual of Sartre. It is not in Schürmann’s approach but implicit in his references to the first Heidegger, that of the existentialism of Being and Time.

. Man as the entity linked to being insofar as he strips himself of everything that characterises him and abandons himself to an action that no longer belongs to him, but which happens through him as a force of indeterminacy or of the bottomless abyss that constitutes him. Here there is no longer any choice or decision, but mysticism, fusion with Nothingness.

. Man as the entity in harmony with nature who allows physis to pass through him and seeks to take root in it. And here too there is no human decision or choice, only concordance or fusion with nature understood as Becoming, being as a flowing pluriform multiplicity.

In Meister Eckhardt’s formula, “the rose is without why”, the mystical approach and the co-belonging to physis are mixed up, which is why points two and three are difficult to distinguish, given their common link with happening. The second point is about not getting in the way of happening, about Gelassenheit as abandoning oneself, letting oneself go, a sort of phenomenological suspension beyond the level of consciousness until reaching ontology; while the third point is about letting oneself go through. In musical terms, it could be said that Nothingness refers to silence, while Becoming refers to sounds piercing through us. From this point of view, fertiliser, cultivation, education within civilisation and culture would not have been able to emulate physis and produce a rose. Immediacy and spontaneity will oppose all processes of mediation, such as the one which, by means of propositions, language, grammar, forces us into this roundabout way of explanations.

Language will be the home of being as long as it belongs to physis, but it will be clothed in metaphysics as long as it has to express itself by means of propositions.

The questions of foundation, purpose and meaning may well apply to those who engage in philosophical studies. For what, why and what is the point of such an activity. In the past, public universities spent money training professionals (e.g. telecommunications and industrial engineers or physicists and mathematicians) so that they would almost inevitably have to work for private companies on things like making our mobile phones download 25,000 songs as fast as possible or making our word processors open faster. The mechanisms are more refined now. But anyone who studies philosophy will certainly not do it, unless they are very stupid, to make money, and not even to teach in a high school or even to teach at university.