Go to the Index of 120 Philosophers Squared
Martin Heidegger (1889 – 1976) was a German philosopher of existential and phenomenological being. “Man is not the lord of beings. Man is the shepherd of Being.”
Eternity, not as a static “now,” nor as a sequence of “nows” rolling off into the infinite, but as the “now” that bends back into itself. …
We name time when we say: every thing has its time. This means: everything which actually is, every being comes and goes at the right time and remains for a time during the time allotted to it. Every thing has its time.
Thinking the most difficult thought of philosophy means thinking being as time.
Philosophy interprets its corruption as the resurrection of metaphysics.
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. … And in such comportment the philosopher enters the core of what is truly at stake in the task he has been given to do.
Why are there beings at all instead of nothing? That is the question. Presumably it is not an arbitrary question, “Why are there beings at all instead of nothing”- this is obviously the first of all questions. Of course it is not the first question in the chronological sense […] And yet, we are each touched once, maybe even every now and then, by the concealed power of this question, without properly grasping what is happening to us. In great despair, for example, when all weight tends to dwindle away from things and the sense of things grows dark, the question looms.
He who thinks great thoughts often makes great errors.
Those in the crossing must in the end know what is mistaken by all urging for intelligibility: that every thinking of being, all philosophy, can never be confirmed by “facts,” ie, by beings. Making itself intelligible is suicide for philosophy. Those who idolize “facts” never notice that their idols only shine in a borrowed light. They are also meant not to notice this; for thereupon they would have to be at a loss and therefore useless. But idolizers and idols are used wherever gods are in flight and so announce their nearness.
The most thought-provoking thing in our thought-provoking time is that we are still not thinking.
Thinking only begins at the point where we have come to know that Reason, glorified for centuries, is the most obstinate adversary of thinking.
Everywhere we remain unfree and chained to technology, whether we passionately affirm or deny it. But we are delivered over to it in the worst possible way when we regard it as something neutral; for this conception of it, to which today we particularly like to do homage, makes us utterly blind to the essence of technology.
In its essence, technology is something that man does not control.
Philosophy will not be able to effect an immediate transformation of the present condition of the world. This is not only true of philosophy, but of all merely human thought and endeavor. Only a god can save us. The sole possibility that is left for us is to prepare a sort of readiness, through thinking and poeticizing, for the appearance of the god or for the absence of the god in the time of foundering [Untergang] for in the face of the god who is absent, we founder. Only a God Can Save Us.
Enjoyment of the work consists in participation in the creative state of the artist.
We think of beauty as being most worthy of reverence. But what is most worthy of reverence lights up only where the magnificent strength to revere is alive. To revere is not a thing for the petty and lowly, the incapacitated and underdeveloped. It is a matter of tremendous passion; only what flows from such passion is in the grand style.
The human body is essentially something other than an animal organism.
Man acts as though he were the shaper and master of language, while in fact language remains the master of man.
Language is the house of the truth of Being.
Who is to determine what the perfect is? It could only be those who are themselves perfect and who therefore know what it means.
If I take death into my life, acknowledge it, and face it squarely, I will free myself from the anxiety of death and the pettiness of life – and only then will I be free to become myself.
We should never allow our fears or the expectations of others to set the frontiers of our destiny. Your destiny can’t be changed but, it can be challenged. Every man is born as many men and dies as a single one.
Then a “should” does not determine being. Being determines a “should.” “When we talk of values we are speaking under the inspiration or optics of life: life itself compels us to set up values; life itself values through us whenever we posit values.
The small are always dependent on the great; they are “small” precisely because they think they are independent. The great thinker is one who can hear what is greatest in the work of other “greats” and who can transform it in an original manner.
Nietzsche … does not shy from conscious exaggeration and one-sided formulations of his thought, believing that in this way he can most clearly set in relief what in his vision and in his inquiry is different from the run-of-the-mill.
The human body is essentially something other than an animal organism. The human being and everything that raises us above the animals has been created by women and their gossip. Humanity was born with the working medium of speaking, and since syntax was integrated into the DNA women have been refining what it is to be human. Thus, I agree with, Man acts as though he were the shaper and master of language, while in fact language remains the master of man.
Man is not the lord of beings. Man is the shepherd of Being. It is strange that I find myself motivated by the concept of the superman being women. I don’t mean individual women but the whole half of our species called women, for as in the previous paragraph, and its link, it becomes obvious that what we call human qualities were selected by women to be in our DNA. Thus the male half of our species is still operating on the processes of sexual selection, while women are operating on a higher form of mate selection, called artificial selection or the slightly more specific term Eveish selection. We have now become such a dominant species of the Earth that we must take on the role of stewardship and the responsibilities of life and death, not only of individuals, but of entire species.
Thinking only begins at the point where we have come to know that Reason, glorified for centuries, is the most obstinate adversary of thinking. Heidegger directly contradicts the first thing one encounters in a typical philosophy class; it is mathematical like, similar to Pythagorean geometry, with a way of crisply defining terms and then rigidly defining their following relationships. This procedure may give precise results in theoretical situations, but it rarely serves in the turbulence of the real world, and in fact is destructive of meaningful action, and it is destructive of creatively thinking about problems.
Why are there beings at all instead of nothing? That sounds like a great question, and yet using Heidegger’s approach it is hard to imagine any answer that could be satisfactory or enlightening in any way. A blizzard of words and ideas immediately given their twisted opposites doesn’t create understanding, it just creates high-sounding obfuscation in an explosion of blinding light.
If you want a pain in your brain I would suggest watching the film The Ister. It is a documentary examining the theories of Heidegger in a setting of exploring the Danube River. This movie has everything you need to make your head ache: nonstop jittery camera shots that are blurry and repetitive in the extreme, broken dialogue with low audio quality, hard to read subtitles and a subtext of extreme suffering. It’s 3 hours and 9 minutes of disconnected blather. Enjoy.