'Nur' in SZ

Allerdings nur solange Dasein ist, das heißt die ontische Möglichkeit von Seinsverständnis, „gibt es“ Sein. (SZ S 212, GA2 S 281)

Notes:

a) As always, Heidegger's use of the word "nur" here alludes to the closing lines of Hegel's Phänomenologie:

...beide zusammen, die begriffene Geschichte, bilden die Erinnerung und die Schädelstätte des absoluten Geistes, die Wirklichkeit, Wahrheit und Gewißheit seines Throns, ohne den er das leblose Einsame wäre; nur - 'aus dem Kelche dieses Geisterreiches / schäumt ihm seine Unendlichkeit'.
Heidegger's whole enterpise might be read as the extended attempt to explicate what is at stake in these lines from Hegel (and from Schiller's Die Freundschaft).

In this crucial text from SZ Heidegger's explication unfolds in three steps. First, he emphasizes that the being ("ist") of Da-sein occurs at a decisive remove away from (von) being (Sein): it is "die ontische Möglichkeit von Seinsverständnis". That is, it is that understanding of being (Seinsverständnis) which is possible among finite beings (Seienden, "die ontische", "Dasein"). Similarly, Hegel speaks of "Geschichte", of "dieses [endlichen] Geisterreich", which occurs at that decisive and unrecallable remove from being (der absolute Geist for Hegel) marked by the death of God (golgatha, "die Schädelstätte"). So fundamental is this remove to spirit (Hegel) and being (Heidegger) that both specify that it is only ("nur") in and through such unrecallable difference that there is („es gibt“) something like being or absolute spirit at all: "nur solange Dasein ist (...) „gibt es“ Sein"; "nur - 'aus dem Kelche dieses [endlichen] Geisterreiches / schäumt ihm [dem absoluten Geiste] seine Unendlichkeit'."

But, second, this remove from being is at the same time the exposure of being (objective genitive) in its essential character - which is exactly this remove. The setting loose of finite beings from being (absoluter Geist, Sein) does not, therefore, leave finite beings "only" on their own, "only" cut them off from being, it also exposes them to being its its truth. While humans are and remain exactly finite, indeed because humans are and remain exactly finite, there is yet "die ontische Möglichkeit von Seinsverständnis", a possibility which Hegel sees as actual in "beide zusammen, die begriffene Geschichte", that is, history which is genuinely understood in its being ("begriffen"). This understanding constitutes a true and fitting "Erinnerung" of being, where Erinnerung (memory, remembrance) does not only mean a trace recalled at a remove, but also a 'situating in', a 'residing in' ("Er-innerung", where 'innen' means 'to dwell', as in English 'inn'). The truth of being resides in and with the Geisterreichen of Dasein exactly in their finitude.

At the end of the Phänomenologie, Hegel is conducting a liturgy. "Erinnerung" alludes to the command at the heart of the Mass of the Eucharist: "Do this in memory of Me". The Eucharist is at once a thanking [eucharios in Greek] and a sacrifice in which the priest repeats the original sacrifice of God at golgatha, "die Schädelstätte". The re-calling is a re-enacting such that remove and repetition belong together, each enabling the other.

Third, the finite possibility of this "beide zusammen" ("die begriffene Geschichte", "die ontische Möglichkeit von Seinsverständnis") rests on the prior fundamental characteristic of being itself as plural. Hegel's Geist and Heidegger's Sein are what they are "only" in the original refusal of self-enclosure and of seamless identity. Heidegger asks: "Wie wäre es, wenn wir (...) einmal darauf achteten, ob und wie (...) vor allem ein Zu-einander-Gehören im Spiel ist?" (ID, S 18) It is this original (vor allem) play of plurality which yet belongs together in its difference which then allows and calls for the belonging together of infinite and finite being. It is the essence of being that "es gibt": the gift and the radical outpouring and the 'execution' of being belong originally together since plurality (the gigantomachia) is unrecallable: "Die Kraft des Geistes [Seins] ist nur so groß als ihre Äußerung, seine Tiefe nur so tief, als er [es] in seiner Auslegung sich auszubreiten und sich zu verlieren getraut" (see 'Nur in Hegel and Heidegger').


July 20, 2004 in Hegel, MH/'nur', Original difference | Permalink

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