Saturday, September 23, 2006

Grittli [When all the bridges have been broken]

The explanations of philosophical books always not only pose a challenge but usually wind up in tantra of the most diverse sort, because the idea of expounding philosophical thought in itself wears a rather thin skin and can only remind me of Biblical criticism, with those statically fix modes of exegesis that distance themselves from the purpose of hermeneutic questions. History of Ideas and its accomplices often fail on us, because as Gilson said, if a person has lived seventy years for sure he's got a lot to tell about himself, but if he's lived as a philosopher for his whole life with terror he soon realized that he's got no past. An statement politically dangerous in itself, well could have been used by Heidegger himself or to anybody who hasn't exceeded in arriving from hermeneutics to the ethos of Levinas for whom this is apparently inherent to the metaphysical entity. Heidegger most certainly couldn't have agreed with this idea, nor Nietzsche or even the Hegelians, all for whom claimed that the spirit of both secular and religious morals were entirely outdated as a set of cultural bias better described as "customs", using the Roman word "mores" which eventually gifted us with moral thought, one of the greatest achievements of Christian philosophy, if anything such can be called philosophy prior to Existentialism.

I couldn't apply myself to the ethos of Levinas either, not from my bottles of red glue or from the "pasts" which I share with world history and memor; incidentally my debut into philosophy wasn't a voluntary one, nor my escapes. The moral tragedy of my generation and of my own dramatis persona forced me almost by gun-pointing to philosophize since the earliest years of my teens, when all I had heard about philosophy were Wittgenstein, Heidegger and Plato. Then again because of the Zeitgeist I might incur in being postmodern in which the whole discourse might have as well lost any possible meaning to be eventually acquired or even better, inherited. The imperative necessity to survive in the world of the early 21st century among casualities of exaggerate weight brought me to philosophy. That of course in a particularly strange way because what I had conceived as philosophy back then was rather different than what my peers nowadays consider it to be, and to my own dismise I find that I had been an hermeneuticist since days of old. The problem of translation, or even the obsession have accompanied me for a very long time. To philozophize from within Classical philology and Christian theology seemed to me rather obvious, but not so much in tune with the discourse of my contemporaries.

At present I feel that I don't really want to do any sort of philosophy, but rather engage myself in the activity of thinking which has been replaced by a very nihilistic form of ontology as a natural product of having lost the ground for judgement. No books can explain philosophical discourse, not even philosophical discourse; because those of us concerned with the new thinking have realized that only experience, beyond the conjunctive and the semantic entreaties can realize thinking to its maximum potential; a way of thinking that has to do a lot more with journeys and travails than it has with thinking itself. At this point one is already entangled in a criticism of dialectic and rhaetorics, and consequently of logic itself. In a world represented by the noise of machines and screws it is impossible to engage in thinking without an anticipated overcoming, that significantly enough calls for the dismise of all philosophy. But reading carefully into our own mute language unearthens an unheard-of vessel that contains endless question marks; for we seem not have comprehended what these ends and dismises really mean, just like when we discuss absurdities like the death-of-God and the end of history. These ends are to be meet with conceptual ends themselves that must be obligatorily accompanied by the ability to begin anew, not from scratch but from within the invisible sources available to us from our exiles, namely from the memory. Which is the only tool that might enhance the channels that make the throughways accesibles, meaning that hope as a quintessential human pre-condition for existence is flying accross a thick and dense sly of unmotion unless it is accompanied by the memory withal.

Trying to do philosophy from scratch as in logic positivism, means in practice the obliteration of that allegoric and pre-literary element inherent to the pre-rational man. The only connection left to us to the worlds of truth and rootedness. Looking into the exiles by the hand of Bonhoeffer and Hannah Arendt only awakens us to a terrible multi-layered truth: That exiles are as old as Odysseus and Abraham. This idea should have undoubtedly mortified Rosenzweig. The human desire to overcome "homesickness" is not a particularly new insight of German Idealism, it is rooted in the human condition itself! As the British poet writes "Not to have is the beginning of desire". Not to have by all possible means is the hermeneutic argument of man against God, not simply with God. It's a pre-rational and allegoric dialectical struggle, in which man must oppose forcefully the condition of not having in order to find himself striving and hoping for not having! This insight isn't particularly obvious, because since the first moment knowledge turned into falsehood by the wisdom of the serpent; moment during which man gained his humanity by un-becoming his horizontal perspective in which he occupied a place among Gods.

The impossibility of knowledge is at the core of what it means to be human, the impossibility to be complete. Lev Shestov teaches us: "We live surrounded by an endless multitude of mysteries. But no matter how enigmatic may be the mysteries which surround being, what is most enigmatic and disturbing is that mystery in general exists and that we are somehow definitely and forever cut off from the sources and beginnings of life".

Of particular importance to me in the level of discourse is his overriding necessity to speak always in the plural, i.e. sources and beginnings in the same way that Lessing would speak about truths. It is necessary to journey with philosophy in order to think, and that can't be accomplished unless you have the company of the philosopher.... which lies somewhere beyond the academic discourse. For example through the reflection on works of art or an alleged poetization of all philosophical ways of thinking, not necessarily only in writing. In this sense I'm even divorcing myself from one of the traditions I am seemly rooted in; phenomenology. The uttermost need of the phenomenologist to perform descriptions that can help him recover the pure-I is in itself nothing but acknowledging we've all been defeated under Descartes. In the moment one says "cogito ergo sum" one is separating being from the essence of thinking; which had been clear to Brentano and Heidegger very early on. This separation isn't like the one between the soil and the heavens, for the heavens are many and only in the abyss of the waters is one able to swim into the "in-betweens" that redefine humanity from a uniquely base perspective; the perspective of the ancient for whom life in itself was art and philosophy. Thereby is where the memory finds itself at unease with undercurrents.

Since Diotima we well know that only discourse can be-come things human, but not necessarily real. Therefore I'm convinced that only in the correspondence of the philosophers can one find the accessible throughway. Only in spoken language over endless glasses and half-empty ashtreys. Only discourse entirely humanized can bring us to the fore of our experiences in order to dissolve the task of contemplation and reflection upon unmovable essentialities, so that they can be replaced by the vertigo of an unstupefied beingness not there-beingness, but one within time. Travelling in the line of time; that's where Rosenzweig is going all the time unknowingly. Within our thinking spaces containing our exiles we're unable to journey time-ly. Deconstruction will not help us; and until the day we shall arrive to the understanding of the structural dialectic of the "ends" we might actually be in the simplest of all tautological modes of thought. Our quest for translation often shows only how detached are we from both our earthly and heavenly homes, the quest for translation renders itself as a yearning, as a homesickness. "Hour-ly am I..." says Goethe.

The direction: "Perhaps because I'm not homesick enough, in any event because I do not believe in a world, be it a past world or a future world, in which man's mind, equipped for withdrawing from the world of appearances, could or should be ever comfortably at home". (H. Arendt).

It is necessary to recover the world in order to think, to recover the public spaces even from God! "A battle of Titans concerning being".

"Hence Aharon said: Had not Korach risen up against me, would the Lord have covenanted with me that only my seed shall burn incense before the Lord? For it is said "A reminder unto the children of Israel that no common man, that is not of the seed of Aharon, draw near to burn the incense before the Lord" (Num. 17.5). Here we have a further illustration: "In my behalf, I own, my heifer broke her leg bone". The Holy one provides substantial compensation for the affliction that befalls me".
- Tanna Debe Eliyahu (Late Midrash).

It makes me wonder whether Margrit Rosenstock-Huessy knew Korach?

"Do you think the Jews would have known that they were going into the Babylonian Exile if Jeremiah would not have sat down on the ruins and lamented? And that they would not have come back if they would not have known from the very beginning: now we're going into the Babylonian Exile?"
-F. Rosenzweig to Eugen and Margrit Rosenstock-Huessy, 1918)

Reading for the Ninth of Av:
"Go, and cry in the
Ears of Jerusalem, saying: Thus
saith the Lord:
I remember for thee the affection
Of thy youth,
The love of thine espousals,
How thou wentest after Me in the
In a land that was not sown.
Isael is the Lord's hallowed portion,
His first fruits of the increase;
All that devour him shall be held
Evil shall come upon them,
Saith the Lord"
-Jeremiah II, 2-3

I can't continue, I can only write this philosophy in poetry.

"Philosophy will have conscience of tomorrow, commitment to the future, or it will have no more knowledge" -E. Bloch. (Is this knowledge perhaps only available in the future at all? If so then why should one feel at home in the world at all? Why do we necessitate a redeemed world? Are you Korach or Moses?)

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