Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Kafka & Hoelderlin on "The Good"

It's strange, because even in the middle of the caustic storm which befalls my life, the idea of the good is in my mind again, but in a very snob mood and furthermore I can only grasp the form but not at all the content, at the same time it seems to me the form is some kind of Christian thing, very little universality therein.

The fear of death and the monstrous anxiety have eased up, but it's better not to be too much laid back as surprises might come anytime. This reading about Hoelderlin I find very inspiring, even when in a very naive and remote way. Perhaps there's a possibility for a new beginning without giving up life altogether, but somehow cynicism has taken over in lordship, while keeping some frail sense of humour which becomes a venue for self-critique. I simply don't want to die yet, and the mere idea of going "my way" with "the older brother" without leaving anything written leads me into absurd panick-ridden fear. By writing I mean something other than little queer musings.

Moreorver this isn't the fear that leads me into wanting death (instead of dying and imagining it as a modernist painting with Hegelian and Greek themes); what most terribly destroys my sanity is the fear of anonimity; obviously not in philosophy (we're all anonymous today in a way - it's caused by entropy, the postmodern information theories) but from world-dwelling (in the sense of Lessing). I fear inhumane treatment, statistical heroism accompanied by oblivion and the mere idea that I know with some certainly that this world can make it possible makes me share a certain pathos with others long before me; we all meet at the railways but our end is no longer Auschwitz but a dim landscape painted over its piles of glasses and shoes.

This landscape is very similar to Kafka's "The Trial", and then goes through Kundera's "sempiternal laughter" about Hitler and finds me at the end in the line of a visa section procrastinating[1] for an identity we all lost at the beginning of the railway, only the grand narrative is left. I think about Agnes on that good people are still possible, how's this so? Today? In a way it's a wonder of modern contingency that one can devote his life to reflect on those matters, yet one's not compelled by proxy to act, returning to the grand narrative again.

I have awful tons of personal experience with this (Hegel here would call me slightly less than a dilettante) and such cynical fact is something one can never reconcile with, no one can. At the same time I follow Kant a little in returning to philosophy everytime as one returns to a maid after a quarrel, but in a more Idealist way (here I want to term Kant "critical"). The imaginary flight to bridge once again to the world of beauty and language, of poetry - but eternal but not just, the Greek world. Yet I live up to Modernity and fail, experienced in a rather hammer-punctured everyday life the absolute collapse of metaphysics, which in itself leads to a philosophical embarrassment at "building" a system, whichever it might be; yet one can easily return to aesthetics, where in the critique of literature and works of art I can once again speak of the ethical without the net of other-worldly security, this seems an impossibility indeed!

Because speaking of ethics does by no means insure practical reason proper, but if everyday life can be indeed punctured and endangered by the hammers and the pendulum of Modernity it means it can altogether altered, even if already the teleology of technology isn't only a form of imagination (or a mode) but a whole consciousness, and Modernity can house many. This is no metaphysical rebellion against reason (an absurdity in every respect) but a postmetaphysical reflected process of practical reason proper: Aesthetic judgement, which obviously is in strait needs to objectivize itself by concretizing (and here we're not speaking of hermeneutics) its object: Beauty.

Altogether returning to the very beginning of rational philosophical thinking - a very creative narrative indeed when appraching a broken tradition, by no means overcoming or even philosophizing the problem of history and thought but objectivizing it, whereby then we struggle in between narratives of Wirklichkeit and/or Wahrheit. I find the Wirklichkeit in Kafka and a slippery wounded Wahrheit in Hoelderlin. They differ in that Kafka dreams and Hoelderlin doesn't, by which he only "sees" in awakefulness and his freedom to exist risks even his ability to see, he's already created a "Lebensraum".

Kafka lives on a more limited contigency that denies ontological freedom by deontologizing narratives (this doesn't mean demythologizing) creating dreadful existential choices with no other pivoting point than themselves, his canvas produces a man not homely anywhere, nor can he find himself and therefore remains free, unredemptive, uncreated, unfinished, becoming... Thereby begins the ethical idea but Plato's nowhere to be seen. The bannister has been lifted, but the visible spaces occupied by the tradition remain conceptually empty and dismembered by the unreflected events of the 20th century; at this point Heidegger got it right: These events have indeed no past (or precedent, whichever the argument might be). They're in the Greek historical sense cyclical non-teleological space, changes, not yet iterative.

[1] In the original, I used a different word

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