Thursday, December 10, 2009

Applying Heidegger to America

Someone in ( ) wroteHeidegger talks about a "productive appropriation" of the past that will see past poorly constructed "first versions" of history that are designed precisely to get people not to think about history.”
I was influenced in that direction by Julian Young in Heidegger, Philosophy, Nazism.  On page 70 he writes “To be opened up to one’s past, however, is to be opened up to the value tradition or heritage which, in Hegelian fashion, remember, Heidegger takes to be constitutive of Dasein’s very being.  Unlike unauthentic, authentic Dasein is not carried away by a rage for the ‘modern’ (BT 391), but is opened up to the historical richness of its ‘throwness’ – of, that is, itself.  It achieves ‘authentic historicality’, a rootedness in the history of its community.  Given that, it discloses the current social norms of its community in relation to those of that heritage which, as resolute, it ‘takes over’ (BT 383); ceases, that is, to repress, acknowledges as its own.  This endows it with critical distance from current social norms.  It becomes able to judge which current norms match up to the values of heritage and which do not . . .”
Heidegger, of course, never had America in mind when he wrote those words and yet he intended them to apply beyond Germany.  If we try to apply them to America, using for example the “tradition” of slavery in the south, we might say that represented an unauthentic tradition  which did not match up to the values of our heritage which some of our founding fathers such as Washington and Jefferson realized while at the same time being unable (or unwillingly) to break loose from the unauthentic tradition they lived in.  Our authentic tradition, we might assert, involves freedom and civil rights for all and not just white property owners. 

1 comment:


The Obama Presidency is going in the direction of Rightness, I think. . .