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Quotes of the day: Martin Heidegger
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Published Thursday, September 25, 2014 @ 11:32 PM EDT
Sep 25 2014

Martin Heidegger (September 26, 1889 - May 26, 1976) was a German philosopher, widely seen as a seminal thinker in the Continental tradition, particularly within the fields of existential phenomenology and philosophical hermeneutics. From his beginnings as a Catholic academic, he developed a groundbreaking philosophy that influenced literary, social and political theory, art and aesthetics, architecture, cultural anthropology, design, environmentalism, psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. His relationship with Nazism has been a controversial and widely debated subject. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)

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Agriculture is now a motorized food industry, the same thing in its essence as the production of corpses in the gas chambers and the extermination camps, the same thing as blockades and the reduction of countries to famine, the same thing as the manufacture of hydrogen bombs.

Every man is born as many men and dies as a single one.

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.

From our human experience and history, at least as far as I am informed, I know that everything essential and great has only emerged when human beings had a home and were rooted in a tradition. Today’s literature is, for instance, largely destructive.

I see the situation of man in the world of planetary technicity not as an inextricable and inescapable destiny, but I see the task of thought precisely in this, that within its own limits it helps man as such achieve a satisfactory relationship to the essence of technicity. National Socialism did indeed go in this direction. Those people, however, were far too poorly equipped for thought to arrive at a really explicit relationship to what is happening today and has been underway for the past 300 years.

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.

In everything well known something worthy of thought still lurks.

In its essence, technology is something that man does not control.

Language is the house of the truth of Being.

Man acts as though he were the shaper and master of language, while in fact language remains the master of man.

The domination of the public way in which things have been interpreted has already decided upon even the possibilities of being attuned, that is, about the basic way in which Da-sein lets itself be affected by the world. The they prescribes that attunement, it determines what and how one 'sees.'

The human being is not the lord of beings, but the shepherd of Being.

The human body is essentially something other than an animal organism.

The most thought-provoking thing in our thought-provoking time is that we are still not thinking.

The possible ranks higher than the actual.

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.

The word 'art' does not designate the concept of a mere eventuality; it is a concept of rank.

Thinking begins only when we have come to know that reason, glorified for centuries, is the stiff-necked adversary of thought.

Today we decide about metaphysics and about even more elevated things at philosophy conferences. For everything that is to be done these days we must first have a meeting, and here is how it works: people come together, constantly come together, and they all wait for one another to turn up so that the others will tell them how it is, and if it doesn’t get said, never mind, everyone has had their say. It may very well be that all the talkers who are having their say have understood little of the matter in question, but still we believe that if we accumulate all that misunderstanding something like understanding will leap forth at the end of the day. Thus there are people today who travel from one meeting to the next and who are sustained by the confidence that something is really happening, that they’ve actually done something; whereas, at bottom, they’ve merely ducked out of work, seeking in chatter a place to build a nest for their helplessness- a helplessness, it is true, that they will never understand.

Transcendence constitutes selfhood.

We do not 'have' a body; rather, we 'are' bodily.

We ourselves are the entities to be analyzed.

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.

Who is to determine what the perfect is? It could only be those who are themselves perfect and who therefore know what it means. Here yawns the abyss of that circularity in which the whole of human Dasein moves. What health is, only the healthy can say. Yet healthfulness is measured according to the essential starting point of health. What truth is, only one who is truthful can discern; but the one who is truthful is determined according to the essential starting point of truth.

Why are there beings at all, and why not rather nothing? That is the question.

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Immanuel Kant was a real pissant
Who was very rarely stable.
Heidegger, Heidegger was a boozy beggar
Who could think you under the table.
David Hume could out-consume
Schopenhauer and Hegel,
And Wittgenstein was a beery swine
Who was just as schloshed as Schlegel.
Monty Python - "The Philosophers Song"

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(September 26 is also the birthday of T.S. Eliot.)


Categories: Martin Heidegger, Quotes of the day


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