josh blog

Ordinary language is all right.

One could divide humanity into two classes:
those who master a metaphor, and those who hold by a formula.
Those with a bent for both are too few, they do not comprise a class.

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24 Jan '13 05:18:01 AM

'The German impersonal continues to play a central role in Heidegger's terminology to the very end of his career. Out of German neo-Kantianism, and more basically out of ordinary German and its vast pool of impersonals, Heidegger has found his very first and most perduring formally indicative grammatical form. Like "It's raining!" in English, "It" points to a most singular, unique, and comprehensive Event happening now. What is this mysterious It, no longer a substantifying It but a sheer Event, when it is directed to the sheer fact of life, of being, of being here and now? How are we to talk about It, even name It in its simple but comprehensive happening, find a language for It, such that we are not constantly seduced by the substantifying tendency that the very term "It" itself brings with it? Ontologically different from things, subjectless as well as objectless, how to return to this obviously primary but mysterious "something" of life and sheer being which "takes place," happens to me, like a Big Bang or sudden onslaught of being (Es blitzt, "it flashes like lightning," already in 1914: FS 126)? Life befalls me, anonymously, impersonally. I am of It, I find myself in It willy-nilly, already under way in existence. This is the pretheoretical "hold" that Heidegger is giving already in KNS to the wholly theoretical neo-Kantian "It holds," the It that empowers theoretical judgments in their truth, as he backtracks phenomenologically, with Eckhartian overtones, to the more primal empowering It of life and Its truth, Its ontological difference from beings. Throughout his long career, Heidegger will never seek to surpass this central insight which gives priority to the impersonal event enveloping the I which "takes place" in that Event. He will never in any way moderate or mitigate this lifelong fascination with the impersonal sentence which proliferates in the German language, this German infection which he picked up in his early neo-Kantian years. The original something is an original motion, the facticity of our being is an event or happening, the facticity of Time itself. And the most direct, indicative, way which Heidegger finds to simply name this It which happens to us, to point to its sheer action, to attempt to describe its character and basic tenor, is the German impersonal sentence.'

24 Jan '13 03:47:03 AM

'Forms of life' are taken to be foundational. But instead of serving as ultimate grounds they can be taken as that thanks to which one stays grounded; and comes back to earth.

24 Jan '13 03:01:22 AM

PI §20: 'But then is there not also something different going on in him when he pronounces it—something corresponding to the fact that he conceives the sentence as a single word?'

He has gone through something different; he went through it before he came to be able to pronounce the sentence the way he does.

24 Jan '13 01:59:11 AM

Things can be overrefined.

23 Jan '13 11:11:04 PM

One can come to be complacent from dispatching bottled messages.

23 Jan '13 08:13:48 AM

We human beings are said to distinguish ourselves from other animals; do individual human beings ever likewise distinguish themselves from individual other animals?

23 Jan '13 06:33:18 AM

'Do You Know How to Waltz?' is the sound of a prolonged wait: a wait which is being prolonged by those who are waiting. They're waiting for the end, which they know is coming; the drone takes the form it does so that you can hear, and feel, it coming: so that you know that, and when, the end is coming, without this knowledge preventing you from feeling as if it could be forestalled indefinitely.

23 Jan '13 06:06:53 AM

'… if you cannot discuss it, if there is nothing in common, then there is no culture.'

22 Jan '13 08:08:42 PM

To be of use.