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1 FROM FRANCIS BACON TO MARTIN HEID EGGER: A MERIDIAN OF REDEMPTION A COMMENTARY By NATHANIEL V. FINLEY A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2009
2 2009 Nathaniel V. Finley
3 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ABSTRACT.....................................................................................................................................5 CHAP TER 1 FROM FRANCIS BACON TO IM MANUEL KANT: A HISTORY OF UNRESOLVED DISPUTE ............................................................................................................6 2 BEING AND TIME................................................................................................................31 3 DER MERIDIAN................................................................................................................51 4 REDEMPTION..................................................................................................................... ..82 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.........................................................................................................95
4 To the right and the left in us all
5 Abstract of Thesis Presen ted to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts FROM FRANCIS BACON TO MARTIN HEID EGGER: A MERIDIAN OF REDEMPTION A COMMENTARY By Nathaniel V. Finley May 2009 Chair: Eric Kligerman Major: German This paper proposes a reading of Paul Celans Der Meridian speech through the lens of Martin Heideggers Being and Time It takes as its point of con ception a historical trajectory of modern science whose basis of legitimacy is and has been contes ted throughout the course of its development. This paper proposes that Being and Time is to be properly understood within the trajectory of that historical context, and that Der Meridian is a comment upon the space thereby occupied by Being and Time It makes plain the defining characteristics of science as they appear historically and in Being and Time and which are then likewise submitted to analysis in Der Meridian. It finds th ese characteristics to be reason, transparency, and a specifically significant forward projection and underscores these characteristics as being of a redemptive quality under the auspices of Heid eggerian analysis.
6 CHAPTER 1 FROM FRANCIS BACON TO IMMANUEL KANT: A HISTORY OF UN-RES OLVED DISPUTE The theology of Francis Bacon, who is wide ly regarded as having established the preliminary philosophy of what would become know n, after a number of hi storically significant moments, as the scientific method, was a theolo gy of fallen-ness and redemption. I place these two terms in quotation marks, the first be cause it is a central id eal in the philosophy of Martin Heidegger Sein und Zeit which is at the cen ter of the current study; and the second because it is the argument of this paper that red emption finds its context in a discourse with Heideggerian fallen-ness. For just as fallen-ness is meant here to be a very specific experienceboth for Francis Bacon and Martin Heid eggerso redemption is a very specific antidote to the perilous pred icament of the fallen. Before looking closely at these terms, I w ould like to begin with a brief introduction to the theology of Francis Bacon and to trace the in fluence of that theology on the history of the development of modernity in order to establis h the contribution such a discussion can make toward our understanding of th e dialogue that I find occurring between Martin Heidegger and Paul Celan in regards to falle n-ness and redemption. While both of these men were leading 20th Century personalities, author s and thinkers in the German Language, Francis Bacon was a politician, thinker, and author whose works, written in the early part of the 17th Century, were originally in Latin but fo rm part of the cannon of the English l iterary tradition. The justification for bringing these thinkers into a dialogue with one another might not be apparent at first, and the disparities might be perceived to be too great particularly cons idering the temporal and cultural displacements between them. Nevertheless I hop e to demonstrate that the similarities of philosophical subject matter are significant and in formative to an extent that a much broader perspective of European modernity is possibl e through a discussion of those points at which
7 these thinkers and their philosophies intersect. More so, I hope to demonstrate that in matters concerning redemption modernity has placed a special emphasis on an idea of movement which can be understood as trajectory. This ha s occurred as the result of the inadequacy of science to find a philosophical found ation in which to legitimate its claims to authority, and it was Martin Heidegger, particularly, who pi cked up on this issue and fashioned a new understanding of human inte rpretation of the world of nature a nd of itself. It is in trying to understand modernity as movement, not only as it has been understood in terms of progress or even an evolution toward utopia, but also as it is understood in terms of pain, destruction, and tyrannyof failure and defeatthat post-Holo caust philosophy has left its most profound legacy. In order to understand the tr ajectorial direction of modern ity, and the intersection in the modern of the issues of movement and aut hority, it is important to place a foundation from which the discussion itself can be set into action. I have decided to begin at the beginning, as it were, with the first moments of philosophical articulations of modernity. There are normally two locations for such be ginnings. The first is with the work of Galileo Gallili, the 16th Century Italian astronomist who firs t described the movement of the planets. It was Galileo who made Keplers obs ervations popular in Europe, and his work was essential in creating the mathema tical foundation for modern science.1 The second location is in the work of Sir Francis Bacon, the contemporary of Galileo, who first articulated a project of experimental philosophy and established a tradition of utopian vision for science that was to be profoundly infl uential as experimental philosophy spread from 1 For an example of such an introduction to the history of modern science see Barry Gowers Scientific Method: an Historical and Philosophical Introduction Routledge, New York, 1997. The first chapter is devoted to Galileo and the second to Bacon.
8 the shores of England to the European continen t during the Enlightenment I have chosen to begin with Bacon, rather than with Galileo, beca use it is especially the issue of empirical knowledge rather than of mathematical exacti tude that has caused the greatest need for legitimacy in science. Whereas mathematical reasoning came to re present the tool as well as the standard for scientific exactitude, it has never been fully accepted as authoritative in matters pertaining to the claims of scien tific epistemology or the claims of scientific domination over and mastery of nature. These claims have always re sted with and been debated in the philosophical circles which concern themselves with issues of experimental methodology, the mechanics of observation, and the nature and authority of knowle dge produced using scientific methods (experimentation being the most significant, bu t observationparticularly technologically assisted observationbeing an equally contes ted issue). It is theref ore with Bacon that I begin. According to a recent monograph by Steven Matthews, Theology and Science in the Thought of Francis Bacon the historiography of the life and works of Sir Francis Bacon is a lengthy and contentious study. Be ginning as early as fifty y ears after his death, Bacons followers and detractors repeatedly attempted to place him and his works in various political and theological camps. The Royal Society of London of the mid 17th Century for example, who was the first group to make a syst ematic philosophy out of the expe rimental methods established by Bacon, attempted to demonstrate a separation of science and theol ogy in Bacons writings due to a desire to avoid religious conf licts which were understood to be the cause of the English Civil War.2 Likewise Enlightenment thinkers cast Bacon in the light of atheism, and either completely ignored or inaccurately explained away the theological aspects of Bacons thoughts as 2 Steven Matthews, Theology and Science in the Thought of Francis Bacon Ashgate, Burlington VT, 2008, viii.
9 Macchiavelian manipulations.3 The historiography of Bacon has suffered in consequence, with the result that a number of critical works in Bacons ouvre have been overlooked or disregarded by historians as insignificant. What Matthewsworking in conjunction with Stephen McKnight and others scholars of the Scientific Revolu tionhoped to achieve in Theology and Science in the Thought of Francis Bacon was a revitalization of the approach to Ba con and the history (if not the philosophy) of science by demonstrating that at its inception science was far from being conceived as a nonor antitheologically based epistemological me thodology. According to Matthews, in fact, theological considerations were at the forefr ont of Bacons new philosophy, both in practical terms as well as eschatological terms. Matth ews draws a strikingly convincing portrait of Bacons philosophy in which theological considerations are the primary motivations, not merely secondary or cursory remarks, and by no means the calculated political maneuverings against Calvinist opponents which later histor ians interpreted them to be. According to Matthews, Bacons scientif ic approach to natural philosophy was understood by Bacon to be nothing less than fulf illment of Biblical prophecy and the way by which humanity and creation would be redeemed to God, an act that woul d return the earth and its inhabitants to the utopian moment before th e fall of Adam and Eve and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Under the heading of Instauration Magnum Bacons thought, Matthews argues, was a theologically charged philosophy whic h took its name from the Vulgate translation of the Old Testament, where instauratio referred specifically to the rebuilding of the temple on 3 Idem.
10 the return from the Babylonian captivity.4 The Instauration Magnum, or Great Instauration, was vast in its reformati onal objectives and ambitions: Many scholars have recognized Bacons belief that, in reforming the study of natural philosophy, he was recovering the mastery over nature which humankind had once possessed in the Garden of Eden. This is certainly true, but there is more to it. Eden and the Instauration are but two elements, or loci, in a well-developed theological system embedded in Bacons writings. The entire syst em can be seen in c onsidering the passages in which Bacon retells the Christian na rrative of sacred hi story...When viewed specifically in light of the edenic fall and the means of recovery, it is also termed salvation history, for it tells the tale of th e providential hand of God working for human recovery.5 Bacons Instauration project was conceived, therefore, as not hing less than the pathway of human redemption and rec onciliation to God. What was involved in the Great Instauration project, and what were its implications for the generations following after Francis Bacon? Th e Great Instauration is the term that Matthews finds to be the most complete expression of Bacons project for the reform of human learning.6 The reform of human learning involved a reev aluation of human knowledge based primarily upon the process of experimentation. It was not Bacon who saw the implementation of his ideas in the philosophical and political world of 17th Century England, however. Rather th at was achieved by the aristocratic members of the Royal Society of London, who established the princi ples of experimentation and whose early labors in regards to experimentation set the foundation for modern science. In the influential book, Leviathon and the Air-Pump, which treats the mid 17th Century conflict between Thomas Hobbes and Robert Boyle conc erning the validity of knowledge derived from experimentation, Steven Schapin and Simon Schaffer retrace the establishment of experimental 4 Ibid. 51. 5 Ibid, 52-53. 6 Ibid. 55.
11 science in English society at the tim e of the Restoration of the crown.7 Boyle and other members of the Royal Society of London espoused the ex perimental method as a valid and superior method of natural philosophy while Hobbes argued that expe rimentation was based upon a number of false and even dangerous methodologies. The Hobbesian-Boyle debate was not primarily a discourse on the nature of knowledge but rather a discourse on the re lationship of knowledge to author ity. What were appealed to were arguments concerning the legality of certain methods of know ledge production. Hobbes argued that Boyles experimental method could not be accorded authority because it was not based on natural reason, which is to say, reason achieved via direct observation and unmediated study, but rather on artificethe use of manuf actured environments of experimentation. The issue for Hobbes, however, was not an issue of th e validity of knowledge achieved through mediation, but rath er it was one of legal import. By whose authority could knowledge adduced through experimentation be sa id to be legitimate? For Hobbes, the production of knowledge was an endeavor that could only be countenanced by the proper authorities, because It is not wisdom, but authority, that makes a law and the law is the final legitimator of knowledge.8 In this regard, Boyles use of witnesses was a particular offence for Hobbes, because witnesses are private and fallible9 and had no legitimate right to give authority. Hobbes, whose position as a natural philosopher was strictly Euclidean because he saw in geometry a one to one relation between the structure of human society and that of 7 Steven Shapin and Simon Schaffer, Leviathon and the Air-Pump: Hobbes, Boyle, and the Experimental Life Princeton Universtiy Press, Princeton NJ, 1985. 8 Ibid. 326 9 Ibid, 327
12 nature,10 was essentially of a political dispositi on whose view represen ted the struggle of medieval philosophy to regain mastery over the Eng lish political landscape af ter the Civil War. Boyle and his allies, on the other hand, defended their methods of knowledge production by posing themselves as priests of the natural world and by engaging as witnesses for their experiments members of society with an elevated so cial status. That is, they did not revert to philosophical discourse or challenge Hobbes considerations concerning the nature of knowledge. Essentially, the matter at hand wa s not whether or not knowledge was being produced. Both sides agreed th at it was. What was under dispute was the issue of whose authority legitimated knowledge production. Hobbes medieval philosophy and Euclidean explanations of the structure of human societ y and nature were so powerful of an opponent precisely because they took their legitimacy from tradition. This is, of course, also why Hobbes and his allies felt so threatened by the emerging science of experime ntation. In short, the dispute was a legal one, not a philosophical one. Nor was the dispute resolved by philos ophical argumentation. Boyle and the Royal Society won only because the experimentalists we re successful in publicizing their stance as a resolution to the crisis that the Civil War ha d brought on English society. As Schapin and Schaffer make clear: The experimental mode of life achieved local success to the extent that the Restoration settlement was secu red. Indeed, it was one of the important elements in that security.11 The debate between Hobbes and Boyle left un resolved a number of issues that were significant in the work of Paul Celan and Ma rtin Heidegger. The issues of knowledge 10 Ibid, 328 11 Ibid, 341
13 production and a philosophical understanding of what occurred in knowledge production were taken up by Heidegger in his 1942 lectures on H lderlin. For Celan, and for post-holocaust literature in particular, the stat us of the witness is almost sacralized, and Celan devotes a number of poems to explicating the theological and political significance of the witness, as well as to enumerating a methodol ogy of witnessing. I shall not ha ve the opportunity to discuss this last issue at great length in this essay, but it is interesting to note that Celans valuing of the witness can be easily read in th e light of the scientific traditi on of the witness, which was so predominantly at issue in the H obbes-Boyle dispute. I am unaware of any research that has looked into this matter. What is more important for this discussion is the way in which the Hobbes-Boyle debate framed the tradition of science a nd helped to establish modernity as a key symbol of science. Boyle the authors of Leviathon and the Air-pump tell us, made experimenters a new kind of clergy,12 casting them as priests of nature.13 Boyle advertised himself and his companions, therefore, both as servants of God and as the ushers-in of a new understanding. This new understanding proved to be of valu e to English society, and thus the new understanding of the new priesthood became fashionable and projec ted knowledge into the future, where it would find its completion in a location of future disc losure of utopian trut h, rather then having knowledge be projected onto the past, where it deri ves its authority from scripture and tradition. This method of advertising themselves and their project, (Hobbes went so far as to call the experimentalists a cult) was explicitly Baconi an, and derived its vision from the theology of Bacons Instauration. As Matthews explains: 12 Ibid, 310. 13 Ibid, 319.
14 the founders of the Royal Society presente d themselves publicly as Bacons heirsIn leading the people out of previous errors of natural philosophy toward a promised land of right philosophical method Bacon had been a prophetic figure, but lik e Moses, Bacon had not lived long enough to experience what that promise would entail.14 The high regard with which Francis Bacon was held by members of the Enlightenment, both French and German, cannot be greatly overestimated, and as such the utopian vision which he propounded was highly influential. We must not lose sight of the trajectory of science at its inception: the trajectory was explicitly forward, and derived its authority from the promise of a future utopia, rather than from a historical sourcea utopia defined on explicitly theological grounds. Furthermore, that future utopia was th e promise of theological speculation and selfpositioning on the part of Boyle and the Roya l Society, and was by no means philosophically grounded. As we have seen, Matthews project is revisi onist in nature due to the fact that the Enlightenment thinkers deemed it essential to re move Bacon from any connection to theological thought whatsoever. John Henry points out that Enlightenment thinkers wanted to see the heroic figures in the history of the new science as thinkers swayed only by rational and empirically grounded principles.15 Such Enlightenment luminaries as Voltaire and Diderot considered Bacon to be the true precursor to Enlightenment thought, and Joseph de Maistre, an early and staunch critic of the Enlightenment, blamed Bacon for the misguided logic of the Enlightenment that had proven disast rous to both throne and alter.16 To speak of the history of the Enlightenment, therefore, and of the positive scie nces in general, is to speak of the legacy of Francis Bacon. 14 Matthews, op. cit. 135. 15 John Henry, Knowledge is Power: How Magic, the Government and an Apocalyptic Vision Inspired Francis Bacon to Create Modern Science pg. 83. Quoted in Matthews, op. Cit. 137. 16 Matthews, op. cit. 138-139.
15 To summarize, Matthews book is a signi ficant contribution to our understanding of Bacon and to the underpinning aims of modern sc ientific rationality and forms an enlightening backdrop from which to launch our own discussion of the authority and trajectory of scientific philosophy. Specifically, Matthews finds that the scientific belief in human domination over nature coupled with the egalitar ian, utopian visions of a scientific humanity find their origins in Bacons theology and method. Once we look intently into the philosoph ical underside of the experimental methodology, however, we find that Bacon held a number of philosophical positions which are not unproblematic in the hi story of philosophy, particularlyfrom the 18th Century onwardthe German philo sophical tradition. Close analys is makes it evident that the adaptation of Bacons methods so successfully in European and world culture is not due to any un-ambivalence in his thought or even in that of those who established the methods of modern science. As Schapin and Schaffer make evident, Robert Boyle did not completely refute the objections brought upon the experime ntal method by Thomas Hobbes. Rather, the experimental method of creating knowledge won the debate due mostly to a number of political and, above all, practical considerations, due in no small m easure to a great publicity campaign on the part of Boyle and other members of the Royal Societ y. What Schapin and Schaffer are arguing in Leviathon and the Air-Pump and what I am echoing, is that the establishment of the formal method of modern scientific enquiry was far from a forgone conclusion and that its establishment left open a number of critical philosophical qu estions while at the same time entrenching in modern culture a belief in the trajectory of sc ience in a way that makes the question of the scientific method a question of what society (at least, as we sha ll see, Anglo-American society) understands to be self-evident.17 17 Schapin and Schaffer, op. cit. 6
16 However, the history of science is far from be ing the intellectual he ritage of England, and Continental philosophers and thinkers, including the cannon of German philosophers, offer a strikingly alternative picture to the self-evident status of modern scientific knowledge production while at times laboring under a number of the same assumptions which we find to be at the center of Francis Bacons Great Instauration, particularly in regards to its progressive and utopian orientation. It is chiefly those assumptions which are th e guiding considerations of this paper. Included in the belief in a utopian conclusion to the scientific project is a belief in a certain type of transparency in humanitys perceptive understa nding of itself and the natural world. Also included is the specific notion that humanity has a right to master nature, and to dominate it according to its will. I am beginning this di scussion with Bacon, even though I am primarily concerned with the work of Martin Heidegger in Being and Time and the ways in which the philosophy of Being and Time are employed by Paul Celan in his Der Meridian speech, not because I want to draw unambiguous lines marki ng off the route of scientific philosophy from Bacon to Martin Heidegger. No such connections exist, particularly due to the history of the Baconian promise of utopia after Newton, as we shall soon see. There exist however, a number of striking parallels between Bacon and Heidegger th at I shall be at pains to exploit as fully as possible, particularly in regards to issues of redemption. More importantly, I believe that it is crucial for us to understand these connections if we are to understand the way in which Paul Celan employs Heideggerian philosophy in Der Meridian, and the consequences for modernity which are implicit in that implementation. For Paul Celan the problems of European philosophy and scientific modernity are not problems of epistemological or ontological ab stractions: they are, appropr iately enough considering the
17 history of science itself, the pr actical problems of th e destructive annihilati on of his heritage in the Holocaust and as such it is completely approp riate for us to look for the location of a possible criticism from Celan in the deeply held assumptive sites of socially normative knowledge. In brief, I am starting with Francis Bacon because in a sense Heidegger starts with Francis Bacon, or rather, with the set of assumptions that are imbedded in the trad ition of modern natural philosophy, and with the question of the final aut hority behind the promise of that tradition. It was Immanuel Kant who first attempted to find a philosophical foundation for modern science. Before turning to Kant, however, we must understand the signif icance of the influence of Sir Isaac Newton on the foundationa lization and normalization of mo dern scientific rationality in the West. Edwin Arthur Burtts cla ssic 1932 (revised edition) The Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Physical Science describes in detail the debates th at were apparently settled by the breakthrough of Sir Isaac Newt ons Law of Gravitation and the social normalization of the mechanical world view. I do not wish to summari ze in detail the course that this solidification of modern science took as it became the authority in human understanding, but I do wish to point out that, according to Burrt, Newtonian science posited a specific assumption concerning the relation of God to nature that resulted in a number of cultural and epistemological consequences as Newtons synthesis became the uncontested evidence of the efficacy of scientific methodology. This assumption is that God is tran scendent over nature, and does not exist in nature. In fact, it is an assumption that has pe rsisted from the time of Bacons first philosophical expositions through the moment of the experimental methods first victories in public debate with such detractors as Thom as Hobbes, through the synthesis of Newton which revolutionized and normalized natural philosophy in Europe, th rough the Enlightenment and, via Kant, became
18 the focus of a critique of mechanical philosophy in the work of the early German Romantics. The Frhromantiker are the appropriate place to rest afte r such a long journey precisely because they are traditionally and popularly understood to be anti-rational, and the establishment of this bias reflects precisely the dept h to which the assumptionas well as the conflicts which are the consequences of this assumptionhas been establis hed in western social consciousness. It is this assumption primarily which allowed for th e establishment of mode rn science in its nontheologically progressive manifest ationthat is to say, as a progres sivity without a promise. It is this belief in progress that has led to the rupture in redempti ve discourse between science and the humanities, and which has covered up, signifi cantly for out study, the issue of redemption that lies at the heart of Heideggers Being and Time Nevertheless, in th e Newtonian synthesis a reinvestment of the modern belief in huma nitys domination over nature became normally possible without in turn nece ssitating a philosophical legitim ation of that belief. The belief in the transcendence of Godthat is, a God who exis ts outside of and separate from creation, has a solid basis in traditiona l Judeo-Christian and Islamic theology. By the time of Francis Bacon there were a number of de tractors from this theolo gical position, one of the most influential being the Silesian mystic Jakob Bhme. Bacon assumed a transcendent understanding of God in which God exists outside of Na ture and works through a chain of causes to create natural effects, not based on philosoph ical reasoning, but rather on the assumption that if God were to be found in nature (which is th e immanent stance) than humanity would have no authority over nature since to do so would be to have auth ority over God. Furthermore, according to Bacon, God could not be understood as being the primary agent of effect (later, through Kant, known as the first principle of knowledge and, through Fichte, the absolute principle) because to believe su ch a proposition would mean that God is the agent of evil.
19 Therefore Bacon understood nature as opera ting through a chain of causes, which God controlled, but into which God had also placed the agency of free will in man.18 Edmund Burtts argument is here the most direct. Just as the debate over the efficacy of experimental method was not resolved through philosophical discourse, but rather through the invention of the air-pump and the practical resolution to a number of political challenges to English society, so too the debate over the chain of causes and a transcendental or immanent God was settled only through the vita lity of Newtons Law of Gravity. In Newton, Burrt argues, the evidence for philosophical solu tions was found out in mathematical formulae which explained experimental knowledge and with this great s ynthesis the mechanical worldview was firmly established in the Western World not because of philosophical infallibility but by virtue of the practical successes in human understanding and mastery over the natural environment. As a result, the transcendent nature of G od was assumed beyond a shadow of a doubt: Magnificent, irrefutable achievements gave Newton authority over the modern world, which, feeling itself to have become free fr om metaphysics through Newton the positivist, has become shackled and controlle d by a very definite metaphysics.19 Burtt goes on to demonstrate the irony of the situation. B acon established the experimental method based upon a set of assump tions concerning the relationship of God to nature which were based in theological argumenta tion rather than philoso phical reasoning. What began in Bacon as a belief that God could not be the first cause of na tural phenomena ended in Newton as a belief that God was the final cause of all phenomena, in that God stood outside of his creation and periodically checked in like a watchmaker to correct any irregularities. 18 Matthews, op. Cit. 57. 19 Burtt, op. cit. 227-228
20 But the evolution of the metaphysics of modern science was not complete until, with the final victory in Newtonian science of Bacon s program of experimentation, the complete dismissal of questions of God fr om the scientific discourse was possible. Or in other words, what had begun as an evocation of God became a re jection of God. Of co urse, as Burrt is at pains to point out, this rejection was by no mean s due to any belief on the part of Newton, who was an extremely pious man, but neverthele ss within 50 years of the publication of The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy atheistic systems of thought were being promulgated based on Newtonian principles. The consequences for science according to Bu rrt were as follows: it became normative that if we talk about God at all in scientific discourse it is always as a divin ity outside of nature. To discuss an immanent God is no longer to do science. For Burtt the objections were even more severe, because the complete repudiati on of theological assumptions inherent in mechanical philosophy represents not only a lack of consciousness of the metaphysical foundations of science, but also in the passi ve and unconscious acceptance by scientists and laymen alike of that metaphysic a rupture between faith-based systems of knowledge and science. One of the consequences for the West of the Newtonian synthesis was the belief that nature and its laws could be made transparent in a very specific manner, in fact, that humanity could be made transparent to itself. Transpare ncy as such was not a term used by Bacon or Boyle or by other members of the Royal Society, or even by Newton. However, the idea of transparency is central to the experimental system and was proven achievable by Newtonian science, in that the observer is able, through sensual means, to gain insight into his environment. Hobbes had already brought this notion under exam ination when he contested the authority of
21 witnesses to experiments performed by the Roya l Society, albeit on legal grounds rather than epistemological grounds. As we have seen, neither were Hobbes objections undone due to philosophical argumentation, which would have founded the discussion upon the matter of observational epistemology, and the question of the legitimate authority of knowledge acquired strictly through observation, either as a result of experimental technology or direct sensual intercourse with nature, was never fully established. Transparency, after Newtonbut particularly after Rousseaubecame a matter of scientific common se nse, rather than a matter of philosophical consideration; and by the end of the Enlightenment transparency had become closely linked to rationality. Before turning to Heideggers Being and Time it is essential that we understand how these two notions, reason and tr ansparency, became foundationalized in the discourse of modernity. Even though the idea of transparency might at first appear to be relatively simple to grasp, when we come down to trying to define pr ecisely what is meant by transparency thinkers have found that the burden of it is in fact equal to the obstacle of its explication. Not only were there a number of positions, includ ing those of Newton himself, regarding the true nature of the faculty of sight, but in the Enli ghtenment transparency develope d an ontological definition that was to prove fundamentally influential for the futu re orientation of the philosophy of science. In discussing the issue of transparency in scientific discourse we must dis tinguish between what is sensationally transparent (such as data we might receive through ocular perception) or ideationally transparent (which was what was de sired by skeptics such as Descartes) or even emotionally transparent (which was a type of transparency which Rousseau and the early German romantics sought).
22 Enlightenment thinkers had already taken up the demands of transparency in a manner complicate to Newtons metaphysics by the time of the French Revolution, and in so doing also foregrounded the coming search in Germany for the philosophical legitimacy of modern science. In discussing the Enlightenment thinker Voltaire, for example, Martin Jay writes: Like Descartes, Voltaire used idea to re fer to an internal representation in human consciousness, an image in the eye of the mind. Ideas are no long objective realities external to the subjec tive mind, like the Platonic Eido Voltaire thus shared with Descartes a dualism of consciousness and matter.Voltaire furthermore shared Descartes beliefthat ideas, if clear and distinct in th e mind, can be expressed in lucid prose But unlike Descartes, Voltaire followed Franci s Bacon, John Locke, and Isaac Newton and what has been called the sensationalist tradition in claiming that only the perception of external objects and never innate intuition or deductions are the source of our ideas.20 In this short passage Jay has succinctly demonstrat ed the multiplicity of variations upon the same theme: transparency is linked undeniably to prop er rationality, but what exactly it is to be transparent was still up for debate. A quota tion which Jay includes from Ian Hacking is illustrative of how the variations on transparency can be much more than merely ocularcentric: Cartesian perception is the ac tive rendering of the object transp arent to the mind. Positivist seeing is the passive blunting of light rays on opaque, impermeable physical objects which are themselves passive and indifferent to the observer.21 In Hackings analysis, the sensationalist (positivist) ideal was an actual blunting of the eye through means of light so as to create an accord with the equally blunt obj ect. This kind of shared passivity, I argue, allows for the transparency of the data necessary for proper interpretation. In either case, whether the transparency is understood to be in the mind, be tween ideas themselves, or transparency is a result of a blunting of the observational faculty, the desired result is proper interpretation. For scientific purposes transparency is therefore a state of being whether mind, sensual orientation, 20 Ibid. 85. 21 Idem.
23 or even emotional response, which allows for pr oper interpretation. This is a point which will become important in our discussion of Heideggers methodological comments in Being and Time Rousseau used the phrase le sentiment de lere by which he meant the same state of affairs of the primitive Being of consciousness not mediated by concepts.22 It also had a representational characteristic, in wh ich the act of representation is always adequate to whatever is represented.23 This is a departure from both the se nsationalistssuch as Voltaireas well as the skepticsparticularly Descartes. For if Des cartes believed that transparency was obtainable only by making ideas clear and distinct in the mi nd, Rousseaus idea was radical indeed, for Rousseau argued that it was ideas them selves that hindered transparency. What Rousseau actually accomplished in his adaptation of one of the major Enlightenment motifs was to move past the skep tics first by accepting the exterior world as a reality, and secondly by positing an inner world, one that was of em otion, sensation, and feeling. Transparency of perception in the outer world, in fact, depended upon tran sparency of perception of the inner world. He also provided an impor tant check of the progressive trajectory of scienceone that was to prove influential on Kantian philosophy a nd the rise of romanticism, and also obfuscated the question of whether Rouss eau is properly an enli ghtenment thinker or a romantic. What Rousseau argued was that the prim itive or natural condition of the self is that of a transparent rationality, in which the self e ngages in an authentic a nd unmediated relationship to the natural world and its own inner sensati ons. This notion had a sense of scientific fulfillment to it, especially arriving as it did on the heels of the Newtonian synthesis, since it 22 Manfred Frank, in Elizabeth Millan-Zaibert (trans). The Philosophical Foundations of Early German Romanticism State University of New York Press, Albany, 2004. pg. 64. 23 Peter V. Conroy, Jr ., Jean-Jacque Rousseau Twayne Publishers NY, 1998. pg. 141.
24 argued that humanity could arri ve at utopia if it ceased cour ting the various sociological trappings of inter-person-ality and assumed a posture of honest and transparentas well as rationalself-expression. Rousseaus transparency had the aura of the Gard en of Eden, a return to the original state of mana fulfill ment, that is, of the Bacon promise. Rousseaus idea of transparency moved be yond the debates concerning the relationship between mind and matter, and the proper way of d eciphering the two. Rousseau agreed that transparency in perceiving the environment wa s important, but by also urging for a transparent relationship to the internal worl d, to the range of sensations a nd emotions that might arise, without obstacle, from an equally unmediated interaction with his environment he also demanded the eradication of socially constructe d barriers such as moral codes or socially determined personal interactions. Rousseaus proclamation of the perfection of himself in a primordially transparent state of being legitimated his notion of transparency on ethical grounds which challenged the authority of church and state. Rousseaus notion of transparency was incredib ly influential. It did not win the victory over Descartes that it could have won due in a la rge part to the influen ce of Hegelian idealism, but it did have a hand in framing the discussion of Kants met acritque and the philosophers who came after Kant, including Fichte and the Frhromantiker Of greater immediate political significance, however, Rousseaus influence was such that the notion of transparency became etched onto the modern landscape through the bitter pen of the French Revolution, in which the revolutionaries were motivated by, as Foucault said, the dream of a transparent society, visible and legible in each of its parts.24 So powerful is the dream of transparency that Marc Richer ascribed it the place of honor in all revolu tionary thought: In a pr ofound sense, all of 24 Quoted in Martin Jay, Downcast Eyes: The Denigration of Vision in Twentieth-Century French Philosophy University of California Press, Berkley, California 1993, pg. 411.
25 revolutionary thought is animated by the belief in a transparency of so ciety to itself in the moment of Revolution.25 The issue of transparency was particularly demanding since it incorporated within its context the search for the philos ophical legitimacy of experimental epistemology. To raise the question of transparency was not to raise the question of whether or not empirical science worked, but rather how it worked. What was as important as the issue of transparency was the issue of rationality, or reason. In a sense, next to the issue of transparency, the Enlightenment can be understood as the struggle, after Newton, to uncover the key to reason, which was by then understood to be the key to science itself. It is important to note that the connection between transparen cy and rationality was by no means a foregone conclusion. In his book The Sovereignty of Reason Frederick C. Beiser traces the course of the struggle in 17th Century England of reason agai nst other modes of knowledge: for example, those of revela tion, inspiration, or tradition.26 Beiser tells us that a feeling of transparency was just as necessary for anti-ratio nalists such as the so-called enthusiasts, who based their knowledge on moments of divinely insp ired clairvoyance, as they were described by contemporaries such as Thomas Blount.27 It was the work of rationalist schools such as the Cambridge Neo-Platonists to wrest transparency from the hands of traditionalists and place it in the hands of reason. With the Newtonian Synthesis, in which through reason the cosmos was made transparent, the victory was achieved, and whereas what had passed for Godliness in the Middle Ages might include a definite form of ma dness, by the end of the Enlightenment this was 25 In Lynn Hunt, Politics, Culture, and Class in the French Revolution University of California Press, Berkley, California, 2004 (orig. 1984), pg. 44 26 Frederick C. Beier, The Sovereignty of Reason Princeton Universtiy Press, Princeton, NJ, 1996. 27 Ibid, 189.
26 no longer the case. Particularly after Rousseau, to sp eak philosophically in mystical terms of Clouds of Unknowing or other cr yptic expressions of divine obscurity was to utter complete nonsense. The cult of rationality, which had take n root on the continent from the time of Newton through the works of the Enlightenment period, ma de systems of belief based on arguments of faith, scripture, or revelation absolutely obsol ete. No matter how it was epistemologically explained, either in terms of a transparency between ideas or as ocular transparency or as an inner transparency of emotion, transparency was the key idea to any rational discourse. As Beiser makes evident in The Sovereignty of Reason however, once again what is so curious about the emergence of a transparent-rationa l norm in European culture is that the debate concerning the faculty of reason and its connectio n to transparency was never truly settled. Rather, it was at the point in which Rousseau added the extra dimension of inner transparency that the trajectory of science was reinvigorated, and, despite the primordial check of Rousseau the marriage between transparency and reason serv ed to catapult science even further into the aegis of progress. It is not correct to postulate that the decline of Rousseau-ian transparency was due to the terror that the French Revolution b ecame. Rousseaus noti on of transparency had already, with the publication of Immanuel Kants Critique of Pure Reason in 1781, proven its influence on the trajectory of science, and ther ewith, the trajectory of modernity. It was Kant who brought reason and transparencywith his no tion of the transcende nt idealism (as we shall see)in a Rousseauian manner which a llowed for the blossoming of the German Philosophical school and insured th at, despite the French Revoluti on, rather than because of it, transparency, reason, and science would be yoked together in the philosophical discourse of modernity. What Kant achieved was a way out of Rousseaus check, by allowing for a primordial state of transparency in which reason operates, but by making that primordial state the
27 foundation of scientific epistemology. This in tu rn allowed for the furthe r progressive trajectory of science, particularly after the debacle of the French Revolution caused such turmoil and unease throughout Europe in regards to the political impli cations of scientific idealism. It was Kant, therefore, who provided the extra push for science to move beyond the double hurdle of the Revolution and the romantic backlash to the revolution, and to move fo rward into the age of Darwin, realism, and naturalism. Yet again, we find in Kant an example of how science and modernity have failed in their efforts to legitimat e their authority, to vind icate their claims to human mastery over nature, and to move, noneth eless, in a continue d trajectory under the watchful eye of progress. It is important for us to understand that the German philosophical tradition that begins with Kant begins with a thinker whose primary concern in the Metacritiques was not the question of whether or not science worked, but rather with the question of how it worked. To read Kant is to read a philosophy that assumes that the mechan ical worldview is valid, but that it lacks proper philosophical foundations. In his book Kant and the Exact Sciences, Michael Friedman argues this very point: Immanuel Kant was deeply engaged with the science of his timewith the mathematical physics of Newton, in particularduring his en tire philosophical career. His first published workinitiates a f undamental philosophical reco nsideration of Newtonian physics which is then continued throughout the so-called pre-cr itical period: we here see Kant attempting to redefine the nature and method of metaphysic in light of the recent breathtaking advances in mathematics a nd mathematical physicsKant explicitly addresses the question How is metaphysics in general possible? by way of the questions How is pure mathematics possible? and How is pure natural science possible?28 In other words, Kant himself was looking to make his own grand synthesis by finding the link between metaphysics and science. As Friedman argues: 28 Michael Friedman, Kant and the Exact Sciences Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA., 1992. pg. xi.
28 In explicit agreement with the Newtonianism of Euler, Kant argues that metaphysics must begin withmust take as its datathe far more certain and secure results of the mathematical sciences. Indeed, it is only in this way that metaphysics can possibly aspire to a properly scientific status for itself.29 It is in understanding Kants underlying agenda that we are ab le to contextualize the early German romantics, who, as Elizabet h Millan-Zaibert said, were the first generation of readers of Kant.30 Whereas the Frhromantiker have been traditionally pi geon-holed, particularly in Anglo-American scholarship, as anti-rational and even implicated in creating the environment which made the development of National Socialis m possible, it is more expedient, I argue, to look to the early romantics for a critique of Ka ntian and post-Kantian (particularly Fichtean) metaphysics not as an anti-rationalist crusade prim arily but rather as an attempt to locate a philosophical foundation for science, to begin wit h, and later, to treat the ramifications of the absence of such a foundation. As Sc hlegel argued in his early work: How can there be scientific judgments, where th ere is not yet a science? Indeed, all other sciences must oscillate as long as we lack a positive philosophy. However, in other sciences there is at least something relatively firm and universally valid. Nothing is yet established in philosophy, this is shown to us by the present state. All foundation and ground is still missing.31 The question of the absolute I, which was the basis of Fichtean philosophybut was argued down by the early Romantics as being an endless regressionwas the beginning of the early Romantic affair with Spinozism, or the philosophy of immanence. Realism became a reaction to romanticism only after romanticism was seen as having completely lost its connection to the questions of science. Important for th e literary reaction against romanticism was the 29 Ibid. xii. 30 Millan-Zaibert, op. cit. pg 5. This is not a completely accurate statement, since Kants own generation including Reinhold and Fichtealso read and reacted to Kant. However, MillanZaiberts argument is validated in the fact that the early Romantics were the first outside of Kants generatio n to read and react to his work. 31 Frank, in Ibid. 33.
29 arrival of Darwinian theory, wh ich not only provided a new plat form from which science could investigate the natural world, but it also extende d the life of science without a philosophical foundation by removing the impetus of utopian -ismwhich had dogged discussions of reason and rationality since the French Revolution had created a terror out of a utopian dreamwhile maintaining both a theoretical mode l and, with that model, a new vision of future orientation. Both realism and naturalism, informed by Darwinian Theory, were thus able to create emotionally stirring portraits of a newly transparent natural world and humanitys place within it. Once again, particularly in naturalist literature where the inner psychology of characters was as significant as the exterior actions the notion of transparency fi rst articulated by Rousseau is evident. While other thinkers and movements remained critical of modernitynotable are the works of Friedrich Nietzsche and the so-calle d Decadent and neo-Romantic movements of the early Twentieth Centurymodernity had been fi rmly established in a tradition with welldelineated characteristics: its direction was fo rward and progressive, its normative principles were reason and transparency, and its metaphysic was both overtly and covertly mechanical. Most importantly, however: it still had no adeq uate philosophical legitimation. We shall have to return to Kant as I read Heidegger because Heidegger makes plain his departure from Kant and helps, thereby, to eluc idate more clearly the highlights of Kants system. Because Kant is the last major German philosopher to be included in the analytical philosophy side of the post-Heideggerian rupture32, it is imperative that we understand how and why Heidegger departs from Kant. For now it is satisfactory to note th at the early German romantics were of one accord with Heidegger: modern science had not b een properly legitimated in Kant. 32 I will discuss this rupture in more detail below.
30 The absence of a philosophical foundation for science is imperative to understanding the inherent strains under which modernity has persis ted up until the present day. The promises of scientific utopia which were originally formalized in terms of redemption have been transformed into a general notion of progress without any welldefined conclusion, and th is notion has in turn been countered by a belief in the promise of Bi blical Apocalypseat times equally progressive in outline and theologically more faithful to the original vision of scientific philosophy. At the same time the normative metaphysics of the mechanical worldviewwhich have been taken up by Church and State in the age of liberal democr acy in an uneven and often uneasy partnership have been challenged by adherents to any num ber of alternative visi ons: all of which are marginalized by the scientific community and normative society. And in the modern era scientific technology has b een raised to new heights of dest ruction, creating a wave of concern over the relative worth and ethics of scientific pursuit and the fear that there might be, in scientific rational, a demon of destructi on bound to the annihilation of life itself. Within a context of a philosophi cal vacuity these questions ar e of the utmost concern, and the arrival of Martin Heideggers Being and Time can not be properly contextualized outside of this history. For it is only with in the historical discourse of the scientific tradition that Heideggers contributions to science and scientific method in Being and Time can be evaluated, and only from the view point of the history of the philosophy of science are we able to move from Heidegger to the Holocaust and to the cri tique of scientific modernity that Paul Celan presented in Darmstadt in his Der Meridian speech.
31 CHAPTER 2 BEING AND TIME Up until this point this paper has been concerned with tracing the development of science as a trajectory with a future-orientation, one wh ich has been formulated in terms of a promised utopia and one which developed into a general noti on of progress. I have traced this trajectory from its beginning conception in the work of Francis Bacon through to the attempt at philosophical legitimation of science that we find in the work of Immanual Kant. I have indicated that in the process of this trajectory, science normalized the notions of transparency, reason, and progress itself, but that by no means have these notions been capable of offering the type of legitimacy that science claims. I have also looked at the count er-progressive move of Rousseau, which was that of a state of primordial transparency, and demonstrated how that move was utilized by both sides of the emerging debate, the modern and the romantic or revolutionary. It is within this context that we are able to proceed into the 20th Century, and particularly to the monumental work of 20th Century philosophy, Martin Heideggers 1927 Being and Time In Being and Time we shall find as central motifs, the issues of transparency, reason, primitivism, andmost important of alltraj ectory. Also in the pages of this book we findcouched in very subtle terms but by no means any less powe rful of an argumenta reappraisal of the notion of redemption and the part of science in the work of redemption. In Being and Time Heidegger specifically sets out to formulate a philosophical foundation for science through an exposition of Being. In so doing, he touches the major modern discourse concerning the que stion of the creation or discovery of scientific knowledge. Heidegger uses the notion of transparency in a Rousseauian manner by reasoning through a number of propositions concerning Being which allows material obj ects and spirit ual entities to maintain both internal and external characteristics. The strength of Being and Time s thesis does
32 not rest exclusively in the radical new approach which Heidegger opens for the field of literary interpretation. Rather, it is that in bringing toge ther so many of the strands which have been left unattended by the history of modernity Heidegger widens the scope of scientific knowledge to incorporate a much more expans ive field of human e ndeavor under a general conception that I will call interpretive art. By the term interpretive art I mean to say that Being and Time challenges the borders that had been formulated through the evolution of scientific method as these borders pertain to art and science by blurring the boundaries between art and science. In Being and Time I argue, what is essential to the existe ntialist philosophy, the pow er of interpretationor hermeneutics, as Heidegger tells usis purposely gr anted a non-specific characteristic in regards to science, art, or literature. Whereas Heideggers later works make evident that he is concerned with scientific knowledge as creation because its primary modus operandi is interpretation, Being and Time makes no such explicit claims. Rather, by defending the question of Beingwhich had been relegated to a question for theologians, romantic s, or mysticsas a question of philosophical and scientific preeminence, and by highlighting interpretation of phenom ena as a general categorical understanding of science, Heidegger calls the read ers attention to the similarity of technique shared by scientist and artist alike. Signifi cantly, it is Heideggers emphasis on trajectory whether it be through a temporally or tropol ogically oriented focusas the existential characteristic of authentic Dasein that grounds modernity in a philosophically teleological legitimation whose dynamic is both problematic and lib erational. This last characteristic leads us to the final point, which is that the liberating movement of Being and Time is meant to be understood as a work of redemption.
33 Critical reception of Being and Time has established firm and d eep roots in the fields of literary criticism and political theory Jean-Paul Satres influential Being and Nothingness takes its title from major motifs in Being and Time1 and existentialist philosophy was one of the foremost avant-garde philosophies of the 1950 s and 1960s in the West, giving definition to artistic movements in all of the countries in We stern Europe and in North America, and helping to foreground the youth movements and equal rights movements of the 1960s. Due to this vast field of influence ther e are a number of variations and various commentaries on Heidegger, to the point that a recent book by Simon Critchley and Reiner Schrmann finds it necessary to ask the question where should one begin with Heidegger? On Heideggers Being and Time formulates two possibilities: Cr itchley argues that we must understand Being and Time as it developed out of Husserls phenomenology. To understand Being and Time and Heideggers thinking overall we must see it as a radicalization of Husserls phenomenological project.2 Schrmann, on the other hand, ar gues that many of the key features and motivations for Heideggers early workespecially as it co ncerns the question of the meaning of Beingcan only be discerned by r eading it in the light of the trajectory of his later work.3 Schrmann, therefore, advi ses that we read Heidegger backwards, starting with his later work and progressing forward.4 In this paper, I have not been inclined to ei ther of these views, for a number of reasons. First of all, my argument is that Being and Time arose out of a specific historical context which I 1 There appears to be much debate on whether Satre truly understood the philosophy of Being and Time or whether he possibly distorted its meaning in Being and Nothingness See Blattner 168-169. 2 Simon Critchley and Reiner Schrmann, On Heideggers Being and Time Routledge, NY, 2008, pg. 1. 3 Idem. 4 Idem
34 understand to be the history of the philosophy of science. Being and Time represents a specific comment upon the history of that philosophy, with a number of consequential comments that will be enumerated as this discussion progresses. As such, it is unnecessary to specifically understand Being and Time in either a Heideggerian or a phenomenological context. While Heidegger is rightly cons idered one of the preemin ent philosophers of the 20th Century, Being and Time is also one of the preeminent philosophical theses of the 20th Century. As such it stands to be read and understood on its own me rits, and not exclusivel y in the context of Heideggerian thought. Furthermore, Being and Time has a history of in fluence that is beyond the influence of Heideggerian thought, particul arly his later post-war thought, because by the time even his lectures from the Nazi era had been publicized Being and Time had already made a major impact on the philosophical theater. Secondly, and more importantly for this study, there is a major correlation between Being and Time and Paul Celans Der Meridian that has as of yet been left unspecified. While it is informative to read Celan in the light of Heideggerian thought in general, I argue that the tree has been missed for the forest, as it were. There is, however, a drawback to this approach. In a recent study entitled Paul Celan and Martin Heidegger James K. Lyon provides a chronologi cally oriented analysis of the intersections between the poet and the thinker. With access to Paul Celans private library, Lyon availed himself of the opportunity to closely scru tinize the types of markings which Paul Celan habitually left in the books whic h he studied. Lyon tells us that Celan left behind considerable information on his reading habits. In the case of writers who were especially important to him, he often noted inside the book the date he acquire d it, the date he read individual chapters, and
35 the date he finished a complete work.5 Also, Lyon tells us that Celan not only marked his books freely, but used an array of various markings: Besides underlines and single, double, and triple vertical lines in the margins next to specific passages, he decorated the bord ers generously and energetically with x s, swirls, exclamation points, question marks, lone words or phrases as textual annotations, and the single lower-case letter I which the editor of the historic al-critical edition of his poems thinks was an abbreviation for an idea that Celan hoped to develop in his poetry.6 In other words, Celan left very clear indicati ons of his thoughts as he read, allowing scholars a certain access to the development of his ideas at the same time in which he expressed them on paper. The problem with my thesis is this: in the case of his personal copy of Being and Time which Celan had acquired by February of 19527 and read in March of 1952 and February and March of 19538 there are no marks for the significant portions of the text which are important for my comparison with Der Meridian. Lyon specifi cally states that the absence of any markings in various sectionspages 57-102, 112-139, 168-220, and 290-347suggests that he was probably reading selectively.9 Now if Celans copy of Being and Time retained the same pagination as the original 1927 edition (or cl osely thereto)and Lyon s comments on Celans markings indicate that this is the casethen the most important sections for my reading of Der Meridian through the lens of Being and Time are precisely those s ections which are left unmarked, particularly pp.168-220, which deals w ith the characterizatio ns of fallenness and Care as the Being of Dasei n, and pp. 290-347, which cover issu es of resoluteness and the 5 James K. Lyon, Paul Celan and Martin Heidegger: An Unresolved Conversation 1951-1970 The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD, 2006, 8. 6 Ibid, 23-24. 7 See ibid, appendix, 219. 8 Ibid, 9. 9 Idem.
36 temporality as the Ontological Meaning of Care. In fact, Lyon explicitly states that the sections headed Idle Talk and Ambiguity, whic h are central sections to my reading, were left completely unmarked. One might think that (t hose sections) would have appealed to him, but he made no markings in these sections.10 There are a number of explanati ons to explain this lack. The first, and simplest, is that I am completely wrong in my thesis. This, I leave for the reader to decide. The second, which is also likely, is that the content of these pa ssages was already familiar to Celan through his introduction to Heidegger by Ingeborg Bachmann in Vienna in 1948. Bachmann and Celan shared an intimate relationship in Vienna,11 at which time Bachmann was writing her dissertation on Heidegger.12 Lyon makes note of the fact that there are two crucial pieces of evidence that have been left out of his study. Both are letter s in which he specifica lly refers to Martin Heidegger. One is the collection of letters to Klaus Demus and the othe r is the collection to Ingeborg Bachmann.13 While the lack of this evidence by no means conclusively demonstrate that these passages were left una ttended due to prior engagement, it does point to the possibility of an engagement with the ideas presented in the excluded passages in an interaction outside of the textor at least the text to which Lyon had access. There is yet a third explanation for this striking evidence against my thesis, which is that the ideas which I have presented to coordina te with Heideggerian thought, but that Celan interacted with that t hought through a different ve hicle besides that of Being and Time For 10 Ibid, 15. 11 See John Felstiner, Paul Celan: Poet, Survivor, Jew New Haven, 1995, and also the figure of the Stranger in Bachmanns novel Malina 12 Lyon, 9. 13 viii
37 example, of all of the Heideggerian texts whic h Lyon reviewed from Ce lans library, pertaining to the book Holzwege Lyon writes: Feware as well worn or contain quite as many annotations and markings as this one does, a nd few absorbed him so intensely.14 This is of course no indication that Holzwege appears in Der Meridian at all. In fact, as I have only recently obtained a copy of Holzwege I am unable to make comment.15 As a result I am aware of the possible inadequacies of my analysis. Once agai n, I leave it to the reader to decide, and to further research. Nevertheless, the intersections between Being and Time and Der Meridian in the manner in which I have indicated them are significant enough to warrant their complete explication in the manner in which this paper pr esents them. It is not merely a matter of interpretive freedom that I am pursuing. I find in Celans poetry, and again in Der Meridian (as well as in Bachmann), cont inued recourse to a slight of hand which I suspect to be fundamentally existentialis t in nature. It is si milar to what Peter Szondi has called a texts becoming reality, by which he means that a text is projecting itself, constituting itself as reality.16 What I mean by this slight of hand I understand as being one way in which the text demonstrates it becoming reality, and is charac terized by a conscious manipulation on the part of the author of the relationship between author, r eader, and text, in which the text uses some sort of a device in order to pass a message to the read er which is not the intended message, but which conceals the intended message for a specific purpose. It is in the unveiling of the message that the large tropological stru cture is likewise unveiled, revealing a hidden layer of relationships 14 Ibid, 23. 15 Like Celan, Being and Time is the first Heideggerian text that I myself have carefully studied. As such, this thesis represents my first direct encounter with Heidegger, outside of a number of minor introductions which I have had through classes and acquaintances. 16 Peter Szondi, Reading Engfhrung, in Celan Studies Stanford University Press, 2003, pg. 31
38 that already always17 existed. As I stated, I do not th ink this is merely a matter of interpretation, because the text often gives clue s that it itself has bee n, all along, aware not only that the message is hidden in this particular ma nner but that reader was bound to miss it. In order to explicate what I have found to be one such st ructure which carries with it a great intensity of meaning and is encoded inside of Der Meridia n, I shall first have to look more closely at Being in Time Again, whether this is the right path or a Holzweg I leave for the reader to decide. In the opening paragraphs of Being and Time the historical marginalization of the question of Being is brought to the foreground: On the basis of the Greeks initial contribu tions towards the Interpretation of Being, a dogma has been developed which not only de clares the question about the meaning of Being to be superfluous, but sanctions its complete neglect. It is said that Being is the most universal and the emptiest of concepts. As such it resists every attempt at definition. Nor does this most universal and hence inde finable concept require any definition, for everyone uses it constantly and al ready understands what he means be it. In this way, that which the ancient philosophers found continua lly disturbing as something obscure and hidden has taken on a clarity and se lf-evidence that if anyone con tinues to ask about it he is charged with an error of method.18 Heideggers analysis of the philosophical position in 1927 echoes the concerns of Schapin and Shaffer in Leviathon and the Air-pumpsome 60 years after Being and Time first appearedwhere it was pointed ou t that the legitimacy of the empirical method is understood to be so self-evident that to que stion the authority of empiricism was enough to cause one to be treated as an outsider. Here the issue, once agai n, is that of transpar ency (clarity and selfevidence), and Heidegger is from the very be ginning questioning the readers assumptions in 17 My use of this term will be apparent towards the end of my reading. 18 A note on the text of Being and Time used in this paper. Throughout I w ill use the standard English translation provided by John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson, published in 1962 by Harper and Row, NY. The numbers provided in parenthesis correspond to the page numbers of th e translation, not the original 1927 German edition. So, for example, this quotation comes from page (2) in the Harper and Row edition.
39 regards to what is to be unders tood as truly transparent. The question of Being is such that to raise it under modern standards of rigor is to be charged with an error of method. Yet Heidegger insists on placi ng his discussion of the subject of Being inside of the rhetorical traditions of science. He calls hi s work an investigation (2) and begins from the very start to develop categories (3). Furthermore, he makes a central issue of transparency: The question of the meaning of Being must be formulated If it is a fundamental question, or indeed the fundamental question, it must be made transp arent, and in an appr opriate way. (24) In this passage Heidegger lets it be known: ther e are various types of transparency. There is the type, first of all, that is comm on or assumed, which appears to have a clarity and self-evidence. Then there is the type of transparency that Being and Time will strive for: it is a transparency that is formulated in an appropriate way. What are the criteria for an appropriate way? By considering these prejudices Being and Time states at the end of we have made it plain not only that the question of Being lacks an answer but that the question itself is obscure and without direction. The double trope, transparent and in an appropriate way transforms into its opposite: obscure and without direction. (24) There are three methodological consideration occurring in the space of the First of all, Heideggers use of scientific formulations such as investi gation, categories, and even the issue of formulating questions, places Being and Time squarely in the real m of what is accepted to be scientific reasoning. Secondly, transpare ncy is understood as being either illusory or truly enlightening, depending on a se t of principles that are not ye t defined. Thirdly, coupled to transparency is the issue of direction. As w ith transparency, the direction of science can be either correctly or incorrectly formulated. Thes e three motifs, scientific reasoning, transparency,
40 and direction are to remain with us throughout the entire course of the work, and they become increasingly more significant as the work progresses. In the third paragraph Heide gger expresses the significance of the question of Being. Here Heidegger is explicit in his purpose for this work. It is imperativ e, he argues, that the question of being be raised philosophically becaus e the question of being is the very question of the method of science: Basic concepts determine the way in which we get an understanding before hand of the area of subject-matter underlying all the objec ts a science takes as its theme, and all positive investigation is guided by this understanding. (30) To use Heideggers examples, which he introduced previous to this pass age also in physics conceptually differentiates itself from chemistr y or biology because the area of subject-matter underlying all of the objects of physics are guid ed by a conceptual understanding of the objects of physics as unique from the objects of chemistry or biology. It is impo rtant to note that the term positive and guided are directional terms. They indicate the dir ectional typology of the specific type of investigation unde r discussion, ie, the investigati on must be positive, and it must be guided. Heidegger continues: Only after the area itself has been explored beforehand in a corresponding manner do these concepts become genuinely demonstrated and grounded. (idem) Thus our example, physics, is first basically understood as a concept unique in object-structure from biology or chemistry. This basic understanding guides further positive investigation so that the objects are truly reve aled as belonging to the concep tual category physics, and the concept category physics is established. Again, there must be a correspondence in the direction in the way in which the initial con ceptualization occurs and the way in which the exploration of the area of the conceptual ization occurs. He idegger continues:
41 But since every such area is itself obtained from the domain of entities themselves, this preliminary research, from which the basic co ncepts are drawn, signifi es nothing else than an interpretation of those entities with rega rd to their basic state of Being. (idem) All of the objects which comprise our conceptualization of th e concept category physics, including the category itself, are obtained from th e infinitely wider domai n of general entities, which is to say, from everything. Therefore, the preliminary research which grounds physics as a concept is the work of interpretation. To ar gue that there is a spec ific category of science called physics is to agree to an interpretation of entities and th eir relationship one to another which has been given the label physic. Physics, however, is an authentic category because its objects have been demonstrated via a co rrespondence between th e direction of the conceptualization of physicstha t is, the way in which it is c onceived (as a study of physical objects and their relations) and the direction of the exploration of the conceptualization as it pertains to the objects in the ar ea of investigationthat is, that physical obje cts are explored in a manner that is physical as opposed to say, chemical or biological in nature. It is the matter of this directionality that we must be clear. Ag ain, while Heidegger does no t explicitly uses the term direction in these passages, but the ma rker words way, pos itive and corresponding manner demonstrate directional principles. This type of investigatio n, Heidegger tells us, is the work that is a laying the foundation. (30) Even here, Heidegger indicat es that directionalityor in this case, trajectoryis important: Such research must run ahead of the positive sciences, and it can Laying the foundations for the sciences in this way is different in principle from the kind of logic which limps along after, investigating the status of some sc ience as it chances to find it, in order to discover its method. Laying the foundations, as we have described it, is rather a productive logicin the sense that it leaps ahead, as it were (30-31) Here we encounter the terms run ahead, limps along after, and leaps ahead, indicating both direction and speedwhat I shall call trajectory. We should also take note that trajectory here
42 is described in a comparative manner. In orde r to run ahead or limp along after there must be another object which is moving along a similar path. Heidegger then goes on to tell us that what he is articulating is similar to what Kant was describing in Critique of Pure Reason : Similarly the positive outcome of Kants Critique of Pure Reason lies in what it has contributed towards the worki ng out of what belongs to any Nature whatsoeverHis transcendental logic is an a priori logic for the subject-matter of that area of Being called nature. (31) In the case of Kant, the conceptual area was na ture. But Heidegger argues that Kant did not go back far enough in his in vestigation. But it (suc h an inquiry as Kants) remains itself nave and opaque if in its research into the Being of entiti es it fails to discuss the meaning of Being in general. (ibid) It is for this reason that He idegger is going to take up the question of Being: because the question of Being aimsat ascertaining the a priori conditions not only for the possibility of the sciencesbut also for the possi bility of those ontologies themselves which are prior to the ontical sciences and which provide their foundations. (idem) Heidegger is not only aiming at providing, as it were, a foundation for Kants foundation of science, but he is aiming at providing a foundation for Being itself This is succinctly stated in the next sentence, which is italicized in the original to set off its significance from the rest of the text: Basically, all ontologyremains blind and perver ted from its ownmost aim, if it has not first adequately clarified the meaning of Being, and conceived this clarification as its fundamental task. (idem) By all ontology, Heidegger means all ontic sciences. Earlier in he provid es us with a list of examples: mathematics, physics, and biology are lis ted, but so are history and theology. (29-30) This list includes subject areas th at we today would not generally consider to be scientific. History and theology are humanistic arts, but only science in so far as they ask questions and seek answers via the method of interpretation. But Heideggers earlie r statement regarding
43 conceptualization of categories of knowledge as a work of interpretation of entities with regard to their being. This leaves the quest ion of science in Being and Time a more ambiguous question. By no means is Heidegger precluding the hard sciences fr om his consideration. By all measures it is toward a philosophical legitimacy of the sciences such as physics, biology, and chemistry as well as mathematics that Being and Time specifically and directly aims its discussion. As we have seen even the very manner in which Heidegger pu rsues his question is framed in the language of the hard sciences. Rather, the ambiguity lies in the question of whether or not Being and Time is addressing itself to a larger fiel d of human understanding, that is wh ether or not such pursuits as the visual arts, poetry, music or, today, media ar e also being addressed, since art, poetry, music and media also use as their method an interpretati on of entities in regards to their being, that is I nterpretation, rather than i nterpretation. Because this issu e becomes even more pronouncedly significant in Der Meridian, I will use the term interpretive arts frequently throughout the remainder of this paper, by which I mean Interpre tation, with the capital. By this I mean an allinclusive range of human activit y, one that incorporates the hard sciences and the human sciences, but also the various manifestations of art, into an understanding of those activities which pursue interpretati on of entities in regards to their being. William Blattner points out that it is precise ly with the issue of Interpretation that Heidegger instigated what Michael Friedman ha s called the parting of ways between the socalled Continental and analytic philosophies.19 The causes of this rift are to be found already in of Being and Time Heidegger opens the paragraph by post ulating an analytical definition of science. Science in general may be defi ned as the totality established through an 19 William Balttner, Heideggers Being and Time Continuum International, NY, 2006, 1.
44 interconnection of true propositions. (32) This formulation, Blattn er tells us, corresponds to the rigorous logical discipline of an alytical philosophy, which argues that the fundamental unit of analysis is the judgement (or statement, senten ce, assertion, proposition) (which) are essential to the formation of thoughts or sentences that can be true or false, that is that can succeed at or fail in describing the world.20 This reduces to what Blattner calls the core commitment of the philosophical tradition that Heidegger reject s, which is Intentionality is ineliminably conceptual.21 Intentionality is the term used to describe the minds capacity to represent the world around it, particularly in empirical terms.22 Intentionality as a prin ciple springs from Kant, who understood it as follows: Kant agreed with skep tics (like Descarte) w ho argued that we are unable to know the world of phenomena as it is in itself. Rather, we are only able to understand the world as it appears to us,23 or, how we perceive it. We can therefore know only the a priori rules governing our own percepti on of the world, but never the a priori rules governing the world. Kant adds an extra dimension, how ever. Kant argued that space and time and everything within them are merely appearances, so that in learning the structure and rules of appearance, we are knowing the structure of nature itself.24 Thus the imperative of the analytical school is to perfect th e logical reasoning which governs the a priori rules of our own perception. 20 Ibid, 174. 21 Idem. 22 Ibid, 2. 23 Idem. 24 Idem.
45 The problem with accepting this hypothesis as the grounds for scientific legitimacy is that if we cannot know whether our own perceptions are real perc eptions, then we cannot know whether or not the entirety of space and tim e and everything within them are merely appearance, or if there exists a regulatory reality, or even what relationship a possible regulatory reality and a reality of mere a ppearance might have. In fact, th e questions regarding reality are endless in this situation, because in the end th ere is no authority to decide. Logical reasoning, therefore, reflects mathematics, and can be used to support either a trad itionalist authority (as Thomas Hobbes used Euclidean Geometry) or a progressive author ity (as the Newtonian synthesis did). But in the end it is impossible to decide which one is more correct, and therefore science, in seeking its legitimation, has only one r ecourse: to develop a traditionalist paradigm of its own in which progress is the defining characteris tic. This is exactly what has happened, as I have argued. Heidegger is unsatisfied with the propositio ns of Intentional reasoning, and his grounds for dissatisfaction shall be made ap parent as I progress through this essay. Let me quote the very next sentence which comes after Heideggers explication of the Intentionalist definition of science in Being and Time : This definition is not complete, nor does it reach the meaning of science. (32) Encapsulated in this st atement is the direction and intent of Being and Time It is a work that intends to go beyond the definition of science provided by Intentionality. This definition is not complete is a directional statement ra ther than a contentious statement because it does not refute the validity of the Intentionalist definition bu t rather the fullness of it. Heidegger is proposing to go beyond it and to provid e it with a full depth of meaning, to reach the meaning of science. This is his intent.
46 It is not my intention in this paper to provide a detailed account of Being and Time We have seen that Heideggers inten tions are to provide a philosophical foundation whose intent is to legitimate science. We have seen that Heid eggers methodology is a pursuit of the question of Being in a scientific manner, using scientific categories and principles. We have seen that Heidegger employs strict definiti ons of transparency and trajectory, that these concepts have a specific importance for his philosophy, and that the issue of the precise meaning of interpretation as it pertains to the subject of science in Being and Time is more open-ended, though it does focus chiefly on the matter of the hard and humanis tic sciences, as opposed to art or other forms of human expression. What there is left to do be fore turning to Der Meridian is to be as concise as possible in summarizing the major arti culation of Being and the method by which that primary articulation is reached. Luckily Heid egger himself provides just such a summary. Before turning to that summary, however, we mu st first be clear about the major points of Heideggers understanding of Dasein, and how it a pplies to humanity and the sorts of activities in which humans engage. The word Dasein has a long and complex hist ory in the tradition of German philosophy. As such, we should be sure to look to Being and Time to be sure that we understand how it is employing the term. This is clearly articulated in Dasein, Heidegger writes, is an entity whic h does not just occur among other entities. Rather it is ontically distinguished by the f act that, in its very Be ing, that Being is an issue for it. (32) Dasein, Heidegger makes clear, is an ontological category of Being in which the understanding of Being is itself significant. Understanding of Being is itself a definite characteristic of Daseins Being (idem) Dasein is self-reflec tive, and self-reflectivity is one
47 condition of Daseins Beingone of the most im portant conditions. It is the condition of humanity: man himself. (idem) What is equally important about Dasein is that it is the type of Be ing which science also demonstrates. As ways in which man beha ves, sciences have the manner of Being which.man himself possesses. (idem.) Therefor e, all of the qualities which man as Dasein possesses, science will also demonstrate. Dasein, as a category of bei ng, is also defined by what it does. This is called its existence. Dasein always understands itself in term s of its existence. (33) Other entities which are not Dasein in character are also existent, in th e fact that they are equally defined by what they do. However, Dasein, which is differentiated as Dasein due to its reflection on the meaning of Being, is also characterized by a reflection upon those other types of beings which are not Dasein. Therefore, fundamental ontology from which alone all other ontologies can take their rise, must be sought in the existential analytic of Dasein (34) In this case, the self-reflection of Dasein in its consideration of th e meaning of beingwhich is an activity that Dasein pursues as a naturally occurring part of its existence, is that which understands fundamental ontology, or the question of Being. It is th erefore in the self-reflection of Dasein that the answer to the question of Being is to be found. These characterizations of Dasein have a number of consequences. First, Dasein accordingly takes priority over all other entities in several ways. (idem) The first of these ways is that Dasein is an entity whose Being has the determinate characteristic of existence. (idem) Dasein can determine what it does in its existe nce. Because of its pow er to determine, the second way in which Dasein takes priority over other entities is that Dasein is in itself ontological. (idem.) Dasein and Being cohabita te together. Dasein do es not carry its being
48 inside of any other Being or Being structure. It is not a sub-category determined by a larger categorical structure, such as a Ford is a type of car. Dasein is merely Dasein. The third manner in which Dasein takes priority is that it provides the ontico-ont ological condition for the possibility of all entities of a character other than its own. By ontical, Heidegger means that Dasein determines the existence of other types of Being. By ontological Heidegger here means that Dasein determines the categoric al ontology of all other structures. The second consequence springs from the first, namely that Heidegger has legitimated the domination of nature by humanity and human science through means of granting to humanity the characteristic of Dasein, and denying that char acteristic to other bein gs. This homo-centric analysis will come under criticism in Celans Der Meridian. The third consequence of these characteriza tions, which Heidegger refers to as the Daseins ontico-ontological priority (idem) is of utmost significance, fo r it is the explanation behind Heideggers insistence on the significance of trajectory. Because Dasein is characterized as determining its own existence, and existen ce is defined as what a being does, then the trajectory of existence becomes a determining factor for Dasein. (T)he roots of the existential analyticare ultimately existential, that is, ontical. Only if the inquiry of philosophical research is itse lf seized upon in an existential manner as a possibility of the Being of each existing Dase in, does it become possible to disclose the existentiality of existence and to undertake an adequately founded ontological problematic. But with this, the ontical priority of the questi on of being has also become plain. (idem) The ontical or existential priority rests precisel y in the possibility of the existential manner of Dasein. How Dasein exists, how it projects itself as possibility, and how it fulfills or does not fulfill its possibility are all matters or projection and trajectory. Furthermore, the sciences, as ways in which man behaveshave the manner of Dasein. (32) Therefore science has an existential possibility, an existential projecti on, and an existential tr ajectory as well. Furthermore, and of utmost importance for Heid eggers philosophical gro unding of science, this
49 characteristic of existential direc tion is not only itself evidence of the Dasein of science, but it is as such constitutive of the very legitimacy of science. Therefore, the legitimacy of science is not founded merely in the fact that it reflects upon the nature of the world, or of being, but it is equally founded upon the fact that science has direction, which is pr ojection and trajectory. With these remarks Heidegger proposes that we must look for the answer to the question of Being first in the ontology of Dasein itself. What manner of Being is Dasein? The onticoontological priorities of Dasein are characteristics, but what are the specifics. In order to summarize this matter so that we can quickly move into Der Meridian, I will focus on those aspects which of Being and Time only which have significance for the selection of Der Meridian I have chosen to make a reading of, that is, approximatel y the first half. This includes the description of Daseins Being as care. For the second half of Der Meridian, it becomes necessary to consider closely Heideggers remarks on the phenomenological method of investigation, as they are presented in By fo cusing on the characteristics of care which are constitutive of Daseins being, we are able to move quickly into the first half of Der Meridian and establish the phenomenological na ture of the logic at work in the trajectory of the speech. I shall therefore turn now to a sentence from of Being and Time which summarizes Heideggers major articulation of Being. Daseins Being is care. It comprises in itself facticity (thrownness), existence (projection), and falling. (329) We have seen already how ex istence is tied to projection, and we have seen evidence of projections fulfillment or non-fulfill ment in its trajectory. We shall have a chance to make a more complete disclosure of this issue in my reading of Der Meridia n. Likewise, because Der Meridian relies so heavily upon the characteristic of fallenne ss, I will take the opportunity
50 to treat this subject in a complete analysis as it pertains specifically to Der Meridian. There remains only the issue of thrownness, which, as the quote above make s evident, is the characteristic of Daseins f acticity. What does that mean? According to Heidegger, Dasein finds itsel f in existence. Furthermore, while in existence, Dasein finds itself in various situ ation which are constituted by physical presence and states of mind. In both the fact of its existen ce and the ongoing factuality of its present situation, Dasein finds itself to have been delivered ove r to the facts belongi ng to presence-at-hand. (174) The expression thrownne ss is meant to suggest the facticity of its being delivered over (idem) There are a number of ontol ogical characteristics that ar e ascribed to thrownness. Primarily, thrownness is most gene rally understood as a state-of-mi nd which reflects the facticity of Daseins Being-in-the-worl d. The state-of-mind is disclosed by moods. Dasein can, should, and must, through knowledge and will, beco me master of its moods. (175) Therefore thrownness is also the ontological characteristic status of Daseins mastery of its moods. We shall have recourse to return to the issue of thrownness as we progress through Der Meridian. .
51 CHAPTER 3 DER MERIDIAN Celan was born in Czernowitz, Galicia, in pr esent day Ukraine, to a Jewish family. His mothers native language was German, and Celan (o riginally Antschel) was raised in the German tradition and attended German gymnasium. Ce lans entire family was murdered in the Holocaust, and he made his way after the war firs t to Vienna and finally to Paris, where he settled and began writing poetry in German. He first came to the attention of the Gruppe and, as we have noted, through his friendship with Ingeborg B achmann was introduced to the work of Martin Heidegger. Celans poetry was fo r the most part well re ceived in the 1950s in Germany, and in 1960 he was the recipient of the Bchner Prize for Literature. On the occasion of the reception of that prize, in Darmstadt in October of 1960 Celan gave an address which is entitled Der Meridian. It is to that speech th at I now wish to turn for a rather lengthy, but I hope fruitful, analysis, in which a hidden or burie d structure which is essentially Heideggerian is revealed. In this reading of Der Meri dian I stress the significance of a processional, rather than a tropographical, reading of the speech. There ar e a number of important works which have carefully considered the major tr opological structures in Der Meridian. Jacques Derrida, for example, looks closely at the significance of the date in Der Meridian in his Shibboleth for Paul Celan. In James Lyons Paul Celan and Martin Heidegger the issue is that of the treatment of poetics in Der Meridian with an emphasis on the manner in which Celan shares an exchange with Heideggerian thought on moder n, mechanized poetics. Similarly, Eric Kligerman has taken under review the issue of the Uncanny in Der Meridian, as well as issues of translation, in his 2007 Sites of the Uncanny: Paul Cel an, Specularity and the Visual Arts
52 While these approaches offer a wealth of insi ght into the structural components of Der Meridian, we are not yet able to grasp the larger picture if we do not attend to the processional nature of its delivery. We must remember, first of all, that Der Meridian was written for and delivered to a listening audience, and even thoug h it leaves a vast amount of room for studied interpretation, it also intended to have an impact on its listeners in only one sitting, which would have been as it was heard from beginning to end. More importantly, however, I argue that there this specific Heideggerian structure which is inherent in the speech, which is revealed most explicitly as a logic with its basis in the temporality of the speech, is revealed only if we read processionally rather than tropographically A chapter in Veronique M. Fotis recent Heidegger and the Poets attempts such a processional reading, but her reading moves w ith an eye on the topical struct ure rather than on the logical structure, and misses therefore what I consider to be the major dynamic at work in the first half of Der Meridian, which is stru cturally explicitly Heideggerian. Specifically, the logical structure in Der Meridian is employed both in terms of the temporality of Daseins projection as it is described in Being and Time as well as in the moods that disclose the thrownness and fallenness of Dasein within the context of its topical selfcommunication. As such, the logical structure of Der Meridian takes into consideration the proper approach to and deployment of tropes un der the specific guidance of the existential priority of Dasein. Der Meri dian embeds within its presentation a moment of Heideggerian fallen-ness, in which Dasein degenerates into aspects of incompleti on and inconsistency both in the way it communicates itself and in the way it views its own being in time. We have seen these aspects fully explicated in Being and Time and Der Meridian cata logues them in itself in its movement through fallen-ness and into a greater self-awareness in its first half.
53 There are a number of obstac les in treating Der Meridian which are also present in Celans poetics in general. Not the least of these is the issue of what Celan calls, according to Derrida, concentration which is a term used to descri be how single tropes take on various possible meanings, sometimes meanings which are in conflict with themselves, in a way that purposefully affects the reading of the poem. Derrida talks about concentration in reference to the dates of encounter in Der Meridian: Several singular events may conjoin, enter into alliance, concentrate in the same date, which thus becomes both the same and the other, altogether other as the same, capable of speaking to the other of the other, to th e one who cannot decipher one or another absolutely closed date, a tomb cl osed over the event that it marks.1 Celan is a master at saying multiple things at once, and through the vehicle of concentration one poem can sometimes take on competing interpretations of itself in a manner which can itself be a comment upon the conflict in the in terpretations. Concentration may also serve as a marker for Szondian becoming realit y. Der Meridian is imbued with many such concentrations not only in the way it employs its dates, as Derrida points out, but also in the manner in which it employs a number of tropes as well as non-dated temporal demarcations (for example, past, present and future configurations ). James K. Lyon, for example, has pointed out how Celan seems to be playing both sides of the fence with Heidegger in the manner by which Der Meridian treats the issue of the poet as sp eaker in the poem, on the one side in deference to Heidegger, and on the othe r in contradiction to him.2 Concentration allows, for example, for both a positive and negative reading of Der Meridians employment of Martin Heidegger. It is not simply a matter of Celans reception of Heidegger, but rather what is at stake in reading Der Meridian along existentialist lines is out 1 Jacques Derrida, Shibboleth for Paul Celan. 12. 2 Lyon, op. cit. 127-130.
54 understanding of Celans attitude toward the discourse of modernit y itself. I argue that once we recognize the essentially Heideggeri an structure of Der Meridian s first half it becomes easier to recognize that the second half actually diverges from itself through the tool of concentration so that a duality is made apparent in whic h Celan is both invoking and encouraging the modernist project and, as the same time, critiquing and disavowing it. In order to fully explicate the particular poignancy of this duality, howev er, it is first necessary to elucidate the existentialist structure of the first half. Both Jacques Derrida and Veronique Foti in dicate the Heideggerian elements in Der Meridian. Derrida, for example, argues that it (the poem) speaks of what provokes it, to the date which provokes it, thus convoked from the future of the same date, in other words from its recurrence at another date.3 It is exactly this matter of temporal projection that is a central characteristic of the existentially logical structur e disclosed in the procession of Der Meridian. Likewise, Foti argues when she remarks that poetryindicates orientation4 the essential ontico-ontological relationship as Heidegger describes it that exists between direction and existence. Yet neither Foti nor Derrida avail themselves of the opportunity to treat explicitly the numerous references in Der Meri dian to issues of directionality. Breath, that is direction and destiny Is there notin Georg Bchnera radical Calling-Into-Question of art, a CallingInto-Question from this direc tion? I have jumped ahead, reached out too farnot far enough, I know These are just a few of numerous exampl es of an expression of an explicit sense of 3 Derrida, op. Cit. 10. 4 It in here, in the estrangement of art, rather than in the mere factual chronicle of his life, that Lenz, the man, reveals himself; for poetry hurries ahead; it indicates orientation. Foti, op. cit. 103.
55 direction in Der Meridian.5 While Derrida and Foti gesture to ward these directional issues, I am arguing that far from being marginal commen ts on the part of the author, the issue of direction is central to Der Me ridianmore central, in fact, than the specific tropes of the Medussas head, the ape, and the automaton or even the Atemwende itself. That is to say, that it is only in the context of direction that these other tropes can be characterized as meaningful. As we have seen, direction is only one of the existential characteristics of Dasein, however. My reading is therefor e an attempt to specifically locat e and elucidate the existentialist elements within the logical, proc essional, and topical structure of Der Meridian. In order to do so it is necessary to write a commentary of the speech,6 and so I will begin with the first line of Der Meridian and proceed thr ough until the explication of the Atemwende. I have chosen this point due mostly to considerations for time and space but also because this segment establishes the crucial connection between Celan and Heidegge r that I consider para mount for understanding Der Meridian. As I have argued, beyond the section of the Atemwende, Celan takes the issues of phenomenological philosophy whic h are introduced in the fi rst half and escalates the discussion to degree beyond the scope of this paper. While the second half of Der Meridian is indeed crucial in understanding Celans complete argument as it deals with issues of modernity, particularly with the intersecti on of poetry and modernity, the issues for the second half as I understand them need to be treated in conjunction with a thorough grounding in the early German romantic literature and its critique of Kantian philosophy, as well as a discussion of the phenomenological method as it is introduced in Being and Time Furthermore, while the second 5 Existentialism in Celans poetry has been treated in a 1993 work by Clarise Samuels, Holocaust Visions: Surrealism and Existentialism in the Poetry of Paul Celan Camden House. I have just discovered this book, and have not had the opportunity to avail myself of its particulars, but it does not treat Der Meridian. 6 This word is used in theological studies to indicate a reading of scripture which moves from beginning to end commenting as it goes on th e elements of significance.
56 half of Der Meridian remains faithful to the ex istentialist foundations it establishes in the first half, it is not essential that it be read processionally. That is, once we gain a clear understanding of what is occurring in the fi rst half, the second half can be treated topically according to the intended aims of the analyst. To summarize my argument: I am saying that there exists in Der Meridian a logical trajectory that is established from the opening discussions of various forms of artistic expression in Bchner and continues in its momentum until the moment when it attempts to treat the issue of tyranny and art in the acute accen t of the present. At this mo ment, Der Meridian loses its trajectory, falls into a backtracking movement in which the text is temporally and tropologically dislocatedassuming, in fact, the very characteristics enumerated in Being and Time as those of fallen Dasein. Der Meridian then relocate s itself within the space both the temporal and topical localityof the fall in orde r to recover the origin al trajection of its Dasein. What follows this relocation is an existentialist statemen t upon the relationship of modernity to tyranny, and the part poetry has to play in the work of freedom Before I begin a note concerning my method is deemed necessary. Because this reading attempts to indicate the logically directional characteristics of Der Meridian, I shall not spend a great deal of time discussing the various topical elements of the speech. As such, at times, it might appear as though I am giving only a cursory glance at some very crucial issues in Der Meridian. It would be convenient to stop and discuss the valid ity of the various readings that I make of specific tropes, or to include comments from other scholars, or to ask whether or not I have provided the material with as full of an explication as I could. There are a number of reasons why I would consider such discussions to be harmful to this reading of Der Meridian.
57 First, as I have indicated, Celan chooses tr opes that are quite am biguous, often cryptic, in nature, and presents them in a way that is meant to explicate numerous si des of their ambiguity. In our desire to fully flesh out the ambigui ties, we would become bogged down in such a discussion and would lose sight of the direction of the text, and for this reading it is the direction that is most crucial. Secondly, the issue of the di rection is an even more exacting demand when we remember, as I have stated, that the text was or iginally a speech, in which the audience did not have a chance to discuss the tropes or dwell on them if they wanted to follow the speaker as he progressed. In my reading, therefore, while I at times do stop to take more careful consideration of the tropological structure, I am also eager to move forward, because the text moves forward, and I beg the readers patience as I attempt to follow the trajectory, rather then only the tropology, of Der Meridian. I shall quickly review the opening sections up until the fall, so that we might be clear about how the direction of the sp eech is established. Art is introduced in the opening lines as a formal endeavor in which the aspects of mime sis and correct technique are represented by the characteristics of marionettenhaf tes and jambisch-fnffiges.7 Cryptically, art is also introduced as a kinderloses Wesen, (idem) which is the first in a series of three paradoxes in which Celan presents artistic achievements relati onship to particular mani festations of nothing. In this case, artistic creation is a barren pursuit. It is important to point out, however, that here art has a very poetic form. It is the form of iambic-pentameter, the down-up five-metered rhythm famously characteristic of Shakespearian Sonnets, of which Celan had made many 7 All citations of Der Meridian are taken from Paul Celan Gesammelte Werke Dritter Band Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main, 1986. As with Being and Time I will us parenthesis in the text after each quotation to indicate page numbers. Here it is (187). Any English translations provided are my own. So as to avoid confusion, I will revert to footnoting any further citations from Being and Time
58 translations into German. From the outset, ther efore, the lines between art and poetry are not clearly delineated. Furthermore, in connec ting Shakespeare to classical Greece, Celan is invoking the originations of m odernity. Shakespeare, who was the contemporary of Francis Bacon, is validated (den Hinweis) by Pygmalion. There is also, according to Celan, a great deal of conversation about art. He cites such a discussion from the pages of Bchners Dantons Tod. In fact, the possibilities for discussion and analysis are so vast that the conversation co uld be pursued endlessly (endlos fortgesetz werden knnte). (idem) Something, howev er, comes between (Es kommt etwas dazwischen)something interrupts. Rather than defining at this moment what it is that interrupts the discussion regarding art, Celan reinvokes art (Die Kunst kommt wieder) as if, from the outset, to establish a reality of art: despite what interferes, art returns. It returns, according to Celan, in Bchners Woyzeck where it shows up as an ape form (Affengestalt ), which is a way for Celan to bring art in Bchner forward to the time of Darwinism, realis m, and naturalism, in which art is no longer an idealized form but rather wears (anhat) no thing (nix) and is merely a created being (Kreatur)a word which carries a mark of ignobili ty. If arts paradox in the first instance is that of its barrenness, here the paradox is tu rned the other way around: the monkey, which is wearing nothing, is recognized as art because the skirt and tr ousers (Rock und Hosen) give it away (aber es ist dieselbe an Rock und Hosen haben wir sie sogleich wiedererkannt). (idem) In this case, art is marked not by poetical craftsmanship, but rather by scientific interpretation, namely, Darwin. Finally art presents itself in Bchners Leonce and Lena as a third manifestation, one which has a marked resemblance to scientific in strumentation and carries a definitively utopian
59 promise: Zeit und Beleuttung sind hier nicht wiederzuerkennen, wir sind ja auf der Flucht ins Paradies, all Uhren und Kalender sollen bald zerschalgen bzw. verboten werden. (188) This is an avant-garde manifestation of art, or, worse, the type of political art that was manifested in the French Revolution where calendars were completely rewritten a nd the utopian age of reason and transparency declared. Art is po litical, and time has been forbidden, bringing us back as far as Bacons desire to return to the Garden of Eden. Once again, however, art is shown to have underneath all of its trappings, nichts als Kunst und Mechanismus, nichts al Pappendeckel und Uhrfedern! (idem) In all three of these manifestations art is also a problem (auch ein Problem) that is, after all, eternal (ewig). It is however, a pr oblem which allows for mortal language: Ein Problem, das einem SterblichenWorte und Worte an einanderzureihen erlaub t. (idem) Art is connected to both linguistic s and mortality. Art, in all three in stances, is much more than merely visual or poetic. Art, in this intro duction, is a linguisticall y, poetically, visually, scientifically, and politically encompassing term. I will refer to this type of art as interpretive art. The future trajectory of the speech should be marked by just this char acteristic: that art is understood to mean interpretive ar t, and where the text deviates from this characteristic (and it will) we should look for a conflict. Whenever art is discussed, however, th ere is inevitably so mebody who does not know what is being talked about. Here Celan gives a critical analysis of what he understands happens when somebody gets lost in conversation, particularly conversation about such important subjects as visual or musical art, poetry or other forms of literature, politics, or science, etc. That person who does not understand lose s the conversation, who neverthe less, hears the speaker and sees him speak, who took speech as reality and formand at the same time breath, which
60 means direction and destiny (den Sprechende dn hrt, der ihn sprechen sieht, der Sprache wahrgenommen hat und Gestalt...und zugleich au ch Atem, das heit Richtung und Schicksal.). (idem) This cryptic understanding is more acces sible if we remember our own experiences of having been lost in a presentation, perhaps or a rather heavy conversation and, having no opportunity to add or interrupt, and with no possibility of turn ing away, sit and stare at the speaker who begins to take on no longer a personal ity, but rather merely the shape of language in the form of words which are no longer accessibl e to the hearer, but are merely moving in a certain direction, under a certain impetus of brea th, toward a certain destinynone of which is accessible to us. In this case we, the lost list eners, have become, to use Celans description, Art-blind, (kunstblind) blind to the topic being explicated. This is how Celan asks us to understand Luciles watching of the deaths of Camille and Danton. Whereas the executed themselves are excited for their deaths and the opportunity to make a final speech (vom gemeinsam In-den-T od-gehen die Rede, Fabre will sogar doppelt sterben knnen, jeder is auf der Hhe...), and the bystanders are unimp ressed (nur ein paar Stimmenfinden, da das alles schon einmal da gewesen und langweilig sei), and all around it appears to be the victory of the puppet and the string, (de n Triumph von Puppe und Draht besttigen), it seems as though Lucile has not fu lly understood, has somehow become lost in all of the high talk, has become artblind, a nd can only mutter the words Long live the King (Es Lebe der Knig)a statement which must inevitably lead to her own execution. (189) To read Lucile as artblind is to understand he r as lost in the madne ss of the situation, in the art of the talk, able to understand nothing except that words are coming out of somebodys mouth and that those words have the quality of life and death to them, of destiny. So she says, Long live the King. Celan argues that this moment is an homage to the majesty of the absurd
61 which testifies to the presence of humans. Th is is to say that, faced on both sides with uncomfortable prospectson the one hand the reality of the puppet and the string which Celan argues was the mark of the Reign of Terror and the inanity of the executed prisoners last words, which Lucile could not followin othe r words, on the one hand the marionette outside, which is in the hands of destiny, and on the other hand the marionette inside, which cannot follow the hand of destiny in the words of th e speech-giverLucile speaks. Her speech act, Celan tells us, is a counterwor d (Gegenwort), which cuts the string (das den Draht zerreit) and does not bow to the bystanders and parade-horses of hi story (nichtvor den Eckstehern und Paradegulen der Geschichte bckt). There is no name for this action, Celan tells us, but he believes that it is poetry. (189-190) What is at stake already in the Lucile epis ode is the relationship of the human to the problem of art. It is here, in the French Revol ution, that this relationship becomes totalitarian. The problem of art was challenging enough in its three forms as mimetic, natural, and political art, but art becomes the inspiration for a spectacle of death in Celans rendition of Dantons Tod and speaks even more deeply to the problematic of art, to the possibility of a totalitarian quality in artor at least a totalitarian characteristic in humanitys relationship to art, to which Celan answers with the words of Camille : Ach, die Kunst!. It is a woeful relationship which art and humanity are in, acutely felt by Celan, w ho places an acute accent of the present (den Akut (Akzente) des Heutigen) on Camilles words rather than a grave accent of the historical (den Gravis des Historischen) or the circ umflexof the eternal (den Zirkumflexdes Ewigen).8 That is, Celans bemoaning of the totali tarian impulse in relationship to art, and possibly in art itself, is not one that remembers the eternal quality or the hist orical quality of that 8 Idem, 190.
62 totalitarianism, but the contempor ary manifestation of that qual ity. We cannot help but be reminded of the Third Reich. It is here that Der Meridian is marked by a fracture in its trajectory. In order to explicate this fracture, let us continue reading on for a few more paragraphs. After placing the emphasis on the acute accent of the present and declaring that it is his intention to place such an accent, Celan then points out that the woeful qua lities of art are indeed ubiquitousa curious transpositio n from his original accentua tion of the acute, and, rather cryptically claiming his conscien ce pricked by the grave accent of the past, re turns to the historical and to Bchner in a tr ansition, marked at the moment of Der Meridians treatment of the contemporary totalitarianism of art by the pain of that same totalitarianism and carried backwards by that pain to two sentences in Lenz one in which Lenz recovers his spirits in a discussion of literature and the other wherein Lenz finds the only criterion in matters of art, a totalitarian statement expre ssing a singular authority. Why did Celan shift from the acute accent to the grave, transiting, for the space of a breath back to the grave accent of history? This is the question for which we must find an answer, for it is the clue to Celans use of Heid egger in Der Meridian, and the explication of why the matter of trajectory is of crucial importance in reading Der Meridian. Celan indicates that there are, in th e two passages which he chooses from Lenz both the expression of Bchners aesthetics as we ll as the reality of the historical Lenz author of Anmerkung bers Theater. These observations, le ft without any further comments, lead Celan back to the literarisch so ergiebegen imperative of Mercier, Elargissez lart. This transition ends by claiming that the passages quoted from Lenz anticipate Hauptmann and the naturalistic movement, which are also rather ambiguously pr esented and seem somewhat misplaced. Celan
63 has gestured toward Naturalism in his introduct ion of various forms of art in Bchner, (the classical, naturalism, and that of the avant-ga rde or political), but w hy should naturalism be chosen for specific consideration, or, furtherm ore, Hauptmann in particular? There are no further comments to suggest that these observa tions are of any singular significance, and the listener as well as the reader are left feeling so mewhat misled by Der Meridian. Celan then ends this section by pointing out that the political and social ro ots of Bchners work might be found in the two passages quoted. What has happened? Up until this point, Der Meridian is unambiguous in its pursuit of its chosen topic, the totalitari an qualities humanitys relationshi p to artpossibly totalitarian qualities in art itself. Celan has provided evid ence and a historical background from Bchner, apropos to the spirit of the award, for these quali ties. He has even gone so far as to provide a counter-word against totalitarianism, a moment of the absurd, which he postulates as poetry. The problem of art is severe, and he laments th at problem, but his lamentation breaks down at the moment in which he realizes not the historic al, or even eternal nature of the problem, but rather with his calling to our at tentionand his ownthe acute acce nt of the present, and Der Meridian loses its trajectory and falls back into remarks that are historically located, literarily valid, and critical in nature, but which do not serve to further the purpose of an elucidation of the acute accent. The text stumbles into its reversal in the section immediat ely following Celans proclamation Ich setze den Akut. It moves backward upon itself in a return through the circumflex, now ubiquitous, nature of art (auch die Gabe der Ubi quitt), finds the grave accent once again in Dantons Tod as well as, now, Lenz (sie ist auch im Lenz wieder zufinden, auch hierich erlaube mir, das zu betonen, wie in Dantons Tod als Episode).
64 While the intention of the speech strives to push its momentum forward into the acute accent of the present, it is all the while being forced back upon itself from the pain of that accent, and the two directions ruptur e one from another and Der Me ridian remains with a few nonessential remarks concerning the significance of Bchners aesthetic al expression and the relevance of the passages to lite rary history (hier findet Bchners sthetische Konzeption ihren Ausdruck and diese Stelle hat, vor allem a nderen, literarhistorische Relevanz)both of which stand in the place of his earlier statemen ts on art history and three movements of art exemplified in Bchners writings. Der Meridian, which had begun with a great forward momentum, was turned about on itself and forced to retrace its steps back to their source. The forward momentum, however, is still propelling us forward and, in an odd mome nt of a somewhat pecu liar nature in which Celans cites Merciers Elargiss ez lart, the Der Meridian is once again grounded and returns, though somewhat reluctantly, to its forward momentum with remarks about Bchners anticipation of naturalism (hier ist der Natu ralismus, hier ist Gehart Hauptmann) and a few suggestions that we might, in the future, find the political and social roots of Bchners work in the two passages quoted (hier sind auch die so zialen und politischen Wurzeln der Bchnerschen Dichtung zu suchen und zu finden). To summarize, Der Meridian was stopped in its forward momentum by an awareness of the acute accent, and by the time it regained its composure it was caught at its beginning, able to look forward (hier sind...dieWurzeln der Bchnerischen Dichtung etc) but not moving with that lookingit could only speculate on th e erffnet Ausblicke which the passages open up, but it is unable to develop the argument of these Ausblicke and most importantly, unable
65 to catch up with itself in its original intent, whic has we shall seeis the original resolve of its Dasein. Der Meridian is caught gazing into the future at the promises that are available. It is these passages in particular that highlight both the si gnificance of understanding the trajectorial nature of Der Meridianthe signif icance of its intention and the momentum it has placed on that intention, and the significance of the central Heideggerian motif in Der Meridianthe fall of Dasein. Specifically, pa in of the acute is too severe, and the argument of Der Meridian falls in a Heideggerian sense of falling. W ithout understanding this logical evolution of the speech, we would miss this fall and everything th at comes after it could not be placed in its proper context. If this reading sacrifices a number of possible moments of to pical comprehension of Der Meridian up to this point, then they are given up for the greater underst anding of the trajectory Der Meridian. While we could exploit the wealth of analysis th at Celan provides in the section immediately following the two quoted passages from Lenz or dispute the readings that I have given of the three art forms present in Bchne reven a careful analysis of the two passages quoted would provide the reader with more than a few interesting insights into the aesthetics of Bchner, just as Celan tells usI have chosen instead to move ahead along with the speech. These passages are not relegated to a place of lesser importance because they contain information of inherently lesser value, however In fact, once the tr ajectory is understood the specifics of the tropological exegesis become all the more significant. What is more important is to point out that the comments which make up the sections of Der Meridian that I argue constitute the fall of the speech are of three substantive characteristics which we find enunciated in Heidegge rs analysis of the fa llen-ness of Dasein.
66 These characteristics are, in order of He ideggers presentation in s 35-37 of Being and Time idle talk, curiosity, and ambiguity. It might not at first appear that Celans comments in these passages are comments that one would consider to be idle talk. But taken in the light of his greater concerns, which are with the totalitarian relationship of humanity to artparticularly in the present timethe relative worth of information that might lead us to a greater understanding of Bchners aesthetics pales of necessity. These remarks are specifically idl e in the Heideggerian sense in that 1) they represent an everyday Daseins unde rstanding and interpreting. It might not appear to be so, because the comments are not about common subj ects but about the aesthetics of Bchner, however, relative to the more specific topic of Der Me ridian, which is an engagement with aesthetic totalitarianism, these comments are mundane and ordinary. Furthermore, comments such as Here, Bchners aesthetics find expression or the passage opens vistas: it anticipates Naturalism and Gerhard Hauptmann are not gr ounded in the logical argumentation already presented in Der Meridian, which is to say th at they do not communicate in such a way as the let (them) be appropriated in a primordial ma nnerwhich would be defined as the original logic of Der Meridian, but communi cate rather by following the route of gossiping and passing the word along.9 These remarks appear to be auth oritative, and our own understanding lends them an authoritative air, but in the cont ext of Der Meridian th ey are groundless because up until this point Celan has been completely un concerned with Bchners aesthetics. Idle talkis the kind of Being which belongs to Da seins understanding when that understanding has 9 Heidegger, op. cit.. 212.
67 been uprooted.10 Der Meridian, uprooted by the acute acc ent, falls back on idle talk at this moment. Secondly, the comments in th is section reflect curiosit y. Curiosity, according to Heidegger, is marked specifically by a type of sight in which Dasein seeks what is far away simply in order to bring it close in the wa y it looks.when curiosity has become freeit concerns itself with seeing, not in order to understand what is seenbut just in order to see. Der Meridian does not attempt at this moment to understand how the Bchner passage anticipates Naturalism and Gerhart Hauptmann, a nd is curious about how (h)ere we must look for the social and political roots of Bc hners work. It is merely curious just in order to see. Finally, these sections are ambiguous. It is unclear why Celan chooses the two particular passages from Bchner that he chooses. It is unclear what Celan is trying to tell us when he says that these passages have an importance to literary history, or even why it is in these passages that we must look for the social and political roots of Bchners work. The movement of the sections is also ambiguous: how do these passages lead us back to the historical Lenz and, even more ambiguously, to Merciers Elargissez lart? We have already remarked on the ambiguous, ev en cryptic nature of much of Celans work, but Heideggerian ambiguity as a characteris tic of fallen-ness is not cryptic, which entails a hiding or concealing. Rather, He idegger tells us ambiguity is the sort of thing which is accessible to everyone, and about which anyone can say anything. When we encounter ambiguity, it soon becomes impossible to decide what is disclosed in a genuine understanding, 10 Ibid, 214.
68 and what is not.11 These to defining characteristics are easy to see in Celans comments in these passages. I have argued that Der Meridian has followed a specific and easily discernable trajectory. I have also argued that that trajectory experienced a set-back of the sort that is represented by Heideggers notion of fallen-ness. From our earl ier discussion of Dasein and fallenness, we can remember that Dasein is a futu rally-oriented intentiona lity with a capacity for self-reflection. It is these charac teristics which distinguish it from ordinary being. We must now ascertain how Celan leads us toward an understanding of the fall of Der Meridian, for it is in the fall that we are to beco me aware of the critique humanity s relationship to artunderstood as interpretive artwhich Der Meridian is presenting. Let us pick up with the text where we left o ff. Up until this point we have had a sort of an introduction: artistic conversat ions can continue ad infinitu m; something intervenes; that which intervenes is often totalitarian in naturein fact, totalitarianism seems to be a naturally occurring characteristic of ar tistic communication. There have been counter-words to the totalitarianism. The totalitarianism of art can be brutal, it has a history and a presence and an eternal quality about it. Fina lly, as part of the introduction, Celan self-consciously adds a demonstration of a fall that occurs while attempti ng to speak of the totalitarianism, particularly of present or contemporary totalitarianism. The self-consciousness of the fall of Der Meridian is highlighted in the next section (the first section of the first major direction) wh ich begins with an apologetic gesture on the part of Celan. We are told that it has calmed (his) conscience that (he) did not fail to mention this (all of the idle talk curios ity and ambiguity surrounding the two passages quoted from 11 Ibid, 217.
69 Lenz ). Once again, we have a reference to Cela ns cryptic bad consci ence about the grave accent.12 But, he continues, it also shows, and thereby disturbs my conscience again, that I cannot get away from something which seem s to be connected with art. (191) Celan, realizing that he has broken off from hi s original trajectory, has been diverted and has taken a detour from his original intent, is trying to pick back up the trail of that topic. He is unable to mention that something specifically, but he has heard the ca ll of it through his bad conscience.13 He also makes a more explicit comment regarding the nature of the totalitarianism upon which he wishes to comment: it seems to be connected with art. This comment lays the burden of guilt less on the human side and more on the side of art itself. Let us continue following the trajectory of Der Meridian. Ich suche es auch hier, im Lenz,--ich erlaube mir, Sie darauf hinzuweisen. With this statement it becomes apparent that what Celan is attempting to do is to recover the original trajectory of Der Meridian, which was lost in the fall and the diversion into the various tropes that were therein presented. The method by which Celan is attempting this recovery is referred to by Heidegger as taking over, by which it is meant not returning to the original location prior 12 In fact, the mention of a bad conscience is further evidence of Celans overt use of Sein und Zeit in these passages. Compare Celans bad co nscience of the gave accent to Sein und Zeit Division Two section II, Daseins Attestation of an Authentic Potentiality-for-Bei ng, and Resoluteness, in which Heidegger makes evident the emergence of a guilty conscience and the relationship be tween the feeling of guilt and Daseins intention, or resoluteness. Since, however, Heidegger posits that existe ntially there is no such thing as a bad conscience, and Celan indicates that he has a bad conscience, the existe ntially technical reading of this statementparticularly, coming as it does, in the middle of the fallpoints towa rd a criticism of Heidegger and his complicity in National Socialist atrocities. The discussion of this topic must be reserved, therefore, for th e negative reading of Der Meridian, by which I mean the reading th at casts Heidegger in a negative light. 13 Again, see Sein und Zeit division Two section II, in which the call of the guilty conscience is a call to return to the intentional resoluteness of ones Dasein, in this case, the resoluteness to speak to the acute accent of tyranny.
70 the fall, but rather following the course of the fall in such a manner as to include the substance of the fall in the trajectorial path of Dasein in its original resolution.14 The material of the original trajectory of Der Meridian was founded in a discussion of Dantons Tod. From Dantons Tod Der Meridian moved into an attempt to comment on the present totalitarianism that has something to do with art. Failing at that attempt, and falling into comments on Lenz Der Meridian does not attempt to revert back to Dantons Tod, but rather picks up with the substantive material of the fall. Lenz therefore, is a substitute for the lost Dantons Tod. Furthermore, Der Meridian, which fell off in the present moment, is picking up in the historically located time of Lenz However, it is anticipating fi nding it again in the historical, and warns the audience15 Ich erlaube mirSie darauf hi nzuweisen. Der Meridian is attempting to recover itself, to recover what was lost in its fall, to redeem itself to itself. And in the very next sentence it does just that: Lenz, also Bchner, hat ach, die Kunst The phrase, ach, die Kunst, which had been taken from Camille in Dantons Tod represents a threshold phrase. Its original context was the sentence, ach, die Kunst! Ich bin Sie sehen es, an diesem Wort Camilles hngenggeblieben, which occured shortly before the fall and ushered in the remarks which introduce the various accen ts with which one could discuss tyranny and art. Die Kunstach, die Kunst: sie besitzt, neben ih rer Verwandlungsfhigkeit, auch die Gabe der biquitt... is the sentence which marks the beginning of the fall, since it is the ubiquitous which fundamentally 14 The concept of taking over is one that also opera tes in a specifically tempor al context, according to Being and Time and can be demonstrated as being temporally of th e exact same nature in Der Meridian. Compare SZ s 74 and 79-81. 15 Another curious move which speaks to the negative implications of what Celan is doing in Der Meridian on his German audience.
71 differentiates itself both temporally and tropologically from the acute To return, therefore, to ach, die Kunst, is to return to the very moment of the fall, to waver in that space between the original resolution of Dasein and the unavoidable into which it had fallen. From this point, either Der Meridian will regain its original trajectory or it will fall once again. It is not yet ready for the original trajectory, but, apr opos to the principle of taking over, it remains inside of the threshold space of ach, die Kunst and plunge s into an analysis of a passage in Lenz in which Lenz describes his desire to capture a scene he witnessed while walking in the valley. So stirring was the scene of tw o girls sitting on a rock that Man mchte manchmal ein Medusenhaupt sein, u so eine Gruppe in Stein verwandeln zu knnen, und den Leuten zurufen.(191-192) The desire t o, as Celan puts it, grasp the na tural as the natu ral by means of art overtakes one. One, the text says, not I. Here we encounter one of the most important points of tropological research associated with Der Meridian. Kligerman, Foli, and Lyon all spend a consid erable portion of time discussing the issue of the relationship of mimetic art to totalitarianism. I argue, however, that Der Meridian is not primarily concerned with mimesis, the fi gures of the Medusas Head the monkey or the automaton. Der Meri dian is specifi cally interested, in its resolution (and selfconsciously so), in speaking in the acute accent of ach, die Kunst, and in recording what occurs in Dasein when one attempts to speak in th e acute accent of totalitarianism. As such it is interested in a certain movement, the very trajectory of Dasein which is the specific legacy of Heideggerian philosophy and of scientific modernit y. What is at stake in the words, Meine Damen und Herren, beachten Sie, bitte: Man mchte ein Medusenhaput sein, umdas Natrliche als das Natrliche mittels des Kunst zu erfassen, is not so much mimesis as it is the very structure of modernity. W ith this statement Der Meridian completely recovers the acute
72 accent of the present. It emerges from the last ve stiges of the historical into a contemplation of modern interpretative art,16 which is so heavily informed by science that it all falls under the sway of science, or, as in the case of romanticism, gets ostraci zed from modern discourse. To seize the natural as the natural by means of art is the exact pr oject of modernity, as we have described it, and is, furthermore, as we have seen, the exact project of Being and Time Mimesis is only one part of the project, which is why only a few lines later Celan places the ape (representing Darwinism), the automaton (represen ting politicized art), and ach, die Kunst in the same realm of the uncanny as the Medusa head. Der Meridian has caught up with itself. It has accomplished the task of taking over. It has reaffirmed its position vis-vis its original subject materi al, reconnected to the tropes of the ape-form (naturalism), the automaton (avant -garde art) and ach, auch die Kunst, (192) and, in order to solidify the recovery, to fina lize the grounding of the trajectory of Der Meridian, Celan reinvokes the acute accent: Meine Damen und Herre n, ich habe den Akut gesetzt (idem) It is now clear that Celan is talking about more than mimetic art. He is talking about an uncanny realm in which die Affengestalt, die Automaten und damit.ach, auch die Kunst zuhause zu sein scheinen. (i dem) By here invoking specifically the acute accent, Celan reinvigorates the discussion, reminds his audience of his original intention, and reclaims his original trajectory af ter the fall. Furthermore, he gives a certain nod to that force which had dislocated his trajector y or caused it to fall, and cede s that ich mit dieser Frage nach der Kunst und nach der Dichtung...aus eigene n, wenn auch nicht freien Stcken zu Bchner gegangen sein mu, um die seine aufzusuchen. (idem) 16 I have previously defined interpretive art as thos e human activities which pursue an interpretation ofentities with regard to their basic state of Being. As such inter pretive arts is a category that can include the hard and the human sciences, as well as the fine arts, performance, literature, and media.
73 With this recovery, which is a form of re demption, Der Meridian begins to take stock of its fall. That is, Celan argues that he was forced to go to Bchnerthat is, to Lenz not of his own free will but because that was the substance of the fallin order to meet the other, which is Bchners own trajectory regarding totalitarianism. For we must be clear that it is a matter of trajectory: Gibt es nichtbei Georg Bchner, bei dem Dichter der Kreatur, eine vielleicht nur halblaute, vielleicht nur halbbewute, ab er darum nicht minder radikaleroder gerade deshalb im eigentlichsten Sinne radikale In -Frage-Stellung der Kunst, eine In-FrageStellung aus dieser Ri chtung? (192-193) This quotation is significant because it openly co nnects and thereby acknowledges the reading of Der Meridian as an existential text for whom directionality and topicality are understood in specifically Heideggerian terms. What we have indicated to be si gnificant about direction is that when we talk about direction we talk about Da sein, for Dasein is defined in its resolution by direction. Celan is indicating what he believes to be the direction of B chners existential being (aus dieser Richtung), and wh ere his own and Bchners have met as a result of Der Meridians fall. Less importantly but no less immediate is Celans use of the hyphenated word structure In-Frage-Stellung, which James K. L yon research indicates is a specific linguistic structure lifted from Heidegger. With these two points in mind, this passage provides even further evidence to support the ar gument of this paper: we are not completely served by treating Celans engagement with Heidegger from a stric tly topical perspective. Prior to tropological researchand this is an explicitly Heideggeri an argument as wellwe must understand how to approach the subject matte r itself. That is, we must understand that the very logical structure of Der Meridian is completely dependen t upon Heidegger for its articulation. Returning to Der Meridian, we are s till uncertain why a m eeting between the two Daseins is important, or what might possibly come out of it, but Celan is arguing that if he had
74 not followed the substantial material of the fall, if he had not gone into the fall and picked up the tropes of the fallin fact, if he had never fall enthen he would not have met the other in Bchner. We are not yet sure why meeting Bchner was important, and Der Meridian does not seem to have completely recovered the lucidity with which it began. Up until the fall, Der Meridian did not leave many questions unanswe red. At this point, however, it is still reverberating with a certain vibrat ory nervousness, a certain type of a temporal displacement. It is not yet fully recovered, but it is recovering. But Der Meridian has recovered a confidence, that the question it originally posed is the co rrect question: Das sind wohl, Bchners Stimme fordert mich zu dieser Vermutung auf, alte and lteste Unheimlichkeiten. Da ich heute mit solcher Hartnckigkeit dabei verw eile, liegt wohl in der Luftin der Luft, die wir zu atmen haben. (193) What is to be found historically in Bchner is releva nt still to today. Furthermore, Celan is aware of the disp lacement itself. Ich habe vorgegriffen, hinausgegriffennicht weit genug, ic h wei, ich kehre zu Bchne rs Lenz zurck, zu dem episodischenGesprch also, das ber Tisch gefhrt wurde und bei dem Lenz in guter Stimmung war. (193) Once again, Celan returns to the fall. He has not picked up all of the pieces of the fall, all of the substance of the fall. He does not desire to leav e any behind. It is of significance to him, and he will not continue wi th his asking if he does not have all of the substantial elements of the fall along with him. He has begun to make sense of the ambiguities, the idle talk, and the curiosity that was experience d in the fall, particularl y, he tells us, as they relate to the direction of th e question of totalitarian and art in the acute accent. Celan picks up the passages of Lenz which were introduced at the very outset of the fall. He tells us that Lenz, in discus sing art, forgot about himself, th at, in fact, the man who has art
75 before his eyes and mindhas forgotten himself. Furthermore, the Lenz fragment reminds Celan of Lucile, whose long live the king cost her her life. Suddenly all of the directions of Der Meri dian come together at once into a primary focus that asks many major questions all at one time. First, there is the question of Der Meridian and its encounter with Bchner: Ich suche jetzt keinen Ausweg, ich frage nur, in derselben Richtung, und, so glaube ich, auch in der mit dem Lenz-Fragment gegebene n Richtung weiter. (idem) Again, Celan is moving with and from the position of the tropes that he has been given in the fall, in a specific direction, which we now understand to be the dir ection of resolve as we ll as the direction of the Lenz quotation as well: the acute accent of the pres ent has joined with the grave accent of the historical to specify the uncanny realm in wh ich interpretive art takes on qualities of totalitarianism. Second, there is the question of ar t, itself, and more specifical ly, the question of poetry: Kunst schafft Ich-Ferne. Kunst fordert hier in einer bestimmten Richtung eine bestimmte Distanz, einen bestimmten Weg... Und Dichtung? Dichtung, die doch den Weg der Kunst zu gehen hat? Dann wre hier ja wirklich der Weg zu Medusenhaupt und Au tomat gehen...Vielleichtich frage nur, vielleicht geht die Dichtugn, wie die Kunst, mit einem selbstvergessenen Ich zu jenem Unheimlichn und Fremden, und setzt sichdoch wo? Doch an welchem Ort? doch womit? Doch als was?wieder frei? Dann wre die Kunst der von der Dichtung zu rpkzulegende Wegnicht weniger, nicht mehr. (idem) We shall return to this crucial passage below. For now, let us observe that if Luciles counterword is to be understood as poetry, and poetry is to be used to free us from totalitarianism, then poetry, like art, must follow the path of totalitarianism if it is to be free. Why this is the case is not clear, but that th e issues of direction, se lf-forgetting, and now an understanding of A wayin short, this logiccome from the fall, and that they arrive out of the experience with totalitarianism that was so horrible that it cause d the disruption of the
76 conversation, then perhaps, in order for the conv ersation to resume and to be truly free, it must follow the path of the disruption. in Bchne rs work, I am looking for Lenz himself, as a person, I am looking for his shape: for the sake of the place of poetry, for the sake of liberation, for the sake of the step. Der Meridian is looking for the self who had forgotten itself in its discussion of art, the fallen self of art, that which is in need of liberation. Celans searching takes him in the next few sections away from Bchners Lenz and to the historical Lenz. Now we see that the fall has created a pattern. It is a pattern that goes from the present to the past, from Cela ns own questions back to those of Bchner, in order to return to itself once again. The search takes him this time to Moscow, where Lenz died. This is the last place of his physical existence. The search takes him back to the date of Lenzs walking in the mountain, January 20th, where Lenz first became estrange d from himself. And it locates the moment of that estrangement in the passage: nur war es ihm manchmal unangenehm, da er nicht auf dem Kopf gehn konnte.Das ist er, Lenz. Das ist, glaube ich, er und sein schritt, er und sein Es lebe der Knig. (195) It is at this point that we understand the real crux of the issue for interpretive art, for modernity, and for the part of poetry in modernity. We must remember that what Celan is seeking and believes he found is the estranged Le nz. There is a relationship, then, between the Lenz who is estranged and who estranged himself, the Lenz who regretted not being able to walk on his headCelan tells us that Lenz set himself free in this act of regretand the one who, in talking about art, forgets himself. For it is not in the action of walking on his head that Lenz estranged himself and set himself free. Rather it was the desire to do so, or, perhaps more importantly, the bemoaning of the fact that he could not. Here the central issue is one of regretthe regret that one c ould not walk on ones head.
77 The origin of this term is lost in obscurit y, but it has been said that philosophizing is an act of walking on ones head.17 If this is the case, then Le nz is regretting his inability to philosophize. Lenz, the great Sturm und Drang author, was a feeler, rather than a thinker, and yet he had encountered the other, he had encountered the thinker. In fee ling, which is to say in his talking about art, Lenz forget s himself. But this kind of fo rgetting is not an estrangement of the kind that causes an encounter, which could be understood as a step against the tyrant. But it is a sort of estrangement, nevertheless, an unc anniness. As Celan says, Wer Kunst vor Augen und im Sinn hat, der istich bin hier bei der Le nz-Erzhlung--, der is selbstvergessen. Kunst schafft Ich-Ferne. It is hard to miss the conn ections between science an d art in this passage. The issues of transparency, of em piricism, of witnessing: these issu es all have the possibility of making for self-forgetting. Furthermore, Celan points out that Lenzs forg etting himself reminds Celan of Lucile. I think of Lucile when I read this. What is the relationship between the Lenz who forgetsand thus estranges himselfand the Lenz who regretsand thus estr angeshimself? In the first instance Lenz talks about art, and forgets himself. Even though there is a talking, it is not a self who is talking. It is something else. In fact, the talker who is talking is akin to Lucile in an uncanny manner: Lucile, who is the symbol of those who hear and see what is said about art but do not understand, and Lenz the artist who in di scussing art forgets himselfthat is, does not truly hear or see what is being said about ar t and does not therefore understand. 17 I read this somewhere in reference to either Hegel or Le ssing. I am still searching for the source. Because this interpretation stands well contextually with the passages under consideration, I am going ahead with this reading. It should be noted from the outset that what I am arguing is important is not what was specifically regretted (ihm unangenehm), but that Lenz regrets himself rather than forgets himself. I make this distinction clear below.
78 The difference between Lucile and the Lenz w ho forgets himself is that Lucile speaks a word against her condition, whereas Lenz speaks as a result of his condition. Art, for Lenz, has become idle talk, a curiosity, and remains ambiguous. The speaker who has forgotten himself has fallen. Lucile is not fallen, but rather is thrown into a Being that is foreign and frightening, that comes face-to -face with the tyranny, and she speaks a word against it: Long live the king. An ironic word, to be sure. In contrast, the Lenz who forgets himself, is participating in the tyranny, because he is not encountering another but, forgetting himself, he also forgets the othe r. Here this would actually mean the road to Medusas head and the automaton! The Lenz who forgets himself is underway to tyranny. The Lenz who regrets himself, on the ot her hand, remains mindful of himself and estranges even that Lenz who speaks about art. The Lenz who speaks about artor rather, the tyrant of art who speaks through Lenz in a form of possession, is countered in the regret that Lenz is not able to philosophize. For here, too, is the regret that Lenz forgets himself when he speaks of art, that he participates in something which is uncanny and mechanical. That he is not engaging with another. So his regret is an engagement, and an act of resistance. Aber es gibt vielleicht, und in einer und derselben Richtung, zweierlei Fremedicht beieinander...Dichtung: das kann eine Atemwende bede uten. Wer wei, vielliecht legt die Dichtung den Wegauch den Weg der Kuns tum einer sochen Atemwende willen zurck? Vielleicht ge lingt es ihr, da das Fremde, also der Abgrund und das Medusenhaupt, der Abgrund und die Automaten, ja in eineer Richtung zu liegen scheint,--vielleicht gelingt es ihr hier, zwischen Fremd un Fremd zu unter scheiden, vielleicht sc hrumpft gerade hier das Medusenehaupt, vielleicht versagen gerade hier die Automatenfr diesen einmaligen kurzen Augenblick? Vielleicht wird hier, mit dem Ichmit dem hier und solcherart friegesetzten befremdeten Ich, --vielliecht wird hier noch ein Anderes frei? (196) This passage, I believe, confirms our reading. The I which forgets itself is a mechanical I. But the I that estranges itself sets the mechanical I free. And in the process sets poetry, perhaps even the way of art, free as well. Vielleicht is t das Gedicht von da her es selbstund kann nun, auf
79 diese kunst-lose, kunst-freie Weise, seine andere n Wege, also auch die Wege der Kunst gehen wieder und wieder gehen? (idem) This passage also confirms our larger read ing, our Heideggerian r eading, which takes into account the resolution and trajector y of Der Meridian. In th is passage Celan is accepting Heideggers belief that the fall is a positive event, that it is part of Dasein, so long as it reminds Dasein of its thrownness and rein vigorates Dasein with its own sense of Being-in-the-world. Celan is arguing even further. He is arguing that the fall occurs in order to set free the self from the tyrant. As Foti remarks, Perhaps, through th e step of another estran gement, the poem can at last become free of art without being artless.18 Just prior to this section in which the Atemwende is described, Der Meridian regains the acute accent of the present, which is to say it once again is able to approach the subject of contemporary art. Meine Damen und Herren, Celan says, es ist heute gang und gbe, der Dichtung ihre Dunkelheit vorzuwerfen. (195) When ,therefore, Celan underscores the fact that here and in this manner (the manner of the Atemwende) he is specifying, I believe, the here of Der Meridian itself, which has just undergone an Atemwende of its own. That is, like poetry, Der Meridian has gone den Wega uch den Weg der Kunstum einer solchen Atemwende willen zurck? (idem) It has turned from its own chosen direction, its own chosen intended path of investigation, whic h is the investigation of the ty rannical in aesthetics, the oh, art in the acute accent, and, thr ough a fall, was forced into a detour that was not of its own choosing, for the sake of an encounter. This interpretation is supported by the section following the introduction of the Atemwende term, in which Celan asks, Perhaps we can say that every poem is marked by its own 20th of January? 18 Foti, op. cit. 104.
80 A number of scholars have pointed out that the 20th of January, 1942, held specific meaning for Celan because it was the date of th e Wannsee Conference, in which the decision to initiate the Final Solution to the Jewish problem was made by Nazi leaders. When Celan asks, Perhaps the newness of poems written today is that they try most plainly to be mindful of this kind of date? he is talking specifically about post-war poetry s (Celans, perhaps Bachmanns and others) relationship to the tyrannical movement in modernity, which he then argues might be the origin of all writ ing: But do we not all write from and toward some such date? What else could we claim as our origin? We have read quickly through a number of the most crucial passages of Der Meridian. Again, I have only glossed the surface of these issues, in the hopes of maintaining the focus on the trajectory of the speech. What this reading has concluded in the last few pages is that Celan is arguing that there is an uncanniness in interpretive arts, an uncanni ness in modernity itself which contains moments of totalitarianism. When the self encount ers such moments, it experiences a fall, which is a tu rning of the breath or of language, and it moves away from the tyrannical in order to restabilize its own inte nded trajectory. In the pr ocess it meets an other perhaps, as in the case of Lenz, it is another self, or perhaps, as in the case of Celan and Der Meridian, it is a completely other person (Bchner) and work ( Lenz ), but in either case the other has its own trajectory and its own re lationship to the tyrant. It is in this meeting that the original trajectory of the self is reinvigor ated, and it is able to emerge fro m the fall back onto an authentic path of Dasein. If this reading has been overly superficia l it has been so for the sake of moving the discussion forward to a more significant analysis of poetics in Der Meridian. For it is Celans immediate personalization of the poem in the very next sentence, Aber das Gedicht spricht ja!
81 which encapsulates the questions of Being, of art, and of science and modernity in a poignant moment of explication. The ques tion of Being, like the question of modern science, is a question of authority. Who speaks, on whose behalf, and towa rd what end? It is an ultimate question of Dasein, and has remained a central question for both poets and thinkers since the end of the Second World War. Let us review our notes on ex istential directi on in Der Meridian in order to see if we can garner a more direct access to the issue of au thority as it is presented by existentialist theory and Der Meridian.
82 CHAPTER 4 REDEMPTION There is an origin al trajectory. Then there is a force that interrupts that trajectory. Then there is a detour. The poem, and art, and Der Meridian are all following Newtonian Laws of Inertia in which once a body is set in motion it will continue in that same direction until a greater or equal force causes its momentum to shift. In the theory of relativity that greater force is ultimately attributed to gravity or some force whose original cause is gravity. But what is gravity, and is it connected in some manner to th e grave accent of the historical from which Celan professed, in the Atemwende of Der Meridian to suffer a bad conscience? In fact, the Heideggerian notion of the action of Dasein and its fall into non-resolute being depends upon gravity. It is against the Ar istotelian falling of objects into the present now of Being from which Dasei n, so says Heidegger, is intent on breaking free. Since Dasein is given priority in Phenomenology because of its ability to attain self-r eflective knowledge, and self-reflective knowledge is also th e characteristic of the interpre tive arts as activities which humans do in order to achieve se lf-reflective knowledge, then the in terpretive arts have the same inherent authority as Dasein a nd a ontico-ontological priority over other non-Dasein beings. Now in Being and Time Heidegger explicates that the pr ojectional imperative of Dasein legitimates the force of its interpretive powers, an d that the force of Daseins interpretive powers is by nature a violent force which acts against the forces that would cause Dasein to fall: Our Being alongside the things with which we concern ourselves most closely in the worlda Being which is fallingguides the everyday way in which Dasein is interpreted, and covers up ontic ally Daseins authentic Being, so that the ontology which is directed towards this entity is denied an appropriate basisThe la ying-bare of Daseins primordial Being must rather be wrested from Dasein by following the opposite course from that taken by the falling ontico-ont ological tendency of interpretation.1 1 Heidegger, op. cit. 359.
83 This is not the only time that Heidegger ha s mentioned a need for a violence on the part of Dasein to free itself. From the very start hi s privileging of Dasein at the expense of other beings is inherently a violent action, and echoes the original de signs of Baconian philosophy to found a system which would give humanity domi nion over nature. More blatant, however, is how Heidegger continues in the same paragraph: Daseins kind of Being thus demands that any ontological Interpretation which sets itself the goal of exhibiting the phenom ena in their primordiality, should capture the Being of this entity, in spite of this entitys own tendency to cover things up Existential analysis, therefore, constantly has the character of doing violence 2 Here, existential analysis becomes any manner of Interpretation which is authentically projected. The problem which Phenomenology faces and which Celan picks up is that Heidegger postulates that Dasein is characterized by a strugg le between falling and progress. It would be a mistake, however, to read that Heidegge r is agreeing with a strictly positivistic and progressive science. Rather, according to Heide gger, it is precisely in the struggle between fallen-ness and Dasein that a being of care emerges, which is a characteristic of Dasein that not only has an ethical dimension, but, more importantly for the grounding of science, accounts for the potentiality of Being. s 64-66 of Being and Time gives a more complete descript ion of the Being of Care and how this Being is characterized in existent ial terms. There are a number of significant intersections betw een s 64-66 of Sein und Zeit and Der Meridian, and we will not be able to explore them all in detail. These paragraphs are among the mo st important for understanding Der Meridians exchange with and debt to Being and Time particularly as a fuller vision of that exchange emerges from a reading of both halv es of the speech. What is important for this 2 Idem.
84 paper is that in these paragraphs Heidegger goes beyond the original ques tion of Kant, which is how does science work to ask the question what is the subject who does science, which is another way of asking what is the scientific su bject. In so doing Heid egger retraces Kants differences with the Cartesian s ubject who thinks itself into ex istence, and Heidegger, echoing Kant, specifies that it is not merely that the s ubject thinks, but that it thinks something. The somethingwhich is a representationin a subject that is defined as I think something lends Kant a substantiality that is ab sent in Descartes. For Kant, however, these representations are the empirical, which is accompanied by the Ithe appearances to which the I clings. (367) Heidegger makes his direction clear in the next few sentences: (E)ven the I think something is not defi nite enough ontologically as a starting-point, because the something remains indefinite. If by this something we understand an entity within-the-world then it tacitly implies that the world has been presupposed; and this very phenomenon of the world co-det ermines the state of Being of the I.3 If the Kantian I is determined by a relati onship to the phenomenal world, then I think something cannot serve as a ground for science b ecause it has no basis for authority other than one of relation. The I of I think something must necessarily be defined by the something, which could be based upon a principle of empirica l transcendence as in the case of Kant or a principle of the absolute Iitsel f an evolution of the Kantian pr incipleas was the case with Fichte, the point is that the something is philosophically so ambiguous that modern science after Newton was able to dispense with it alto gether. Furthermore, and more important for Heidegger, the indefiniteness of the something causes the relationship on which science is in this manner to be grounded to be as indefinite as the something. (A)s a consequence the I 3 Ibid, 368.
85 was again forced back to an isolated subject, accompanying representations in a way which is ontologically quite indefinite.4 For Heidegger, it was imperative either to conceptualize the something in definite terms or to define the I without any recourse for a relationally-based ontology (which would in fact be no ontology at all, according to Heid egger). Without this grounding it would be impossible to legitimate science philosophically. Heidegger actually makes an attempt at both sides of the coin. He begins by trying to define the I in definite terms. Here as well, he argues, Kant has not gone far enough, for Kants defin ition of the I is a transcendent al subject of thoughts or a res cogitans is the very form of representation, which is to say, not something that is represented but rather th at which makes every representing and everything represented be what it is (367) The problem for sc ience if this line of reasoning stood as its ground is one of epistemology: there would be no way of knowing if that which is understood through empirical science is the true form of the world or merely the form in which it presents itself to the scientist because this is the manner in which the scientist hi mself is framed. It could not be decided if the world as understood were only a mirror of that which understands it. For Heidegger, the mere fact of I was enough of a ground upon which to proceed. In saying I, Dasein expresse s itself as Being-in-the-world .5 This is as much as to say that in saying I, Dasein surely has in view the entitiy which, in every case, it is itself.6 Dasein wants to understand itself as that which expresses itself in ever ything it does, not as a transcendent source which gives de finition to that which it does. The I of Dasein is therefore 4 Idem. 5 Idem. 6 Idem.
86 the very things which Dasein chooses to do in the course of its exis tence. In this case, which is the fundamental ontico-ontological priority of Dasein, science as something which Dasein does and as a being of Dasein in its own right is le gitimated in the very fact of its existence. Such a legitimation, however, does not properly account for the projection of Dasein, for that characteristic of itself which gives it determined di rection throughout the course of its existence. Because, however projection is a defining characteristic of Dasein which it has in itself, projection is inherently caught up with Dasein in its essential modality of being. The conflict which exists in the Kantian defini tion of I as I think something which is, in fact, Kants attempt at legitimating science, is, in fact, inherent in the definition I think something itself, and it by explicating this inhere nt conflict that Heidegger in turn reveals the inherent significance of the characteristic projection. In so doing he re-categorizes the terms under which a relational explication of I could operate, and legitimates science not only as a being of Dasein but also as a being with a proj ection whose inherent char acteristic is that of redemption. The everyday interpretation of the Selfhas a tendency to understand itself in terms of the world with which it is concerned.it fails to see itself in relation to the kind of Being of that entity which it is itself.7 Heidegger cuts underneath the Kantian subject by revealing that such a subject is not concerned with itself, but rather with the world, a nd defines itself according to the world. What is the motive for this fugitive way of saying I? It is motivated by Daseins falling; for as falling, it flees in the face of itself into the t hey. When the I talks in the 7 Idem.
87 natural manner, this is pe rformed by the they-self.8 Why this is so is due to the temporal character of Dasein. Temporality temporalizes, and indeed it temporalizes possible ways of itself. These make possible the multiplicity of Da seins modes of Being, and especially the basic possibility of authentic or inauthentic existence.9 It is therefore toward Heideggers exegesis of time that we must turn in order to understand more completely the relationship between the authentic, existential I-self and the inauthentic fallen they-self, the understanding of which is the determinative legitimacy of science according to the existentialism expressed in Being and Time The they-self, which is the constitutive subject of fallen Dasein, is predicated upon a temporality which understands time as a sequence of now events which run ad infinitum into the future, Heidegger argues. Such a sequence of nows, however, can not take into consideration the inevitability of death, and as such the con ception of time as a sequence of nows which is constitutive of fallen Dasein is a fleeing in the face of deaththat is, a looking-away from the end of Being-in-the-world...The inauthentic temporality of everyday Dasein as it falls, must, as such a looking-away from finitude, fail to recognize authentic futurity and therewith temporality in general.10 Because death is always mine, this turning away from death constitutes a turning-away-f rom-me, in which they take over as the definitive subject of I. In this way the I unders tands that it always has more tim e, but the time which I has in such a situation is never its own, but always their time, which is to say, public time. The only time one knows is the public time which has been leveled off and which belongs to everyone 8 Idem. 9 Ibid, 377. 10 Ibid, 477.
88 and that means, to nobody.11 In the sequence of nows, therefore, the self is lost in a never yet arrived future and time belongs to them, which is to nobody. An existential, ontological, or phenomena l understanding of time takes death as the defining phenomenal vision for constituting Beingin-the-world. Thus, Dasein is always constitutively a future-oriented phenome non. As a future-oriented phenomenon, Dasein expresses resoluteness in its Being, which is understood as an anticipatory resoluteness toward death in the present. Anticipatory resoluteness, when taken formally and existentiallyis Being towards ones ownmost, distinct ive potentiality-for-Being.12 As such, Dasein can indeed come towards itself in its ownmost po ssibility, and that it can put up with this possibility as a possibility in thus letting itself come towards itself. This letting-itselfcometowards -itself in that distinctive possibility wh ich it puts up with, is the primordial phenomenon of the future as coming towards.13 It is this redemption of the self to the self, in which the fallen they-self is returned to its original anticipatory resolution (which expresse s itself in terms of dir ection) that we have witnessed occurring as the logical paradigm of the first half of Der Meridian. However, the redemptive posturings of Being and Time are much more significant than to be merely propositions for a program of th e self-fulfillment of the indivi dual Dasein. Rather, by granting science an equal status in the project of Dasein science itsel f undergoes a redemptive process What is understood in Heideggers philosophy of being is not that Dasein is able to consistently maintain the projection of its antici patory resolution, which is to say, a state of nonfallennes, but rather that it takes over the su bstantial phenomena of fallenness as substantive 11 Idem. 12 Ibid, 372. 13 Idem.
89 elements of its thrownne ss, which is its own Iam -as-having-been, and reinvests itself of those elements so as to become, once again, authentically futural. Moreover, it must take also invest itself in its own thrownness to such a degree th at it takes over that thrownness as well: (T)aking over thrownness signifies being Dasein authentically as it already was.14 As authentically futural, Dasein is authentically as having always already been Only in so far as it is futural can Dasien be authentically as having always b een, and return to anticipatory resoluteness which is constitutive of authentic Being-in-the-world.15 It is not only that Dasein must take over th e substantial elements of its existential falls, as we have seen demonstrated in Der Meri dian, but it must also take over its own thrownness, in a manner which returns Dasein to a primitive condition which, in fact, it already always has been. It is this lig ht in which I read Derridas st atement And it (the poem) speaks to what provokes it, to the date which provokes it, thus convoked from the future of the same date, in other words from its recurrence at another date, as explicitly ex istentialist in meaning. It is only through a taking over of its own thro wnness that Dasein can fu lfill the imperative of controlling its own directi onal destiny. It is a re turn to such a condition, Heidegger argues, that is the essential project of modern science, a nd which establishes philosophically its legitimacy and authority. Because, however, in a sense Heideggers analys is of the I of scie ntific investigation indicates explicitly the fallen-ness of both the Cartesian I think and the Kantian I think 14 Ibid, 373. The German is here more illuminating. The original reads: bernahme der Geworfenheit aber bedeutet, das Dasein in dem, wie es je schon war eigentlich sein I shall make a few translation change to that of the original translators and by the addition of always already (in this case, wie es je schon war becomes as it always already always, which retain s the meaning of the je and does not leave the temporal placement of the following expression exclusively in the past, but makes it the expressions of an always existing condition of Being. 15 Idem.
90 something,16 the existential redemption of science is also a redemption of itself to itself. This makes sense if we remember that Heidegger un derstands science as a being of Dasein. For existential being, time is subjec tive in that it is always determined by a future death, which is always mine, and it is bound up with the subjec t because it defines the present orientation of the subject as an I. In Kantwhile time is in deed subjective, it stands beside the I think and is not bound up with it. (480) To be bound up with time is to allow time a deterministic influence on the substantial elements of antic ipatory resoluteness. In so doing, the present Dasein consists of the substantial data of the pa st, in which it was throw n and has fallen, and the future orientation which is marked by death and which defines Dasein as Being-in-theworld. The something of I think somethi ng is therefore determined by the subjectively valued phenomena that constitute the thrownness of being in such a manner as to make them part of the anticipatory resolu teness of Dasein. The subject which does science is a subject which is oriented toward its own death in such a manner as to be resolute in its anticipation of death. As a scientific discourse, therefore, Being and Time understands the legitimacy which it provides science to be equally an act of redempti on. That is to say, science, which is a Dasein being, and the modernist project in general, have been redeemed from their fallenness and have taken over their thrownness by becoming temporal ized in a present which anticipates the end of science and modernity through Being and Time s reasoned transparency. However, this act of redemption is only valid so long as science and m odernity continue in a direction which is most heavily informed by that anticipation. If scie nce and modernity turn away from themselves, 16 by demonstrating that both postulates temporalize the I in such a manner as to make it present-at-hand in a way that can never truly exist in the present, but must always find its expression in the futurea future which never arrives and which belongs, in essence, to nobody.
91 they will fall into existential characteristics of in-authenticity. The consequences for humanity in the event of such a fall are not readily approached in Being and Time although post-Holocaust appraisals or modernity speak exponential vol umes to one face of the fallen modern. Just as much, then, as the redemptive gesture in Being and Time is a redemption of all forms of Daseinthe human, scientific, and mo dernin their ontico-ont ological priority the redeemed Dasein incorporates al l other manners of Being into its own redemption as well. This, to return to our own beginning in a manner that is appropriate to both Heidegger and Celan, is an explicitly Baconian principle. For the Gr eat Instauration of Bacon assumed not only a redemption for fallen man, but a redemption of all of creation since it was a process whereby the Temple of Nature would be rebuil t: If the temple is also the model of the cosmos then this is the place where the mediator would come to figur atively unite with the cosmos, and foreshadow the unity with the cosmos that would occur in the incarnation.17 There is in fact an uncanny resemblance between Bacon and Heideggers proj ect. Compare the following passages. The first we have seen already, from Heidegger: Laying the foundationsis rather a productive logicin the sens e that it leaps ahead, as it were into some area of Being, discloses it for the first time in the c onstitution of its Being, and, after thus arriving at the structures with in it, makes these available to the positive sciences as transparent assignments. The aim of Being and Time is to disclose the constitution of Being in such a way as to arrive (destination of direction) at its characteristic str uctures in such a way as to make these available to science as assignments which ar e clearly (transparent) theirs to take up for consideration. Bacon has a similar passa ge concerning his Great Instauration: 17 Matthews, op. cit. 107.
92 For I am building in the human understanding a tr ue model of the world, such as it is in fact, not such as mans own reason would have it to be; a thing which cannot be done without a very diligent dissec tion and anatomy of the world.18 In both Heidegger and Bacon there is the clarity of truth, the dismissal of skepticism, and the establishment of a project for science. If the circle has not been completed, it has certainly been renewed. In this light, we can say that Heideg gerian phenomenology is not a completion of science, in that there is return to the conditions of life which are said to have existed in the Garden of Eden when humanity, in the form of Ad am and Eve, was free to eat of the Fruit of the Tree of Life. Rather, what phenomenology has a ccomplished is a further flowering of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, in which evil is a definitive self-forgetting under the auspices of fallen-ness which does not take stock in the phenomena of that fallen-ness in such a manner as to reconstitute the phenomena as pa rt of its thrownness. It is by taking up phenomenologys proclamation or a reorientation of science to the explicit facts of fallen-ness that science can re-describe itself in a non-fallenness, which would at least be a step. Perhaps it already has.19 It is as such a step of redemption th at Der Meridian understands and utilizes existentialist philosophy. What Der Meridian is demonstrating in its recourse to the Atemwende is that Dasein when properly oriented to ward its own falling, understands Dasein in its own essential Being-guilty. This understanding mean s that in existing one takes over Beingguilty; it means being the thrown basis of nullity. In so doing, fallen-ness becomes thrownness, 18 Francis Bacon, Novum Organum quoted in Steven Matthews, Apocalypse and Experiment: The Theological Assumptions and Religious Motivations for Francis Bacons Instauration Dissertation for PhD, University of Florida, 2004, pg. 235. 19 Must the negative trappings of science be understood as negative? The atom bomb, destructive machinery, global warmingare these not markings of a science constantly reminding and being reminded of its death?
93 which is the constitutive condition of Dasein to begin with (as t hrownness into the world), and thus taking over th rownness signifies being Dasein authentically as it always already was .20 As such, coming back to itself futur-ally, Der Me ridian in its resoluteness brings itself into the Situation by making present.21 But being the thrown basis of nullity is an existential variation on the possibility of taking over ones own fallennes. In actuality, it is presented in Being and Time as a prior state of being, a state existing before fallenness, and yet always existing alongside of fallenness. The redemptive gesture of Being and Time once again reflects Rousseaus primordial transparency by calling back humanity, the sciences and modernity to an awareness of their own state of being as it already always exists. The post-modernist phrase already always has become a clich but its status as such indicates the strength of the call initiated by Heidegger: modernity must be itself what it already always is, or else exis t in a no-time where n othing is owned by a nonexistent they, with no-one to challenge it. These negative markers are not merely semantics, they are characterizing conditions of a Dasein wi thout resolute anticipation. All the same, by bringing the issues of redemption which Martin Heidegger raised in Being and Time forward into post-Holocaust Europe, Paul Celan reinvests them with a new eye toward transparency, and with a mind toward a new type of rationality. By shifting the attention from issues of self-completion, or away from issues of the completion of the modern project itself, toward an attention for all of our dates from which poetry writes itself, the second half of Der Meridian must be read as a comment on Martin Heideggers redemptive gesture toward modernity. If the first half employed specificall y Heideggerian categories in which to establish 20 Ibid, 373. 21 Ibid, 374.
94 its framework of discourse, then the challenge for understanding the second half of Der Meridian is the question of how to understand Ce lans comments as critical or reinforcing of those categories. I have outlined how Der Meridian establishes a trajectory of discourse that is explicitly existentialist in structure. It re mains to be seen whether or not Heideggers existentialism will withstand the potential damages that as complex and clever of a poet as Celan is can bring to it, particularly from the spectacular view of s urvival.
95 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Nathaniel Vaughn Finley cam e to the University of Florida in 1998 after serving four years in the US Navy. In 2000 he completed his Bachelor of Arts in history and in 2004 completed a Master of Arts, also in history with a focu s on Germany. He graduated in 2009 with a second MA in German studies.