The trouble with Martin Heidegger, the widely acclaimed Western philosopher, is not just how to correctly interpret his texts, but also how to correctly interpret the works of his interpreters. Out of a multitude of books and articles by hundreds of Heidegger’s critics one can barely single out two critics who are on par with each other. Each critic, or rather each would-be expert on Heidegger, usually handpicks several Heidegger’s words, only to interpret those words according to his own readymade conclusions. In traditional German scholarship this obsessive compartmentalization of social science, which skips over a wider social, racial, literary, historical, etc. context, has been derisively labeled with a noun “Fachidiotismus,” that is, “expert idiocy.” Such a compartmentalized approach in social science today is pretty much widespread among liberal academics and self-proclaimed media experts.
One is, therefore, obliged to raise a simple question: Is it worthwhile reading Heidegger’s mutually exclusive critics in the first place? Part of the problem also resides in Heidegger’s own opaque prose, devoid of footnotes and bibliography, which never offers a reader a single illustration from the public realm and which remains closed off from any ethical judgments. For modern social justice warriors such abstract philosophizing is inadmissible. To make matters worse Heidegger’s toying with German compound nouns makes his texts read like a jigsaw puzzle reminiscent of the travails of Orpheus, the chores of Theseus, or the labors of Heracles during which these three mythical heroes embark on a dangerous voyage of a deadly guesswork in an attempt to decipher the puzzle of life (Being). Although these heroes had managed to divine all of life’s puzzles, at some point however, the inexorable destiny sets in. The uncontrollable individual fate, combined with the unavoidable destiny of their community befalls them all: first the violent death of the hero and then the downfall of the hero’s community.
It comes as no surprise then that Heidegger, just like all “nationalist-socialist-conservative-revolutionary-traditionalist-pagan-traditional-Christian, et. al” European thinkers, poets, and scholars, including sympathetic prewar political figures, was in deep love with the ancient Greek language and lore. “Yes to Athens, no way to Jerusalem!” was the underlying motto of all of them. However, Heidegger meticulously avoids any reference to the public realm, never ever venturing into the troubled waters of race studies, sociology or theology — quite unlike his nationalist or conservative contemporary colleagues, inspirers, or even imitators of the same or similar intellectual caliber, such as Oswald Spengler, Carl Schmitt, or Ernst Jünger, whose books still provide a very accessible and very readable historical, social and literary narrative about the abstract verbiage known as “Western democracy” or “humanism”(or one may paraphrase Heidegger with his own veiled words of “downward plunge” or “downfall” (i.e., Absturz) into liberalism). His sole and almost obsessive concern remains language and how language copes with immaterial and all powerful Being, and how in turn Being interrelates with physically visible “Being-there”, that is, man’s life or “Dasein.” Or, to put it simply, albeit more crudely, Heidegger theorizes on how indefinable Being affects man’s “thrownness”, or “falling” into this world without ever being asked whether he wanted to be thrown into this world in the first place. The late American rock singer Jim Morrison, who used to be an avid reader, is reported to have been influenced in his song by this Heidegger’s concept. Read more