16.261 Arthur Kroker, "Hyper-Heidegger"

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk)
Date: Thu Oct 10 2002 - 05:27:12 EDT

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 16, No. 261.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                         Submit to: humanist@princeton.edu

             Date: Thu, 10 Oct 2002 06:42:48 +0100
             From: Arun-Kumar Tripathi
             Subject: Martin Heidegger and Digital Future

    Hyper-Heidegger by Arthur Kroker

    Uncanny Thinking
    Martin Heidegger is the theorist par excellence of the digital future.

    Probably because Heidegger's was a deeply embittered vision of the ruins
    of modernity to the extent that he wrote in a spirit of desolation about
    the "gods having abandoned the earth," retreating back into an
    impenetrable shroud of "forgetfulness," Heidegger was the one thinker who
    did not shrink from thinking through to its deepest depths the unfolding
    horizon of a culture of "pure technicity." While Heidegger began his
    writing with a deconstruction of conventional ontology in Being and Time,
    his lasting gift to the tradition of critical metaphysics was to perform
    in advance an intense, unforgiving and unremitting deconstruction of his
    own life in The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics: World, Finitude,
    Solitude. [1] After the latter book, having nowhere to go other than to
    wander in the shadowland between a reflection on Being that in its retreat
    into forgetfulness was admittedly impossible to concretely realize and a
    future driven forward by the "will to technicity," Heidegger was the one
    thinker who literally deconstructed his own project to a point of
    self-nihilation. With nothing to save, no hope to dispense, and no
    critique that did not fall immediately into the dry ashes of cultural
    cynicism, Heidegger's fate was to make of his own life of thought a
    simulacrum of the will to technology. More than Marx who remained wedded
    to the biblical dream of proletarian redemption and more so than Nietzsche
    who countered the nihilism of the "will to power" with the possibilities
    of reclaimed human subjects as their own "dancing stars," Heidegger was
    the one thinker without hope in the dispensations of history.

    Not broken by the vicissitudes of history, Heidegger was and is the
    contemporary historical moment. In his thought, the new century is already
    "overcome" at the very moment of its inception. Not overcome in the sense
    of abandonment, but overcome to the extent that Heidegger summons up in
    his thinking the anxieties, fears, and methods of the will to technicity.
    A futurist without faith, a metaphysician without the will to believe, a
    philosopher opposed to reason, Heidegger is the perfect representative of
    the technological trajectory at the outer edge of its parabolic curvature
    through the dark spaces of the post-human future.

    If it be objected that we should not read Heidegger because of his
    political complicity with German fascism, I would enter the dissent that
    Heidegger's momentary harmony, but harmony nonetheless, with the politics
    of fascism makes of him a representative guide to the next phase of
    fascism.virtual fascism. More than liberal critics who fault Heidegger for
    taking advantage of the fascist upsurge in pre-War Germany to gain a
    University rectorship as well as to betray his philosophical
    mentor.Husserl.I would go further, noting that in breaking with National
    Socialism, Heidegger did not refuse fascism on the grounds of an
    oppositional political ethics, but because its strictly political
    determination in the historically specific form of National Socialism in
    the Germany of the 1930s and 40s was not a sufficiently "pure" type to
    fully represent the metaphysical possibility that was the German "folk."
    [2] For Heidegger, National Socialists were not sufficiently
    self-conscious metaphysically, too trapped in the particularities of
    politics, to be capable finally of realizing the ontology of the fascist
    moment: delivering the metaphysical possibilities of (German)
    folk-community into concrete historical realization. To the tribal
    consciousness of fascism, Heidegger remained a metaphysician of dasein.
    Ironically, his prescience concerning the fading away of second-order
    (National Socialist) fascism before the coming to be of first-order
    (virtual) fascism ultimately made of his thought a historical
    incommensurability: too metaphysically pure for the direct action, "hand
    to mouth" politics of German fascism; and yet too radically deconstructive
    of the claims of technological rationality to find its home in liberalism.
    "Homeless thought."

    An idealist in the tradition of German nationalism, Heidegger's fate was
    to be that of the faithless thinker, ultimately disloyal to German fascism
    because it was not sufficiently metaphysical, yet unable to reconcile
    himself to western liberalism because it was, in his estimation, the
    political self-consciousness of technicity. For this reason, Heidegger
    ended the war digging ditches, having been ousted by German university
    authorities acting at the behest of state fascism as the University of
    Freiburg's "most dispensable Professor." It is also for this reason that
    Heidegger in the post-war period was, except for a brief period before
    retirement, expelled from university teaching. Always a metaphysician,
    always in transition to the next historical stage of the "will," always in
    rebellion against the impurities of compromised philosophical vision,
    Heidegger's mind was fully attuned to the restless stirrings of the will
    as its broke from its twin moorings in ethnic fundamentalism and
    industrial capitalism and began to project itself into world-history in
    the pure metaphysical form of the "will to will." [3] Beyond time and
    space, breaking through the skin of human culture, respecting no national
    borders, an "overcoming" that first and foremost overcomes its own
    nostalgic yearnings for a final appearance in the theatre of
    representation, the will to will, what Heidegger would come to call the
    culture of "pure technicity," was the gleam on the post-human horizon, and
    Heidegger was its most faithful reporter. In Heidegger's writings, the
    main historical trends of the 21st century have their prophet and

    The complete article is available at

    Thank you!
    Best regards,

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