Heidegger Thing Essay

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This circling gathers the multiple meanings of a word without privileging one meaning over another, the meanings of a word are gathered together in ambiguity.

This ambiguity is characteristic of the pathway to Thinking, words standing in a multiplicity of meanings are signposts pointing us on our way.

Nevertheless, Heidegger managed to emerge from World War II with his reputation mostly intact.

The Allies’ denazification program, which aimed to rid German society of Nazi ideology, targeted regime supporters just like him.

Heidegger asks, “does the tree stand ‘in our consciousness’, or does it stand on the meadow? ” The progress of science only furthers this conundrum by stating “what we see and accept is properly not a tree but in reality a void, thinly sprinkled with electrical charges … Science tells us, it seems, that the tree is not really out there, that the tree we see is already a created representation, formed by light bouncing off of a sparse collection of particles floating within a void, sparking a chain reaction that leads from eyes to brain to the formation of the tree as a mere appearance of a tree.

Does the meadow lie in our soul, as experience, or is it spread out there on earth? Our actual face to face encounter with a tree in bloom is but a prescientific naivety, “something that we still happen to call ‘tree’ … The forming of representational ideas was elevated to the highest form of thinking by Plato. The German philosopher Martin Heidegger died in 1976, yet scholars are still plowing through his life’s work today -- some of it for the very first time.And although Heidegger’s work is most firmly entrenched in the Western tradition, his readership is global, with serious followings in Latin America, China, Japan, and even Iran.The book, however, defies systematization before it even begins, the title itself rings out in ambiguity, it is usually translated as “What is Called Thinking”, but could just as easily be translated as what calls for thinking, what has been called thinking, or what is called for in order to think rightly.Heidegger asks his reader to stay with the ambiguity of the question in the title, which “can never be answered by proposing a definition of the concept , and then diligently explaining what is contained in that definition.” Instead, he wants to lead us to where we can make the leap ourselves into thinking.But Heidegger’s legacy also bears a dark stain, one that his influence has never quite managed to wash out.Heidegger joined the Nazi Party in the spring of 1933, ran the University of Freiburg on behalf of the regime, and gave impassioned speeches in support of Adolf Hitler at key moments, including during the plebiscites in the fall of 1933, which solidified popular support for Nazi policies.Instead of providing definitions and proceeding from these abstractions, Heidegger simply uses language.He repeats a word again and again, in slightly different contexts with slight variations of meaning.One of the ways that thinking has been analyzed throughout history is as the formation of representational ideas.This is what happens when we stand before a tree in bloom and form in our heads an image of the tree; where, we can ask, is this tree?


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