Monday, August 01, 2005

Out Here in the Open

Enowning is providing a real service to people, like me, who are interested in Heidegger, but find the scholarship daunting in that area. This latest post (and its sources) really puts things in perspective for me.

Heidegger apparently did not like the interpretation of "Da" as "here" or "there" (Da is neither here nor there), but preferred to call it "the open". In a sense, of course, the "here" is always out in the open. But "Dasein" means "existence" in ordinary German and the OED tells us that "existere" in Latin is "ex" (out) + "stare" (stand). I.e., Dasein is our standing out (in the open). Dasein, then, is the "where we are standing" and this "here" is determined by the clearing (Lichtung).

Dasein may then be interpreted as a stance (which brings us into the realm of Merleau-Ponty's) studies of "comportment", and Bourdieu's studies of "habitus". Heidegger demands that we take an "open" stance, then. I.e., that our "standing" be "out there" (ecstatic?), i.e., that we better well exist.

2 comments:

Jay said...

Thanks for the link and this disucssion. For what it's worth, the way I read it, Dasein always already stands out in the open -- what Heidegger demands (or rather, what the uncannily content-less call of conscience demands) is that we stand out in the open authentically (i.e., that we fully, resolutely embrace our standing-out-in-the-open-ness.) All of us are already standing out there; we're just not aware of it most of the time.

Thomas Basbøll said...

Interesting question, Jay. Is the task of Dasein to accomplish its openness or, since openness is always already given, is the task to commit to the open one is standing in? I had been thinking of openness as a determination of authentic Dasein. I'm readign Agamben's The Open right now. I'll post something on it soon.