Archive for March, 2014

Heidegger’s Black Notebooks

An excellent comment by David Hirsh on Facebook.

“The reason the new revelations may be  important […] is because there are plenty of people in universities today who think that Heidegger is a serious philosopher with something important to say about the nature of modernity. Yes, You might find this odd. But remembering that Orwell warned us that there are some ideas so absurd that only an intellectual could believe them, bear with me. The idea that the Holocaust is “the same thing in its essence” as the commonplace components of modernity is widespread. […]  in its standard respectable form, […] it  vacillates between Holocaust as modern and Modernity as Holocaust. The hatred of Jews (for their exclusivity and their symbolic connection with modernity) dovetails nicely with a hatred of American and British imperialism, capitalism, modernity, technical advance, scientific thinking, and legal and bureaucratic organisation. The ultra-radical critique of contemporary bourgeois society, the disdain for law, for democracy, representation, science, and even truth – the writing off of everything that exists as thoroughly corrupt – this is shared between today’s avant garde and yesterday’s Nazis. with the left losing its Utopian vision but keeping its Utopian disdain for what exists, has more and more given way to this kind of negative ‘critical’ thinking; when you have given up on making the world better, and are interested instead only in fighting the powers that be, and asserting your own moral cleanliness, then you’re back to Hedidgger’s and Hitler’s critique of modernity. This, in fact, was one of the very key things that Arendt taught us – that it was the Nazis and not the left who came closest to realizing the dream of a world without law, without classes, without rights”.


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