File spoon-archives/heidegger.archive/heidegger_1998/heidegger.9804, message 38


Date: Mon, 6 Apr 1998 11:56:26 +0200
Subject: Re:  home


Cologne, 06 April 1998

Mussie Msghina schrieb:
> Home is not a place, such as a Black Forest or a Blue Mountain, that competes
>  with
> other places for ones loyalty, and hinders one from visiting other places.
>  Man is
> not simply a rooted being-there who belongs to a time and a place, but more
>  like a
> mobile being-around. The nomadic way of life, be it 'primitive' or modern, 
>  more
> than the peasant way of life captures the true nature of man's being-around
>  on this
> earth. The understanding of man as a being-there is a concealment of man's
>  essential
> being-around nature.

Mussie, this means that the being-there of Da-sein must not be interpreted in a 
spatial sense: “space” is not “Da”. And so, Raum (space) is a question in itself 
for the thinking of being that is treated separately, starting with SuZ right up 
to the late lecture “Die Kunst und der Raum” (Art and Space). The Da of Da-sein 
is more originary than space. 

Interestingly, the etymology of “nomad” points back to the Greek _nomae_ from 
_nemein_ “to feed”. Nomadic peoples have to move their herds to find pasture for 
them to feed on. They take their tents with them. Dasein takes its Da with 
itself. The Da is the truth of being within which disclosure and concealment, 
_krypton_ and _akrypton_, play. Inasmuch as Dasein belongs to its Da it is 
always at home. Does Dasein obtain its vital nourishment first of all from the 
openness of being’s truth? 

> If home is not a time-place, what is it then? Home is a mood, a state of
>  affairs, a
> situation and a condition. It is the kind of feeling of absolute security that
> Wittgenstein talks about in his lecture on ethics - the kind of feeling that
>  moves
> people to say God exists, or God is great!. Or the kind of feeling, whatever
>  it was,
> that moved Nietzsche to ask "are we content, I am the God who created this
> caricature"

“absolute security” = Geborgenheit = shelteredness
“Home is a mood” cf. the scholium on SuZ:7: “Exemplarisch ist das Dasein, weil 
es das Bei-spiel, das ueberhaupt in seinem Wesen als Da-sein (Wahrheit des Seins 
wahrend) das Sein als solches zu- und bei-spielt -- ins Spiel des Anklangs 
bringt.”

The play on words with Beispiel (example) and Bei-spiel (the game on the side) 
makes this pretty much untranslatable.

“Dasein is exemplary because it brings the game on the side -- which in the 
first place in its whiling presence as Da-sein (in sheltering the truth of 
being) plays to and with being as such -- into the play of resonance.” 

So, home is a mood in which Dasein, in being unhoused in the openness of Da, 
knows itself to be sheltered in a resonance with the play of the truth of being. 
Exposure and shelteredness are the Janus-faced modulations of the same resonance 
in which Dasein quivers in its belonging to propriation. God has not yet 
appeared on this horizon. 

> > Human being always already transcends the ontic to _on_. Without such
> > transcendence we could not even speak or remain silent.
>
> I agree with you here, we may also be Ontological beings. But I wonder which
>  one is
> closer to home - our average ontic concerns or the ontological heights that
>  we may
> or may not attain every now and then. Which one is the concealment of the
>  other.

We do not know where we belong, or we forget it all too easily. We become 
totally involved with taking care of daily concerns, as if this were the be all 
and end all of existence. 

Allen then wrote:
> I've always found home ( same as "Heimat"?) to be one of the most suggestive
>  images in both German romantic poetry and Heidegger's "factical"
>  hermeneutics.  As a Jew I'd like to introduce yet another factical
>  possibility  in addition to  the particular geographical and nomadic
>  relationships to earth raised so far.  That possibility is exile, which is a
>  primary motif in  the Hebrew Bible, midrash, poetry and philosophy to follow.

Here’s a highly ontic description of “home” as a particular place (the home 
country) which I stumbled across recently, in Joseph Conrad’s “Lord Jim”, set in 
the Eastern seas.

“I was going home -- to that home distant enough for all its hearthstones to be 
like one hearthstone, by which the humblest of us has to right to sit. We wander 
in our thousands over the face of the earth, the illustrious and the obscure, 
earning beyond the seas our fame, our money, or only a crust of bread; but it 
seems to me that for each of us going home must be like going to render an 
account. We return to face our superiors, our kindred, our friends -- those whom 
we obey, and those whom we love; but even they who have neither, the most free, 
lonely, irresponsible and bereft of ties, -- even those for whom home holds no 
dear face, no familiar voice, -- even they have to meet the spirit that dwells 
within the land, under its sky, in its air, in its valleys, and on its rises, in 
its fields, in its waters and its trees -- a mute friend, judge, and inspirer. 
Say what our like, to get its joy, to breathe its peace, to face its truth, one 
must return with a clear consciousness.” (Chap. XXI)

> I could speak more particularly about the difference, but I think what is
>  more interesting here is the ontological difference, the question of whether
>  we are primarily ontic or ontological beings etc.  It seems to me that the
>  attempt to think ontologically about these sometimes all-consuming ontic
>  differences is crucial here.

For the Jews, or at least the Zionist Jews, ‘home’ is taken to be an ontic place 
on Earth, the Holy Land, the sacred ground claimed also by Christians and 
Moslems. (Didn’t you, Allen, or someone else cite a rabbi recently who said home 
was the torah roll in the synagoge?) Apart from the issue of sacredness, there 
is that of custom and habit. Dasein always becomes familiar and intimate with 
its world, it becomes immersed in habit. Its world is a Platzmannigfaltigkeit 
(manifold of places; SuZ) of habitual places in which its existence is anchored. 
But since Dasein takes its Da with itself, even this inert structure of habitual 
places can change, perhaps sluggishly. We can be at home anywhere in our 
unhousedness (Unbehaustheit) because as Dasein we are eery (un-heimlich), like 
wandering spirits. 

Best regards,
Michael
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