File spoon-archives/heidegger.archive/heidegger_2001/heidegger.0105, message 39

Date: Mon, 28 May 2001 13:40:06 -0400 (EDT)

----- Original Message -----
From: Gary C Moore
Sent: Monday, May 28, 2001 12:44 PM
Subject: Re: [heidegger-dialognet] The Impossibility of not being born

Edward! You are absolutely, fantastically wonderful! I can't wait till you
become a full professor and publish books by the ream! Your are going to
have the old establishment froathing at the mouth and bitting beautiful
co-eds to whom you'll come to the rescue. You have a great future ahead of


Gary C. Moore
----- Original Message -----
From: Edward Moore
Sent: Monday, May 28, 2001 12:12 PM
Subject: [heidegger-dialognet] The Impossibility of not being born

On Mon, 28 May 2001 02:32:35 -0500 "Gary C Moore" <>

> Sophokles and all the Hellenes
> were
> intensely aware of the impossibility "not to have been born." They
> called it
> 'moira' which we very inappropriately translate as "fate".

... and the Stoics called it heimarmene, by which they meant divine ananke
(necessity), also referred to as pronoia or providentia.  All these words,
only to bind man more firmly to the cosmos!  Is this because the Greeks
feared death, or rather because they were terrified by the idea that birth
is unavoidable, that the cosmos demands co-actors, as it were?  It is
interesting that not even the Gnostics asked for the wholly modern gift of
having never been born.  Georges Bataille made this very request, although
he couched it in pseudo-Hegelian terminology that only served to veil its
supremely anti-Christian (and therefore anti-Hellen[ist]ic!), reactionary
impact: "I can bear the weight of the future only on one condition: that
others, always others, live in it -- and that death washes us, then washes
these others without end" (Bataille, Inner Experience, tr. Boldt, SUNY 1988,
p. 21).  This is also Bataille's admitted gloss on the despairing Psalm 39,
where the removal of God's gaze is thought to bring freedom, but also the
promise of utter dissolution.  I find it interesting that, in spite of the
existential despair characteristic of the late Hellenistic world, that only
the Christians possessed the power of spirit necessary to live a life and
profess a faith in which their God always has His gaze fixed firmly upon
them.  This was only possible because the Christians held the view that they
had not yet been born!  Their being-in-the-world was a state of yearning for
a future in which they could begin to exist authentically for the first time
-- a future in which birth is the only possibility, while death is nothing. 
The relinquishing of responsibility that we find in Bataille, or the notion
of resigned and noble helplessness that we find in Stoicism, and even, I may
add, in post-modern pseudo-ethics, was not a possibility for the strong
spirit awakened through faith.  The demand of authentic existence implies an
embracing of birth, and the fortitude to view death (or repose) as the
utterly impossible.


Edward Moore
Area Editor: Late Hellenistic Philosophy        Email.
The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

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