One of the things that really depresses me about post-graduate fine art education in London is that the Nazi thug Martin Heidegger has become central to the teaching of many theory modules on practice-led courses. Heidegger wasn’t your ordinary Nazi party member, he not only wanted to introduce the Fuhrer-principle into the German university system, he actually attempted to take on the position of spiritual leader of National Socialism – which had he been successful, would have placed him above Adolf Hitler (the political leader) in the Nazi hierarchy! Heidegger’s so called ‘philosophy’ is clearly rooted in the same rotten shit as Nazi politics, and as a consequence it is so reliant on etymology that aside from the fact that it is a puerile waste of time, it is probably also completely pointless for those who don’t speak German (the overwhelming majority of fine art post-graduates in London) to read very much by him. On top of which, this self-styled ‘philosopher’ and hardcore Nazi moron believed it was only possible to think deeply in German anyway – so he wouldn’t have much cared for being read in translation.
In a piece entitled The Evil Of Banality: Troubling new revelations about Arendt and Heidegger, published at the end of last month, Ron Rosenbaum observed: “In general, I’m in favor of separating the man (or woman) from the work, but it was Heidegger himself, __his defenders don’t seem to recognize, who claimed Nazism for his own. He didn’t make the separation between man and philosophy that they conveniently claim to excuse his personal racism.” A new round of arguments about Heidegger’s status in the Anglo-American academy have been triggered by the fact that Yale University Press are about to publish an English translation of Emmanuel Faye’s Heidegger: The Introduction of Nazism Into Philosophy. While I welcome this publication, surely we don’t need a new book to convince us that Heidegger was a Nazi scumbag, we already have works by the likes of Victor Farias and Hugo Ott that do just that. So, as Faye suggests, let’s remove Heidegger from the teaching of theory and philosophy, and instead let those who wish to study him do so in the form of historical and political research relating to the ideology and development of Nazism and the holocaust.
While those reading Heidegger should be doing so in the context of a familiarity with crud like Hitler’s Mein Kampf and Alfred Rosenberg’s Myth of the Twentieth Century, they might also like to hear one of the best put-downs of the clown prince of fascist ‘philosophising’ – a thirty year-old song by Dutch punkers Panic. In Requiem For Martin Heidegger, Panic satirise the meaninglessness (‘intellectuals’ might call this opacity) of Heidegger’s pseudo-philosophical Nazi propaganda. The lyrics to this tune include the following: ‘Is he in heaven? Is he in hell? Where has he gone? No one can tell!” Likewise, the presence of German language elements and an exaggerated count-in, leave this listener in no doubt about the fact that Heidegger was a Nazi cretin!
And while you’re at it don’t forget to check – www.stewarthomesociety.org – you know it makes (no) sense!
Comment by Zen Master K on 2009-11-25 10:46:26 +0000
Oh I don’t go for all this political stuff, which is why I prefer “It’s My Pain” by Panic to “Requiem For Martin Heidegger”. Notice also that this is a slower pop tune rather than just punk thrash, that’s the difference between politics and art – it’s all about the quality of the music! So here’s the link to a better Panic tune:
Comment by Russell Brand on 2009-11-25 11:21:28 +0000
I got completely wasted one night and in the bar I was in some student had left behind a copy of Heidegger’s “Poetry, Language, Thought’ and it had been left oepn at the essay “Building, Dwelling, Thinking” and I was so out of it I misread this as “Beer, Peanuts, Drinking” – but once I started looking through the text – hoping it might be an offer for a free whiksey chaser or something, I was appauled. I mean even when I was completely rat-arsed I could see that Heidegger was a rat-class scumbag! I think post-graudate students should study something useful instead of this shit, but even hours spent gazing at their own navels would be a lot more useful than Heidegger’s half-baked Nazi apologetics!
Comment by Rudy Ray Moore on 2009-11-25 12:19:29 +0000
Q. What do you get if you cross Martin Heidegger with Road Runner?
A. A streak of shit!
Comment by Jay Clifton on 2009-11-25 12:29:10 +0000
All right the Dutch! And they have great eggs and cheese too– and very heathy-looking young women riding around on bicycles everywhere! In tight jeans! Oh, and culture too, if cyclists in tight jeans aren’t enough for ya!
Comment by This Is Not Paul McCartney on 2009-11-25 12:36:41 +0000
Martin Heidegger is strictly for the birds, whenever I want to read something heavy at night to send myself to sleep I use one of my Jordan, oops I mean Katie Price, books – my favourites are the Katie Price’s Perfect Ponies series, but aside from the kiddie novels I also rather like the adult fiction and in particular Sapphire, whereas I don’t find her three autobiographies merit rereading…..
Comment by Doris Stokes on 2009-11-25 16:23:04 +0000
Now, now, Stewart…there’s no need to go speaking ill of the dead. Just calm yourself down and come and sit by your Auntie Doris for a minute. Oh, that hair needs combed at the back
Comment by Peter Cushing on 2009-11-25 17:27:58 +0000
Martin Heidegger must die! Oh he’s dead already. Great! But so am I. Anyway, just inagine if my showbiz career had resulted in me marrying Whoopie Goldberg, she’d have ended up being called Whoopee Cushion!
Comment by Raymond Anderson on 2009-11-25 17:58:48 +0000
I used to hang out at our local Uni’s secondhand book stall by the refectory (nice lunch) but no one seemed to part with any of their 1990s post grad cult studies reading list..and i aint coughing up 20 quid a book and I am a shirt shoplifter..
i am going back to Pharoah Sanders Live at The east Side…
Comment by We Are Not The Barclay Brothers on 2009-11-25 18:21:40 +0000
All philosophy is a waste of time, and regardless of whether or not he is a philosopher Heidegger is a loser… you don’t make money from this rubbish and you don’t meet philosophers in Monaco or Sark!
Comment by Simon on 2009-11-25 19:30:46 +0000
I always though Heidegger was Jewish. Gosh!
Anyway, I never really read him. I just used to carry his books around to try to get into girls’ knickers.
Comment by Dave Kelso-Mitchell on 2009-11-25 19:33:43 +0000
God – I once tried (in all ignorance if not innocence) to read Heidegger atthe suggestion of my former friend Simon. That was ten minutes of my life I will never recoup.
Never knew he was a nazi before though. I honestly never had a clue what the fuck he was talking about.
Comment by Dave Kelso-Mitchell on 2009-11-25 19:34:23 +0000
Simon nor Heidegger….
Comment by Jello Biafra on 2009-11-25 20:07:00 +0000
Nazi thugs, Nazi thugs, Nazi thugs FUCK OFF!!!
Comment by The Man in the Iron Mask on 2009-11-25 22:21:11 +0000
Comment by The Fake Charles Saatchi on 2009-11-25 23:18:07 +0000
Like all Nazis Heidegger is not only a racist moron, he also lacks any sense of the visual…
Comment by frank on 2009-11-26 03:03:18 +0000
have any of you actually read being and time? satre’s being and nothingness? derrida’s early work?
Comment by fi on 2009-11-26 10:15:51 +0000
ignorance is bliss
Comment by Howling Wizard, Shrieking Toad on 2009-11-26 13:56:33 +0000
Heidegger also took a lot from the ( anti Nazi ) Juenger brothers, the most famous of whom,Ernst Juenger, was involved in the plot on Hitler’s life, and whilst E. Juenger may have been a nationalist — was never a Nazi, and was not a fascist, being more interested in Stirner-ite ( NO not f***G STRASSERITE ) philosophy.
Amongst Heidegger’s other faults, it must be said, is that he is also very boring.
Comment by Howling Wizard, Shrieking Toad on 2009-11-26 14:05:23 +0000
Why the fuck is Heidegger required reading on fine art courses fer fecks sake?
Comment by mistertrippy on 2009-11-26 15:18:50 +0000
(Not quite) Frank – oh yes, the usual rhetorical question rather than dealing with the issues, and yes some of us have read this material (albeit when we were young and foolish enough to waste our time on it, which is many years ago)… I have mixed opinions about Jacques Derrida’s works, finding some parts worthwhile; as for Heidegger and Sartre they are a waste of space. My anti-Julius Evola video on YouTube evoked similar claims from his obviously fascist fans (from their comments, here you don’t say anything to indicate you share a far-Right viewpoint with them), who equally falsely suggested I hadn’t read him…. I’m so sick of hearing the same tiresome rhetorical tricks again, again and again…. so if anyone should be sighing it should be me, but then I’m not as obviously cheap as you are.
Howling Wiz, I disagree. Ernst Junger was an out and out fascist (of the ‘National Bolshevik’ variety) and used to confuse idiots after the war by claiming he was never a Nazi (he didn’t join the NSDAP but wrote some things for its paper before their final ascension to power, was close to some of the Nazi leaders and criticised National Socialism from its right, it was too plebeian for his aristocratic ‘tastes’ – someone can be a fascist without being a Nazi, since Nazism is a specific type of fascism, Mussolini wasn’t a Nazi either but he was definitely a fascist). Nonetheless like much of the German ruling class, Junger was quite able to quietly support the Nazis when he got something out of it, and like many others apparently turned against them when it became obvious Hitler was going to lose the war… But we can certainly agree Heidegger is boring (and I’d add full of shit). And as for why Heidegger is so widely studied by fine art students, I’d put that down to intellectual fashions and the age of their slave to academic trends theory tutors….
Comment by Howling Wizard, Shrieking Toad on 2009-11-26 15:35:50 +0000
Yes, Mr Home, I’d agree there — I was too hasty — the difference to me though between Juenger and the likes of Heidegger (and Evola ) , is that Juenger wrote good books about a number of other topics, and wasn’t solely mired in his fascism. Indeed, I have read books of Juenger’s from his ‘fascist’ stage, and from his pagan nationalist stage — they are well written in their own way, but overwhelmingly dull, and employ hackneyed, tired metaphor and imagery that no one but perhaps a teenage reader or retarded fascist fantasist would take seriously
. However, besides that, he had interesting views on technology, Stirner, and a number of other topics which ( to me ) make him worth reading. Remember, he wrote from the age of 17 to about the age of 90, and underwent so many changes. I don’t think Juenger can be compared with Evola — Evola was an occultist and a racist, who plundered Theravadin and Advaita Vedanta philopsophy, and seems to have passed it off as being his own ideas . See “Ride the Tiger ” which, in its preoccpation with ‘detachment’ from a ‘lost and empty world’ is pure desert Gnosticism rooted in the Desert Fathers of Syria and Egypt and early Theravadin atttitudes, dressed up in ‘elitist’ guff and ‘aryan’ myth.
But yes, yes, Juenger was, as you say, at one time a fascist. No denying it — I think because I enjoy his books, perhaps I am too eager to excuse him that error. I do the same with the Futurists and the Vorticists.
To me, Juenger in his Aurelius/Theravadin/Stirner-ite stage is when he was most interesting.
I know that idiots like Southgate and other morons seem to like Juenger — I refuse to let them ruin my pleasure in reading his later work, and indeed, some of his very early writings from the first world war. As for Juneger’s ‘aristocratic nationalist’ stage?I browsed it for a few days — and promptly forgot it.
Comment by Howling Wizard, Shrieking Toad on 2009-11-26 15:49:48 +0000
PS I agree entirely that Heidegger and Sartre are a waste of space — add to that list, Rorty, Whitehead, Bertrand bloody Russell; the list goes on and on….Oh yeah,much of Bergson, and yes, much of Derrida, though I do have a real liking for some of his work, “Specters of Marx” being one, which indeed, you turned me on to Mr. Home…..
But yes, lots of it is just such appalling nonsense — and the people who read it and then take them selves really seriously are even worse….imagine what it must be like to devote years to reading and thinking such crap, and then to suddently wake up and realize you wasted your time, and could have been doing so many other better things with your time..I know a few PHD “Dr’s” like that — they are real morons for the most part.
Comment by Howling Wizard, Shrieking Toad on 2009-11-26 15:57:18 +0000
PPS I should also add that I forgive Raoul Haussman his obvious snobbery and obvious racism, because I like the Dadaists — no denying it though, Haussman was a bigot and a patronising racist, as is clear from his “Dada Drummer” diaries. Adorno was too, though I don’t like his books ( besides his Horkheimer co written stuff which i dig ) so I don’t forgive him his snobbery and elitism and racism.
Do I show double standards? I guess so !
Comment by Howling Wizard, Shrieking Toad on 2009-11-26 15:58:48 +0000
Sorry, it’s very late, I meant Richard blimmin’ Huelsenbeck…. It’s been a long day…
Comment by fi on 2009-11-26 16:24:31 +0000
I’m still floating in a state of complete bliss.
Comment by frank on 2009-11-26 16:29:37 +0000
All of western philosophy amounts to little more than a tedious and drawn-out collection of footnotes to Plato. The pouring of a vacuum into the void.
Comment by Tim on 2009-11-26 16:36:31 +0000
Bravo. I could never stand Heidegger – even before I knew he was a Nazi. No way someone that opaque and unreadable could actually think clearly, in German or any other language.
Comment by Ebola on 2009-11-26 17:31:54 +0000
Evola was a Dadaist too.
Comment by the first frank not the second on 2009-11-26 17:52:15 +0000
well fair enough then, i was just wondering if many of you had actually read the shit. even if satre and heidegger were big wastes of space, some of their ideas were important in the intellectual development in the west generally and in philosophy in particular. frankly, both men gave me much to think about throughout the years and throughout the rereads.
granted they both said and did some pretty stupid things, heidegger more so, but since philosophy in some regards is an open-textured process, i dont see why we cant salvage something, anything, even a little tiny scrap from these works: **most importantly, even if only as failed strategies to wrestle with in developing better or more accurate approaches**
wait, wait, i got it: since heidegger was a nazi and nazi’s were german, and german’s spoke german, i claim that the german language is inheretedly filled with boring facist garbage.
ps: mistertrippy, thank you for not assuming i harbor facist type views. im an amateurish philosopher (degrees in literary theory and art criticsm), and frankly, i appreciate yalls views as philosophers, as they help me to wrestle with these topics, i just don’t really agree with yall on this issue.
Comment by the first frank not the second on 2009-11-26 17:53:23 +0000
rage at lack of edit feature on comments so that i cant fix my spelling errors that i forgot to fix before posting!
Comment by mistertrippy on 2009-11-26 18:09:22 +0000
Hey Frank, actually my all time favourite theorist Karl Marx was also a native German speaker…. and there are a lot of really interesting things written in German (Hegel, Otto Ruhle, Rosa Luxemburg etc. etc.). And doesn’t English owe an awful lot to old German too? Likewise, as I guess you can see, while I don’t like Sartre, I obviously don’t have anything like the same issues with him as I do with Heidegger….
As for Ebola, yeah Evola was a dadaist and not the only one with some problematic views, but he is the most visible as a complete tosser within that movement! But shit like Hugo Ball’s Critique of the German Intelligentsia isn’t exactly problem free!
Comment by the third frank not the first or the second, or is it? I’m getting a bit confused with all this.. on 2009-11-26 18:11:10 +0000
A constantly re-occurring complaint found amongst anti-Heideggerian critics and commentators concerns the fact that if one disagrees with Heidegger’s ontological fantasies one is immediately accused of not reading the ‘Master’s’ texts with a sufficiently ‘open mind.’
What REALLY upsets non-transcendentalist, non- existentialist, non-Heideggerian thinkers is when the cultists say patronising things like:
“The first requirement is to understand what is meant by metaphysical existence.”
Like religious maniacs, these Heideggerian trailer-park transcendentalists just cannot get it through their heads that it IS POSSIBLE to read right through *Being and Time* and all the rest of the Heideggerian drivel which they believe automatically provides the key to an understanding of Heidegger’s mumpsimus of *Being* – and TOTALLY UNDERSTAND IT.
Such an understanding and rejection also includes the adolescent implications of the gerund *existence* or *dasein* as the Philosopher of Nazism labelled it, and having taken account of such ontological fraudulence- simply to reject it out of hand as the most immature load of philosophical and ontological juvenilia ever encountered.
Like all fanatics they believe that to understand Heidegger presupposes an acceptance of the metaphysical reifications and Heideggerian type baby-language, and that to reject it means that a true understanding has not been experienced, or that the unconvinced reader lacks a magic intellectual ingredient that *sets aside* the cognoscenti from *the unknowing ones* or *the herd.*
They find it impossible to comprehend that such weird opinions as theirs requires *faith* rather than intellectual ability as a route to acceptance. They completely miss the subtle way in which Heidegger the seminarist, after being thrown out of his Catholic seminarial brainwashing regime, simply transposed the Jesuitical approaches of his seminary childhood from theology to ontology and re-constituted the conceptual instantiation of *God* as *Being.*
In fact this is dramatically highlighted in one pastes the text of *Being and Time* into a text editor and instructs the *replace* function to substitute all occurrences of the word *Being* with that of *God.* Try it for yourself.
It is tempting to retort, that on the contrary, it is those who lack the ability to see through the transparent rubbish and wild assumptions of Heideggerianism (the biggest being the unquestioning nature of the Heideggerian approach, where the acceptance of the non-question of *Being* as a valid question worth questioning is not addressed.
No matter how many times one protests that on the contrary, the texts have been read and re-read closely – even hermeneutically with the aid of a yod, and that one perfectly understands his theories and notions but reject them as patently puerile, they still act as if you were the dope instead of them. We can further add, but it makes no difference, that we reject as laughable his outrageous and risible employment of the grammatical gerundial mechanism’Dasein’, or do not recognise the so-called ‘ontological difference’ other than as a BASIC ERROR of thinking in any ‘thinkers thinking.’
We can endlessly repeat that it matters not HOW MANY TIMES one reads the material, or if one spends HOURS poring over every single word with a magnifying-glass, one doesn’t come any closer to ACCEPTING the gross mistakes of the thinker, but only come to understand more clearly the clanking mechanisms and the farm-yard cart turning of this ponderous peasant’s geared cognitive wheels, and the coiled springs of the ontologically confused mind of the thinker as he thinks, and how he manipulates and improvises, extends, explicates and defends his original befuddled Grundbegriffe as he whizzes round the ontological ‘cup and ball’ chicanery of his Daseinic trickery.
Comment by the first frank not the second on 2009-11-26 18:11:57 +0000
Frankly I’m incensed by all this
Comment by frank (incensed) on 2009-11-26 18:12:49 +0000
The response, and the method of rebuttal typical of all Heideggerians, and indeed all cults and cultists, whether they be of a philosophical, religious, or political nature, or members of the flying saucer and the alien abduction lunatic fringe macumba, is the same monotonous, boring mantra:
(1) ‘You haven’t read enough of his books.’
” But…err…I’ve read them all…”
(2) ‘It’s because you haven’t read ‘XYZ’ – [a particular book of his.]
“If it is in print – and it has his grubby name on it – then I have read it…”
(3) ‘It’s because you don’t allow yourself to “get into the mind” of the thinker of the writings and ‘go along with the thought.’
“I don’t believe that juvenilia about the existence of a *mind* – I’m a grown-up.”
Comment by frank n stein on 2009-11-26 18:13:17 +0000
I have been studying the language of Heideggerianism for some time [or the ‘Heideggerian Mantra’ as it is sometimes described] which is worryingly similar to the “voice roll technique” used by preachers, North Korean ‘re-educators,’ cross-examinating lawyers and hypnotists to achieve ‘agreement results.’
The de-cognition process – ‘clear your mind and start again’ method [exemplified in the Nazi-style address to his students in his ‘Basic Concepts’ or ‘Grundbegriffe’ lecture] – is precisely akin to the ‘constant arsenic-drop’ of word repetition typical of Heidegger and all Nazis, and identified by Klemperer in his quote:
Nazism permeated the flesh and blood of the people through single words, idioms and sentence structures which were imposed upon them in a million repetitions and taken on board mechanically and unconsciously… Words can be like tiny doses of arsenic.
Victor Klemperer, The Language of the Third Reich: A Philologist’s Notebook, trans. Martin Brady, London: Continuum, 2002, pp. 15–16.
Comment by the real first frank not the second on 2009-11-26 20:02:03 +0000
whats with yall and franking me?
let me see if i can broaden the issue a bit, and hopefully get it on grounds that i feel more familiar with…
Now granted his relationship with facsism wasn’t as bad as Heidegger’s if i remember correct, but do you all suggest removing Filippo Tommaso Marinetti’s work from discourse in art given his relationship with facsism?
Comment by Howling Wizard, Shrieking Toad on 2009-11-27 05:31:39 +0000
The real first frank makes a fair point — are we also going to stop reading the excellent Huey Newton writings because he had Maoist sympathies? Are we going to stop reading Hobsbawm’s good historical analysis since it is said he was an apologist for Stalin? Are we going to utterly reject the Voriticcists ( sp ) because they were once led by fascists? Are we going to stop reading Ezra Pound because he was a fascist? Are we going to reject Adorno because some consider he was an out and out racist? How about Joseph Conrad? Many African authors say his racism is unacceptable. How about the anti Semitism in Hugo Ball’s “Flight out of Time?” And are we to reject Mishima’s insights because he was definitely an annoying, elitist fascist nihilst, with pretty objectionable views.
These are personal decisions but cliched as it sounds, they do have public implications and ripples and effects which need to be considered.
Comment by Howling Wizard, Shrieking Toad on 2009-11-27 05:39:37 +0000
Mr Home, I like Otto Ruhle too, especially since he saw through the essentially elitist bourgeois nature of intellectual vanguards, and the alienation they engender. That attitude is STILL porblematic amongst middle class ‘intellectual’ trotskyites and followers of Lenin, who, — underneath their pose — are still very much mired in bourgeois snobbery and elitism that stinks of the foulest self serving atttiudes of the Capitalist.
Otto Ruhle is still relevant, and it seems he saw through those vanguardists, and saw through their ( sibconscious ? ) drive and desire to recreate the worst aspects of Capitaism within a “Communist’ exterior shell.
I meet people ‘of the left’ like that all the time, and I find them as annoying as the right wing scumbags I have the misfortune to meet — truth is, I can’t see that much difference between them. Both groups are selfish, deluded, arrogant opportunists with their own self seeking drive and lying agenda.
As time goes by, I have to say, I have no interest in being ‘of the left’ — and I certainly have no interest in being of the right…..
Comment by mistertrippy on 2009-11-27 11:20:46 +0000
There is a misunderstanding going on here, no one suggested Heidegger shouldn’t be read, just that he should be read in the correct context and not as a philosopher. Marinetti doesn’t occupy the same position as Heidegger, so the question of removing him from art discourse could be seen as a ‘non-question’.
I’m not aware of anyone teaching Marinetti on any historical or theory modules on fine art courses in London (although I’m sure someone somewhere probably is). By way of contrast Heidegger is widely taught, and I am aware – for example – of one practice-led MA with 12 theory lessons over the year where four of those are being given over to Heidegger (and without any criticism of him as a fascist scumbag whose ‘ideas’ are nonsense). It would be ridiculous to give a third of such a module over to any one individual even if their thinking wasn’t Nazi propaganda – this isn’t the kind of broad education required by those whose ‘research’ is practice-led (although personally I find much practice-led teaching beyond – and often even at – graduate level dubious).
All that said, if you are going to read Heidegger (which I don’t think should be done on ‘theory’ courses since he is a waste of space) then it should be done in the context of having an understanding of Nazi ideology. To clarify further, I don’t think Bertrand Russell (for example) should be taught as theory or philosophy either, his liberal politics are rather at odds with Heidegger’s fascist stance, but the ideas of both are nonsense. Of course, both might be studied as part of a history of philosophy and as a means of illustrating why as a discourse philosophy (like art and all other canalised activities that arise from capitalist alienation) needs to be smashed.
Likewise, if I was going to teach Marinetti (as art history or literature, not theory since like Heidegger he’s not a philosopher) then I’d do so in context alongside more problematic figures like Gabriele D’Annunzio and with background reading that would include at least some of Zeev Sternhell’s work on fascist ideology. Without the latter I don’t think most students would be able to make sense of Marinetti continuing to describe himself as an anarchist at the height of his support for Mussolini (and, of course, Mussolini himself was a former syndicalist and translator of anarchist tosh).
Nonetheless, the problem of Marinetti is quite different to that of Heidegger; there is no need to remove Marinetti from discourse about art – which isn’t to say he couldn’t be removed without any loss to anyone (just as those not already familiar with Heidegger wouldn’t even notice if he was removed from theory and philosophy teaching). Canons and genres are flexible and people and works fall in and out of them all the time. However, I would stress that no one is suggesting people who wish to waste their time in private on Heidegger shouldn’t be able to do so… and I also view it as necessary for Heidegger to be ‘deconstructed’ in public institutions as part of the history and ideology of Nazism.
Comment by Howling Wizard, Shrieking Toad on 2009-11-27 12:29:51 +0000
Mr Home, even though I have been through the whole ‘education farce’ to Post Grad level, our current debate reminds me what a load of mind bendingly banal straitjacketed coercive crap ‘higher education’ really is. I really would have learnt just as much ( perhaps more ) if I’d done all the reading myself, am convinced of that.
It’s all a scam really isn’t it, espeically now since UK collegees make so much money from international students.
Beyond the ‘important’ bit of paper, what the fucks ‘in it for us’ anyway? Do we need our insights and reading to be meidated by ‘smarter’ people anyway, and to have it explained for us?
All bollocks — I wish I’d argued far far more with my pretentious college profs at the time.
Comment by mistertrippy on 2009-11-27 12:37:03 +0000
Well the important thing is we live and learn… But yes, I agree, it is a scam and in the UK those non-EC students paying full fees are very important….. Not that it is particularly ‘expensive’, the same rip-off would cost them just as much in the USA for example!
Comment by Doris Stokes on 2009-11-27 18:38:36 +0000
German culture is boring and cruel and even german techno hasn’t stood the test of time. Nothing worthwhile has ever come from Germany. Except The Beatles
Comment by Doris Stokes on 2009-11-27 18:40:08 +0000
And even Marx’s in-german 12″ palaver could have been a 7″ or even just the title…’It’s all about the money’
Comment by Howling Wizard, Shrieking Toad on 2009-11-29 05:53:50 +0000
Another author whose background needs to be considered is Lukács. I consider his post Hegelain analysis on the ‘master slave’ dialectic to be essential reading, as is his work on reification, commodity fetishisation and alienation. All of it is an indispensible addition to Hegel’s insights ( in my view).
However, Lukács was certainly at one time an apologist for Stalin, and he was also involved in the ‘disappearance’ of intellectuals ( EG anyone who didn’t toe the line ).
In a particularly sinister fashion,Lukács’ culpability is often explained away by his supporters by saying he was ‘only involved’ in the state crushing of these intellectuals in a ‘begrudging way’ , and in a role which was ‘excusable’ because Lukács’ part in their gulag internment was mostly ‘administrative.’
Comment by Howling Wizard, Shrieking Toad on 2009-11-29 06:06:44 +0000
It should be added that even though Lukács later rejected Stalinism outright, he still considered him to have been a great strategist. He was also vanguardist in that he advocated a ‘dictatorship’ over the ‘proles’ until they were ‘smart enough’ to understand Communism.
As far as I can see, large parts of the left’s history is tied up with exactly the same amounts of cunning, duplicity, self seeking, greed,repression, fear,intimidation,lying, bloodshed,bleakness, hatred, alienation and banality as the right’s history.
Increasingly, I have no interest in either the left or the right, beyond a great curiosity about how they are born, cross pollinate, cause friction with one another, go on to reveal exactly the same drives and instincts as one another underneath their ‘machinery’ and thus manifest themselves in the ‘stream of history’. I see little evidence that either the left or right really have much going for them, and whether they offer anything genuinely compassionate, worthy, enduring, practical,genuine, or believable at all.
Comment by mistertrippy on 2009-11-29 11:57:14 +0000
My own take is that Stalinism (or indeed Leninism) has nothing to do with the left… after Bordiga’s analysis of the agricultural question in the Russian revolution (yes it was a revolution but a capitalist and not a communist one) among other things, there is no need to treat Stalin and his epigones as belonging to the left…. I also agree that Lukács in some of his writings (History and Class Consciousness, I don’t go for the literary theory at all) has some interesting things to say. The thing to do is separate what is interesting from the later and possibly already latent Stalinism. But actually Lukács isn’t such a big figure and isn’t so widely studied, so this isn’t a major problem….
Comment by Howling Wizard, Shrieking Toad on 2009-11-30 12:21:57 +0000
Yes Stewart, you are right, and it probably appears disingenuous to bring up Lukacz in the same context as Heidegger, since as you wrote, he’s a minor figure, and certainly that’s true when in compared to the exalted place given to Heidegger in Western culture.
And you are right about Lukacz’ literary criticism — besides a few inspiring paragraphs, it doesn’t hold up in my view. It seemed to me that at that stage of his career, he couldn’t make up his mind whether he was going to follow a path of Goethe inspired mysticism, to turn upside down Hegelian ‘slave master’ dialectic, or to pursue the turbulence of Sorel.
It seems we both agree on one thing at least though Stewart — Heidegger was a bore.
Good discussion. Nice one.
Comment by Howling Wizard, Shrieking Toad on 2009-12-10 14:31:57 +0000
to turn upside down Hegelian ’slave master’ dialectic, or to pursue the turbulence of Sorel.
Comment by Howling Wizard, Shrieking Toad on 2009-12-21 04:35:00 +0000
Stewart, here is an interesting paper on Ernst Juenger, which pretty much supports your perspective.
Whilst his involvement with fascists is totally unacceptable, I still think he had some interesting views on Max Stirner, and I think that he took Stirner’s ideas to a new level.
Comment by Howling Wizard, Shrieking Toad on 2009-12-21 04:36:04 +0000
Sorry. that link doesn’t work — here is the paper.
Ernst Jünger: Did he help Hitler rise?
By Clive James
The following essay is adapted from Clive James’ Cultural Amnesia, a re-examination of intellectuals, artists, and thinkers who helped shape the 20th century. Over the coming weeks, Slate will run an exclusive selection of these essays, going roughly from A to Z, abbreviated for these pages. (Note: There is no “I” in the Clive’s Lives series.)
Things like that belong to the style of the times.
—Ernst Jünger, Caucasian Notes
Ernst Jünger was born in Heidelberg in 1895 and reached maturity just in time to volunteer for service in World War I, during which his bravery won him the Pour le Mérite, Germany’s highest military decoration. After the war, his book Storm of Steel launched him on a literary career that amounts to as big a problem for the student of 20th-century humanism as Bertolt Brecht’s. In Jünger’s case, however, the problem came from the other direction. Jünger emerged from the trenches as a believer in national strength, which he thought was threatened by liberal democracy. Though he never gave his full allegiance to the Nazis, he was glad to accept military rank in the Wehrmacht, and wrote approvingly about the invasion of France, in which he accompanied one of the forward units. After the plot against Hitler’s life in July 1944, he fell under suspicion, but his prestige and his Pour le Mérite made him untouchable. Never an active conspirator, he thought he was fulfilling his duty to civilized values merely by despising Hitler. The thought of killing Hitler did not occur.
In his postwar years, Jünger wrote contemptuously against the apparatchiks of the East German regime, who found it easy to condemn him for his right-wing track record, describing him in their official literary lexicon as “an especially dangerous exponent of West German militaristic and neofascist literature.” Having missed his first chance to identify a totalitarian enemy in good time, he didn’t miss the second. Demonstrating powers of compression and evocation that could pack a treatise into a paragraph, his two collections of linked short essays, On the Marble Cliffs and The Adventurous Heart, are the easiest introduction to his literary talent and political vision. The talent is unquestionable. The vision is quite otherwise. But when he finally realized what Hitler had done in pursuit of the ideal of strength that he had himself cherished, even he was obliged to consider that his espousal of Darwin (the struggle for existence) and Nietzsche (the will to power) might have depended on some sort of liberal context for its rational expression. He died in 1998, his name much honored, with good reason, and much in dispute, for better reason.
A phrase like “the style of the times,” quoted above, can be self-serving, because it removes the obligation to place blame. Even before Hitler launched Germany on a catastrophic war, Jünger should have been able to assess the toxicity of the Nazis by the intellectual quality of some of the people who were trying to get beyond their reach. In retrospect, his phrase “the style of the times” enrolls itself among many euphemisms that served to sanitize the effects of the Nazi impact even on the learned professions. Jünger, as an Aryan, was safe from that impact. He should have cared more about what happened to those less privileged. A learned man, Jünger knew all their names: even the names of the minor figures, the spear carriers and walk-ons. In the late 1930s, in a race for a foreign chair of philology, the obscure Victor Klemperer was beaten to a safe seat in Ankara by the illustrious Erich Auerbach. If Klemperer had secured the prize instead, and got away to safety, it is unlikely that he would have written anything with the bold scope of Auerbach’s Mimesis. We should not romanticize Klemperer because of what he went through: Millions went through it, too. But we are compelled to admire him for what he made of it. Fated to stay where he was, he was granted the dubious reward of experiencing from close up what the Nazis did to the German language; reading his analysis in his two-volume diary, I Shall Bear Witness and To the Bitter End, we can only conclude that the Nazis wrecked the language they had usurped. They wrecked it with euphemism: They spoke and wrote the officialese of slaughter.
We should not delude ourselves that an Aryan non-Nazi, no matter how exalted his intellect, could exercise the privilege of remaining uninfected. Ernst Jünger is a case in point: perhaps the case in point, because he was incomparably the most gifted writer to remain on the scene. In his wartime diaries, the strange usage isolated in my opening quotation keeps on cropping up. It centers on a single word. The word is Zeitstil, which can be translated as “the style of the times.” In early December 1942, we find Jünger visiting the Russian front. He hears about dreadful things happening to Russian prisoners. First of all, he convinces himself that the prisoners are partisans, and can thus expect no quarter. When this thesis starts to look shaky, he convinces himself of something else: that both sides are behaving dreadfully, and it all belongs to “the style of the times.” Later on in the same month, he hears from a general (the generals were always at home to Jünger, whose prestige was immense) that the Jews are being slaughtered. Jünger’s reaction is: “The old chivalry is dead: wars from now on will be waged by technologists.” Once again, it is the style of the times. And so it was, but not in the way he meant it.
Jünger had lent his literary gift to the idea of German militaristic renewal. Until the news about the extermination camps was finally and unmistakably read to him by a German general in 1943, no amount of horrifying truth could induce him fully to admit that he had made a mistake. His way out of such an admission was to blame the style of the times: i.e., to console himself with the belief that everyone was at it, led back to barbarism by the modern spirit of technology. The style of the times was a powerfully useful idea. It didn’t even need to be put into words. It could be put into silence. In his elegant, learned, and, finally, disgraceful Notes Towards the Definition of Culture, published in 1948, T. S. Eliot simply declined to admit that the Holocaust might be a pertinent topic in a discussion of what had happened to Europe. Closer to the scene but equally untouched, Eliot’s admirer and colleague Ernst Robert Curtius achieved a similar feat of inattention. If pressed on the point, both savants would have blamed the new technological order: the style of the times.
But there was no such thing as the style of the times, except in the sense that they themselves personified: a style of not concerning themselves with the catastrophic results of a political emphasis they had been given ample opportunity to recognize as the first and most deadly enemy of the humanist culture they claimed to represent. The humble Victor Klemperer, if they had been forcibly reminded of his name, would have been dismissed as small beer by both of them. Ernst Jünger would have behaved better. To give him the respect he has coming, he finally realized that the massacre of the Jews could not be wished away. But he never quite gave up on the airy notion that the style of the times was to blame for things like that.
Tobias Wimbauer / Wimbauer Buchversand
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