Heidegger was the most powerful non-analytic philosopher of the 20th century. His language is both poetic and at times indecipherable. It takes a powerful thinker to interpret him and Aleksandr Dugin is such a man. I am not endorsing Dugin’s larger project (though it is obviously superior to Western liberalism). Rather, Dugin more than anyone else understood Heidegger’s own Dasein.
Thesis: Heidegger is the transition point between the last of the old philosophy (Greece to Germany) and the new way of thinking (Dugin 18). Heidegger’s narrative: something was, something began, something ended (31). Europe is the evening land (Abendland): it is time to put “Being” to sleep (37).
What makes Dugin helpful is that he clearly outlines Heidegger’s “code.” The root of his thought is ontological differentiation (41).
Noema: does not correspond to beings themselves, but to thoughts about beings.
These two form a dyad. The formation of the verb is always related to its inflection, its linkage to something (elastic bending, 42). Sein in its pure form is abstract. It doesn’t “bend” to anything. Man already implicitly assumes that beings (Seiende) are. If we reflect upon this, we ask “What is the being (Sein) of beings (Seiende)? What is common to all beings that makes them beings?
Heidegger reads Heraclitus and Aristotle as saying that Logos = Being = Unity (49). Heidegger wants to challenge the idea that Being is the foundation of beings. The Tradition, which Heidegger will ultimately attack, says “Being” is the common property of “beings.”
Ousia is a particular way to conceive of Being–share quality of all beings (54). If we say that Being is the essence of beings, we establish two parallel levels: the level of beings and the level of essence (ousia).
Main argument: if we differentiate Being and beings through essence, we overlook the difference between Being and beings (54). Thus, Being is not beings. This logically leads to nihilism.
Ontic dimension: that which is present to thought. Thinking about the world. This is the topography of Phusis: the sphere of beings. This is a collected concept.
The distance that arises as ontics reflects upon itself. Ontology identifies the Being of beings with the essence (ousia: shared class of) of beings. It attributes Being as an attribute of beings, but also exalts Being to a higher level. This is what Dugin calls the “double topography” (58). Greek thought abstracted Being from beings when it should have leapt into the primordial foundation of beings.
Seyn: the kind of Being that eludes ontology and is not grasped by abstracting it from other beings, but rather penetrating to the Nothingness (59). Argument: in the doubled topography logos was severed from beings (63). When we say we need to explore the nothing, we are not modern nihilists. We are going to beings’ primordial source (63). This is what generates beings but is not beings.
The Beginning and End of Western European Philosophy
The Greek take on Being leads to the oblivion of Being.
Being–beings-as-a-whole–is replaced by the notion (Vorstellung) of it. This notion then becomes more disconnected and mechanical (92)
The Pre-Socratics took the obvious claim that “beings” are, but they then sought to find what was the “Being” of beings, and they interpreted this as phusis (99). This means that Being now is. Now Being (Sein) precedes beings and is different from them.
Being is now an Idea. It is that which is placed before man (106). That’s Dugin’s language and I don’t think it is the clearest. This is one of those times where German could be clear. Ideas function in a gegenstand relationship with Man. That’s not all, though. Not only does man stand before Ideas, but Ideas stand before things of the world (107).
Maybe we can say it this way: Ideas are always across from man. There is a “gap.” Man is always “before” (across) the ideas. Thus Heidegger’s conclusion: man (being) is no longer in the world, but across from it. Man is pre-sented before the world, which means Ideas have to be re-presented to him. Truth is now correspondence between Idea and Object.
I’ll skip Heidegger’s section on Christianity. For all of his genius, he is utterly incompetent on this point. If all he had to say was that Thomas Aquinas helped with the oblivion of being, then fine. But he didn’t understand Semitic thought, nor did he want to. Thus when Yahweh says “I am that I am,” Heidegger just thinks it means Being qua Being.
Descartes adapted but never left Plato. In Modernity instead of Plato’s Idea we have new “representations: the subject, apperception, energy, reality, the monad, etc.” (114). Descartes starts with the Subject. This subject either is or inside the human mind.
Everything is is re-presented before the Subject. Descartes calls these beings objects (115). A subject must have an object to stand before it. Modernity will then use Scientism to function as the subject. This means that Scientism now controls the objects before it, which could be anything from plants to animals to humans.
The chart doesn’t make it clear, but the actual topography stops at Marxism. I wrote “break” in the margin. Everything below the break is what pertains to the New Beginning. What I’m interested in is the topography itself. He shows how Western Philosophy took “Being” and made it into Ideas, Will, reason, Power, and finally techne, the reign of machine over man.
Heidegger’s true genius is his opening of political space. I don’t think his attack on “Being-Sein” will hold out, although he does make some valid criticisms of Marxism and Liberalism.
Heidegger uses “Planetarism” for what we call “globalism” (161). He identifies this with America, or rather an extreme individualism and consumerism. For Heidegger Planetarism is nihilistic because it expresses only one thing: the triumph of techne, which obliterates Being. Dugin argues that “Liberalism equates the Cartesian subject with the individual and pragmatic calculations in the area of countable tangible and intangible objects” (162).
Communism and Machenschaft
Marx stays true to the metaphysical topography. He has a subject (society, class) and an object (matter, product, thing). Marx correctly noted that Machenschaft created alienation. His solution is to use techne (objects) to overcome the alienation. He overcomes the alienation by means of what brought alienation (166)!
This explains why Heidegger identified with National Socialism. He saw Being at its historical end. Liberalism and Communism were the last manifestation of the history of Being. National Socialism, so he thought, was the only thing resisting these two. Therefore, the New Beginning would come. Except it didn;t.
This next section is difficult, even from a Heideggerian perspective. Heidegger’s argument is that Western metaphysics reached its nihilistic end. I suppose that’s true. A new metaphysics is needed and this one must focus on Seyn-being (good being). The only way to do this is what Heidegger calls “Das Geviert,” the four-fold. The only way to reach Geviert is through the Ereignis (the event) which calls for a radical decision, a leap into the abyss.
That’s the summary, anyway. Let’s unpack it. When we experience Seyn, that is, when we choose to let beings spring up rather than abstracting them into an artificial genus, then we will see everything in a four-fold way: Sky (world), Earth, gods, and men.
Sky: this normally corresponds to Welt or world (totality). It is what cosmos was for the Greeks. It is the principle of harmony. Heidegger strangely says these principles will be at war with each other, which is odd since sky is supposed to represent harmony. I think by war he really means risk, the element of uncertainty. Sky is not an object. It is the world in its openness (200). It is an orientation.
Heidegger insists that world/sky is always connected with a Volk, a people.
Earth: the earth leads to presence. It makes sky real.
Gods: He doesn’t mean what we mean by gods. He means something like the numinous. They can’t be gods like we think because that would put them back into the Platonic metaphysics of being. The “gods” can’t have being. Well, what are they? I’m not sure. I’m not sure that Heidegger is sure, either. The only close parallel I can think of is “sacramental presence,” which of course Heidegger doesn’t accept.
Men: They are neither subjects of being nor objects, but only a dimension of being.
The four-fold forms a St Andrews Cross. Seyn-being lives in between (Inzwischen). Since Heidegger rejects the old metaphysics, it can’t be located in a place, but only between places (but isn’t this also a place?). Another name for this “in-betweeness” is “Ereignis, the event. This is the single moment where Seyn is manifest. At the risk of sounding like the old metaphysics, let’s take what they call an object but which we will call the Thing (das Ding). It is being in presence. The sky makes it what it is. The earth makes it present. The gods give it the holy. Man speaks it through language (231). Applied to objects in general this is incoherent. Applied to the Lord’s Supper it makes sense.
I’m not so sure this works as a whole metaphysics. On the other hand, though, it does function as a cipher to view the current metaphysical chaos, which appears to lead to transhumanism.
The old metaphysics took the dimension of Sky and place the “Ideas” in it. The Ideas then replaced sky (235). The earth has now been turned to matter. It is hule. Man is now a rational animal. He no longer names things through poetry but rather mass produces them in a factory.
After Descartes man is now a subject who transforms everything else into an object (254). Everything, even God, is now an object. This god “lost the attributes of a subject and became a mental abstraction,” which was soon discarded (255).
Gestell is Heidegger’s word for the artificial framing of an object. It is “the essence of the world’s inauthentic concepts” (258). Applied to the Sky-dimension, we no longer have ideas but satellites (261).
This is an interesting postmodern concept. It is a copy without an original (see the idiocy of a Rorschach test). On one hand it is meaningless and empty. On the other hand it represents an endless will to power (268).
The New Dasein
Dasein is not a what but a how. It is the “shock” you experience when you are awakened to a new idea (293). Heidegger wants Dasein to function as a way to overcome the subject-object duality.
Conclusion and Analysis
It’s easy to see why Amazon banned this book. Dugin is too powerful a thinker for them to deal with. That’s a shame, too, since this is one of the better books on Heidegger. Aside from a few typos, this edition is quite nice. It is well-bound and has a fine finish on the cover.
I question Heidegger’s larger project. He wants a god who can never be. Literally. His god that passes by does absolutely nothing. To his credit I think he realized this. He saw that National Socialism couldn’t bring about Geviert.
Here is the problem with his take on Christianity: We do not say that God is a being among beings. We say that God is beyond being. Hyper-ousia.