Friday, July 24, 2015


Many things/beings, whether ontic, ontical, ontological, literary, conceptual, or hermeneutical need to be re-examined, analyzed, decoded, deciphered in a strenuous way. That is to philosophize the Heideggerian way. And you have to go to ancient Greece,Rome, or dust-covered library shelves to look for “answers”, “non-answers”, both“answer-non-answers” the Heideggerian way. It is a circling process, in a sense, a “larger” sense— to dig into, to watch, review, fathom old ideas, explanations, conceptions. To see how Aletheia (ἀλήθεια = disclosure, unconcealment, truthfulness, truth ) works. And, plenty of times, you will find nothing, Nothingness, or clouds of emptiness. That is my experience with reading Heidegger.

I doubt that men of the problem-solver type would have much patience with Heidegger. While Edmund Husserl’s philosophy-- having very tough hurdles itself-- when establishing Phenomenology, is trying to open way to lend a more “precise/concise” way to do philosophy and  explicate problems with epistemology; Heidegger’s philosophy centers on the problem of (contextual) meanings, concepts and what is “hidden” behind the words, logos. Speaking in present fashionable post-modernist mode, we may say it attempts to “deconstruct” many. In the below essay Prof. Henry Weinfield of Notre Dame University comments/critiques on the essay “… poetically, man dwells…” by Martin Heidegger, which I agree with Weinfield at points.


* poetically, man dwells on this earth ( F. Holderlin)
  (thơ mộng, con người cư ngụ chốn trần gian )

Dịch là  “thơ mộng, con người cư ngụ chốn trần gian”— dịch như thế ( có chữ "chốn" trong câu), là vì muốn “chính xác” hơn theo nội dung câu thơ của Holderlin, nhưng ít tính cách “mechanicalistic", not-fluid, matter-of-factness in literature ( tính cách “cơ khí, cơ cứng, sự vật hiển hiện như thể dữ liệu” trong văn chương, hình thành do chính các chữ liên hệ với nhau), so với câu không có chữ "chốn". Tuy cùng nghĩa với “ “thơ mộng, con người cư ngụ trần gian”, nhưng vẫn có vài chỗ khác. Trong văn bản một bài viết nào đó khác, cái khác trong “vài chỗ khác” đó có giảm đi nhiều hơn.

Và nếu bây gìờ, trong một cách ngắt câu khác, ta viết
                       thơ mộng,
                                 con người cư ngụ trần gian

chúng ta dịch, mà bỏ chữ “cư” thành :

                       thơ mộng,
                                 con người ngụ trần gian

thì chất thơ trong câu dưới nhiều hơn câu trên, có phải?




 "Is there a measure on earth?": Holderlin's poem "In Lovely Blueness" in light of Heidegger's essay "... Poetically Man Dwells....".

 Henry Winefield


Poetry employs measure, but its relationship to the concept of measure differs from that of other disciplines and other forms of discourse. Like those other forms of discourse, poetry can be seen as a way of approaching, grasping, and communicating experience, truth, or knowledge; and though to the popular imagination poetry is sometimes thought of as vague, to the extent that it employs measure with precision it is at least potentially more rather than less precise than other forms of discourse. Not only does poetry employ measure, it is wholly taken up with measuring, and, in a sense, nothing more than a measuring process of a certain kind. The eighteenth century referred to verses as numbers and considered music and poetry to be a kind of counting without being aware that one was counting. This is as much to say that, in addition to presenting and representing the world, the task of the poet involves measuring one thing against another, putting things in proportion, judging, evaluating, and criticizing. It is not, of course, that the world is merely given to the poet:poetry invention; but this too involves measuring and cannot be separated from measuring. Ultimately, poetry employs measure in order to measure. The same, of course, could be said of the sciences, but poetry is obviously distinct from the sciences in a number of ways. For one thing, the measure it employs is musical and affective, not merely mathematical (if poetry involves counting without being aware that one is counting, it also, of course, involves feeling); and for another, in contrast to the sciences, poetry has no positive knowledge to impart and no content distinct from its form.



These ruminations on measure are partly motivated by and take their point of departure from an essay by Martin Heidegger, "'... Poetically Man Dwells....'" (1951), which focuses on a late poem by Friedrich Holderlin,"In lovely blueness" (In lieblicher Blaue), in which the phrase that Heidegger takes for his title is contained. (3) Heidegger's subtle and profound essay has something important, indeed essential, to say about the nature of poetry, both in itself and for our time. At the same time, as an analysis of Holderlin's text it suffers from distortions that are characteristic of this philosopher and that need to be corrected, not only so that we can put what Holderlin is saying into proper perspective but so that the significance of what Heidegger is bringing to the fore is not lost. 

To begin, here is the passage from the poem on which Heidegger focuses--in Albert Hofstadter's translation:

 May, if life is sheer toil, a man
 Lift his eyes and say: so
 I too wish to be? Yes. As long as Kindness,
 The Pure, still stays with his heart, man
 Not unhappily measures himself
 Against the godhead. Is God unknown?
 Is he manifest like the sky? I'd sooner
 Believe the latter. It's the measure of man.
 Full of merit, yet poetically, man
 Dwells on this earth. But no purer
 Is the shade of the starry night,
 If I might put it so, than
 Man, who's called an image of the godhead.
 Is there a measure on earth? There is
 None. (4)



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