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4.0 out of 5 stars A Small Lecture Course, 13 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Introduction to Philosophy -- Thinking and Poetizing (Studies in Continental Thought) (Hardcover)
This is a small lecture course book by Heidegger standards where he purports an "introduction" to philosophy by considering the link between poetizing and thinking. Delivered before he was drafted into the German army, Heidegger's tone throughout has a strong melancholic tinge to it, a greater heaviness than usual which shows that he was clearly under pressure and outright exhaustion is looming on the horizon - not surprising given the context these lectures were given in! After the "denazification" proceedings he was subjected to after the war he will indeed succumb to nervous collapse and, need I add, a suicide attempt, but it is testimony to his strength that he recovered and continued his thoughtful journey once he regained hope and energy.

Anyway in this book he draws from Nietzsche, a thinker who wrote poetry, and Holderlin, a poet who wrote thoughts, to illustrate the connection between thinking and poetizing and how this illuminates the philosophical experience as such. In the discussion we have a small exegesis of a few Nietzsche poems bemoaning the empty cleverness of his German countrymen as well as the decisive and, for Nietzsche, disastrous role England has played in the shaping of the modern world as we know it today. I have been piqued by the recurring critique of England by both N and H and it is hard to deny that, in the main, England has been the birthplace of modern democracy, capitalism, modern technology, colonialism, darwinism, marxism, CCTV and so forth.

A remarkable little island then but clearly not to the liking of these gentlemen; and in one of his texts (the reference of which I have long forgotten) Heidegger claims that metaphysically modern England is a form of "Christian Bolshevim" (or ochlocracy - mob rule) which, while more restrained in its will-to-power than the now ex-Soviet Union, is for that very reason more dangerous; it seems that for Heidegger modernity would first come to an end where it was born, i.e. in England, but not after England had lost its moral veneer. We are living in the midst of how power in this country is showing its true face and thus fulfilling part of Heidegger's prediction that the English paradigm would self-annihilate by losing its appearence as saviour of morality - this will take time to unfold however, and the worst is surely still to come.

So, do I recommend this lecture course? Yes, of course, it's Heidegger. An acquired taste perhaps but one that is so key in our interesting times.

Four stars.

h t t p : / / c o m m e m o r a t u m . b l o g s p o t . c o . u k
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