Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Spectres of Heidegger at Birkbeck

1.  Ants and their Occupations

The mornings belong to the ants.  They show that occupying a vacant premise – even if the vacancy is most temporary and brief – is built into species in general.  It is a space perception of even the lowliest of creatures.  Ants are particularly territorial.  Their behaviour certainly lends credence to Heidegger’s claim that Dasein is in itself “spatial” (räumlich).  Dasein possesses itself as space and as matter of necessity possesses or occupies the space of other Daseins.  ‘Being-with’ or ‘Being-in-the-world’ is not just peaceful coexistence.  The sheer presence in the world of other Daseins impinges on the spatiality of all other Daseins.  Heidegger’s view seems almost Hobbesian.  ‘Possession is nine tenths of the law” is a truism of English law, showing deep knowledge and acquiescence in the ways of species.  But unlike human nature for Hobbes or English and Scottish political economy – for Heidegger Dasein is a fiction of singularity.  Dasein is not the autonomous bellicose wolf struggling against all the other wolves – the war of all against all, homo homini lupus.  Not that.  Heidegger deviates from the received wisdom of the ancient world.  Dasein is not a subject, an “I”, separate and distinct from the “Other” – Dasein is just like all other Daseins – together in their substantial identity they constitute the “world” or the “Mitwelt”, the world-togetherness.  Dasein is both originally spatial and bracketed together with other Daseins in the World-with.  Dasein is not just territorial, it is in itself territory or container.  Heidegger’s ontology is a kind of Dasein-geopolitics.  Dasein carries it spatiality in its name – Da or here.  It finds itself ‘here’, it is an integral component of its ambient world as is the world an extension of itself.      

The individual or singular ant, like Dasein, has its spatiality inscribed in itself as an existent – but like Dasein of the first part of “Being and Time” its singularity is an artificial construct, subtracted from its complete Dasein as a particle of the ant ‘colony’ or Volk (People) unfolded in a later section (74).  Read backwards – the Dasein depicted in the first part of “Being and Time” as an ‘unhoused’ or exposed fragment in uncanny fear of the nameless could never hope to survive on its own.  One senses that this exposition is leading via numerous digressions to a sort of ‘rescue’ of Dasein from its abject state of homelessness and abandonment.  Dasein will be repatriated into its organic ‘home’ in the Volksgemeinschaft after its artificial expatriation in its “Un-Zuhause” (un-home).

Dasein’s homelessness in the first section though is tempered or almost negated by the primacy in Heidegger’s philosophy of “Umwelt” (surrounding world) over the “I” or consciousness.  His theory was greatly influenced by the anti-Darwinist ‘new biology’ of his time especially that of Jakob von Uexküll – later metamorphosing into proper ‘raciology’.  If Dasein is essentially grounded in the ‘Umwelt’ or ambient world as a biological existent – the concept ‘Un-Zuhause’ seems a foreign implant or a relic from the ‘cultural pessimism’ (Spengler?) of the time.  Dasein has little in common with the melancholic subject of “Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen” (I am lost to the world) of Rückert’s poem set to music by Mahler.  As a biological fixture of a biological ambient world – and not a conscious subject, Dasein is incapable of getting lost.  It is also not conscious of differences between itself and other Daseins – the “Being-with” of “They” (das Man) necessarily gathers and erases all differences in the single “Umwelt” (surrounding world) comprising all Daseins.

Yet, the “authentic existence of self” (das eigentliche Selbstsein) is not a “state of emergency of the subject detached from the They” – the authentic self is an “existential modification” of the “They”. (Heidegger, Sein und Zeit, Tübingen, 1986, p. 130)  At no point in the Daseinsanalytik (Analysis of Dasein) are existents monadic or antagonistic to one another.  On the contrary, even before Dasein’s historical destiny in the Volksgemeinschaft is sounded in section 74 – the World-with is so constituted so that no opposing counterpart to Dasein is conceivable, only mere repetitions of itself.  As Stephen Mulhall summarizes affirmatively – “In short, Dasein’s Being-in-the-world is a Being-with others: it shares its world with beings that genuinely are its Others – beings capable of inhabiting or dwelling within that same world, creatures who are ontically distinguishable yet ontologically identical.” (Inheritance & Originality, Wittgenstein, Heidegger, Kierkegaard, Oxford, 2001, etc, p. 244)
It is impossible to deduce any exclusion from the World-with of Dasein – as in the case of Agamben’s ‘homo sacer’.  But what is a World-with without a World-against?  Being-with without Being-apart? 

Unlike Dasein ants can recognize vast differences amongst themselves or between one another.  A colony of ants of about 40 square meters (one also measures ants in the extension of their colonies or “Räumlichkeit” - spatiality) will kill any foreign ant straying into their precincts.

When I see a single ant wing on a pure sheet of paper in the printer tray, I throw away the paper. 
2.  Spectrality

Jean-Luc Nancy, in his recent public lecture “On Communism” (3rd July - online) at the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities in London honoured Heidegger as the “first thinker of the ‘with’ or ‘cum’” – he was referring to the notion of Mitsein (Being-with) from “Being and Time”.  Communism according to Nancy is an apparition of an idea of Volksgemeinschaft or ‘community’ fatefully emerging from the modalities of Being-with.  Leaving aside the anachronism of such a claim, certainly communism and its thinkers existed long before Heideggger – Mitsein for Heidegger is at best a passing or deficient inauthentic mode of Dasein.  Being-with is an indifferent social tautology – sliding quickly into the “They” (das Man) mode in which no particular social being (Nobody) and at the same time the composite of being-with-others are deposited.  Being-with transformed into the “They” appears to Dasein as an external power from whom it receives its “world”.  The “They” haunts Dasein just as Dasein’s being-in-the-world ‘haunts’ the world.

But is ‘Mitsein’ even a unique concept in the tradition of German idealism, Heidegger’s more obvious source?  Kant’s categorical imperative is also an immanent ineluctable “Being-with” – the haunting presence of the collective other inside the individual consciousness.

For Socrates this Being-with of the categorical imperative was fatal.  The singular existence – Socrates – injected with the categorical imperative of the polis acceded to his own extermination by his own hand.  Montaigne wonders why Socrates does not even try to escape – it would have been possible, if he had wanted to evade the justice of the polis.  His friend Crito pleaded with him to allow himself to be rescued.  His futile attempts are recorded in Plato’s eponymous dialogue.  But Socrates is so much a part of the polis – he can only conceive of himself as one of the jury condemning himself to death – and the one chosen to carry out his own sentence qua polis.

Seneca was also his own executioner.  He was condemned to commit suicide by Nero, not by a polis – the personal bondage seems greater, less abstract than in Socrates’ case, as Seneca’s judge is the emperor Nero, formerly his pupil.  Being-with in Heidegger’s sense has more to do with such direct bonds of fealty – rather the norm of human society until its ‘emancipation’ via Capital.  Being-with under the regime of Capital is sublimated or reified in the commodity relation (the social relation amongst things) and its protective legal apparatus.  Every relation under this regime is one of radical separation, seemingly happening on its own by ‘invisible hand’ – the original and ongoing separation of the ‘general worker’ from the means of production and his product.  These can be material or immaterial – Guy Debord refers to the “proletarianisation of the world”. (Society of the Spectacle, Detroit, 1983, 26.)   The separation drives the ‘general world worker’ into the forced collectivity of the workplace whether it be a factory, office, institution, family or any relation of dependency, the ‘spectacle’.
Separation though precedes any new bondage.  These new collectivities have been euphemistically re-fetishized in recent post-Fordist theory as the featureless ‘multitude’.  Any particular ‘Being-with’ can be severed at a moment’s notice according to the dictates of the Market, Capital and any of its Powers, or das Man (the They) whatever guise the ‘unnatural supernatural thing’ assumes. The ceaselessly repeating acts of dissolving or separating are immanent moves within Capital’s Parmenidean Being.  Everything moves and nothing moves.    

The individual is separated from his needs or desires, which are downgraded to mediated needs overshadowed by the immediate ones of Capital or what is called merely the Economy.  The universal equivalent money quantitatively regulates and separates all relations between humans in the ‘community’, which are not either determined by new forms of fealty or the other universal equivalent – guilt/ debt (Schuld). 

As such Being-with once again only appears as something separate or beyond Dasein – capricious, unpredictable, all-powerful, “spectral and demonic” - as despotic fate.  Such fate though when it fulfils itself seems random, never transcendent – a calamitous accident even when ‘good fortune’ arrives.  Anything, which just comes, can go again as quickly.  The principles of discontinuity, ‘shock’ and intermittence are preserved. 

And yet, as Benjamin notes, capitalism is a religion, having a cult but no dogma except utilitarianism, no week day only feast days and creating all pervasive guilt but no atonement. “Capitalism is the celebration of a cult sans rêve et sans merci [without dream or mercy] (…)each day commands the utter fealty of each worshipper. (…) the cult makes guilt pervasive.” (Walter Benjamin, Capitalism as Religion, Harvard University Press, 1996, p. 288)
In this fragment Benjamin speaks of the all-consuming debt/guilt (Schuld) as the movement of capitalism through and with humanity.  Even God is incorporated in this debt/guilt (Schuld) and must seek atonement (interest?).
He refers to the ‘demonic’ double meaning of Schuld.  The religon of debt/guilt.  Or rather cult.  Benjamin also sees Nietzsche as the thinker of the cult of guilt which is capitalism – although not calling it that so explicitly.  Nietzsche evolved his genealogy of morals (and social domination) from the double-bodied idea of guilt and debts, two meanings of the German word Schuld.  But it is not just guilt – it is active punishment, not the same as atonement – one can be punished endlessly without ever atoning – not even temporarily.
Guilt in the religion of capitalism produces itself.  It needs no intermediary bodies or transgressions – sin is itself only another name for repressed capital, ‘paying itself interest on the hell of the unconscious’ (ibid).

Capitalism is itself ‘guilty’ – a kind of deviant god.  And those who worship it are infected daily by a renewed portion of its guilt.  As capitalism inherited all previous totalities – it is tainted by sheer time.  The repetitive time of its own processes of valorisation is a grotesque mimesis of the unmeasured time of history corresponding to what Marx calls its “original accumulation”.  This is the equivalent of capital’s original sin.  But as capitalism repeats everything – it must also constantly repeat its original sin.  It is not as if there were no atonement – it is just forever deferred or in other words the debt service on interest and principle is nil for a period of infinity.  In the religion of capitalism this infinitely deferred payment is called redemption.  As Kafka said, there is enough hope, an infinitely great amount of hope, - only not for us.  

Yet what is this guilt other than a spiritual cover malaise for that ghostly abstraction – the imaginary transfinite quantity called the ‘national debt (Staatsschuld)’ – “the only part of the so-called national wealth which enters into the total possession (property) of the modern nations.”? (Marx, Bd 23, p. 782)  Whether as guilt or debt, the gift of capitalism is separation or isolation of all from all endured simultaneously as a spectral unbreakable never-ending being-obliged.   

In other words in the ‘society of the spectacle’ being-with is the enforced way of being-separate.

3.  Heidegger’s Return to Metaphysics

When Dasein finds itself in the wrong space or when its expansion or self-exteriorizing is misdirected – ‘ek-stase’ undoes itself or comes properly to itself in the sense of ‘standing in nothing’.  When the Wehrmacht became mired in Stalingrad – this was negative space in a metaphysical sense, Dasein glued itself to existence.  The collective Dasein, or Dasein sublated in the Volksgemeinschaft ceased movement, came to a halt or reached the limit of its Being-With.  One can apply Heidegger’s ontological terms to the vagaries of the collective Dasein of the German people, just as he does himself, for German history and politics are the ‘model’ and source of his concepts, either ‘esoterically’ or ‘exoterically’ depending on the historical period and the addressee.  The politically zealous Volksgenosse Heidegger commented: “The motorisation of the Wehrmacht was a metaphysical action.” Another example of Heideggers ‘nazifying’ of metaphysics is his pronouncement – “Racial selection is a metaphysical necessity”.   This sort of utterance belongs to Heidegger’s high manifest Nazi period when he no longer used the term ‘metaphysical’ for the philosophical tradition he was intent on destroying (Descartes for example), but rather as the universal designation for all actions connected to the “metaphysical Volk”, the German people under its Führer, bound by Führer Eros.  Just as he considered his philosophy to have been transubstantiated in the Nazi entity – every physical manifestation of this entity was immediately metaphysical – apodictic and supreme.  The Nazi world was immediately body and spirit – a sensuous super-sensuous party-state-people.  A model for Heidegger’s return to metaphysics was Hitler’s speech in August 1933 defining race as “primarily spirit”. (see Emmanuel Faye, Heidegger: The Introduction of Nazism into Philosophy, Yale University Press, 2009, p. 23)  Heidegger’s promiscuous use of metaphysical was purely in keeping with his time – in Nazi parlance physical is metaphysical, finitude is infinite, just as the German race is in itself ‘spirit’.

Erich Rothacker, a race philosopher closely associated with Heidegger was quite specific in his existential-historical doctrine of race – the percentage of Nordic blood was certainly higher in the Scandinavian peoples but the characteristic superiority of German ‘race’ derives from the “Prussian spirit” and the spirit of the NSDAP (the Nazi party). (Faye, ibid.)  Prussia in 1934, at the time of the publication of Rothacker’s historicized race doctrines, is already a historical shell – legally and existentially defunct, absorbed like the rest of German existence into the totality of Nazi party and Nazi state.  Prussian spirit has been swallowed by Nazi spirit like everything else – indeed the elimination of difference could not be more complete, the ontology of the same in the metaphysical-physical Volksgemeinschaft more perfect.  Still there is movement – a continuous adjusting and oscillation in the proportions of metaphysical and physical in the official Nazi ideology.  As in Heidegger’s philosophy – whatever the obvious and tedious tactical reasons for presenting a ‘universalistic’ legitimisation of the Nazi dictatorship – there is an unavoidable presentiment in the actors of that time of a ‘metaphysical’ malheur, something intangible, ineffable, unnameable which must be ‘faced’, the silent ‘call’ of conscience mentioned in “Sein und Zeit” – firmly rooted in an inexplicable existential guilt (“schuldig-sein”).   A whole race has to be trained to bear the guilt, to hear the call.  “Prior to any knowledge of it - is being guilty.  And only because Dasein is guilty in the ground of its being and as thrown and falling closes itself off from itself, is conscience possible, when the call of this being guilty at the core makes itself otherwise understood.” (Ursprünglicher als jedes Wissen darum ist das Schuldigsein.  Und nur weil das Dasein im Grund seines Seins schuldig ist und als geworfen verfallendes sich ihm selbst verschließt, ist das Gewissen möglich, wenn anders der Ruf dieses Schuldigsein im Grund zu verstehen gibt.” Sein und Zeit, op. cit. p. 286)

One is reminded of the memorandum style of the pact in Himmler’s speech to a secret meeting of the SS at Poznan in October 1943 -  “Ich meine die "Judenevakuierung": die Ausrottung des jüdischen Volkes. (...) Von Euch werden die meisten wissen, was es heisst, wenn 100 Leichen beisammen liegen, wenn 500 daliegen oder wenn 1000 daliegen. Und dies durchgehalten zu haben, und dabei - abgesehen von menschlichen Ausnahmeschwächen - anständig geblieben zu sein, hat uns hart gemacht und ist ein niemals genanntes und niemals zu nennendes Ruhmesblatt.”
(“I am talking about the "Jewish evacuation": the extermination of the Jewish people. (...) Most of you will know what it means when 100 bodies lie together, when there are 500, or when there are 1000. And to have seen this through, and - with the exception of human weaknesses - to have remained decent, has made us hard and is a page of glory never mentioned and never to be mentioned.”  See Heinrich Himmler speech, text and recording, online)
The Nazi entity’s move towards Gleichschaltung and sameness is at the same time a ‘separation’ from the ‘surrounding world’ of the other nations, a self-ostracizing, as when Hitler seceded from the League of Nations.  Heidegger particularly urged his students to support this act.  The ‘world’ cannot contain both the Nazi state and the Others – trapped between physical excess and metaphysical paucity – the Nazi state claimed the position of unique metaphysical subject. 
But there can be only one metaphysical subject and its own particular spontaneity.

The metaphysical excess of the physical inscribed in the Nazi body and its will to exterminate was a reverse mimesis of the impossibility of that body ever touching its metaphysical-ontological malheur physically.   

4.  The End of Space

Negative space has more the character of fate – as in the collective fate of the Volk in its Gemeinschaft - than open unlimited space.  Where Dasein or Volk touches the limits of its space, fate has found its address.  It is the location of finitude. 
Ekstase is the term which Heidegger introduces to break the solipsism of self.  It is the ‘outdoors’ of Dasein in the sense that it is the potential of Dasein to move outside of itself.  But why is ekstase even necessary if in the original constitution of Dasein – the other is already present in the form of Mitsein (Being-with)?  Ekstase would be not so much to leave oneself – to move ‘hors de soi’ but rather to leave the other or others with whom one is ontologically welded.  Heidegger in one strand of his Daseinsanalytik suggests exactly that – Dasein is lost or fallen into the comfortable homeliness of the They – the amalgamated Other or Nobody – but arrives at its own authenticity only when ‘vereinzelt’ (singularised) in its mode of Angst or Unheimlichkeit (uncanniness).  Only then can it perceive itself as thrown into the world – its original being-in-the-world is the cause of its ‘Angst’ – and the unique inaudible ‘call’ of its conscience.  All this would suggest that Mitsein is an inferior state to the state of being ‘singular’.  At this recurring point or junction in his analysis of Being Heidegger’s ontology swings wildly between Kierkegaard and Hegel – or between the concept of an authentic singular existential Dasein and what Sartre would call Heidegger’s ‘bastard form of idealism’ (see Jean-Paul Sartre, L’être et le néant, Editions Gallimard, 1943, p. 295)

 Kierkegaard criticized Hegel for obliterating or drowning the individual in the “race”.  “How often have I shown that fundamentally Hegel makes men into heathens, into a race of animals gifted with reason.  For the animal world “the individual” is always less important than the race.” (quoted from Kierkegaard’s Journal entry 1850 in Abraham Joshua Heschel, A Passion for Truth, New York, 1973, p. 141)
Although Kierkegaard’s polemic simplifies and distorts Hegel’s insight into the drama of consciousness, it certainly would apply to Heidegger.  “Rassengedanke” (race thought), a phrase coined by Heidegger after 1933, is primarily a thinking of humans as animals, species, natural aggregates or congregations like ants.

5.  Being-with versus the “Two of Love”

Sartre calls Mitsein (soi-avec) ironically “la transcendance heideggerienne”.  He sees it as a “concept of mauvaise foi (bad faith)”. (Sartre, op. cit., p. 295)  Mitsein does not in any way open the self or Dasein to the Other.  Dasein remains enclosed in its own existential container – precisely because the outside or other is an immanent element of its own ontological structure.  If being-with is part of the ontological structure of being, that says it is there by nature, essential and universal.  And if this is “proved” writes Sartre, then it becomes impossible to explain any “être-avec concret” – the ontological coexistence which appears as a structure of my being-in-the-world apriori cannot serve as a foundation of an ontic être-avec of a particular friendship or any other association.  This is symptomatic, according to Sartre, of Heidegger’s general difficulty in passing from the “plan ontologique au plan ontique” (Jean-Paul Sartre, L’être et le néant, Editions Gallimard, 1943, p. 293) – in Heidegger’s overtly Nazi period the same hiatus appears between the metaphysical and the physical.
Like Nancy, Sartre refers to parallels between Heideggger’s concepts and those apriori concepts of Kant.  As Nancy remarked in his talk at Birkbeck Heidegger’s existential categories are modelled on Kant’s transcendental conditions – the apriori of knowledge.  But Heidegger substitutes existence for knowledge, Dasein for Bewusstein – the apriori condition of existence is the being-with.  This, says Nancy, is what makes Heidegger an important thinker of the ‘community’ or even communism.  Sartre draws another conclusion – Heidegger’s être-avec is an apriori condition like the categories in Kant’s critique of pure reason - unifying all my potential experience – but there is no necessity that this être-avec constitutes the ‘opening’ of my being to the other.  No force can move Dasein from its insular Mitsein as an ontological ground of itself to the contingency of the other.  Being-with as an apriori quasi-transcendental condition of my existence merely compounds the solipsism of self.  This accounts for the peculiar stasis of Heidegger’s thought.  When the outside of self in the form of the other(s) is subsumed apriori within the singular existence – it disappears and ceases to be outside.  When the self ‘flees’ itself in its inauthentic mode towards the They – it is not moving anywhere outside of itself.  Even the “hors de soi” of the ‘ek-stase’ is not a move to the outside of self – because the outside is ontologically already and always there.  The self flees self towards self.  “(…) et le monde apparait comme pure distance de soi à soi.” (“(…)and the world appears as a pure distance of self to self.”  Sartre, op. cit., p. 295)  Outside of self is included in the definition of self as Mitsein or Mitdasein – hence there is no outside of outside of self as self – outside is the apriori structure of inside self.

Perhaps the immobility of Heidegger’s Mitsein is also caused by what Sartre calls its mode of ‘ontological solidarity’ (foreshadowing Habermas’ “Lebenswelt” - lifeworld) – Heidegger eschews the confrontational opposition of the battle of consciousnesses, “the keen encounter of our wits” – the existences in Mitsein are more like placid members of a team (équipe), side by side, although Heidegger does allow for indifference, just passing by and other ways of being oblivious to the factual other.  Yet without the tension of an opposition there is no “you and me” – there is only a “deaf” we.  Despite the conflation of Dasein in the otherless Mitsein, much of Heidegger’s rhetoric still clings to the Hegelian dialectic – as when he speaks of the “Unselbstständigkeit” (non selfhood) of Dasein and its reliance upon being recognized by the other as the medium of being itself for itself.  In fact Dasein often lapses (reverts) into a self – hardly distinguishable from Hegel’s concept of consciousness in “Phenomenology of Spirit”.  “Das Seinsverhältnis zu Anderen wird dann zur Projektion des eigenen Seins zu sich selbst “in ein Anderes”.  Der Andere ist eine Dublette des Selbst.” (The existence-relation to the Other is a projection of the own existence to itself “in an Other”.  The Other is a double of the self.”)
(Sein und Zeit, op. cit. p. 124)   

The “Two of Love” or “Scene of Two” is what Badiou calls the amorous relationship.  He is adamant though that this is a relation of no relation, a disjunction.  He rejects the “fusional” notion of love – although he still seems to concede that it exists – as a “disaster” of the type represented by Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde.  In “Logic of Worlds” he groups such subjects of love amongst the “obscure subjects”, those who darken truth.  His objection to the fusional conception of love is an obvious reference to Heideggerian ‘archetypes’ – “Love is not that which from a Two taken as structurally given creates a One of ecstasy.  This objection is tantamount to an objection against being-for-death (…) the obstinate sacralizing of the encounter, of the terror inflicted by the world. (…)” (Alain Badiou, “What is Love?” in Conditions, London, 2008, p. 181)  The disaster ensuing from such love is not caused by this love – it has its origins in the “philosopheme of the One”. (ibid.)
But if the amorous ‘relation’, generally believed to be the closest between humans, is a disjunction, an absolute difference – how can the structure of Dasein in its affectless state, its ontological neutrality, be an apriori ‘being-with’?  These two theoretical schemes are themselves a disjunction – excluding one another.  If love is not a Mitsein (being-with) – how can Dasein as an indifferent ontological identical particle harbor in its deep ontological strata the constitutional ‘fusion’ with any and all others?  Although Badiou’s concept of love seems to totally repel a Heideggerian notion of ontological fusion – the philosopheme of the One – it is possible to regard each as the possibility of the other.  If one were to combine these theoretical ‘fictions’ – then the general association of Daseins are inextricably locked into one another via Mitsein – whereas in the midst of Mitsein (being-with) periodically occurs the ‘miracle’ or ‘event’ of the amorous encounter – a phenomenon of higher intensity than the average Mitsein.   Amorous events differ uniquely from ordinary being-with as they are relations or configurations of absolute disunity.  Love would be exclusive not in its tighter bonding of Dasein – but in the manner in which it removes the constraint of being-with from the two of love.  At least in this sense, Badiou’s scene of the two could occupy a unique position in the generality of being-with.  Otherwise, what would distinguish love as a truth process (one of Badiou’s four) – from any other dyadic structure?  Any of them could be seen as disjunctive positions.  If though being-with is the general constrictive ‘law’ of Dasein, love would be an exemption from this law – love creates greater distances between existences instead of bringing them closer.

Edward Hopper’s paintings of couples and single figures seem to be visual treatises on the disjunction of the two of love.  In one of his paintings a man is looking out of the window of a rather seedy hotel room on the railroad lines, a woman is reading in a dark part of the room.  In “Summer in the City” a man is sleeping face down and nude and the woman is sitting on the edge of the bed in an undergarment and staring into a square of sunlight shaped by a large sash window frame on the floor.  In “Sunlight on Brownstones” both man and woman are looking in the same direction into a sunlit scene not visible in the painting.  In all of Hopper’s paintings of the scene of two each figure is sequestered in an invisible zone, their actions unrelated – their gaze never meets, yet they are strangely arrested in their motion by the presence of the other in the scene.  Hopper’s female figures are often versions of his wife Josephine.  He even used her face and figure in a painting called “Girlie Show” depicting a heavily rouged strutting burlesque dancer wearing only a G-string, stiletto heels and red painted nipples. His wife became his generic female figure by virtue of her exclusive ‘disjunctive’ relation with her husband.  As an artist’s model – she is further distanced as she undergoes the “dying of the subject in the painting” (Hopper).  The world for Hopper had shrunk to her person.  The scene of two says Badiou guarantees the One of humanity – not to be mistaken for the philosopheme of the One.  The One of humanity is “the historical body of truths”.  This is somehow logical.  Love is the relation of no relation.  The Other (in the exclusive sense of the Lover) is the substitute for the World – if the self or existent fuses with the World concentrated in the Other (qua Lover) he ‘loses’ the World.  Hence it is a matter of necessity and almost urgency – the separation of the two must be more extreme than the separation from an indifferent Other. 

But for Heidegger and for his interpreter Nancy, being-with (Mitsein) is an inferior preliminary sketch for a much tighter form of absolute social fusion of Dasein.  Being-with is not applicable to the concept of the two of love. The singular Dasein undergoes other transformations on its progress from inauthentic They to the apotheosis of Dasein in its historical mode or destiny of Volksgemeinschaft.  Its singularity is removed (retracted) as it melts into the historical destiny of the People.  It lands there because its destiny was preordained even as a singular Dasein – when the timeliness of destiny is perfected, Dasein hands itself over freely to what was always waiting for it.    In section 74 of “Sein und Zeit” all the familiar characteristics of Dasein are modified accordingly – instead of freedom of projected ‘thrown-ness’, being-towards-death, fallenness, uncanniness, care, flight from self, Nichtigkeit, being-guilty, the silent call of conscience - Heidegger situates Dasein immovably within a tradition of a People – an inheritance (Erbe), repetition of what has been and an amorphous “Kampf” (struggle).  The world also shrinks to the environs of that Volk as if in the ‘two of love’ – but unlike in the ‘two of love’ separation is ontologically impossible – there are no separate ‘positions’ (subjects) within the fractal like mass of the Gemeinschaft.  Nancy admits in his talk that the ‘with’ of ‘being-with’ vanishes into the Volksgemeinschaft when it becomes the fate of Dasein.  Even one’s being-towards-death is no longer one’s own, Dasein dies a totally different death in the Gemeinschaft – nameless, multiple, identical.  All this is intrinsically present though in the commonplace being-in-the-world of Mitsein.  Heidegger alludes to this simply in section 74: “Das Geschick setzt sich nicht aus einzelnen Schicksalen zusammen, sowenig als das Miteinandersein als ein Zusammenvorkommen mehrerer Subjekte begriffen werden kann.” (“Fate is not made up of singular fates, any more than being-with-others can be conceived as the coming together of a plurality of subjects.”) (Sein und Zeit, op. cit. p. 384)
The form of the Volksgemeinschaft is best categorized in Badiou’s terms as a type of fusional love of the ‘we’.  There is no opposing Other – only a We.  We fuses with itself in the Volksgemeinschaft to become a One.  One cannot really call this ‘we’ a collective subject, as there is only ‘one side’ – and no object. Heidegger still insists on the futurity of his construction – saying that even in this equilibrial state of Dasein embedded in the repetition of the ‘Good’ or its inheritance – Dasein remains ecstatically open.

Dasein meaning Heidegger is expectant that history would complete the lacuna in his concept of the historicity of Dasein in the Gemeinschaft.  The Other of the Gemeinschaft can not be a position within it – because by definition the Gemeinschaft has ontologically no outside of the being-with-others.  The radically separate yet galvanizing subject-object of the undifferentiated mass of the Volksgemeinschaft is a necessary lack (steresis) – to be filled when “Dasein chooses its heros”.  The hero Dasein chose was the Führer.  The Nazi entity was a mass form of fusional love between the One and the Many – the fusional bloc of the “We” bound to its world by its sexualized love of the Führer.  

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