Monday, 7 May 2012

Self-Assertion of an English Garden (After-Life Topoi of Nazi Desire) Chapter 7

1.     Il faut cultiver notre jardin   
2.     Pêcheurs de lune
3.     Iterability of the Nazi State (Economy of Genocide)
4.     Growth (and Form/Morphe)
5.     Decay
6.     Pompes Funèbres
6.1.  Type (Model, Example, Tupos)
6.2.  Usus Tyrannus (Interlude)
6.3.  The Ageing of a Note
7.      Critique of Beginnings
8.      Demonology of Defeat 

7.      Critique of Beginnings

Daß es zu den bösen Häusern hinausgehen muß, sieht man ja gleich im Anfang.” (“That it must go out to the bad houses, one sees that right in the beginning.”), Goethe

Oikos versus Polis

What does Heidegger then mean when he speaks of the “abyss of self-being” (Abgrund des Selbstseins)?  How does that co-exist (in the sense of falling away from being) with “self-assertion” (Selbstbehauptung)?  ‘Form of life’ for Agamben in Means without Ends is something, which ‘shields’ life from its bareness, its abandonment to sovereignty.  Not as in Esposito – for whom the form of life, which is community, is itself the site of my abandonment.

The emptiness of ‘my’ is not only linguistic alienation, it is linguistic nihilism.  Because language is paradigmatically a form of life, a relation into which I render my lack and there where community disappropriates me from myself through its rules – its acts of speech – I lose myself to the community in every act of speech.  Nostalgia is my longing for the nameless, speechless.
The political is not the extraordinary – it is the ordinary per se.  The political is the form of the common – how can one have a politics of the not-common (uncommon)?  The exceptional is in the “excess of common sense” – a superabundance of the ordinary, which leads to madness (according to Derrida in The Politics of Friendship).  Referring to Carl Schmitt’s The Concept of the Political he explains: “We are simply formalizing a principle of ruin or spectrality at the heart of this discourse on the political, a discourse of madness allied to an excess of common sense.” (Jacques Derrida, The Politics of Friendship, London/New York, 2005, p. 130)  

Fascism/Nazism lie precisely in this realm of the “excess of common sense”.  The by now commonplace definition of fascism which sees in it an ‘aestheticization of the political’ or ‘the political as a work of art’ has thereby immediately relegated the aesthetic to the same region of ‘common sense’.  [“(…) L’esthétisation de la politique, c’est-à-dire la politique comme religion artistique (ce qui est une définition possible du fascisme): “the aestheticization of the political, that is to say the political as an artistic religion (this is a possible definition of fascism)”, Alain Badiou, De la dialectique négative dans sa connexion à un certain bilan du Wagner, 1° partie, January 2005, online)].

More generally, any logical-historical contiguity between politics and a transcendent ‘non-political’ (art, thought) will invariably collapse into or “end in politics” – a quasi-axiom captured in the title of Lacoue-Labarthe’s essay on Heidegger’s “Rektoratsrede” (Inaugural Address) – “Transcendence Ends in Politics”.  Politics is the power of the common (the will to the common) over all singular or collective human action and substance. (One could also substitute - the same - for common.)  Politics is also the domain of the standard, the norm, of the average thus predictable quotidian interest.  What does the aestheticization – even more the artistic religion of the average look like?  Or is fascism (and its non-identical cousin Nazism) the way the average looks at itself ‘aesthetically’ as not average?

Hegel interprets Sophocles’ play Antigone in Phenomenology of Spirit as the demise of the ‘sittliche Substanz’ (moral substance) of the family and its suppression by the universality (Allgemeinheit) of the state.  His interpretation reveals that in both ‘blood universality’ and ‘formal universality’ the singular (das Einzelne) is ‘unreal’ (unwirklich). The “Unreality” (Unwirklichkeit) of the singular is perhaps the hidden continuity of the two formations.  Antigone is not just the abandoned figure of the demise of the family – its ‘moral substance’ (as the principle of collective life) was founded in the tragic history of a particular family – that of Oedipus and his multiple ‘family crimes’ – patricide and incest with his mother Jocasta.  Antigone is the fruit of this incestuous union.  Her tragic fate is also an example of the Greek view of how crime is bequeathed and its effects visited upon the subsequent generations of a family.  (Herodotus writes in his History how the crime of Gyges is still punished in the fourth generation in the figure of Croesus).  The drama of Antigone shows both the acting out of the ‘fate’ of Oedipus in the next generation and the historical surpassing of the rule of blood in itself.  Antigone is “unreal” because her fate is predetermined by the circumstances of her birth – her relation to ‘blood’.  In the family of Oedipus the “universality of blood” was not just sacrificed to the new formal universality, the epochal change embodied in the ascendant state – the Oedipal family was also condemned to fulfil a curse, one of those unprovoked divine judgements acted before any transgression.  (In Buddhist cosmology such a curse would be seen as punishment for crimes in a former life, not just a preceding generation.)  Doom is twofold.  Blood carries out its own immanent History, synonymous with tragedy, directly.  Memory is immediately genetic, and as such History – of blood.  Oddly Hegel does not refer to the particular history of Antigone and her family – he describes her simply as a representative of the old higher ‘divine’ law – the law of the community, the clan and its funeral rites – abandoned and surpassed by the new law of an impersonal ‘universality’ (Allgemeinheit).  The Greek tragedy though shows the extinction of a royal family, which has transgressed not just the laws of the appearing state – but also the laws of the family – of blood – they are guilty of violating the incest taboo and the interdict against murder of kin.
The immediate prehistory of the play – merely emphasizes the inexorable self-destruction of this incestuous family molecule – the two brothers (sons of Oedipus and Jocasta) have killed one another in a war of succession.  Creon deems one dead brother, Eteocles as a legitimate successor – the other dead brother Polynices is the ‘outlaw’ – and Antigone’s loyalty to the outlaw is the reason for her own death sentence.  Creon’s declaring of one branch of the transgressive family as legitimate for no particular reason – is sheer expediency.  The unity of law and hegemony must be preserved – the ‘bad blood’ of the family buried, but posthumously surviving in the new legitimacy of the state.  Hegel seems to say as much – the “dead spirit” (“dieser gestorbene Geist”) is incorporated (aufgehoben) in the new universal body and its constituent atoms – suggesting that new formations of spirit (institutions of state and law) are the afterlife of the old ones, come to gloss over and profit from the unbearable corruption of the deceased spirit – the dead ancestor. 
“The universal is splittered into the atoms of absolutely multiple individuals; this spirit, having died, is an equality in which all count for as much as each and each and all count as legal persons.”(G.W.F. Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit, Pinkard translation, PDF online, p. 431)
[“Das Allgemeine, in die Atome der absolut vielen Individuen zersplittert, dieser gestorbene Geist ist eine Gleichheit, worin Alle als Jede, als Personen gelten. -”, (G.W.F. Hegel, Phänomenologie des Geistes, Frankfurt, 1976, p. 355)]

The old dead blood speaks through the new law.

Antigone possesses more raison d’état than Creon, a rather inept legislator and administrator of the new state – she is instinctively moved to bury the transgressive fratricidal body of the incest clan – to end the spectacle of its putrefaction on the plain outside the city walls of Thebes.  The sight of the physical remains of the old ruling power becoming carrion, visible for all, is a danger for the new power.  Creon is a divided figure of transition – burying just one brother properly, refusing to bury the other one, and then burying Antigone alive who wises to correct his error of omission - the complete burial of the dead ‘spirit’ of the defunct royal family.

It is the ‘cunning of spirit’ – that the metamorphosed dead spirit of blood – in itself hermetic, exclusive and unequal – should be transformed into an equality of atomic parts – where all is everyman – and this everyman is the legal person.  The legal person is the fundamental concept of the law – it supplants the biological singular – the unreal splitter of the clan based on blood ties.  Hegel considers civil law and the concept of the legal person, the empty mask, the creation of Rome.  The Nazi entity regressed historically in the Hegelian sense of a dialectical movement of spirit – but to a fiction of an archaic race unity and purity – formal universality was forcibly reconverted into the universality of blood – not of a clan or a dynasty but of a race-state, a super-clan – in which every race-man is a formally equal race-atom.  In the inverted logic of the terra incognita of Nazi ‘legality’ - what appears historically as a regression was conceived at the time as a forward movement in a “shoreless sea”.  Even if the ‘new’ “juridical concepts” were “indeterminate” – the former jurisprudence based on an abstract formal universality (according to Hegel the higher stage of spirit) was seen as “the way backward”:
“The entire application of law thus lies between Scylla and Charybdis.  The way forward seems to condemn us to a shoreless sea and to move us ever farther from the firm ground of juridical certainty and adherence to the law, which at the same time is still the ground of the judges’ independence.  Yet the way backward, which leads toward the formalistic superstition of law which was recognized as senseless and superseded long ago, is not worthy of consideration.”
(Carl Schmitt, State, Movement, People, Hamburg, 1933, cited in Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer, ibid., p. 172).

The Nazi race-state was a non-universal universality – an ‘inoperative’ hybrid of community, formal determinations of race (as opposed to familial blood ties) and state police power.  Thus the legal form of the person derived from Roman civil law was no longer valid in Nazi jurisprudence – a biological race person (the full mask - the ‘biopolitical’ substitute for the legal person) was invented in its stead (Carl Schmitt’s “equality of stock”).  

State of exception means the exceptional state of the ordinary – the exceptional form of the law –, which is the same as the exceptional form of the rule. The exception is not simply enacted in the present by a singular contingent ruler – it is inscribed in the dead yet undying spirit of ancestral succession, its birth from the cadaver of the preceding form (vaguely similar to the way parasitic flies lay eggs in “zombie bees”, emerging as larvae from the entrails of the dead bee).  The law is not a consistent object utterly opposed to ‘the exception’ – the law is ‘indeterminate’ - fabricated from exceptions or precedence accruing over unaccountable (immeasurable) time to rules or so-called laws.  The universal fact that judges and other legal personnel must interpret laws based on always-incomplete data (evidence) shows that law is dependent on ‘mood’ and contingency – law is in itself a permanent state of exception.  There is nothing exact about the law, despite its underlying principle or myth of ‘equality’.  This state of inexactitude and unknowability is normal.
“Law is the Ur-phenomenon of irrational rationality.”, as Adorno writes in Negative Dialectic.  There is no external guarantee of the law.
Law is the model of any hermeneutics – in which “Truth is the proof of itself” (Badiou). 
If politics (the political) is in a certain sense what is ‘common’ in human society/intercourse (koinonia) – law intersects the common where it verges on the exceptional.    

The law though would be nothing without obedience.  What is the origin of obedience – it is hardly a naturally occurring phenomenon? Obedience is the epitome of “second nature” – of a process of domestication.  Obedience transcends the distinction between animal and human – Wittgenstein frequently refers to obedience in the context of “abrichten” (training of dogs).  The following of a rule is thus not specifically human. A dog or a horse (the main domesticated animals) obeys in the same way as a human obeys.  Although – domestication, the concept of rule and its application are human objectifications coeval with language. 

Obedience is the law of the oikos – the origin of despotism, inequality and the division of labour is the family, the household.  The names rex, pater, dominus, anax, basileus etc., honorifics that establish rank and servitude, originate in the family.  The Greek polis was the liberation from the oikos, the realm of necessity dictated by the needs of mere survival or self-preservation.  

The polis is the realm of freedom from such necessity and from the rule of others, hence a society of equals, Marx’s Reich der Freiheit (kingdom of freedom); the sheer prolongation of life was the purpose of the oikos –the oikos is the Reich der Notwendigkeit (kingdom of necessity), slavery.  Otanes, one of the seven Persian conspirators against the Magian usurper of the Persian throne in 6th century B.C.E. represented the Greek ideal of isonomia (equality) as the best form of government for Persia.  He is unable to convince his fellow conspirators, amongst them Darius, the future king, but wins the right “neither to rule nor be ruled”.  Herodotus who reports this story (The History, Book 3.80-83) is reflecting the Greek view that inequality was the absence of freedom.  (see H. Arendt, “The Polis and the Household” in The Human Condition, Chicago, 1998, pp. 28-38). 

Babeuf’s “Societé des Égaux”, besides rendering homage to Rousseau, imitated the idea of the society of equals in the polis.  In choosing this name they identify with a bios politikos beyond the necessity of labour – a realm of freedom not the mere reproduction of their lives as the working class.

Typical of Heidegger’s falsifying of Greek concepts (and his misappropriating of the Greek idea of what is public or political), his so-called Führer-polis is a contradiction in terms if not nonsensical. The Nazi polis envisioned by Heidegger was to have been founded on the strictest “Rang und Ordnung” (rank and order). Heidegger installs the structure of obedience and command – the rank – within Sein itself.  The national social form he envisions as most suitable to Being – is if anything a Führer-oikos, not a polis.

In the Greek polis or bios politikos – the second elevated life – equality is the sole order – but the oikos, its opposite “was the center of strictest inequality” (The Human Condition, ibid., p. 32).  The bourgeois concept of freedom (an Englishman’s home is his castle) – still reflects the Greek idion or private sphere where only the household master was free – the rest (including intruders) were subject to his supreme jurisdiction and all to the necessities of life.  Unlike bourgeois society though where nothing exists beyond the oikos (society is merely the greater oikia), above the Greek oikos was the koinon or collective, – the site of bios politikos – the society of free equals. (Beyond that still was the life of contemplation.)  Greek political life or bios politikos was the reverse of the double servitude to the contingencies of survival and to an absolute household ruler – but naturally presupposed their existence. 

Paradoxically - as opposed to Greek antiquity when the oikos was a law unto itself – so that children could be sold into slavery etc – in the age of the private, the universal oikos of bourgeois civil society and government, this dungeon of privacy is opened to public scrutiny of law and social agencies.
The modality of being of Heidegger’s community or collective hierarchical Dasein called Mitsein (Being-with), supplanting Care (Sorge) in the order of importance, is Work of the “Worker” in the Ernst Jünger sense of the figure (Gestalt) of ‘substantial’ hegemony, the militant of the command “Work-State”.  Although the prevalence of terms denoting ‘dwelling’ and ‘house’ and ‘inhabiting’ (habitation), ‘gathering’ show that Heidegger’s true reference is always the domestic setting – in other words again oikia.  “Dwelling” is the pivot of one of Heidegger’s favourite quotations from Hölderlin, cited in Letter on Humanism: “Full of merit, yet poetically, man/ Dwells on this earth.”

Another mystery of the reception of Heidegger’s thought – is that he is seen as the philosopher of the ‘nothing’ and of its correlate time – of the subject as the ‘thrown’ nothingness of time (a thought much more proper to Hegel); Being in Heidegger absolutely swallows the dynamic self-positing, self-negating movement of Hegel’s “Spirit” or “Self-Consciousness”.  Even “nihilating” (das Nichtende) is only in Being – and only because thinking thinks Being, does it think the nothing. He anticipates this critique – striking out pre-emptively at the “absolute idealism of Hegel and Schelling” – whose absolute subject is “unconditioned will that wills itself and does so as the will of knowledge and of love” – a willing in which Being as “will to power is still concealed”. (Martin Heidegger, Letter on Humanism, translated by Frank A. Capuzzi, in Pathmarks, 1949, PDF online, p. 273)

Obviously here Heidegger has abandoned his own discourse of power and will, which still thrilled him in “Nietzsches Wort “Gott ist tot”” (“Nietzsche’s Word “God is Dead”, 1943) and in the Rektoratsrede (1934).  The passing reference to Hegel’s and Schelling’s ‘disrespect’ for Being seems almost a bitter self-quotation. Absolute subjectivity’s unconditioned willing still hides Being captured by the siren “will to power”.  But why ‘still’?  Is Heidegger identifying with Hegel and Schelling as if with his other earlier self – and saying here I am still enthralled by “will to power” and not yet in thrall directly to “Being”?  Is this passage an ‘esoteric writing’ concealing within his ‘critique’ of “will to power” a veiled reprise, a nostalgic adieu to the euphoria of that “great beginning”?  Then he was moved to declare in the name of the German Nazi University and its ‘militant body of teachers and pupils’ (“the will of knowledge and love”) - that they were the will that willed themselves:
“We do will ourselves.  For the young strength of the people, which already reaches beyond us, has by now decided the matter.” (Martin Heidegger, The Self-Assertion of the German University and The Rectorate 1933/1934: Facts and Thoughts, Review of Metaphysics, 38:3 (1985:Mar.) p. 480)

Now (1947) in the sober present of the Letter on Humanism– any act whether of affirmation or negation (the ‘yes’ or the ‘no’) belongs apriori to Being.  Dasein is properly will-less – dependent and obedient (hörig), in thrall to Sein (Being). 
As compensation for this surrender of all power to Being – Dasein like any minion of a feudal order – receives ‘protection’ or Hut against the vicissitudes of fate from its feudal lord Being.
Heidegger’s prose is littered with images of “hold” (Halt) and residing – nowhere more than in connection with Being.  Being and “humankinds” (Menschentümer) literally share the same house – it is language. So that in Letter on Humanism in which Heidegger indulges in an obsessive density of such ‘homey’ metaphors, one finds:
Wesentlicher als alle Aufstellung von Regeln ist, daß der Mensch zum Aufenthalt in die Wahrheit des Seins findet.  Erst dieser Aufenthalt gewährt die Erfahrung des Haltbaren.  Den Halt für alles Verhalten verschenkt die Wahrheit des Seins.  “Halt” bedeutet in unserer Sprache die “Hut”.  Das Sein ist die Hut, die den Menschen in seinem ek-sistenten Wesen dergestalt zu ihrer Wahrheit behütet, daß sie die Eksistenz in der Sprache behaust.  Darum ist die Sprache zumal das Haus des Seins und die Behausung des Menschenwesens.  Nur weil die Sprache die Behausung des Wesens des Menschen ist, können die geschichtlichen Menschentümer und Menschen in ihrer Sprache nicht zuhause sein, (...).” (“More essential than instituting rules is that human beings find the way to their abode in the truth of being.  This abode first yields the experience of something we can hold on to.  The truth of being offers a hold for all conduct.  “Hold” in our language means protective “heed”.  Being is the protective heed that holds the human being in his ek-sistent essence to the truth of such protective heed – in such a way that it houses ek-sistence in language.  Especially since language is the house of being, it is the dwelling of human essence.  Only because language is the dwelling of the essence of the human being can historical humankinds and human beings not be at home in their language, (…).”
Martin Heidegger, Brief über den Humanismus, Frankfurt 1947, p. 45; Letter on Humanism, ibid., p.274 ) 
As if Being were a quasi divine benevolent mater and ‘householder’ (Haushälterin – also means ‘housekeeper’ in German) – who looks after Dasein/Mitsein’s ‘dwelling’ while he/they/we are away, distracted by our human historical machinations (Machenschaften), estranged from our proper dwelling in the language of Being.
Far from being ‘thrown’ and abandoned in its finitude, Dasein is held under the forced protection (“Hut”) of Sein (Being) – Being will always usher Dasein back ‘home’ to its ‘abode in truth’ – like the pastoralist driving the herd back into their stalls.  

[Commentary: In Sein und Zeit the mode of “Un-zuhause” – the not-at-homeness of Dasein has almost the opposite valence.  Not-at-homeness was the proper mode of Dasein’s naked “thrownness” – whereas Being-in-the-world/Being-with in the They was “seductive, calming and alienated”.  These continual shifts in Heidegger’s termini, within one text and historically, make it difficult for his apologists to decide if he is the philosopher of the “cum”, the being-with, community, the interworld or of the “nothingness” and nowhere-ness of singular Dasein’s foundation.]

For Heidegger – in the wake of Ernst Jünger’s Der Arbeiter – technology becomes another such protected dwelling - a habitation of Being.  It is no longer a separate technique (techne) or a specific kind of thinking one might call instrumental – for Heidegger/Jünger technology is the re-forming or re-shaping of Being through the type/figure of the Worker.  That is why Heidegger says – the essence of technology is not technological.  Technology is the totum – not just a part in which quantification and calculable processes dominate.  The chapter title in Ernst Jünger’s Der Arbeiter - “Technik als Mobilisierung der Welt durch die Gestalt des Arbeiters” (“Technology as the Mobilisation of the World through the Figure of the Worker”), reveals this fusion or union of the type of the worker, technology as a synonym for Being and the movement called ‘mobilisation of the world’.  Language then is also Technology – presaging Heidegger’s language as the ‘house of being”, Ernst Jünger specifies: “Technik in diesem Sinne ist die Beherrschung der Sprache, die im Arbeitsraume gültig ist.  Diese Sprache ist nicht weniger bedeutend, nicht weniger tief als jede andere, da sie nicht nur Grammatik, sondern auch Metaphysik besitzt.  In diesem Zusammenhang spielt die Maschine eine ebenso sekundäre Rolle wie der Mensch, sie ist nur eines der Organe, durch die diese Sprache gesprochen wird.” [“Technology in this sense is the mastering of the language, which is valid in the work space.  This language is not less significant, not less deep, than any other, because it possesses not only grammar but also metaphysics.  In this context the machine plays as much a secondary role as the human, it (the machine) is only one of the organs through which this language is spoken.”, Ernst Jünger, Der Arbeiter Herrschaft und Gestalt, (first published in 1932), Stuttgart, 1982 pp. 155-156] 

Jean Luc Nancy continues in this Jünger vein, when he praises Heidegger’s utterances on technology, which echo its elevation to the rank of a ‘dwelling’ and a “sending of being”. “(…) To “inhabit” technology, or to “welcome” it, would be nothing other than inhabiting and welcoming the finitude of sense.” (Jean-Luc Nancy, “A Finite Thinking” in A Finite Thinking, Stanford, 2003, p. 25) 

Technology has become for this Heideggerian strain – the oikos of being.

A Type of Nazi Desire

In the promiscuous commingling of Oedipus and the Worker, juxtaposed in the briefest of texts by Lacoue-Labarthe entitled “Oedipus as Figure” – one senses something of the potency of the afterlife of ‘Nazi desire’.  There are two main figures of humanity – says Lacoue-Labarthe – Oedipus of course – this is desire or the unconscious - and The Worker – a nameless figure – but its name manqué is that of its ‘author’ named as Ernst Jünger.  The Worker is actually also a name for desire in its impersonal form of pure energy – figured or figural energy, the Nazi atom – to be expended in the construction of the total state and its new form of ‘subjected’ power.  If Oedipus is energy as unconscious desire – the Worker is energy as conscious obedience.  Obedience is nothing less than a certain receptivity to the new language of command adequate to the worker and the new form of domination.  The secret of the language of command is that it never promises, it only demands – that the worker recognize his ‘deepest happiness’ in being sacrificed (Jünger, ibid. p. 74).  The command has the form of pointing the worker towards the desired and desirable sacrifice.
The Fascist/Nazi golem particle of Worker-Energy and libidinal Desire is spawned prismatically in Lacoue-Labarthe’s sketch – their juxtaposition, forced “kinship”, acts almost like a rebus, disclosing the ‘Nazi desire’ of the text itself.  The text becomes the ground of the incestuous cross-sexualizing of the figure of The Worker and the figure of Oedipus.
The worker is sheer embodied energy for the Work-State – but without ‘desiring man’ (Oedipus) such energy of ‘working man’ would self-abort.  Towering above both is “Ge-stell” – the being or essence of technology.  Work and the Worker is the seam (mediation) between Being and the Nazi State – “energy that is applied and put to work.” (“Oedipus as Figure”, Lecture at Brown University, 1983, PDF, online, p. 1)  Finally the Worker is tantalized with the subjectivity of poiesis then deprived of any – the worker is the inhuman in human form – a “mode of Ge-stell.” (frame) (ibid.).  “The figure or Gestalt of the Worker is understood by Heidegger as being one of the modes in which the essence of technology is deployed, or in other words one of the modes of Ge-stell.  The word designates the unity of coming together of all modes of Stellen, ‘formulating’ or ‘(re)presenting’ in general, from Vorstellung to Gestalt.  It therefore designates being in its last envoi.” (ibid., p. 2)   
In this pithy form one sees how Lacoue-Labarthe moves smoothly from Jünger’s The Worker to Heidegger’s “Ge-stell” – whereby Ge-stell is another term for the “essence of technology” or sometimes just “danger”; the ouroboros who masterfully swallows all with the final jaws of Being (“in its last envoi”).

Worship of Fields

Ancient Roman religion began as worship of fields and hearths and progressed to the worship of the State, the immaterial field.  The worship of the State, from an evolutionary point of view (elemental forms of religion), is an agricultural cult of the fallow heart. 

Dressed as a crow I went out to the flat fields.  The ones with the open view and the naked masts.  Where the train crosses in the emptiness and one can see beyond the vineyards on the other side of the river.  Under the train tracks.  The curved passageway (like the entrance to a caravanserai) under the red brick arch of the railroad bridge echoes my footsteps.  A flat dry echo.  The bridge is on the edge of the hut-like dwellings forming the last row of ‘Fortress Longbourne’ on either side of which are some pump and power stations made of clusters of similar brick one story structures surrounded by a series of high prickly fences.  Those living next to them can also claim in potential real estate agency advertisements that they are ‘surrounded by fields’.  The dirt road beyond the railroad bridge passageway has so many tracks in it one doesn’t know which of them is really the footpath.  I lose my bearings.  There are no landmarks or rather there are only landmarks.  The field is one great landmark.  I guess vaguely where the river is – white in colour at this time of year and in the late afternoon.  But I think I’m closer to the Longbourne Meadows than I really am.  They are inestimably sadder than the cow fields on the other side.  Longbourne is as addicted to sadness as anywhere in Africa especially during flood time.  A metal bar gate is lying on its side where I decide to cross the black waterway almost hidden from view.  A field can be very lugubrious, like a desert, no perceptible changes, a so-called wasteland even though the river is still associated with pleasure boats and summer promenades – what the locals call ‘messing around in boats’.  I knew the fields would affect me in this way and they did.  The houses on stilts on the other side of the river with their mirrored impervious doors and sides – one should expect no quarter.  Further back on the other side are truncated views of houses, no lights, no movement.  So close to the Longbourne hurly-burly.  One could imagine guests and relatives behind those walls consigned to cots, set up in ramshackle stalls, awaiting their conversion for the last fifty years.  A field can be as much an oubliette as a hole deep in the ground.  All the more a house surrounded by fields on all sides.  On the other hand the wrong eyes can easily discover it.  If it has a clock tower that’s for the lookout, besides that it needs a palisade.  I told my acquaintance who lives amidst fields and is looking for a new house amidst other fields, that I am more inspired by people and passing (moving) things especially in the dark than fields.  This is the proof.  Sometimes it is too late to part.  That’s much worse.  Besides I’m not a horse.  The picture of their barn gave me the feeling the field grew right up to the eaves both inside and outside.  The house stood in a cold shadow, possibly facing the north winds – but then the winds come in at 360°.  The luminous parts were the unconverted stalls.  They planned to turn them into a concert venue.  The grass grew crooked like dense rows of green rickety picket fences.  The house was set in the fields as in green aspic.  (The word aspic comes from asp – comparing the colour of the jelly to the colour of the snake on Cleopatra’s bosom) – the quivering snaky grass of the field besets the house from all angles.  Living in a field one can learn to loathe the colour green.  The mud clutches each foot as you set it down and holds it in its mouth each time you pull it out again, kicking the earth away as if it were some animal tugging you in the wrong direction.  If hermits had been really penitent, they would have lived in fields and not in caves like St Benedict. Is there a ‘natural redemption’ to correspond with ‘natural evil’?

One familiar sight, the white iron latticework bridge is enough to calm me down, although still far from it, close to it in the line of vision.  The swans are a rectangular solid group looking like a low plaster mantelpiece and as such suggesting a beckoning hearth.  Even if no fire was burning.  Such mirages of domesticity are dangerous when in fields.  The vague islands in the middle of the river – more like stumps of riverbank strayed out or away from the side – interrupt the stippled solid looking river.  For some not yet identified reason, the white square mansion and its weeping willows on the opposite side of the river near the bridge do not arouse in me feelings of desolation although equally dark, lifeless and ponderous.  I even sit on a bench for a while regarding the big white house and its trees and black windows as one would a painting in the National Gallery.

Racial Impurity

How hard to remember from one planting season to the next.  We transplanted the big semi-double-blossomed rugosa rose (Rosa ‘Blanche Double de Coubert’) from the Gallica rose bed to the ‘meadow’ on the wattle hurdle last autumn.  Now I can’t remember where it is exactly.  A big rugosa is standing in front of the wattle hurdle – but looking like a hybrid of two plants.  The pale hairy stems of the rugosa have smooth thinner branches of a red brown colour – as if from a Rosa canina (dog rose) with numerous dried out hips – just like a dog rose would have.  Next to this double plant is a straight up-and-down rugosa with some buds and foliage spouting at the very bottom, from the base.  It stands closer to the boundary of the former or so-called sucker field – almost within it.  So most likely it is one of those many wildly growing suckers of the long vanished rugosa – a relic of the much-noted presence of the erstwhile owner of this house and garden, Godwin Baynes, the Jungian psychoanalyst with his distinctly horticultural theories of schizophrenia. For Baynes ‘grafting’ or the nursery method of mounting a desired rose on top of a vigorous crude fast growing stock was the model of the psychotic will energizing the civilized persona.  The new hybridic creature next to the ordinary sucker is much more ‘Baynesianesque’ alias ‘psychotic’ – it appears to have been created by a subterranean takeover of the newly transplanted Rosa ‘Blanche Double de Coubert’ by the wild dog roses that have always been in the earth around that spot.  The dog rose grafted itself onto the white rugosa – de-purifying the stock.  It saw the new rose merely as an opportune pedestal for its own wild growth. The ‘moment’ on the rose shoot where the hairy stem of the exquisite cultivated Rosa ‘Blanche Double de Coubert’ smoothes upward into the thin tawny coloured stem of the ordinary Rosa canina already sprouting its ordinary leaves, but still showing some of the original bristles of the higher rose cultivar below poignantly seems to demonstrate – given the chance, nature and “second nature” will always undo civilisation and revert to some kind of lower form of Ur-species. This is what happens (more or less) in Baynes’ theory of psychosis.

The presence of Baynes and the other man who was briefly the Baynes’ house guest, D H Lawrence is most strong in the garden. I don’t really think they are in the house at all. They stick to the land. The garden on its western boundary is overrun by a rugosa alba rose which is only a field of suckers. The original rose, if there ever was one, has disappeared. I don’t remember the suckers being there in the beginning of our time - but they have gradually taken over the most fertile sunny spot although quite marshy. We have just started planting the sucker meadow with other equally strong growers. The rose isn’t ugly - it blossoms one single rose at a time throughout the summer. The rose smells very sweet. But it isn’t one of Shelley’s ‘sensitive plants’. Unfortunately it has succeeded in killing off most of the beautiful Spanish lavender planted amongst it. Along the same side as the sucker field under the old privet hedge we discovered a bottomless narrow opening (too small for a human and too big for an animal). Beneath the best and largest apple tree on the other side is a square of grass distinctly marked by 4 long mossy stones sunk into the earth. When one steps into the square the earth inside sags like an old roof and is much spongier and weaker than anywhere else around it. What unknown caryatids stand in this upright grave? Too tired to carry the load anymore.

Baynes liked to think of himself as a ‘nursery man’. His father Helton Baynes had been a timber merchant and a devout Puritan in the “Home Counties”. He suffered from agoraphobia. Actually Baynes Senior chose the house we are living in, a good solid house until this day. The garden is an old orchard. We still have plums and apples from it as they did when Baynes and family lived here. Baynes wasn’t really a naturalist, although his whole theory of the schizophrenic personality relies on a wrong analogy of grafting. Grafts are the artificial means of propagating plant merchandise - by attaching the desired plant (scion) to a crude but vigorous root stock. This is the common old procedure especially for roses and ornamental trees such as the contorted hazel and for fruit trees. The enemy of the nursery man says Baynes is the ‘sucker’. A wild growth coming up out of the old root stock. One has to be brutal as a plant businessman and rip it out at the source. Baynes mixes up these suckers and other naturally occurring suckers of certain types of shrubs and trees. “The all too familiar suckers in the rose-garden are the attempt of nature to counteract too much culture by a reversion to type.” (H. G. Baynes, Mythology of the Soul A Research into the Unconscious from Schizophrenic Dreams and Drawings, London, 1940, p. 400) Our orchard is full of plum and rose suckers - merely identical seedlings of the original. Baynes describes that archaic ‘shadow’ underneath the civilized personality as the ‘sucker’, sapping the strength of the persona or ‘mask’.
The sucker is the ‘reversion to type’, essentially different or even ‘horrific’.
“The sucker is the ‘shadow’ of the rose” writes Baynes on page 400. Maybe the memory of the Nijinsky ballet Le Spectre de la Rose winged through his mind as he wrote this one and only axiom of his homegrown vampire botany. In Baynes-Jungian terms the ‘shadow’ is the archaic or psychotic will feeding on and eventually devouring the civilized persona.

Baynes’ thinking is based on simple muscular reflexes. He cannot think genetically of unforeseeable morphologies. He thinks instinct is always to be trusted. His vampire science does not apply when the ‘graft hybrids’ of two genetically dissimilar tissues occur in the cells genetically and spontaneously as in the case of plant ‘chimera’ or animal ‘mosaics’ (also called mutations).
There is no type to which such a mutation can revert.
Nature doesn’t look back. The unnatural doesn’t either. Mutations are the only hope against deadlocks in the natural or unnatural world. A vampire is never so instinctually hermetic that it won’t eventually generate its own genetically superior vampire-chimera with new undying instincts.

Of course, I often fall asleep at my table during the day and when one is asleep is when the vampires come and suck on you but only at night.
I prefer to think we are our own vampire like Baudelaire’s “Le Vampire” - even if delivered of the curse we would go on resuscitating the cadaver of our own chimera with our own ‘kiss of life’.

The orchard is a green vampire.
The oldest apple tree in the orchard seems to have gone to sleep for good. The dynasty withers tree by tree. The old apple tree is a mysterious skeleton covered by phosphorescent scale - still beguiling maybe more. The dark carcass sparkles indefinitely. The mood is insatiable. We have had to plant many other plants since coming to this orchard, the more plants we put in this earth the less rooted we become.

Unscientific Postscript

Baynes made his pilgrimage to Berchtesgaden some time in the thirties – viewing the endlessly frenzied building site of Obersalzberg at firsthand, Hitler’s personal mountain kingdom.  He may have even been privileged to have had a personal tour of Hitler’s teahouse “Adlerhorst” in the mountains – Baynes refers to the “Eagle’s Eyrie on the summit of the Obersalzberg” in his book entitled Germany Possessed.  “He is proud to show this place and to receive his distinguished diplomatic visitors there.” (H.G. Baynes, Germany Possessed, London, 1941, p. 61)  (Baynes died in 1943.)  Hermann Rauschning, the Nazi defector, favoured his book with an introduction.  Baynes assimilates English Jungian folklore to the figure of the ‘possessed shamanistic mad Hitler’ who is said by Rauschning to regularly foam at the mouth, quake from terrifying visions, and turn purple during his fits of rage.  How could Baynes the curious Englishman resist that temptation?  I avoid reading that book as best I can – something moved me to break my own rules.  I immediately felt that it had been exerting its influence on me – even unread.  Why else would I have mentioned the teahouse in the mountains or Hitler’s excessive love of Mehlspeisen – considered an effeminate trait by Baynes?  Or Wu Wei?  Baynes in his final chapter “Factors Governing Morale” compares the British “instinctual way” with the inscrutably reserved “acting—non-acting” practised by the Chinese sages.  This he contrasts with the Jungian type ‘Wotan possession’ he predictably discovers in the German.  Legends of sleeping emperors in their lairs with their beards wrapped around the table legs  abound.       

Les Natchez

The difference between the palace and the hut is sometimes very small – the distance quite close.  The directors in Kafka’s The Castle are possessed by nostalgia for the lowliness of the villagers.  Does sovereignty have nostalgia for community?  Although Derrida considers sovereignty able to play in all keys and registers – the very high and the very low, great and small – always potent, whatever the scale – “What counts is the more, the economy of the more, (…) the smaller able to be more powerful or even larger than the largest: another logical effect of the law according to which, remember what Nietzsche says about it, the weaker can be stronger than the stronger ⎯ and that’s the whole of history.” (Jacques Derrida, The Beast and the Sovereign Volume I, (Chicago, 2009), PDF, online p. 259)

Is impotency greater than potency under certain circumstances?

Ludwig II of Bavaria often preferred the company of his servants, grooms and peasants to that of courtiers.  Perhaps he liked their company too well – as their gossip formed the damning evidence in the case for declaring him mad and deposing him.  Proust’s Monsieur de Charlus surrounded himself later on in life with apprentices, delivery boys and shop assistants who had to pretend to be vicious dissolute criminals while performing their paid acts of cruelty upon him.  They were never vicious enough for his taste. But then again, they weren’t really apaches – they were just bad actors.  Or perhaps Charlus was a bad audience of his own supplices. This nostalgia of the high for the low and abject is even visible in monumental and grandiose architecture.  The pyramid temples of the Aztecs are merely huts elevated to an enormous height on top of inordinately large step pyramids.

Two photographs are on two facing pages of a travel essay on the Mississippi which I opened at random possessed of vague thought – just glancing from one to the other, the slender columns of the portico along the front of a plantation mansion, appear to be an imitation of the white narrow trunks of a row of eucalyptus trees in front of the hut on stilts of a Bayou swamp inhabitant.  The swamp dwelling and the late 18th century plantation house are in Natchez and its surroundings.  In the 18th century Natchez was still known as the name of the Indian tribe living in that part of the Mississippi Valley.  The old Chateaubriand corrected the manuscript of his youth entitled Les Natchez – miraculously restored to him after being lost for thirty years. René, the disillusioned exiled hero, philosophizes in Rousseauist style with very wise Indians from the tribe of Natchez.     

The Thirty Tyrants

The thirty tyrants are the ones who come before the “Schluß-Tyrann” (“End-Tyrant”, Nietzsche).  The “Last Man” is a tyrant.  Call him a ‘Katechon’.  Tyrannosaurus rex.


Blumenberg in Derridaesque fashion examines the contract of substitution between humans and the divine legislator.  Human sacrifice is transformed in the cult or religion into the offering up in its stead of absolute obedience – obedience being itself a sacrifice of one’s freedom – at least in part.  Not the rule implies or dictates obedience, but the exception, which does not take place – the absent human sacrifice.  Obedience and not the rule is at the origin of law.  The waiving of the demand for human sacrifice is paid for with absolute obedience – or humans ‘reward’ the deity for desisting from this demand.  In the commandment the suspended law of human sacrifice is ever present – as the Ur-form of all law or commandments.  The Decalogue (ten commandments) is a reflexive covenant – “thou shalt not kill” – is God speaking to himself and to his creatures.  The Ten Commandments enshrine this substitution of absolute obedience for human sacrifice – for they represent the pact of absolute obedience – they must be obeyed – not for themselves but in fulfilment of the divine contract.
“The place of the offering up of human life is taken by the offering up of absolute obedience, both in the history of the patriarchs, as a prelude to the giving of the Law in the Sinai and to Paul’s concept of faith, and of the Spartan state myth.” (Hans Blumenberg, “After the Absolutism of Reality” Work on Myth, Cambridge, 1985, p. 20)

The clerico-legal exchange of sacrifice for obedience though seems to undo a view of ‘the human condition’ as work, labour or action (Arendt).  It also undermines the idealist-materialist concept of subjective sensual activity, the fabrication of self and the world in its ‘objecthood’.
The absolutely obedient subject aspires itself to ‘objecthood’ - the perfect submission of inert matter.  So is Simone Weil’s interpretation of Paul’s Christological doctrine of obedience – the imitation of Christ is at the same time the attaining of passivity resembling that of inert matter for which Christ on the cross is the model.

Obedience is a form of inaction or action with suspended will. 
Arendt ranks action, as the political sphere of human activity, higher than work.  Action differs from work in at least one sense – it is impossible to both abstain from work and work – but possible to abstain from action and act.  Seen in this light – is abstract labour – action or even labour (considered as the quintessential human praxis)?  Abstract labour is not a category of philosophical anthropology – based on ‘homo faber’.  Abstract labour is a mere derivative of the law of value – no human qualities are manifested in abstract labour.  The praxis Marx refers to in the Feuerbach Theses – the sensual activity proper to the human species – has nothing to do with abstract labour.  Nor is it a process – it is only a quantitative result, the source of value in the capitalist production process – calculable only a posteriori.  Abstract labour is a component or attribute of capital – not of the human species or species-being.  One could equally say that humans have an organ for breeding money biologically.  Or that money is one of the senses – sensible and intelligible. 
But what about the ‘defeatist object’ – the one that falls apart – is that also obedience?  In essence there is no such thing as an inert mass.
But besides that, Weil’s claim that inert matter is a model of obedience is false – obedience cannot originate in inert matter – without resisting, it obeys nothing - resists any use.  If used, then without its own obedience.  Obedience can only be of a willed individual or body whose will has been subjugated, formed, harnessed to the desires of another, ‘broken’ – as in the relation between “Führung und Gefolgschaft” (leaders and followers) envisioned by Heidegger in the “Self-Assertion of the German University”. The newly inaugurated rector Heidegger is the “geistige Führung” (spiritual leader), student and teacher bodies are the followers (Gefolgschaft).  Together they form what in Heidegger’s formula of Sein und Zeit he calls the “kämpfende Nachfolge” (militant discipleship).  No rupture occurs between Dasein’s militancy/politics in the world as such – the foundation of militancy/politics itself – and Dasein’s militancy as ‘scientific Da-sein’ in the German university of 1933.

Although this relation of obedience of “Führung und Gefolgschaft” is reflexive and conditioned in a manifold sense – it is in particular ‘grounded’ in the essence of the German university.  But beyond that and immanent thereto – this essence can not achieve clarity, rank and power if the leader is also not himself led by the unrelenting spiritual “Auftrag” (task, mission, order) forced by the fate of the German people in the stamp (Gepräge) of its history.  The energy, which this body would have expended (wasted) for its own desires, must be redirected or transformed into the obedience/will for another who could also be the self.
Obedience then is a kind of ‘decision’ not to ‘decide’ for ‘oneself’ but for the other to whom one has leased one’s will.  In Derrida’s complicated world/matrix of substitution of self and absolute other – such heteronomy underlies the structure of any decision.  There is in essence no ‘free’ decision – just as there is no autonomous subject.  Hence obedience constitutes the structure of the decision – or the decision is the suspended norm of obedience.  As he writes in The Politics of Friendship – in spirit and tone not far from Blumenberg’s idea of absolute obedience: 
“But should one imagine, for all that, a ‘passive’ decision, as it were, without freedom (...) it signifies in me the other who decides and rends.  The passive decision, condition of the event, is always in me, structurally, another event, a rending decision as the decision of the other.  Of the absolute other in me, the other as the absolute that decides on me in me.” (Jacques Derrida, The Politics of Friendship, London/New York, 2005, p. 68)
Using friendship or even love as a model, Derrida smuggles in a radical form of ‘voluntary servitude’ or unrelenting obedience to the ‘other in me’ under the guise/cloak of the ‘decision’.  The ‘warmth’ of love (though not sex) – its ancient reputation of having the nature of turning the lover into what he loves – softens Derrida’s defence of absolute obedience to the norm i.e. law.  ‘I’ do not obey the law; ‘I’ become the law, which obeys itself in me.  Oddly, this is also a model of absolute thus solipsistic dictatorship.
Although he is reflecting Schmitt’s friend/enemy distinction as the origin of ‘the political’ and ‘sovereignty’ – the ‘self-asserted’ obedience at work in the ‘passive decision’ is closest to Heidegger’s Auftrag (mission) of the “Rektoratsrede” – the ‘passive decision’ of the other in me is comparable to Being (equals History/Fate) giving of itself in me to itself as the ubiquitous or absolute other in me.  Such a non-decision undermines Schmitt’s more ‘classic’ (juridical) notion of sovereignty. 
(Although how exactly Derrida’s theories of radical and absolute alterity sit inside Heidegger’s “Being-With” (Mitsein) which allows for no kind of alterity – is still something of a trade secret.)

The subject is only the passive (inert) terrain where these ‘gift’ transactions or transfusions of Being with itself take place.

Like Heidegger, Derrida attempts to present absolute submissiveness (to the norm) or loss of self as some sort of higher form of rebellion:  “Absolutely singular in principle, according to its most traditional concept, the decision is not only always exceptional, it makes an exception for/of me.  In me.  I decide, I make up my mind in all sovereignty – this would mean: the other than myself, the me as other and other than myself, he makes or I make an exception of the same.  This normal exception, the supposed norm of all decision, exonerates from no responsibility.  Responsible for myself before the other, I am first of all and also responsible for the other before the other.  This heteronomy, which is undoubtedly rebellious against the decisionist conception of sovereignty or of the exception (Schmitt), does not contradict it; it opens autonomy on to itself, (…).  It matches the decision to the gift, if there is one, as the other’s gift.” (The Politics of Friendship, ibid., pp. 68-69)  The ‘gift’ in any case is only Being’s gift to itself in me qua other.   

Obedience is a form of hypnosis.  The university gathers this transcendent forcing (forcage) in itself as its self-asserted dwelling.  

At this very moment of the public ‘suturing’ of Heidegger’s “fundamental ontology” to Nazism in the “Rektoratsrede” – Heidegger asks at the beginning of his speech if Dasein is ready to bear the stamp of the German fate?  Or even more tenuous – does the essence of the German university have the “strength to stamp our being (Dasein)”?  He is not in doubt – but only if the “body of student and teachers” truly will this essence.  Dasein requires a supplement of sorts – the true willing of an essence outside of Dasein – in the German university.  But why does he pose such a question?  And then presume to answer it?  Is it because Dasein is actually not an entity infused ‘naturally’ with the impulses of ‘struggle’, will or power? Is Heidegger summoning Dasein in his words, magically calling it to be prepared for its ‘spiritual mission’?

But Dasein is mutating in keeping with the greatness of the beginning or “Aufbruch” Heidegger seeks to manifest, expose (enact) and create in his Rektoratsrede.  Significantly Lacoue-Labarthe sees this ‘beginning’ also as the moment in which the fundamental ontology ‘collapses’ and fails. (“Transcendence Ends in Politics”, ibid., p. 297)  But this inaugural speech taking place in the first year of the Nazi reign is especially precious for Heidegger – because it is a ‘beginning’.  The beginnings are always with us he says in Beiträge zur Philosophie (Vom Ereignis).  More than endings?  In the Rektoratsrede Heidegger asserts a most vehement beginning not just for the university and its bodies – but for Dasein überhaupt.  “Only if we again place ourselves under the power of the beginning of our spiritual-historical being (Dasein).” (“The Self-Assertion of the German University”, ibid. p.  471)  In keeping with Heidegger’s idiosyncratic and absurd identification of the German people with the ancient Greeks – this beginning (Aufbruch) is not the Nazi Machtergreifung – but the bursting forth (Aufbruch) of Greek philosophy.  Emmanuel Faye speaks thus of the absolute identity in Heidegger’s ‘world’ of metaphysics (Greek philosophy) and the calendar of Nazism. 

The state, for Heidegger although ‘total’ and ‘essential’ recedes behind what really counts for him – self-assertion of Dasein.  “Das Wesentliche des Daseins ist Selbstbehauptung.” (“The essential of Dasein is self-assertion.”, Heidegger, “Hegel, On the State”, winter 1934-1935, cited in  Faye, ibid., p. 392)
Self-assertion is the mode in which the ‘polis’, the body of self-assertion protects itself – meaning the historical existence of a people, a clan, a stock.  This act of self-assertion is one of survival, self-preservation of the enclosure – “enclosing wall, house, earth, gods.”  Starting from the polis Heidegger ends irresistibly in the pre-state reproductive oikos – the greater womblike hearth of the clan.  “It is from this starting point”, he says, “that the essence of the political is to be grasped.” (Faye, ibid., p. 237)  
Metaphysics is ‘overcome’ and made real (realised) in the historical moment of the German people – in its spiritual-historical mission; though – only when it places itself under the auspices of its ‘Greek’ beginning.  The beginning is – and all there isis the beginning.  For Heidegger in effect there is never anything but a beginning – the beginning (of Greek philosophy) and of the other uncertain beginning of the German struggle, its “danger”, its spiritual-historical essence in its State – the inauguration of the Nazi period.  As he will also say in Introduction to Metaphysics – the beginning is what is greatest.  It is also a beginning, which is waiting in the future – it has ‘invaded’ the future, ‘we’ (the German university and people) have to catch up with it – live up to its greatness.  In a backwards-looking prophetic rhetoric – Heidegger predicts a return to a beginning of the Third Reich – to a beginning, which had only just begun. And yet he compares the situation of the German university to a preparation for battle – as if the outcome were not yet known – but whatever it will be, it cannot be left to chance:  “We choose the knowing battle of those who question and profess with Carl von Clausewitz: “I take leave of the frivolous hope of salvation by the hand of accident.” (“The Self-Assertion of the German University”, ibid., p. 479)  Such calculating hubris to assume that any enterprise could succeed without the graces of Fortuna, Tyche or kairos is neither Greek nor Roman, but descends from Amalek.

In the concept of history Heidegger presents in his Rektoratsrede – the history of the historical-spiritual German Volk – the only future he envisions is the repetition of a beginning.  He can see neither a beyond nor an ‘exit strategy’ from this fateful beginning.
The beginning of Greek or western philosophy and the beginning of the Third Reich are one and the same, according to Heidegger – it is one beginning which prolongs itself incessantly.  In this extended indefinitely elastic beginning western man who is the same as German man – stands up to the “totality of what is”. 
At the very point in his speech when one would expect the eruption of vita activa – Heidegger seems to retreat adeptly not ‘under the shadow of his sword’ but into the shelter of Greek vita contemplativa qua activa.  Here as in the speech as a whole – a fungibility of philosophy and the still unnamed historical-spiritual mission is presupposed.  

Heidegger’s emphasis on the beginning in his inaugural speech – also a beginning – shows that his speech is not ‘political’ in a sense of being external to his philosophy – but that his concept of the political ‘bursting forth’ of the Nazi entity is in a strict sense determined/filtered by his philosophy.  Heidegger gives Nazism the best place in his philosophy – the place of the beginning.
Heidegger’s perspective is always the origin, the beginning – this is how he distinguished himself from Cassirer in Davos 1929 – Cassirer having the perspective of progressive liberation through symbolic forms (science, language, myth), lacked a clear ‘terminus a quo’ or starting point.  For Heidegger the starting point is the concern of his whole philosophy.
Herkunft ist Zukunft (the origin is the future).  Terminus a quo.  In the beginning is Being.
“My position is the reverse: The terminus a quo is my central problematic, the one I develop.  For me this occurs not in the whole of Philosophy of Culture, but in the question of τι το ον, or rather: what in general is called Being?” ( “Davos”, 202/GA 3, 288 cited in Vida Pavesich, “Hans Blumenberg’s Philosophical Anthropology After Heidegger and Cassirer”, Journal of the History of Philosophy, vol. 46, no. 3 (2008) 421-448), p. 423) 

Arendt rescued this idea of beginning for her general theory of action governed by her concept of ‘natality’ – every action is a birth, something begins – action gives birth to itself as action.  But a birth or beginning of what?  Only more action.  Certainly not inaction?  Such a beginning would only push itself up against a wall of itself.  What about the finish?  Jean-Luc Nancy commented in a seminar on “Sovereignty and Finitude” at Birkbeck in London in 2005, that Hitler was a ‘finish’.  Does he mean “finish” in the sense of model or type?  The model comes at the end – it is not originary.  It is not an ancestor/origin – an antediluvian beginning from which exemplars descend.  Hitler was the “finish” as a model, which in its completeness exhausts its own series of one.  The Führer-mule.  A finish in the form of an ‘un-birthing’.  For Nancy he was a ‘finish’, whereas for Heidegger he was a beginning.  Was Hitler the ‘finish’ of Heidegger’s philosophy?
Nancy is ever concerned with finitude – as opposed to beginnings …  If Hitler is a ‘finish’ – then without him something would have been missing? 
Although somewhat paradoxically - the urge or trajectory of such thought is from finitude to infinitude – the move from the economic to the ‘political’ mimics a progression or ‘opening’ of finitude to infinitude.  The political is prima philosophia in this kind of philosophy of finitude – in its being the finite vehicle of infinitude – in itself metaphysical or a ‘sensual-supernatural thing’ (sinnlich-übersinnlich), just as the commodity is for Marx.  Why does ‘the political’ enjoy such a privileged status for Nancy?  Is it not because that this is the rank Heidegger granted it in that era of ‘the beginning’? 

In his lecture course of the winter 1933-34 as the militant “Rektor-Führer” he presents “the urgent task of our era” as the restoring of politics to its proper rank in Being above all others; politics is Being, the highest – self-assertion is the mode of Dasein, but politics is the mode of Sein. “(…) teaching to see it (politics) once again as the fundamental character of the philosophizing man in history, and as that being (Sein) in which the state develops, so that it (politics) can truly be called the mode of being of a people.” (“On the Essence and Concepts of Nature, History, and State”, cited in Faye, ibid., p 117)  “Politics” (Politik) as Being (Sein) fuses, ‘gathers’ or reigns over the finitude of “philosophizing man” and the infinitude of Being qua state – but only in the becoming of the Nazi Führer-state as the mode of being (Seinsart) of the German Volk.
Hitler puts the finishing touches on Nancy’s concept of sovereignty.  To finish means to have an orgasm.  Does Nancy ‘finish’ with Hitler? “(On peut dire le sens fini, à la condition de penser que finir c’est jouir.)” [“(We can say the finite sense, on the condition of thinking that finishing is delighting.”) Jean-Luc Nancy, Corpus, New York, 2008, pp. 118-119].

But there also has to be a will to this finitude or finishing.  It is quite the opposite of deferring or deferment.  The finish is that which is contingent (free) and necessary at the same time.  Can one ‘decide’ to finish more or less than one can ‘decide’ to begin?
Without the will to finitude it would be impossible to complete any work.   The concept of finishing loses its meaning without the will to finitude.  A thing (object) cannot exist without finitude – or is there an infinite thing?  A situation which is infinite – every situation is according to Badiou – is far less than a situation which is finite.  If all possibilities are included, none are – because all possibilities include also the negation of all possibilities.  A finite number of possibilities is the precondition for any one possibility.  The artistic work is possessed by a will to finitude – to see itself completed – at the same time it is the will to deplete or defeat the artist.

Some Provisional Axioms of ‘The Political’

Axiom 1: Political Ontology since Heidegger is a Nazi science – because first in Heidegger’s Nazism being and the (thought of the) political have become one.
Axiom 1a: Political Ontology is the situation (site) of the fusion of Sein (Being) und Politik (politics); where Nazi Sein and the political are joined.
Axiom 1b: Political Ontology is not a teaching.  It is an action of Being.
Axiom 1c:  Since Heidegger Political Ontology is Nazism’s mask, surrogate (straw man) and discreet account for the forbidden (as in a Swiss bank) – because since Heidegger Politics and Being (Metaphysics) are One.
Axiom 1d: In Political Ontology Nazism hides in the open.
Axiom 1e: In Political Ontology Nazism is always ready-to-hand (even when it is broken).
Axiom 1f: Political Ontology is Nazism’s readiness-to-hand.
Axiom 1g:  In Political Ontology (the category of political being) Nazism is indifferent to itself, disinterested in itself.  Its relation to itself is adiaphoric.

Dasein of Mass

Axiom 2:  In Heidegger’s ontology the mass mistakes/misjudges (verkennt) itself as chosen originary Dasein – that asserts its value/validity prior to any thought.   
Axiom 2a: The mass engages in a self-deluding critique of ‘massification’ – each time it succumbs to the hollowness of “mine”.  It splits itself off from itself as mass to be ‘reborn’ as Dasein/Sein/Existenz – where it seeks refuge from itself.  Greater than the hollowness of “mine” is the hollowness of “ours”.
Axiom 2.a.1.  The massness of Heidegger is reflected in the semblance of indispensability crowning his philosophy as if with a halo – its popularity is the circumscribed mass itself, applauding itself within its limits.
Axiom 2.a.2  The secret (Heidegger) is to speak of the mass without ever naming it – Jemeinigkeit (“In Each Case Mine”). 
Axiom 2b:  Dasein is the annihilated/maimed subject metamorphosed into its generic deformation.  Thus for Badiou the generic and his theory of the subject are so tightly allied to his ontology.  Here he continues the Heidegger program.  Dasein or the generic is a particle bereft of force.  How should the congregation of these voided particles in the mass engender a new force (multitude)?  Homo sacer is the legalist-biologistic template of the same voided construct Dasein – so-called ‘nullity’.     
Axiom 2c:  Ontology is the return of idealism, of identity philosophy under the guise of a hypostatized generic existence, of the reified singular.
Axiom 3:  Any system based on an average or norm can hardly be said to be dynamic – it constantly aims to rest at a plateau – the average or norm.  Its irresistible striving is to move from unrest to rest – more a dialectic of stagnation than a dynamic tendency.
Axiom 4:  The essence of hope is not hopeful in the sense of Heidegger’s assertion about technology – its essence is not technological.  One could extend this formula indefinitely.  All it indicates is that a thing or its quiddity, its essence cannot be a linguistic property of itself.
Although a contrary view is that of Novalis, who says, the performance of mathematics must be mathematical.  If not – a dubious hiatus arises between form and content.

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