Contest Passage 4

This contest is slightly different.  I don’t think it will be hard to identify the passage, at least not for some of you.  I haven’t even bothered to change it much for the sake of google.  But I’d really like to know what it means.  So, let’s say 2 points for identifying it and the final 8 points for explaining it well.  Here goes:

Although we are thinking the essence of the Greek gods more originarily if we call them the attuning ones, we should indeed name them this way since awe and favor and brilliance of mildness belong to Being, and these are experienced poetically in aidos and charis, and thoughtfully in thaumaston and daimonion.  From this attuning and pointing light stems the brilliance of theion, the shining.

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2 Responses to Contest Passage 4

  1. Matthew Perry says:

    The source is Heidegger, “Parmenides” lectures, page 111 of the English translation.

    This is some of the more difficult Heidegger one will see. It’s not Contributions to Philosophy/Emad and Maly stuff, but it’s quite hard.

    In the context of the passage, Heidegger is trying to win us away from the typical view that the Greek God’s are divinity anthropomorphised (gods made into men) or men divinized (men made into gods).

    He says that the Greek gods are “Being itself looking into beings.” In Dreyfus talk, I would put that as “the background” is not only making things like men and equipment show up but making itself show up as the background. The background shines forth “looks through” “beings” to the Greeks. Zeus is a “man” because in a “man” Being is looking/is looked at. I suppose that Heidegger thinks this is the great thing about the pre-platonic Greeks: they still see Being in beings. They have not forgotten Being.

    The quoted passage itself seems to say that something important about the Greek Gods is that they are the “attuning ones” which I take to mean, given what I’ve said, Being as bestower of moods/attunements. Ἀφροδίτη is that which determines our erotic attunement- that on the basis of which we are erotically attuned at all. Some other attunings of beings named in the gods are χαρις & αιδος “favor” & “awe” (χαρις is translated into English from Koine Greek as “grace”, and I don’t know the German Heidegger is using, but he would clearly want to avoid the Christian connotations. Awe seems fine enough fro ‘αιδος’.), which are what the poets talk about and θαυμαστον & δαιμονιον wonderful, marvelous (I can’t find Heidegger translating θαυμαστον but LJS has it as “wonderful, marvelous” see: http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/morph?l=qaumasto/n&la=greek#lexicon) & “uncanny” (page 101), which are what the thinkers talk about.

    I mean simply put the attun-ing of Be-ing is awe inspiring and showing of favor in the poets and wonderful and uncanny in the thinkers.

    The last of it is just to say that the light of Being that is the gods is the source of their brilliance.

    Does all of that add up? It is 3:45AM.

  2. leslieglazer@comcast.net says:

    The passage is trying to shift our focus from the greeks and their gods as simply other, as something to look at from a distance, to seeing how and perhaps imagining how the greek gods were a way of speaking of how the world can speak to us in moments of poetic or aesthetic experience—they are not primarily representations of men/beings that shine in some way, but are ways of seeing and naming felt moments of attunement and their sources. The gods in other words are all around us inhabiting the world we live in, and they speak to us in our attunments– our felt ways of being in the world. most especially, they speak to us in those intense moments of love and hate, inspiration and despair, rage, pride, irrational exuberence, or prudent measuredness. They are evinced in moments of excellent practice or skill and great achievement, as well as in the fortunes and misfortunes of luck, and so on. They are there when we surpass ourselves and life exceeds expectations, as well as when we stumble, encounter obstacles, or otherwise fall short of our pride and expectations. This is where awe and the senses of grace come into play. Forces beyond us evincing awe, gifts and abundances given to us out of grace. the whole thing falling in line with heideggers challenge to calculative narrowness or willful and controling egoism.

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