Saturday, 9 January 2010

Heidegger and Hindu hermeneutics

Western hermeneutics has its origin in the interpretation of oracles and prophesies as well as the elaboration of a universal legal code.
In other words it's fucked in the head and doomed to fail.
Central to this project was the notion of a specifically rationalist Univocity of Being transparently immanent in a Teleological Historicism.
Thus, Relativism and Palingnesia represent a scandal- 'a stumbling block'- of an unprecedented kind for Western thought.
While Europe enjoyed World mastery- relativism could be subsumed under the notion of a hierarchy of Development with the Europeans at the top.
The First World War changed all that. Europe became provincial. Clio, the muse of History, turned out to be a flighty piece. History was no longer what was made in Europe, rather Europe had become History's Twilight home. The owl of Minerva had taken flight with a vengeance.
This did not mean that German professors quit their ambition to be the silliest creatures in Creation and so, with Heidegger, the 'hermeneutic circle', the practice of interpretation, is given a new horizon- that of explicating Being itself in a manner that could be described as caring for Being- becoming, so to speak, its shepherd.
This was at a period where the proposal for a Logic without Ontology, a Scientific Method which simply relegated Metaphysics to the realm of nonsense, appeared utterly compelling.
But there was a further factor at work. A deep disappointment with History itself. Neither the Whig interpretation of History, nor the Germanic telos of Geist, could explain the fact starring everyone in the face-viz. Europe had been eclipsed. The future belonged to vast barbaric nations who had no need for a National 'Bildungsburgertum'- a bourgeoisie of education defined by and dedicated to a (Chauvinist) Spiritualised conception of Culture- rather, the Americans stressed 'know-how', neutral with respect to class, creed or even colour, while the Soviets went a step further dedicating themselves to the Electrification of village communes so as to permit the 'withering away of the State'- the ultimate heresy for not just the Hegelian but even the Weberian. (The nonsense that the State ever had, or can ever have, the monopoly of legitimate violence or coercion is Weberian).
This was a barbarism because it was History without heroes, Technology kicking Poetry to the curb, vast mass movements indifferent to the Passion of both Christ and Kaiser. Not only would modern life no longer have a vantage point from which it could be judged (Weber's complaint) but Being itself, crouched outside the Professors' hermeneutic circle, had turned savage and hostile.
The repair of History, the ransoming of Time- not by the method of Kabbalahistic Tikkun, or the glass bead game of manipulating the Lullian zairja, nor by Rilke's angels or some Madchen's abortions- now hinged on befriending Being, or at least appearing to have done so, for Platonic 'participation' was now a property of the mobs and the masses.
Heidegger, at least, was consistent. He hailed Hitler as the prayed for Hero, genuflected to Holderlin and quietly wrote crap for the rest of his days. He was no fool. At least he spotted that Celan was mentally ill. He didn't do anything about it, of course. Still- the guy wasn't stupid.

It is only in the last thirty years that disciples of Gadamer have started vomiting on Indian hermeneutics. No question, they are smarter and less shite than Lacanian vomitasters and a million times better than our own J.N.U shitheads- still, it might be worth thinking a little about how Heidi could fuck up Hinduism and who might want to aid and abet the process.
Bottom line- Gadamerian hermeneutics is fucked in the head coz only stupid people are attracted to the arrant nonsense of the Phenomenological project (the thing is as dead as Ptolemy) and stupid people say stupid things even about interesting texts.
In any case, they can't do apoorvata- not they aren't saying new stuff, it's just they don't understand the old stuff, so it's like randomly new.
Could you have a meaningful phenomenology- i.e. with apoorvata? No, for the same reason that you can't have a structuralism that says anything interesting. That, at any rate is what is indicated not merely empirically but by 'practical reason'.


Sanjay K said...

Everybody, according to you 'is fucked in the head.'
Heidegger is highly relevant to Indian thought- Hindu, Buddhist or Jain.
The nature of 'Sat'- Being- is the question at the heart of Indian thought.
Heidegger's notion of alethia (Truth) as 'unhiddeness'- that which lies at the inception of metaphysics but which metaphysics covers up and hides- restores 'darsana' (a word that covers both philosophy and the insight of the seer) to its primary role and rescues it from arid scholasticism.
There is no historicism in Heidegger. On the contrary, his project restores the holistic nature of primordial thought by divorcing it from the instrumentalities of Technology and Politics.
This is a foolish post which reveals an impartial ignorance of both Heidegger and Hindu thought.

windwheel said...

Hermeneutics is about reading stuff which matters in a way which makes that stuff matter more- it aint about trying to shit higher than your arsehole (Wittgenstein).

No point close reading oracles and prophesies- coz. they are crap. Garbage in garbage out. Just publish your new book on Nostradamus and how he predicted that Simpsons Seasons XX would be crap or whatever.

Now there is a point to close reading Law books- it's what lawyers do- even though all Law books are pretty crap if you think about it for a few minutes.

But Laws we must always have with us- and the pretense that interpretation aint revolution.

Still, that's the story about apoorvata. Heidi draws attention to what is lost when the pre-thought, or pre-meaning, is barbarously hacked about by its linguistic expression. What he isn't doing is showing how even that pre-thought, pre-meaning, was (so to speak) the perception of one of those Jurassic park dino's that can't see you if you don't move.

No historicism in Heidi? Well, not after Normandy.

The point about reading old Indian texts is that there are some good jokes there, it is entertaining- you get to see that shitheads we have always had with us- good stuff like that.
Sure there was stuff moving around in the undergrowth that the seers didn't see coz it was moving too slow or too fast or was just too familiar. Reconstructing that stuff could be apoorvata.
But it aint what Gadamer's gadarening swine are doing.

Sanjay K said...

Heidegger may have got things wrong. As did I in my comment- okay Heidgegger was a historicist- but that isn't to say he can be dismissed in a flippant manner. Surely, his thought adds something to the way that one reads. Yours doesn't. Everything is just 'fucked in the head.'
What is the point?

windwheel said...

I'll tell you the point. Instead of spreading one's bile over hundreds of pages of gothic print- just fuckin blog- no need to write a whole fuckin Mein Kampf or 'Being and Time' or shit.
Literature is MIMETIC. And Cathartic.
We all need to go to the toilet. don't have to fuckin live there y'know.
To potty train your brain, my dear Sanjay Kaka (K does stand for Ka Ka don't it?), I have let you into my toilet to watch me relieve myself. Go thou and do likewise. But not in my face. Not where I can see.
You see, potty training aint about a profound interest in your Ka Ka- rather it is an act of charity to your constipated little soul- for, as St.Judas said, we eat together but shit alone.