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Have you Heideggerians done your meditating?

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It is my opinion that Heidegger, inspired by contact with the Eastern world and his own experience with nature, was a deep meditater. Indeed, I think any phenomenologist will miss the boat entirely unless they are thoroughly trained in meditation. Meditation allows you to fall into the thoughtless they-self without forgetting about the experience. This is the difference between a trained phenomenologist and a layman. Both are equally prone to falling into the they-self, but the phenomenologist expects it and is ready for it. The layman does not “wake up” or “return” to consciousness and then ponder about the time lost. The layman will not exercise the metacognition necessary for noting his return from the they-self, he will simply think a thought and then return to his absorption in the world. The phenomenologist however will not just return from his fall, but realize that he has “found himself”. The layman is never aware of his lostness in the way the phenomenologist is.

Read more here.

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4 Comments

  1. Kleiner says:

    Sorry I have not commented on the recent Heidegger posts! Too much on my plate right now.

    I think this blogger makes a good overall point. I have often remarked that there is a tendency to over-read authenticity in Heidegger, which I think leads to some of the more esoteric readings. And I think he is spot on with the task of phenomenology and the need to think in certain way (call it “meditation” if you like) in order for phenomenology to really fulfill its task).

    My only gripe: I am one who thinks the Eastern connection and influence gets overstated. It is not like there are no meditative practices and traditions in the West.

    His cautionary note (do more meditation rather than just reading the master) is not just for Heidegger. With all great thinkers it is easy to fall into thinking about them instead of thinking with them.

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  2. Sandi says:

    Yes I have.

    Meditative, contemplative, and integrative study seems to be the only way to even understand his writings.

    Also, while Heidegger tends to thickly interpret his subjects, he never claims to be authentic and openly specifies that his works should not be interpreted or set appart as a branch of thought, often redirecting his audience back to his sources throughout his writing.

    I admire Heidegger most for, in my opinion, having cast a truer light on what had already been thought and articulated anciently.

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    • Kleiner says:

      I always think of a remark by one of my professors at Boston College. He told us “Heidegger has made it possible to read the Greeks again”. That is really quite a claim, but it is what Sandi is saying too. Heidegger’s whole task is to get behind the branches of thought and systems in order to get back to the original questions of the thinkers he is reflecting on. In this sense, as Sandi says, he redirects us back to his sources but puts us to those sources with a newness that is often not possible when we are so laden with “schools of thought”.
      Perhaps I have learned more from Heidegger on this than anything else. This has been most influential for me in my reading of Aquinas. Heidegger’s approach helped me “get behind” ThomISM to Thomas.

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  3. Sandi says:

    Well said, Kleiner. His method is his real legacy.

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