Ep. 47 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - Heidegger



my notes

  • Wise cultivation of enlightenment our deepest existential response to the meaning crisis and way in which we can awaken from the meaning crisis
  • Scientific model of spirituality in discourse with the prophets of the meaning crisis
  • Prophet in the OT way: articulating the advent, to propose or promise a response
  • Heidegger played an important role in this
  • Another series he’s planning: The God beyond God
  • Background to Heidegger: Husserl, loss of contact epistemology. Wants to get contact back through reflective experiential attention paid to the structures and processes within our experience:
    • Intentional mental directedness - noesis
    • World disclosure - noema
    • Deep correlation between them
    • Perspectival knowing
  • Heiddeger criticism of this: work didn’t give back the missing contact, participatory knowing
  • Participatory knowing not set within an ontology, not set within a deeper understanding of being and how we come into contact with being, being = realness
  • Phenomenology: goal of returning to the things. But can never return to the things, locked into an idealism, what is really needing to get into being is to pay attention to the independence of being from our experience of it


  • Still within phenomenology but trying to get it towards ontology, get back in touch with the world
  • Questioning: not in the having mode, trying to get an answer but in the being mode, experienced as wonder - not questioning but questing
  • Not trying to have a propositional answer but trying to engage a participatory transformation
  • Dasein: being there
  • Paying attention, wondering into our being, questing into our being, we will get a deeper understanding of being itself
  • Our being is the being whose being is in question: we question who and what we are in a way that makes a difference to who and what we are
  • Existentialism: we are fundamentally without an essence, our essence is to have no essence, so continually defining ourselves
  • By phenomenologically exploring our that being (our dosein)m we can come into contact with our modal existence, come into being mode, come into contact with the mystery of being.
  • History of metaphysics, philosophical, existential, religious responses to dosein, the kind of being we have → history of nihilism
  • H sees that whole project as misconstrued, misframing of our relationship to being, results in loss of contact with our being. That’s the meaning crisis for H
  • For H metaphysics is a pejorative term
  • For H the ontology project = project of understanding our being, understanding our relationship to being and understanding being itself
  • By constantly being announcing deep mysteries and how difficult it is to think about them, also building a mystique around himself.
  • On the Essence of Truth:
    • “A statement is invested with it’s correctness by the openness of comportment, for only through the latter can what is opened up really become the standard for the presentative correspondence.”
    • Correctness = that statement is true
    • Openness of comportment: how you are comported towards things
    • Truth as correspondence: statement is correct when it corresponds to reality in some way
    • H saying that debate about correspondence has missed something. Missed that corresponding relationship grounded on a deeper relationship
    • “Open comportment must let itself be assigned the standard - the lower relationship is an affordance of an ability to set up correspondence between statements and reality such that we find them true”
    • In making the statement the person is directed and connected, the statement is picking up on some aspect of reality that it’s disclosed
    • “This means that it must take over a pre given standard for all presentation. This belongs to the openness of comportment.”
    • The normative standard, what we call truth, is grounded, dependant on how this deeper relationship affords and makes possible connecting the statement to reality
    • Agent and arena have to be shaped to each other so that what the agent says or makes meaningful in the arena
    • Agent arena relationship makes possible and affords this correctness. But what grounds this agenet arena relationship (V: process of relevance realization). H talks about attunement.
    • “Being attuned can never be understood as experience and feeling because it is thereby simply deprived of its essence”
    • He is rejecting subjective interpretation of attunement
    • You have lost the essence of attunement if you understand it subjectively. It is not an experience, it is something that makes meaningful experience possible.
    • Being attuned = ek-sistant - standing out, being exposed. “Exposedness to being as a whole can be experienced and felt only because the man who experiences, without being aware of the essence of attunement is always engaged in being intune in a way that discloses being as a whole”
    • Attunement is not subjective but rather subjective feeling or experience of it is grounded in the attuning relationship that precedes and grounds our cognitive appraisal or appropriation within the agent arena relationship

  • Because get locked up in the propositional level have forgotten the attunement relationship - for H it is the essence of truth. Makes correctness of statements possible for us
  • “Because of this forgetfulness man clings to what is readily available and controllable even where ultimate matters are concerned”
  • Get trapped into the having of propositions, having mode, what is readily available
  • Deep modal confusion at the deep existential level
  • Forgetting the grounding of attunement traps us with impropositional processing and traps us in the having mode, having correct propositions
  • Plato: distinction between love of wisdom (Philia sophia) and love of victory (Philia nikia)- the having of the correct answer that defeats the opponent, looks like reasoning, but really manipulating propositions, forgetting wisdom, transformative existential process
  • V criticises people as if doing wisdom but often doing the other. The people trying to just debunk, demolish and debate to the point of victory over their opponent. They can’t get out of the being mode. Can’t listen.
  • You know someone’s listening when they say “I didn’t know that, I just learned something”, Or “I was wrong, mistaken about this”.
  • Heidegger sees history of metaphysics becoming more and more bound up in Philea nikea - the pursuit of victory
  • People present themselves as doing philia sophia but really doing philea nikea
  • Cannot remember the being mode because can’t listen
  • H trying to get us to remember philia sophia

(I think this is what my project is geared at as well.)

  • H: Have to wake up. In a state of deep modal confusion and forgetfulness. Texts are Socratic, trying to undermine that cognitive cultural grammar we bring to things.
  • “Whenever the concealment of being as a whole is conceded only as a limit that occasionally announces itself, concealing as a fundamental occurrence has sunk into forgetfulness”
  • If only acknowledge way beings transcend our framing at the limit, H says when only acknowledge it as a limit you’ve forgotten it.
  • The relationship to the combinatorial explosive nature of things has to be an ongoing feature of your thinking
  • V version of this within the RR framework, in terms of sacredness - enacted, participatory resonance to the moreness, inexhaustibleness of reality

Harmon: Object-Oriented Ontology

  • Object oriented ontology - speculative realism
  • Exciting work in ontology - pay attention to the new work on ontology
  • One thread: core not the Kantian picture of the thing in itself veiled by subjectivity - making it inaccessible
  • Harmon picking up on transjective attunement makes both the subject and object possible in phenomenological experience
  • Instead of kantian thing in itself veiled - think about two things happening simultaneously :
    • The thing shining into subjectivity but interpenetrated with, withdrawing from my framing - always beyond my framing. Not in my phenomenology but contributes to the realness of my phenomenological experience
    • In virtual reality, if get sense world closed, loses its realness, but only if there’s a realness, the way in which the world withdraws from you continuously
    • As long as it withdraws as it also shines into your experience then it is real to you
    • The moreness is not something in your experience, it’s notan object of your experience. It’s a feature. The withdrawal is as much a contributor to the realness of things as they’re shining into your subjectivity
    • Profound way explicated Heidegger’s idea
  • V argues: our framing, transjective in nature, about attunements, simultaneously discloses and conceals.
  • V wants to replace the kantian term “Thing in itself” with another term: the thing beyond itself. Everything is both shining into our subjectivity and withdrawing beyond our framing of it. Interaffording. Co contribute to the realness of the object.

(but this withdrawing isn’t literal right? The thing is not literally withdrawing, it’s just that we are limited in what information we can process and therefore experience. Also, distinction between “what is real” and “what is real to me”. Not necessarily the same thing. Something can be real and yet not real to me.)

  • Can take from speculative realism this term: the thing beyond itself
  • Takes us to a new understanding of truth. How do we get an attunement that discloses things beyond themselves that a simul. Shingin into our subjectivity and also withdrawing into their objectivity where this no longer means an object of thought, it means a depth beyond our framing, an independence beyond our experience and how those are tranjectively penetrating for us in the sense of realism.
  • Heidegger’s notion of truth aletheia - deep remembering Sati, and deep disclosure, have to modally remember, have to remember the being mode, this discloses this aspect of realty. Both shining and withdrawing.
  • Attuning to the mutual disclosure, fitedness, mystery of being - attuned to things, deeply remembering things, existential memory, to be in contact with them when you’re attuned to how they are simul. appearing, shining and withdrawing

Dryfus and 4E Cog-Sci

  • Dryfus tried to formulate important aspects of 4E Cog-Sci to articulate importance of Heidegger for understanding nature of mind, consciousness
  • Dryfus Nature of the World:
    • “Facts and rules are by themselves meaninglessness, to capture what Heidegger calls meaninglessness to capture what Heidegger calls significance or involvement they must be “assigned relevance” but the predicates that must be added to define relevance are just more meaningless facts, you can’t capture it with the definition. And paradoxically the more facts the computers are given the harder it is to compute what is relevant to the current situation.:”
    • You get into combinatorial explosion if you stay at the propositional computational level and lose your ability to fit yourself to the current situation to cope with the current situation
    • Dryfus, one of the founding critics of a purely computational cartesian approach to cogn. Science, AI
    • Shouldn’t see the mind only in computational propositional terms
    • Notion of optimal grip: process doing this relevance realization, deeper than propositional knowing
  • V connecting H to the RR machinery. Framework we’ve built allows us to enter into dialogue with the prophets of the meaning crisis, in a way that insightfully discloses aspects of their own theorizing, and affords potentially synoptically integrating them together into a more comprehensive response to the meaning crisis. It’s the final part of the argument he’s making.


  • Book: The new Gnosis
  • Links Heiddegger to Corbin and Jung.
  • “A questioning that involves the questioner in the matter of thought so deeply he becomes in a sense one with it. At this point knowing is no longer divorced from being. We know the way we are, and we are the way we know. In the Platonic tradition this can be expressed in the axiom ‘like can only be known by like’.”
  • Pointing to how H bringing back neo-platonic idea of participatory knowing as a deep con-forming between you and the world
  • Dynamic coupling - reality is dynamic and you have to be dynamically coupled to it
  • Corbin: calls this participatory knowing gnosis
  • Gnosis is a “salvational redemptive knowledge because it has the virtue of bringing about the inner transformation of man. It is knowing that changes and transforms the knowing subject”.
  • Dynamical coupling, in which you know by being coupled to something, participatory knowing in so far as you are changed and your knowing of yourself and your iknowing of the object are coupled together
  • That is what you need to respond to dosein. You are the being whose being is in question and by questing into that you quest into being. Only going to get a response to that quest when you add something that simultaneously in an inter-penetrative interaffording fashion is both knowing yourself (not-autobiographical knowing, knowing the depths of your being) and knowing the world, coupled together - corbin calls this gnosis.

(but what does this really entail? How do we identify it? What is “knowing the depths of my being”? )

  • Heidegger → Dryfus → RR → non-propositional, non-computational (computation the inferential manipulation of propositions to draw out the implication relations)
  • Heidegger → Corbin → Gnosis (participatory, mutually self and world transformative kind of knowing). Redemptive, saves us. Machinery is a way of responding, awakening from the meaning crisis


  • What is this forgetfulness
  • Being mode and having mode
  • Being mode: Transformative participation in the mystery of being → Alethea:
    • Attunement - points to relevance
    • independence of being -
      • independent of the correlation between us and being - being always transcends how it is being known and being experienced by us -
      • the moreness, the withdrawal that is simultaneously with the presence of the shining. Gives things an important pole of their realness that we’ve neglected.
      • Don’t want to disconnect relevance from truth or realness. Relevance must always open to the moreness, the inexhaustiblenes of the thing beyond itself.
  • Having mode: now think of an object in terms of how it can be manipulated by us, not just physically but conceptually. Can grasp it, manipulate it, use it
  • What can happen when focus on having mode but forget the being mode - we can misunderstand in a modal sense being as a particular Being. We’ll put it to the limit, we’ll understand being as the Supreme Being, the highest Being, the highest subject, person, force, thing
  • For Heidgger this is the ultimate modal confusion, this is to turn being into a problem that can be solved by the conceptual manipulation of a propositional defined object - ie: classical theism’s traditional presentation of God
  • H is right that long standing tradition in which God understood in the having mode - supreme being, that grounds and makes all other beings. This is a fundamental mistake - Problem of onto-theology. Try to understand being ontologically in terms of a Supreme Being

(Ooof! Is he putting the concept of God at the heart of the meaning crisis here? Wow. Not sure if this is V’s view.)

  • Notes that H joins the Nazi party.