Archive for September, 2020

Interpreting Beyng

Sep 20 2020 Published by under Uncategorized

In Heidegger’s Contributions to Philosophy: from Ereignis the Guiding Question is about Being; The Basic Question is about Beyng the source of clearing-concealing that is lost in oblivion, i.e. not raised as a question within the tradition except by Heidegger, so he says.

Two key points. Beyng is what you get when you question Ontological Difference as the primary assumption of Fundamental Ontology which Heidegger did and which no one in the French reception of Heidegger’s work in Being and Time did question which is amazing when you think about it as they were questioning everything else. The other point is that Beyng is onefold, strange and unique. In Beyng all the meta-levels of Being are mixed together and there is no difference between Beyng and being unlike Being which is different from beings.

This debate is playing out on the Continental Philosophy discord server. See

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I agree that Being is equal to the clearing within which beings appear as present. Being is the presencing itself that makes the clearing in which beings appear. But Beyng is something deeper that is only realized once you get rid of Ontological Difference between Being and beings, i.e. that there is a source of both the clearing and concealing. And to have that you must reprioritize Lethia over Alethia because that source is utterly hidden in oblivion, Being is forgotten but Beyng is lost in Oblivion. Being is striated, i.e. there are different kinds of Being (present-at-hand, ready-to-hand) but Beyng is unstriated, in it there is no difference between kinds of Being, but also no difference between Being and beings. It is onefold, unique and strange. Onefold because all its differences are internal, like topological differences in exotic topologies. It is strange because it cannot be differentiated from beings. When we see beings with this topology they are weird and uncanny. You can have a being that specifically embodies Beyng. It is unique because it is a specific exotic topological surface and not Chaos. Differences here are like internal differences in Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition. I also relate it to Barad’s Meeting the Universe Halfway. These are differences of diffraction not reflection such as you get between the different kinds of Being. See Barad, Karen M. Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning. Durham: Duke University Press, 2007.

Being cannot be the same as Beyng because Heidegger differentiates them. If they are the same then Contributions makes no sense because there is no difference then between the Guiding Question and the Basic Question.

  • Places where he talks about Ontological Difference: 197, 335, 367, 368, 369
  • places where he talks about Basic Question: 61, 161, 183, 184, 360
  • Places where he talks about the Guiding Question: 61, 162, 183, 184, 248

The analogy I thought of was that Beyng is like the Forest, while Being is like the clearing in the forest. The Forest as a whole obscures a lot of things within it. But it has some clearings that are open so that things in them can be transparently present to each other. Things entering the clearing and leaving it participate in clearing-concealing which is made possible by the fact that the forest is there surrounding the clearing. Mostly we look at the things in the clearing and do not think about the fact that this clearing is making possible our seeing the things in the open of that clearing. The clearing itself is forgotten as is Being. But we are oblivious to the Forest as a whole that makes the clearing-concealing process possible. Beyng is the origin of the clearing and thus makes the clearing-concealing possible. Given any particular clearing in the forest there is Being which is the openness of that particular clearing. But the entire forest with all its obscurity and all its other clearings that it supports are Beyng which is lost in oblivion, not just forgotten. As oblivion Beyng is closest to us and invades us rather than receding from us. Beyng is unstriated while Being is striated, in other words Being has meta-levels while Beyng does not and Beyng cannot even be isolated by ontological difference from the beings in the clearing as Being can. You literally cannot tell the forest apart from the trees in Beyng. But for Being there is a clear distinction between the edge of the forest and the things within the clearing. An example of a living organism where the tree and the forest are the same thing.

Details of Argument at one place where Heidegger mentions Ontological Difference in Contributions.
Excerpt from Heidegger’s Contributions section 107 page 197.
“And in this way the character of the guiding question is reflected in the distinction between metaphysica generalis and metaphysica specialis. In the guiding question, a possible coupling of metaphysica generalis and metaphysica specialis is no longer an issue at all, since they are indeed coupled in the way just named, a way that is very external to beings and afortiori external to beyng. Utterly groundless pseudo-questions arise here as long as the unrecognized basis of the guiding question and the distinction between the two disciplines are from the start taken to be self-evident.”
1) “The confusion increases altogether if a solution to the question is sought with the help of the “ontological” difference developed in fundamental ontology.”
2) “For this “difference” is indeed not a way of approach to the guiding question; it aims instead at a leap into the basic question.”
3a) “And it does so not in order to play vaguely with henceforth fixed terms (beings and being) but, rather, in order to go back to the question of the truth of the essential occurrence of beyng”…
3b) “and thus to grasp in a different way the relation between beyng and beings,” …
3c) “especially since also the interpretation of beings as such is transformed (sheltering of the truth of the event)”… 3d) “and it becomes impossible to unwarily smuggle “beings” in as “represented objects,” “things objectively present in themselves,” or the like.”
1) The confusion is between the two questions guiding and basic. by applying “ontological difference” as is done in Being and Time as Fundamental Ontology. Why is this? because there is a deeper difference between Being and Beying not recognized in Being and Time. It makes no sense to say the ontological difference between Being and beings on the one hand and Beyng and beyngs on the other. That would mean there are two differences stacked on top of each other. The first difference is between beings and the clearing that they are in by which they are present to each other which is normally forgotten because the openness is a background to the appearance of everything. The second difference is between the clearing in which disclosure happens and the prior closure that is necessary for that disclosure to appear. That prior closure makes possible the clearing-concealing dynamic that happens in the open clearing in which beings appear. In the deeper difference between the whole forest and the clearings within the forest all the other kinds of Being (present-at-hand, ready-to-hand, and being crossed out or what ever meta-levels of Being might exist all collapse together and cannot be distinguished from each other or from the beings in the clearing or in the concealing.
2) The deeper “difference” is not the way to approach the guiding question, instead we need to jump to the basic question which is about what gives rise to both clearing and concealing that occurs in the clearing that is the openspace in the forest. We need to look at instead what gives rise to the forest with all its clearings which is lost in oblivion not merely forgotten.
3a) The fixed terms are Being and beings. instead we need to question the truth of the essential occurrence (ereignis) of BEYNG. How does the clearing-concealing of the whole forest with all its clearings come into existence prior to any one clearing in which there is a dynamic between Being (as openness of presencing) and beings (things that appear in the clearing) come about. There truth is deeper than just Alethia, but it is the meta-disclosure based on prior closure of dynamic of clearing-closure. Heidegger is stepping back a whole level from what Being and Time is concerned about and looking into where disclosure-closure as a dynamic process of truth comes from along with the showing-hiding of presence. Contributions is a much deeper philosophy than that in Being and Time. And all this was necessary to solve the problem that appeared when Heidegger tried to write Division III. He is solving two problems by going to this deeper level. He is afraid of infinite regress of kinds of Being. But he is also trying to solve the problem of the Transcendent Being being different from Immanent Being as seen in relation to Dasein in the part of Being and Time we have. When we step back to this deeper level Being in itself as the transcendent and the Immanent Being of Phenomenology can actually be the same thing belonging together at this deeper level.
3b) here we can then talk about the relation between Beyng and beings. We can say that Beying is onefold, strange and unique. That there is no striation in Beyng, no meta-levels, in that way it is like existence. No difference between Beyng and beings. No difference between Being in itself and Being as immanent projection of dasein of the world it finds itself in. But the problem with it is that it is relatively impossible to think about. However, Heidegger finds a lot to say about it. And that is because he thinks there are two beginnings. There is a beginning of Metaphysics that projects Being and its difference with beings, for instance in Parmenides. But there is another beginning in which this difference is not projected and the problem of Transcendence does not exist. This move is almost exactly like the one that found dasein prior to the distinction between subject and object. Here we are talking about a state of Beyng that is prior to the distinction between Being and beings.
3c) The interpretation of beings are themselves different in relation to Beyng as opposed to Being. There is now a sheltering of truth of the event (ereignis). Sheltering because Beying itself is lost in oblivion and is closed to our inspection. Like the Earth in relation to the World in the Origin of the Work of Art. It is a meta-disclosure so there is a truth to it like Alethia but at the meta-level where it is the process of clearing-concealing itself which is either disclosed or closed. But at this level the showing-hiding of presence and the disclosure-closure of truth have collapsed together. These aspects of Being are different at the level of the guiding question. But at the level of the basic question they appear to have become the same thing. It could be that identity and reality the two other aspects have collapsed together as well. It is very unclear what the nature of Beyng might actually be because it is intrinsically obscure.
3d) beings are transformed by having Beyng permeate and pervade them and by not having the contrasts of the various striations of Being. Like I said it is like the trees of the Pando forest. Every tree is intrinsically part of the forest and not a separate individual all of them connected through the roots. It is like interpenetration or intra-inclusion theories of existence you get in Hua Yen Buddhism of Fa Tsang. But instead of being translucently the same they are the same in some obscure way through the underside of the underneath of Being which is Beyng that is like the Earth in relation to the World which is based on the transcendence of Being that appears in relation to the immanent phenomenological experience of Dasein. Dasein seems unaffected somehow by this transformation. Heidegger maintains the concept of Dasein as central, but now it is experiencing ereignis a much deeper unfolding of experience at the level of Beyng rather than Being.
It is not that Beyng is not the clearing/concealing because Beyng gives rise to the possibility of the difference between Being and beings seen in the Guiding question. But when we graduate to the Basic question then we realize that the Guiding question was a bit superficial because we did not ask where the whole dynamic of clearing-concealing came from, what was its source. It is pretty amazing that Heidegger went on to develop this much deeper philosophy beyond Fundamental Ontology by questioning ontological difference. And my guess it was because he was afraid of what he thought was an infinite regress in the meta-levels of Being, which turns out not to the the case. But primarily it was because he had to find a level where Being in itself as utterly transcendent was no different from the Immanent projections of Being by Dasein which it finds itself within that were assumed to be the case by Hume and Kant and taken over as an assumption in Being and Time by Heidegger.

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