Quora answer: What is the difference between the Poet and the Thinker?

Apr 08 2013

Poetic Thinker = Heidegger
Thinking Poet = Holderlin

Another similar dual:
Poetic Thinker = T.S. Elliot
Thinking Poet = Wallace Stevens

Heidegger answers that Poetry and Thinking are the Same because they “belong together” in a profound sense.

Heidegger says that Thinking is really Thanking in What is Called Thinking to my mind his most important book.

When I was taking a course on Heidegger I of course went to read Holderlin’s Fragments. And I must say that they were fascinating, and what I got out of them was the idea of the Pleroma. What I was most impressed with was the poems addressed to the Titans, i.e. forgotten gods. But what is key in my opinion is the god lost in Oblivion, which even the Greeks had lost Alalu. That god in Oblivion is the first god, and therefore is the last god which we await the passing of at the end of the Metaphysical age.

Oblivion . . . . Forgetfulness
Unstriated . . . Striated

One of the complementariteis in the Pleroma.

The PoetThinker stands in the midst of the revolving opposites of the Pleroma.
For instance between Beyng and Being (Seyn and Sein).

At the center between Beyng with Oblivion, AND Being with Forgetfulness in “torrential time”, i.e. four dimensional time where the moments of  past, present, future and mythos intersect there are the complementarities of Void and Emptiness.

Being withdraws into Forgetfulness while Beyng envelops us in Oblivion.

The ThinkingPoet draws near the center of this cyclone revolving through Beyng/Being and Oblivion/Forgetting where torrential time manifests, but the PoeticThinker dwells in that torrent. The one at the center of the cyclone and the one who draws near belong together more than anyone else who is immersed in words, naming, speech, conversation at home in language’s home.

But as we know, “This is a house not a home . . .”

A primal example in our time is “All along the watchtower” by Bob Dylan.

Like “Kubla Khan” of Coleridge it jumps out at us from beyond the pale.

A glimpse of the archetypal within time, as Plato said WorldSoul is the moving image of eternity in time.

Or perhaps Ozymandius of Shelly is a better example here: http://www.internal.org/Percy_Bysshe_Shelley/Ozymandius

Forgotten is the name of the king, misquoted are the words on the statue which was not seen by the poet before writing the poem which was written to cover the work of another poet who writes of an annihilated London. We have forgotten the poem of Smith, just as he has sunk into Oblivion as a poet who did not enter the Canon. Only because he wrote a poem to which Shelly responded do we know anything of him at all.

There is a statue of a great king, in the desert, whose statue calls attention to his great works that have vanished, only the name and the claim remain, and only just barely do they bear witness to the ravages of time before sinking into oblivion themselves.

The desert is a void, but the claim of great works has been rendered an empty boast by the action of time.

Great civilizations such as that in Mesopotamia and Egypt that lasted thousands of years, much longer than our own, have been forgotten and almost lost in Oblivion.

However, Archaeology has recovered them, and eventually scholars via the Rosetta stone broke the code of the languages, and retrieved from Oblivion what has already been lost before the Greeks became civilized.

We have not yet come to terms with this more ancient past that lies beyond Greek origins, not to mention Hittite origins before that in the Indo-European lineage. And now we know of even earlier Indo-European archaeological sites in Turkey that pushes back the dawn of history even further than the first river civilizations.

The first beginning is the one we knew that the Greeks begat and we took as our own origins, but the “other beginning” is now coming toward us from an even more remote past.

And so that brings us to the difference between Beyng and Being (Seyn and Sein) which is crucial, and which Kelly and Dreyfus seem not to understand in their Analytic interpretation of Heidegger’s philosophy in light of Dreyfus’ parallelism between Foucault and Heidegger, that causes them to focus on background practices as the field of the manifestation of Being in the various epochs of the Western Worldview. They of course start with the Greeks, and have not embraced yet the Black Athena.

However, I think we should take Contributions to Philosophy: On Ereignis seriously. And when we do we see that the Turning in Heidegger’s thought is from Being to Beyng, and from Forgetfulness to Oblivion. Being recedes in forgetfulness and Beyng engulfs us in Oblivion. Being is Striated by the Meta-levels: Pure, Process, Hyper, Wild, Ultra, while Beyng is Unstriated as Onefold, Strange and Unique. It appears that Dreyfus and Kelly do not understand Beyng and the role that it plays in Heidegger’s philosophy, or at least that seems to be suppressed by their Analytical reading, which is appropriate. While Being is made apparent by Ontological Difference, Beyng is what comes when we jump over Ontological Difference and ask what is the dual of the Forgetfulness of Being which is receeding from us. What that dual is, which is the Seyn of Hegel, is something that is engulfing us in Oblivion, like with respect to the Enframing. Late Heidegger is always hiding Beyng behind what ever he is saying in his essays after Contributions was written yet not published. Being and Time is the published work that establishes Ontological Difference as the basis for Fundamental Ontology. Contributions is the unpublished work that establishes the real background practice of Heidegger himself in his obscurantisms that speak from the point of view of Beyng without naming it, because to name it would be to lose track of it. So he talks around it in the later writings trying to indicate it, but we only come to know about it explicitly in his Contributions and the book on Mindfulness.

Like the statue of Ramses we have rescued the Sumerians and the Egyptians from Oblivion, and we find them even more alien than the Greeks who we take as our origin. We now know of the Me of Innana and the Book of the Dead and their central roles in their respective civilizations. We recognize that the Greeks received their idea of the Gods from the Sumerians, while the Wisdom of Plato came from the Egyptians. Over time we will realize that more and more of what we saw as Greek originations, were repetitions and remembrances from a more ancient past. That other beginning which has now been recovered, the earlier beginning symbolized by Alalu discovered in Hittite inscriptions, take us deeper by uncovering a generation prior to the distinction between Uranus and Gaia, i.e. Heaven and Earth, Mortals and Immortals, i.e. before the unfolding of the World. That other beginning lost in oblivion before the beginning we remember is what ultimately must catch up with us, and in fact it already overwhelms us but we will only know how much with the passing of that last God that brings to close the Metaphysical age.

The next age is Heterochronic, i.e. it has all four moments before the symmetry breaking that lost mythic time, when we lost the mythopoietic era from site, and started to realize that this was a break with the gods. In the Heterochronic era we have again four orthogonal timelines and what Heidegger once called torrential time. It was always here, but we lost sight of it in the Metaphysical Era due to the symmetry breaking of time, that appeared to make it appear linear or circular. Heterochronic era must be a further intensification of nihilism. But in a different way it is a revisting of the Mythopoietic without the gods, who have then all departed. In the Heterochronic Beyng predominates over Being for the first time.

So notice that the mythopoietic named for the time of the epics such as those of Homer mentions both myth and poesy together.

The poet is the one who harkens to the lost mythic moment of time that was lost, and continues the craft of poesy in the metaphysical era.

The thinker becomes predominant in the metaphysical era, and mostly as with the pre-socratics as physicists.

Much of Heidegger’s early thought revolved around solving the Krisis by bringing Quantum Mechanics and Relativity theory into the lifeworld to solve the Krisis pointed out by Husserl. Both of these contradictory, paradoxical and even absurd   theories when considered together at the Planck level split reality in a way similar to the ready-to-hand and present-at-hand. Heidegger finds the source of these duals in the structure of Being itself, by partitioning it into modes or meta-levels. But this opened Pandoras box when Heidegger discovered -B-e-i-n-g- (crossed out) which later Derrida called difference and which was validated when it was discovered that Plato called it the third kind of Being in the Timaeus. Heidegger feared the onslaught of an infinity of modes of Being, and thus tried to find another way, without Ontological Difference, which he eventually found when he discovered the word ereignis and resuscitation Hegels “Seyn” from Old High German to signify the dual of Sein. The discovery of the term ereignis was the lightning strike of realization for Heidegger as he described. It means happening or appropriation and has many other meanings that come together to forge a way for Dasein to relate to Beyng rather than Being.

Ereignis is translated often as “an event,” but is better understood in terms of something “coming into view.” It comes from the German prefix, er-, comparable to ‘re-‘ in English and Auge, eye.[13][14] It is a noun coming from a reflexive verb. Note that the German prefix er- also can connote an end or a fatality. A recent translation of the word by Kenneth Maly and Parvis Emad renders the word as “enowning”; that in connection with things that arise and appear, that they are arising ‘into their own’. Hubert Dreyfus defined the term as “things coming into themselves by belonging together.”
Ereignis appears in Heidegger’s later works and is not easily summarized. The most sustained treatment of the theme occurs in the cryptic and difficult Contributions to Philosophy. In the following quotation he associates it with the fundamental idea of concern from Being and Time, the English etymology of con-cern is similar to that of the German:
…we must return to what we call a concern. The word Ereignis (concern) has been lifted from organically developing language. Er-eignen (to concern) means, originally, to distinguish or discern which one’s eyes see, and in seeing calling to oneself, ap-propriate. The word con-cern we shall now harness as a theme word in the service of thought.[15] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heideggerian_terminology

See also http://www.beyng.com/

So while the Thinker becomes predominant as physicist in the metaphysical era displacing the poet’s prior preeminence, the two remain the same and must realize their belonging together in the Heterochronic era.

In the Metaphysical Era Being receded, and Beyng rushes toward us.

But in the Heterochronic era we are utterly overwhelmed by Beyng and Ereignis becomes the fundamental relation of Dasein to Beyng replacing its care for Being in the Metaphysical Era.
Thus, in a sense what is wrong with the Background Practices as Being interpretation is that it is looking back, and sees the re-appropriation of marginal background practices from the tradition, as being the way of realizing the saving possibility, while it is fairly clear that Heidegger had something far more radical than that in mind, i.e. the overwhelming of us all by Beyng.

So in the tradition, there has been epochs of Being, along with episteme changes (Foucault) and paradigm changes (Kuhn) and theory changes and changed in facticity, etc. But there is an Apocalyptic vision of this coming to the end with the event of appropriation by which Beyng overwhelms us which blindsides us because we have been fascinated by the receding of Being, instead of seeing what was coming toward us, the bigger changes after the post-post-post-modern was exhausted. Heidegger sees himself as inaugurating this new era with his Contributions, which he kept hidden until after his death.

In a sense then he is saying that the Thinker has to end the metaphysical era because he was predominant in it as prose was predominant over poetry in this era, and techne over poesis.

What the poetic thinker in our time must come to terms with is the nature of the new era that has been inaugurated by the last metaphysical thinker (Heidegger not Nietzsche) who thought Beyng out of the poetry of Holderlin and the philosophy of Hegel as expressed in its most radical implications by Nietzsche. In the Heterochronic era there is no possible separation any longer between the poet and the thinker, speaker and listener become onefold, strange and unique via er-eignis.


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