Tuesday, November 12, 2019

The god and its relation to Heidegger's theory of art

I have posted before on The Origin of the Work of Art here and here.  So this can be taken as an addendum.  I am mainly interested in this quote:  "We believe we are at home in the immediate circle of beings.  That which is, is familiar, reliable, ordinary.  Nevertheless, the clearing is pervaded by a constant concealment in the double form of refusal and dissembling.  At bottom, the ordinary is not ordinary; it is extra-ordinary, uncanny." (197 in Richard Kearney and David Rasmussen  Continental Aesthetics:  An Antology, 2001)  So it seems, for what it is worth, that Heidegger is on my side in the debate between the what I have called those who stress the ordinariness of the ordinary and those who do not.  But I do not want to appeal to authority here.  I just find Heidegger useful.

A key issue is the role of "the god."  Here is my admittedly crude take on this.  For the world/earth dynamic to work a god must be projected.  The god provides a center for the holy precinct.  But the god does not have to be an ancient Greek god.  The god is whatever makes Being shine.  I hypothesize that the god in the Van Gogh shoes example is the peasant woman, although a case could be made for the shoes as belonging to a peasant woman.   "The god" on this account is very much like what Kant calls an "aesthetic idea."  The shoes in Van Gogh's painting are an aesthetic idea.  The god also plays a similar role to Nietzsche's description of Dionysus on stage in ancient Greek tragedy. 

Something like this can happen in everyday life.  In everyday life sometimes a thing makes the surrounding world uncanny.  If that happens, the thing is "the god." 

This happens in thinking too. A concept that symbolizes everything and seems to focus one's ideas:  that can be the god for a thinker. 

Of course this analysis is not inconsistent with atheism.  "God" can be replaced by some other term and does not imply literal belief.  If you are somewhat successful in finding "the god" you make the world shine again in the same way that the surroundings of the temple when it is set up takes on Being.  When Heidegger says we have not been listening to Being.

Note how also Heidegger and Danto are opposed.  Danto's Artworld is cut off from the world.  The main disadvantage of that is that there is no earth/world dynamic.  There is no wonder that beauty is lost since beauty arises along with Truth and Being in the earth/world dynamic.  I side with Heidegger on this one.


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