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The Failed Attempt at Existential Communication between Martin Heidegger and Karl Jaspers as a Genuine Loss to Political Philosophy: Part II

Introduction

In the first part of the current inquiry I presented the personal friendship, as well as the professional academic relationship and the attitudes and personal involvement in politics and political discourse, between M. Heidegger and K. Jaspers – the two fathers of the German existentialism. The beginning of their “interaction” – both personal and scholarly – was more than promising. Jaspers himself was inspired, as he assumed that only Heidegger among all contemporary scholars could challenge him philosophically. In part I, I showed that: 1) both thinkers failed in their political endeavors, specifically in the practical implementation of their philosophy, 2) they failed to achieve fruitful academic collaboration and fully expose their constructive criticisms towards one other, including a joint collaboration on a mutual politico-philosophical project and 3) due to political (and not so much philosophical) reasons, their communication experienced a complete breach.

In reality, it has turned out that their existential philosophical projects were distinct, rather than being similar. This fact is represented in the attitude of each scholar toward his colleague’s philosophical project and philosophical methodology, which is one of the two main topics in this second part of the inquiry; the second topic will comprise the overall conclusion and the consequence of their “interaction”.

The Appreciation of Each Other’s “Existential Philosophies”

  1. Jaspers on Heidegger versus Heidegger on Jaspers

A.Preliminary Notes

Jaspers made a breakthrough in psychiatry with his “General Psychopathology” (1913) (1913/1997), which is still relevant today and discussed at length in psychiatric literature. In the later editions of the book, Jaspers included a lot of content of his existential philosophy “translated” for the purpose of psychopathology and normalcy. Jaspers elaborated a conception of subjective life as a dialectic movement, which results in a specific existential tension – a prerequisite for the self-actualization and self-realization of Existenz (the soul; see Jaspers 1913/1997: 301, 303, 305 – 313, 325 – 330, 332, 341 – 343, 345, 347 – 349, 351, 353 – 354, 370 – 371, 428, 430 – 431, 433 – 434, 439, 769 – 777).

Jaspers habilitated in psychology at the University of Heidelberg with his psychological turned philosophical second magnum opus, namely “Psychology of Worldviews” (1919) (1919/1960). The book analyzed the types of worldviews according to the kind of one’s reaction to boundary situations (not every person experiences boundary situations; see Dimkov 2020). Later, Jaspers himself confessed that he was not fully aware of his oeuvre turning philosophical: “This book became my approach to philosophy, but without my being aware of it at the time” (1957: 25).

B. Psychology of Worldviews

Not long after their acquaintance Jaspers sent a copy of his Psychology to Heidegger, hoping to receive feedback and constructive criticism, as he saw him not only as a philosophical fellow, but also as a philosopher par excellence. Heidegger wrote a review of the book, which took more than two years (Heidegger 1967/1998: 1 – 38); it was written in 1920 and revised as final draft in 1921. The latter was sent to Jaspers in June of 1921 (Kisiel & Sheehan 2009/2012: 119). The review, however, was miscarried as it seems that Heidegger fundamentally misconceived Jaspers’ intention and the methodology he used. According to Margolis, “Heidegger has completely misrepresented Jaspers’s intention [in Psychology of Worldviews]” (1994: 80ff; my emphasis). There are also defenders of Heidegger’s review of Jaspers’ Psychology, such as, for example, Kisiel & Sheehan (2009/2012: XXIV – XXV, 119 – 124).

The problem was that Jaspers, consciously, structured the book according to the conception of Ideas of Reason in Kant, but Heidegger did not realize it and, instead, attacked the oeuvre basing on his own way (method) of doing philosophy – the method of phenomenological hermeneutics – which was not the one Jaspers had used. Thus Heidegger made the mistake to inquire Jaspers’ conception with his own existential phenomenological and hermeneutic methodology that he was using in his own philosophy project – he, thus, rendered Jaspers’ approach used in the book as wrong at its basis.

Kirkbright formulated in depth Heidegger’s mistake – an indication of a lack of open-mindedness and professional expertise – as follows: “Heidegger’s critique culminated in the sharp observation that Jaspers’ concept of ‘limit situations’ was not a standpoint drawn from a survey of tradition, but a method that Jaspers formulated in a wholly unsatisfactory manner, oblivious of the philosophical dimension of his work. Heidegger accused Jaspers of grasping at ‘surrogate’ notions of ‘Weltanschauungen’. He reduced the formal level of Jaspers’ book to a ‘basic aesthetic experience’, whose implication he proposed more cautiously” (2004: 131 – 132). Jaspers’ reaction was such that he disproved Heidegger’s critique; he “wrote in his personal copy of the second edition of “Psychology of World Visions”: ‘The new edition is unchanged. I cannot revise the book without writing it from scratch’” (ibid.: 132; my emphasis).

Thus, the result was that the review had as net effect – too bitter and unsatisfactory one – which deeply influenced and moved Jaspers in such a fundamental way that he “never forgot, or, for that matter, “forgave”” (Gorniak-Kocikowska 1994: 140). Nonetheless, apart from his erroneous review, Heidegger accentuated that the conception of “limit situations” in Jaspers is a modest breakthrough for both philosophy and psychology: “Though Jaspers has only gathered up and depicted what “is there”, he has nonetheless gone beyond mere classification by bringing together in a new way what has already been available to us, and this must be evaluated positively as a real advance” (Heidegger 1967/1998: 37; my emphasis). To cast out any potential misunderstanding, Jaspers added an appendix on Kantian Ideas of Reason in one of the later versions of the book (1919/1960: 465 – 486).

In reality, Jaspers had already applied the method of putting the regulative Ideas of Reason as guides for the purpose of servicing science and the Understanding in his Psychopathology (1913) (Walker 1993a: 214; see Walker 1993b, 1994, 2014). He applied the same approach in his elaboration of Idea of University (Jaspers 1946/1959: 70 – 71, 107, 135), as well as in his politico-philosophical project, where he discussed democracy and freedom as Ideas of Reason (Jaspers 1958/1973: 291 – 317). Additionally, in psychopathology Jaspers applied the phenomenological approach of E. Husserl, in particularly its core notions of intuitiondescription, and presuppositionlessness along with W. Dilthey’s Verstende Psychologie (Jaspers 1913/1997; Wiggins & Schwartz 1997), but he did not apply it to his Existenzphilosophie in his first philosophical magnum opus Philosophie (1932).

C. Being and Time (1927) versus Philosophy (1932)

At first glance, it seems that Heidegger’s own magnum opus – Being and Time (1927) –influenced Jaspers’ Philosophy (1932) and indeed there were rumors that Jaspers’ magnum opus “Philosophy” (1932) contained plagiarisms, that it was influenced by Heidegger’s own magnum opus “Being and Time” (Jaspers 1986: 502).When in 1927 Heidegger published his magnum opus “Being and Time”, he cited Jaspers three times in footnotes. Jaspers defended himself against such rumors, as we see from his personal notes, by pointing out that in fact their versions of existential philosophy are in principle and by definition much distinct one from the other (ibid.). In fact, “H. [Heidegger] expresses something that can be taken as an accusation of plagiarism against me […] but something like that is basically impossible in philosophy, except if one copies and reports without any thinking of one’s own” (ibid.). And further: “it [my Philosophie] was not at all influenced by Sein und Zeit [Heidegger’s Being and Time] […] I consider his work so heterogeneous from mine in motivation, contend, and philosophical intent” (ibid.: 503; my emphasis). Heidegger’s critical commentary on Jaspers’ “Strindberg and van Gogh” (1922) and “Philosophy” (1932) concluded as follows: “What remains essential is that finally something has appeared in philosophy that cannot be gotten around and is entire […] You speak from the clear and decisive stance of the conqueror and from the richness of existentially tested” (Harries 1994: 53; emphasis in the original).

In reality, there was such a phenomenon of influence, but in the reverse direction: Heidegger’s conception of death seems to be deeply influenced by Jaspers’ conception of “limit situations” – death being one of them and Jaspers’ Psychology (see Blattner 1994). To be precise: “In genre far more than an extended book review […] deconstructively sifts out certain insights from Jaspers’s book that Heidegger will find conceptually fruitful for his own work, like “limit situation” and “existence” […] Heidegger accordingly presents a sketchy survey of more appropriate methods of phenomenological critique and historical deconstruction […] Heidegger’s main goal in the essay itself […] is the conflation of three radical trends in the contemporary philosophy of his day: the trend toward Existenz found in Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Jaspers, phenomenology’s radicalizing tendency toward factic life experience, and the trend in Lebensphilosophie, notably Dilthey’s, toward human life interpreting itself in unique historical context” (Kisiel & Sheehan 2009/2012: XXIV – XXV; emphasis in the original)

D. The Idea of the University (1923/1961)

Jaspers published the book Idea of the University in 1923 (which he revised and expanded in 1946 and 1961, respectively), as well as one other manuscript, which was not published in the book – the so-called Theses (1933) (Jaspers 1946/1959, 1993). A rumor came to him that Heidegger had defined the book as the “most irrelevant of [all] irrelevances” (Olson 1994: 10) and the “trivial pieces of all trivia today” (Kirkbright 2004: 133). One might only speculate whether this was a turning point, in which Jaspers lost both his respect and trust of Heidegger in likeness to his wife, Gertrud Jaspers, who got intuitive insight into Heidegger’s essence long before: “It is Heidegger’s nature only to research with his mind on philosophy and religion. He is a scholar and a philologist, but he cannot represent anything systematically in his thought” (Gertrud Jaspers, cited in Kirkbright 2004: 131).

In contrast to Heidegger’s involvement in politics during his appointment as a rector of the University of Freiburg, Jaspers, although initially supporting the Führerprinzip (but conceiving it as subjected to regulation), stood firmly against any such involvement in the university, which he characterized as an “abuse” (Jaspers 1926/1961: 72, 134; see ibid.: 48, 121, 128, 130 – 131). Also, in contrast to Heidegger, Jaspers did not speak of an “end of metaphysics”, like Heidegger, but of an “adoption of tradition” and grounding every future research on it (ibid.: 107, 109), as well as a striving toward the unity/wholeness of science (ibid.: 21, 24, 26, 46 – 47, 56, 80 – 81, 83 – 84). Another sharp contrast is that while Heidegger wanted an unlimited and unsupervised research freedom, Jaspers – although arguing for an “unrestricted experimentation” and a “channeling of intellectual spontaneity” – conceived of research as correlated to communication among researchers and truth (scientific knowledge) being established in a battle of reputable minds (ibid.: 63).

Therefore, it is not a surprise that Jaspers conceived of university entrance and enrollment in agreement with M. Weber’s equitable principle, but only for the best – those who possess a genuine will or thirst to know and to unity (ibid.: 14 – 16, 18, 22, 24 – 25, 41, 43, 52 – 54, 72, 84) – along with providing all necessities – the best conditions (ibid.: 45, 77, 101, 116) – to self-realize one’s best amid the challenge of minds (ibid.: 77, 101, 107 – 108, 113 – 114, 118) and through scholarly cooperation (ibid.: 63 – 66, 69, 73 – 75, 80). The equitable principle states that all of one’s success in the university are due only to one’s own efforts, knowledge and skills; Jaspers criticized the opposite, namely of academic staff “upbringing” students by an overall assistance, like effective exaggerations and biases toward the “candidate” – a phenomenon, which is in fact largely observed nowadays. Realizing one’s best at the university, for Jaspers, is equal to personal commitment, intellectual maturity and the formation of the whole man (ibid.: 3, 12, 15, 22, 29, 53, 62 – 63, 102, 106, 118), which contribute to the best: for Jaspers the best researcher is at the same time the best instructor (ibid.: 45). The university should be open to anything creative that leads to truth (ibid.: 32, 39, 42, 77, 91, 104, 134).

Realizing the idea of university (as a Kantian idea of Reason; ibid.: 18, 20, 24, 46, 70 – 71, 75, 77, 107) consists in: 1) a truly comprehensive awareness of the age and 2) a sum total of the available knowledge (ibid.: 88, 94, 133), in which philosophy plays the central role of a mediator (ibid.: 26, 53, 56, 81). Nonetheless, the realization of this ideal – the idea – of the university could be subjected to corruption, decline and distortion by political and economic interventions in the process of its realization, which limits academic freedom (ibid.: 64, 72, 107, 123 – 124, 127, 131, 133). This ideal includes the fact that it is a utopia that all applicants would be provided with the opportunity to realize their best (ibid.: 97, 114).

E. "Anthology" of Heidegger's and Jaspers' mutual criticism

In the following two notes in the form of a miniature-anthology are provided Heidegger’s review on Jaspers’ Psychology and Jaspers’ overall review and impression on Heidegger’s philosophy in toto and particularly of Being and Time.

Note 1. The important points in Heidegger’s critical review of Jaspers’ Psychology.

[Jaspers’ starting point is] a preconception about psychical life, which is expressed in a particular manner, is already given and at work in Jaspers’s initial approach to the problem of psychical life […] It should by now be sufficiently clear that it is from this initial preconception about “the whole” (“unity”, “totality”) that all talk of “destruction” […] express. We are told nothing definite about what this “seeing within the whole” and this experience of antinomies within an infinite reflection are supposed to mean. At any rate, this is a type of “thinking” or “seeing” that gets its motivation from the above-mentioned preconception about the whole, and its approach, tendencies, and scope are oriented to this preconception. It is only on the basis of this particular preconception that the notion of “attaining certainty about the totality” has any meaning “division”, and “opposition” derives its sense […] insofar as it aims at the phenomenon of existence, Jaspers’s preconception is unsuitable for realizing its own underlying intention […] However, the full sense of Jaspers’s preconception is not only unsuitable for realizing its own underlying intention that is at work in it; rather, it actually runs counter to this intention […] Jaspers characterizes the attitude of his method as mere observation […] What this shows us is that Jaspers does not see that the historical is a fundamental characteristic of the sense of our existence. Consequently, neither has the problem of method, with respect to its basic meaning and the nature of its point of departure, been geared to the historical in his work […] The other features exhibited by Jaspers’s method, namely, the treatment of the question of conceptual expression and the question of “systematics”, are also based on his underlying preconception, i.e., on the initial approach to life as a region and the observational attitude toward this region. Life is an infinite flowing whole, but since concepts are forms that bring life to a standstill, it is impossible to grasp life and truly understand it […] Jaspers falls under the spell of a deception when he thinks that it is precisely in mere observation that he would achieve the highest degree of noninterference in the personal decisions of his readers, and would thus free these individuals for their own self-reflection. On the contrary, by presenting his investigations as mere observations he indeed appears to avoid imposing on his readers particular worldviews, i.e., the ones that he has described, but he pushes his readers into believing that his unexamined preconception (life as a whole) and the essential kinds of articulation corresponding to it are something obvious and noncommittal, whereas it is rather precisely in the meaning of these concepts and the “how” of interpreting that everything is really decided. Mere observation does not give us what it wants to, namely, the possibility of radical reexamination, decision, and, what is synonymous with these, an intense consciousness of the methodological necessity of questioning […] Jaspers might be able to justify his having allowed the problem of method to recede into the background by pointing out that he did not endeavor to provide a “general psychology” in his investigations […] It is a sign precisely of Jaspers’s misunderstanding and undervaluation of the real problem of method that he approaches problems in psychology of worldviews under the assumption that this psychology is a separate science. He fails to see that “general psychology” and “psychology of worldviews” cannot be separated from each other in this way, and that both of these together cannot be separated from fundamental problems in philosophy (Heidegger 1967/1998: 7, 11, 32, 34, 36 – 37; see Kisiel & Sheehan 2009/2012: XXIV – XXVI, 119 – 124).

Note 2. The important points of Jaspers’ critical commentary of Heidegger’s Being and Time.

[…] he says nothing, teaches no technique, – creates no vision, – he leads into chaos but in forms of an ordered, carefully constructed language – that, as language, is alone the ultimate support and guide – But what is meant in this language does not exist or does not let [anything] become existential […] Illumination of Existenz is turned around by him into a knowledge of Existenz, i. e., into “Existentiales” […] His presentation of illumination of Being, to be sure on the basis of the illumination of Existenz, but in the form of gnostic knowledge that does restrain itself in objectivizing but yet appears decisively in objectivizing concepts […] I did not want to read Being and Time because it did not engage my interest, – and to this day have read only small parts of it […] Most likely I would have read him more thoroughly if I had not known him personally […] The transformation of Existenz-philosophical thinking into doctrine, of thinking that is in motion and impels movement which needs the “other wing”, into a thinking of existentialia that destroys its indirectedness, that loses its content and communication, that remains within the categorical and the analogous, – the transformation of Existenz-philosophy into ontology and gnosis, – of “decision” into “decisiveness”. The establishment of existentialia as the pseudo-science of a philosophy whose meaning loses its obligatoriness and makes irresponsibility possible, – the transformation of thought that is a call to a turning into aesthetic figurations, of the actually created through words into the cult of the word itself (Jaspers 1986: 501 – 502, 505, 510; emphasis in the original).

2. The Outcome of the Failed Attempt at Existential Communication

A. Preliminary Notes

It has to be emphasized that both scholars had a different points of departure: Jaspers entered philosophy through psychology on the basis of his medical training as a psychiatrist, whereas Heidegger initially wanted to study theology, but he switched to philosophy, in which he found a stronger fundament for his passion and interests in knowledge (Pavic & Buterin 1998: 329). What resulted was the following: “Of course, they both play according to the rules, with Heidegger, especially in the earlier correspondence, self-portrayed as the eager disciple asking his mentor for opinion and acceptance, being endlessly grateful for every bit of advice. Jaspers, in turn, plays the role of the sometime bitter, often sarcastic, but also congenial older colleague, encouraging with a certain irony his already successful partner” (Gorniak-Kocikowska 1994: 141).

In the spring of 1933, the ultimate breach in communication occurred (Hahn 2002/2005: 135). As a matter of fact, “The interruption of Jasper’s contact with Heidegger was in the nature of his demands upon their friendship as a form of higher, intellectual communication in which the sincerity of the individual personality was to permeate the exchange of views” (Kirkbright 2004: 137).

B. From Failed Attempt at Existential Communication to Attempt of Diagnosing

What resulted was that Heidegger avoided any potential “diagnosing” from Jaspers in a potential meeting in person: “In today’s psychological parlance Jaspers would be raising questions regarding the “narcissistic borderline personality” of the creative thinker [Heidegger]; questions which, coming as they do from the physician-philosopher, Jaspers, are nuanced with the implication that in Heidegger this “borderline” was weighted to the side of the psychopathologic” (Olson 1984: 394). Carr expresses the opposite opinion, namely that “Jaspers receives high marks Jaspers the moral hero, Jaspers the psychologist doling out therapy, Jaspers the anti-philosopher ciphering his way into the “all-encompassing” […] The worst of the Heidegger-bashing however is reserved for his political faux pas – and rightly so” (Carr 1996: 453; emphasis in the original). This is not surprising, as Jaspers was a genuine “Physician of Culture” (Chatterjee 1988: 101).

The difference in their conceptions of freedom, political philosophy and the idea of the university was what that set Heidegger and Jaspers apart, not what is generally thought, namely philosophy: “[…] what divided the two [philosophers] was politics, but not philosophy […] both knew that what really separated them was philosophy and the problem of philosophical truth and how best to approach it” (Gorniak-Kocikowska 1994: 139, 141; my emphasis). There is another opinion, namely that “Any uncertainty in their friendship [between Heidegger and Jaspers] – that, with hindsight, may be detected on both sides – resulted not from a clash of ideas but of personality” (Kirkbright 2004: 129; my emphasis).

Heidegger suffered from his significant error of joining Hitler and the National Socialism and it led to a complete public and political silence from Heidegger himself, as he realized the error and was more than ashamed; nonetheless, Heidegger never realized the whole significance of his actions and thought for the ideal of National Socialism never extinguished from his consciousness. In this vein, Jaspers argued that “as a philosopher Heidegger wanted to lead the leaders”, as well as that “Heidegger has not the slightest idea of true politics” (Rockmore 1994: 102; see Ehrlich 1994: 36). Rockmore elaborates further this issue, characterizing Heidegger as “literally incapable of understanding either politics practice or the reasons for the failure of his own effort to found politics in philosophy” and having an “inability to understand politics in any way other than through his own philosophical lens” (ibid.).

Jaspers, on the other hand, tried multiple times to recover his connection with Heidegger, to forgive him, but Heidegger’s silence ended as being “challenging” to Jaspers in the direction of a passion to understand the man Heidegger and his actions and behavior, which were somehow mysterious to Jaspers himself: “not to follow the train of his thought […] but to make sense of Heidegger as “philosophische Phenomen”; in other words, to fathom the person – to effect, if possible, a Mitdenken; to the very end Heidegger remained a riddle to Jaspers, yet the passion to solve the riddle hade permeated Jaspers’s whole being” (Oliver 1994: 68; see ibid.: 69; Rockmore 1994: 98 and Hahn 2002/2005: 136). As Ehrlich accentuates: “But Heidegger is too important a thinker […] We have to permit him to challenge us, and, taking him seriously, we must clarify our opposition in terms of the questions and configurations that form the basis of his thinking” (1994: 30; my emphasis).

Jaspers wanted to “discuss the state of affairs”, but his attempts to establish communication with Heidegger were unsuccessful, as Heidegger entered into a never ending silence (see Harries 1994: 56 – 57, 62). Jaspers saw Heidegger as a “challenge” to him in the sense of a stimulus for philosophizing, but also as a “kind of shaman with mystifying, seductive powers regarding the “magic of the extreme”” (Olson 1994: 3). The fact that their conceptions of “philosophy” were different in the object of focus (Heidegger – Being as such; Jaspers – Man’s Being), but falling into one and the same category, was not of such a big importance, rather it was criticism that Jaspers as being both a philosopher and an author sought for: “Jaspers reveals an uncanny need to be judged favorable as a philosopher by his younger colleague – or at least to be taken seriously”. He confessed to Heidegger that “None of the younger ‘philosophers’ interests me more than you. Your criticism is of great benefit to me” (Oliver 1994: 70).

One gets the following impression that “[…] the relationship between these giants of twentieth-century philosophy is – in Jaspers’s own words – “one-sided”. Jaspers was always reaching out to Heidegger, who responded in puzzling ways that generated frustration in the former […] Jaspers’s career-long attempt to “understand Heidegger” was more of a psychological than a philosophical enterprise […] Jaspers’s personal reservations about Heidegger the man, blocked his full access to Heidegger the thinker […] One may be able to penetrate the thinker through the writings, but not understand […] it is finally Jaspers the psychologist who prevails over Jaspers the philosopher” (Oliver 1994: 74 – 75). Jaspers’s final conclusion on Heidegger and politics was a “number of crucial, but undeveloped insights into the link between Heidegger and Nazism”, but it is “insufficient” (Rockmore 1994: 103).

C. Jaspers' Notizen

In the end, when Heidegger kept his silence, Jaspers in “his copious Notizen on Heidegger disclose[d] the habits of mind of a “psychopathologist” rather than of a critical thinker” (ibid.: 69; emphasis in the original; see Jaspers, 1989). Jaspers “attempts repeatedly to make contact with his friend [in his notes] […] he [Jaspers] started to write a critique of Heidegger in the form of letters”, the result of which represented “fragments, scraps of paper and notes that are remarkably repetitive” (Hahn 2002/2005: 137).

Of course, there are authors on the diametrically opposite opinion, namely that “[…] the authors [of the book edited by A. Olson – Heidegger & Jaspers (1994)] intend to make one feel the smallness of Heidegger” (Carr 1996: 452). Not only that, but also that “[the authors present to the reader] the “obscure” Heidegger who clothes both himself and his work in dark agrarian metaphors; the “perverse” Heidegger whose support for the Nazis proves his irrationalism; the “all-too-human” Heidegger whose famed radicality is no more than autobiography writ large” (ibid.)

Heidegger himself speaks of “his inability after 1934 to find a way toward such dialogue, of his increasing Ralosigkeit, of feeling lost in the world, uncertain where to go” (Harris 1994: 58; emphasis in the original). My opinion is that Heidegger’s silence and his attempt to “fabricate an excuse” – a “complicated attempt to deny what could be denied, and to minimize the importance of what could not reasonably be denied, in short, to fabricate a legend to preserve his person and above all his thought” or a “crafty fabrication of a system of explanation, what we can call the official view, intended to deny what could still be denied and to minimize the damage to himself and his thought” (Rockmore 1994: 98, 105; my emphasis) – represent manifestations of actualized psychic defense mechanisms (in the sense of Freudian psychoanalysis and metapsychology), which were not fully understood by Jaspers as a psychiatrist (probably due to the personal subjective element in their relation and the ignorance of the full Freudian psychological framework), nor by Heidegger himself, to whom they were concealed in the subconscious (Dimkov 2015, 2019, 2021).

Conclusion

Both Heidegger and Jaspers have failed, which led to the breach in their communication (both personal and academic) that resulted in the complete loosing of the possibility of a mutual philosophizing and work of these two great men that could have influenced the politico-philosophical views of both authors for the better and, in turn, influencing our present day realities of global boundary situations that are so in need of a “consolation” and a “resolving”. Both thinkers acknowledge the failure in their communication: the “lost opportunities for a genuine Auseinandersetzung” and a “confrontation in which he essence of those who confront one another exposes itself to the other and thus shows itself and comes to appearance” (Heidegger) vs. a “betrayal of the kind of philosophizing he dreamed of, radical thinking grounded in genuine communication. For this betrayal he blames not only Heidegger, but himself: Too preoccupied with his own work and way, he “was not up to the meetings with Heidegger, as time was to tell”” (Jaspers) (Harries 1994: 49). It was a betrayal of Reason (Rockmore 1994: 107) and in Heidegger’s case, specifically, Rockmore argues, there is a certain perversion – a “perverse courage”/“something perverse about Heidegger’s behavior” – namely that “which surpasses not only the deficiencies of his character, in order finally to dishonor his own thought, despite its brilliance, and philosophy as such” (ibid.).


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