Pleasurably Wrestling with Heidegger’s Being and Time
There are times when thought elbows her way through the underwood of words to the clear blue beyond.
Henry David Thoreau, Journal, December 12, 1837
After an arduous week of school chores, I lit out of town late Friday afternoon for my three-and-a-half-hour drive into the country to stay in my favorite getaway spot. I truly believe my heart rate changes the moment I drive up to this place, and my breathing comes easier. Words cannot encapsulate what I felt as I spent Friday night, Saturday and Sunday in the quiet of this remote countryside.
I managed finally to finish my reading of Goethe’s Faust, loving every line of text. After that, I turned to Heidegger’s Being and Time, and this book is always a struggle for me, but I believe worth the trouble. I turned to this book because I was smitten with Thoreau’s words that I read from his journal while I was in the midst of this weekend withdrawal. I see Thoreau and Heidegger both as lovers of words, their origins and their possibilities. Hans Georg Gadamer testified that Heidegger could trace the etymological “arteries into the primal rock of language.” Heidegger said that “language is the house of being.”
Among the many facets of language, one element that intrigues me is the elusiveness of thought when we try to attach words to it. George Steiner, in his introductory book on Heidegger, wrote: “The letter kills the spirit. The written text is mute in the face of responding challenge. It does not admit of inward growth and correction.” In Faust I found the same message this weekend: “The word dies when we seize the pen.” I always find myself halting when I try to describe the sensations I experience when I’m deeply moved by the printed text. And so, I labored over Being and Time, enjoying what portions of it I could understand.
Returning to my self-portrait, I managed to finish it Saturday evening, and put it on facebook. The response has been overwhelming, so I guess I did O.K. with this effort. I’m wondering whether or not to enter it into competition as shows are rapidly approaching this spring. There also seems to be interest in limited edition giclee prints. Perhaps I’ll go that route. I’m still contemplating.
I’m feeling warm thoughts this evening, because I’ve received word recently of a new gallery opening and the prospects of my having a one-man-show there in the not-too-distant future. I’ll release details if this opportunity actually materializes, and it appears that it will. I’m extremely happy with the possibilities, and already have a number of new paintings in my head, waiting to be born. I cannot thank my dear friends enough for all the encouragement and inspiration they provide. This weekend could not have been more pleasurable.
Thanks for reading.
I paint in order to discover.
I journal when I feel alone.
I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.