Morning Coffee with Dave & Heidegger

heidegger

When through a rent in the rain-clouded

sky a ray of the sun suddenly glides

over the gloom of the meadows. . . .

            We never come to thoughts. They come

            to us.

            That is the proper hour of discourse.

            Discourse cheers us to companionable

                        reflection. Such reflection neither

                        parades polemical opinions nor does it

                        tolerate complaisant agreement. The sail

                        of thinking keeps trimmed hard to the

                        wind of the matter.

            From such companionship a few perhaps

                        may rise to be journeymen in the

                        craft of thinking. So that one of them,

                        unforeseen, may become a master.

Martin Heidegger, “The Thinker as Poet”

The outer trappings of this morning would appear pedestrian plain to many. I awoke at 6 instead of 7:00 and got up anyway. With my college class not beginning till 9:25, I drove on over to Texas Wesleyan, through the stacked rush-hour freeway traffic. The construction on campus created a long, circuitous pedestrian route from my Jeep to the Polytechnic United Methodist Church where, on the second floor, my department is headquartered (and the copy machine). Then it was a longer, even more serpentine route threading around “campus construction central” to access the university library. But the morning sun was a painter’s plein air delight as it washed across the campus. Birds filled the air with song, and cool breezes whispered around the corners of every building. As I walked, all I could think of was Martin Heidegger’s poetic rhapsodies of life at his mountain cabin. Arriving finally at the library with a full hour of leisure before strolling onward to class, I found a table near a window, drew out of my bag a Heidegger volume that I love to pack along with me on such occasions, and settled into the bliss of reading and journal scribbling.

heidegger2

For those familiar with the work of Heidegger, his magnum opus, Being and Time, I have not successfully mined, even though I have take more than a half-dozen stabs at that obdurate text over the years. And I haven’t given up on the idea of mastering the thought of the tome. But such an endeavor would be a labor of love extending over months and perhaps years. I believe the work to be worth the effort, and that is why I still have it as one of my life’s goals.

But the fact is, my lifetime Odyssey of the Mind runs exactly counter to that of Martin Heidegger. From his days as a university student, he worked his way through theology (as did I), but his work in philosophy plunged deeply into Aristotle and medieval logic and metaphysics, and then to mathematics. Being in Time came out in 1927, landing him a prominent position at the University of Freiburg, and ultimately to the rectorship. But in the 1930’s he went through what scholars refer to as “the turn.” Moving away from the more technical machinery of philosophy, Heidegger turned to literature, poetry and the arts.

My Odyssey is the complete opposite. I was always weak (and uninterested) in logical, linear disciplines of thought, and wasn’t called on to teach courses in Logic until I was past fifty. Now, in these later years, with more time, I choose to grapple with linear thought and more difficult texts, and perhaps I will one day scale the mountain of Being and Time. But for the present, I thoroughly enjoy the more lyrical of Heidegger’s lectures, essays and creative writing pieces. And this morning, over coffee, I felt refreshed by his words in “The Thinker as Poet.”

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

 

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