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Table of contents :
A Word of Thanks
List of Abbreviations
1 Openness to the Mystery
2 The Human Reality—Its Worldliness and Transcendence
3 The Human Spirit and the Divine
4 Christianity as Authenticity
5 Temporality and Eternity
Subject Index
Author Index
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‘Being Towards Death’ : Heidegger and the Orthodox Theology of the East
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Sylvie Avakian ‘Being Towards Death’

Theologische Bibliothek Töpelmann

Edited by Bruce McCormack, Friederike Nüssel and Christoph Schwöbel

Volume 191

Sylvie Avakian

‘Being Towards Death’

Heidegger and the Orthodox Theology of the East

ISBN 978-3-11-070533-1 e-ISBN (PDF) 978-3-11-070751-9 e-ISBN (EPUB) 978-3-11-070766-3 ISSN 0563-4288 Library of Congress Control Number: 2020943765 Bibliografic information published by the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek The Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the Deutsche Nationalbibliografie; detailed bibliografic data are available on the Internet at http://dnb.dnb.de. © 2021 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston Printing and binding: CPI books GmbH, Leck www.degruyter.com

For Christine and Grace

A Word of Thanks I wish to express my deepest thanks and appreciation to Prof. Dr. Christoph Schwöbel, not only for his wise guidance and insightful remarks concerning this particular work, which was presented to the Protestant faculty of the University of Tübingen as a Habilitationsschrift in January 2018, but also for all his profound responsiveness and encouraging accompaniment throughout the entire process of my post-doctoral degree (Habilitation) in Tübingen.


As Nature gives the other creatures over to the venture of their dim delight and in soil and branchwork grants none special cover, so too our being’s pristine ground settles out plight; we are no dearer to it; it ventures us. Except that we, more eager than plant or beast, go with this venture, will it, adventurous more sometimes than Life itself, more daring by a breath (and not in the least from selfishness) … There, outside all caring, this creates for us safety—just there, where the pure forces’ gravity rules; in the end, it is our unshieldedness on which we depend, and that, when we saw it threaten, we turned it so into the Open that, in widest orbit somewhere, where the Law touches us, we may affirm it. Wie die Natur die Wesen überläßt dem Wagnis ihrer dumpfen Lust und keins besonders schützt in Scholle und Geäst, so sind auch wir dem Urgrund unseres Seins nicht weiter lieb; es wagt uns. Nur daß wir, mehr noch als Pflanze oder Tier mit diesem Wagnis gehen, es wollen, manchmal auch wagender sind (und nicht aus Eigennutz), als selbst das Leben ist –, um einen Hauch wagender … Dies schafft uns, außerhalb von Schutz, ein Sichersein, dort, wo die Schwerkraft wirkt der reinen Kräfte; was uns schließlich birgt, ist unser Schutzlossein und daß wir’s so in’s Offne wandten, da wir’s drohen sahen, um es, im weitsten Umkreis irgendwo, wo das Gesetz uns anrührt, zu bejahen. Rainer Maria Rilke: Improvisierte Verse¹

 Rainer Maria Rilke, Späte Gedichte (Insel-Ver., Leipzig 1934), 90. See: M. Heidegger, “What are Poets for?” (1935 – 36) in PLT, 97.

Contents List of Abbreviations Introduction  . .. .. .. . .. .. .. . .. .. ..  . .. .. .. . .. .. .. . .. .. ..



Openness to the Mystery 34 34 The Mystery and its Givenness Being—or God—as Mystery and the Human Being as the 34 ‘Shepherd’ of Mystery ᾿Aλήθεια as the Mystery 43 Inwardness and Introspection as Openness and Astonishment 52 God as ‘Nothing’ and ‘Everything’ 58 58 The Mystery of ‘Self-Concealing Sheltering’ Nothingness: The True Aspect of Being 62 The Mystical Union: The Human and the Divine 68 71 The Mystery and the Necessity of a Leap Beings as Carrying Within Themselves their Own Grounds 75 The Need for a New Beginning The Leap 78 82 The Human Reality—Its Worldliness and Transcendence The Worldly Human Reality as the Starting Point for 82 Theology Science 88 Technology 98 106 Art Transcendence as the Move Inward 111 Meditative Thinking vs. Calculative Thinking 111 Being in the World and Transcendence as ‘Radical 120 Individuation’ Freedom as Transcendence 130 Language: The ‘House of Being’ 135 135 Pure Thinking as Revealing Language as Gathering All into a Unity of their Belonging Together 138 Poetry: The Utterance of Truth or Being 142



 . .. .. .. . .. .. .. . .. .. ..  . .. .. .. . .. .. .. . .. .. ..  . .. .. .. . .. ..


The Human Spirit and the Divine 147 Freedom of Spirit and the Human Spirit 147 153 The Human Being as Spirit 162 God as Spirit The Symbolic Nature of Things 168 171 Spirit as Corresponding to Being 171 Being as Spirit ‘Being-With-Other’ 181 184 The Human Spirit and Fallenness Spirit and Human Consciousness as Care and Resoluteness 190 190 Care as an Essential Trait of Human Reality The Call of Conscience 194 Resoluteness as Enlightenment and ‘Being-One’s-Self’


Christianity as Authenticity 203 203 Authentic Being as Homecoming ‘Being towards Death’ as ‘Homecoming’ or Approaching the Mystery 207 209 Releasement: ‘Coming-into-the-Nearness of Distance’ 218 Letting Be: The Meaning of Creation and Incarnation 223 Being through No-thing or Life through Death Grief or Pain as the Essential Experience of Being 223 Death as a ‘Way to Be’ 229 236 Being for and through the Other ‘Being towards Death’ as the Meaning of Death and Resurrection 239 239 ‘Being towards Death’ The Meaning of Death and Resurrection 245 248 Jesus Christ, the Human and the Divine Temporality and Eternity 253 256 Movement and Repetition Movement 256 265 The Two Aspects of Movement 267 Repetition as the Retrieval of the Truth of Being Temporality, Eternity and the Leap Forward 272 Temporality and Care 272 Temporality, Finitude and Eternity as the Means for the Experience of Being 276


.. . .. .. ..


Being on the Way and the ‘Anticipatory Leap Forward’ 281 Toward Universal Liberation 284 284 Identity, Difference and Appropriation The Consummation of the Steadfastness of the Human Being and of Everything 290 294 Approaching the End and the New Beginning



Bibliography 308 Early Greek Writings (Including the Greek Patristic Works) 310 Works by Heidegger Heidegger’s Gesamtausgabe 312 Additional Materials 313 313 Articles Works by Berdyaev 313 315 Articles Other Works 315 Subject Index Author Index

325 330


List of Abbreviations Abbreviations of the most commonly cited writings in this book appear here with the dates of their writing. Full citations of the works are given in a footnote at the first mention of a reference. The references are also provided in the alphabetical bibliography at the end of the work. Here I am maintaining the abbreviations most used in English works on Heidegger, while for citing the Gesamtausgabe I use the conventional GA abbreviation. Whenever articles by Heidegger or Berdyaev are translated by authors other than the general editor of a book they appear as separate references. Hence, whenever articles are translated by the same translator or editor of a work, they do not appear separately.

Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite DNMT

The Divine Names and Mystical Theology


Basic Concepts (1941) Basic Concepts of Aristotelian Philosophy (1924) The Basic Problems of Phenomenology Basic Questions of Philosophy: Selected “Problems” of “Logic” (1937 – 38) Being and Time [Macquarrie’s translation] (1927) The Beginning of Western Philosophy: Interpretation of Anaximander and Parmenides (1932) Contributions to Philosophy (From Enowning) (1936 – 1938) Discourse on Thinking (1944 – 55) Existence and Being (1929 – 1944) Elucidations of Hölderlin’s Poetry (1936 – 69) The End of Philosophy (1936 – 46) The Event (1941 – 42) The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics: World, Finitude, Solitude (1929 – 30) Hölderlin’s Hymn “The Ister” (1942) Identity and Difference (1956 – 1957) Introduction to Metaphysics (1935) Introduction to Philosophy—Thinking and Poetizing (1928) “Letter on Humanism” (1946) in Pathmarks Mindfulness (1938 – 9) Martin Heidegger in Conversation (1969) On the Essence of Ground (1929) “‘Only a God can Save Us’: Der Spiegel’s Interview with Martin Heidegger” (1966) Ontology: The Hermeneutics of Facticity (1923) “Postscript” (1943) in Existence and Being and in Pathmarks Pathmarks (1919 – 61)



List of Abbreviations


“Preface by Martin Heidegger”, in William J. Richardson, Heidegger: Through Phenomenology to Thought (1962) Poetry, Language, Thought (1936 – 54) The Principle of Reason (1955 – 56) The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays (1936 – 54) “Rector’s Address—The Self-Assertion of the German University and The Rectorate 1933/34: Facts and Thoughts” in Review of Metaphysics “Science and Reflection” (1953) “The Turning” (1949) On Time and Being (1962 – 4) What is Called Thinking? (1951 – 2) “What is Metaphysics” (1929) in Existence and Being What is Philosophy? (1955)


Nikolaĭ Berdyaev BE D DM DR FS MCA MH SF SR TR

The Beginning and the End (1947) Dostoevsky (1923) The Destiny of Man (1931) Dream and Reality: An Essay in Autobiography (1949) Freedom and the Spirit (1927) The Meaning of the Creative Act (1916) The Meaning of History (1923) Slavery and Freedom (1939) Spirit and Reality (1937) Truth and Revelation (1947)

Introduction “Traveling in the direction that is a way toward that which is worthy of questioning is not adventure but homecoming.” —Martin Heidegger—

The present work appeals to the works and thoughts of Martin Heidegger and Nikolaĭ Berdyaev as powerful sources for theological and philosophical inspiration in our times. Here, I propose that Heidegger’s and Berdyaev’s contributions prove a major and a significant milestone in the history of human thought and Christian theology of which we, in our contemporary era, are desperately in need. The philosophical-theological endeavor of Heidegger and Berdyaev extend beyond the particular fields of philosophy and theology with their metaphysical, epistemological, ethical, doctrinal and hermeneutical branches. The creative profundity of the thoughts of both thinkers rekindles the primordial and the simple truth about the human being in relation to truth as such, or the divine Mystery, as Orthodoxy would prefer to call it. Their genre of writing challenges the abstract-speculative constructions of most philosophical and theological enterprises and aspires to attain meaning and inner (spiritual) freedom that transcend the disharmonies and the trepidations of our times. In the light of their thoughts, philosophy and theology acquire ecumenical and dialogical vantages that reach beyond objectifications and categorizations, the need for which in the 21st century in both Eastern and Western societies is unquestionable. Both authors longed for that which is beyond the constrictions of particular finite claims of truth. Both dwelt on the primacy of ineffable, pre-conceptual experiences of the divine or the primordial Word, through which the divine could come to more unrestricted self-revelation. Both, however, admitted that being remains ‘Mystery’ as its self-manifestation in beings is at once its self-concealment. Today we know that it is only in the possibility of retrieving such experiences— from the past, moving to the future and yet allowing the word to pervade the present—that the seeds of ecumenism and dialogue lie. We are also aware of the risks that such a path entails, knowing that the only guarantee for its truthfulness is its own fidelity and steadfastness that is it’s enduring the risks and the perils of ‘being towards death’. Today we can read Heidegger and Berdyaev, retrieve their thoughts and say that which has been left unsaid. The present work is, then, an attempt on this path. It inevitably, as a finite endeavor, will also leave things unsaid. Nevertheless, the path goes on and the possibility of saying again and again will always be there, in order that a glance of the fullness of the eternal word can be penetrated through our finite words. For Berdyaev, the eternal word, the λόγος [Logos, the primordial language], comes to us through the divine https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110707519-003



words, the λόγοι [logoi]. It is being itself, for Heidegger, given to the beings and yet in need of them, that is in need of the human words in order to make its own manifestation in them and through them possible. The title of the work ‘Being Towards Death’ [‘Sein zum Tode’]¹—having the word ‘Towards’ in the middle—implies movement and change. The human reality is always in movement, that is the movement of one’s innermost self. Also, the word ‘Being’, which indicates the being of the human subject in relation to being [ὤν/ Sein] as such—or God²—designates becoming, that is moving towards the Mystery of being. Towards ‘Death’ indicates the movement towards one’s true self. Passage through death, in this sense, bridges between temporality and eternity, between life in time and its meaning, the world of things and the world of spirit. Death is thus a disclosure of life. Every unveiling of truth and embrace of life, every enclosure of an Other and experience of letting be is the unveiling and the embrace of the experience of death. Death, then, is the death of fear, doubt, anxiety, obscurity, stagnation, boredom and unauthenticity within the human being. It belongs to everyone who exists in the world. It is the most impending reality that belongs to one’s innermost self. The human being who experiences ‘care’ in the world necessarily experiences ‘being towards death’ and only then does one truly comport oneself towards one’s inner reality. Using the words of the German philosopher Martin Heidegger (1889 – 1976)³ it is

 “Being-Towards-Death” [“Sein zum Tode”] is a statement by Martin Heidegger in his Being and Time. The statement is used synonymously with “Being-a-whole” and “authenticity of existence”, while all three would reach at their fulfillment in the state of ‘care’. Hence, ‘death’ for Heidegger had an ontological-existential significance, which is constitutive of the human being’s “potentiality-for-Being-a-whole”. Then, “Being-towards-death” indicates “authentic potentialityfor-Being-a-whole”. See on this: Martin Heidegger, Being and Time (1927), tr. Macquarrie J. & Robinson E. (NY: Harper & Row Publishers, 1962), 277– 278, 293 – 297, 303 – 306, 426. Hereafter: BT.  Since the present work brings philosophy and theology together ‘God’, ‘being as such’, ‘the divinity’, ‘truth’, ‘Spirit’ and rarely ‘meaning’ will be used interchangeably. The choice of any of them follows the particular context of writing.  Martin Heidegger was born in Meßkirch, Germany. In 1909 he became a Jesuit novice, but was soon discharged because of health problems. He first studied theology at the University of Freiburg but in 1911 he changed to the study of philosophy. In 1915 He accomplished his habilitation thesis on Duns Scotus’ thought and was allowed to teach at the university. In 1919 Heidegger became the assistant of Husserl at Freiburg University. Between 1923 and 1928 he taught at the University of Marburg as associate professor for philosophy. At the end of the period Heidegger returned to Freiburg and succeeded Husserl to the chair. In 1933 Heidegger was elected Rector of Freiburg University and on 1st May he joined the NSDAP. In April 1934 he resigned from the Rectoral position. Heidegger was banned from teaching after the war, and was only able to resume his teaching position in 1949, though his writing career had revived prior to this point. From 1949, he traveled, lectured and gave many seminars at different locations. Heidegger



possible to say that that which shows or ‘presences’ itself as being “in itself and from itself”,⁴ in its everydayness, is never a definite determined reality. Furthermore, though being is the being of beings, it is nevertheless distinct from them since being is other and more originary than all beings. ‘Being towards death’, then, implies “freedom towards death”,⁵ that is freedom for being and for care. Furthermore, be-ing towards death requires an endeavor of independent reflection upon the truth of being in relation to the human subject; a reflection which is to be carried by everyone for him/herself, knowing that the essence of truth is a happening. Thus, truth assumes its own way of discovering and conceiving it. Such independent reflection—in this work—is identified with philosophy and theology, in the primordial-essential meaning of the words, which entail inner disposition and receptivity, openness toward becoming what one has always truly been. The present work, then, does not aim at classifications or categorizations of being, or the human being, which would alienate being as such from beings and create a chasm between the two, eliminating the vitality of philosophy and turning it into a passive field of study. Any attempt at classifying being based on the history of philosophy, or theology, will be an assimilative work, trying to bring whatever has been discovered and conceived into certain commonly accepted representations, and this is what the present work will avoid doing. However, any possible discovery of being as such requires the accessibility of entities or beings [τὰ ὂντα/ Seiende], since being is there in everything that is. It further requires laying bare their grounds, exhibiting or discerning their truth and securing it, so that entities or beings appear as they truly are. ⁶ The human being is the inquirer, the one who queries about and searches for being and thus poses the question of being—or meaning—as the essential and the primary question.⁷ Heidegger called the inquirer Dasein [being-there],⁸ that

died on 26th May 1976, and on the 28th May he was buried following a Catholic funeral mass. For a short introduction on Heidegger’s Life see: Michael Inwood, Heidegger: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), 1– 8.  Heidegger, BT, 37.  Heidegger, BT, 311.  Heidegger, BT (1927), 26 – 28; “Science and Reflection” (1953) in The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays (1936 – 54), tr. with intro. by William Lovitt (New York: Harper Colophon, 1977), 167– 169, hereafter QCT. The two references given here come from very different periods in Heidegger’s writings; however, the great similarity in his approach, in both writings, is to be remarked.  It would not be true to Heidegger’s thought to limit its contribution either to the ontological question in abstraction or to mere existentialism. The major question that Heidegger pursued— through the phenomenological method—was the question of the meaning (Sinn) of being in relation to the human being. Heidegger’s fundamental concern was the relation of the human



is the one who asks and seeks being, namely is open for being as such—for truth or for God—and has also potential understanding of the being of all beings. Furthermore, the human being is not only the inquirer, but also has a priority over other beings as the foremost paradigm to be questioned, as being belongs to his/ her essential constitution. Only for the human being, among all other beings, is being as such an issue. The human subject is naturally oriented toward being, or God. He/she seeks being as such and comports him/herself toward being—or God—in every aspiration to be oneself and in every decision to take hold of one’s existence or even to ignore it, since an implicit understanding of being is hidden in every human subject.⁹ This is the second denotation or meaning of the word Dasein, namely the human being who caries within his/her innermost self being in a very special way. Any independent reflection, as maintained above, on being and its kinship to the human being is best described as a path that lies before the person. It is a path of philosophizing and theologizing; a path that requires primarily reflection as its ultimate and constant trait. It is a path of questioning all the guarantees that one claims to have, since questioning requires the surrender of everything, though possessing one’s own self, forcing the person’s vision to draw toward the most simple and inescapable truth. Furthermore, it is a path of freedom and humility; a path which shapes and forms one’s innermost being so that one is truly ‘being towards death’. Such a path suggests that neither theology nor philosophy is something that can be inherited. They cannot be claimed as one’s own simply because one belongs to a particular tradition, or a culture. Both theology and philosophy demand personal involvement. One has to philosophize and theologize for oneself. Nikolaĭ Berdyaev (1874– 1948)—the Russian Orthodox philoso-

being to being as such, which is itself a meaningful relation, namely the openness, receptivity and correspondence of the human being with being as such. It is in this state of human inner inclination that Heidegger perceived the meaning and the value of philosophy and thinking.  “Dasein” describes human existence in its openness to being as such, or it would be possible to say in its openness to truth or meaning. For the sake of an untroubled reading of the present work I am substituting, for the most part, Heidegger’s “Dasein” with “human being”.  Heidegger used the word ‘ontical’ as denoting that which pertains to entities in contrast to ‘ontological’, which pertains to being. The positive sciences follow ontical inquiry. Hence, all ontological systems remain perverted from their essential purpose until they consider the search for the meaning of being as their prior task. Heidegger, BT (1927), 31. Furthermore, since existence belongs also to the ontical reality of the human being, Heidegger used the term ‘existentiell’ [existenziell] to denote this ontical sense of existence in contrast to its ‘existential’ ontological reality. Nevertheless, he maintained that a pre-ontological understanding of being is incorporated as an essential trait of one’s ontical structure. Heidegger, BT (1927), 33, 39.



pher and religious thinker¹⁰—referring to Jesus’ saying: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” explained that the statement is not about an abstract truth or a reference to a relationship that has little to do with one’s life. The statement, rather, implies that truth is necessarily connoted to ‘way’ and ‘life’. “Truth is revealed in the way and in the life.”¹¹ One has to tread the path of truth for oneself. Is there, then, a possible escape from—or elimination of—philosophy, theology or even metaphysics? To the extent that theology, philosophy and metaphysics ask about the world and the finite human reality in their most essential individuation and solitude, philosophy, theology and metaphysics remain the longing and the yearning for being at home everywhere.¹² They advocate the demand to ask the very basic questions about the world, the human reality, God, or truth without which the human being is represented as other than what he/ she is in his/her inner ground. Metaphysics is thus the movement beyond what is, and in this sense it belongs to the essential nature of the human being, or the Da-sein. ¹³ Metaphysics is neither something added to the human reality from outside nor something into which one has to transport oneself,

 Nikolaĭ Berdyaev was born near Kiev and studied first at Kiev University. Later he moved to Saint Petersburg with his wife, and in 1920 became a professor of philosophy at the University of Moscow. Because of his critical stance toward the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church he was condemned as blasphemous, and because of his opinions against the Bolshevik government at the time he was expelled from Russia in 1922. Thus, he was one of the 160 Russian intellectuals who were sent by the Bolshevik regime into exile on the so-called “philosophers’ ship”. Berdyaev arrived first in Berlin. In 1923 he moved to Paris where he taught in his own academy and wrote his most important works.  Nikolaĭ Berdyaev, Freedom and the Spirit, tr. Oliver Fielding Clarke (New York: Charles Scibner’s Sons, 1935), 25.  Philosophy and metaphysics are used interchangeably in this work. I follow Heidegger in this, for whom metaphysics is never to be perceived as an established discipline; rather it is through an understanding of philosophy that metaphysics gains its own meaning as comprehensive questioning. “The questions: What is world, finitude, individuation? constitute such comprehensive questioning.” Martin Heidegger, The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics. World, Finitude, Solitude (1929 – 30), tr. William McNeill and Nicholas Walker (Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1995), 24, hereafter FCM.  On the use of ‘metaphysics’ in this work it should be noted that both Heidegger and Berdyaev, on different occasions, perceived pure metaphysical activity as a futile one, which could hinder the emergence of truth or of being. It should, however, be noted that both thinkers resorted, many times, to generalizations. It is not possible to perceive ‘metaphysics’, or all metaphysical endeavors, as one category. And yet, in the process of unfolding the thoughts of the two thinkers, the present work, at certain points, could not avoid the generalizations brought by the two authors.



since one is already and always there.¹⁴ It is through asking the basic questions that the human being becomes what he/she truly is; namely, he/she becomes at home regardless of all the historical particularities of his/her existence in the world.¹⁵ Asking those questions, however, is by no means a mere posing of questions. It requires the engagement of the whole person, endurance to the end and even suffering in the course of upholding what is right and the need to ask those questions again and again in the face of all established answers and entrenched assertions. In this sense, philosophy and theology assume turmoil and unrest rather than comfort and security. They bring all absolute claims into a state of questionableness, hence it is possible to say that uncertainty and ambiguity belong to the intrinsic nature of both philosophy and theology. How and why does philosophizing, or theologizing, bring the person into such unrest and turbulence? For Berdyaev the function of philosophy is “to endow the spirit with a creative consciousness of the meaning of human existence”, which brings about an “inherent experience of human contradictions and of the tragedy”¹⁶ implicit in the vocation of the philosopher. Heidegger, in turn, would say that, in philosophizing, the person is under attack by his/her ground of being. It is the ‘Dasein’ of the person, namely his/her openness to being as such—or his/her very true self—that drives the person out of the banality of everydayness into the true essence of whatever is.¹⁷ In this sense, it is through philosophy—and theology— that the human being becomes what he/she truly is.

 Martin Heidegger, “What is Metaphysics” (1929), tr. R. F. C. Hull & Alan Crick in Existence and Being (Washington D.C.: Henry Regnery Company, 1949), 349, hereafter WM and EB.  It is possible to distinguish between two different uses of ‘history’ and ‘historiography’ by Heidegger. The first: ‘Geschiche’ or ‘Geschichtlich’—translated as ‘history’ or ‘historical’—refers to ‘happening’ [das Geschehen], which is a way of being pertaining to the human being. In this sense, historical ‘reflection’ [Be-sin-nung] refers to the search for the meaning [Sinn] of a happening and, thus, it is as much about the present as about the past. Furthermore, the (historical) past remains in power concerning the future and every reflection (rather than consideration) on history contributes to shape the future. Historical reflection can take place only through a creative grasp of history. The second is ‘Historie’ is translated in this work as ‘historiography’ or sometimes as ‘historiology’. This use of the word refers to an exploration of the past which results in some kind of cognition or historiographical consideration, based on contemporary perspective, turning the past into an ‘object’ of study or research. Heidegger maintained that all histories of the spirit are merely historiographical since there the spirit is set aside as an object. See on this: Martin Heidegger, Basic Questions of Philosophy: Selected “Problems” of “Logic” (1937 – 1938), tr. R. Rojcewicz & A. Schuwer (Indiana University Press, 1994), 33 – 34, 38.  Nikolaĭ Berdyaev, Solitude and Society (1934), tr. George Reavey (London: G. Bles, 1947). 13.  Heidegger, FCM (1929 – 30), 21. The meaning of essence in this work should not to be confused with the metaphysical notion of essentia in contrast to existentia. Heidegger perceived



However, various schools of thought throughout the centuries—Heidegger would say since Plato¹⁸ and Aristotle—have obscured being, namely the ground

metaphysics itself as the separation between essence (whatness) and existence (thatness), as initiated first by Plato. It was this separation that obscured the difference between being as such and beings, as being itself became perceived as the cause of beings and hence as the highest being (summum ens). Contrary to this, ‘essence’ in this work, following Heidegger’s usage, refers to being itself. ‘Essence’ for Heidegger is not an objective fact; hence, in order to grasp the essence of a thing, or a being, one has to bring it forth into the light. Whenever grasping of the essence is conceived as bringing forth, then, such grasping cannot have any kind of objective foundation. Therefore, this understanding of ‘essence’—namely that grasping the ‘essence’ of a thing means bringing it forth—does not coincide with the Platonic perception of the ‘essence’ as ἰδέα. It was, however, Friedrich Schelling (1775 – 1854), before Heidegger, who maintained that “existing is not here the consequence of the concept or of essence, but rather existence is here itself the concept and itself the essence.” F. W. von Schelling, On the History of Modern Philosophy, tr. Andrew Bowie (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 33. See further: Friedrich W. J. Schelling, Schelling’s Sämtliche Werke (1856 – 1861), II/3, ed. Elke Hahn (Berlin: Total-Verl., 1998), 167. By this Schelling argued, against Hegel, that being (or essence) could be conceived as part of a structure and be known through human reason. In many respects Schelling was one of the first philosophers to claim the inadequate nature of human reason and its incapability to found itself, the consequence of which was the critique of all metaphysics that is based upon representations of what is true. In his later works Schelling gave a derivative role to the self-conscious and a primary role to being, and in this sense his influence on Heidegger’s thought was great. However, Heidegger misinterpreted Schelling, arguing that he remained within the borders of a mere idealism and, hence, within the “western metaphysics” that culminated in Nietzsche’s “will to power”. See on this, and especially on Schelling’s negative theology: Andre Bowie, Schelling and Modern European Philosophy: An Introduction (London; New York: Routledge, 1993). Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling, “Die Weltalter (1814)” in Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schellings Sämtliche Werke, Vol. 13, ed. Karl Friedich August Schelling (Stuttgart; Augusburg: Cotta, 1856 – 1861), 238; Schelling, “Philosophie in der Mythologie” in Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schellings Sämtliche Werke, Vol. 12, 100; Schelling, “Vorlesung über die Geschichte der neuen Philosophie” (1833 – 1834), in Schelling, Sämtliche Werke, I/10, 22; Martin Heidegger, Schelling’s Treatise on the Essence of Human Freedom (1936), tr. Joan Stambaugh (Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 1984); [Heidegger, GA 49.]  Heidegger explained the Greek word φιλοσοφία, referring it back to Heraclitus’ use of the adjective φιλόσοφος [philosophos], the one who loves the sophon or ‘all things that exist’. In this early Greek Heraclitean sense, Heidegger maintains that love means ὁμολογεϊν, i. e. speaking in agreement or in harmony with the λόγος [Logos]. Thus, the word entails that all beings are in harmony with Logos or being as such, or more pointedly: “Being gathers being together”. This, Heidegger explains, was the most astonishing discovery of the early Greeks. Martin Heidegger, What is Philosophy? (1955), tr. William Kluback & Jean T. Wilde (New York: Twayne, 1958), 45, 47, 49, hereafter WP. It was Plato’s separation of the visible and the intelligible worlds that created the possibility of distancing being from beings, and later made it possible for philosophy to keep the two realities apart and disregard the inner unity between them, confining itself to the world of representa-



of all beings, and have departed from their major task of revealing being and so bringing the person into dialogue with the ground of his/her true self. They shifted their concern from being to beings, and by this they lost their distinctive enterprise and ceased challenging the human subject to seek being—or the ‘inner light’, the λόγος [logos], as Orthodox theology would maintain. As Plato separated the realm of being (the Ideas) and the realm of time, the distinction between the two persisted through different schools of human thought. Philosophy had rather to contribute to the retrieval of human reality and the true self, namely the primordial meaning of one’s existence, the source of one’s creativeness and individuality in the world. In their works, both Heidegger and Berdyaev sought to conceive the two notions of ‘being’ and ‘time’, ‘spirit’ and ‘nature’, ‘heaven’ and ‘earth’ in both their difference or distinction from one another and yet in their belongingness together—that is their identity. Berdyaev also criticized the particular aspect of modern philosophy, according to which philosophy is slavishly dependent upon natural sciences, as it was earlier also dependent on religion. Though both religion and science can enrich and support philosophy, they are not to have any dominative role upon philosophy from outside. Berdyaev maintained that, for philosophy to be at all possible, it has to be free, as the primary subject matter of philosophy is being itself that is spirit, namely being before all rationalization or categorization.¹⁹ Being for philosophy is spirit, insisted Berdyaev, denoting it also as ‘first life’,²⁰ while science perceives being as nature. Thus, he wrote: It is precisely mathematical physics, the most perfect of sciences, which is farthest away from the mysteries of being, for these mysteries are revealed only in and through man, in spiritual life and spiritual experience.²¹

tions. Plato called the being of beings (οὐσία or the beingness) the ἰδέα (idea), while Aristotle called it the ἐνέργεια (energeia, actuality). Heidegger, WP (1955), 55. For Aristotle philosophy is thus defined as speculative science “of the first principles and causes”. In this sense, those first principles and causes are what constitute being. Heidegger, WP, 55, 57. [Kluback and Wilde translated the word ἐπιστήμη as knowledge and ‘Wissenschaft’ as ‘science’. It should have been translated the other way around. Heidegger warned against translating ἐπιστήμη as ‘Wissenschaft’ in the German language, because ‘Wissenschaft’ has a wider meaning than the pure scientific nature of the word ἐπιστήμη, or ‘science’.]  Nikolaĭ Berdyaev, The Destiny of Man (1931), tr. Natalie Duddington (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1960), 4, hereafter DM.  Berdyaev, DM (1931), 1– 4.  Berdyaev, DM (1931), 5.



Berdyaev further explicated that ‘philosophical anthropology’ is the main philosophical discipline as it studies the human being through and with the human being. Furthermore, meaning and being can be discovered only through and within one’s own self and consciousness. In this sense, meaning and spirit are connected. Meaning is never revealed in or through objects or any kind of objectified knowledge, since any objectification of meaning is simultaneously the end of true meaning and knowledge. In a similar vein, knowledge of truth is never an objective study of truth, but is rather “communion with truth and life in it”.²² Hence, Berdyaev maintained that the human being belongs to “the kingdom of spirit”²³ and is given to participate in meaning itself. On the other hand, the sciences—including biology, sociology, psychology and philosophy in its pure scientific or historical framework—perceive the human being as an object that is part of nature and thereby hinder a true perception of the human being and of any meaning for him/her. The sciences, then, though capable of supplying the human being with certainty and power, nonetheless alienate the person from his/her own reality and meaning.²⁴ In them “the reality of the spirit disappears.”²⁵ Thus, Berdyaev wrote: There can be no philosophy about other people’s ideas or about the world of ideas considered from without. Philosophy can only be about one’s own ideas, about the spirit, about man in and for himself; in other words, it must be an intellectual expression of the philosopher’s own destiny.²⁶

It is in this sense that the present work ‘Being towards Death’ stands as an attempt at theologizing and philosophizing. It is an undertaking that requires thinking on the path that “lies directly before us”. Thinking is, then, a requirement in travelling along the path, knowing that pure thinking will bring the person into ‘being towards death’. Why would pure thinking bring the person into ‘being towards death’? And, what is meant by pure thinking? Heidegger would answer: pure thinking—or essential thinking—is gazing upon truth, namely upon that which shows itself in unconcealedness. How can one gaze upon truth and distinguish it from all its misrepresentations? Furthermore, how can one avoid misrepresenting oneself? And why are we always tempted to present ourselves in ways other than what we truly are? One answer is that the

    

Berdyaev, Berdyaev, Berdyaev, Berdyaev, Berdyaev,


(1931), 13 (1931), 6. (1931), 8 – 9. (1931), 13. (1931), 7.



human being wants to become some-thing, and thus he/she resorts to all the different representations that can contribute to this purpose. Another question poses itself here: Is the human being some-thing? Isn’t it regrettable that one’s whole life-endeavor would be devoted to this ‘becoming some-thing’, or conforming to this or that ideology, or belief, or tradition? Isn’t it regrettable to sacrifice one’s dreams, creativity and freedom, past and future, for the sake of this single purpose of becoming some-thing? Hence, there is a need for pure thinking in order for the person to discover for him/herself who he/she is and how he/she comes to be. Similar to certain schools of philosophy, different theological trends, in their attempt to find answers to the basic questions, strived to give an answer to almost every question within synthetic, coherent systems of dogmas and doctrines, aspiring to prove their claims within the different fields of scientific disciplines. Of course, it is neither possible here to refer to the different theological systems nor to argue in favor of some against others. Already in his Being and Time Heidegger proposed the need to loosen the tradition of ancient ontology—namely all the theories and the conceptions of being, or God, that have been accumulated throughout history—and to dissipate the concealments they had brought, so that one might be able to arrive at one’s primordial experiences through which one has discovered being as such, or God. By this, Heidegger approached the Orthodox critique of those highly abstract and legalistic approaches to some Western schools of philosophy and theology. The proposed need to loosen the tradition of ontology does not aim—at least in principle—to belittle the past endeavors or put down all the earlier successes. It rather addresses the present, while its criticism of the categorizations of truth aims at freeing the person ‘now’, so that he/she is able to perceive being—or God—in freedom.²⁷ This applies as well to Heidegger’s critique of humanism, which did not amount to abolishing it but rather aimed at preserving and restoring the dignity and the humanity of the person, in order to make a return to one’s home—free from the accumulated assumptions and theories—possible.²⁸ It is in this sense that both Heidegger’s thought and the Orthodox perspective stand in this work as a critique of certain purely speculative attempts to represent the whole of reality through confined systems and structures of human thought. Both perceive such systems as detours, which evade a true encounter with the questions themselves. At many occasions they provide the human

 Heidegger, BT (1927), 44.  Martin Heidegger, “Letter on Humanism” (1946), tr. Frank A. Capuzzi in Pathmarks, ed. William McNeil (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 251, hereafter LH and PATH.



being with false evidence or tracks of truth, hindering the coming forth into the presencing [An-wesenheit] of all that is, namely their showing of themselves in freedom.²⁹ Hence, in place of constructing their own theories and speculations about truth, both Heidegger and Berdyaev set out a path, throughout which the human being enters into a cor-respondence with the being of beings and, thus, moves toward more vigilance and awareness of being as such—or of God. As one travels on the path one is confronted with precipices and abysses, hence the path might seem to be daunting. Nevertheless, it is the nearest possibility for the human being, since one is already and always in such a correspondence with being as such in the very depth of one’s reality, even when unconscious of it. The path assumes the willingness to take upon oneself one’s own destiny and, hence, the task of destruction, namely tearing down the historical claims that delimit being as such, so that one is free to hear the voice of being. The suggested path, however, has no guarantees of its own rightness.³⁰ Heidegger wrote: The path which I should like to point out lies directly before us. And only because it is the nearest at hand is it difficult to find … if … we hear the word “philosophy” coming from its source, then it sounds thus: philosophia. … The word, as a Greek word, is a path … along which we are traveling. Yet we have only a vague knowledge of this path although we possess and can spread much historical information about Greek philosophy.³¹

 Heidegger explained that the notion of bringing that which is not yet present into presencing or into appearance had been described by Plato as ποίησις (poiēsis) or bringing-forth. Plato wrote in the Symposium (205b): ἡ γάρ τοι ἐκ τοῦ μὴ ὄντος εἰς τὸ ὂν ἰόντι ὁτῳοῦν αἰτία πᾶσά ἐστι ποίησις. “Every occasion for whatever passes over and goes forward into presencing from that which is not presencing is poiēsis, is bringing-forth [Her-vor-bringen].” Heidegger’s use of this hyphenized word ‘bringing-forth’ (Her-vor-bringen) denotes different meanings: bringing forth, producing, generating, begetting, uttering, eliciting; namely, the bringing forth of something from concealment to unconcealment. Martin Heidegger, “The Question Concerning Technology” (1953) in QCT, 10. [“Die Frage nach der Technik” in GA 7, 12.] Further, Heidegger maintained that this coming-forth of something from concealment to unconcealment [Das Her-vorbringen bringt aus der Verborgenheit her in die Unverborgenheit vor] occurs within what he called ‘revealing’ [das Entbergen]. For this word, Heidegger explained, the Greeks used ἀλήθεια, the Romans ‘veritas’ and, in German he uses the word ‘Wahrheit’, which is usually understood as correctness of an idea. Heidegger, “The Question Concerning Technology” (1953) in QCT, 11– 12. [Heidegger, GA 7,13.]  Heidegger, WP (1955), 41, 69, 73, 77.  Heidegger, WP (1955), 27, 29. [“Der Weg, auf den ich jetzt hinweisen möchte, liegt unmittelbar vor uns. Und nur deshalb, weil er der nächstliegende ist, finden wir ihn schwer. … wenn wir … das Wort ‘Philosophie’ aus seinem Ursprung hören, dann lautet es: φιλοσοφία. … Das griechische Wort ist als griechisches Wort ein Weg … auf dem wir unterwegs sind. Doch wir kennen



Heidegger would further say that asking the right questions implies being on the path, since in asking one frees oneself from all static answers and gets prepared for thinking. Thus, he wrote: Questioning is the piety of thought.³² Questioning builds a way. We would be advised, therefore, above all to pay heed to the way, and not to fix our attention on isolated sentences and topics.³³

Thus, no elimination of theology and philosophy (or metaphysics) is perceptible as long as the human being exists. He/she will continue to ask about the whole of truth in contrast to his/her own solitary reality, namely his/her finite existence for which he/she stands alone. Heidegger would say: philosophizing belongs to every human being and happens “in the essence of this mysterious being”.³⁴ This implies that philosophy and theology reside in the inner depth of the person, particularly in one’s correspondence with the appeal of being—or of God—within his/her innermost self, namely in his/her openness and attentiveness to being, or to God. Such openness and attentiveness, however, can by no means be described in terms of scientific inquiries or be related to any mathematical knowledge.³⁵ Philosophy and theology in their very core are not in need of exterior proofs of scientific investigation, since neither philosophy nor theology has being—or God—at its disposal, and in this sense they remain fragmentary and incomplete. This means that any absolute or certain knowledge in their concern is not imaginable. Thus, it would be distorting to present philosophy and theology as mere scientific disciplines beside others, namely to ‘elevate’ philosophy and theology to the rank of sciences and by that justify their existence.³⁶ Such attempts abandon the essence and disregard the fundamental characteristic of philosophical and theological inquiry and truth, namely their search for being and the ambiguous nature of such a pursuit. Philosophy is neither a science

diesen Weg nur ganz undeutlich, obwohl wir viele historische Kenntnisse über die griechische Philosophie besitzen und ausbreiten können.” Heidegger, GA 11: 9.]  Heidegger, “The Question Concerning Technology” (1953) in QCT, 35. [“Das Fragen ist die Frömmigkeit des Denkens.” Heidegger, GA 7, 36.]  Heidegger, “The Question Concerning Technology” (1953) in QCT, 3. [“Das Fragen baut an einem Weg. Darum ist es ratsam, vor allem auf den Weg zu achten und nicht an einzelnen Sätzen und Titeln hängenzubleiben.” Heidegger, GA 7: 7.]  Heidegger, FCM (1929 – 30), 7. See also: 13.  Heidegger described mathematical knowledge as the “emptiest and at the same time least binding knowledge”, while philosophy for him is “the richest and most binding knowledge imaginable”. FCM (1929 – 30), 17.  See on this: Heidegger, LH (1946), 240.



nor a worldview; rather it is “something that stands on its own, something ultimate.”³⁷ Through philosophy and theology, the human subject asks about the whole of truth and aspires to grasp it within him/herself. Thus, the human thought moves introspectively rather than outward in an observational or empirical manner, while the human being him/herself becomes constitutive of truth as such. At the outset of the present work it has to be stated that both Martin Heidegger’s and Nikolaĭ Berdyaev’s thinking and philosophizing are endorsed, throughout this work, as philosophical and theological paradigms rather than the mere philosophical constructions of two particular philosophers. Though it is not my intention here to prove any kind of direct or indirect acquaintance—or exchange —between Heidegger and Berdyaev, nevertheless I would assume that both thinkers had access to each other, though not necessarily through primary sources. Both authors shared sources starting with ancient Greek philosophical writings, moving to early Christian thought, Eckhart and Boehme and then to Schelling. On multiple occasions Berdyaev made reference to Heidegger’s works, while Heidegger never acknowledged those of Berdyaev. Possibly Heidegger was not aware of the compatibility of his thinking with the Russian Orthodox tradition; yet several thinkers who influenced Heidegger, such as Rainer Maria Rilke (1875 – 1926), were deeply indebted to Russian thought. Both authors played the role of spiritual resistance, whether against Soviet Communism or against the highly technical-objectified world of modernity in Europe, that is against some kind of a false metaphysics.³⁸ Through the unfolding of the present theme I will attempt to demonstrate this ‘informal’ acquaintance between the two. What is, however, for me of prior concern here is to distinguish between

 Heidegger, FCM (1929 – 30), 2. [Gesamtausgabe Band 29/30: Die Grundbegriffe der Metaphysik. Welt—Endlichkeit—Einsamkeit, ed. F.-W. von Herrmann (Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann, 1983), 2nd edn. 1992, 3rd edn. 2004.]  In his The Beginning and the End (1947) Berdyaev made several references to Heidegger. There he wrote that Heidegger “is one of the most serious and interesting philosophers of our time”, and yet he criticized Heidegger’s notions of ‘being’ and ‘being-there’ as being “under the sway of objectification”, 116. The Beginning and the End, tr. French, R. M. (New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1957). See further: Lesley Chamberlain, Motherland: A Philosophical History of Russia (New York: The Overlook Press, 2007). It could also be noted here that knowing the great influence of Rilke on Heidegger’s thought Heidegger did not admit this, but rather interpreting Rilke’s “The Force of Gravity”, cited at the beginning of this book, considered it as standing within a closed system of metaphysics. See on this: Heidegger, “What are Poets for?” (1935 – 36) in PLT, 99 – 103. I assume that Heidegger misinterpreted Rilke’s poetry. See on this further: P. Christopher Smith, “Heidegger’s Misinterpretation of Rilke”, Philosophy and Literature, 3 (1979), 3 – 19.



two different lines of thought in the history of human thinking. The first that is of interest for this work, can be traced back to early Greek thinking, and later on to the spiritual writings of early Greek Fathers of the Church in the East. This spiritual tradition has been safeguarded through Eastern Orthodox thought with its mystical-apophatic and, yet, existential elements. This line of thought has also had its thriving and flourishing moments in the West through many poets and saints, through the works of the mystics, and the thought of original thinkers such as Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768 – 1934), Søren Kierkegaard (1813 – 1955) and Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 – 1900), to name but a few.³⁹ The reader who is acquainted with both the spiritual traditions of the East and the West will discover surprising parallels between the two.⁴⁰ The second line of thought could be identified through the strictly rational, ‘scholastic’ way of doing philosophy and theology throughout history—examples are Anselm’s ontological argument for the existence of God, his satisfaction theory of atonement and Aquinas’ five ways

 Consequently, it would be misleading to read Heidegger’s and Berdyaev’s works in the way pure scientific constructions are read in some academic disciplines. This would necessarily result in a misunderstanding of the thinking of these authors, and I believe this is the reason behind the many misinterpretations of Heidegger’s works and the works of Orthodox theologians in the West. Those existential-spiritual writings are, rather, to be read freely and openly, without an attempt to ascribe them back to certain theories or categorical systems. An example that demonstrates such misunderstanding of Heidegger’s works is his use of das Sein des Seienden [the Being of the being] or das Sein selbst [Being itself], which are not to be read in abstraction, but to be conceived in terms of the meaning of the being and the source of meaning. Thus, referring to beings [die Seiende] Heidegger had those beings in mind that concern the human being in his/ her search for meaning.  An example of correspondence between the East and the West is that which could be traced back to the nineteenth century Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821– 1881) and the Danish philosopher and poet Søren Kierkegaard. See on this: Stewart, Jon (Ed.), Kierkegaard and the Patristic and Medieval Traditions (Burlington: Ashgate Publishing Company, 2008). Here, I would also like to note that the Greek language is another common element between Orthodox theological heritage and Heidegger’s works. Orthodox theology is founded upon the Greek tradition of the Church Fathers, while in many of his works, Heidegger employed the original Greek terms of antiquity that frequently coincided with Orthodox theological terms and concepts. Both, Heidegger and Orthodox theologians, interestingly share some antagonistic positions against the Roman—or Latin—translations of certain Greek terms, maintaining that the Roman appropriation of them ruined the original Greek significance behind the words. Such terms include: φύσις, λόγος, κοινωνία and οὐσία. Both sides, for example, meditated upon the verb λέγειν in its original meaning of bringing whatever prevails away from concealment, namely revealing it or bringing it into a revelation [Entbergen]. The opposite would be, then, concealing the thing [verbergen]. Of course, such commonality was never intentional from either side. In his What is Philosophy? Heidegger maintained that only the West and Europe have proven throughout history to be originally philosophical. Heidegger, WP (1955), 31.



to prove God’s existence. To this second line of thought belong many pioneers of rational speculation and scientific endeavor, whose contributions, though great and brilliant, have nevertheless generated innumerous damage to human thinking whenever applied to philosophy and theology. Is then the way of philosophy and theology different from the scientific, empirical methods that function and are to be utilized in the domains of natural sciences? Yes. Philosophy and theology assume a different path. Philosophy and theology cannot take for granted that God denotes the perfect being and be fully satisfied with the application of scientific methods in theology. Philosophy and theology are essentially concerned with the human being, the creation and with God, or the Mystery beyond human comprehension and grasp. Human thinking should admit, on many occasions, its inability to supplying appropriate answers to certain given questions. This is the way of apophaticism; namely the admittance of the limitation of most theological language and its inability to convey divine truth as such. Apophatic theology maintains the analogical-symbolic nature of all theological assertions, indicating that absolute Mystery is beyond human understanding and grasp. The divine essence is unknowable to the human being, and yet, God is perceptible and is immanently present to the human being in a particular way. Thus, the human being is given the possibility to approach the Mystery. The human being, him/herself a mystery, perceives and understands the Mystery through the way of the heart. This is the way of introspective reflection and contemplation which, unlike the way of propositional-cognitive assertions, alone makes a union with the divine possible.⁴¹ In contrast to certain exclusive paradigms of the pure-rationalistic approach, it is the mystical-spiritual tendency that safeguards the humanity and the dignity of every human being. For Berdyaev the thought of Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821– 1881) was indispensable, particularly because Dostoyevsky brought together his Russian identity with universalism that strives for the salvation of all people. Berdyaev elaborated that it is within the self, in the inmost part of one’s being that the seeds for such universalism lie and not outside one’s reality. Thus, in his Dostoyevsky (1921) he wrote: “The Russian is unquestionably made to be pan-european and world-embracing. To be a

 Berdyaev wrote: “The origin of man is only partially susceptible to rationalization. No one can fully comprehend the mystery and unique character of personality. Man’s personality is infinitely more mysterious than the world in which he lives, for it is, indeed, a whole world to itself.” Nikolaĭ Berdyaev, Dream and Reality: An Essay in Autobiography (1949), tr. Lampert, Katharine (New York: Collier Books, 1950), viii-ix, hereafter DR.



true and complete Russian means to be everybody’s brother, a universal man— perhaps it means nothing else.”⁴² To travel on the path of thinking with Heidegger and Berdyaev one is, then, to tread the path that they trod and encounter their thoughts “face to face”; not in any assimilative manner that constitutes a mental absorption without any real involvement and participation in the thought itself. One is to be and become oneself part of ‘being’ that is the topic and the center of every pure thinking. In Orthodox terms: whenever the human being approaches the divine, he/she necessarily partakes in the divine; an experience made possible only through the spiritual-mystical journey of the person. The path, then, is similar to climbing a mountain. One has oneself to climb, that is one has to take upon oneself the painful work of climbing, though one might be unable at the time of climbing to perceive the peak and might even slide back and fall. Nevertheless, one continues to move closer and closer to the peak.⁴³ The path is thus a path of seeking truth, for the sake of which one lives and dies. Heidegger wrote: To understand a thinker means to stand face to face with his thought upon a “most separated peak,” it means to be a peak oneself, it means to endure the silence and the light of the mountain rage. Will we ever understand this understanding? Or is it definitively lost?⁴⁴

 Nikolaĭ Berdyaev, Dostoevsky (1923), tr. Donald Attwater (New York: New American Library, 1974), 175 – 176. Berdyaev made further reference to Pushkin in relation to “the universalism of the Russian spirit” and his longing for universal peace and happiness. Berdyaev, D (1923), 178. In a similar vein, Heidegger reflected upon the notion of κοινωνία. He contended that, if beingness is grasped as ἓν, namely as that which is most eminently and is one and most unifying, then the many ideas—the highest forms of being—can be perceived only as κοινόν, that is as community—κοινωνία, where the constancy and the presence of beingness lie, namely as unity. Contrary to this, having ὄν interpreted as οὐσία would mean that being is perceived as something incomplete. Martin Heidegger, Contributions to Philosophy (From Enowning) (1936 – 1938), tr. Parvis Emad & Kenneth Maly (Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1989), 164, hereafter CP. It is in this sense that Heidegger also quoted Aristotle’s words: “Τὸ ὂν λέγεται πολλαχῶς” [“Being-ness appears in many guises”], which is to say that being manifests itself in whatever is, namely in the all-inclusive whole. Heidegger, WP (1955), 97.  This image of climbing a mountain is used by both Heidegger and the Orthodox theologians. See: Heidegger, BQP (1937– 38), 21; Gregory of Nyssa, The Life of Moses, ed. A. J. Malherbe (New Jersey: Paulist Press, 1978).  Martin Heidegger, The Event (1941 – 1942), tr. Richard Rojcewics (Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 2009), 43, hereafter EV. [“Einen Denker verstehen, heißt, seinem Gedachten auf einem “getrennten Gipfel” gegenüber stehen; heißt, selber Gipfel sein; heißt; die Stille und das Licht des Gebirges ausstehen. Werden wir diesen Verstand je verstehen? Oder ist er endgültig verloren?” Heidegger, GA 71, 54.]



It is in this sense that both Heidegger and Berdyaev are perceived in the present work as guides on the way. Any other way of presenting their thoughts would not be faithful to their own convictions and principles. As we move toward the end of the second decade of the twenty-first century we look to Heidegger and the Orthodox theologians for guidance and illumination. We expect that they teach us how Christian thought and theology can remain true to its origins— namely to the heart of the Christian Gospel—and yet faithful to truth as it is understood and perceived today. How can Christian theology liberate Christians to face their own being, rather than make them dependent on its saving activity? How can philosophy and theology free the thinker from the rigid propositions of some abstract systems of human thought, so that he/she is able to try anew to discover truth, or God? How can Christian theology defend the proclamation of the Gospel message in a pluralistic and a secular world? Where should the Christian of today stand when finds him/herself between two extremes, namely the explicit, ostensibly popular religiosity of the pre-modern—or anti-modern— era and the implicit religiosity of a ‘religious-less’, secular age? Through investigating and delving into both Western and Eastern traditions, the present work will proceed by establishing thematic correlations between the two, aiming at a reinterpretation of the theological heritage and a reconsideration of the mythos of the Christian faith, its teachings, doctrines and themes of proclamation. Heidegger’s works address some fundamental topics—being, openness to the Mystery, the human being, the human condition, death, letting be, authenticity and existential falsehood. These topics coincide with those of theology and particularly the works of Berdyaev and the Orthodox theological heritage. Heidegger’s description of the phenomenological method, the meditative thinking, the unity of thinking and being and the mystical element in all knowledge of being are perceptive and insightful for Christian theology. His works and thoughts are directed toward that “in him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). Heidegger addressed many theological topics in his own way, and, most probably, had himself interpreted many theological conceptions into philosophical ones. To a certain extent, Heidegger’s writings present a synthesis of the contributions of Paul the Apostle, St. Augustine (354– 430), the medieval mystics, Martin Luther (1483 – 1546), Friedrich Schleiermacher and Søren Kierkegaard, as well as Fyodor Dostoyevsky, whose works, at least partly, can be characterized as belonging to a non-metaphysical tradition in Christianity.⁴⁵ In his “Mein Bisheriger Weg” (1937/38), published posthumously,

 In his early courses in Freiburg “Einführung in die Phänomenologie der Religion” (winter semester, 1920 – 21) and “Augustinus und der Neuplatonismus” (summer semester, 1921) Heidegger



Heidegger described his own grappling with the deepest questions of Christianity, which remained somehow his spiritual home. He wrote: And who should fail to recognize that my entire path so far has been accompanied by a silent engagement with Christianity: an engagement that has never taken the form of an explicitly raised ‘problem’, but was rather at once the preservation of my ownmost provenance—the childhood house, home, and youth—and a painful emancipation from it.⁴⁶

Later, in an address in Marburg in 1960, Heidegger explained that if his contribution could be of relevance to Christian theology it would be with regard to an analogy: “as philosophical thinking is to Being, so theological thinking (the thinking of faith) is to the self-revealing God”.⁴⁷ The revelation of being, howev-

analyzed several texts of the Apostle Paul that described Christian life as an ongoing process, never fully attained. Later on, however, already with Augustine, Heidegger contended that the purity of religious experience has been impaired by the verbalization of the experience through neo-platonic terms and conceptions. He thus argued that the role of phenomenology was to uncover the original experience, namely the pre-conceptual openness of the human being to God. It is possible to discern Heidegger’s intention to overcome metaphysics already in this early period of his work. See on this: William J. Richardson, S. J., “Heidegger and Theology”, Theological Studies, Vol. 26, Issue 1, 1965, 86 – 100. Accessed 22.06. 2020: http://cdn.theologicalstudies.net/ 26/26.1/26.1.4.pdf; Also: Judith Wolfe, Heidegger and Theology (London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2014). In the year 1923 Heidegger prefaced his “Hermeneutics of Facticity” with these words: “The companion of my search was the young Luther … Kierkegaard provided impulses, and Husserl gave me my eyes.” Heidegger, GA 63, 5. The English translation here is taken from: Wolfe, Heidegger and Theology, 34. See further on Paul, Augustine, the medieval mystics, Schleiermacher, Dostoyevsky and Kierkegaard: GA 60 (passim); “Antrittsrede” (1957) in GA 1, 57. See further: Judith Wolfe, Heidegger’s Eschatology: Theological Horizons in Martin Heidegger’s Early Work (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015).  This English translation appears in Wolfe, Heidegger and Theology, 136. [“Und wer wollte verkennen, dass auf diesem ganzen bisherigen Weg verschwiegen die Auseinandersetzung mit dem Christentum mitging—eine Auseinandersetzung, die kein aufgegriffenes “Problem” war und ist, sondern Wahrung der eigensten Herkunft—des Elternhauses, der Heimat und der Jugend—und schmerzliche Ablösung davon in einem.” Heidegger, “Mein Bisheriger Weg”, GA 66, 415.] See also: Martin Heidegger, “My Pathway Hitherto” in Mindfulness (1938 – 1939), tr. Parvis Emad & Thomas Kalary (London; New York: Continuum, 2006). It should be noted here that between 1909 and 1911, prior to his philosophical studies, Heidegger first spent three semesters as a theology student at the University of Freiburg in Breisgau. Later, he enrolled at the Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. See: Thomas Sheehan, “Heidegger’s Lehrjahre”, accessed 22.06. 2020: https://religiousstudies.stanford.edu/sites/g/files/sbiybj5946/f/heideggers_lehr jarhe.pdf.  The quotation is taken from: Richardson, “Heidegger and Theology”, 87. See further: James M. Robinson & John B. Cobb (eds.) The Later Heidegger and Theology (New York: Harper and Row, 1963), 190.



er, was for Heidegger essentially the revelation of the difference between being and beings, namely the no-thing that belongs to every being and, yet, is not a being. In this sense Heidegger’s experience of ἀληθεύειν [a-lētheuein, non-concealment] as the process of the coming forth of truth as such, the no-thing, is comparable to one’s experience of the self-revelation of the divine, particularly when having the Orthodox apophatic perception of God in consideration. Hence, the work of the theologian, now, would be to trace much of Heidegger’s language back into its original connotations and make use of the different insights and the creativity of Heidegger’s writings, so that the truth behind his claims might be retrieved and be accessible for philosophical-theological endeavor in our contemporary time.⁴⁸ In addition to considering Heidegger’s thought and philosophy, the present work ponders upon the theological profundity of the East and aims to unveil the truth hidden in Orthodoxy. Beside the early Fathers of the Church, Orthodox thought and theology is demonstrated in this work through the religious philosophy of Nikolaĭ Berdyaev, who is best known for his emphasis on human freedom and creativity in his writings.⁴⁹ Berdyaev’s religious existentialism—that is partly influenced by German mystics such as Meister Eckhart, Angelus Silesius and Jacob Böhme—which retained the notion of freedom and of human dignity

 In his article “Letter on Humanism” (1946) Heidegger quoted his own words from his essay “On the Essence of Ground” (1929), where he wrote: “It is, however, the case that through an illumination of transcendence we first achieve an adequate concept of Dasein, with respect to which it can now be asked how the relationship of Dasein to God is ontologically ordered.” LH (1946), 267.  It should be noted here that Berdyaev has not considered the Greek Patristic tradition as absolute or as having “eternal” significance in any sense. In his “Ortodoksia and Humanness” he criticized George Florovsky’s (1893 – 1979) narrow, “anti-western” perception of Orthodoxy that perceived Orthodox theology as having exclusively Greek-Byzantine roots. And, hence, Berdyaev was a critic of conservative approaches in Orthodoxy, which emphasized the need to return to the patristics and consider them as the only source for Orthodox theology. For Berdyaev patristic literature has failed to appreciate the creative element in the human reality. Hence, he described the patristic anthropology as “deficient”. And by this he warned against the mere restoration of the tradition of the Greek Fathers of the church as the Neo-patristic movement, represented through Florovsky, aspired to do. Berdyaev’s critique of Florovsky came through a series of articles published in the intellectual periodical Put’ (meaning the path), which Berdyaev edited. There he wrote: “The Patristics were steeped in philosophic elements, taken from Greek philosophy. And herein also is the question, whether the Greek intellectualism of the Patristics be eternal and immutable. This Greek intellectualism issues from man, and not from God.” See: Nikolaĭ Berdyaev, “Ortodoksia and Humanness”, ‘Put’, no. 53, 1937 (Review of George Florovsky, The Ways of Russian Theology (in Russian) tr. Fr Steven Janos (Paris: YMCA-Press, 1937). Accessed 22.06. 2020: http://www.berdyaev.com/berdiaev/berd_lib/1937_424.html.



is demonstrated here. Maintaining those elements that are comparable to Heidegger’s thought, particularly regarding the notion of mystery, the need for apophaticism and the universalist nature of truth, or the Christian message, the present work argues that ‘being towards death’ is the core and the true nature of Christian faith. Hence, this work combines the existential emphasis with the symbolic perception and the sense of mystery that perceives doctrines and creeds semiotically, trusting that these elements, brought together, will enhance the potential for ecumenism and dialogue in contemporary theology.⁵⁰ Hence, this work undertakes the task of rendering the theological claims anew, aspiring not to fall prey to traditions and to the categorical claims of a religion. In this sense, the work resorts to bringing philosophy and theology together, the West and the East, Europe, Russia and the Middle East, as well as Christianity in its relationship with other religious traditions, so that the Christian is addressed as a free spirit—in the world—and Christianity is perceived as authenticity and freedom. Furthermore, as an author from the Middle East, writing at this particular time of unrest and upheaval in that region, I cannot disregard the ongoing war and its relevance to the West. The so-called ‘Arab Spring’ took rise in the year 2010 in Tunisia and spread throughout the countries of the Arab league. To a certain extent, East-West relations throughout history, political and economic benefits and mutual concessions have played a role in the ongoing violence and turmoil in the region. The turbulence that the Arab Spring created in these countries and the current political situation of the Middle East form the background of my writing. As this work brings the West and the East together, through the thoughts of Heidegger and Berdyaev, the current socio-political situation of the world—in the East and the West—is necessarily of relevance. In order to unfold the major theme of this work, namely being as such, or the divinity, in relation to the human being, I bring into play two different approaches to theology: affirmative or cataphatic [καταφατική] theology and negative or apophatic [ἀποφατική] theology. Affirmative theology has been maintained by most Western theologians throughout the centuries. This way of doing theology has the likeness of beings to God as its frame of reference. This embraces both sameness and difference between God and beings. Affirmative theology comprises Trinitarian theology, philosophical and symbolic theologies, founding its understanding and knowledge of the divinity upon its knowl Berdyaev contended that mystical spirituality and experience transcend confessional confinements and, hence, surmounts the barriers that divide Christians. Nikolaĭ Berdyaev, Freedom and the Spirit (1927) tr. Oliver Fielding Clarke (New York: Charles Scibner’s Sons, 1935), 244, hereafter FS.



edge and understanding of beings, perceiving God as the source and cause of all beings. Hence, it brings to light the perception of the divinity as immanent in all beings. Affirmative theology has been similarly maintained by Eastern Orthodox theologians, who, however, gave priority to negative-apophatic theology (or mystical theology). It is possible to trace this preference for negative theology to the early centuries of Christianity in the East, and it is further possible to consider negative theology as a major characteristic of Eastern Orthodoxy. This way of doing theology requires the abandonment of all knowledge of beings, so that the divine is truly beyond every affirmative description, namely it is the nothing. Divinity, or being, accordingly is perceived to be all that is and, yet, is no-thing. In order to make a complete sense of negative theology and the ambiguous nature of divinity, or being as such, and following a certain line of thought in both eastern and western history, a return back to Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite⁵¹ is necessary. Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, a Christian theologian of the 5th century, was later recognized as the father of mysticism, having influenced most Orthodox theologians and also Medieval German Mysticism. For Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite though, the divinity is all as the ground of all; but itself [is] nothing [οὐδέν] or non-being [μὴ ὂν]. Negative theology comes to completion in the human union with the divine, that is with [the] no-thing. In such union both the sameness and the difference between being and beings are denied. Negative theology, however, does not claim the falsehood of affirmative theology or metaphysics; rather it takes an indifferent position toward every human conception or understanding. And thus, it indicates divine transcendence and its unknowableness. It corrects the claims of affirmative theology (and metaphysics) and denies its ability to convey the mysterium tremendum. ⁵² We read Pseudo-Dionysius on God: God is all in all, nothing in none, known to all in reference to all, known to no one in reference to nothing.

 . Who was Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, the author of several Greek works which date from the 5th or 6th century? This is still an unsettled question because of the lack of the historical references.  Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, The Divine Names and Mystical Theology, tr. & int. John D. Jones (Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Marquette University Press, 1980), 2, 4– 5, 23, hereafter DNMT. It is my contention that Heidegger adopts both affirmative and negative theologies within his phenomenological ontology. Nevertheless, it might be possible to remark that in the depth of his writings the spirit of negative theology prevails, as he maintains the futility of all speculative affirmations.



For we say all of this correctly about God who is celebrated according to the analogy of all, of which it is the cause.⁵³

He also wrote: Into the dark beyond all light we pray to come, through not seeing and not knowing, to see and know that beyond sight and knowledge—itself: [is] neither seeing nor knowing.⁵⁴

It is in the light of this understanding of negative theology that the present theme ‘being towards death’ might be unfolded. For Pseudo-Dionysius beings come to be through divine letting-be. The two words used for this are procession [πρόοδος] and reversion (or return) [ἐπιστροφή]. Beings proceed from the divinity and return or reverse back to the divinity; thus, they participate and subsist in the divinity. Nevertheless, the divinity is beyond and absolved from being. The divinity is beyond being [ὐπερουσίως], beyond unity [ὐπερηνωμένως] and beyond having [ὐπεροχίκως], namely beyond all limitation and multiplicity.⁵⁵ Pseudo-Dionysius elaborated that it is the divine eros that lets beings be out of it, namely that the divinity “comes out of itself into beings”.⁵⁶ This is to say that the procession and reversion of beings are the same procession and reversion of the divinity out of itself and about itself.⁵⁷ Hence, the divinity differentiates itself in letting beings be, namely in be-ing the being of beings, and yet beyond them.⁵⁸ Based on the given exposition of Pseudo-Dionysius’ understanding of procession and reversion it would be wise to look at Heidegger’s notion of die Kehre [the turn], with which we have to deal here in this preamble. Die Kehre [the turn] refers to ‘reciprocity’ [Gegenschwung, or reciproci-tas in Latin], which reveals the co-dependence between the human being and being as such, namely the ‘back-and-forthness’ or the ‘oscillation’ [Erzittern] between the human be-

 Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, DNMT, 179.  Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, DNMT, 215.  Regrettably, in the Latin tradition, these adverbs had been translated as denoting a “superessentially”, “superunitary” and “preeminently” existing being, who is transcendent over all other beings. These translations were based on Aristotelian metaphysics, which considered the divinity as the first and the most transcendent being (or cause), who exists in itself, namely who does not need the beings for its own being.  Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, DNMT, 3.  Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, DNMT, 3.  Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, DNMT, 3 – 4.



ing’s procession from being and his/her return or thrownness into being.⁵⁹ Berdyaev, conveying a similar notion of the turn, wrote: “man must constantly return to his divine image.”⁶⁰ In Heidegger’s (early) thought, die Kehre [the turn] concerned the human being and it consisted of two steps. First, the human being actively projects his/her own being toward being as such in as much as he/she remains open to being and receptive to it. There is, however, a reversal, or a second step, as the human being passively returns or is thrown back into the origin, namely his/her true self. This understanding of the ‘turn’ appears as early as Heidegger’s Being and Time, indicating an inner transformation within the human subject. This denotes the call—from within the person—for a personal transformation and becoming what one originally and essentially is, namely the conversion from self-alienated to authentic and free existence, the culmination of which is the resolute taking upon oneself of “being-towards-death”.⁶¹ Hence, in his early works, Heidegger attempted to analyze being in terms of the analysis of human existence in the world interpreting this analysis in terms of Lichtung-sein and within a transcendental framework. After Being and Time, toward the mid-1930s, Heidegger changed his method of arriving at the second step of the reciprocal process, namely the return of the human being to being as such. He perceived the first step of the human being’s projective role as an “achievement of subjectivity” and as not satisfyingly demonstrating the necessary “clearing of being”. Thus, the reverse [die Kehre] way was surely more difficult as it had to be the way of abandoning subjectivity. In his lecture course, in 1937– 8, Heidegger wrote: “In the question of truth … what is at stake is a transformation in man’s Being itself.”⁶² And in his talk in Bremen, on 1 December 1949, “Die Kehre”, Heidegger construed this sense of the ‘turn’ in relation to the question of technology, as technology obliterates one’s forgetting of being, namely it imprisons the person within one’s own self-alienation. This was for Heidegger the greatest danger. Being as such, how-

 Heidegger, CP (1936 – 38), 177; 184– 185; 266. [GA 65, 251; 261– 263; 381.] See on this: Thomas Sheehan, “The Turn” in Bret W. Davis (Ed.), Martin Heidegger: Key Concepts (Durham, GB: Acumen Publishing, 2009), 82– 101.  Nikolaĭ Berdyaev, “Personality and Communion” in John Witte & Frank S. Alexander (eds.), The Teachings of Modern Orthodox Christianity: On Law, Politics, and Human Nature (New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 2007), 146.  In BT Heidegger wrote: “Become what you are.” BT (1927), 186. [“Werde, was du bist!” GA 2, 194.] See also: BT, 373.  In his letter to William J. Richardson Heidegger quoted his own lecture notes. Heidegger’s letter had been first published in the preface of: William J. Richardson, Heidegger: Through Phenomenology to Thought (The Hague: Nijhoff, 1974), XX, hereafter PMH (“Preface by Martin Heidegger”). His lecture notes are later on published in GA 45, 214 and BQP (1937– 38), 181.



ever, is in need of the human being and is already given to his/her essential nature. So, he wrote: In order that man in his essence may become attentive to the essence of technology … modern man must first and above all find his way back into the full breadth of the space proper to his essence. That essential space of man’s essential being receives the dimension that unites it to something beyond itself solely from out the conjoining relation that is the way in which the safekeeping of Being itself is given to belong to the essence of man as the one who is needed and used by Being. Unless man first establishes himself beforehand in the space proper to his essence and there takes up his dwelling, he will not be capable of anything essential within the destining now holding sway.⁶³

Hence, Heidegger hoped that this repressive peril of estrangement from one’s own self will eventually bring the person into a realization of the danger and a disclosure of being, as being—or God—belongs essentially with him/her. In this sense, the discovery of one’s own essence that is one’s inner self, where being or God dwells, makes the transformation of the person possible. About the change of methodology, Heidegger wrote in his “Letter on Humanism” (1947): “Here everything is reversed. The division in question [in Being and Time] was held back because thinking failed in the adequate saying of this turning and did not succeed with the help of the language of metaphysics.”⁶⁴ Explicating his shift in methodology⁶⁵ from Being and Time to Time and Being [“Zeit  Heidegger, “The Turning” in QCT, 39 – 40. [“Damit aber das Menschenwesen achtsam werde auf das Wesen der Technik, damit zwischen Technik und Mensch hinsichtlich ihres Wesens sich ein Wesensverhältnis stifte, muß der neuzeitliche Mensch zuvor allererst in die Weite seines Wesensraumes zurückfinden. Dieser Wesensraum des Menschenwesens empfängt seine ihn fügende Dimension einzig aus dem Ver-Hältnis, als welches die Wahrnis des Seins selbst dem Wesen des Menschen als dem von ihm gebrauchten vereignet ist. Anders als so, daß nämlich der Mensch zuvor erst in seinem Wesensraum sich anbaut und darin Wohnung nimmt, vermag der Mensch nichts Wesenhaftes innerhalb des jetzt waltenden Geschickes.” Heidegger, GA 11, 117.] A warning of a similar danger came also from Berdyaev, who wrote: “And the greatest danger to which a man is exposed on the paths of objectivization is the danger of the mechanization, the danger of automatism.” Berdyaev, “Personality and Communion”, 146.  Heidegger, LH (1946), 250. This was a response to set of questions by Heidegger’s French colleague Jean Beaufret (1946) concerning Sartre’s address given in Paris on 1945. The change referred to here was not a change in the thinking of Heidegger, or any change in his standpoint toward his major earlier concerns, rather it was a step toward giving a definite and a precise form to his thought. Heidegger’s later works address, with similar urgency, the previous concerns presented in his Being and Time. See fn. 5. [“Hier kehrt sich das Ganze um. Der fragliche Abschnitt wurde zurückgehalten, weil das Denken im zureichenden Sagen dieser Kehre versagte und so mit Hilfe der Sprache der Metaphysik nicht durchkam.” Heidegger, GA 9, 328.]  Many interpretations of Heidegger’s “turn” confuse the reader. See John D. Caputo’s interpretation of the four “turns” in Heidegger, namely from Catholicism to Protestantism, another turn



und Sein”, a lecture given in Freiburg in 1962, the title of which reflects the shift from Being and Time]⁶⁶, and critically viewing his earlier methodology, Heidegger groped his way out of metaphysics. He wrote further: This turning is not a change of standpoint from Being and Time, but in it the thinking that was sought first arrives at the locality of that dimension out of which Being and Time is experienced, that is to say, experienced in the fundamental experience of the oblivion of being.⁶⁷

Thus, the shift concerns Heidegger’s formulation and articulation of die Kehre, namely of the inner reciprocity between being and the human being. Heidegger altered the transcendental method and moved to the seinsgeschichtlich approach [based on the history of being], which denoted that “Being-is-already-given”. Through this approach Heidegger emphasized being’s need for the human being, admitting the fact that it is only through the finite human reality that being comes out of its concealedness into self-manifestation. Heidegger’s words that are quoted here in length, from his letter to William Richardson in 1962, give some explanation in this direction: The thinking of the reversal is a change in my thought. But this change is not a consequence of altering the standpoint, much less of abandoning the fundamental issue, of Being and Time. … Instead of the groundless, endless prattle about the “reversal,” it would be more advisable and fruitful if people would simply engage themselves in the matter mentioned. … One need only observe the simple fact that in Being and Time … the normative issue is emphatically and solely the experience of There-being [Dasein, the human being who is present to being] with a constant eye to the Being-question—for it to become strikingly clear that the “Being” into which Being and Time inquired can not long remain something that the human subject posits. It is rather Being, stamped as Presence by its time-character,

into National Socialism, a third one after the war and, finally, a possible turn back to Catholicism. John D. Caputo, “Heidegger and Theology” in The Cambridge Companion to Heidegger, ed. Guignon Charles B. (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1993), 270 – 288.  “Being and Time” indicates being’s giving of time and its turning away from beings or its concealing of itself, while “Time and Being” indicates the turn from history to being. See on this: Herman Philipse, Heidegger’s Philosophy of Being: A Critical Interpretation (Princeton: NJ [u.s.]: Princeton University Press, 1998), 238.  Heidegger, LH (1946), 250. Though Heidegger here uses the word “turn” to denote the change of his approach, nevertheless the reader should not confuse between this change and the original meaning of the “turn” as the bond or the interrelation between a being and being as such. [“Diese Kehre ist nicht eine Änderung des Standpunktes von ‘Sein und Zeit’, sondern in ihr gelangt das versuchte Denken erst in die Ortschaft der Dimensionen, aus der ‘Sein und Zeit’ erfahren ist, und zwar erfahren in der Grunderfahrung der Seinvergessenheit.” Heidegger, GA 9, 328.]



[that] makes the approach to There-being [the human being]. … Contrary [to what is generally supposed], the question of Being and Time is decisively ful-filled in the thinking of the reversal. He alone can ful-fill who has a vision of fullness.⁶⁸

Hence, it is particularly in the light of the givenness of being as such, or of God, that the theme of the present work ‘being towards death’ is fully unpacked. Being as such opens itself up and gives itself so that it is ‘thrown’ in the ‘there’ where the human being dwells and in which he/she partakes as the one being-there, the Da-sein. On the other hand, the human being’s ‘appropriation’ of being as such and his/her consenting to take upon him/herself the task of sustaining being will bring him/her eventually to ‘being towards death’, as he/ she will also give him/herself to being as a response. Contrary to the subjective, self-projective approach of his early works, in a conversation in 1969 Heidegger described the central topic of his thought as the human being’s and being’s interrelationship and interdependence: And the fundamental idea of my thinking is exactly that Being, relative to the manifestation of Being, needs man and, conversely, man is only man in so far as he stands within the manifestation of Being.⁶⁹

Heidegger called this movement toward one another Ereignis (translated as ‘event’ or ‘enowning’, meaning appropriating, making one’s own), which indi-

 Richardson, PMH, XVI–XVIII, Heidegger, BQP (1937– 38), 181. [“Das Denken der Kehre ist eine Wendung in meinem Denken. Aber diese Wendung erfolgt nicht auf grund einer Änderung des Standpunkts oder gar der Preisgabe der Fragestellung in “Sein und Zeit”. … Statt des bodenund endlosen Geredes über die “Kehre” wäre es ratsamer und fruchtbar, sich erst einmal auf den genannten Sachverhalt einzulassen. … Wer bereit ist, den einfachen Sachverhalt zu sehen, daß in “Sein und Zeit” … einzig die Erfahrung des Da-seins aus dem ständigen Vorblick auf die Seinsfrage maßgebend ist, der wird zugleich einsehen, daß das in “Sein und Zeit” erfragte “Sein” keine Setzung des menschlichen Subjekts bleiben kann. Vielmehr geht das Sein als das aus seinem Zeit-Charakter geprägte An-wesen das Da-sein an. … Dagegen wird im Denken der Kehre die Fragestellung von “Sein und Zeit” auf eine entscheidende Weise er-gänzt. Ergänzen kann nur, wer das Ganze erblickt.” Heidegger: GA 11, 149 – 150.]  Richard Wisser (ed.), Martin Heidegger in Conversation (1969) ed. Srinivasa Murthy (India: Arnold-Heinemann Publishers, 1977), 40, hereafter MHC. [“Und der Grundgedanke meines Denkens ist gerade der, daß das Sein beziehungsweise die Offenbarkeit des Seins den Menschen braucht und daß umgekehrt der Mensch nur Mensch ist, sofern er in der Offenbarkeit des Seins steht.” Heidegger, GA 16, 704]. See also: CP, 186 [GA 65, 264]. The article also appears in: Martin Heidegger and National Socialism: Questions and Answers, ed. Günther Neske (New York: Paragon House, 1990).



cates a mutual appropriation of being and the human being.⁷⁰ In this sense, ‘die Kehre’ [‘the turn’] is the event of being [‘Ereignis’]. It is “the turn in the event”,⁷¹ that is the reciprocal, mutual movement of being and the human being toward one another.⁷² The new method thus indicated that being as such is operative wherever there is a human being. The human being is required to open him/herself to being, rather than having to project him/herself toward being in any subjective manner. By this, Heidegger accomplished the ‘turn’ to being and could overcome the limitations of the transcendental method.⁷³ This is clearly a change in Heidegger’s conceptual framework. However, in this work I propose to perceive Heidegger’s alteration of his methodology and the whole of his conceptual framework as a further development on the way of the unfolding of his basic project. By this I maintain that Heidegger did not abandon the initial aims of  Heidegger, CP (1936 – 38), 184, [GA 65, 261]. The word ‘Ereignis’ indicates the event of taking upon oneself some other reality and making it one’s own. By using the verb ereignen, Heidegger described a process through which beings meet truly as they participate in being as such and realize that they belong together. The English translation of the word as appropriation might indicate self-centeredness, namely the appropriation of something for oneself, which is contrary to the original meaning of the word. Furthermore, the origin of ereignen can be traced back to eräugnen, which means to set before the eye (taken from Auge [the eye]). In this sense, Ereignis is related to Eräugnung or Ereignung, namely the act of looking at things as they show themselves to be. By this it is possible to say that the notion of Ereignis penetrates the depth of Heidegger’s thinking as it points out the clearing of being, or of truth, namely bringing it into light. Through Ereignes, the mutual ‘appropriating’ or ‘assuming’ of beings and being as such occurs so that the meaning of being comes to the fore.  “Die Kehre im Ereignis” in Heidegger, Beiträge zur Philosophie (Vom Ereignis) (1936–1938), in GA 65, 407. See on this: Philipse, Heidegger’s Philosophy of Being, 236 – 237. Philipse described this in terms of “postmonotheist”, “eschatological” interpretation of the Judeo-Christian conception of the Fall—as God turned away from Adam and Eve—and the expected second coming of Christ, which will not be possible unless the human being opens his/her heart to God.  Richardson, PMH, XX, Martin Heidegger, BQP (1937– 38), 181.  I follow in this T. Sheehan in his “The Turn”. There are two references by Heidegger concerning the new method. The first appears in a later note added to Being and Time, where Heidegger already schemes it in four points. “The difference bound to transcendence (tranzendenzhafte Differenz) [this would later be called the “ontological difference”]. The overcoming of the horizon as such. The return into the source (Herkunft). The presencing out of this source.” Joan Stambaugh, Being and Time (Albany, NY: State Univ. of New York Press, 2010), footnote page 35. [The note has not been found in Macquarrie’s translation.] The second reference is in Heidegger’s lecture “On the Essence of Truth” 1930, tr. John Sallis, in PATH, 136 – 154. [“Vom Wesen der Wahrheit” in GA 9]. There, in a note, Heidegger wrote: “Zwischen 5. und 6. der Sprung in die (im Ereignis wesende) Kehre.” [GA 9, 193], Note “a”: “Between the 5th and the 6th the leap into the turning (whose essence unfolds in the event of appropriation.” Heidegger, PATH, 148. Heidegger spoke here of a “leap”, since for him the movement from transcendental method to the seinsgeschichtlich approach is not a smooth one, it requires a “leap”. See: Sheehan, “The Turn”.



his endeavor, from which he did not depart; rather, he evolved it and corrected it through the new orientation.⁷⁴ In 1953 – 54 he wrote: Interlocutor: They say you changed your standpoint [after Being and Time]. Heidegger: I left an earlier standpoint, not in order to exchange it with another, but because the previous standpoint, too, was only a sojourn on the way. What endures, in thinking, is the path. And paths of thought bear the mystery that we can walk them forward as well as backward—indeed, that only the way back leads us forward.⁷⁵

Hence, if a comparison between Heidegger’s understanding of the turn and the Orthodox perception of procession and reversion—which in this work presents the position of Orthodox theology including Berdyaev’s position—is ever possible, one has to say that it is the later Heidegger that approached the mystical perception of the theologian. Pseudo-Dionysius perceived the divine letting-be as the beginning of the divine-human relationship while the early Heidegger started from the human longing for transcendence. It was only after the mid-1930s, as Heidegger struggled to overcome the faith of his youth, that he corrected his approach and admitted the precedence of being as such, or the divine. By this shift in methodology or the change in Heidegger’s thinking [die Wendung im Denken] Heidegger distanced himself more and more from the metaphysical-speculative approach, drawing nearer to the mystical standpoint. Thus, it is possible to re-

 In his Being and Time Heidegger already attempted a destruction of the abstract history of being through phenomenology, hermeneutics and transcendental philosophy. However, later on, he perceived these as the metaphysical foundations for the history of ontology; thus, he aimed at relinquishing these elements in his later works. So, in the “Conversation” Heidegger wrote: “Thus we determine what is called horizon and transcendence by means of this going beyond and passing beyond… Horizon and transcendence, thus, are experienced and determined only relative to objects and our representing them. … in this way what lets the horizon be what it is has not yet been encountered at all.” Heidegger, “Conversation” (1944– 45), DT, 64. In the same work he wrote further: “Releasement is indeed the release of oneself from transcendental re-presentation and so a relinquishing of the willing of a horizon. Such relinquishing no longer stems from a willing, except that the occasion for releasing oneself to belonging to that-which-regions requires a trace of willing. This trace, however, vanishes while releasing oneself and is completely extinguished in releasement.” Heidegger, “Conversation” (1944– 45), DT, 79 – 80.  This English translation is taken from: Wolfe, Heidegger and Theology, 137. [“J. Man sagt, Sie hätten Ihren Standpunkt gewechselt. F. Ich habe einem früheren Standpunkt verlassen, nicht um dagegen einen anderen einzutauchen, sondern weil auch der vormalige Standort nur rein Aufenthalt war in einem Unterwegs. Das Bleibende im Denken ist der Weg. Und Denkwege bergen in sich das Geheimnisvolle, daß sogar der Weg zurück uns erst vorwärts führt.” Heidegger, GA 12, 94.] A different English translation of the whole work is: Martin Heidegger, On the Way to Language, tr. Peter D. Hertz (New York: Harper & Row, 1971).



peat what has been said earlier concerning Pseudo-Dionysius’ understanding of divine letting-be. The procession and reversion of beings are the same procession and reversion of being as such, out of itself and about itself. By this, die Kehre for Heidegger indicated the ‘reciprocity’ between the human being and being as such. This divine-human reciprocity—presented in both Orthodoxy and in the thought of the later Heidegger—is further unfolded through the two Orthodox notions of divine descent [κατάβασις, katabasis] and human ascent [ἀνάβασις, anabasis]. Here too, Orthodox theology starts with the divine descent. It is through creation, incarnation, crucifixion and the continuous pouring of Godself forth into the human being through the divine words—which are the divine purposes and reasons for creation—that God continues to come to the human being and be part of the human reality. In the Orthodox theological perception, the divine purposes of creation, the logoi, are eternally present in the one Logos. And it is through an inner dynamic, given to the human being, that he/she aspires to attain one’s own logos, or purpose, namely to transcend oneself to God. Through divine descent Godself becomes a concealed nearness, some intimate reality within the human self, the true home of the human being. Christ, however, is in a two-dimensional movement. He descends from heaven and, yet, also ascends from the world. In Christ, the human is raised to the divine and deified by participation in the divine. That is a union without confusion, namely without eliminating the difference between the human and the divine. The difference here safeguards both divine transcendence and imminence. God is near and yet beyond the full grasp of the human being. This antinomic nature of God concerns the same divine Mystery, which gives itself and yet withholds it. By starting with the divine descent, Orthodox theology affirms God to be “all in all”, “the beginning and the end”,⁷⁶ a truth of which, by analogy, Heidegger was aware mostly in his later works. Put together one would say: through the divine descent God gives Godself to the human being and through transcendence the human being longs for deification. In Heideggerian terminology: through the seinsgeschichtlich approach being gives itself to the human subject and the human subject, in turn, aspires after being as such. Neither of the two ways would be possible without the other. Does this limit God? is a question that addresses Orthodox theology. Does this limit being as such? a question to Heidegger! The present work, nevertheless, is in accord with the positions of both Orthodoxy and Heidegger—the later Heidegger.

 See: 1 Corinthians 15:28, Revelation 22:13.



These remarks on the notion of the ‘turn’ were needed here to demonstrate that the present work will consider the whole of Heidegger’s thought, namely both before and after his shift in methodology, maintaining that this shift is not a change in the depth of Heidegger’s standpoint, but that to a certain extent it is possible to view it as a corrective of the early Heidegger. Furthermore, and against the different charges that have been ascribed to Heidegger’s philosophy as well as against the many misinterpretations of his works,⁷⁷ the present work is  A note here, in the introduction of this work, on the question of Heidegger’s involvement with National Socialism is necessary. It has to be clarified that the present work will not deal with the political application of the philosopher’s thinking for the simple reason that the work is an undertaking within the field of Systematic Theology, and it finds in Heidegger’s thought a contribution that promotes and sustains its own claims. Of course, the work does not deny that there might have been mistakes in the application of the thoughts in real-life situations. It is my contention that Heidegger believed that through the new power the people could have the chance for an “inner recollection and renewal.” (see: Martin Heidegger, “Rector’s Address—The Self-Assertion of the German University and The Rectorate 1933/34: Facts and Thoughts”, tr. Karsten Harries, Review of Metaphysics, 38:3 (1985: Mar.), 483 – 486, hereafter RA. [The first article “The Self-Assertion of the German University” comes from 1933, while the second one “The Rectorate 1933/34: Facts and Thoughts” from 1945.]. Also Judith Wolfe, in her Heidegger and Theology, wrote that “though Heidegger temporarily thought to be finding in Nazism a spiritual ally—a movement bold enough to realize the intellectual ambition he was projecting—he was soon disappointed by the crass, militant apocalypticism into which the eschatological tradition of Fichte, Hegel, and Hölderlin was here being shaped, and dissociated himself from the party program in favor of an apophatic eschatology centered on a very different reading of Hölderlin.” (101). Thus, I believe that this ‘error’ should not serve as an obstacle on the way of discovering the thought of the philosopher and embracing its deep value and meaning. See on this further: Judith Wolfe, “Black Notebooks: Caught in the trap of his own metaphysics,” Standpoint, June 2014. In this article, Wolfe explains about the later publication of Heidegger’s three-volume Notebooks, extending over the years 1931-1941, specially of the first years of Heidegger’s straight involvement with the party, that the work is an “honest journal—overweening, earnest, comic, even strangely touching—of the failure of the philosopher’s university rectorship at Freiburg and its aftermath, with meaty information about his vision for philosophy, the university and Germany.” (Standpoint, June 2014, 1/5). Wolfe describes further Heidegger’s ambition to “seize the moment to put into action the intellectual renewal he had been writing and lecturing about for a decade.” However, soon Heidegger was disappointed from the policy of the party which ended up with his hasty resignation from the rectorship in 1934. It should also be noted here that the view of German national sovereignty as spiritual power and the perception of “The Third Reich” as the realization of the potential spiritual vision of Germany can be traced back to Johann G. Fichte (1762– 1814), who in 1808 maintained that “the seed of human perfection” is engrained within the German people, and also to Georg W. F. Hegel (1770 – 1831), who in 1821 stated that it is in German supremacy that the “absolute rule” of spirit would be evinced. Furthermore, it is in his writings after 1940s, i. e. after this period of his involvement with National Socialism, that Heidegger redirected his insurgent-reformative criticism toward the



an attempt to bring to light the thought of the thinker,⁷⁸ to push aside obscurities and let the words of the author speak for themselves.⁷⁹ Heidegger’s criticism of the classical theistic concept of God as an “idealized absolute subject”⁸⁰ and his rejection of any possibility of proving the existence of God based on human consciousness⁸¹ do not mean that he had no understanding of and no place for God in his thinking, as many works on Heidegger’s thought claim.⁸² A major weakness of Heidegger’s works, however, remains that he almost never, or rarely, admitted and acknowledged the value and contribution of the many great thinkers and their influence on his own thought and philosophy; such as the influence of Eckhart, Kierkegaard and Nietzsche, to name a few. To a certain extent, this remark applies as well to Berdyaev’s writings.⁸³ To sum up my thoughts in this introductory part: The present work sets Martin Heidegger’s thinking in conversation with Orthodox theology, represented whole Western metaphysical tradition and also toward the tyranny of the ‘technological’ world with its calculative reasoning and assessment. Heidegger substituted the conservative nationalism of Nazism with the poetic nationalism of Friedrich Hölderlin, according to which it is only through ‘letting-be’—that is through death—that one can allow being as such to come to presence through beings. Heidegger’s replacement of legalism with the poetic approach, however, was a surrender of the criteria that could denounce the extermination of the unjust. (Wolfe, Standpoint, June 2014, 3 – 4/5). This historical background on Heidegger’s relation to National Socialism does not aim at justifying Heidegger’s political engagement, as said earlier, and yet it gives the chance for philosophers and theologians to let Heidegger speak for himself through his works and writings.  The reference to Heidegger’s writings in this work will be selective as the limited space of the present work does not allow a detailed consideration of the whole of Heidegger’s corpus. Furthermore, the particular date of writings will be always supplied in order to enable a reading of the works within their appropriate contexts.  In his “Letter on Humanism” Heidegger expressed his own difficulties on his path of thinking. There, he referred to the misunderstandings of his path, of his claim that the human being is “being-in-the-world” and, hence, the charge that he denied “Transcendence”. Similarly, and because he addressed Nietzsche’s “death of God”, people had ascribed to him atheism and godlessness. For his understanding and interpretation of truth as nothingness he was charged with destructive thinking and nihilism. Heidegger, LH (1946), 263 – 264, 266.  Heidegger, BT, 272.  Heidegger, BT, 313. Here Heidegger rejects the possibility of employing human ‘conscience’ for any assertion of one’s “‘immediate’ consciousness of God”. It has to be noted here that the word “immediate” is essential for this statement. The statement does not deny that human conscience brings the person to God, but that human conscience could be used as proof for any assertion of God’s immediate presence.  An example is: Herman Philipse, Heidegger’s Philosophy of Being: A Critical Interpretation.  See for example Berdyaev’s comments on the thoughts of several philosophers, including Heidegger, in his: Solitude and Society (1934), 35 – 51. This, however, does not deny the influence of many thinkers on his thought.



here particularly through Nikolaĭ Berdyaev’s works. Through the contributions of both authors, I aim in this work, first, to present a reading of Christian faith that addresses the challenges and the requisites that the twenty-first century sets upon the Christian both in the West and the East. The account of Christianity that I aspire for anticipates an alternative to both dominant trends in the twenty-first century, namely radical religiosity (which could be combined with extremist nationalism)—or fundamentalism—on the one hand, and the fear and suspicion of everything religious on the other. The proposed alternative here admits that the human being is not a thing among things, and that there might be a path which could lead the person on the way to homecoming that is beyond both fundamentalism and fear of religiosity. Second, throughout this work I will be demonstrating that both Heidegger and Berdyaev shared some common sources that can be traced back to Medieval German Mysticism, Neo-Platonism and to the thought and theology of the Early Greek Fathers of the Church. The present work, however, does not set itself the task of reaching at certain classifications or historical proofs of comparability or similarity between the two contributions of the authors. Instead, the work aspires to show the deep correspondence in meaning between the works and thoughts of the two authors; a correspondence that is beyond mere functional-structural similarities between the two contributions; a correspondence that guides the reader alongside parallel paths, where no “special cover” is supplied, and yet, “there, outside all caring, this creates … safety”.⁸⁴ And so, I am arguing here, with Heidegger and Berdyaev, that the spirit is higher than history and that ‘being towards death’ is being towards divine Mystery, towards the self, the no-thing.

 See the whole poem on the very first pages of this book. Rainer Maria Rilke (written in 1924), Kommentierte Ausgabe in vier Bänden (Frankfurt a. M.: Insel, 1996), 2: 324. The poem in English translation as it appears in this book is taken from Martin Heidegger, “What are Poets for?” (1946), in Martin Heidegger, Poetry, Language, Thought (1936 – 1954), tr. A. Hofstadter (New York: Harper & Row, 1971), 97. [Heidegger, GA 5: 277.]



To be towards death, To start from the beginning, Determine the path; The path of the inner self, The path to the Mystery. To be towards the no-thing, And yet Towards everything And every being. Day in and day out To keep walking On the path of thinking, The path towards The new beginning. ⁸⁵

 These poetic lines as well as all poetic lines at the end of the following chapters are written by the author of this book.

1 Openness to the Mystery “God is not known, not spoken, not named, not something among beings.” —Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite—

1.1 The Mystery and its Givenness 1.1.1 Being—or God—as Mystery and the Human Being as the ‘Shepherd’ of Mystery In these words, Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite described the hidden divinity as “beyond every manner of being”: The indefiniteness beyond being lies beyond beings. The unity beyond intellect lies beyond intellect. The One beyond thought is unintelligible to all thinking. The good beyond logos: [is] ineffable to all logos unity unifying every unity being beyond being non-intelligible intellect ineffable logos non-rationality non-intelligibility non-nameability be-ing according to no being cause of being to all; but itself: [is] non-be-ing, as it is beyond every being, and So, that it would properly and knowingly manifest itself about itself.¹

In a similar connotation, Berdyaev perceived God, life and the whole universe as surrounded by mystery and, hence, mysticism as the profoundest form of human

 Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, “The Divine Names”, DNMT, 108 – 109. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110707519-004

1.1 The Mystery and its Givenness


consciousness.² He elaborated that true theology is mystical and apophatic, as it is about the spiritual perception of divine Mystery.³ So-called apophatic theology has been upheld by the greatest thinkers, and it is founded on an eternal truth. This eternal truth is the acknowledgement of the Divine mystery inherent in the innermost depth of being. It is an ultimate mystery revealed in existence—a mystery to which no rational concept, no rationalization of being, is applicable.⁴

God is beyond all objectification and, yet, God reveals Godself in the world and through the world, taking the human reality upon Godself. This is the highest paradox, namely the coming together of divinity and humanity; a paradox which is resolved only in the notion of ‘divine mystery’. “God is mystery and freedom”, explained Berdyaev.⁵ Thus, there is need to free the idea of God from the erroneous anthropomorphism of the past, which has confined the idea of God to the limited images of human thought and speculation. This is the negative approach in theology—i. e. the method of negativity or apophaticism—that maintains the ineffability and the unknowability of God. It maintains that God is

 Berdyaev, FS (1927), 251.  Berdyaev referred back to Plotinus as the first thinker who appreciated the negative approach and, hence, could overcome the shortcomings of Greek thought. Both apophatic theology and early Patristic thought, including the mysticism of Pseudo Dionysius the Areopagite, are indebted to a certain extent to Neo-Platonism, predominantly to the thought of Plotinus (204/5 – 270 C. E.). Berdyaev stated that Plotinus was “the formative influence behind St. Maxim the Confessor, St. Thomas Aquinas and Eckhart.” And that the influence of apophatic theology can be found in medieval mysticism and, later on, in German mysticism, having Meister Eckhart (1260 – 1328), Johannes Tauler (1300 – 1361), Jacob Boehme (1575 – 1674) and Angelus Silesius (1624– 1677) as their major characters. Berdyaev referred to Eckhart’s distinction between ‘Godhead’ and ‘God’ that is behind most German mysticism, maintaining the “irrational and ineffable principle, the mystery of the Ungrund, as the primary basis of existence.” By this it is possible to say that the influence of Plotinus can be seen in both Eastern and Western spiritual mystical traditions. Henec, I assume that the thought of Plotinus has been a major common ground, beside others, between the two traditions—presented in this work through the works of Berdyaev and Heidegger. See on this: Nikolaĭ Berdyaev, Spirit and Reality (1937), tr. George Reavey (London: Geoffrey Bles, The Centenary Press, 1946), 125 – 126, hereafter: SR. See also: 127.  Berdyaev, SR (1937), 124.  Nikolaĭ Berdyaev, Truth and Revelation (1947), tr. R. M. French (London: Geoffrey Bles, 1953), 53, hereafter TR. Later, Berdyaev explained that authoritative religious societies are always afraid of the notion of ‘mystery’, accusing all undefined forms of religiosity of being heresies. Similarly, religious philosophy is not well received, as it is founded upon spiritual experience rather than the clearly stated decrees that serve ‘utilitarianism’, or the socially structured interests of the few. Berdyaev, TR (1947), 58 – 59.


1 Openness to the Mystery

not ‘necessity’, not ‘determinism’ and not a ‘determining cause’.⁶ There is, however, also need to ‘humanize’ God, as long as humanity is perceived also to be divine, and revelation as being inclusive of the human. “Not only is man made in the image and likeness of God, but God also is made in the image and likeness of man”,⁷ wrote Berdyaev. The humanity addressed here, however, is the humanity with its ‘divine depth’, rather than the humanity of the ‘empirical man’ with ‘his’ obsequious boundedness.⁸ The human being, made in the image of God, thus participates in the infinite divine Mystery, and any belittling of the human reality is a belittling of the divine. This apophatic-mystical approach of Eastern theology is comparable to Heidegger’s critique of some abstract structures of human thought maintained in both philosophy and theology. Heidegger also opted for the incomprehensible nature of being as such, as the human being remains incapable of any knowledge of its essence, maintaining that the true path [der wahre Weg, ὁδὸς αληθής] is a mystical path [μῦθος ὁδοῖο].⁹ Heidegger referred to being as such as “the destiny of being” and as Mystery. The Mystery (or the destiny) of being is not confined to the human being, rather it is beyond him/her. “Human beings do not decide whether and how beings appear, whether and how God and the gods or history and nature come forward into the clearing of being, come to presence and depart.”¹⁰ Nevertheless, human beings need to correspond and adjust themselves to the truth of being, by which they become the guards of being as such. Being is “further than all beings and is yet nearer to the human being than every being”.¹¹ Through the words of the mystical poet, Heidegger pointed to the inaccessible nature of divine ‘cause’ that is beyond human intellect and thought:

 Berdyaev, TR (1947), 56. “In a certain sense there is less power in God than in a policeman, a soldier or a banker, and we must give up talking about God and about divine providence in the way that people speak about the administration of the governments of this world.” Berdyaev, TR (1947), 57.  Berdyaev, TR (1947), 55.  Berdyaev, TR (1947), 57.  Martin Heidegger, The Beginning of Western Philosophy: Interpretation of Anaximander and Parmenides (1932), tr. Richard Rojcewicz (Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 2015), 108 – 109, hereafter BWP.  Heidegger, LH (1946), in PATH, 252.  Heidegger, LH (1946), in PATH, 252.

1.1 The Mystery and its Givenness


—The rose is without why; it blooms because it blooms, it cares not for itself; asks not if it’s seen.—¹²

Heidegger conceived of the rose as an ideal for the human soul to imitate, and thereby to be free of the concerns of searching for reasons and grounds. Human beings truly are only when “in their own way they are like the rose—without why.”¹³ Thus, far from representational thinking, Heidegger pointed to a realm free of the search for verifications and justifications. It is the realm where the human being encounters being and dwells in it. In this sense it would be possible—and perhaps most faithful—to perceive being as such, or God, as Mystery; a Mystery that manifests itself through the presencing of all particular beings. This further implies that the human being is the shepherd of the Mystery, since he/she is the one concerned about the Mystery, and even the one who speaks or acts on behalf of it. Thus, the human being in his/her essence is more than merely human, that is, more than a rational creature, as the human being has traditionally been conceived. On the other hand, the human being is not the master of beings, as subjectivist metaphysics maintains. Contrary to this, the human being is the ‘poor’ shepherd of being. By being the shepherd, or the guard, of being, the human subject is disposed toward his/her essential being, namely toward the truth of being. Furthermore, the human being him/herself is a mystery that is a part, or a particle, of the one Mystery. By the way of analogy, the human being remains the shepherd not only of Mystery as being as such, or God, but also of the whole cosmos, as he/she plays a mediating role in bringing the cosmos to self-fulfillment. Thus, the human being carries within him/herself, beside the human, both the divine and the cosmic, which are interiorly bound, with the three together constituting the one Mystery, a kind of threefold unity that is revealed through a circulatory relationship. The cosmos needs the human being and the human being longs for the divine.¹⁴

 Angelus Silesius, The Cherubic Wanderer: Sensual Description of the Four Final Things in The Book of Angelus Silesius, With Observations by the Ancient Zen Masters, tr. F. Franck (New York: Knopf, 1976), 66. The quotation appears in: Martin Heidegger, The Principle of Reason (1955 – 56), tr. R. Lilly (Bloomington [u. a.]: Indiana Univ. Press, 1991), 35, hereafter PR. [“Die Rose ist ohne Warum. Sie blüht, weil sie blüht. Sie achtet nicht ihrer selbst, fragt nicht, ob man sie sieht.” Angelus Silesius, Der cherubinische Wandersmann (Diogenes Verlag, 2006) Buch 1, 289.] See also: Meister Eckhart, Meister Eckhart: A Modern Translation, tr. R. B. Blakney (New York: Harper & Row, 1941), 126 – 127.  Heidegger, PR (1955 – 56), 38.  There are several references in Orthodox theology to such three-fold unity, which bring to mind some neo-platonic views. A threefold perception of incarnation, for example, is present in the thought of Maximus the Confessor (580 – 662), the Orthodox monk and theologian, and


1 Openness to the Mystery

This short introduction on the notion of ‘mystery’ sets at once several Christian doctrines—such as creation, incarnation, salvation, death and resurrection— within the realm of the Mystery. The perception of God as Mystery indicates the improbability of conceiving God—or being as such—in abstraction as an entity apart from existing beings. Being is the being of whatever is. It approaches the human subject through all that exists. It is part of every self-comportment, even toward the self, though it is best described in terms of an enigma rather than through any categorical or scientific definitions. Being emerges through the openness and the receptivity of the human being, manifesting itself, constantly anew, in its very individual and genuine particularity on the path of thought, yet simultaneously concealing itself. Thus, being is not readily available to thinking, and the path to being as such—or the path to God—is arduous and hard, since modern human thought is not trained in such thinking. Heidegger maintained that it would not be possible for the contemporary human being to inquire about God without taking the rigorous task of thinking—namely opening the self to being or God—upon oneself.¹⁵ Hence, the sole concern of thinking is to bring to language the advent of the Mystery of being. This is why pure thinking always says the same, though before him in the works of Origen (184– 253). Both theologians perceived divine incarnation as involving creation, the holy books and history, that is the incarnation of God in history through Jesus Christ. Similarly, Origen gave a threefold meaning to the notion of the ‘word’. A divine word, or logos, is given to every existing thing or being. Said differently, it is in accordance to the divine logos that everything is made. Thus, the divine words are the original purposes and meanings of existing things and beings, such that through the given words they might reach at their truth, that is, union with the divine. Jesus Christ, however, is the Word in its absolute sense as, in him, both humanity and divinity were fully actualized and united. It is through the different words, or logoi, already bestowed upon existing beings that they participate in the one absolute Logos, Jesus Christ. See on this: Michael Theobald, Die Fleischwerdung des Logos. Studien zum Verhältnis des Johannesprologs zum Corpus des Evangeliums und zu 1 Joh (Münster: Aschendorff, 1988), 157; Karen Jo Torjesen, Hermeneutical Procedure and Theological Method in Origen’s Exegesis (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1986), 114. See further: Asaad Kattan, Verleiblichung und Synergie: Grundzüge Der Bibelhermeneutik Bei Maximus Confessor (Leiden; Boston; Köln: Brill, 2003), 155 – 169, 184– 191; Asaad Kattan, “Tajassud al-kalimah fīl-kawn wal-kitāb wal-tārῑkh: Orijinnes, Maksimos al-muʽtaref, George Khodr” [The Incarnation of the Word in the Cosmos, the Book and in History: Origen, Maximus the Confessor, George Khodr] in Massuḥ G., Kattan A., Tāmer G. (eds.), Wajh wa Wahj [Face and Glow] (Beirut: Taʿāwuniyyat al-nūr al-̓ urthūdhūksiyyah, 2007), 67– 83. See further: H. U. V. Balthasar, Cosmic Liturgy: The Universe According to Maximus the Confessor (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2003). [Originally: Kosmische Liturgie: Das Weltbild Maximus’ des Bekenners (Switzerland: Johannes Verlag, 1961)]; Sylvie Avakian, The ‘Other’ in Karl Rahner’s Transcendental Theology and George Khodr’s Spiritual Theology Within the Near Eastern Context (Frankfurt am Main; Wien, Peter Lang, 2012), 132– 133.  Heidegger, LH (1946) in PATH, 267.

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in different words and terms as the advent of the Mystery differs from one situation to another. This, however, needs vigilance and heedfulness in order to say what is original and not to comply with the banality of one’s everydayness. Heidegger quoted the words of Parmenides (6 – 5th cen. BCE): “ἔστι γὰρ εἶναι” [“for there is being”], perceiving beings as indicating the primordial Mystery of being, in which relation alone could ‘is’ be appropriately used.¹⁶ This also denoted that being occurs primordially through time and space, causing or giving being through its own be-ing, without, however, resulting in its restriction or localization by or in any particular being. Being, rather, always manifests itself anew. Hence, no matter how near one could come to being there would always be some more distance, a further of the path that one would need to walk. The time would never come when the human subject would be able to say that he/ she knows God or grasps being completely. On the other hand, modern science and metaphysics fail to perceive the manifestations of being in and through the innumerable presencing of all particular beings. They attempt to represent nature, beings and reality through their own delineations and classifications, objectifying and dominating them and making them conform to their own conceptions and representations. Heidegger contrasted this modern craving to control and master everything with the openness and responsiveness of the ancient Greeks to the utterance of being. Nevertheless, Heidegger indicated the nearness of being to modern science and technology in the same manner as he did concerning its immanency to early Greek thought. Thus, being as Mystery approaches us but nevertheless remains hidden. Though being reveals itself, or as Heidegger puts it ‘casts’ itself, again and again, toward the human being, nevertheless one always abandons it by attempting an investigation or an interpretation of being. Being, whenever interpreted, turns into a being and, hence, being as such is cast away. “Being has already cast itself over us and toward us. Being: casting itself toward us and cast away by us.”¹⁷ Being confronts

 Heidegger, LH (1946) in PATH, 255. In this statement Heidegger explained, however, that Parmenides had neglected the difference between be-ing and beings; εἶναι (to be) is considered as ὄν (participle of εἶναι denoting a being), and by this Parmenides viewed being as such as the self-identity of a being. Along a similar vein, and maintaining the spiritual nature of the human being, Berdyaev wrote: “The nature of spirit is Heraclitic and not Parmenidean.” FS (1927), 15. “Being reveals itself in its inner nature as life, spiritual experience, destiny, divine mystery, and not as mere substance or objective nature.” 16.  Martin Heidegger, Basic Concepts (1941), tr. Gary E. Aylesworth (Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1993), 68, 70, hereafter BC. See on this Schelling’s critique of the “common mistake of every philosophy that has existed up to now”, which claims the “merely logical relationship of God to the world”, Friedrich Schelling, On the History of Modern Philosophy, tr. Andrew Bowie (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 30; Friedrich W. J. Schelling, System


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human thought with an impasse, which is the very character and essence of being as such. Hence, instead of speculating and endeavoring to find possible ways of discerning being, one is first to be at home in that impassable abode without questioning it, as questioning is applicable and relevant to beings and not to being as such. In that impassable abode the human being is rightly at home since his/her very essence belongs to that abode.¹⁸

der Weltalter: Münchener Vorlesung 1827/28 in einer Nachschrift von Ernst von Lasaulx (Frankfurt am Main: Klostermann, 1998), 57. For Schelling, human reason is incapable even of explicating its own existence, hence any attempt at comprising the human and the divine into a rational system is impossible. As such, the starting point of philosophy is “the contingency of being”. This was partly Schelling’s critique of Hegel’s identification of thought with being and incorporation of both within a philosophical system. Furthermore, Schelling thought that only a new philosophy, based on divine unveiling of Godself—following in this regard the theology of Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite—would be the appropriate response to Kant’s destruction of the pure metaphysical tradition and speculative ways of speaking about God. By this, Schelling, and Heidegger after him, intended to bring a positive meaning through the way of negativity. See on this: Emil L. Fackenheim, “Schelling’s Conception of Positive Philosophy” in The God Within: Kant, Schelling and Historicity (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1996), chapter 7; Bowie, Schelling and Modern European Philosophy; Klaus Hemmerle, Gott und das Denken nach Schällings Spätphilosophie (Freiburg: Herder, 1968); Horst Fuhrmans, Schellings letzte Philosophie. Die negative und positive Philosophie im Einsatz des Spätidealismus (Berlin: Junker und Dünnhaupt, 1940).  Heidegger, BC (1941), 69 – 70. It is necessary to see here Kierkegaard’s influence on Heidegger’s thought. Kierkegaard criticized speculative-metaphysical dogmatics and made reference (though not a very correct one) to Origen’s (185 – 254) On First Principles. In his journals Kierkegaard wrote: “In Origen’s [On First Principles] the question of Holy Scripture is first treated in Book 4, which clearly shows that the whole systematic development was linked essentially to a common consciousness of the faith or something of that order. Since it more or less has been pushed out of the systematic structure, it could just as well be absent from the system without any loss.” Søren Kierkeggard, Søren Kierkeggard’s Journals and Papers, tr. Howard V. Hong and Edna H. Hong, vols. 1– 6 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1967– 1978), 4, 3851. Though there is no evidence of Kierkegaard reading Origen’s, Athanasius’ or Gregory of Nyssa’s works, it is possible to find the influence of those early Greek Fathers of the Church on Kierkegaard’s Christology and spirituality, most probably transmitted to him through secondary literature. Athanasius’ contribution in bringing divinity and humanity together through his claim: “He, indeed, assumed humanity that we might become God” must have been most appealing for Kierkegaard. Similarly, and in order to expound the notion of progress in spirituality, Kierkegaard made use of Gregory of Nyssa’s understanding of the journey to God which reveals itself in the form of continuous personal restlessness. Thus, Kierkegaard described faith as a “restlessness oriented toward inward deepening”. See: Athanasius, Incarnation of the Word 54, P. Schaff & H. Wace (eds.) A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, Second Series, Vol. 4. (New York: Christian Literature Publishing, 1892), 65 – 66; Kierkegaard, Samlede Værker, eds. A.B. Drachmann, J. L. Heiberg & H.O. Lange, vols. I-XIV (Copenhagen: Gyldendalske Boghandels Forlag, 1901– 1906), VI XII, 30. For a comprehensive work on Kierkegaard’s

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This impassable abode to which the human being belongs corresponds to the ecstatic union of the human being with the divine darkness maintained by the negative theology of Orthodoxy. Such unity necessitates the denial of all reference to beings, and requires the abandonment of affirmative theology, which describes the divinity in the light of beings in terms of both their sameness and difference. This is to say that negative theology denies that the divinity acts as cause in relation to beings.¹⁹ Furthermore, the notion of ‘the mystical [or spiritual] journey’ in the mystical tradition of both the East and the West is comparable to Heidegger’s notion of essential thinking—or pure thinking. Through both spiritual journey and essential thinking, the human being lays aside all that belongs to the exterior world and delves into the inner self where God, or being as such, and with it the true self of the person, comes to manifestation. Heidegger found in the tradition of the mystics something like ‘thinking’ [Denken]. Thus, referring to the medieval mystic and theologian Meister Eckhart, he wrote: … [O]ne is inclined to get the idea that the most extreme sharpness and depth of thought belong to the genuine and great mystics. This is also true. Meister Eckhart proves it.²⁰

Heidegger maintained that, whenever philosophy truly heeds to its own essence, it can no longer move forward, but rather abides wherever it is and relentlessly thinks the same.²¹ Nicholas Cabasilas (1319 – 1392), a theologian and a mystic of the Orthodox Church, in some similar words, described Divine Liturgy and the human being’s experience of the indescribable treasure, namely the encounter with divine Mystery. For him Divine Liturgy is

appropriation of the Patristic Tradition see: Stewart (ed.) Kierkegaard and the Patristic and Medieval Traditions. I further list here some of the secondary literature on the Greek Church Fathers which were available to Kierkegaard: August Neander, Denkwürdigkeiten aus der Geschichte des Christintums und des christlichen Lebens, vols. 1– 3 (Berlin: Ferdinand Dümmler, 1823 – 1824); Friedrich Böhringer, Die Kirche Christi und ihre Zeugen oder die Kirchengeschichte in Biographien, vol. 1, Abteilung 1– 4 and vol. 2, Abteilung 1– 3 (Zürich: Meyer & Zeller, 1842– 1855).  Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, DNMT, 89. Negative theology does not oppose affirmative theology but, by denying it, it comprehends, corrects and completes it. This can be understood in terms of the necessity of silence, which does not itself declare the possible discourse as false. Berdyaev made it clear that “mysticism does not mean the end of dogma”, though it reaches at a deeper level than most dogmas would be able to attain. Berdyaev, FS (1927), 247.  Heidegger, PR (1955 – 56), 36 – 37. [“zur echten und großen Mystik gehöre die äußerste Schärfe und Tiefe des Denkens.” Heidegger, GA 10, 56.] Here Heidegger made a reference to Meister Eckhart (1260 – 1328). A careful reader of the works of the fourteenth-century Dominican mystic and philosopher will discern the correspondence between his writings and Heidegger’s.  Heidegger, LH (1946), 255.


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the highest summit of our spiritual life; once arrived there, nothing befalls us in the quest for our desired happiness … It is the greatest Mystery, for there is no beyond it, nor can anything be ever added to it … After Holy Communion there is no going forward. That is the reason why one should stop there and think of ways that would help one keep that treasure up until the very end.²²

As one encounters the Mystery one needs only to receive it and remain in it. The human being waits upon the Mystery, and this awaiting, unlike all human waiting for things, is a waiting that seeks the uncovering of the gift that is the Mystery; a waiting that continuously and expectantly waits. It is a kind of waiting that transcends and elevates the human being to that which is beyond him/herself.²³ The Mystery we are addressing here is comparable to the principle of freedom, addressed most often by Berdyaev, which is inexpressible, or indescribable through words. In contrast to the persuasive argumentation of the Grand Inquisitor—representing the principle of compulsion—Christ, the liberator, is a shadowy figure, who has no need to explain himself.²⁴ So, describing Dostoyevsky’s Christ, Berdyaev wrote:

 The reference appears in: Ciprian Ioan Streza, “The Divine Liturgy in Orthodox Spirituality: The Mystery of Man’s Personal Encounter with God through Worship and the Ascetical Life”, Greek Orthodox Theological Review, Spring-Winter 2013, Vol. 58, Issue 1– 4, 150 – 151. See also: Nicolas Cabasilas, The Life in Christ, tr. Carmino J. DeCatazato (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1974).  See: Heidegger, “Conversation on a Country Path About Thinking” (1944– 45), in Discourse on Thinking (1944 – 1955), tr. John M. Anderson & E. Hans Freund (New York: Harper & Row, 1966), 68. See also the following biblical verses: “The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him. (La. 3:25); “Therefore, return to your God, observe kindness and justice, and wait for your God continually.” (Ho. 12:16); “But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord; I will wait for God of my salvation. My God will hear me.” (Mic. 7:7)  Dostoyevsky in his The Brothers Karamazov (1870 – 1880) recounted the tale of “The Grand Inquisitor” through the person of Ivan Karamazov to his brother Alyosha, referring its context back to the sixteenth century Spanish Inquisition. According to the tale, on the day after a hundred heretics were burned at the stake, Christ came back to the earth and performed some miracles, which awakened the love of the people. However, he was arrested by the inquisition leaders and sentenced to death. The Grand Inquisitor, under whose command the burning of the heretics was performed, visited Christ in prison and told him that the Church is no longer in need of him and that Christ’s coming back had intervened in the ‘mission’ of the church. Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov, tr. David McDuff (London: Penguin Books, 1993, 2003).

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[His] way of setting this out is admirable. His Christ is a shadowy figure who says nothing all the time: efficacious religion does not explain itself, the principle of freedom cannot be expressed in words; but the principle of compulsion puts its case very freely indeed.²⁵

Berdyaev’s critique of certain purely abstract theological systems addressed primarily the elimination of the notion of ‘mystery’ in theology and philosophy and with it the elimination of freedom. These systems have somehow identified spirit and nature, and by this the very depth of divine Mystery has been wiped out, while spirit has been objectified.²⁶ By eliminating ‘mystery’ or ‘spirit’, human freedom and creativeness have been similarly disregarded. “Knowledge is not simply the relation of thought to being … Knowledge is an event within being, an event revealing the mystery of being. But this is a non-objectified, non-exteriorized being.”²⁷ One can approach the divine Mystery only through the way of the spirit that is the path of inner freedom. It is this path that liberates the person and helps him/her transcend the limitations of one’s exterior-natural reality, making the encounter with the Mystery possible. Hence, it is through the spirit that the inner self transcends to the divine. Berdyaev wrote: Spirit is a constant transcending of human life. There is essentially no such thing as a static transcendental but only the act of transcending. This is part of the mystery of spirit and the spiritual life. Spirit is being-in-itself or being not determined from without. But at the same time the life of spirit is a ceaseless transcending of limitations, an impulse of freedom rather than of determination.²⁸

1.1.2 ᾿Aλήθεια as the Mystery “I am the way, the truth and the life.” Quoting those words from the Gospel of John, Berdyaev maintained that truth is existential. Truth can be attained only through living it, that is, walking that particular way of life, which assumes movement, change and yearning for infinity. Truth, in this sense, is necessarily not an objective reality outside the human being and in the sphere of things.²⁹ Truth is not ‘a’ reality, but rather it is “the meaning of reality, its logos, it is  Berdyaev, Dostoyevsky (1923), 189.  Berdyaev, SR (1937), 9. Berdyaev addressed his critique mainly to Hegel. “Hegel is a universalist who fails to apprehend the mystery of the personality and of the relationship of one personal spirit to another.” “There is no consistent development of spirit, for this would imply a law and would be a negation of freedom.” 28, 46.  Berdyaev, SR (1937), 13.  Berdyaev, SR (1937), 46.  Berdyaev, TR (1947), 22.


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the supreme quality and value of reality.”³⁰ “Truth is the meaning of life”.³¹ It is “the voice of eternity in time, it is a ray of light in this world.”³² The only criterion of truth is that which is manifested in Spirit.³³ Truth can be known only through ‘creative discovery’, which brings about a transformation of a given reality. In his Truth and Revelation, Berdyaev elaborated that truth is necessarily related to revelation, while revelation is always a two-sided reality; it is both divine and human. Revelation does not come to the human being from without, and it is not possible to consider the human being as playing no role in it. Whenever revelation is perceived as purely divine, revelation is always objectified. True revelation, however, is not a natural event; like any event in the natural order, it is rather a “spiritual event” and in this sense, it occurs in the inner depths of the human self.³⁴ In its essence “Truth is God”, wrote Berdyaev. But also “truth is human”.³⁵ Truth is “Spirit and it is God”, while it is only within the human that a manifestation of the divine is made possible. Thus, similar to revelation, truth is also divine-human, and it is revealed to the human in accordance with the different degrees of one’s consciousness. Thus, a “spiritual awakening to Truth must take place in man, otherwise Truth is not attained, or if it is, it is attained in a torpid and fossilized state.”³⁶ “Truth is not a thing”, wrote Berdyaev, “not a reality which belongs to the sphere of being”.³⁷ He explained that it is only through spiritual consciousness that one comes to perceive the revelation of God, to know and become truth, in and through the whole of one’s life. So, he wrote: In the spiritual life that life is itself everything and everything is identified with it. Within it there is neither the idea nor the perception of God; there is just the revelation of God Himself and the manifestation of the divine. … Truth in the spiritual life is the life itself. Those who know the truth become truth in it…. Truth is revealed in the way and in the life.³⁸

Hence, truth for Berdyaev, in contrast to ratio or any abstract idea, is a spiritual truth. He referred to it as a spiritual element or “an inherent spiritual transcend-

 Berdyaev, TR (1947), 23.  Berdyaev, TR (1947), 38.  Berdyaev, TR (1947), 31.  Berdyaev, TR (1947), 60.  Berdyaev, TR (1947), 46 – 47. Here Berdyaev made a reference to the divine revelations to Moses, all the prophets and the apostle Paul who received divine revelation and heard the voice of God in their ‘interior being’, in the depths of their spirit.  Berdyaev, TR (1947), 27.  Berdyaev, TR (1947), 23.  Berdyaev, TR (1947), 26.  Berdyaev, FS (1927), 25.

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ing principle” within the human being. This spiritual element, however, is entrenched in one’s existence.³⁹ Truth that concerns us here in this work, then, is not about knowledge of things or beings; rather it is the becoming of truth itself. Becoming entails change and movement, which is being on the path of truth. Christian truth, in this sense, involves be-ing faithful, loving and caring. Lack of truth—Berdyaev would say—then, is not a question of error, but of deceit and indifference. In a similar vein, for Heidegger, being or truth is necessarily related to manifestation and unconcealedness. It is both human and beyond the human. “To be is to emerge into the unconcealed”, that is to come into a revelation.⁴⁰ To construe the meaning of this statement, Heidegger expounded on the word ἀλήθεια [truth]. He explained that the “ἀ” (the privative alpha) of ἀ-λήθεια, which means “un” or “without”, has the character of ἀρχή [the initial starting point], that is, setting free and starting from the beginning.⁴¹ Λήθη means “oblivion”, “forgetfulness” or “concealment”. Whenever λήθη is preceded by the ἀ (in the word ἀ-λήθεια) the “ἀ” negates and removes delimitation, oblivion and constraint so that whatever is comes to the fore. In this sense ἀ-λήθεια helps that which is to present itself in the open realm as it truly is, setting aside obscurities and confinements.⁴² Hence, “to be is to emerge into the unconcealed”, and truth lies in this possibility of emerging.⁴³ Being, for the early Greeks⁴⁴—and the reference here is especially to Anaximander (610 – 546 BC)—was the repudiation of the limit and the endowment of disconcealment.⁴⁵ Heidegger referred to

 Berdyaev, SR (1937), 18.  Heidegger, EV (1941– 42), 12.  Such as in “unlimited”, or “uncovering”, where the “un” has a negating role but not necessarily a negative meaning.  Heidegger, EV (1941– 42), 28.  “But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.” (John 3:21)  Heidegger mainly referred to Anaximander, Heraclitus and Parmenides—who wrote between the 6th-5th centuries BCE. In this work, “Early Greeks” refers mainly to these three authors, while “Greeks” refers to the ensuing philosophers, in particular Plato and Aristotle. Heidegger refused to call Anaximander, Heraclitus and Parmenides “pre-Socratics” or “pre-Platonics”, since those terms would conceal their role as those who carried out the beginning, and instead let one perceive them in relation to Socrates or Plato for oneself. Heidegger, EV (1941– 42), 49.  Heidegger, EV (1941– 42), 48. Heidegger finds Anaximander’s thinking to be more concerned with the ground of being than that of Heraclitus and Parmenides. He calls such thinking inceptive thinking, which manifests the ground of being, upon which questioning rests, and questioning makes oscillation possible between the being and its ground. Such inceptual thinking is necessary so that the encounter takes place between the first beginning and the one yet to be unfolded. Heidegger, CP (1936 – 38), 47.


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a saying by Anaximander “ἀρχή τῶν ὄντων τὰ ἄπειρον”, which he translated as: “what provides for anything to come to presence is the repudiation of limits.”⁴⁶ That is to say that limitlessness [ἄ-πειρον],⁴⁷ which precedes everything and every being, is the source of the being of beings. This limitlessness is not a being, but is the beginning of beings’ presencing of themselves, while, later on, and through the manifestation of beings, beings would maintain themselves through contours and limits. The contours do not have here purely a negative sense, since things come to appearance through particular shapes or figures. However, whenever beings forsake limitlessness and lose their being within the particular figures, there is need to discard the contours in order to rediscover the truth of a thing or a being. Though, once again, beings put on new contours. Hence, ἄπειρον [limitlessness] is ἀρχή τῶν ὄντων [the beginning of beings]. That is the beginning in respect to their being. That is to say that limitlessness dominates beings in the sense that it is their sovereign source.⁴⁸ This interpretation of ἀλήθεια [truth as limitlessness or as unconcealedness] assumes that beings have within themselves an unlimited source of being, which is in constant need of rediscovery and unconcealment as the contours invariably come to cover the source of being itself. ᾿Aλήθεια, then, is not to be confined to any term which designates entity, as it is the source of every entity or being. ᾿Aλήθεια—truth as such —is also not a particular truth, but is rather the event of unconcealment, namely letting beings come to light, discarding all obscurities and limitedness, so that their true being emerges into the open. Through the different beings, being as such comes to revelation. In this sense it is possible to say that ἀλήθεια is the essential occurrence of the true, which is different in each case as it brings the essence of a being into light. Only through repudiating the limits is repetition made possible, so that one is able to retrieve the essential nature of a being. How then is one to define ἀλήθεια or truth as such? Is any definition possible at all? ᾿Aλήθεια, as the early Greeks perceived, is the inceptual pure occurrence which “inceptually and uniquely ‘is’”. It is the truth of being itself and, in this sense, it is the incomprehensible and unfathomable event of unconcealedness. ᾿Aλήθεια is made possible only in the open realm which the human being creates, since he/she bears in his/her innermost being the abyssal ground of being. Hence, it is possible neither to localize ἀλήθεια to one or more beings nor to explain it, as it is the “pure essential occurrence”. Accordingly,

 Heidegger, EV (1941– 42), 30. [“Verfügung für das jeweilig Anwesende ist die Verwahrung der Grenzen.” GA 71, 39.]  Here again the “ἄ” means “without” and πειρον means “limit”.  Heidegger, BWP (1932), 23 – 25.

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ἀλήθεια is unconcealedness itself, and as such is detached from all beings, regardless of how they are perceived—whether as φύσις [phusis, inherent or inner nature], ἰδέα [idea, outward appearance or form] or objective being, though it is the basis of all beings in the sense that it makes them be.⁴⁹ Heidegger explained that the early Greeks had an unmediated experience of being as they inquired about beings in their presencing of themselves, and the response they came up with was ἀλήθεια [unconcealment]. ᾿Aλήθεια [truth] is being itself, in the sense of bringing the essence of a being into unconcealedness.⁵⁰ “Truth (uncoveredness) is something that must always first be wrested from entities. Entities get snatched out of their hiddenness.”⁵¹ Thus, the early Greeks conceived of truth [ἀλήθεια] as the unconcealedness of beings, or the openness of beings to being as such, so that being reveals itself through the different beings.⁵² They experienced ἀλήθεια without questioning or inquiring about its particular nature, since investigating ἀλήθεια would be contrary to its meaning, that is letting being be manifested by itself. Hence, their knowledge of the essence of truth as unconcealedness remained completely an ‘ungrasped’ experience and under the force of emergence.⁵³ Heidegger resolved that the beginning, at which point truth as such has not yet been defined or declared as factual, has an ‘unfathomable’ value, which is capable of inciting constant thought and reflection upon itself.⁵⁴ The early Greeks took upon themselves the task of asking: ‘what are beings as such?’⁵⁵ It was, however, this very question that hindered their inquiry as to the nature or the essence of ἀλήθεια itself, and Heidegger perceived this hindrance or ‘occlusion’ as the completion of the inquiry about the beings in a way that could safeguard being as such— or truth. The early Greeks did not inquire into the nature of truth and thereby contributed to the perception of truth as it reveals itself in beings, while itself remaining hidden and concealed. Had they questioned ἀλήθεια, they would have renounced their most important task of thinking. One cannot question truth, since it shines like the sun and reveals itself as the light in darkness.

 Heidegger, EV (1941– 42), 4– 5.  This corresponds with Eckhart’s prayer: “May the loving and compassionate God, who is the truth itself, grant to me … an inward awareness of truth.” M. Eckhart, Meister Eckhart: A Modern Translation, 73.  Heidegger, BT (1927), 265. [“Die Wahrheit (Entdecktheit) muß dem Seienden erst abgerungen werden. Das Seiende wird der Verborgenheit entrissen.” Heidegger, GA 2, 294.]  Heidegger, BQP (1937– 38), 88. [GA 45, 26.]  Heidegger, BQP (1937– 38), 98, 101.  Heidegger, PR (1955 – 56), 107– 108.  Heidegger, BQP (1937– 38), 118.


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Thus, being as such is mysteriously manifested through different beings, while itself remaining unexposed to human inquiry. ᾿Aλήθεια remains an unperceivable Mystery, an unconceivable horizon and an unobjectifiable truth, however manifested in the unconcealedness of existing beings. Unconcealedness, in this sense, is an ongoing process, namely it requires the continuous task of further inquiry. Had the Greeks questioned truth as such and answered the question, they would not have continued to pursue the task of thought, as ἀλήθεια is what makes the beingness of beings possible. ᾿Aλήθεια is the mysterious open vista, which grants existence (or presence) to all around but is nevertheless manifested in and through existing beings as they come to presence. Regrettably, in the history of human thought the notion of clearing has been mostly interpreted as presence, and then a step back has been taken so that that which is behind the present, or that which enables the presencing of a thing, has been perceived as ἰδέα.⁵⁶ Said differently, pure speculation has objectified revelation, as Berdyaev explained, and turned it into some-thing “divine”, which is considered to be the outcome of pure “divine” act. And, hence, the emergence of being has been altered with the presence of beings or the “perfect being” (the ideas, or the ἀγαθὸν, the Good) and, thus, ‘be-ing’ in the sense of ‘becoming’ has been obscured and substitured with being as static.⁵⁷ Thus, for Plato, individual things or beings exist only if they are produced in imitation of higher patterns (ἰδέα) of the things or beings,⁵⁸ while the ‘ideas’ are not subject to change as they exist above the heavens. With Aristotle the true was perceived as that which is represented as ὁμοίωσις [likeness, resemblance] corresponding to the πράγματα [the things or the concrete realities], and accordingly truth is perceived as ὀρθότης [correctness of an assertion], namely its resemblance to the concrete

 Ἰδεῖν is to see; hence, ἰδέα (outward appearance or form) is that which a thing appears to be. It is what a thing constantly is, namely “the whatness” of a thing. Whenever truth—or being—is perceived as ἰδέα, it denotes “a being”, or the “highest being”. Plato referred to the ontic being of a thing (the beingness or the whatness of a being) by οὐσία [essence]. Heidegger perceived this use as the start of the destruction of ἀλήθεια. According to Plato the essence [οὐσία] is the whatness of a being [τὸ ὄν], and this is determined as the dominant look [the ἰδέα]. That is to say that οὐσία referred to that which is constant and present, and which shows itself through its appearance which is the ἰδέα, namely through the self-showing and self-emerging of the being. By this, the ἰδέα was perceived alone and most eminently as a being. And by the Latin translation of ἰδέα it came to be understood as an image resulting from a particular representation (percipere-perceptio-ἰδέα). This way of perceiving οὐσία hinders the conception of the being here and now, as whenever ἰδέα becomes entangled in reality it is perceived as damaged or diminished. See on this: Heidegger, BQP (1937– 38), 61– 62; EV (1941– 42), 4– 5.  See on this: Heidegger, EV (1941– 42), 18.  Heidegger, BQP (1937– 38), 75.

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reality.⁵⁹ Heidegger criticized both Plato’s and Aristotle’s conceptions of truth. He considered Aristotle’s approach to lack any grounding or foundation concerning his understanding of truth as correctness and explained that the ground of truth as correctness is ἀλήθεια [unconcealedness] itself, as there can be no other foundation for any assumption of the essence of truth.⁶⁰ ᾿Aλήθεια as openness is the ground of truth as correctness. Later on, ἀλήθεια was remolded as veritas at the times when Greek thought was transformed into Roman and Western modes. Hence, truth in the sense of ἀλήθεια or unconcealedness was almost entirely obliterated,⁶¹ and was misinterpreted as the correctness of propositions or representations. In this sense, Heidegger contended that both Plato and Aristotle deviated from the primordial original beginning, since they formulated a ‘definition’ of truth as ‘higher ideas’ or ‘correctness’ [ὀρθότης] and set limits and formulas, conceptualizing truth regardless of the historical context within which it could be manifested. Furthermore, whenever philosophy has attempted to objectify being as such, turning it into an object for a subject, it has fallen into triviality and tautology, since this leads to the withdrawal of being and the forgetfulness of the question of truth. Furthermore, Heidegger made a reference to Descartes, and others in the modern era, who perceived truth as a metric by which reason is judged.⁶² This brought about the objectification of ἀλήθεια as the most perfect Being, and this, in turn, also obliterated the Mystery of unconcealedness. Contrary to this, Heidegger maintained that truth is openness, namely the possibility of ‘being genuinely worthy of questioning’. And in this sense, the ground of any possibility of correctness is ἀλήθεια—unconcealedness or openness—which is the essence of truth. Hence, the Greeks first went through the experience of unconcealedness of beings (the early Greeks). For them ἀλήθεια as unconcealedness was the same as the ‘beings in their beingness’. This meant that unconcealedness is not a mere assertion about beings; rather, it is

 See fn. 75 on a possible misinterpretation of Aristotle’s approach by Heidegger.  Heidegger, BQP (1937– 38), 88.  Heidegger, BQP (1937– 38), 89.  Heidegger, BQP (1937– 38), 11; 93 – 94. In the same work, Heidegger refers to Thomas Aquinas, who interpreting Aristotle said: “veritas principaliter est in intelectu: truth has its place, above all and originally, in judging reason.” 91. It has to be remarked here, however, that it was Friedrich Schelling, before Heidegger, who claimed the mistakenness of Descartes’ statement. He wrote: “The I think, I am, is, since Descartes, the basic mistake of all knowledge; thinking is not my thinking, and being is not my being, for everything is only of God or the totality.” Schelling, On the History of Modern Philosophy, 16. [Friedrich W. J. Schelling, Schelling’s Sämtliche Werke (1856 – 1861), ed. Hahn, Elke (Berlin: Total-Verl., 1998), I/7, 148.] And by this Schelling started to move away from the German Idealist perception that maintained that it is only because of the possibility of the human mind and thinking that being itself is at all intelligible.


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deeply rooted within the inner reality of those beings.⁶³ However, at a later stage, the Greeks also confirmed truth as the correctness of an assertion.⁶⁴ Heidegger explained that reason or intellect [ratio, νοῦς], principle, or ground can never be known except through the experience of ἀλήθεια as unconcealment, namely “the opening of self-concealing”. Otherwise, demonstrations of truth, by science and technology, would hinder the knowledge of what the thing itself is.⁶⁵ ᾿Aλήθεια, in this sense, carries within itself φύσις [phusis], in the original meaning of the word, namely that which emerges by itself and, hence, unfolds itself and maintains its own being, similar to the rose, which “blooms because it blooms”.⁶⁶ Contrary to this, and through the objectification of ἀλήθεια, φύσις has been misinterpreted whereby beings are no longer perceived as emerging (in the original Greek sense of the word) but as nature, which can be apprehended and arrested in scientific manners.⁶⁷ This similarly led to the abandonment of viewing the human being as the perceiver and the guard of beings and led, rather, to its replacement by the conception of the human being as a thinking animal. This eliminated the Mystery and substituted it with the scientific approach. Hence, the need for a critical regress or a return to the original meanings of the Greek words: φύσις as openness and emerging and ἀλήθεια [truth] as unconcealedness, rather than for contenting oneself with conceiving truth as correctness of claims in relation to the natural world. It is only through this understanding of truth as the mystery of unconcealedness that one is given the gift of partaking in being as such, by analogy in God. This is so since true participation in being/God is possible only through freedom, and freedom occurs whenever concealedness, obscurity and metaphysical limitations are eliminated and renounced. In this sense, it is from the essence of

 Heidegger, BQP (1937– 38), 106.  Heidegger, BQP (1937– 38), 90 – 91.  Martin Heidegger, On Time and Being (1962– 1964), tr. Joan Stambaugh (New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1972), 72, hereafter TB.  Heidegger, BQP (1937– 38), 114.  Φύσις does not delineate the essence of the truth of being; rather it indicates ‘emergence’ itself, and the appearance forth into presence and constancy within the open domain that makes ‘emerging’ possible. It is through ‘emerging’ that the incipience of the truth of being as the being of beings occurs. It is also possible to remark that being as ἰδέα ‘emerges’ from ἀλήθεια, the ever uninterpreted truth. Furthermore, the closest appearance or the most immediate outlook of φύσις is δόξα (the unspoken manifestation of God). In turn, whenever δόξα comes to presence it is perceived in relation to beings and, hence, is in need of τέχνη, that is, the possibility for being to present itself and be known. And, yet, the risk of misinterpreting being as ‘a’ being coincides with its appearance and its presencing of itself. Heidegger, EV (1941– 42), 56, 58 – 59. (On the notion of τέχνη see the second chapter.)

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truth that the essence of free beings derives. Freedom is possible only through the search and the desire to arrive at truth and dwell in it. Only those who dwell in truth dwell also in freedom.⁶⁸ And only then can one undergo the inceptual experience of belonging to being/God that is partaking in and penetrating the divine, not in any superficial sense, but truly as a unity.⁶⁹ Hence, ἀλήθεια as unconcealedness is the way for the emergence of a free being, a being truly united with being or God. In this sense the question of truth should be accompanied with the question of who we are. The human being is not merely the guard of unconcealed beings but also the guard of the openness of being as such. In his Being and Time Heidegger already declared: Before there was any Dasein, there was no truth; nor will there be any after Dasein is no more. For in such a case truth as disclosedness, uncovering, and uncoveredness, cannot be.⁷⁰

And he continued: Because the kind of Being that is essential to truth is of the character of Dasein, all truth is relative to Dasein’s Being. … Even the ‘universal validity’ of truth is rooted solely in the fact that Dasein can uncover entities in themselves and free them.⁷¹

Thus, for Heidegger—already in his Being and Time and even more in his later works—both truth, or being as such, and the particular beings, through which the coming of truth into a revelation occurs, are equiprimordial [gleichursprünglich] in the sense that they exist together and they need each other, so that truth, or being, is possible only when, through the human being, being occurs.⁷²

 “… you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’” (John 8:31– 32)  See on this: Heidegger, EV (1941– 42), 15.  Heidegger, BT (1927), 269. [“Vordem Dasein überhaupt nicht war, und nachdem Dasein überhaupt nicht mehr sein wird, war keine Wahrheit und wird keine sein, weil sie als Erschlossenheit, Entdeckung und Entdecktheit dann nicht sein kann.” Heidegger, GA 2, 300.]  Heidegger, BT (1927), 270. [“Alle Wahrheit ist gemäß deren wesenhaften daseinsmäßigen Seinart relativ auf das Sein des Daseins. … Auch die ″Allgemeingültigkeit″ der Wahrheit ist lediglich darin verwurzelt, daß das Dasein Seindes an ihm selbst entdecken und freigeben kann.” Heidegger GA 2, 300 – 301.]  Heidegger, BT (1927), 272.


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1.1.3 Inwardness and Introspection as Openness and Astonishment In 1947 in his “The Thinker as Poet” [Aus der Erfahrung des Denkens] Heidegger wrote: “We never come to thoughts. They come to us.”⁷³ I assume ‘thoughts’ here stand for the possible encounters with being as such. The human being’s relationship to being is not the work of the human subject but rather of being as such, while the human being never has control over being. Hence, being itself approaches the human being, relates to him/her and preserves that relationship. For the early Heidegger, the human being had the initiative role in uncovering being and raising the question of being. It was only later in his works that he contended the need for the human being to surrender him/herself to being and receive the gift of being. Being gives itself to the human being through the gift of thought.⁷⁴ This suggests that being as such, by analogy God, is never the product of human thought but rather the other way around. In a similar vein it is possible to say that “essential thinking is an event of Being”.⁷⁵ In this sense, human thought is given to the human subject rather than it being his/ her own accomplishment. The event of truth for Heidegger occurs, or truth comes to a revelation, through the language of being as a primordial language, while the human being is the one who responds to the language through essential thought that is by nature meditative and introspective. The Mystery of being already gives itself to the inward reality of the human subject through the initial possibility of being and thinking. By giving itself, the Mystery does not, however, impose itself upon the human subject, but rather remains in constant need of openness in order for its unconcealedness to occur. Hence, every human being is to actualize his/her inner potential for relatedness to being, and to make it his/her own, namely to become truly the being who carries being as such. Analogically, this is comparable to the importance of introspection and the purity of one’s inner self for Orthodox theology, which alone can create the openness for the divine Mystery to reveal itself. It is through introspection and contemplation that the inward reality of the human being reveals itself and with it Godself comes to a manifestation, throwing away all limitations and obscurities resulting from one’s being in the world. And yet, to approach the inward reality of the human being is a difficult task. The inward self of the person is somehow impenetrable, and its major characteristic is solitude before the  Heidegger, “The Thinker as Poet” (1947) in PLT, 6. [“Wir kommen nie zu Gedanken. Sie kommen zu uns.” Heidegger, GA 13, 78.]  Martin Heidegger, What is Called Thinking? (1951 – 1952), tr. J. G. Gray & F. T. Wieck (New York: Harper & Row, 1968), 34, 126, hereafter WCT.  Heidegger, WM (1929), 356.

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divine. Kierkegaard explained this: “True inwardness demands absolutely no outward sign.”⁷⁶ Hence, it is in the inner depth of the human being that God comes and accordingly the inner human reality is most involved in the process of one’s ‘becoming a Christian’, that is his/her taking part in truth as such, or in God.⁷⁷ It is in the inner reality of the human being—or in the heart—that divine grace (which is the same as divine Mystery) and human love, or care, develop into a reciprocal movement. Thus, Berdyaev concluded that in the light of divine Mystery, the natural world is perceived as an ‘interior moment’ of the whole Mystery that comes to a manifestation within the depth of the Christian. Therefore, it is possible to say that, through the spiritual-mystical perception of truth, the world ceases to be merely an external reality.⁷⁸ Along similar lines Kierkegaard wrote: In a spiritual sense, the place and the path are within a man, and just as the place is the blessed state of the striving soul, so the path is the striving soul’s continual transformation.⁷⁹

It is possible, then, to say that the human being is him/herself a mystery and that only he/she can provide the open region for the Mystery, or being as such, to come to a disclosure. Heidegger’s use of Da-sein denoted the human being who is attentive or heedful [aufmerksam] to being as such and who by his/her being provides the open region for it. This is indicated by the “Da” [or ‘there’] of Dasein [the one being there]. Such openness, whenever provided, will result in astonishment and wonder, as the human being will encounter the inexplicable Mystery and will proceed on the path of thinking and becoming from light to a greater light, or—using the terms of mystical theology—from darkness to a greater darkness where the Mystery dwells.⁸⁰  Søren Kierkegaard, Concluding Unscientific Postscript, tr. David F. Swenson & Walter Lowrie (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1941), 370.  It should be remarked here that this perception of truth as given in the inner depth of the human being opposes Hegel’s perception of truth as involving some external demonstration, so that the inner comes to some external manifestation that can be evidenced.  Berdyaev, FS (1927), 82.  Søren Kierkegaard, Purity of Heart Is to Will One Thing, tr. Douglas V. Steere (New York: Harper and Row, 1956), 84.  Darkness in mystical theology stands in contrast to darkness as the darkness of the mind, which signifies the absence of illumination. Contrary to this, darkness in mystical language is where the excess or the superabundance of light dwells and, hence, makes transcendent unknowing possible, a kind of “superknowledge [that is] not obtained by means of discursive reason.” See: Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, Mystical Theology, note (1), 210. Accessed 22.06. 2020: http://www.esoteric.msu.edu/VolumeII/MysticalTheology.html. Darkness, in this sense,


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Referring to the Greeks’ recognition of astonishment [θαυμάζειν] as the beginning of philosophy, Heidegger quoted both Plato’s and Aristotle’s assertion that astonishment is the beginning of philosophy. “[Μ]άλα γὰρ φιλοσόφου τοῦτο τὸ πάθος, τὸ θαυμάζειν. οὐ γὰρ ἄλλη ἀρχὴ φιλοσοφίας ἢ αὕτη”. [“For this is especially the pathos [emotion] of a philosopher, to be astonished. For there is no other beginning of philosophia than this”].⁸¹ Also: “διὰ γὰρ τὸ θαυμάζειν οἱ ἄνθρωποι καὶ νῦν καὶ τὸ πρῶτον ἤρξαντο φιλοσοφεῖν”. [“For through astonishment men have begun to philosophize both in our times and at the beginning”].⁸² Thus, Heidegger maintained that the origin of philosophy is a disposition. The word θαυμάζειν [taumazein] can be translated into English as ‘astonishment’, ‘wonder’, or ‘marveling’, while the ‘wondrous’ [θαυμαστόν] is that which stands out as remarkable, luminous and exceptional, creating a singular event over against a dominating ordinary and conventional background. Paradoxically, however, the wondrous or the uncommon is itself the most habitual and invariably the same in the sense that the most common becomes the most uncommon. This is to say that, through primordial thinking, everything (usual) surrounding the person becomes unusual and wondrous, while the person is unable to claim to have any access or explanation of the wondrous.⁸³ Astonishment is the ἀρχὴ [the initial starting point] of thinking, namely that from which philosophy—and theology—proceed, in such a way that philosophy has, in astonishment, both its starting point and its determining factor. That is to say that philosophy and theology are continually permeated by astonishment throughout the path of philosophizing and theologizing. Furthermore, and beside wonder as the original disposition that makes philosophy possible, philosophy entails both πάϑος and πάσχειν. Πάϑος [pathos, passion] and πάσχειν [paskhein, suffering], are the two sides of one and the same experience of philosophizing and theologizing that are related to astonishment and inwardness.⁸⁴ Philosophy in the sense of pathos [passion] denotes compelling excite-

is comparable to ‘unknowing’, which is again not about ignorance, but the realization that no human, finite understanding or knowing can understand or grasp the infinite one, that is the divine Mystery. See the same reference as hard copy: Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, Saint John of the Cross, The Mystical Theology of Dionysius the Areopagite (London: Shrine of Wisdom, 1923).  Plato, Theaetetus, ed. J. Burnet, Platonis Opera vol. I (Oxford, 1900), 155 D 2. See: Heidegger, WP (1955), 78 – 79.  Heidegger cites Aristotle in: WP (1955), 81. See: Aristotle, Metaphysics, tr. Stephan Makin (Oxford; New York: Clarendon Press, 2010), A 2, 982 b, 11.  Heidegger, BQP (1937– 38), 136 – 137, 144; WP (1955), 81, 83, 85.  See Heidegger’s reading of Aristotle’s concept of pathos in his lecture course in Marburg: Basic Concepts of Aristotelian Philosophy (1924), tr. Robert D. Metcalf & Mark B. Tanzer (Bloo-

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ment and ardor. But philosophy, or theology, denotes also paskhein [suffering], a state of acute pain. To philosophize in the sense of astonishment and passion involves the human initiative-active role in thinking, theologizing and, hence, bringing one’s thought and theology into practice and movement. Πάϑος, then, necessarily indicates movement. On the other hand, philosophizing, in the sense of inwardness and suffering, involves the ‘passive’ role of undergoing the process of being affected, or being acted upon, that is the same as letting be. This letting be, in turn, consists of letting beings be, and this entails care, suffering and pain. However, letting be, or πάσχειν, also involves letting being as such approach and dwell within the thinking person. In this sense, suffering is simultaneously a saving element as it “raises the person to a higher, genuine being”.⁸⁵ Here it should be noted that, through letting be, the person is in fact never passive, but he/she actively lets being as such or beings act upon him/herself. This means that thinking—philosophizing and theologizing—is not an objective (in the sense of a passive) achievement. Thinking demands the engagement of the whole person. It touches the person, forms him/her, changes him/her to the extent that he/she surrenders him/herself to the Mystery and lets it guide him/her on the path of thinking. In this way, the person partakes and participates in the Mystery and in its ardor and passion, but he/she also endures suffering and even death. Πάϑος [passion] and πάσχειν [suffering] thus identify a path of life, a way of being and becoming [Weise des Werdens].⁸⁶ The “πάϑη [pathe, the verbal noun of πάσχω ‘to undergo’] characterizes the entire human being in its disposition in the world.”⁸⁷ Hence, the human being receives the Mystery and with it the disposition to move nearer and nearer to that one single Mystery. The thinker or the wonderer is, however, displaced in a world of the usual and the commonplace. Nevertheless, he/she necessarily comes to a resolution of his/her essence and having received the Mystery of being he/she is given the possibility to perceive beings as beings. Hence, the thinker upholds and maintains ἀλήθεια [truth] as the Mystery of unconcealedness to be the essence of a being, against all obscurities, in the manner of a productive perception. This implies the bringing of the essence of a thing out of what is unknown or

mington: Indiana University Press, 2009), hereafter BCAP. In these lectures, Heidegger succeeded to contemporize Aristotle’s notions of πάϑος and πάσχειν beside others. He revealed the intricate relatedness of both πάϑος and πάσχειν to the notions of being, movement, disposition and thinking. See further: Aristotle, Physics III.3, in Aristotle’s Physics, Books III and IV, ed. Edward Hussey (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983).  Heidegger, BCAP, 132.  See on this: Heidegger, BCAP, 12, 114, 131– 132.  Heidegger, BCAP, 129.


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unthought into knowledge and into that which is to be thought, and the positing of the ground or the ‘whatness’ of the thing as the ground of thinking itself. This is the same as saying that thinking grounds itself in that which is brought forth. In this way, one’s thinking would be grounded upon the essence of the thing or the being.⁸⁸ Hence, in unconcealedness, the human being him/herself is displaced into the same open region of unconcealedness. Such displacement is a simple and inexplicable disposition that one receives, according to which one is directed toward the primordial beginning of thinking and finds oneself in the midst of beings in themselves and as a whole. This return to the beginning compels the inquiry into beings, yet prevents a direct examination of ἀλήθεια. The disposition itself necessitates the recognition and the admission of the peculiarity of that which has been considered usual, and it is in this regard that wonder is entailed.⁸⁹ On the path of following the disposition, one grows more and more toward tolerance and toward grasping the beings. The path cannot, however, be trod without experiencing pain and suffering. It is the suffering of carrying out alone the burden of questioning, thinking, and the task of perception. On this, Heidegger quoted the words of Friedrich Hölderlin (1770 – 1843): For a demigod must grasp everything, Or a man, in suffering, Insofar as he hears, alone, or is himself Transformed, surmising from afar the steed of the Lord.⁹⁰

Hence, as maintained earlier, suffering, as the outcome of the disposition, comprises both letting beings be—that is hearing and seeing them—and the transformation of the self. In this sense, suffering is a solitary experience and requires solitary perception, through which one proceeds on the path of thinking and ap-

 For Heidegger, the grasping of the essence of a thing or a being occurs through bringing it out of its previous obscurity, hiddenness and concealment into light and into view. Bringing the essence of the thing into view here means bringing that which is to be seen before oneself so that one heedfully encounters it. Heidegger called this kind of seeing “productive seeing” [Ersehen]. Heidegger, BQP (1937– 38), 74, 76 – 77.  Heidegger, BQP (1937– 38), 147, 149.  Hölderlin as cited in Heidegger, BQP (1937– 38), 152. “Denn alles fassen muss Ein Halbgott oder ein Mensch, dem Leiden nach, Indem er höret, allein, oder selber Verwandelt wird, fernahnend die Rosse des Herrn”, Friedrich Hölderlin, Gesänge II in Sämtliche Werke: Band 8: Gesänge, Frankfurter Ausgabe, hg. von D. E. Sattler (Stroemfeld Verlag: Frankfurt am Main/Basel, 2000), 891.

1.1 The Mystery and its Givenness


proaches the Mystery itself. Only through such a path is the emergence of beings [φύσις] made possible so that they can stand in ἀλήθεια, which is the same as uncovering the depth of their being. Thinking—philosophy or theology—in this primordial sense of the word, that is, in the sense of openness and astonishment, has us while we do not have it, since it disposes us to this or that direction rather than we ourselves maintaining any control over it. By this, Heidegger demonstrated the need for an essential alteration and transformation of those approaches in human thinking that eliminate the need for openness to the Mystery, so that human disposition becomes truly the beginning of philosophy. Nevertheless, the contemporary thinker could ask: How do the notions of mystery, astonishment, passion, suffering and inwardness help in an age where economic and political exploitation, the abuse of human rights and dignity, the commercial propaganda of capitalist organizations with their manipulation of science and technology dominate and seem to be having the final word in this world? What do these notions have to do with all the injustice, upheaval and the unrest that different cultures and societies are experiencing in the world? It is necessary to realize here that misconceptions of “correctness” and misuse and mishandling of beings and their rights in the world can be cleared only through the uncovering of beings and letting beings speak for themselves. This is so since political exploitation and economic propaganda often build their systems on distorted-misrepresented “truths” in the world. Such misrepresentation and perversion can be overcome only through passion and suffering, through astonishment and inwardness, that is through the simple event or act of thinking. It is in this sense that thinking is not easy. Thinking assumes pain and suffering and without taking those into account thinking cannot reach at its essence, rather remains the same kind of thinking that exploitation and manipulation practice. And, hence, it is the elimination of ‘mystery’ and of freedom that stands behind the loss of human dignity, as the person him/herself belongs to the Mystery. On the other hand, openness to the Mystery alone prevents human thinking from becoming the victim of systems and categorizations and allows it to pass through them and make the move from thinking to the matter of thought, that is the unfolding of the Mystery, which is the same as letting being appear and dwell in unconcealedness, in freedom and in light. If ἀλήθεια [truth] is both opening and unconcealedness, the question consists in whether the human being, by receiving ἀλήθεια as unconcealedness, could him/herself participate in unconcealedness, namely participate in truth as such? Hence, the task is mainly “opening” and “uncovering”. This was what Berdyaev meant when he wrote: “Those who know the truth become truth in it”. Only through one’s experience of openness and unconcealedness that the perception of ἀλήθεια as truth is made possible. In theological terms, this means that it is only as one participates in God,


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namely, finds oneself truly within the impassable abode of God, that all one’s knowledge of God and the dogmas and the doctrines of the church make sense. It is only when one makes the leap of faith towards the Mystery that the teaching on incarnation and the work of salvation gain meaning, and doctrine thus develops into doxology. Otherwise, teachings and doctrines remain mere human words with little meaning.

1.2 God as ‘Nothing’ and ‘Everything’ 1.2.1 The Mystery of ‘Self-Concealing Sheltering’ Since ἀλήθεια as unconcealment is the granter of presence and of truth, rather than any specific truth itself, Heidegger maintained that calling ἀλήθεια truth is not adequate. He asked whether ἀλήθεια is less or more than truth, since it offers it and makes it possible. In the history of human thought ἀλήθεια had lost its original meaning as unconcealment or opening, and denoted, rather, truth in the sense of ‘certainty of absolute knowledge’. By this, the inquiry about being as being, that is the possibility of presence as such, has been obliviated. ᾿Aλήθεια as opening and unconcealment is Mystery and is definitely beyond any truth in the sense of the correctness of statements or propositions or even the truthfulness of a particular being. ᾿Aλήθεια as such ‘remains concealed’. Heidegger asked: why is it always the case that human beings experience only that which has been granted by ἀλήθεια and not ἀλήθεια itself? Answering, he said: “self-concealing, concealment, lethe belongs to a-letheia, not just as an addition, not as shadow to light, but rather as the heart of aletheia”⁹¹. And so, ἀ-λήθεια is “the opening of presence concealing itself, the opening of a self-concealing sheltering”.⁹² This is to say that ἀλήθεια lets beings be seen as they truly are, making the self-revelation of their truth possible, while itself remaining concealed and hidden. And thus, one can understand what Heidegger meant by proclaiming the end of philosophy, namely the absurdity of all speculative attempts to define truth and turn it into an objectified fact, since it is by its nature concealed and hidden. So, he wrote: If this were so, then the opening would not be the mere opening of presence, but the opening of the presence concealing itself, the opening of self-concealing sheltering. [Italics mine.]

 Heidegger, TB (1962– 64), 71.  Heidegger, TB (1962– 64), 71.

1.2 God as ‘Nothing’ and ‘Everything’


If this were so, then with these questions we would reach the path to the task of thinking at the end of philosophy. But isn’t this all unfounded mysticism or even bad mythology, in any case a ruinous irrationalism, the denial of ratio? I return to the question: What does ratio, nous, noein, perceiving (Vernunft—Vernehmen) mean? What does ground and principle and especially principle of all principles mean? Can this ever be sufficiently determined unless we experience aletheia in a Greek manner as unconcealment and then, above and beyond the Greek, think it as the opening of self-concealing?⁹³

᾿Aλήθεια has to be experienced “in a Greek manner”, that is without questioning it or searching for its grounds or reasons. This surely has no historical connotation in the sense that ἀλήθεια has to be represented according to some concrete, tangible or historical realizations of it. Contrary to this, ἀλήθεια is to be perceived as unconcealment, as “the opening of self-concealing sheltering”. Sheltering, here, is the veiling or the shrouding that preserves emergence as being, or ἀλήθεια, and gives itself through the emergent being. This sheltering truly facilitates the return to the essence of being, protecting it from that which emerges (within contours). Hence, sheltering is the safeguarding of the splendour of the beginning in its pure giving of the self. Being thus withdraws itself from beings as beings pervert into mere objects. Such withdrawal belongs to the essence of being, which is to say that being in its essence is self-concealing. It is through the withdrawal and the self-concealment of being as such that a true experience of being is made possible.⁹⁴ Being, then, simultaneously proffers itself and yet withdraws and conceals its essence. The two moments are one and the same

 Heidegger, “The End of Philosophy”, TB (1962– 64), 71. [“Wenn es so stünde, dann wäre die Lichtung nicht bloße Lichtung von Anwesenheit, sondern Lichtung der sich verbergenden Anwesenheit, Lichtung des sich verbergenden Bergens. Wenn es so stünde, dann gelangten wir erst mit diesen Fragen auf einen Weg zur Aufgabe des Denkens am Ende der Philosophie. Allein ist dies nicht alles grundlose Mystik oder gar schlechte Mythologie, in jedem Fall ein verderblicher Irrationalismus, die Verleugnung der Ratio? Ich frage zurück: Was heißt ratio, νοῦς, νοĩν, Vernehmen? Was heißt Grund und Prinzip und gar Prinzip aller Prinzipien? Läßt sich dies jemals zureichend bestimmen, ohne daß wir die ᾿Aλήθεια griechisch als Unverborgenheit erfahren und sie dann, über das Griechische hinaus, als Lichtung des Sicherverbergens denken? Heidegger, GA 14, 88.]  It is possible to speak of this element of divine ‘self-withholding’ as divine power that is made possible through weakness. “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor. 12:9 – 10)


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vouchsafing of being, through which alone all the different beings are given to reveal themselves and come to light.⁹⁵ This reminds the reader of Pseudo-Dionysius’ two notions of procession and reversion of the divinity out of itself and about itself (that is back to itself).⁹⁶ It is through the divine letting be, that is the coming of God out of Godself, that beings emerge; yet God remains beyond and absolved from limited beingness. In this context, the distinction that Orthodox theology makes between the divine essence and the divine energies is essential. The divine energies or powers are given to the human being; however, the divine essence remains beyond any human access. I will get back to this distinction in the fifth chapter under the question of identity and difference. This is exactly how one would perceive truth. In the moment when one understands and knows truth, one simultaneously realizes that one knows nothing. In the moment when truth comes to a full revelation and disclosure of itself, it simultaneously withdraws itself in such a way that it never imposes itself upon any being or thing in the world. Had truth not withdrawn itself, it would have been owned by a being and, hence, it would have become that which itself is not. Truth is always free. Freedom, here, has two denotations. On the one hand, truth frees those who search for it in the sense that it does not intrude one’s life or fix it in a certain way. On the other hand, truth is itself free, namely it can never be owned, controlled or even grasped fully. In this sense truth cannot be secured or kept at one’s disposal; rather, the very mysterious nature of truth lies in that it is free from every control or confinement. Describing the path toward being, Heidegger made a reference to Aristotle’s statement: However, the path (to the being of beings) is by its essence so fashioned and directed that it leads forth from what is more familiar [Vertrauteren] to us, namely because for us it is what is more overt, to that which, because it emerges on its own, is in itself more overt and in this sense what is always already taken for granted [Zugetraute].⁹⁷

In this paragraph, Aristotle distinguished between that which is “more overt” for us and that which “emerges on its own, [and] is in itself more overt”. The first is that to which the human being has an unquestioned access, while the second indicates being as such, namely that which emerges on its own. In this latter sense, the human being cannot have complete access to or control over it.

 Heidegger, PR (1955 – 56), 62– 63.  Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, DNMT, 3.  Aristotle wrote this at the beginning of his lecture on Physics, cited by Heidegger in his PR (1955 – 56), 63 – 64.

1.2 God as ‘Nothing’ and ‘Everything’


Hence, the path of thinking proceeds from that which is observable or evident for the human being toward that which shines or is overt in itself. This movement requires a special effort, since the human subject commonly perceives particular beings and things and does not naturally bring being into view. However, and though the human being in his/her everydayness is incapable of perceiving being, being as such comes to beings on its own and shines already and always. Hence, it is only in the light of being as such that all beings and things come to light. Nevertheless, to the very revealing of itself belongs the withdrawal of its essence in a way that the two together are one and the same truth of being. Along these lines Heraclitus (535 – 475 B.C.), the early Greek thinker, before Plato and Aristotle, said: Φύσις κρύπτεσθαι φιλεί [being loves self-concealing], that is, being and self-concealing belong together. This leads us to say that being is essentially self-revealing and self-concealing. This is how being proffers itself, that is, through self-revealing—as that which shines by itself [as phusis]— and yet, simultaneously, through self-concealing. Being as such comes to a revelation in and through beings. And since beings are by nature finite, every manifestation of being is also finite. Every self-disclosure of being is, then, at once a covering of the abundant fullness of being. This ‘self-concealing sheltering’ Heidegger called ‘mystery’. In a different sense, “the opening of self-concealing sheltering” is a claim about human finitude. It confronts the human subject with the truth that, regardless of how enlightened one is and how much knowledge and understanding one obtains, one remains radically dependent on that ‘self-concealing sheltering’. It also challenges the person as he/she confronts the deepest questions of life to look to the rose, which is “without why”, “it blooms because it blooms, it cares not for itself; asks not if it’s seen”. Thus, “the opening of self-concealing sheltering” remains the most hidden and profound truth. In Christian terms it is God who, through hiddenness and concealment, makes life and unconcealedness possible. It is God who addressed Moses saying: “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” “The opening of self-concealing sheltering” is the ‘hidden’ God, who makes creation and incarnation possible through the emptying of the self, being in the likeness of human beings, and “becoming obedient to the point of death”. In these few words: “the opening of self-concealing sheltering”, Heidegger brought together the two most profound theological notions of divine immanence and transcendence, to which theologians have devoted numerous chapters and volumes. In absolute freedom—that is, by dispossessing Godself—God becomes the other, the finite being. Jesus, in turn, also gave his life away in freedom. Hence, in absolute freedom lie both divine transcendence and imminence in that God gave


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Godself to the finite other, and by giving Godself, God maintained Godself in and through the finite being. The Mystery of the “openness of self-concealing” is thus simultaneously everything and nothing. In the moment of its self-disclosure, the Mystery overtakes every-thing and surmounts all worldly limitations. As the Mystery conceals itself, however, it withholds itself from every corporeal (‘thingly’) reality and withdraws to the inner world of being and spirit, so that it is truly experienced as no-thing.

1.2.2 Nothingness: The True Aspect of Being In his inaugural address presented to the faculties of the University of Freiburg on July 24, 1929, “What is Metaphysics?”, Heidegger was interested in the question of ‘nothing’, which science has failed to regard. Similar to being, ‘nothing’ is unobjectifiable. There he explained that ‘nothing’ is not about mere negation and that it is possible to reach at ‘nothing’ only through a basic experience of ‘being’, which reveals that ‘nothing’ is none other than ‘being’. Moreover, ‘nothing’ belongs to the essence of being. One could say pure ‘being’ and pure ‘nothing’ are the same. Later, in 1943, in his Postscript, Heidegger explained that nothingness, as the true aspect of being, is the ‘veil’ of being. It is this aspect of being as no-thing that safeguards being as such from being possessed and controlled by beings. Being as such proffers itself and yet it is not a thing to be owned. It is no-thing: “The nothing, as other than beings, is the veil of being. Every destiny of beings has already in its origins come to its completion in being.”⁹⁸ For Heidegger, the question of being was the fundamental question of philosophy and metaphysics. He stated the question: why is there anything or any being rather than nothing?⁹⁹ Heidegger called the reality that what-is is (or the reality that things and beings exist) “the marvel of all marvels”.¹⁰⁰ This is the wonder of ἀλήθεια, namely the coming of being out of its concealedness and its manifestation in and through beings. Knowing that the human being is more than a thing and more than a mere rational being, this indicates that there is more to the human being than the capability of representational consid-

 Heidegger, “Postscript” (1943) in PATH, 238. [“Das Nichts als das Andere zum Seienden ist der Schleier des Seins. Im Sein hat sich anfänglich jedes Geschick des Seienden schon vollendet.” Heidegger, GA 9, 312.]  Martin Heidegger, Introduction to Metaphysics (1935), tr. Gregory Fried & Richard Polt (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000), hereafter IM.  Heidegger, “Postscript” (1943) in PATH, 355.

1.2 God as ‘Nothing’ and ‘Everything’


eration. That is, there is a hidden ground within the human subject which is the possibility of an open relationship to the ground of being or being as such.¹⁰¹ Hence, Heidegger urged the human being to open him/herself up to that which is beyond the human and the worldly, through which the human being is granted his/her own essence. It is through this very ground that the human being takes part in the entirety of beings, and hence has “potentiality-forbeing-a-whole”.¹⁰² The human being is capable of reflecting upon the whole of being as he/she constitutes within him/herself the entirety of beings. For Heidegger, however, this is possible only through “being-towards-the-end”, which is in other words the “anticipation of death”.¹⁰³ This requires the experience of releasement, which hopes for ‘no-thing’, and is simultaneously the anticipation of grace¹⁰⁴—and, hence, such an experience becomes the embodiment of faith and courage. He wrote further: In the trepidation of this suspense where there is nothing to hold on to, pure Da-sein is all that remains. Dread [or anxiety] strikes us dumb. Because what-is-in-totality slips away and thus forces Nothing to the fore, all affirmation (lit. ‘Is’-saying: ‘Ist’-Sagen) fails in the face of it. The fact that when we are caught in the uncanniness of dread we often try to break the empty silence by words spoken at random, only proves the presence of Nothing.¹⁰⁵

Heidegger described the experience of ‘nothing’ in terms of experiencing anxiety, as through the experience one is left with ‘no-thing’ to hang on or to build expectations about. Through the experience of ‘nothing’, surrender of and withdrawal from the world of beings to the inner world of being occur. Such experience detaches the person from his/her earlier concerns regarding ‘what is’. Nevertheless, through the experience of ‘nothing,’ that which is completely other than beings is revealed, allowing the true being of ‘what is’ to emerge. Describing the experience of anxiety, Heidegger wrote: “In the clear night of dread’s Nothingness is what-is as such revealed in all its original overt Martin Heidegger, The Essence of Reasons (1929), tr. T. Malick (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1969), 22– 23.  Heidegger, BT (1927), 352.  Heidegger, BT (1927), 353.  See on this: H. Philipse, Heidegger’s Philosophy of Being, 244.  Heidegger, WM (1929) in EB, 336. [“Nur das reine Da-sein in der Durchschütterung dieses Schwebens, darin es sich an nichts halten kann, ist noch da. Die Angst verschlägt uns das Wort. Weil das Seiende im Ganzen entgleitet und so gerade das Nichts andrängt, schweigt im Angesicht seiner jedes “ Ist “-Sagen. Daß wir in der Unheimlichkeit der Angst oft die leere Stille gerade durch ein Wohlloses Reden zu brechen suchen, ist nur der Beweis für die Gegenwart des Nichts.” Heidegger, GA 9, 112.]


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ness (Offenheit): that it ‘is’ and is not Nothing.”¹⁰⁶ It is only through such experience of ‘nothing’, the experience of anxiety, that one’s eyes are opened to the “inwardness of things”,¹⁰⁷ so that one truly experiences the be-ing of beings, in its clearing apart from all concealments and obscurities. Hence, ‘nothing’, or ‘nihilation’, for Heidegger is not the annihilation (Vernichtung) of all that is, that is, it is not about that which is apart from ‘being’; rather, it belongs to the essence of being, for which reason Heidegger (quoting Hegel) wrote: “Pure Being and pure Nothing are thus one and the same.”¹⁰⁸ In the experience of nothing there is risk; the risk concerns letting every‘thing’ or every ‘being’ go so that one is left with ‘no-thing’, and only then really perceiving that which truly is. What happens at that moment when one discovers that one is left with ‘no-thing’? One either becomes overburdened with fear and defeat, or, through courage and inner vigilance, one enjoys the true experience of ‘no-thing’, in the sense that one let’s oneself be what one has already and originally been all along, without being the victim of this or that thing, assertion or categorization, or without being subject to this or that aspiration. It is in this second instance that a true experience of ‘nothing’ or of being occurs, and through it that the true and authentic being of the human subject comes to light. Hence, through ‘no-thing’ one encounters truly what-is. Thus, in Heidegger’s thought, the experience of ‘nothing’ brings the person to the possibility of transcendence, without which one is some ‘thing’. Without the experience of ‘no-thing’ the human subject is so immersed in, or attached to, the things around him/herself that his/her transcendence, apart from the world and beyond it, dissipates. It is in the discovery that the human being is not a ‘thing’ that all the seeds of transcendence lie, namely the dignity of the human being. In this sense, all immersion in ‘no-thing’ is immersion in perfection. All experiences of ‘no-thing’ are experiences of God, who is the highest realization of ‘no-thing’. One is more human insofar as one, in one’s inner being, approaches ‘nothing’; and hence one is freed of the limitations, causalities and accidents that are the outcome of conforming oneself to the crowd. Every experience of ‘no-thing’ is a new discovery of the self and a unique experience of freedom and emancipation. Without the movement of the self toward ‘nothing,’ the human being loses him/herself in the crowd, in what-is, namely in the world of ‘things’. In this sense, being and ‘nothing’ are inseparable. They

   ston

Heidegger, WM (1929) in EB, 339. Heidegger, “Postscript” (1943), 355. Heidegger, WM (1929), 346. See: G. W. F. Hegel, Hegel’s Science of Logic, vol. 2, tr. W. H. John(London: Allen & Unwin, 1929), 74.

1.2 God as ‘Nothing’ and ‘Everything’


are the two sides of the same reality; hence it is not possible to address one appropriately and disregard the other. To address the question of being, one has to give heed to ‘nothing’, and the other way around is equally appropriate. Since metaphysics [μετἁ τὰ φυσικά] is the study which goes beyond what-is in order to recover it¹⁰⁹—which is to say that it is primarily concerned with the question of being—one can understand the pitfall that metaphysics has been trapped in by obliviating the ‘nothing’, and, by so doing, lacking an essential constituent of its meaning. Metaphysics encounters the peril of being misled by concentrating on being while forgetting the ‘no-thing’. This is comparable to proving and justifying higher truths concerning what-is, through the admittance of pure reason and logic, namely through proving and justifying by the means of what-is. Contrary to this, metaphysics “thinks being as a whole—the world, man, God —with respect to Being, with respect to the belonging together of beings in Being.”¹¹⁰ Heidegger pointed out the misinterpretation of classical metaphysics of the ‘nothing’ as not-being (Nichtseindes), indicating by it “unformed matter which is powerless to form itself into ‘being’” and to appear. In the Christian teaching on creation, creatio ex nihilo, ‘nothing’ denoted “the absolute absence of all ‘being’ outside God”, namely, the opposite of what truly “is”. Conversely, through the claim “ex nihilo fit—ens creatum” [“the created being is made out of nothing”] God is perceived as ens increatum [the being who is not in need of being created], rather is the causa prima [the first cause] of all other beings.¹¹¹ Hence, in both perceptions, metaphysical thinking concentrated on the physical and the substance, leaving behind that which concerns the inner reality of a being. Overcoming this particular pitfall that metaphysics encounters requires redirecting metaphysics and calling that particular logic, which can so easily dominate and overrule metaphysics, into question. Redirecting metaphysics is made possible only through turning toward that which has been darkened, toward that which-is-not a thing, i. e. toward ‘no-thing’. This whole argument is presented compactly in those words by Heidegger: The essence of Nothing as original nihilation lies in this: that it alone brings Da-sein face to face with what-is as such. … Dasein means being projected into Nothing (Hineingehaltenheit in das Nichts). Projecting into Nothing, Da-sein is already beyond what-is-in-totality. This ‘being beyond’ (Hinaussein) what-is we call Transcendence. Were Da-sein not, in its essential basis, transcendent, that is to say were it not projected from the start into Nothing, it could never relate to what-is, hence could have no self-relationship.

 Heidegger, WM (1929) in EB, 344.  Heidegger, “The End of Philosophy and the Task of Thinking” in TB (1962– 1964), 55 – 56.  Heidegger, WM (1929) in EB, 345.


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Without the original manifest character of Nothing there is no self-hood and no freedom.¹¹²

To be beyond what-is is to experience transcendence that is the same experience of one’s true selfhood and freedom. Such experience corresponds with the denunciation of pure speculative knowledge in the mystical tradition, which brings the person into humbleness and finally into the reality of the cross. Through such denial, however, the person perceives clearly and resolutely what he/she ought to be beyond the ‘thingly’ nature of the world. One aspect of Heidegger’s “The Word of Nietzsche” was to shed light upon Friedrich Nietzsche’s words: “God is dead”. This is not “a formula of unbelief”, and nihilism in his works does not deny the faith in the God of the biblical revelation.¹¹³ Rather, through this claim, Nietzsche addressed Christendom, meaning by it the historical-political phenomenon of the church with its accounts of the highest being or the highest ground of everything, declaring through these words their oblivion and forgetfulness of God. So, in Nietzsche’s The Gay Science under a piece with the title “The Madman” we read: ‘Where is God gone?’ he called out. ‘I mean to tell you! We have killed him,—you and I! We are all his murderers! But how have we done it? How were we able to drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the whole horizon? … Has it not become colder? Does not night come on continually, darker and darker? Shall we not have to light lanterns in the morning?’ … At last he trew his lantern on the ground, so that it broke in pieces and was extinguished. ‘I come too early,’ he then said, ‘I am not yet at the right time…’ … It is further stated that the mad man made his way into different churches on the same day, and there intoned his Requiem aeternam Deo. When led out and called to account, he always gave the reply: ‘What are these churches now, if they are not the tombs and monuments of God?’¹¹⁴

 Heidegger, WM (1929) in EB, 339 – 340. [“Das Wesen des ursprünglich nichtenden Nichts liegt in dem: es bringt das Da-sein allererst vor das Seiende als ein Solches. … Da-sein heißt: Hineingehaltenheit in das Nichts. Sich hineinhaltend in das Nichts ist das Dasein je schon über das Seiende im Ganzen hinaus. Dieses Hinaussein über das Seiende nennen wir die Transzendenz. Würde das Dasein im Grunde seines Wesens nicht transzendieren, d. h. jetzt, würde es sich nicht im vorhinein in das Nichts hineinhalten, dann könnte es sich nie zu Seiendem verhalten, also auch nicht zu sich selbst. Ohne ursprügliche Offenbarkeit des Nichts kein Selbstsein und keine Freiheit.” Heidegger, GA 9, 114– 115.]  Martin Heidegger, “The Word of Nietzsche: ‘God is Dead’” (1943) in QCT, 63; Martin Heidegger, Nietzsche (1940 – 1946), Vol. III & IV, tr. David Farell Krell (New York: Harper Collins, 1991), 210.  Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science, tr. Thomas Common (New York: Dover Publications, 2006), 90 – 91.

1.2 God as ‘Nothing’ and ‘Everything’


These words of Nietzsche are not an attack against God or Christianity. The ‘death of God’, for Nietzsche, pointed out, rather, the substitution of God as Spirit, the God of Christian faith, with the metaphysical God, the God that represents the world of ideals beyond the worldly reality, which eventually came to serve political and economic enterprises. Hence, Heidegger contended that the notion of the ‘death of God’ made “that oscillating region” possible “in which humankind and Being reach each other in their essence and attain their essence by losing determinations lent to them by metaphysics”.¹¹⁵ Somehow the madman’s words are comparable to the words of the Grand Inquisitor addressing Christ and admitting that human beings are no longer in need of his freedom: Why have you come to get in our way now? And why do you gaze at me so silently and sincerely with those meek eyes of yours? Why do you not get angry? I do not want your love, because I myself do not love you. … We have long been not with you, but with him, eight centuries now. It is now just eight centuries since we took from him that which you in indignation rejected, that final gift he offered you, when he showed you all the kingdoms of the world.¹¹⁶

The tale discloses the disdain in which Ivan, the second son of Fyodor Karamazov, held organized religion.¹¹⁷ His words demonstrate the difficulty of accepting the way of Christ, also for the church. It is the same arduousness of being projected into the no-thing in the sense of being free of every worldly attachment. By being too much involved in the world of things, the human being loses his/ her interest in encountering that which truly is. And, hence, the human being loses his/her true selfhood and freedom and surrenders his/her participation in the divine.

 Martin Heidegger, Identity and Difference (1956 – 1957), tr. Joan Stambaugh (New York: Harper & Row, 1969), 26, hereafter: ID. See on this: Jeffery Kinlaw, “Heidegger on Nietzsche’s Word and Overcoming Ontotheology” in Heidegger & Nietzsche, ed. Babette Babich, Alfred Denker & Holger Zaborowski (Amsterdam: [etc.]: Rodopi, 2012), 59 – 76. In this chapter the author defends Nietzsche’s claimed ‘death of God’ as the portal through which the overcoming of metaphysics could take place and, hence, as in itself to be viewed as a positive theological event.  Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov, 335.  In Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov (1870 – 1880) Ivan Karamazov, who was critical toward authorities and the values of life, narrated the tale of “The Grand Inquisitor” to his brother Alyosha.


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1.2.3 The Mystical Union: The Human and the Divine We therefore approach that which is beyond all as far as our capacities allow us and we pass by way of the denial and the transcendence of all things and by way of the cause of all things.¹¹⁸ It is cause of all; But itself: [is] nothing As beyond-beingly apart from all.¹¹⁹

Otherwise stated, being as such is in the depth of every being, and yet is not any being. Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite perceived the divinity as be-ing and non be-ing, or no-thing, in the sense that “it is” beyond be-ing [ὐπερουσίως] and beyond beings. This means that the divine is excessively full of being. The divinity is preeminent not in the sense of its being the “highest being”, but rather in the sense of its absolution from all multiplicity and beings. The divinity is non-being, yet at the same time is the wholeness of beings as all beings partake in it. This partaking in being, however, is not to be understood as parts making together a unity; rather, the divinity is to be perceived as part-less unity, and beings as participating wholly and entirely in it.¹²⁰ Partaking in being—or in God—has been described in Orthodox theology in terms of a mystical-spiritual journey of the human to the divine; a journey which requires purification, that is, the renouncement of one’s exterior self, and the experience of poverty in life—related mostly to asceticism. The journey, then, progresses through illumination, through contemplation and finally reaches at union with the divine.¹²¹ It is through mystical prayer that the emancipation of the soul from every worldly reality can occur. The whole process of mystical experience and prayer demands, however, a continuous resolve to choose the ‘no-

 Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, “The Divine Names”, DNMT, 108 – 109.  Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, “The Divine Names”, DNMT, 113.  Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, DNMT, 25 – 26, 28.  Berdyaev, SR (1937), 117. The knowledge that mystical theology aspires to communicate is the knowledge of the crucified one, who gave up everything for the sake of the other. It is the knowledge that denies the human capability to claim any full-grasp or control over God. By this it surrenders the undertaking to conform God to human intelligence and understanding. Perceiving ‘nothing’ as the true aspect of ‘being’, mystical apophatic theology claims to have knowledge that is “knowing through unknowing”. (Karl Rahner, “Aszese und Mystic in der Väterzeit” in Karl Rahner, Sämtliche Werke 3: Spiritualität und Theologie der Kirchenväter (Düsseldorf: Benzinger, 1999), 247. [See: Philip Endean, Karl Rahner and Ignatian Spirituality (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), 22). This is to say that, though mystical theology dismantles knowledge, it simultaneously claims to have it and to have it with greater resolution.

1.2 God as ‘Nothing’ and ‘Everything’


thing’ instead of being lost in the world of things or in the crowd. Only then does one experience, along the path, transfiguration, illumination and “spiritual heights”.¹²² Thus, Berdyaev described this spiritual journey as “the mysticism of the heart”: Orthodox mysticism seeks to acquire the grace of the Holy Spirit, and here we find human nature transfigured, illuminated, and deified from within. It is the mysticism of the heart which is the center of life. Therefore the mind must be united to the heart if there is to be any spiritual unity within.¹²³

The climax of the human participating in the divine is the mystical union with God. On this Berdyaev quoted the words of St. Symeon the New Theologian (929 – 1022): I thank Thee O God that Thou, Who reignest over all, art now in very truth and unchangeably one spirit with me. … But when He and I are one, what am I to call God, Who, though possessing a dual nature, is a single Hypostasis? Having created me with a dual nature He has given me, as you see, a dual name. Here is the distinction. I am man by name, and God by grace.¹²⁴

Following the mystical theologian, Berdyaev also referred to the “dual nature” of the human being in accordance with the “dual nature” of the divine. Similar to God, who is both non-being and being, the human being also experiences nonbeing and being. On the one hand, the world remains for the human being—or the creature—“utterly alien and divorced” from the self. On the other hand, the human being experiences all the events of one’s particular era as happening to oneself and as pertaining to one’s own destiny. Summing up this notion, Berdyaev wrote: “nothing is my own and all things are mine.”¹²⁵ This “dual nature” of the human being concerns his/her human and divine natures. The path rowards mystical union is, then, the fullness of both humanity and divinity. It can not be the one at the expanse of the other. Neither does union with the divine annihilate the human, nor does union with the human annihilate the divine. The person experiences at once his/her unitedness with the fellow human beings, with nature, the world and the cosmos and the unity with the di On the two aspects of the mystical experience, Meister Eckhart wrote: “Not that humiliation is one thing and exaltation another, but the highest heights of exaltation lie precisely in the lowest depths of humiliation … for depth and height are the same thing.” Eckhart, Meister Eckhart: A Modern Translation, 37.  Berdyaev, FS (1927), 254.  The two quotations appear in Berdyaev, FS (1927), 244.  Berdyaev, DR (1949), viii-ix.


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vine, the no-thing, the absolute Mystery. In the experience of one’s unitedness with every-thing one cares about every-thing. One cares about the fellow human being, which assumes the giving of everything for his/her sake. On the other hand, through the experience of union with the divine, one lets everything go, even the self, so that one truly is beyond every attachment to the world and to the self. In this second aspect of the union with God, the human being rather withholds him/herself from the world and from the fellow human beings. This is the experience of no-thing. Both experiences together make ‘being towards death’ possible. This is to say that not only God, or being as such, is a Mystery—that is, “the opening of self-concealing sheltering”—but also the human being is a mystery. This means that, in his/her essential, pure nature, the human being likewise gives him/herself to others and, yet, withholds him/herself simultaneously. The simultaneous occurrence of these ‘contradictory’ experiences in one’s depth remains, however, inexplicable. Thus, it is appropriate to ask: how can the human being love the world and his/her fellow human beings, truly care about them, and be ready to give everything for them, and yet, simultaneously experience the need and the necessity of withholding him/herself and withdrawing from the world of things? Furthermore, how is it possible that, by opening up the self to his/her fellow human beings, the human subject most truly and sincerely actualizes one’s own self? This is the antinomy of the spiritual path. It is possible to perceive these two moments of the inner human self as the mysterious movement toward the divine. Without such movement, neither of the two experiences are possible or even meaningful. It is only through the human move toward the divine that the human being can both truly love his/ her neighbor and, yet, be him/herself, namely no-thing, and only then experience ‘being towards death’. Hence, it is in the coming together of the human and the divine that both philosophy and theology have as their starting point and their determining factor. So, Berdyaev wrote: Both philosophy and theology should start neither with God nor with man … but rather with the God-Man. The basic and original phenomenon of religious life is the meeting and the mutual interaction between God and man, the movement of God towards man and of man towards God. This fact finds its most concrete and fullest expression in Christianity, in which the humanity of God is revealed.¹²⁶

This mystical (human-divine) union and the prior longing of each for the other show that the human does not contradict the divine and the divine does not limit or confine the human. Contrary to this, it is in and with the divine that the

 Berdyaev, FS (1927), 189.

1.3 The Mystery and the Necessity of a Leap


human is fully human, and it is in and through the human that the divine is divine. Furthermore, through the human-divine union the whole cosmos comes to a unity with the divine. In this sense we read Berdyaev: In the spiritual world the cosmos dwells in man as man dwells in God. Man is a microcosm by nature and in him are comprised all the spheres of cosmic reality and all its powers.¹²⁷

Berdyaev founded the very possibility of human participation in the divine upon the consubstantiality—or the belonging together—of the Son with the Father, and on the fact that Christ “is not only God but also man.”¹²⁸ “In Christ, the God-Man, the free activity not only of God but also of man is revealed.”¹²⁹

1.3 The Mystery and the Necessity of a Leap 1.3.1 Beings as Carrying Within Themselves their Own Grounds In his works, Berdyaev maintained that the human being has a sense of the eternal within him/herself, a feeling for the eternal, an element that longs for that which is beyond the limitedness and the confinements of this life. On the “high origin” of the human being, Berdyaev wrote further: Man is the bearer of meaning, although he is a fallen creature in whom meaning is distorted. But fall can only be from a height, and the very fall of man is a token of his greatness. Even in his fallen state he retains the mark of his high origin and remains capable of higher life and of knowledge which rises above the meaningless world of things.¹³⁰

This notion of the presence of some divine element within the human reality can be traced back to the early Cappadocian Father Gregory of Nazianzus (329 – 190), who maintained that a “Particle of Divinity” is present in every human being, which is the same as the uncreated divine grace bestowed with the act of creation itself. Further, the Christian apologist Justin Martyr (100 – 165) taught about the ‘intuition of God implanted in the nature of man’.¹³¹ Here are Justin’s words:

    

Berdyaev, FS (1927), 199. Berdyaev, FS (1927), 215. Berdyaev, FS (1927), 207. Berdyaev, DM (1931), 11. Justin Martyr, II Apol. 6.


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We have been taught that Christ is the first-begotten of God, and have previously testified that he is the Logos (Logos) of which every race of humans partakes (metachein). Those who have lived in accordance with the Logos (meta Logou) are Christians, even though they were called godless, such as, among the Greeks, Socrates and Heraclitus and others like them; among the barbarians, Abraham, Ananias, Azarias, Misael, and Elijah, and many others, whose deeds and names I forbear to list, knowing that this would be lengthy. So also those who lived contrary to the Logos were ungracious and enemies to Christ, and murderers of those who lived by the Logos. But those who lived by the Logos, and those who live so now, are Christians, fearless and unperturbed.¹³²

Along a similar vein we read Heidegger: “Being is thus dispersed into the manifold beings. These display themselves here, there, and everywhere as what is close by in each instance.”¹³³ Truth is “a character of beings themselves, and not, as in the ordinary view of later times, a matter of assertions about beings.”¹³⁴ Also, the following words of Heraclitus refer to the human reality in its kinship to the divine: “Ήθος, ἀνθρώπω δαίμων”. Ήθος, in its original connotation, means a (symbolic) abode or dwelling place, namely the region where the human being resides and where his/her essence reveals itself. The statement identifies this abode with god: In [G]od the human being dwells and comes to his/her essence and truth (from God and toward God). Heidegger’s translation of the statement reads: “The human being dwells, insofar as he is a human being, in the nearness of god.”¹³⁵ Heidegger also quoted: “omne ens est verum —‘Every being is true’”;¹³⁶ hence, according to him, every being has been neces-

 Justin Martyr, “The First Apology” XLVI in A. Roberts & J. Donaldson (eds.) The Ante-Nicene Fathers: Translations of the Writings of the Fathers Down to A.D. 325, Vol. 1 (New York: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1885), 178. See also: Jean Daniélou, Gospel Message and Hellenistic Culture (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1973), 40 – 41. The quotation also appears in Jacques Dupuis, Toward a Christian Theology of Religious Pluralism (Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 1997), 58. 58. According to this early theological heritage, the divine Logos is the ontological reality of every created existence, since it is through the Logos that everything has been made. Justin’s theory of the logos spermatikos (based on John 1:14) maintained the dispersion of the divine Word throughout all creation. However, it is only in Christ that the Logos is fully revealed. Justin Martyr, 1 Apol. viii. Cf. Leslie William Barnard, Justin Martyr: His Life and Thought (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1967), 99.  Heidegger, “The Restriction of Being” in IM (1935), 108. [“Das Sein ist so in das mannigfaltige Seiende verstreut. Dieses macht sich als Nächstes und Jeweiliges hier und da breit.” Heidegger, GA 40, 110.] These words of Heidegger are comparable to Justin Martyr’s theory of the λόγος σπερματικός [the seminal word].  Heidegger, BQP (1937– 38), 102.  The statement is quoted and explained by Heidegger in his LH (1946), PATH, 269.  An old saying which has been transmitted within Western wisdom-tradition. See: Heidegger, BQP (1937– 38), 102.

1.3 The Mystery and the Necessity of a Leap


sarily created correctly by God. Truth is founded in beings themselves, meaning that truth belongs to beings, and that to begin thinking is to begin an inquiry about beings, through the experience of unconcealedness.¹³⁷ Since, for Heidegger, things or beings have their ground in their own reality, that is, they emerge from their own ground, beings do not require justification for their existence. Referring to the early Greeks’ understanding of λόγος [word], Heidegger explained that, as the substance of language, λόγος was perceived by the Greeks as providing access to beings in such a way that it indicated both being and ground. As such, λόγος could indicate not merely language, as an instrument for communication, but could moreover bring beings out of their concealment, shedding light upon their being. Hence, for the early Greeks, it would not be possible to separate λόγος from the being of beings.¹³⁸ Heidegger, however, found it regrettable that this coming together of being and ground did not last long in the history of Western thought. Soon, the ancient notion of λόγος was deontologized and its meaning was reduced into mere language.¹³⁹ Hence, its true sense was concealed and lost, as beings and their ground were kept

 The reference appears in: Vladimir Lossky, Orthodox Theology: An Introduction (New York: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1978), 69. Furthermore, this corresponds to the notion of the divine image in relation to all human beings emphasized by the early Fathers of the Church.  The significance of the term λογος [from λεγειν: to say] can be traced back to Heraclitus, who used it to denote ‘argument’, ‘law of generation’, ‘discussion’, ‘reason’, ‘principle of order’, and ‘meaning’. The Stoics referred to logos as the ‘controlling principle’ of the universe, regarding the human mind as a small copy of the ‘cosmic Logos’. Philo of Alexandria (20 BC- AD 40) adopted the term within Jewish philosophy, to refer to “the intelligible element in God’s mysterious being”, which also was called ‘second God’ and ‘Son of God’. Logos was used in the opening verses of the Gospel of John and was adopted into Christian theology. See on this: Andrew Louth, “The Cosmic Vision of Saint Maximus the Confessor” in Philip Clayton & Arthur Peacocke (eds.) In Whom We Live and Move and Have Our Being: Panentheistic Reflections on God’s Presence in a Scientific World (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2004), 188; James Dunn, Christology in the Making: A New Testament Inquiry into the Origins of the Doctrine of Incarnation (London: SCM Press, 2nd ed., 1980), chapters 5 & 6; Cf. Avakian, The Other, 123 – 125.  John Anton’s work Categories and Experience: Essays on Aristotelian Themes sheds light on the original meaning of Aristotle’s categories. He explains that Aristotle’s kategoria “explicitly refer to ultimate units of signification” and “completed attributions whose function is to capture in logos the traits of beings”, so that a truthful speech requires a wider and a comprehensive knowledge of the being. However, the post-classical interpretations of Aristotle’s theory of categories dismissed the ancient understanding of λόγος and reduced the categories into mere correspondence between a word and an object or a fact. John Anton, Categories and Experience: Essays on Aristotelian Themes (Oakdale, NY: Dowling College Press, 1996), 184. See also: Lisa Atwood Wilkinson, Parmenides and To Eon: Reconsidering Muthos and Logos (New York: Continuum Int., 2009).


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apart, and the reality that things own their own grounds and rise up of themselves was forgotten. This oblivion gave way to the rational inquiry as to the cause of the being of beings outside their reality. Such rational inquiry took the form of metaphysics, philosophy and ‘onto-theology’.¹⁴⁰ In his The Principle of Reason [Der Satz vom Grund], which was originally a course given at Freiburg in 1955 – 56, Heidegger pointed to Leibniz’s ‘Principle of Sufficient Reason’ [Satz vom Grund], namely that nothing is without reason or ground. The power that is inherent in Leibniz’s Principle is the power to control even the thinking of the human being by demanding reasons and grounds. This, elaborated Heidegger, is the power of modern science and technology as they aim at the control of all entities through supplying reasons and justifications for them.¹⁴¹ Heidegger conversely pointed out a region where there is no asking for reasons, a realm free of the search for verifications and justifications; that is, a realm beyond the influence of Leibniz’s principle. Furthermore, and by reading Leibniz’s Principle of Ground [or Reason] from a new perspective—Nothing is without ground (or reason)—Heidegger turned it from a statement about beings (Satz vom Grund) into a statement about being (Satz vom Sein), maintaining that “ground/reason belongs to being.”¹⁴² Hence, being as such is the ground of every being, and things carry within themselves their own grounds and reasons, without their need to supply any reasons for their existence. Thus, the basic question for philosophy—and theology—is the question of being (or God), which is simultaneously the same as the question of truth. This basic question is, however, of a particular kind, since it has to be approached ‘without why’.¹⁴³ Heidegger explained that, since the Greeks perceived beings as ‘mys Heidegger, BQP (1937– 38), 90 – 91.  Heidegger, “The Question Concerning Technology” (1953), in QCT, 5.  Heidegger, PR (1955 – 56), 51.  Here a parallelism can be drawn between Heidegger’s understanding of the unity between ground and being and Eckhart’s notion of the birth of the Son in the soul. According to Eckhart, the Father bears the Son in the human heart and engenders or generates the human being as the same Son of God. He wrote: “The Father bears His Son incessantly, and I say still more: He bears me as His Son, and as the same Son.” Meister Eckhart, Meister Eckhart: An Introduction to the Study of his Works with and Anthology of his Sermons, ed. James Midgley Clark (London: Nelson & Sons, 1957), 188. By God’s bearing of the Son in the human soul, the human being is him/herself procreated as the Son [or Daughter] of God. In this birth, the human soul participates by willingly providing a place for the Son. Hence, the human soul co-works with God in the sense that the work of God becomes the work of the soul. Both God and the human soul— being unified—share the same work. The Son is the Word of the Father such that the Father speaks the Word, through the Son, to the soul, and the soul may respond to the Father by speaking the Eternal Word back to the Father. (Eckhart, Meister Eckhart: An Introduction, 131, 135, 214, 235.) Eckhart also described what he called the breaking through of the human being to reach at

1.3 The Mystery and the Necessity of a Leap


terys’, they did not inquire as to their essence. Thus, he maintained that all questioning or inquiry should address the beings but not their essence, or the being of their being, as their essence remains unquestionable, similar to being as such, the one Mystery, in which they all partake.¹⁴⁴ In his later works, Heidegger distinguished between philosophy and thought. He surrendered the words ‘philosophy’, ‘metaphysics’ and even ‘being’, and turned to thought as it is in closest contiguity with poetry and mysticism. He referred to the necessary leap from discursive thinking or metaphysics to its source, namely to thought, that is, to a region where the ‘Principle of Sufficient Reason’ has no authority. The human being is, hence, in need of a leap not only to receive the gift of the Mystery and to respond to it, but equally to be aware of the gift and its givenness. That is why only those who make the leap can perceive and experience that which is the nearest and the most intimate to the person.

1.3.2 The Need for a New Beginning The first beginning—which is for Heidegger when the early Greeks experienced pure thinking as the experience of the truth of being—has come to us in fragments. This affirms that it is never possible to attain truth in its fullness. In order, however, to have an understanding of the first beginning, or of truth, Heidegger contended that a leap for the retrieval of its meaning is necessary, as most historiographical interpretations of truth have rubbed it of its simplicity. The

the divine “Godhead”. One must penetrate—or break through [Durchrechnen]—the inner depth of God, which is beyond God the ‘creator’, in order to reach at divine ‘Godhead’. Eckhart wrote: “[I] n the breaking-through, when I come to be free of will of myself and of God’s will and of all his works and of God himself, then I am above all created things, and I am neither God nor creature, but I am what I was and what shall remain, now and eternally.” [M. Eckhart (Sermon Fifty-Two) in (ed. L. Dupré & J. A. Wiseman), Light from Light: An Anthology of Christian Mysticism, 2nd ed. (Mahwah, N.J.: Paulist Press, 2001), 171.] In such breakthrough, the chasm between God, the ‘creator’, and the human being is eliminated through the union between the two, so that “the core of God is also my core; and the core of my soul, the core of God’s.” [Meister Eckhart: A Modern Translation, 126.] There, in the innermost depth or abyss, both God and the human being share the common ground. God’s ground and the soul’s ground are united and identified. In the deepest reality of the human being and of God, the two have one ground and one fused identity. [Meister Eckhart, Selected Treatises and Sermons, tr. J. M. Clark and J. V. Skinner (London: Faber & Faber, 1958), 68 – 70.]  This distinction corresponds with the distinction made in Orthodox theology between the divine essence and energies.


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early Greeks were open and receptive to whatever was presencing to them, and thus they could freely respond to the manifestation of whatever is. ¹⁴⁵ Hence, there should be the other beginning so that the first is properly the first. The inception of human thinking, however, is for Heidegger not something that belongs merely to the past. It has taken place in the past; yet its striking nearness to the human being in the present times is equally true, and in this sense, inceptual thinking presences itself to the human being again and again, never becoming a being among beings. absorbing other beings and ruling over them.¹⁴⁶ Thus, Heidegger maintained the necessity of a new beginning for which, somehow similar to the first beginning, what is required is a simple insight and perception of beings as they originally are in their inner reality. This simple perception of beings is given to those, who let beings show themselves and appear as they are and, hence, beings can preserve and safeguard their truth. This perception of beings, in the sense of thinking and observing—νοεῖν from νοῦς, mind or reasoning faculty—indicates the act by which the human being lets other beings emerge in order that they might come forth and their true being [φύσις] might maintain control and cast away obscurities and concealedness. Here comes also the role of λόγος, which, perceived in its original sense, is about bringing the beings together in the one being which they are. Such bringing of beings together does not indicate any kind of consequent putting together or joining of individual beings, but rather is an “original anticipatory gathering, of all that can be encountered, in the one that beings are”, with individual beings appearing only subsequently.¹⁴⁷ However, this new beginning is in no sense any historiographical return, but rather a reflection that makes it possible for the person to start from the beginning in order to move toward the future. This means that one starts the path of thinking on one’s own, rather than inheriting it from the middle of somewhere, in which case the future would not also be one’s own. Hence, it is possible to say that the return to the origin here is a personal return, which is the most original way of thinking as one finds within oneself the grounds of one’s thought. Such reflection makes an inner return to the beginning and, simultaneously, a movement toward the future possible. Heidegger elaborated on this: “For what came to pass at the beginning of the history of the essential foundation of truth always remains for us still to be decided—a decision about what for us and for the future can become true and can be true.”¹⁴⁸ In this  Heidegger, “The Age of the World Picture” in QCT (1936 – 54), 131.  Heidegger, BC (1941), 73.  Heidegger, BQP (1937– 38), 120 – 121.  Heidegger, BQP (1937– 38), 101. Heidegger’s explanation here of the need for recollection as a personal initiation is clear enough against the misinterpretation of his thought, which claims

1.3 The Mystery and the Necessity of a Leap


sense, personal appropriation and constancy could be opportunities for the revealing of being as such, otherwise, they could lead to rigidity (das Abständige) whenever they are engrained and entrenched in a being. Hence, there is need for a new beginning, without which one will end up with inertness, constraint and separation from the essential nature of truth. In the latter case, beings would stand for their own selves and they would become objects. Consequently, a being which loses its ground of being, in the sense that it does not reveal being, becomes an object for metaphysics.¹⁴⁹ Heidegger further maintained that the first beginning and the “new” or the “other” beginning are not two but one and the same beginning. “The beginning is being itself as event, the concealed sovereignty of the origin of the truth of beings as such. And being as the event is the beginning.”¹⁵⁰ For the new beginning, inceptual thinking or pure thinking is needed, which is the same as heedfulness to being as such. Bearing in mind the modern human attempts to arrive at complex accomplishment, thinking of being, in the sense presented here, remains simple in nature to the extent that one might even fail to recognize it. Nevertheless, and in order for thinking to move beyond mere metaphysical speculation, a return to that which is nearest to the human being is necessary. Such a return requires a descent rather than a further ascent in any abstract-hypothetical manner.¹⁵¹ The descent, however, is demanding and burdensome. Those who avoid the costs of pure thinking close the door tight at all attempts of thinking. They renounce the rigor of thinking, maintaining that thinking beyond the traditional ways is against thinking and against human logic. They perceive all attempts at pure thinking as unhelpful, unperceivable and even irrational. Contrary to this, the other beginning, or the new beginning, takes place when one opens up one’s heart to truth, and receives it in the sense of allowing it to form the person anew and shape him/her from inside.

that the Greeks are for Heidegger “the privileged historical portal through which thinking passes in order to get to what is ante-historical, the very Wesen or coming to presence of history.” John D. Caputo, “Demythologizing Heidegger: “Alētheia” and the History of Being” in The Review of Metaphysics, Vol. 41, No. 3 (Mar. 1988), 532.  Heidegger, EV (1941– 42), 58.  Heidegger, CP (1936 – 38), 47.  See on this: Heidegger, LH (1946), PATH, 268. The terminology of “descent” and “ascent”, used by Heidegger, reminds the reader of Orthodox theology and its claim concerning the two movements of “divine descent” and “human ascent”. Human ascent, in the sense of Orthodox theology, is nevertheless an inner descent, where the person moves on the path of poverty and lays aside all the claims of proud objective humanity and the subjective self.


1 Openness to the Mystery

1.3.3 The Leap “Poetizing is truer than the exploration of beings.”¹⁵² In this statement, which Heidegger recited, Aristotle pointed out the two infinitely different paths of poetizing and the exploration of beings. The first is the path of thinking in the sense of contemplation and reflection, which in this work both Heidegger and Berdyaev advocate. The second is the way of scientific inquiry and abstract speculation, which are mostly based on facts and observations. A leap, as it is meant here, is then the shift from the second to the first. It is determining the path. It is the firm move, independent of expectations from beings, into the uncertain, into the farthest nearness, which makes en-owning, namely the mutual appropriation of being as such by the human being and the other way around, possible.¹⁵³ The leap is necessary as no transition between the two is possible, namely from “ordinary thinking to thoughtful thinking”.¹⁵⁴ The difference between the two is so radical that any progression between them is not conceivable. Hence the leap is a leap into the truth of being as such and of beings, since being takes its dwelling in beings. It is simultaneously a leap into the truth of the whole of beings. On the other hand, a leap of thought, or a leap of faith, would be too improbable for the way science and most experimental investigations function. Many questions would occur: why venture into a ‘leap of thought’ or even a ‘leap of faith’ when one can cling to certainties and evidence? How to and why forsake the protected projection of life or the assurances of a future salvation and make a leap into a Mystery? Hence, the leap is costly. In his The Principle of Reason, Heidegger maintained that ground (or reason) pertains to beings since being itself is both ground and abyss.¹⁵⁵ Hence, it is only

 Paraphrased by Heidegger in his: LH (1946), Pathmarks, 275. Aristotle, in his Poetics, said: “Poetry is a more philosophical and more serious thing than history; poetry tends to speak of universals, history of particulars.” Aristotle, Poetics with The Tractatus Coislinianus, tr. Richard Janko (Indianapolis [u. a.]: Hackett, 1987), 12.  Heidegger, CP (1936 – 38), 161.  Heidegger, EV (1941– 42), 247. Before Heidegger it was Kierkegaard—who in turn was indebted to Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729 – 1781)—who declared that no bridge could exist between scientific-historical knowledge and the knowledge of God, or between outwardness and inwardness. Hence, the gap between the two could be crossed only through a leap. It should, however, be noted that, for Lessing, the ‘leap’ was about the move from historical truths to a priori ‘necessary truths’. In response to Lessing, Kierkegaard developed his own Christian perception of the leap. Kierkegaard, Concluding Unscientific Postscript, 258 – 62. On Kierkegaard’s notion of the leap, see further under: “Being on the Way and the ‘Anticipatory Leap Forward’” in the 5th chapter of this book.  Heidegger, PR (1955 – 56), 125.

1.3 The Mystery and the Necessity of a Leap


through a leap of thought that one can move beyond the inquirer’s search for grounds and reasons—as presented by Leibniz—towards a state of openness to being, through which the reception of the gift is made possible. Being cannot be explained or rationalized through reasons and grounds; rather one has to surrender the inspection of grounds since being is a ‘mystery’ [Geheimnis].¹⁵⁶ And in order for the human being to uncover and let being reveal itself he/she needs to make the leap into the Mystery. Such a leap, however, has to be lived out in one’s daily life, that is, it has to be part of one’s mortal and temporal reality, which is the same as living genuinely in the world.¹⁵⁷ Being grants the human being one’s very essence. The leap, in turn, is made possible through releasement, Gelassenheit, namely through letting-be, that is, through letting God be God, or being be in truth. Both the leap and releasement [Gelassenheit] imply a step backward from abstract, theoretical propositions, in the sense that one surrenders the search for reasons and grounds outside one’s own reality. It is in this sense of renouncing the rational justification of beings that being itself is revealed and received as a gift. Hence being—or God—gives itself as Mystery, while the human being, in turn receives the Mystery, in which he/she participates. Hence, thinking—philosophy or theology—in its pure sense “leaps ahead, opening up new domains of questioning and aspects of questioning about the essence of things, an essence that constantly conceals itself anew.”¹⁵⁸ Furthermore, a return to the beginning might simultaneously be a genuine leaping ahead into the future. Heidegger warned here of falling into historiographical considerations and emphasized the need, rather, for reflection.¹⁵⁹ In this sense, the reflection upon the first beginning of Western thought that is needed here is nothing other than a preparation for a new beginning. Reflection is necessary, he explained, since we stand at the end of Western thought. Somehow, a transition to something “wholly other” is needed.¹⁶⁰ He referred to both Hölderlin and Nietzsche, in whose works both carried the potentials for a new beginning. Thus, they stand for the end of Western philosophy as they reflected creatively upon the past and attempted reproduce a new beginning. In the philosophy of the thinker, that is Nietzsche, Heidegger found the consummation of metaphysics, which also meant the consummation of the modern age and of

    

Heidegger, Heidegger, Heidegger, Heidegger, Heidegger,

DT (1944– 55), 55. PR (1955 – 56), 112. BQP (1937– 38), 5. BPQ (1937– 38), 97. BPQ (1937– 38), 109.


1 Openness to the Mystery

the essence of technology. Conversely, he described Hölderlin, the poet, as the one “more futural” than the thinker, as he perceived his writings as carrying within themselves the seeds for the future.¹⁶¹ In his “What is Metaphysics?”, Heidegger expressed the fundamental potentiality of the human being to be conceived as a whole through a leap towards nothingness.¹⁶² He explained that philosophy often safeguarded itself against the hardness of the matter of thinking, that is, the truth of being, and thus obstructed any possibility for engagement with it. It busied itself with futile speculations while avoiding the true gift of thinking. Nevertheless, without making the leap, one would be unable to experience that which opens itself up, since only a leap can bring us nearer to truth as such. It is only through a leap, by which one places oneself into the utmost projection of the openness of being, that one truly becomes oneself. The leap is then the experience of being owned by being as such, and hence being thrown into the ‘there’ [da] of the Dasein, namely where pure being and no-thing meet. This is, again, the same as appropriating being and be-ing appropriated by being as such. Furthermore, it is only through a leap that the new beginning occurs, without which one would remain captive by the end of metaphysics; that is, engrossed in modifications within mere speculative enterprises. Hence, inceptual thinking, which, through retrieval, assumes the inventive thinking of the beginning, brings at once ‘resonance’ [Anklang], ‘interplay’ [Zuspiel], ‘leap [Sprung] and ‘grounding’ [Gruendung] together, in such a way that it can avoid being grounded in this or that theory, but rather thinks and speaks the beginning, namely being as such.¹⁶³ Such thinking, which dares to make the leap, sets metaphysics in motion and opens itself up to the unexpected illumination of a new beginning and, by its openness, clears up all rigid univocities of heedless unconcerned approaches. Philosophy is only set in motion by leaping with all its being, as only it can, into the ground-possibilities of being as a whole. For this leap the following things are of crucial importance: firstly, leaving room for what-is-in-totality; secondly, letting oneself go into nothing, that is to say, freeing oneself from the idols we all have and to which we are wont to go cringing; lastly, letting this “suspense” range where it will, so that it may continually swing back again to the ground question of metaphysics, which is wrested from Nothing itself: Why is there any Being at all—why not far rather Nothing?¹⁶⁴

 Heidegger, QCT (1936 – 54), Introduction by William Lovitt, xxxi.  See on this: Philipse, Heidegger’s Philosophy of Being, 244.  Heidegger, EV (1941– 42), 258 – 59.  Heidegger, WM (1929), in EB, 349. [“Die Philosophie kommt nur in Gang durch einen eigentümlichen Einsprung der eigenen Existenz in die Grundmöglichkeiten des Daseins im Ganzen.

1.3 The Mystery and the Necessity of a Leap


Few there be that make the leap; They are the weak ones in this world, Who create And sacrifice, Who build And let others settle in, Who initiate a new beginning And pass out of sight Into the hidden. Any settling in And coming into sight Would halt the leap. Much the same as Christ; Who exposed himself To those craving To annihilate him. The cross unveiled The depth of his being; That Mystery, One and yet all. Had revealed itself, Had withheld itself, And died; So, to make life possible, Through that one Mystery.

Für diesen Einsprung ist entscheidend: einmal das Raumgeben für das Seiende im Ganzen; sodann Sichloslassen in das Nichts, d. h. das Freiwerden von den Götzen, die jeder hat und zu denen er sich wegzuschleichen pflegt; zuletzt das Ausschwingenlassen dieses Schwebens, auf daß es ständig zurückschwinge in die Grundfrage der Metaphysik, die das Nichts selbst erzwingt: Warum ist überhaupt Seiendes und nicht vielmehr Nichts?” Heidegger, GA 9, 122.]

2 The Human Reality—Its Worldliness and Transcendence “The euphony of the rustling meadow was my education; among flowers I learned to love.” —Friedrich Hölderlin—

2.1 The Worldly Human Reality as the Starting Point for Theology In May 1931, in his address at a session of the leaders of the World Christian Federation in Bad Boll—Göppingen, Berdyaev maintained that Christians “share in the fate of the world”.¹ There he said: The world is not merely a stage-show for man, a spectacle. Man has to transform and organize the world, to continue on with the world-creation. But man remains a person, the image and likeness of God, and will not be transformed into a mere means of an impersonal animate and societal process, only in this instance—if he is the point of intersection of two worlds, the eternal and the temporal, if he acts not only within time, but also contemplates eternity, if he inwardly defines himself in relation to God.²

In this chapter we look at the world and ask: How does ‘being towards death’ affect one’s perception of the world and his/her be-ing in the world? The word ‘world’ here has two different connotations. The first unfolds itself whenever we look at the world in which we live and have our families, houses, schools, works and institutions, namely our daily-temporal life on the earth. In the second connotation, the ‘world’ signifies the particular meaning of that which is in the world. According to this second use of the word, we say that every being has its own world, namely its meaning, its logos and purpose.³ And we ask again: How

 Nikolaĭ Berdyaev, “The Spiritual Condition of the Contemporary World” in Journal Putˈ, Sept. 1932, No. 35, 56. Accessed 22.06. 2020: http://www.berdyaev.com/berdiaev/berd_lib/1932_377. html.  Berdyaev, “The Spiritual Condition of the Contemporary World”, 65.  The two different connotations of ‘world’ appear similarly in Hölderlin’s “Human Applause”, where he contrasts between the ‘empty’ world of every-day life, liked by the crowd, and the author’s inner world of freedom, not appreciated by others. There he wrote: … Why did you like me more when I was prouder and wilder, more full of words, yet emptier? https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110707519-005

2.1 The Worldly Human Reality as the Starting Point for Theology


is the human being to be “the point of intersection”—as Berdyaev contended— between the temporal world and its meaning, namely the eternal world? Expounding on the notion of the world, in relation to being in the world, Heidegger referred to the ancient conception of the κόσμος. Κόσμος is not about the mere accumulation of things present at hand, but rather denotes a “state of affairs”, namely “how beings, and indeed beings as a whole, are.”⁴ Thus, in the notion of the world there is implied that which governs and holds everything together. Heidegger’s thought indicated the necessary unity between the two connotations of ‘world’ through the unity of θεωρία [theoria], πρᾶξις [praxis], and ποίησις [poiēsis], which together present the meaning of human dwelling on the earth. According to Heidegger, due to the fact that, in the history of western metaphysics, the three domains remained mostly separated, this separation resulted in the reduction of human ποίησις to an instrumental perception of τέχνη [techne] and the homelessness of the human being in the world. He wrote: “Dasein grounds [establishes] world only as grounding itself in the midst of beings.”⁵ And for the sake of establishing world, namely being in the world and perceiving things and beings in the world, Heidegger distinguished between two ways. The first is the way that satisfies itself by the mere objective perception of the world, namely by the first sense of the word ‘world’, and by this outstrips entities in the world from their true being, regarding them as pieces and parts that together might form a technological enterprise. The second way of being in the world is the poetic one, which reveals being as such and with it the true meaning of all beings, namely their meaningful being or presence in the world. It is this second way that brings humans and gods, earth and sky together, elaborated Heidegger, maintaining that a true understanding of technology, science and art belongs essentially to the second way rather than the first. Emphasizing the need to penetrate the world, in its second denotation, Heidegger wrote: [T]he meaningful [das Bedeutsame]—that is what is primary, that is what is immediately in your face without any mental detour through a conceptual grasp of the thing. When you live in the world of first-hand experience, everything comes at you loaded with meaning, all

Well, the crowd likes whatever sells in the marketplace; and no one but a slave appreciates violent men. Only those who are themselves godlike believe in the gods. Friedrich Hölderlin, “Human Applause” Poems of Friedrich Hölderlin, tr. James Mitchell (San Francisco: Ithuriel’s Spear, 2004), 23.  Heidegger, “On the Essence of Ground”, in PATH, 111, hereafter: OEG.  Heidegger, OEG (1929), in PATH, 128.


2 The Human Reality—Its Worldliness and Transcendence

over the place and all the time. Everything appears in a meaningful context, and that context gives the thing its meaning.⁶

On the notion of the two worlds Berdyaev wrote: Man is the meeting-point of two worlds. This is attested by the duality in man’s consciousness of himself, a duality evident throughout his whole history. Man recognizes that he belongs to two worlds: his nature is dual, and, in his consciousness of himself, now one of these natures now the other seems to prevail. … Man is conscious at once of his greatness and power and of his worthlessness and weakness, of his imperial freedom and his slavish dependence: he knows himself as the image and likeness of God and as a drop in the ocean of the necessities of nature. With almost equal right we may speak of man’s divine origin, and of his development from the lowest forms of nature. … What a strange being—divided and of double meaning, having the form of a king and that of a slave, a being at once free and in chains.⁷

Thus, according to Berdyaev, the human being belongs both to the natural phenomena of the world and yet also surpasses them carrying within him/herself the image and the likeness of the Creator. The human being wavers between the natural order of things and his/her inner spiritual reality, which is his/her essential truth in contrast to the mere objective existence of a thing. The first is the world of necessities, while the reality of the second lies in its penetration and participation in being and its disposition toward total freedom. Here lies the inescapable tragedy of the human reality as one necessarily attends to two different orders; the objective non-personal and the personal-existential with its spiritual inclination. Though Christianity operates in history, and incarnation is by nature bound to history, nevertheless, the tension between the two orders in Christianity cannot be eliminated. Christianity is not merely an objectifiable reality, and to objectify its meaning and its truth means to consider it as belonging merely to the first order, which is the same as reducing it to a thing among others.⁸

 Martin Heidegger, Towards the Definition of Philosophy (1. The Idea of Philosophy and the Problem of Worldview, 1919), tr. Ted Sadler (London and New Brunswick, NJ: The Athlone Press, 2000), 61. [“das bedeutsame ist das Primäre, gibt sich mir unmittelbar, ohne jeden gedanklichen Umweg über ein Sacherfassen. In einer Umwelt lebend, bedeutet es mir überall und immer, es ist alles welthaft, “es weltet”, was nicht zusammenfällt mit dem “es wertet”.” Heidegger, GA 56/57, 1, 73.]  Berdyaev, MCA (1962), 58 – 59.  Cf. Nikolaĭ Berdyaev, The Fate of Man in the Modern World (1934), tr. Donald A. Lowrie (Ann Arbor MI: Univ. Michigan, 1961), 11– 12.

2.1 The Worldly Human Reality as the Starting Point for Theology


Therefore, the title of the first section of this chapter, ‘the worldly human reality’, incorporates both of the implications of ‘world’ given above. Throughout the chapter we oscillate between, first, the modern scientific, technological world of natural necessities and the world of ‘everydayness’, according to which the human being is mostly perceived as a ‘thing’ beside others and, second, the meaning, or the ‘divine origin’, of the human reality, that is one’s true ‘world’. Thus, we reformulate the question, given above, and say: How does the world, in the first sense, reach at the world in its second sense? In theological terms, the question would be: How can every being reach its logos and, hence, partake in the one Logos, the mystical body of Christ, the one universal Church? Furthermore, we ask: Can ‘being towards death’ shed light on one’s everyday life in the world; on one’s pursuing knowledge and scientific education, one’s cultivating the earth, building and dwelling on it? Can ‘being towards death’ contribute to one’s being at home within one’s own self, both through dwelling and journeying in the world? To put it bluntly, and using the words of Friedrich Hölderlin, we ask: How can one dwell poetically on the earth? One could ask here: Why consider science and technology in a work concerned primarily about theology and philosophy? Knowing that pure thinking is not thinking in abstraction, but rather a thinking that creates openness in the world in order that being as such might come into unconcealedness through and within beings, one would ask further whether science and technology contribute to this coming forth of being. In their cogitating on how being, or God, comes to a revelation, both Heidegger and Berdyaev came across similar aspects of divine descent, or the self-disclosure of being, and human elevation to the divine—or to being as such. Heidegger contended that these aspects are closely related to what essentially science and technology are, as they aim at making the human perception of being and, hence, the coming of being into presence, possible. Conversely, Berdyaev, following the Orthodox tradition, pondered over the human capacity to perceive the divine. He referred back to the distinction made by the early Eastern Fathers of the Church between the unknowable essence [oὐσία] of God and, yet, the direct access to God that the human being is given through knowing and experiencing the works [ἐνέργειαι] of God. Both Irenaeus (2nd century) and Basil of Caesarea (329 – 379) perceived the divine powers and works to be distributed to the whole of the natural order and distinguished these works from the divine essence.⁹ On the notion of divine energies we read Berdyaev:

 It is possible here to refer to Basil’s Letter 234, where the essence-energies distinction appears. It was with Gregory Palamas (1296 – 1359), however, that this distinction became an essential


2 The Human Reality—Its Worldliness and Transcendence

The Divine Energies act covertly in man and in the world. One cannot say about the created world that it is a god or is divine, nor can one say that it is outside the Divine. God and Divine life do not resemble the natural world or the natural life, one cannot make analogies here. God is eternal; natural life is limited and finite. But, Divine Energy is poured out upon the natural world, acts upon it and enlightens it. This is the Orthodox understanding of the Holy Spirit. Thomas Aquinas’ teaching about the natural world, positing it in opposition to the supernatural world is for the Orthodox, a form of secularizing the world. Orthodoxy is in principle pneumatological and in this is its distinction. Pneumatism is the final result of Trinitarianism. Grace is not the mediation between the supernatural and the natural; grace is the action of the Divine Energy on the created world, the presence of the Holy Spirit in the world.¹⁰

Through the notion of divine energies, Berdyaev could perceive God in the world. God is, then, not the absolute being in contrast, or in opposition, to the world. Rather, God is in the world through God’s works and through the grace given to the creature at the time of creation. It is through the divine energies that a human-divine union is made possible. Furthermore, in the citation above, Berdyaev shed light upon the Orthodox emphasis on the role of the Holy Spirit in the world. The Holy Spirit is Godself given to creation and is thus the mode of God’s immanence in the world. “The Holy Spirit acts directly upon the created world and transfigures creation.”¹¹ This is the particularity of Orthodox theology,

principal of Orthodox Trinitarian theology, with its emphasis on the incompatibility between the inner being of God and the divine economy. In this, Western and Eastern positions differ. Though both the terms ‘essence’ and ‘energy’ used by Orthodoxy were used originally by Aristotle, Orthodoxy’s use is different from that of Aristotle in that the terms are viewed by Orthodox theology as expressing the Christian’s spiritual experience of the divine. The Christian knows and experiences the power, work or light of God within oneself and through all the creation, whereby he/she experiences the divine uncreated energy. This means that the human being is given a direct access to God through the divine power or work. And, yet, the Christian experiences the unknowability of the essence of God, namely the inaccessibility of the divine essence to human perception and intelligibility. See on this: Basil the Great, Letters and Select Works, in Philip Schaff and Henry Wace (eds.), A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, Second Series, Vol. 8 (New York: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1895), Letter CCXXXIV (274). See also, on the thought of John of Damascus: H. A. Wolfson, The Philosophy of the Church Fathers (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1964), vol. 1, 465 – 468.  Berdyaev, “The Truth of Orthodoxy”, accessed 22.06. 2020: http://www.chebucto.ns.ca/Phi losophy/Sui-Generis/Berdyaev/essays/orthodox.htm.  Berdyaev, “The Truth of Orthodoxy”. This aspect of Orthodox theology, namely its spiritual grounding, makes the notion of universal salvation, with divine love rather than justice as its foundation, possible. This spiritual aspect of Christianity enriches the contemporary theology of religions in such a way that it perceives the work of the Spirit as distinct from the work of Christ for salvation, though with each completing and supporting the other. Salvation, then,

2.1 The Worldly Human Reality as the Starting Point for Theology


based on which Orthodoxy experiences the “outpouring of the Holy Spirit” and the “mystical transfiguration of the world”. Nevertheless, God is not the world. God remains beyond the world and beyond any natural or human conception of God. This explains the two modes of approaching God; namely as known in God’s energies and, yet, unknown in the essence. As such, the question posed by Orthodox theology in relation to science and technology would be: How is it possible to know the divine energies and works in and through the world? On the other hand, it is possible to reformulate the question that Heidegger asked into: How does revelation transpire in modern times? Or: How do modern science and technology participate in the process of unfolding the truth, and how does this occur? Furthermore, and in order that one perceives the importance of science and technology within Heidegger’s wider philosophical corpus, one has to keep in mind the phenomenological feature of Heidegger’s aspiration, namely the need to make the unveiling of the true being of entities possible, that is, allowing them to show themselves in themselves [Anwesen, presencing] rather than through assumed or technical lenses. One should not forget, however, that, for Heidegger, the essence [das Wesen]¹² of early Greek thought, philosophy and poetry comes to us as concealed—as the essence of most everything that is—and meets us in truth in that which we least expect.¹³ In this sense, Heidegger explicated that ἐπιστήμη [epistēmē, knowledge or science] is related to τέχνη and ποίησις [poiēsis], and that the three together indicate knowing, understanding, being an expert in something, and bring it forth in such a way that a revealing occurs.¹⁴ Thus, he brought science, spiritual perception, art, and practice together. Along similar lines, Berdyaev maintained that the combining of in Orthodoxy is not considered as an individual reality or experience, but rather as communal and even cosmic. This notion appeared already in the works of the Early Fathers of the Church, such as Clement of Alexandria and Maximus the Confessor, and also in modern Russian theology. See: Berdyaev, “The Truth of Orthodoxy”. Along similar lines, Vladimir Lossky wrote: “If man starts to live when God breathes life into him, it is because the grace of the Holy Spirit is the real principal of our existence.” Vladimir Lossky, Orthodox Theology: An Introduction, 69. See also the article by the Lebanese Greek Orthodox bishop George Khodr (1923- ): George Khodr, “Christianity in a Pluralistic World: The Economy of the Holy Spirit” The Ecumenical Review, vol. 23 (1971), 118 – 128. On the works of the Church Fathers see: Basil the Great, “On the Holy Spirit” in Philip Schaff (ed.) A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 8; Terrance L. Tiessen, Irenaeus on the Salvation of the Unevangelised (Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow, 1993).  Alternative translations would be ‘being’ or ‘coming to presence’. Das Wesen [the essence] in Heidegger’s interpretation is “enduring as presence” [“das Währen als Gegenwart”]; the root of the word can be traced back to the verb “to dwell” as an essential component of the verb ‘sein’ [to be]. See on this: Heidegger, Introduction to Metaphysics (1935), 59.  Heidegger, “Science and Reflection” (1953), in QCT, 158. Cf. Heidegger, BWP (1932), 85 – 86.  Heidegger, “The Question Concerning Technology” (1953), QCT, 13.


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contemplation and action is essential for any human-creative existence in the world. He construed that the spirit is essentially active and that there is a dynamic component in contemplation. Nevertheless, for Berdyaev, action did not denote the kind of activity that modern culture and civilization require, which according to him is the denial of the human being him/herself. Action that is to conjoin contemplation is action that admits of “the flow of spiritual energy”. So, he wrote: But every working man also, every man has a moment of contemplation, immersed within himself, of prayer and praise of God, of the beholding of beauty, of an unselfish appreciation of the world. Contemplation and action can and ought to be combined in the integral wholeness of the person, and only their conjoining affirms and strengthens the person. A person, totally dissipating oneself in activity, in the temporal process, becomes exhausted, and the flow of spiritual energy within ceases.¹⁵

2.1.1 Science Very much in line with Husserl’s claim: “Back to the things themselves!” Heidegger went back to the original use of certain words in order to discover how the utterance of being was heard and responded to through those words, as they first arose.¹⁶ In this sense, Heidegger perceived modern sciences as grounded in philosophy, namely in the thinking of the early Greeks, and argued for the necessity of dialogue between the two, since every new discovery in science constitutes a reflection of that which is its origin. Hence, he explained that science can be methodical only insofar as it is grounded in philosophy. Furthermore, the validity of a scientific method hangs upon its being laid in the open, as only then is a true perception of beings made possible as they show themselves in the way they truly are. Designating the modern sciences, Heidegger indicated the ‘greater destiny’ behind them and described science [Wissenschaft]¹⁷ with the statement: “Die Wissenschaft ist die Theorie des Wirklichen” [“Science is the theory of the real”].¹⁸ He traced the Greek root of ‘the real’ [‘das Wirkliche’]—in the statement—back to the word ‘working’ or ‘operating’ [‘das Wirkende’], explaining that the word ‘work’ [ἒργον] implied essentially “self-bringing-forth into full pre Berdyaev, “The Spiritual Condition of the Contemporary World”, 66.  Heidegger, “The Question Concerning Technology” (1953), QCT (Introduction), XX  It should be remarked that Heidegger’s use of the German word ‘Wissenschaft’ is wider than the English translation used here: ‘science’. The word ‘Wissenschaft’ denotes not only the natural sciences ‘Naturwissenschaft’, but also the social sciences’ ‘Geistewissenschaft’, or the ‘Humanities’.  Heidegger, GA 7, 40. [Heidegger, “Science and Reflection” (1953), QCT, 157.]

2.1 The Worldly Human Reality as the Starting Point for Theology


sencing”.¹⁹ In this sense, the real is that which works [das Wirkende], namely that which brings itself forth into presencing, so that it comes out of concealment and stands in unconcealedness. Aristotle called the presencing of that which presences ἐνέργεια [energeia] and also ἐντελέχεια [entelecheia] (from τέλος [telos], that which is completed or has reached at its purpose, and is thus purely being in presence).²⁰ Heidegger maintained that Aristotle’s notion of presencing [ἐνέργεια] should rather be translated as the ‘real’ [Wirklichkeit], understood in the Greek sense of ‘bringing-forth into unconcealment’.²¹ And by this his position is comparable to the Orthodox perception of the divine energies, namely the coming forth of God outside divine ‘concealedness’, or Mystery, into a revelation. It is through this coming forth of God, that is through divine energy,²² power, or light that the human being is able to know God and to participate in God. In order to expound ἐνέργεια, Heidegger referred further to the word ‘Anwesen’ [presencing], as ‘Wesen’ means endurance or the way in which something endures its course so that it maintains its true being through time. However, he explained that the meaning of energeia—endurance in self-presencing—had later been altered by its Latin translation into the word ‘actus’, namely as ‘operation’. As the result of which the real came to be described as the foundation of an operation or its cause, namely within the concept of efficient cause, while, by analogy, God became depicted as the perfect cause, a meaning far from the ancient Greek understanding of the real. Furthermore—and within the causal understanding—the consequent [das Erwirkte im Sinne des Erfolgten] became perceived in terms of doing and performing. Subsequently, doing became always bound to certainty, and the ‘real’ came to be described as an object.²³ And

 Heidegger, “Science and Reflection” (1953), QCT, 160.  This is very different from the later modern use of the two words in the sense of ‘energy’ and ‘entelechy’, that is the ability to work.  Heidegger, “Science and Reflection” (1953), QCT, 160. Heidegger’s interpretation of ἐνέργεια [energeia] sheds light upon the Orthodox teaching on divine energies. According to the original Greek meaning of the word, one could say that divine energies are neither the works, namely the operations that are the outcome or the consequence of certain acts—as they are usually interpreted—nor the perfect act; rather, they denote the bringing-fourth of divine truths into unconcealment out of their hiddenness and concealedness, so that they come into presence as they are all that is.  Kallistos Ware (1934- ) refers to the divine essence-energies distinction as the two “poles of God’s relationship to us”. God is ‘unknown’ in his essence, yet ‘well known’ in his energies, “hidden yet revealed”. Kallistos Ware, The Orthodox Way, Revised Edition (New York: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1995), 21.  Heidegger, “Science and Reflection” (1953), QCT, 161– 162.


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hence, with the beginning of the modern period, in the seventeenth century, the word ‘real’ came to denote that which is certain. And Heidegger explained that the ‘real’ understood in terms of certainty is completely different from the earlier meaning of an uncertain and ambiguous ‘real’. In order to perceive the whole sense of the statement “science is the theory of the real”, Heidegger considered further the word ‘theory’. ‘Theory’ originates from the Greek verb θεωρεῖν [theorein] and the noun θεωρία [theoria]. He referred to the mysterious and elevated sense that the Greek word has. θεωρεῖν is the outcome of coming together of θέα [thea], which denotes the outward appearance of something—Plato called this εἶδος [eidos]—and ὁράω [horao], which means to look at something closely with great concern. Thus, the meaning of θεωρεῖν would be: to look attentively at the outward appearance of something, through which it shows itself as it is. Heidegger went on to distinguish between the βίος θεωρητικός, the way of living dedicated to θεωρεῖν, which is a life of beholding, and the βίος πρακτικός, the way of life dedicated to human activity and productivity.²⁴ It is the first that gives way to pure thinking, as θεωρία indicates the highest and most perfect form of existence, relating the person at once to the revealing to him/herself of all that exist, bringing him/her into the presence [Gegenwart] of being as such.²⁵ And thus he concluded that θεωρία is about “beholding that watches over truth”,²⁶ namely, gazing at the unconcealment of what presences with awe. Thus, science originally would have been perceived as the means for beholding that which presences itself in unconcealedness. Said differently, science, in its essential nature, is the means for perceiving being as such. Having understood this, it is possible to conclude that, in this claim about the nature of science, Heidegger brought science and the knowledge of being as such together. Here too a reference to the Orthodox notion of θεωρία [theoria, contemplation] is helpful, which indicates a stage of illumination as a part of the spiritual journey of the human being toward deification, preceded by κάθαρσις [katarsis, purification]. In its Orthodox sense, θεωρία is the behold-

 Heidegger, “Science and Reflection” (1953), QCT, 163 – 164.  Heidegger, “Science and Reflection” (1953), QCT, 164. Heidegger also gave another meaning to θεωρία [theorea] based on its two possible roots when the word is differently accented: θεά [Thea] and ὤορα [Hora].  Heidegger, “Science and Reflection” (1953), QCT, 165. This emphasis on contemplation [θεωρία] was also maintained by Aristotle, who considered it the ‘highest activity’ of the human being. In Greek, the word θεωρία is originated from the verb θεωρέω [to look at, to gaze], which indicated seeing with the mind. This kind of seeing made the knowledge of truth possible in contrast to all rational knowledge of ‘knowing how’. Θεωρία was strongly present in the thought of Plotinus, through which alone, he contended, is the knowledge of the One possible.

2.1 The Worldly Human Reality as the Starting Point for Theology


ing and the vision of God, which assumes the cultivation of vigilance and watchfulness. Thus, θεωρία denotes contemplating and beholding God in a very particular way such that θέωσις [theosis], union with God, is made possible. Θεωρία is, then, the spiritual perception of God which induces transformation and an active participation in Godself. Thus, θεωρία is not a mere seeing of truth but rather a being conscious of it, participating in it and becoming it. Gregory of Nyssa (335 – 395) referred to θεωρία as μυστικὴ θεωρία ‘mystical contemplation’ that is beyond the realm of rational understanding. He concluded that the purpose of human nature is participation in God [τὸ τοῦ θεοῦ μετέχειν], made possible through mystical contemplation.²⁷ Hence, it is this spiritual-mystical element in human nature that brings him/her together with the divine. ²⁸ Along these lines, Gregory Palamas taught that, through spiritual experience and discipline, one can perceive the uncreated light of the divine.²⁹ Thus, it is possible to conclude that it is through the divine energies, the ‘rays of divinity’,³⁰ that God gives Godself to creation, and it is through θεωρία that the human being perceives God in a way that makes the human movement toward God and the union with God possible, namely his/her elevation to the divine. Though Heidegger referred to the somehow inaccurate Latin translations of the word θεωρεῖν [theorein] by contemplari and θεωρία [theoria] by contemplatio,

 The Greek Fathers of the Church considered contemplation as a source of knowledge of God that, contrary to speculative knowledge, involves the whole of the person. See: Gregory of Nyssa, ‘On the Making of Man’ XVI: 10 in P. Schaff & H. Wace (eds.) A Select Library of Nicene and PostNicene Fathers of the Christian Church, Vol. 5, 405. M. Ludlow cites the words of Gregory of Nyssa: “The goodness of God is not to be found separated from our nature nor established far away from those who choose God, but it is always in each person; unknown and hidden, whenever it is stifled by the cares and pleasures of life but found again whenever we turn our thought to Him.” Morwenna Ludlow, Universal Salvation: Eschatology in the Thought of Gregory of Nyssa and Karl Rahner (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 55. See further: Andrew Louth, “Theology, Contemplation and the University” in Studia Theologica, I, 2/2003, 66 – 67.  It was through Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite (5th- 6th centuries) and, in the seventh century, through the work of Maximus the Confessor, that Byzantine tradition was introduced to the notion of deification. The Areopagite contended that, beside prayer, it is through the Eucharist that θεωρία is attained. Eucharist, accordingly, is perceived by Christian authors as the “mystery of the eighth day”, that is the day outside time, or the start of the age to come. At the early eleventh century, Symeon the New Theologian, and later, in the fourteenth century, Gregory Palamas, both emphasized the important role of spiritual contemplation and prayer for deification. See further: Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, DNMT, 191– 192; Vladimir Lossky, The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church (New York: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1976), 220, Jean Daniélou, “La Théologie du Dimanche” in Le Jour du Seigneur (Paris: Robert Laffont, 1948), 120.  Gregory Palamas, The Triads, ed. John Meyendorff (New York: Paulist Press, 1983), 21, 25 – 26.  See on this: Lossky, The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, 220.


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he still upheld the clear difference between the vita contemplativa [the contemplative life] and the vita activa [the active life], explaining that medieval theology added further to this distinction the sense of contrasting the monastic-meditative life with the worldly and the active one. Hence, this perception of ‘theory’ has also incorporated religious meditation and introspection in the West. Furthermore, Heidegger referred to the German translation of contemplatio [contemplation] as Betrachtung [observation, consideration or view], maintaining that Betrachtung—as viewing and observing the real—comes close to the Greek notion of θεωρία in its aspect of viewing and observing the real, namely beholding truth and, through beholding, experiencing release and emancipation. Betrachtung—from the Latin root tractare—would also indicate pursuing or striving for something, entrapping and securing it for the purpose of its refinement.³¹ How, then, could the statement “[m]odern science is the theory of the real” be fully comprehended, knowing that modern science is not interested in pursuing truth as such or refining it? Heidegger explained that, since science observes and endeavors, it challenges beings—nature, history, or the human being—to ‘presence’ themselves in form of objectness. Thus, science, he argued, refines the real and, by this, it corresponds to the essential characteristic of the real, namely the showing and exhibiting of itself. It is through science that the real becomes tractable and, yet, secured in the objectness into which science has brought it. Science, then, is transmuted into a theory that secures the real in a region of objectness, within which questions can be posed. Hence, the essence of science as theory lies in its objectness.³² One way of understanding Heidegger’s insistence on the originally higher sense of science is to be reminded that, in early times, science contributed essentially to the uncoveredness of being and to the prying open of its mysteries. Through science, one could discover the patterns present in the natural order and thus allow the real to come to revelation through them. Those patterns would point out aspects of reality and the inner forces present in the natural order that are far beyond every detailed scientific examination of an object. It is in this that science served as the means for revelation to occur. Nevertheless, Heidegger was unable to provide a positive perception of the modern sciences without criticizing those approaches to science which have eliminated truth as such that lies beyond one’s own conceiving of it. He referred to Descartes’ metaphysical subjectivism and his cogito ergo sum [“I think, therefore I am”], according to which the human being found the needed assuredness and certainty of

 Heidegger, “Science and Reflection” (1953), QCT, 166.  Heidegger, “Science and Reflection” (1953), QCT, 167– 169.

2.1 The Worldly Human Reality as the Starting Point for Theology


knowledge within him/herself and could represent reality or truth to him/herself as an object for thought. Hence, the consciousness of the human being became the subject, namely that which is capable of perceiving reality as such and could even shape it regardless of its own truth outside the person.³³ In this respect, Heidegger criticized those theories that are based on subjective conceptions of truth and the metaphysical assertions they made about truth or God: The heaviest blow against God is not that God is held to be unknowable, not that God’s existence is demonstrated to be unprovable, but rather that the god held to be real is elevated to the highest value.³⁴

Furthermore, Heidegger considered Nietzsche’s thought on ‘nihilism’ to be metaphysical. Nietzsche had explained that it is only through embracing the element of ‘nihilism’ that one can consciously penetrate into the depth of the phenomena and the conditions that claim to have mastery over any particular situation. ‘Nihilism’ therefore had to be included in every new positing of values. However, and contrary to this explanation, Heidegger argued that ‘nihilism’ had a double meaning for Nietzsche, as it made a counter-movement to all devaluation. Thus, on the one hand, it was the ‘nihilism’ of the supra-sensory world, the world of Ideas and ideals, which has become “the ‘inner logic’ of western history”.³⁵ On the other hand, however, ‘nihilism’ played a ‘positive’ role in the sense that it contributed to making a re-evaluation of all values possible and, hence, sought that which is most alive, whereby ‘nihilism’ facilitated the overcoming of itself and was “transformed into ‘the ideal of superabundant life’”.³⁶ With this re-evaluation of all values, and through self-consciousness, the human being is able to move toward a higher history, while ‘nihilism’ is overcome. As the outcome of overcoming ‘nihilism’, the essential being of the human being be-

 Heidegger, “The Word of Nietzsche: ‘God is Dead’” (1943), QCT, 83.  Heidegger, “The Word of Nietzsche” (1943), QCT 105. [“Nicht daß Gott für unerkennbar gehalten, nicht daß Gottes Existenz als unbeweisbar erwiesen wird, ist der härteste Schlag gegen Gott, sondern daß der für wirklich gehaltene Gott zum obersten Wert erhoben wird”. Heidegger, GA 5, 260.]  Heidegger, “The Word of Nietzsche” (1943), QCT, 67. See further: 63 – 64, 68. Cf. Walter Kaufmann, The Portable Nietzsche (New York: Viking, 1968), 95 – 96. Friedrich Nietzsche, The Will to Power, tr. Walter Kaufmann & R. J. Hollingdale (New York: Random House, 1968), Aph. 2.  This second ‘positive’ element appeared, according to Heidegger, in Nietzsche’s words in the same piece of “The Madman” referred to it above, which reads: “There never was greater event,—and on account of it, all who are born after us belong to a higher history than any history hitherto!” –Nietzsche, The Gay Science, 91. Cf. Heidegger, “The Word of Nietzsche” (1943), QCT, 70, 95; Nietzsche, The Will to Power.


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gins to appear as the ‘overman’ [Übermensch] who has ‘the will to power’ [der Wille zur Macht]. Heidegger maintained that this notion of ‘will to power’, or the ‘overman’, indicated the beginning of modern metaphysics with its emphasis on subjectness, and the human desire to have dominion over the earth. He concluded that being as such has once again been forgotten, though this time with the illusionary thought that being is, in its most dignified manner, thought.³⁷ Heidegger brought Nietzsche’s notion of the ‘death of God’—and particularly his understanding of the ‘overman’—together with Descartes’ modern mathematical physics governed with the notion of ego cogito, maintaining that both have turned all that is into object.³⁸ Thus, he concluded: “But above all, in this event [the death of God] man also becomes different. He becomes the one who does away with that which is, in the sense of that which is in itself. The uprising of man into subjectivity transforms that which is into object.”³⁹ Hence, on Nietzsche’s ‘nihilism’, Heidegger induced that “‘nihilism’ means that Nothing is befalling being. Being is not coming into the light of its own essence. In the appearing of whatever is as such, being itself remains wanting. The truth of being falls from memory. It remains forgotten.”⁴⁰ It is possible, then, to remark that Heidegger embraced the first negating aspect of Nietzsche’s ‘nihilism’—as it has been presented in the first chapter—according to which ‘nothing’ is perceived as an essential trait of being as such, bringing the human being face to face with that which truly is. However, he rejected the second aspect of it, namely Nietzsche’s overcoming of ‘nihilism’ and his perception of the essence of the human being as the ‘overman’. Heidegger considered Nietzsche’s positing of the essence of all beings as ‘value’⁴¹ and his thought concerning the human will to power as the embodiment of the culmination of modern metaphysics and the completion of philosophy.⁴² Such will

 Heidegger, “The Word of Nietzsche” (1943), QCT, 97, 100 – 101, 104.  Heidegger concluded that, similar to Descartes’ thinking, it is the same degrading, obstructing power in Nietzsche’s thought that destroys being, since being is not indebted to any human accomplishment.  Heidegger, “The Word of Nietzsche” (1943), QCT, 107. [“In diesem Vorgang wird aber auch und vor allem der Mensch anders. Er wird zu dem, der das Seiende im Sinne des an sich Seienden beseitigt. Der menschliche Aufstand in die Subjektivität macht das Seiende zum Gegenstand.” Heidegger, GA 5, 262.]  Heidegger, “The Word of Nietzsche” (1943), QCT, 110.  See on this: Martin Heidegger, Nietzsche: The Will to Power as Knowledge and as Metaphysics (San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1991). [Heidegger, GA 6.1, 485; GA 47, 112.]  In his “Overcoming Metaphysics”, Heidegger wrote that Nietzsche’s thought is “thoroughly caught in metaphysics” as it had objectified nature, and hence, according to Heidegger, is to be perceived as belonging to ‘technology’ (including ‘the business of culture’ and ‘manufactured

2.1 The Worldly Human Reality as the Starting Point for Theology


which demands ‘preservation-enhancement’ shall necessarily arrest and delimit life-conditions, turning them into standing-reserve as the positing of new values take place.⁴³ Hence, Nietzsche, according to Heidegger, remained within the tradition of metaphysics, bringing it into its completion and consummation. It is my contention, however, that Heidegger’s presentation of nihilism’s overcoming of itself in Nietzsche’s thought does not do justice to the thinker’s philosophy, and that Heidegger misinterpreted Nietzsche’s ‘overman’, which initially indicated the free human being who has control over his/her own dispositions and decisions.⁴⁴ Nevertheless, this remark remains open here as it requires a further ex-

politics’), or to ‘completed metaphysics’. Martin Heidegger, “Overcoming Metaphysics” in The End of Philosophy (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2003), 92– 95, hereafter: EP. He also wrote: “The two constitutive ‘values’ (truth and art) in the concept of the will to power are only circumscriptions for ‘technology’, in the essential sense of a planning and calculating stabilization as accomplishment, and for the creating of the ‘creators’ who bring a new stimulus to life over and above life as it is and guarantee the business of culture.” Heidegger, “Overcoming Metaphysics” in EP, 94– 95.  Heidegger, “The Word of Nietzsche”, QCT, 83. Contrary to Heidegger’s interpretation, Nietzsche criticized the metaphysical dimension of Western philosophy, contending that it ‘no longer reflects’. In his The Will to Power, Nietzsche wrote: “For some time now, our whole European culture has been moving toward a catastrophe, with a tortured tension that is growing from decade to decade: restlessly, violently, headlong, like a river that wants to reach the end, that no longer reflects, that is afraid to reflect.” Nietzsche, The Will to Power, 4.  It should be possible here to question Heidegger’s interpretation of Nietzsche. One could remark that Nietzsche’s contribution is best understood not in the light of metaphysics, as Heidegger contended, but rather as an independent attempt at ‘curing’ oneself of metaphysics. It could further be noted that this is exactly what Heidegger aimed at as the essential task of thinking. It is even possible to draw upon many similarities between Heidegger’s thought and that of Nietzsche. Hence, I assume that Heidegger’s discrediting of Nietzsche’s thought is questionable, however, this question would remain open in this work. Could it be that Heidegger wanted to be original in this task of critiquing the western metaphysical tradition and so discredited Nietzsche’s contribution to the same task? I can only suggest here that Heidegger’s interpretation of Nietzsche’s understanding of ‘will to power’ is insufficient. Eugen Fink (1905 – 1975), a student and a colleague of Heidegger, maintained that Nietzsche challenged metaphysics starting from Plato and questioned an entire historical era. Accordingly, Nietzsche’s thought could be traced back to Heraclitus. Through his writings, he showed a path that is altogether new and, yet, ancient. Hence, rather than representing the culmination of metaphysics, Nietzsche’s thinking, though in some instances seemingly imprisoned within metaphysics, is nonetheless in many others liberated deeply from it. Fink explained further that Nietzsche’s liberation from metaphysics lies in his embrace of the Heraclitean profundity concerning the cosmic play of the world. The notion of cosmic play is “beyond all valuation” and is in this sense liberated from everything traditional. Hence, “where Nietzsche grasps being and becoming as Spiel, he no longer stands in the confinement of metaphysics.” Heraclitus’ notion that “everything is illusion and play” remains essential for Nietzsche’s thought. Nietzsche’s claimed re-evaluation of all val-


2 The Human Reality—Its Worldliness and Transcendence

ploration of Nietzsche’s thinking that is beyond the task that I set to myself in the present work. Heidegger further argued that the contemporary crisis of science resides in it having no presentiment of the crisis itself which it encounters, and that this can be traced back to its observable successes. The scientist thinks that accomplishments are sufficient to prove the truthfulness of one’s achievements and that success and progress are the marks of truth. But only that which is not beyond mere business can be appraised by successes and possible utility, maintained Heidegger. As such, there is a need for reflection upon the essence and the meaning of science such that it may come up with knowledge of its own nature and of that which supplies it with ground and validity, namely the accompanying region of being. Through reflection, one realizes that it is not progress or success that matters but rather the transformation of the original and the same that makes historical existence and an intense experience of being possible.⁴⁵ Berdyaev also referred to “the saving power of science”,⁴⁶ while simultaneously warning of superficial belief in the power of science, which would lead to a cultural and intellectual materialism. Contrary to this, the human being, for Berdyaev, is a distinct reality, irreducible to all empirical forms advocated by the ues—in his Thus Spoke Zarathustra—is performed by a child, the outcome of which is the ‘will to power’ which for Nietzsche is “the world conceived as a non-directed play of forces”. Conversely, the ‘overman’ represents those who recognize themselves as will to power through the playforces and, hence, will be able to “master the play of forces which they themselves are.” In this sense, the ‘overman’ is the one who has control over his/her thinking and decisions and will therefore accept the doctrine of ‘the eternal recurrence’; that is, he/she would live his/ her life “in such a way that he/she “would will to live everything again the same way for all eternity”. Thus, the ‘overman’ is the one who “renounces the promised rewards in an eternal beyond” that is in favor of one’s “pleasures and pains in an eternal now”. [All quotations are taken from: Alan Schrift, Nietzsche and the Question of Interpretation: Between Hermeneutics and Deconstruction (New York: Routledge, 1990), 63 – 64, 69 – 71. Cf. Eugin Fink, Nietzsche’s Philosophy, tr. Goetz Richter (London: Continum, 2003), 6 – 7, 13, 23, 66.] Though Heidegger criticized Nietzsche, he nevertheless made use of his ideas and thoughts. In his “… Poetically Man Dwells…” Heidegger wrote: “Anything at all can be proved, depending only on what presuppositions are made.” (PLT, 220) The reader here has the feeling that Heidegger is proving only that which he had set previously as presuppositions, rather than attending to the thinker’s own words. And he is doing here what he himself had criticized on many different occasions. Regrettably, and similar to Heidegger, Berdyaev also misinterpreted Nietzsche and perceived him as a “departure from humanism”. So, he contended that “for Nietzsche the highest value is not man, but rather the super-man, the higher race, and man ought to be surpassed.” Berdyaev, “The Spiritual Condition of the Contemporary World”, 67.  See on this: Heidegger, BQP, 49 – 50.  Berdyaev, “The Spiritual Condition of the Contemporary World”, 56.

2.1 The Worldly Human Reality as the Starting Point for Theology


fragmentary prospects of the social sciences. Heidegger again and again referred to the danger of obscuring the original meaning and nature of science, as known by the Greeks, particularly through the modern perception of science and technology—that fragmented disciplines offer—which satisfies itself with the furthering or the advancement of mere information. Modern scientific method dissipates knowledge into many rigid divisions and isolated fields of study. In contrast to this, reflection assumes contemplative questioning, which brings about the loftiest form of knowing. Questioning makes objectivity [Sachlichkeit] possible, as it discloses that which is essential in everything and every being. Reflection and questioning bring back to science its fecundity and potency, conferred through the inner forces and energies present in nature and in humanity; that is, it brings back its spiritual reality. ⁴⁷ Hence, a unity of the thing and its meaning was necessary, which would bring science and philosophy, or theology, together. Heidegger indicated the possibility of such a unity through the notion of alētheuein, namely the unconcealing disclosure of truth, which alone could confer meaning and a ‘spiritual’ sense upon the natural order. However, he avoided the notion of ‘spiritual reality’ in many of his works, coming back to it only later, mainly in his rectoral address and Introduction to metaphysics. There, he elaborated that the essence of science is contemplative questioning

 At the beginning of the twentieth century, when Heidegger was still a university student, there was a dominative sense that there existed ‘two-cultures’ of thought. On the one side, there were the natural sciences [Naturwissenschaften] and, on the other, the ‘spiritual sciences’ [Geisteswissenschaften], which in English are the same as the humanities. Some of the major questions that were raised at that time were whether the two were irreconcilable or whether some common grounds could be found between the two? In response to these questions, the neo-Kantians and the historical-hermeneutic school provided different answers. The first viewed the task of philosophy as supplying the natural sciences with a philosophical foundation, while the second deemed it necessary to perceive the natural sciences within their historical context. Tom Greaves, Starting With Heidegger (New York: Continuum, 2010), 140. For his studies, Heidegger had taken courses in both the natural sciences and the humanities, and it was a major concern for him to bring the two domains together, namely the way of ‘epistēmonikon’, or scientific knowledge, and the way of ‘logistikon’, or contemplative knowledge, based on Aristotle’s distinction in his Nichomachean Ethics. (It should be remarked here, however, that Aristotle made further distinctions under each mode of knowledge which cannot be considered here). Thus, a possible way toward this goal was, for Heidegger, to return science, technology and art to themselves, namely to their original spiritual reality. In a lecturecourse in the winter-semester 1924– 25, on Plato’s The Sophist, Heidegger argued that the unity of logos and ἀληθεύειν [alētheuein]—the two modes of uncovering the truth—appears already in Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics and Metaphysics. See on this: Tom Greaves, Starting With Heidegger, 141– 143. See also: Martin Heidegger, Plato’s Sophist (1924– 25), tr. Richard Rojcewicz & André Schuwer (Bloomington: Indian University Press, 1997), 19.


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that maintains and guards the ground and the truth of one’s being and its spiritual reality in the midst of the relentlessly ongoing concealment of everything that is. Science, in its primordial meaning, is thus the power that can and should transform all the inherited forms and faculties of knowledge and learning through its spiritual enactment, dismantling all barriers that bring about isolated fields and forged knowledge. I will come to address, in more detail, this aspect of Heidegger’s thought in the following chapter.

2.1.2 Technology “The question about technology has become for us a spiritual question, a question about the fate of man, about his relationship to God”,⁴⁸ explained Berdyaev in 1931. Technology is obtaining an ever-deeper significance. Technology is no longer a neutral field, involving the “old actuality of the physical world”. Contrary to the earlier perception of technology, the human being in the modern era has succeeded, through technology, to create a “new world”. Technology creates an atmosphere, saturated with energies, which earlier were hidden within the depths of nature. And man has no assurance, that he is in a condition to breathe in the new atmosphere.⁴⁹

And hence, for Berdyaev this “new world” carries within itself new risks and unseen challenges. Heidegger, in turn, as in his attempt to explore the essential nature of science, referred back to the early Greek meaning of τέχνη [techne],⁵⁰ wherein it carried the sense of bringing-forth something. Through art and handcraft, the human being brought forth being with the colligation of matter or objects. Furthermore, the word τέχνη meant knowing or grasping beings—as they

 Berdyaev, “The Spiritual Condition of the Contemporary World”, 59.  Berdyaev, “The Spiritual Condition of the Contemporary World”, 60.  ‘Technology’, for Heidegger, was not a mere branch of science that aims at producing material for particular tasks; rather, technology indicated a way of being and of engaging oneself in the world. Hence, Heidegger’s critique of ‘technology’ was wider than a critique of ‘technology’ in its contemporary sense of the word. More precisely, Heidegger’s critique addressed the particular perception of everything in the world as a source of staple or row material that could be classified, assorted or calculated in order to be processed and employed, according to human will. Heidegger contended that such a ‘technological’ positioning of oneself in the world denies one’s own belonging and being entrenched in a world that belongs to all. Those claiming such a positioning will necessarily, as the outcome of their own claims, be themselves reduced to reserves that facilitate some goals, and yet be left out and discarded.

2.1 The Worldly Human Reality as the Starting Point for Theology


emerge [φύσις] and show themselves [ἰδέα]—and preserving them, so that they unfold themselves, are established, and, accordingly, maintain control in unconcealedness. In turn, φύσις lays out nature such that it unveils itself and its inner forces.⁵¹ Heidegger referred here to ποίησις [poiēsis], which originally was used in relation to any initiation for bringing something into presence, similar to poetry. He argued that both nature [φύσις] and art [ποίησις] are means for ‘bringingforth into unconcealedness’ that which is concealed.⁵² He perceived ποίησις as an element of τέχνη, and thus elaborated that the essence of technology brings the human being to revelation. So, he wrote: Technology is a mode of revealing. Technology comes to presence [West] in the realm where revealing and unconcealment take place, where alētheia, truth, happens.⁵³

Hence, it is possible to say, first, that, for Heidegger, the essence of technology was a mode of being. By thrusting energy forward, the human being participates in ordering and setting-upon such that the real is revealed. In similar terms, it is through the openness of the human being—his/her contemplative thinking, striving and working—that unconcealedness occurs; yet unconcealedness remains always outside human control. Thus, Heidegger perceived technology as carrying within itself the potential for revealing, for which reason it is a “mode of revealing”,⁵⁴ namely an event of being as such to which we ourselves belong. Hence, though having no mastership over being, the human subject allows the occurrence of the revealing. Furthermore, Heidegger perceived the essence of modern technology as calling-forth. He called it ‘Ge-stell’ [‘en-framing’], namely that which gives frame to the revealed appearance of the real. However, ‘en-framing’ sets a challenge upon the human being—a challenge that demands gathering for the sake of making the self-revealing possible—which places being and the human being face to face in such a way that each challenges the other. Being is challenged to let beings appear within the calculable horizon, while the human being is contrived to secure the being of beings as they reveal themselves

 Heidegger, “The Question Concerning Technology” (1953), QCT, 21. This was a revised version of a part of the lectures that Heidegger delivered in Bremen in 1949.  See on this: Mark Blitz, “Understanding Heidegger on Technology” in The New Atlantis, Number 41, Winter 2014, 76. Accessed 22.06. 2020: http://www.thenewatlantis.com/pub lications/understanding-heidegger-on-technology.  Heidegger, “The Question Concerning Technology” (1953), QCT, 13. [“Technik ist eine Weise des Entbergens. Die Technik west in dem Bereich, wo Entbergen und Unverborgenheit, wo ἀλήθεια, wo Wahrheit geschieht.” Heidegger, GA 7, 14– 15.]  “The Question Concerning Technology” (1953), QCT, 13. [“Die Technik ist eine Weise des Entbergens.” Heidegger, GA 7, 13.]


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within the horizon.⁵⁵ Hence, ‘enframing’ holds within a framework that which has been unfolded, namely everything that it assembles or gathers, so that it continuously restructures itself.⁵⁶ Thus, technological activities respond to the ‘Gestell’, the essence of technology. The essence of technology, in this sense, is in no way technological; rather it lets whatever is presencing come forth, and, by doing so, it is fairly perceived as the means for revealing or ποίησις [poiēsis], through which the real is manifested as standing in reserve [Bestand], or that which offers itself for use.⁵⁷ Heidegger called this bringing upon a way ‘destining’ [das Geschick, “the self-adaptive destining of being”], which is nothing other than the givenness of being as such so that every being arrives at its essential being through it. This is the dispensation of being, namely its opening up of itself as the fulfillment of the being of all beings. Thus, it is in this Geschick that the advent of being lies. Such destining, however, is in no way a compelling fate. It is rather in belonging to this destining—namely in listening to the calling-forth in freedom—that the human being becomes truly free.⁵⁸ Thus, Heidegger wrote: “Freedom is the realm of destining that at any given time starts a revealing upon its way.”⁵⁹ Hence, the essence of technology—or ‘enframing’—sets the human being upon a freeing path. He would further say that technology is governed by being as such, but that, in its essence, technology nevertheless challenges the self-manifestation of being and, by doing so, enhances its revelation.⁶⁰ In this way, both technology and science contribute in the presencing of that which exists. Nevertheless, neither technology nor modern science can evade or overcome the inner fullness of beings, such as of nature, human being, language or history. Contrary to this, it is possible to say that technology and science are unable even to perceive and represent their own essence, since their own essence is beyond their control. This applies equally to all fields of

 Martin Heidegger, Identity and Difference, tr. Stambaugh, J. (New York: Harper & Row, 1969), 35.  ‘Gestell’—translated in English as ‘enframing’—is derived from stellen, meaning ‘to set upon’. Herstellen or darstellen would mean ‘producing’ or ‘presencing’. ‘Gestell’ is derived from ‘Gestellnis’, used by Meister Eckhart, which originates in the Latin word ‘forma’ and the Greek μορφή [morphē], meaning the ‘form’, ‘shape’ or ‘framework’ that embodies a thing. See on this: Heidegger, GA 81, 286; GA 9, 276. Cf. Thomas Sheehan, “The Turn”, Heidegger: Key Concepts, ed. Bret W. Davis (Durham: Acumen Publishing, 2009, 82– 101.  Heidegger, “The Question Concerning Technology” (1953), QCT, 18 – 21.  Heidegger, “The Question Concerning Technology” (1953), QCT, 24– 25. Cf. Heidegger, LH (1946), 252.  Heidegger, “The Question Concerning Technology” (1953), QCT, 25. [“Die Freiheit ist der Bereich des Geschickes, das jeweils eine Entbergung auf ihren Weg bringt.” Heidegger, GA 7, 29.]  Heidegger, “The Question Concerning Technology” (1953), QCT, 17.

2.1 The Worldly Human Reality as the Starting Point for Theology


study, such as physics, philology, history or mathematics. The inner essence remains inconspicuous, concealed and vague, and out of reach of any full control.⁶¹ The risk or the danger of ‘enframing’, however, remains that the human being could deny the need to come into the presence of the real. This is so because modern technology in particular is characterized as controlling and rendering everything as a mere resource for utilization and consumption, satisfying itself with the mere use of the thing. Hence, the human being may not experience the call of truth. In this case, the natural world and objects would no longer create wonder in the human being but would rather be perceived as resources that can be manipulated and used, namely as objects of human mastery and subjugation. While the mode of revelation through modern technology is challenging for the human being, this is in great contrast to the natural way of φύσις, wherein things emerge by and from themselves. In the case of modern technology, the mediation of an external agent is necessary so that things stand in reserve, and by standing in reserve they are offered to the human being and never stand against him/her as autonomous entities. In this modern approach, even nature stands in reserve as a means or source for energy, with no independent character. In such a mode of revelation, the mystery of being is eliminated and its truth covered. This is the greatest risk because the human being stands on the verge of danger and believes that the world is intelligible and controllable. This results in totalitarianism, which perceives production, consumption and domination as higher goals. Thus, one can deduce that the modern perception of technology might overshadow and obscure the essential nature of technology as a mode of revealing. Second, the essence of technology is prior to the natural sciences rather than the result of their application. This implies that the sciences were made possible only because nature has always carried within itself the potential for technological use, namely to be revealed as systematically classifiable forces and resources for human use. Thus, it is not the human initiation or scientific proficiency but nature’s capability to unfold itself as natural energies and forces—which is not acquired but rather granted through being as such—that makes technology possible. Consequently, if we ask: Did modern technology, which as commonly experienced is not poetic, completely obliterate the essential meaning of τέχνη, so that it no longer offers any possibility for the manifestation of being? Heidegger presumably would have said: No! In his works—and referring

 Heidegger, “Science and Reflection” (1953), QCT, 176 – 177.


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back to Socrates and Plato, for whom the essence of a thing referred to that which endures in it⁶²—Heidegger maintained that only that which is granted endures, and that it is this element of granting in the essence of technology that can be described as a saving power.⁶³ I would assume that this power is the same grantedness, or the givenness, of being as such in and through all that exists, which comes forth through technology. As such, it would be possible to say that technology incorporates a saving power, which in turn demands the espying of that which comes to presence in and through technology.⁶⁴ En-framing, then, is comprised of the granting, which perceives the human being as the guardian of truth, and this itself is a saving power. This power is, however, activated only when the human being is aware of the danger of obliterating it, turning technology into the mere means for some objective purposes. Thus, though technology threatens revealing by making it possible for everything to show itself as standing-reserve, a saving power nevertheless still subsists in the presencing of technology.⁶⁵ Referring to Hölderlin’s words: But where the danger is, grows The saving power also.⁶⁶

Heidegger wrote: “The closer we come to the danger, the more brightly do the ways into the saving power begin to shine and the more questioning we become.” ⁶⁷ Heidegger thus concluded that, in ‘enframing’, the danger coincides with greater saving power.⁶⁸ The essence of technology does not lie “in making and manipulating nor in the using of means, but rather in the aforementioned revealing. It is as a revealing, and not as a manufacturing, that technē is a bringing-

 However, endurance here denotes neither the idea, as in Plato’s thinking, nor τὸ τί ἦν εἶναι [“that which any particular thing has always been”], as in the Aristotle’s philosophy.  Heidegger, “The Question Concerning Technology” (1953), QCT, 30.  Heidegger, “The Question Concerning Technology” (1953), QCT, 32.  Heidegger, “The Question Concerning Technology” (1953), QCT, 33.  Friedrich Hölderlin, “Patmos” as cited by Heidegger in “The Question Concerning Technology” (1953), QCT, 34. [“Wo aber Gefahr ist, wächst Das Rettende auch. “ Heidegger, GA 7, 35.]  Heidegger, “The Question Concerning Technology” (1953), QCT, 35. [“Je mehr wir uns der Gefahr nähern, um so heller beginnen die Wege ins Rettende zu leuchten, um so fragender werden wir. Denn das Fragen ist die Frömmigkeit des Denkens.” Heidegger, GA 7, 36.] This echoes Kierkegaard’s words: “For without risk there is no faith, and the greater the risk, the greater the faith.” Søren Kierkegaard, Concluding Unscientific Postscript, tr. David F. Swenson & Walter Lowrie (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1941), 188.  Heidegger, “The Question Concerning Technology” (1953), QCT, 27– 29.

2.1 The Worldly Human Reality as the Starting Point for Theology


forth.”⁶⁹ Similarly, it is in the extreme danger of surrendering one’s self that one’s inner reality comes to appear as indelibly bounded to the granting itself. Through shedding light on the original meaning of technology, Heidegger warned that its high mechanization bypasses revelation and escapes the human sense of perceiving things and beings in the world. It is the mechanization of technology, including the natural world and the human being, that endangers revelation and truth. Hence, he renounced the characteristic of τέχνη as a mere making and its pure instrumental feature, emphasizing rather its correspondence with ποίησις and ἐπιστήμη in order to maintain technology’s essential relatedness to revealing and to truth. In this way, technology could serve the poetic revealing of truth, namely for beings to attain their intended meaning and true being. While not considering the essential nature of τέχνη as a revealing mode, ‘development’ would be continuously perceived as mere infrastructure and resource investment. Heidegger’s critique of modern technology and science remains insightful for our times. His return to the original meanings of what science and technology stood for in early Greek times aims to create awareness in the reader of the distortion to which the meaning of science and technology were exposed. Nevertheless, one should question here whether his proposed way of approaching science and technology is satisfying for our contemporary times. Now, after more than a half of a century since Heidegger wrote “The Question Concerning Technology”, one can see how technology is taking on a life of its own. Given the conspicuous role of science and technology in the twenty-first century, intruding organizational work, politics, education, industry and communication, one has to ask: should modern technology be endorsed uncritically? Whenever the human being consents unthinkingly to modern technology, everything—including every human being—seems to be standing available for use. The result of such an unexamined position is indifference toward other things and beings, as they are, in turn, considered to be mere mathematical entities or categories. Furthermore, approaching technology in a heedless manner will result in its acquiring rampant power that will suck the human being in and lose him/her there, stripping him/her of the capability of pure thinking. Perceiving technology, in the sense just described here, makes it possible for modern technology not only to slip from human handle but also to captivate and subjugate him/her through its mobilized systems in such a way that one is left with very little freedom to reflect upon one’s own being in the world. This perception of technology would, then, move toward the opposite direction of its essence and original

 Heidegger, “The Question Concerning Technology” (1953), QCT, 13.


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meaning. Instead of becoming the means for the self-manifestation of the real, or being as such, thoughtlessly adopted technology has the potential to conceal and hide the real, twist reality, and bring the human being into an illusionary world and forged relations. Hence, technology, in this sense, would develop into something in opposition to art and poetry, and all that which opens up new prospects and brings about occasions for truth and revelation to occur. Knowing that technology in contemporary times has become independent of the natural sciences, it increasingly faces the risk of lapsing into a mere means for creating energy-resources, reverting into a market, while all poetic consideration of nature, the world and the human being wane. Berdyaev warned similarly of mechanizing life, arguing that this could result in a collective reality that he termed the “the socialization and nationalization of human souls”.⁷⁰ This would take the forms of capitalism and bourgeoization, in which individual existence ceases to exist. In 1931, he maintained that technology “has come to seem more powerful than man himself, [as] it subjugates him to itself.”⁷¹ Technology might therefore end up not merely allowing the human to control nature, but also allowing the human to have control and power over his/her fellow human being, namely power over people’s life. By this, Berdyaev traced the crises of his day, to a remarkable degree, back to technology, and designated this as a primarily spiritual crisis. As such, he argued that it is the task of the spirit to define creatively its relationship towards technology in such a way that the spirit is never obliviated or left out. And it is the task of Christian theology to predispose itself toward the new human reality; a task that requires an intensification of the inner spiritual power of the human being as well as vigilance to prevent the spirit from becoming a tool used for the purposes of technical organizations.⁷² This is so, since “man, transformed into the tool of an impersonal actualized process within time, is already no longer a man.”⁷³ With our contemporary reality of technology in mind, several statements of Heidegger seem to be too optimistically affirmative of technology, such as: “Technology, whose essence is Being itself, will never allow itself to be overcome by men. That would mean, after all, that man was the master of Being.”⁷⁴ These

 Berdyaev, The Fate of Man in the Modern World (1934), 14.  Berdyaev, “The Spiritual Condition of the Contemporary World”, 58.  Berdyaev, “The Spiritual Condition of the Contemporary World”, 62.  Berdyaev, “The Spiritual Condition of the Contemporary World”, 65.  Heidegger, “The Turning” (1949), QCT, 38. [“Die Technik, deren Wesen das Sein selbst ist, läßt sich durch den Menschen niemals überwinden. Das hieße doch, der Mensch sei der Herr des Seins.” Heidegger, GA 11, 116.]

2.1 The Worldly Human Reality as the Starting Point for Theology


statements might sound to be inappropriate for our times unless one heeds more carefully to Heidegger’s words: However, in order that man in his essence may become attentive to the essence of technology, and in order that there may be founded an essential relationship between technology and man in respect to their essence, modern man must first and above all find his way into the full breadth of the space proper to his essence. That essential space of man’s essential being receives the dimension that unites it to something beyond itself solely from out of the conjoining relation [Ver-hältnis] that is the way in which the safekeeping of Being itself is given to belong to the essence of man as the one who is needed and used by Being. Unless man first establishes himself beforehand in the space proper to his essence and there takes up his dwelling, he will not be capable of anything essential within the destining now holding sway.⁷⁵

Heidegger’s proposal in these words, concerning the ‘modern man’, addresses the human being in almost every situation and, most probably, at different times. The human being is to search for his/her essence beyond the given limitations of daily life. Furthermore, it is to him/her that the safeguarding of that which is beyond is entrusted. Unless one is on the path of rediscovering one’s true being, again and again, and the being of all that is, tracing them back to that one Mystery that is beyond all grasp and all human conceptions or frames, one will not be able to free oneself from the pressures of contemporary modernity, materialism and consumerism. In this sense, technology serves as a tool for the forthcoming of the being of the human being and of being as such, rather than for technology’s overcoming of the individuality of the human being. This is the challenge of the path that brings the person into a meaningful world, not only in the sense of a meaningful human reality but also of a meaningful world, taking the whole humanity and the natural order into account. Thus, the question concerning technology, similar to the question of metaphysics, needs redirection according to its essential meaning as the means for the true nature of beings to reveal and come to presence. And by this, Heidegger was not far from the central theme that defined most of his works, namely the meaning of being and its self-manifestation through beings.

 Heidegger, “The Turning” (1949), QCT, 39 – 40. [For the German reference see note: 63 in the introductory chapter of this work.] Here Heidegger cited the words of Meister Eckhart: “Those who are not of a great essence, whatever work they perform, nothing comes of it.” (page 40). The reference is from: Meister Eckhart, Selected Treatises and Sermons, tr. J. M. Clark and J. V. Skinner (London: Faber & Faber, 1958), 63. [“Die nitt von grossen wesen sind, was werk die wirkend, da wirt nit us.” Meister Eckhart, Reden der Unterscheidung, No. 4].


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Finally, it should be possible to say that Heidegger’s main interest in addressing the question of science and of technology was not strictly limited to these fields of study. Analogically, and through the themes of science and technology, Heidegger addressed major theological questions: God the Creator, the whole of creation as a gift, the human being—the creature—in his/her relation to the Creator, and the question of salvation. He resorted to particular theological language and terminologies, though through an abstruse and veiled framework. The major notions that appear in Heidegger’s understanding of both science and technology, such as θεωρία, ἐνέργεια and Geschick as the givenness of being, have a long and broad theological tradition particularly within the mystical trend of theology, which coincides with Eastern Orthodoxy and its apophaticnegative inclination. I will address this aspect of Heidegger’s thought in the following chapter. For the moment it is possible to infer that, if science is the theory of the real and technology is a mode of being, then both science and technology are means for beholding God or gazing at being as such. As such, both comprise a saving power within themselves.

2.1.3 Art A work of art sets up a world. The world here is not the sum total of objects or things, but that which is the fulfillment and the consummation of their meaning. Hence, a work of art opens up a world summoning the holy—or being—to reveal and dwell in dignity and grandeur.⁷⁶ Through the work of art, the material elements used in the work are the first to appear, speaking for themselves such that their depth, which is commonly denied access, might be penetrated. The stone, the wood, the colors, each withdrawn and secluded on the earth, show themselves truly through the particular work. The work thus gives the thing its figure [Gestalt], which is the same as ‘enframing’ [‘Ge-stell’], namely bringing the world and the earth together. Thus, it is the dwelling and the work of the human being that “lets the earth be an earth.”⁷⁷ A work of art sets up a world and sets forth the earth. The world, as self-opening, rests upon the earth,

 Heidegger cited the words of Mörike: “But whatever is beautiful, happily shines in itself.” He contended that beauty is “a lofty manner of being”, which shows itself simply by arising through being and shining on its own. Heidegger, PR (1955 – 56), 57. See: Eduard Mörike, “Auf eine Lampe,” in Sämtliche Werke, ed. Herbert G. Göpfert (Munich: Verlag C. H. Beck, 1958), 85. [“On a Lamp,” in Friedrich Hölderlin and Eduard Mörike: Selected Poems, tr. Christopher Middleton (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1972), 205].  Heidegger, “The Origin of the Work of Art” (1935), PLT, 45.

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which by nature is “sheltering and concealing”.⁷⁸ The opposition between the world and the earth is the opposition between self-opening and self-concealedness, and, consequently, a work of art strives to bring the two together, namely both unconcealedness and concealment. Thus, the two opposites belong together and share a common ground, and it is in the oscillation between the two that truth occurs. Through bringing these two elements together, as the two constituents of truth, and through the attainment of unconcealedness, truth happens.⁷⁹ Truth happens in a work of art—such as Van Gogh’s painting of a pair of peasant’s shoes—whenever by standing there it holds truth as a whole—world and earth—and arrives at unconcealedness. Thus, an art-work reveals not merely what is true but rather truth as such, as it reveals not only one particular instance of truth but truth as a whole. In this sense, “the actual work is here already presupposed as the bearer of this happening.”⁸⁰ Beauty and harmony are no less significant for a spiritual perception of life. The secret of a genuine work of art lies, then, in its bringing of law and grace together, the human and the divine, the revelation and the Mystery beyond it. In this sense, it is possible to understand the value and meaning of icons in Orthodoxy. Icons for Orthodox Theology are windows into heaven, into a different—spiritual—reality than one’s temporal being in the world.⁸¹ They reveal the divine, however, always through anthropological content, that is, through human figures and characters who appear in their transformed and deified form.⁸² Thus, icons preclude time and space and reach beyond the human and the worldly to the divine and

 Heidegger, “The Origin of the Work of Art” (1935), PLT, 47. Heidegger wrote further that a “stone is worldless. Plant and animal likewise have no world; but they belong to the covert throng of a surrounding into which they are linked.” “The Origin of the Work of Art” (1935), PLT, 43.  Heidegger, “The Origin of the Work of Art” (1935 – 36), PLT, 47– 48, 54, 61.  Heidegger, “The Origin of the Work of Art” (1935 – 36), PLT, 56.  See Berdyaev, FS (1927), 36. Also: Nikolaĭ Berdyaev, The Meaning of History, tr. George Reavey (New York: Charles Scriber’s Sons, 1936), 12, hereafter MH.  “The icon is an image of a human being truly filled with the passion-searing and all-sanctifying grace of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, his flesh is depicted as essentially different from the ordinary corruptible flesh of a human being. The icon communicates a certain spiritual reality: sober, based on a spiritual experience and completely free of any exaltation. If grace illumines the whole person so that his entire spirit, body and soul are engulfed in prayer and dwell in divine light, then the icon visibly portrays this person who has become a living icon, the likeness of God”. L. Ouspensky, cited in: Hilarion Alfeyev, “Theology of Icon in the Orthodox Church” (Lecture at St. Vladimir’s Seminary, 5 February 2011). Accessed 22.06. 2020: https://mospat.ru/ en/2011/02/06/news35783/. See further: Philip Sherrard, “The Art of the Icon”, Sobornost 4, No. 6 (Winter-Spring 1962), 294– 304.


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the transcendent. Through colors and lines, icons transmit the invisible reality and invite the Christian to contemplation, prayer and silence.⁸³ An art-work requires craftsmanship, and this reveals the inner relation between art and τέχνη, as the Greeks indicated by τεχνίτης [technites] both the artist and the craftsman. Nevertheless, the essence of art is not handicraft, such as making equipment, but unconcealedness. Here lies the difference between a piece of equipment, ready for use, and a creative work of art, standing out, revealing being in a particular manner. The whole value of the work of art lies in the fact that “such a work is at all rather than is not”.⁸⁴ Though this statement would apply for most existing beings, nevertheless, it is most true in relation to works of art, as their be-ing remains unusual, contrary to all commonly existing things.⁸⁵ Referring back to the word τέχνη, Heidegger maintained that it originally denoted “a mode of knowing” rather than any kind of making or doing. For the Greeks, knowing was founded upon ἀλήθεια, namely the uncoveredness of beings.⁸⁶ Thus, both art and τέχνη indicate knowing in the sense of bringing beings forth from concealedness to unconcealedness such that the discovery of their true nature is made possible. Furthermore, and in order for a work of art to be preserved, those who “stand-within” the openness created by the work itself are needed. The nature of this “standing-within” is comparable to the essence of the work of art, namely knowledge as truth and unconcealedness. Such knowledge “does not consist in mere information and notions about something. He who truly knows what is, knows what he wills to do in the midst of what is.”⁸⁷ Thus, knowledge leads the person to will, and these two—knowledge and will—together constitute the marks of the human subject’s yielding and concession to being as such, namely the opening the self to being. In this sense, pure human existence is existence within the openness of being. Such willing, which is part of the making and the preserving of the work of art, similar to creation, does not entail mere doing or making; rather it is the solemn resolute existence in being, namely in the ‘existential self-transcendence’ of the human being toward being as such. Thus, to preserve a work of art is to allow both the concealedness and the unconcealedness of the inner depth of the work—

 See on this: Paul Evdokimov, The Art of the Icon: A Theology of Beauty, tr. Steven Bigham (Pasadena, California: Oakwood Publications, 1972), 203 – 212; 239 – 242; Alexander Schmemann, The Historical Road of Eastern Orthodoxy (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1977), Chapters 2 and 5.  Heidegger, “The Origin of the Work of Art” (1935 – 36), PLT, 63.  Heidegger, “The Origin of the Work of Art” (1935 – 36), PLT, 63.  Heidegger, “The Origin of the Work of Art” (1935 – 36), PLT, 57.  Heidegger, “The Origin of the Work of Art” (1935 – 36), PLT, 65.

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that is, to stand within the happening of truth, as it is revealed by the work of art, and to dwell there.⁸⁸ Needless to say, this manner of preserving an art-work is completely different from retaining a work for mere artistic delight. The nature of art is, then, the “setting-into-work of truth”,⁸⁹ and the preservation of the work, similar to its creation, involves preservation of the truth of the work. As such, art entails “the becoming and happening of truth”,⁹⁰ which is far beyond creating the work. This “setting-into-work of truth”, Heidegger explained, is “essentially poetry”.⁹¹ In his “The Origin of the Work of Art”, Heidegger explained that it is not the mere making of a thing but its capability to stand over against the person (or the maker), as independent from him/her, that gives value and meaning to the thing. This requires the “standing forth” of a thing in unconcealedness.⁹² By standing forth in unconcealedness, a work of art manifests something other than the mere physical ‘thingly’ element from which it is made. Hence, through its objective formation, a work of art transmits an authentic and a genuine meaning. By this, a work of art becomes a symbol [σύμβολον], namely that which brings together the thing with its meaning.⁹³ Along these lines, Berdyaev contended that “all essential art is symbolical” in that it brings two worlds together, the natural and the inner-spiritual, expressing that which is of ultimate value, namely that which concerns the inner depths of the human being.⁹⁴ Furthermore, it is not the material, but the nothing that comes forth through the material that carries within itself the meaning of any particular symbol. Thus, it is the nothing, or the meaning—that is the void held by the material itself— which comes forth.⁹⁵ A ‘thing’ [dinc in old German], Heidegger explained, in

 Heidegger, “The Origin of the Work of Art” (1935 – 36), PLT, 65.  Heidegger, “The Origin of the Work of Art” (1935 – 36), PLT, 69.  Heidegger, “The Origin of the Work of Art” (1935 – 36), PLT, 69.  Heidegger, “The Origin of the Work of Art” (1935 – 36), PLT, 70.  Heidegger, “Building Dwelling Thinking” (1951), PLT, 157; “The Thing” (1950), PLT, 166.  In his “The Origin of the Work of Art” (1935 – 36), Heidegger explained that an art-work brings about that which is beautiful, namely it allows the happening of the truth of the thing or the being, which is the same as to say that it allows the being of beings to appear through it. (PLT, 36 – 38.) Cf. “Building, Dwelling, Thinking” (1951), PLT, 151.  Berdyaev, D (1923), 25 – 26.  Heidegger used the example of a jug, explaining that what makes it a jug is not its sides or its different parts, or the material out of which it is made; rather the “emptiness, the void, is what does the vessel’s holding. The empty space, this nothing of the jug, is what the jug is as the holding vessel.” In this way, the potter who made the jug in fact shaped the void. Furthermore, it is by the virtue of the gift, namely that which is poured into the jug, that the nature of the jug is defined. Heidegger, “The Thing” (1950), PLT, 167– 170.


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its original meaning, is that which gathers together the different gifts that it receives and the gifts that it gives, bringing the whole, namely the earth and the sky, the human and the divine, into a unity. Thus, the ‘thing’ can be anything or any being that is, both human and divine. Heidegger referred to Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, whose words Meister Eckhart cited—in old German—using the word ‘thing’ to refer both to God and to the soul: “diu minne ist der natur, daz si den menschen wandelt in die dinc, die er minnet” [“love is of such a nature that it changes man into the things he loves.”] Such love has the capability of appropriating that which it loves so that the loving person becomes that whom (or which) he/she loves.⁹⁶ Heidegger expressed this event of appropriation by saying that “a thing things”, which is to say that it truly becomes what it is; thus the nearness of a thing is experienced as it brings the earth and the sky, the human and the divine, together.⁹⁷ Consequently, whenever a discovery of a ‘thing’ or a ‘being’ occurs, “the world worlds”⁹⁸ [“die Welt weltet”], that is, whatever is in the world reaches at its meaning and purpose. In this sense, the world is the onefoldedness of the earth and the sky, the human and the divine. The ‘worlding’ of the world—as Heidegger used it—refers, then, to this unfathomable oneness, the reasons and grounds of which one would fail to grasp.⁹⁹ Things and their world subsist together, penetrating each other but never merging into a fusion. The distinction between the two is held and comprises the difference between them. Both ‘thinging’ and ‘worlding’ are carried out together and toward each other.¹⁰⁰ Here, being and being as such are mutated into thing and world as they intimately belong together, but they are never confused in such a way that the difference between them is abolished. Thus, the thing remains a thing, while its meaning and significance can never be objectified. Through a work of art, the human being experiences being as such and realizes that he/she is not the master of the earth, but is rather the mortal one, the one ‘being towards death’, that is, the one who allows the ‘worlding’ of the world to occur and safeguards it. In theological terms, Berdyaev elaborated that in every artistic initiation a new, free and enlightened world is created.

 Heidegger, “The Thing” (1950), PLT, 174. See on this: Jacques Derrida, The Beast and the Sovereign, tr. Geoffrey Bennington (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2011).  Here it should be noted that, in his later works, Heidegger developed a fourfold understanding of being: “earth and the heavens, mortals and divinities”. See: Heidegger, “On the Question of Being” in P (1955), 291– 322.  Heidegger, “The Origin of the Work of Art” (1935 – 36), PLT, 43.  Heidegger, “The Thing” (1950), PLT, 177,  Heidegger, “Language” (1950), PLT, 200.

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The essential in artistic creativity is victory over the burden of necessity. In art, man lives outside himself, outside his burdens, the burdens of life. Every creative artistic act is a partial transfiguration of life. In the artistic concept man breaks out through the heaviness of the world. In the creative-artistic attitude towards this world we catch a glimpse of another world.¹⁰¹

For Berdyaev, “creativity is the mystery of Freedom”.¹⁰² “Creativity is something that proceeds from within, out of immeasurable and inexplicable depths, not from without, not from the world’s necessity.”¹⁰³ Through the creative act, it is given to the human being to overcome the gap that separates him/her from God. This process is similar to the process of deification, explained Berdyaev. Furthermore, the “creative act will create new being rather than values of differentiated culture; in the creative act life will not be quenched. Creativity will continue creation”.¹⁰⁴ Thus, the creative act unveils the resemblance and the continuity between the human and the divine, the creature and the Creator, so that “divine power becomes human power” and the human being collaborates with God in the work of recreation.¹⁰⁵ Through reflection upon human existence in the world—with its different spheres, science, technology, art—human existence gains a deeper meaning and an existential significance. In order for such a transformation to occur, Heidegger perceived the openness of beings to being as such, or of the earth to heaven, the thing to its world, as necessary. And by this he redefined what is present, or that which presences itself, distancing himself from the limited perceptions of time and space and the purely technical-scientific viewing of them that prevailed in his own day.

2.2 Transcendence as the Move Inward 2.2.1 Meditative Thinking vs. Calculative Thinking Similar to a work of art, which brings the thing and its meaning together, contemplation unites the thinking subject with the object of thought. Furthermore, much the same as meditating a work of art, contemplation is about meditating

    

Berdyaev, Berdyaev, Berdyaev, Berdyaev, Berdyaev,


(1916), 225. (1916), 144. (1916), 145. (1916), 120. (1916), 320.


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the mysteries of God. From the Orthodox theological perspective, the contemplative element is present throughout one’s whole spiritual journey toward the divine. Without contemplation, prayer and reflection, divine mysteries would remain hidden and would not attain disclosure, while it is in the divine liturgy that the contemplative process reaches at its culmination. Through contemplation the inner human self transcends toward the divine and meets the divine in its constant descent to the human. Hence, and as mentioned above, it is through mystical contemplation [μυστικὴ θεωρία] that divine Mystery comes to revelation and the human being is given a share in the divine. Contrary to the rationalistic approach, which aims at an external—disinterested—examination of the object of thought, in contemplation, thinking and the object of thought become one and the same. Thus, the culmination of the spiritual journey is θέωσις [deification] that is unity with the divine. In this sense, we understand the words of Clement of Alexandria, who contended that deification is possible only through contemplation. So, he wrote: … so those who … draw God towards them, imperceptibly bring themselves to God: for he who reverences God, reverences himself. In the contemplative life, then, one in worshipping God attends to himself, and through his own spotless purification beholds the holy God holily…¹⁰⁶

Genuine contemplation, then, requires purification, which is a move inward rather than any outward process or activity. The move inward could be described in terms of a journey toward that which is already given to the human being in one’s innermost depth.¹⁰⁷ In agreement with the words of the Church Father, Berdyaev wrote: “It is only in contemplation and mystical union that the divine life is achieved.”¹⁰⁸ He further perceived contemplation, prayer and praise of God as immersed within the human self: “every man has a moment of contemplation, immersed within himself, of prayer and praise of God, of the beholding of beauty, of an unselfish appreciation of the world.”¹⁰⁹ However, he described how difficult it is to make this move—that is, to contemplate eternity—in the contempo-

 Clement of Alexandria, “The Stromata”, Book IV: XXIII in A. Roberts, J. Donaldson (eds.) The Ante-Nicene Fathers: Translations of the Writings of the Fathers down to A.D. 325, Vol. 2 (New York: The Christian Literature Publishing Company, 1985) Vol. II, 437.  See on this: Norman Russell, The Doctrine of Deification in the Greek Patristic Tradition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), 40 – 41.  Berdyaev, FS (1927), 248.  Berdyaev, “The Spiritual Condition of the Contemporary World”, 68. Berdyaev presented this paper in 1931 at a session of the leaders of the World Christian Federation in Bad Bol, Göppingen, Germany.

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rary world that is technically and economically oriented. He warned from the loss of contemplation in modern civilization. The technical and economic processes of modern civilization turn the person into their own tool, they demand from it an incessant activity, making use of each moment of life for activity. Modern civilization negates contemplation and threatens to completely shove it out from life, to make it impossible. This will mean, that man ceases to pray, that he will no longer have any sort of relationship to God, that he will no longer see beauty and unselfishly know truth. The person is defined not only in relation to time, but also in relation to eternity. The actualism of modern civilization is a denial of eternity, is an enslavement of man to time. … The person cannot hold on amidst the flooding current of time, in this actualisation of each moment, it is unable to think about matters, it is unable to conceive of the meaning of its own life, since meaning is always revealed in relation to eternity, and the flood of time is of itself incomprehensible.¹¹⁰

Only the coming together of contemplation and action can sustain the person to actualize the potential creativity he/she has. Contemplation, in a sense similar to the one employed in Eastern Orthodoxy, is conveyed in philosophical terms through Heidegger’s notion of pure thinking. In order to explicate his understanding of thinking, Heidegger made a distinction between meditative and calculative thinking. Before arriving at this distinction, however, we must ask: what is thinking, in the western perception of the word? And, can thinking be learned? We read Nietzsche saying: Learning to think: our schools no longer have any idea what this means. … Thinking has to be learned in the way dancing has to be learned, as a form of dancing … for dancing in any form cannot be divorced from a noble education, being able to dance with the feet, with concepts, with words: do I still have to say that one has to be able to dance with the pen —that writing has to be learned?—But at this point I should become a complete enigma to German readers…¹¹¹

Nietzsche’s image of the ‘dance with the pen’ maintains the need for learning to think. Unless one learns to think, dance and write, one will think like all the others, dance like all the others and write like all the others. What is so great about thinking, dancing and writing like all the others; that one is no longer challenged to think differently, to dance and write differently, that one is no longer challenged to seek truth, to seek God like the Madman did, that one is no longer a stranger in the world? Nietzsche would ask: Who dares to will to live the same

 Berdyaev, “The Spiritual Condition of the Contemporary World”, 66 – 67.  Friedrich Nietzsche, “What the Germans Lack” in Twilight of the Idols: or How to Philosophize with a Hammer (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), 7.


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life again and again, to think the same, to dance and to write the same? The same indicates here the very self, the origin and the truth of the person. Only the same, in its simplicity, with its joys and pains, its beauty and ugliness, frees the person from the burden of becoming a thing, of thinking like others, dancing and writing like others. In life—like in a market-place—many coalesce into a mass where idleness and forgetfulness are easy to attain. Even ‘God’ becomes perceived as a theory, a claim of truth, like an object standing-in-reserve that can be employed according to one’s need. Nietzsche’s Madman, however, throws the lantern away so that the light might truly shine within.¹¹² It is in the inner depth of the human being that one’s origin lies, where the person is given to arrive, again and again, to one’s true self. Along a similar vein, Heidegger opted for an inner perception of what the “sunliness of the eye” means, since it is in the inner depth of one’s being that “God’s own power is to be found”. Commenting on Goethe’s words—concerning the undividedness of the sensible and the non-sensible within the human—he wrote: It seems that up till today we have not yet sufficiently pondered what the sunliness of the eye consists of and where in us God’s own power is to be found, to what extent both belong together and give the directive to a more profoundly thought human being, to humans who are the thinking creatures.¹¹³

Human perception is more than the mere sight of the eye, and yet, the two are undividable. Heidegger, again and again, referred to the partition between the physical (the earthly) and the non-physical (its meaning) that takes place in metaphysics and governs the history of Western human thought. The outcome of this partition was forgetfulness of the inner meaning and significance of being in the world and, hence, of the very possibility of thinking. So, he wrote: “Most thought-provoking in our thought-provoking time is that we are still not thinking.”¹¹⁴ Here comes the distinction. We are thinking but simultaneously we are not. The modern person is definitely thinking, in the sense of looking for reasons and grounds outside the thing itself. However, he/she, most of the time, is not think-

 Nietzsche, The Gay Science, 91. (See the earlier reference in Chapter one: Note 114.)  Heidegger, PR (1955 – 56), 48. [“Es scheint, wir haben bis heute noch nicht genügend dem nachgedacht, worin das Sonnenhafte des Auges besteht und worin des Gottes eigene Kraft in uns beruht; inwiefern beides zusammengehört und die Weisung auf ein tiefer gedachtes Sein des Menschen gibt, der das denkende Wesen ist.” Heidegger, GA 10, 71.]  Heidegger, WCT (1951– 52), 6. [“Das bedenklichste zeigt sich in unserer bedenklichen Zeit daran, daß wir noch nicht denken.” Heidegger, GA 7, 134.]

2.2 Transcendence as the Move Inward


ing in the sense of looking inward. Throughout his later works, the “Memorial Address” (1955) and “Conversation on a Country Path about Thinking” (1944 – 45), Heidegger described, in more depth, what he called ‘meditative thinking’ in contrast to ‘calculative thinking’. While the second was the kind of thinking traditionally known as the human activity concerning ‘things’ or ‘objects’, ‘meditative thinking’, though possessed as a potential in the very structure of the human being, relates him/her right away to being as such, that is, it brings the person to the presence of that which transcends his/her human reality. Heidegger wrote: “man is a thinking, that is, a meditating being.”¹¹⁵ Thus, meditative thinking—contrary to representative thinking, which addresses objects of ‘average’ or ordinary understanding—is open for meaning and content to emerge within its wider horizon. In this sense, meditative thinking is open to that which is given and that which emerges on the path of one’s proceeding towards being as such. It knows no ‘rational’ barriers, no hindrances, and in this sense, it predominantly opposes the human will. Though this possibility of ‘openness’ exists within the human structure, however, the human being commonly does not will such openness, either because of its ambiguity or its seeming difficulty. It takes a step beyond one’s ordinary will so that one engages oneself in meditative thinking. In this sense, it is in no way a passive undertaking. In a similar vein, Heidegger distinguished between the questioning of the scholastic-learned approach, or the scientific one, and philosophical questioning. He explained that the interest of the scholastic approach, which is based upon ‘logic’ or ‘knowledge about logos’ [‘επιστήμη λογική’], concerns itself with the correctness of an assertion. ‘Logos’ refers here to how a thing can be described in a propositional manner. Thus, an assertion would be correct, or logical, whenever it addresses a being, or a thing, and conforms itself to it and represents it. Correctness [Richtigkeit, rectitudo] was also called adequation [adaequatio], assimilation [assimilatio] and correspondence [convenientia]. Hence, it is possible to refer these conceptions of truth back to Aristotle, who perceived truth as ὁμοίωσις [correctness] in the sense of assimilating one’s apprehension or thought to the object at hand as a re-presentation [νόημα]. Heidegger described such a perception of truth—resulting in the two obverse positions of idealism and realism—which is based on one’s re-presenting of the being at hand, as insufficient. He elaborated that it is to this same conception of truth as correctness that the perception of the human being as a rational animal belongs. It is about such ‘scientific’ assertions that the branch of philosophy called ‘logic’ is interested. However, it should be noted that an assertion, regardless

 Heidegger, “Memorial Address” (1955), DT, 47.


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of its correctness, proclaims either truth or falsity.¹¹⁶ This kind of knowledge, from assertions or propositions, is attractive to many since it claims the possession of truth and the holding of all the necessary knowledge about it. It even supplies advice and guarantees about living one’s life and securing it in the face of different risks and uncertainties. Knowledge through assertions prevails in many different domains such as the scientific, the historical, and even the ‘philosophical’ and the ‘religious’. In philosophical questioning, however, the human being extends him/herself beyond his/her limitations and interests and attains steadfastness and presence of mind, while arriving at an answer would be nothing other than the intensification of questioning. This means that a cessation of seeking will never occur. Thus, one has to move beyond the mere correctness of assertions and representational activity into the openness—of beings and of the human being—which alone can support the truthfulness of any claim.¹¹⁷ It is only through having openness as the ground of a proposition, explained Heidegger, that it might be founded upon truth, since correctness alone is not grounded, but rather is dependent on openness itself, without which any claim of correctness would fall.¹¹⁸ To have openness as the ground entails, further, the continuous need for a re-examination of the truthfulness of any claim or proposition. Hence, thinking in this sense is to let beings emerge in the decisiveness of their Being and to let them stand out before oneself, to perceive them as such and thereby to name them in their beingness for the first time.¹¹⁹

The two questions—of truth and logic—have been so intermingled in the history of thought that it would be difficult for the modern thinker to differentiate between the two.¹²⁰ The history of logic and logical justifications stand as a barrier against one’s understanding and perceiving of truth as such in its simplicity and purity. Furthermore, Heidegger remarked that most human thinking that explores and plans is marked by its inclination toward calculation, always aspiring at new prospects and thereby lacking any reflection upon the meaning of what it  Heidegger, BQP (1937– 38), 9 – 10.  Heidegger, BQP (1937– 38), 15 – 17; 19.  Heidegger, BQP (1937– 38), 82.  Heidegger, BQP (1937– 38), 133. [“… das Seiende in der Entschiedenheit seines Seyns aufstehen und vor sich stehen lassen, es als solches vernehmen und damit in seiner Seiendheit erstmals nennen.” Heidegger, GA 45, 153.]  Since Plato, Heidegger contended, the question of truth has been presented in the Western philosophical tradition as the question of logic, though in different semblances and forms.

2.2 Transcendence as the Move Inward


thinks.¹²¹ Further, the questionableness of things is lacking in the ‘modern’ age.¹²² One way of interpreting Heidegger’s thoughts is to reflect upon our own times. ‘Modernity’¹²³—as we live it now—equally avoids the question of truth. It requires a person to have a good education, a good career and a good living-standard based on calculative figuring of things. It does not ask about the truthfulness of things and does not seek harmony among the different domains of one’s life. This perception of ‘truth’ as correctness shows itself everywhere in our modern world. It dominates schools, the universities, and social and political institutions, where the transfer of certain ‘truths’ or ‘rules’ govern human thinking. In most human activities, the dominant concern is the correctness of information, while questions such as ‘what is the meaning of one’s words, or acts?’ do not occur. This applies equally to most accomplishments that are ‘produced’ through this modern calculative approach. Hence, it does not matter what one says, as long as what one says is logical. And the fact that such thinking is dominant leads the person to believe that this is the one and only right path, while the path that truth as such advocates seems unfamiliar and even strange. Such calculative, categorical thinking is exactly what endangers pure thinking. Hence, truth is presented as existing within the framework of ‘logic’, while logic carries within itself the potential to obscure and cover truth as such, since it does not question the truthfulness of an assertion. Consequently, logic can falsify the essence of truth and thereby hinder the search for it. Thus, and in order to be able to raise genuinely the question of truth, one must free oneself from the conventional propositions and the commonly accepted assertions of ‘human logic’, that is, one must step out of the orbit of the common way of perceiving things. Heidegger wrote: We will not speak of historical “consideration” but “reflection.” For reflection [Be-sin-nung] is looking for meaning [Sinn] of a happening, the meaning of history. “Meaning” refers here to the open region of goals, standards, impulses, decisive possibilities, and powers—all these belong essentially to happening.¹²⁴

 Heidegger, “Memorial Address” (1955), DT, 45 – 46.  Heidegger, BQP (1937– 38), 13.  The word ‘modernity’ or ‘modern’ indicates the direct meaning of the word as a characteristic of the contemporary advanced society and does not carry any particular-historical significance.  Heidegger, BQP (1937– 38), 34. [“Wir sprechen nicht von geschichtlicher Betrachtung, sondern von Besinnung. Be-sin-nung: Eingehen auf den Sinn des Geschehenden, der Geschichte. “Sinn” meint hier: den offenen Bereich der Ziele, Maßstäbe, Antriebe, Ausschlagmöglichkeiten und Mächte—all dies gehört wesentlich zu Geschehen.” Heidegger, GA 45, 36]


2 The Human Reality—Its Worldliness and Transcendence

In this sense, reflection is different from cultivating the intellect. It does not hold any secured image or perfect model toward which one directs oneself. Reflection beyond metaphysical thinking assumes an inner disposition toward a continuous questioning and search for the Mystery, namely the Mystery of the self-concealment of being, or God, which, like all-consuming fire, might consume the one who questions. Such reflection is what true philosophy is about. Philosophy accomplishes nothing, in the sense that it has no immediate benefit and, hence, is always misjudged when perceived on practical grounds. Heidegger called this ‘thoughtful’ thinking or, more commonly, pure thinking or essential thinking, which in its nature, and contrary to the ordinary calculative thinking, is nearer to thanking than to pressing or mastering. Hence, in its purity it has no affinity to force.¹²⁵ Thus, he contended that the present need is not for philosophy but rather for “attentiveness of thought”,¹²⁶ and that being shows itself “in the pure perception which belongs to beholding, and only by such seeing does Being get discovered.”¹²⁷ As later will be demonstrated, the essential nature of the human being is a concerned awareness of one’s presence in the world, while being as such is the nearness that prevails upon the human being in some inconspicuous manner. Far from calculating and computing, reflective thinking is centered upon that which is other than what-is, namely other than the objective reality or the obscurity behind which things truly lie. Through reflective thinking—or ‘thoughtful’ thinking—one seeks the truth of being and even makes sacrifices in order to preserve being and its truth. It is in this sense that the human being becomes the guardian of being, or the helper of being as such, allowing the occurrence of the event of being within human history. Consequently, the sacrifices are nothing other than the echo and the outcome of thankfulness toward being as such and toward the grace that the human being has been endowed by being. Human words then are to serve as the proclamation and the articulation of that thankfulness, and all human activity—including essential thinking—is to be committed to upholding the dignity of being as such. In this sense, Heidegger wrote: “Thinking is the imageless opening up of the abyss.”¹²⁸ And against calculative thinking, which attempts at mastering all that is:

 Heidegger, EV (1941– 42), 33.  Martin Heidegger, “Letter on Humanism”, tr. E. Lohner, in W. Barett & A. Aiken (eds.), Philosophy in the Twentieth Century, Vol. 3 (New York: Harper & Row, 1971), 224.  Heidegger, BT (1927), 215.  Heidegger, EV (1941– 42), 279.

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It has no notion that in calculation everything calculable is already a whole before it starts working out its sums and products, a whole whose unity naturally belongs to the incalculable which, with its mystery, ever eludes the clutches of calculation.¹²⁹

Hence, reflective thinking is required in order to make the return back toward the origin possible. And in this sense meditative thinking implies a return to one’s roots. Heidegger quoted the words of Johann Peter Hebel: We are plants which—whether we like to admit it to ourselves or not—must with our roots rise out of the earth in order to bloom in the ether and bear fruit.”¹³⁰

This return to the origin is always the simplest possibility, but at the same time the most strenuous and demanding. This is so since the human being is in constant evasion of his/her true self. One constantly attempts to escape one’s origin, that is one’s belonging to being, thinking that one will arrive at a better position than the one already owned. Through avoiding the return to the origin, one evades union, or harmony, with one’s self and fluctuates between the self and the multitude that is offered to one in society, or in the crowd. This engagement with the multitude—replacing unity—might however seem to be difficult or tiresome; nevertheless, it is the easiest choice one can make in life. The wavering from one sphere to another, or from one position to another, is in fact relaxing and entertaining, and this makes it more attractive to the person rather than the constant return to the origin, namely the truth of being and the necessity of seeking it. The choice to cling to the multitude does not demand the effort of coming to a kind of a harmony with the multiple possibilities one experiences. One also escapes the risk of questioning every settled reality. Accordingly, the person is discharged from the burden of existence. Contrary to this, it is through meditative thinking that one comes to think of being rather than beings.¹³¹ Such thinking is nevertheless accompanied with anxiety as the human subject departs from hectic everyday life. Anxiety, however, has to be understood ontologically,

 Heidegger, P (1943), in EB, 357. [“Es kann nicht ahnen, daß alles Berechenbare der Rechnung vor den von ihr jeweils errechneten Summen und Produkten schon ein Ganzes ist, dessen Einheit freilich dem Unberechenbaren zugehört, das sich und seine Unheimlichkeit den Griffen der Rechnung entzieht.” Heidegger, GA 9, 309.]  As quoted by Heidegger in his “Memorial Address” (1955), DT (1944– 1955), 47. [“Wir sind Pflanzen, die—wir mögenʼs gerne gestehen oder nicht—mit den Wurzeln aus der Erde steigen müssen, um im Äther blühen und Früchte tragen zu können.” Johann Peter Hebel as cited in: Heidegger, GA 16, 529.]  Heidegger, “Memorial Address” (1955), DT (1944– 1955), 46 – 47, 53. In a mystical perception, such opening is possible through detachment [Abgeschiedenheit] from beings in the world.


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as it reveals that which is completely other, while the experience is secretly associated with serenity and joy. In the experience of anxiety, releasement [Gelassenheit] is incorporated.¹³² Thus, Heidegger wrote: To venture after a sense or meaning is the essence of reflection. This means more than a mere making conscious of something. We do not yet have reflection when we have only consciousness. Reflection is more. It is a calm, self-possessed surrender to that which is worthy of questioning.¹³³

Thus, he described his contemporary time as experiencing loss or rootedness, which is “the spirit of the age” into which one is born.¹³⁴ Through meditative thinking, the human being arrives at an understanding of his/her own existential reality. Such understanding, alone, enables the person to project him/herself towards the future, grounded in his/her ‘potentiality-for-being’ in its most true and authentic sense. And, hence, he/she knows and understands what he/she is capable of and can be “in the way” that he/she truly is. In the absence of such meditative reflection, one’s deepest potentiality for being remains covered and closed off, and consequently receives an inadequate futural projection. The human being, in this case, fails to become resolute about his/her own being and existence.¹³⁵

2.2.2 Being in the World and Transcendence as ‘Radical Individuation’ Berdyaev maintained that the human being carries within him/herself both worldly and spiritual elements, and that the two are mysteriously united within the human self. It is this coming together of the worldly and the spiritual that makes transcendence and “radical individuation” possible. Indicating the need for the human and the worldly element beside the divine, he explicated that the human and the worldly lie in the origin of any possibility for the formation of the Church:

 Heidegger, DT (1944– 55), 72– 73.  Heidegger, “Science and Reflection” (1953), QCT, 180. [“Sich auf den Sinn einlassen, ist das Wesen der Besinnung. Dies meint mehr als das bloße Bewußtmachen von etwas. Wir sind noch nicht bei der Besinnung, wenn wir nur bei Bewußtsein sind. Besinnung ist mehr. Sie ist die Gelassenheit zum Fragwürdigen.” Heidegger, GA 7, 63.]  Heidegger, “Memorial Address” (1955), DT, 49.  Heidegger, BT (1927), 385 – 386.

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The Church is bi-lateral by its very nature … It has not only a divine origin; it has also a cosmic origin. It has not only the signature of God, but also the trade-mark of the world. The Church is the God-world, the God-humanity.¹³⁶

The human being is in the world. This implies that being in the world is not a secondary characteristic added to the human being, but rather is the essential nature of the human being, that is, his/her mode of existence.¹³⁷ The human

 Berdyaev, FS (1927), 335.  Immanuel Kant (1724– 1804) already set the ground for an existential philosophy aimed at reflecting upon human existence without being constrained by scientific materialism and metaphysics. Through Kant’s restriction of knowledge to phenomena, and perception of the transcendental subject as the condition for knowledge, a question was left open: How do nature, or the phenomena, and the things in themselves, such as the free transcendental subject, co-exist? The contribution of Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1762– 1814) here is remarkable. Fichte went a step further than Kant by claiming the unity of transcendental and practical reason, namely the unity of reason itself. Fichte’s notion of the “the pure I”, the freedom of the subject, transcends all objective necessity, however, without contradicting it. Thus, he made the perception of the human being as a moral agent in the world possible. Friedrich Schelling (1775 – 1854) reformulated the question: “How is it that the absolute I goes out of itself and opposes a Not-I to itself?” Andrew Bowie, Schelling and Modern European Philosophy: An Introduction (London: Routledge, 1993), 23. [Schelling, Schelling’s Sämtliche Werke (1856 – 1861), I/1, 175.] In response to the question, Schelling, in his Naturphilosophie, included the ‘I’ within nature and paralleled the idea of nature—as the producing subject—with the thinking subject. Later, Schelling distanced himself from the high perception of the subjective ‘I’, realizing the partialness and the shortcomings of all theoretical knowledge. Schelling wrote: “for being, actual, real being is precisely self-disclosure/revelation (Selbstoffenbarung). If it is to be as One then it must disclose/reveal itself in itself; but it does not disclose/reveal itself in itself if it is not an other in itself, and is in this other the One for itself, thus if it is not absolutely the living link of itself and an other”. [SW I/7, 54.] Schelling, On the History of Modern Philosophy, 17. Heidegger, in turn, followed Kant’s notion of a priori as the ground for philosophical inquiry, and the Da-sein as taking up the stance of the transcendental subject. Thus, he maintained that a realization of being is present a priori within every human being. However, and maintaining the earlier critiques of Kant’s thought, Heidegger read Kant’s limiting of human knowledge as a limiting of the human being him/herself. For Heidegger, rather, transcendence is needed for the person to be him/herself and to step beyond pure reason in order to experience that which is. Hence, Heidegger re-interpreted Kant’s critique ontologically, claiming that it is essentially about the finitude of human reality rather than a theory of knowledge, while transcendence for him was not limited to the cognitive sphere but was necessary for any perception of being. So, he wrote: “This understanding of the being of beings, this synthetic knowledge a priori, is crucial for every experience of beings.” Martin Heidegger, Phenomenological Interpretation of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason (1927– 28), tr. P. Emad and K. Maly (Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 1997), 38. In his Being and Time, and within the transcendental paradigm, the human being, for Heidegger, was perceived as the one who could “stand out and beyond” him/herself. There he


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being is directed toward the world and is concerned about it. On the one hand, the world is a deficient reality, and on the other, the world is the region for beings to reveal themselves as they truly are. In the first instance, we have the broken world in mind, with all the pains, wars, injustice and cruelty that are in the world, while, in the second instance, we think of the world as the ‘openness of being’ or the abode for the ‘clearing of being’. The human being is the dweller, the mortal one, the one who is in the world, who cares and preserves the world in the sense that he/she is the one who always and invariably attempts to lift it up from its brokenness and bring it into its fulfillment and consummation. This persistent human striving we call here ‘transcendence’ in the sense of the elevation of one’s self, and with it every possible other being in the world, toward being as such, or toward the divine. Transcendence, as delineated here, is originally and essentially the task of metaphysics, namely ‘going beyond’ [μετὰ] the ‘physical’ [τὰ φυσικά]. Transcendere in Latin has the same sense of ‘going beyond’, as it is through transcendence toward being as such that being bestows upon beings their true being. Furthermore, τὰ φυσικά here is to be conceived as that which emerges by itself revealing its own being, rather than mere corporeal nature. Through transcendence—as the main task of metaphysics—beings are able to

wrote: “The doctrine of signification is rooted in the ontology of Dasein. Whether it prospers, or decays depends on the fate of this ontology.” Heidegger, BT (1927), 209. Later, in the 1930s, Heidegger perceived his own work as standing in the same tradition of Western metaphysics with its “turn to the subject”, which, starting from Kant, he could refer back to Descartes, and even to Parmenides. However, Heidegger was critical to the “pure transcendental ego” and the dominance of the theoretical over the existential already in 1927, as he wrote that “whether a thing is hidden or disclosed, it has its home in the clearing.” Martin Heidegger, The Basic Problems of Phenomenology (1927), tr. Albert Hofstadter (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1982), hereafter BPP, 307. Nevertheless, later he feared the misinterpretation of his transcendental approach and the language of ex-sistence as claiming that human existence, on its own, could project subjectively the whole horizon of being and penetrate the clearing merely through an “existential act” as an act of transcendence. This would hinder his ontological project and the unfolding of the clearing of being as the open domain that is nevertheless intrinsically given. For him, it was essentially through the clearing of being, rather than in any subjective manner, that one is able to move from the scope of things and penetrate into their very being. Thus, he moved to his seinsgeschichtlich approach, through which he could better address the clearing and its appropriation as the central topic of his thought. See on this: Thomas Sheehan, Making Sense of Heidegger: A Paradigm Shift (London: Rowman & Littlefield Pub Incorporated, 2014), 134, 206 – 7, 246. See further: Immanuel Kant, The Critique of Pure Reason, tr. Paul Guyer & Allen W. Wood (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009); Immanuel Kant, Religion Within the Limits of Reason Alone, tr. Theodore M. Greene (New York: Harper & Row, 1960).

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pass beyond the limited possibility of their being in the world to that which makes their being possible, and, hence, they are truly what they are and what they always have been. Hence, through transcending the self toward being as such—or toward the divine—‘radical individuation’ is made possible in such a way that one proceeds on the path toward being as such and at the same time one arrives at one’s true being.¹³⁸ In theological terms, God is perceived as the ground of all that is and the human as attaining to a likeness of God. This likeness of God implies both sameness and difference from the divine. Here, affirmative theology attempts to perceive God in the light of beings, and particularly the human being, who is created “in the image of God”. Thus, affirmative theology aspires to disclose the aspects of both sameness and difference between the human being and te divine.¹³⁹ The human being is part of the world and at the same time is a spiritual being. In him/her the two natures—the divine and the human—intercede in such a way that the human image is actualized as far as the divine is realized.¹⁴⁰ Each of the two natures presuppose the other, which is to say that one is human to the extent that one is on the path of divinization; hence, it is on this path that ‘radical individuation’ occurs. Jesus Christ was fully human and fully divine. Neither of these two natures would reach fulfillment in the divine-humanity without the other. The notion of ‘a spiritual being’ refers then to the human subject, who alone in all of creation has the tendency, the potential and the capability to come out of him/herself, transcending the self to that Mystery which lies beyond the worldly reality. Such potential and capability is to be ascribed to the divine element, already given to the human being from the very beginning. The human being has a further responsibility, namely toward creation. In the perspective of Orthodox theology, the earthy cosmos is the body of the human being and the human being is the nature of the earthy cosmos. Such consideration of the relationship between the human being and the cosmos comes from the early Stoics, who claimed that the human subject is a microcosm while the cosmos is a large human being. The Church Fathers assumed the same notion of microcosm as the Stoics; however, they maintained that the human being is superior to the cosmos, because he/she gives meaning to it. Gregory of Nyssa claimed that the glory of the human being is not to be found in his/

 See on this: Heidegger, BT (1927), 62.  Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, DNMT, 2– 3  Berdyaev, “On the Nature and Value of Personality” in Teachings of Modern Orthodox Christianity, 143 – 145. This perception of divinity-humanity, namely the two natures of the human being, is strange to both dualistic and monistic approaches. Furthermore, it is not based on pure rational-intellectual grounding, but rather on human existential experience in the world.


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her resemblance to the universe, but rather in his/her likeness to God and his/ her participation in divine mystery.¹⁴¹ The human being is the word, the logos through which the world reaches its meaning. Thus, he/she has a decisive role in rescuing the world from the danger of falling into meaninglessness and bringing it into unity with God, that is the purpose and the reason for its existence. This construes the twofold human responsibility: On the one hand, the human being must give away his/her earthly (cosmic) nature in order to discover it fully and meaningfully. On the other hand, by giving or offering him/herself, the human being offers the universe to God, so that it too attains union with the divine. For this to occur, the human being returns to the world in order to elevate it with him/her.¹⁴² This is to say that the human being is perceived by Orthodox theology as the means through which the whole cosmos attains union with the divine. Thus, in the human being the world finds its meaning, its τέλος [purpose] and its λόγος [logos]. In this sense, the experience of divine Mystery presumes two subsequent moments. The first is the experience of transcending oneself to the Mystery, that is, the experience of falling into the Mystery, namely a return into one’s origins. The second is the experience of escaping the Mystery and coming back to the worldly reality of human existence in order to bring it into union with the very same Mystery. Berdyaev further maintained that, in order for the human and the worldly to take part in the divine, it requires purity and innocence. Here, the figure of Mary is employed by the Orthodox Church to represent the world’s and humanity’s pure and blameless reception of God. Thus, Mary’s purity indicates the purified and immaculate human self in its openness toward God and willing reciprocity with the divine. It is only through her, that is, through pure human willingness to receive God, that the coming of God to the world is made possible. Without Mary’s openness to the divine, that is, without the openness of the world to God, the incarnation would have not occurred. Contrary to the traditional-western understanding of ‘divine grace’, as gratuitous, extrinsic and unowned, which conceals the integral human role and covers up the essential goodness inherent within the human,¹⁴³ Mary—in Orthodox theology—is considered to represent the

 Lossky, Orthodox Theology: An Introduction, 70 – 71. Lossky wrote: “Man is the hypostasis of the whole cosmos which participates in his nature. And the earth finds its personal meaning, hypostatic in man. To the universe man is the hope of receiving grace and uniting with God, and also the danger of failure and fallenness.”  See: Lossky, Orthodox Theology: An Introduction, 71.  In the time of the Counter-Reformation, which presented a simplified and arbitrary version of Thomism, the Neo-scholastic concept of natura pura [pure nature] came forth, which referred to human nature as having never been exposed to divine grace. Thus, nature and grace were

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‘free wisdom’ of the human creature, and thus to stand for the cosmic ground and foundation of the Church, as it is through its uniting with the divine that the Church is made possible. Hence Berdyaev wrote: “In her the world and humanity responded to the divine appeal … The Virgin Mary is the female cosmic soul of humanity.”¹⁴⁴ However, being in the world presupposes the continuous conflict between the worldly and the spiritual. The way of transcendence, that is, the way of freedom and spirit, is always confronted with the materialistically, or pure-rationalistically, contrived way of life, which results in an ‘average’ or ‘common’ way of ‘thinking’ and acting, rather than making ‘individuation’ possible. The second provides the person with contentment; however, it deprives him/her of his/her spiritual freedom and of his/her free response to God. “[I]ts object is to overthrow freedom and get rid of the irrational element of life in the name of happiness, sufficiency, and leisure”.¹⁴⁵ This is what the Grand Inquisitor proposed in Dostoyevsky’s Brothers Karamazov, accusing Christ of not considering human weakness and its incompatibility with the freedom that Christ brought to the human being.¹⁴⁶ Correspondingly, Heidegger emphasized the importance of transcendence as the possibility and the potential within the human being to become that which he/she already is, but which has not yet been realized. Thus, through transcendence, the Dasein [the human being] passes toward that which is not yet at hand. Transcendence, in this sense, is the “fundamental constitution” of the human being. In 1928 Heidegger wrote: Transcendence means surpassing [Überstieg]. That which accomplishes such surpassing and dwells in this surpassing is transcendent (transcending). As an occurrence, this surpassing pertains to something that is. Formally speaking, surpassing may be grasped as a “relation” that passes “from” something “to” something. To surpassing there thus belongs that toward which such surpassing occurs, that which is usually, though inaccurately, called the ‘transcendent’. And finally, there is in each case something that is surpassed in this surpassing. … Transcendence in the terminological sense to be clarified and demonstrated means something that properly pertains to human Dasein, and does so not merely as one kind of comportment among other possible kinds that are undertaken from time to time. Rather, it belongs to human Dasein as the fundamental constitution of this being,

considered as two different layers, set above each other in such a way that they almost do not penetrate each other. The reason behind such an understanding was primarily to defend grace as a purely divine gift. See: Louis Bouyer, “La Renouveau des etudes patristiques” La vie intellectuelle (February 1947), 15 – 16.  Berdyaev, FS (1927), 336.  Berdyaev, D (1923), 194.  Berdyaev, D (1923), 194– 196.


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one that occurs prior to all comportment. … Transcendence, however, is that surpassing that makes possible such a thing as existence in general, thereby also making it possible to move ‘oneself’ in space.¹⁴⁷

Having conceived of the human being as a ‘subject’, namely “that being that we ourselves in each case are and that we understand as ‘Dasein’”, Heidegger perceived transcendence as the “essence of subjectivity”. Here, the concepts of ‘subject’ or ‘subjectivity’ stand for the human being as such. Hence, he wrote: “to be a subject means to be a being in and as transcendence.”¹⁴⁸ While, through transcendence, the human being surpasses every being that comes to unconcealedness, including one’s own self. Hence, “[i]n this surpassing Dasein for the first time comes toward that being that it is, and comes toward it as it ‘itself’. Transcendence constitutes selfhood.”¹⁴⁹ Furthermore, Heidegger emphasized the essential human role in elevating the earth and uniting it with heaven. He maintained that the prior manner of one’s being in the world is building, the essential meaning of which is dwelling. Dwelling, as an indispensable characteristic of human be-ing in the world, means “sparing and preserving”.¹⁵⁰ This implies setting the earth free to be what it is. The very nature of building is letting-to-dwell, namely letting the earth be truly itself.¹⁵¹ Hence, the human being, as the one dwelling in the

 Heidegger, OEG (1929), in PATH, 107– 108. [“Transzendenz bedeutet Überstieg. Transzendent (transzendierend) ist, was den Überstieg vollzieht, im Übersteigen verweilt. Dieses eignet als Geschehen einem Seienden. Formal läßt sich der Überstieg als eine “Beziehung” fassen, die sich “von” etwas “zu” etwas hinzieht. Zum Überstieg gehört dann solches, worauf zu der Überstieg erfolgt, was unzutreffend wird im Überstieg je etwas überstiegen. … Die Transzendenz in der zu klärenden und auszuweisenden terminologischen Bedeutung meint solches, was dem menschlichen Dasein eignet, und zwar nicht als eine unter anderen mögliche, zuweilen in Vollzug gesetzte Verhaltungsweise, sondern als vor aller Verhaltung geschehende Grundverfassung dieses Seienden. … Die Transzendenz jedoch ist der Überstieg, der so etwas wie Existenz überhaupt und mithin auch ein “Sich”-bewegen-im-Raume ermöglicht.” Heidegger, GA 9, 137.] It should be noted here that ‘transcendence’ and ‘transcendental’, as they occur in this work, do not carry the historical sense of ‘transcendental’, which Heidegger himself criticized in his later works, as in his “Conversation”. On the notion of “transcendental”, see the earlier footnote (137) in this chapter.  Heidegger, OEG (1929), in PATH, 108.  Heidegger, OEG (1929), in PATH, 108. [“Im Überstieg kommt das Dasein allererst auf solches Seindes zu, das es ist, auf es als es ‚selbst. Die Transzendenz konstituiert die Selbstheit.’” Heidegger, GA 9, 138.]  Heidegger expounded on the word ‘building’ [bauen], referring it back to ‘being’. “To be a human being means to be on earth as a mortal. It means to dwell.” “Building Dwelling Thinking” (1951), PLT, 145, 147.  Heidegger, “Building Dwelling Thinking” (1951), PLT, 145, 147.

2.2 Transcendence as the Move Inward


world, is the one who can open him/herself up to being as such, remaining both within his/her own truth and the truth of being. In this way, the human being alone can ek-sist in the world, that is, stand out of his/her objectivity and simultaneously persist within the openness of being. Ek-sistence here indicates one’s owning of one’s truth and participation in truth as such, while ecstatic union with being, or ek-stasis [ἔκστασις], denotes the notion of being carried out in amazement, which is the amazement of union with the one Mystery. The essence of the human being lies in such ek-sistence, which is his/her capability to step outside his/her own (biological) existence, while remaining within the truth of being and faithful to his/her essential nature. Unless the human being possesses his/her own being, owns it in the manner of freeing it from all presuppositions and ‘universal’ descriptions of what he/she is to be, unless such a personal freeing of the self takes place, the human being remains imprisoned by this or that postulation.¹⁵² Thus, ek-sistence reveals and determines the reality of the human being in his/her belonging to being as such. Furthermore, it would even be possible to say that the human being is human to the extent that he/she ek-sists in the world, that is, to the extent that he/she projects him/herself toward the openness of being, since the human being is the one who dwells near to being and is thus the neighbor of being. In other words, this is the human being’s ecstatic union with being as such, which is to say his/her be-ing an inherent particle of being.¹⁵³ Since being as such comes to be only through beings, it is the responsibility and at the same time the dignity of the human being to receive being and to let beings come to the light of being and reveal themselves as they truly are. In this sense, it is also possible to perceive the ek-sisting human being as the guard of being in the world. Heidegger wrote:

 This is in contrast to the metaphysical notion of existentia, which in Medieval thought denoted actualitas (actuality) as the realization or the actualization (in some objective sense) of a possibility or an Idea, and which for Kant indicated the objective actuality in the sense of perceptible experience. For Heidegger, ek-sistence did not denote the actual existence of the human subject; rather it addressed his/her essence, knowing that essence here is to be conceived neither in relation to esse essentiae nor to esse existentiae. Heidegger maintained that the domination of such a distinction between essentia (essentiality) and existentia (actuality) in Western history hindered the perception of being and the true essence or being of the human subject. Heidegger, LH (1946), PATH, 248 – 250, 266.  Heidegger, LH (1946), PATH, 245 – 46, 248 – 49. ‘World’ here, in Heidegger’s use, does not denote any negative reality in the sense of the earthly contrasting the heavenly or the spiritual.


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The human being is rather ‘thrown’ by being itself into the truth of being, so that ek-sisting in this fashion he might guard the truth of being, in order that beings might appear in the light of being as the beings they are.¹⁵⁴

Heidegger’s words—toward the end of his “Postscript”—come close to the Orthodox understanding of the gift of divine Word in the human being and the human response, in freedom and love, through the human words.¹⁵⁵ Heidegger wrote: The speechless answer of his thanking through sacrifice is the source of the human word, which is the prime cause of language as the enunciation of the Word in words.¹⁵⁶

The truth of being is expressed through human word and only in participating in it that all other human words participate in truth. Only being that is incarnated in the word can sustain and rectify the human words: Obedient to the voice of Being, thought seeks the Word through which the truth of Being may be expressed. Only when the language of historical man is born of the Word does it ring true. But if it does ring true, then the testimony of the soundless voice of hidden springs lures it ever on.¹⁵⁷

Human words, in turn, and beside human thankfulness, carry the silent voices of hidden sources that summon and lure the human beings to testify to being as such. Human words carry all the unutterable words of the universe and present them as a sacrifice, a gift of praise and gratitude. It is to poetry and thinking that words are entrusted, and through the words it is being as such that is given over. How can such a genuinely elevating move be distinguished, however, from all the different assertions that claim to make the transcending experience? The suggested opening of the self to being as such—in order that one might ek-sist in the world—demands thinking in the sense of originary thinking. Such thinking

 Heidegger, LH (1946), PATH, 245. [“Der Mensch ist vielmehr vom Sein selbst in die Wahrheit des Seins geworfen, daß er, dergestalt ek-sistierend, die Wahrheit des Seins hüte, damit im Lichte des Seins das Seinde als das Seiende, das es ist, erscheine.” Heidegger, GA 9, 330.]  Heidegger, P (1943), in PATH, 358 – 59.  Heidegger, P (1943), in Pathmarks, 358. [“Die Antwort des Denkens (Die sprachlose Antwort des Dankens im Opfer) ist der Ursprung des menschlichen Wortes, welches Wort erst die Sprache als die Verlautung des Wortes in die Wörter entstehen läßt.” Heidegger, GA 9, 310.]  Heidegger, P (1943), in Pathmarks, 360. [“Das Denken, gehorsam der Stimme des Seins, sucht diesem das Wort, aus dem die Wahrheit des Seins zur Sprache kommt. Erst wenn die Sprache des geschichtlichen Menschen aus dem Wort entspringt, ist sie im Lot. Steht sie aber im Lot, dann winkt ihr die Gewähr der lautlosen Stimme verborgener Quellen.” Heidegger, GA 9, 311.]

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requires, in turn, that one frees the self from the residue of grammatical and technical interpretations of thinking, so that one may think being itself. Thinking here precedes all doing and acting in the world and, hence, is a theoretical step heralding the human activity in the world. It is in this sense that philosophy and theology are before science and not an element of it.¹⁵⁸ Thinking, rather, is subsequent to being, while being itself enables thinking in the sense that it lets it be. Since being enables thinking, being is the essence of thinking. Conversely, whenever thinking loses its essence, it attempts to secure its role by finding in technical and metaphysical interpretations a haven and a guarantee for its persistence. By doing this, thinking—and consequently philosophy and theology—no longer thinks but rather becomes a passive engagement with ‘philosophy’ and ‘theology’. It takes the form of educational or cultural concern and enters into competition within the public realm, attempting to outturn other forms of similar concerns. Such thinking, though having recourse to cultivated language and terminology, science and ‘philosophy’, nevertheless impairs language, thinking and humanity. It perceives the whole of reality in a calculative manner, bringing the whole into a business-like achievement, aspiring to supplement every single claim it makes with proofs. In the face of such thinking, one can either conform oneself with it or avoid it, and in the second case one distances oneself from the public rivalry, repudiating it but, nevertheless, isolating oneself. This would turn the possibility of thinking into some conventional private reality that withdraws itself from the public concerns and declares—though unintentionally—its obsequiousness and compliance to the public realm. Neither the first nor the second way of claiming to experience the transcendental move—namely the way of passive engagement with philosophy and theology and, in contrast to this, the way of withdrawing the self from the public concerns—brings the person into any true involvement in the world. Heidegger wrote: But if the human being is to find his way once again into the nearness of being he must first learn to exist in the nameless. In the same way he must recognize the seductions of the public realm as well as the impotence of the private.¹⁵⁹

Thus, one could experience both the enticement of the public and the desolation and the misery of isolation. Yet, one has to take, again and again, the risk of listening to the voice of being and consent to the fact that often one does not have much to argue for or even the means to defend one’s thinking against the disap-

 Thinking, in its essence, is “thinking of being”. Heidegger, LH (1946), 241. [“Das Denken, schlicht gesagt, ist das Denken des Seins.” Heidegger, GA 9, 316.]  Heidegger, LH (1946), PATH, 243.


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provals launched by the scientific-technical approach. Only through existing in “the nameless” can one truly open up the self for “the heavenly powers” as they “cannot do all things”. We read Hölderlin’s words, in his “Mnemosyne”, as cited by Heidegger: … The heavenly powers Cannot do all things. It is the mortals Who reach sooner into the abyss. So the turn is With these. Long is The Time, but the true comes into Its own. [… Nicht vermögen Die Himmlischen alles. Nemlich es reichen Die Sterblichen eh’ in den Abgrund. Also wendet es sich Mit diesen. Lang ist Die Zeit, es ereignet sich aber Das Wahre.]¹⁶⁰

Through ‘transcendence’, the Dasein transcends toward ‘nothingness’, that is, toward pure being or the fullness of being, such that he/she dwells there as ek-sisting. It is in human transcendence, similar to human ek-sistence, that being comes, since it is through transcending the self, or through stepping outside one’s worldly existence toward being as such, that being reveals itself, embracing human transcendence and ek-sistence, and the world reaches at its true meaning. So, Heidegger wrote: “Dasein transcends toward the ‘world’. Dasein transcends itself. Being transcends beings. Dasein transcends toward nothingness.”¹⁶¹

2.2.3 Freedom as Transcendence Both transcendence toward the divine and ek-sistence in the world imply taking off that which belongs to the objectivity of the worldly existence—against the strain of the crowd—and putting on being, namely its purity and truth. Thus,  Hölderlin as cited by Heidegger in “What Are Poets For?” (1946), PLT, 90. [Heidegger, GA 5, 270.]  Heidegger, EV (1941– 42), 257. [“1. Das Dasein tranzendiert zur “Welt”. 2. Das Dasein tranzendiert sich selbst. 3. Das Sein tranzendiert das Seiende. 4. Das Dasein tranzendiert zum Nichts.” Heidegger, GA 71, 296.]

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the two incidents—taking off and putting on—are one and the same, and it is in the persistence of these two incidents that the human striving toward being as such, which is simultaneously endurance in freedom, lies. However, it is particularly in the second moment that the human being sustains being and takes it, in care and concern, upon him/herself; that is, it is only in this moment that he/ she takes the truth of being upon him/herself. Only a free human being can transcend him/herself toward pure freedom. However, one does not will to think and to be free but is rather granted freedom by means of one’s openness toward freedom, thinking and letting be.¹⁶² In this sense, freedom is the relinquishment of all limited perceptions of “transcendental representation” and even the surrender of one’s own will. So, Heidegger wrote: Releasement is indeed the release of oneself from transcendental re-presentation and so a relinquishing of the willing of a horizon. Such relinquishing no longer stems from a willing, except that the occasion for releasing oneself to belonging to that-which-regions requires a trace of willing. This trace, however, vanishes while releasing oneself and is completely extinguished in releasement.¹⁶³

Had the human subject not been given the possibility to free him/herself he/she would not have the chance of transcendence to any pure freedom. This would be the case for most ideological systems that enforce a general leveling of ideas, principles and yearnings. In the following words, Dostoyevsky’s Grand Inquisitor summed up the notion of such authority, and the bondage and loss of freedom of the spirit which it induces: All the millions of human creatures will be happy. … We shall make them work, but in their spare time we shall organize their life like a children’s game, with children’s songs and cantatas and innocent dances. We shall allow them even sin, knowing they are so weak and helpless. … We shall persuade them that they will only become free when they have given up their freedom to us.¹⁶⁴

 Heidegger, DT (1944– 55), 61.  Heidegger, “Conversation” (1944– 45), DT, 79 – 80. [“Die Gelassenheit ist in der Tat das Sichloslassen aus dem transzendentalen Vorstellen und so ein Absehen vom Wollen des Horizontes. Dieses Absehen kommt nicht mehr aus einem Wollen, es sei denn, der Anlaß zum Sicheinlassen in die Zugehörigkeit zur Gegnet bedürfe einer Spur des Wollens, welche Spur jedoch im Sicheinlassen verschwindet und vollends in der Gelassenheit ausgelöscht ist.” Heidegger, GA 13, 62.]  Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov (1880), tr. David McDuff (London: Penguin Books, 1993, 2003.) as quoted by Nikolaĭ Berdyaev in his: Dostoyevsky (1921), tr. Donald Attwater (New York: New American Library, 1974), hereafter D, 141– 142.


2 The Human Reality—Its Worldliness and Transcendence

Human freedom, according to Berdyaev, passes through two stages; an initial freedom, which demands that the person chooses freedom and truth, and thus throws off enslavement to him/herself and to his/her environment, and a second greater freedom in Christ, which is final in the sense that it is the manifestation of spirit. Freedom in Christ is thus inner freedom in contrast to all external forms of perceiving truth, which implement tyranny through exterior laws, resulting in compulsion and subjugation of spirit. Christ, nevertheless, desires the free love of the human being. In this sense, ultimate freedom in Christ is possible only for free human beings, who are themselves initiators for choosing freedom. There is, however, the risk of confusion between the freedom of the spirit and the self-centered freedom of the will, as the result of which one would continue to waver between freedom and enslavement.¹⁶⁵ Berdyaev contended that ultimate freedom is attainable only through the mediation of truth, while acquiring truth presupposes one’s freedom, that is, one’s free movement towards truth as such. Consequently, “freedom is not only an end, but also a path.”¹⁶⁶ Furthermore, for those who have experienced ultimate freedom, “their intransigent truthfulness cannot bear the possibility of error.”¹⁶⁷ Berdyaev wrote: Freedom is the ultimate: it cannot be derived from anything: it cannot be made the equivalent of anything. Freedom is the baseless foundation of being: it is deeper than all being.¹⁶⁸ The higher freedom of man is not of the nature of man, is not of the substance of man, but is rather God’s idea about man, the image and likeness of God within man. … This is the acting of grace upon our freedom, its enlightening from within.¹⁶⁹

Along similar lines, Heidegger explained that freedom “is the abyss of truth”,¹⁷⁰ while Berdyaev maintained that freedom is itself the mystery behind creation. Had freedom not existed, “the verity of this suffering world”¹⁷¹ could not be admitted. So, Berdyaev wrote: “The existence of evil is a proof of the existence of God”, in the sense that, had the world been solely dominated by goodness and

 Berdyaev, D (1923), 68 – 77.  Nikolaĭ Berdyaev, “The Metaphysical Problem of Freedom” (1928), tr. Fr. S. Janos, Journal Put’, Jan. 1928, No. 9, 41– 53. Accessed 22.06. 2020: http://www.berdyaev.com/berdiaev/berd_ lib/1928_329.html.  Berdyaev, D (1923), 71.  Berdyaev, MCA (1916),145.  Berdyaev, “The Metaphysical Problem of Freedom”: http://www.berdyaev.com/berdiaev/ berd_lib/1928_329.html.  Heidegger, EV (1941– 42), 247.  Berdyaev, D (1923), 85.

2.2 Transcendence as the Move Inward


rectitude, the existence of God would be meaningless. Hence, there is evil because there is freedom. Freedom explains the human choice of good and evil, or even better, of freedom and enslavement. Thus, “freedom is the tragic destiny of mankind and of God, it appertains to the very heart of being as a fundamental mystery.”¹⁷² The freedom that one has, regardless of how limited it might seem to be in one’s life, is the seed and the bearer of all the free choices and the experiences of freedom that one can have in life. This invalidates all programmed responses and imposed decisions upon the human self. The capacity to respond to God presupposes the possibility of rejecting divine grace and refusing to respond. Freedom is thus the requirement for any true response and authentic transcendence, since movement toward God is by nature a movement of love, and love is possible only in freedom. Decisions and works that lack freedom simultaneously lack their true nature, that is to say, they lack truth, since truth is freedom. Freedom is, thus, alone the confirmation and the affirmation of one’s participation in the divine. In the words of Gregory of Nyssa, transcendence lies in “the fact of being freed from necessity and not being subject to the domination of nature, but able to determine oneself freely.”¹⁷³ God is, then, not an obstacle on the path of human free self-determination. On the contrary, it is in God and through God that the human being is able to transcend him/herself toward freedom. “God has need of the freedom of man more so, than does man himself. Man readily renounces freedom in the name of the easing of life, but God does not renounce the freedom of man, since with this is bound up His design for the world-creation.”¹⁷⁴ We read Berdyaev further: Only the human nature in grace can be called free. And in this instance the speaking is about the second understanding of freedom. This is freedom, which Truth gives. Truth is also an energy, acting upon man and liberating him.¹⁷⁵

For Heidegger, “Dasein is the possibility of Being-free for its ownmost potentiality-for-Being.”¹⁷⁶ Thus, in order for one to determine oneself freely, one must first consciously assume one’s reality; that is, one must appropriate the divine image, or grace, that is already granted to him/her. In this lies human dignity, that, dis Berdyaev, D (1923), 87– 88.  Gregory of Nyssa, ‘On the Making of Man’, 405. The citation appears in V. Lossky, Orthodox Theology: An Introduction, 72.  Berdyaev, “The Metaphysical Problem of Freedom”: http://www.berdyaev.com/berdiaev/ berd_lib/1928_329.html.  Berdyaev, “The Metaphysical Problem of Freedom”: http://www.berdyaev.com/berdiaev/ berd_lib/1928_329.html.  Heidegger, BT (1927), 183.


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similar from the rest of creation, the human being alone has the capability to free him/herself from his/her earthly nature and transcend it to God such that it truly is on the path of transformation and transfiguration. This is the same as to say that one has to give oneself away, or to let it go, in order to own it truly in freedom. Freedom and genuine transcendence, however, are not easy: It would be a mistake to think that the average man loves freedom. A still greater mistake would be to suppose that freedom is an easy thing. Freedom is a difficult thing. It is easier to remain in slavery.¹⁷⁷

Furthermore, the Russian Orthodox theologian Vladimir Lossky advocated the importance of human freedom for salvation. He wrote: “A single will for creation, but two for deification. A single will to raise up the image, but two to make the image into a likeness.”¹⁷⁸ Without the free human will, the human subject remains in his/her isolated self, since God does not force the human into any response and does not impose Godself without the human being’s preparing a place for God within his/her inner depth. Along similar lines, Heidegger asked: “How could there ever be for the god an abode fit for a god, if a divine radiance did not first begin to shine in everything that is?”¹⁷⁹ A “divine radiance” must thus first shine in the world, for God to have an ‘abode’ fit for God. Freedom is itself the Mystery behind creation; it is the no-thing rather than any actualized being, while human creativity points out the human participation in, and transcendence toward, that one Mystery. Creativity in this sense “does not mean producing a work of art. Rather it is the transformation of self and the world.”¹⁸⁰ Freedom, thus, is to be perceived as potentiality that is prior to all actualized being, and from which alone creativity and a new world can be anticipated. Thus, Berdyaev maintained that the creative act assumes freedom, and freedom is possible only as the consequence of the unfathomable potentiality that is set upon nothing, rather than upon any actualized being. In this sense, Berdyaev criticized the misinterpretation of Aristotle’s teaching on potentiality and actuality—particularly in the scholastic tradition—in which actuality was perceived as prior to potentiality. Thus, he wrote: “Without the potentiality, with Berdyaev, SF (1927), 247.  Lossky, Orthodox Theology: An Introduction, 73.  Heidegger, “What Are Poets For?” (1936), PLT, 90. It is my conviction that Berdyaev’s free spirit and Heidegger’s ‘being towards death’ approach Nietzsche’s will to power, which is the true nobility and the highest virtue of humankind. It is the freedom of spirit that fears no death, but equally—if not even more—takes being in the world seriously rather than denying it any value. Any world-denying aspiration for salvation has no place in this viewpoint.  Berdyaev, MCA (1916), 225.

2.3 Language: The ‘House of Being’


out the nothing in the world there would be no change, there would be no developement, there would not be creativity.”¹⁸¹ In potentiality there is more, than there is in act, in potentiality there is infinitude, whereas in act there is always limitedness. The infinitude of potentiality is the well-spring of freedom and of creative change, of that which is new in the world. The actualised being of the world is a final and limited sphere in comparison with the unlimitedness and unfathomableness of potentiality, of the abyss, lying beneathe being, and deeper than it.¹⁸²

Hence, for Berdyaev, freedom was not a moral or psychological question, such as the question of human will, but rather a theological-metaphysical one that has to do with one’s perception of the source of freedom. Freedom, for him, arises from the coming together of no-thing and being, that is, of potentiality and actuality, while potentiality is beyond actuality and in it lie the seeds of human freedom. This dialectic—or tragedy—of freedom (and necessity) is, however, overcome only through the attainment of spirituality, since “spirit is freedom”.¹⁸³ In different words, in God and through God, the human being attains freedom, meaning that divine grace and human freedom, though pointing to two different truths and yet are one and the same.

2.3 Language: The ‘House of Being’ 2.3.1 Pure Thinking as Revealing Thinking is to think being. That is to say that, apart from all categorizations of being, namely apart from beings and things, being as such is the object of pure thinking. Pure thinking is thinking the being of beings. Here lies the lapse of metaphysics, according to Heidegger, that it did not discern the true nature of thinking but rather concentrated on beings at the expense of being. In this sense, thinking of being is the foundation [die Grundlegung] for philosophy and metaphysics. Such thinking is part of every human activity in the sense that the human being at every incident seeks the meaning of this or that being, or

 Berdyaev, “The Metaphysical Problem of Freedom”: http://www.berdyaev.com/berdiaev/ berd_lib/1928_329.html.  Berdyaev, “The Metaphysical Problem of Freedom”: http://www.berdyaev.com/berdiaev/ berd_lib/1928_329.html.  Berdyaev, “The Metaphysical Problem of Freedom”: http://www.berdyaev.com/berdiaev/ berd_lib/1928_329.html.


2 The Human Reality—Its Worldliness and Transcendence

thing. He/she constantly strives to let the true being and meaning of a thing come forth and emerge in an openness that repudiates obscurity and concealedness. Pure thinking, then, is revealing. Though it is part of every activity, pure thinking is nonetheless far beyond any particular understanding of praxis or techne, and beyond any special domain of scholarship. So, Heidegger wrote: “‘Cognition’ spoils us for thinking and distracts us from it. And especially if cognition has become calculation.”¹⁸⁴ Thus, he distinguished between objective scholarly work and human thinking that is granted admittance to being as such: Few are experienced enough in the difference between an object of scholarship and a matter thought.¹⁸⁵

And, hence … We may venture the step back out of philosophy into the thinking of Being as soon as we have grown familiar with the provenance of thinking.¹⁸⁶

Pure thinking is, then, an essential constituent of the person’s being in the world. It is the means, namely the bridge, through which the human being transcends him/herself to being as such and transcends the world in order that it might be transfigured into what it truly is, that is to reach at its meaning and purpose, or to attain salvation. The Orthodox would say: Mystical contemplation is the means for attending at a union with God. Heidegger wrote: [E]ssential thinking is an occurrence of Being.¹⁸⁷ Thus, pure thinking is attending to being as such, and only through it is the human being truly the Da-sein, the one who is there, the one near to being as

 Heidegger, EV (1941– 42), 276. [“Wir sind dadurch das “Erkennen” für das Denken verdorben und verstört. Und wenn gar erst das Erkennen zum Rechnen geworden ist.” Heidegger, GA 71, 318.]  Heidegger, “The Thinker as Poet” (1947), PLT, 5. [“Wenige sind erfahren genug im Unterschied zwischen einem Gegenstand der Wissenschaften und einer Sache des Denkens.” Heidegger, GA 13, 77.]  Heidegger, “The Thinker as Poet” (1947), PLT, 10. [“Den Schritt zurück aus der Philosophie in das Denken des Seyns dürfen wir wagen, sobald wir in der Herkunft des Denkens heimisch geworden sind.” Heidegger, GA 13, 82.]  Heidegger, P (1943), 356.

2.3 Language: The ‘House of Being’


such. Furthermore, through attending to being, one can have an understanding of beings and the possibility to perceive their meanings. Without such thinking, being would remain hidden, while beings would seem to be nothing more than the things they are represented through. “We must understand being so that we may be able to be given over to a world that is, so that we can exist in it and be our own Dasein itself as a being.”¹⁸⁸ These are the two movements that pure thinking requires: the move toward transcendence, through which the person is elevated to being as such, and the movement by which he/she is “given over” back to the world, as being as such is given to the world, namely the world of things and beings. By this, thinking allows “the advent of being” and, moreover, it is to thinking that the be-ing of beings is entrusted,¹⁸⁹ while it is only through language, namely through the utterance of the thinkers, that the experience of the destiny of being in the world is made possible. Yet, it is important here to note that, though the human being is thrown in the openness of being as such, he/she is not the prior agent; rather being itself is the initiator in every transformative move. Being reveals itself to the human being, and the human being, through opening up the self, responds to the call of being in freedom. Thus, we understand Heidegger’s words: “We never come to thoughts. They come to us.”¹⁹⁰ Being gives itself as a gift [Gabe], while the human being perceives the gift in the manner of thinking which is thanking [danken]. So: The thinking of thinkers is thanking.¹⁹¹

Such thinking is not founded upon the principle of causality. The human being, as the receiver of the divine gift, responds through praise and testimony, namely through bringing being as such into language. And, thus, the human being becomes truly the shepherd of being.¹⁹²

 Heidegger, BPP, 11.  Heidegger wrote: “Being has already been destined to thinking. Being is as the destiny of thinking.”  Heidegger, “The Thinker as Poet” (1947), PLT, 6. [“Wir kommen nie zu Gedanken. Sie kommen zu uns.” Heidegger, GA 13, 78.]  Heidegger, EV (1941– 42), 239. [“Das Denken der Denker ist ein Danken.” Heidegger, GA 71, 275.]  Heidegger, LH (1946), in PATH, 252.


2 The Human Reality—Its Worldliness and Transcendence

2.3.2 Language as Gathering All into a Unity of their Belonging Together Both Heidegger and Berdyaev associated their perception of language with the early Greek conception of λογος [word] in its kinship to the cosmic, creative, life-giving principle that indicates the essential meaning and purpose of all that exist. In the Orthodox theological tradition, the divine Λογος [Logos] is perceived as the ontological reality of all creation, since it is through the Logos that everything has been made. Justin Martyr making use of the early Greek tradition,¹⁹³ taught that the Logos is the divine creating agent, which is dispersed and present as the rational principle in the whole human race and throughout all creation.¹⁹⁴ Furthermore, Maximus the Confessor maintained that every human being has his/her λογος or reason (idea) in God,¹⁹⁵ and the many logoi are the ‘divine intentions’ who together are the one Logos, the Son of God.¹⁹⁶ The role of Christ is thus a fulfilling one, such that human nature might reach its own purpose and meaning.¹⁹⁷ According to this tradition, all human beings are granted the possibility to become divine words. Berdyaev’s thought is in conformity with this tradition. In many of his works he described the Logos as the Word, the light and the meaning of the world that dwells in the innermost self of the human subject. For him, the Logos was Christ, the Cosmic Christ, in whom all human beings participate.¹⁹⁸ So, he wrote: “Through Christ, the Logos, not only the human race but the whole universe turns to God and responds to the divine appeal and to the divine need of love.”¹⁹⁹ Heidegger likewise went back to the early Greek tradition on the notion of logos. For him, the early Greek experience of being was fundamental, since the early Greeks, according to him, were instantly responsive to being and receptive of that which was granted and disclosed to them. Philosophy, hence, originated from the Greek experience, while it was in the human aspiration to control

 The Greek tradition on the notion of logos can be traced back to the Stoics (3rd century B. C) and even to Heraclitus (535 – 475 BC).  J. Martyr, 1 Apol. viii. Cf. L.W. Barnard, Justin Martyr: His Life and Thought, 99.  Maximus the Confessor taught: “Of all things that do or will substantially exist… the logoi, firmly fixed, preexist in God, in accordance with which all things are and have become and abide, ever drawing near through natural motion to their purposed logoi.” George A. Malonery, The Cosmic Christ: From Paul to Teilhard (New York: Sheed and Ward, 1968), 278.  Polycarp Sherwood, The Earlier Ambigua of Saint Maximus the Confessor and His Refutation of Originism (Rome: Herder, 1955), 179.  See on this point: Lars Thunberg, Microcosm and Mediator: The Theological Anthropology of Maximus the Confessor (Sweden: Håkan Ohlssons Boktryckeri, 1965), 27– 28.  See: Berdyaev, FS (1927), 97, 106, 165; MCA (1916), 50 – 51, 75.  Berdyaev, FS (1927), 199.

2.3 Language: The ‘House of Being’


being, or language, that philosophy lapsed into rigidity and sterility as it attempted to fix language and turn it into a permanent thing.²⁰⁰ Thus, Heidegger maintained that the essence of language has been covered up, namely its nature as “the house of being”. Subjectivist metaphysics, he contended, with its claimed dichotomy between the individual subjective mind and the outside objective world, aspired to control beings and used language as its tool. He perceived this as not only the demolition of language but also as endangering the essence of humanity. As the result of abandoning being, the essence of the human subject suffers homelessness, while the human being adheres to and conducts beings—floundering aimlessly in life. However, it is only when the truth of being is cleared that the human being is able to experience the radiation of being. So, he wrote: “Language is the clearing-concealing advent of being itself.”²⁰¹ For Heidegger, it was clear that it is through language that responsive conversation between being and the human subject occurs. Thus, he used language to move beyond the obscurities of representational thinking. Referring back to Heraclitus’ notion of λόγος, he explained that λόγος, or the verb λέγειν, indicates uncovering discourse or declaration [απόφανσις], through which the content of the discourse comes to light and is manifested. Based on this, language has the role of synthesis [σύνϑεσις], that is, it lets something be seen in its relatedness [Beisammen] to something else. Thus, similar to ἀλήθεια, λόγος has an uncovering role.²⁰² In 1950, Heidegger wrote: “Language speaks”.²⁰³ Thus, language primarily is not a human activity and not a mere instrument for communication.²⁰⁴ In speaking, language bids the coming together of the thing and its world, while holding the difference between the two. It is this difference that grants world to the thing and thing to the world, and it is only by this that both thing and world attain their true nature. The difference, however, is such that both being and beings share a common inner ground that unites both, and from which both being and beings come forth in their difference. The difference is then difference in unity, a difference which holds the mutual adherence of unity and twofoldness

 Heidegger, “The Question Concerning Technology” (1953), QCT (Introduction), XXV.  Heidegger, LH (1946), in PATH, 249.  Heidegger, BT (1927), 56 – 58.  Heidegger, “Language” (1950), PLT, 194.  It was Nietzsche, before Heidegger, who warned of the human being’s prideful use of language, who, believing in names and concepts as aeternae veritates [eternal truths], thought that, in and through language, he/she attained knowledge of the world. Friedrich Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human—A Book for Free Spirits, tr. R. J. Hollingdale (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986), 16,


2 The Human Reality—Its Worldliness and Transcendence

between being and beings. The difference “disclosingly appropriates things into bearing a world; it disclosingly appropriates world into the granting of things.”²⁰⁵ And it is the openness of beings to being, namely to the original language, as the difference, that makes human language possible. Language speaks, and in speaking it calls upon the onefoldedness of both the thing and the world;²⁰⁶ at the same time, the human being is given to language, namely to that which is his/her very own. The human being, hence, speaks only in response to the bidding of language. One first needs to listen to the command of the language, the command of the difference in the simple coming together of thing and world, and only then respond to the call. In this sense, the human being lives “in the speaking of language”.²⁰⁷ This is to say that it is not the human who is the master of language; rather it is the language that speaks and, by speaking, brings beings and their being together. Language speaks as the peal of stillness. Stillness stills by the carrying out, the bearing and enduring, of world and things in their presence. The carrying out of World and thing in the manner of stilling is the appropriative taking place of the dif-ference. Language, the peal of stillness, is, inasmuch as the dif-ference takes place. Language goes on as the taking place or occurring of the dif-ference for world and things.²⁰⁸

Hence, language—in its origin—is the stillness that brings things and their world together, in which all things find tranquility, and which constitutes their true meaning.²⁰⁹ Language, in this sense, is in need of human language, and human language is nothing other than the response to language’s act of appropriating the human being to itself.²¹⁰ Stillness and reticence are necessary here in order that the human being, though responding to the call of language, is nevertheless always in the condition of attending and harkening to its voice. In its deeper sense, responding is always listening. Furthermore, the word is the

 Heidegger, “Language” (1950), PLT, 200.  In order to expound on the notion of the language as bidding the thing and the world to come together, Heidegger quoted: “Commit thy way unto the Lord” [Psalm 37:5]. Heidegger, “Language” (1950), PLT, 203. See also: 204.  Heidegger, “Language” (1950), PLT, 207.  Heidegger, “Language” (1950), PLT, 205. [“Die Sprache spricht als das Geläut der Stille. Die Stille stillt, indem sie Welt und Dinge in ihr Wesen austrägt. Das Austragen von Welt und Ding in der Weise des Stillens ist das Ereignis des Unter-Schiedes. Die Sprache, das Geläut der Stille, ist, indem sich der Unter-Schied ereignet. Die Sprache west als der sich ereignende Unter-Schied für Welt und Dinge.” Heidegger, GA 12, 27.]  Heidegger, “Language” (1950), PLT, 206.  See on this: William J. Richardson, Heidegger: Through Phenomenology to Thought (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1962), 578.

2.3 Language: The ‘House of Being’


“soundless voice of being”;²¹¹ hence words indicate realities beyond themselves. They are translucent conveyers of meaning, while being as such is Λογος, namely the stillness that brings all into a unity. Language, however, is entrusted to the human being as the guardian of the Mystery of being. “Care for the use of language”²¹² is the responsibility of the human subject, since being is entrusted to language, thinking and repetition. Thus, the thinker should utter only after thoughtfully meditating on the word and its truth, while the essential nature of language is to be perceived in its correspondence with being as being pervades language. Being houses the ek-sistence of the human being in language. Accordingly, language is at once “the house of being” and the home for the essence of the human subject.²¹³ Heidegger wrote: But the human being is not only a living creature who possesses language along with other capacities. Rather, language is the house of being in which the human being ek-sists by dwelling, in that he belongs to the truth of being, guarding it.²¹⁴

Through language, the essence of the human being comes into correspondence and reciprocity with being as such, whereby true thinking occurs. Language delivers being and its history through words, and thereby brings being into the clearing, that is, it allows its self-revelation to occur. Thus, language as the history of being and the locus of its revelation becomes the homeland of the human being. It is in and through language that all things receive their true value and meaning as gifts rather than as mere things standing in reserve.²¹⁵ Thinking, on the other hand, belongs to history as its recollection. In this sense, history is not the history of some past transient events, nor is thinking to be engrossed in those events. On the contrary, history is the history of being, namely of the event of being-giving-itself, and thinking is nothing other than thinking of the essence of this giving-of-the-self, namely retrieving this fundamental event.²¹⁶ Thus, and in correspondence with the Christian-biblical heritage, which perceives the Word of God as the initiator in the acts of creation and incarnation—

 Heidegger, EV (1941– 42), 246.  Heidegger, P (1943), 360.  Heidegger, LH (1946), PATH, 243, 254.  Heidegger, LH (1946), PATH, 254. [“Der Mensch aber ist nicht nur ein Lebewesen, das neben anderen Fähigkeiten auch die Sprache besitzt. Vielmehr ist die Sprache das Haus des Seins, darin wohnend der Mensch ek-sistiert, indem er der Wahrheit des Seins, sie hütend, gehört.” Heidegger, GA 9, 333.]  Martin Wendte, Die Gabe und das Gestell (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2013), 487.  Heidegger, LH (1946), PATH, 255.


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namely as the means for God’s making and granting of everything even of Godself—Heidegger conceived of being as such in terms of original language (Logos), which first addresses the human being, disclosing to him/her the possibility of a free and a genuine response.

2.3.3 Poetry: The Utterance of Truth or Being Through science, technology and art, being comes to beings, bestowing upon them their being and meaning, while—through meditative, pure thinking and transcendence—the responsiveness of the human subject to being as such occurs. Heidegger perceived art as an essential trait of τέχνη, contending that poetry is the origin of every true art. It is to language that the possibility is given to bring the truth of being plainly into the open, while poetry has a privileged place among other forms of art. By naming beings, language projects the clearing where beings might come to the open, while all language in its original sense is poetry, and all works of art, and the preservation of them, are poetic. Hence, language, in a particular way, gathers all into a unity of their belonging together, making reciprocity between being and beings possible. Among all the different utterances of language, poetry is the pure response of the poet to the call of the Holy, while genuine existence in the world is a poetic existence, which unveils itself through thinking. Thus, Heidegger wrote: This poetizing is poetizing of the holy. The holy is the abiding that bestows an abode as the temporal-spatial playing field of Da-sein.²¹⁷ What is spoken purely is the poem.²¹⁸ But poetry that thinks is in truth The topology of Being.²¹⁹

 Heidegger, EV (1941– 42), 266. [“Dieses Dichten ist Dichten des Heiligen. Das Heilige ist die Verweilung, die eine Weile als den Zeit-Spiel-Raum des Da-seins gewährt.” Heidegger, GA 71, 306.]  Heidegger, “Language” (1950), PLT, 192. [“Rein Gesprochenes ist das Gedicht.” Heidegger, GA 12, 14.] Aristotle, in his Poetics, wrote: “Poetry is a more philosophical and more serious thing than history; poetry tends to speak of universals, history of particulars.” Aristotle, Poetics with The Tractatus Coislinianus, tr. Richard Janko (Indianapolis [u. a.]: Hackett, 1987), 12. See the earlier reference to the definition of tragedy, 7.  Heidegger, “The Thinker as Poet” (1947), PLT, 12. [“Aber das denkende Dichten ist in der Wahrheit die Topologie des Seyns.” Heidegger, GA 13, 84.]

2.3 Language: The ‘House of Being’


Both thinking and poetizing, together with thanking, are modes of human spiritual activity and creativity that are determinative for a perception of being itself. Poetizing and thinking are the paths that let being truly be, allowing for the abyss of being to open up, and, in this sense, both thinking and poetizing found or establish truth itself.²²⁰ Thinking is articulated through poetry, as it is through it that thinking addresses the inner depth of the human subject. As long as thinking and poetry are about hearing the call of being, and meditating it, they are not objective enterprises or any kind of professional undertaking. Their object, rather, is related to the innermost being of the human subject, and their truth is related to his/her truth and their disclosure to the disclosure of one’s own truth and reality. Such poetic thinking leaves the person with a sense of unfulfilled professionalism. One would never wholeheartedly claim to arrive at faultless knowledge or to attain the perfect expertise in one field or another. One would, rather, remain an amateur on the path of thinking, being shaped and reshaped, again and again, by the Mystery that calls the person in his/her innermost depth. To dwell poetically is, then, to halt, listen, think and rethink, to thank, reflect, recall and respond. It is to open up one’s spirit to the Divine, that is, to the Word, the Light and the Spirit, so that one might partake in its truth and sublimity. The authentic human response to the plea of language is understood here as poetry. The more vigilantly one listens to the appeal, the more poetic one’s response and dwelling on the earth is. Poetry, by nature, founds truth in the manner of an outpouring and a grant. Truth that poetry unveils concerns, however, the very historicality of the human being in the world.²²¹ Thus, poetry allows the advent of truth and the occurrence of unconcealedness such that beings truly dwell on earth and have their world and meaning. Like prayer, poetry lets miracles happen. Those who live authentically poetize. They are the ones who are in constant search for meaning. They are the ones who dwell on earth, build and construct; whose eyes keep looking toward the sky. Friedrich Hölderlin wrote: May, if life is sheer toil, a man Lift his eyes and say: so I too wish to be? Yes. As long as Kindness, The Pure, still stays with his heart, man Not unhappily measures himself

 Heidegger, EV (1941– 42), 273.  Heidegger, “The Origin of the Work of Art” (1935 – 36), PLT, 72– 73. It could be remarked here that the poetic quality of Heidegger’s writings increased over the course of his life.


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Against the godhead. Is God unknown? Is he manifest like the sky? I’d sooner Believe the latter. It’s the measure of man. Full of merit, yet poetically, man Dwells on this earth. [Darf, wenn lauter Mühe das Leben, ein Mensch Aufschauen und sagen: so Will ich auch seyn? Ja. So lange die Freundlichkeit, noch Am Herzen, die Reine, dauert, misset Nicht unglüklich der Mensch sich Mit der Gottheit. Ist unbekannt Gott? Ist er offenbar wie der Himmel? Dieses Glaub’ ich eher. Des Menschen Maas ist’s. Voll Verdienst, doch dichterisch, wohnet Der Mensch auf dieser Erde.]²²²

These words of Hölderlin, cited by Heidegger, state that, through hard work, the human being enjoys the worth and value of his/her work and dwelling on earth. Work, however, is always accompanied by human longing and yearning for the “Godhead”. One looks upward and is always in the trial of measuring oneself with the divine. ‘Trial’ here could be understood in both senses of the word. The human being continuously attempts to live a Godlike life and, at the same time, keeps testing him/herself with God as the measure and reference point for his/her examination of the self. Thus, the human being raises his/her eyes toward the sky, elevating him/herself toward the divine; yet, moving downwards, he/she works, cultivating the earth. These two movements are not accidental in human existence; rather, they together make the human human. Furthermore, these two movements reflect the turn of the divine to the human as well as the human to the divine; hence, it is in this turn that the divine is known as the divine. Hölderlin continued, asking: “Is God known” so that one can measure oneself by God? God is “manifest like the sky”. The manifestness of God is simultaneously God’s unknowability and ungraspability. God is “manifest like the sky”. We know God, but we also do not know God. “God’s manifestness—not only he himself—is mysterious”, wrote Heidegger.²²³ This known, and yet unknown God is “the measure of man”. Put more bluntly: the unknown God is the measure for the poet. The poet, by taking the unknown God as his/her measure, becomes the

 Hölderlin cited by Heidegger in “… Poetically Man Dwells …” (1951), PLT, 217. [Heidegger, GA 7, 197– 198.]  Heidegger, “… Poetically Man Dwells …” (1951), PLT, 220.

2.3 Language: The ‘House of Being’


guard of divine Mystery. The poet is truly the guard of Mystery as long as he/she carries the Mystery, the Kindness and the Pure, within his/her heart; as long as Mystery itself defines the very nature of the poet. Thus, it is possible for the poet to dwell on earth and truly belong to it, while, through dwelling and belonging to the earth, he/she lets the concealed Mystery come to unconcealedness and reveal itself through the face of the sky, that is, through all that is seen. By the poet’s dwelling it is the Mystery that comes, not as remote and distant, but as unfailing and unwavering nearness.²²⁴ Knowing that the poet’s dwelling on earth presumes a special hardship, confusion and trepidation that overshadow one’s existence in the world, Hölderlin’s question comes to the fore: “… and what are poets for in a destitute time?”²²⁵ The trepidation and hardship referred to here is the same perturbation of human reality indicated in the introduction of this chapter. It is the human tragedy of attending to two worlds, or two orders—the natural world of every-day life and the person’s inner world of freedom—and the difficulty of the perpetual need for bringing the two into harmony. We read Heidegger: The time remains destitute not only because God is dead, but because mortals are hardly aware and capable even of their own mortality. Mortals have not yet come into ownership of their own nature. Death withdraws into the enigmatic. The mystery of pain remains veiled. Love has not been learned.”²²⁶

In the conclusion of this chapter we ask Hölderlin’s question: “what are poets for”?

 The nature of poetry, as indicated by the poet, is comparable to the nature of faith in Christianity. Faith remains the ‘distinctive’ measure for the Christian, yet it is, in itself, a Mystery; a Mystery that reveals itself in and through everything that is.  Hölderlin, “Bread and Wine” (1800 – 1801), cited in Heidegger, “What Are Poets For?” (1936), PLT, 89. [“… und wozu Dichter in dürftiger Zeit?” Heidegger, GA 5, 248.]  Heidegger, “What Are Poets For?” (1936), PLT, 94. [“Dürftig bleibt die Zeit nicht nur, weil Gott tot ist, sondern weil die Sterblichen sogar ihr eigenes Sterbliches kaum kennen und vermögen. Noch sind die Sterblichen nicht im Eigentum ihres Wesens. Der Tod entzieht sich in das Rätselhafte. Das Geheimnis des Schmerzes bleibt verhüllt. Die Liebe ist nicht gelernt.” Heidegger, GA 5, 274.]


2 The Human Reality—Its Worldliness and Transcendence

In times of plight, When darkness and night Besiege the soul, From every side Overtaking the light, The word, and the divine, “What are poets for”? In times when love Mutates to heavy dusk, Poets utter the sacred That ignites the soul. Sight for the eyes; World for things To be.

3 The Human Spirit and the Divine “Bread for myself is a material question. Bread for my neighbor is a spiritual one.” —Nikolaĭ Berdyaev—

3.1 Freedom of Spirit and the Human Spirit Having concluded the two chapters on divine Mystery and being in the world, I turn now to Berdyaev’s and Heidegger’s perception of the human being and their understanding of freedom. I argue here with Berdyaev that the human being is essentially and truly a spirit—a spirit in the world that yearns for God as Spirit, that is, for unconstrained and ultimate freedom. Through unfolding the thoughts of both authors, spirit will be perceived as the bond that brings the human to the divine.¹ The spiritual element—which is analogous to Heidegger’s notion of being in its yearning for being as such—does not eliminate apophaticism in theology, in the sense that all human attempts to address the divine and the human remain confined and insufficient in themselves. Apophaticism accompanies all human longing and aspiration to perceive the divine, while being as such is perceivable only as the no-thing. Thus, the ‘spirit’, though a symbol constitutes the

 I argue in this chapter that behind Heidegger’s thought stand a whole tradition of philosophical-theological writings that pointed out spirit as the bond between the human and the divine, maintaining the necessity of approaching the divine as Mystery and the need for apophaticism in theology. The assumed tradition can be traced back to medieval German Mysticism—Jacob Böhme (1575 – 1624) and Meister Eckhart (1260 – 1328) can be mentioned here—and even to the early Eastern Fathers of the Church such as Athanasius, Origen and the Cappadocian Fathers. I will be arguing here that this mystical tradition influenced Heidegger through several authors such as Søren Kierkegaard (1813 – 1855) and Friedrich Schelling (1775 – 1854). It is most probable that these authors, even if they did not have direct access to the Patristic tradition, possessed knowledge of this tradition, transmitted to them through different works on Patristic writings, as a result of which they sought a theology that is faithful to the experience of the Early Fathers. See further: Jon Stewart (Ed.), Kierkegaard and the Patristic and Medieval Traditions; Marie Mikulová Thulstrup, “The Role of Asceticism,” in The Sources and Depths of Faith in Kierkegaard (Ed. Niels Thulstrup & Marie Mikulová Thulstrup) (Copenhagen: C. A. Retzel, 1978), [Bibliotheca Kierkegaardiana, vol. 2]. Here one may note that Heidegger’s claim that, from Plato onward, Western thought has forgotten the fundamental question of being, is too general and does not do justice to those thinkers who were essentially concerned with and involved in the question of be-ing, that is, the existential-dynamic sense of being rather than its static and rigid conception. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110707519-006


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self-actualization of Mystery,² and, yet, through it the essence of Mystery remains concealed and unknown. Therefore “spirit” as symbol expresses most the mysterious nature of the divine and yet its belonging together with the human. This, I propose, corresponds to the notion of ‘being’ in existential terms. Mystery comes to us through symbols, and yet the distinction between the two—the Mystery and its symbols—remains. In this sense, both the spiritual and the ontological perceptions of the divine and the human would make an apophatic stance toward the divine possible.³ Both Berdyaev and Heidegger perceived the history of Christian religious and theological endeavor, and the different ‘spiritual’ movements in the past, as leaving the true meaning of spirit in obscurity. The truth of spirit has been forgotten or denied by most trends of human thought—whether materialistic, philosophical or ‘spiritualistic’—as there has been always the attempt to associate truth and spirit to objectivity.⁴ Spirit, in its true sense, has been concealed in the face of all perceptible phenomena, and even been viewed as substance or as belonging to the objective worldly reality. One reason for this forgetfulness—if not neglect—of spirit could be that the conception of the human being as spirit makes the highest demand upon the human subject, which surpasses the ordinary conception  In a similar vein, the Son is the self-actualization of the Father, that is, the symbol of the Father. The Son is distinct, yet one with the Father. See on this: Karl Rahner, “The Theology of the Symbol” Theological Investigations IV (London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1966), 231– 232. Similarly, every being reveals itself through that which is other than itself and, through it, comes to self-disclosure. Rahner wrote: “The symbol strictly speaking is the self-realization of a being in the other, which is constitutive of its essence.” Rahner, “The Theology of the Symbol”, 234.  This is so since neither spirit nor be-ing can be defined and delineated through clear categories and precise exposition.  A distinction between scholastic-scientific thinking and meditative-contemplative thinking with a spiritual orientation has been already made in the previous chapter. However, it is interesting to note that Berdyaev made a further distinction within Christian spirituality between two different types of spiritual commitment in the history of Christian faith. So, he wrote: “The former lives above all in fear of perdition, and feeling itself to be under the condemnation of justice seeks salvation and deliverance for itself. The latter seeks above all for the higher life, the divine truth and beauty, the transfiguration of all creation, the appearance of a new creation and the new spiritual man. The former is connected with the Old Covenant and tends to regard redemption from a juridical standpoint. The latter is inspired by the New Covenant and tends towards an ontological view of Redemption which regards it as a new moment in creation, the coming of a new spiritual man.” Berdyaev could perceive some elements of Orthodox spirituality as belonging to the latter type. So, he referred to Clement of Alexandria as an example in contrast to St. Augustine’s spirituality: “Thus we find that Clement of Alexandria … aspired to contemplation and union with God rather than the pardon of his sins, while St. Augustine, on the other hand, desired above all things pardon and justification.” Berdyaev, FS (1927), 180 – 181.

3.1 Freedom of Spirit and the Human Spirit


of human reality in the world. Spirit and spiritual freedom assume an arduous path, a path that entails continuous purification and creative ingenuity. As a result, the human being, rather commonly, has remained unaware of the spiritual potential, or energy, that he/she carries within. Furthermore, Berdyaev explained that, in modern history, progress and development have been most of the time accompanied by the desire to benefit from life in the world and its goods, and by a decrease in interest in spiritual truths. He wrote: “Reason has destroyed the spiritual world in man”.⁵ This is not a rare instance, but rather the most common and hence universal.⁶ In contrast to this, he explained that the traditional churches, Catholic and Orthodox, still attempt to preserve their ‘herd’ and, by this, equally strip their communities of the experience of freedom of spirit. Consequently, the relationship between the human spirit and the divine remains an inconspicuous one; a relationship which only free spirits—Berdyaev would say— glimpse, beholding the kinship and the unity between the two. But what is meant by ‘free spirits’? Can a human spirit ever be free of constraints and circumscriptions? Thus, we here arrive at a question, which, on many occasions in the history of human thought, and whenever it has had the chance to come to light, has been mostly kept concealed. True freedom is the freedom of spirit, and it is in freedom that one’s salvation lies. Regrettably, freedom is commonly conceived in relation to the natural world and in some rationalist forms, which destroy its true nature. “Liberty is a spiritual and religious category not a naturalistic or metaphysical one”,⁷ wrote Berdyaev. It is “the inner dynamic of the spirit, the irrational mystery of being, of life, and of destiny.”⁸ Berdyaev further expounded on the notion of ‘free spirit’ and perceived it as belonging to the ‘highest degree of spirituality’: The religious life passes through three characteristic stages. First, there is the stage of objective religion which is both popular and collective, natural and social. Secondly, there is the subjective stage which is individualistic and psycho-spiritual. In the third stage, the opposition between the objective and the subjective is transcended and the highest degree of spirituality is reached.⁹

 Berdyaev, FS (1927), 319.  “But precisely this is the common situation … that the majority of men live without being thoroughly conscious that they are spiritual beings—and to this is referable all the security, contentment with life, etc., etc., which precisely is despair.” Søren Kierkegaard, The Sickness Unto Death (New Jersey, Princeton University Press, 1941), 25.  Berdyaev, FS (1927), 119.  Berdyaev, FS (1927), 121.  Berdyaev, FS (1927), X-XI.


3 The Human Spirit and the Divine

But what did Berdyaev mean by the ‘highest degree of spirituality’? In order to penetrate into Berdyaev’s deeper sense of ‘spirituality’, it will be helpful to consider his distinction between two different states of mind, or types of religious orientation. The first, he explained, is represented through the majority of a society, who are the product of the collective, who follow the mass and are the ones who dominate history. He called this the ‘democratic’ type,¹⁰ in which category are included both right and left wings, conservatives and revolutionaries, for whose sake most institutions, governments, laws and systems are made in the world. The second comes to the fore through the ‘elect minority’, those who pursue the highest, spiritual aims and are capable of genuine creation.¹¹ Prophets and saints belong to this second type, who mostly face an inevitably tragic destiny because they cannot conform themselves to the conventions and the commonly accepted systems in the world. Though they might lack the different talents others possess, they nevertheless possess a distinctive spiritual gift that exceeds in sensitivity and complexity the faculties of most others. Accordingly, they suffer most from the corruption and the decline of world-systems, which bring down the highest spiritual yearnings to the level of ‘average humanity’. Hence, they are, most of the time, oppressed by the ‘quantitative majority’ for the ‘aristocracy of the spirit’ that they maintain. Berdyaev designated this second type as the ‘aristocratic’ one, and presumably understood them as the ‘free spirits’, who—though always exposed to wickedness—pursue the ‘highest degree of spirituality’.¹² However, he maintained that both types together make the Sobornost. ¹³ “The good news of salvation and of coming of the Kingdom of God was

 Most probably, these are the ones who are either at the first or the second stage of religious life, as presented in the citation from Berdyaev above.  As belonging to this second group, Berdyaev named from the early Fathers of the Church Clement of Alexandria (150 – 215), Origen (184– 253) and Gregory of Nyssa (335 – 395), as well as the German Christian mystic and theologian Jacob Boehme (1575 – 1624) and the Russian theologian, philosopher and poet Vladimir Solovyov (1853 – 1900). He also named the German philosopher and theologian Nicholas of Cusa (1401– 1464), the French philosopher Louis Claude de Saint-Martin (1743 – 1803) and the German Catholic philosopher and theologian Francis Baader (1765 – 1841).  Berdyaev, FS (1927), XI-XIII.  In contrast to the Western notion of ‘subjectivism’ in the 19th Century, two Russian Orthodox (Slavophile) theologians/philosophers—Aleksey Khomyakov (1804– 1860) and Ivan kireyevsky (1806 – 1854)—came up with the notion of sobor to indicate co-operation or integrality within the Russian community that opposes individualism and competition. More generally, Sobornost indicates the spiritual community of human beings in Christ, or the universal Church. The Russian adjective of sobornost, that is soborny, means ‘Catholic’ as used in the Nicene Creed in description of the Church.

3.1 Freedom of Spirit and the Human Spirit


brought by Christ for the whole of mankind.”¹⁴ This is the mystery of freedom, the mystery of love based on which “the highest elements are organically linked with the lowest and, thus, assist the process of transfiguration and of universal salvation.”¹⁵ Accordingly, the human being is to work towards the ‘spiritualization’ of the whole of humankind, raising it to the spiritual peaks since “spirit is everywhere and in everything active as an illuminating, transfiguring and liberating force.”¹⁶ A similar transfiguring and liberating path toward becoming ‘free spirit’, namely toward “mature freedom of spirit”, was already described by Nietzsche. … it is still a long road to that tremendous overflowing certainty and health … to that mature freedom of spirit which is equally self-mastery and discipline of the heart and permits access to many and contradictory modes of thought—to that inner spaciousness and indulgence of superabundance which excludes the danger that the spirit may even on its own road lose itself and become infatuated and remain seated intoxicated in some corner or other, to that superfluity of formative, curative, moulding and restorative forces … In between there may lie long years of convalescence, years full of variegated, painfully magical transformations …¹⁷

In lines similar to those of Berdyaev, Nietzsche implied that a ‘free-spirit’ does not always stay ‘at home’, “under [its]own roof”; yet, a free spirit remains alone, renouncing everything that once it had reverenced, “renouncing reverence itself”. And if a free spirit asks itself: “why this hardness, this suspiciousness, this hatred for your own virtues?” It will hear “something like an answer. ‘You shall become master over yourself, master also over your virtues. Formerly they were your masters; but they must be only your instruments beside other instruments.”¹⁸  Berdyaev, FS (1927), XV.  Berdyaev, FS (1927), XVI.  Berdyaev, SR (1937), 35.  Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human, 6.  Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human, 8 – 9. Here I would argue—as in the previous chapter— that Nietzsche’s thought has laid the foundations for most ensuing thinking that aspires to free itself from everything conventional. I argue further that Berdyaev’s ‘free spirit’ is comparable to the ‘free spirit’ of Nietzsche, and that the ‘aristocracy of the spirit’ maintained by Berdyaev is comparable to Nietzsche’s ‘overman’. Of course, a major difference would remain between the two that, while the first arrives at the freedom of spirit through Christ, the second lacks any notion of redemption through Christ. It is also necessary to remark that Nietzsche’s critique of Christianity is addressed primarily toward the various interpretations of the life of Jesus rather than Jesus himself. Furthermore, it should be noted here that Berdyaev also, similar to Heidegger, did not admit the value and the deeper significance of Nietzsche’s philosophy for his own thought. Yet, I assume that Nietzsche’s philosophy was one of the common resources that both


3 The Human Spirit and the Divine

By virtue of the depiction of the human being’s essence as spirit, the perception of God and the world as presented in the previous chapters requires further consideration. This contention regarding the human’s spiritual essence conveys the belief that the human being is given the inherent possibility to know God as Spirit. Being conscious of one’s spiritual essence and approaching God as Spirit, one recognizes the being of things and entities in the world differently and perceives their truth and meaning differently. In contrast to the spiritual world of the human being, the animal is meager in spirit in the sense that it is unable to penetrate the opening of the inner truth of any being. The animal has no Dasein and is incapable of any questioning.¹⁹ Both Heidegger and Berdyaev referred to the darkening of the world, or the “death-bound condition of nature”, for which the human being is most responsible and stones the least responsible.”²⁰ The human being, coming across the vapidity of the natural order, becomes him/herself the slave of nature’s mechanism. This brings about the disempowerment of spirit and its destitution. Nevertheless, it remains true that only the human being, through the creative dynamism—and the divine calling—given to his/ her inner being, “has the power to transform the cosmos into a new heaven and a new earth.”²¹ In this sense, Berdyaev wrote: It is only to the man who himself possesses an inner life that the inner life of the cosmos is revealed as a spiritual reality. Thus man attains a knowledge of the cosmos by the same means that he attains self-knowledge.²²

Furthermore, Berdyaev cited the words of the German Catholic priest Angelus Silesius (1624– 1677): “Ich selbst muss Sonne sein, ich muss mit meinem Strahlen das fabulose Meer der ganzen Gottheit malen.”²³ He elaborated that it is through the incarnation of Jesus Christ, the ‘Logos’, that the ‘higher consciousness’ and dignity of the human being is restored. So, he concluded: Man’s infinite spirit claims an absolute supernatural anthropocentrism: he knows himself to be the absolute center—not of a given, closed planetary system, but of the whole of

Heidegger and Berdyaev made use of for their own works, though not openly declaring it and thereby, unfortunately, playing a role in its concealment.  Heidegger, BT (1927), 246. Similarly, Berdyaev wrote: “Man is most responsible and the stones the least responsible. … Man must give back spirit to the stones, reveal the living nature of stones, in order to free himself from their stony, oppressing power”. Berdyaev, MCA (1916), 69.  Berdyaev, MCA (1916), 69. Heidegger, IM (1935), 47.  Berdyaev, MCA (1916), 70.  Berdyaev, FS (1927), 199.  Berdyaev, MCA (1916), 75.

3.1 Freedom of Spirit and the Human Spirit


being, of all worlds. Man is not only a natural being, but a supernatural being as well, a being of divine origin and divine destination, a being which although he lives in “this world” is not of it.²⁴

Thus, The human spirit is Divine; but the spirit in him rather than man himself is Divine.²⁵

In a similar vein, Heidegger pointed out that to the human subject belongs both supernatural loftiness and, yet, natural indigence. He maintained that the essence of the human being “essentially surpasses all the loftiness of superman and yet includes an essential indigence which of course has nothing to do with the wretchedness of the sinful human being of metaphysics.”²⁶ In this sense, both nobility and destitution or wretchedness of historical humanity belong together. The human being is, then, distinctive among all beings as he/she alone is capable of encountering beings and preserving being as such—out of care and resoluteness—without necessarily him/her becoming an object of metaphysical representation. Furthermore, most metaphysics is incapable of penetrating the depth of such distinctiveness or even of understanding it.²⁷ In the first part of this chapter I shall confine myself to considering the human being as a spiritual being. Later I will turn to God and to the natural order.

3.1.1 The Human Being as Spirit To say that the human being is essentially spirit is to say that, with creation, the human being is granted an unconfined element within the inner depth of his/her being; by way of which, continuity between the human and the divine is made possible.²⁸ Through this element, the human being is given the prospect and the

 Berdyaev, MCA (1916), 73.  Berdyaev, SR (1937), 20.  Heidegger, EV (1941– 42), 163.  Heidegger, EV (1941– 42), 163.  I am aware that I am not the first to say this. Several Christian thinkers and theologians have said it in similar terms. It is possible to name a few here: Søren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Schleiermacher, Karl Rahner and Nicolas Berdyaev. Kierkegaard wrote: “Man is spirit”. Sickness Unto Death, 9. Schleiermacher perceived reality as the correlation of nature and spirit in a higher unity, in which the human spirit shares through an inner feeling or inclination. Friedrich Schleiermacher, “Monologen” in Philosophische Schriften, Texte Zur Philosophie und Religionsgeschichte (Berlin: Union Verlag, 1984), 72. Karl Rahner’s work: Spirit in the World is also to be re-


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potential to proceed nearer and nearer towards God. This does not deny the finitude and the temporality of human existence, but rather brings both the created and the uncreated within human nature together. Thus, on the one hand, the person is a finite being, bound to the conditions of temporality and the limitations of the natural order; on the other, he/she is given the possibility to advance into the unlimited openness of the divine. By this, the human subject is given the chance to move from the finite to the infinite, from bondage to freedom and from resentment and animosity to reconciliation and love; that is, the human subject is given the chance to participate in the divine. Nevertheless, the fact that, within the human self, these two possibilities persist—the inner and the outward—and the fact that, most of the time, they grapple against each other, predominantly results in disharmony and conflict rather than synthesis. Berdyaev wrote: Spirit is freedom unconstrained by the outward and the objective, where what is deep and inward determines all. To be in the spirit is to be in oneself. … The religious pathos of freedom is the pathos of spirituality; to win true freedom is to enter into the spiritual world. Freedom is the freedom of the spirit and it is mere illusion to search for it exclusively in the natural world.²⁹

Hence, the essence of the human being—that is, spirit—is the dignity and the beauty of the person, namely what he/she truly is. This spiritual splendor is a constituent of every human nature even when the person is unaware of it or is completely indifferent to or heedless of it. It is this spiritual element that gives the human subject that which is distinctly and singularly human among all other beings and things in the world. He/she alone is a spiritual being, namely a being that, through the spirit, has the capability and the potentiality for selftranscendence beyond the physical and the factual and, thus, has a direct access to pure spirit—or being as such. It is this spiritual trace within human nature that invokes and bids the person to move toward freedom and liberate the self from called here: Spirit in the World, tr. William Vincent Dych (New York: Herder and Herder, 1968). In similar lines, Berdyaev wrote: “Spirit is the sphere in which the divine and the human are united and it includes all man’s aspirations after God and the whole spiritual culture of man.” FS (1927), 47. Going back to the early centuries, it was Philo of Alexandria (25 BC—50 CE) who first identified the divine spirit with logos. God poured spirit into the human being as a divine gift of grace, similar to God’s giving the logos. See on this: Berdyaev, SR (1937), 20. See further from the Eastern Patristic Tradition: Gregory of Nyssa, ‘On the Making of Man’, 411– 412. See also: C. Stead, “Logos” in A. Richardson & J. Bowden (Ed.), A New Dictionary of Christian Theology (London: SCM Press Ltd, 1983), 339.  Berdyaev, FS (1927), 117.

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the constraints and expectations of the collective, or the crowd. This spiritual element, as noted earlier, corresponds to one’s inner existential ground—in Heidegger’s terms—in contrast to ontical existence in the world. Though this spiritual element could almost always remain hidden, nevertheless it would still be there, waiting for the occurrence of its unveiling and disclosure. Since the human being is the one who carries the spirit within, any attempt to advance toward spirit as such—or God—must commence with the search into one’s innermost being, allowing the spirit within to come to a revelation and uncoveredness. In this sense, spirit is simultaneously ‘my spirit’ and the one that unites me with Others, as they share the same spiritual trace. Thus, it is spirit within that unites the person with any Other, regardless of the Other’s ontical (factual or categorical) belonging to a race, a religion or a nation. No one can expunge another’s spirit or wipe it out. It is there within the innermost depth of the human subject as long as he/she is. Even at times when the person undergoes sickness, or imprisonment, he/she is never stripped of the gift of spirit, which is a gift of ultimate freedom. Thus, spirit accompanies be-ing and it should be possible to say that both spirit and be-ing are one and the same, since spirit is there in everything that is. ³⁰ The human being can respond to his/her essential nature whereby this nature is able to “‘choose’ itself and win itself; it can also loose itself and never win itself”,³¹ whenever the human being disregards and even denies his/her essential being. There is also, however, a third possibility that the human being only ‘seems’ to be conscious of spirit in a most confined manner, and thus fails to interpret its implications. It is in this sense, Berdyaev explained, that some philosophical contributions to human thought and other spiritualistic trends, throughout history, have failed to perceive the true nature³² of spirit, interpreting it rather in terms of ‘substance’, though classifying it as belonging to a ‘highest kind’ or ‘order’ within the natural world.³³ Thus, it is as a consequence  In 1 Cor. 15:45 the apostle used the expression “life-giving spirit”—delineating the person of Jesus Christ—indicating by it that spirit is life-giving, and thus the source of every living being.  Heidegger, BT (1927), 68.  The word “nature” is used here in the sense of “characteristic” and not in relation to the “natural” world.  An example could be George Berkeley’s (1685 – 1753) notion of ‘spiritual substance’ as the active source of all passive ideas (Principles of Human Knowledge §26). Explicating the notion of spirit, he wrote further: “I do nevertheless know, that I who am a spirit or thinking substance, exist as certainly, as I know my ideas exist. Farther, I know what I mean by the terms I and myself; and I know this immediately, or intuitively, though I do not perceive it as I perceive a triangle, a colour, or a sound.” “How often must I repeat, that I know or am conscious of my own


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of these philosophical, or spiritualistic, misinterpretations of spirit that a ‘narrow’ or ‘intolerant’ understanding of spirit arises, which unfolds itself through either an objective perception of it,³⁴ or by way of some subjective-emotional experiences of spirit. Spirit cannot be ‘intolerant’, however, as it is by nature open and free, and is thus receptive and welcoming of the Other. Spirituality, whenever construed and represented in exclusivist, rigid terms, attempting to demonstrate some particular ‘objective’ manifestations of spirit while denying others, it contradicts its own nature and truth. As a result, though one might become ‘conscious’ of one’s own spiritual potentiality, one would nevertheless interpret spirituality in terms of ‘thinghood’ and facticity, namely as facts and conditions that conceive of the human being as a ‘spiritual thing’ that has been misplaced

being; and that I my self am not my ideas, but somewhat else, a thinking active principle that perceives, knows, wills, and operates about ideas.” George Berkeley, Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous, 3 (London: J. Tonson, 1734), 231, 233. Another example of the spirit being addressed as substance is in the work of the German philosopher Christian Wolff (1679 – 1754). G. W. F. Hegel’s notion of the universal impersonal spirit is another example of such an attempt, according to which the spirit is a living individual with life as its body, that is, its ‘living corporeality’. “Life as such is partly the Means of Spirit, and as such opposed to it; and partly it is the Living Individual, and Life is its Body.” G. W. F. Hegel, Science of Logic, vol. 2 (London, 1929), 403.  Berdyaev distinguished between a true understanding of spirit and an objectivist conception of it. As an example of the second, he referred to Hegel’s universal spirit, which reveals itself in history, while history is perceived as the self-revelation of spirit. Though spirit is closely bound to history, this does not imply the loss of one’s subjective, spiritual freedom. It is at the expense of one’s personal reality as spirit that an objective conception of spirit is made possible, independent of the human person and in service of some universal reason and spirit. Such an objectivist approach moves away from the notion of divine Mystery and the inner mystery of the human being towards the natural realm of the physical and the objective. Thus, spirit fails to reach its utmost personality and freedom. Berdyaev wrote: “The affirmation of the immanency of God and spirit in history leads to essentially conservative results. But spirit is revolutionary. The historical incarnation of spirit gives rise to the conservative force of inertia. Spirit ceases to exist in itself or for itself, it becomes exterior existence; in other words, it loses its chief attribute—freedom.” Berdyaev, SR (1937), 46. Berdyaev delineated Hegel’s notion of spirit as implying a kind of evolution or development-law, which is not true to its nature. Spirit, for Hegel, indicated a ‘general consciousness’, a sole ‘mind’, common to all human beings, so that all the different human minds move toward that single mind or ‘absolute consciousness’. Hence, the individual is considered always as lacking and inadequate in contrast to the absolute. Contrary to the Hegelian law of freedom, Berdyaev maintained that the presence of divine Mystery within the human reality—through the spirit—has a transcendental mode, as it constantly transcends human life with all its limitations to the divine, liberating and freeing the person.

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in the world. These spiritualistic approaches fall into the trap of objectivism and fail to attain the “spiritual” truth behind the spirit.³⁵ Beside Berdyaev, various Christian thinkers have addressed the notion of spirit in the history of Christian thought. I will content myself here by referring only to a few, who either influenced Heidegger’s thought, or represent the Orthodox position on the subject. In this context a reference to Søren Kierkegaard is inescapable. In 1849 he wrote: Every human existence which is not conscious of itself as spirit, or conscious of itself before God as spirit, every human existence which is not thus grounded transparently in God but obscurely reposes or terminates in some abstract universality … or in obscurity about itself takes its faculties merely as active powers, without in a deeper sense being conscious whence it has them, which regards itself as an inexplicable something which is to be understood from without—every such existence, whatever it accomplishes, though it be the most amazing exploit, whatever it explains, though it were the whole of existence, however intensely it enjoys life aesthetically—every such existence is after all despair.³⁶

“Every human existence which is not conscious of itself as spirit … is after all despair.” And we ask: what indicated despair for Kierkegaard? For him, despair denoted some kind of a sickness in one’s self. In this sense, despair is despair over one’s self, indicating the disconsolate state of “not to be able to die”.³⁷ It is despair, however, which distinguishes the human from all other beings, and the possibility of being healed of despair assumes the consciousness of being spirit. In this sense, it is in spirit that every potential or yearning for salvation

 See on this: Berdyaev, FS (1927), 1– 4, 8 – 9. Contrary to the historical reality of the human spirit, Berdyaev contended that Hegel’s spirit, or his notion of the absolute, implied the abolition or the self-elimination of every finite reality so that it may be transcended to something higher or absolute. This is his notion of the “negation of the negation”, a system in which the end meets the beginning. See on this: G. W. F. Hegel, Gesammelte Werke (Hamburg, Felix Meiner Verlag, 1968), 21:103, 35 – 37/ 115 – 116. It was Schelling who criticized Hegel’s approach in his lectures given in Munich in the 1930s. Important references in this concern, which link Schelling’s later work to Kierkegaard and Heidegger, are: Walter Schulz, Die Vollendung des deutschen Idealismus in der Spätphilosophie Schellings (Pfullingen: Neske, 1975); Manfred Frank, Der unendliche Mangel an Sein: Schellings Hegelkritik und die Anfänge der Marxschen Dialektik (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1975). It could be remarked here that Heidegger’s and Schelling’s critiques of Western pure metaphysical approaches are comparable with the tradition of the Greek Fathers of the Church and the “neo-Patristic revival” in Orthodox theology in the 20th century, with its emphasis on the return to the spiritual tradition of the Fathers. See on this: Jonathan Sutton & William Peter van den Bercken (Ed.), Orthodox Christianity and Contemporary Europe (Leuven-Paris-Dudley, MA: Peeters, 2003), 116 – 117.  Kierkegaard, Sickness Unto Death, 49.  Kierkegaard, Sickness Unto Death, 15.


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lies. The human being is more than a physical reality, and this ‘more’ lies in his/ her spiritual nature. The true human being is the free human being, the one open to spirit, and is thus him/herself a free spirit. It is through the spiritual nature of the human being and its correspondence with God that the human being makes possible the resolute movement outside the self and toward God and the Other. Hence, care, compassion and love are basic characteristics of the spiritual human subject. Addressing the human spirit in its relationship to the divine, Berdyaev wrote: Spirit is, as it were, a Divine breath, penetrating human existence and endowing it with the highest dignity, with the highest quality of existence, with an inner independence and unity.³⁸

Spirit embraces all human longing for God and the whole of spiritual culture where the human subject can penetrate into true being. In different terms, the spiritual truth of the person corresponds to the divine image in accordance to which the human being has been created. The genuine divine image is Jesus Christ and, hence, for Berdyaev any true anthropology is necessarily Christological anthropology. Berdyaev considered most of the theological teachings of the early Fathers of the Church and the subsequent Christian tradition as lacking a genuine anthropological revelation.³⁹ The “creative mystery of human nature”

 Berdyaev, SR (1937), 11. Narrating the history of ‘spirit’, Berdyaev started with the ancient use of the word πνεῦμα [pneuma; ‫( רוּ ַח‬ruah) in Hebrew], which contained certain physical denotations, such as wind or divine breath. Pneuma was to be perceived as a gift from above, a gift of life from God to the human being. This indicated the dynamic nature of pneuma as flowing out from God and returning back to God. Furthermore, the ancients, including the Persians, viewed spirit in connotation to fire, air or water. The Greeks used two words interchangeably to indicate spirit: pneuma and nous [νοῦς]. However, Greek philosophy gave priority to nous as indicating the intellectual principle, considering it as an essential characteristic of spirit. Aristotle and the Stoics designated pneuma as having physical characteristics, while Plotinus (205 – 270) later used the word nous to indicate spirit. Nous obtained a philosophical use and denotation as mind or reason. It is interesting to refer back to Philo of Alexandria (25 BC—50 CE), who ascribed to spirit divine and cosmic nature, perceiving it as ‘life-giving principle’, while the human spirit itself, according to him, is not created but divinely permeated into the human. For Philo, spirit—or pnuema—was prior to nous, which had a philosophical denotation, while pneuma had a purely religious one. By this, Philo reached beyond the limited perceptions of Greek philosophy as to the meaning and the nature of spirit and could correspond to the highest philosophical perception at the time of God as Spirit. In the Gospels, pneuma indicated both human spirit and the Holy Spirit, while Paul the apostle addressed Spirit in its relationship both to God and Christ. Berdyaev, SR (1937), 19 – 20.  See on this the earlier explanation: Note 49 in the introductory part of this work.

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remained hidden and obscured by the consciousness of humanity’s fall, loss of freedom and the need for redemption. Consequently, the remoteness between the human and the divine persisted. The anthropological element was absent in the dogmas of the first Ecumenical Councils and even in the theology of the Fathers, maintained Berdyaev. Therefore, the human being was always perceived as sinful, weak and helpless, and was represented as being suppressed and passive rather than creative. Berdyaev explained that, even for St. Isaac the Syrian (613 – 700), the suppression of human nature was required for any attainment of divinity. Humanity had to vanish in order that divinity could be revealed. Even in the Eastern doctrine of θέωσις [theosis], explained Berdyaev, a genuine perception of the human being is absent, as deification would assume the elimination of human nature. Contrary to these, Berdyaev contended that “there is godlikeness in human nature itself”.⁴⁰ He cited Gregory of Nyssa (335 – 395) as one of the very few Eastern Fathers of the Church in whose words genuine human consciousness is revealed.⁴¹ Here are the words of the Church Father as cited by Berdyaev: Just as in this life the artist is given tools suited to his needs, so the greatest Artist created our nature as a vessel useful for royal purposes and both by its spiritual advantages and its bodily appearance as something which could play a kingly role. For the spirit proves its royal qualities, its superiority, its great distance from vulgar baseness by the very fact that, freely without demeaning itself, it harbours wishes and desires. Who other than a king could have such qualities? And beyond this—to be the image and the likeness of a Being which rules over everything means nothing other than that from his very creation man had a royal nature.⁴²

In this sense, the individuality of every person does not disappear or dissolve in God, but rather unites with God freely in such a way that, through union, not only God but also the human nature of the person comes to revelation. This implies the need not only for the birth of God in the human being but also the birth of the human in God.⁴³ Describing the redemptive work of Christ and the human reception of redemption, Berdyaev wrote: He [Christ] redeems and restores human nature to its likeness unto God … Human nature finally justifies itself before the Creator not by extinguishing itself but by its own creative

 Berdyaev, MCA (1916), 81.  Berdyaev, MCA (1916), 78 – 79.  Philip Schaff (ed.), Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Volume V: Gregory of Nyssa, On the Making of Man, IV. 1, 390. The quotation appears as it is cited by Berdyaev in his MCA (1916), 79.  Berdyaev, MCA (1916), 124.


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expression. Man must absolutely be. Human nature redeemed and saved from evil, has a positive human content and a positive human purpose. This content and purpose can be only creativeness. … Repentance or purification is only one of the moments of religious experience, one of the acts of the mystery of Christ. We must not stop at this moment: we must go on to positive spiritual living.⁴⁴

It was the outcome of suppression of the human being in the Middle Ages that ‘humanistic anthropology’ took rise in the Renaissance period and continued to develop till the twentieth century. Humanism, however, brought about the ‘subjective’ natural human being, leaving out the microcosmic—or the cosmic—and the divine nature of the human subject. In a sharp contrast to the ascetic, patristic literature, Humanism lacked any aspect of relatedness to the divine, aiming at setting the human being as a free being in the natural world. However, Berdyaev explained that Humanism had evaded both the divine and the human and turned the human subject into a naturally conditioned person, striped of his/ her original dignity. In the nineteenth century, Humanism developed into Positivism, which strived to extinguish the human sense of belonging to a different world. Positivism asserted natural-scientific phenomena to be the exclusive source for any knowledge. The human being was thus perceived as the end goal of the whole natural order, while he/she became the slave of some natural necessities. Hence, neither traditional Christianity nor Humanism perceived the human being as a free spirit.⁴⁵ Here Berdyaev made again a reference to Nietzsche. He considered him as the “forerunner of a new religious anthropology. Through Nietzsche the new humanity moves out of the godless humanism to divine humanism, to a Christian anthropology”. Thus, Berdyaev ascribed to Nietzsche’s thought the capability to sense and value the creative potential of the human being, something that both patristic literature and Humanism failed

 Berdyaev, MCA (1916), 104– 105.  Berdyaev, MCA (1916), 82– 84. Similarly, in his Letter on Humanism, Heidegger explained that all different forms of Humanism are either grounded in metaphysics or are themselves the grounds for some metaphysical systems. This is so since “humanism” naturally presupposes a certain definition of the essence or the nature of the human being, some kind of a “universal essence” (such as animal rationale), without asking about the truth of being itself and its relation to the human being. By presupposing such a “universal” human nature, Humanism abandons the human being to the sphere of animalitas, though ascribing to him/her a more distinguished reality than the animals. Later, anima (soul) was interpreted as “animus sive mens” (spirit or mind). By this, the essence of the human being remained concealed through both metaphysical projection and the scientific or physiological investigation of the human being. Heidegger expounded the term “humanism”, referring it back to the Roman virtus and the Greek παιδεία, which was translated as humanitas. Heidegger, LH (1946), PATH, 244.

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to do. And, thus, “we should share Nietzsche’s torment”, wrote Berdyaev, since “it is religious through and through”.⁴⁶ Finally, Berdyaev appreciated the man in Nietzsche, his distress and anguish in seeking the true, his prophetic spirit and anthropological self-consciousness. Nevertheless, there is need “to discover a true Christological anthropology” since the human being is incapable of creativeness without the Creator and without Christ, who is the only way towards free humanity. Both human creativeness and the mystery of redemption together make the “anthropological religious turn” possible.⁴⁷ Therefore, both aspects—divinity and humanity—are the necessary components of true Christianity, where the divine and the human meet. Reflecting on human nature and its infinite value, Berdyaev wrote further: In a certain sense, every single human soul has more meaning and value than the whole of history with its empires, its wars and revolutions, its blossoming and fading civilization.⁴⁸

Throughout history, Christian thought and theology, both in the East and the West, perceived the human mostly in opposition to the divine. And yet, it is the perception of the human as spirit that brings the human together with the divine rather than setting him/her against the divine. Furthermore, Berdyaev described the knowledge of spirit as independent from any conceptual perception

 In similar lines to those of Heidegger (see the previous chapter), Berdyaev claimed both that “human anthropology reached its climax in F. Nietzsche” and that Humanism has been overcome through the thought of Nietzsche. “Zarathustra is the most powerful human book without grace … Zarathustra is the work of man abandoned to himself” (86). Nietzsche’s super-man is perceived again as the final outcome of Humanism, which is simultaneously the end of the human being. Berdyaev wrote: “For Nietzsche the final value is not the human but the superhuman, since he has overcome humanism. For him man is a shame and a pain, man must be overcome, he must arrive at something which is higher than man, the super man. In Nietzsche humanism conquers not from above through grace, but from beneath through man’s own powers— and this is the great achievement of Nietzsche.” However, Berdyaev went a step further than Heidegger and perceived Nietzsche as the “prophet of the religious renaissance of the West” and “Zarathustra’s hatred of the lost man who has invented happiness is a holy hatred of the degrading lies of humanism. Zarathustra preached creativity, rather than happiness—he called man toward the mountain-top, rather than to bliss on the plain.” “Through Nietzsche there begins a new anthropological revelation in the world, which in its final concept, in its Logos, must become the Christology of man.” Berdyaev, MCA (1916), 86. It could be remarked here that Berdyaev’s evaluation of Nietzsche’s thought is somehow unstable. In some instances, he commended Nietzsche as the herald of Christian anthropology and in others he perceived in Nietzsche’s thought the end of the human being.  Berdyaev, MCA (1916), 87.  Nikolai Berdyaev, The Fate of Man in the Modern World (1934), tr. D. A. Lowrie (Ann Arbor MI: Univ. Michigan, 1961), 12.


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of universal principles. Contrary to pure ratiocinative-cognitive deliberation, knowledge of spirit penetrates into the depth of existence, through which one is given participation in being and in spirit.⁴⁹ In contrast to bondage to the natural world, Berdyaev maintained that only spirit is capable of breaking free from all imprisonment and confinement and fathoming the depth of the divine.⁵⁰ Thus, distancing itself from positivism, abstract idealism and spiritualism, which divorce the spirit from actual involvement in life and ascribe to it an ideal rank, spirit is existential and personal. It discloses itself in the inner depth of the person but is nevertheless the most real and meaningful of all knowledge and experience.⁵¹ Furthermore, truth itself is spiritual, while it is through spirit that the human being achieves integrity and congruency in life. Truth is a reality, unlike natural or objective reality; it is a spiritual reality, a spiritual element in human existence. As opposed to ratio or abstract thought, the integral human mind is spirit; it is spiritual, rooted in existence. There is an inherent spiritual transcending principle in man. … Spirit affirms its reality through man, who is a manifestation of spirit.⁵²

Thus, spirit is a divine ‘principle’ or ‘element’ that is infused into human nature. One is to recall here Heidegger’s critique of eliminating truth, or being as such, to ratio, that is, to metaphysical abstraction. Though addressing a similar critique, however, Berdyaev made a further step and claimed that truth is ‘a spiritual reality’, and hence an “inherent spiritual transcending principle in man”.⁵³ He explained that one’s mental ability and physical reality are capable of complying themselves to one’s spiritual truth, by which he perceived spirit to play a synthetic role between body and soul.

3.1.2 God as Spirit It is to God as Spirit that the human spirit corresponds and, therefore, is given to experience the eternal in the finite. Having maintained that the notion of spirit is distinctively appropriate for any avowal of divine Mystery, it is also possible to say that God as Spirit is the same God as Mystery; God who is beyond the borders of human understanding and grasp and, at the same time, the nearest possible

    

Berdyaev, SR (1937), 16. Berdyaev, FS (1927), 48. Berdyaev, SR (1937), 17– 18. Berdyaev, SR (1937), 18. See: Berdyaev, FS (1927), 18 – 19.

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to the person. Being conscious of one’s spiritual nature, one comes to perceive God as Spirit and is at once in the presence of the divine. It is to God as Spirit that the human spirit yearns, and, in this sense, God is an issue for every human subject. Hence, having perceived the essence of the human being as spirit, one’s knowledge of and relatedness to God as Spirit is made possible. Kierkegaard’s words cited below reflect this dialectical relationship between knowing God and knowing the self: A man’s life is wasted when he lives on, so deceived by the joys of life or by its sorrows, that he never becomes decisively conscious of himself as spirit, as self, that is, he never is aware in the deepest sense that there is a God.⁵⁴

Hence, the knowledge of God is dialectically dependent on one’s consciousness of oneself as spirit. The notion of spirit with its twofold significance—divine and human—indicates divine immanence that is “an incarnation of God as Spirit in every man as a human spirit”.⁵⁵ Spirit is not an impersonal force in the sense of denoting the dynamics of a particular being or a relation between beings; on the contrary, it is spirit that makes the human subject a personal being and God a personal God.⁵⁶ Furthermore, every salvific initiation of God presupposes a human—spiritual—comportment toward the divine.⁵⁷ Though God is the initiator of any possibility of salvation, and divine initiation is not dependent upon human response, nevertheless, it is only through human attendance and reception of the divine that the divine gift of grace and salvation might be efficacious in the life of the human subject. In this sense, divine descent and human assent toward the divine are reciprocal movements toward one another. Human spirit transcends toward God as Spirit, which is immanently given within the human self. In this sense, the British theologian G. W. H. Lampe wrote: “For prayer is an activity of God himself, incarnated in the thoughts and aspirations and con-

 Kierkegaard, Sickness Unto Death, 2.  G. W. H. Lampe, God As Spirit (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1977), 45. See also: G. W. H. Lampe, “The Essence of Christianity: A Personal View”, ET 87 (1976), 132– 137, reprinted in: G. W. H. Lampe, Explorations in Theology, ed. G. M. Newlands (London: SCM Press, 1981), 119 – 29.  Lampe, God As Spirit, 43 – 44.  This approach can be traced back to Philo of Alexandria. See on this: Ferdinand Weber, Jüdische Theologie auf Grund des Talmud und Verwandter Schriften (Leipzig: Dörffling & Franke, 1897), 277, 303 – 304. Philo perceived God as gracious. God overflows with gifts. This perception of divine grace is present in Orthodox theology, and also in Protestant theology, where grace is not dependent on human works. See further: Philo, tr. F. H. Colson, ten vols. with two supplements (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1929 – 62).


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cerns of men and expressed in human language; at the same time, it is man’s own activity, prompted and guided and inspired by God; it is a ‘theandric operation’”.⁵⁸ Berdyaev perceived both the Christological dogma, with its teaching on the two natures of Christ, and Trinity as the foundations of Christianity. Divine incarnation in the person of Christ would have not been possible, however, without the worldly-human reception of the divine. In this sense, it is through the person of Mary, her free choice and pure nature that the human and the worldly received the divine and the heavenly. “In her the world and humanity responded to the divine appeal”,⁵⁹ wrote Berdyaev. In Christ the human being received both human and divine power, which is to say that, in Christ, the human subject has become fully human, namely a ‘spiritual being’. In Christ it has been revealed that the human being belongs not only to an earthly race but also to a heavenly one, and further that the human being acquires not only a human nature but also a spiritual nature. It is in this sense that, in the church, “two natures are joined together, namely, God and the world, God and humanity.”⁶⁰ The human role here is not necessary for salvation but for the “transfiguration of the world”, “for the Kingdom of God”.⁶¹ It is in this sense that the human being has his/her origin in the Trinity, since, through Christ, he/she belongs not only to the mortal but also to the divine world. Hence, both principles of unity and differentiation are resolved through the notion of trinity; and being, with its two natures, can only be fulfilled through the triune nature of divinity. This is so since, in spirit, the relations between the Father and the Son are reconciled. In spirit, the human and the divine meet; through the free suffering of the Son on the cross, the unseen heights of spiritual humanity has been revealed.⁶² In the Spirit man and the world are transfigured and deified. The Spirit constitutes Life itself in its basic and original form. The divine mystery of life is just the mystery of the three Persons, which belongs both to heaven and earth. Whenever there is life there is the mystery of the three Persons, there is the distinction of the three Hypostases and their absolute unity. This mystery is reflected and symbolized everywhere in the life of man and of the world.⁶³

 Lampe, G. W. H., God As Spirit, 88. G. W. H. Lampe (1912– 1980) laced together New Testament scholarship and Patristic theology into an integrated perception of God as Spirit.  Berdyaev, FS (1927), 336.  Berdyaev, FS (1927), 337.  Berdyaev, FS (1927), 341– 342.  Berdyaev, FS (1927), 178.  Berdyaev, FS (1927), 200.

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Similar to sobornost, Berdyaev perceived Trinity as signifying the perfect society, in which everyone is intimately related to the whole and, hence, unity and harmony prevail over conflict and discord.⁶⁴ Thus, he indicated the symbolic nature of the Christian teaching on the Trinity, which is the symbol of divine Mystery, the Mystery of unity in trinity. It is only in this “Trinality” that the divine life is given to us in perfection, that the loving subject and the loved object create their kingdom and find the final content and fullness of their life. The Trinity is a sacred and divine number which signifies fullness and the victory over strife and division; it is sobornost, the perfect society in which there is no opposition between personalities, hypostases, and the one Being. The mystery of Christianity is the mystery of unity in duality finding its solution in trinity-in-unity.⁶⁵

By this, Berdyaev gave a spiritual interpretation of the Christian dogmas and criticized the naturalist position, which, according to him, confuses the two spheres—the natural and the spiritual—perceiving spiritual truths as natural and even venturing to prove them rationally. The naturalist approach, thus, is grounded upon—what Berdyaev called—the “naïve biblical science”, which does not distinguish between nature and spirit, and considers the natural as the only true sphere. Accordingly, spiritual truths are perceived as belonging to the natural order. Contrary to this, statements of faith and belief—including the Christian dogmas—are not comparable to abstract claims of metaphysics. Spiritual life, rather, is a symbolic life. Though in its symbolic nature it unites the two spheres, the human and the divine, it nevertheless remains always subject to discord and dissension between the two. It is for this reason that spiritual life is paradoxical. It brings God and the world together, transcendence and immanence, the divine and the human, but does not eliminate the distinction and the difference between the two.⁶⁶ Accordingly, “truth in the spiritual life is the life itself. Those who know the truth become truth in it.”⁶⁷ In this sense, the spiritual nature of the person is not to be perceived as separate from the physical one; rather it is that which illumines the physical and spiritualizes it, since the spiritual is at work within and through the natural. The reality of spirit is

 Here one is to recall Dostoyevsky’s statement, put on the mouth of Markel, the older brother of Father Zossima—the spiritual guardian of Alyosha, in which the notion of sobornost comes forth, a society where everyone is the keeper of one’s brother/sister and, hence, “everyone is guilty before every other human being of everything, and if only people would come to realize this, it would result in a kind of paradise on earth.” The Brothers Karamazov, XIV.  Berdyaev, FS (1927), 199.  Berdyaev, FS (1927), 22– 23.  Berdyaev, FS (1927), 25, 27.


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not knowledge of truth in some objective sense; it is not something that transpires outside us as result of some kind of interest or mere curiosity. Truth, whenever discovered, becomes “an illumination of being and of life itself”.⁶⁸ It would be possible to say that spirit unites being and knowing, that is, the knowing subject and the known object, such that knowledge of truth simultaneously enlightens the inner being that is the spirit of the knowing subject.⁶⁹ Divine revelation occurs first in the innermost depth of one’s spirit, and it is only then that a historical manifestation of the divine is made possible. Thus, inner spiritual revelation precedes any outward or historical perception of it, as “there can be revealed to us only that which is revealed in us”. This contributes to explaining Berdyaev’s notion of revelation. Here are his words: Religious revelation is not merely something which is done for us, it demands our co-operation; it is something spiritual … which is accomplished within our being; if we had not ourselves lived through the experience of what others call divine revelation it would have no meaning for us.⁷⁰

It is in the light of this inner revelation that Berdyaev read the stories of divine revelation as events that transpire within the innermost depths of being and are then symbolized externally. Thus, revelation cannot be perceived externally apart from the inner illumination that it brings about. Addressing both spiritual and objective elements in divine revelation, Berdyaev wrote further: When men oppose freedom of thought on the ground of the objective necessity of revelation they forget that God can only be revealed in religious consciousness, that Spirit can only be revealed to spirit, and Meaning to meaning, and that revelation involves inner illumination. God cannot be revealed to impenetrable matter or to inanimate objects. Revelation is bilateral Divine-human process, the meeting together of two natures which are inwardly allied to one another, and in order to be received it requires a favourable medium to which the divine element is not alien; for a nature which had nothing divine about it could not receive

 Berdyaev, FS (1927), 27– 28.  This could be traced back to Aquinas’ understanding of the unity of pure knowing and pure being and Kierkegaard’s notion of the unity of the inquiring subject and the object of inquiry. It may be noted here that Karl Rahner perceived the human being as spirit that can return to its self, in contrast to all other objects, as it is given the possibility of Vorgriff, an unthematic openness, which makes the dynamischen Hinbewegung, the ‘dynamic movement of the spirit’, and the implicit consciousness given as a priori possible. Karl Rahner, Hearer of the Word (New York: The Continuum Publishing Company, 1994), 42– 44, 53. Heidegger also wrote about the early Greeks’ notion of glory: “Glory, for the Greeks, is not something additional that someone may or may not receive; it is the highest manner of [b]eing. For us today, glory has long been nothing but celebrity, and as such it is a highly dubious matter”. Heidegger, IM (1935), 108.  Berdyaev, FS (1927), 93.

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it. It is a mistake to regard the relation between God who reveals and man, to whom the revelation is made, as being of a transcendent character. God cannot reveal Himself to the man who will not come to him. Revelation presupposes faith in man and in his higher nature which renders possible that religious upheaval which we call revelation, the birth of God in man, and the meeting of man with God.⁷¹

Revelation, then, requires not only the coming of the divine to the human but also of the human to the divine. It is some kind of a spiritual movement, a “free co-operation of man with the work of God”.⁷² In this sense, Christianity is not a static system that can function despite the passive inward state of the Christian. Revelation assumes the movement of spirit within the human person. Spirit penetrates human existence and concrete actuality in the world, and it is in spirit that creative movement and an illumination of life is made possible. Hence, spirit assumes the need to emerge from the confined existence in the world in order to behold the spiritual and the natural, the inner and the outward, since spirit alone is the agent of consciousness. Similar to his interpretation of divine revelation, Berdyaev explained that the generic symbols of ‘father’ and ‘Son’ are names that Christianity has adopted from human life and experience. Yet they truly and ineluctably express divine truth, and hence their deeper spiritual sense and significance are vital for a true understanding of their theological application. He wrote: God as Being-in-itself is neither “father” nor “son” and no birth takes place in Him; and yet something expressed by those symbols has an absolute significance. Only in pure mysticism and spirituality is symbolism overcome and we are plunged into “first life”.⁷³

Would it be possible here to perceive theological language as comparable to the poetic one? In his Hölderlin’s Hymn the Ister Heidegger wrote: ‘Poetizing’ is the telling of the thoughts of spirit: Poetizing is spirit poetizing. The poets are “of spirit.” … In poetizing … the history of human beings in their becoming homely is grounded. “Spirit” is the poetic essence of the holy … insofar as the holy brings itself to word.

 Berdyaev, FS (1927), 94. Through this understanding of divine revelation as the reciprocity between ‘divine grace’ and human freedom’ Berdyaev criticized Calvin’s teaching on predestination, which, he contended, disregarded human free response and reception of the gifts of grace and spirit. C.f. Berdyaev, FS (1927), 106.  Berdyaev, FS (1927), 314.  Berdyaev, DM (1931), 18.


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‘Spirit’ is the poetic essence of the holy.⁷⁴

In poetizing, the holy comes to self-expression as the sighing and the yearnings of the spirit taking form in words. Spirit speaks and, hence, the words of a poet become the symbols of spirit. In poetizing, the human subject is on the way to home-coming and, hence, is most truly him/herself. It would not be an exaggeration to conclude that the poetic is spiritual, and the spiritual is poetic, and that both the poetic and the spiritual bring the human to the divine.

3.1.3 The Symbolic Nature of Things Given the spiritual nature of the human being and having maintained the need to approach God as Spirit, the human subject, nevertheless, lives in the world of things and objects. Things and objects are not in opposition to spirit, but are rather its signs and symbols. They indicate that which is beyond the ‘thingly’⁷⁵ —‘equipmental’ reality in which they function. Despite their objective-concrete nature, they serve as pointers to that which is not at hand or that which has no ‘thingly’ character. They assume the responsibility for letting that which is not commonly palpable come into light and manifest its own truth. In this sense, “flesh is the incarnation and symbol of spirit”.⁷⁶ Thus, a piece of equipment such as a work of art, for example Van Gogh’s painting of a pair of peasant shoes, mentioned earlier, carries beside its character as a work of art the possibility and the potential to point beyond itself to the image of a peasant woman who is working in the fields, making the totality of the woman’s world available

 The whole paragraph from Heidegger reads: “”Poetizing” is the telling of the thoughts of spirit: Poetizing is spirit poetizing. The poets are “of spirit”. Yet in poetizing, what has been fittingly destined with respect to history is told, and thereby the history of human beings in their becoming homely is grounded. “Spirit” is the poetic essence of the holy … insofar as the holy brings itself to word and, as the word, speaks its claim upon human beings.” Martin Heidegger, Hölderlin’s Hymn “The Ister” (1942), tr. William McNeil & Julia Davis (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1984), 128, hereafter: HHI. [“”Dichten” ist das Sagen der Gedanken des Geistes: Dichten ist dichtender Geist. Die Dichter sind “geistige”. Im Dichten … wird … die Geschichte des Menschen in sein Heimischwerden gegründet. “Der Geist” ist das dichterische Wesen des Heiligen … sofern dieses sich zum Wort bringt”. Heidegger, GA 53, 160.]  The term ‘thingly’ used here follows Heidegger’s own usage, which indicates that a thing only has value as a thing. This is distinct from the term ‘physical’, which allows for the value of a reality beyond its being a thing.  Berdyaev, FS (1927), 18.

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for circumspection. In this sense, the painting is a sign of that wider, yet particular, worldly reality.⁷⁷ Heidegger also used different terms such as ‘Sinbild’ [‘symbolic image’], or the μεταϕορά [metaphors] in relation to poetic works, where sensuous images point towards nonsensuous, spiritual themes and meaningful content. Similarly, ‘allegory’ [ἀλληγορια: ἄλλο-ἀγορεύειν] declares that which is different from what it is commonly perceived to be. In a similar vein, most works of art proclaim that which pertains to spirit, albeit through the sensuous and the physical.⁷⁸ Like signs, symbols indicate truths beyond their own reality. Mostly, however, symbols assume a connotation to spiritual truths. They indicate that which surpasses the worldly and the tangible.⁷⁹ Bread and wine, for example, have served for about two millennia to symbolize the death of Jesus Christ and the communion of all believers. The bread is there embodying the broken flesh of Jesus, the agony and the affliction that he endured, and all injustice and cruelty that he had to face, which the Christian still confronts in the world. Every time the Christian approaches the broken bread he/she recalls the torn body of Jesus, and Jesus’ words: “I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.” Thus, the believer approaches the bread with the hope to hunger and to thirst no longer. The wine, indicating the blood of Jesus Christ, on the other hand, is the symbol for transformation and new life. Grapes transform themselves into wine by being broken into parts by human hands, and then, being integrated back into a whole. The Church is similarly broken into parts. It is not trivial differences but real oppositions and incongruities that rule the Church. Factions are set against others, churches against churches. The wine, as mystically as possible, symbolizes the transformation, the coming together, of all the broken parts of Christ’s mystical body into a whole. It symbolizes the covenant between God and the whole of humanity, and thus stands for the transformation of hatred into love, ugliness into beauty, pain and suffering into joy and glory, sin into righteousness and death into resurrection. Though bread and wine connote the events of Jesus’ suffering and death, reminding the Christian of the Last Supper that Jesus had with the disciples, never-

 See Heidegger’s explanation of ‘reference and signs’: BT (1927), 107– 114 and also his “The Origin of the Work of Art”, PLT (1936 – 54), 32– 33.  Heidegger, HHI (1942), 16 – 17.  Heidegger explained the σύμβολον [symbol] as deriving from συμβάλλειν [‘to bring together’] in a way that two pieces face each other in order to demonstrate their belonging together. In this sense, the sensual part of the symbol belongs together with that which is spiritual or that which pertains to the soul. Heidegger, HHI (1942), 16.


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theless, the message—of forgiveness and communion—that it transmits is far beyond any worldly conception. Accordingly, Christians perceive bread and wine as symbols for those higher spiritual truths. Furthermore, it is possible to maintain that symbols participate in the truths that they stand for, in which sense one could say that Jesus himself comes to the human being through bread and wine. Nevertheless, there would be always the risk of misinterpreting the mystical meaning behind the symbols as mythical representations in themselves, forgetting their true spiritual indication. This is the risk of perceiving the symbols as the concrete bearers of that which is beyond their concrete reality, namely of truth as such. Furthermore, perceiving objects as signs or symbols does not undercut the necessity of discovering them, namely discovering the entities one encounters in life in such a way that they are grasped in their own being. And, yet, it is in one’s consciousness of the symbolic—spiritual—meaning of those entities that one comes to appreciate them in their being and also to perceive their impenetrable spiritual connotation. Thus, spirit incorporates within itself the whole of reality, turning every exterior reality into the symbol of that which is within.⁸⁰ Spirit assumes the objective or the ‘thingly’ nature of a thing by taking it upon itself, while, conversely, flesh is appropriately conceived as “the incarnation and symbol of spirit”.⁸¹ Berdyaev’s consideration of the symbolic nature of things and objects had to contribute to the perception of spiritual truth behind most objectified ones. Thus, one is always reminded that behind most objective claims of the church there reside original-spiritual truths, which have inevitably been exposed to distortion and damage by their objectification and the attempt to make them available within the natural order of things. This is what he meant when he wrote: “The light of absolute truth is refracted as it passes through the distorting medium of human nature.”⁸² In a similar vein Vladimir Lossky maintained that ‘tradition’ in Orthodoxy is to be perceived as being prevailed by its spiritual nature rather than as objective fact or truth. He wrote: The pure notion of tradition can be defined by saying that it is the life of the Holy Spirit in the Church, communicating to each member of the Body of Christ the faculty of hearing, of receiving, of knowing the Truth in the light which belongs to it, and not according to the natural light of human reason.⁸³

 Berdyaev, FS (1927), 18.  Berdyaev, FS (1927), 18.  Berdyaev, FS (1927), 92.  Vladimir Lossky, In the Image and Likeness of God (New York: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1974), 152.

3.2 Spirit as Corresponding to Being


3.2 Spirit as Corresponding to Being 3.2.1 Being as Spirit In Heidegger’s Being and Time (1927), the notion of spirit remained highly obscure.⁸⁴ There, he declared that terms such as ‘soul’, spirit’ and ‘person’ are to be avoided,⁸⁵ contending that these terms hinder the inquiry into the existentiality of the human subject.⁸⁶ In the same work he addressed spirit as ‘a spiritual thing’ [Geistding],⁸⁷ limiting his work instead to the notion of Da-sein as a term which most allows an inquiry into the being of the human subject. Thus, spirit is to be avoided, and it has been avoided in most of Heidegger’s works. Nevertheless, it is my contention that spirit [Geist, πνεῦμα] stands in his Being and Time in contrast to everything that is perceived as purely metaphysical and objective, and, particularly, to the perception of the human being as a thing among things. By this, I maintain the presence of spirit in the work, though ‘in disguise’. Heidegger wrote: Yet that which remains hidden in an egregious sense, or which relapses and gets covered up again, or which shows itself only ‘in disguise’, is not just this entity or that, but rather the Being of entities, as our previous observations have shown. This being can be covered up so extensively that it becomes forgotten and no question arises about it or about its meaning.⁸⁸

He continued:

 Before advancing, it should be noted here that, for Berdyaev, ‘being’ belonged to the natural world. Berdyaev gave an objective interpretation of ‘being’ and by this he failed to understand Heidegger’s notion of being and being-there. Yet, I believe that what ‘being’ was for Heidegger corresponds to what ‘spirit’, or ‘freedom’, was for Berdyaev. Hence, the difference between the two positions is not a difference of perspectives or philosophical stance but rather lies in the different use of words by the two authors. See further Berdyaev’s critique of Heidegger in his: The Beginning and the End.  Heidegger, BT (1927), 72.  For Berdyaev, on the other hand, spirit “exercises a primacy over being.” Berdyaev, SR (1937), 18.  Heidegger, BT (1927), 82. Heidegger came to use ‘spirit’ only toward the end of Being and Time, where he argued, contrary to Hegel, that “‘spirit’ does not fall into time, but rather exists as the primordial temporalizing of temporality.” BT (1927),486.  Heidegger, BT (1927), 59. [“Was aber in einem ausnehmenden Sinne verborgen bleibt oder wieder in die Verdeckung zurückfällt oder nur “verstellt” sich zeigt, ist nicht dieses oder jenes Seiende, sondern, wie die voranstehenden Betrachtungen gezeigt haben, das Sein des Seienden. Es kann so weitergehen verdeckt sein, daß es vergessen wird und die Frage nach ihm und seinem Sinn ausbleibt.” Heidegger, GA 2, 47.]


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Being as the basic theme of philosophy, is no class or genus of entities; yet it pertains to every entity. Its ‘universality’ is to be sought higher up. Being and the structure of Being lie beyond every entity and every possible character which an entity may possess. Being is the transcendens pure and simple. And the transcendence of Dasein’s Being is distinctive in that it implies the possibility and the necessity of the most radical individuation. Every disclosure of Being as the transcendens is transcendental knowledge.⁸⁹

One could pose the question: what is “Being” as “transcendens pure and simple” that discloses itself to the human being? Why, then, is the transcendence of Dasein distinctive? And what is the means for human individuation? I would contend that it is through the notion of spirit that these questions and their meanings receive elucidation. Furthermore, Heidegger maintained that, though carrying within him/herself all the highest potentials of being, nevertheless, the human subject—having the principle of causality throughout centuries as ground—had been perceived as a mere acting agent.⁹⁰ Against the limitation of human nature to some-thing that ‘knows’ or ‘acts’ upon other things, Heidegger—in his later writing on “The Question Concerning Technology” (1953)—maintained that the essential human nature is to wait for the arrival of the ‘destiny of Being’. There he wrote: His essence is to be the one who waits, the one who attends upon the coming to presence of Being in that in thinking he guards it. Only when man, as the shepherd of Being, attends upon the truth of Being can he expect an arrival of a destining of Being and not sink to the level of a mere wanting to know.⁹¹

 Heidegger, BT (1927), 62. [“Das Sein als Grundthema der Philosophie ist keine Gattung eines Seienden, und doch betrifft es jedes Seiende. Seine “Universalität” ist höher zu suchen. Sein und Seinsstruktur liegen über jedes Seiende und jede mögliche seiende Bestimmtheit eines Seienden hinaus. Sein ist das transcendens schlechthin. Die Transzendenz des Seins des Daseins ist eine ausgezeichnete, sofern in ihr die Möglichkeit und Notwendigkeit der radikalsten Individuation liegt. Jede Erschließung von Sein als des transcendens ist transzendentale Erkenntnis.” Heidegger, GA 2, 51.]  An expressive statement of this approach is Hegel’s declaration: “Action is the clearest revelation of the individual, of his temperament as well as his aims; what a man is at bottom and in his inmost being comes into actuality only by his action, and action, because of its spiritual origin, wins its greatest clarity and definiteness in spiritual expression also, i. e. in speech alone.” G. W. F. Hegel, Aesthetics: Lectures on Fine Art, tr. T. M. Knox, Vol 1 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975), 219.  Heidegger, “The Turning” (1949), in QCT, 42. [“…sein Wesen ist, der Wartende zu sein, der des Wesens des Seins wartet, indem er es denkend hütet. Nur wenn der Mensch als der Hirt des Seins der Wahrheit des Seins wartet, kann er eine Ankunft des Seinsgeschickes erwarten, ohne in das bloße Wissenwollen zu verfallen.” Heidegger, GA 11, 118]

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And of course, one could also ask: How would the human being attend to the truth of being and expect the arrival of its ‘destining’? Returning to Heidegger’s early works, specifically his Vom Wissen des Grundes (1929), one finds that he wrote there that Being and Time (1927) argued neither for nor against God’s existence.⁹² Further, in his letters to Blochmann he declared privately that human existence “must remain open to divine grace.”⁹³ It is worthwhile here to look at some other writings of Heidegger, where the notion of spirit is most discernible. Before doing this, however, it may be noted briefly that the German word Geist [spirit] has a broad range of meanings. Beside other uses, the word can denote those traits and characteristics that raise the human being above all other beings, empowering him/her to have culture, religion, history and thought; hence, spirit, in this case, would be determined by historicity. Bearing this in mind, we now look at both Heidegger’s “Rectoral Address” (1933/34) in Freiburg and his Introduction to Metaphysics (1935), where he drew most openly upon spirit. In his “Rectoral Address”, he brought ‘the essence of science’ and ‘the spiritual world’ of people together. There he maintained the necessity of discovering the spiritual world. He emphasized the loftiness of science and ascribed to it the possibility of uncovering the spiritual world of all that is, and, hence, contended that science as contemplative questioning is to become the ‘fundamental happening’ of one’s ‘spiritual being’.⁹⁴ For ‘spirit’ is neither empty cleverness, nor the non-committal play of wit, nor the endless drift of rational distinctions, and especially not world reason; spirit is primordially attuned, knowing resoluteness toward the essence of Being. And the spiritual world of a people is not the superstructure of a culture, no more than it is an armory stuffed with useful facts and values; it is the power that most deeply preserves the people’s strengths, which are tied to earth and blood; and as such it is the power that most deeply moves and most profoundly shakes its being (Dasein).⁹⁵

 Heidegger, “Vom Wissen des Grundes” (1929), GA 9, 159. See further: Thomas Sheehan, “Heidegger, Martin”, The Cambridge Dictionary of Christianity, ed. Daniel Patte (Cambridge, UK.: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 502– 503.  Joachim Wolfgang Storck (Ed.), Martin Heidegger, Elisabeth Blochmann: Briefwechsel, 1918 – 1969 (Marbach: Deutsche Schillergesellschaft, 1989), 32.  Heidegger, RA (1933 – 34), 474.  Heidegger, RA (1933), 474. [“Denn ‚Geist‘ ist weder leerer Scharfsinn, noch das unverbindliche Spiel des Witzes, noch das uferlose Treiben verstandesmäßiger Zergliederung, noch gar die Weltvernunft, sondern Geist ist ursprünglich gestimmte, wissende Entschlossenheit zum Wesen des Seins. Und die geistige Welt eines Volkes ist nicht der Überbau einer Kultur, sowenig wie das Zeughaus für verwendbare Kenntnisse und Werte, sondern sie ist die Macht der tiefsten Bewahrung seiner erd- und bluthaften Kräfte als Macht der innersten Erregung und weitesten Erschütterung seines Daseins.” Heidegger, GA 16, 112.]


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The spirit is, then, the power that preserves the strength of people who are bound to the physical world. It is the power that moves one’s being in order that one advances toward being as such, not with hesitation or fear, but with resoluteness and courage. The goal that such resoluteness aims at, however, is neither the mere advancement of the person, in the sense of some objective progression, nor the satisfaction of one’s desire for power. Rather, such resolution is needed in order to enable the person to travel on the path that one’s inner freedom and wider responsibility assume. This entails that one, with freedom and resoluteness, places oneself under the law of one’s essential nature, that is, the law of spirit.⁹⁶ In his Introduction to Metaphysics (1935), Heidegger confirmed his appeal to spirit, which he had initiated in his Rectoral Address. There, he referred to the spiritual decay of the earth, the diminution of the human being to a number that makes a crowd, the hostility and aversion toward that which is creative, and the further peril of losing the last ‘spiritual strength’, without which people would become unable even to be aware of their decline. Only “historically spiritual forces”—that is, only the retrieval of one’s historical spiritual reality— can save the person from such decay so that a new and an original beginning might be possible, with all the risk that a new beginning implies.⁹⁷ There, Heidegger expounded his understanding of the ‘world’ and maintained that the world is “always a spiritual world”. What does ‘world’ mean, when we speak of the darkening of the world? World is always spiritual world. The animal has no world (Welt), nor any environment (Umwelt). The darkening of the world contains within itself a disempowering of the spirit, its dissolution, diminution, suppression, and misinterpretation. We will try to elucidate this disempowering of the spirit in one respect, namely, the misinterpretation of the spirit. …⁹⁸

Heidegger went on to describe there the desperate situation of Europe, attributing it mainly to the “dawning spiritlessness”, the “dissolution of spiritual pow-

 Here, Heidegger explained the notion of resolutely determining oneself within the context of the ‘Student Law’ that was declared on May 1, 1933 as a preparation for universities to blend into the National Socialist state. Heidegger, RA (1933 – 34), 475. It should be, however, possible to distinguish the deeper sense of these words of the thinker from the negative context of their use. I would assume that the words are meaningful in themselves, in spite of their disadvantageous context.  Heidegger, IM (1935), 40 – 41.  Heidegger, IM (1935), 47. [“Was heißt Welt, wenn wir von der Weltverdüsterung sprechen? Welt ist immer geistige Welt. Das Tier hat keine Welt, auch keine Umwelt. Weltverdüsterung schließt eine Entmachtung des Geistes in sich, seine Auflösung, Auszehrung, Verdrängung und Mißdeutung. Wir versuchen, diese Entmachtung des Geistes in einer Hinsicht zu verdeutlichen, und zwar der der Mißdeutung des Geistes.” Heidegger, GA 40, 48.]

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ers” and the declination of “all originary questioning about grounds”. The whole age could not endure the greatness of the “spiritual world”, and this was the result of the misinterpretation of spirit as intelligence, and the reduction of its meaning into an equipmental role. Whenever spirit is misinterpreted, poetry, art, statecraft, religion and even science are represented as mere activities—at best, values—through which one aspires to cultivate oneself and build up one’s culture, while the spiritual reality behind these pursuits becomes concealed and darkened.⁹⁹ Against this, Heidegger maintained that the historicalspiritual nature of the human being is what matters for the recovery of Europe.¹⁰⁰ Hence, there is need to perceive the essence of spirit in its truth. For all true energy and beauty of the body, all sureness and boldness of the sword, but also all genuineness and ingenuity of the understanding, are grounded in the spirit, and they rise or fall only according to the current power or powerlessness of the spirit. Spirit is what sustains and rules, the first and the last, not a merely indispensable third element.¹⁰¹

In this passage, Heidegger cited his own words from the Rectoral Address, where he said that spirit is not about “rational distinctions, and specially not world reason; spirit is primordially attuned, knowing resoluteness toward the essence of Being.”¹⁰² Thus, “spirit is the empowering of the powers of beings as such and as a whole”, as it brings all beings more into being [“wird … seiender”]. This is to say that to ask about beings, or to ask the question of being as such, is an essential fundamental condition “for awakening the spirit” such that the danger of “darkening the world” is surmounted.¹⁰³ It is to be noted here that Heidegger perceived both the German and Greek languages to be privileged by the capability of addressing the question of being and of spirit. In his Introduction to Metaphysics, he contended that “the development of Western grammar began with Greek meditation on the Greek language” and that this “gives this process its

 Heidegger, IM (1935), 50.  Heidegger, IM (1935), 44, 48.  Heidegger, IM (1935), 50. [“… man das Wesen des Geistes in seiner Wahrheit begreift. Denn alle wahre Kraft und Schönheit des Leibes, alle Sicherheit und Kühnheit des Schwertes, aber auch alle Echtheit und Findigkeit des Verstandes gründen im Geist und finden Erhöhung und Verfall nur in der jeweiligen Macht und Ohnmacht des Geistes. Er ist das Tragende und Herrschende, das Erste und Letzte, nicht ein nur unentbehrliches Drittes.” Heidegger, GA 40, 51.]  Heidegger, RA (1933 – 34), 474.  Heidegger, IM (1935), 52.


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whole meaning”, as Greek “is at once the most powerful and the most spiritual of languages.”¹⁰⁴ Hence, though ‘spirit’ does not appear in many of Heidegger’s works, one always gets the impression that he continued to write about ‘spirit’, albeit without using the word; that is to say, he evaded the use of ‘spirit’ while persisting to write about it.¹⁰⁵ In the very beginning of his “Science and Reflection” (1953) he wrote: “In keeping with view now prevalent, let us designate the realm in which the spiritual and creative activity of man is carried out with the name ‘culture’.”¹⁰⁶ By this he evaded the use of ‘spirit’ almost throughout the whole article. In order to demonstrate further my position I shall return to Heidegger’s Being and Time—that is before six years of the Address—where he ascribed the origin of science to the notion of thinking [νοεῖν from νόησις—mental perception], explaining that it initially meant ‘to perceive with the eye’ or ‘to behold’ in the very sense of ‘to contemplate’ [θεωρεῖν]. There he wrote: Being is that which shows itself in the pure perception which belongs to beholding, and only by such seeing does Being get discovered. Primordial and genuine truth lies in pure beholding. This thesis has remained the foundation of western philosophy ever since.¹⁰⁷

Though avoiding the word ‘spirit’ [πνεῦμα], Heidegger brought νοεῖν and θεωρεῖν together with being or primordial truth. Comparing these lines with the ones quoted earlier (from his “The Question concerning Technology”, 1953) it will be clear that it is through νοεῖν or θεωρεῖν that the human being is given to attend upon the truth of being. There is another instance in his Being and Time where Heidegger evaded the use of ‘spirit’, opting instead for the word νοεῖν, indicating by it the human capability of perceiving the entities in the world in their

 Heidegger, IM (1935), 60. It was only in 1952, in his essay on Trakl, that Heidegger claimed that only the German language—of the two languages Greek and German—is able to name that which both languages have in common, namely spirit. Only then, in his thought, did the separation between Geist and πνεῦμα occur. Cf. Jacques Derrida, Of Spirit: Heidegger and the Question, tr. Geoffrey Bennington & Rachel Bowlby (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1989), 71.  Jacques Derrida, describing Heidegger’s methodology in writing, explained that Heidegger is “writing without writing, using words without using them.” Derrida, Of Spirit, 2.  Heidegger, “Science and Reflection” (1953), in QCT, 155.  Heidegger, BT (1927), 215. [“Sein ist, was im reinen anschauenden Vernehmen sich zeigt, und nur dieses Sehen entdeckt das Sein. Ursprüngliche und echte Wahrheit liegt in der reinen Anschauung. Diese These bleibt fortan das Fundament der abendländischen Philosophie.” Heidegger, GA 2, 227.]

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most true nature, namely discovering their being and bringing it into light. He wrote: Pure νοεῖν is the perception of the simplest determinate ways of Being which entities as such may possess, and it perceives them just by looking at them. This νοεῖν is what is ‘true’ in the purest and most primordial sense; that is to say, it merely discovers, and it does so in such a way that it can never cover up. This νοεῖν can never cover up; it can never be false; it can at worst remain a non-perceiving, ἀγνοεῖν, not sufficing for straightforward and appropriate access.¹⁰⁸

In this passage, Heidegger claimed that pure νοεῖν is capable of discovering the true being of entities in the world, which, as he indicated later in his Address, is the spiritual world of all that is. This would further entail that the highest form of being in the world is that of beholding being as such, with attentiveness and vigilance, in a way that makes the participation in its very truth possible. Thus, ‘thinking’ and ‘being’ are the same. It might be appropriate to argue at this stage that, for Heidegger, contemplative questioning and the capability of beholding truth—νοεῖν or θεωρεῖν—are comparable to the vigilance given solely to the human spirit, through which it attends to truth as such and is alone able to uncover the spiritual world of all that is. Furthermore, in his Being and Time, Heidegger identified νοεῖν with λέγειν as the primary and highest mode of being in the world, maintaining that it is only through λέγειν that the knowledge of the world and of being as such is made possible.¹⁰⁹ Bearing in mind that Heidegger mostly evaded the use of spirit, I would further propose that reading νοεῖν as πνεῦμα sheds light upon the original meaning of Heidegger’s words. Here we are reminded of the contribution by Philo of Alexandria, who was the first to equate Logos with Spirit—as divine gifts—indicating the continuous presence of spirit within the human soul. Philo further equated pure spirit with the Imago Dei, the image of God, and called it ἄνθρωπος [anthropos], the true and perfect human being, similar to Christ. Thus, ἄνθρωπος pointed to the spirit of God as the inner principle in every human subject, which, appropriately perceived, is a divine particle that makes perfection possible. It is this principle

 Heidegger, BT (1927), 57. [“ist das reine νοεῖν, das schlicht hinsehende Vernehmen der einfachsten Seinsbestimmungen des Seienden als solchen. Dieses νοεῖν kann nie verdecken, nie falsch sein, es kann allenfalls ein Unvernehmen bleiben, ἀγνοεῖν, für den schlichten, angemessenen Zugang nicht zureichen.” Heidegger, GA 2, 45.]  Heidegger, BT (1927), 70, 85, 268 – 69. In this last reference, Heidegger blamed Aristotle for not including νοεῖν in his understanding of logos.


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within the human subject that urges him/her to achieve the true image through the collaboration of his/her conscience.¹¹⁰ It may not be an insignificant observation here to note that Paul the Apostle had, on several occasions, identified the ‘spirit of Christ’ with the Spirit of God. In Rom. 8:9, for example, he wrote: “But you are not in the flesh, you are in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.” Furthermore, the apostle also used the expression: “the mind of Christ”. In the below passage taken from the First Letter to Corinthians 2:10 – 16, Paul used all the following terms interchangeably: the “Spirit” (as God), “the spirit of man”, “the Spirit of God”, “the Spirit which is from God”, the “Spirit” (as possessed by the believers) and finally “the mind of Christ”: God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For what person knows a man’s thoughts except the spirit of the man which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might understand the gifts bestowed on us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who possess the Spirit. The unspiritual man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?’ But we have the mind of Christ. (Italics mine.)

Thus, ‘mind’ and ‘spirit’ are brought together and used interchangeably by Paul. In Rom. 8:27 the apostle wrote: “And he who searches the hearts of men knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” ‘The mind of the Spirit’ is the human mind in which the divine Spirit dwells. It is the inversion of ‘the mind of the flesh’.¹¹¹ Likewise, in 1 Cor. 14:15 the apostle wrote: “What should I do then? I will pray with the spirit, but I will pray with the mind also; I will sing praise with the spirit, but I will sing praise with the mind also.” Thus, Paul emphasized the essential role of the mind and the intellect in prayer as divine-human commission.¹¹² Spirit and intellect in Paul are not in contrast to one another, but are rather to contribute together to

 See the third chapter on “The Logos of God” in: H. Owen Ward, From Glory to Glory: The Psychodynamics of Salvation in Christ (New York, NY: Page Publishing, INC., 2015). C. Stead, “Logos” in (Ed. A. Richardson & J. Bowden), A New Dictionary of Christian Theology, 339 – 340.  Rom. 8:6: “To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”  See on this: Lampe, God As Spirit, 90.

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the life of the church. In this sense, Spirit does not necessarily work in a supernatural or ‘miraculous’ manner but rather with and through the intellect or the mind. All works of love are works of spirit since love alone is the mark of the collaboration of human spirit with the divine. The spirit is the spirit of truth and of life. It is the guide on the path of perceiving the words of Christ.¹¹³ I would assume that Heidegger followed Paul’s pattern substituting spirit with being or νοεῖν, which allowed him to avoid the use of ‘spirit’. In this sense, reading Heidegger’s ‘being’—as the inner essential truth of the human subject—in terms of ‘spirit’ and reading ‘being as such’—as the truth beyond the particular beings—in terms of ‘God as Spirit’ sheds light upon many of Heidegger’s writings.¹¹⁴ Already several interpretative works of Heidegger’s thought have maintained the comparability of his works to the content of certain biblical and theological writings.¹¹⁵ However, reading Heidegger in the light of the notion  “This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.” (John 14:17); “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him.” (John 4:23).  In a reply to students at the University of Zurich (1951), Heidegger said: “If I were yet to write a theology, as I am sometimes tempted to do, the word ‘Being’ ought not to appear in it,” Martin Heidegger, “Seminar” (translated and presented by F. Fédier and D. Saatdjian) in Poésie 13 (1980). Cf. Derrida, Of Spirit, 2. The English translation of this passage appears in: Jean-Luc Marion, God Without Being, tr. Thomas A. Carlson (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1991), 61– 62. Though Heidegger argued here that if he would speak of God he would not use ‘being’, it is my contention that ‘God’ for him had a higher and more elevated meaning than ‘being’ itself. This comes close to Derrida’s argument, where he, in a similar vein to ‘God without being’, referred to Christian apophaticism, maintaining its “negativity without negativity”. Derrida, “How to avoid Speaking: Denials” a Conference delivered in 1986 in Jerusalem, See: Jacques Derrida, Psyche: Inventions of the Other, vol. II (Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 2008), 143 – 195. See particularly: 175 – 176 and 178 – 179. This is to say that the ‘without’ in ‘God without being’ negates the predicate in such a way that it reveals its higher significance. Thus, similar to the mystical tradition that could be traced back to Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, the no-thing or the non-being for Derrida is a superabundant life, a life beyond human descriptive abilities. “[n]onbeing longs for the Good which is above all being. Repelling being, it struggles to find rest in the Good which transcends all being, in the sense of denial of all things.” Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, The Complete Works, tr. Colm Luibheid & Paul Rorem (Mahwah, N.J.; London: Paulist Press; SPCK, 1987), 73 – 74.  Several interpretations of Heidegger’s works have maintained that the works are comparable to biblical and theological works. Such as: J. D. Caputo, “Heidegger and Theology” in (Ed. Guignon Charles B.), The Cambridge Companion to Heidegger (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1993); J. D. Caputo, “Demythologizing Heidegger: “Alētheia” and the History of Being” in The Review of Metaphysics, Vol. 41, No. 3 (Mar. 1988), 519 – 546; Herman Philipse, Heidegger’s Philosophy of Being. Similarly, Heidegger’s notion of Befindlichkeit and the personal element in thinking is comparable to Schleiermacher’s ‘felt intuition’. Theodore, Kisiel, The Genesis of Hei-


3 The Human Spirit and the Divine

of ‘spirit’ is unprecedented as ‘spirit’ has been left, most of the time, in obscurity in relation to understanding Heidegger’s thought. I propose further here that Heidegger had made use of several biblical texts, works on Patristic theology and Christian theological writings; nevertheless, he never accredited them, and on many occasions did not even point them out. He adopted many of their frameworks and conceptions, interpreting them into philosophical existential terms. Hence, by reconsidering Heidegger’s writings with the proposed hermeneutical key in mind, many enigmatic and bewildering questions receive their appropriate answers. Thus, one can understand that it is the spirit within every being that endures as it alone is capable of maintaining its true being throughout time. It is through spirit that θεωρεῖν is made possible, in the sense that through it alone the human being is given to behold truth, or God, as Spirit. It is also through spirit that contemplative questioning, as well as the full presencing and bringing forth of all that exists into unconcealment is made possible, while contemplative questioning is perceived by Heidegger as the essence of both science and technology. Furthermore, spirit is itself the Geschick “the self-adaptive destining of being”, namely the openedness and the givenness of God or being as such, through which alone the human being is allowed entry into the divine. Thus, though Heidegger criticized the philosophical-metaphysical notion of God, it does not follow that Heidegger had no understanding or conception of the divine and the Holy.¹¹⁶ Against the onto-theo-logical perception of God, he wrote: “Man can neither pray nor sacrifice to this god. … The god-less thinking which must abandon the god of philosophy, god as causa sui, is thus perhaps closer to the divine God. Here this means only: the god-less thinking is more open to Him than onto-theo-logic would like to admit.”¹¹⁷ Hence, the human being

degger’s Being and Time (Barkeley: University of California Press, 1995), 492, 498; Alexander S. Jensen, “The Influence of Schleiermacher’s Second Speech ‘On Religion’ on Heidegger’s Concept of ‘Ereignis’”, The Review of Metaphysics, Vol. 61, No. 4 (June., 2008), 815 – 826; Martin Heidegger, ed. Theodore Kisiel & Thomas Sheehan, Becoming Heidegger: On the Trail of his Early Occasional Writings 1910-1927 (Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 2007).  Heidegger rejected both labels of ‘atheism’ and ‘theism’. Instead, he preferred the way of Hölderlin: “[b]y using the word ‘the gods’ sparingly, and hesitating to say the name, the poet has brought to light the proper element of the gods.” Heidegger wrote further that the “god comes to presence only by concealing himself”, and that the gods “need the word of the poet for their appearance.” See: Heidegger, LH (1946), PATH, 267; Martin Heidegger, Elucidations of Hölderlin’s Poetry (1936 – 1969), tr. Keith Joeller (New York: Humanity Books, 2000), 39, 194, 218, hereafter EHP.  Heidegger, “The Onto-theo-logical Constitution of Metaphysics” in Identity and Difference, 72. Heidegger continued: “This remark may throw a little light on the path to which thinking is on its way, that thinking which accomplishes the step back, back out of metaphysics into the

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must “above all find his way into the full breadth of the space proper to his essence. That essential space of man’s essential being receives the dimension that unites it to something beyond itself solely from out of the conjoining relation …”¹¹⁸ Spirit is the full breath and space proper to the essence of the human being. It unites the person with that which is beyond the human as it is coalesced with the divine. Accordingly, to the human is entrusted “the safekeeping of Being itself”. This finally leads us to understand that God as Spirit is the proper dwelling of the human. Furthermore, it is in the light of spirit that one is able to perceive the value and the meaning of any work of art, as it symbolizes spirit to which alone the work points out. Spirit brings the human and the divine together, as well as the earth and the sky as the gifts that the human and the divine confer on one another. The human raises the earth to God and the divine grants the heavenly endowments to the human. Finally, spirit is what guides the person on the path of questioning, which is simultaneously the only possible way to deflect and avoid negligence of spirit, “the other spirit, its bad double, the phantom of subjectivity”.¹¹⁹ Whenever spirit desolates, metaphysics of subjectivity grows up. This is the double-opposite sense of spirit.¹²⁰

3.2.2 ‘Being-With-Other’ At the outset it should be remarked that the ‘Others’ for Heidegger are not those who stand over against the person as belonging to a different group or allegiance but are rather the ones with whom the person most intimately identifies him/herself. They are those with whom the human being shares the world; thus, Heidegger described the nature of human existence as ‘being-with-other’. He made a distinction between ‘being-with’ and ‘being concerned about’. For him, the first is about being with other human beings—he called this solicitude¹²¹— ‘being-with’ is being accompanied with ‘considerateness’ and ‘forbearance’.

active essence of metaphysics, back out of the oblivion of the difference as such into the destiny of the withdrawing concealment of perdurance.”  Heidegger, “The Turning” (1949), QCT, 39 – 40. Here Heidegger cited the words of Meister Eckhart: “Those who are not of a great essence, whatever work they perform, nothing comes of it.” Meister Eckhart, Selected Treatises and Sermons, 67.  Derrida, Of Spirit, 41.  Heidegger, IM (1935),10.  Heidegger wrote: “Diese Seiende wird nicht besorgt, sondern steht in der Fürsorge.” Fürsorge is translated into English as solicitude. BT (1927), 157.


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While the second addressed being concerned with objects that are present at hand in the world; concern, in this case, would be usually accompanied with ‘circumspection’.¹²² One could ask—as most probably Heidegger asked: How does the human being approach an Other? What is it that enables the person to understand and know an Other? On the one hand, Heidegger elaborated that the human being is essentially for Others. Hence, even when one disregards this essential trait, thinking that one can do well without it, one is, nevertheless, ‘beingwith’. It is this essential characteristic of human existence that enables the person to understand Others. Such understanding, thus, is not the kind of knowledge acquired through relationship, but is rather “primordially existential kind of Being”. In this sense, “knowing oneself [Sichkennen] is grounded in Beingwith, which understands primordially.”¹²³ This ‘being-with’ is the being which is nearest to the human subject, who, together with an Other, shares the common existential reality in such a way that he/she already understands the Other. It is through such understanding of an Other—or solicitude—that the being of the Other manifests itself as authentically as possible, knowing that understanding an Other is possible only as one opens up oneself [sichoffenbaren] both to the self and to the Other. However, in everyday life, as both the attempt to know the self and an Other are commonly considered secondary and of less importance, both the knowledge of the self and solicitude remain in a deficient mode. Hence, it is possible to say that the manifestation of the ‘I’ and of an ‘Other’ is based on ‘being-with-one-another’ and the common inner grounds of being as the essential constituent of the being of the human subject. It is this inner orientation toward an Other that makes the inner coming together conceivable, which is the condition for the possibility of empathy with an Other. The human being is ‘being-with’, and this reveals itself through the capability of the person to listen to an Other. In turn, listening is possible because the human being is already given the potential to understand an Other. However, though this orientation is already present in the inner being of the person, it unfolds itself to the extent that the person is open for his/her inner self and for Others, which is the only way for an authentic existence in the world.¹²⁴ Furthermore, it is the common spiritual reality that one shares with all Others that

 Heidegger, BT (1927), 159. One is reminded here by the two different connotations of ‘care’ in the philosophical tradition of ancient Rome. See below under “Care as an Essential Trait of Human Reality”.  Heidegger, BT (1927), 161.  Heidegger, BT (1927), 161– 163.

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makes solicitude possible. It is through the gift of ‘spirit’ that one is given to understand Others and also to understand oneself through them.¹²⁵ On the other hand, Heidegger described the counter role that others could play, in everyday life, either as the ‘they’, that is, as those indefinite others, under whose ‘dominion’ the human being stands in such a way that he/she loses him/herself within the ‘they’, or as those among whom the human subject considers him/herself as prior. In both instances of such a counter-role of others, the human being is the victim of the crowd, and, hence, is unable to reach his/ her true self. His/her being and potentials are covered, or taken, by the ‘they’ who either dominate over, or stand in opposition to, the dominative self of the human subject. Both instances are the consequence of the incapability of the person to free him/herself from the ‘they’, by either identifying him/herself with others or as standing over against them. Accordingly, the true nature of the human being as ‘being-with-one-another’ is covered in everyday life and this results in dissolving the self into the ‘they’, that is, into the crowd. Heidegger described the being of the ‘they’ as seeking the average in everything. As a result, creativity, struggle for the good, primordial truths, genuine existence, priorities, the greatest future potentials and all spiritual gifts receive a deceptive appearance and, hence, get dismantled and flattened. Furthermore, the ordinary person is incapable of perceiving and actualizing his/her true self, satisfying him/herself instead with that which is already actual.¹²⁶ Similarly, Berdyaev described the ‘average mind’ of others, who consider the natural world as the sole reality that brings the person into “self-sufficiency, possessing a kind of ‘bourgeois’ state of consciousness”.¹²⁷ Consequently, by conforming him/herself with the ‘average mind’, the human being is discharged from the challenges and the requisites of the inner self while becoming subject to the dominion of others in such a way that he/she is no longer capable of authentic existence. In this case, the human being is engrossed in the world, namely in its factual —‘thingly’ character.¹²⁸

 Berdyaev, SR (1937), 152– 154. See on this further: Christoph Schwöbel, Christlicher Glaube im Pluralismus: Studien zu einer Theologie der Kultur (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2003), 342– 344. Here, Schwöbel presented the biblical perspective of human spirit as adhering to the divine Spirit, from which it receives guidance and in whom it reaches its fulfillment. Furthermore, it is this same relatedness to the divine Spirit that brings the human being together with Other human beings. “… die Offenheit des menschlichen Geistes für den Anderen, den Anderen des Geistes Gottes und die Anderen menschlicher Personen und Geschöpfe. Beide sind innerlich verbunden.”  Heidegger, BT (1927), 239.  Berdyaev, FS (1927), 14.  Heidegger, BT (1927), 164– 165.


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Having the two different perceptions of ‘being-with-other’, it is possible to conclude that it is through one’s attentiveness to one’s spiritual depth—and to the Others’—that one moves beyond the risk of being lost in the ‘they’ and toward a true ‘being-with-Others’, knowing that the path from perceiving Others as prevailing over oneself toward a true ‘being-with’ is an emancipative, and, yet a turbulent path.

3.2.3 The Human Spirit and Fallenness All fallenness of the human being can be ascribed to the failure to know the self —as spirit—and the Other.¹²⁹ In his Human, All Too Human, Nietzsche signified these two aspects of human fallenness. First, he contended that fallenness is the outcome of one’s being enclosed within one’s self, unable to step outside it. And yet the fallen human reality is the least personal in the sense that, though it is enclosed within the self, the human being is never capable of discovering the true value and authentic meaning of one’s self. Second, he wrote that “the whole of human life is sunk deeply in untruth”.¹³⁰ One fails even to notice that which is outside one’s self, regarding the self as of prior importance and value than every other being in the world. Accordingly, one is most of the time incapable of finding one’s way toward other beings, and thereby participating—the least possibly—in the joys and sorrows of Others.¹³¹ We all of us, to be sure, still suffer from the all-too-little regard paid to the personal in us, it has been badly cultivated—let us admit to ourselves that our minds have, rather, been drawn forcibly away from it and offered as sacrifice to the state, to science, to those in need, as though what would have to be sacrificed was in any case what was bad.¹³²

 I use the word ‘fallenness’ instead of sin not only because it is the term most used by the authors with whom the present work is concerned, but also because of the disadvantageous history of use of the word ‘sin’. The main disadvantage is that every ‘religious’ tradition perceives sin from its own stance. Jews mean by ‘sin’ something completely different than Muslims or Christians, let alone eastern religions or the perspectives of the religious fundamentalists. Furthermore, it may be noted here that common conceptions of sin are the outcome of regarding the human being as a thing that has to live in a certain way, speak in a certain way, read and argue in a certain way. In contrast to this, I assume that the concept of ‘fallenness’, as employed by both Heidegger and Berdyaev, avoids many of the misconceptions of ‘sin’.  Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human, 30.  Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human, 29.  Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human, 51.

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For Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, evil inheres in the failure of beings to be truly what they are, and thus, in the perverseness and opposition of certain ways of being to being as such. Thus, no being is evil in itself.¹³³ Similarly, Kierkegaard described the fallenness of the human being as not-being one’s own self, namely not having a self for the sake of which one would “venture everything”.¹³⁴ He wrote: “the more the self knows, the more it knows itself”. And if this does not occur, “then the more knowledge increases, the more it becomes a kind of inhuman knowing”¹³⁵—a knowing that carries the person away from his/her true self and keeps him/her from any possible return to the self. Hence, fallenness is the outcome and the ramification of the self-centeredness of the human subject, who nevertheless fails to discover his/her true and authentic depth. Thus, on the one hand, the human being obliterates the truth of spirit in a moment of succumbing to the pressure exerted by the crowd upon him/her, whereby the ecstatic relation between the human being and his/her truth is already concealed. On the other hand, the human being falls because it does not always succeed in understanding the world or in making whatever it hears its own, whereby it becomes undifferentiated toward being in the world. While being in the world is an indispensable characteristic of human spirit, it is possible to conclude that human fallenness is best described as the estrangement of the human being from his/her essential nature—as spirit—which is the same as saying that the human being becomes inattentive to being in the world. Thus, human subject can be lost in publicness, in the crowd, without him/ her being truly engaged in or caring about the world. He/she can simply follow the ways of the ‘they’ and walk their paths, by which he/she moves unpurposefully, guided by indefinite others. Such estrangement of beings becomes, then, one’s everyday experience in the world. One easily gets involved in irresponsible knowing and seeing, moving from one event to another without any true care but simply for the sake of knowing—Heidegger called this ‘curiosity’¹³⁶—the outcome of which is the denial of one’s being in the world as caring and loving. Nevertheless, the origin of human fallenness remains interior to the human self, rather than exterior or social, as long as the human being uproots him/herself from his/her essential—spiritual—character, perceiving him/herself and Others as indifferently existing with one another. This results in an ambiguous situation, in which the human being is not truly ‘with’ and ‘for’ the Other, as his/her dealings

   

Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, The Divine Names and Mystical Theology, 4. Kierkegaard, Sickness Unto Death, 35. Kierkegaard, Sickness Unto Death, 31. Heidegger, BT (1927), 214– 217.


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with others never step beyond the personal interests and benefits. This is especially true whenever the human subject perceives others as a threat to his/her own being.¹³⁷ And, yet, the human being may resort to different ways, pretending to be genuinely caring for others. Similarly, the human subject approaches him/ herself usually with ambiguity, as result of which the need for genuinely reflecting on one’s life will be also lacking. Furthermore, when lost in the crowd and guided by idle talk and curiosity, which are by nature ambiguous, all other creative and genuine attempts to bring a change in the status quo, and to bring forth the truthfulness of those attempts, are covered up. Thus, there will be no need to initiate something new when everything possible has been already ‘accomplished’ and ‘settled’. One professes one’s own ability to achieve all needed obligations, while in fact nothing of the claims, or very little of them, is realized. Thus, ambiguity dominates one’s consideration of one’s own self and others in such a way that one does not venture to know others, or truly to care for them, but rather depends on what one hears about them. In this sense, the person will not have the chance for a primordial or genuine experience of ‘being-with’. In similar words Heidegger wrote: “Under the mask of ‘for-one-another’, an ‘against one-another’ is in play.”¹³⁸ For Heidegger this way of being in the world, namely being lost in the crowd or the collective—Berdyaev called this the ‘average mind’¹³⁹—belongs to one’s everyday reality as the person becomes absorbed and superficially captivated by the world and the crowd. Heidegger called this the ‘falling’ [‘Verfallen’] of the human being. ‘Falling’ signifies, first, the falling of the human being from his/ her own true being—or spirit—which is the means for the manifestation of being as such. Thus, by falling, the human subject experiences an inauthentic, estranged being-in-the-world, without feeling the need for any return to authenticity. Nevertheless, it should be noted here that, regardless of the fallen nature of human existence in the world, the human being never loses his/her innermost being, or spiritual reality. Lossky, in this sense, maintained that “without fallibility there would be no greatness.”¹⁴⁰ It is in the very possibility of choosing between good and evil, between transcending the self to divine Mystery or falling into the darkness and filthiness of sin, that freedom and the dignity of the human being lies. Transcendence would not be possible without it being the free choice of the human subject and the present risk of human fallenness.  Cf. Heidegger, BT (1927), 211– 218.  Heidegger, BT (1927), 219. [“Unter der Maske des Füreinander spielt ein Gegeneinander.” Heidegger, GA 2, 232.]  Berdyaev, FS (1927), 14.  Lossky, Orthodox Theology: An Introduction, 73.

3.2 Spirit as Corresponding to Being


The early Fathers of the Church maintained the need for tests [πεῖρα] in life, in which one experiences both good and evil, in order that one becomes conscious of one’s free decision and seizes fully one’s freedom as one proceeds toward impeccable existence. Maximus the Confessor confirmed that such spiritual experience is an unavoidable aspect of Christian life.¹⁴¹ And Berdyaev wrote: Man is the bearer of meaning, although he is a fallen creature in whom meaning is distorted. But fall can only be from a height, and the very fall of man is a token of his greatness.¹⁴²

Furthermore, the falling signifies the fall into the world. Knowing that the world belongs to the being of the human subject, it would be possible to conclude that ‘falling’ is a principal characteristic of human spirit as well. Though spirit itself is pure and dignified, its being in the world implies at once its purity and, yet, its fallen reality. Spirit in the world is imperfect and always has the tendency to advance in either direction; fallenness or purity. Thus, if there is need to use the word ‘temptation’, one could say that being in the world is itself tempting. For Berdyaev, the fall is about yielding to a passive state of fulfilling certain necessities, surrendering one’s creativity for the sake of obtaining that which belongs to the natural order of things. Hence, one becomes unable to free oneself from captivity and enslavement to the static and dispiriting “animalization of man”.¹⁴³ In contrast to this, the individuation of the human being saves the person from fallenness, disclosing the possibilities for an authentic and creative existence. Individuation occurs whenever the human being ‘flees’ the ‘publicness’ and frees oneself from that, which has become something like a ‘home’ for him/ her that provides comfort and serenity. By departing ‘publicness’ the human being moves towards that which is ‘no-home’, namely towards freedom. Such a departure and movement are in no sense an effortless, straightforward thing, but this move is rather accompanied with anxiety and distress. Nevertheless, anxiety is the mark of individuation, and the movement can truthfully be described as the movement towards home, which is the same as the freedom

 Paulin Allen & Bronwen Neil (Eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Maximus the Confessor (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015), 170. See further: Sylvie Avakian, “Christian Spirituality: Maximus the Confessor—A Challenge to the 21st Century”, International Congregational Journal, Vol. 14, winter 2015, 67– 84.  Berdyaev, DM (1931), 11.  Berdyaev, MCA (1916), 71– 72, 76. Berdyaev, in his The Destiny of Man (1931), made reference to Heidegger’s notion of ‘das Man’, signifying the everydayness and the fallen reality of human existence in the world. See: Berdyaev, DM (1931), 20.


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of the person.¹⁴⁴ This fleeing of the human being toward the ‘no-home’ is the movement toward the actualization of one’s authentic being, the faithfulness to the inner spirit. In this sense, Berdyaev wrote that “[r]eligion can be defined as an experience of intimacy and kinship with being”, and “[t]he struggle against the power of objectivization is … a spiritual revolution.”¹⁴⁵ Fallenness in the world gives the person the ‘tranquility’ and the satisfaction that one is already leading a ‘good’ life and capable of keeping everything in order. One need only have a certain intellectual level, good relations and be capable of harmonizing different cultures in order to have satisfaction and serenity and believe that one already owns everything. Such fallenness in the world results in one getting caught up and being submerged into the self, namely into the superficial ‘self’. This submerging into the self turns the human being into a segregated ‘I’, a subject, who perceives the world as an object, while the relation between subject and object becomes characterized in terms of being present at hand, rather than in any authentic existential way. In this sense, through falling in the world, the spirit of the human being is at stake.¹⁴⁶ This covers up completely the question of the inner freedom of the human being, namely the freedom of spirit and the need for an authentic ‘being-with’ an Other. Contrary to this, spirit is never a subject over against an object; rather, as a knowing subject, it is simultaneously the object of its knowledge. And in a deeper sense, the spirit assumes the world and takes it within its own reality. Both Heidegger and Berdyaev distinguished between true freedom and the free will of the human being that wills itself. The second of these, namely the egocentric free will, necessarily ends up struggling for power, as the person aspires to practice control over reality and believes to be in possession of truth itself. Such struggle confiscates any possibility for the human being to rid him/ herself of the forgetfulness of being, maintaining him/her in his/her fallenness and estrangement from truth itself, and by this it serves power and is empowered by it. Such power, however, is not capable of sustaining free decisions; on the contrary, it complies with what is commonly accepted, remaining ignorant or negligent of the difference between beings and being as such, namely of truth itself.¹⁴⁷ Thus, Heidegger wrote:

 Cf. Heidegger, BT (1927), 233 – 35. My use of ‘fleeing’ here carries the opposite sense of Heidegger’s ‘fleeing’ as he describes the fall into the ‘publicness’ as “fleeing in the face of itself” (229).  Berdyaev, FS (1927), 20.  Cf. Heidegger, BT (1927), 220 – 224.  Heidegger, “Overcoming Metaphysics” (1936 – 46), in EP (1936 – 46), 102.

3.2 Spirit as Corresponding to Being


The ‘world-wars’ and their character of “totality” are already a consequence of the abandonment of Being. They press toward a guarantee of the stability of a constant form of using things up. Man … lets his will be unconditionally equated with this process, and thus at the same time become the “object” of the abandonment of Being. The world wars are the antecedent form of the removal of the difference between war and peace.¹⁴⁸

Hence, Heidegger concluded that, in an age when power in the form of ‘totality’ is the only effective power, human beings have abandoned being as such and, by abandoning being, they have abandoned their own true being. A mere consumption of the world and the things in the world, for guaranteeing the well-being of one’s own self, has gained priority in the life of the human being.¹⁴⁹ It is this guaranteeing of being that makes ‘leadership’ necessary in the sense of planning and calculating the possibility of consuming beings through the different spheres of consumption. Consequently, the world “has become an unworld”, or the world longer worlds; that is, it has lost its meaning, and its purpose as being as such has been obliterated, while beings alone seem to be real.¹⁵⁰ It is the human will, willing itself, that brings all of humanity into some kind of a uniformity ending up with meaninglessness.¹⁵¹ It is also the outcome of human fallenness that on certain occasions the suffering of innocent people and their misery are justified for the sake of some kind of ‘universal goodness or order’. In this sense, human fallenness is most extremely expressed and embodied in and through wars, where the annihilation of every human-spiritual value and mean Heidegger, “Overcoming Metaphysics” (1936 – 46), in EP (1936 – 46), 103 – 104. [“Die “Weltkriege” und ihre “Totalität” sind bereits Folgen des Seinsverlassenheit. Sie drängen auf die Bestandsicherung einer ständigen Form der Vernutzung. In diesen Prozeß ist auch der Mensch einbezogen, … er seinen Willen unbedingt in diesem Vorgang aufgehen läßt und dadurch zugleich das “Objekt” der Seinsverlassenheit wird. Die Welt-Kriege sind Vorform der Beseitigung des Unterschiedes von Krieg und Frieden”. Heidegger, GA 7, 91.]  Both Heidegger and Berdyaev appreciated Europe’s cultural legacy; however, they were critical of the “mercantile civilization with its middle-class spirit” that the modern era produced. “That was the tendency of civilization throughout the world” wrote Berdyaev “but it was most clearly marked among European peoples. The Russians had been saved from it by their backwardness. But it was a mistake to deduce from this backwardness that a contemporary worldtendency had no effect on Russia and that her people were protected from it by the nature of their spirit.” Though perceiving German Idealism and Romanticism as predominantly spiritual in contrast to the “non-spiritual tendencies of France and England”, Berdyaev nevertheless contended that Western Europe has failed in its “spiritual mission”, opting instead for materialism. Thus, he concluded that both the triumph and the failure of the spiritual mission were represented throughout history, both in Russia and in Europe, and that the “struggle is now to save spirit, culture, and true civilization from extinction”. Berdyaev, D (1923), 174– 177.  Heidegger, “Overcoming Metaphysics” (1936 – 1946), in EP (1936 – 46), 104– 105.  Heidegger, “Overcoming Metaphysics” (1936 – 1946), in EP (1936 – 46), 110.


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ing takes place. Wars reflect the complete forgetfulness of spirit, or being, and the submergence in the objective world of things. It is the most drastic manifestation of the accumulated experience of being immersed in the ‘they’, or the superficial self, and having lost every initiation in the search for dignity, beauty, meaning and even human life.¹⁵² In contrast to the logic of wars, according to which the powerful exterminates the week, Dostoyevsky defended the life of a ‘single tiny baby’ against ‘the fabric of human destiny’. In his The Brothers Karamazov, Ivan Karamazov asked his brother: ‘Suppose that you are building up a fabric of human destiny with the object of making people happy at last and giving them peace and rest, but that in order to do so it is necessary and unavoidable to torture a single tiny baby … and to found your building on its tears— would you agree to undertake the building on that condition?’ ‘No, I wouldn’t agree,’ answers Alyosha.¹⁵³

3.3 Spirit and Human Consciousness as Care and Resoluteness 3.3.1 Care as an Essential Trait of Human Reality Contrary to the human will willing itself, Heidegger, in the following lines from Being and Time, maintained that care is an essential characteristic of the being of the human subject. This term has been chosen not because Dasein happens to be proximally and to a large extent ‘practical’ and economic, but because the Being of Dasein itself is to be made visible as care. … Dasein, when understood ontologically, is care.¹⁵⁴

 A reference can here be made to the contemporary wars in the Middle East as the outcome of a long history of being engrossed in outermost traditions, the superficial perceptions of nationality and history, never questioning authorities, not holding the powers disputable; not heeding to truth, to future and to the inner human depth.  Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov (1880), as cited by Berdyaev in his: D (1923), 107– 108.  Heidegger, BT (1927), 83 – 84. [“Der Titel ist nicht deshalb gewählt, weil etwa das Dasein zunächst und in großem Ausmaß ökonomisch und “praktisch” ist, sondern weil das Sein des Daseins selbst als Sorge sichtbar gemacht werden soll. … Dasein ontologisch verstanden Sorge ist.” Heidegger, GA 2, 76 – 77.]

3.3 Spirit and Human Consciousness as Care and Resoluteness


Care [Sorge]¹⁵⁵ brings the person outside his/her boundedness and confinement within the self, opening it up for being as such, which manifests itself in and through every other being. Here, again, a reference to Kierkegaard is necessary, who, before Heidegger, conceived care¹⁵⁶ as central for authentic being in the world. In contrast to most objectified and speculative ways of doing philosophy and theology, in his time, Kierkegaard put forward the notion of care, maintaining the inadequacy of disinterested claims of truth and the need for personal interest and conscious involvement in Christian life. Truth is not an objective thing; rather, approaching and knowing it assumes personal engagement, care and commitment to it. Claims of truth require integral, responsible existence in the world, through which alone is the human being on the path of becoming him/ herself. Kierkegaard made creative use of the early Greco-Roman literary tradition on care. According to that tradition, care could denote ‘worry’ or ‘anxiety’, but it also could indicate ‘positive’ care in the sense of taking care of an Other. This reminds us of Heidegger’s distinction between ‘being concerned about’ and ‘being-with’, referred to earlier in this chapter. The first connotation has an ont-

 Heidegger maintained the ancient notion of care with its double meaning. Thus, he distinguished between ‘Sorge’ as ‘Fürsorge’ [caring for] and ‘Sorge’ as ‘Besorgen’ [worry or anxiety]. In English, the distinction is between ‘care’, as synonymous with Dasein, and ‘care’ or ‘concern’, as the ontical perception of ‘care’. In this chapter of the present work I limit the use of the word ‘concern’ to the ontical signification of ‘Besorgen’, that is, concern about things at hand. Fürsorge, as maintained earlier, is translated as ‘solicitude’ that accompanies ‘care’.  The root of the word ‘care’ can be referred back to the Latin ‘cura’ in the tradition of ancient Rome. Since then, the word had two contradictory connotations. The first signified ‘worry’ and ‘anxiety’, as when one is troubled with the worries of life. This use of the word appeared in the works of the poet Virgil (70 – 19 BC). Conversely, the second indicated the positive attitude of being there for, or being attentive to, an Other. This second use of ‘care’ accompanied with ‘solicitude’ and ‘attentiveness’ appeared in the works of the Roman Stoic philosopher Seneca (4 BC —AD 65), who considered care as necessary for authentic human existence and as comparable to the good nature of the divine. Jesus similarly referred to these two meanings of care by urging his followers not to get worried about tomorrow and its needs, but to trust the heavenly Father, who will care for these (Matt. 6:25 – 34). See on this: Warren T. Reich, “History of the Notion of Care”, Encyclopedia of Bioethics (Revised edition) ed. Warren Thomas Reich, 5 Volumes (New York: Simon & Schuster Macmillan, 1995), 319 – 331; Konrad Burdach, “Faust und die Sorge”, Deutsche Vierteljahrsschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Geistesgeschichte (1923, 1), 160; Seneca, Ad Lucilium Epistulae Morales, tr. Richard M. Gummere), 3 (London and Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1953). In his Being and Time, Heidegger cited The Myth of Care (a 2nd century Greco-Roman myth) in all. The myth reveals care as essential to the very meaning and being of the human subject. Heidegger also quoted the words of Seneca in this regard. It is my contention that Heidegger made use of the two connotations of the ancient word ‘cura’ and indicated them through the German word ‘Sorge’ and its two different word-forms: ‘Besorgen’ [concern] and ‘Sorge’ [care]. Heidegger, BT (1927), 242– 243.


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ical nature, as regards being concerned about things and objects, while Heidegger perceived the second as ontological, in the sense that it signifies the inner being of the human subject as ‘being-with’. Kierkegaard further maintained that human concerns and worries are the reasons for positive caring and solicitude toward one another. In this sense, one receives the care of an Other and approaches Others with care, and by this one puts away one’s own distress and anxiousness. He also elaborated that, even when the human being is not surrounded by any human care, one is always within the care of God, who provides the needs of the birds and of the flowers of the field.¹⁵⁷ Heidegger made use of Kierkegaard’s notion of care; however, as aforementioned, he gave to it a philosophical-ontological dimension, maintaining that care is essential for the being of the human subject. The notion of care—ontologically understood—is then synonymous with Dasein [being-there] since the human being in the world is necessarily there for an Other, and, hence, his being is actualized in and though care in relation to that Other. Care can also denote care for oneself in the sense of caring for one’s authenticity, integrity or wholeness. Thus, the human being is there for being as such to reveal itself, and by attending to its uncoveredness the human being chooses him/herself and acts resolutely as the result of his/her decision. The uncoveredness of being as such, however, necessarily brings the person with an Other. The Other, here, is any other person, it could also be the earth. That is to say that the human being is through the interaction—in the sense of caring interaction —with an Other, that is, through care. Care, then, makes authenticity, unity and wholeness of being possible.¹⁵⁸ Care therefore stands before every practical initiation and attitude as it shapes the person from inside and gives him/her an orientation towards the world and the Others.¹⁵⁹ Care is the essential characteristic of the human tempo-

 See on this: Søren Kierkegaard, Consider the Lilies: Being the Second Part of “Edifying Discourses in a Different Vein”, tr. Amelia Stewart Ferrie Aldworth & William Stewart Ferrie (London: C. W. Daniel, 1940); George J. Stack, “Concern in Kierkegaard and Heidegger”, Philosophy Today 13 (Spring, 1969), 26 – 35.  See on this: Reich, “History of the Notion of Care”, 323 – 324. Also: Michael Gelven, A Commentary on Heidegger’s Being and Time (De Kalb, Northern Illinois University Press, 1989).  See on this: Christoph Schwöbel, “Recovering Human Dignity” in God and Human Dignity, eds. R. Kendall Soulen & Linda Woodhead (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2006). In this article Schwöbel argued that ‘relationality’ is an essential characteristic of human beings and of God, and that it is in this that human dignity lies. Human beings are called to communion with each other and hence reflect the relationality of Godself. However, it is the created nature of the person that brings him/her not only together with Others but also with the whole of creation. Schwöbel further maintained the importance of spirit for any possibility of life

3.3 Spirit and Human Consciousness as Care and Resoluteness


ral reality in the world. Heidegger wrote: “‘Being-in-the-world’ has the stamp of ‘care’ which accords with its Being.”¹⁶⁰ Thus, the temporal existence of the human being finds its value and meaning in care, through which alone the human being has the chance of utmost transformation. The human being is human and the human race as a whole is maintained to the extent that human beings are cared for and care for one another. This is the signification of The Myth of Care, cited by Heidegger. Furthermore, in his Being and Time Heidegger alluded to the words of Seneca: Among the four existent Natures (trees, beasts, man, and God), the latter two, which alone are endowed with reason, are distinguished in that God is immortal while man is mortal. Now when it comes to these, the good of the one, namely God, is fulfilled by his Nature, but that of the other, man, is fulfilled by care (cura): ‘unis bonum natura perficit, dei scilicet, alterius cura, hominis.’¹⁶¹

Care, for Heidegger, though involves the ontical sense of the word, that is, circumspective anxious care, yet means more than that. In depth, care has to do with considerateness, solicitude and forbearance; it concerns the ontological primordial structure of the human being, his/her basic existentiality, which alone makes any caring reality truly possible. Having ‘publicness’ as a threat upon the existential reality of the human subject, both Heidegger and Berdyaev pointed out the possibility for individuation, as maintained above, namely the freeing of the self for the purpose of arriving at one’s utmost potential as be-ing in the world. Heidegger described this process of individuation with the phrase “beingahead-of-itself” [“ihm selbst … vorweg”].¹⁶² This means that the human being longs for the realization of his/her potential, namely for being truly him/herself, which is beyond his/her factual reality. In absolute terms, this is the longing for being as such, or for God. In his “Letter on Humanism”, Heidegger explained that Humanism, in its traditional sense, fails to realize the appropriate dignity of the human being. It conceives it with and through the objective existence of the human subject, rather than in his/her essence, namely his/her participation in being itself. Contrary to this, care draws the person near to one’s essence. And this constitutes the true meaning of humanism, namely the longing human beings experience to

and communion. He wrote: “The capacity for life is therefore not an inherent capacity of created matter but is rooted in its relationship to God’s creative Spirit.” (49 – 50)  Heidegger, BT (1927), 243.  Seneca, Ad Lucilium Epistulae Morales, 443 – 444. The citation appeared in Heidegger’s BT (1927), 243.  Heidegger, BT (1927), 236.


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reach at their essence rather than remain outside it, which would conversely be articulated as “inhuman”. Care, then, liberates the person and lets him/her live his/her humanity in freedom.¹⁶³ Since the human being is thrown into the truth of being, it is only through ek-sistence, that is, through experiencing existence outside his/her own by uniting him/herself with being and with Others in freedom, that the human subject guards being so that that it can reveal itself as truly as possible. This is so since it is only through guarding being as such that the human being necessarily cares for Others. The question of the love of God (or being) here, similar to the emphasis of the biblical text, is deeply bound with the love of one’s neighbor. Berdyaev, in turn, referred to care in most of his works through the biblical notion of love. Love—or care—as an essential trait of human reality, appears in the experience of carrying within oneself the pain and the injustice that the whole of humankind goes through. Most people, however, live without much complaint since they live for their own selves and for the prosperity of their lives, without stepping outside their own interests and even noticing what could cause suffering and hardship for Others.¹⁶⁴ Contrary to this, those who participate in the suffering of the world carry within themselves the consciousness of humankind and proceed on the path of ‘being towards death’. By this, similar to Kierkegaard, and against disinterested objectified claims of truth, Berdyaev criticized Hegel’s rational system of thought, which expected universal domination upon everything.¹⁶⁵ Berdyaev’s famous words that appear at the beginning of this chapter: “The question of bread for myself is a material question, but the question of bread for my neighbors, for everybody, is a spiritual and a religious question”,¹⁶⁶ conform to this understanding of care.

3.3.2 The Call of Conscience Berdyaev maintained that human consciousness consists of a spiritual element, which makes splendid consciousness and sensitivity possible, both concerning the self and the relation with an Other. It is spirit within that creates a conscious-

 Heidegger, LH (1946), PATH, 243. A reference to the biblical verse is possible here: “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3:17)  See on this: Kierkegaard, Sickness Unto Death, 35.  See on this: Georg Nicolaus, C. G. Jung and Nikolai Berdyaev: Individuation and the Person: A Critical Comparison (New York: Routledge, 2011), 55.  Nikolaĭ Berdyaev, The Origin of Russian Communism (1937), tr. R. M. French (London: G. Bles, 1948), 185.

3.3 Spirit and Human Consciousness as Care and Resoluteness


ness of one’s spiritual reality and of spirit beyond the self, through which alone the human being moves to a state of consciousness. Hence, “consciousness and self-consciousness are related to spirit. … Spirit is the agency of super-consciousness in consciousness. Spirit exercises a primacy over being.”¹⁶⁷ This means that spirit and consciousness work together, each anticipating the other and preparing for the occurrence of its truth. Thus, if we assume that it is spirit that makes consciousness possible, we also have to extend our thoughts and say that it is the call of conscience that guards spirit and the Mystery behind it. Thus, Berdyaev wrote: “Spirit is not the same thing as consciousness, but consciousness is formed through spirit and through it, again, reaches superconsciousness.”¹⁶⁸ Spirit forms consciousness and directs it toward superconsciousness. But what is superconsciousness for Berdyaev? He wrote further: “Spirit is super-consciousness.”¹⁶⁹ Superconsciousness is, then, the final stage of spiritual growth, integration and wholeness, in which the human being experiences freedom and love. When divided or scattered, consciousness of one’s fallenness and of the brokenness of the world torments the person and makes him/her unhappy; contrary to this, Berdyaev contended that spiritual growth entails the “passage beyond disrupted consciousness towards superconsciousness, an escape from the power of necessity, from the casual world, into a sphere of freedom and love”, that is, the sphere of spirit.¹⁷⁰ Superconsciousness, then, for Berdyaev entailed a transformative move from clouded consciousness or awareness that is merely rational and objectifying, to spirit, which is capable of a cohesive perception of all that is.¹⁷¹ Berdyaev called this shift from disrupted consciousness, or unconsciousness, to spirit ‘the new spirituality’ that alone liberates the person from “objectification and from the subjection of spirit to the influence of a wicked and fallen society.”¹⁷² In the following lines, Kierkegaard—before Berdyaev—also associated consciousness with spirit: But how rare is the man who possesses continuity with respect to his consciousness of himself! Generally men are only momentarily conscious, conscious in the great decisions, but

 Berdyaev, SR (1937), 18. Berdyaev went on to write that spirit “is a consciousness of self as an infinite universality.” SR (1937), 29.  Berdyaev SR (1937), 35.  Berdyaev, SR (1937), 55.  Berdyaev, SR (1937), 103.  It may be noted here that, in contrast to Kant, Berdyaev’s existential philosophy maintained the capability of the human being to perceive spiritual truths, or the noumena, through the gift of spirit given to him/her. See on this further the last chapter of the present work. See also: Georg Nicolaus, C. G. Jung and Nikolai Berdyaev: Individuation and the Person, 56, 92.  Berdyaev, SR (1937), 168.


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the daily things are not computed at all; such men are spirit (if this word may be applied to them) once a week for one hour—of course that is a pretty bestial way of being spirit.¹⁷³

Kierkegaard maintained that the human being who is aware of his/her spiritual nature is conscious of his/her belongingness to God as Spirit. Such consciousness, which is an inner discernment, is not an occasional thing. It is far beyond any mere account of an experience of conscience. It is also far removed from any ‘theological’ use of the term as proof for the existence of God. Put in philosophical language, Heidegger perceived conscience as belonging to the ontological reality of the human being, and never as a thing that is available at hand. He ascribed to conscience a disclosing role, as it reveals the depth of the human inner being. He went even further and described conscience as a ‘call’ [‘Ruf’], as a ‘mode of discourse’, which appeals to the human being, urging him/her to attain his/her true self.¹⁷⁴ Heidegger wrote: The call of conscience has the character of an appeal to Dasein by calling it to its ownmost potentiality-for-Being-its-Self; and this is done by way of summoning it to its ownmost Being-guilty.¹⁷⁵

Here, again, Heidegger came very close to the Christian understanding of conscience, not as a proof of any immediate knowledge or admittance of God, but truly as a call that brings the person to the realization of one’s state of guilt. The major concern of the call of conscience, he explained, is the human self, so that it may not be lost in the crowd but moves forward toward its authenticity. Whenever one heeds to the call of conscience, all the different allurements and powers that attempt to control the person founder. The call urges the human being to return from his/her fallenness in the crowd, namely from his/her guilt, toward his/her true self. The call of conscience approaches the person by way of a ‘soliloquy’—in the manner of a silent discourse with his/her own self—summoning it toward ‘becoming free’ and arriving at its genuine potentials for being in the world.¹⁷⁶ But how can a subjective truth call the person ‘against’ his/her will as the call of conscience does? Heidegger wrote: “The call comes

 Kierkegaard, Sickness Unto Death, 120.  Heidegger, BT (1927), 313 – 15.  Heidegger, BT (1927), 314. [“Der Gewissensruf hat den Charakter des Anrufs des Daseins auf sein eigenstes Selbstseinkönnen und das in der Weise des Aufrufs zum eigensten Schuldigsein.” Heidegger, GA 2, 358.] Heidegger used three different words that share the same root: ‘call’— ‘Anruf’’ [‘appeal’], ‘Aufruf’’ [‘summoning’], and ‘Ruf’’ [‘call’].  Heidegger, BT (1927), 318 – 19, 333 – 34.

3.3 Spirit and Human Consciousness as Care and Resoluteness


from me and yet from beyond me.”¹⁷⁷ The call is, then, “not just subjective”;¹⁷⁸ it has the character of an ‘it’ and yet, it is ‘nobody’. Furthermore, it addresses the person “definitely and concretely”,¹⁷⁹ regarding the particular failures and blunders the person has confronted in life. Here, too, Heidegger avoided any reference to spirit, or to God. However, he maintained that “[i]n its ‘who’, the caller is definable in a ‘worldly’ way by nothing at all.” The caller is “the bare ‘that-it-is’ in the ‘nothing’ of the world”.¹⁸⁰ I would assume that Heidegger had spirit in mind, but he did not state it. He further described both the caller and the one to whom the call is addressed as the ‘Dasein’, the one who is there. He asked: “What could be more alien to the ‘they’, lost in the manifold ‘world’ of its concern, than the Self which has been individualized down to itself in uncanniness and been thrown into the ‘nothing’?”¹⁸¹ The human being—the uncanny one, the unconforming self, mysterious, filled with wonder, individualized to its utmost potential for being in the world, thrown into the no-thing, into God as Spirit—is the one called, and within him/her lies the semblance of the caller. In this sense, conscience is the same ‘call of care’. It bids the person to become vigilant so that he/she does not fall into the ‘they’. In order to safeguard the findings of Heidegger’s ontological interpretation of conscience, it is my proposal here—similar to the one I made earlier in this chapter—to perceive the notion of spirit as corresponding to both the true human self and that which is beyond the human. Here I would extend this proposal and suggest that it is spirit within—as mystery—that empowers and authorizes the person to become the shepherd of Mystery as such, and that it is only by the person becoming the shepherd that the spirit is able to call him/her and warns him/her of any forgetfulness or neglect of his/her responsibility toward the Mystery. Here, we are reminded of Berdyaev’s spirit as the founder of consciousness and of superconsciousness. It is spirit that emancipates the person from within so that he/she can open up his/her inner self to hear the call of conscience, which is the same call of spirit. Finally, it is my contention that, in the statement “it calls me” [“es ruft mich”],¹⁸² the ‘it’ is appropriately to be ascribed to spirit. This conclusion is clearly made by Berdyaev, for whom conscience is

     

Heidegger, BT (1927), 320. [“Der Ruf kommt aus mir und doch über mich.” SZ, 366.] Heidegger, BT (1927), 323. Heidegger, BT (1927), 324. Heidegger, BT (1927), 321. Heidegger BT (1927), 321– 22. Heidegger, BT (1927), 322.


3 The Human Spirit and the Divine

“the spiritual, supernatural principle in man”.¹⁸³ It has no social origin but is rather the confusion and the misperception of conscience that results in its social interpretation. For Berdyaev, hence, the role of philosophical ethics is to uncover ‘the pure conscience’ and to distinguish it from the social elements of everyday-life. This is not an easy process, however, and it might end in tragedy as it requires the individual to take upon him/herself the reality of the brokenness of the world and its burden. Thus, conscience belongs to the spiritual depth of human nature and raises the person to a new, higher level of morality that is far beyond the simple distinction between good and evil. Though different kinds of values always put pressure on the individual conscience to choose one at the expense of others, conscience vindicates truth against all forms of conventional falsehood and deceit.¹⁸⁴ Furthermore, consciousness of the human being, for Berdyaev, is consciousness of his/her being the center of the world, bearing within himself the secret of the world, and rising above all the things of the world, is a prerequisite of all philosophy: without it one could not dare to philosophize. ¹⁸⁵ [Italics in original]

Hence, it is only through consciousness that the human being rises above every other thing in the world and therefore truly is the world, or the universe, namely the microcosm, the miniature of universe. He/she alone can stand over against the universe as an equal and as the one who carries within him/herself the whole of the universe. The human being and the cosmos are two equals. It is the consciousness of this that makes philosophy possible. Philosophy, thus, is the “inner perception” of the universe, while science is its outer perception.¹⁸⁶ For Berdyaev, then, it is only through consciousness that one owns oneself and lives one’s life with freedom, passion and readiness to repeat one’s life in the same manner that one lives it here and now. This is the opposite of carelessness or indifference about one’s existence in the world and the existence of others. About the contemporary/modern human being Berdyaev wrote: The Christian consciousness, as well as religious consciousness in general, admit certain obstacles and difficulties which must be resolved before the spiritual life is attainable. At different times and in different ways man has been conscious of sin, of an ancient burden of guilt, of his participation in a fallen world. This was an expression of his deep feeling for life; and if modern man has lost the sense of sin and of the Fall, it is a sign that he

   

Berdyaev, Berdyaev, Berdyaev, Berdyaev,

DM (1931), 167. DM (1931), 20, 163, 200. MCA (1916), 56 – 57. MCA (1916), 58.

3.3 Spirit and Human Consciousness as Care and Resoluteness


also lost his spirituality and is leading a superficial existence at the mercy of the world. Modern man is profoundly unhappy and that explains, perhaps, his obsession with the absurd idea that happiness can be organized.¹⁸⁷

Thus, to deny the spiritual nature of the human being is to deny both the human being and his/her divine image. And, yet, the organizational-technical aspect of modernity could not be renounced, since repudiating the technical accomplishments of the contemporary human subject is similarly to repudiate the human being. The need is then for a spirituality that brings “contemplation and activity, spiritual concentration and the will to struggle”¹⁸⁸ together.

3.3.3 Resoluteness as Enlightenment and ‘Being-One’s-Self’ Whenever the human being opens up the self to the call of conscience—urging him/her to the realization of his/her guilt—the human being is in a state of disclosedness, in which he/she is admitted passage towards his/her true self. This condition, which is simultaneously a state of unveiling and of anxiety, Heidegger called resoluteness. He wrote: This distinctive and authentic disclosedness, which is attested in Dasein itself by its conscience—this reticent self-projection upon one’s ownmost Being-guilty, in which one is ready for anxiety—we call ‘resoluteness’.¹⁸⁹

It is the result of the appeal of conscience that the human being decides to hearken to its call with resoluteness. Thus, resoluteness implies a return to the true self through being conscious of one’s guilt. It further implies resolution [Entschluss] concerning any indefinite possibility that is available at a certain time, which might contribute to being truly one’s self, that is, one’s ‘potentiality-for-being’. Through resolution, the human being determines to take up the possibilities available for him/her and seize hold of them, turning them into definite opportunities. And hence, in resoluteness lies the primordial authentic reality of the human being as being in the world. That is to say that resoluteness does not isolate the person from the world; on the contrary, resoluteness is an authentic being in the world and being-with-Other. Furthermore, such resolute Berdyaev, SR (1937), 69.  Berdyaev, SR (1937), 161.  Heidegger, BT (1927), 343. [“Diese ausgezeichnete, im Dasein selbst durch sein Gewissen bezeugte eigentliche Erschlossenheit—das verschwiegene, angstbereite Sichentwerfen auf das eigenste Schuldigsein—nennen wir die Entschlossenheit.” Heidegger, GA 2, 393.]


3 The Human Spirit and the Divine

ness allows Others to be their true selves through solicitous being-with-them.¹⁹⁰ “Only by authentically Being-their-Selves in resoluteness can people authentically be with one another”.¹⁹¹ Resoluteness is therefore an existential stance, through which “a projecting of oneself upon one’s own Being-guilty—a projecting which is reticent and ready for anxiety”¹⁹² is made possible. Through resoluteness, one takes upon oneself one’s utmost potentiality for being, that is one’s ‘being towards death’ which is accompanied with anxiety. Hence, the human being anticipates death and becomes free for it. Death, here, is something ahead of the human being, and is determinative for being-a-whole and, hence, for the emergence of an authentic existence. Only then is one in the state of becoming that which one already and always has been. Authenticity, then, means to take turmoil, trouble and unrest upon oneself, resisting all claims of stability and security, and resoluteness is the openness of the self to the vulnerabilities of an ever-changing surrounding. Hence, through anticipating death, the human being comes to a resolution, in which incidental and provisional possibilities are driven out. Irresoluteness, however, occurs whenever one falls into ‘untruth’, surrendering oneself to the ambiguity of the crowd or one’s being lost in the ‘they’. Contrary to this, resoluteness helps one perceive the uncovering role of conscience, which bears witness to one’s ownmost potentiality for being, that is the potentiality-for-being-a-whole or ‘being towards death’. In and through resoluteness, the human being understands him/herself unequivocally. This understanding and knowing of the self bring the person to meet the appropriate decisions for his/her existence in the world. This means that the more resolute the person is, the more unequivocal and clearer—rather than accidental and subject to alteration—his/her decisions are. Hence, the human being opens him/herself up to the self’s utmost authenticity, and it is only then that he/she is what he/she has been and, yet, that which he/she has opted to be.¹⁹³ This resolute existence in the world nevertheless remains ‘strange’—this is the experience of anxiety maintained above—and the person remains a stranger on earth, a ‘spirit’ in the crowd. In his essay on Trakl, where it was not spirit but the soul that dominated, and as a response to Trakl’s words in Frühling der Seele [Springtime of the Soul], Heidegger wrote:

   

Heidegger, Heidegger, Heidegger, Heidegger,


(1927), 344– 346. (1927), 344. (1927), 434. (1927), 435.

3.3 Spirit and Human Consciousness as Care and Resoluteness


“Something strange is the soul on the earth.” “Es ist die Seele ein Fremdes auf Erden.”¹⁹⁴

 Cited by Heidegger in his: “Language in the Poem” in On the Way to Language (1950 – 59), tr. Peter D. Hertz (New York: Harper & Row, 1971), 197.


3 The Human Spirit and the Divine

In the depths of my heart There is a song without words A dance, beyond all Rhythmic gambols; A song sung by the lake Reflecting the glimmer of the stars Revealing their mystery To my heart! In the depths of my heart There is another world, One that sees differently, Deems differently; A world with no boundaries. Is it infinity within flesh? Call it heart, or spirit Or freedom itself! Alone I walk in the fields, Winter is hard and dark. Way over there seems to be A fire, an unshielded place to dwell. There nature will sing Its song, far from the ears of the many. There, my spirit dwells, There, it finds its freedom.

4 Christianity as Authenticity “I may die before my time. I may live before my time”. —Gillian Rose—

4.1 Authentic Being as Homecoming In this chapter, I turn to the major theme of the present work—‘being towards death’—and try to unfold it in order to bring to light its deeper sense and relatedness to some important topics of Christian theology. I argue here that ‘being towards death’ is essential for understanding the meaning of creation, incarnation, death and resurrection. I argue further that the theological stance which ‘being towards death’ brings about addresses our contemporary pluralistic world, overriding obstacles that divide human beings, transcending confessional limitations, withstanding the criticisms even of critical historical methods, and liberating the person to face his/her inner self where God comes to dwell, rather than making him/her dependent on some external saving activity. Perceived in this existential light, those major theological constructions receive at once justification for their enduring meaning not only as purely theological—or metaphysical—theories within Christian thought and theology, but also as themes that can serve as mediators between Christianity and other religions, between the East and the West, and between the self and the Other. With Heidegger, I assume that the start and the origin of any meaning of ‘death’ or ‘being towards death’ is the perception of the human being as ‘care’, and that ‘care’ itself can be understood as ‘being towards death’.¹ This is to say that ‘death’, or ‘being towards death’, in this work and in Heidegger’s thought, has existential-ontological meaning since it lets the human being stand before him/herself in the most primordial and authentic way possible. Thus, we are inquiring here neither about the biological death of a person nor about death in its ‘theological’ or ‘onto-theological’ sense—as the result of sin or ‘spiritual’ death, which results in the denial of every goodness. Rather, death, or ‘being towards death’, stands here for the person’s existential acceptance and inner consciousness of his/her own death and of the temporality of being. It is this inner consciousness and the assuming upon oneself the reality

 See on this: Heidegger, BT (1927), 293, 378. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110707519-007


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of one’s own death that alone can conquer death in its ‘theological’ sense as the last evil and the bottom ground of every ‘sin’. This is what the Easter Hymn of Orthodoxy declares: Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death”. Furthermore, I maintain that it is this acceptance of one’s death that defines the human being as ‘care’. On the other hand, it is equally true to say that it is only because we are ‘caring’ beings that pain and death receive their due existential value and meaning for us. The human being cares about the world, God, truth, the pure self, freedom and the Other, and it is the outcome of care that the human being is on the path of becoming a whole, or being at home. It is only then that the human being takes upon him/herself pain and death as the marks of being on that path. If “in care the Being of Dasein is included”,² then, in ‘care’—and for ‘care’—not only does the Dasein, or the human being, truly exist, but also the very potentiality of the human being for meaningful existence is actualized, whereby being itself acquires meaning. This is the ‘primordial unity’ of be-ing and death and the two together as a whole. It is in this sense that we read Heidegger saying: “The existential structure of such Being [‘being towards death’] proves to be the ontologically constitutive state of Dasein’s potentiality-for-Being-a-whole”.³ It is through ‘being towards death’ that the human potential for becoming a whole—or being at home—receives its due concern. Nevertheless, one never achieves wholeness as there will always be that which belongs essentially to the human being, while still missing in the present. Wholeness, in this sense, is never achievable while being in the world. Thus, the human being does not cease to be on the path toward wholeness, which is to say that he/she still has to become that which is missing or that which is “still outstanding”.⁴ This “still outstanding”, however, should not be understood in any objective sense, as owning a property or arriving at a particular achievement. It is rather the becoming of the person him/herself that is “still outstanding”, through which he/

 Heidegger, BT (1927), 274.  Heidegger, BT (1927), 277.  Heidegger, BT (1927), 280, 287. This notion of a path toward wholeness which does not come to an end in this world is comparable to Gregory of Nyssa’s notion of “progress” as one’s spiritual journey toward God. Gregory of Nyssa wrote: “This truly is the vision of God: never to be satisfied in the desire to see him. But one must always, by looking at what he can see, rekindle his desire to see more. Thus, no limit would interrupt growth in the ascent to God, since no limit to the Good can be found nor is the increasing of desire for the Good brought to an end because it is satisfied”, Gregory of Nyssa, The Life of Moses, tr. Abraham J. Malherbe & Everett Ferguson (New York: Paulist Press, 1978), 116. In the first chapter of this work (note 18) I maintained that Kierkegaard appropriated the notion of continuous journey toward God from the early tradition of the Fathers of the Church.

4.1 Authentic Being as Homecoming


she progresses towards wholeness. And this is a continuous process of reaching at that particular purpose which confers meaning upon his/her existence in the world. Thus, the element of the “not-yet” belongs to the essential nature of the human being and, without it, or without being in this process toward wholeness, he/she would be left with a meager meaning for existence. Heidegger wrote: “Dasein is Dasein only in it itself. It is, though as the being-on-the-way of itself to itself!” Hence, for Heidegger, this is the meaning of “[t]he anticipatory leap forward: not positing an end, but reckoning with being-on-the-way, giving it free play, disclosing it, holding fast to being-possible”.⁵ It is in this sense that understanding of the self is not the kind of knowledge that is comported toward grasping an object; rather, it is best perceived as the “wakefulness of Dasein for itself”.⁶ Thus, it is true that “Dasein is constantly ‘more’ than it factually is”,⁷ and it remains a persistent challenge to the human being to become what he/ she truly is, that is, to become transparent to his/her own self and to Others. It is, then, possible to say that the more the human being is familiar and acquainted with the world, the more authentic he/she becomes, while inauthentic existence covers up being. It takes it away from ‘clearedness’ [Gelichtetheit] into concealment, leaving the person in his/her unhomeliness, as Heidegger would say. Hence, Heidegger maintained that it is the ‘anticipatory resoluteness’, as the experience of one’s anticipation and acceptance of one’s own death, that brings one into authentic existence.⁸ This notion of progressing toward that which is still ‘outstanding’—or toward one’s home—is conveyed through Berdyaev’s notion of ‘spiritual development’, which is the activity and the responsibility of the inner self and the free and creative nature of one’s spirit. ‘Spiritual development’, then, has a ‘vertical’ dimension, insofar as it proceeds from the innermost depth of the person toward the heights of divinity. It is only later that this movement comes to be expressed and demonstrated in one’s life and works, whereby it, that is one’s spiritual development, receives an objectified/ horizontal dimension.⁹ Thus, any outward or objectified progress receives its value and meaning only when it can be traced back to inner freedom and creativity; otherwise, it remains an external fact and nothing more.¹⁰

 Martin Heidegger, Ontology—The Hermeneutics of Facticity (1923), tr. John van Buren (Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1999), hereafter OHF, 13.  Heidegger, OHF (1923), 12.  Heidegger, BT (1927), 185.  Heidegger, BT (1927), 442.  Berdyaev, FS (1927), 315 – 316.  It might not be an insignificant remark to point out the difference between Western and Eastern Christian spirituality, as perceived by Berdyaev. Berdyaev contended that Western Christian-


4 Christianity as Authenticity

Nevertheless, it is often the case that that which belongs to one’s own is kept out as foreign in such a way that one becomes incapable of arriving at one’s own self and is thus unable to carry out the meaning and the purpose of one’s existence. In Heidegger’s terms, this would mean that human beings fail “to fulfill whatever is destined to them, and whatever is fitting, as their specific way of being … human beings abandon what is their own because it is what most threatens to overwhelm them”.¹¹ Hence, Heidegger argued for the necessity of moving beyond one’s kinship to that which is evident, but superficial, toward that which is of greater value and meaning, though seeming to be more difficult and obscure. Thus, ‘being towards death’ is an essential constituent for any possible being on the path towards authenticity and wholeness. The path, nevertheless, as maintained, assumes acceptance of one’s own death, which in turn entails care and resolution, releasement (or letting-be), grief, pain, and being for and

ity inculcates the imitatio Christi, perceiving Christ as the ‘prototype’ or the ‘criterion’, the Son of God and the absolute truth, while giving to the Holy Spirit a subordinate role. Orthodoxy, on the other hand, according to Berdyaev, focuses on the believers becoming sons and daughters of God, namely becoming truth, which results in the transfiguration of the person and of the whole created order through the work of the Holy Spirit. (Berdyaev, Freedom and the Spirit, 255.) A critical comment on this is in order here. In the Reformed understanding of imitatio Christi, there is equally the element of becoming, as one unescapably becomes that which one imitates and follows, and in this sense, it is more than mere ‘imitation’, especially as it insists on inner devotional life, prayer and discipleship. Nevertheless, ‘imitation’ still undergoes the risk that it might fail to step beyond its claimed truth, namely beyond mere imitation and, consequently, that the thing that has been inculcated persists only as the object of one’s knowledge, even serving the self-satisfaction of the person rather than any true ‘imitation’ of Christ. See on this: Kierkegaard’s critique in his Judge for Yourself! There, criticizing his contemporary clergies, who claimed to be models of discipleship and demanded the submission of others to them, Kierkegaard described them as accommodating themselves “to presumed Christianity in such a way that one is really abolishing Christianity”. Kierkegaard, Judge for Yourself!, tr. Howard V. Hong and Edna H. Hong (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990), 200. I argue here that this aspect of Western Christian thought, as it has been criticized by Kierkegaard, lies in the depth of Heidegger’s—and before him of Hölderlin’s and Nietzsche’s—critiques. In this particular work, Kierkegaard addressed the misinterpretation of Christian faith in terms of cognition and the acquisition of some objective doctrines by means of scholarship as pure academic achievement. He wrote: “The Christianity of today could be called professional-scholarly Christianity”. (Kierkegaard, Judge for Yourself, 195.) Kierkegaard indicated by this that Christian faith in the sense of ‘imitation’ assumes living in accordance to faith and not merely achieving some objective goals on the way to ‘imitation’. See further on this: Joel D.S. Rasmussen, “Thomas à Kempis: Devotio Moderna and Kierkegaard’s Critique of “Bourgeois-Philistinism” in Jon Stewart (Ed.), Kierkegaard and the Patristic and Medieval Traditions, 289 – 296.  Heidegger, HHI (1942), 21.

4.1 Authentic Being as Homecoming


through the Other. The present chapter, then, is an attempt to unfold these themes and to demonstrate that these together contribute to a contemporary interpretation of the Christian faith that makes the homecoming of the human being possible, which, I assume, is comparable to authentic Christian existence. Without ‘being towards death’, and particularly having Christianity in our time wedded to the present state of affairs and the mere objective-historical dominating worldview, Christianity remains nothing more than a ‘herd Christianity’, as Berdyaev claimed. The challenge, then, of taking upon oneself one’s own ‘being towards death’ frees one from all attempts to preserve oneself from experiencing ultimate freedom in Christ.

4.1.1 ‘Being towards Death’ as ‘Homecoming’ or Approaching the Mystery It is one thing just to use the earth, another to receive the blessing of the earth and to become at home in the law of this reception in order to shepherd the mystery of Being and watch over the inviolability of the possible.¹²

In his “Remembrance of the Poet”, Heidegger quoted the words of Hölderlin: “That which thou seekest is near, and already coming to meet thee”.¹³ That which the person seeks is near and is already coming to meet him/her. However, if by meeting or finding we mean obtaining that which is sought as one’s own, namely dwelling in it as in one’s possession, then, “what is sought is not yet found”.¹⁴ Its essence is still kept distant. In this sense, ‘homecoming’ is never fully accomplished as the ‘home’ essentially is there when the person’s destiny is fulfilled. And, hence, Heidegger wrote: But now if homecoming means becoming at home in proximity to the source, then must not the return home consist chiefly, and perhaps for a long time, in getting to know this mystery, or even first of all in learning how to get to know it. But we never get to know a mystery by unveiling or analyzing it; we only get to know it by carefully guarding the mystery as mystery.¹⁵

 Heidegger, “Overcoming Metaphysics” (1936 – 1946), in EP, 109. [“Eines ist es, die Erde zu nutzen, ein anderes, den Segen der Erde zu empfangen und im Gesetz dieser Empfängnis heimisch zu werden, um das Geheimnis des Seins zu hüten und über die Unverletzlichkeit des Möglichen wachen”. Heidegger, GA 7, 97.]  Hölderlin, “Homecoming: To Kindred Ones” as recited by Heidegger, “Remembrance of the Poet” (1944), in EB, 239. [“Was du suchest, es ist nahe, begegnet dir schon”. Heidegger, GA 4, 14.]  Heidegger, “Remembrance of the Poet” (1944), EB, 244  Heidegger, “Remembrance of the Poet” (1944), EB, 259. [“Wenn nun aber Heimkunft bedeutet, heimischwerden in der Nähe zum Ursprung, muß dann nicht das Heimkommen zuerst und


4 Christianity as Authenticity

In this sense, both life and death belong to one and the same Mystery, which one aspires to approach on the path of ‘homecoming’, and yet, without overcoming its essence. To the path of homecoming belongs ‘joy’, the joy of approaching the source which is the home; a joy which encompasses within itself “the essence of all joys”.¹⁶ Thus, Hölderlin, the poet, wrote his poetry and, by writing, told about his own experience approaching the Mystery. Writing itself was the Joy; as the very home-coming consisted in writing. To the path of ‘homecoming’ equally belongs grief; grief, which is not mere melancholy. Grief “is joy which is serenified for the Most Joyous, so long as it still reserves itself and hesitates”.¹⁷ In a similar vein, the human being’s nobility belongs together with his/her indigence. The dignity of the human being does not deny his/her destitution and poverty. As poetic words are to take care of the Mystery, care and joy meet, and to joy belongs grief. Grief, with its inner light, originates in joy. Though the path of ‘homecoming’ is at once a path of “sorrowing joy”,¹⁸ nevertheless, both one’s sorrow and joy, and the whole words of the person will fail to name the ‘High One’, as names will remain always lacking in their description of the Mystery. No matter how grave the failure in naming the ‘High One’ is, the poet’s vocation remains: But fearless man remains, as he must, Alone before God, simplicity protects him, And no weapon needs he, and no Cunning, till the time when God’s failure helps. [Furchtlos bleibt aber, so er es muß, der Mann Einsam vor Gott, es schützet die Einfalt ihn, Und keiner Waffen braucht’s und keiner Listen, so lange, bis Gottes Fehl hilft.]¹⁹

Thus, no help could come without failure, as no joy without grief. And the poet, who is most susceptible to weakness is, nevertheless, to guard the Mystery, the Most Joyous, and in guarding to unfold it, namely to take upon oneself the ‘care’ for homecoming. Hölderlin’s poem “Homecoming: To Kindred Ones” is, finally, a call to the kinsfolk, the ones who belong naturally—or claim to belong—to the

vielleicht lange Zeit darin bestehen, das Geheimnis dieser Nähe zu wissen oder gar erst wissen zu lernen? Doch ein Geheimnis wissen wir niemals dadurch, daß wir es entschleiern und zergliedern, sondern einzig so, daß wir das Geheimnis als das Geheimnis hütten”. Heidegger, GA 4, 24.]  Heidegger, “Remembrance of the Poet” (1944), EB, 260.  Heidegger, Heidegger, “Remembrance of the Poet” (1944), EB, 262.  Heidegger, “Remembrance of the Poet” (1944), EB, 263.  Hölderlin, “The Poet’s Vocation” (IV, 147) as cited by Heidegger, “Remembrance of the Poet” (1944), EB, 265. [Heidegger, GA 4, 28.]

4.1 Authentic Being as Homecoming


homeland, to listen to the words of the poet and learn about the essence and the Mystery of the ‘home’. Hence, those guided by the words of the poem are the ones who through their enduring spirit become themselves the caring ones, those who care for and guard the Mystery.²⁰

4.1.2 Releasement: ‘Coming-into-the-Nearness of Distance’ As maintained earlier, the uncovering of being occurs through meditative thinking [besinnliches Denken, from sinnen and its old German: sinnan “to clear a way”²¹], through which one opens up the self for being to emerge. Such thinking, which contemplates the truth of being, “comes to pass [ereignet sich] before the distinction” [between the theoretical and the practical]; hence it is a “recollection of being and nothing else”.²² This moment of thinking and of recollection is decisive for the whole of one’s being. It is a moment that determines who one is in the world; a moment of disclosure and of uncovering of truth; a moment of be-ing what one has already been. Thinking—which contemplates being—cares for the light in which θεωρία or the gazing upon truth occurs. Such thinking takes the form of words and language so that its truth can be attainable and reachable. In this sense, thinking assumes some kind of doing, a doing which, nevertheless, pervades all other kinds of praxis. With all its implications, however, thinking of being remains the simplest of all thinking as it neither entails speculative engagement nor compels particular achievements. It remains, rather, outside what is commonly known as theoretical and practical accomplishments.²³ Meditative thinking, therefore, is a movement toward being as such, and thus it comes near to being, yet nevertheless remains distant. So, Heidegger, in his “Conversation on a Country Path about Thinking” (1944 – 45), wrote: “… perhaps we can express our experience … by saying that we are coming near to and so at the same time remaining distant from thatwhich-regions”.²⁴ In his “Conversation”, Heidegger avoided the use of ‘being’ as that opening within which the horizon of consciousness is set—or that which lies beyond the horizon. Instead, he referred to the open ‘region’ [Gegend]²⁵ as in itself mysterious and beyond the human “capacity to re-present

     

Heidegger, “Remembrance of the Poet” (1944), EB, 266 – 267. See on this: Heidegger, GA 7, 63. Heidegger, LH (1946), PATH, 272. Heidegger, LH (1946), PATH, 274– 75. Heidegger, “Conversation” (1944– 45), DT, 86. Heidegger, “Conversation” (1944– 45), DT, 65.


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… as if sheltered amid the familiar and the secured”, while itself being “exactly that which alone permits all sheltering”.²⁶ He even used the verb-forms of the word ‘region’, such as ‘that-which-regions’ and ‘regioning’, in order to imply the direct involvement and the coming of being as such through and into the human being. Thus, the open ‘region’ makes thinking in the sense of ‘letting be’ possible, while it is itself that which cannot be thought ‘fore’ or fore-conceived, the Un-vor-denk-liche, that which thinking cannot go beyond.²⁷ Being as such approaches the human being, opening itself up as the nearest possible, yet simultaneously withdrawing itself from him/her. Hence, … That-which-regions itself would be the nearness of distance, and the distance of nearness … a characterization which should not be thought of dialectically … [rather] in accordance with the nature of thinking.²⁸

This is the difference between calculative and meditative thinking: while the first thinks that it can attain control over whatever it wills, the second realizes that the very truth upon which it ponders is a Mystery, far beyond its grasp and mastery through the will. This is why the ground of meditative thinking, though the nearest possible while nonetheless remaining at distance, can never be completely grasped. The culmination of this process is what Heidegger called Gelassenheit [releasement],²⁹ which indicates the openness of the human being, which  Heidegger, “Conversation” (1944– 45), DT, 65. The comparableness of the mystical element that Heidegger ascribed to both “that-which-regions” and also to the understanding of truth— or ἀλήθεια—as described in his The Beginning of Western Philosophy (1932) and The Event (1941– 42), is remarkable. Here, in the “Conversation” (1944– 45), Heidegger made use of another word from Heraclites’ fragment 122, “᾿Aγχιβασίη” [going near], interpreting it as “moving-intonearness” or “letting-oneself-into-nearness”. Somehow, Heidegger ascribed to the word the whole notion of being on the path toward being as such, namely as that which indicates the path of human thinking. Heidegger, “Conversation” (1944– 45), DT, 88 – 89.  See on this: John M. Anderson, “Introduction” in Heidegger, DT (1959), 28 – 29. Thus, any projection of a horizon is nothing other than shrinking the open ‘region’ in order to befit human subjective purposes. Heidegger, DT, 64– 66. Cf. Heidegger, OHF (1923), 12– 13.  Heidegger, “Conversation” (1944– 45), DT, 86. [“Die Gegnet wäre selbst die Nähe der Ferne und die Ferne der Nähe… wobei wir diese Kennzeichnung nicht dialektisch denken dürfen… Sondern … nach dem Wesen des allein von der Gegnet her bestimmten Denkens”. Heidegger, GA 13, 70.]  Gelassenheit is the gerund form of the perfect participle from lassen (to let, to allow). The word as it was used by the medieval German mystics, mainly by Meister Eckhart, carried the denotation of surrendering the self to God. Heidegger, however, in his “Conversation”, criticized Eckhart’s thought as remaining “within the domain of will” (DT, 61). I contend that Heidegger’s critique of Eckhart is not faithful enough to the thought of the Mystic. Furthermore, I argue that Heidegger’s critique of Eckhart belongs to a bulk of critiques which he lodged against many

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is nothing other than his/her true nature in relation to being as such. Such releasement of the self into the divine is the outcome of ultimate freedom, made possible through spirit, as the human being is given to be him/herself in freedom and in God. Thus, through meditative thinking not only being as such but also the human being emerges. In his later works, Heidegger addressed this higher meditative activity of human thinking that incorporates being as such directly. Thus, it is possible to describe this opening of the self as one’s awareness of the wider horizon within which all awareness and self-consciousness of beings reside. It follows that meditative thinking entails opening the self to that which is beyond this horizon, as the horizon is “but the side facing us of an openness which surrounds us”.³⁰ This opening of the self is not, however, merely the decision of the person, but rather equally depends upon the opening of that which lies beyond the horizon. In this sense, the horizon is to be perceived as made possible through the region, which is itself given to the human being or is “that which comes to meet us”.³¹ Through the notion of the ‘region’, within which the human being sojourns, Heidegger gave an account of being, which I contend is one and the same account of being that he presented in almost all of his works, though here he does it in more poetic-mystical terms and, admittedly, in a deeper sense of the connectedness of being and the human being. Here he wrote: The region gathers, just as if nothing were happening, each to each and each to all into an abiding, while resting in itself. Regioning is a gathering and re-sheltering for an expanded resting in an abiding. … So the region itself is at once an expanse and an abiding. It abides into the expanse of resting. It extends into the abiding of what has freely turned toward itself. …That-which-regions is an abiding expanse which, gathering all, opens itself, so that in it openness is halted and held, letting everything merge in its own resting.³²

other thinkers in the history of human thought in order to set his own thinking in distinction from theirs. Eckhart, to whom this form of the word ‘Gelassenheit’ is to be referred, equally used the word Abgeschiedenheit to express the notion of detachment, namely the experience of surrendering or renouncing one’s worldly attachments. This implies detaching the self from one’s earlier concerns of “what is”, allowing the true being of “what is” to emerge. Heidegger, DT (1959), 72– 73. Eckhart wrote: “I put disinterest higher than love. … Disinterest brings God to me and I can demonstrate it this way: Everything likes its own habitat best; God’s habitat is purity and unity, which are due to disinterest. Therefore, God necessarily gives himself to the disinterested heart”. Meister Eckhart, Meister Eckhart: A Modern Translation, 82.  Heidegger, “Conversation” (1944– 45), DT, 64.  Heidegger, “Conversation” (1944– 45), DT, 65.  Heidegger, “Conversation” (1944– 45), DT, 66. [“Die Gegend versammelt, gleich als ob sich nichts ereigne, jegliches zu jeglichen und alles zueinander in das Verweilen beim Beruhen in sich selbst. Gegnen ist das versammelnde Zurückbergen zum weiten Beruhen in der Weile. …


4 Christianity as Authenticity

So, by opening the self to that which is, one is at once in unity with it. This is to say that it is only when the human being abides truly and authentically in that which is his/her own that he/she simultaneously abides in being, which is open to all and within which all become a whole. Heidegger described this in terms of waiting for ‘being’, which in itself leaves open that which one is waiting for. Thus, by waiting, one releases oneself into being as such—or openness—through thinking. This requires the releasement or surrender of all re-presentation so that waiting can guide the person into the openness or ‘that-which-regions’. “[I]n waiting we are released from our transcendental relation to the horizon”³³ and from every representation, so that the encounter of that which lets the horizon be is made possible. In this sense, and to allow any meditative thinking or releasement to occur, Heidegger explained that the earlier “transcendental-horizonal re-presenting” is to be replaced with “waiting upon that-which-regions”.³⁴ Releasement, in turn, requires letting oneself in, rather than any willing of the self. This letting in is described both as rest and as a movement toward that region which is best perceived as Mystery, so that it can purely reign.³⁵ Then: Releasement is indeed the release of oneself from transcendental re-presentation and so a relinquishing of the willing of a horizon. Such relinquishing no longer stems from a willing, except that the occasion for releasing oneself to belonging to that-which-regions requires a trace of willing. This trace, however, vanishes while releasing oneself and is completely extinguished in releasement.³⁶

Contrary to willing, releasement is ‘letting-in’ or ‘letting-be’. This does not imply passivity or weakness in allowing things to be carried along. Releasement, as

Demnach ist die Gegend selbst zumal die Weite und die Weile. Sie verweilt in die Weite des Beruhens. Sie weitet in die Weile des frei In-sich-gekehrten. … Die Gegnet ist die verweilende Weite, die, alles versammelnd, sich öffnet, so daß in ihr das Offene gehalten und angehalten ist, jegliches aufgehen zu lassen in seinem Beruhen”. Heidegger, GA 13, 47.]  Heidegger, “Conversation” (1944– 45), DT, 73. The ‘transcendental’ here implies the human capability of transcending oneself to some higher state of being, maintaining that human existence, on its own, can project the whole horizon of being and penetrate the clearing merely through an “existential act” as a subjective act of transcendence.  Heidegger, “Conversation” (1944– 45), DT, 74  Heidegger, “Conversation” (1944– 45), DT, 68 – 69, 72.  Heidegger, “Conversation” (1944– 45), DT, 79 – 80. [“Die Gelassenheit ist in der Tat das Sichloslassen aus dem transzendentalen Vorstellen und so ein Absehen vom Wollen des Horizontes. Dieses Absehen kommt nicht mehr aus einem Wollen, es sei denn, der Anlaß zum Sicheinlassen in die Zugehörigkeit zur Gegnet bedürfte einer Spur des Wollens, welche Spur jedoch im Sicheinlassen verschwindet und vollends in der Gelassenheit ausgelöscht ist”. Heidegger, GA 13, 62.]

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something beyond willing, is equally beyond the notions of activity and passivity.³⁷ Said differently, releasement is nothing other than being resolute for truth and allowing it to occur and unveil itself, while the nature of meditative thinking is “fixed in releasement”.³⁸ Furthermore, releasement receives its own movement toward being—or that-which-regions—from being as such.³⁹ Hence, having set the given at a distance, Heidegger defined thinking as the “coming-into-the-nearness of distance”.⁴⁰ The nature of thinking is then the “the regioning of releasement”,⁴¹ or “releasement to that-which-regions” in a way that allows the nature of truth to be revealed.⁴² To interpret this further would be to say that the essential nature of meditative thinking is being as such whenever it is understood in terms of letting be or releasement. Releasement to being brings about steadfastness, self-possession and composure. By this, Heidegger attempted, again and again, to answer the question: how is it ever possible for the human being to perceive being and its meaning? Answering, he said that it is possible only through meditative thinking, in which case alone does not only being but, as forementioned, the true nature of the human being come to unveiling. Being, thus, is described as ‘regioning’ in relation to the human being, but as determining in relation to things, namely that which “determines the thing, as thing”. Hence, it is being as such—or the region—that brings humans and things together as a

 Heidegger, “Conversation” (1944– 45), DT, 61. I assume that Heidegger’s major theme that dwells on the notion of Gelassenheit is not about mere destruction of the human will. As Heidegger explained, releasement is beyond the will in the sense of the will as activity or passivity. Thus, any limiting of Heidegger’s notion of Gelassenheit to non-willing misrepresents his thought. In his Heidegger and the Will: On the Way to Gelassenheit, Bret W. Davis defined Gelassenheit as ‘non-willing’ [‘Nicht-Wollen’], though later acknowledged the element of personal engagement through active being in the world as equally bound to the understanding of Heidegger’s Gelassenheit. It is my contention that ‘releasement’, more than mere ‘non-willing’ or abrogation of one’s will, expresses the deeper sense of the word, namely releasing oneself to God. See: Bret W. Davis, Heidegger and the Will: On the Way to Gelassenheit (Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 2007).  Heidegger, “Conversation” (1944– 45), DT, 62.  Heidegger, “Conversation” (1944– 45), DT, 73.  Heidegger, “Conversation” (1944– 45), DT, 68. These two elements of nearness and distance remind the reader of the notions of ‘sameness’ and ‘difference’ between the human being and being as such. For Heidegger, the ‘sameness’ of the human being and being itself is to be understood as “belonging-together” [“zusammen Gehörigkeit”], and “experiencing this together in terms of belonging”. Heidegger, ID (1956 – 57), 28 – 29.  Heidegger, “Conversation” (1944– 45), DT, 74.  Heidegger, “Conversation” (1944– 45), DT, 81.


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whole.⁴³ This is for Heidegger the “one single thought” that every genuine thinker thinks, “that is always ‘about’ beings as a whole”.⁴⁴ By these two different ways of perceiving the relationship between being and, on the one hand, the human being, and, on the other hand, things, the essential and distinguished state of the human being comes to the fore. This prior stance of the human being in the world, over against things, is also maintained through the notion of openness. The human being opens up the self, or releases the self, into being as such, which essentially could be described as openness. Hence, the openness of the human being is grounded in the openness of being as such (or the region), and through the latter alone is the former made possible. Said differently, being as such appropriates the nature of the human being—or takes it upon itself—in order truly to be, or to region; while the human being on his/her own is powerless and in need of truth, or that-which-regions, in order to be and come to truth, that is, in order that he/she in his/her turn appropriates being. Hence, both the human being and being as such belong essentially to one another, and through releasement the human nature is delivered to truth; yet, both being and the human being are to be conceived as independent from the Other, and it is through this independence that the human being can always reject the opening of the self to being as such. Hence, it is in their independence and freedom that they come to make a unity.⁴⁵ Along these lines, Berdyaev traced the unity of the human and the divine to the Mystery, through which the person transcends creatureliness. Nevertheless, the very nature of being as Mystery, that is, the nearness of distance, safeguards the distinction between the two. This distinction is emphasized further by Heidegger through his description of the nature of being as withholding itself from any absolute unveiling. This is the ontological difference between beings and being as such, to which we will turn in the last chapter of the present work. Thus, the human being and being as such are united through meditative thinking, which is the openness of both to one another. This is to say that human thinking opens itself up to its own ground. This is the unity of the au-

 Heidegger, “Conversation” (1944– 45), DT, 77.  Martin Heidegger, Nietzsche I: The Will to Power as Art (1936 – 1939), tr. David Farell Krell (New York: Harper and Row, 1979), 4.  Heidegger, “Memorial Address” (1955), DT, 83 – 85. The language used by Heidegger here reminds the reader of the teaching on the two natures of Jesus Christ, which is stated in the Chalcedonian Creed: “one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union”. J. N. D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines (London: A & C Black, 1958), 339.

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thentic self and the meaning of being. This comes, analogically, very close to the mystical journey of the human being, through which one is given the θεωρία, the seeing of God and the mystical union between the human and the divine, which culminates in θέωσις, as maintained by the Eastern Fathers of the Church. Thus, the whole process of meditative thinking is a process of opening the self and, in this sense, it is equally a process of releasement. For Heidegger, being—or thatwhich-regions—is the dynamic-active ground for any human authentic thinking, activity and movement toward being, while the human being is the one who receives the openness of being as such and makes its unveiling possible.⁴⁶ Evidently the nature of man is released to that-which-regions because this belongs to it so essentially, that without man that-which-regions can not be a coming forth of all natures, as it is.⁴⁷

Thus, in this sense, it would be possible to say that the human being is the shepherd of the openness that regions. Later, Heidegger expressed this through the notion of indwelling in that-which-regions—or even homecoming: an indwelling which presumes the resoluteness of the human being to stand for being, or truth, and defend it, knowing that dwelling does not deny the need for journeying, since dwelling is not about dwelling in a particular place, but is rather the return to the true self—the self which one has always been. Journeying, on the other hand, manifests the need for the move forward, which presumes openness toward that which is to come. Thus, releasement incorporates resoluteness and determination for truth, or for being as such, as truth is an inner necessity of the authentic self.⁴⁸ Knowing that truth is given already to the innermost self of the human being, genuine thinking naturally longs for truth. Heidegger wrote: “In the nature of thinking so understood, we may have found what we seek. … This is the nature of that-which-regions”.⁴⁹ Moreover, the human being is not only the shepherd of that which regions but must also sustain the things in the world so that, through him/her, truth comes to dwell in the world. It is only through such indwelling that things can emerge by themselves in their truest nature. Hence, through the relationship between the human being and things, history is made, namely through the

 Heidegger, “Conversation” (1944– 45), DT, 81.  Heidegger, “Conversation” (1944– 45), DT, 83. [“Offenbar ist das Wesen des Menschen deshalb der Gegnet gelassen, weil dieses Wesen so wesenhaft der Gegnet gehört, daß diese ohne das Menschenwesen nicht wesen kann, wie sie west”. Heidegger, GA 13, 66.]  Heidegger, “Conversation” (1944– 45), DT, 81.  Heidegger, “Conversation” (1944– 45), DT, 85.


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things receiving sustainment and truth by their relating to human beings, such that they might emerge in their very true nature. In this way, being as such—or that-which-regions—comes to disclosure in history, and it is only then, for Heidegger, that history gains its true meaning as a return to the origins and as the proclamation of the true nature of beings, namely of being itself, from and through which every other being emerges. This, to a certain extent, prepared for Heidegger’s later work “The Question Concerning Technology” (1953), with its major emphasis on the need to let things and beings be, namely to bring them forth in their truth. Heidegger even went further and gave an account of being (or that-which-regions) in a personalistic manner, describing it in terms of movement—knowing that even the phrase ‘that-which-regions’ implies some personal activity of ‘regioning’. Hence, ‘regioning’ as a movement meets the human activity of opening the self and, together with it, forms a common activity. Of course, it can be remarked here that Heidegger’s later language of ‘region’ and ‘regioning’ helped him to avoid the stagnant and rigid history of ‘being’, initiating rather a new way of addressing it. Thus, he wrote: “Yet the horizon is but the side of thatwhich-regions turned toward our re-presenting. That-which-regions surrounds us and reveals itself to us as the horizon.”⁵⁰ Thus, that-which-regions turns toward us, “surrounds us”, “reveals itself to us” and—through the horizon— “comes to meet us”.⁵¹ On the other hand, the human being, through releasement, becomes “more waitful and more void”, “emptier, but richer in contingencies”.⁵² This whole reality is described in terms of nobility, as it brings the person to his/her origins and lets him/her dwell there, by which alone can he/she equally dwell in thankfulness. Thus, it is only when one’s thinking rests in itself most authentically that it attains nobility. Thankfulness, in comparison to thinking, is not about thanking for something that has been gained, but rather thanking for being itself and also for being able to thank.

 Heidegger, “Conversation” (1944– 45), DT, 72– 73. [“Der Horizont ist aber die unserem Vorstellen zugekehrte Seite der Gegnet. Als Horizont umgibt uns und zeigt sich die Gegnet”. Heidegger, GA 13, 55.]  Heidegger, “Conversation” (1944– 45), DT, 65.  Heidegger, “Memorial Address” (1955), DT, 82. The ‘void’ here is not to be interpreted in the negative sense of annihilation of the self, but rather as the most true and authentic self. Such authenticity casts away that which is not genuine to the person with the result that what is left is purely released to being as such, and in this sense is most truly being.

4.1 Authentic Being as Homecoming


In his “Memorial Address” (1955), Heidegger described the hidden meaning that confronts the human being everywhere in the modern world as nearing and, yet, distancing. He wrote: That which shows itself and at the same time withdraws is the essential trait of what we call the mystery. I call the comportment which enables us to keep open to the meaning hidden in technology, openness to the mystery. ⁵³

In this passage, Heidegger maintained that “releasement toward things and openness to the mystery belong together”.⁵⁴ They together provide ground on which the human being can stand in the triviality of the contemporary age. Releasement and opening of the self to the mystery together help the human being safeguard his/her true nature in the face of ‘thoughtlessness’—that is, the lack of meditative reflective thinking. Thus, the two together contribute to save the essential nature of the human being which is reflective and meditative.⁵⁵ Together they help one to return to one’s roots. I quote here again the words of Johann Peter Hebel (1760 – 1826), as cited by Heidegger: We are plants which—whether we like to admit it to ourselves or not—must with our roots rise out of the earth in order to bloom in the ether and bear fruit.⁵⁶

In releasement two movements co-occur. The first is a movement of resignation of the self not only to being as such but also to the finite world, while the second is a movement of love of and care for the world, holding it in faith. This parallels the human guarding of divine Mystery. Though the two occur simultaneously and repeatedly, resignation, or releasement, nonetheless precedes the movement of faith. It shapes, grounds and equips faith for its elevating move toward the divine height.

 Heidegger, “Memorial Address” (1955), DT, 55. [“Was auf solche Weise sich zeigt und zugleich sich entzieht, ist der Grundzug dessen, was wir das Geheimnis nennen. Ich nenne die Haltung, kraft deren wir uns für den in der technischen Weltverborgenen Sinn offen halten: die Offenheit für das Geheimnis”. Heidegger, GA 16, 528.]  Heidegger, “Memorial Address” (1955), DT, 55.  Heidegger, “Memorial Address” (1955), DT, 56.  As quoted by Heidegger in Heidegger, “Memorial Address” (1955), DT, 47.


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4.1.3 Letting Be: The Meaning of Creation and Incarnation God’s work of creation is continued in the incarnation of Christ the Logos. … In the consciousness of Christ’s incarnation, as a continuation of the creation, there is already implicit man’s creative role in the world.⁵⁷ Man is called to create a new and hitherto unknown world through free and daring creativeness, to continue God’s creation. The fundamental duality of man’s nature, his belonging to two worlds, corresponds to the duality of redemption and creativeness.⁵⁸

In these few lines Berdyaev perceived creation and incarnation as complementary and interdependent events within the reciprocal affinity of the divine and the human. Creation and incarnation are not mere particular occurrences but continual events that require both divine and human initiation. Both creation and incarnation have divine-human nature, such that it is not possible to ascribe them to one of the two natures without the other. Similarly, divine incarnation in the person of Jesus Christ is a revelation not only of the divine but also of the human. In him, every human being is elevated and redeemed; every human being is saved and given the task of creation. Berdyaev further maintained the correspondence between incarnation, redemption and creativeness, and the two worlds of the human being: the spiritual and the natural, or the divine and the human. This means that creation and incarnation are not mere external but also inner truths. Divine incarnation and human creativeness are, then, comparable to the inner reciprocity between the divine and the human, being and the human being. Through Christ, the human being is saved, and his/her creative nature is restored. Through him, creativeness of the human being is made possible. However, Berdyaev explained that, throughout the history of Christian theology, creation, incarnation and redemption were perceived as pure divine—external—works and have been always emphasized at the expense of human creativeness. Hence, the mystery of redemption has concealed the mystery of human creativeness. In Heidegger’s terms this means that, though being as such is given and is ‘thrown’ into the ‘there’ where the human dwells, the human being, in turn, fails to appropriate being and to take upon him/herself the task of guarding and sustaining being. Berdyaev urged, again and again, that the human being must pass through the mystery of redemption and arrive at his/her restored origin in the realm of freedom as the one to whom creative power is given, rather than always perceiving him/herself as a sinner.⁵⁹

 Berdyaev, MCA (1916), 127– 128.  Berdyaev, MCA (1916), 95.  Berdyaev, MCA (1916), 95.

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Furthermore, for Berdyaev, the human creative response to divine creation and incarnation is a reflection of divine creativity and work. The human being carries the image of the Creator and, hence, similar to God, he/she is creative and has within him/herself the inherent potential for greatness. God creates, and through creation gives Godself, whereby God is truly God. The human being, in turn, must create and give him/herself in order to find this self and truly be the being that he/she has always been and already is. The human being, then, has the mission to create. He/she is not merely called to salvation; rather, to his/her very essence is given the potential for creative freedom, which is necessary for the transfiguration of the whole world.⁶⁰ Thus Berdyaev wrote: “In Christ man has received a power which is both human and divine; he has become entirely man, a spiritual being, a new and eternal Adam”.⁶¹ He maintained that “[c]reativity is inseparable from freedom. Only he who is free creates”.⁶² The human spirit is free to the extent that it is “supernatural, transcending and going beyond the order of nature”.⁶³ This is to say that the human being carries within him/herself the seeds for a supernatural reality and that there is inherent within him/her the highest potential for freedom, which is a “positive creative force”.⁶⁴ Hence, incarnation in the person of Jesus Christ confirms the creative dynamic activity of the human being in the world. Furthermore, the human consciousness of oneself as a microcosm is Christological consciousness.⁶⁵ “Adam, reborn through Christ into a new spiritual man, is no longer passive and oppressed and blind, but a clear-seeing creator, the son of God who continues his Father’s work”.⁶⁶ Man is not a simple creature, together with other created things, because the only-begotten Son of God, begotten before all worlds and of equal worth with His Father, is not only absolute God but Absolute Man. Christology is the only true anthropology. Christ, the Absolute Man, appeared on earth and in humanity and hence for ever confirmed a central significance in the universe for man and for the earth.⁶⁷

       

Berdyaev, Berdyaev, Berdyaev, Berdyaev, Berdyaev, Berdyaev, Berdyaev, Berdyaev,

FS (1927), 341. FS (1927), 242. MCA (1916), 134. MCA (1916), 135. MCA (1916), 136. MCA (1916), 71. MCA (1916), 72. MCA (1916), 78.


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Contrary to most traditional Christian theology, which emphasized the weakness and the fall of the human being and the sinfulness of human nature, Berdyaev perceived in incarnation the seeds for the “absolute and royal significance” of the human being and his/her ‘creative mystery’. Incarnation unveils the “divine possibilities” in human nature and the ‘mutual inter-penetration’ of the divine and the human. Incarnation further implies that the self-consciousness of Christ is inseparable from the self-consciousness of the human being, and that the revelation of Christ is an ‘anthropological revelation’ that is mystically related to every human being, since “human nature mystically resembles the nature of the Absolute Man, Christ”.⁶⁸ Creative work, however, and the human strive for freedom necessarily passes through tragedy that constitutes the vanquishment of human hopes. The path of freedom is a grievous affliction and burden. This is the path of death and resurrection. Christ’s suffering for the sake of human freedom was greater and bitterer than all human suffering, and—through his death—pain and suffering stand at the center of Christianity.⁶⁹ Freedom, in this sense, is necessarily associated with death. Furthermore, Berdyaev perceived incarnation as kenosis, the descent of the “Divine Spirit and its union with real human and world destiny”.⁷⁰ The coming of Christ as a child of Adam constitutes the kenosis, the humiliation of God, which has taken place in order that the flesh may be free from its intractability and its subordination, and in order that it may be illumined and transfigured…⁷¹

Hence, incarnation reaches fulfillment only through the ascent of the worldly and the human to the divine: But spirit does incarnate itself in the real ascent of the subject, of the personality towards God, and in the real descent of Divine love and charity towards the subject…⁷²

 Berdyaev, MCA (1916), 77– 78. Berdyaev cited the words of St. Symeon the New Theologian: “God became man in order by his incarnation to bring human nature again into a state of grace”. MCA (1916), 81.  Berdyaev, DM (1931), 122.  Berdyaev, SR (1937), 65. In this sense we read the verses in the Letter to the Philippians: “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross”. (Philippians 2:5 – 8)  Berdyaev, FS (1927), 60 – 61.  Berdyaev, SR (1937), 65.

4.1 Authentic Being as Homecoming


Incarnation assumes human correspondence and the restoration of the original dignity of the human being in order that the person carries out the creative task and endeavors for its continuation. In this sense, incarnation is the beginning of the divinization of the whole. The human correspondence to the divine work of creation and incarnation is comparable to Heidegger’s notion of releasement and letting-be. Through the creative act of letting-be, beings can truly be. This is a two-sided event. Only when the human being truly is can he/she, in turn, let fellow human beings and other beings be. The power of salvation is the power of creative letting-be and of releasement. Releasement, hence, anticipates the giving of the self as a gift for the things to be. This is how we understand creation. God lets things be and gives Godself to creation through incarnation, as things can only be when they are met with the gift of life, which is the gift of the self. Furthermore, it is in giving that the self reaches at its own and its mystery is preserved. Based on Heidegger’s understanding of releasement it would be meaningful to return to his notion of the essence of technology—as it was presented in the second chapter of this work. What did Heidegger mean by ποίησις as an element of τέχνη? What is so special in the essence of technology that brings the human being upon a way of revelation? How can one understand that “technology comes to presence [West] in the realm where revealing and unconcealment take place, where alētheia, truth, happens”.⁷³ Finally, what did Heidegger mean by saying that “the essence of technology is by no means anything technological”?⁷⁴ I propose here that the essence of technology was, for Heidegger, comparable to the essence of the divine creative act, and that the opening up of the region toward beings and letting them be—in order that they in turn might release themselves into the region—is comparable to the divine work of creation. Through creation, God has brought forth beings. God has lifted everything and every being out of darkness, hiddenness and coveredness, and has brought them into light. God has let them be that which they truly and essentially are. “He brought them out of darkness and gloom, and broke their bonds asunder” (Ps. 107:14). In creation there is no manipulation but freedom, no mastery and domination but care and being-with. Hence, similar to the divine creative act, the human being is summoned to let beings truly be and come into light. In creation, nevertheless, the risk is present, namely that creation in its freedom could and still can deny the Creator, repudiate the reality that it belongs to the Creator, and claim to have supremacy and control over everything that is, where-

 Heidegger, “The Question Concerning Technology” (1953), QCT, 13.  Heidegger, “The Question Concerning Technology” (1953), QCT, 4.


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by it would be unable to arrive at its creative origin. Yet, it is not in mastery and domination but rather in freedom and in spirit that the saving power lies. Similarly, Heidegger quoted the words of the poet: “But where the danger is, grows the saving power also.” And: “The closer we come to the danger, the more brightly do the ways into the saving power begin to shine and the more questioning we become.”⁷⁵ In releasement there is risk and danger. The risk is also the pain of engaging oneself truly with being as such and with beings in order that they truly can be what they are. Freedom for what is opened up in an open region lets beings be the beings they are. Freedom now reveals itself as letting beings be. … the phrase required now—to let beings be— does not refer to neglect and indifference but rather the opposite. To let be is to engage oneself in beings. On the other hand, to be sure, this is not to be understood only as the mere management, preservation, tending, and planning of the beings in each case encountered or sought out. To let be—that is, to let beings be as the beings that they are—means to engage oneself with the Open and its openness into which every being comes to stand, bringing that openness, as it were, along with itself. Western thinking in its beginning conceived this open region as τὰ ἀλήθεια, the unconcealed.⁷⁶

Thus, for Heidegger “the deepest meaning of being is letting”. He explained this further: “letting as such, the gift of a ‘giving which gives only its gift, but in the giving holds itself back and withdraws’”.⁷⁷ This requires equally the full engagement of the human being, as already maintained. With every letting-be the human subject both suffers—as one gives oneself and not some-thing—and simultaneously rejoices—as, through letting be, one approaches one’s very home and in this sense one’s true being is held. It is in this perception of creation  Heidegger, “The Question Concerning Technology” (1953), QCT, 35. [“Je mehr wir uns der Gefahr nähern, um so heller beginnen die Wege ins Rettende zu leuchten, um so fragender werden wir”. Heidegger, GA 7, 36.]  Heidegger, “On the Essence of Truth” (1930), PATH, 144. [“Die Freiheit zum Offenbaren eines Offenen läßt das jeweilige Seiende das Seiende sein, das es ist. Freiheit enthüllt sich jetzt als das Seinlassen von Seiendem. … Das hier nötige Wort vom Sein-lassen des Seienden denkt jedoch nicht an Unterlassung und Gleichgültigkeit, sondern an das Gegenteil. Sein-lassen ist das Sicheinlassen auf das Seiende. Dies wird freilich wiederum nicht nur als bloße Betreibung, Behütung, Pflege und Planung des jeweils begegnenden oder aufgesuchten Seienden. Seinlassen— das Seiende nämlich als das Seiende, das es ist—bedeutet, sich einlassen auf das Offene und dessen Offenheit, in die jegliches Seiende hereinsteht, das jene gleichsam mit sich bringt. Dieses Offene hat das abendländische Denken in seinem Anfang begriffen als τὰ ἀλήθεια, das Unverborgene”. Heidegger, GA 9, 188.]  Martin Heidegger, “Seminar in Le Thor 1969” in Four Seminars, tr. Andrew Nitchell and Franҫois Raffoul (Bloomington & Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2003), 59.

4.2 Being through No-thing or Life through Death


as letting be that beings and things in the world show themselves in their very genuine truths as gifts of the Creator to the creature, and of the creature to the Creator.⁷⁸

4.2 Being through No-thing or Life through Death 4.2.1 Grief or Pain as the Essential Experience of Being Berdyaev wrote: “Now the way of freedom is the way of suffering, and man must follow it to the end.”⁷⁹ In a similar vein, addressing Hölderlin’s poem “Homecoming”, Heidegger wrote that Hölderlin’s song “sings both of one and of the other, of the sorrow, and of the holy being, and of the communication between them”.⁸⁰ On the way of freedom lies the dignity of the human subject, and for it an immense responsibility is required that entails pain and suffering. Thus, Hölderlin’s song is appropriately to be perceived as both an ‘elegy’—song of mourning—and a ‘hymn’—song of praise—as it addressed human pain and suffering and, at the same time, invoked the essence of the ‘holy being’. There, Hölderlin wrote: “That which thou sleekest is near, and already coming to meet thee.”⁸¹

This statement brings the joy of homecoming together with the pain of realizing that it still remains far from one’s possession. “Pain [thus] harbors the original unity of the joy of intimacy and the sorrow of absence”⁸². The people of the coun-

 See on this: Wendte, Die Gabe und das Gestell. In this work, Wendte, through Martin Luther’s theology of the Eucharist and also Heidegger’s contribution to the question of technology, presents the whole of reality as God’s good gift to humankind. See specially: 364– 367.  Berdyaev, D (1923), 66.  Heidegger, “Remembrance of the Poet” (1944), in Heidegger, EB, 233.  Hölderlin, “Homecoming: To Kindred Ones” as recited by Heidegger, “Remembrance of the Poet” (1944), EB, 239.  Heidegger, EV (1941– 42), 188. It is helpful to remark here that Kierkegaard criticized both Augustine’s and Luther’s theology as they, according to him, failed to help the Christian face pain and suffering as essential experiences of human existence. Through the notion of sola gratia, Kierkegaard contended that the Christian is supposed to escape the painful experiences and leave the consciousness of suffering and of one’s own death outside one’s life. Such abandoning of pain hinders, however, the very experience of assuming Christ’s pain and suffering upon oneself. It is further interesting to see the correspondence between Kierkegaard’s critique of Augustine’s and Luther’s theologies, and Dostoyevsky’s critique of Roman Catholicism in his The


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try were themselves the first who needed to be at home in the very essence of ‘home’, which still remained concealed to them. This inner relationship between joy and grief is also expressed through the words of the poet: Many have sought in vain to tell joyously of the Most Joyous. Now at last it declares itself to me, now in this grief.⁸³

Grief, thus, originates in the awareness that one is deprived of one’s home. This awareness, however, presumes that one is conscious of one’s essential and true belonging to the home. In this second presumption lies one’s joy, while, in the first, one’s grief. The one who has not experienced grief in this essential meaning is rarely to experience joy, that is the joy of all joys. All other (psychological) interpretations of grief and joy, which are caused through things or beings in the world, remain secondary to these essential experiences. One is thus stripped of one’s home, that is, of that to which one truly and essentially belongs, as the reality of that home is most of the time incompatible with the reality of one’s every-day life in the world. Such experience of grief is expressed through the words of Antigone in Sophocles’ (497– 406 BC) tragedy: “I have been a stranger here in my own land: All my life”.⁸⁴ Thus, enduring and suffering belong to the essence of being. Nietzsche distanced himself from the previous home, but not with any antagonism or hostility against the home itself or with denial of its reality and meaning. It is rather the distancing of the home from its own essence and truth that he refused and declined.⁸⁵ For him, all of Europe had sunk into the frailty of human thinking and speculation, while the rationality of indifference and mediocrity, with its calculative activity and historical measures, dominated. Thus, he fought against what he called “historical optimism” and against the European rationality which could merely calculate far from all higher thinking and reflection.⁸⁶ He searched anew for a possible meaning in everything that is, as the thinker is never satisfied with the warmth that a home supplies. A free spirit, for him,

Brothers Karamazov, particularly in “The Grand Inquisitor”. See on this: Lee C. Barrett, Eros and Self Emptying: The Intersection of Augustine and Kierkegaard (Grand Rapids, Michigan/ Cambridge: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2013).  Hölderlin, “Sophocles” as cited by Heidegger, “Remembrance of the Poet” (1944), EB, 262.  Sophocles, Antigone (Scene IV) ed. Stanley Appelbaum (Mineola, N.Y.: Courier Corporation, 2012), 40.  This corresponds to his rejection of ‘God’ and of ‘Christ’. Not God or Christ, but the ‘god’ and the ‘christ’ as interpreted and represented by many that Nietzsche rejected.  See Heidegger’s interpretation of Nietzsche: Martin Heidegger, Introduction to Philosophy— Thinking and Poetizing (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2016), 29 – 30, hereafter: IPTP.

4.2 Being through No-thing or Life through Death


would always anticipate and search for a new home, the original home, a truer one, that is, a home nearer to truth, so that one, though being homeless, might still offer a home to others. Nietzsche wrote: We homeless ones from the beginning—we have no choice, we have to be conquerors and discoverers: so that we perhaps may bequeath to our descendants what we ourselves lack— that we bequeath a home to them.⁸⁷

Nietzsche was aware that no home on earth is a perfect one. For him, one need always take upon oneself the continuous search for a home, a home of a different kind; a task which necessitates continuously deconstructing and reconstructing. In this alone would one find one’s home. That is to say that homelessness becomes itself the essence of any possible home, a home for a free spirit.⁸⁸ Knowing that whenever one proceeds on this path of anticipating and yearning for a new home, and having suffered the pain and the affliction that such a path assumes, “all that is great stands in the storm …”⁸⁹ This statement by Plato insinuates that all good and noble attempts are attended by risk and pain. Along those lines, Hölderlin, in his “At the Middle of Life”, wrote: But when winter comes, where will I find the flowers, the sunshine, the shadows of the earth? The walls stand speechless and cold, the weathervanes rattle in the wind. [Weh mir, wo nehmʼ ich, wenn Es Winter ist, die Blumen, und wo Den Sonnenschein Und Schatten der Erde? Die Mauern stehn Sprachlos und kalt,

 Friedrich Nietzsche, “Homesickness” (1884) in Sämtliche Werke: Kritische Studienausgabe (1885 – 86) Vol. XIV (Münschen: Dt. Taschenbuch-Verl. [u. a.], 1980), no. 295, 414. The citation here is taken from: Heidegger, IPTP, 34.  I disagree with Heidegger’s interpretation of Nietzsche’s understanding of home as “the metaphysical place [Ort] toward which Nietzsche’s thought of the eternal return of the same thinks [hindenkt]”. Heidegger, IPTP (1928), 35.  [τα … μεγάλα πάντα επισφαλή …] Plato, The Republic, tr. Benjamin Jowett (Waiheke Island, Floating Press, 2009), 497.


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im Winde Klirren die Fahnen.]⁹⁰

Hence, “… the beginning of faith is self-abasement, humiliation”,⁹¹ and it is only in humiliation and in the willing acceptance of the cross that one attains the meaning of resurrection.⁹² Similarly, Berdyaev wrote that “truth is often regarded as dangerous and harmful. The most lofty ideas acquire the character of conventional falsity”,⁹³ while falsity itself is most of the time justified. That which is different from the familiar is naturally perceived as despicable. Hence, we ask: is there an escape from grief in its deep relatedness to truth? In his “Without Home”—written in 1894, about the same time he wrote his Thus Spoke Zarathustra—Nietzsche wrote about the pain of the thinker and his incapability to return to his former home and the loftiness of the future one. The thinker took upon himself the ceaseless move-forward toward a new home. Thus, in his “Without Home” he wrote: The crows screech and migrate in swirling flight to the city: soon it will snow— joy to the one who still now— Has home!

[Die Krähen schrei’n Und ziehen schwirren Flugs zur Stadt: Bald wird es schnei’n – Wohl Dem, der jetzt noch – Heimat hat!

Now you stand numb, you look backward, oh no! How long already! What have you, fool, escaped before winter into the world?

Nun stehst du starr, Schaust rückwärts ach! wie lange schon! Was bist du Narr Vor Winters in die Welt entflohn?

The World—a gateway to a thousand deserts mute and cold! Whoever lost, what you lost, can stop nowhere!

Die Welt – ein Tor Zu tausend Wüsten stumm und kalt! Wer das verlor, Was du verlorst, macht nirgends Halt.

Now you stand pale,

Nun stehst du bleich,

 Friedrich Hölderlin, “At the Middle of Life” (1803), Poems of Friedrich Hölderlin, 26. [Friedrich Hölderlin, “Hälfte des Lebens” in Friedrich Hölderlin Gedichte (Berliner Ausgabe, 2015, 4. Auflage), 331.]  Nadejda Gorodetzky, The Humiliated Christ in Modern Russian Thought (London: SPCK, 1938), 175.  The apostle, quoting from Psalm 44, wrote: “For thy sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered”. (Romans 8:36)  Berdyaev, DM (1931), 163.

4.2 Being through No-thing or Life through Death

cursed on the winter-journey, just like smoke, which always searches for colder skies.

Zur Winter-Wanderschaft verflucht, Dem Rauche gleich, Der stets nach kältern Himmeln sucht.

Fly, bird, shriek Your song in the desert-bird-tone!— Hide, you fool, Your bleeding heart in ice and scorn!

Flieg’, Vogel, schnarr’ Dein Lied im Wüsten-Vogel-Ton! – Versteck, du Narr, Dein blutend Herz in Eis und Hohn!

The crows screech and migrate in swirling flight to the city: –soon it will snow, Woe to the one who has no home!

Die Krähen schrei’n Und ziehen schwirren Flugs Zur Stadt: – bald wird es schnei’n, Weh dem, der keine Heimat hat!]⁹⁴


Hence, “supreme solitude is divine”, wrote Berdyaev. God, Himself, knows great and anguished solitude. He has the experience of being deserted by the world and by men. Christ was solitary and not understood during His life. Men accepted and understood Christ only after his death on the Cross.⁹⁵

Through the words of Mitya—the eldest son of Fyodor Karamazov—Dostoyevsky questioned again and again: Why are there these fathers of families ruined by a fire? Why are there all these poor people, this crying baby? Why the barren steppe? Why don’t they all hug and kiss and sing gaily together? Why are they grey with wretchedness? Why don’t they feed the baby?⁹⁶

Far from the essential experience of joy and grief, and under the domination of the human will that wills itself, any experience of transformation and reaching at truth is not possible. Heidegger asked: “Can the extreme measure of suffering still bring a transformation here?”⁹⁷ Berdyaev further argued that solitude is compatible with the spirit of universality, as solitude allows more openness to God and to Others than the many ways of conformities to the crowd allow. Furthermore, it is the feeling of universal human suffering more than the mere personal hardship of one’s life that brings solitude together with universalism. Solitude, or the experience of being unrecognized, is then the companion of every courageous act and every creative initiation. In Heidegger’s terms, pain and sor Friedrich Nietzsche, “Abschied” (1884), Sämtliche Werke. Kritische Studienausgabe (15 Bände), Bd.11 (München: de Guyter, 1980), 329.  Berdyaev, MCA (1916), 146.  Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov (1880), as cited by Berdyaev, D (1923), 108.  Heidegger, “Overcoming Metaphysics” (1936 – 1946), in EP, 110.


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row are the companions of every longing for homecoming. Berdyaev, describing the Russian spirit, particularly in the works of Dostoyevsky, even wrote about the “redemptive power of suffering”, as that power which through suffering strives for truth and freedom.⁹⁸ “Suffering is also a mystery and secret [wrote Berdyaev]. Suffering is a mystery because it can also become expiation”.⁹⁹ He quoted the words of Léon Bloy (1846 – 1917): “There is an end to suffering, but no end to the experience of having suffered”. Thus, Berdyaev related human suffering to some kind of experiencing of a ‘higher good’ which brings the person into more mature faith.¹⁰⁰ With every experience of suffering, one comes closer toward home and is then truly on the path of homecoming. He wrote: Truth in the guise of suffering and love makes us free without constraint; in fact it creates a new and higher kind of freedom.¹⁰¹ Liberty is a burden, its path a way of the cross, and man in revolt seeks to throw it off. Thus freedom dies away into compulsion and slavery.¹⁰²

Hence, freedom is a spiritual responsibility that the human being is saddled with, as it is almost always accompanied with suffering and pain, while the homelessness of the human being is the consequence of his/her freedom. On the other hand, a rationalized systematization of life cannot provide freedom. The first is the way of Christ while the second is the way of the Grand Inquisitor, who through well-organized life aimed at guaranteeing the servitude of the crowd to his own power. Thus, the Great Inquisitor accused Christ of regarding the human being too highly by aiming at his/her liberation. By this, Dostoyevsky perceived the human inner longing for freedom as prior to any kind of profit or subjective happiness, while any renouncement of freedom would entail the renouncement of one’s humanity. The human being would rather choose suffering for the sake of attaining freedom, as ultimate freedom induces pain and suffering.¹⁰³ Referring to Dostoyevsky’s tragedy, Berdyaev wrote:

 Berdyaev, Towards a New Epoch (1949), tr. Oliver Fielding Clarke (London: Geoffrey Bles, 1949), 59. Berdyaev also quoted the words of Alexander Radishchev (1749 – 1802): “My soul since infancy has been simply killed by human suffering”, and, further, made a reference to Vissarion Belinsky (1811– 1848), who wrote: “For me, to think, to feel, to understand and to suffer are one and the same thing”. Berdyaev, Towards a New Epoch (1949), 55.  Berdyaev, SR (1937), 99.  Berdyaev, FS (1927), 309 – 310.  Berdyaev, FS (1927), 178.  Berdyaev, D (1923), 144.  Berdyaev, D (1923), 50 – 51.

4.2 Being through No-thing or Life through Death


[L]ike all true tragedy, [it] involves purification and release … There is freeing of the spirit and joy to be had from reading Dostoievsky, the joy that one gets from suffering. It is the path the Christian has to tread.¹⁰⁴

In Christianity the “tragic dynamism of being is revealed”.¹⁰⁵ Similarly, Heidegger cited the words of Stefan George: My roof is tight, my hearth heats well And yet a joy does not there dwell.¹⁰⁶

4.2.2 Death as a ‘Way to Be’ Hölderlin closed his “In Beautiful Blue …”—where he referred to Sophocles’ Oedipus tragedy—with the statement: Life is death, and death is also a life. [Leben ist Tod, und Tod ist auch ein Leben.]

On ‘death’ Nietzsche also wrote: Everyone wants to be foremost in this future-and yet death and the stillness of death are the only things certain and common to all in this future! How strange that this sole thing that is certain and common to all, exercises almost no influence on men, and that they are the furthest from regarding themselves as the brotherhood of death!¹⁰⁷

Alongside these lines, Heidegger, in his Being and Time, wrote: [D]eath is indeed a distinctive possibility of Dasein … Death is a possibility-of-being which Dasein itself has to take over in every case. With death, Dasein stands before itself in its ownmost potentiality-for-Being. ¹⁰⁸ (Italics mine)

 Berdyaev, D (1923), 30.  Berdyaev, D (1923), 58.  Stefan George, “Seelied”, in Gesamtausgabe: Das Neue Reich (Berlin: George Bondi, 1927), 9:130 – 131 [“Sea Song”, in Poems, tr. Carol North Volhope and Ernst Morwitz (New York: Pantheon, 1943), 234– 235]. The poetic lines are cited by Heidegger in: Heidegger, PR (1955 – 56), 62.  Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science, tr. Thomas Common (New York: Dover Publications, INC., 2006), 121.  Heidegger, BT (1927), 292, 294. [“… der Tod eine ausgezeichnete Möglichkeit des Daseins ist. … Der Tod ist eine Seinsmöglichkeit, die je das Dasein selbst zu übernehmen hat. Mit dem Tod steht sich das Dasein selbst in seinem eigensten Seinkönnen bevor”. Heidegger, GA 2, 330, 333.]


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In his The Event (1941– 1942), he also wrote: Death is the steadfast going out of Da-sein into the nearest nearness of the clearing of beyng. Death “is” rare and concealed. It is often no less perverted and deformed by dying than by sheer living. Death is the purest nearness of the human being to being (and thus to “nothingness”).¹⁰⁹

In his early works—Being and Time (1927) and “What is Metaphysics?” (1929)— Heidegger described the human encountering of the ‘nothing’ as anxiety [Angst], as one is left with nothing to which to hang on. Anxiety implies one’s indeterminacy concerning one’s “ownmost potentiality for Being-in-the-world as such”, which is necessarily related to one’s encountering of no-thing. Contrary to the commonly negative approach of perceiving the ‘nothing’, Heidegger explained in those works—echoing Hölderlin’s, Nietzsche’s and Kierkegaard’s thoughts—that life and death belong together and together belong to the innermost self of the human being. By accepting one’s own death, namely by being certain about one’s own death and about its possible occurrence at any moment, one’s innermost being is disclosed to oneself and, with it, the deepest potentials and the inherent possibilities of the inner self.¹¹⁰ In anticipating one’s own death one simultaneously anticipates the highest potentials that would otherwise remain dormant or latent in the inner self. Hence, it is one’s primordial and authentic being that one comes to perceive and to understand, and only then is authentic existence made possible.¹¹¹ It is in this sense that we can understand  Heidegger, EV (1941– 42), 165. [“Der Tod ist der inständliche Ausgang des Da-seins in die nächste Nähe der Lichtung des Seyns. Der Tod “ist” selten und verborgen. Oft wird er durch das Sterben nicht weniger verwehrt und verunstaltet wie durch das bloße Leben. Der Tod ist die reinste Nähe des Menschen zum Sein (und deshalb zum “Nichts”)”. Heidegger, GA 71, 194.]  Here, a reference to Kierkegaard is necessary. Heidegger’s notion of anxiety and death draws closely on Kierkegaard’s thought. For Kierkegaard, the personal—subjective—involvement was necessary in relation to truth. For such a relationship, one’s acceptance of one’s death and the awareness of temporality of existence were considered to be the two essential means. In his For Self-Examination (1851), Kierkegaard introduced the Christian notion of a deliberate state of “dying to” the world, which is a state of suffering that even maintained abhorrence of the world and the physical. This notion alludes to Irenaeus’ (2nd century) notion of death, though Irenaeus, contrary to Kierkegaard’s later perception, had not meant any kind of elimination of one’s physical reality. Rather, Irenaeus’ view pointed out the necessity of living one’s life fully. See: Kierkegaard, Søren Kierkegaard’s Journals and Papers, vol. 6, 6898. Irenaeus, Against Heresies, eds. A. Roberts & J. Donaldson, The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1885), V. 12.3 – 4; Paul Martens, “Irenaeus: On Law, Gospel and the Grace of Death” in Stewart (ed.), Kierkegaard and the Patristic and Medieval Traditions, 107– 108.  Heidegger, BT (1927), 307.

4.2 Being through No-thing or Life through Death


‘being towards death’ as being “towards a possibility” or “‘Being out for’ something possible” in the very mode of expecting it’s becoming actual or “waiting for that actualization [ein Warten auf diese]”. This anticipating, or waiting, further implies the probable leaping from the possible, or the potential, into the actual. Thus, we can conclude that death discloses itself as “a possibility”—a possibility that at once dislocates the person from the crowd or the collective.¹¹² It is this very anticipating of one’s own death that frees one from all bondage, servitude and lostness in the world of things so that one can freely meet the decisions that are most fitting to one’s authentic existence. One is then, and only then, free to be oneself and to let Others be, as their being would no longer threaten one’s own being. Historically speaking, however, the inner self has remained mostly foreign to the human being. One is commonly so much involved in the world of things that one seldom has the chance to reflect upon no-thing, namely to penetrate the inner world of meaning and being and thus be on the way towards self-becoming. The everyday life of the person keeps his/her encounter and acceptance of his/her own death concealed. The “‘they’ provides [besorgt] a constant tranquilization about death”,¹¹³ preventing the person from any experience of anxiety as the outcome of his/her encountering death, interpreting it rather in terms of fear and weakness. Thus, the ‘they’ or the crowd depicts ‘death’ as always being ‘the death of an other’, as a result of which the human being experiences estrangement toward his/her own self and reality. And, evading ‘death’ “for the most part Dasein covers up its ownmost Being-towards-death, fleeing in the face of it”,¹¹⁴ whereby one remains alienated from one’s own potential for being. Consequently, one is incapable of taking hold of one’s own possibilities and meeting the necessary decisions in order to bring those possibilities into actualization. Then, “[i]t remains indefinite who has ‘really’ done the choosing. So, ‘Dasein makes no choices, gets carried along by the nobody, and thus ensnares itself in inauthenticity’”.¹¹⁵ Contrary to this, any reflection upon one’s own death— or upon the temporality and the finitude of one’s reality—constitutes an attempt to penetrate the inner self and its truth. And one way to attain such reflection is to hear the call of one’s own conscience, which points out one’s most authentic possibilities for being.

 Heidegger, BT (1927), 305 – 307.  Heidegger, BT (1927), 298.  Heidegger, BT (1927), 295. Similarly, Berdyaev contended that those acquiring the ‘herdmind’ forget about death altogether and cover it up. Berdyaev, DM (1931), 252.  Heidegger, BT (1927), 312.


4 Christianity as Authenticity

After the 1930s, Heidegger was concerned more about the poetic-mystic indwelling and being in the world.¹¹⁶ In this later period, the influence of Hölderlin, Nietzsche and Greek tragedy was even greater upon Heidegger’s thought. In his later work from 1942, Hölderlin’s Hymn “The Ister”, Heidegger—having in mind the Greek notion of τὸ δεινόν [an apprehension of danger or threat]–described the same dilemma of life and death, or the world of things and nothing, through the notions of both being uncanny (or unhomely) and being at home.¹¹⁷ The human reality as uncanny [unheimlich, “that which is not of the home”], somehow brings human fear, power and inhabituality in the world together. The notion of uncanniness, particularly the element of inhabituality, implies that one’s being is beyond one’s own knowledge and complete perception; hence, to be aware of thxis is to own one’s uncanniness.¹¹⁸ The human being is unheimlich [unhomely] because, though carrying being within, he/she is continuously estranged to being and lost in beings. The human being is given to be homely in being as such, which is to say that he/she is given the possibility not only to see being [or the ‘open’ as Heidegger would say] but also to stand within it.¹¹⁹ However, the very unhomeliness of the human being is perceived by Heidegger as fallenness, namely one’s comporting of the self toward entities rather than being. In order to explicate this further Heidegger, quoted the following words from Sophocles’ “Antigone” tragedy:¹²⁰

 It was about this time that Heidegger’s shift in methodology occurred from the earlier transcendental method to his later abandoning of metaphysics and his adopting the seinsgeschichtlich approach, which indicated that being is already given and operative only when there are beings. It is this givenness of being as such that made a mutual appropriation—both by being and the human being—possible. Through this approach there was no longer the need for any transcendental move in its subjective sense as mere human accomplishment.  ‘Uncanniness’ also appears in Being and Time. See: Heidegger, BT (1927), 296.  Heidegger, HHI (1942), 64. Similarly, in his “Postscript” (1943), Heidegger brought his earlier understanding of Angst together with the poetic notion of the ‘completion of being’ as in the tragedy of Oedipus at Colonus (the second part of the Theban plays.) Thus, concluding his Postscript, Heidegger wrote: But cease now, and nevermore hereafter Awaken such lament; For what has happened keeps with it everywhere preserved a decision of completion. Heidegger, “Postscript” (1943), in PATH, 238.  Here, again, Heidegger criticized Rilke’s notion of the ‘open’ and ascribed it to the “fateful, modern, and metaphysical concept of the ‘unconscious’”. Heidegger HHI (1942), 91.  Sophocles’ “Antigone” tragedy is the last part of Sophocles’ three-part play known as the “Oedipus cycle” or the Theban plays. The tragedy was most probably first performed in 441 B.C. See further: Sophocles, Antigone; Sophocles, Oedipus the King, Oidipus at Colonus, Antigone, tr. F. Storr, B.A. (London: William Heinemann LTD, 1962).

4.2 Being through No-thing or Life through Death


Everywhere venturing forth underway, experienceless without any way out He comes to nothing. The singular onslaught of death he can By no flight ever prevent, Even if in the face of dire infirmity he achieves Most skillful avoidance. Überall hinausfahrend unterwegs erfahrungslos ohne Ausweg Kommt er zum Nichts. Dem einzigen Andrang vermag er, dem Tod, durch keine Flucht je zu wehren, sei ihm geglöckt auch vor notvollem Siechtum geschicktes Entweichen.¹²¹

The human being ventures forth to discover the sea, the land and the wilderness —and this is the meaning of his/her being παντοπόρος [pantoporos]. Nevertheless, he/she remains “experienceless without anyway out”, which is to say that he/she is ἄπορος [aporos] in the sense that the human being is left with no possibility to reach at his/her own essence. The human being satisfies him/ herself by discovering entities with an adventurous will; however, the person thereby evades that which precisely is bound to his/her own essence and true being. Entities and beings become themselves the absolute that he/she could need or search for, which presumably can give everything the person needs for life. Heidegger explained that the human subject being busy with entities and beings, is at once kept far from any perception of his/her own being; “[t] he wilderness becomes the absolute itself and counts as the ‘fullness of being’”.¹²² It is in this sense that Heidegger perceived the uncanniness of the human being as his/her being παντοπόρος ἄπορος. Of course, admittance of the failure to reach at one’s own essence is not a denial of one’s successes in mastering things in the world. Yet, no matter how far mastering can go, it is incapable of holding off or resisting death. Death is unavoidable. Human nature by itself proceeds toward death, while the human being—through mastering ‘things’, transforming the land and the wilderness, and attaining some ‘things’—continues to avoid coming across the question of death. For Heidegger, this avoidance of the question of death is the hindrance on the way of one’s entry into one’s own essence. It is in this sense that the human being is uncanny or unhomely, that is, deprived or driven out of one’s home or being itself. Furthermore, uncanniness does not merely describe a deficiency or a lack, hence,

 Heidegger cited the coral ode from Sophocles’ Antigone tragedy as translated from Greek to German by Hölderlin. Those lines appear in: Heidegger, HHI (1942), 59. [Heidegger, GA 53, 150.]  Heidegger, HHI (1942), 75.


4 Christianity as Authenticity

is not simply unhomeliness; rather, the uncanny person is the one who is still on the way of searching for its own self.¹²³ It may be remarked here that the fact that the human being has been so long dominated by venturing forth, mastering and even manipulating everything, means that his/her being has been stripped of a true sense of being, which hinders his/her perception today of the deeper meaning of παντοπόρος ἄπορος. The privative alpha “ἀ” preceding πορος [meaning ‘passage’ or ‘passage away’, from: πορεύομαι, ‘to go’, and πορεύω, ‘to lead over’] negates the possibility of the human being passing through and penetrating being as such, or his/her own being in any true sense. However, as the consequence of the fact that the human subject has been obsessed with venturing forth and mastering everything, uncanniness or unhomeliness are denied as that which depicts his/her reality in depth. This element of negativity (that comes to us here through the “ἀ”), however, belongs to the essence of being as such. Being without it is lost in beings and things.¹²⁴ It is this “ἀ”, namely the element of negativity, if one could say so, that saves being from its being obliviated and utterly forgotten. Thus, Heidegger wrote: “In death resides the extreme possibility of the relation to being”.¹²⁵ Regrettably, however, the negative has been perceived most of the time as something evil or unfortunate. And yet, the uncanniness of the human being, his/her deprivation of being, is by no means an absolute loss in non-being. The human who ventures everywhere, no matter how far he/she reaches and no matter how unhomely he/she becomes, still abides in being. Still, he/she is defeated by being in the sense that being itself is that which opens for him/her every door for a new adventure, as a result of which the possibility for homecoming endures. Those who reject homeliness and insist on the delusion that they are most true among beings, still belong to being in the manner of an essential relatedness.¹²⁶ Thus, in Sophocles’ tragedy, the “Oedipus cycle”, the hearth—the center of warmth of any home—indicated being as such.¹²⁷ It could stand for nothing other than being itself, which invariably seems to be nothing since it is not a thing among things. However, the  Heidegger, HHI (1942), 75 – 76, 84– 85.  It is this element of negativity of the ‘not’ that safeguards the ontological difference between beings and being as such. See on this Heidegger’s treatise “On the Essence of Ground” (1928). Though the ‘not’ used here is different than the ‘not’ or the ‘nothing’ as elaborated in Heidegger’s “What is Metaphysics?”, written at the same time as the treatise, in some respect the two, nevertheless, belong together with the prevailing essence of being.  Heidegger, EV (1941– 42), 165.  Heidegger, HHI (1942), 109.  The ‘hearth’ appears in the closing words of the choral ode in the tragedy and also in Antigone’s words. Furthermore, Ἑστία [Hestia, the goddess of hearth]—Heidegger argued—has an essential relationship to being. Heidegger, HHI (1942), 120.

4.2 Being through No-thing or Life through Death


hearth, or being itself, alone determines everything and alone can make the human being homely. On several occasions, Heidegger recalled Greek tragedies that unveiled a primordial human dwelling on earth.¹²⁸ Even the incident of gazing at the play [θεωρεῖν] or attending the theatre [derived from θεωρία and θεωρεῖν: looking at] was not a mere passive observance of a play. Rather, through θεωρεῖν of these tragedies, the spectator was invited to participate in the play of life and share the suffering of its characters. Such θεωρεῖν had the potential to make purgation or κάθαρσις possible, such that one’s spirit would be cleansed and purified from undesirable dispositions of the human heart. Even the event of attending a theatre required one to put aside the everydayness of life—with its practical concerns and rational occupations—and to come to the theatre merely for the sake of ‘seeing’ and receiving that which is bestowed upon one through that very play, somehow stepping by this into an-other world.¹²⁹ This world was the world of one’s very belonging, where one and the same Mystery unfolds itself, and through this unfolding the reality of one’s unhomeliness could come to the fore as one could let one’s inner self be carried along by the performance itself toward the uncertain future.¹³⁰ Then, at the end of the poetic performance, and as the result of bringing into the open those inner dispositions which would otherwise have remained concealed, the very inner self of the spectator could undergo transformation and re-orientation. Thus, one could be transported toward the “possible impossibility of” one’s “being in the world” as Heidegger, in his Being and Time, wrote depicting the human being’s ‘being towards death’. Hence, one was liberated to be what one ultimately had been, being directed towards the whole of truth rather than this or that particular reality.¹³¹ And, thus:

 According to Aristotle’s Poetics, the poetic presentations of Greek tragedies—in contrast to all historical presentations—succeed, through creating fear and pity, to induce κάθαρσις and, hence, allow the individual to arrive at κάθαρσις through θεωρία. Thus, Aristotle contended that poetic presentations are more philosophical than any historiographical display or demonstration, as poetry is not bound to what happens, but rather reveals universal possibilities and potentials. Aristotle, Poetics with The Tractatus Coislinianus, 1451, b9.  See on this: William McNeill, The Time of Life: Heidegger and the Ēthos, ed. Dennis J. Schmidt (New York: State University of New York Press, 2006), 183.  McNeill, The Time of Life, 187.  Heidegger, BT (1927), 310. See on this: McNeill, The Time of Life, 189 – 190.


4 Christianity as Authenticity

Death is the shrine of Nothing, that is, of that which in every respect is never something that merely exists, but which nevertheless presences, even as the mystery of Being itself … death is the shelter of Being.¹³²

In his The Destiny of Man (1960), Berdyaev maintained a stance similar to Heidegger’s view of death, contending that death reveals the depth of life and its meaning. “Life is noble [wrote Berdyaev] only because it contains death, an end which testifies that man is destined to another and a higher life”.¹³³ It is the ‘herd-mentality’ that is indifferent to the reality of death, he explained.¹³⁴ Hence, eternity is reached only by passing through death, and death is the destiny of everything that exists in this world. The higher and more complex a being is, the more it is threatened by death. Death frees the past from every shortcoming and evil, and seals it with eternity. Were death not the passage to eternity, neither would the world nor the existence of any being be justifiable.¹³⁵

4.2.3 Being for and through the Other Much has man learnt. Many of the heavenly ones has been named, Since we have been a conversation And have been able to hear from one another.

 Heidegger, “The Thing” (1950), PLT, 176. [“Der Tod ist der Schrein des Nichts, dessen nämlich, was in aller Hinsicht niemals etwas bloß Seiendes ist, was aber gleichwohl west, sogar als das Geheimnis des Seins selbst. … Der Tod ist als der Schrein des Nichts das Gebirg des Seins”. Heidegger, GA 7, 180.]  Berdyaev, DM (1931), 250.  Here Berdyaev referred to Heidegger’s Being and Time (1927), Division Two: I. “Das mögliche Ganzsein des Daseins und das Sein Zum Tode”.  Berdyaev, “Death and Immortality” in DM (1931), 251, 253. Berdyaev’s reflections on death are mostly comparable to Heidegger’s existential meaning of death as the acceptance of one’s own death, the anxiety that it causes, the letting go of the material, calculative world of things and the incorporation and participation in the world of spirit. Yet, on certain occasions Berdyaev did not distinguish clearly between death as an existential-spiritual struggle that constitutes the overcoming of estrangement and the reduction of creation to non-being, and death as a spiritual death of a person. He addressed both ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ perceptions of death as the ‘paradox of death’ and the ‘double attitude of Christianity to death’. So, he wrote: “Death has a positive significance, but at the same time it is the most terrible and the only evil. Every kind of evil in the last resort means death. … Death is the evil result of sin”. Berdyaev, DM (1931), 252. This double signification of death in Berdyaev’s thought is in line with the Orthodox perception of death expressed in the Easter Hymn of Orthodoxy. See on this the end of the chapter.

4.2 Being through No-thing or Life through Death


[Viel hat erfahren der Mensch. Der Himmlischen viele genannt, Seit ein Gespräch wir sind Und hören können voneinander.]¹³⁶

In these lines, Hölderlin described conversation as that which human beings themselves are. By speaking to and hearing one another, people come together and unite in a ‘single conversation’. The possibility of learning and naming the holy ones presumes conversation. This implies that human beings are most truly and essentially themselves when they come together and unite, as only then does that which is common to them emerge. It is in and through conversation, or words, that one’s very being comes forth and meets the being of an Other. And hence, by and through conversation, being itself receives form—is created— and emerges. Through pointing to the major concern of Hölderlin’s poetry as ‘becoming homely’, Heidegger in his Hölderlin’s Hymn “The Ister” (1942) maintained that it is through encountering the ‘foreign’ that one truly comes to be at home within one’s own self. It is through meeting the foreign that a journey back home is made possible. He further elaborated that the foreign to whom Hölderlin responded was the Greek world in contrast to the German one, as there could not have been any kind of identity between the two worlds. Hölderlin did not perceive the Greek world as “ancient antiquity” in any classical or metaphysical sense; hence, Heidegger maintained that it was truly the foreigner for him.¹³⁷ Thus, he wrote: For only where the foreign is known and acknowledged in its essential oppositional character does there exist the possibility of a genuine relationship, that is of a uniting that is not a confused mixing but a conjoining in distinction. By contrast, where it remains only a matter of refuting, or even of annihilating the foreign, what necessarily gets lost is the possibility of a return home into one’s own, and thereby that which is one’s own self.¹³⁸

 An unfinished poem by Hölderlin entitled “Conciliator, You That No Longer Believed In …”, as cited by Heidegger, “Hölderlin and the Essence of Poetry” (1936), EB, 270. [Heidegger, GA 4, 33.]  Heidegger, HHI (1942), 49, 54.  Heidegger, HHI (1942), 54. [“Denn erst dort, wo das Fremde in seiner wesenhaften Gegensätzlichkeit erkannt und anerkannt ist, besteht die Möglichkeit der echten Beziehung, und d. H. Der Einigung, die nicht wirre Vermischung, sondern fügende Unterscheidung ist. Wo es dagegen nur dabei bleibt, das Fremde zurück zu weisen oder gar zu vernichten, geht notwendig die Möglichkeit des Durchgangs durch das Fremde und damit die Möglichkeit der Heimkehr ins Eigene und damit dieses selbst verloren”. Heidegger, GA 53, 68.]


4 Christianity as Authenticity

Accordingly, the foreigner, or the Other, is necessary not only for making a ‘genuine relationship’ possible, but also and more precisely for one’s knowledge of the self, as a ‘return home’ assumes the passage ‘through the foreign’. Only a considerate recognition of the foreign can make the unfolding of the mysterious [geheimnisvoll] self possible. Along these lines, homecoming was Hölderlin’s main concern, as a result of which he had to enter into a dialogue with the foreign world. Through his poetizing, Hölderlin responded particularly to the two poets of ancient Greece, Pindar (522– 443 BC) and Sophocles, who in their own way reflected upon ‘becoming homely’.¹³⁹ Hence Heidegger maintained that there was a poetic and a historical dialogue, particularly between Hölderlin and Sophocles. He wrote: The historical spirit of the history of a humankind must let what is foreign come toward that humankind in its being unhomely so as to find, in an encounter with the foreign, whatever is fitting for the return to the hearth. For history is nothing other than such return to the hearth.¹⁴⁰

Reflecting upon Hölderlin’s poem, “Remembrance”, Heidegger maintained that being unhomely becomes the condition and the only path for being homely. He wrote: “The journeying into the unhomely must go ‘almost’ to the threshold of being annihilated in the fire in order for the locality of the homely to bestow its gladdening and rescuing”.¹⁴¹ In this sense, experiencing the foreign itself, and all the risk that can result of such an experience, becomes the source for approaching the self. As the individual proceeds toward the foreigner, he/she learns from the foreigner that which belongs to the depth of his/her reality. Thus, the journey toward the foreigner—or the Other—becomes the journey in the direction of his/her home.¹⁴² Furthermore, for Heidegger genuine thinking implies that one becomes ‘other’ to oneself, moving beyond oneself, questioning and examining it, in order that, through discoursing with it, the authentic self might be born. Thus, genuine thinking disrupts one’s settled situation and overcomes the rigidity and the fixation of the self through an Other.

 Heidegger, HHI (1942), 55, 65.  Heidegger, HHI (1942), 125. [“Der geschichtliche Geist der Geschichte eines Menschentums muß diesem erst bei seinem Unheimischsein das Fremde entgegenkommen lassen, um in der Auseinandersetzung mit ihm das zu finden, was für die Rückkehr zum Herde das Schickliche ist. Denn Geschichte ist nichts anderes als solche Rückkehr zum Herde”. Heidegger, GA 53, 156.]  Heidegger, HHI (1942), 134.  Heidegger, HHI (1942), 132– 133.

4.3 ‘Being towards Death’ as the Meaning of Death and Resurrection


4.3 ‘Being towards Death’ as the Meaning of Death and Resurrection 4.3.1 ‘Being towards Death’ Being-toward-death is the anticipation of a potentiality-for-Being of that entity whose kind of Being is anticipation itself. In the anticipatory revealing of this potentiality-of being, Dasein discloses itself to itself as regards its uttermost possibility. But to project itself on its ownmost potentiality-for-Being means to be able to understand itself in the Being of entity so revealed—namely, to exist. Anticipation turns out to be the possibility of understanding one’s ownmost and uttermost potentiality-for-being—that is to say, the possibility of authentic existence. … Death is Dasein’s ownmost possibility. Being towards this possibility discloses to Dasein its ownmost potentiality-for-being, in which its very Being is the issue.¹⁴³

In Sophocles’ “Antigone” tragedy, Antigone made the resolute decision of burying her brother against the will of Creon, the king of Thebes and the uncle of Antigone. She knew that no one could make her take back the decision she made and by that she faced her own death with certainty. Thus, she said to her sister: ἀλλ ἓα με και την ἑζ ἑμοϋ δυσβουλίαν Yet leave this to me, and to that within me that counsels the dangerous and difficult.¹⁴⁴

Antigone took upon herself her uncanniness and with it her ‘being towards death’, which was her belonging to being through dying. Thus, her utmost potentiality for being was revealed and, independent from all human ordinances, she came to be the one she always had been. After all, it was to being that her death belonged, and only by dying did she become fully ‘homely’. It was her decision of “becoming homely within being” that made her “the most unhomely one amid beings”.¹⁴⁵ And, knowing that that which is to be poetized is never a thing among things and is itself necessarily “pure seeking”, unrestricted by be-

 Heidegger, BT (1927), 307. [“Das Sein zum Tode ist Vorlaufen in ein Seinkönnen des Seienden, dessen Seinart das Vorlaufen selbst ist. Im vorlaufenden Enthüllen dieses Seinkönnens erschließt sich das Dasein ihm selbst hinsichtlich seiner äußersten Möglichkeit. Auf eigenstes Seinkönnen sich entwerfen aber besagt: sich selbst verstehen können im Sein des so enthüllten Seienden: existieren. Das Vorlaufen erweist sich als Möglichkeit des Verstehens des eigensten äüßersten Seinkönnens, das heißt als Möglichkeit eigentlicher Existenz. … Der Tod ist eigenste Möglichkeit des Daseins. Das Sein zu ihr erschließt dem Dasein sein eigenstes Seinkönnen, darin es um das Sein des Daseins schlechthin geht”. Heidegger, GA 2, 348 – 349]  As cited by Heidegger in his: HHI (1942), 102.  Heidegger, HHI (1942), 120.


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ings, Heidegger wrote that Antigone “is the purest poem itself”.¹⁴⁶ Antigone’s destiny is the destiny of every human being, which indicates one’s poetic belonging to being and to a whole, while her finding is the finding of being as such. The resoluteness that is here ascribed to Antigone is of that kind of decidedness that one meets when one knows that there is no other way of coming to terms with a particular question, in relation to which the person is most unhomely. It is somehow—in Heidegger’s terms—the ‘destiny’ given to the person that is ‘fitting’, which is to say that it is in accord with his/her true being and being as such. Such a resolute decision stands firm in the face of all ambiguity, hesitation, fear or self-mastery. There would no longer be place for uncanniness, but only for becoming at home. One knows, then, what one is to do, and there can be nothing to resist it, no human words or councils. One takes the decision upon oneself and into one’s innermost essence. Thus, it is by no means a question of tolerating or conceding to what one hears from here or there.¹⁴⁷ This taking upon oneself of a decision may fairly be described in terms of παθεῖν [from πάσχω: suffer], namely experiencing suffering and carrying it through to the end.¹⁴⁸ This experience of suffering, however, is not a kind of psychological life-experience, but is rather essentially bound to the truth of one’s being and truth as such in its originality and simplicity. Such resolute suffering inescapably removes one from all human prospects and expectations and risks the very possibility of maintaining of one’s own place among beings. Antigone is described by Heidegger—and the Greek poet—as the most uncanny person—in the sense that she is “intrinsically unhomely”—whose death was “her becoming homely”¹⁴⁹ as the natural outcome of her unhomeliness. Antigone thus chose to be faithful to her own essence and to destiny “as that which alone is fitting”.¹⁵⁰

 Heidegger, HHI (1942), 119.  It is this same idea that Heidegger in his earlier work, Being and Time, expressed when he wrote: “The non-relational character of death, as understood in anticipation, individualizes Dasein down to itself. This individualizing … makes manifest that all Being-alongside the things with which we concern ourselves, and all Being-with Others, will fail us when our ownmost potentiality-for-Being is the issue”. Heidegger, BT (1927), 308.  This element of παθεῖν was the essential element in Greek tragedy. See on this: Heidegger, HHI (1942), 103.  Heidegger, HHI (1942), 104.  Heidegger, HHI (1942), 109. Regardless of the poetic value and meaning these tragedies of well over two millennia old carry, one may nevertheless ask: why did Heidegger never address the tragedies contemporary to his own time? Though historical inquiry is not a purpose of this work, Heidegger’s post-war silence over the Holocaust nonetheless remains here an open question. Gillian Rose, criticizing Heidegger, asked: why did Heidegger not address “the Nazi genocide of six million Jews”? Rose described Heidegger’s position as an “aberrated, not inaugurated

4.3 ‘Being towards Death’ as the Meaning of Death and Resurrection


Only through being conscious of one’s own unhomeliness¹⁵¹ and being able to meet that which is fitting, namely that which is given by being as such or which has been destined by being [das Zugeschickte], is homecoming made possible. Heidegger explained that that which is fitting is grounded by spirit and has a futural aspect in the sense that it is not a thing that is immediately realized. Only through orienting the self toward the future can the individual discover that which is most fitting and is given to him/her, as it itself approaches him/ her. Thus, it is never something that has been pronounced or has been agreed upon, rather it ‘always remains in coming’.¹⁵² To be conscious of one’s own unhomeliness, similar to being with and through the Other, requires that one lets the foreign (or the unhomely) be in the midst of one’s own space, that is, truly within one’s perception of oneself. Only then, namely through genuinely encountering the foreign, does one come to the awareness of one’s own unhomeliness and aspire for homecoming. Based on this, the encounter with the foreign (or the owning of one’s own unhomeliness) is the only means for genuinely becoming the self. This is comparable to opening up the self for one’s innermost truth—and for making authentic existence possible.¹⁵³ In a similar vein, death for the person is always the foreign,

mourning”. Gillian Rose, Mourning Becomes the Law: Philosophy and Representation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 70.  In theological-philosophical terms this is the same as one’s estrangement from one’s essential nature and the ground of one’s being. Along similar lines, Paul Tillich (1886 – 1965) wrote: “Existence is estrangement and not reconciliation; it is dehumanization and not the expression of essential humanity. It is the process in which man becomes a thing and ceases to be a person. History is not the divine self-manifestation but a series of unreconciled conflicts, threatening man with self-destruction. The existence of the individual is filled with anxiety and threatened by meaninglessness”. Paul Tillich, Systematic Theology, Vol. II (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1975), 25. See further: Tillich, Systematic Theology, Vol. 2, 24– 25, 31, 33 – 35.  Heidegger, HHI (1942), 128 – 129.  In Paul Tillich’s words, homecoming requires the courage to affirm one’s being and, by that, “participate in the self-affirmation of being itself”. So, he wrote: “In the act of the courage to be the power of being is effective in us, whether we recognize it or not. Every act of courage is a manifestation of the ground of being, however questionable the content of the act may be. The content may hide or distort true being, the courage in it reveals true being. Not arguments but the courage to be reveals the true nature of being-itself. By affirming our being we participate in the self-affirmation of being-itself. There are no valid arguments for the existence of God, but there are acts of courage in which we affirm the power of being, whether we know it or not. If we know it, we accept acceptance consciously. If we do not know it, we nevertheless accept it and participate in it. And in our acceptance of that which we do not know the power of being is manifest to us. Courage has revealing power, the courage to be is the key to being-itself”. Paul Tillich, The Courage to Be (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000), 181.


4 Christianity as Authenticity

that which one never thinks about or encounters; yet, it is only through accepting one’s own death that one comes to live truly and discovers the meaning and the fullness of life. Thus, unhomeliness, very much like the foreign, plays here the role of the negative element—very much the same as the privative alpha “ἀ” preceding πορος in ἄπορος and λήθη in ἀλήθεια—without which any favorable outcome would be hard to attain. It is my contention that this movement between unhomeliness and homecoming, between the foreign and the self, the beings and being as such, between redemption and creativity, between death and resurrection—as we shall soon come to address—is comparable to the movement that Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite articulated by the words ‘procession’ [πρόοδος] and ‘reversion’ (or return) [ἐπιστροφή], to which a reference has been made in the introductory part of this work. There and in an attempt to unfold the thought of the mystical theologian, it was said that beings proceed from the divinity and return or reverse back to the divinity, whereby they participate and subsist in the divinity.¹⁵⁴ In similar lines, this ‘procession’ and ‘reversion’ of beings is analogous to the ‘procession’ and ‘reversion’ of the divinity out of itself and about itself. Divine procession can be seen in creation and incarnation, while divine reversion is accomplished through human creative act. Thus, through creation and incarnation, God comes out of Godself and lets beings be through giving Godself to them, while, through human creative act, God reverses and subsists in Godself. In this sense, creation and incarnation represent the divine self-revealing movement “out of itself” and “into beings”, while, through human creative act, God withholds Godself and maintains divine Mystery. Furthermore, the notions of divine ‘procession’ and ‘reversion’ are comparable with Hedegger’s notions of an end of something as presuming the beginning of another thing. Hence, Heidegger maintained, analogically, divine creation and incarnation as divine procession out of itself; conversely, he understood the final consummation and the eschatological end, which is the same ‘new beginning’, as the divine ‘reversion’ into itself. He also described the co-dependence between the human being and being as such in terms of ‘reciprocity’ and ‘interdependence’. Thus, the human being projects him/herself outside being,¹⁵⁵ while nonetheless returning from his/her alienation into being as such. On the other hand, being withdraws itself from beings, while its ‘return’ is possible through the ‘new beginning’. By  Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, DNMT, 3 – 4.  In this movement of self-projection outside being, Heidegger brought the example of technology, the greatest danger of which is the imprisoning of the person within his/her self-alienation and estrangement, as well as the way it prevents any return to being as such or the true self.

4.3 ‘Being towards Death’ as the Meaning of Death and Resurrection


this, I assume, Heidegger configured the endurance of the divine inaugural movements of creation and incarnation through the irrevocable consummation, that is, the decisive coming of being, or God—though not without the human turn to being. To bring all this into a conclusion, it is necessary to say that ‘being towards death’ is particularly the kind of being which allows the inner reciprocity between being and the human being, between unhomeliness and homeliness, and between the foreign and the self. Thus, through ‘being towards death’, not only does the ultimate meaning of the human being come to be revealed, but also being as such—or God—comes to revelation and unconcealment. Then, throughout the path of ‘being towards death’, one is continuously reminded of one’s unhomeliness and aspires for homecoming—a homecoming which is possible through appropriating being, which is the same as appropriating one’s own unhomeliness. Berdyaev resolutely took “being-toward-death” upon himself in his life, as the path of freedom. The Russian novelist Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918 – 2008), in his Gulag Archipelago, described Berdyaev’s determination and his renouncement of everything in the face of the threatening interrogation of Cheka— the Communist Secret Police: From the moment you go to prison you must put your cosy past firmly behind you. At the very threshold, you must say to yourself: ‘My life is over, a little early to be sure, but there is nothing to be done about it. I shall never return to freedom. I am condemned to die—now or little later. But later on, in truth, it will be even harder, and so the sooner the better. I no longer have any property whatsoever. For me those I love have died, and for them I have died. For today on, my body is useless and alien to me. Only my spirit and my conscience remain precious and important to me’.¹⁵⁶

The words by Gillian Rose (1947– 1995) quoted at the very beginning of this chapter: “I may die before my time. I may live before my time”¹⁵⁷ echo the words of Antigone:

 Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago: 1918 – 1956, tr. Thomas P. Whitney (London: Collins/Fontana, 1974), 130. Solzhenitsyn went on to describe how Berdyaev “renounced everything” when the Communist Secret Police twice arrested him. Undergoing a night interrogation, Berdyaev “did not humiliate himself … He set forth firmly those religious and moral principles which had led him to refuse to accept the political authority established in Russia”.  Rose, Mourning Becomes the Law, 126.


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Die I must, that I knew well (how could I not?). That is true even without your edicts. But if I am to die before my time, I count that a gain.¹⁵⁸

Rose’ words are an expression of the determination for life rather than any dread of death. Somehow, the first statement is the condition for the second, which is why, I believe, it comes first. Without being able to grapple with the first, one would not come to perceive the meaning of the second. The fear of death is the fear of life, and the one reluctant before death is the one reluctant before life. One is to take upon oneself one’s own death as one’s own, because the death of an Other neither represents nor substitutes one’s own acceptance of one’s death. This was confirmed throughout the works of both Heidegger and Berdyaev. An authentic existence—whenever possible—namely, the experience of freedom and truth, is nothing other than living before one’s time. Heidegger referred to this by the description of the human being as ‘ahead-of-itself’ in the sense that one is always toward the possibility of becoming a whole, as long as “there is always something still outstanding”,¹⁵⁹ that is not yet actualized. However, being before one’s time has also a social aspect: it necessarily creates a tension—a tension that is the result of the incongruity between the commonly accepted time and an-other time that comes from the mostly unperceived future. This is also expressed in the words of Nietzsches’s Madman: “I come too early” “I am not yet at the right time”.¹⁶⁰

Does this mean that one’s life could have occurred at an incorrect time, that one’s life is an untimely reality? Be that as it may, what matters to us here is that this living before one’s time is simultaneously accompanied by one’s dying before one’s time, and, as just said, the second in fact comes before the first. Somehow, the fullness of life is mysteriously bound with death as if life needs death in order to protect it against life itself. Death is then nothing other than a saving element for life from the peril of life. Hence, we understand these two statements of Rose as having one and the same meaning. Both dying and living condition each other, and the ‘I’—namely the person’s self-consciousness of his/her own dying and living—is the condition for the attainment of any meaning. Hence, we understand here living before one’s time, or being ahead of one’s time, in the sense that any meaningful existence is often perceived as an

 Sophocles, Antigone, 151.  Heidegger, BT (1927), 279.  Nietzsche, The Gay Science, 91.

4.3 ‘Being towards Death’ as the Meaning of Death and Resurrection


existence ‘before one’s time’—a phenomenon different than the commonly known phenomena. And, thus, the concern about possibly dying ‘before one’s time’ indicates one’s determination to live fully and decisively. ‘Being towards death’ is, then, the path towards life and freedom as it unfolds itself as the “essential determination of the truth of Da-sein”, and, hence, is to be perceived as the “determination of Da-sein and only as such”.¹⁶¹ ‘Being towards death’ is, further, a movement towards religious maturity, which presumes the experience of freedom, while the immaturity of Christian consciousness has always made the knowledge of ‘ultimate freedom’ impossible.¹⁶² Thus, through anticipating his/her own death, which is the same as being free for death, the human being understands him/herself and becomes that which he/she has always been.

4.3.2 The Meaning of Death and Resurrection The experiences of death and resurrection—and I mean here the experience of the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ within the human self, which entails that the individual takes those experiences upon him/herself—are the two concomitant incidents within the depth of human reality. They are like the ‘vanishing’ of the rivers and, yet, their being ‘full of intimation’. This is what Hölderlin in his “Voice of the People” wrote about rivers: Unconcerned with our wisdom The rivers still rush on, and yet Who loves them not? And always do they move My heart, when afar I hear them vanishing Full of intimation, hastening along not My path, yet more surely seaward. [Um unsere Weisheit unbekümmert Rauschen die Ströme doch auch, und dennoch Wer liebt sie nicht? Und immer bewegen sie Das Herz mir, hör ich ferne die Schwindenden Die Ahnungsvollen, meine Bahn nicht Aber gewisser ins Meer hin eilen.]¹⁶³

 Heidegger, CP (1936 – 38), 198, 200.  Berdyaev, MCA (1916), 147.  Hölderlin, “Voice of the People”, as cited by Heidegger in HHI (1942), 27– 28.


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These lines imply an intimation of rivers—a belonging to them and a ‘going along with them’. This belonging together of the poet and the river resembles the belonging together of the human and the divine. What concerns us particularly in these lines is how Hölderlin brought two seemingly contradictory moments together. The rivers flow toward the sea; they have their own proper path, unconcerned about ours, yet we love them. This is an uncommon way of describing love. Moreover, Hölderlin, describing rivers, wrote that they are “vanishing full of intimation”. These words state that rivers run far away from us and, yet, tenderly approach us.¹⁶⁴ How to vanish and yet be full of intimation? Intimation, commonly understood, presumes the seizing and taking hold of the object of intimation. Interpreting the lines, Heidegger maintained that a river follows a twofold route. It takes its route as vanishing, that is, the movement of the river toward that which it has always been. And yet, a river proceeds toward that which is to come, and in this lies its being ‘full of intimation’. Of course, the two routes of a river are interdependently bound to each other; yet, when watching a river, one experiences the second before the first. The waves of a river seem always to be fresh, coming anew from some unknown source with force and special beauty, not resembling the beauty of any other wave. This instantly creates within the person the intimation that the poet conveys through these lines. Yet, the river has its own cycle on earth and, as soon as water leaves its source, it moves downward toward the mouth of the river, into which water flows. Thus, the twofold rout with the two different moments of perceiving it, makes intimation possible. This is to say that, whenever a river ceases to make its habitual route and vanishes from the poet’s sight, it never flows anew and moves to new lands. Genuine intimation, in this sense, is concerned not merely with the future but also with the past, while the past here does not indicate a past occurrence but that which a river (or a person) has always and already been. Intimation, in this sense, can be arrived at through an inner recollection, namely a turn inward. Such inner recollection assumes turning toward that which has remained covered within the self and is not yet disclosed, by which genuine recollection is truly intimation. Recollection is simultaneously an intimation of the future, namely that which is to come out of what has always been. In this sense, the river is “vanishing” and yet “full of intimation”; it is a process, a move, a journey toward homecoming, that is, a journey toward what has been and what is to come.¹⁶⁵ The river takes its own route and vanishes, but by taking

 See Eccl. 1:7: “All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow, there they flow again”.  See on this: Heidegger in HHI (1942), 28 – 29.

4.3 ‘Being towards Death’ as the Meaning of Death and Resurrection


its route it approaches the poet in intimation and love. The spirit of a river has its own ways of intimation; it can best be upheld through its passing out of sight. And in some way the twofold experience of vanishing intimation resembles the experience of death and resurrection within the human being. Through the experience of death, one is truly what one has always been, since death brings the person, again and again, to his/her original self, liberating him from fallenness, finitude and the conventions of daily life. Death has, then, a redeeming meaning and, in this sense, it is an unveiling of eternity. Death is an instant of life through which alone every human wickedness or corruption comes to pass; hence, it is “the way to a new life”.¹⁶⁶ Conversely, the experience of resurrection is such that, by nature, it helps the person to move toward that which is to come, empowering and granting him/her resoluteness and steadfastness. To say: ‘Jesus is dead and yet alive’, nevertheless, seems to be contradictory, very much like the vanishing intimation. However, it is through Jesus’ death that he truly is “risen into the faith of his disciples”.¹⁶⁷ Hence, the death and the resurrection of Jesus the Christ is not a mere experience but rather the content of faith in the sense that, through the experience, one comes to assume upon oneself the path of Jesus and his death, and also to hope for one’s own resurrection. “That I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” (Phil. 3:10). The apostle here does not keep the order of the events to which he refers. The biblical verse implies that knowing the power of Christ’s resurrection is required for sharing in his sufferings and death. It is true to say that there is no resurrection without death, but it is equally true to say that there is no death without resurrection. Sharing the sufferings and death of Jesus Christ assumes the experience of Christ’s coming to the human subject through the power of resurrection. In this sense it is through the experience of resurrection that the human being is given to take upon him/ herself the path of Jesus, that is, to become like him in his death. Furthermore, it is in and through the Spirit that the human subject experiences the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.¹⁶⁸ Berdyaev referred to the agency of the Holy

 Berdyaev, DM (1931), 260.  Karl Rahner, Foundations of Christian Faith: An Introduction to the Idea of Christianity (New York: The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1978), 268.  The divine gift of Jesus has been received first by few, mainly by the disciples of Jesus. In turn, the disciples had to give the gift back to God. They had to give the Son back to the Father. Jesus said to the disciples: “Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come’”. (John 13:33) The disciples had to let Jesus go, that is, to let him be what he already was; only then would they be able to receive the gift of the spirit. The Spirit is the Spirit of Christ and, whenever received, one is


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Spirit in the Gospel as that which has activated almost everything in the life of Jesus: his birth, baptism, temptation and the whole of his ministry.¹⁶⁹ Furthermore, to know Christ is to experience Christ as “life-giving Spirit” (1 Cor. 15:45). Through the Spirit, the events of Christ’s death and resurrection are extended to our lives so that they are not merely the events of the past, but rather are truly and essentially bound to our present and future. To know Christ as ‘life-giving Spirit’ is to experience the death and the resurrection of Christ in the Spirit in such a way that the events of the past are incorporated into our present and future experiences. Like grief and joy, death and resurrection are two and yet one instance of intimation and of home-coming.

4.3.3 Jesus Christ, the Human and the Divine In Jesus the Christ, God gave Godself to humanity, taking the human nature upon Godself. In response to the divine, the life and ministry of Jesus were the actualization of the free spiritual human being. Jesus’ death and resurrection are the marks of his complete acquiescence and submission to God. Hence, Jesus was simultaneously the divine gift to the human and the human to the divine, as he assumed human suffering and pain to the point of death. Thus, he is truly Lord and Savior. Through his life, Jesus of Nazareth demonstrated care and resolution and his ‘being towards death’ has culminated on the cross, where his humanity and divinity were fully revealed. Jesus let those who wanted to crucify him do so, and through his letting be—which is the meaning of ἀφίημι [forgive] in Luke 23:34—his divine sonship has been revealed, that is his full humanity and divinity. On the cross the whole life of Jesus was received by God and attained final validity. This is the meaning of resurrection, which could not reach fulfillment in time and space. Through his death and resurrection, redemption for every human being has been made possible since the concrete human existence of Jesus of Nazareth has been irrevocably received and fully saved.¹⁷⁰ Resurrection, in this sense, means “spiritual victory over death, it leaves nothing to

given the possibility to live a christlike life. Hence, the disciples had to rejoice at Jesus’ departure —a moment of grief and yet of joy. Here, Jesus’ physical presence, bound to a particular time and space, is contrasted with the permanent presence of the Spirit with the whole of humanity. Jesus was the gift of God to all, yet this gift is realized only through the Spirit, which is the witness and the advocate of the life of the man Jesus. The Spirit is to encourage, console and lead the disciples into the whole truth.  Berdyaev, SR (1937), 163.  See on this: Rahner Foundations of Christian Faith, 266 – 268

4.3 ‘Being towards Death’ as the Meaning of Death and Resurrection


death and corruption”.¹⁷¹ Hence, death as evil is conquered “by death through resurrection”.¹⁷² Berdyaev explained that the resurrection of a person’s body signifies the resurrection of the world, knowing that ‘body’ here indicates a ‘spiritual body’. In this sense it is possible to say that the destiny of the human being and of the world are interdependent in such a way that the whole cosmos is to suffer the anguish of death and, yet, the whole is summoned to arrive at resurrection and final redemption. Contrary to the notion of deified humanity, which, according to Berdyaev, assumes the elimination of the human self, Berdyaev contended that the culmination of the path to freedom is Jesus Christ, the God-man. Only through Jesus Christ does the human being becomes truly the earthly image and likeness of God, without losing his/her humanity.¹⁷³ Furthermore, the unjust suffering of Jesus of Nazareth was transformed into the mystery of salvation. It was the suffering and death of the Son of God, since “unjust suffering was Divine suffering. And unjust divine suffering proved to be an expiation of all human suffering”.¹⁷⁴ In response to God taking human nature upon Godself to make redemption possible, the human being must, in turn, take the divine upon him/herself. Berdyaev, hence, insisted on the free and the spiritual nature of the human being made possible through the person of Christ, which in its freedom and creativity truly carries the image of God. He wrote: Truly the God-man is a revelation not only of divine but of human greatness… In the spirit of man, all the mystical events of the life of Christ are accomplished. Man’s likeness to God in His Only Son is already the everlasting basis for man’s independent and free nature, capable of creative revelation. … The truth about free daring in creativeness may be revealed by man himself, alone, only in a free act of his own daring. Herein lies hidden the great mystery of man.¹⁷⁵

 Berdyaev, DM (1931), 258.  Berdyaev, DM (1931), 259.  Berdyaev, D (1923), 56. Berdyaev made a reference to Dostoyevsky: “For Dostoievsky there was both God and man: the God who does not devour man and the man who is not dissolved in God but remains himself throughout all eternity”. Berdyaev, D (1923), 64– 65. This is similar to Heidegger’s critique of Meister Eckhart, namely that the human being is not to get lost in God through any process of divinization but must rather become truly human. It is my assumption that both Heidegger and Berdyaev misinterpreted the mystical Fathers of the Church on this point. The path for deification or divinization does not entail eliminating the human being, but rather inspires him/her to becoming truly what he/she is. In this sense, through the spiritual journey all that is outward and inauthentic within the human self undergoes renouncement.  Berdyaev, SR (1937), 97– 98.  Berdyaev, MCA (1916), 94.


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Hence, in Jesus Christ not only God but also the human being is revealed; not only divine Mystery but also the human mystery has attained uncoveredness. Berdyaev maintained that, in Christ, both divine and human love meet and, thus, redemption is made possible through divine and human participation.¹⁷⁶ Accordingly, in Christ, “human nature co-operates with the work of Redemption”. Redemption is “a duel process in which both God and man share; yet it is but one process, not two. Without human nature and the exercise of human freedom it would be impossible”.¹⁷⁷ By responding to the love of God, Christ pointed out the way for this response to all who belong to him spiritually. Furthermore, the theandric nature of Christ is the guide for any possible understanding of both human and divine mysteries. The mystery of Christ’s (theandric) nature, in turn, can only be perceived in the light of the Trinity, as it is in the Spirit that the bond between the Father and the Son resolves itself. In this sense, the coming of God through and in Christ reveals a ‘supreme stage of revelation’ and it is not a mere result of human sin.¹⁷⁸ The coming of Christ is crucial in order to reveal the spiritual human being. The true anthropology can be founded only upon the revelation of Christ. The fact of Christ’s appearance in the world is the basic fact of anthropology. … Only man’s sonship to God, accomplished in Christ, Christ’s restoration of human nature so damaged by man’s sin and his fall, reveals the secret of man and his primogeniture, the mystery of man’s person. … Through Christ every human person is a part not of the mortal world alone but of the Divine as well.¹⁷⁹

Thus, in the heart of the Christian Mystery stands Jesus Christ, as in him the perfection of both the human and the divine has been revealed, for which reason Jesus Christ is truly the ‘spiritual tie’ between the divine and the human destinies. Through him both were bound. Similarly, history in its deeper sense involves not only the manifestation of the divine to the human but also of the human to the divine. This assumes both divine and human freedom since there would be “no history without freedom”.¹⁸⁰ Freedom brings about divine suffering, and human tragedy as freedom is “in its essence the principle of tragedy”.¹⁸¹ And yet the tragic destiny of the divine and the human reveal the inner unfathomable Mystery of Love. Hence, the Mystery of Love, which is the Mystery

     

Berdyaev, Berdyaev, Berdyaev, Berdyaev, Berdyaev, Berdyaev,

FS (1927), 177. FS (1927), 177. FS (1927), 178. MCA (1916), 76. MH (1923), 58 – 59. MH (1923), 79.

4.3 ‘Being towards Death’ as the Meaning of Death and Resurrection


of Christ, stands at the center of all the pains and the sufferings in the world, and it is the same Mystery that brings the divine and the human together in one unity.¹⁸² Finally, the Paschal troparion, which is the hymn for Easter-celebration in Eastern Orthodox and Catholic (following the Byzantine rite) churches, expresses the Mystery of Christ’s death. The death of Jesus Christ destroyed death, which is at the bottom of every evil. And, yet, by saying that the death of Jesus Christ abolished evil, what is meant here is the kind of death that is more than his physical or biological death. It is his voluntarily taking upon himself of his own death—that is, his absolute willingness to obey God, to stand for truth and to witness to the word—that made his death a saving act. Such a death is an act of salvation and, hence, is in its own right a resurrecting event and a life-giving occurrence. In this sense we read the words of the hymn: Christ is risen from the dead, Trampling down death by death, And upon those in the tombs, Bestowing life!

 Berdyaev, MH (1923), 60.

Χριστὸς ἀνέστη ἐκ νεκρῶν, θανάτῳ θάνατον πατήσας καὶ τοῖς ἐν τοῖς μνήμασι ζωὴν χαρισάμενος.


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Death is ineluctable As it is life. It is the end and The beginning. Like truth It sets the person free, Casts her aside, Retains her in its solitude, Leaves her without company, Kills her before she dies. Both together Life and death, The two banks Where truth lands. Why approach the one While slighting the other? Why not be free like a swallow And fly in the cold heights? Live and die And die and live.

5 Temporality and Eternity “Eternal life is revealed in time, it may unfold itself in every instant as an eternal present”. —Nikolaĭ Berdyaev—

The major themes for this chapter—movement, repetition, temporality, finitude and eternity—lie in the foundations of ‘being towards death’. ‘Being towards death’ can truly be understood only as movement, which entails becoming rather than any static kind of being. Furthermore, the double reality of human existence sets upon the human being the challenge of belonging to two worlds. This paradoxical belonging of the human subject to both temporality and eternity grants meaning to human existence and prospect, within which one can come towards one’s true self. Had human existence been confined to being in time, things would have been deprived of their meaning and significance, while life would have been pointless and empty. Coming-toward-the-self thus has a temporal nature with its present, past and future aspects. Furthermore, the very distinctive potentiality for being possessed by the human being reaches its fulfillment through the future aspect, whenever the future is perceived as “coming towards”. That is to say that the human being moves from the past towards his/her self as “authentically futural”. Thus, “Dasein is authentically as ‘having been’”.¹ Heidegger wrote: Anticipation makes Dasein authentically futural, and in such a way that the anticipation itself is possible only in so far as Dasein, as being, is always coming towards itself—that is to say, in so far as it is futural in its Being in general.²

Furthermore, towards the end of his Being and Time, Heidegger maintained that temporality—that is, the fundamental structure of the human being—is probably the horizon of being as such.³ Thus, instead of perceiving being as the cause of

 Heidegger, BT (1927), 373.  Heidegger, BT (1927), 373. [“Das Vorlaufen macht das Dasein eigentlich zukünftig, so zwar, daß das Vorlaufen selbst nur möglich ist, sofern das Dasein als seiendes überhaupt schon immer auf sich zukommt, das heißt in seinem Sein überhaupt zukünftig ist”. Heidegger, GA 2, 431.]  At the end of his Being and Time we read: “‘Spirit’ does not first fall into time, but it exists as the primordial temporolizing of temporality. Temporality temporolizes world-time, within the horizon of which ‘history’ can ‘appear’ as historizing within time. ‘Spirit’ does not fall into time; but factical existence ‘falls’ as falling from primordial, authentic temporality. This ‘falling’ [“Fallen”], however, has itself its existential possibility in a mode of its temporolizing—a mode which belongs to temporality”. Heidegger, BT (1927), 486. Thus, Spirit “does not fall into time”, but it “exhttps://doi.org/10.1515/9783110707519-008


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time he conceived temporality as the horizon, namely the openness, into which being as such could have been received and appropriated. By this, Heidegger abandoned the issue of causality, aspiring to give up onto-theology, namely the claims of God as the summum ens. ⁴ Hence, through both temporality and eternity, the human being and with him/her the whole of creation can be perceived. Both temporality and eternity meet in being as such, which nevertheless remains a Mystery, a Mystery which similarly brings life and death together, as each attains meaning only in light of the other. Eternity here, however, does not denote any natural realm and, hence, it does not have objectified signification. It is rather to be perceived from within, that is, through the spiritual reality attainable while still in time. In this sense Berdyaev wrote: Eternal life is revealed in time, it may unfold itself in every instant as an eternal present. Eternal life is not a future life but life in the present, life in the depths of an instant of time. … Strictly speaking, eternity will never come in the future … Eternity and eternal life come not in the future but in a moment, i. e. they are a deliverance from time, and mean ceasing to project life into time. In Heidegger’s terminology it means cessation of “anxiety” which gives temporal form to existence.⁵

Here, Berdyaev referred to Heidegger’s notion of anxiety, the distinctive characteristic of the temporality of being in the world, as the outcome of one’s encountering death. And yet it is only when anxiety and fear of death cease to trouble the person that he/she is given to experience eternity within that particular inists as … temporolizing”. I would suggest here that being as such, or Spirit, for Heidegger is beyond time and temporality, and yet that it comes to exist (or unveils itself) within time and the horizon of temporality in history. It can further be noted here that, in Being and Time (1927), the human being is perceived as temporal, while, in his On Time and Being (1962– 1964), Heidegger maintained the temporal character not only the human being, but of being as such. Heidegger distinguished between temporality as the fundamental structure of the human being and the temporality of being itself. See the later footnote in this chapter n. 93 on this.  The term ‘onto-theology’ was originally used by Kant and was bound to his critique of Anselm’s ‘ontological proof’ of the existence of God and the view that God’s existence could be derived from “mere concepts”, or from an analysis of the concept of God. See: Immanuel Kant, The Critique of Pure Reason, 525. See also: Iain D. Thomson, Heidegger, Art and Postmodernity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), 33 – 34. Heidegger used the term to refer to the speculative claims that contributed to the forgetfulness of being as such, perceiving being, or God, as the higher cause or the self-caused cause of everything. ‘Onto-theology’ is thus for Heidegger that which drives the human being away from experiencing any genuine meaning of being, toward the necessity of supplying intellectual-cognitive certainty in relation to that higher being.  Berdyaev, DM (1931), 262.

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stant of time. Accordingly, eternity and spirituality may be unfolded in the depths of that moment and, consequently, the very notion of death may be transformed and overcome by eternity. Eternity, thus, similar to temporality, has its past in every moment of courage and of spirituality. It has its present and future elements in like manner. Eternity is, then, a continuous reality of spirit that cannot be objectified or perceived in natural terms. In other words, it is through the willingness of the person to take upon oneself his/her own death that he/she conquers death itself. And, hence, Berdyaev continued: Death exists only on “this side of things”, in temporal being, in the order of nature. The unfolding of spirituality, the affirmation of the eternal in life and participation in a different order of being mean transcendence of death and victory over it.⁶

Death, then, is still not obliviated or forgotten; however, by accepting it, it mutates itself from a natural phenomenon into “a manifestation of meaning which proceeds from eternity”.⁷ It is in this regard that the notions of consummation and the new beginning are employed. Referring to the notion of the ‘turn’, Heidegger maintained that being itself turned away from human beings through self-concealment when human beings—after the pre-Socratics—became absorbed by beings and left being behind. Nevertheless, there should be a second turn for being, or another beginning—very much in line with the first beginning—when, after the consummation of all the history of metaphysics and the culmination of human abandonment of being, being will turn again to human beings. Paradoxically, however, being will not turn to human beings without them preparing for that turn, namely themselves making the ‘turn’ to being.⁸ As being will reveal itself in the new—other—beginning, human beings will undergo radical transformation and ‘turn’ towards authenticity and being. By analogy, this is the same as the self-revelation of being as such, that is, the revelation of the difference between beings and being.⁹

 Berdyaev, DM (1931), 262.  Berdyaev, DM (1931), 262. It is in this sense that we understand the words of Paul the apostle: “”O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ”. (1 Cor. 15:55 – 57).  Heidegger, CP (1936 – 38), 292.  It may be noted here that ‘being’ for Heidegger mysteriously has a dimension beyond every possible human conception or imagination of a god. In this sense, his idea of ‘being’ approaches the idea of ‘Godhead’ in Meister Eckhart’s thought that is even beyond ‘God’ and is never completely namable. Hence, being conceals itself for the sake of future manifestations. In his Contributions to Philosophy he called being the ‘last God’ or the ‘ultimate God’.


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5.1 Movement and Repetition 5.1.1 Movement Berdyaev quoted the words of St. Symeon the New Theologian: “Come Thou, Who remainest unmoved yet Who ever moveth and dost direct Thyself towards us.”¹⁰ In these words, the mystical theologian communicated the essential truth and the primordial experience of spiritual life, namely “the coincidence of motion and rest in God”.¹¹ Motion and rest do not oppose each other, but rather meet within and through the divine Mystery. Berdyaev warned here against the attempt to interpret these truths into a metaphysical language. The movement of God is not operation in time with some consecutive order. These are rather “living truths” mysteriously occurring in eternity and perceived only in symbolic terms.¹² And yet, the possibility of movement is not only to be conceived on the side of God intending the salvation of the world; rather, movement is two-dimensional, being both divine and human. Thus, Berdyaev wrote: The whole complexity of the religious life and the inter-relation of God and man springs from the existence of these two movements. If the religious life was simply the result of one movement, namely, that of God to man, having its origin solely in the will of God and His revelation, it would be a simple matter and the achievement of the goal of life would be possible, the Kingdom of God would be easily realizable. In a word the tragedy of the world would not exist. But the birth of man in God, his response in other words, could not be solely the work of God, for it is equally the work of man and his freedom. Because of the very nature of God Himself who is infinite love and the cause of the divine plan of creation, the Kingdom of God can be realized only through man’s co-operation and the participation of creation itself.¹³

Berdyaev distinguished between two different lines of thought in the history of philosophy and traced them back to two Greek philosophers: Heraclites, who made room for movement, and Parmenides, who founded the Eleatic School of philosophy, and rejected movement, conceiving the “true metaphysical reality” as impassible and unmoved. Early Greek philosophy wondered about κίνησις [kinesis- movement] and the kinetic nature of things in the world as the source for understanding both human existence and the cosmos as a whole. It was Her-

 The quotation appears in Berdyaev, FS (1927), 193.  Berdyaev, FS (1927), 193. Berdyaev argued here against the Thomistic-Aristotelian notion of God as actus purus, according to which no potentially or movement in God is perceivable.  Berdyaev, FS (1927), 185.  Berdyaev, FS (1927), 197.

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aclitus, before Plato and Aristotle, who maintained that everything is in constant flux and motion and conceived divine truth, or the absolute metaphysical reality as “fiery movement”.¹⁴ This claim, nevertheless, brought forth the problem of the possibility of knowledge, phrased by the question: How is knowledge of a thing possible if the thing is in constant motion?¹⁵ As a response, Platonism—influenced by Parmenides—perceived time, movement and change as the features of the fallen state of the primordial being and as incompatible with philosophical thought.¹⁶ Thus, for Plato, the physical world could not be the real as such; rather, he perceived the highest reality as that in which there is no movement or change. This was the realm of Ideas. This Platonic resistance to change dominated metaphysics throughout the centuries, maintaining that motion is in need of recovery and recollection, namely of a movement backward to the original state of stability. Thus, knowledge was perceived as a return backward rather than a new discovery. Accordingly, through recollection—that is the retrieval of some truths in the form of concepts and ideas—the human being, who owns the principles and the rudiments of all knowledge, remembers or recollects whatever he/ she has already had. Aristotle, on the other hand, vindicated motion, opposing the teachings of the Eleatic school, a pre-Socratic (5th century) school of philosophy founded by Parmenides, which had later influenced Platonism.¹⁷ Aristotle,

 See on this: Berdyaev, MH (1923), 49.  See on this: Sylvie Avakian, “Undecidability or Anticipatory Resoluteness—Caputo in Conversation with Heidegger”, International Journal for Philosophy of Religion (2015), 77: 123 – 139. See also: Clare Carlisle, Kierkegaard’s Philosophy of Becoming: Movements and Positions (New York: State University of New York Press, 2005), 9 – 11.  The Platonic concept of ἀνάμνησις (anamnesis) maintained that there is no point in gaining knowledge, since one needs only to recover that which has been previously obtained. See on this: Søren Kierkegaard, Samlede Vaerker III, 173 – 175; IV, 358; Søren Kierkegaard, Kierkegaard’s Writings, vol. VIII: The Concept of Anxiety, ed. Tr. Reidar Thomte & Albert Anderson (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1980), 88. Also: John D. Caputo, More Radical Hermeneutics: On Not Knowing Who We Are (Bloomington [u. a.]: Indiana Univ. Press, 2009), 13 – 14,  In his Repetition, Kierkegaard argued against the Eleatic teaching on the permanent oneness of everything, which denies plurality and movement in the universe. He contended that philosophy in general discredits movement, since it lacks the courage to face the flux and to aspire to gain eternity in the present, as a result of which philosophy is scandalized by movement. Contrary to this, Kierkegaard opted for movement, change and existence against stagnation, immutability and metaphysical speculation. For him, ‘the spirituality of the self’ was essential rather than the objective-physical perception of the human being. Similarly, Nietzsche emphasized movement—in terms of eternal recurrence—and perceived it as the ground for any possible philosophy against both Platonic and Hegelian systems of thought, namely against all theories of generalization or mediation. Heidegger, in turn, reformulated and reconstructed much of Kierkegaard’s perception of movement and also of Nietzsche’s understanding of eternal recurrence.


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thus, in his Metaphysics, criticized Plato’s notion of Forms, maintaining their incapability of addressing the reality of movement in the world. Movement, according to Aristotle, is an inner urge for change within beings themselves; hence, motion or movement is that which a thing or a being was to be, and aspires to be [το τι εν ειναι]. Hence, Berdyaev wrote that “[i]n Greek philosophy Heraclitus with his doctrine of a ‘fiery motion’ was nearer to the Christian God than Parmenides, Plato, Aristotle, or Plotinus, whose influence has preponderated in all the theological systems of Christianity”.¹⁸ Aristotle indicated the faculty of motion within nature using two different terms: δύναμις [dunamis, meaning power] for potentiality, and ἐνέργεια [energeia, ‘working’ or ‘operating’, meaning the “self-bringing-forth into full presencing”]¹⁹ for actuality. It is through change or motion that beings move from potentiality to actuality, and thus come to participate in being. Hence, movement [kinesis] is the way from the first to the second, that is, it indicates “a process of actualization”.²⁰ Kierkegaard appreciated the Aristotelian notion of kinesis as the movement from potentiality to actuality. For Aristotle, the natural order was the sphere of motion and his interest was to discover it scientifically. Kierkegaard, on the other hand, had “existential inwardness” and the heart²¹ as the sphere of motion.²² He considered Christian consciousness and the spiritual sphere of motion, which is characterized by temporality and subjectivity, as essential and, hence, attempted to give an existential-subjective interpretation of Aristotle’s kinesis. It should be noted here that Kierkegaard was the first to revolt against the scientific rationality heralded by the Enlightenment, and speculative theology which resulted in intellectual atheism. For him, going back to the roots See on this: Clare Carlisle, Kierkegaard’s Philosophy of Becoming, 69 – 72; Søren Kierkegaard, Repetition, tr. Walter Lowrie (New York: Harper and Row, 1964), 33 – 34; Nietzsche, The Will to Power, 295, 492.  Berdyaev, FS (1927), 2010 – 211.  See on this the explanation given in Chapter Two for the two words: ἐνέργεια [energeia] and also ἐντελέχεια [entelecheia], as indicating that which is completed or has reached at its purpose, namely that which is pure being in presence.  Carlisle, Kierkegaard’s Philosophy of Becoming, 12.  Kierkegaard’s works aimed at a critical deconstruction of the Enlightenment project which celebrated scientific rationality and its contributions and reached its heights through the writings of Hegel. He did this through the emphasis on the inwardness and the heart rather than outward objective pursuits.  In order to describe the notion of movement in the thinking of different philosophers, Clare Carlisle, in her Kierkegaard’s Philosophy of Becoming: Movements and Positions, used the term ‘plane of motion’, indicating by it the particular sphere where “the power of movement operates”. “Plane of motion”, according to Carlisle, is indebted to Heidegger’s notion of ‘region’ or ‘clearing’ [lichtung]. Carlisle, Kierkegaard’s Philosophy of Becoming, 16 – 17.

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of Christianity and human thinking was indispensable. Furthermore, it should be noted here that Kierkegaard’s thought and philosophical concerns correspond significantly to the spiritual theology of Eastern Orthodoxy, which has the early Greek Fathers of the Church as its foundation. Several aspects of Kierkegaard’s thinking, particularly on becoming and continuous movement, as well as the ascetic way of life, resemble the patristic writings of the early Church Fathers.²³ Similarly, Heidegger’s thought has the notion of becoming in its center, approaching by this the Heraclitean accounts of movement and flow.²⁴ Both for Heidegger—following Kierkegaard I assume—and for Orthodox theology, becoming is prior to any static being. Furthermore, movement is the basis for any possibility of becoming, while becoming is a self-actualizing movement.

 Though Kierkegaard’s knowledge of the early Patristic tradition—such as the works of Gregory of Nyssa and Basil of Caesarea—was most probably limited and depended for the most part on secondary literature, his writings nevertheless show his acquaintance with patristic apophatic tradition and also with western mystical writings. Kierkegaard knew the writings of John Chrysostom (349 – 407), the bishop of Constantinople and an important Church Father, as he made several references to Chrysostom in his journals. See on this: Marie Milulová Thulstrup, “The Role of Asceticism” in The Sources and Depths of Faith in Kierkegaard, 154– 159; Leo Stan, “Chrysostom: Between the Hermitage and the City” in Kierkegaard and the Patristic and Medieval Traditions, ed. Jon Stewart, 47– 65. In this chapter, Leo Stan argued that Kierkegaard read Johann Neander’s monograph: Der heilige Johannes Chrysostomus und die Kirche, besonders des Orients, in diesen Zeitalter, vol.1– 2 (Berlin: Dümmler 1821– 22). Stan maintained that Kierkegaard was mainly influenced by Chrysostom’s religious anthropology, and that in his Journals and Papers he quoted Chrysostom’s statement: “[if] a Christian does not harm himself, nothing can ever harm him; he is invincible”. 54. See further: Joseph Ballan, “Gregory of Nyssa: Locating the Cappadocian Father” in Kierkegaard and the Patristic and Medieval Traditions, 95 – 102. Furthermore, Cappelørn argued that Kierkegaard’s critique of Augustine’s teachings on original sin was influenced by Irenaeus’ works, mainly through N. F. S. Grundtvig (1783 – 1872). Irenaeus defended the inherent goodness within the human being as an essential element of the theological perception of the human subject, referring back to the image of God according to which the human being is created. This element, however, was lacking in Augustine’s teaching, particularly in his doctrine on original sin. See: Niels Jørgen Cappelørn, “Gudbilledlighed og syndefald: Aspekter af Gruntvigs of Kierkegaards menneskesyn på baggrund of Irenaeus”, Grundtvig-Studier (2004), 134– 178. In his Journals and Papers Kierkegaard wrote: “without an element of asceticism … Christianity is an impossibility”. Kierkegaard, Pap. X, 5 A 89, 103. It should also be noted here that Kierkegaard was also known and received in the Orthodox world. In The Orthodox Encyclopedia of Theology (published 1909) there is already a reference to Kierkegaard. See: Agust Ingvar Magnusson, Kierkegaard in Light of the East: A Critical Comparison of the Philosophy of Søren Kierkegaard to Orthodox Christian Philosophy and Thought, Dissertations, Marquette University 2016, Ann Artbor, MI: ProQuest LLC, 2016, 23 – 26. Accessed 22.06. 2020: http://epublications.marquette.edu/dissertations_mu/623.  It is possible to perceive Heidegger’s notion of deconstruction as contributing to the existential movement that Kierkegaard, following the early Greeks, maintained.


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The transition from potentiality to actuality, according to Kierkegaard, lacks its profound meaning whenever perceived in any outer-scientific manner or as the outcome of necessity which is the consequence of some kind of formal laws. Considering the inner existential-spiritual movement as prior to any other kind or sphere of movement, Kierkegaard explained that freedom is essential for true movement or progress to take place. Thus, kinesis or movement implied an actualizing ability or power for becoming, which is mostly accompanied with passion for self-actualization. It is through freedom that a genuine event and a true change occur, and it is only then that the human being is capable of becoming what he/she already is.²⁵ Hence, freedom indicates “capability of becoming”; as such. In this sense Kierkegaard wrote: “freedom means to be capable”.²⁶ Though admitting the eternity of God, he maintained that God comes to the inward self of the person in a manner that Godself changes and moves,²⁷ by which eternity and temporality meet. The inward reality of the human being, hence, has been considered as the sphere where movement occurs and as the source of movement, rather than movement having any external cause. It is the inner passion for Christian faith that makes continuity of movement and the “anticipation of the eternal in existence” possible. The eternal is the factor of continuity, but an abstract eternity is extraneous to the movement of life, and a concrete eternity within the existing individual is the maximum degree of his passion. All idealizing passion is an anticipation of the eternal in existence, functioning so as to help the individual to exist.²⁸

 Movement revolves around itself, moving from self-externalization to the inner fullness of the self and, then, again from fullness of the self toward self-externalization. This is the same as moving from the beginning to the end and then again to the new beginning. Heidegger, “The Onto-theological Constitution of Metaphysics” (1956 – 57), ID, 53 – 54.  See on this: Carlisle, Kierkegaard’s Philosophy of Becoming, 16.  In order to safeguard the movement of particular things, Aristotle perceived God as the absolute cause and source for movement. Thus, in Book 12 of his Metaphysics, he depicted God as the first ‘unmoved mover’ [κινούμενος κινεῖ], that is, absolute actuality, unchanging and immaterial substance. Aristotle perceived φύσις [phusis] as potentiality for movement and becoming, while movement itself as an “inner power” given to the thing or the being. This power for movement, however, has God, the ‘unmoved mover’ as its divine source or final cause [telos]. This Aristotelian perception of God has appeared again and again in the history of human thought and Christian theology. Some representatives of this major trend in Christian thought, particularly in the middle ages, were Anselm and Aquinas. See on this: Catriona Hanley, Being and God in Aristotle and Heidegger: The Role of a Method in Thinking the Infinite (Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2000), 76, 81– 86.  Kierkegaard, Concluding Unscientific Postscript, 227. Christian faith implied, for Kierkegaard, a task and a movement, which are necessarily accompanied with a transformation of the very grounds of existence. The Christian is the one conscious of his/her own existence as being

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Kierkegaard found in Aristotle’s categories—which aimed at distinguishing between various forms of change and movement—a support for his own perception of movement as becoming. It was through the Aristotelian understanding of dynamics of concrete existence and the movement from potentiality to actuality that Kierkegaard made room for existential change and progress. However, he rejected the substantialist approach of Aristotle. God is not an unchanging, abstract reality as Aristotle taught.²⁹ It was through Hegel’s emphasis on movement and becoming—as necessarily involving truth as such, or the source of all movement and becoming— that Aristotle’s perception of the ‘unmoved mover’ received an appropriate critique. Hegel brought Aristotle’s notions of φύσις [phusis] and τέλος [telos] together, maintaining the immanence of divine reality. The ‘spirit’ for Hegel marked the meeting of the ‘outer’ and the ‘inner’ worlds, namely of be-ing and thinking, or the thought of a being and its very essence. Being as such, then, is knowable for particular beings. So, he wrote: “Spirit is indeed never at rest, but always engaged in moving forward. … Spirit in its formation matures slowly and quietly into its new shape”.³⁰ And yet, spirit for Hegel was such a power that could come to a manifestation in world history. For Hegel, spirit could be known through conceptual thought and dialectical method that mediates between two contradictory realities, such as between being and nothing. This was, however, exactly what Kierkegaard avoided, namely the very logical system that Hegel’s thought was bound to, through which mediation of contradictions were made possible. Of course, Kierkegaard adopted the notion of the importance of movement and becoming from Hegel; however, he argued against him and against his aesthetic perspective, maintaining that becoming cannot be constrained by the framework of speculative systems. In similar lines Kierkegaard raised the question whether the meaning and the significance of becoming could be transmitted through concepts. Rather than answering positively, he contended that movement and becoming are made possible only within the free human subject. It is within the existential reality of the human person that freedom of movement occurs. Hence, true movement is existential-spiritual movement. And, yet, this personal

made possible with and through God. The movement, however, takes place in the heart of the Christian and through one’s trust and thankfulness toward God. See on this: Clare Carlisle, Kierkegaard’s Philosophy of Becoming, 20.  See on this: Kierkegaard, Concluding Unscientific Postscript, 387.  G. W. F. Hegel, The Phenomenology of Spirit, tr. A. V. Miller (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977), par. 11, 6 – 7. See further: G. W. F. Hegel, Hegel’s Logic: Being Part One of the Encyclopaedai of the Philosophical Sciences (1830), tr. William Wallace (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1975), Sections 6, 34 and 41.


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aspect does not eliminate divine transcendence, as Hegel’s system—his notion of ‘progress’ through transparence of the self—contended. This is to say that divine imminence does not negate divine otherness. Furthermore, Kierkegaard argued, against Hegel, that contradictories or alternatives, such as belief or disbelief in God, cannot be mediated.³¹ Rather, one has to make the decision to choose between either/or. That is the choice of freedom over bondage. Hence, it is only through contradiction that freedom of choice, namely true movement, is made possible.³² This is what Heidegger maintained through his insistence on decisive, resolute existence that eludes the indifference that a ‘collective-they’—using Berdyaev’s term—imposes. Accordingly, it would be possible to say that one owns the movement of one’s life. And so wrote Kierkegaard: “as a free spirit I am born of the principle of contradiction, or born by the fact that I choose myself”.³³ The principle of contradiction is the same principle of difference,³⁴ which endows freedom its very possibility. In Kierkegaard’s thought this freedom finds its home in love,³⁵ while in Heidegger’s writings love is replaced with care. Both love and care originate from within the human self. Inner freedom reveals itself through love and care involving the whole of human being. One loves to the extent that one is free. In this sense love and care can never be the consequences  This reminds the reader of the sharp distinction that Berdyaev made between spirit and nature, that is, between freedom and necessity. Any removal of the distinction would result in the loss of spirit and of freedom. This equally applies to one’s perception of the future. To approach the future from the perspective of mediation deprives the future of its essential characteristic of openness and turns it into a predestined reality.  See on this: Clare Carlisle, Kierkegaard’s Philosophy of Becoming, 27– 32, 51– 52. Here it would be helpful to refer to Carlisle’s remark on Kierkegaard’s reading of Hegel. Carlisle explains that Hegel was for Kierkegaard one who represented speculative thought and philosophy, and that his knowledge of Hegel mostly depended on secondary literature. (39.) It may be noted here that the Danish Hegelians were convinced that Hegel could provide a scientific method for the modern world with religion at its center. For Kierkegaard, however, this was a clear elimination of divine Mystery.  Søren Kierkegaard, Either/Or, tr. Walter Lowrie & Howard Johnson, vol. 2 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1959), 220.  The notion of difference, to which I will soon turn in a more detailed form, culminates in the difference between God and the human being. This notion somehow appears throughout the whole of Kierkegaard’s Either/Or. It is the awareness of this difference that creates within the human being the willingness to act and make the appropriate existential move for the sake of the formation of the inner self. See on this: Clare Carlisle, Kierkegaard’s Philosophy of Becoming, 65 – 66.  We read about this in the final section of Either/Or: the “Ultimatum”. In this last part of the work, Kierkegaard resembled human thoughts to flowers, “which from one year to the next are the same and yet not the same; but the attitude, the movement, the position are unchanged”. Kierkegaard, Either/Or, 342.

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of external reasoning.³⁶ Thus, Kierkegaard set existential and spiritual becoming in sharp contrast to pure metaphysical speculation, and thereby overturned the dominating philosophical-metaphysical project and gave room for introspection and spiritual passion.³⁷ If Hegel’s system stood for abstract and rational clarity, which results in the realm of necessity, Kierkegaard’s thought maintained spiritual power, freedom and passion, which alone induce inner transformation that is at once open to infinite eternity. Kierkegaard’s either/or is construed in Heidegger’s ‘being towards death’ as long as it is a choice that one either makes or rejects. This same either/or comes to expression in Berdyaev’s notion of freedom through which alone the human self is actualized as spirit. In Kierkegaard’s thought, as in Heidegger’s and in Berdyaev’s, the movement of the self is unceasing, in the sense that the self always continues to choose itself. There comes no time when irresoluteness and indifference rule, as long as the inner self of the human subject resolves to be itself again and again. Furthermore, Heidegger approached the question of movement through investigating the temporal reality of human existence. By bringing being and movement together he perceived the human move in terms of human historicality, contending that authentic being is attainable only through movement and temporality.³⁸ Hence, “to be is to emerge into the unconcealed”.³⁹ Similarly, for his description of truth as unconcealmenst [ἀλήθεια], Heidegger held the notion of movement in the center of his thought. Truth as the event of unconcealment requires letting beings come to light—a movement which involves both clearing and veiling. Thus, in order for truth to occur entities are to be “snatched out of their hiddenness”.⁴⁰ Genuine thinking is, then, lettingbe, which, in other words, is the opening of the self for truth as such. The predominant line of thought in the history of humanity, however, perceived God as the perfect being, based on pure rationalistic grounds, thinking that there can be no change in God as change and that movement would indicate insufficiency and imperfection in divine nature. This has hindered Christian con-

 Similarly, Kierkegaard’s notion of one’s consciousness and free acceptance of one’s sin is reinterpreted in Heidegger’s concept of guilt.  In her Kierkegaard’s Philosophy of Becoming, Clare Carlisle recited Deleuze’ words and contended that it was Kierkegaard’s attempt “to put metaphysics in motion, in action” and that this very attempt was retrieved in the works of Nietzsche, Heidegger and also Gilles Deleuze (1925 – 1995). Clare Carlisle, Kierkegaard’s Philosophy of Becoming, 5.  In order to emphasize movement and becoming, Heidegger turned many nouns into their verbal forms, such as Lichtung [clearing] into ‘to clear’ and Gegend [region] into ‘regioning’.  Heidegger, EV (1941– 42), 12.  Heidegger, BT (1927), 265.


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sciousness’ perception of dynamism and movement within the divine life.⁴¹ Contrary to that Berdyaev insisted that “[a]ll being devoid of creative movement would suffer a loss; it would be denied creative destiny and history”.⁴² And, hence, the key to the Mystery lies in the inner mutual relationship and correspondence between divine life and human tragedy. Accordingly, he wrote that Christian Mystery “consists in the genesis of God in man and of man in God”.⁴³ A divine movement which brings about the genesis of God implies the reciprocal movement of man towards God, by which he is generated and revealed. This constitutes the primal mystery both of the spirit and of being, and at the same time of Christianity, which in its central fact, in the Person of Christ, the Son of God, unites two mysteries.⁴⁴

Berdyaev maintained that historical Christianity has, nevertheless, revealed the genesis or the birth of God in the human being, while mostly disregarding the birth of the human being in God. The second would imply a movement in the divine, which has been mostly denied. And, yet, the denial of movement in God disregards the Christian Mystery. So, Berdyaev wrote: At the heart of the mystery of Christianity stands the Cross of Calvary with the sufferings and death of the Son of God, the Saviour of the World. The theory of the absolute immobility of the divine is in opposition to the mystical fact of the sufferings of our Lord. Christianity is the religion of the Suffering of God. … the suffering of the Son is a measure of suffering within the inner life of the Trinity. The doctrine of the absolute immobility of God is a form of abstract monotheism which contradicts Christian teaching as to the Trinitarian nature of the Divine and Its interior life.⁴⁵

Regarding the sufferings and death of the Son of God as an event within the inner life of Trinity, Berdyaev explained that it is not possible to conceive God apart from the Mystery of the suffering and the death of the Son. Thus, God is neither unmoved, nor is spiritual life inert and static. Hence, he wrote: The internal relationships between the Hypostases of the Trinity are dynamic and not static and are revealed as concrete life. Similarly the mystery of creation of the world cannot be understood … except through the inner life of the divine Trinity, the inner movement within the Divinity, the divine dynamic.⁴⁶

     

Berdyaev, Berdyaev, Berdyaev, Berdyaev, Berdyaev, Berdyaev,

MH (1923), 49 – 50. MH (1923), 51. MH (1923), 56. MH (1923), 57. FS (1927), 192. FS (1927), 192.

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5.1.2 The Two Aspects of Movement Movement is always twofold: of the divine and of the human. Though the dual movement occurs continuously and repeatedly in a reciprocal manner between the divine and the human, the divine move, as the initiating move, precedes the human one. In light of Kierkegaard’s thinking, it would even be possible to distinguish two aspects of each side of the move. In and through the human move, the human subject, first, resigns the enclosed self and its attachment to the world through an ascending move toward the divine. This first aspect of the move requires, then, inner power and freedom from external constraints and thrusts. Furthermore, it implies the resignation of the pure intellectual and speculative powers and activity of the human mind in order to be able to make the move of elevation to the divine. Through resignation—which Heidegger in a similar sense called releasement, defining it as ‘coming-into-the-nearness of distance’—one simultaneously makes the move toward solitude and inwardness, where being as such, or the divine, comes to reveal, and by this one’s true self attains actualization. There one is individualized to the utmost. And hence one is conscious of one’s self apart from the world and one’s attachment to it. There, the power and the freedom of one’s spirit manifest themselves through the infinite move of resignation.⁴⁷ Resignation, in the sense described here, remains the most difficult movement one can ever make since, through it, one becomes conscious of one’s unhomeliness in the world to the utmost.⁴⁸ The second aspect of the human move is to be conceived as a descent. The human being here returns to the world and accepts his/her own finite reality in the world as a gift from God. Through the move of descent, the reception of God’s love of the world is made possible. In the Old Testament, both Abraham and

 “Infinite resignation is the last stage before faith, so that anyone who has not made this movement does not have faith, for only in infinite resignation do I become conscious of my eternal validity, and only then can one speak of grasping existence by virtue of faith”. Søren Kierkegaard, Kierkegaard’s Writings, vol. VI: Fear and Trembling— Repetition, ed. tr. Howard Hong & Edna Hong (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1983), 46. What, then, is this movement for? Kierkegaard wrote: “to find myself and again rest in myself”. Kierkegaard, Kierkegaard’s Writings, vol. VI: Fear and Trembling— Repetition, 35. See also on this further: Clare Carlisle, Kierkegaard’s Philosophy of Becoming, 100 – 103.  Kierkegaard wrote further: “what I gain in resignation is my eternal consciousness”. “I make this movement all by myself, and if I do not make it, it is because… [I] do not feel the significance of the high dignity assigned to every human being, to be his own censor, which is far more exalted than to be the censor general of the whole Roman republic”. Kierkegaard’s Writings, vol. VI, 48.


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Moses made the descending move after they experienced elevation to the divine represented through ascending a mountain. This was necessary in order to bring the world to God in love. Only through faith does the person come to realize God’s love for the world and also God’s gift of the world. Similarly, love would not be possible without the freedom that one attains through the first move of resignation. Freedom, as maintained earlier, necessitates difference and the possibility for a free choice, which is essential for love.⁴⁹ Hence, through the ascent one experiences freedom that is necessary for the second move of love, namely receiving the divine gift in thankfulness. It is in freedom and through freedom that one perceives the personality of an Other as real, while, through loving the Other, he/she attains ultimate freedom. In this sense, the Other is essential for the actualization of one’s own self. These are the two elements of a passionate move that repeatedly occur within the self, which in other words are the experiences of dying and living again. Neither of the two would be possible, or would make the human move to the divine possible, without the other. First, one ascends to the divine in a self-actualizing, liberating move, and then one approaches the Other in love. The two aspects of the one and the same move manifest themselves also in the divine movements of creation, incarnation and deification. It is possible to perceive the first aspect in terms of God’s move of descent. Through creation and incarnation God lets an other be and comes to that other, taking upon Godself the price of love and by that actualizing Godself. Thus, God comes to Godself and rests in Godself through an other. The second aspect, which is the move of ascent, is manifested through God’s passionate love of that other, taking the other in love to Godself. This double divine-human movement has been a major theme in Patristic theology and Orthodox thought. The early Greek Fathers of the Church described the movement—namely the continuous divine descent and ascent, and the human ascent and descent—in terms of κατάβασις and ἀνάβασις, which bring about the divine-human union. God and the human being meet as the result of divine descent, κατάβασις [katabasis], and human ascent, ἀνάβασις [anabasis].⁵⁰ Such union is, furthermore, described in terms of a spiritual journey,

 Jesus said: “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?” (Matt. 5: 44– 46)  In Orthodox theology the two terms oikonomia and theologia indicate the divine-human union made possible through the double divine-human move. Such union occurs, first, through oikonomia (economy), that is, God’s work and self-revelation through creation and incarnation,

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which begins with purification, katarsis [κάθαρσις], of the human being that is the renouncement of all that is sensual or that which is dependent on one’s rational faculties. Throughout the spiritual journey one experiences illumination through contemplation, θεωρία [theoria]. At the end of the journey, deification, θέωσις [theosis], is made possible, namely union with and participation in God through the divine uncreated energies.⁵¹ This implies that both the human and the divine are in a constant move “upward and downward”. We read Berdyaev: “The true way is not a movement to the right or left in the plane of ‘the world’, but rather movement upward and downward on the lines of the ultra-worldly, movement in spirit and not in ‘the world’”.⁵² Furthermore, deification assumes the consummation not only of the human being but also of the whole created order. Having the two movements, the divine and the human, in reciprocity, we can see how they meet in the person of Jesus Christ. In him, both the divine and the human gift to the Other is an ultimate and absolute gift. In Jesus, the divine gift of life has been fully and completely received. Similarly, the human response, in Jesus, has been ultimate and absolute. Human releasement, with the two aspects of resignation and yet faith and love, attains in Jesus its highest actualization, made possible only through death. Hence, Jesus is fully human and fully divine. He is the Christ, the Savior and the object of faith.

5.1.3 Repetition as the Retrieval of the Truth of Being The notion of repetition was essential to Heidegger’s thought. For him, repetition [Wiederholung] did not designate a mere mechanical repetition of a thing, but rather a return back to the past in order to retrieve the different possibilities available there for the person to attain his/her authentic being. Repetition is hence about finding being again in the sense of retrieving being, or letting being come to the self in the future through a past possibility, and hence be

and, second, through theologia (theology), that is, the human spiritual ascent toward the divine. It should be remarked here that in Orthodox theology, however, theologia implies “everything that can be said of God considered in Himself”, yet, it does not indicate any speculative-metaphysical human activity. Theology, rather, denotes the spiritual ascent to the divine, particularly through prayer. Lossky, In the Image and the Likeness of God, 15.  Lossky, The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, 27– 28. On the Orthodox distinction between divine essence and energies see below, under: “Identity, Difference and Appropriation”.  Berdyaev, MCA (1916), 11.


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one’s presence.⁵³ It is possible to trace repetition back to Kierkegaard’s undertaking of existential repetition, and the genesis of the self made possible through it, which brought forth the minimized role of time in Greek philosophy and its lack of the notion of temporality. In contrast to the platonic concept of recollection as a ‘theory of knowledge’, that is, the re-gaining of knowledge about some eternal truths or static ideas, and against Hegel’s theory of mediation, Kierkegaard proposed repetition as a passionate movement that takes place in the very inward reality of the human being and brings it to transcendence. Kierkegaard elaborated that neither recollection nor mediation is adequate for arriving at the truth of Christianity. Contrary to both notions, repetition concerns the inner self, the heart or the spirit and its freedom. Repetition, thus, is the repetition of one’s freedom as long as one is in a constant need to reaffirm one’s freedom, to choose one’s own self, again and again, and actualize it. In this sense, repetition is the validation of one’s consciousness of one’s self.⁵⁴ It is the sustainment of one’s inner, spiritual power. The more one ventures to repeat oneself, to project one’s inner truth in so many different ways, the more meaning one’s existence receives and the more one owns one’s self.⁵⁵ It is equally a transformative process, as it allows the person to move from one state to another, such as—using religious terminology— from the state of sin to that of salvation. For Kierkegaard, repetition is then perceived as freedom itself.⁵⁶ “[F]reedom’s supreme interest is precisely to bring about repetition”.⁵⁷ Hence, repetition is a return to the self or a circling back on the being or the reality which the person has been all along, and through repetition the notion is maintained that actuality must be produced again and

 This reminds the reader of Heidegger’s re-trieval of the original Christian experience of his past. See on this: Richardson, “Heidegger and Theology”, 93 – 94.  Kierkegaard, Samlede Vaerker, III, 173 – 175. Kierkegaard, Kierkegaard’s Writings, vol. VI: Fear and Trembling— Repetition, 131– 133. In his Repetition Kierkegaard described repetition as “consciousness raised to the second power”, 149.  See on this: Clare Carlisle, Kierkegaard’s Philosophy of Becoming, 74, 76.  “It is repetition in this pregnant sense as a task for freedom and as freedom”. Søren Kierkegaard, Søren Kierkegaards Papirer (Copenhagen: Gyldendal, 1909 – 48), IV: B, 117, 293; “Supplement” in Kierkegaard’s Writings, vol. VI, 312– 313. See also: Kierkegaard, Samlede Vaerker, III, 189; Kierkegaard’s Writings, vol. VI, 149. See: Caputo, Radical Hermeneutics, 19 – 21.  Kierkegaard, Samlede Vaerker, IV: B, 117, 281– 282. The question for Kierkegaard was: how to become a Christian? And for him the answer was: through faith, which requires movement. Furthermore, becoming truthful, for Kierkegaard, was about putting on truth again and again. This is a continual activity of freeing oneself in which the eternity of truth lies.

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again.⁵⁸ As one chooses one’s own self one returns to one’s innermost reality, and hence comes to be the person whom one has truly been. “He becomes himself, quite the same self he was before, down to the last significant peculiarity, and yet he becomes another, for the choice permeates everything and transforms it”.⁵⁹ As an existential movement, repetition holds contradictory elements—such as sameness and difference—together, never overcoming the difference. Through repetition, beings become different and yet more genuine; however, they might seem to be the same externally. It is through becoming different, or new, that the constancy of truth is made possible. In other words, it is the persistent change and renewal of one’s perception of truth that safeguards truth against all forms of conventional knowledge and grasp of it. Truth cannot be confined to or embodied through a particular historical situation; rather, it will anticipate different and new expressions and formulations as it encompasses all specific forms. Repetition indicates, thus, a new beginning, a forward move through the reaffirmation and the renewal of what the person originally and always has been. Hence, it is the renewal of the past and a breakthrough, a formation of the future. Repetition, in a certain sense, allows eternity to occur in the present, receiving its revelation from the future. In his Repetition, Kierkegaard wrote: Repetition and recollection are the same movement, except in opposite directions; for what is recollected has been, is repeated backward, whereas genuine repetition is recollected forward.⁶⁰

Through recollection one is reminded of the facts and the incidents of the past. Hence, one makes a backward move toward the past and its particular historical situation, which might be painful. Through repetition, however, a re-creation is made possible rather than a mere recollection of some information—a re-creation which, nevertheless, is the affirmation of the original. Repetition, hence, allows the person to re-consider the past and his/her own self as having been, in a way that he/she is capable of resigning from every-thing in the past, and thereby seeing the past differently, yet more truly. In this sense, repetition is not a mere recollection, and it is also not a movement toward an unknown novelty that is

 John D. Caputo, Radical Hermeneutics: Repetition, Deconstruction, and the Hermeneutic Project (Bloomington [u. a.]: Indiana Univ. Press, 1987), 12. See: Kierkegaard, Søren Kierkegaards Papirer, IV: A, 156; Kierkegaard’s Writings, vol. VI, 326.  Kierkegaard, Either/Or, 227. See: Caputo, Radical Hermeneutics, 29 – 30.  Kierkegaard, Kierkegaard’s Writings, vol. VI, 131.


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discontinuous with one’s past; rather it makes it possible for that which is repeated to become anew. This whole process of repetition is, then, a freeing process for the self to reach at its own and possess it. This is comparable to the emphasis of the Orthodox theology on the inward-spiritual journey that requires movement and change. In a similar vein, Kierkegaard—through the pseudonym Johannes Climacus—wrote: “I live in time. An existing individual is himself in a process of becoming”.⁶¹ In theological terms, repetition involves the divine movement of love and grace toward the human, and the human response of receiving the divine gift through the turn inwards. This entails an element of movement and becoming, particularly in the sense of the continuously becoming Christian as emphasized by Kierkegaard. Having movement and becoming as the heart of what being Christian means, Christian faith ceases to be an inactive state of belief. Christian faith comes rather to be perceived as the continuous gift of Godself to the human being—the divine move—and the continuous reception of the gift by the human being—the human response.⁶² Such continuous reception of the gift implies the inner affirmation and actualization of becoming a Christian. It implies that the person, at every moment, is no longer the same, but different—someone who is nearer than before, both to God and to one’s self. Similar to Aristotle’s kinesis, repetition is a movement, however, it is the movement of the inner self that cannot be generalized, cannot be explained, conceptualized or proved in any objective or scientific manner. And in contrast to Hegel’s movement, repetition cannot be hypothesized and cannot, through a

 Kierkegaard, Concluding Unscientific Postscript, 368. See also: Kierkegaard, Kierkegaard’s Writings, vol. VI, 43. The Ladder of Divine Ascent—composed in the early 7th century—by the Greek monk John Climacus (c. 570 – 649) described the spiritual journey of the soul using the image of Jacob’s ladder, from the Old Testament. John Climacus was the abbot of Saint Catherine’s of Alexandria on Mt. Sinai and his work depicted the movement of the soul toward God through acquiring the ascetic virtues. It would be significant to note here that Kierkegaard used the pseudonym John Climacus for several of his works, expressing through him his own views, such as in his Philosophical Fragments and the Concluding Unscientific Postscript. See further: John Climacus, The Ladder of Divine Ascent, tr. Luibheid, Colm & Russell, Norman (Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1982).  In a similar vein, the protestant theologian Christoph Schwöbel explained Christian faith as “the fundamental act of human existence”, which is “not actively constituted by human beings, but is constituted for human beings”. Thus, the act of faith entails the reception and the trust in the ‘divine agency’. In this sense, faith is unconditional and ‘passive’, meaning that it does not require particular acts, but rather the acceptance of the divine gift and revelation in Christ, which in itself assumes ‘human agency’. See: Christoph Schwöbel, God: Action and Revelation (The Netherlands, Kampen: Kok Pharos Publishing House, 1992), 28 – 30.

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theory, claim sameness, universality and sovereignty over the world and its contradictions, as after repetition the being no longer remains the same, but becomes another. It is Kierkegaard’s sense of movement [kinesis] and repetition that Heidegger retrieved and presented as the possibility of extending oneself outward in circular movement, both from the past towards the present and the future, and then, again, toward the past.⁶³ The movement is, then, a movement of retrieval, as it circulates between the futurity of the human subject [Zukünftigkeit] and his/ her being as it has always been [Gewesenheit].⁶⁴ Authentic human existence, then, lies in holding oneself in motion, that is, running forth or keeping oneself on the run [vor-laufen], despite the pressure from outside to surpass one’s existential movement and force one to come to a halt. The past, here, does not indicate objective facts and events that the person has experienced in life, but rather the reality of the human being, namely his/her true self. In this sense, the human being is his/her past. He/she is that which he/she has already been. The past is present-at-hand and might have even further effects upon the human being. One’s past is in a close association with one’s being, in which sense it is possible to say that one’s past is ahead of oneself. This is what ‘being towards death’ is, namely being towards authenticity that takes turmoil, trouble and unrest upon oneself, resisting all claims of stability and security. Heidegger asked: How to become who we are? Answering, he maintained that through anticipating one’s own death one is on the way towards authenticity. The importance of repetition comes to the fore at the time of anxiety, as one experiences the impossibility of actualizing one’s own potential for being and is left to encounter the nullity of the self. At the time of fear, bewilderment and the forgetfulness of the authentic self, one adheres to self-preservation, escaping the encounter with one’s inner reality. In this regard, ‘remembering’ what one has already been plays a role. Through it, the horizon to which the human being has always belonged is revealed and with it the triviality of every-day concerns.⁶⁵ By this, forward movement, as the consequence of human thinking, is possible only through a step back into the veiled essence of truth. Only such a step, which assumes the path of thinking, brings one out of the borders of a particular metaphysical system into its very essence and origin. By being conscious of one’s historicality one owns one’s past, and only then is one equipped for the search

 Here too, as in other places, Heidegger did not admit the influence Kierkegaard had on his thought.  Heidegger, BT (1927), 363.  Heidegger, BT (1927), 389, 392– 394.


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for being as such.⁶⁶ The beginning, however, is impalpable and elusive in essence in the sense that it never brings the person to conclusive propositions or claims of knowledge. This is what repetition is about, namely thinking of the first beginning of human thought and guarding the mystery of its inceptuality, without being able to provide through it any ‘actual’ states of affairs. Repetition is, rather, founded in the clearing, “in which hearts might shine and things can appear”.⁶⁷ Hence, repetition is a movement outside specific theological-philosophical systems; yet, it ponders the beginning from which those systems have emerged and, with them, the forgetfulness of being which has occurred. The thinking of the beginning thus requires heedfulness [Aufmerksamkeit] and essential thinking, namely thinking that guards the Mystery and the self-concealment of the beginning.⁶⁸

5.2 Temporality, Eternity and the Leap Forward 5.2.1 Temporality and Care As early as his Being and Time it was a major enterprise for Heidegger to give an interpretation of the human reality in terms of temporality. Already at the outset of the work he wrote: “Being and time determine each other reciprocally”.⁶⁹ Heidegger perceived time as “the possible horizon for any understanding whatsoever of Being”,⁷⁰ and temporality as the meaning of the human reality. He referred to the temporality of being, explaining that there is no other way to comprehend being apart from an understanding of time. For his interpretation of temporality, or existence in time, Heidegger started from the common, linear perception of time in its Aristotelian framework. He perceived this traditional—scientific—conception of time, that lasted from Aristotle to Bergson, to be inconsistent as it failed to hold together the three dimensions of time: future, past and present. Rather, this Aristotelian perception conceived the present as the most real

 Heidegger warned against becoming the victim of tradition. Tradition can present history as self-evident, thereby hindering any possibility of reaching the original sources of all that has been handed to the person. In this sense, tradition has the potential to destroy one’s perception of one’s historicality and obstruct one’s positive return to one’s past and the possibility of making it one’s own. See on this: Heidegger, BT (1927), 41– 43.  Heidegger, EV (1941– 42), 260, 276.  Heidegger, EV (1941– 42), 252– 254.  Heidegger, TB (1962– 64), 19.  Heidegger, BT (1927), 19.

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facet of time and, hence, time as a continuous series of ‘now’s. According to this perception the future is seen as the ‘now’ that is not yet, and the past as the no longer ‘now’. For Heidegger this emphasis on the present and the perception of the nature of time as an infinite series of ‘nows’ were mistaken mainly because of the limited, exclusively natural-scientific perception of being, which obliviated its temporal, worldly nature and, hence, its true meaning.⁷¹ Heidegger considered, not only the present, but also the past—the ‘having been’ [Gewesenheit]—as equally essential for the understanding of temporality. Only through an understanding of the past can one perceive oneself as the being who is and who already has been, that is, the being who “constantly is as having been”.⁷² Furthermore, the human being exists truly whenever he/she moves towards him/herself, that is, towards his/her ownmost potentiality for being. Hence, the future is to be perceived as the “coming towards”, rather than the mere unactualized ‘now’,⁷³ while ‘being towards death’ is being orient-

 In his Timaeus, Plato called time “the image of eternity”, while for Aristotle time was a sequence of ‘nows’ and “a number of change in respect of the before and after”. Aristotle, Aristotle’s Physics, 150. [Book IV, 219 (b), 1.] For his conception of temporality, Heidegger considered Aristotle’s view, which was the common perception of time, as a starting point for his own interpretation. He maintained that Aristotle perceived time as a natural phenomenon and provided his interpretation with conceptual clarity; however, for Heidegger this was itself a limitation of the understanding of time. Heidegger, BT (1927), 48 – 49, 473 – 474, 481. Heidegger contended that Aristotle’s view of time as a succession of ‘nows’ belonged to his “‘natural’ way of understanding Being”, and hence covered its true significance. He recited Aristotle: “For this is time: that which is counted in the movement which we encounter within the horizon of the earlier and the later”. Aristotle, Physics: Book II, 219 (b). Heidegger contended that the ‘now’ has been interpreted in terms of ‘present-at-hand’ or ‘ready-to-hand’ (475). In this traditional perception of time, the sequence of ‘nows’ is endless and, hence, time turns to be infinite. Consequently, temporality has lost its significance and its worldly nature. Heidegger thought of Augustine’s notion of time as more original than Aristotle’s, and he retrieved the notion of “praesens” from him, indicating by it the horizon of the present and of temporality, namely the horizon according to which the present is perceived. Though Heidegger appropriated Aristotle’s conception of time, he gave to it an existential, ontological interpretation. He explained that time is that which reveals itself in making-present, that is, in uniting of two movements: ‘retaining’ and ‘awaiting’, in a way that it is the open horizon for the ‘earlier’ and the ‘later’. Heidegger contended that even Hegel’s conception of time was under the influence of the conventional perception of time in its Aristotelian sense. Tina Chanter, Time, Death, and the Feminine: Levinas with Heidegger (Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 2001), 127– 128, BP 229, 306 – 307.)  Heidegger, BT (1927), 376. Also, Berdyaev wrote: “The integral life unites the three moments of the past, present and future in one. And thus, historical reality is not dead, though it is relegated to the past; it is no less real than the current reality or that of the future which we cannot conceive, but which we only hope and expect”. Berdyaev, MH (1923), 72.  Heidegger, BT (1927), 372.


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ed towards the future, that is the coming towards the true self. Future is, then, the “primordial ecstasis of temporality”, while death provides us with “an orientation for our authentic temporal understanding”. Such being towards the future, namely towards one’s end is “existing in one’s ownmost nullity”.⁷⁴ This means that the human being—with all the outer representation of his/her being—fails to reach at the meaning of human existence whenever the future element is overlooked. It is rather the nullity of the person that defines who the person is, namely the person’s being stripped of all that hinders his/her true self from appearing. This requires his/her acceptance of his/her being nothing. It is only through such being towards its end that the human subject exists as ‘authentically whole’, and it is this perception of the self that makes ‘being towards death’, which is the same as care, possible. One could ask here: why is it the case that the state of one’s being ‘authentically whole’ is defined as or even related to care? Orthodox theology would answer the question by pointing out the truth that it is only within the mystical body of Christ that the human being attains wholeness and fulfillment. This is neither a subjective nor an objective experience, but rather a communal and a spiritual one. The person attains his/her own fulfillment only with and within the whole. Heidegger expressed this truth—conveyed in the Bible through the greatest commandment, namely the love of God and of the neighbor—through the notion of ‘Being-alongside’, which is the same as ‘care’. “[C]are is Being-toward-death” and through such manner of being the person might exist “in a way which is authentically whole”.⁷⁵ Hence, “in care is grounded the full disclosedness of the ‘there’”.⁷⁶ In order for one to arrive at one’s most authentic self, one must experience caring and considerate ‘being-alongside’ Others. This is so since in one’s non-relational, closed potentiality for being one remains incapable of coming towards oneself. “Dasein comes towards itself from that with which it concerns itself”.⁷⁷ This is the meaning of ‘being towards death’. Without concerning the self with an Other the self remains imprisoned within the cell of its own self and, hence, incapable of a free return to itself. Thus, any understanding or disclosedness of the self is necessarily futural as it aspires again and again to approach the Other and, through it, the self. This futural dimension of understanding is not, however, unrelated to the past and the present. All elements of past, present and future contribute primordially to any possible understanding of temporality and,  Heidegger, BT (1927), 379.  Heidegger, BT (1927), 378, 386. For Heidegger’s understanding of ‘care’, see “Care as an Essential Trait of Human Reality” under Chapter three of this work.  Heidegger, BT (1927), 402.  Heidegger, BT (1927), 386.

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hence, of human existence. Furthermore, it is only through such a perception of temporality that the structures of ‘facticity’, ‘falling’, ‘everydayness’ and ‘care’ are possible. The past carries the true self, and the future is about approaching the self and its fulfillment; however, it is in the present that the person resolves for authenticity and moves away from inauthentic involvement with the everyday concerns in the world. It is in the present that the person awaits and anticipates fulfillment and strives for it.⁷⁸ This circular perception of self-understanding is what ‘temporality’ is about. Hence, Heidegger gave a temporal interpretation of daily human existence in the world, through which the disclosedness of being occurs. Hence, “coming-towards-oneself”, with its futural orientation, is simultaneously coming back to one’s innermost self, namely ‘repetition’,⁷⁹ while the notions of the true self and its fallenness receive existential signification. By this, temporality is at work as a whole in all the different structures of human existence. This means that past, present and future are not to be perceived as in succession; rather, the future makes the present and both are segments of the process and the unfolding of ‘having been’.⁸⁰ The future in this sense is an essential attribute of “existentiality”.⁸¹ And in the destiny of the hidden beginning lays the destiny of the future, since there is no beginning without a future. It is with the future perspective that a happening occurs and finds its beginning. Hence, in order to rescue the future, one is to rescue the past from the domination of the habitual and the ordinary, which grinds to a halt in historiography. It is not possible to preserve the past; rather, one is to throw off the ordinary in an attempt to recreate it. One comes to apprehend the past through experiencing its depth, recreating and restructuring it anew in the many different forms that nevertheless are consistently the same as the origin.⁸² Thus, through experiencing the law of the beginning, one penetrates the unknown future and supplies it with some kind of direction. The temporal is, then, the movement from the future into the past and vice versa. The present is later than the future, as it results from the contest of the future with the past.⁸³ This process which is directed towards the future is the same as being ahead of oneself and the ‘antic-

 Heidegger, BT (1927), 387. Heidegger explained this “moment of vision” as ecstasis, that is, as stepping outside the common everydayness into the future fulfillment.  Heidegger, BT (1927), 388.  Heidegger, BT (1927), 401.  Heidegger, BT (1927), 375.  Heidegger, BQP (1937– 38), 38 – 39.  It is in this sense that reflection upon the Greek thought is historical, rather than historiographical. Its aim is the search for meaning rather than for the accuracy of every historical detail.


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ipatory resoluteness’, making resolute existence possible in the sense of “coming back to itself futurally”. By this, Heidegger replaced the Aristotelian conception of time as the succession of ‘nows’ with the notion of ‘event’, that is, the occurrence concerning the temporality of the human being and of being as such. The occurrence is the appropriating event by the human being of being, and viceversa, in this sense it is not a mere occurrence but that which makes all occurrences possible. It is as a result of this event of appropriation that time and being belong together.⁸⁴ Appropriation, in turn, brings the human being into his/her true self as the being who receives being within time.⁸⁵ The temporal nature of human existence brings about “the authentic potentiality-for-being-a-whole”, whereby the meaning of ‘authentic care’ comes to the fore.⁸⁶ Thus, it is possible to say that, whenever one is in a state of movement, one is ahead of oneself and, hence, one’s reality as care and being alongside others is unveiled. Therefor, the “primordial unity of the structure of care lies in temporality”.⁸⁷ Temporality, is, then, “the meaning of the Being of care”, while care is the existential ground of temporality.⁸⁸ Furthermore, it is possible to perceive considerate being alongside Others in terms of care or temporality. Thus, ‘being alongside’ pertains to care, while care is founded upon temporality.⁸⁹

5.2.2 Temporality, Finitude and Eternity as the Means for the Experience of Being Heidegger perceived temporality as an ‘ecstatical unity’ of past, present and future, while in each ecstasis the whole unity—of temporality—is at work and ecstatically present. So, Heidegger wrote: “[t]emporality temporalizes itself as a future which makes present in the process of having been”.⁹⁰ In this ‘ecstatical unity’ of temporality Heidegger found the grounds of all human existential structures, the very disclosedness of the being of the human subject and of his/her essential possibilities. He wrote further:

      

Heidegger, Heidegger, Heidegger, Heidegger, Heidegger, Heidegger, Heidegger,


(1962– 64), 19. (1962– 64), 23. (1927), 374. (1927), 375. (1927), 418. (1927), 404. (1927), 401.

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Thus, we can see that in every ecstasis, temporality temporalizes itself as a whole; and this means that in the ecstatical unity with which temporality has fully temporalized itself currently, is grounded the totality of the structural whole of existence, facticity, and falling— that is, the unity of the care-structure.⁹¹

It is through this ecstatical unity, namely the temporality of the human being, that he/she can be present to being as such. This very possibility of being open or present to being is not, however, a thing given at hand or available to the human subject without it being sought or pursued by him/her. In Heidegger’s terms, it is not a source of power or radiance that is ‘ontically’—categorically or factually—given to the person, occasionally active within him/herself. It is rather through knowing the worldly entities in their past, present and future that one is in the state of care, and only then that one transcends oneself toward self-absence, that is, toward the nullity of the self.⁹² Thus, the ecstatical unity is itself the light or the luminosity that makes the clearedness of the human being possible, namely his/her presence to being as such. In this sense, time is the horizon of being.⁹³ This luminosity [Gelichtetheit] made possible through temporality is itself care. Hence, in care lies the complete disclosedness of the human being, namely his/her coming into light. In care and through care, perception, illumination and consciousness are made possible for the human subject, without which all forms of understanding and perception remain deficient and incomplete. Thus, Heidegger wrote: “Ecstatical temporality clears the ‘there’ [that is the human being who is present to being as such] primordially. It is what primarily regulates the possible unity of all Dasein’s existential structures”.⁹⁴ This lumi-

 Heidegger, BT (1927), 401. [“Daran wird sichtbar: Die Zeitlichkeit zeitigt sich in jeder Ekstase ganz, das heißt in der ekstatischen Einheit der jeweiligen vollen Zeitigung der Zeitlichkeit gründet die Ganzheit des Strukturganzen von Existenz, Faktizität und Verfallen, das ist die Einheit der Sorgestruktur”. Heidegger, GA 2, 463.]  I maintain that Heidegger’s ‘nothingness’ is comparable to Karl Rahner’s infinite spirit of the divine. See: Avakian, The Other, 33.  Heidegger considered ‘praesens’ [which he retrieved from Augustine] to be the horizon upon which both the notions of the present and of temporality are perceivable. Yet, Heidegger distinguished between temporality [Zeitlichkeit] as the human being’s particular mode of being and temporality as the temporality of being itself [Temporalität]. Explicating temporality as the particular mode of the human being [Zeitlichkeit], Heidegger contended that temporality is “the condition of the possibility of the constitution of the Dasein’s being”. Furthermore, the temporality of being itself [Temporalität] is the horizon through which being as such is to be understood or perceived. By this, Heidegger’s conception of time is the basis of his inquiry into the notion of temporality [Zeitlichkeit]. Furthermore, it is in temporality that his notion of being ‘ahead-of-itself’ lies. See on this: Chanter, Time, Death and the Feminine, 128; Heidegger, BPP (1927), 274.  Heidegger, BT (1927), 402.


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nosity which we hitherto described as temporality and the state of care is given as potential possibility to every human being so that, through it, one experiences a direct openness to being as such. Though living in the world, that is, in space and time, the human being is open for transcendence toward being, knowing that this possibility of transcendence is, nevertheless, finite and limited. The human being, in his/her freedom to die, experiences his/her own utmost power, which is simultaneously power in powerlessness. This power in powerlessness is what Heidegger described as ‘finite freedom’, through which the person meets responsibly the required decision in his/her life, and, yet, is left completely alone, that is solitary, to face that particular decision. Furthermore, he maintained that whenever one attempts to answer the question: how does one come to oneself? One is always confronted with one’s finite temporality and, hence, one’s “fundamental way of being” is finitude.⁹⁵ Finitude is not some property that is merely attached to us, but is our fundamental way of being. If we wish to become what we are, we cannot abandon this finitude or deceive ourselves about it, but must safeguard it. Such preservation is the innermost process of our being finite, i. e., it is our innermost becoming finite. Finitude only is in truly becoming finite. In becoming finite, however, there ultimately occurs an individuation of man with respect to his Dasein. Individuation—this does not mean that man clings to his frail little ego that puffs itself up against something or other which it takes to be the world. This individuation is rather that solitariness in which each human being first of all enters into a nearness to what is essential in all things, a nearness to world. What is this solitude, where each human being will be as though unique?⁹⁶

Heidegger indicated this ‘finite freedom’ on certain occasions as the destiny [Geschick] of the person. Destiny, however, is not to be perceived in any individualistic sense; rather, it is the destiny of a community as long as being in the world

 Heidegger, FCM (1929 – 30), 6.  Heidegger, FCM (1929 – 30), 6. [“Endlichkeit ist keine Eigenschaft, die uns nur anhängt, sondern die Grundart unseres Seins. Wenn wir werden wollen, was wir sind, können wir diese Endlichkeit nicht verlassen oder uns darübertäuschen, sondern wir müssen sie behüten. Dieses Bewahren ist der innerste Prozeß unseres Endlichseins, d. h. unsere innerste Verendlichung. Endlichkeit ist nur in der wahren Verendlichung. In dieser aber vollzieht sich letztlich eine Vereinzelung des Menschen auf sein Dasein. Vereinzelung—das meint nicht dieses, daß der Mensch sich auf sein schmächtiges und kleines Ich versteift, das sich aufspreizt an diesem oder jenem, was es für die Welt hält. Diese Vereinzelung ist vielmehr jene Vereinsamung, in der jeder Mensch allererst in die Nähe zum Wesentlichen aller Dinge gelangt, zur Welt. Was ist diese Einsamkeit, wo der Mensch je wie ein Einziger sein wird? Heidegger, GA 29/30, 8.]

5.2 Temporality, Eternity and the Leap Forward


is being with an Other.⁹⁷ It is only in the state of care, that is, when the human being freely encounters his/her own death and guilt, that ‘authentic historicality’ is made possible. Hence, finitude belongs to the essential nature of the human being, who simultaneously transcends all beings and is given access to being as such. The human being, then, in his/her finitude, must allow being as such to approach him/her. Furthermore, Heidegger contended that it is the possibility of care that enables the human subject to open up the self so that his/her inner being is disclosed, that is, his/her inner world. In care, however, not only the inner self arrives at a disclosure, that is, his/her own world, but with it the outer world also comes to be uncovered, namely the world where the human being lives. Similar to the human being, the ontological foundation of the world is grounded in temporality that is the ecstatical unity of past, present and future. Knowing that each ecstasis has its own horizonal scheme with a particular direction toward which it moves, Heidegger concluded that existing beings or things in the world are directed through the horizon of temporality, generally speaking, and that it is through this horizon alone that they might come to disclosure.⁹⁸ This means that whenever the human being exists as a temporal being, or a being alongside Others, who is concerned with and about Others, there necessarily exists a world that is similarly temporal. Whenever the human being understandingly approaches the entities in the world, he/she simultaneously lets them be and present themselves as they truly are.⁹⁹ Through having temporality as a primordial reality of human existence, and through its future aspect in particular, ‘being-towards-death’ gains its existential meaning in the sense of approaching the fulfillment of one’s self. Accordingly, the future can be perceived as ‘coming towards’ one’s ownmost potentiality for being. This future aspect, nevertheless, is bound to the past; hence, Heidegger wrote that the human self comes towards oneself “futurally in such a way that it comes back”.¹⁰⁰ In this coming together of the past and the future aspects  Heidegger distinguished between the fate of a person [Schicksal] and the destiny of the person [Geschick]. The first indicated for him the destiny of the resolute person, while the second is the destiny of the person belonging to a larger group, though ‘Geschick’ had different meanings in different contexts of Heidegger’s use. See on this: Heidegger, BT (1927), 436.  In contrast to things in the world, Heidegger maintained that the human being is not a thing, that is present at hand, filling some space as any item of equipment does. Rather, the spatial aspect of the human being is to be perceived as a mere taking in of space. Though the human being takes in space, nevertheless, he/she is essentially a spiritual being and, hence, is a physical or objective reality in a very special way. Heidegger, BT (1927), 419.  Heidegger, BT (1927), 416 – 417.  Heidegger, BT (1927), 373.


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in human existence with the present—or the ‘now’—Heidegger perceived the meaning of temporality, finitude and eternity. Conversely, through the traditional way of perceiving time as a pure sequence of ‘nows’, “the ecstatical [outstanding] character of primordial temporality has been leveled off”.¹⁰¹ For Heidegger, the future always has priority in the unity of temporality since it is through the orientation toward the future that temporality reawakens the understanding of the present. Thus, he wrote: “The primary phenomenon of primordial and authentic temporality is the future”.¹⁰² This is comparable to saying that being in one’s very essence futural, such that the person is primordially “in the process of having-been”, whereby “the moment of vision” is made possible.¹⁰³ The “moment of vision” is perceived here as an ecstasis, that is, as stepping outside the common everydayness into the future fulfillment. In this sense, the “moment of vision” is the most authentic and resolute moment in the present.¹⁰⁴ In a similar vein Berdyaev wrote: [T]here is no cleavage between the two worlds of time and eternity, for eternity is capable of entering time, and time, eternity. To regard the world as as static always means that it is conceived as isolated, shut up within itself, within limits which have been fixed for all eternity.¹⁰⁵

The significance of Christianity is that it unveils its truth in the temporal human life in such a way that divine truth can “break the chain of time, penetrate into and appear as the dominant force in it”.¹⁰⁶ Furthermore, Berdyaev criticized the traditional perception of eternity, with its two notions of heaven and hell, as it perceived the spiritual realities of eternity and eschatology in naturalistic/objective terms. Eschatology, hence, needs to be freed of all natural ways of conceiving it, and has to be removed from the theological-metaphysical sphere to the domain of spirituality, in order that its spiritual meaning and reality, as well as its ‘creative dynamism’, come to the fore. Similarly, the Kingdom of God is not an existing reality in the naturalistic understanding of the word. “The Kingdom of God is the life of the spirit and hell is only a form of spiritual experience; it is an impasse, an obstacle, which appears to be eternal, infinite and inescapable; it represents the tragedy of human freedom”.¹⁰⁷ Berdyaev wrote further:       

Heidegger, BT (1927), 377. Heidegger, BT (1927), 378. Heidegger, BT (1927), 437. Heidegger, BT (1927), 437, 387. Berdyaev, FS (1927), 317. Berdyaev, MH (1923), 67. Berdyaev, FS (1927), 325.

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The modern Christian attitude cannot reconcile itself with primitive eschatology on moral grounds. It is very difficult to accept a metaphysical system which makes the eternal destiny of the soul dependent on this temporal life, which exists merely from the cradle to the grave. According to this point of view our brief life on earth is a mere trap, and our fitness for eternity is determined by an experience whose duration is entirely insignificant. In modern Christianity the fear of eternal punishment can no longer determine the whole of life to the same degree in which it did in the Middle Ages. … So far as we are concerned today this question is primarily a moral and spiritual and not a dogmatic one. … The whole problem has now been removed from the theological and metaphysical sphere, in which the final mysteries of human destiny are resolved with the aid of rational categories, to the sphere of our present spiritual orientation and our moral will.¹⁰⁸

In the light of the future dimension one can better understand ‘being towards death’, ‘care’ and ‘anticipatory resoluteness’ as being towards becoming a whole, namely being towards the future. Hence, by bringing past, present and future together, human actions in the world, for Heidegger—as for Kierkegaard —and Berdyaev have infinite significance. They are not merely of an accidental kinetic nature, extinguishing as soon as performed, but are rather instances of fathomless infinite activity, in which the human being, non-accidentally, takes part. Seen from the perspective of infinite activity, human acts are manifestations of the infinite, though never exhausting ones, as authentic future and temporality have finitude as their primordial characteristic.

5.2.3 Being on the Way and the ‘Anticipatory Leap Forward’ Identifying passion as the key for inner spiritual power, Kierkegaard described faith as a leap.¹⁰⁹ In his Fear and Trembling—and echoing Gregory of Nyssa’s The Life of Moses, where Moses’s journey to Mount Sinai is depicted as the soul’s spiritual journey to God—Kierkegaard described Abraham as a paradigm of faith, whose religious consciousness and the resulting acts are objectionable and even outrageous to the rational person. Throughout the three-day journey to Mount Moriah for the purpose of sacrificing his son Isaac, Abraham was per-

 Berdyaev, FS (1927), 323.  Kierkegaard’s thinking, particularly his notion of the leap as a qualitative alteration or progression, is to a certain extent influenced by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729 – 1781), who maintained the absence of a bridge between historical knowledge and faith in God, and, hence, the need for a leap. See: Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, “On the Proof of the Spirit and of Power” (1777), in Philosophical and Theological Writings, tr. H.B. Nisbet (Cambridge University Press, 2005), 83 – 88.


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ceived as the one who experienced constancy of faith and was inwardly in a continuous move, pictured in terms of leaps of faith. It is through continuous passionate movement and inner involvement that the person grows in faith and matures in religious consciousness. It was the inner possibility of movement that enabled Abraham to attain the highest religious consciousness possible. In this work, and in a manner very similar to the early Eastern Fathers of the Church, Kierkegaard depicted the two dimensional movement between the human and the divine, namely the movements of descent and of ascent.¹¹⁰ Furthermore, Kierkegaard wrote about the dancer, the knight of infinity, whose movements are inward existential leaps and dynamic progression, expressing nothing other than the inner spiritual power of the person.¹¹¹ Later on, we read in Nietzsche’s writings the echoes of this: “dancing in any form cannot be divorced from a noble education”.¹¹² Abraham’s journey stands for the triumph of love—the love of God or of no-thing—through which alone movement and the actualization of one’s life is made possible. Love, in this sense, is the culmination of the two-dimensional movement between the human and the divine. Love is in no way expectant love. True love has no anticipations, makes no claims and awaits nothing. True love is free. It takes the sufferings and the pains upon itself and lets the Other be. It is through love that both the human and the divine approach each other; yet, this is a self-actualizing move. It is in this way that creation, incarnation, deification, death and resurrection are not only expressions of divine but also of human love, namely the love of the Son of God, who in response to the divine makes a similar move of love towards the divine and towards other human beings. This is comparable with Heidegger’s emphasis on care as the ground of temporality, re-presenting and echoing by this Kierkegaard’s notions of love and sacrifice. In all movements of love—or care —the two moments of grief and joy, suffering and releasement, frailty and power, death and resurrection, are present. These experiences, however, are

 See on this: Carlisle, Kierkegaard’s Philosophy of Becoming, 91– 92.  “Most people live completely absorbed in worldly joys and sorrows; they are benchwarmers who do not take part in the dance. The knights of infinity are ballet dancers and have elevation. They make the upward movement and come down again, and this, too, is not an unhappy diversion and not unlovely to see. But every time they come down, they are unable to assume the posture immediately, they waver for a moment, and this wavering shows that they are aliens in the world. … One does not need to see them in the air; … one needs only to see them the instant they touch and have touched the earth—and then one recognizes them”. Kierkegaard, Kierkegaard’s Writings, vol. VI: Fear and Trembling, 41.  Nietzsche, “What the Germans Lack” in Twilight of the Idols, 7. The following statement is probably to be traced back to Nietzsche: “And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music”. (Reference not found.)

5.2 Temporality, Eternity and the Leap Forward


not of the “worldly joys and sorrows”. The joy is, rather, the joy of approaching one’s home—the no-thing—and the sorrow is the realization of one’s unhomeliness in the world of things. This is the risk of love to which the loving subject is exposed simply for having loved, namely to take grief, suffering and death upon him/herself. For a leap to occur a breach is needed, such as the one between pure metaphysical speculation and existential inwardness, or between the finite and the eternal. This is comparable to saying that the element of difference or the tension between contradictories is essential in order to make the leap possible. And any attempt at mediation would ruin the difference, rendering a leap unnecessary. The leap, however, is the manifestation of one’s free and resolute existence in the world as long as it is a leap towards eternity and a return to the finite world of temporality. The leap of faith is comparable to Heidegger’s leap of thinking, which is similarly accompanied by passion.¹¹³ The leap, in this sense, is not a movement away from the past or one’s earlier state of being. Rather, the leap incorporates and transforms the past into its original reality. Thus, after the leap, the realm from which the leap occurred receives new meaning and significance. Thinking through the leap is, then, a retrieving activity of that which has always and already been, namely of that which does not pass away. It would be possible to say that through the leap one arrives at the ‘locality of thinking’ [‘Ortshaft des Denkens’], the ‘belonging to being’ that is ‘thinking the truth of being’.¹¹⁴ In this sense, the leap makes it possible for thinking to vouchsafe and reveal the essential meaning of one’s being, that is, of the ‘inexhaustible wellspring” of being. The significance or the meaning, however, that the leap reveals is nothing other than that which has been granted all along and through which alone beings could have arrived at their true essence. Thus, the meaning attained through the leap is not a thing that may preserve or pass away. So, Heidegger wrote: “Only what is vouchsafed holds in itself the guarantee to last”.¹¹⁵

 See on this: Kierkegaard, Journals and Papers, 2352; Concluding Unscientific Postscript, 99; Kierkegaard’s Writings, vol. VI: Fear and Trembling, 42, 49. See also: Carlisle, Kierkegaard’s Philosophy of Becoming, 106 – 107.  Heidegger, CP (1936 – 38), 164– 165.  Heidegger, PR (1955 – 56), 60.


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5.3 Toward Universal Liberation 5.3.1 Identity, Difference and Appropriation On different occasions this work has maintained the necessity of holding and perceiving the difference between beings and being as such, which alone makes the leap towards being possible. Heidegger read the principle of identity¹¹⁶ as indicating the being of beings: “To every being as such there belongs identity, the unity with itself”.¹¹⁷ Identity for Heidegger thus denoted belonging together, or the unity of the being and its true self or being.¹¹⁸ However, identity is never to eliminate the difference. And as a result, the notion of identity has the potential to unite and synthesize beings and being as such, though safeguarding the essential difference between the two. Here too, Heidegger made a reference back to Parmenides’ statement: τὸ γὰρ αὐτὸ νοεῐν ἐστίν τε καὶ εἶναι [“For the same perceiving (thinking) as well as being”], which is interpreted as: ‘thinking and being are the same’. ‘The same’ [τὸ αὐτὸ] or sameness here implies ‘belonging together’, which is to say that thinking and being belong “to each other in the

 Heidegger explained that it is in the thinking of the German idealists—Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1762– 1814), Georg W. F. Hegel (1770 – 1831) and Friedrich W. J. von Schelling (1775 – 1854), preceded by the idealism of Leibniz (1646 – 1716) and Immanuel Kant (1724– 1804)—that identity, or the principle of identity expressed earlier through the formulation A=A, was perceived as synthetic unity of oppositions implying a unifying relationship rather than mere sameness. This emphasis on unity or identity can be traced back to Plotinus, who wrote: “It is in virtue of unity that beings are beings … What could exist at all except as one thing? Deprived of unity, a thing ceases to be what it is called”. Plotinus, The Six Enneads, tr. Stephen Mackenna & B. S. Page, Book Six, Ninth Tractate: “On the Good, Or the One”, Chapter 1). Accessed 22.06. 2020: http://www.documentacatholicaomnia.eu/03d/0204- 0270,_Plotinus,_The_Six_En neads,_EN.pdf. See also: Plotinus, The Essence of Plotinus: Extracts from the Six Enneads and Porphyry’s Life of Plotinus, ed. Grace H. Turnbull (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1976). In a similar vein, Hegel wrote: “What is rational is actual and what is actual is rational”, meaning: “The real is the rational and the rational is the real”. G. W. F. Hegel, Philosophy of Right, tr. T. M. Knox (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1821, 1967), 10. Among the idealists it was Schelling who came closest to Heidegger’s understanding of being, as he maintained the necessity of a being that precedes every being and every existence—a being which is ‘the absolute in-difference’ of all beings, yet without constituting their identity. Schelling described this being as the groundless, yet he called it “a being”. See on this: Heidegger, “The Principle of Identity” (1957), ID, 25.  Heidegger, “The Principle of Identity” (1957), ID, 26.  Similar to his BT (1927), and thirty years later, in his Identity and Difference (1957), Heidegger was concerned with the relation between being and the human being. Here too, Heidegger set himself in contrast to the history of pure metaphysical speculation.

5.3 Toward Universal Liberation


Same”.¹¹⁹ Since thinking is an essential characteristic of the human being, the statement implies that the human being and being as such belong together. The human being, as the thinking being, belongs together with being, listens to it and responds to it, that is, he/she is open to being as such. Being, on the other hand, comes to presence whenever the human being concerns him/herself with being, through the claim that being itself makes on him/her. Heidegger conceived this double-movement from the human being and being as such ‘towardeach-other’ as the event of appropriation. Hence: “Man and Being are appropriated to each other. They belong to each other”.¹²⁰ Such belonging together, however, is by no means to be understood in a metaphysical manner that eliminates difference. The difference between beings and being as such persists. So, Heidegger wrote: [H]istorical humans are steadfast in the difference between beings and being, even when they do not experience the difference as such and in its essence, mankind must therefore remain prepared for the fact that the legitimacy of being and the claim of being open up their strife and that this strife and its law become essential for the history of humanity.¹²¹

However, Heidegger made it clear that, in its attempt to explicate, prove or justify being—or the ground of being—metaphysics either maintained the oneness of all being and truth, and thereby eliminated the difference between being and beings,¹²² or metaphysical speculation perceived God, or the ground of being, as

 Heidegger, “The Principle of Identity” (1957), ID, 30.  Heidegger, “The Principle of Identity” (1957), ID, 31– 32.  Heidegger, EV (1941– 42), 245 – 246. [“… der geschichtliche Mensch im Unterschied des Seienden und des Seins inständet, auch wenn er den Unterschied als solchen und in seinem Wesen nicht erfährt, deshalb muss der geschichtliche Mensch dessen gewärtig bleiben, daß das Recht des Seienden und der Anspruch des Seins ihren Streit eröffnen, und daß dieser Streit und sein Gesetz für die Geschichte eines Menschentums wesentlich wird”. Heidegger, GA 71, 283.]  Heidegger cited Hegel’s question at the start of his Science of Logic, where Hegel, under “The doctrine of Being”, asked: “With what must the beginning of science be made?” Hegel, answering the question, contended that the beginning has a “speculative nature”. Heidegger considered Hegel’s position to belong to metaphysical theology or “representational thinking about God”. He maintained that, for Hegel, theology and philosophy together form speculative metaphysics as they inquire about beings through the notion of the whole, which unifies them. Hence, Hegel’s metaphysics failed as it left the essential nature of thinking unthought. As for Hegel, thinking was about the movement of being from emptiness toward fullness, and in this he mediated between thinking and being through a unity. Accordingly, being was perceived as the matter of thinking and it revealed itself as logos, that is, the ground that grounds everything. Metaphysics, then, has been conceived as the search for grounds (logos), while being as


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the highest perfect being, outside particular beings, and thus as the ground and the cause of their existence. By this second possibility metaphysics eliminated any possibility of true union between existing beings and being as such.¹²³ A deeper understanding, however, of the belonging together of being and beings necessitates the dismissal of metaphysical perceptions of a highest being—or God—both as the highest cause (Aquinas) and as the focal point of mediation that brings all things together (Hegel). Hence, Heidegger opted for a leap beyond closed metaphysical systems into the essence of metaphysics. Only then could being as such belong together with the human being, as through him/her being presences itself and is disclosed in its differentiation from beings. Furthermore, it is through appropriation that each side reaches at the other as a gift. This implies that both the human being and being as such assume the reality of the other upon themselves. Appropriation, in this sense, is a requirement for the experience of thinking.¹²⁴ Through their belonging together, and the mutual challenge that each sets upon the other, the very reality of being’s owning of the human being and the human being’s appropriation of being comes to the fore, namely their being delivered to each other. It is possible to experience this belonging together through enframing, or Gestell, which Heidegger also perceived as appropriation. This, however, in no way indicates an event in the sense of a happening; rather, through appropriation the human being reaches at that to which he/she truly belongs.¹²⁵ Enframing allows the human being to listen to

such has been perceived as the grounding ground of everything. Since ontology is about the search for the ground of beings and theology is about beings in relation to the whole, metaphysics, consequently, is ‘onto-theo-logic’. This resulted in the metaphysical perception of God as the first cause or the first ground. Furthermore, Heidegger concluded that, since metaphysics is onto-logic, it is necessarily also theo-logic. This unity of ontology and theology, however, covered the difference which is essential for a true understanding of being as such. Since the matter of thought is being itself, Heidegger maintained that one perceives being as ‘the being of beings’ and—the other way around—the beings as ‘the beings of being’. This indicated the difference between being and beings. In order to confront this difference, it is necessary to step back outside speculative metaphysics and into its essence. Thus, only through distancing oneself from speculative metaphysics does what is near come to the fore and the perception of being free from beings become possible. And, then, the difference between being and beings comes to light. Heidegger, “The Onto-theological Constitution of Metaphysics” (1956 – 57), ID, 53 – 55, 57– 60.  It can be remarked here that in the history of thought the first line of thinking has been mostly platonic in nature, while the second Aristotelian. Furthermore, the tension between insisting either on identity or difference appears in the early Christological controversies of the fourth and fifth centuries, between the two schools of theology: one insisting on the identity of the two natures of Christ, while the other on the difference between them.  Heidegger, “The Principle of Identity” (1957), ID, 32– 33.  Heidegger, “The Principle of Identity” (1957), ID, 36 – 37.

5.3 Toward Universal Liberation


the claim placed upon not only human beings but also upon every being, as well as upon nature and history. In this sense, enframing serves as a preamble to the event of appropriation, namely to the possibility of the human being’s assumption of the truth of being, by letting being as such be unveiled and come forth in its truth. Through appropriation both being and the human being meet in the unity of their truth. Thus, enframing transforms into appropriation, through which the world of technology recovers its true nature in such a way that it no longer dominates over beings, but rather assists in the event of appropriation. In this way, enframing and appropriation are the occasions for being and the human being to achieve their true nature through and with each other. Only then is the human being truly a thinking being; hence, thinking and being belong together to an identity. Appropriation is thus letting them belong together. Thinking, on the other hand, needs language in order to hold beings and being together.¹²⁶ In contrast to Hegel’s perception of the matter of thinking as thinking itself or absolute thinking—which is the incorporation of the different stages of human thinking in the history of thought, eliminating, however, differences through a theory of mediation—the matter of thinking for Heidegger was “the difference as difference”, which had been seldom reflected upon in the history of thinking. The decisive criterion for its being unthought is not that it surpasses all previous human thinking but that it liberates the traditional thinking by returning it to its past, namely to the origin or essence of the thought itself so that it reveals itself in its originary manner. It is through this step towards the past that human thinking comes into a conversation with the history of thinking.¹²⁷ Hence, the primary role of thinking is to be involved in the path of thinking which brings the person to where he/she originally has been, namely away from most customary ways of thinking both in everydayness and in the history of philosophy. It is through such a withdrawal towards the past, or a step back, that thinking comes into conversation with the history of thought and encounters the source of human thinking in history. Through this process the difference between being and beings comes forth, which has remained unthought and has been obliviated. The difference has been veiled or concealed [λήθη], and even the veiling itself has receded from the beginning.¹²⁸ Hence, through a step back towards the beginning of human thinking, Heidegger abandoned the philosophical perception of God as the highest cause or the causa sui.

 Heidegger, “The Principle of Identity” (1957), ID, 38.  Heidegger, “The Onto-theological Constitution of Metaphysics” (1956 – 57), ID, 47– 48.  Heidegger, “The Onto-theological Constitution of Metaphysics” (1956 – 57), ID, 49 – 50.


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This ground itself needs to be properly accounted for by that for which it accounts, that is, by the causation through the supremely original matter—and that is the cause as causa sui. This is the right name for the god of philosophy. Man can neither pray nor sacrifice to this god. Before the causa sui, man can neither fall to his knees in awe nor can he play music and dance before this god. The god-less thinking which must abandon the god of philosophy, god as causa sui, is thus perhaps closer to the divine God. Here this means only: god-less thinking is more open to Him than onto-theo-logic would like to admit.¹²⁹

Hence, through the denial of the ‘onto-theo-logic’ God, Heidegger made—though indirectly—space for ‘the divine God’ to emerge. This is to say that the path of thinking has first to carry out the step back, that is, the step outside conventional metaphysics and into its essence. This is the step outside the forgetfulness of the difference between being and beings into the self-withdrawing concealment of being as such, namely into the Mystery of being.¹³⁰ Only then does the human being reach at his/her true self. In this sense, the human subject appropriates the truth of being or, in different terms, he/she assumes the divine truth upon him/herself. Humans themselves, if they find their way back to their essence, are the ones dignified by being, dignified to preserve being in its truth and out of this preservation, to erect beings in their essential orientation.¹³¹

Thus, such a step back is a step beyond commonly accepted metaphysics—that has obliviated the difference between being and beings—into the essence of metaphysics. The step is not, however, a ‘historical return’¹³² that could have occurred in the past, nor is it some ‘process’ that has to transpire in the future. It is,  Heidegger, “The Onto-theological Constitution of Metaphysics” (1956 – 57), ID, 72. [“Der Austrag ergibt und vergibt das Sein als her-vor-bringenden Grund, welcher Grund selbst aus dem von ihm Begründeten her der ihm gemäßen Begründung, d. H. der Verursachung durch die ursprünglichste Sache bedarf. Dies ist die Ursache als die Causa sui. So lautet der sachgerechte Name für den Gott in der Philosophie. Zu diesem Gott kann der Mensch weder beten, noch kann er ihm opfern. Vor der Causa sui kann der Mensch weder aus Scheu ins Knie fallen, noch kann er vor diesem Gott musizieren und tanzen. Demgemäß ist das gott-lose Denken, das den Gott der Philosophie, den Gott als Causa sui preisgeben muß, dem göttlichen Gott vielleicht näher. Dies sagt hier nur: Es ist freier für ihn, als es die Onto-Theo-Logik wahrhaben möchte”. Heidegger, GA 11, 77.]  Heidegger, “The Onto-theological Constitution of Metaphysics” (1956 – 57), ID, 72.  Heidegger, EV (1941– 42), 171. [“Der Mensch selbst ist, wenn er in sein Wesen zurückfindet, der vom Sein Gewürdigte, gewürdigt dessen, das Sein in seine Wahrheit zu bewahren und aus dieser Bewahrung das Seiende in seine Wesensrichtung zu erbauen”. Heidegger, GA 71, 201.]  Heidegger, “The Onto-theological Constitution of Metaphysics” (1956 – 57), ID, 52.

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rather, a step to be taken ‘now’ and ‘here’, confronting beings as they come to show themselves in some clear features. Heidegger perceived the present as a unique instant in which history has reached an end and, yet, carries the potential for a new beginning, in which sense the present is inherently transformative.¹³³ The notions of difference and identity appear in Orthodox theology through the notions of both divine transcendence and imminence, best expressed through the distinction made between divine essence and energies.¹³⁴ According to this distinction God has oὐσία [essence, Lat. Essentia, from esse, ‘to be’ or ‘being’], which is inaccessible to the human senses and rationality, and ‘energies’ [ἐνέργειαι]¹³⁵—‘power’ [δύναμις], ‘work’, ‘light’, ‘glory’ or ‘divine radiance’—which are given to the human being from the very beginning. The human subject has no share in the first, that is in divine essence, while it is through the second that God reveals Godself to the human being and the human being is granted participation in the divine. Divine energies, then, are eternal processions within God, however distinct from the essence.¹³⁶ By maintaining the essence-energies distinction, Orthodox theologians aspire to safeguard the divine Mystery, and they blame western theology for eliminating the Mystery. To mature in the Christian faith is, then, to mature in knowledge or experience of the divine energies, and to partake of them, while being conscious of divine Mystery and its incomprehensibility. Berdyaev maintained the distinction between divine essence and divine energies. He wrote that “[e]verything begins from above, from the Divine Triad, from the heights of the Essence”, while the

 Heidegger, “The Onto-theological Constitution of Metaphysics” (1956 – 57), ID, 52. Here Heidegger explained that by the ‘step back’ he does not mean any historical restitution of the early Greek thinkers of Western thought. See on this the interpretation of J. D. Caputo in: J. D. Caputo, “Demythologizing Heidegger”, 519 – 520, 529 – 530.  The essence-energies distinction in God can be traced back to Irenaeus (2nd century), Basil of Caesarea (329 – 379), John of Damascus (676 – 749) and Gregory Palamas (1296 – 1359).  The Greek term energeia (Lat. energia), translated as activity, was also used by Aristotle, who used it to refer to the power that makes a thing actual, ‘a state of functioning’. Hence ἐνέργειαν oὐσίαν, a real thing, was distinguished from that which is a mere potential. However, both ousia and energeia acquired a spiritual significance whenever used by the Church Fathers. See further: Kallistos Ware and Colin Davey (eds.), Anglican-Orthodox Dialogue: The Moscow Statement Agreed by the Anglican-Orthodox Joint Doctrinal Commission 1976 (London: SPCK, 1977), 45; Duncan Reid, Energies of the Spirit: Trinitarian Models in Eastern Orthodox and Western Theology (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), 9, Avakian, The Other, 112– 113.  It should be remarked here that Heidegger’s claim about the forgetfulness of ‘difference’ between being and beings in Western thought is comparable to the Orthodox contention that Western theology has obliterated the ‘difference’ between the human knowledge of God and the divine Mystery by emphasizing the simple substance of God. The essence-energies distinction is thus strange to Western theology.


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divine energies act “covertly in man and the world”.¹³⁷ ‘Being towards death’ is then about the growing consciousness of both identity and difference with being as such, with God, and this is comparable to the event of appropriation. Through the experience of identity, one experiences the imminence of being—or of the divine energies and works—ad hence is united with it, while, through experiencing the difference of the Mystery of being—or of God—one comes to admit the divine transcendence and unknowability. Thus, one both appropriates and is being appropriated. This is an ongoing experience of dignity, joy and the power of resurrection, which is made possible, however, through emptying the self, bringing about the experiences of pain and death.

5.3.2 The Consummation of the Steadfastness of the Human Being and of Everything What is meant here by steadfastness, and how is it that the human being arrives at or strives toward the consummation of his/her steadfastness? Steadfastness involves constancy, faithfulness and resolution. Here one is reminded of the religious consciousness of Abraham and ‘care’ as ‘being authentically whole’. Since it is the human being whom being as such appropriates, he/she alone among all beings experiences death consciously; that is, he/she alone is given the possibility to approach mostly the nearness of being and experience the consummation of his/her steadfastness. Nevertheless, any kind of metaphysical description of the nature of death or objective-calculative foretelling of what might come after death as a start of a different life demolishes the essence of death and its essential relatedness to the event of appropriation. Similarly, any assertion or theory about the origination of human life disregards the Mystery of being and its essential kinship to the human mystery.¹³⁸ In this sense, steadfastness is the result of enduring the anxiety of experiencing nothingness, knowing that nothingness carries ‘the voice of being’ and that the experience of nothingness is the inner resolution and readiness to abandon that which is present at hand, which ‘the game of life’ offers to the human being. Hence, steadfastness is essentially an experience of intimacy and nearness to being as such.¹³⁹

 Berdyaev, “The Truth of Orthodoxy” (1952), accessed 22.06. 2020: http://www.chebucto.ns. ca/Philosophy/Sui-Generis/Berdyaev/essays/orthodox.htm.  Heidegger, EV (1941– 42), 165 – 166.  Heidegger, EV (1941– 42), 188 – 190.

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Heidegger considered vigilance and heedfulness as essential for preserving the truth of being, through which alone one is appropriated into the nobility of one’s essence so that one arrives at that which is one’s own. It is such vigilance that makes the appropriation through being as such possible, providing one with the courage to assume upon oneself the truth of being. Hence, it is one’s vigilance that prevents one from “habituation to the habitual”, that is, from conceding to that which is conventional or traditional.¹⁴⁰ In Christian terms, steadfastness denotes obedience, faithfulness and submissiveness to God, allowing Godself to dwell in and be through one’s steadfastness. It further indicates the willingness of the person to assume the reality of Christ upon him/ herself and to follow him on the path of the cross. In this lie both the dignity and the destitution of the human being. The human being is not ideal in the sense that he/she enjoys absolute nobility and joy; rather, poverty and pain belong to his/her essential nature.¹⁴¹ Steadfastness for Berdyaev is not possible without freedom, which lies beyond the limited criteria of morality. One is, hence, to move beyond the distinction between good and evil if one is to avoid falling victim to their criteria, and if one is to be able to initiate a fearless search for truth. So, he wrote: “The longing for God in the human heart springs from the fact that we cannot bear to be faced forever with the distinction between good and evil and the bitterness of choice”.¹⁴² In this sense, for him, ethical experience and knowledge contain a prophetic element, which results in creative activity and the morally liberating move beyond social conventions and measurements.¹⁴³ Kierkegaard, however, reflecting upon the spiritual consciousness and consistency of most people, wrote about their lack of ‘self-consistency’ and their falling victim to wavering and instable consciousness. Doubtless most men live with far too little consciousness of themselves to have a conception of what consistency is; that is to say, they do not exist qua spirit. Their lives (either with a certain childish and lovable naïveté or in sheer banality) consist in some act or another, some occurrence, this or that; and then they do something good, then in turn something wrong, and then it begins all over again; now they are in despair, for an afternoon, perhaps for three weeks, but then they are jovial again, and then again they are a whole day in de-

 Heidegger, EV (1941– 42), 181– 182.  Heidegger, EV (1941– 42), 183.  Berdyaev, DM (1931), 15.  Berdyaev made a reference here to Nietzsche, who contended that “the will to truth is the death of morality”. Yet Berdyaev, similar to Heidegger, argued that Nietzsche was still bound to moral decrees and determinations, replacing the old values with new ones. Thus, he failed to overcome the distinction between good and evil. See: Berdyaev, DM (1931), 18 – 19. Here too the question comes whether Berdyaev had correctly understood Nietzsche’s thought.


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spair. They take a hand in the game of life as it were, but they never have the experience of staking all upon one throw, never attain the conception of an infinite self-consistency. Therefore among themselves their talk is always about the particular, particular deeds, particular sins.¹⁴⁴

Steadfastness is, then, possible only by freely choosing oneself and by approaching it through a leap toward the future; a leap—as Kierkegaard explained—upon which speculative metaphysics has neither domination nor control. In this, both Heidegger and Berdyaev echoed the words of Kierkegaard: For when the passion of freedom is aroused, the self … becomes him-self, quite the same as he was before, down to the least significant peculiarity—and yet he becomes another, for the choice in which he infinitely chooses permeates everything and transforms it. Thus, in his finite personality now made infinite in the choice in which he infinitely chooses himself.¹⁴⁵

And, yet, one is to strive not only for the liberation and the consummation of one’s self, but also for the salvation of all human beings, since all together build the mystical body of Christ. So, Berdyaev wrote: We must not only strive for our own personal salvation, but for the salvation and transfiguration of everything and everybody. The question of knowing whether all men will be saved, and how the coming of the Kingdom of God will be brought about, is the final mystery which is insoluble by reason; but we must strive with all the force of our spirits for the salvation of all men. We must all be saved together, with the whole universe, in sobornost and not in isolation.¹⁴⁶

Divine Mystery is far greater than all the different occasions through which the Mystery attains unveiling, that is, beyond all the limited actualizations of God’s acts. “It is impossible to imprison the infinite in the finite. It is the knowledge of this truth which distinguishes symbolic from naïve realism”.¹⁴⁷ Similarly,

 Kierkegaard, The Sickness Unto Death, 122.  Kierkegaard, Either/Or, 227.  Berdyaev, FS (1927), 323 – 324.  Berdyaev, FS (1927), 335. In a similar vein, George Khodr, the Lebanese Orthodox bishop wrote: “The Church is the instrument of the mystery of salvation of the nations. It is the sign of God’s love for all men. It is not over against the world, separate from it; it is part of the world. The Church is the very breath of life for humanity, the image of the humanity to come, in virtue of the light it has received. It is the life of mankind itself, even if mankind does not realize this. …Within the religions, its [the Church’s] task is to reveal to the world of the religions the God who is hidden within it, in anticipation of the final concrete unfolding and manifesta-

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there is greater potential in the Church than in the church as it actually exists in the world. The Church is infinitely beyond all its actualized elements.¹⁴⁸ The Church has not yet been fully actualized and the divine not fully known. Thus, Berdyaev placed potentiality within the mystical realm,¹⁴⁹ while he conceived of the visible church as the symbol of the invisible one, presupposing the infinity of the Church. The inner being of the Church and of the divine cannot be confined to their historical representations since divine infinity lies beyond its actualized boundaries. Churches in history are thus the incarnations of the infinite and unfathomable Church. The mystical Church is beyond all its actualizations; similarly, the mystical essence of the divine is beyond the actual works and energies of God in the world. Thus, Berdyaev wrote: “The Church is the body of Christ which embraces the whole infinity of cosmic life, for it is itself cosmic”.¹⁵⁰ The true origin of the Church is mystical; it is lost in the unfathomable and the infinite. The historic Church does not exhaust the fullness of the virtual, mystical, Church. It is only with such a conception of potentiality, as is manifested by the infinite unfathomability of being, that the oppressive limitations of the finite can be transcended.¹⁵¹

Furthermore, not only the whole humanity but “the whole of creation groans and weeps and awaits its liberation”.¹⁵² Hence, we read: “My salvation is not only bound up with that of other men but also of animals, plants, minerals; of every blade of grass—all must be transfigured and brought into the Kingdom of God”.¹⁵³ And finally Berdyaev came back to the Orthodox notion of theosis: The central idea of the Eastern Fathers was that of theosis, the divinization of all creatures, the transfiguration of the world, the idea of the cosmos and not the idea of personal sal-

tion of the Mystery”. George Khodr, “Christianity in a Pluralistic World: The Economy of the Holy Spirit”. The Ecumenical Review, vol. 23 (1971), 123.  Berdyaev, FS (1927), 332.  Aristotle, and the Western history of thought following him, eliminated the notion of potentiality from any perception of the highest being, or God. He taught that God is the perfect being, pure actuality. Within Godself, hence, there is no potentiality and, consequently, no movement from potentiality to actuality.  Berdyaev, FS (1927), 335.  Berdyaev, FS (1927), 333.  Berdyaev, FS (1927), 68. Lossky perceived the whole cosmos as the body of the human being and the human being as the nature—the meaning and the purpose—of the cosmos. Hence, “to the universe man is the hope of receiving grace and uniting with God”. Lossky, Orthodox Theology: An Introduction, 70 – 71.  Berdyaev, DM (1931), 294.


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vation… Only later Christian consciousness began to value the idea of hell more than the idea of the transfiguration and divinization of the world… The Kingdom of God is the transfiguration of the world, the universal resurrection, a new heaven and a new earth.¹⁵⁴

5.3.3 Approaching the End and the New Beginning In the conclusion of his Being and Time, Heidegger stated that all his efforts for the existential analysis of the human being aimed at “finding a possibility of answering the question of the meaning of Being in general”.¹⁵⁵ In that work he maintained that the way to uncover the meaning of being is through understanding the human existential reality and the transcending projection of the human subject toward being as such. Later, he considered his methodology in Being and Time as subject to the risk of being perceived as within the metaphysical framework and as the achievement of subjectivity. So, he altered his method to one that emphasized the givenness of being as such and its thrownness into the ‘there’ where the human being dwells. By this he made the turn and arrived at the reversal, namely at the opening of being itself where it gives itself to the human subject. As mentioned earlier, I maintain that the question of being continued to prevail throughout the whole of Heidegger’s works and that his answers to this question, though different, were nonetheless the same. It is in this sense that here I come back to almost the very first of Heidegger’s works, that is, his Being and Time, and consider the solutions that that work supplied to the question.¹⁵⁶ There, and for a possible interpretation of the human state of being, Heidegger maintained that care, in its temporal interpretation, is the primordial state for an authentic-concerned being in the world that carries within itself the poten-

 Berdyaev, as cited in: Matthew Fox, Christian Mystics: 376 Readings and Meditations (California: New World Library, 2011), §262.  Heidegger, BT (1927), 424. Already at the beginning of the work he stated: “Do we in our time have an answer to the question of what we really mean by the word “being”? Not at all. So, it is fitting that we should raise anew the question of the meaning of Being. But are we nowadays even perplexed at our inability to understand the expression “Being”? Not at all. So first of all we must reawaken an understanding for the meaning of this question. Our aim in the following treatise is to work out the question of the meaning of Being and to do so concretely”. Heidegger, BT (1927), 1.  Thus, human transcendence does not contradict the divine gift of the self, but that both rather complete each other. Hence, I disagree with the claim that Being and Time failed to address the question of being as such, referring the failure to the subjective distortions of the method used; though I believe it is possible to perceive the work as incomplete.

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tiality for being a whole. Such authentic being in the world, he argued, is necessarily related to the states of guilt, conscience and death—in the sense of being towards one’s end. Hence, it is in being towards one’s end, or ‘being towards death’, that a beginning or a birth is conceivable, whereby it is possible to say that only “that entity which is ‘between’ birth and death presents the whole which we have been seeking”.¹⁵⁷ In his/her forward movement the human being experiences temporality at every stage, that is, he/she continues the return back to the beginning, namely to the origin that the person has always been. The human being, thus, exists in the present and aspires towards the future. All elements of past, present and future together make the experiences of death and a new beginning possible.¹⁵⁸ The human being stretches him/herself along the different ecstases of temporality, and it is in this stretching along that the being of the human subject is constituted, that is, between birth and death. This implies that birth and death are not to be perceived as distinctive moments in the beginning—that is the past—and, at the end, as outstanding in the future of human existence; rather, they constitute the essential experiences of the human reality, particularly within the kind of being that we call here, following Heidegger, ‘being towards death’.¹⁵⁹ In this sense, care is the kind of existence that is ‘between’ birth and death. Heidegger called that which lies between birth and death ‘historizing’,¹⁶⁰ and he emphasized the need to perceive ‘historizing’, namely the historicality of human life, in existential-ontological terms. For him, the historical existence of the human being is made possible because of his/her essential temporal nature. Far from the limited scientific interpretation of history in the sense of historicality, or ‘historical actuality’, I propose that Heidegger anticipated a ‘spiritual’ conception of history. Here, both the positions of Heidegger and Berdyaev meet around an understanding of history that is dynamic and alive. Berdyaev made a clear contrast between spirit and nature. Beside the natural reality of the human being, he/she is essentially a spirit. The human being loses the very particular human characteristic whenever he/she perceives him/herself as belonging merely to nature and, hence, to history as his-

 Heidegger, BT (1927), 425.  In his Being and Time, Heidegger criticized his own work as concentrating predominantly on the forward move and thereby overlooking the recollective turn back to the past and, hence, the way in which the human being “stretches along between birth and death”. BT (1927), 425.  Here we have the ontological significance of being toward death, which has also its factical meaning in the sense that, whenever one is born, one is factically moving toward death, that is dying. See on this: Heidegger, BT (1927), 426.  Heidegger wrote: “The specific movement in which Dasein is stretched along and stretches itself along, we call its ‘historizing’”. Heidegger, BT (1927), 427.


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toriography. Then, one would be a thing beside others and neither the past nor the future would have any significance for one’s present beyond pointing out that which is bygone or that which is to come. It is only as spirit that past, present and future together make sense and together make the spiritual person, the one who has been, who is and who will become. For Heidegger, similar to Berdyaev, history connotes the totality of reality, that is, the whole setting of events and implementations that were active, are and will continue to be active in the future. Thus, throughout time, history, in contrast to nature, is marked by the human essential characteristic that is spirit. Here Heidegger mentioned further that such a perception of history incorporates even nature.¹⁶¹ The past in this sense stands for the origin [Herkunft] of that which is present, particularly in the case of the human being, who is the subject of all events. Contrary to this, when the past is conceived as no longer playing a role in the present, the human being also cannot be understood through his/her past, since the human being can therefore never be ‘present at hand’ in the sense that objects or things are present in the world. Ontologically speaking, however, even when the human being no longer exists, he/she is not ‘past’ but rather “having-beenthere” [da-gewesen].¹⁶² On the other hand, all things or equipment are historical and belong to the past only because they existed in the world. Hence, the human being has a historical nature prior to all other things in the world. The human being is “the primary ‘subject’ of history”.¹⁶³ In addition to this spiritual perception of history, historicality also defines human nature. Historicality is, then, the same as temporality, and the interpretation of human historicality is similar to the rendering of temporality. Thus, it would be possible to say that the most authentic, primordial historicality of the human being discloses itself through authentic resoluteness, that is, ‘being towards death’.¹⁶⁴ Thus, human existence in the world has both temporal-historical and eternal-spiritual sides. Its eternity lies in the mystery that being in the world is endowed with—a mystery that reveals itself partially through life and death. Thus, it is human reality in particular, among all worldly realities, that is endowed with eternity, namely with the divine image that the human subject carries. This eternal element is there in the innermost self of the person, namely his/her spiritual reality. It is not in the natural or the physical world but in the spiritual that the seeds of eternity lie. It is in this sense that we associate the human being both with the natural and the spiritual worlds, and only this explains the insatiable    

See on this: Heidegger, BT (1927), 430 – 431. Heidegger, BT (1927), 432. Heidegger, BT (1927), 433. Heidegger, BT (1927), 434.

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yearning of the person for wholeness and unity. Human personality maintains eternity in the world. It is through the personality of the human subject that the divine image comes to a realization in his/her life and that demands a continuous struggle in order to constitute personality. In and through human personality, the logos—as God’s purpose and meaning for the human being—attains a partial realization, while it is through death that it reaches consummation and fulfillment.¹⁶⁵ Eternity is, hence, possible because “Christ rose from the dead and conquered the deadly powers of the world—because in the cosmic miracle of Resurrection meaning has triumphed over meaninglessness.”¹⁶⁶ Finally, if we ask again: what is the end that we move towards and how is the ‘new beginning’ to be conceived? We read the words of Gregory of Nazianzus: “In my quality of earth, I am attached to life here below … but being also a divine particle, I bear in my breast the desire for a future life.”¹⁶⁷ While on the notion of the ‘beginning’, we read Heidegger: The beginning still is. It does not lie behind us, as something that was long ago, but stands before us. As what is greatest, the beginning has passed in advance beyond all that is to come and thus also beyond us. The beginning has invaded our future. There it waits us, a distant command bidding us catch up with its greatness.¹⁶⁸

The human being bears within him/herself “the desire for a future life”. How is one to understand “the future life”? Heidegger conceived the future as the beginning itself. We move towards the future to the extent that we appropriate the greatness of the beginning. In a similar vein, Kierkegaard contended that eternity is gained through being conscious of oneself as spirit. Thus, both the beginning and the future can be acquired through consciousness and vigilance, while eternity is “essential continuity”. It is the courage to continue to be that which one has always been and to choose to be that again and again, namely a spiritual reality. Similarly, Berdyaev explained that it is in spirit that one’s im-

 Berdyaev, DM (1931), 254– 255. Here Berdyaev made reference to German mysticism and philosophy, particularly to Boehme’s and Schelling’s works, which perceived the deepest element in being and its mysterious origin, which is far beyond the actual unfolding of being.  Berdyaev, DM (1931), 258.  Gregory of Nazianzus, as cited by Lossky, Orthodox Theology: An Introduction, 70.  Heidegger, RA (1933/34), 473. [“Der Anfang ist noch. Er liegt nicht hinter uns als das längst Gewesene, sondern er steht vor uns. Der Anfang ist als das Größte im voraus über alles Kommende und so auch über uns schon hinweggegangen. Der Anfang ist in unsere Zukunft eingefallen, er steht dort als die ferne Verfügung über uns, seine Größe wieder einzuholen”. Heidegger, GA 16, 110.]


5 Temporality and Eternity

mortality lies, and any denial of it is the denial of one’s humanity. Here we read both Kierkegaard and Berdyaev: Eternity, however, is essential continuity and requires this of man, or requires that he shall be conscious of himself as spirit and shall have faith.¹⁶⁹ [T]he denial of man’s immortality is equivalent to a denial of man.¹⁷⁰

Furthermore, Heidegger made a distinction between the first beginning and all the other beginnings, which take rise from the first beginning. “The beginning is unique”,¹⁷¹ since it is the inception of truth. In this sense it is the event of ἀλήθεια [alethea], namely the unconcealedness of truth as Mystery. And, yet, it implicates all the beginnings or the possibilities for truth to emerge and come forth. Beginning is, thus, a “character of beyng”,¹⁷² as being emerges out of concealedness to the light of a new beginning, and through it alone beings have their own starting points. The first beginning is to be perceived as the emergent, while the other beginning is described in terms of ‘the downgoing’ or the departing event, which, by freely breaking off from the current state of affairs, appropriates the first beginning. Such breaking with the status quo transforms the whole situation. Thus, the two, the first and the other beginning, are yet one and the same, since the other beginning assumes the inception of the first in the sense that it safeguards the concealed essence of the first beginning. Hence, the beginning is comprised of φύσις, the emergence of being, as well as unconcealedness [ἀλήθεια] and ἀρχή, a starting point. In this sense, being occurs whenever the human subject ventures in freedom into the beginning and allows its truth to emerge. That is, he/she departs from the contemporary state of affairs through being radically questioned and, hence, returns to the inceptual beginning of being itself. By questioning beings, the human being makes a new beginning possible through a return to the beginning. This requires steadfast faithfulness and fidelity. Such questioning is also painful as it entails solitude, and yet it is needed for freedom in being, for thankfulness and for attending to the event of the beginning.¹⁷³ Heidegger perceived this experience of the return to the incep-

 Kierkegaard, Sickness Unto Death, 120.  Berdyaev, D (1923), 105 – 106.  Heidegger, EV (1941– 42), 262.  Heidegger, EV (1941– 42), 262.  Heidegger, EV (1941– 42), 241– 242, 264. Also, Kierkegaard wrote, regarding undertaking repetition, that first one “becomes solitary, and then he undertakes the movement”. Kierkegaard, Kierkegaard’s Writings, vol. VI: Fear and Trembling, 42.

5.3 Toward Universal Liberation


tual beginning of being as the event through which the human being perceives being in its truth and lets him/herself be moved and appropriated by being itself. Hence, for Heidegger, the event and the beginning are two correlated notions. The beginning is “the essential occurrence of being in its truth”, which is thinkable only through its emerging out of concealedness, appropriating the human being, and being itself appropriated by him/her. In this sense the beginning, or the event, is by nature unfathomable or abysmal since it is not justifiable or perceivable through grounds or reasons. So, Heidegger wrote: “The ground is cessation of truth”.¹⁷⁴ The event of appropriation, thus, can be described as the relationship between the beginning, the human being, and the abyss between the two. It is the incipient granting of courage, and, essentially, it is grace that is granted as the simple possibility of a new beginning.¹⁷⁵ Hence, the new beginning is the igniting of the unfathomable truth of being and the manifestation of the Mystery. The end is, then, the new beginning.

 Heidegger, EV (1941– 42), 196.  Heidegger, EV (1941– 42), 163 – 164.


5 Temporality and Eternity

Like the flowers in the field, They move and shift, And yet are the same. They make the same move Again and again. O spirit, in all your travels You approach yourself. Yearning for the streams Of your freedom. And your love Wanders above the cliffs Of the coasts. “O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?”

Conclusion –And the wind … releases us to the other side.

In his “memorial Address”, Heidegger¹ portrayed the human being of his own day as being “in flight from thinking” and the world as having “thoughtlessness” as its common visitor. And yet, the human subject has, at the core of his/her being, “spirit and reason” and “the capacity to think”: Thoughtlessness is an uncanny visitor who comes and goes everywhere in today’s world. For nowadays we take in everything in the quickest and cheapest way, only to forget it as just quickly, instantly. Thus one gathering follows on the heels of another. Commemorative celebrations grow poorer and poorer in thought. Commemoration and thoughtlessness are found side by side. But … man at the core of his being has the capacity to think; has “spirit and reason” and is destined to think.

 In the introduction of the present work I contended that Heidegger’s and Berdyaev’s thoughts present an innovative landmark in the history of human thought and Christian theology, which rejuvenate the primordial and simple truth about the human being in relation to truth as such, or the divine Mystery. Throughout the work I have tried to bring to light several important aspects of their thoughts: their spiritual meaning, their contemplative nature and their ecumenical-dialogical character. On several occasions, however, I have made clear that my major critique of the works of both Heidegger and Berdyaev concerns the question of their interpretation of other theological-philosophical writings. I mean here particularly those writings that anticipate the central ideas and themes of both Heidegger’s and Berdyaev’s works—about which I would not hesitate to propose that they played a major role in the formation of the thoughts and the philosophies of both authors. Furthermore, the generalization in judgment upon the whole of human thought and philosophy, considering the whole as one package—something both Heidegger and Berdyaev did, though Heidegger did more intensely and purposefully—contradicts the central meaning that both authors tried to convey throughout most of their works. This is a major critique especially bearing in mind that both Heidegger and Berdyaev aimed at insisting on the need to unveil truth and perceive ‘being towards death’ as meeting the Other and being through, with and for, the Other. And yet both somehow failed to apply this to their own philosophicaltheological task. Through their reductive presentations of the previous peaks in human thought (Eckhart, Schelling, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche … to name a few) they in fact contributed to eclipsing and obscuring their heights. Hence, Heidegger’s conception of truth as uncovering is endangered by his keeping some major contributions to human thought and philosophy in obscurity. Nevertheless, I believe that this should not lead one to deny the value and the meaning of the thoughts and works of both authors, or the value present in the history of philosophy and theology. Rather, it is in the light of their contribution, and the history of human thought, that contemporary philosophy, and theology, should be formed. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110707519-009



… man today is in flight from thinking. … Man today will even flatly deny this flight from thinking.²

In response to the question of whether philosophy could help the current ‘thoughtless’ situation of the world Heidegger answered: Philosophy will be unable to effect any immediate change in the current state of the world. This is true not only of philosophy but of all purely human reflection and endeavor. Only a god can save us. The only possibility available to us is that by thinking and poetizing we prepare a readiness for the appearance of a god, or for the absence of a god in [our] decline, insofar as in view of the absent god we are in a state of decline.³

Thus, he explained that the “only possibility” is to prepare the readiness in the human subject to receive God,⁴ and the proposed way to this is “by thinking and poetizing”.⁵ Throughout his works, Heidegger delineated the task of thinking and

 Heidegger, “Memorial Address” (1955), DT, 45. [“Die Gedankenlosigkeit ist ein unheimlischer Gast, der in der heutigen Welt überall aus- und eingeht. Denn man nimmt heute alles und jedes auf dem schnellsten und billigsten Weg zur Kenntnis und hat es im selben Augenblick ebenso rasch vergessen. So jagt auch eine Veranstaltung die andere. Die Gedenkfeiern werden immer gedankenärmer. Gedenkfeier und Gedankenlosigkeit finden sich einträchtig zusammen. Doch … der Mensch im Grunde seines Wesens die Fähigkeit zum Denken, “Geist und Verstand”, besitzt und zum Denken bestimmt ist. … Der heutige Mensch ist auf der Flucht vor dem Denken. … Der heutigen Mensch wird diese Flucht vor dem Denken sogar rundweg abstreiten”. Heidegger, GA 16, 518 – 519.]  Martin Heidegger, “‘Only a God can Save Us’: Der Spiegel’s Interview with Martin Heidegger” (1966), in Wolin, Richard (Ed.), The Heidegger Controversy: A Critical Reader (Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 1993), 107, hereafter: OG. [“Die Philosophie wird keine unmittelbare Veränderung des jetzigen Weltzustandes bewirken können. Dies gilt nicht nur von der Philosophie, sondern von allem bloß menschlichen Sinnen und Trachten. Nur noch ein Gott kann uns retten. Uns bleibt die einzige Möglichkeit, im Denken und im Dichten eine Bereitschaft vorzubereiten für die Erscheinung des Gottes oder für die Abwesenheit des Gottes im Untergang; daß wir im Angesicht des abwesenden Gottes untergehen”. Heidegger, Der Spiegel, Nr. 23/1976, 209. Accessed 22.06. 2020: https://bublitz.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Heidegger-Spiegel-31– 05 – 1976.pdf.  The word ‘God’ here refers to God—or the divine Mystery—that is beyond all limited human conceptions of the divine that, nevertheless, comes to dwell within the inner self of the human being. I assume that God as the divine Mystery corresponds to Heidegger’s notion of ‘God’ that reaches even beyond the concept of ‘being’. In the present work I have argued, furthermore, that ‘God’ beyond ‘being’ is best addressed as ‘Spirit’: The Spirit beyond and the spirit within the human subject.  In Der Spiegel’s Interview, Heidegger once again said: “it seems to me that the thinking that I attempt might be able to awaken, clarify, and confirm [a] readiness [for the appearance of a god] that I have mentioned already”. Heidegger, OG (1966), 110.



poetizing in terms of a journey that entails continuous movement, as thinking necessitates the move out of the commonly accepted ways of reasoning and considering things in the world—which he described as thoughtlessness—into essential, or pure, thinking. Heidegger described ordinary reasoning in terms of calculative thinking, which is the practice of thinking about ‘things’ and ‘objects’ without penetrating into their true being and meaning. Both Heidegger and Berdyaev perceived the scholarly-scientific reasoning, which busies itself with the correctness of assertions, as prevailing in the domains of philosophy and theology, maintaining the need for them to move into essential, contemplative thinking. They argued that, since the essence of thinking is being, whenever thinking loses its essence it can no longer think. Thus, the task of thinking entails a movement from pure speculative metaphysics toward the truth of being, a movement which makes the turn into the essence of metaphysics possible. Essential thinking is then thinking of being as such. Furthermore, by meditating the truth of being and responding to its appeal, the human subject awaits for being, letting it come to a revelation through his/her openness and through beings in the world. Thus, thinking is the bridge through which the human being arrives at being, transcending him/herself, and the world, to being as such. By this, thinking lets the “advent of Being” occur. The task of thinking, moreover, involves making the manifestation of being through language possible, which is most befitting human nature. Human words, then, serve the proclamation of being and its truth, since thinking is “the imageless opening up of the abyss”.⁶ The role of language, or words, is then about uncovering the truth of being and its Mystery. By this, language brings the thing together with its world, namely its meaning. Hence, to language is entrusted the task of guarding the Mystery. In this sense, it is possible to say that the path of thinking assumes ‘being towards death’, since it assumes the move towards being as such, the nothing, and its truth, and through it essential-philosophical thinking occurs. This in turn makes the unveiling of the essence of thinking or of metaphysics possible, which is the same as the return to the origin of thinking. Throughout this work I have argued that ‘being towards death’, as intended by Heidegger, corresponds to Berdyaev’s proposed path of spiritual freedom. ‘Being towards death’ in this sense is being towards freedom. It is being towards the self, which is not a thing among the things in the world, and also towards God, who similarly is not a thing in the world of objectivity. ‘Being towards death’, hence, is being towards the genuine self that emerges from the twofold movement of the self to being as such, and its return to itself. It is in this regard

 Heidegger, EV (1941– 42), 279.



that the oscillation between the self and the Other takes on importance—the Other here indicates either God or any other person. Without the movement from the self to the Other the self remains imprisoned within its own walls. It is on the path towards the Other that the self arrives at its freedom and is liberated from fallenness into the self, that is, it arrives at its authenticity and truth. Here we recall the circulative journey that metaphysics is called to achieve—the journey from pure speculative metaphysics to being as such and, then, the return to the essence of metaphysics. In a similar vein, ‘being towards death’ is the movement of the self to the Other, or being as such, and then, the return to the free, genuine self. The genuine self, hence, emerges through the meeting between the self and the Other—or God, that is, their coming together in a way that one is human to the extent that one is divine. The path towards the Other is here perceived as the path towards divinization, and in some sense the move towards God is the same move towards the Other, as it requires one’s resignation of all that is not truly one’s own. On the other hand, the return back to the self is the path towards humanization, in the sense that the person thereby acquires consciousness of the inner gift of spirit that has been granted to him/her from the very beginning, and only then is given to receive the gift. This is what Berdyaev meant when he wrote that “the fact of Christ’s appearance in the world is the basic fact of anthropology”. “Only man’s son-ship to God … reveals the secret of man and his primogeniture, the mystery of man’s person. … Through Christ every human person is a part not of the mortal world alone but of the Divine as well”.⁷ Similar to the twofold nature of Jesus Christ, ‘being towards death’ brings forth the twofold human-natural and divine-spiritual natures of every human being. ‘Being towards death’, then, entails a twofold movement: a divinizing and a humanizing move, neither of which would be conceivable without the other. It would be further possible to say that, since the humanizing move is about the givenness of God—namely the self-communication of God and the gift of Godself given to all human beings from the beginning through creation and incarnation, even when the human subject is unaware of the givenness of the gift—the humanizing move precedes the divinizing one. This notion of the givenness and the self-communication of being as such corresponds to the notion of ‘uncreated grace’, ‘ungeschaffene Gnade’, in the history of Christian thought,⁸ and to the notion of the humanity’s divine image, within Orthodox the Berdyaev, MCA (1916), 76.  See on this: Thomas Aquinas, Nature and Grace: Selections from the Summa, ed. A. M Fairweather (London: SCM, 1954); Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae: A Concise Translation, tr. McDermott (Westminster, Md.: Christian Classics, 1989) Vol. I, 2nd Part, Question 109: 3 – 4, 7– 8 Articles, Question 110: 1, 3 Articles. On this, Vladimir Lossky wrote: “This means that uncre-



ology. Thus, it is through this first move that the second, namely the elevatingtranscending move of the human subject to the divine, is made possible, and it is through the human reciprocity and reception of the divine gift that the first humanizing move becomes effective. Thus, to bring the whole argument about Heidegger’s two methodologies—that has been discussed in the introduction and the last chapter of this work—to a conclusion, I believe that Heidegger started with the second move of human transcendence, in his Being and Time, and ended up, toward the mid-1930s, with the first move, namely the divine gift of the self, or the coming of being as such to unconcealedness through the human being. Furthermore, I propose that Heidegger’s commencement with the move toward transcendence, which is comparable to the path of divinization in Orthodoxy, is justifiable since the human being discovers God, or the Other outside oneself, before discovering him/herself and being conscious of the divine gift within. Thus, though divine givenness precedes human transcendence (of course, these are not meant as historical events that occur in time), the human being nevertheless needs to make the move outside the self first and only later can return to the self and discover there the inner gift of spirit. This is what the Church Father meant when he wrote: “one in worshipping God attends to himself”.⁹ Having this human move of transcendence toward being as such, or toward the Other, in mind, one arrives at a better understanding of ‘being towards death’. The movement out of the self—toward being as such, the Other, or towards God—is ‘being towards death’ in the sense that it is the coming out of one’s self with care and concern in order to reach the Other, which is the same resolute move for the sake of ‘being-with-the-Other’. The movement out of the self is similarly an uncovering move that aims at truth, letting beings be in the world as they truly are. Finally, it is also the move towards the no-thing, which is the essence and the mystery of every being. Later, Heidegger admitted that the transcending move of the human subject would not be possible without the givenness of being as such. Only through being’s opening of itself and its thrownness into the inner depths of the human being is the human subject allowed to stand “within the manifestation of Being”, that is, to participate in being and even to sustain it. It is this sustaining-guarding move by the human being of being as such that comes to expression through ‘being towards death’. Thus, similarly, without the human correspondence, being as such would be unable to come to a self-manifestation. By ated grace is implicated in the creative act itself, and that the soul receives at once life and grace: for grace is the breath of God, the ‘current of divinity’, the vivifying presence of the Holy Spirit”. Lossky, Orthodox Theology: An Introduction, 69.  Clement of Alexandria, “The Stromata”, 437.



analogy, God has likewise made the movement outside Godself. This is what we mean when we speak about God’s coming to the human through creation and incarnation, and particularly in the person of Jesus Christ. Hence, through the move outside Godself, God has arrived at Godself and, thus, has been truly God. Here, it would be constructive to recall the conclusion we arrived at by reflecting upon the thought of Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, namely that the procession and reversion of beings is the same procession and reversion of being as such, out of itself and about itself. ‘Being towards death’ is thus that kind of being of which being itself is in need. In his “Only a God Can Save Us” (1966) Heidegger explained: “what I call ‘Being’ … has need of man in order that its revelation, its appearance as truth, and its [various] forms may come to pass.”¹⁰ ‘Being towards death’ is, then, best described as a passage—a journey abroad from one’s native homeland to that other home. The journey is, however, simultaneously a return to one’s home. It is the openness of the human being to being as such, which is the same as the freedom of the human being that makes the journey to the Other possible. Through the passage to the other side, arriving and dwelling there, the person makes his/her own that which essentially is his/ hers. Thus, the journey brings the person to where he/she can genuinely be at home, allowing him/her to overcome his/her fallenness in that which is not his/hers. The journey that ‘being towards death’ entails is, then, essentially a mittence, a sending to an Other, which being, or God, conveys to the person as it bestows itself/Godself on him/her. And yet, in order for the journey to occur, the human subject must let him/herself be seized by being, or God, as by offering itself, being, or God, entrusts the person with guarding the Mystery which it itself is. By way of its emissary, being bids the human subject to accomplish that to which he/she is committed, knowing that at every stage of the journey being, or God, remains near and guides the journey, though mysteriously remaining far.

 Heidegger, OG (1966), 107. [“… was ich … “das Sein” nenne, den Menschen braucht zu seiner Offenbarung, Wahrung und Gestaltung”. Heidegger, Der Spiegel.


Our life is like a bridge And the wind coming from the past Releases us on the other side. Far from home, We yearn to be home, Seeking the warmth of the origin. The wind in its mystery Comes to us, sends us forth And withdraws. Homeless we walk, Trusting the mittence of the wind, Knowing That it is we who watch over it.


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Early Greek Writings (Including the Greek Patristic Works)


Maximus, the Confessor, St. Maximus The Confessor’s Questions and Doubts, (Ed. Prassas, D. D.), Washington: Northern Illinois University Press, 2009. Origen, Commentary on the Gospel According to John, Books 1 – 10, (Tr. Heine, Ronald E.) Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1989. Origen, Vier Bücher von den Prinzipien, (Hrsg. Görgemanns, H.), Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1985. Origen, On First Principles, (Ed. Butterworth, G. W.), New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1966. Palamas, Gregory, Gregory Palamas: The Triads, (Ed. Meyendorff, John; Tr. Gendle, Nicholas), New Jersey: Paulist Press, 1983. Palamas, Gregory, The One Hundred and Fifty Chapters: A Critical Edition, Translation and Study, (Ed. Sinkewicz, R. E.), Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1988. Palamas, Gregory, Homilies of Saint Gregory Palamas, vol.2, (Ed. Veniamin, Christopher), South Canaan, PA: St. Tlikhons Seminary Press, 2004. Parmenides; Coxon, A. H., The Fragments of Parmenides: Revised and Expanded Edition, (Tr. Mckirahan, Richard), Las Vegas: Parmenides, 2009. Philo, Philo, (Tr. F. H. Colson) Ten vols. with two supplements, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1929 – 1962. Plato, The Republic, (Tr. Benjamin Jowett), Waiheke Island, Floating Press, 2009. Plato, Theaetetus. (Ed. J. Burnet), in Platonis Opera vol. I, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1900. Plotinus, The Essence of Plotinus: Extracts from the Six Enneads and Porphyry’s Life of Plotinus, (Ed. Grace H. Turnbull), Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1976. Plotinus, The Six Enneads, (Tr. Stephen Mackenna & B. S. Page), Book Six, Ninth Tractate: “On the Good, Or the One”, Chapter 1). Pseudo-Dionysius Areopagite, The Divine Names and Mystical Theology, (Tr. & Int. John D. Jones), Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Marquette University Press, 1980. Also: The Divine Names and Mystical Theology, (Tr. Clarence E. Rolt), London: SPCK, 1972. “Mystical Theology”, Accessed 22. 06. 2020: http://www.esoteric.msu.edu/VolumeII/Mysti calTheology.html. Pseudo-Dionysius Areopagite, On the Divine Names, (Tr. Rolt, Clarence E.), SPCK, 1940. Pseudo-Dionysius Areopagite, The Complete Works, (Tr. Luibheid, Colm & Rorem, Paul), Mahwah, N.J.; London: Paulist Press; SPCK, 1987. Pseudo-Dionysius Areopagite, The Celestial Hierarchy: De Coelesti Hierarchia, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2013. Seneca, Ad Lucilium Epistulae Morales, (Tr. Richard M. Gummere), 3, London and Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1953. Sophocles, Antigone, (Ed. Stanley Appelbaum), Mineola, N.Y.: Courier Corporation, 2012. Sophocles, Oedipus the King, Oidipus at Colonus, Antigone, (Tr. F. Storr, B.A.), London: William Heinemann LTD, 1962. Symeon the New Theologian, The discourses/ Symeon the New Theologian, (Tr. C. J. de Catanzaro), New York, NY: Paulist Press, 1980. Symeon the New Theologian, The Practical and Theological Chapters & the Three Theological Discourses, (Tr. Paul McGuckin), Kalamazoo, Mich.: Cistercian Publications, 1982.



Works by Heidegger Heidegger, Martin, Gesamtausgabe (102 Bände), Frankfurt am Main: Klostermann, 1978 – 2015. Heidegger, Martin, Becoming Heidegger: On the Trail of his Early Occasional Writings 1910 – 1927, (Ed. Kisiel, Theodore & Sheehan, Thomas), Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 2007. Heidegger, Martin, Towards the Definition of Philosophy (1919), (Tr. Ted Sadler), London and New Brunswick, NJ: The Athlone Press, 2000. Heidegger, Martin, Basic Concepts of Aristotelian Philosophy (1924), (Tr. Robert D. Metcalf & Mark B. Tanzer), Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2009. Heidegger, Martin, Pathmarks (1919 – 1961), (Ed. William McNeil), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998. Heidegger, Martin, Ontology: The Hermeneutics of Facticity (1923), (Tr. John van Buren), Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1999. Heidegger, Martin, Plato’s Sophist (1924 – 1925), (Tr. Richard Rojcewicz & André Schuwer), Bloomington: Indian University Press, 1997. Heidegger, Martin, Being and Time (1927), (Tr. Macquarrie J. & Robinson E.), NY: Harper & Row Publishers, 1962. Heidegger, Martin, Being and Time (1927), (Tr. Joan Stambaugh), Albany, NY: State Univ. of New York Press, 2010. Heidegger, Martin, The Basic Problems of Phenomenology (1927), (Tr. Hofstadter, Albert), Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1982. Heidegger, Martin, Phenomenological Interpretation of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason (1927 – 1928), (Tr. P. Emad and K. Maly), Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 1997. Heidegger, Martin, Basic Writings (1927 – 1964), (Ed. David Farrell Krell), NY: Harper & Row Publishers, 1977. Heidegger, Martin, The Essence of Reasons (1929), (Tr. T. Malick), Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1969. Heidegger, Martin, Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics (1929), (Tr. Taft, Richard), Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1997. Heidegger, Martin, The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics. World, Finitude, Solitude (1929 – 1930), (Tr. William McNeill and Nicholas Walker), Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1995. Heidegger, Martin, Introduction to Philosophy—Thinking and Poetizing (1928), Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2016. Heidegger, Martin, Existence and Being (1929 – 1944), Washington D.C.: Henry Regnery Company, 1949; London: Vision Press LTD, 1956. Heidegger, Martin, The Essence of Human Freedom: (An Introduction to Philosophy) (1930), (Tr. Sadler, Ted), London, New York: Continuum, 2005. Heidegger, Martin, The Essence of Truth: On Plato’s Cave Allegory and Theaetetus (1931 – 1932), (Tr. Sadler, Ted), London, New York: Continuum, 2002. Heidegger, Martin, The Beginning of Western Philosophy: Interpretation of Anaximander and Parmenides (1932), (Tr. Rojcewicz, Richard), Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 2015. Heidegger, Martin, Introduction to Metaphysics (1935), (Tr. Gregory Fried & Richard Polt), New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000.

Works by Heidegger


Heidegger, Martin, Off the Beaten Track (1935 – 1946), (Tr. Young, Julian & Haynes, Kenneth), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. Heidegger, Martin, Schelling’s Treatise on the Essence of Human Freedom (1936), (Tr. Joan Stambaugh), Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 1984. Heidegger, Martin, The End of Philosophy (1936 – 1946), Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2003. Heidegger, Martin, The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays (1936 – 1954), (Tr. with intro. by William Lovitt), New York: Harper Colophon, 1977. Heidegger, Martin, Poetry, Language, Thought (1936 – 1954), (Tr. A. Hofstadter), New York: Harper & Row, 1971. Heidegger, Martin, Basic Questions of Philosophy: Selected “Problems” of “Logic” (1937 – 1938), (Tr. R. Rojcewicz & A. Schuwer), Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1994. Heidegger, Martin, Contributions to Philosophy (From Enowning) (1936 – 1938), (Tr. Parvis Emad & Kenneth Maly), Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1989. Heidegger, Martin, Elucidations of Hölderlin’s Poetry (1936 – 1969), (Tr. Joeller, Keith), New York: Humanity Books, 2000. Heidegger, Martin, Nietzsche I: The Will to Power as Art (1936 – 1939), (Tr. David Farell Krell), New York: Harper and Row, 1979. Heidegger, Martin, Nietzsche II: The Eternal Recurrence of the Same (1939 – 1946), Harper Collins, 1985. Heidegger, Martin, Nietzsche III: The Will to Power as Knowledge and as Metaphysics (1939 – 1940), (Tr. David Farell Krell), San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1987. Heidegger, Martin, Nietzsche IV: Nihilism (1940 – 1946), (Tr. David Farell Krell), San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1982. Heidegger, Martin, Mindfulness (1938 – 9), (Tr. Parvis Emad & Thomas Kalary), London; New York: Continuum, 2006. Heidegger, Martin, Nietzsche (1940 – 46), Vol. III & IV, (Tr. David Farell Krell), New York: Harper Collins, 1991. Heidegger, Martin, Basic Concepts (1941), (Tr. Gary E. Aylesworth), Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1993. Heidegger, Martin, The Event (1941 – 42), (Tr. Richard Rojcewics), Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 2009. Heidegger, Martin, Hölderlin’s Hymn “The Ister” (1942), (Tr. McNeil, William & Davis, Julia), Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1984. Heidegger, Martin, Early Greek Thinking (1943 – 54), (Tr. Krell, D. F. & Capuzzi, F. A.), New York: Harper & Row, 1975. Heidegger, Martin, Discourse on Thinking (1944 – 55), (Tr. Anderson, John M. & Freund, E. Hans), New York: Harper & Row, 1966. Heidegger, Martin, “Letter on Humanism” (1946), (Tr. Lohner, E.), in Barett W. & Aiken A. (eds.), Philosophy in the Twentieth Century, Vol. 3, New York: Harper & Row, 1971. Heidegger, Martin, On the Way to Language (1950 – 59), (Tr. Peter D. Hertz), New York: Harper & Row, 1971. Heidegger, Martin, What is Called Thinking? (1951 – 2), (Tr. J. G. Gray & F. T. Wieck), New York: Harper & Row, 1968.



Heidegger, Martin, What is Philosophy? (1955), (Tr. William Kluback & Jean T. Wilde), New York: Twayne, 1958. Heidegger, Martin, The Principle of Reason (1955 – 56), (Tr. R. Lilly), Bloomington [u. a.]: Indiana Univ. Press, 1991. Heidegger, Martin, Identity and Difference (1956 – 57), (Tr. Stambaugh, Joan), New York: Harper & Row, 1969. Heidegger, Martin, On Time and Being (1962 – 1964), (Tr. Joan Stambaugh), (New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1972. Heidegger, Martin, “Preface” (1962), in Richardson, William J. Heidegger: Through Phenomenology to Thought, The Hague: Nijhoff, 1974, iv-xii. Heidegger, Martin, “‘Only a God can Save Us’: Der Spiegel’s Interview with Martin Heidegger”, in Wolin, Richard (Ed.), The Heidegger Controversy: A Critical Reader, Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 1993, 91 – 116. Heidegger, Martin, “Seminar in Le Thor 1969” in Four Seminars, (Tr, Nitchell, Andrew & Raffoul, Franҫois), Bloomington & Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2003.

Heidegger’s Gesamtausgabe (The references for the major citations in this work from Heidegger appear in their original German. All volumes of Gesamtausgabe are published in Frankfurt am Main by Vittorio Klostermann.) 1. Frühe Schriften (1912 – 1916), ed. F.-W. von Herrmann, 1978. 2. Sein und Zeit (1927), ed. F.-W. von Herrmann, 1977. 4. Erläuterungen zu Hölderlins Dichtung (1936 – 1968), ed. F.W. von Herrmann, 1981, 2nd edn. 1996. 5. Holzwege (1935 – 1946), (ed. F.-W. von Herrmann), (Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann, 2nd edn. 1977, 2nd edn. 2003. 6.1. Nietzsche I (1936 – 1939), ed. B. Schillbach, 1996. 6.2. Nietzsche II (1939 – 1946), ed. B. Schillbach, 1997. 7. Vorträge und Aufsätze (1936 – 1953), ed. F.-W. von Herrmann, 2000. 9. Wegmarken (1919 – 1961), ed. F.-W. von Herrmann, 1976, 2nd edn. 1996, 3rd edn. 2004. 10. Der Satz vom Grund (1955 – 1956), ed. P. Jaeger, 1997. 11. Identität und Differenz (1955 – 1957), ed. F.-W. von Herrmann, 2nd edn. 2006. 12. Unterwegs zur Sprache (1950 – 1959), ed. F.-W. von Herrmann, 1985. 13. Aus der Erfahrung des Denkens (1910 – 1976), ed. H. Heidegger, 1983, 2nd edn. 2002. 14. Zur Sache des Denkens (1962 – 1964), ed. F.-W. von Herrmann, 2007. 16. Reden und andere Zeugnisse eines Lebensweges (1910 – 1976), ed. H. Heidegger, 2000. 29/30. Die Grundbegriffe der Metaphysik. Welt—Endlichkeit—Einsamkeit (Winter semester 1929/30), ed. F.-W. von Herrmann, 1983, 2nd edn. 1992, 3rd edn. 2004. 40. Einführung in die Metaphysik (ed. P. Jaeger), 1983. 45. Grundfragen der Philosophie. Ausgewählte “Probleme” der “Logik” (Winter semester 1937/38), ed. F.-W. von Herrmann, 1984, 2nd edn. 1992. 47. Nietzsches Lehre vom Willen zur Macht als Erkenntnis (Summer semester 1939), ed. E. Hanser, 1989.

Works by Berdyaev


49. Die Metaphysik des deutschen Idealismus. Zur erneuten Auslegung von Schelling: Philosophische Untersuchungen über das Wesen der menschlichen Freiheit und die damit zusammenhängenden Gegenstände (1809) (I. Trimester 1941/Summer semester 1941), ed. G. Seubold, 1991, 2nd edn. 2006. 53. Hölderlins Hymne “Der Ister” (Summer semester 1942), ed. W. Biemel, 1984, 2nd edn. 1993. 56/57. Zur Bestimmung der Philosophie. 1. Die Idee der Philosophie und das Weltanschauungsproblem (Kriegsnotsemester 1919), ed. B. Heimbüchel, 1987, 2nd edn. 1999. 63. Ontologie. Hermeneutik der Faktizität (Summer semester 1923), ed. K. Bröcker-Oltmanns, 1988, 2nd edn. 1995. 65. Beiträge zur Philosophie (Vom Ereignis) (1936 – 1938), ed. F.-W. von Herrmann, 1989, 2nd edn. 1994. 66. Besinnung (1938/39), ed. F.-W. von Herrmann, 1997. 71. Das Ereignis (1941/42), ed. F.-W. von Herrmann, 2009. 81. Gedachtes, ed. P.-L. Coriando, 2007.

Additional Materials Heidegger, Martin, Der Spiegel, Nr. 23/1976, 209. Accessed 22. 06. 2020: https://bublitz.org/ wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Heidegger-Spiegel-31 – 05 – 1976.pdf.

Articles Heidegger, Martin, “Rector’s Address—The Self-Assertion of the German University and The Rectorate 1933/34: Facts and Thoughts”, (Tr. Karsten Harries), Review of Metaphysics, 38:3 (1985: Mar.), 467 – 502. Heidegger, Martin, “Seminar” (translated into French by Fédier, F. & Saatdjian, D. as Séminarire de Zuirch”) in Poésie 13 (Paris, 1980). Wisser, Richard (Ed.), Martin Heidegger in Conversation (1969), (Tr. Srinivasa Murthy), India: Arnold-Heinemann Publishers, 1977.

Works by Berdyaev Berdyaev, Nikolaĭ, The Meaning of the Creative Act (1916), (Tr. Donald A. Lowrie), New York: Cpllier Books, 1962. Berdyaev, Nikolaĭ, Dostoevsky (1923), (Tr. Donald Attwater), New York: New American Library, 1974. Berdyaev, Nikolaĭ, The Meaning of History (1923), (Tr. George Reavey), New York: Charles Scriber’s Sons, 1936. Berdyaev, Nikolaĭ, The End of Our Time (1924), (Tr. Attwater, Donald), London: Sheed and Ward, 1933.



Berdyaev, Nikolaĭ, Freedom and the Spirit (1927), (Tr. Oliver Fielding Clarke), New York: Charles Scibner’s Sons, 1935. Berdyaev, Nikolaĭ, “The Worth of Christianity and the Unworthiness of Christians” (1928) in Plekon, Michael (Ed.), On the Church and the Christian Life in Our Time: Readings from the Eastern Church, New York, Toronto, Oxford: Rowan & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2003, 93 – 105. Berdyaev, Nikolaĭ, The Destiny of Man (1931), (Tr. Natalie Duddington), New York: Harper & Brothers, 1960. Berdyaev, Nikolaĭ, “Universality and Confessionalism” (1933), (Tr. Fr. Stephen Janos) in Christian Reunification: The Ecumenical Problem in Orthodox Consciousness, Paris: YMCA Press, 1933, 63 – 81. Accessed 22. 06. 2020: http://www.chebucto.ns.ca/Philoso phy/Sui-Generis/Berdyaev/essays/uc.htm. Berdyaev, Nikolaĭ, The Fate of Man in the Modern World (1934), (Tr. Lowrie, Donald A.), Ann Arbor MI: Univ. Michigan, 1961. Berdyaev, Nikolaĭ, Solitude and Society (1934), (Tr. George Reavey), London: Geoffrey Bles, 1947. Berdyaev, Nikolaĭ, The Origin of Russian Communism (1937), (Tr. R. M. French), London: Geoffrey Bles, 1948. Berdyaev, Nikolaĭ, Spirit and Reality (1937), (Tr. George Reavey), London: Geoffrey Bles, The Centenary Press, 1946. Berdyaev, Nikolaĭ, Christianity and Anti-Semitism (1938), (Tr. Spears, Alan A. & Kantner Victor B.), Aldington: Kent, 1952. Berdyaev, Nikolaĭ, Slavery and Freedom (1939), (Tr. French, R. M.), London: Bles, 1939. Berdyaev, Nikolaĭ, The Russian Idea (1946), (Tr. French, R. M.), Hudson, NY: Lindesfarne Press, 1992. Berdyaev, Nikolaĭ, The Beginning and the End (1947), (Tr. French, R. M.), New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1957. Berdyaev, Nikolaĭ, Truth and Revelation (1947), (Tr. French, R. M.), London: Geoffrey Bles, 1953. Berdyaev, Nikolaĭ, The Divine and The Human (1947), (Tr. French, R. M.), London: Geoffrey Bles, 1949. Berdyaev, Nikolaĭ, Dream and Reality: An Essay in Autobiography (1949), (Tr. Lampert, Katharine), New York: Collier Books, 1950. Berdyaev, Nikolaĭ, Towards a New Epoch (1949), (Tr. Oliver Fielding Clarke), London: Geoffrey Bles, 1949. Berdyaev, Nikolaĭ, The Realm of Spirit and the Realm of Caesar (1949), (Tr. Lowrie Donald A.), London: V. Gollanz, 1952. Berdyaev, Nikolaĭ, “Personality and Communion” & “On the Nature and Value of Personality” in John Witte & Frank S. Alexander (Eds.), The Teachings of Modern Orthodox Christianity: On Law, Politics, and Human Nature, New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 2007, 143 – 171.

Other Works


Articles Berdyaev, Nikolaĭ, “Quenchers of the Spirit” (1913), (Tr. Fr. Stephen Janos). Accessed 22. 06. 2020: http://www.chebucto.ns.ca/Philosophy/Sui-Generis/Berdyaev/essays/gasite li.htm. Berdyaev, Nikolaĭ, “The Tasks of Creative Historical Thought” (1915), (Tr. Fr. S. Janos), in The Fate of Russia, (Tr. Fr. S. Janos). Accessed 22. 06. 2020: http://www.berdyaev.com/ber diaev/berd_lib/1915_218.html. Berdyaev, Nikolaĭ, “The New Religious Consciousness and History” (1916), (Tr. Fr. S. Janos) in “Birzhevye vedomosti”, 18 nov. 1916, No. 15931. Accessed 22. 06. 2020: http://www.ber dyaev.com/berdiaev/berd_lib/1916_244.html. Berdyaev, Nikolaĭ, “Von der Vereinigung der Christes des Ostens und des Westens” (1926) in Ähren aus der Garbe. Christi Reich im Osten, Mainz 1926, 185 – 200. Accessed 22. 06. 2020: http://www.borisogleb.de/eins1.html. Berdyaev, Nikolaĭ, “Discord in the Church and Freedom of Conscience” (1926), (Tr. Fr. Alvian N. Smirensky). Accessed 22. 06. 2020: http://www.chebucto.ns.ca/Philosophy/Sui-Gen eris/Berdyaev/essays/discord.htm. Berdyaev, Nikolaĭ, “Unifying Christians of the East and the West” (1926), (Tr. Fr. Michael Knechten). Accessed 22. 06. 2020: http://www.chebucto.ns.ca/Philosophy/Sui-Generis/ Berdyaev/essays/unifying.htm. Berdyaev, Nikolaĭ, “Orthodoxie und Ökumenizität”, “Orthodoxy and Ecumenism”, (1927), (Tr. Fr. Michael Knechten). Accessed 22. 06. 2020: http://www.borisogleb.de/oeku1.html. Berdyaev, Nikolaĭ, “The Metaphysical Problem of Freedom” (1928), (Tr. Fr. S. Janos), Journal Put’, Jan. 1928, No. 9, 41 – 53. Accessed 22. 06. 2020: http://www.berdyaev.com/ber diaev/berd_lib/1928_329.html. Berdyaev, Nikolaĭ, “The Spiritual Condition of the Contemporary World” (1932), in Journal Put ˈ, Sept. 1932, No. 35, 56 – 69. Accessed 22. 06. 2020: http://www.berdyaev.com/ber diaev/berd_lib/1932_377.html. Berdyaev, Nikolaĭ, “Ortodoksia and Humanness”, ‘Put’, no. 53, 1937 (Review of George Florovsky, The Ways of Russian Theology (in Russian) (Paris: YMCA-Press,1937). (Tr. Fr Steven Janos). Accessed 22. 06. 2020: http://www.berdyaev.com/berdiaev/berd_lib/1937_ 424.html. Berdyaev, Nikolaĭ, “The Truth of Orthodoxy” (1952). Accessed 22. 06. 2020: http://www.che bucto.ns.ca/Philosophy/Sui-Generis/Berdyaev/essays/orthodox.htm. Berdyaev, Nikolaĭ, “The Person and the Communal Spirit in the Conscience of the Russian People” (1945), Transformation, 1947, No. 4, 7 – 23. Berdyaev, Nikolaĭ, “The Crisis of Man in the Modern World” (1948), International Affairs, January 1948, 100 – 106.

Other Works Alfeyev, Hilarion, “Theology of Icon in the Orthodox Church” (Lecture at St. Vladimir’s Seminary, 5 February 2011). Accessed 22. 06. 2020: https://mospat.ru/en/2011/02/06/ news35783/.



Allen, Paulin & Neil, Bronwen (Eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Maximus the Confessor, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015 Angelus Silesius, The Cherubic Wanderer: Sensual Description of the Four Final Things in The Book of Angelus Silesius, With Observations by the Ancient Zen Masters, (Tr. F. Franck), New York: Knopf, 1976. Aquinas, Thomas, Nature and Grace: Selections from the Summa, (Ed. Fairweather, A. M.), London: SCM, 1954. Aquinas, Thomas, Summa Theologiae: A Concise Translation, (Tr. McDermott), Westminster, Md.: Christian Classics, 1989. Aquinas, Thomas, Summa Theologica, (Tr. Fathers of the British Dominican Province), London: Burns & Oates, 1921 – 1932. Aquinas, Thomas, The Disputed Questions on Truth, (Tr. Mulligan, Robert W. & McGlynn, James V & Schmidt, Robert William), Chicago: H. Regnery Co., 1954. Anton, John, Categories and Experience: Essays on Aristotelian Themes, Oakdale, NY: Dowling College Press, 1996. Atwood Wilkinson, Lisa, Parmenides and To Eon: Reconsidering Muthos and Logos, New York: Continuum Int., 2009. Avakian, Sylvie, The ‘Other’ in Karl Rahner’s Transcendental Theology and George Khodr’s Spiritual Theology Within the Near Eastern Context, Frankfurt am Main; Wien, Peter Lang, 2012. Avakian, Sylvie, “‘Undecidability’ or ‘Resolute Existence’ Caputo in Conversation with Heidegger” in International Journal for Philosophy of Religion (2015) 77, 123 – 139. Avakian, Sylvie, “Christian Spirituality: Maximus the Confessor—A Challenge to the 21st Century”, International Congregational Journal, Vol. 14, winter 2015, 67 – 84. Avakian, Sylvie, “The Turn to the Other: Reflections on Contemporary Middle Eastern Theological Contributions to the Christian-Muslim Dialogue” in Theology Today, 2015, Vol. 72 (1), 77 – 83. Avakian, Sylvie, “Christianity and Secularization in the West and the Middle East: A Theological Stance”, in Journal of Religious History, Vol. 40, No. 3, September 2016, 368 – 384. Avakian, Sylvie, “Eckhart, Heidegger and Caputo: A Reappraisal of The Mystical Element in Heidegger’s Thought” in International Journal of Philosophy and Theology, 2020, 81:1,36 – 54. Babich, Babette; Denker, Alfred & Zaborowski, Holger (Eds.), Heidegger & Nietzsche, Amsterdam: [etc.]: Rodopi, 2012. Balthasar, Hans Urs Von, Cosmic Liturgy: The Universe According to Maximus the Confessor, (Tr. Brian E. Daley, S.J.), San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2003. [Kosmische Liturgie: Das Weltbild Maximus’ des Bekenners, (Switzerland: Johannes Verlag, 1961.] Barrett, Lee C., Eros and Self Emptying: The Intersection of Augustine and Kierkegaard, Grand Rapids, Michigan/ Cambridge: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2013. Berkeley, George, Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous, 3, London: J. Tonson, 1734. Barnard, Leslie William, Justin Martyr: His Life and Thought, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1967. Blitz, Mark, “Understanding Heidegger on Technology” in The New Atlantis, Number 41, Winter 2014, 63 – 80. Accessed 22. 06. 2020: http://www.thenewatlantis.com/pub lications/understanding-heidegger-on-technology.

Other Works


Böhringer, Friedrich, Die Kirche Christi und ihre Zeugen oder die Kirchengeschichte in Biographien, vols. 1 – 2 (vol. 1, Abteilung 1 – 4 and vol. 2, Abteilung 1 – 3), Zürich: Meyer & Zeller, 1842 – 1855. Bouyer, Louis. “La Renouveau des etudes patristiques” La vie intellectuelle (February 1947), 6 – 25. Bowie, Andrew, Schelling and Modern European Philosophy: An Introduction, London: Routledge, 1993. Burdach, Konrad, “Faust und die Sorge”, Deutsche Vierteljahrsschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Geistesgeschichte (1923, 1). Cabasilas, Nicholas, The Life in Christ, (Tr. Carmino J. DeCatazato), (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1974). Cappelørn, Niels Jørgen, “Gudbilledlighed og syndefald: Aspekter af Gruntvigs of Kierkegaards menneskesyn på baggrund of Irenaeus”, Grundtvig-Studier (2004), 134 – 178. Caputo, J. D., “Demythologizing Heidegger: “Alētheia” and the History of Being” in The Review of Metaphysics, Vol. 41, No. 3 (March 1988), 519 – 546. Caputo, John D., “Heidegger and Theology”, (Ed. Guignon Charles B.), The Cambridge Companion to Heidegger, Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1993. Caputo, John D., Radical Hermeneutics: Repetition, Deconstruction, and the Hermeneutic Project, Bloomington [u. a.]: Indiana Univ. Press, 1987. Caputo, John D., More Radical Hermeneutics: On Not Knowing Who We Are Bloomington [u. a.]: Indiana Univ. Press, 2009. Carlisle, Clare, Kierkegaard’s Philosophy of Becoming: Movements and Positions, New York: State University of New York Press, 2005. Chamberlain, Lesley, Motherland: A Philosophical History of Russia, New York: The Overlook Press, 2007. Chanter, Tina, Time, Death, and the Feminine: Levinas with Heidegger, Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 2001. Cupitt, Don, “Kant and the Negative Theology”, in Is Nothing Sacred? The Non-Realist Philosophy of Religion: Selected Essays, New York: Fordham University Press, 2002. Daniélou, Jean, Platonisme et théologie mystique: Essai sur la doctrine Spirituelle de Saint Grégoire de Nysse, Paris: Aubier, 1944. Daniélou, Jean, “La Théologie du Dimanche” in Le Jour du Seigneur, Paris: Robert Laffont, 1948. Daniélou, Jean, Gospel Message and Hellenistic Culture, Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1973. Davis, Bret W., Heidegger and the Will: On the Way to Gelassenheit, Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 2007. Derrida, Jacques, The Beast and the Sovereign, (Tr. Bennington, Geoffrey), Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2011. Derrida, Jacques, Of Spirit: Heidegger and the Question, (Tr. Bennington, Geoffrey & Bowlby, Rachel), Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1989. Derrida, Jacques, Psyche: Inventions of the Other, vol. II, Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 2008. Donceel, Joseph, “Transcendental Thomism” The Monist, 58:1 (1974), 67 – 85.



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Subject Index ἀνάμνησις [Anamnesis], recovery of that which has been previously obtained 257 anthropology 9, 19, 138, 158, 160 f., 219, 250, 259, 304 apophaticism / negative theology 7, 14 f., 19 – 22, 30, 35 f., 41, 68, 106, 147 f., 179, 259 appropriation 14, 26 f., 41, 77 f., 110, 122, 232, 267, 276, 284 – 287, 290 f., 299 a priori 78, 121, 166 Arab Spring 20 art-work 107 – 109 – creativity 10, 19, 111, 113, 134 f., 143, 161, 183, 187, 205, 219, 242, 249 – icon 107 f. ascent [ἀνάβασις, anabasis] / descent [κατάβασις, katabasis] 29, 77, 85, 112, 163, 204, 220, 265 – 267, 270, 282 astonishment [θαυμάζειν] 52 – 55, 57 beholding [θεωρεῖν] / Betrachtung 88, 90 – 92, 106, 112, 118, 149, 176 f., 180, 235 – βίος θεωρητικός / βίος πρακτικός 90 – εἶδος [eidos]— ὁράω [horao] look with great concern 90 – [μυστικὴ θεωρία] mystical contemplation 91, 112, 136 Being and Time 2, 10, 13, 23 – 28, 51, 121, 171, 173, 176 f., 180, 190 – 193, 229 f., 232, 235 f., 240, 253 f., 272, 294 f., 305 being as such 2 – 4, 6 – 8, 10 f., 14, 20 – 29, 31, 36 – 41, 46 – 53, 55, 59 – 63, 68, 70, 74 f., 77 – 80, 83, 85, 90, 94, 99 – 102, 104 – 106, 108, 110 f., 115, 118, 122 f., 127 – 131, 135 – 137, 139, 141 – 143, 147, 153 f., 160, 162, 174 f., 177, 179 – 181, 185 f., 188 f., 191 – 194, 204, 209 – 218, 222, 232 – 237, 240 – 243, 253 – 255, 261, 265, 272, 276 – 279, 284 – 288, 290 f., 294, 298 f., 303 – 306


beings [τὰ ὂντα / die Seiende] 1 – 4, 7 f., 11, 14, 19 – 22, 25, 27, 29, 31, 34, 36 – 41, 45 – 51, 55 – 65, 68, 71 – 79, 83, 85, 88, 92, 94, 98 – 100, 103, 105, 108 f., 111, 116, 119, 121 – 123, 127 f., 130, 135, 137, 139 f., 142 f., 149, 153 f., 157, 163, 173, 175, 179, 184 f., 188 f., 204, 211, 214, 216, 221 – 224, 232 – 234, 239 f., 242, 255, 258, 261, 263, 269, 279, 283 – 290, 298, 303, 305 f. being towards death 1 – 4, 9, 20, 22, 26, 32, 70, 82, 85, 110, 134, 194, 200, 203 f., 206 f., 231, 235, 239, 243, 245, 248, 253, 263, 271, 273 f., 281, 290, 295 f., 301, 303 – 306 bread and wine 145, 169 f. bringing-forth / poetry / art [ποíησις] 11, 13 f., 32, 69, 75, 78, 83, 87 – 89, 95, 97 – 99, 103 f., 106 – 111, 128, 134, 142 f., 145, 168 f., 172, 175, 180 f., 208, 214, 235, 237, 254, 258 care

2 f., 37, 53, 55, 61, 70, 91, 122, 131, 141, 153, 158, 182, 185 f., 190 – 194, 197, 203 f., 206, 208 f., 217, 221, 248, 262, 272, 274 – 279, 281 f., 290, 294 f., 305 cataphatic/affirmative theology 20 f., 41, 123 cause of itself [causa sui] 180, 287 f. cogito ergo sum 92 community [κοινωνία] 14, 16, 150, 278 concealment/unconcealment 1, 10 f., 14, 19, 45 – 47, 50, 56, 58 f., 61, 64, 73, 89 f., 98 f., 107, 118, 152, 180 f., 205, 221, 243, 255, 263, 272, 288 correctness [rectitudo] 11, 48 – 50, 57 f., 115 – 117, 303 – correctness as assimilation [ὁμοίωσις] 48, 115 – correctness [ὀρθότης] 48 f. Counter-Reformation 124


Subject Index

Da-sein [being-there] 3, 5, 13, 26, 53, 63, 65 f., 121, 136, 142, 171, 192, 230, 245 death of God 31, 67, 94 destining of being [Geschick] 24, 62, 100, 106, 172, 180, 278 f. doxa [δόξα], doxology 50, 58 Eastern Orthodoxy 21, 106, 108, 113, 259 ecstatic union / ek-stasis [ἔκστασις] 41, 127 Eleatic school 256 f. enframing [Gestell] or en-framing [Ge-stell] 99 – 102, 106, 141, 223, 286 f. enlightenment 199, 258 essence/existence 2 – 4, 6 – 8, 12 – 15, 19, 23 f., 27, 31, 35 – 37, 40 f., 44 – 51, 55 – 57, 59 – 65, 67, 72 – 75, 79 f., 83 – 90, 92 – 94, 96 f., 99 – 105, 108, 111, 117, 119 – 122, 124, 126 f., 129 f., 132 f., 139, 141 f., 144 f., 148, 152 – 158, 160, 162 f., 167 f., 172 f., 175, 180 – 183, 186 f., 191, 193 f., 196, 198 – 200, 204 – 209, 212, 219, 221 – 225, 230 f., 233 f., 236 f., 239 – 241, 244 f., 248, 250, 253 f., 256 f., 260 – 263, 265, 267 f., 270 – 272, 274 – 277, 279 f., 283 – 291, 293, 295 f., 298, 303 – 305 – essence [οὐσíα] / energies [ἐνέργειαι] 60, 75, 85 – 87, 89, 91, 97 f., 101, 267, 289 f., 293 – essentiality [essentia] / actuality [existentia] 6, 8, 98, 127, 134 f., 167, 172, 258, 260 f., 268, 293, 295 eternity 2, 44, 82, 96, 112 f., 236, 247, 249, 253 – 257, 260, 263, 268 f., 272 f., 276, 280 f., 283, 289, 296 – 298 event/enowning/[Ereignis] 13, 16, 26 f., 43 f., 46, 52, 54, 57, 67, 69, 77, 93 f., 99, 110, 118, 140 f., 166, 169, 180, 185, 210, 218, 221, 230, 235, 247 – 249, 251, 260, 263 f., 271, 276, 285 – 287, 290, 296, 298 f., 305 existential 2, 4, 14, 17, 20, 43, 84, 108, 111, 120 – 123, 147 f., 155, 162, 180, 182, 188, 193, 195, 200, 203 f., 212, 236, 253, 258 – 263, 268 f., 271, 273, 275 – 277, 279, 282 f., 294 f. existentiell [existenziell] 4

Fallenness (or falling) in the world 124, 184 – 190, 195 f., 232, 247, 253, 275, 277, 304, 306 final purpose [telos] 89, 260 f. finitude 5, 13, 61, 121, 154, 231, 247, 253, 276, 278 – 281 first cause [causa prima] 65, 286 freedom 1, 3 – 5, 7, 10 f., 14, 19 f., 35, 42 f., 50 f., 57, 60 f., 64, 66 f., 82, 84, 100, 103, 111, 121, 125, 128, 130 – 135, 137, 145, 147, 149, 151, 154 – 156, 159, 166 f., 171, 174, 186 – 188, 194 f., 198, 202, 204 – 207, 211, 214, 218 – 223, 228, 243 – 245, 249 f., 256, 260 – 263, 265 f., 268, 278, 280, 291 f., 298, 300, 303 f., 306 Grand Inquisitor 42, 67, 125, 131, 224, 228 Greek Fathers of the Church 14, 19, 32, 40, 91, 157, 259, 266 highest being 7, 48, 66, 68, 286, 293 history/historiography 1, 3, 6 f., 10, 13 f., 20 f., 25, 28, 32, 36, 38 f., 48 f., 58, 73, 76 – 78, 83 f., 92 f., 100 f., 107, 114, 116 – 118, 121, 127, 141 f., 148 – 150, 155 – 158, 161, 167 f., 173, 179, 184, 189 – 192, 211, 215 f., 218, 238, 241, 250, 253 – 256, 260 f., 263 f., 272, 275, 284 – 287, 289, 293, 295 f., 301, 304 human being / the human subject 1 – 6, 8 – 18, 20, 22 – 27, 29, 31 f., 34, 36 – 46, 50 – 53, 55 – 58, 60 – 64, 67, 69 – 80, 83 – 86, 88 – 96, 98 – 112, 114 – 116, 118 – 129, 131 – 144, 147 – 156, 158 – 168, 170 – 200, 203 – 208, 210 – 223, 228, 230 – 235, 237, 240, 242 – 245, 247 – 250, 253 – 255, 257, 259 – 268, 270 f., 273 f., 276 – 279, 281 f., 284 – 299, 301 – 306 humanism 10, 13, 19, 24, 31, 96, 118, 160 f., 193 identity and difference 284, 290

13, 60, 67, 100, 180,

logos [λόγος] 2, 29, 38, 138 luminosity [Gelichtetheit] 205, 277 f.

Subject Index

Medieval German Mysticism 21, 32, 147 meditative thinking / calculative thinking 17, 111, 113, 115, 118 – 120, 209 – 215, 303 metaphysics [μετὰ τὰ ϕυσικά] 5 – 7, 12 – 14, 18, 21 f., 24 f., 30, 37, 39, 54, 62, 65, 67, 74 f., 77, 79 f., 83, 87, 94 f., 97, 105, 114, 121 f., 135, 139, 153, 160, 165, 173 – 175, 179 – 181, 188 f., 207, 227, 230, 232, 234, 255, 257 f., 260, 263, 285 – 289, 292, 303 f. microcosm 71, 123, 138, 198, 219 movement [kinesis] 2, 5, 19, 26 f., 29 f., 43, 45, 53, 55, 61, 64, 70, 76 f., 91, 93, 132 f., 137, 144, 148, 158, 163, 166 f., 187 f., 205, 209, 212 f., 215 – 217, 242 f., 245 f., 253, 256 – 273, 275 f., 282 f., 285, 293, 295, 298, 303 – 306 mystery 1 f., 15, 17, 20, 28, 33 – 39, 42 f., 48 – 50, 52 f., 55, 57 f., 61 f., 70, 75, 78 f., 81, 89, 91, 101, 105, 107, 111, 118 f., 123 f., 127, 132 – 134, 141, 143, 145, 147 – 149, 151, 156, 158, 160 – 162, 164 f., 195, 197, 202, 207 – 210, 212, 214, 217 f., 220 f., 228, 235 f., 249 – 251, 254, 264, 272, 288 – 290, 292 f., 296, 298 f., 303 – 307 – contemplation [θεωρία] 15, 52, 68, 78, 83, 88, 90 – 92, 106, 108, 111 – 113, 136, 148, 199, 209, 215, 235, 267 – deification [θέωσις] 29, 90 f., 111 f., 134, 159, 249, 266 f., 282 – divine mystery 1, 29, 32, 35 f., 39, 41, 43, 52 – 54, 112, 124, 145, 147, 156, 162, 164 f., 186, 217, 242, 250, 256, 262, 289, 292, 301 f. – mystical 13 – 15, 17, 20 f., 28, 35 f., 41, 53 f., 66, 68 – 70, 87, 91, 106, 112, 119, 136, 147, 169 f., 179, 185, 210 f., 215, 242, 249, 256, 259, 264, 267, 293 – mystical body of Christ 85, 274, 292 – mystical/spiritual journey 16, 41, 68 f., 90, 112, 204, 215, 249, 266 f., 270, 281 – purification [κάθαρσις] 68, 90, 112, 149, 160, 229, 267 National Socialism

25 f., 30 f.


nature [ϕύσις, phusis] 5 – 9, 12, 15, 20 f., 23 f., 29, 36, 39, 43, 46 f., 50, 52, 58, 60 f., 66, 69, 71, 77, 84, 90 – 92, 94, 96 – 101, 103 – 105, 107 – 110, 118, 121 – 124, 126 f., 132 – 135, 138 f., 141, 143, 145, 148 f., 152 – 156, 158 – 168, 170, 172, 174 f., 177, 181, 183, 185 f., 189, 191 – 193, 196, 198 f., 202, 205, 210 f., 213 – 220, 233, 241, 247 – 250, 253, 255 f., 258, 260 – 264, 273, 276, 279, 281, 285 – 287, 290 f., 293, 295 f., 299, 301, 303 f. Neo-Patristic revival 157 Neo-Platonism 32, 35 nihilism 31, 66, 93 – 95 nothingness 31, 62 f., 80, 130, 230, 277, 290 – creation out of nothing [creatio ex nihilo] 65 – the nothing (the no-thing) 19, 21, 32 f., 62 – 65, 67 – 70, 80, 109, 134 f., 147, 179, 197, 223, 230 – 232, 244, 274, 282 f., 303, 305 Oedipus cycle / Antigone 224, 232 – 234, 239 f., 243 f. oikonomia / theologia 19, 21, 28, 37, 41, 69, 91, 134, 150, 163, 220, 242, 256, 266 f., 270, 304 ontical/ontological 2 – 4, 14, 27, 72, 122, 138, 148, 155, 191 – 193, 196 f., 203, 214, 234, 254, 273, 279, 295 pathos [πάθος] 54, 154 – paskhein [πάσχειν] 54 f. patristic tradition 19, 41, 112, 147, 154, 259 perception / thinking [νοεῖν] 4, 7, 9, 12 – 21, 24 – 31, 33 – 35, 37 f., 41 f., 44 f., 47, 49 f., 52 – 57, 59, 61, 65, 73 – 80, 82 f., 85 – 89, 91 f., 94 – 99, 101 – 103, 107, 109, 111 – 119, 121, 123, 125 – 129, 131, 135 – 139, 141 – 143, 147 f., 151 f., 155 f., 158 f., 161, 163 f., 166, 170 – 172, 176 f., 179 f., 182, 184, 190 f., 195, 198, 203, 209 – 217, 222, 224, 230, 232 – 234, 236, 238, 241, 257, 258 – 265, 269, 271 – 275, 277, 280 f., 283 – 288, 293, 296, 301 – 303


Subject Index

phenomenology 3, 13 f., 17 f., 23, 28, 122, 140, 261 potentiality/actuality 2, 8, 80, 98, 120, 127, 133 – 135, 154, 156, 167, 172, 196, 199 f., 204, 229 f., 239 f., 253, 258, 260 f., 268, 273 f., 279, 293, 295 – operation / actuality [ἐνέργεια] 89, 150, 164, 166 f., 256 – power / potentiality [δύναμις] 6, 9, 30, 36, 59 f., 71, 74, 84 – 86, 89, 94, 96, 98, 102 – 104, 106, 111, 114, 117, 130, 152, 157, 161, 164, 173 – 175, 188 – 190, 195 f., 218 f., 221 f., 228, 232, 241, 247, 255, 258, 260 f., 263, 265, 268, 277 f., 281 f., 289 f., 297 potentiality-for-being-a-whole 63, 200, 276 preapprehension of being [Vorgriff] 166 procession and reversion 22, 28 f., 60, 306 pure nature [natura pura] 70, 124, 164 radical individuation 120, 123, 172 reciprocity 22, 25, 29, 124, 141 f., 167, 218, 242 f., 267, 305 recollection/repetition/retrieval 8, 30, 46, 75 f., 80, 141, 174, 209, 246, 253, 256 – 258, 265, 267 – 272, 275, 298 releasement [Gelassenheit] 28, 63, 79, 120, 131, 206, 209 – 217, 221 f., 265, 267, 282 return to the origin 76, 119, 216, 303 scholastic 14, 115, 134, 148 – neo-scholastic 124 science 3 f., 8 f., 12, 14 f., 18, 39, 50, 57, 62, 64, 66, 74, 78, 83, 85, 87 – 90, 92 f., 96 – 98, 100 f., 103 f., 106, 111, 114, 120, 129, 142, 156, 165, 173, 175 f., 180, 184, 198, 229, 244, 261, 285 sobor/sobornost 107, 150, 165, 292 spirit 2, 5 f., 8 f., 14, 16, 20 f., 30, 32, 35, 39, 43 f., 62, 67, 69, 86 – 88, 104, 107, 120, 125, 131 f., 134 f., 139, 143, 147 – 181, 183 – 190, 192 – 197, 200, 202, 205 f., 209, 211, 219 f., 222, 224 f., 227 – 229, 235 f., 238, 241, 243, 247 – 250, 253 – 255, 261 – 265, 267 f., 277, 280 f., 289, 291 – 293, 295 – 298, 300 – 302, 304 f.

subjectivity/selfhood 23, 66 f., 94, 126, 181, 258, 294 symbol [σύμβολον] / metaphor [μεταφορά] 109, 147 f., 165, 167 – 170, 293 temporality 2, 154, 171, 203, 230 f., 253 – 255, 258, 260, 263, 268, 272 – 283, 295 f. thankfulness / gratitude 118, 128, 216, 261, 266, 298 the ideas 8, 48 the Leap 27, 58, 71, 75, 78 – 81, 272, 281, 283 f. the question of technology 23, 223 the turn [die Kehre] 22 f., 25, 27 – 29, 100, 130, 144, 270, 294, 303 thinking 4, 9, 12 – 18, 24 – 28, 30 f., 33 f., 37 f., 41 f., 45, 47, 49 f., 52 – 57, 59, 61, 65, 73 – 80, 85, 88, 94 – 96, 99, 102, 109, 111 – 119, 121, 125 f., 128 f., 131, 135 – 137, 139, 141 – 143, 148, 151, 155 f., 172, 176 f., 179 f., 182, 209 – 217, 222, 224, 238, 258 – 261, 263, 265, 271 f., 281, 283 – 288, 301 – 303 – essential thinking 9, 41, 52, 118, 272, 303 – pure thinking 9 f., 16, 38, 41, 75, 77, 85, 90, 103, 113, 117 f., 135 – 137, 142 transcendence [transcendere] 19, 21, 27 – 29, 31, 61, 64 – 66, 68, 82, 108, 111, 120 – 122, 125, 126 n.147, 130 f., 133 f., 137, 142, 154, 165, 172, 186, 212, 255, 262, 268, 278, 289 f., 294, 305 – self-transcendence (transcending of limitations) 43, 108 – the calculable (transcendental) horizon 99 – horizon or transcendental representation 22 n.74, 28 – transcendental framework 23 – transcendental method 25, 27, 232 – transcendental subject 121 truth [ἀλήθεια] 1 – 5, 9 – 14, 16 f., 19 f., 23, 27, 29, 31, 35 – 38, 43 – 53, 55, 57 f., 60 f., 65, 69, 72 – 80, 84, 86 f., 89 – 99, 101 – 104, 107 – 109, 113 – 119, 127 f., 130 – 133, 135, 139, 141 – 143, 148 f., 152, 156 – 158, 160, 162, 165 – 170, 172 f.,


Subject Index

175 – 180, 183, 185, 188, 190 f., 194 – 196, 198, 204, 206, 209 f., 213 – 216, 218, 221 – 228, 230 f., 235, 240 f., 243 – 245, 248 f., 251 f., 256 f., 263, 267 – 269, 271, 274, 280, 283, 285, 287 f., 290 – 292, 298 f., 301, 303 – 306 – truth as such 1, 13, 15, 19, 46 – 48, 53, 57, 80, 92, 107, 116 f., 127, 132, 170, 177, 240, 261, 263, 301 turn to the subject 122


15 f., 227

vita contemplativa / vita activa


will to power 7, 93 – 96, 134, 214, 258 – the overman / the superhuman 94 – 96, 151, 161 – Zarathustra 96, 161, 226

Author Index Anaximander 13, 36, 45 f. Anselm 14, 254, 260 Aquinas, Thomas 14, 35, 49, 86, 166, 260, 286, 304 Aristotle 7 f., 16, 45, 48 f., 54 f., 60 f., 73, 78, 86, 89 f., 97, 102, 115, 134, 142, 158, 177, 235, 257 f., 260 f., 270, 272 f., 289, 293 Athanasius 40, 147 Augustine 17 f., 148, 223 f., 259, 273, 277 Avakian, Sylvie 38, 73, 187, 257, 277, 289 Basil of Caesarea 85, 259, 289 Beaufret, Jean 24 Berdyaev, Nikolaĭ 1, 4 – 6, 8 f., 11, 13 – 17, 19 f., 23 f., 28, 31 f., 34 – 36, 39, 41 – 45, 48, 53, 57, 68 – 71, 78, 82 – 88, 96, 98, 104, 107, 109 – 113, 120 f., 123 – 125, 131 – 135, 138, 147 – 162, 164 – 168, 170 f., 183 f., 186 – 190, 193 – 195, 197 – 199, 205 – 207, 214, 218 – 220, 223, 226 – 229, 231, 236, 243 – 245, 247 – 251, 253 – 258, 262 – 264, 267, 273, 280 f., 289 – 298, 301, 303 f., 313 Böhme, Jacob 19, 147 Cabasilas, Nicholas 41 f. Caputo, John D. 24 f., 77, 179, 257, 268 f., 289 Chrysostom, John 259 Clement of Alexandria 87, 112, 148, 150, 305 Climacus, John 270 Derrida, Jacques 110, 176, 179, 181 Descartes 49, 92, 94, 122 Dionysius (or Pseudo-Dionysius) the Areopagite 13, 21 f., 28 f., 34, 40 f., 53 f., 60, 68, 91, 110, 123, 179, 185, 242, 306 Dostoyevsky, Fyodor 14 f., 17 f., 42 f., 67, 125, 131, 165, 190, 223, 227 f., 249


Fichte, Johann Gottlieb Florovsky, George 19

30, 121, 284

Gregory of Nazianzus 71, 297 Gregory of Nyssa 16, 40, 91, 123, 133, 150, 154, 159, 204, 259, 281 Gregory Palamas 85, 91, 289 Hegel, G. W. F. 7, 30, 40, 43, 53, 64, 156 f., 171 f., 194, 258, 261 – 263, 268, 270, 273, 284 – 287 Heidegger, Martin 1 – 14, 16 – 32, 35 – 42, 45 – 67, 72 – 81, 83 – 85, 87 – 111, 113 – 123, 125 – 145, 147 f., 151 – 153, 155, 157, 160 – 162, 166 – 169, 171 – 177, 179 – 194, 196 f., 199 – 201, 203 – 218, 221 – 225, 227, 229 – 246, 249, 253 – 255, 257 – 260, 262 f., 265, 267 f., 271 – 292, 294 – 299, 301 – 303, 305 f., 310, 312 Heraclitus 7, 45, 61, 72 f., 95, 138 f., 257 f. Hölderlin, Friedrich 13, 30 f., 56, 79 f., 82 f., 85, 102, 106, 130, 143 – 145, 167 f., 180, 206 – 208, 223 – 226, 229 f., 232 f., 237 f., 245 f. Husserl, Edmund 2, 18, 88 Irenaeus

85, 87, 230, 259, 289

Kant, Immanuel 40, 121 f., 127, 195, 254, 284 Khodr, George 38, 87, 292 f. Khomyakov, Aleksey 150 Kierkegaard, Søren 14, 17 f., 31, 40 f., 53, 78, 102, 147, 149, 153, 157, 163, 166, 185, 191 f., 194 – 196, 204, 206, 223 f., 230, 257 – 263, 265, 268 – 271, 281 – 283, 291 f., 297 f., 301 Kireyevsky, Ivan 150 Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm 74, 79, 284 Lessing, Gotthold Epraim 78, 281

Author Index

Lossky, Vladimir 73, 87, 91, 124, 133 f., 170, 186, 267, 293, 297, 304 f. Luther, Martin 17 f., 223 Martyr, Justin 71 f., 138 Maxim the Confessor 35, 37 f., 73, 87, 91, 138, 187 Meister Eckhart 19, 35, 37, 41, 47, 69, 74 f., 100, 105, 110, 147, 181, 210 f., 249, 255 Nietzsche, Friedrich 7, 14, 31, 66 f., 79, 93 – 96, 113 f., 134, 139, 151, 160 f., 184, 206, 214, 224 – 227, 229 f., 232, 244, 257 f., 263, 282, 291, 301 Origen

38, 40, 147, 150

Parmenides 13, 36, 39, 45, 73, 122, 256 – 258, 284 Paul the Apostle 17 f., 44, 158, 178, 255 Philo of Alexandria 73, 154, 158, 163, 177 Pindar 238 Plato 7 f., 11, 45, 48 f., 54, 61, 90, 95, 97, 102, 116, 147, 225, 257 f., 273 Plotinus 35, 90, 158, 258, 284


Rilke, Rainer Maria 8, 13, 32, 232 Rose, Gillian 37, 203, 240 f., 243 f. Schelling, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph 7, 13, 39 f., 49, 121, 147, 157, 284, 297, 301 Schleiermacher, Friedrich 14, 17 f., 153, 179 f. Schwöbel, Christoph 7, 183, 192, 270 Seneca 191, 193 Sheehan, Thomas 18, 23, 27, 100, 122, 173, 180 Silesius, Angelus 19, 35, 37, 152 Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr 243 Sophocles 224, 229, 232 – 234, 238 f., 244 St. Isaac the Syrian 159 Symeon the New Theologian 69, 91, 220, 256 Tauler, Johannes 35 The Stoics 73, 123, 138, 158 The Virgin Mary 125 Tillich, Paul 241 Wolfe, Judith

18, 28, 30 f.