restricted access 2 Care for the Self
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TWO Care for the Self Originary Ethics in Heidegger and Foucault Our first chapter has made visible the Being or Dasein of human beings as a dwelling in the presence of other beings, a dwelling first enabled by Dasein’s being held, through the attunement of Angst, in a futural openness for its own having-been, an openness in which the moment of action, the Augenblick of a possible decision , is held at the ready. This openness, as Being and Time already indicated, is itself temporalized as Dasein’s being free for its ownmost potentiality for Being—that is, as its being free for the freedom that it itself potentially is—and only thereby as a being free for the possibility of this or that determinate decision. Attuning Dasein in its factical, thrown situatedness in the midst of beings as a whole, Angst first discloses and brings Dasein “before” the world as world, as that which always already exceeds it, opening Dasein to and for its thrown Being-in-the-world as such. The phenomenon of world shows itself to be this prior or precedent forming of a whole, of a freedom for presence, from out of which beings can first be uncovered as such, as being this or that, in the determinacy of their possible presence. In the same way, the phenomenon of world temporalizes itself as the horizon from out of which the possibility of a particular decision can first be discerned in its determinacy. Thus, as Heidegger indicates in Being and Time, that in the face of which, or “before” which, Dasein is attuned by Angst—the phenomenon of world as such—is itself altogether indeterminate, an openness that opens the possibility of this or that moment of presence . With respect to particular beings themselves, it is nothing, and yet this “nothing” of beings is the most primordial “something ,” the phenomenon (or phenomenality) of all phenomena (SZ, 186–87). Dasein’s dwelling, its being held in the possibility of presence , is thus intrinsically a being held out into the “nothing,” as Heidegger would put it in the 1929 lecture “What is Metaphysics?” (W, 12). Yet this also means that Dasein’s dwelling, its being “at home” in the world, is always exposed in advance to a “not being at home,” to an Unheimlichkeit, an uncanniness that, Heidegger 53 54 THE TIME OF LIFE emphasizes, is “the more primordial phenomenon” with respect to all dwelling (SZ, 189). Thus, as Heidegger would subsequently express it, Unheimlichkeit does not first arise as a consequence of humankind; “rather, humankind emerges from uncanninness and remains within it . . .” (GA 53, 89); the essence of Unheimlichkeit is “presencing in the manner of an absencing, and in such a way that whatever presences and absences here is itself simultaneously the open realm of all presencing and absencing” (GA 53, 92). Exposed in advance to, and grounded in, a not being at home, Dasein’s dwelling thus shows itself to be, fundamentally, not at all a secure and fixed abode amid the familiar, but a task that must be accomplished ever anew: the task of coming to be at home in, all the while, not being at home. We shall later return to this theme of Unheimlichkeit in considering the theme of poetic dwelling in Heidegger’s dialogue with Hölderlin and with Sophocles. For now, let us dwell for a moment on what Heidegger in Being and Time identifies as the peculiarity, or Eigentümlichkeit, of Angst: the “peculiar indeterminacy” of that in the presence of which Dasein finds itself attuned in Angst (188); the “peculiar temporality” of Angst, such that “it is originarily grounded in having-been, and future and presence are first temporalized from out of this” (344). This peculiarity corresponds, indeed, to what we have seen Heidegger note toward the end of the 1929–30 course: With respect to his Being, the human being is “that inability to remain,” to dwell, “and yet is unable to leave his place.” For the attunement of Angst at once discloses Dasein in the radical individuation of its thrownness, of its being bound, as this singular Dasein, to this having been here and now in this factical situatedness , from out of which it—and it alone—has to act. Yet the thrownness of this having been, Dasein’s inability to leave its place, is at the same time delivered over to having yet to be—thus, to the most radical indeterminacy, to the openness of the...