Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Heidegger’s First Lectures (Freiburg, 1919). Zollikon Seminars. 12. Final Seminar (18 and 21 March 1969). Anthony Stadlen conducts Inner Circle Seminar 248 (24 March 2019)

Heidegger’s First Lectures (Freiburg, 1919)
A 100th-anniversary revaluation
‘So my seeing and that of a Senegal Negro are fundamentally different.’

Heidegger’s Seminars (Zollikon, 1959-1969)
A 50th-anniversary revaluation
12. Final seminar on 18 and 21 March 1969
The book lies here next to the glass. But how are two human beings, standing together, together?

Anthony Stadlen
Inner Circle Seminar No. 248
Sunday 24 March 2019
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Martin Heidegger   Medard Boss
Feldweg, Messkirch, 1963

Martin Heidegger with his son J


Jörg Heidegger, son of Martin and Elfridepictured above with his father, died on 22 February this year. He had celebrated his hundredth birthday on 21 January, having been born four days before the first of his fatherfirst Freiburg lectures on 25 January 1919.

In this seminar we continue to explore Martin Heideggers thinking, from near the beginning to near the end of half a century (1919-1969) of tireless teaching. Our seminar will mark a hundred years since Heidegger gave his first course of lectures at the University of Freiburg in the War Emergency Semester early in 1919 in his thirtieth year; it also recapitulates, fifty years almost to the day, the last of his Zollikon Seminars, on 18 and 21 March 1969 in his eightieth year.

The Inner Circle Seminars are devoted to a search for truth in psychotherapy. Heideggers Zollikon Seminars (in the home of the Daseinsanalyst Medard Boss) were explicitly guided by the same aspiration, but we shall also discover the relevance even of his very first lectures at Freiburg to our work as therapists.

It is astonishing that in these early lectures Heidegger is already overflowing with many of the extraordinarily original themes that he developed in Being and Time through his later writings to the Zollikon seminars. Hannah Arendt wrote, on the occasion of his eightieth birthday in 1969, that at the time of his lectures fifty years earlier Heideggers

... name travelled all over Germany like the rumour of a hidden king... The rumour that attracted them to Freiburg and to the Privatdozent who taught there ... had it that there was someone who was actually attaining the things that Husserl had proclaimed... The rumour about Heidegger put it quite simply: Thinking has come alive again... There exists a teacher; one can perhaps learn to think.

The thinking that Heidegger strove to awaken in his listeners goes to the very heart of what existential psychotherapists and Daseinsanalysts, and indeed one hopes therapists of all schools, are trying to do: to relate in the most profoundly humanly appropriate way to the person who has approached them, uncluttered and uncorrupted by unrecognised reifying and alienating presuppositions as to what human beings, and human relationships, are.

We see this in the 1919 lectures, where of course Heidegger is not explicitly discussing psychotherapy, just as in the 1969 seminar, where even his most ‘philosophical’ remarks are all directed to purifying the practice of psychotherapy.

Thus in the 1919 lectures he tries to get beyond what he calls de-vivifying and interpreting-away natural-scientific objectification’. Already (100 years ago!) he is ridiculing the tired concept of lived experience’ (Erlebnis’), which our therapists today cant seem to have enough of. But he already speaks of ‘event of appropriation’ (Ereignis’), though not in the developed way of his later thinking. He already condemns the problem of the reality of the external world as nonsensical. He goes straight to experience itself. He speaks, for example, of the different ways in which he, the lecturer, the students,  a farmer from deep in the Black Forest, and ‘a Negro from Senegal suddenly transplanted here from his hut’ might experience his lectern. He first shows that one might conclude that my seeing and that of a Senegal Negro are fundamentally different’, simply because, as he supposes, the African man wouldnt know what the lectern was - what it was forBut he goes on to affirm his common humanity with the African by trying to show that ‘the meaningful character’, of instrumental strangeness (for the man from Senegal) and of the lectern (for Heidegger), are in their essence absolutely identical.

In the 1969 seminar he is still teaching, and pondering as he teaches, the same sort of questions. How, he asks the seminar participants, do human beings relate? ‘The book lies here next to the glass. But how are two human beings, standing together, together?’ The protocol of the seminar shows that Heidegger discussed openness, clearing, consciousness, Da-sein, space, place, AristotlePhysicsHusserls phenomenology, and intentionality as understood by Husserl and Brentano. But we now have the new, much larger, Gesamtausgabe edition of the book Zollikoner Seminare, which includes Heideggers original, highly illuminating notes for the seminars discovered by Professor Friedrich-Wilhelm von Herrmann. These include eleven pages of notes which Heidegger made for this last seminar. They include a remarkable constellation of names, topics, and books: apart from Heideggers own writings, he mentions those of KantLichtenbergHegelDescartes; a recent book by the psychiatrist Manfred Bleuler and two colleagues on acute psychical experiences accompanying bodily illnesses’; and two key avant-garde texts – One-Dimensional Man  and Repressive Tolerance  by Heideggers own one-time student, the Marxist philosopher Herbert Marcuse, who had failed to persuade Heidegger to make a public statement or apology on the Shoah, and was now the inspiration of the revolutionary students of 1968, less than a year earlier. How much of this Heidegger discussed in the actual seminar is uncertain.

What unites the 1919 lectures and the 1969 lecture is Heideggers single-minded devotion to the central question of his life, provoked by the gift to him, when he was still a teenager, of Brentanos book on the four meanings of being in Aristotle‘What is the fundamental meaning of Being, of which the others are varieties? This is not the only question that can inspire us as psychotherapists in struggling for truth in our practice – the Inner Circle Seminars since 1996 have explored many other questions and many other questioners. Heideggers question took him, or he took it, up many Holzwegeforest paths leading nowhere, or even to too definite places that he may have come to regret. But, as George Steiner wrote of Heideggers question of, or to, Being: There are meaner metaphors to live by.

[In November 2019 we start a new ten-year series, from 2019-29, to recall in depth and detail, this time at sixty years distance, the whole series of Heideggers Zollikon seminars from 1959-69. This time we shall be able to take advantage of the new, greatly enlarged, edition of the book of the seminars.] 

Venue: Durrants Hotel, 26–32 George Street, Marylebone, London W1H 5BJ
Cost: Psychotherapy trainees £132, others £165, some bursaries; coffee, tea, Durrants rock, mineral water included; payable in advance; no refunds or transfers unless seminar cancelled
Apply to: Anthony Stadlen, ‘Oakleigh’, 2A Alexandra Avenue, London N22 7XE
                 Tel: +44 (0) 20 8888 6857     E-mail: stadlen@aol.com
For further information on seminars, visit: http://anthonystadlen.blogspot.com/

The Inner Circle Seminars were founded by Anthony Stadlen in 1996 as an ethical, existential, phenomenological search for truth in psychotherapy. They have been kindly described by Thomas Szasz as ‘Institute for Advanced Studies in the Moral Foundations of Human Decency and Helpfulness’. But they are independent of all institutes, schools and universities.

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