Essay on Martin Heidegger's The Origin of the Work of Art
Three pages from the writing of 20th-century German philosopher Martin Heidegger—can you take it? They’re really good pages. The prose is some of the most poetic, direct, and intimate in Western philosophy. Eat it slowly and it will bless you with stronger bones and teeth, metaphorically speaking.
The central obsession of much of Heidegger’s philosophy is Being—not “a being”, nor “being this-or-that”, but something grander, more radical. For Heidegger, Western philosophy took a wrong turn with the Greeks (!), especially their conception of Being as an object—a thing which stays put, remains solid, persists and endures despite time. Heidegger’s revision, to be simplistic, is this: Being is not an object but a happening. Being is the moving through time of things and people. Or, literally, Being is a verb—but a verb caught constantly in a “state” of verb, a “verbing,” a gerunding of people-places-things, not-quite-nouns. Hence the title of Heidegger’s most famous work, 1927’s Being and Time.