Wednesday, November 11, 2009

More on Heidegger

Since I rarely see much of an opportunity to write about philosophy that anyone else can appreciate, I'm gonna roll with the Heidegger thing as long as it can be milked...

Here's a solid summary of Heidegger's "complex" relationship with Hannah Arendt:

Heidegger himself went from being mildly anti-Semitic to becoming a leading Nazi collaborator and puppet - for example, he enthusiastically removed all Jewish faculty from his University. And, here is the rub. After the War, Heidegger's greatest defender was Hannah Arendt, a distinguished Jewish philosopher, the author of Eichmann in Jerusalem and a student of Heidegger's. She was also his lover over a period of forty years, before and after World War II.

What could possibly move a brilliant Jewess to defend a man who had been an active Nazi? It sprang from a combination of love and admiration - adoration - for an esteemed professor Arendt met when she was 19. Arendt justified her mentor by imagining that his belief in the limitations of modernity was shanghaied by the Nazis, and Heidegger himself duped. Oh, and Arendt threw in the manipulative Mrs. Heidegger, out of loyalty to whom he had ceased his initial affair with Arendt.

After Arendt - who, escaping the Nazis, now lived in the United States - assisted Heidegger in his "de-Nazification," they rekindled their romance. But Arendt was never to be satisfied. Heidegger, whose reputation was permanently damaged, was deeply jealous of his protegee, and participated in their affair only reluctantly. Thus, the most distinguished Jewish philosopher of her era threw herself at an ex-Nazi, continuing their romance over a period of 40 years, while he barely tolerated her!

Every I read something like that and there's a little voice in my head that starts chanting "Jer-ry! Jer-ry! Jer-ry!"