By Bernhard Radloff
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Extra resources for Heidegger and the question of national socialism : disclosure and gestalt
90 While Heidegger, unlike Schrag, does not use the term Gestalt to characterize the existential structure of Dasein, the wholeness (Ganzsein) of Dasein evidently does articulate itself ontically in regulated rhythms of experience which prefigure the How of presentations, and which give Dasein a stability through the flux of experience. In the Aristotle lectures of 1931 (GA33), Heidegger interprets the Greek bios as ‘the possibility of a freely chosen existence, which can be given gestalt [die Möglichkeit eines freigewählten und gestaltbaren Daseins], and which holds itself in what we call a way of comportment [Haltung]’ (123).
Undoubtedly the word Gestalt easily evokes misleading interpretations. Gottfried Schramm (who conducted this interview, along with Bernd Martin) glosses Müller’s remark to mean that, for Heidegger, the problem of modern politics and its institutional structure is reduced to a fixation on charismatic leaders, and a mythical interpretation of institutions. I will show that this is a total misconception of the problem. To speak of being and gestalt in reference to Heidegger’s thought, thus to think the differentiation of being in beings, is only possible in terms of the destruction of metaphysics.
The inclusion of meaningfulness and expressivity signifies that the object appears within an historical, cultural horizon. ’41 Kurt Goldstein, the teacher of Gurwitsch,42 had come to similar conclusions: ‘it follows that preferred behavior, good Gestalt, or whatever one chooses to call it, represents a very definite form of coming to terms of the organism with the world, that form in which the organism actualizes itself, according to its nature, in the best way ... ’44 The philosophically most fruitful development of gestalt theory emerged from the phenomenology of Gurwitsch and Merleau-Ponty, which Husserl himself anticipates.