What Is Ereignis, What Does It Mean?June 27, 2021
In Being and Time, time was considered as the horizon of understanding existence. Explanation of the history of existence brings Heidegger to the understanding of Ereignis. Ereignis thought sees time not as the horizon of being, but as its origin. So what is Ereignis?
If we assume that the answer to the question What is X can be given by pointing to X as an entity, “What is Ereignis?” We cannot answer the question, since Ereignis is not an entity. Translating Ereignis as “event” can also be problematic, if the event means a new association of existing ones or a breakdown of already existing ones. In order for Ereignis to be seen as an event, it must be said that the relationship here is not between two or more beings, but between the being itself and the human being. Ereignis, according to Heidegger, is the phenomenon of being and thought owning each other. This is such an event that it carries within it the preconception that will take us out of the history of existence, that prioritizes new a priori, the experience of existents. In other words, he invents, for the first time, a mode that will now mediate our relations with all beings. Where does the radical innovation that will enable people to experience the world, other beings, in a different way come from? Should we look for it in the history of existence?
Do we have to question the history of existence for such an innovation to occur? Does the original emerge with a regression in the history of existence? Heidegger questions this through the concept of Ereignis. Ereignis is not an event brought about by the subject’s own will, “it happens” “it happens”. But Heidegger also states that it is a retreat, a step backwards. However, this retrospective does not lead us to a fundamental research in the history of existence, it aims to show that there is no foundation behind Ereignis and that his ground is an abyss (Abgrund). When we look at the lectures Heidegger gave in the 1950s, for example Unterwegs zur Sprache, we notice that Heidegger attempted to think of language as the primordial space of Ereignis. Language is not just an important tool for survival, it is an essence, an understanding that organizes how people relate to all that exists. Moreover, it is dynamic and active as it is in a constant relationship of mutual ownership with this self-thought. In this way, it opens new ages, changes and transforms in the ages it started.
What is the essence of speech? This question can be answered by saying that man has to live in a society in order to survive, and this requires language. Thus, language is defined as a means of communication and the essence of language is reduced to the struggle for human existence. Heidegger argues that language is much more than that.
This change also changes people’s relations with existing ones, depending on the moments of transformation. In essence, then, the essence of language is the language of the essence. It would be useful to state that Heidegger was very interested in poetry while he was thinking about these. Heidegger examines how poetic utterance opens up a space, how it creates a new state, presence, situation between the earth, the sky, the divine (immortal greatness) and the quartet (das Geviert) he calls mortal humanity. So much so that poetic utterance invents a new way of being present as a mortal being on earth, under the heavens, in relation to the unknown. Thus, from a Heideggerian point of view, it can be argued that the differences between religions ultimately consist of differences between various poetic expressions. Because all of these sayings are about how we will reside on earth. They position us differently on earth as mortals associated with an unknowable greatness. Poetic utterance is an utterance that establishes the unity of the quartet. Thus it opens up a world inhabited in a certain way. If poetic utterance is what establishes our way of dwelling in the human world, then is salvation in the sense of finding a new way of dwelling found only in poetry? We can answer this question in the affirmative. However, we will have to understand poetry in general as art. Poetry is the highest art for Heidegger as it is for Hegel, because it is the art that best reveals the essence of art. In other words, the other arts seek the same new unity, they try to make us think of a new mode of residence. Then, art gives us the opportunity to make a leap beyond our age. Ereignis is the event of the primordial, original speech; this way it makes room. It is necessary for a place to be opened, for a place of appearance to be illuminated, for beings to appear under this light. Here, a phenomenological scene is opened, which is not a scene of a play that can be seen as an imitation of reality. The world that is primarily meaningful is like a world staged by the poetic word. What is Heidegger’s purpose in reminding us of this? Philosophical reflection on our own experience of the world must lead to thinking about the conditions behind our experience. The a priori conditions that make our experience possible are in the subject itself, in the structure of the mind, in the knowledge.