Heidegger’s accomplishment was to derive categories we usually associated with religion (“Dread,” “Care,” and so forth) from a purely secular framework, that is, an ersatz religion. Unlike Malick and Holt, Heidegger was as clever as he was corrupt morally. His existential solution was to join the Nazi party and promote Hitler as head of the University of Freiburg. To his credit, he wasn’t a particularly effective Nazi, but he never apologized. Heidegger knew perfectly well that he was playing the role of the Devil, who counterposes perversion and violence to creation.
It annoys me no end when the likes of Holt or Malick promote Heidegger’s existentialism to look for human significance in a universe without God. Yes, you can be spiritual without being religious, but if you are Martin Heidegger, then Adolf Hitler was your spiritual compass. I don’t mean to suggest that all the Heideggerians are bourgeois-bohemian Brownshirts — of course not. There’s nothing in this sort of vapid spirituality, though, to discourage you from becoming whatever you feel like being, including a Nazi, as Heidegger’s own sad case attests. No, I am not accusing the born-again Heideggerians of being crypto-Nazis, just of being silly and boring and incompetent.
For those of you who are looking for the meaning of life: You won’t find it, and the proof that you won’t find it is that you are looking for it, as I demonstrated here. Join a bowling league, learn stir-fry cooking, or build model cars instead.
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