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Caputo (MEHT:156-159) – homem em Heidegger e Eckhart

quarta-feira 28 de fevereiro de 2024, por Cardoso de Castro


O próprio Heidegger estabelece assim o primeiro ponto de comparação para nós [de seu pensamento e aquele de Mestre Eckhart  ]. Ele, tal como Meister Eckhart, encontra no homem algo mais profundo do que o seu comércio quotidiano com as coisas que o rodeiam. Este ser primordial do homem é designado por Heidegger e Eckhart como o "Wesen  " do homem. Tal como para Eckhart, também para Heidegger, Wesen tem um sentido verbal. Eckhart traduzia habitualmente o latim "esse" pelo alto alemão médio wesen (empregava frequentemente wesenheit e wesunge como traduções de essentia  ) (cf. Q, "Anrnerkungen", 538). Este termo significa para ele o "ser essencial", o "ser primordial" de uma coisa, aquilo pelo qual uma coisa é o que é. Heidegger retoma este sentido original da palavra e usa-a para se referir ao próprio Ser de um ser.

Ora, em ambos os casos, o próprio ser do homem, que nada tem de antropomórfico, reside na sua relação com algo que, à falta de melhor palavra, dizemos que "transcende" o homem. O ser essencial do homem não se encontra na sua relação com os seres, mas na sua relação com aquilo que transcende os seres, isto é, com o Ser. Assim, para Eckhart, a essência da alma é o fundamento da alma, que é intemporal, sem nome e incriado. Este solo é um "lugar" no qual Deus e a alma se unem, no qual o ser transcendente de Deus se realiza no homem. O "verdadeiro homem" é o homem que "deixa Deus ser Deus", que proporciona uma morada que pode abrigar e preservar o nascimento do Filho. Também em Heidegger, o ser essencial do homem assenta em algo mais radical do que o homem: "a questão do ser essencial (Wesen) do homem não é uma questão sobre o homem" (GA13   Gelassenheit  . 2. Auflage. Pfullingen: Verlag Günther Neske, 1960, 31/58). Pois o grande ser do homem deve ser uma relação com o próprio Ser para proporcionar um "lugar" (Ortschaft, HB, 77/204; Stelle  , WM, 13/213) no qual o próprio Ser possa acontecer. O grande ser do homem é fornecer um abrigo e uma preservação para o ser da verdade.


Neither Eckhart nor Heidegger speaks of “man.” For both thinkers, there is something deeper within man, something which is not   merely human, which constitutes man’s true dignity and worth. For both, there is a hidden ground in which man’s truest being and essential nature (Wesen) lies. “Here is man a true man,” writes Eckhart (Q, 215,7/Serm., 225). In his Talks of Instruction, Eckhart says:

Do not think to base holiness on doing; one should rather base holiness on being. For works do not make us holy, but we must make works holy. (Q. 57,15-8/C1., 67)

Holiness has to do not with our action, but the ground of our action, our being. The truly great are great in their being:

Nothing will come of whatever works they work who are not great in being. (Q, 57,22-3/Cl., 67)

It is in the inner ground of the soul, the very being (Wesen) of the soul, that genuine greatness is to be found. Heidegger singles out this text   of Meister Eckhart in “The Reversal,” citing it in the Middle High German. He then adds this commentary:

We consider that the great being (Wesen) of man consists in the fact that it belongs to the essence (Wesen) of Being, that it is needed and used by the latter to preserve (wahren  ) the essence of Being in its truth (Wahrheir). (K, 39/7)

Heidegger himself thus draws the first point of comparison for us. He, like Meister Eckhart, finds in man something deeper than his everyday commerce with the things around him. This primal being of man is called by both Heidegger and Eckhart man’s “Wesen.” As for Eckhart, so for Heidegger, Wesen has a verbal sense. Eckhart usually translated the Latin esse by the Middle High German wesen (he often employed wesenheit and wesunge as translations of essentia) (cf. Q, “Anrnerkungen,” 538). This term means for him the “essential being,” the “primal being” of a thing, that by which a thing is what it is. Heidegger picks up this original sense of the word and uses it to refer to the very Being of a being.

Now in both cases the very being of man, which is nothing anthropomorphic, lies in its relationship to something which, for lack of a better word, we say “transcends” man. The essential being of man is [157] not to be found in his relationship to beings but in his relationship to that which transcends beings, viz., to Being. Thus for Eckhart, the essence of the soul is the ground of the soul, which is timeless, nameless, and uncreated. This ground is a “place” in which God and the soul unite, in which the transcendent being of God comes to pass in man. The “true man” is the man who “lets God be God,” who provides a dwelling place which can shelter and preserve the birth of the Son. So too in Heidegger, the essential being of man rests in something more radical than man”the question into the essential being (Wesen) of man is not a question about man” (GA13 Gelassenheit. 2. Auflage. Pfullingen: Verlag Günther Neske, 1960, 31/58). For the great being of man is to be a relationship to Being itself to provide a “place” (Ortschaft, HB, 77/204; Stelle, WM, 13/213) in which Being itself can come to pass. The great being of man is to provide a shelter and a preserve for the being of truth.

Eckhart and Heidegger do not often use the word “man”they speak instead of “Dasein  ,” the “little spark,” the “little castle,” the “ground of the soul.’’ This arises not out of a desire for terminological inventiveness but out of what Heidegger would call the attempt to play along with the play of language. For this more radical dimension of man’s being is something which continually tends to slip out of sight and be forgotten. When we speak of “man,” language is imperceptibly accustoming us to think that all there “is” to man is something human, something “anthropological.” Heidegger and Eckhart subvert this drift towards the easiest and most superficial meaning of the word “man” by avoiding the word and using in its place a language which will not conceal but reveal what there “is” (west) in man.

In both cases, then, the anthropological interpretation   of man is “overcome.” Man is not understood “zoologically”as an animal with the specific difference of rationality. Nor is he given any of the other, equally anthropological, specifications of man in Western philosophy such as “spirit” or “person  ” (HB, 66/199; SZ  , § 10). All of these determinations of man are “metaphysical,” i.e., they take man as a species of beings which must be differentiated from other species. They are “ontic” determinations of man. Eckhart, indeed, is quite insistent about the fact that the ground of the soul belongs in no classifiable category, that it is no determinate mode of being. “This power has nothing in common with anything else,” he says (Q, 210,13-4/Serm., 220). It is neither “this nor that.” It cannot so much as be named:

Consequently, I name it now in a more noble way (edlere Weise  ) than I have ever named it, and yet it rejects such a nobility (Edelhelt) as well as any way (Weise) and is raised above both. (Q, 163,18-21/Serm., 137) [158]

The ground of the soul is not a being, or a kind of being, but a place within which God reveals Himself as He is in His truest being.

So too “Dasein” is not merely a being, or a species of beings, which can be differentiated off from other beings (HB, 66/199). Rather Dasein is primarily a “relation” (Ver-hältnis) to Being as such. Dasein is not so much a being but a relationship to Being. Dasein is not something which man “has,” a property or characteristic of man, but something which possesses man and makes man and his relationship with other beings possible (WM, 16/308-9). “Dasein” is not consciousness, whether empirical or transcendental  ; it is not the ego cogito  , the res cogitans  , the animal rationale  . Dasein is something more basic and simple than all of these, making all of these possible.

In What Is Called Thinking? Heidegger seems to indicate that he is not prepared to admit that Eckhart’s conception of the “little spark of the soul” (Seelenfünklein) does indeed fully transcend the notion of man as a “living being” endowed with a “specific difference” of “reason” or “thought’’:

However, it still makes a decisive difference whether this trait of the living being “man” is merely included in our considerations as a distinguishing mark superadded to the living being — or whether this relatedness to what is, because it is the basic characteristic of man’s human nature, is given its decisive role as the standard. (WHD  , 96/149)

It is not enough to speak of man as anima   — a being possessed of a principle of life, for every living thing (”animal”) has anima. But neither is it enough, Heidegger says, to speak of man as animus. Now animus means, according to Heidegger,

. . . that inner striving of human nature which always is determined by, attuned to, what is. The Latin word animus can also be translated with the word “soul.” “Soul” in this case means not the principle of life, but that in which the spirit has its being, the spirit of spirit [cf. Q, 319,10/Ev  ., 33], Meister Eckhart’s “spark” of the soul. (WHD  , 96/149)

Even Meister Eckhart, in Heidegger’s view, fails to understand that man is basically and fundamentally a relatedness to what is and that this is not simply something “added on” to man.

Heidegger is, I believe, mistaken about this. For Eckhart, the “little spark” or “ground” of the soul refers to the innermost “source” and “root” (Wurzel: Q, 318,17/Ev., 32) of the soul’s being. It is not something added on to the soul, but that from which the soul draws its [159] life. This is the force of the very word “Grund  .” Moreover, the little spark of the soul is in no way a “distinguishing mark” of the soul because it signifies that realm of the soul where there are no “distinguishing marks’’ or “names’’ at all. The ground of the soul is no “thing”; it belongs to no “class” of things, and has nothing to do with any kind of “specific difference.” Indeed, “it has nothing to do with anything”genus, species, or difference. The simple truth is that with his notion of the “little spark of the soul,” Eckhart has conceived of man not as man but as a pure relationship to Being, which is for Eckhart God.

Ver online : John Caputo

HB Ein Brief über den “Humanismus” in Platons Lehre von der Wahrheit. Mit einem Brief über den “Humanismus.” 2. Auflage. Bern, Switzerland: A. Francke Verlag, 1954.

WM Was ist Metaphysik? 9. Auflage. Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann, 1965.

SZ Sein und Zeit. 10. Auflage. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer, 1963.

K Die Technik und die Kehre. Pfullingen: Verlag Günther Neske, 1962.

WHD Was heisst Denken? 2. Auflage. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer, 1961.

Q – Meister Eckhart: Deutsche Predigten und Traktate. Hrsg. u. übers. v. Josef Quint. München: Carl Hanser, 1965.

Serm. – Meister Eckhart: An Introduction to the Study of his Works with an Anthology of his Sermons. Selected and trans. James M. Clark. London: Nelson & Sons, 1957.

Cl. – Meister Eckhart: Selected Treatises and Sermons. Trans. J. M. Clark and J. V. Skinner. London: Faber & Faber, 1958.