November 17, 2014
This essay serves as the Preface to Martin Heidegger: The Philosophy of Another Beginning, by Alexander Dugin, recently published by Radix.
This major study of the German philosopher Martin Heidegger by Russian thinker Alexander Dugin (b. 1962) has been made available to English readers thanks to the painstaking efforts of an able translator, Nina Kouprianova. One cannot understate the difficulty of this demanding translation or the value of what the translator has given us.
Dugin is one of the world’s most renowned critics of the American cult of Liberal democracy, and his work published in English in 2012, The Fourth Philosophical Theory1, sets out to examine the problem of the failed (or at least vulnerable) ideologies of the 20th century, extending from Communism and Fascism to what has become the preferred American political doctrine of Liberal materialism based on universal equality. Dugin views Liberal democracy as the ideological idol of the last century that is still standing and, given the extent of American power and influence, still flourishing on this continent and among American vassal states in Western Europe. Dugin famously, or notoriously, calls for a “fourth way,” just as Heidegger in the midst of the Cold War proposed a “third way” and, from the 1930s on, spoke of “another beginning” that would lead toward a new “openness to Being.” In these cases, these men sought alternatives to the materialist and consumerist ethos of late modernity—and to the ideology of universal political sameness that has accompanied it.
It would be an oversimplification to reduce this ambitious and exhaustive examination of to the critique of “techne,” which is characteristic of Heidegger’s later work. Dugin pays scrupulous attention to all the phases in the philosopher’s evolution, starting with Heidegger’s attempted separation of a proper analysis of Being from received metaphysical traditions. This study engages Heidegger’s definitions of ontic and ontological and such concepts as Sein, Dasein, Sein-zum-Tode, and Zeitlichkeit, which punctuate Heidegger’s early masterpiece Sein und Zeit(1927). Heidegger’s magnum opus treats our growing awareness of Being as something that presents itself to us, to whatever extent we grasp that existence is to be understood beyond the obvious or what Heidegger calls “ready to hand.” Heidegger is dealing with the self-revelation of Being, and not simply with the awareness of a multiplicity of beings, and this process unfolds in experienced time. The progressive revelation of Being carries us toward a future that stands before us as an unfinished project. That project (Auftrag) becomes apparent to us only as we exist in time, and Heidegger stresses that our particular Being (Dasein) is shaped by future-oriented labors, up until the point when our future is overshadowed by the expectation of death. This is the Being-toward-death, which, for Heidegger, brings the possibility of entering an undiscovered realm of existence.