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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 92 | volume XVI | September-October, 2013



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                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 92September-October, 2013
Essays

Martin Heidegger on Poetic Dwelling

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Jordan Šišovski

The text …Poetically Man Dwells… (dichterisch wohnet der Mensch) was first delivered as a lecture on 6th of October1951. It complements Building Dwelling Thinking delivered same year. Together, the two texts make a unified whole. While in the first text less attention was dedicated to thinking, in this one the “injustice” is corrected. Special consideration here is given to the relationship between thought and language. Language manifests itself, according to Heidegger, in all its glory through poetry. So he treats together poetry and thinking.
    The title of this text is taken from a poem by the late Hölderlin. From thence Heidegger draws the central theme of the essay, namely, poetic dwelling. At the very outset of this essay, Heidegger asks the questions: “how is a man – and this means every man and all the time-supposed to dwell poetically?” and “does not all dwelling remain incompatible with the poetic?” (Heidegger 2001, 211). Heidegger sets these issues given the crisis of housing in post-war Germany. This lecture was given immediately after the Second World War, which led to an incomprehensible scale of destruction and massive shortage of homes. The increasing speed of life was another problem, the struggle for profit and success, as well as the expansion of the recreational industry. In a technological age, poetry was thus reduced to literature or dismissed as unnecessary dreaming. Along those lines, Heidegger criticizes Western technological understanding and the search for efficiency and effectiveness, for which, poetry is a waste of time. The phrase “poetically man dwells” is taken from the poem of the poet who, as Heidegger says: “himself was unable to cope with life” (2001: 212). Heidegger emphasizes that poetry is “the way of poets to shut their eyes to actuality. Instead of acting, they dream. What they make is merely imagined. The things of imagination are merely made” (2001: 212). Here, he complements on the notion of making which in Greek is called ποίησις. The main question is: how can a human dwelling be called poetic?
    Heidegger continues the interpretation of the Hölderlin`s poem. The main focus is the interpretation of the phrase “…poetically man dwells…” He tries to interpret the meaning of this enigmatic phrase. Heidegger thinks that this statement “speaks of man’s dwelling. (…) [Hölderlin] does not describe today’s dwelling conditions. Above all, [he] does not assert that to dwell means to occupy a house, a dwelling place”(2001: 212). For Heidegger,






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