Living in the Moment. Boredom and the Meaning of Existence in Heidegger and Pessoa
Slaby, Jan – 2017
It was not only in his infamous speeches as NSDAP-approved Führer- Rektor of Freiburg University that Heidegger advocated what can be seen as an ‘activist’ understanding of human existence. To exist, according to this approach, means to be called upon to take charge of one’s life - actively, responsibly, authentically - whether mandated by Volk and Führer or not. Heideggerian resoluteness amounts to being active in a deep sense, a view articulated during the Rektoratszeit in the form of an outright equation of dasein and work. I will revisit Heidegger’s phenomenology of boredom in Basic Concepts of Metaphysics, and contrast it with passages from Fernando Pessoa’s Book of Disquiet. Pessoa presents a radical counterpoint to Heidegger, utterly at odds with his intellectual and political persona. Insofar as the early Heidegger still represents the sinister forces ruling on the death star of western metaphysics, Pessoa carries the light that can set us on a path toward very different horizons for thinking being.