601 Its Diremption (Heidegger)

A unified, trans-agonal rule gets its normativity from bad makeovers, from an illusory heteronomy like that of an origin in which affirmation would win out over refusal. We deny refusal through thetic affirmations—a tactic that literally has made the epoch. It has also made silence. It has brought an evil silence down upon denial. In order to do so, the functionary of theticism takes to the heights—ultimate referents are posited as the other of phenomena on which one can count and which, therefore, are placed above them. What is to be struck dumb from this height? The expropriation at work in phenomenality. On the other hand, with refusal winning out over affirmation and denial (but it remains to be seen what this means), it is impossible to exalt some universal heteron and to confer its powers of making-over, subsumption, obligation, and obliteration. Hence the injunction not to forget what each person knows, even if dimly, namely, that in the final reckoning when there is nothing left to count nor to count on, the Not and the No always prevail.

So, whither expropriation? Toward what other, by what heteronomy? Here again epochal history can render its heuristic services. Heidegger always unfolds the historial in terms of and with a view to the moment that is ours, in terms of and with a view to diremption. This unites diverse destinies of heteronomy.

First of all, diremption is happening to us in that the destructions of the twentieth century reveal the consequences of the theticism that the West has lived. In this sense, it represents an end of something. The fabric of the world no longer joins us in correlations to this heteron that has an enveloping orientation. Through a shift in the everyday, perceptible since Hölderlin,86 thetic heteronomy has ceased to play and to display the world. In this kenosis of the sovereign other, quarrels about heteronomy—whether it is good because salutary (Luther) or bad because contingent (Kant)—shape up as the penultimate episode. Whether it builds as sovereign an identity outside the subject or in the subject, or whether it repudiates these, in each instance theticism abandons phenomena. It imposes on them a law foreign to them, which thereby is nothing but hubris, a maximized representation (aufspreizen, BzP 120). With fantasmic heteronomies the diremption also undermines their correlate—the autonomy that lays down the law.

Moreover, diremption reveals a heteronomy that no is no longer correlated to anything. “In this age, ‘beingsʼ—called the ‘realʼ and ‘lifeʼ and ‘valuesʼ—are expropriated of being” (ibid.). In letting all landmarks fall by the wayside, diremption is now what inflicts an expropriation on phenomena. Hence the destitution of our historial site. Again—whither expropriation? Toward this heteron where phenomena lose their place and are generalized, as are the real, life, values . . . a heteron that Heidegger calls “operational machination.” It is a transitional epoch in which hegemonic attachments are undone but in which tragic binds are born in “the calculation, the rapidity and the claim-staking of the masses” (ibid.). It is an era of lawlessness (Ungebundenheit, ibid.) that is not to be confused with the era of anarchy, which is what is historially possible for us. The latter is defined by the multiple nomic bonds that can no longer be relieved by any fiction of the same—neither that of the thetically fictive nor that of an anomic isomorph.

Finally, diremption prepares the other that singularizes every phenomena by drawing it outside its own identity—the other that is the conflictual event. Through this