Heidegger and Levinas to the tune of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”

To the problem of the other how many lines should we devote?
Levinas expounded plenty, Heidegger a dozen strokes but
of phenomenologists most eminent whom to this problem did devote
who’s song doth please us more?

To Levinas the gap between the self and other is a gulf
we cannot ever bridge the distance, so we ever pass in stealth
for others are not merely objects but mysteries of wealth
separation respects us more!

But for Heidegger the presence of the other is not strange
“standing around” is not objective, but circumspection foiled in vain,
for every da-sein is mit-dasein, meeting others is its name!
Communion befits us more!

Now Derrida attacked Herr Levinas for his thesis so serene
that separation from the other was complete and prior and clean
what could Jacque make of a thought that was so ludicrous and mean?
For non-violence is violence even more!

But Derrida’s critique of Levinas clearly misses the point
of Philosophical ideas, ludicrousness them do anoint
for every great line of thinking is truly bonkers at its joint
What should we therefore say?

Perhaps Levinas’ critique of Heidegger is not as clear as day
but in a little joke at Schelling, maybe there it hidden lay
“the vanity of pantheism” what here appears to our dismay?
what might this mean for us?

First we should note that for Herr Levinas: (that) man is infinite
and the gulf between too persons is caused by this and not by depth
which Schelling posits must arise when beings relate from chest to chest
Levinas is a Platonist!

Now quick recall that for Herr Heidegger man’s nature is finite
and yet experience of chaos does exceed the bounds of sight
this is the meaning of our “thrownness” – we cannot contain with all our might
the world, ourselves in which we find

it is therefore quite impossible for da-sein to produce
from out his essential nature all the depths his world doth view
most essential in this excess is other men he thinks he knew
the relation is enacted, it does not precede!

So quite common while it is for Heidegger to be condemned
as a Kantian idealist, the “outside world” which must contend
is essentially connected to dasein, and to hearts of men:
with other men he genuinely dwells!

We must therefore ask what possible advantage might be served
denying a priori openness to others seems perturbed
but phenomenological inquiry needs its precepts for to learn
what could the Levinas be getting at?

We can clearly see that in a sense Herr Levinas was right
philosophical inquiry based on the same can serve the might
of totalitarian assumptions: the volk is one and difference slight
is “being with” therefore fascist?

But if we clearly examine the words we find in Being and Time
which speak of the content of the relation between with other: he is not mine
between authentic and inauthentic my relation is defined
by holding him open towards his possibilities

The ethicality of Heidegger’s mitdasein should not surprise
his interpretation of Kant’s practical critique it doth surmise
others are beings that have themselves as their own end – is this not wise?
does Levinas even disagree?

Is not his normative conclusion simply “hospitality”
to not assume you know the other, not to neglect that he is free
not to pin him in a corner with your assumptions and your greed
not to grasp, but let him be

Seems to me these crucial figures the gulf between that seemed so deep
stems not from differences normative, how the other we should treat
but from fears and motivations metaphysical in reach
what ought we then conclude?

We should stop this endless feeling that somehow we must decide
which philosopher we should read and which thinker to deride
for in phenomenology many attempts may yet be tried
so stop the bickering!

Philosophers and thinkers who between them disagree
should not fight with tooth and nail and sword until they all agree
different streams can work in common, content shared in topics see
a better research model!


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