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Bad luck?



Dear fellow biblians,
        Have you ever purchased a book from a University press and awaited
its arrival with much anticipation only to find upon receiving it that a
serious error has been made?  And I refer to the crafts end of the
spectrum in this case.

        Allow me to explain:  I am an undergraduate in philosophy at a
mid-sized state support institution on the lower Eastern shore of Maryland.
My school thinks itself "exclusive" but I know better, its only a state
school.  But for some reason the faculty of my major have a penchant for
a certain philosophical genius(I will concede that much) who was involved
and I mean rather closely involved with a rather nasty political movement
prevalent in Germany from 1933 to 1945.  Now, having had my eyes opened to
the horrors of the Holocaust recently I wondered how could anyone distinguish
Heidegger the Man from Heidegger the Philosopher, for surely no one has
ever tried to do similarly with Socrates or Nietzsche have they?  I mean
everyone seems to agree that to be a good philospher one's life must
be lived accordingly.  And yet Herr Heidegger has a wonderful theory of
existence (ontology:being) that is tainted, and I think seriously blemished
by his wilfull participation in Nazi politics during the period of its
florishment.  Sad thing, good old Heidegger never recanted his participation
with a (in an) evil system, and therefore we should never forget that his
was a career elevated by the very system that condemned so many others.

        Fine, so I am vehemently opposed to the teaching of Heidegger, that's
my right to do so, some of you might say.  But here is my brush with bad luck.
I am pretty much on an obsessive campaign to open the eyes of my fellow
philosophers to this hypocritical disregard for the inseperable notion that
philosophy reflects being.  My efforts however, have resulted in my being
snubbed by the faculty as being someone who doesn't, and couldn't possibly
know what philosophy is because I am 37 years old and still an indergrad.
That's their problem, say I and I trudge along allowing to think of me as
a pariah.  But I have been purchasing a vast number of books related to
this subject (Heidegger and his lack of ethical care for the Other) and
I am planning one day to maybe write extensively on the subject.  But not
having the real drive of a writer, I doubt if it'll ever be done.  In my
quest to know, however, I buy titles which implicate Heidegger as a sophist
more than as a philosopher and one such title is Victor Farias' book:
"Heidegger and Nazism"  It's considered a tour de force in contemporary
writing because it dares to expose the depth of Heidegger's complicity with
the ideological rhetoric of nazism.  But the problem lies in the construction
of the book itself, not its author, neither its content nor subject matter.

        Great disregard for the reader went into assembling this book so
that several pages, at the rear of the book, are askew and are actually
binded into the spine of the book!  Some pages are misordered and some are
actually cut-off in mid-word.  Now, I know that this all is probably the
result of the folding and binding process going dreadfully awry, but can
anyone see a point I'm trying to make?   First, how can publishing houses
allow such shoddy work to be made available to the public, and why is it
that no one has the reponsibility of checking the book prior to shipping
it to assure that all is well with it?  Maybe I'm a disillusioned fool,
but where is the care in the publishing process that we who bind are so
eager to restore?  I mean my area will hopefully one day be conservation
and I really want to be able to secure with my work the continuance of a
book for many years after I have left this temporal sphere, but given this
book, which is utterly beyond repair (I mean, you really should see it),
I don't see how anyone can say that any book published today is worth
saving, and yet I know that such people live in a world of bad faith, be-
cause if only the houses would ensure quality control then our jobs could
be relegated to small presses and specialities and restoration work,
and not trying to fix what the printer in her/his negligence sought to
ignore.  Oy vey, such a thing drives a bibliophile meshuga, if you catch
my allusion.

        But another thought persists in my psyche as well, and that is,
have I been to hard on Heidegger?  Have I been seeking to defame him for
my own glorification?  Am I being visited by this occurance to reconsider
my contempt for such a man?  Of these things I wonder, and I ponder, for
maladies such as mis-collations and missing pages have plagued me over
recent years, and I often ask myself do I invite these mishaps because
I tend to see the world differently, or is the publishing process itself
to blame in producing such shoddy products?  I wonder, and I question,
but all I know is that I really know nothing at all, and life goes on
whether a book is pristine or lies crumbling in a dark, damp place, words
come and words go, and all is vanity.

        Let us do what we are able in the time we have remaining.

                                Shalom,

                                Rommel John Miller
                                12544 Selsey Road
                                Ocean City, MD  21842-9128
                                RJM1095@sae.ssu.umd.edu


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