Existenz: An International Journal in Philosophy, Religion, Politics, and the Arts
http://www.bu.edu/paideia/existenz Volume 4, No 2, Fall 200921crowds of workers with propaganda, thereby throwingmore firewood into the raging altar of National Socialism.
On Heidegger's Heidelberg speech Karl Jasperswrote:
It was a masterly lecture as to form; as to content it wasa program for the National Socialist renewal of theuniversities. He demanded a total transformation of theintellectual institutions. . . . Heidegger expressed angerabout many facets of university life, even about highsalaries. He was given a tremendous ovation by thestudents and by a few professors. I was sitting at oneend of the first row, with my legs completely stretchedout, my hands in my pockets; I did not budge.
Jaspers' posturing, as he remembers, reflects not only thedeep resentment he had felt against the ideology of whatthat podium represented, but also a sense of helplessnesstoward the inevitable Nazification of the entirelandscape. The cruel irony was that the birthplace of theModern University was about to be its own deathbed—acomplete rejection of the idea of Wilhelm von Humboldt.
The Heidelberg student labor service speech:
Heidelberger Neueste Nachrichten,
July 1, 1933; the November 11, 1933 Leipzigaddress to German professors:
,Dresden, 1933; speech to the Freiburg student body:
, June 20, November 3, 1933, January 23 1934;address to the laborers:
, February 1, 1934—tomention a few of his activities in this period.
The Philosophy of Karl Jaspers
,Paul Arthur Schlipp, ed. (La Salle, Illinois: Open CourtPublishing Company, 1981), p. 75/8. It should be noted thatat the press time of the first edition of this collection in 1957 Jaspers requested that the Heidegger part of thisautobiography be published only after Heidegger's death,which occurred in 1976—seven years after Jaspers' death.
Under the influence of the great Prussian theologian FriedrichSchleiermacher's liberal democratic ideas, Humboldt stressedacademic freedom, the importance of laboratories, smallseminars and one-on-one tutorials. By "academic freedom,"Humboldt was interested in more than "free speech." Rather,it was imperative to him to extend liberal education toinclude granting freedom to students in taking seminarsaccording to their personal interests taught by the professorsthey liked, as well as adding and withdrawing from theclasses in accordance with their personal needs andscheduling conveniences—beside other things nowadaystaken for granted in the universities all over the world. It is tobe noted that Wilhelm Humboldt (1767-1835) was arenowned philologist, a liberal political philosopher, theauthor of two-dozen books, and the Education Minister ofPrussia. His younger brother, Alexander (1769-1859), was alsovery talented and active, known for his travels as an explorer,geographer, and naturalist.
This essay has no claim of having an especialinsight into the moral truth in judging Heidegger'smisconduct. The blames, if enough has not been saidalready, are to be left to the moralists. Nor am I calledupon to describe or evaluate the moral standing of theUniversity, though such a task would undoubtedly be anoble undertaking. At contention here is something of adifferent order: it is about a complete disregard for thecosmopolitanism of the modern university, whosegross and brazen violation by the participatingacademicians in Germany and elsewhere makesHeidegger's case a cruel joke. As such, criticizingHeidegger in this regard is not so much of a challenge.His case is not the sole concern here, since he is notalone. There have been indeed numerous universityresearchers and administrators who, for more than acentury, have participated in the transformation of thiscosmopolis into a political and military arm of theirrespective national government. What makes thisproblem more complicated is that pacifism, as anapparent opponent of militarism, can be a useful toolfor the Great Powers to maintain their hegemonies byopposing, under the pretext of peace, the challengers ofthe status quo, identifying their geographical locationsas "the trouble spots," and even attacking them in thename of international order and security. Whilemilitarism and pacifism remains an odd couple on theglobal stage, many of these faculty members have notbeen even pacifistic enough to be caught in this paradox.It is, of course, naïve to expect the University to bean isolated utopia. The crisis of the University is only asymptom in the larger landscape of an era in whichphilosophy, religion, politics, and the arts have losttheir strict standards—an unprecedented phenomenonexclusive to our time. Of course, disagreements andconflicts can open new ways and in the long run beproven constructive. But the present crisis is of adifferent kind. The collapsing age-old Idea of UniversalTruth (especially in the more advanced Westernsociety) is playing a pivotal role in rendering the term,University, meaningless. The withering of the universalprinciple of unification, which has pledged a significantrole for the feeling of security in the individual in theface of inevitable death, and in the human communitieson the wide and round face of the earth, is not just afascinating story for some existentialists andpoststructuralists (or late structuralists) to entertain. It isimportant to ask whether the Universal Truth was onlya useful deception in the collective unconscious ofhumanity. Has this Truth—like everything else in the