“To think : a path to a transcendental in-between”From psychotherapy to Daseinsanalyse

Conférence Budapest – Septembre 2007
Congrès international de Daseinsanalyse
“To think : a path to a transcendental in-between”
 From psychotherapy to Daseinsanalyse

Dear Colleagues,

It’s always a pleasure to share with you a “glance of understanding” tearing off the every day’s woof. I would like to stress today the importance of “to think” in the field of psychotherapy in general and especially in Daseinsanalyse.

In the “Abendgespräch”, Heidegger points out that the thought needs “a waiting area”, the ability of waiting. Usually, we expect a waiting’s object. We are waiting for something. That’s not what Heidegger talks about! What he is experiencing requires a very subtle intuition. I dare to say an eastern way of being. In fact, by waiting, Heidegger means to be open, to be receptive and to be able to maintain yourself in a kind of empty mind. Could this represent “epoch”?  

To be in a state of waiting, you have to be able to listen, without intentionality, to the formless vibration of the world which connotes nothing… No expectations… Just to be there, open to a formless vibration till something happened. The inquiry into the meaning of thinking which leads us sooner or later to the unfolding of the mystery of Being will become an inquiry into the experiencing of Nothing in contrast to the nothingness or nihilism. To think subsumes a faculty to dwell what Heidegger names “Clearing”, “Being”, “Nothing”, “Unconcealedness”, “the Open”… Is that a truth or just a belief? How can this complex, involved notion unfold his essence?      

For sure! Such a manner to deepen the thought is completely obsolete nowadays. Our era favors about others a compulsive behaviour tense by pursuit of profit, celebrity, power… No place, no time for meditation, emptiness. No place, no time anymore to think, more than ever, when you become aware that “to think” means to experience the groundless of life. Indeed, what I ponder as a thought has to remain formless even though it needs a kind of formness : an edge which not becomes a border. The thought edges one’s way through the human’s downfall or doom without let a visible way, just a path like that one sketched by the water in the sand. The premise of thinking is to abide the abyss of human life till some ephemeral ground is growing up. That’s the first lineaments of thought.

Great thoughts like those of Tchouang-Tseu, Master Eckhart or Heidegger penetrate the non-dual vision of the world and have to transcend cultural items.  They don’t rise above all as a truth that you have to learn and memory but whisper a silent invitation to think on your own: meditate the twists and turns of human awareness which can fold or unfold what we could call the ontological crease which manifests the impossible suture between “beings” and Being, between “yu” and “wu” or “phenomenon” and the “open horizon” where nothing yet appears.

This meditation implies “Gelassenheit”, a metamorphosis of time and space, a metamorphosis of your relationship to beings. Neither rational, nor irrational, to think underlies an in-between that a Japanese word “soku”, used by Nishida, could grasp. Soku means in the same time is/is not and tries to signify how two disagreeing notions can tally with each other in a harmonious strain to open a fundamental field of intelligibility.

Fundamental thoughts reach a transcendental in-between: the one who unearths the possibility for human beings to be connected to the ultimate strangeness: the endless infinite. As much paradoxical it could be, to think has to scour the logical cogency which has the tendency to overwhelm our ability to signify. To think doesn’t confine us in a pre-determinate semantic world but interlaces tireless a link with our boundless feelings and a critical perusal of the essential philosophers. Far from any causal explanation or thought a new language emerges which attunes the listening of the world’s vibration, its understanding and its incarnation in a word. That’s “precensing” – to come into presence – which never excludes absence. Presence soku absence. Presence is / is not absence.

I name trans-concept a witness of this paradoxical phenomenon. Everybody knows the meaning of a concept: the construction of a word or any project which signifies and fulfils a feeling, an intuition or an idea. A trans-concept is a word that we can understand although he never unfolds his meaning, a word which conceals more that unveils. To be in a state of understanding doesn’t mean understand in terms of “possess the truth.” The trans-concept shelters great thoughts and calls us on meditation because instead of sense and intelligibility, it rips up our self-worship or arrogance. Several of them change the way of my life: “Tao” (Lao-Tseu, Lie-Tseu,…) ; “Transpassibilité” (Maldiney) ; “Basho” (Nishida) ; “ Khôra”  (Plato) but, in fact, all of them were request to deepen the one of Heidegger: “Seyn” which declensions could be “Da-sein” and “Ereignis”.


I would like to add that the turn (Kehre) which happens very early in Heidegger’s thought could be a sign of the mutation of “Concept” in “trans-concept” or in other words that Heidegger as Lao-Tseu, Nishida, Rilke, Hölderlin, … had reached this fundamental in-between.

More that something reached, it is an encounter. Everyone who encounters “the Open” becomes aware of the language’s “Versagen”: the impossibility to put into words the peculiar relationship between human beings and “being”, “sunyata”, “clearing”, “pure experience”… That’s the reason why we can read some enigmatic sentences as “The path is the path and if it is the path, it is not the path”Lao-Tseu or “Being: Nothing: Same” Heidegger ; “Being is nothing, nothing is being” Nishida, “What gives things their thingness is not itself a thing” Tchouang-Tseu. Such propositions are rejected as non-sense by too rational thoughts as Carnap’s one. “Denken” is not grasped anymore as a lock up of any phenomenon into the realm of the beings calculable and analysable but becomes a Danken, a capacity to welcome what’s appearing, to be receptive, open to the phenomenon : maintain the appropriation of our “Being-together”. Neither rational, nor irrational, it implies an unravelling of your sense which obstructs often the phenomenon. Could we consider such an opening as a transcultural existential in-between, as an event that could gather all human beings on this globe… or just as an elitist intuition, an esoteric feeling ?

For me, it becomes the keystone of Daseinanalyse, what draws the distinction between therapy and Daseinsanalyse. A Daseinsanalyst doesn’t reduce “Dasein” to a being among beings; furthermore, he doesn’t reduce “Dasein” to a definition of “Dasein” that he could read in a book or grasp in a conference. No ! He has to open himself, meditates his ability to “Empfinden das Zwischen” where Dasein, World, thing and transcendence pass for each other (Durchgehen). This in-between is the fundamental non-geographic place where in the same time “difference” and “unity” are coming together into presence, where, while beings appears, nothing remains, nothing as possible. To think as to path this openness allows human beings to become human beings. Da-sein appears. We become aware that we are not superior but responsible; we become aware that our ground soku – is/is not “Abgrund”. We become humble even if we are feeling in our finitude the flagrance of infinite.
To be Daseinsanalyst is for me a incredible path since 25 years which opens me the most unbelievable event : to encounter the otherness in the unfolding silence of myself.