Tracing Heideggerian Philosophy in Alexander Dugin’s Fourth Political Theory
The new philosophical beginning
The dawn of the twentieth century marked itself as the significant era for the reformation of the German idealistic philosophy due to emergence of Husserlian Phenomenological School. Because in the eighteenth and nineteenth century, the German Philosophy especially the German idealism of the Hegelian version suffered major setbacks because of the rise of German materialism and Kantian metaphysics.
On the contrary, the Hegelian idealistic thought was sidelined by the philosophers of that day because across the German University campuses, Neo-Kantians and German materialists were in dominant position. However, the protest began with writings of Frederich Nietzsche, Edmund Husserl and other contemporaries, who challenged the intellectual hegemony of the Neo-Kantians across the philosophy departments of the German Universities. Basically, it was the reductive philological approach of Frederich Nietzsche and deductive approach of Edmund Husserl that paved the way for new possibilities in the German idealist philosophy.
Martin Heidegger, who was one of the Famous philosopher of the Phenomenological school surprised the German philosophical circles through his famous book “Being and Time” or ‘Sein Und Zeit’ published in 1927, when he was assistant professor at the University of Marburg. The basic philosophy of Martin Heidegger is simple that being is time, which human being to be is to exist temporally in the stretch between life and death, what he calls ‘Existential temporality’. In ‘Being and Time”, Heidegger uses the German word “Dasien” which means ‘being there’. As Heidegger writes: “This means the human being is first and foremost not an isolated subject, cut-off from the realm of the objects that it wishes to know about. We are rather beings, who are always and already in the world, outside and alongside the world from which, for most part, we do not distinguish ourselves”.
The basic question of Heidegger’s milestone philosophy was: Do we have answer to the question of the meaning of being? And do we ever feel perplexity about this question? Thus, the important task of Martin Heidegger’s ‘Being and Time” was to rediscover the perplexity of the question of ‘To be or Not to be”. Moreover, Heidegger called the answer of this perplexity as the piety of thinking that attempts to rediscover the perplexity in two broader phenomenological domains: First, we ourselves are the entities to be analyzed and second, digging the ‘mineness’ to be or not to be—the two modes of existence.
Dugin met Heidegger
In the modern times, it is Russian Philosophers and theorist, Alexander Dugin who attempted to rediscover the philosophy of Martin Heidegger to deconstruct the degenerated modernity of the Liberal west. Professor Dugin, is a pioneer of famous Russian Fourth Political Theory, whose essence is the political philosophy of Martin Heidegger.
In this regard, reading the philosophy of the Martin Heidegger is essential for understanding the philosophical foundations of Alexander Dugin’s Fourth Political theory. Basically, the philosophy of Martin Heidegger plays an important role in tracing the essence of Alexander Dugin’s political Philosophy. For Dugin, the philosophy of Martin Heidegger influenced his intellectual formation in a direct and immediate manner.
It was the Middle period of Martin Heidegger academic life, during which his primary focus was on political philosophy that influenced the intellectual fervor of Alexander Dugin. With the Nazis in power, Martin Heidegger condemned Liberalism and Communism as philosophies and his approach towards Fascism was special. He also rejected various foundations of the Nazi ideology such as racism, materialism, modernism and technology (Machenschaft). Though, he was a Nazi Ideologue but he didn’t agree with all the practices of Nazi Politics. His writings still retain a significant position in the phenomenological school of German philosophy. For Dugin, his writings contain meta-political ontological concepts and Platonic essence about which Heidegger himself was not aware, through which the foundations of the Fourth Political theory could be developed.
During the peak of the Nazi rule in Germany, Heidegger wrote some political concepts and mentioned some meta-political analogies, which he did not develop in his later writings. Basically, the end of the World War II set forth the debate of the ideological politics in the post-war period. Heidegger himself saw the destruction of the ‘Third way of Politics’ but expressed possibilities for the fourth way that might supersede the intellectual chaos created by liberalism, and communism. In the post- ideological discourse, the existence of such possibilities is indeed a blessing for the intellectual progress of mankind. The vibrant critics of Alexander Dugin deny any such possibilities and therefore, condemn the foundations of the Fourth Political theory on the baseless grounds. Such criticism might have importance, if the Nazism was still alive today.
In addition, western intellectual elites must understand the fact that the ‘Third way” has already disappeared while the First and second way are in severe decline along with their cherished modernity. In this regard, the human intellectual realm demands new philosophical possibilities, having ideological politics in the essence. For Dugin, philosophy is pregnant with politics and politics is implicit fact of the philosophy. Denying any new intellectual possibilities means limiting the philosophical horizons of human thought process. Thanks to Martin Heidegger for discovering new intellectual possibilities in his philosophy, for which he deserves respect in the contemporary philosophical discourse.
On the contrary, the fact cannot be denied that during Nazi rule Martin Heidegger developed a special relation between politics and Philosophy, which later became the cornerstone of the Fourth Political theory. In addition, the philosophy of Martin Heidegger destroyed the western intellectual tradition by replacing ‘subject’ with the German term ‘Dasien’ which means Being-in-the-world.
Fourth Political Theory and Heideggerianism
Since 1930s, Heideggerian philosophy has been neglected by stereotyping his ideological allegiances with the Nazi Party. But, it is a vivid fact that, the politico-cultural aspect of the Heideggerian philosophy has never been consulted. It was Russian philosopher Alexander Dugin, who first discovered the politico-cultural rupture in the Heideggerian philosophy and used his hidden ideas to develop his Fourth Political theory.
In contrast, the politico-philosophical project in the Heideggerian philosophy is ontological and need to be studied in order to deconstruct the discourse of the western modernity. Furthermore, his philosophy contains the elements of the repulsive politics, which is ordained with meta-political concepts. And, it is through these hidden meta-political concepts, Alexander Dugin explained the degeneracy of the present age, which will be soon replaced by the glorious age—this new age will be a palingenesis—a rebirth—for humanity.
In the latter context, Alexander Dugin is the only contemporary philosopher, who re-invented these hidden concepts of Heideggerian philosophy and deserves credit for discovering new ontological possibilities. Although, in France, his philosophy was interpreted in the existential context by the famous philosophers of that time but his ontological genesis was widely neglected because of Heidegger’s allegiance with the Nazi ideology. Moreover, the whole philosophical and ideological foundations of the Fourth Political Theory were deduced from the Heideggerian philosophy, which is beyond the domain of left and right.
However, the philosophical writings of Martin Heidegger are also famous for aphorisms and metonymies. For instance, the German term ‘Volk” or people, Heidegger used this word to bridge the ontological relations between politics and philosophy. Moreover, the term ‘Volk’ also raises the question of being or existence, which frames itself on the premise: Who are we? It is therefore a clear fact that Nazi regime has misinterpreted the philosophical essence of ‘Volk’ because essentially, it does not identify racial category rather it signifies philosophical and ontological discourse. Hence, the whole political philosophy of Martin Heidegger should be studied on the ontological and grounds by detaching his met-political concepts from the Nazi racialism.
For Dugin, the Heideggerian philosophy is not reducible to Nazism, because the philosophy of Martin Heidegger brings to light the suppressed possibilities to invent new political pathways. Likewise, the whole philosophical and politico-theoretical domain of Dugin’s philosophy is rooted in Heideggerianism. In this regard, professor Dugin deserves the credit of being the contemporary Heideggerian philosopher and his Fourth Political Theory should be studied parallel with the Heideggerian political ontology.
In addition, Martin Heidegger attempted to radicalize the phenomenology and for Heidegger, phenomenology has contributed in three major intellectual discoveries: Intentionality, categorical intuition and the apriori. These three intellectual innovations had restructured the idealistic German philosophy in the beginning of the twentieth century in both political and philosophical domain. On the contrary, Heidegger criticized his phenomenologist contemporaries for becoming too dogmatic, because they were indulged with simple phenomenological analysis instead of using the proper examination of the priori.
In this regard, Dugin as a contemporary Heideggerian also radicalized the ideological and philosophical discourse with his criticism of the modernist ideologies such as fascism, communism and liberalism. For Dugin, the twenty-first century should not be indulged in liberal game rather it should be determined by a leap of faith into unknown (the context of Kierkegaard) by discovering new political ideology—what Dugin calls the absolute beginning. Therefore, the destruction of western liberalism should be carried out through post-modern Fourth Political Theory.
As an illustration, in the discourse of the Fourth Political Theory, the political philosophy of Alexander Dugin cannot be understood without studying the political philosophy of Martin Heidegger. Moreover, with destruction of the Third Way of politics, Alexander Dugin also rejected the existing modernist ideologies of liberalism and communism.
For Dugin, the degenerated form Liberalism ought to be fought with the weapon of Post-modern Fourth Political Theory. In addition, the whole base of the Fourth Political Theory contains some strong concepts such as ideocracy and historiosophy. Whereas, the whole premise of ideocracy stresses on the fact that government and society shall be ruled by dominant ideology while the word Historiosophy means the history of civilizations shall be studied through philosophy. Moreover, Dugin’s Fourth Political Theory has indeed given birth to a ‘New Right’, which is centered on the discourse of identitarian politics.