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Heideggers Shepherd of Being and

Nietzsches Satyr

Ron Broglio

One skill is needed - lost today, unfortunately - for the practice of reading
as an art: the skill to ruminate, which cows possess but modern man
lacks. This is why my writings will, for some time yet, remain difficult to
1. Fredrick digest.1
Nietzsche, The
Birth of Tragedy
and The Genealogy In 1936 Heidegger began what would become a decade long series of
of Morals, Francis
Golffing (trans), seminars and lectures on Nietzsche. David Ferrell Krell goes so far as to say
Garden City, New that Nietzsches impact on Heideggers thought is second to none.2 In the
York, Doubleday
Anchor Books, 1956, preface to his edited four volumes of seminars entitled Nietzsche, Heidegger
p157. Subsequent explains that the lectures in these volumes provide a view of the path of
references cited in
the text as BofT. thought I followed from 1930 to the Letter on Humanism (1947).3 The
influence of the Nietzsche lectures reaches even further since Letter on
2. David Farrell Humanism initiates a series of questions on technology, dwelling, and the call
Krell, Intimations
of Mortality: Time, to thinking in the wake of metaphysics. While the lectures reveal Heideggers
Truth, and Finitude in path they also give the contemporary reader a reflection on roads not chosen.
Heideggers Thinking
of Being, University Heideggers selection from Nietzsche, as well as his method of reading, tells us
Park, Pennsylvania more about Heidegger than Nietzsche. For example, while Nietzsche is often
State University
Press, 1986, p136. concerned with the human body, its physiological functions and its animal
nature, Heidegger curiously omits Nietzsches thought concerning the issue
3. Martin Heidegger, of mans kinship with other animals.4 The lacuna suggests Heideggers own
Nietzsche, Vol.
1, David Farrell intentions, as well as crucial moments where he remains uncomfortable with
Krell (trans), San
Nietzsches philosophy as it vitally engages with issues of the human animal.
Francisco, Harper
San Francisco, 1979, At the intersection between mans animal body and thinking, Heidegger and
pxl. Subsequent
references cited in
Nietzsche differ decidedly.
the text as Nietzsche. This essay will focus on Nietzsches satyr and Heideggers shepherd of
being as representative figures for each philosopher and also of the differences
4. Rodolphe Gasch,
Ecce Homo or the
between them. Implicit within this discussion is the way that the satyr and
Written Body in shepherd echo current issues for animal studies as it thinks through the
Laurence A. Rickels
(ed), Looking After
relationship between man and animals and our own human animal being.
Nietzsche, Albany, Indeed, scholars engaged in such study cannot help but ask to what degree
State University
of New York, they are shepherding the animals about which they write, and also to what
1990, pp113- extent they are in implicated in animality. To forecast the argument of this
136. Subsequent
references cited in essay, the satyr as both animal and man grapples with the tensions in this
the text as EHorWB. double way of being which is intimately woven into Nietzsches ontology. In
contrast, the shepherd keeps the animals, including his own animal nature, at
a distance as something to be herded or managed. Scholars working in animal
studies have a similar task of recognising the ground from which they write - be

124 New Formations

it the intimate animality indicative of the satyr, or the distance or obfuscation
of ones animal nature as figured by the shepherd. To be a bit more forceful
in this claim, I have ventured from the ontology implicit in the satyr and the
shepherd to the means by which they stage their eating, and I have equated
eating, consumption, and incorporation with epistemology. The problem of
the satyr is how he incorporates, makes singular and whole, his divided body
(corpus). The satyrs Dionysian feast is a frenzy of destruction that doubles the
fragmented nature of his own being. His eating and his epistemological ability
to know or make sense of his self and his world remains as fragmented as his
human-animal nature. In contrast, Heideggers shepherd of being knows and
manages his flock, but his eating (what Derrida calls his bien manger) is never
explicitly discussed. The shepherd is stuck between his managing and eating,
or between manage and manger. We know that the shepherd will take his sheep
to the butcher but how the cutting up and eating (or epistemologically, how
the divisions leading toward knowledge) take place gets averted.
For both Nietzsche and Heidegger, the relationship between animals and
thought starts with the issue of digestion: eating as knowing and eating as
incorporation. The connections between eating and knowing are extensive
and both philosophers make use of them in different ways. Eating means
taking the other from outside and possessing it and taking it in until there
is no difference or distinction between self and other as the food is digested.
Epistemologically, eating becomes a way of thinking about the outside or
unknown in thought. How can the unknown ever be known except by making
it like the self, the known? In other words, to know is to digest and incorporate
the other. Yet, as is quite obvious in this extended metaphor, knowledge and
eating entail violence to the other. Derrida addresses these same issues when
posed with the question of who comes after the subject? He works through
the problem of the who by considering its relations to the outside and the
fundamental question of eating and the feast:

The question is no longer one of knowing if it is good to eat the other

or if the other is good to eat, nor of knowing which other. One eats him
regardless and lets oneself be eaten by him The moral question is thus
not, nor has it ever been: should one eat or not, eat this and not that
but since one must eat in any case and since it is and tastes good to eat, and
since theres no other definition of the good (du bien), how for goodness
sake should one eat well (bien manger)?5 5. Jacques Derrida,
Eating Well, or
the Calculation
The question becomes how then are we to manage eating well (bien manger) of the Subject:
and who is this I who manages or regulates eating. For Heidegger, the An Interview with
Jacques Derrida, in
shepherd manages that which he eats (mangez) while for Nietzsche the satyrs Who Comes After the
Subject?, Eduardo
self-management coincides with his eating (manger). In anticipation of the Cadava, Peter
contrast between Heidegger and Nietzsche, several options become evident. Connor, Jean-Luc
Nancy (eds), New
One may keep food - intellectual or material - at a distance, deferred and York, Routledge,
with elaborate preparation. It may be something we point at and name, such 1991, pp114-115.

Heideggers Shepherd of Being and Nietzsches Satyr 125

as the animal, something (in Heideggerian fashion) that remains poor in
world [weltarm] whose animal world is cut out and overcooked to be eaten.
Or it may be that food functions as that which draws us near to things - as
Heidegger longs for at the opening of his 1949 essay The Thing in which
despite all conquest of distance [through technology] the nearness of things
6. Martin Heidegger, remains absent.6 Such a drawing near would perhaps look less Heideggerian
The Thing, in
Poetry, Language, (with his meditation on techne) and more like something out of Nietzsches
Thought, New York, The Birth of Tragedy turned cookbook. That is, we may learn to draw near via
Harper and Row,
1971, pp165-166. Dionysus and his grapes rather than the shepherd and his crook. The very
identity of Dionysus centres around consumption. He is the god of wine and,
in areas of Greece where he is said to be the first to tame bulls, he is a god of
agriculture. According to Greek rites around Dionysus (which Nietzsche uses
to his own ends), his revellers crush and imbibe grapes in an intoxicating
feast. They rend the flesh of animals - usually a goat or bull and in some
rare instances humans as well - and eat their flesh and drink their blood
believing it to be the body and blood of Dionysus himself who at times takes
on animal form. By drinking the wine and blood and eating the flesh, the
revellers exceed the mundane world and learn from their god who emulates
7. James George the intoxicating fruits in his own immolation.7 The rest of this essay will
Frazer, The Golden
Bough, Oxford, consider who manages or regulates eating well as evident in Nietzsches The
Oxford University Birth of Tragedy and Heideggers Letter on Humanism.
Press, 1998, pp396-
401. At the very beginning of his lectures on Nietzsche, Heidegger offers his
students a provocative fragment from Nietzsche: For many, abstract thinking
is a toil; for me, on good days it is feast and frenzy the feast implies:
pride, exuberance, frivolity; mockery of all earnestness and respectability;
a divine affirmation of oneself, out of animal plenitude and perfection - all
obvious states to which the Christian may not honestly say Yes (Nietzsche
p5). One can imagine the thrill of a student attending such lectures and
the possibilities opened by such a rich and dense passage. But in typical
fashion, Heidegger withdraws the pleasure of the feast and the thrills and
expectations for the students by proceeding to explain that Feasts require
long and painstaking preparation. This semester we want to prepare ourselves
for the feast, even if we do not make it as far as the celebration, even if we
only catch a glimpse of the preliminary festivities at the feast of thinking -
experiencing what meditative thought is and what it means to be at home in
genuine questioning (Nietzsche p5). Heidegger withdraws the feast, its food,
and the animal plenitude and perfection which is part of the joy of eating.
He substitutes painstaking preparation toward catching a glimpse of the
feast of thinking - experiencing what meditative thought is. The feast with
its animal plenitude becomes the feast of thinking which is meditative rather
than frenzied and removed and abstracted from, rather than replete with,
corporeality. Heidegger offers a future feast but one that never arrives; his
feast is always promised but upon approach the eating is deferred indefinitely
across a decade of seminars and their published form in the four volumes
entitled Nietzsche. He never gets to the body of thought and thought on the

126 New Formations

body. At the same time that Heidegger, at the outset, projects a particular
future, he appears nostalgic for a past found in Nietzsche, a moment before
the wake of metaphysics. At the close of this essay, I will return to this issue
of nostalgia. Heideggers shepherd is part of an idealised agrarian past and
alludes to Platos shepherd in The Statesman in which leaders of the polis herd
both animals and men. For now it is worth noting that the projection both
forward and backward in time - deferral without arrival and belatedness -
takes place around the feast and eating.
As quoted by Heidegger, Nietzsches passage on thinking as feast and
frenzy brings together bodily incorporation and knowledge. The quotation
displays eating and knowing as an ecstasy and violence reminiscent of the
Dionysian festivals in Nietzsches early work The Birth of Tragedy. What is at
issue in knowledge and incorporation, and knowledge as incorporation, is the
problem of how the outside finds its way into the privileged interiority of the
human subject. Furthermore, and as Nietzsche will ask, how is this knowledge
not only a mental acquisition but also a bodily functioning dependent upon
Nietzsche opens The Birth of Tragedy by examining the origin of tragic
drama for the Greeks. He situates tragic dramas birth in the chorus which he
aligns with the figure of the satyr, friend of Dionysus. Contemporary scholars
of Greek drama believe Nietzsche was essentially correct in this point. The
tragic chorus derived from the non-individuated mass of revellers, the satyr-
chorus of Dionysian worshippers, who exhibited passion and sexual energy in
ritual celebrations.8 Dionysian revellers undergo aboulic transports to become 8. Lawrence J.
Hatab, Human-
like the half-man and half-animal satyr. Such transformation annihilates the Animality in
individuals and opens them to an abyss between ecstatic truth experienced Nietzsche, in
Christa Davids
in the rituals and their mundane realities. For Nietzsche, the satyr, as a Acompora and
divided creature between man and beast and standing between nature and Ralph R. Acampora
(eds), A Nietzsche
culture, is an important figure for expounding on the relation between art Bestiary, Oxford,
and truth in The Birth of Tragedy. As Lawrence Hatab summarises this: The Rowmand &
Littlefield, 2004,
phenomenon of drama (literally, an action) and dramatic impersonation pp211-219.
are born in the mimetic enchantment of Dionysian enthusiasts who identify
with the satyr celebrants of the god who have identified with Dionysus through
ecstatic transformation (BT p8). So for Nietzsche, tragedy begins with the
satyr, representing a Dionysian experience of exuberant life force beneath the
Apollonian veil of civilization (BT p7).9 As the tragic chorus borrows from 9. Ibid., p213.
the ritual dithyramb, it takes with it the sense of vision, revelry, energy and
transformation. Consequently, Dionysus and the satyr serve as the figure for
how art functions through illusion, force, and transports.
Nietzsche asserts the vitality of the satyr at the expense of what he considers
the modern representative of art, the shepherd as tricked up dandy:

The satyr and the idyllic shepherd of later times have both been products
of a desire for naturalness and simplicity. But how firmly the Greek
shaped his wood sprite, and how self-consciously and mawkishly the

Heideggers Shepherd of Being and Nietzsches Satyr 127

modern dallies with his tender, fluting shepherd! the satyr was mans
true prototype, an expression of his highest and strongest aspirations.
He was an enthusiastic reveller, filled with transport by the approach of
the god The satyr was sublime and divine - so he must have looked
to the traumatically wounded vision of Dionysiac man. Our tricked-out,
contrived shepherd would have offended him, but his eyes rested with
sublime satisfaction on the open, undistorted limnings of nature. Here
the archetypal man was cleansed of the illusion of culture Even as
tragedy, with its metaphysical solace, points to the eternity of true being
surviving every phenomenal change, so does the symbolism of the satyr
chorus express analogically the primordial relation between the thing
in itself and appearance. The idyllic shepherd of modern man is but a
replica of the sum of cultural illusions which he mistakes for nature. The
Dionysiac Greek, desiring truth and nature at their highest power, sees
himself metamorphosed into the satyr (BofT pp52-53).

Unlike the shepherd, the satyr instantiates the relationship between the thing
in itself and appearance because of his own divided nature which is not drawn
over by a false sense of unity. In like manner, the satyr chorus functions not
as individuals but as an ecstatic multitude which learns, from the divided
nature of the satyr, to express its own relationship between the appearance
of individuation in the quotidian world and the thing-in-itself. As we shall
see, for Nietzsche, questions of management, feasting, and knowledge centre
around this abyss or caesura within the satyr and within the human.
Turning to Heidegger provides an instructive difference. It is curious
that just after his lectures on Nietzsche, in Letter on Humanism, Heidegger
situates man as the idyllic shepherd of Being:

Man does not decide whether and how beings appear, whether and how
God and the gods or history and nature come forward into the clearing of
Being, come to presence and depart But for man it is ever a question
of finding what is fitting in his essence that corresponds to such destiny;
for in accord with this destiny man as ek-sisting has to guard the truth of
10. Martin Being. Man is the shepherd of Being.10
Heidegger, Letter
on Humanism,
Basic Writings, If the Nietzsche lectures provide a glimpse of the path of thought which
David Farrell Krell
(trans), New York, I followed between 1930 and the Letter on Humanism, then it is worth
HarperCollins, examining why Heidegger chose the figure of the shepherd in the shadow of
1993, p234.
Subsequent Nietzsches Dionysus and, by extension, the gods friend the satyr.
references cited in The contrast between Heidegger and Nietzsche is evident in how the
the text as LonH.
shepherd and satyr manage their flocks. Both rend the flesh of animals, but
for the shepherd shearing and slaughter happen off stage and out of sight.
Such omission serves as a tellingly discarded part of Heideggers metaphor
and path of thinking. The offstage killing contrasts with Dionysus and the
satyr, both of whom embody a reflexive act of self-division even as they divide

128 New Formations

up the other, the grape, the animal, the eatable. In Heideggers shepherd
there is a distance between the human and the animal and the humans own
animality. For Heidegger, man cuts himself off from his animal nature, but
he does so only to tend to the open and let beings be as such. This is the
primary function of the shepherd of being as one who cares. In this passage
from Letter on Humanism, Heidegger refers his readers to Da-sein and care
in Being and Time to support his notion of shepherding. In section forty-four
of Being and Time Heidegger explains that Da-sein is always already ahead
of itself since it is able to think its own future and being toward death.11 11. Martin
Heidegger, Being
Da-sein, then, in its very structure is concerned about the potentiality-for- and Time, Joan
being of its own being. Such concern for what is not, but could be, is the care Stambaugh (trans),
Albany, State
which allows Da-sein to shepherd beings. The shepherd gathers and discloses University of New
beings: as long as there is an understanding of being [the shepherds role] York Press, 1996,
and thus an understanding of objective presence, we can say that then beings
will still continue to be.12 This role of shepherding becomes formative for 12. Ibid., p196.
Heideggers later writing - in Building, Dwelling, Thinking, for example - in
which mortals bring together the fourfold: that is they shepherd the earth,
sky, divinity, and mortals.
Concerned about the anthropocentrism in his thinking, Heidegger
attempts to alleviate the centrality of the human through the call that comes
from outside: For man becomes truly free only insofar as he belongs to the
realm of destining and so becomes one who listens, though not one who simply
obeys.13 In Letter on Humanism this call is characterised as Man does not 13. Martin
decide whether and how beings appear. Yet within the same passage man is The Question
situated as the shepherd. It seems that man is destined to be the shepherd Concerning
of being and as such is elevated above animals and his own animality. Just Basic Writings,
prior to the shepherd passage, Heidegger goes somewhat out of his way to David Farrell Krell
(trans), New York,
make the division between the shepherd and other animals quite clear - and HarperCollins,
so to separate himself from a figure such as the satyr which is immersed in 1993, p330.

animality as a being among other beings:

Of all the beings that are, presumably the most difficult to think about are
living creatures, because on the one hand they are in a certain way most
closely akin to us, and on the other are at the same time separated from
our ek-sistent essence by an abyss. However, it might also seem as though
the essence of divinity is closer to us than what is so alien in other living
creatures, closer, namely, in an essential distance which, however distant,
is nonetheless more familiar to our ek-sistent essence than is our scarcely
conceivable, abysmal bodily kinship with the beast (LonH p230).

That which is outside, the animal, is produced by the exclusion of the inside
of man, our animal nature and abysmal bodily kinship with the beast. It is
in this caesura that the satyr is most at home, and it is this that creates a
fundamental difference between Nietzsche and Heidegger.
Heidegger calls Nietzsche the last metaphysician since Nietzsche remains

Heideggers Shepherd of Being and Nietzsches Satyr 129

concerned with the problem of beings rather than the question of being. The
former problem is, for Heidegger, the guiding question which should lead
to the latter. But the latter - a problem unthinkable within metaphysics - is
the grounding question because it is this question which authorizes all further
thinking, and is the central question pursued throughout Heideggers work.
For Heidegger, being conceals itself and, as it remains concealed, the history
of philosophy has forgotten being in its pre-occupation with beings. Such
a distinction between beings and being becomes manifest in the contrast
between satyr and shepherd, each of which manages the abysmal bodily
kinship to the beast very differently. For Heidegger, maintaining kinship
with brutes misses the unique essence of man:

Are we really on the right track toward the essence of man as long as we set
him off as one living creature among others in contrast to plants, beasts,
and God? We will thereby always be able to state something correct
about man. But we must be clear on this point, that when we do this we
abandon man to the essential realm of animalitas even if we do not equate
him with beasts but attribute a specific difference to him (LonH p225).

To think of man as animal, even animal rationale, is to miss the unique essence,
the particular calling, of man. Our role, according to Heidegger, is one of
uprightness which no other creature possesses: living creatures [other than
man] are as they are without standing outside their Being as such and within
the truth of Being (LonH p229). Humans are then out-standing, and in their
verticality they are able to get outside of their own being (or stand out) to
contemplate the question of being as well as shepherding other beings. In
contrast, caught within the series of relations that is their Umwelt, animals
14. Jakob von simply cant get outside their surroundings to have a look around.14
Uexkll, A stroll
through the world
Nietzsche and his satyr explore the problem of beings and being
of animals and differently. Far from the animal rationale, the satyrs divided nature echoes
men : a picture
book of invisible mans own division between a kinship with the beast and human uprightness.
worlds, in Claire Yet, unlike Heideggers shepherd, for whom the division remains outside of
H. Schiller (ed) and
D.J. Kuenen (trans), man and initiated by a call or destiny, for Nietzsche the satyr carries the split
Instinctive behavior: within himself, and it is this intimate caesura which creates the satyrs unique
the development of a
modern concept, New state. This split functions as the very centre from which Dionysian revellers
York, International admire and emulate the satyr. Furthermore, it anticipates the splitting open
Universities Press,
1957, pp5-80. that remains the fate of their god. Rather than an outside calling - a call that
Also see Giorgio
Agamben, The Other:
shepherds the shepherd and allows the shepherd to manage a distance from
Man and Animal, his flock - for Nietzsche the very relations within ourselves, our animality,
Stanford, CA,
Stanford University introduce a novel ontology and epistemology. Giorgio Agambens The Open
Press, 2004, pp52- serves as an extended meditation on this intimate caesura:

The division of life into vegetal and relational, organic and animal,
animal and human, therefore passes first of all as a mobile border within
living man, and without this intimate caesura the very decision of what

130 New Formations

is human and what is not would probably not be possible. It is possible
to oppose man to other living things, and at the same time to organize
the complex - and not always edifying - economy of relations between
men and animals, only because something like an animal life has been
separated within man, only because his distance and proximity to the
animal have been measured and recognized first of all in the closest and
most intimate place.15 15. Agamben, ibid.,

The split within man, the mobile border [living] within living man, opens
up both man and beast, as well as man as beast, to a unique mode of thinking
and knowing. Knowledge, including self-knowledge, occurs as the inside
or privileged interiority of the human become divided and opened. Such
an opening moves the interior and its depths into a surface for examination
and consumption. The split exposes the inside as another outside, a surface
for study. The split operates as a different sort of opening than Heideggers
notion of the open as a sphere outside which is managed by the shepherd.
The constitution of the who (which comes after the subject) ruptures in
this epistemology of epistemology.
Having laid out differences in the cut or opening and its relationship to
being and beings, we can return to an issue introduced earlier in this essay,
the concern for who manages consumption, as well as management as a sort
of eating (manger). For Nietzsche, the rending of flesh in Dionysian transports
simply doubles the space of the caesura and the abysmal bodily kinship with
the beast. Cutting the flesh of animals, turning their insides out, repeats a
division felt by the Dionysian revellers metamorphosed into satyrs. Making
the animal into only a surface, flesh exposed and feasted upon - visible and
knowable - happens not because the animal is poor in world (as Heidegger
claims in The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics) but rather the feasting
happens because it allows those eating to recognise their own bestial nature
and the nature of Dionysus, their friend who will be rent asunder.16 The 16. Martin
Heidegger, The
surfaces in the feast and frenzy reveal nothing behind them, no privileged Fundamental Concepts
interiority of the human. Instead there are only more and other surfaces - a of Metaphysics:
World, Finitude,
play of material appearances which concurs with Dionysus as the master Solitude, New York,
illusionist and artist in The Birth of Tragedy. Doubleday, 1961,
Surface and appearance perform an important role in The Birth of
Tragedy. It is the veil of appearance which allows the Greeks their pessimism
of strength; it permits them the strength to look into the abyss and forge
tragic drama despite the darkness of a life without a transcendental truth
or meaning (BofT p4). For Nietzsche, the strength of the Greeks comes from
the power of surfaces, with their sensuousness and illusions, by which they
are able to face the abyss and produce meaning in confrontation with the
abysmal. Appearance rather than transcendent truth becomes the means
of knowing the state of affairs in the world: For both art and life depend
wholly on the laws of optics, on perspective and illusion; both, to be blunt,
depend on the necessity of error (BofT p10). The god Dionysus offers the

Heideggers Shepherd of Being and Nietzsches Satyr 131

play of surfaces as veils for further production of appearances. In The Birth
of Tragedy Dionysuss art is opposed by its opposite, Apollos realm of truth,
light, and reason. However there remains an asymmetry to the dialectic
since illusion authorises and legitimises its opposite, Apollonian light and
truth. Furthermore, Nietzsche suggests that Apollos light is merely illusion
in disguise. Appearances allow Nietzsche a means of overturning Platonism.
Indeed, even as early as The Birth of Tragedy, it is Socrates who stands out
as the real counter to Dionysus. Nietzsche inverts Platonism by positing
appearance as more true and more real than the eternal essences and forms.
As Will McNeill explains in his important analysis of Heideggers Nietzsche,
the sensuous becomes the true and the suprasensuous idea is merely the
17. Will McNeill, apparent.17 In his late work Twilight of the Idols (1895), Nietzsche returns
Traces of
to the problem of appearances authorising the known world, but finds
Heidegger- that even the stability of the sensuous must give way. It is important that
Nietzsche, in Peter
R. Sedgwick (ed) Nietzsche not simply invert Platonism, since to stand Platonism on its head
Nietzsche: A Critical would simply maintain a metaphysical order. The only difference would be
Reader, Oxford,
Blackwell Publishers, that the inversion would place material objects in the world as true and
1995, p189. ideal forms as illusions. Nietzsche finds a means of twisting free from this
polarity. As Heidegger explains in his lectures, Nietzsche accomplishes this
18. Fredrick exit from the polarity in How the true world finally became a fable. 18
Nietzsche, Twilight
of the Idols, Duncan
The twisting free comes when Nietzsche asserts that The real world - we
Large (trans), have done away with it: what world was left? the apparent one, perhaps?
Oxford, Oxford
University Press, . . . But no! with the real world we have also done away with the apparent
1998 p20. Also see one!.19 The world is a continual series of appearances which flash before
McNeil, op. cit.,
p191. us in an ongoing becoming. Yet, in order to capture this becoming we give
it a sense of being. Nevertheless, the being of that which appears to be is
19. Ibid., p20. itself mere appearance and illusion. The true is no longer what is, but rather
unfettered becoming (Nietzsche pp213-218).
At this point, Heidegger subsumes Nietzsches thinking under the
guiding question regarding beings rather than the grounding question which
addresses the truth of being. McNeill summarises Heideggers argument as
follows: That which now is, the sensuous in its coming-into-appearance, is
still understood by Nietzsche as that which truly is; being as expressed in
the is continues to be understood implicitly as truth, and such being as
truth remains entangled in a Platonic conception of [aletheia, truth;
unconcealment], a conception in which is drawn into a [logos]
20. McNeil, op. cit., of [omoiwsis, the good and upright].20 Heidegger finds in Nietzsche
an appeal to truth, the truth of illusions, and the truth of beings in their
becoming. Heidegger has effectively herded Nietzsche into the sheepfold
of metaphysics, even if he is the last to enter the fold and lingers at the gate
to escape.
In Interpreting Signatures (Nietzsche/Heidegger): Two Questions,
Jacques Derrida takes on Heideggers tendency to unify Nietzsches thinking
under the name Nietzsche as the singular and final philosopher of Western

132 New Formations

For Heidegger, his naming takes place only once, even if the place of this
event retains the appearance of a borderline, from which one can get a
look at both sides at once, at the summit of Western metaphysics, which
is gathered together under this name.

But who ever has said that a person bears a single name? Certainly not
Nietzsche. And likewise, who has said or decided that there is something
like a Western metaphysics, something which would be capable of being
gathered up under this name and this name only? What is it - the oneness
of a name, the assembled unity of Western metaphysics? Is it anything
more or less than the desire (a word effaced in Heideggers Nietzsche
citation) for a proper name, for a single, unique name and a thinkable
genealogy? Next to Kierkegaard, was not Nietzsche one of the few great
thinkers who multiplied his names and played with signatures, identities,
and masks? Who named himself more than once, with several names?
And what if that would be the heart of the matter, the causa, the Streitfall
(point of dispute) of his thinking?21 21. Jacques Derrida,
Nietzsche himself never claims to bear a single name. For example, in an (Nietzsche/
Heidegger): Two
attempt to exorcise Wagner from his early work The Birth of Tragedy, Nietzsche Questions, in
writes, In all psychologically decisive places I alone am discussed - and one Laurence A. Rickels
(ed), Looking After
need not hesitate to put down my name or the word Zarathustra where the Nietzsche, Albany,
State University of
text has the word Wagner.22 He uses a variety of masks and appropriates the New York, 1990,
persona of other thinkers where he finds them most useful, and sometimes pp11-12.
uses their names, while at other times substituting his own, thus disseminating
22. Fredrick
his body and body of thought across the pages of various others works. As
Nietzsche, On the
lover of Dionysus and friend of the satyr, Nietzsche proliferates appearances Genealogy of Morals
and Ecce Homo,
and illusions. Why then would it be any different for the name Nietzsche or Walter Kaufmann
for his thinking? David Farrell Krell points out that instead of illuminating (ed), New York,
Vintage Books, 1989,
Nietzsche, [t]he unities of Heideggers Nietzsche and of metaphysics as such p274. Here and in
prove to be indissociable from the unity of Heideggers own Denkweg [path the discussion that
follows regarding
of thinking], and for much longer than a brief moment.23 Nietzsches body,
Heidegger consumes Nietzsche and his works under a singular name. While I am indebted to
Gaschs essay cited
he has cut up Nietzsche and his writings and reassembled them into a unity, earlier.
the singular Nietzsche does not seem to hold together. As the shepherd of
being gathers his flock, Heidegger omits the unsightliness of the consumption. 23. David Farrell
Krell, Infectious
Indeed, it would be a bit rude to make visible how Heideggers Nietzsche is Nietzsche,
in fact indissociable from the unity of Heideggers own Denkweg. Heidegger Bloomington,
Indiana University
politely omits his digestion. Yet, as Derrida notes, there is always that which Press, 1996, p153.
remains undigested, in this case the multivalent appearances that are Nietzsche
and his works. Derrida repeats this concern throughout his essay:

Since Aristotle, and at least up until Bergson, it (metaphysics) has

constantly repeated and assumed that to think and to say must mean to
think and say something that would be a one, one matter. And that not

Heideggers Shepherd of Being and Nietzsches Satyr 133

thinking-saying some one matter or principle is not thinking-saying at
all, but a loss of the logos. Here is perhaps what the Nietzsches have put
24. Derrida, in question: the legein of this logos, the gathering of this logic.24
Signatures, op. cit.,
p12. For Nietzsche(s), one matter is rent into parts; it is multiple and cut in
ways that cannot be put together. Again, thinking becomes aligned with the
problem of managing ones eating and the consumption of flesh.
There is, in fact, one significant mention of eating in Heideggers Nietzsche
outside of his introductory comments about a feast. It both complicates my
argument and clarifies some of the differences between the two thinkers.
Early in the first volume of lectures, Heidegger quotes Nietzsche regarding
eating as a will to power. The quotation is significant in terms of Heideggers
selection of passages and how he discusses them:

- what man wants, what every smallest part of a living organism wants,
is an increase in power Let us take the simplest case, that of primitive
nourishment: the protoplasm stretches its pseudopodia in order to search
for something that resists it - not from hunger but from will to power. It
then attempts to overcome this thing, to appropriate it, to incorporate it.
What we call nourishment is merely a derivative appearance, a practical
application of that original will to become stronger (Nietzsche p60).

Eating becomes part of a will to power over other objects. It establishes and
expands ones material as well as ontological being. In his ensuing discussion,
Heidegger omits both any mention of eating as a physical act and also issues
of digestion, be they material or philosophical. Instead, he proceeds to the
claim that Will to power is never the willing of a particular entity. It involves
the Being and essence of beings, it is this itself Nietzsche p61). As Gianni
Vattimo notes in his Nietzsche: An Introduction, Heidegger passes over the
25. Gianni early works and also some late works of Nietzsche.25 Of particular note for
Vattimo, Nietzsche:
An Introduction, this essay, Heidegger glosses over The Birth of Tragedy (among Nietzsches
Nicholas Martin earliest works) and Ecce Homo (which is written just two years before the latters
(trans), Stanford,
Stanford University death and published posthumously). Heidegger focuses on Will to Power as
Press, 2002, pp1-5, a way of showing Nietzsche to be a metaphysical thinker. Will to power is
the guiding question of beings and points to the grounding question of the
being of these beings.
Taking eating seriously, as a material act and a figure for thinking, would
mean following Rodolphe Gaschs analysis of Ecce Homo where Gasch traces
how Nietzsches body and his eating become a written body of thought. He
begins by summarising Nietzsche on eating:

But in the enumeration of the elements which are part of the sum(ma) of
the body, we must also gather in what seems initially to belong rather to
the surroundings favorable for becoming oneself, that is to say, the choice
of climate, diet, and recreation. Now, with regard to diet, for example, it

134 New Formations

soon becomes clear that it can be reckoned healthy when the food is easy
to digest, when it is not foreign to me, when on that account, it can be
classified as mine. One should note there that food which is mine can be
digested quickly so that the body, the body of the self, proves, in Nietzsche,
to be a metabolism which recycles itself at great speed. This body is not
constituted by assimilating what is mine in order to store it up; but in such
a way that, by the rapid rejection of what has been incorporated, it is no
more than a movement of assimilation and expulsion (EHorWB p122).

Gasch traces how Nietzsche is attempting to construct a body, to hold it

together amid the tentative conditions of its possibility. That is to say, a
body, identity, and a corpus is inclined to slip away from Nietzsche, so that
in order to make a name or names for himself, he must continue to buttress
Nietzsche(s). In Ecce Homo Nietzsche concerns himself with regulating, indeed
managing, signs of healthy instincts and decadent instincts (EHorWB p125).
He struggles with a hierarchy and revaluation of all values that would hold
together the heterogeneous traits of his thought. So as to order his thoughts,
he has to keep within himself An order of rank among these capacities;
distances; the art of separating without setting against one another; to mix
nothing, to reconcile nothing; a tremendous variety that is nevertheless
the opposite of chaos.26 Such regulation is not just external to the subject but 26. Nietzsche, On the
Genealogy of Morals
within him, a problem of regulating purity against bad blood. The body and Ecce Homo, op.
seems to be constructed around the distance; the art of separating without cit., p254. Nietzsche
goes on, contrary to
setting against one another. It is through incorporation and distribution of so Heideggers wishes
many different traits that, as Gasch says, the type-body in fact transgresses perhaps, to say I
cannot remember
the model of the individual hitherto prevailing (EHorWB p122). that I ever tried hard
Nietzsche is never finished managing either his body or his system no trace of struggle
can be demonstrated
of management. His art of separating without setting against is never in my life; I am
the opposite of
completed, and his categorising (as a cutting and ordering of parts) never a heroic nature.
solidifies into a rational order. Instead, as both Gasch and Derrida argue, Willing something,
striving for
Nietzsche is continually introducing masks for his art of separation. Nietzsche something,
calls himself Zarathustra; he is Wagner and Schopenhauer; In Human, All Too envisaging a
purpose, a wish
Human, Voltaire is the grand seigneur of spirit towards me (EHorWB p129). I know none of this
Nietzsche is not shy about showing us what he eats and how he eats food and from experience
other thinkers. Ecce Homo places eating in relation to thinking. The body is a
surface through which objects and ideas pass or a surface for spacing objects
and ideas for revaluation. The difference between Heidegger and Nietzsche,
and how they manage their thinking, can be illustrated by reference to the
shepherd in Platos The Statesman.
In Nietzsches feast and frenzy, the outside of the animal is both inside
and outside of man, or the satyr as revered by men. In such a feast, digestion
manifests the struggle between maintaining the body of the self and allowing
that which is foreign to me to enter. Digestion is part of the caesura and
spacing within the intimacy of the self. It is the spacing of the human-animal
body. In contrast Heidegger has abandoned Nietzsches animal plentitude

Heideggers Shepherd of Being and Nietzsches Satyr 135

for meditative thought without frenzy. His thinking postpones the feast for a
promise of a feast to come once he gathers his flock of beings under being.
In doing so, Heidegger looks something like Platos true shepherd in The
Statesman who offers pastoral care for authenticating the various beings
27. Gilles Deleuze, according to a standard - in Heideggers case, the standard of being.27 A sense
Difference and
Repetition, New York, of nostalgia lingers in Heideggers figure of the shepherd. Heidegger is fond
Columbia University of simple agrarian images which lose their complexity in the shadow of the
Press, 1994, p60.
modern world and its attitude toward technology. Furthermore he wants to
recall the elegance of metaphysics, as found in Platos Statesman, in the wake
of Nietzsche and the end of metaphysical thought.
Platos first division in The Statesman is between those who herd and
those who are herded, the king and his subjects. The former maintains
self-command as well as command over others. This ruler lives in a world
of abstract thought. The flock or subjects take commands and fulfil them in
the world of things. What the statesman forgets is the division within his own
self-command by which he is both the one who commands and the thing
being commanded; he is at once both shepherd and sheep. In other words,
the mistake made by Heidegger and his shepherd of being echoes that of the
statesman in Plato. As indicated in the epigram to this essay, Heidegger has
avoided Nietzsches instructions for reading; he has forgotten to ruminate and
to mind his means of digestion. As the patient reader, Heidegger continually
defers the feast that he approaches asymptotically, and so he avoids the
animality in his thought and thus the full implications of eating the other.
Otherwise said, Heideggers shepherding runs afoul through disregarding
Nietzsches satyr. He has forgotten or overlooked the regulation of eating as
tentative self-regulation and self-construction, a construction of self found
in the dual nature of the satyr and the troubled management of traits in Ecce

136 New Formations