The Political and Ethical Significance of Waiting: Heidegger and the Legacy of Thinking
In this paper I argue against the charge of quietism that Heidegger discovered in the comportment of waiting the conditions of political and ethical action in a time of crisis. I argue further that this discovery can properly be called phenomenological because it is both true to the basic virtue of phenomenology, namely patience, and responds to the call of phenomenology to return to the appearing of that which appears. The paper ranges over Heidegger’s appropriation of Husserl, his engagement with St. Paul, his accounts of beginning and mood in Being and Time and his works from the 1930s and ends with a discussion of his exploration of technology. Throughout, it is argued, we can find a phenomenology of action as responding to a time beyond instrumentality, a time in which the experience of the future as the expectation of the unexpected (preparedness for surprise) informs a ‘timely’ understanding of politics and ethics.