Alexander Dugin and the existential analytic of Russian Dasein
Dugin deepens his examination of the Russian relation to being by performing an existential analytic of Russian Dasein. There is not space to reproduce here in detail the existentials Dugin examines. Rather, the discussion can be summarized with the remark that in Russian, many Heideggerian phrases, like “being-in-the-world,” which require in German, as in English, unusual, forced formations, can be captured with common Russian words whose root is “being.”
After attentively looking for and listening into the Russian terms that might be analogous to the existentials Heidegger mentions, proceeding on the basis of the thesis that what distinguishes the two Daseins is the “da” or localization of the “sein,” Dugin comes to the conclusion that the differences are not merely in “the place of location,” but “in [Dasein’s] very structure.”¹ “Russian Dasein has a structure that differs from the structure of Western Dasein,” which means that Russians “differ not only in [their] philosophico-metaphysical superstructure (which Europeans have or had… and which we never had) but also in the basis, the foundation, the existential soil, the ground (Grund) of thought and being.”² The fact that philosophy developed in the West and not in Russia becomes a consequence of the underlying structural differences between the two Daseins.
Among the fundamental differences distinguishing the two Daseins structurally, Dugin emphasizes that while both are borders or limits that constitute, Western Dasein is much more radically divisive, especially in its division between being and not-being: Such Dasein is always tragic, problematic, and asymmetrical. It always hangs over an abyss; it is always finite, it is mortal, seized by anxiety, driven from itself. And it does not matter on what side of the border we place being and in which side nonbeing. We can place being inside, in the domain of the spirit, of the subject — then it hangs over the abyssal non-being of the external word…or we can recognize being as external…but then non-being (nothing) will arise within the subject and will start to ‘nihiliate,’ to annihilate the surroundings with the help of technique, Gestell, the will-to-power. ³
This radical difference between a “radical ‘yes’ and a radical ‘no’ is the meaning of the West, its truth,” Dugin asserts. It is a consequence of this structural difference between Western and Russian Dasein that Dugin denies that “care,” “thrownness,” “projection,” and other Western existentials are also existentials of Russian Dasein⁴.
By contrast, Dugin regards the Russian Dasein as a border not between something and its opposite, but between one and the same thing.⁵ “It is a border that doesn’t separate anything,” he writes. It is “auto-referential.”⁶ For the Western Dasein, there are strictly speaking “non-Western others,” radically distinct from the West. For the Russian Dasein, there is no radical other; for it, “everything that exists is Russian,” because “Russian Dasein is entirely inclusive” — a move that collapses archeo-modernity but might risk becoming colonialist and imperialist itself.⁷
There is an important sense in which auto-reference is more characteristic of the West than of Russia. In his discussion of “being-with,” Dugin notes that in the West, society and the individual mirror each other, such that the individual relates to himself when he identifies himself with his society. ⁸ This is an auto-referential relationship. It is a different matter with the Russian person, for whom to identify with the Russian narod is to identify with something other: “Through identification with the Russian narod (i.e. with the Russian Dasein), the Russian individual acquires a quality that always differs from his individual structure, is always something other than himself.”⁹ Unlike his Western counterpart, he has a “dual identity, with himself and with the narod,” and he can encounter other individuals as genuinely other, and not as “hell,” as Sartre would have it.¹⁰
Russians never are as individuals or personalities, only as Russians. They are nothing otherwise — but a nothing that is included in being.¹¹ Imitating Heidegger’s statement that “non-being is,” Dugin asserts that “Russian individuality as non-being is, and it is only because it is Russian.”¹² These reflections and others here omitted mean to distinguish individual and group identity in the Russian Dasein from Heidegger’s account of being with.
1. Dugin, The Possibility of Russian Philosophy, 212.
2. Dugin, The Possibility of Russian Philosophy, 213.
3. Dugin, The Possibility of Russian Philosophy, 214.
4. Dugin, The Possibility of Russian Philosophy, 218–9.
5. Dugin, The Possibility of Russian Philosophy, 215.
6. Dugin, The Possibility of Russian Philosophy, 215
7. Dugin, The Possibility of Russian Philosophy, 216. Some have held Dugin’s theory to be imperialistic. For further examination, see Millerman, “Alexander Dugin’s Neo-Eurasianism.”
8. Dugin, The Possibility of Russian Philosophy, 222–3.
9. Dugin, The Possibility of Russian Philosophy, 223.
10. Dugin, The Possibility of Russian Philosophy, 224.
11. Dugin, The Possibility of Russian Philosophy, 224.
12. Dugin, The Possibility of Russian Philosophy, 225
This short excerpt is from the book (Beginning with Heidegger: Strauss, Rorty, Derrida, Dugin and the Philosophical Constitution of the Political) by Philosopher Michael Millerman from the publisher Arktos.
The excerpt refers to the examination of the Russian relation to being by performing an existential analytic of Russian Dasein.
The full content is available in the book.