Idle Talk

2020 Words9 Pages
In Martin Heidegger’s Being and Time, we find an extensive and serious discussion of a structural account of falling and the phenomena of which it is constituted. Heidegger begins this account with the phenomenon he calls idle talk. Idle talk is characterized as the perversion of the act of disclosing as it is in communication and the subsequent uprooting of Dasein’s understanding of the world. This characterization of idle talk is followed by an analysis of the phenomenon that is Dasein’s motivation towards such an act of disclosing. This motivating phenomenon which Heidegger lays out as a tendency towards finding truth in a mere beholding of the world is called curiosity. Lastly, Heidegger characterizes the resulting intelligibility…show more content…
Genuine understanding would come about through active involvement with the world, while idle talk, made manifest through lack of involvement, produces an understanding that Heidegger claims to be “groundless” . But just as the disclosure of entities present-at-hand is not in itself negative, neither is this ‘groundless’ understanding. Rather, its negative role is its propensity to pass itself off as genuine and to replicate itself so as to be indistinguishable by Dasein from genuine understanding. It is in this sense that Heidegger claims that idle talk “understands everything” . Of course, he means this ironically, and is really saying that idle talk, despite its true nature of “gossiping and passing the word along,” discloses itself as legitimate and authoritative knowledge. In this way, idle talk innocuously veils the tentativeness and superficiality of that which it communicates and engenders in Dasein the illusion that there is no need for a more primordial acquaintanceship with the world. Idle talk is veiled in ambiguity, keeping itself indiscernible from genuine understanding, and the disclosure of Dasein and entities in the world. This ambiguity makes everyone a potential expert on anything, albeit an expert in the self-proclaimed sense. As Heidegger puts it, “When, in our everyday Being-with-one-another, we encounter the sort of thing which is accessible to everyone,
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