“ In uncanniness Dasein stands together with itself primordially [ In der Unheimlich-keit steht das Dasein ursprünglich mit sich selbst zusammen ]. Uncanniness brings this entity face to face with its undisguised nullity, which belongs to the possibility of its ownmost potentiality-for-Being. To the extent that for Dasein, as care, its Being is an issue, it summons itself as a “they” which is factically falling, and summons itself from its uncanniness towards its potentiality-for-Being. The appeal calls back by calling forth: it calls Dasein forth to the possibility of taking over, in existing, even that thrown entity which it is; it calls Dasein back to its thrownness so as to understand this thrownness as the null basis which it has to take up into existence. This calling-back in which conscience calls forth, gives Dasein to understand that Dasein itself – the null basis for its null projection, standing in the possibility of its Being – is to bring itself back to itself from its lostness in the “they””
“ Responsibility and indebtedness, then, are possible because Dasein is ready for conscience, and is ready to be made anxious by its own uncanniness. This attitude of readiness Heidegger calls ‘resoluteness’ [ Entschlossenheit ]. Resoluteness is, in turn, “that truth of Dasein which is most primordial because it is authentic ” (1998: 343). It is in being resolute that Dasein devotes itself to its authentic Self, in the face of uncanniness, and
upon the basis of Being-guilty. As such, if the call of conscience risks detaching Dasein from its Being-in-the-world, it is resoluteness that places Dasein, as authentic Being-
one’s-Self , back in the world. “Resoluteness,” writes Heidegger, “is authentically nothing else than Being-in-the-world … Resoluteness brings the Self right into its current concernful Being-alongside what is ready-to-hand, and pushes it into solicitous Being with Oth-
– «Dasein and the Philosopher: Responsibility in Heidegger and Mamardashvili»
by Andrew Padgett
Resoluteness allows Dasein to meet its responsibilities to others, but how does responsibility manifest differently in an absolute M/s relationship? The flipside of absolute enslavement is unlimited responsibility on the part of the Master for the slave. This unlimited responsibility is not horizontally applied, in such a way that the Master, by virtue of his/her responsibilities for his/her own slave(s) is thereby responsible for the fate of all slaves. However within the purview of his/her own slave(s) the Master is wholly responsible through the reality of mastery itself.
Any “discourse of mastery”, however decried in postmodern circles, implies a full responsibility by its author. In the development of an enslavement the Master engages in such a discourse through both speech and action.
“ Derrida’s disconcerting law of dissemination invokes a shifting of interpretive spaces or contexts. The result is a shifting interpretive topology where philosophical, political, ethical, or religious positions no longer remain protected by the exclusionary policy of a restricted
analytic economy. ”
– The Unlimited Responsibility of Spilling Ink
Dissemination, however disconcerting, is at the heart of the Master’s enslavement of the slave. The Master shifts the “interpretive space” of the slave in order to bring the slave’s context in line with his/her own. The topology of the slave’s being or will, or topography even, is thereby modified along an axis that leads to the Master’s being and will.
Mastery implies resoluteness, in that someone lost in the they-self is engaged in evading responsibilities. This evasion results in a lostness in the they-self and a flattening of differences, a flattening incompatible with either mastery or enslavement. Resolute dissemination is unprotected in every way, flouting law and custom, and every morality that has been propagated through civilization’s history, yet it thereby founds itself within the realm of situational ethics and unlimited responsibility. This flouting is an-archic, in that common goals or the telos of society is not accepted. The anxiety that comes with flouting law and custom is part and parcel of the total anxiety required by the wanting-to-have-a-conscience.
“ Derrida proposes the unreserved tension of competing paradigms that take place in a
chiasmic communication. Such a position destroys in a constructive sense the claim to
unequivocal hegemony of one tradition over other traditions. Such a stance gives an
ethical account of the intolerance displayed by various interpretive communities, “
– The Unlimited Responsibility of Spilling Ink
Even within the BDSM community there are a host of interpretive communities that range from top/bottom play communities to Master/slave communities with no possible relative judgements between any of the myriad types of relationships possible. It could be argued that the interpretive community valid for any relationship consists of the members of that relationship itself, as there is no external method of normalization for the ethos of each relationship. The range of views and visions of one’s life implies unlimited responsibility for one’s own ethos, as one cannot refer one’s ethos to any authority but one’s own. Moving from within to without the BDSM community any attempted normalization could only be antithetical to the ethos of the individual consensual Master/slave relationship. The best a community such as the BDSM community can do is to try to protect the freedom to explore one’s own ethos and consummate one’s own responsibility, whatever that may be, and however antithetical it may be to other members of the community.