‘The shoes’ by Vincent van Gogh
One of the paintings Heidegger wrote about is Van Gogh’s painting of a pair of shoes. In itself nothing particular, nothing sinister, nothing revealing, but the gnostic essence which is laid bare by Heidegger reveals a hidden side of this ‘simple’ painting. To Heidegger art reveals what a being ‘really’ or ‘in essence’ is stands for.
Heidegger regards these shoes as a tool, but one that seems unused, abandoned in an indefinite space. Heidegger notices that the shoes do not carry any traces of earth: “Just a couple of peasant’s shoes. And still.”
Through this painting Heidegger describes the essence of truth as an “unconcealedness”, something that has been dis-covered so to speak. The etymology of the English word ‘discover’ shows this most beautifully: a ‘cover’ has been taken away. The truth brings to light what was originally hidden, covered, veiled. To loose the truth means that everything will be hidden once again.
Heidegger used the painting of the shoes to talk about truth, about a particular event of revealing. Heidegger describes most poetically that from within the “dark opening” of the used shoe the “effort of labor” stares at us. The shoe as a tool is not something that should be cast away, as it has helped the laborer, the worker, the farmer during his hard and honest work on the field. Heidegger describes how “the wet and saturated earth sticks to the leather”. In this shoe “resounds the silent call of the earth” and how the earth has given us the grain. “The shoe (therefore) belongs to the earth and it is protected in the world of the farmer.”
The connexion with the Earth/Eorthe is a very important and most symbolic one. The Conservative Revolution, to which Heidegger belonged, was well aware of the gnostic and sacred importance of the Earth as a major force that is the exact opposite to the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution. These events have ‘centralized’ man’s position (in disadvantage of the Sacred) and his dependence on technology. One could say: the ultimate phase of the Kali Yuga in which man is alienated from the mystical origins of the Earth and started to disrespect the earth and its raw materials by turning these into mere instruments of profit. Today, only real craftsmen respect the genuine truth within raw materials such as the earth, wood, water, leather and so on. From within those raw materials the work of art presences itself and the craftsman, like Jünger’s worker-soldier, merely channels these hidden forces.
A true craftsman presenced these shoes. They do not have a particular shape, they are dark and, as Heidegger notices, “the darkness shines from within them”. Their connexion with the Earth is therefore an acausal one: an acéphalic (beyond human and limited reason) resonance from das Heilige (Hölderlin), the abysmal Sacred (Bataille). The shoes are human tools but these ‘worker’ shoes form a connexion to a deeper and more traditional world. The same applies to the combat shoes of soldiers, the sandals of monks and so on. Such men transform and presence acausal forces, and their labor, their work, their struggle brings the Truth to light.
This cthonic resonance of the shoes brings us to the Greek pantheon of Dark Gods (Dionysos, Demeter,…) who reside in the Sphere of the Hidden, the Acausal, but which can be invoked by adepts, initiates of a Traditional Weltanschauung. A Weltanschauung which criticizes the modern world and its lack of the Sacred. Sinister traditions like the ONA’s, David Myatt’s Weltanschauung, the Conservative Revolution, the Traditionalists, Radical Paganism, the New Right all share this criticism, and their ‘acéphalic mission’ to bring forward the eternal essence of the Truth.
Their initiates do not simply see a used pair of shoes, but they all can hear its call which descends from the Greeks and rises up to the present Völkisch communities and those to come. I invite you to look at these shoes differently as well!
Von Sanngetall, 129 yf