inferentialkid

09/22 – The Age of the World Program

In Sessions on September 22, 2010 at 10:14 am

  • The need to ask about modern technology is presumably dying out to the same extent that technology more decisively characterizes and directs the appearance of the totality of the world and the position of man in it. — Heidegger (“The End of Philosophy and the Task of Thinking” 434)

YOUR MOMENT OF ZEN:

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  1. Joe Paszek
    Heidegger Response

    Be warned, this is definitely a first draft piece. Perhaps I will think more on H and revise in the next 48 hours. Enjoy Class!

    Where You Be, Epistemology?

    In “The Question Concerning Technology,” Heidegger poses two connected manifestations of technology. The first, stemming from the works of Plato and Aristotle, view technology as a fusion between Techne and Episteme. Thus, Heidegger posits that by understanding this process of unconcealing, of bringing forth, technology is seen as a revealing. He writes, “The possibility of all productive manufacturing lies in revealing” (12), thus technology is a way of revealing, i.e. truth. The Platonic link between TECHNOLOGY’s etymological root, TECHNE, and EPISTEME (a way of knowing) in ancient Greece is a productive move for H. to make. Knowing and doing are interconnected modes of being, are connected modes of revealing that is somewhat foreign to the modern reader. Yet, ARISTOTLE in turn distinguishes TECHNE and EPISTEME in the way in which they reveal and, thus, know. “Techne is a mode of aletheuein [revealing truth, the correctness of an idea]. It reveals whatever does not bring itself forth [PHYSIS] and does not yet lie here before us [it, thus cannot be a natural preexisting thing] (13). Thus, in regards to TECHNE’s revealing: “This revealing gathers together in advance the aspect and the matter of ship or house, with a view to the finished thing envisioned as completed, and from this gathering determines the manner of its construction” (13).
    Returning once again to Plato, but this time in the Republic , perhaps this understanding of Techne is derived from the metaphor of the couch. Briefly, the couch that we see, or construct, is not the real couch, but an imitation of the real. The essence of couch is absent in the actual couch much like the essence of Technology is absent in technological devices. Does then, for the pre-modern essence of technology, TECHNE become a revealing of a pre-thought idea(l) of the object, rather than its manufacturing.
    From here, H makes a move to start the transformation from the Greece essence of technology, this specific link between techne and episteme, into modern technology. What he does not do, however, is explicate this break with episteme further than Aristotle’s proclamation. My question becomes this: is episteme now completely unattached to techne? Have our ways of knowing become fundamentally fractured from our way of being? In the transformation of essence of (modern) technology from a revealing to a challenging forth [challenge revealing (16)] where has epistemology gone? Perhaps one hint to this is found in Heidegger: “Revealing is that destining which, ever suddenly and inexplicably to all thinking apportions itself into the revealing that brings forth and that also challenges, and which allots itself to man” [emphasis mine] (29), yet paradoxically: “Enframing [challenging forth], in a way characteristic of a destining, blocks poisesis” [emphasis is H’s] (30). What do we make of this paradox?
    And a final thought, perhaps this question of epistemology can be traced into the very rhetorical writing strategy of H’s. Is H’s writing, a process of revealing in itself, perhaps entwined with Episteme?

  2. Technology’s essence

    “The essence of technology is following me, and it smells like beans.” This is what my wife jokingly said to me, after I told her about Martin Heidegger’s “Question Concerning Technology.” All jokes aside, over the last few days, I’ve been trying to wrap my mind around what Heidegger means by “the essence of technology.” In the beginning of the essay, he famously points out: “the essence of technology is by no means anything technological” (4). This prompts William Lovitt, in his introduction to the work, to anticipate the reaction of a dismayed and exasperated reader: “‘I know this man must be wrong,’ he may protest, ‘if he says that the essence of technology has nothing to do with technology’” (xix). The essay is part of a larger work called Being and Time (1927), of which Brian Magee writes: “[Heidegger] suggested that we could not have [] conscious awareness unless there were some sphere of activity for it to be happening in. ‘Being,’ and some sort of ‘world,’ are therefore inseparable” (The Story of Philosophy, 212).

    Technology has become such a big part of our world that the two seem almost inseparable. Looking around my room, I see so much wrought by technology: my desk, file cabinet, computer, book shelf, windows, walls, carpet, chair, books (including poetry anthologies), guitar, cordless phone, copy paper, manual typewriter, pens, pencils, lamp, and so on. Is each item by itself technological, but, taken together, do they all share in the essence of technology? Can the essence of technology only be seen in the whole as opposed to its parts? This is reminiscent of the body-soul metaphor where the soul is not located in, say, an arm or a leg but in the body as a whole. Is this even what Heidegger is saying about the essence of technology? He points out that it is not some mythological abstraction, so perhaps he does not see it as a kind of soul or aura, as Benjamin did with certain media. Heidegger says, “There is no demonry of technology, but rather there is the mystery of its essence” (28). As with the holy books, even if one does not believe, there is mystery in them. Where did they come from? Who wrote them? Can one imagine a person attempting to write the words of God? Is there a similar mystery even in the pedestrian items in my room? Where did they come from? Who made them? Why? How?

    And yet, amidst all this technology, there are organic items, seemingly untouched by the turning machines: a rock, a sea shell, a spider in the corner of the ceiling, dust particles accumulating on the windowsill. Do these “natural” objects (can a spider be an object?), too, somehow entail the essence of the technology? Are their essences changed and shaped by the technology that surrounds them? Is man’s essence changed by technology? According to Heidegger, in the interplay between subjectivism and objectivism, man’s essence changes (“The Age of the World Picture”). While Heidegger sees technology as a danger, he also sees it as a saving power. “[Its] saving power,” he writes, “lets man see and enter into the highest dignity of his essence” (32). So apparently it can change or influence man’s essence for the better. Heidegger doesn’t advocate for one way (danger) or the other (saving power), but understands them as two sides of the same coin.

    What, one still wonders, is the essence of technology? Heidegger admits it is “ambiguous” (33). In the end of the essay, he concludes without concluding at all: “questioning is the piety of thought” (35). Since technology takes up such a large part of our world and our consciousness, it is probably difficult to question what its essence is without looking into our own essence. The ubiquitous nature of technology must make it difficult to see; this most likely has something to do with its simultaneous concealment and unconcealment. Giving a nod to my wife’s joke, I’d point out that one can see multiple layers of technology especially in a can of beans: the metal can, stamped and dated, the digitally created and printed label and the glue used to attach it to the can, the plastic used to line it, the chemicals used to preserve the beans, the (chemically grown?) beans, and so forth. This smacks of technological dissecting, but I’d say the essence of technology is perhaps in the mystery, the ambiguity of the whole. And while we evidently cannot know what that essence is, we, like Heidegger, may find solace in the piety of our questioning. I wonder what Heidegger would think of the Internet and the post-industrial world?

  3. I have been thinking about Heidegger’s discussion of the four causes (6) and how they might be applied to specific writing technologies.

    Pencil:
    causa materialis (materials): wood and graphite
    causa formalis (shape): long and slender, pointy
    causa finalis (how it’s used): creating graphite marks
    causa efficiens (who brings the effect): the writer; the artist

    Word Processing Software:
    causa materialis (materials): computer—plastic, heavy metals, transistors, wires
    causa formalis (shape): electronic code
    causa finalis (how it’s used): controlling computing machines
    causa efficiens (who brings the effect): user

    Typewriter:
    causa materialis (materials): metal and plastic; paper
    causa formalis (shape): a typewriter! (depending on the model)
    causa finalis (how it’s used): embossing ink on paper
    causa efficiens (who brings the effect): typist

    I’d like to return to this list in a bit, in particular the list concerning word processing software.
    In thinking about tools, materials, and products, I’ve been considering the role of computers in writing. It’s not the computer that allows us to write, but the software run on the computer. Without the software to control the electrical flows, a computer’s causa materialis is actually pretty useless to a writer beyond its value as a paperweight. The software does the ordering based upon input. This new technology removes certain physicality from the act of writing while at the same time attempting to mimic it. Keyboards can be made to sound like a typewriter. Software uses terms like “cut” and “paste” borrowed from analog editing. Is this an example of technology trying to appropriate essence from its analog predecessor? I think so. For all the advantages that writing technology affords us, writing is essentially a haptic practice. Text moves and shifts in the literal physical sense. Transcription of words is recorded through material manipulation, much like how a chalice is made of metal by a silversmith, even if the hammer is a keystroke and torches an electrical cord.
    Heidegger writes that technology “is a way of revealing” (12), a place where truth happens (13). Not the computer, the machine, but the writing interior to the machine, the written software, brings forth truth in this line of thinking. It’s interesting then that writing reveals writing. I can’t think of another instance where a “thing” brings its own “thing-self” into Being so recursively, where an object is so blatantly responsible for declaring its own truth. Consider my list above for word processing software. Code is written to propel code, using code. In other words, the writing of software requires the having written of software.
    There must be something mathematically impossible about that. Something like “2 equals 2 because 2 says so, Q.E.D.” But the writing technology is just an object, like Heideggar’s airliner (17) until it is forced to come into presenting or utterance by the writer. Again, I feel stuck in a paradox that reminds me of Heideggar’s causes. The writer is a writer because of his or her putting upon the writing technology, which can only come into Being by the presence and manipulation of the writer. So what comes first and who makes whom? Where does writer end, and instrument begin? A silversmith is clearly defined by his tools as well as his product, but Heideggar’s thinking complicates the tool / product relationship for writers, I think. Maybe it’s because the tools for writing seem so specialized. A hammer can still be employed as a hammer even when it is not used to make a chalice, whereas word processing software is limited to processing words. We can expand on this example and say that a pencil could be used for purposes unrelated to writing, but that seems to ignore its inherent pencil-ness.
    “Modern technology,” Heideggar writes, “as an ordering technology is, then, no merely human doing” (19). But writing technology—automated “writing programs” like Eliza and other bots, notwithstanding, and even those are not truly artificial intelligence devoid of human touch—is completely dependent on “human doing.” In fact, isn’t the creation of the chalice really an ordering of the material brought about the silversmith (who would be decidedly human, I hope)? Is the addition of software to the tool kit of the writer somehow changing the placement of the writer within the dichotomy of tool and product? I find it disturbing that glowing screens and odd ends of plastic can have any influence on the writer as subject or worker or creator, but it is undeniable that the silversmith is influenced by his tools and his product is a reflection of their use. But would a chalice’s truth be affected by its creator’s hammer?

  4. Heidegger reminds us that technology belongs to techne, which is related to but distinct from physis. Where in physis a thing presences of itself (he uses the example of a flower blooming), with techne the thing is brought forth through another. For this reason the arts belong to techne, although for Heidegger techne describes not just the arts of the hand, but also the arts of the mind (13). Heidegger’s techne seems to me like a combination of Aristotle’s definitions of techne and phronesis both –although this makes a certain amount of sense, as Aristotle himself has trouble keeping them separate. For Aristotle, techne is intimately associated with making, while phronesis is often translated as “judgment” or “practical wisdom.” Techne concerns itself with what must be made, while phronesis is more interested in what must be done. This makes for a more sophisticated and ethical (?) approach to both the arts of the hand and the mind, where theory and practice inform one another.

    Heidegger suggests that technology no longer exists in a form associated with techne, where techne is a revealing of something through the agency of another. Where technology was a “revealing” (12), in modern technology it has become a “challenging” (14) that compels us to organize the world in terms of the standing-reserve (as a store of energy or resources that we can use). Objects then disappear as they are absorbed into the “objectlessness of standing-reserve” (19), where for example automobiles exist less as objects than as the potential for traveling/speed/whatever. Heidegger calls this “challenging claim which gathers man thither to order the self-revealing as standing-reserve” Enframing, and calls it “that way of revealing which holds sway in the essence of modern technology” (19-20). The danger is that we will stop being concerned with objects and see only the standing-reserve, to the point that we may eventually see ourselves only as standing-reserve. This “endanger[s] man in his relationship to himself and everything that is,” and “drives out every other possibility of revealing” (27). The impression I get is that eventually we forget that objects were ever anything but the standing-reserve, or that they could appear in other ways. The frame makes itself so pervasive that we cease to see it.

    I’m not going to pretend I don’t have trouble understanding Heidegger in general, or this essay in particular. At the end of this piece, he says that technology needs to be reflected on and confronted by “in a realm that is, on the one hand, akin to the essence of technology and , on the other, fundamentally different from it. Such a realm is art” (35). To a certain extent, I understand this. Because the essence of technology has nothing to do with the technological, we can’t examine it through technological means. We have to get to the essence of technology and use something with a similar essence –in this case, art. What I’m unclear on is whether art is related to technology because both belong to techne? If so, has art changed as well, or has technology (as I tentatively suggested earlier) simply moved away from techne toward something else? More generally, what sort of art does he imagine might intervene? I have difficulty, for instance, imagining the diamond-encrusted “For the Love of God” critiquing our tendency to see everything in terms of the standing-reserve. The tendency to order everything into the standing-reserve seems to me similar to the impulse to render everything a commodity (maybe it’s the same), and in a world where the lines between art and commodities are blurry, can any sort of art accomplish what Heidegger imagines? Or, when he says art, is he imagining something else, something less like art and more like philosophy (not that those lines are easy to draw either)?

  5. Amy Metcalf
    September 22, 2010
    Pruchnic

    In the most reductive sense of the term, Heidegger suggests that the problem with “modern technology” is that we can only see it for the processes required for it to come into being. That we cannot see past its construct is problematic because we then ignore/disregard all the other “revealing” that came before modern technology and various scientific methods/processes. Since modern technology is an exploitation of (in Heidegger’s example: the land) resources, my initial curiosity lies within how we might perceive the exploitation of a product that has been created for a specific purpose?

    If we consider Heidegger’s example of the peasant and the land, it seems that this exploitation is most notably of something organic – like the Earth; the air yielding nitrogen, etc. However, if we consider man’s current relationship with technology, we must pose the question: were these non-organic technological items ever “set forth” for any other purpose than what they were constructed for? The peasant was able to make use of the Earth as necessary for his survival, and yes, agriculture does the same but also seeks to exploit the potential energies of the Earth for mass production.

    Though, the inventor of the computer and the impetus for the idea of a “smart phone” could arguably also serve the one (or few) individuals who created it, does their original intention of mass consumption necessarily mean that they’re exploiting the technology – or further, is it possible that they can be seen as exploiting the different parts and technologies that the items (end result) are comprised of? What would the think-tanks and manufacturers of these technologies be “challenging forth?” If we determine that considering a product of this nature not possible to “challenge forth” an energy in the sense that Heidegger is concerned with, what about the notion of expediting, unlocking, and exposure? Even more, how far back can we trace the organics of a technological device? At what point is our technological world an exploitation – and what of? What would be the “maximum yield at the minimum expense?” (15)

    And it does seem that Heidegger answers these questions in one simple phrase: “Everywhere everything is ordered to stand by, to be immediately at hand, indeed to stand there just so that it may be on call for a further ordering” (17). Though, because he also goes on to suggest that those objects with “standing reserve” no longer “stand over against us as object,” but my biggest issue with this is that Heidegger suggest that it is only in this sort of meditative, yoga-esque moment that we can really be a true part of the “unconcealing.” It is this lovey-dovey “realm” of opening one’s eyes and unlocking one’s heart that Heidegger eventually calls “art.” And I’m left wondering, why can’t technology *be* an art? Why does the “essence” of technology only “exist within the realm of art?” Yes, Heidegger does state that in order to have an “essential reflection upon technology” it has to exist in a realm that is “fundamentally different from it,” but can technological objects still exist within the “realm” of art without conflicting with the overall essence of technology itself?

  6. Adrienne Jankens
    ENG 7065
    September 20, 2010
    Response to Heidegger’s The Question Concerning Technology
    In the introductory paragraph to “The Question Concerning Technology,” Heidegger makes us a promise: “Questioning builds a way” (3). In setting up the way he would like us to approach the coming essay, he tells us, “We would be advised, therefore, above all to pay heed to the way, and not to fix our attention on isolated sentences and topics” (3). He promises us we will be led to a “free relationship” to technology by thinking about it in the way he has prepared for us, that through this exploration, we will come to some better understanding of the essence of technology. Initially, Heidegger’s emphasis on words and their meanings made it almost impossible for me not seek a secure definition in any “isolated sentences.” The translator further emphasizes this through elaborate footnotes explaining the original German and translations, so we understand the precise choices made throughout the text. Because words are the building blocks of sentences, and such importance is placed on these words, it is difficult to remain open to Heidegger’s “way”; instead, we may be inclined to pinpoint sentences which will unveil his meaning to us. While his description of technology, in basic terms, seems clear, the essence of technology and our relationship to it, in particular, become, not repetitive, but ever evolving. In “The Turning” there seemed to be a few enlightening moments as far as this question of language. On 40 and 41, Heidegger writes,“Language first gives to every purposeful deliberation its ways and its byways . . . language is never primarily the expression of thinking, feeling, and willing. Language is the primal dimension within which man’s essence is first able to correspond at all to Being and its claim, and, in corresponding to belong to Being. This primal corresponding, expressively carried out, is thinking.” So, he says, we need language at first to begin to understand a concept; it is where a seed of thought has its origination, where an idea begins. Through thinking, then, the idea or concept develops. As such, we might think of Heidegger’s labyrinthine “The Question Concerning Technology,” as only this “primal dimension,” and not a source of answers or conclusions about technology and our relationship to it. A process of naming works in reverse here: instead of inductively understanding a concept, we first work to name it, and then learn what it is, through thinking about it. We might come back to this idea at the close of “The Turning” when Heidegger writes, “Therefore, as we seek to give utterance to insight into that which is, we do not describe the situation of our time. It is the constellation of Being that is uttering itself to us” (48). As he says, “All attempts to reckon existing reality morphologically, psychologically, in terms of decline and loss, in terms of fate, catastrophe, and destruction, are merely technological behavior” (48). As we work to understand things in terms of the ways we have constructed to understand and use them, we do not fully understand them; it would seem this can only be the beginning of our understanding.
    As much as working us through a thought exercise on the question of technology, Heidegger’s essays serve as exercises in thinking in general, as instructive for how to begin to think about the world. He reminds us that language is only the beginning, and that thinking will begin to carry us the rest of the way. “So long as we do not, through thinking, experience what is, we can never belong to what will be,” he writes (49). While this conclusion is little consolation for a reader who hoped to grasp something more concrete about the questions he poses, it is nevertheless a reminder of the role of language as a “primal dimension,” of the beginning of our way to understanding. He further addresses this idea in “The Age of The World Picture” when he describes the concept of research as “ongoing activity” and the researcher replacing the scholar. While he is addressing scientific research in that section, we can nevertheless tie this into the thinking done in other fields. I am reminded of the Rubin quote, “In writing the book, I am living. I am growing. I am tapping myself. I am changing. The process is the product.” I am also led back to Zizek’s description of Lacan’s “retroactivity of meaning,” in The Sublime Ideology, which comes “instead of the linear, immanent, necessary progression according to which meaning unfolds itself from some initial kernel” (Zizek 114) and Hegel’s “misrecognition,” as described in the same text (67). We cannot look at the “isolated words and topics” as the end, or we have lost our way (or maybe, have never found it.) In writing this response, through the act of placing the words on the page and continuing to think from there, I was able to open up to more ideas about his text beyond my irritation at its self-proclaimed ambiguity (as he says, “The essence of technology is in a lofty sense ambiguous. Such ambiguity points to the mystery of all revealing, i.e., of truth” (33)).

  7. In section one, Heidegger notes that the prevalent conception of technology as a means to be mastered speaks to the limiting nature of instrumental or anthropological approaches to the subject. His critique is not that this uniform vision of technology is completely unreasonable–technology is itself a contrivance or instrumentum–but rather, that technology is not merely something to be mastered. That is, technology is both a means that we can affect or manipulate and, perhaps most importantly, a “revealing” to which we bear witness; technology brings-forth the concealed. Ultimately, returning to the problem of historical representations of technological difference, it is not the assumed instrumental or anthropological modulations that allow us to determine what is new about contemporary technology, but the conception of technology as revealing that allows us to track important distinctions (14). And, as Heidegger continues, it becomes clear that if there is one fundamental difference between old and new technology, this difference relates to the revealing associated with poiesis.

    The difference between the old windmill, seemingly a technological favorite, and the wind turbine, is that whereas the windmill brings-forth in the sense of poiesis or essence, the turbine stores energy, only revealing itself as a standing-reserve (17) via the process of Enframing (23-24). The problem for Heidegger, following this logic, is this: The contemporary technological tendency towards standing-reserve prevents man from encountering his essence: “Man stands so decisively in attendance on the challenging-forth of Enframing that he does not apprehend Enframing as a claim, that he fails to see himself as the one spoken to, and hence also fails in every way to hear in what respect he ek-sists, from out of his essence […] and thus can never encounter only himself” (27). Heidegger, for his part, insists that we must navigate this constellation through which truth is revealed or comes to pass (33) because it gives us insight into the danger of unconcealedness–the danger being that essence, our primal nature, techne, and the “splendor of radiant appearing” are inhibited.

    Charting this logic out, mainly in an attempt to account for the trajectory of this text, two moments seem particularly crucial: First, I find it interesting that Heidegger uses the term aletheia, the Greek equivalent of revealing, and veritas, a word we commonly interpret to mean truth, to begin articulating this technological revealing. Heidegger introduces these terms early in the text, and though he doesn’t distinguish between the two at that juncture (11), these terms might be of use to our attempts to understand what he means by a World Picture. In particular, I think these terms might help us make sense of the difference between looking upon technology and being looked upon by that which we are (131). Second, towards the end of this section, Heidegger notes that whereas Greek art is concerned with revealing, with the coming-to-being of truth, contemporary art is aesthetic in nature; we witness, instead, the “coming-to-pass” of truth (35).

    Fast-forward nearly one-hundred pages, and we might note that this fundamental preoccupation with technology as revealing comes eventually to bear on Heidegger’s theory of the World Picture and his interest in the subject that techne produces or reveals. Here, Heidegger proposes that the fundamental distinction between Greek techno-culture and that of our own is that whereas the Greek people attempted to apprehend being–to be beheld by what is–we represent, or bring what is present at hand. Further, he notes that this is a position we claim to occupy in relation to technology; that we expressly take up this position as if we constituted it (132). The difference, in my reading, is that we begin to see technology as something to be mastered, thus asserting that our very agency is determined by our use, development resistance or acceptance of technology. So, and this is my question to the class, I’m wondering if there is a way to read this dialectic of technology as an intervention in interest of subjectivity. That is, though it is clear that Heidegger is interested in what revealing has to offer, I’m not sure where this actually gets us in terms of thinking through our own techno-interventions. Further, can we see that the two terms mentioned earlier–alethia and veritas–terms that he raises in his own analysis, provide us something of a framework for exploring this difference in techno-subjectivity? Though he doesn’t actually play up this distinction, I think this might actually give us a better frame for discussing this text.

  8. Many years ago, I watched a documentary about breakthroughs in neuroscience. At the time, I was much more interested in the ‘mind’ than the brain, and so I wasn’t really paying very much attention- until they introduced a woman whose right and left brain had been cut off from each other. As I watched the woman say square while drawing a circle, I felt pure panic. This was something I didn’t want to know, but could not unknow. I was forced to move from what I wanted to believe to what I could believe; this ‘truth event’ forced me to look at the brain instead of the mind, to accept that there is no mind/body division. I realized that we are machines. When I express this idea, many people counter that we are animals instead. I agree, but I also believe that all animals are machines as well. For me, this means not only that we are subject to the laws of physics, but that instead of ‘being’ we ‘work.’
    In neuroscience, the subject (the thinking brain) is identical to its object. It isn’t simply that we’ve objectified ourselves by seeing ourselves as objects, but that in doing this we can see ourselves as nothing else. As we come to understand (to see) more and more of our world, it becomes harder to believe that there is anything that we can’t see. Thus, the gigantic and the small replace the shadow. As we see ourselves more clearly, we imagine that God sees us less and less, until God doesn’t see at all. I don’t agree with this completely- I do believe there is the possibility for some kind of pomo-mysticism. But what I can’t deny is that (for me at least) this mysticism is only possible if I can ‘think’ Heidegger the way that Heidegger ‘thinks’ Nietzsche.
    So, what does all of this have to do with writing machines? For me, everything. As a machine, writing is the most defining work that I do. Even before I had thought about it in the terms I lay out here, I understood that my writing wasn’t nurtured by some ideal realm of ideas, or by spirit, or even by a unitary self. There is no place for me where ideas exist fully formed. I am not simply saying that I construct meaning through the act of writing (although I feel I do) I am saying that I construct myself out of this process. Without the unconcealed presence of Being, I am obligated to construct myself out the objects of my body, my experience, and my culture. Each new writing tool is another object- another patch in the quilt of me. When I imagine Heidegger, I imagine that he had the same contradictory understanding of Being that I have of writing. At first, Being struck me as an abstract stand-in for the whole truckload of metaphysical junk that still hasn’t made its way to the dump. But when I read: “This open between is the openness-for-Being (Da-sein), the word understood in the sense of the ecstatic realm of revealing and concealing of Being” (154) I was struck by how personal these words really are (especially given his usual writing style). I was struck by the realization that he isn’t presenting Being as an antidote to our trouble times, he is simply yearning for it.
    I am hesitant to pluralize the ‘I’ when I write about writing- I think that what I am describing is in some way a generalizable concept, but how that works specifically is beyond me. For example, while writing is so critical in my own identity, I understand that when I despair of a future without writing, I am simply not seeing the full range of the human capacity to create self. When I consider more concrete questions about the application of new media, they are still grounded in this more abstract concern. What about the experience of writing is worth generalizing? How do we develop tools that preserve what is worth preserving without fetishizing the practices of the past? How do we stay true to writing (Being) without merely privileging presence?

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