Vincent Blok on calculating workers' lived experience.
From 1934–1935 on, Heidegger
stresses that the appearance of the work-world in its usability presupposes
the representation of beings as potential energy and the calculation of their
possible functionality. This calculation is not necessarily
carried out in figures but has to be understood as an accounting—a taking
into account—that proceeds in a calculating way; it counts on something
and calculates with something in order to calculate the beneficiality of the
work for the worker. The work-world is “the re-presented by calculating and
calculation, where all depends on securing the operational effectiveness of
the power, and whose essence (machination) pervades everything.” From
1934 on, Heidegger concentrates on machination as the origin of our being-at-work; the work-world appears as re-presented (machination) for human
experience as representation (lived experience). Lived experience is the center
of reference on which the makeability of beings depends, which means
that beings (machination) count as being to the extent that they are experienced
in life, i.e., to the degree and extent that they become life-experience.
With this, it becomes clear that machination and lived experience is the
essence of the work-world and of the worker as the subject of our being-at-work in the work-world.
For all his obscurantism, Heidegger had something very simple to say about technology. For him, technology was not so much a thing as it was a worldview: our science, our infrastructure, our networks and our systems were ways of indexing and mapping, re-jigging the role of humanity itself. Take the typewriter, which Heidegger charged with an unthinkable crime. For him, this writing machine was no benign piece of secretarial equipment: it was actually destroying the very essence of the human, click by mechanical click. “Man himself acts through the hand; for the hand is, together with the word, the essential distinction of man,” wrote the philosopher. But the hand no longer writes, it types. This new machine, “conceals the handwriting and thereby the character. The typewriter makes everyone look the same.”
In Phenomenological Reviews Joshua Sharman reviewsThe History of Beyng, translated by William McNeill and Jeffrey Powell.
Beyng remains proximally related to Heidegger’s focus on attunement in Being and Time as an underlying mechanism by which all worldly (or ontic-level, borrowing the terminology of Being and Time) events show up for us as they do. This essential aspect of Beyng is basically relational in that, for Heidegger, entities are always given, in some sense, by their connections with other entities. It is this relational aspect of his ontology that is highlighted so well by the current volume, focusing as it does on this intervening space, the clearing, between entities, which allows them to be mutually defined by one and other. This “abyssal ground of the in-between” is what provides entities with their relational grounding i.e. their relations are sustained and governed by this ground. Yet, this ground is not an “indeterminate emptiness into which something appears,” but is the very manner of attunement that relates entities to us and to each other.
As our dealing geared to equipment in Being and Time is included in
the work-world, so is the work-character of the world also in this lecture
understood in relation to human being as worker. As equipment only is in
our dealing geared to equipment and in our focus on its work, so is the
relation with timber here characterized in the following way: the timber is
originary at work, provided that the carpenter has it in hand. “What is able-to-be
(the wood lying before in the workshop), that is in work, is there as
able-to-be precisely when it is taken up into work.” The whole of nature
is therefore being-at-work—the phusis is “worker of itself”—but originary
being-at-work is nature precisely in our dealing with it: “In work, one has
the surrounding world (also that which is of interest, and the like). We are
concerned with the surrounding world in hand.” Work is thus understood
in a relational way, as the unity of the being-at-work of the work-world and
human work with regard to this world, and concerns therefore the appearance
of the world as being-at-work and our human responsiveness to the
world of work as worker.
Also in Being and Time, our dealing geared by equipment is explicitly
called “work”; the work-world “is found when one is at work,” we meet
other people “at work,” etc. It is precisely this handling or working with
equipment with regard to the works of labor, which is called being-in-theworld
In Goodreads, Chungsoo Lee reviews Ryan Coyne's Heidegger's Confessions: The Remains of Saint Augustine in Being and Time and Beyond.
Through careful reading of Heidegger’s crucial texts at every juncture of the latter’s thought development, Coyne forces Heidegger into confessing that he (Heidegger) had to rely on theological language in order to “de-theologize” (Heidegger’s term) his thought. In showing this, Coyne establishes his own thesis: That the ‘thoughtful’ language that seeks to describe the movement of Beyng beyond metaphysics, beyond the language of onto-theology, ends up heavily dependent on such language. Indeed, a language beyond onto-theology is not possible, as Heidegger’s philosophic development (Coyne hopes) shows—with the consequence that philosophy of religion (an oxymoron for Heidegger) cannot move beyond the ontic language of history, traditions, and of theology.
The problem for Heidegger is this: in the metaphysical
tradition, being is understood out of beings (beings as such), whereas
Heidegger tries to think being as such. When Heidegger, at the same time,
states that being has to establish itself in a being, then the question arises as
to how this established being is differentiated from the metaphysically understood
beingness of beings (i.e., ontological indifference).
Our discussion of Heidegger’s destructed concept of the gestalt in the previous
sections made clear that it cannot be understood as the beingness of
beings. And yet, later Heidegger came to see that he could not withdraw his
concept of the gestalt completely from this tradition, because it is inherently
related to beings and thinks being out of beings. For instance, when Heidegger
in his Rectorial Address is talking about the task before the Germans of
finding their identity and when this identity can be found in a gestalt of the
German people, then it is not clear how this gestalt is differentiated from
an onto-typology, or from the beingness (gestalt) of beings (Germans). As
long as the truth of being has to establish itself in a gestalt, being as such
is not only thought of in relation with beings, but also out of beings, and
we are then incapable of differentiating it from the beingness of beings.
That is why Heidegger, in his Contributions, finally rejects the establishment
of the truth in a gestalt and attempts to think the truth of being without
beings: “Mindfulness transports the man of the future into that ‘in-between’
in which he belongs to being and yet, amidst beings, remains a stranger.”
Because the concept of the gestalt is, according to Heidegger, inherently
bound up with beings, the departure of establishment implies also the departure
of the gestalt.
As phenomenologist philosophers such as Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger pointed out in the last century, we have an attitude or intention towards everything that confronts us in our world. Telling me I should fear the horror of falling out of the sky in a bombed Airbus A380 less than I fear driving to work, because the latter is statistically more of a threat, is like telling me I should cease to be a human being and become an abacus.
The trouble with your own home is that its very familiarity leads it to become almost invisible. German philosopher Martin Heidegger had something to say about this. In his frequently impenetrable but otherwise fascinating quest to understand the concept of being, he looked at how in day-to-day life we necessarily forget to look at everyday objects such as tables, doorways, knives, forks and plates. If we didn’t, we’d become so distracted we’d forget to get on with the dinner.