Wednesday, November 08, 2006
William McNeill on the turn away from technological thinking.
Were human beings to come to see the danger as danger, this would not entail the elimination of technology, but simply seeing Gestell as what it is, in its specific relation to finitude. Such a seeing would be a thoughtful attentiveness to what is refused in Gestell as such. It would also be a transformation in the "destiny" or claim of being as presencing. Such transformation would occur as a knowing relation to concealment, that is, as a thoughtful relating to the appropriative event (Ereignis) of presencing itself as finite in each case. But this thoughtful responsiveness would itself be a response to a turning of presence, to a turning whereby presencing itself is destined to us in a different and yet related way. Such turnings in the destiny of presencing itself, however, do not follow any laws of causality. They precisely resist any scientific or calculative predictability, and this because they occur in an event of originary finitude that engages human responsiveness and responsibility. In the case of our present dominant world-destiny, that of modern technology, the turning in question indeed transpires as a kind of "recovery" of the as yet concealed truth of technology. "But the recovery in a destiny of being, here and now, the recovery in Gestell, in each case occurs in the event of the arrival of another destiny, one that can neither be calculated in advance in a logical or historiographical manner, nor constructed metaphysically as the result of a process of history."

Such a turning occurs without mediation (in a dialectical-historical or causal sense). At the beginning of the essay Heidegger remarks that "What is destined in each case proceeds intrinsically toward a distinctive Augenblick that sends it into another destiny, whereby, however, it does not simply become submerged and lost." The appearance of the Augenblick in this context is not fortuitous: it locates the historical turnings of presencing in a site of human responsivenes that occurs in such a way as to be held open for the possibility of hearing and response, for an event (Ereignis) of language. With respect to the history of being, the Augenblick is nothing less that the site of the epochal turnings of presencing: it is that site in which the emergence of a new world, or of a new openness of world, first occurs and comes to presence, a site in which historical human beings are called upon to respond to the presencing of a world in a new and unforeseeable way.

P. 214
The quotes are from "The Turning".
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