Saturday, April 28, 2012

Frédéric de Towarnicki's Visite à Martin Heidegger

Speaking in 1955 in Messkirch, his birthplace, on the occasion of a commemorative celebration, he spoke with simple words of the task that he believes belongs to thinking in our time: ”Find and prepare a road to lead thinking to the heart of what is now known as the ‘atomic age’ and go beyond it.” There were two kinds of thought, he said that day, both of which are both legitimate and necessary: ​​”Thinking” that calculates and thinking that meditates. The technological revolution that already encircles us on all sides - for which thinking was not prepared - fascinates modern man and threatens to turn his head. So much so that calculative thinking, validated by its grand successes, could one day become the only thinking to be recognized and to be used; the possibilities of calculation are themselves computable. A new danger threatens humanity, the chance that truth might be reduced solely to those numbers that reason, science and math project. “The astonishing and fertile virtuosity of calculation that invents and plans could lead one day to indifference regarding thought that meditates, in other words, the complete absence of thinking.” Man today, rightly amazed by his discoveries and achievements, might not measure what is great and deserves to be thought, not with the scales of only his rational operations, with their answers to the question: ”how?”. The essence of man would be threatened.

That day Heidegger invited his fellow citizens not to be monopolized by the language of technology, nor to be diverted from a questioning more in search of meaning; so that our relationship with technology and cybernetics would become freer, by awakening new duties that may be more serious than the old.

Before taking the road to the Black Forest, we read many writings of Heidegger, whose reversals of perspective always surprised us. So we could better “see” the present, it was necessary to look back and understand the scope of the question of being which the Greeks had as the axis of their philosophy. His lectures reconsidered the way in which we represented the world to ourselves, ascribing, unlike the Greeks, a disproportionate role to consciousness. In this seventeenth century vision that characterized the modern metaphysics of subjectivity, in which man becomes the center of this unique reference to what is, things are perceived and questioned as they appear to us. “We, the subject,” Husserl said. It is the unique destiny of our metaphysics, that we have come so far.
Pp. 16-8


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