Saturday, October 19, 2013
Figure/Ground interviews Graham Harman again.
Now, the usual reading of this tool-analysis (even by Heidegger himself) is that Heidegger shows us that all theorizing about isolated entities is grounded in a holistic network of praxis in which all entities are entangled with each other. Yet this misses the real greatness of Heidegger’s breakthrough, which is that all of these invisible tools can break: and insofar as they can break, they must not be fully deployed in their relations with all the other tools! If I look at a tree or make up theories about it, I have already transformed the tree, or “cut it off at the knees,” as the young Heidegger puts it. Yet the same holds true even if I use the tree for lumber or bask in its oxygen output. No human relation to the tree, whether theoretical, perceptual, or practical, ever fathoms the depth of this tree. And neither does the contact of any other entity with this tree ever exhaust it. Finitude is not a category of the human mind or human Dasein, but of relationality as such. Relations are external to their terms. Relations do not exhaust their terms. This entails a realism in which objects lie at greater depths than any access to them.
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