Monday, April 14, 2014
Levi R. Bryant on the situation of the spectacles.
As Heidegger observes, in our comportment towards the picture, our glasses become invisible, withdrawing from presence, insofar as we are directed towards the painting. Heidegger wishes to argue that this demonstrates that there is a more fundamental spatiality than that of Euclidean or Newtonian space, where proximity is defined not by metric closeness, but rather by our concernful dealings with the world around us. In these concernful dealings, we look through our glasses. What is close in lived experience is not the glasses, but rather the picture we are regarding in our concernful dealings. [...]
The situation is the same with signs, texts, and messages. Signs draw our thought beyond the vehicle that carries them—the signifier through which they are transported—to whatever signified they might be about. What we forget in our dealings with signs—and what Heidegger forgets when he talks about the spectacles— is that in order for signs to refer to something beyond themselves in the first place, it is necessary for signs to themselves be material entities that are present.
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