Saturday, May 20, 2017
In the UCSB global-e, Fred Dallmayr on happenings in public spaces.
the question of public space is not simply a matter of physical or geometrical extension; in a way, it shares the awe surrounding spatiality as such. Clearly, the “public” is not just the “others,” nor is it me; it is neither their property nor mine. Differently put: it cannot be appropriated, instrumentalized or controlled by any side. In traditional languages, the public is something “in-between” or “metaxy” (as Plato called it), and even something beyond “in-between” because it involves what makes the “between” possible. To this extent, the public has an ethical quality, or perhaps an ethical-spiritual quality, because genuine ethics is always transformative, a move beyond you and me. This is why dealing with the “public” is always a demanding or challenging enterprise; it means participating in a happening or “event’ (Ereignis) stretching us beyond ourselves. In Heideggerian language, the happening is neither an external fate, nor can it be engineered. It occurs at the edge of human self-interest—or, if you will, at the edge of the Platonic “cave.”
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