A specter is haunting the schools of architecture, and it is called “Triple O.” As a dense interpretation of the already obscure writings of Martin Heidegger, Graham Harman’s “speculative realism”—which his equally dense interpreter Ian Bogost has given the name Object-Oriented Ontology, and which he himself shortens to “Triple O”—this niche bit of philosophy would not seem like a promising foundation on which to base architecture projects. But it has become popular to the point that students at the School of Architecture at Taliesin (where I teach), at Yale University, at Texas A&M, and at SCI-Arc (where Harman now teaches) all claim to base their work on their understanding of what it means.
In a letter to Jean Beaufret on November 23, 1945, Heidegger writes:
“‘Dasein’ is a keyword of my thought and therefore also the
occasion for gross misinterpretations. ‘Da-sein’ for me means not so much ‘Here I am!’
but—if I can put it in a perhaps impossible French—‘being-the-there.’ And ‘the there’ is
equal to ἀλήθεια: unconcealment – openness.” The letter is printed with a French translation
in Martin Heidegger, Lettre sur l’humanisme, ed. and trans. Roger Munier (Paris:
Aubier, 1964), 180–85, here 182–83.
Nietzsche has long been unread in philosophy departments in both Germany and in the United States, just as the Frankfurt School under the leadership of Habermas and Honneth turned away from the original founders of Critical Theory, Adorno and Horkheimer. Today, the kind of philosophy we do at university is ‘analytic’ in Germany as in France and the UK, as in the US and Canada, etc., a way of doing philosophy which — quite apart from the Heideggerian question of whether it can or cannot think — seems demonstrably incapable of raising a challenge to the far right.
AG: You also describe punk as ‘a working through of the creative possibilities of boredom that resist any easy translation into pleasure’ and go on to assert that ‘Boredom as the self-consciousness of naïveté is the Grundstimmung of punk.’ Could you explain this?
SC: I am alluding to Heidegger here, for whom anxiety is the Grundstimmung, the basic attunement that allows the world to withdraw and fall away, and allows for the possibility of the creative nothingness of freedom. Heidegger also talks, in the late 1920s, about ‘profound boredom’ as another possible basic attunement, and I was trying to link that to the theme of boredom that runs like a red thread through early punk, notably in the Buzzcocks’ Spiral Scratch and the opening track ‘Boredom,’ as Howard Devoto sneers.
There is no reason, in his mind, not to imbue a smaller TV role with the same motivations used for a Greek classic onstage.
“What’s the greatest idea? Why are we doing these things? Why are we doing this play?” Mr. Kelly said. “Forgive me if it sounds pretentious, but it’s Martin Heidegger: Language is being. ‘Language is the house of being, and we are the caretakers of being.’ If it’s cinematic language, or it’s literal poetry, that’s what gets me going.”
The Industrial Revolution was an explosion in rectilinearity. Its factories, products, and shipping networks imposed the rectangle on the world on a scale never before seen. But the most important rectangle of our age is the one that you’re reading this through. How many rectangles can you see right now?
Again, I don’t know if it’s a particularly good idea to walk around being aware of the rectangles. Following Heidegger and John Dewey, we’re mostly aware of the form of our tools, such as their rectilinearity, if they break down (e.g. if they become “bricked”). Perhaps it’s best to continue interacting with them as invisible portals through with we access cold food, outside, the internet, etc., and body-extension territories such as parking spaces, rooms, yoga mats, etc. But there may be times when we want to see legibility itself.
In NDPR, Robert P. Crease reviews Vincent Blok's Ernst Jünger's Philosophy of Technology: Heidegger and the Poetics of the Anthropocene.
Another place where Jünger influenced Heidegger was on the idea of nihilism. Jünger wrote of the experience of nihilism as a movement towards a zero line or meridian, but one that can, at least potentially, via a "new turning of Being," be crossed over into a new era in which nihilism is overcome -- while Heidegger thought that nihilism cannot be overcome and the only recourse is a return to the question of Being. Klok, however, argues that Jünger not only helped usher Heidegger to his own position, but actually began to accomplish what Heidegger criticizes him for not doing. Klok cites a number of other points where Jünger influenced Heidegger: on the latter's notions of "overcoming," calculating, and Gelassenheit, among others.