Wednesday, May 9, 2018

The Question of the Irreducible For-Spring 


As the artist is the origin of the work in a necessarily different way from the way the work is the 
origin of the artist, so it is in yet another way, quite certainly, that art is the origin of both artist 
and work. But can, then, art really be an origin? Where and how does art exist? Artthat is 
just a word to which nothing real any longer corresponds. It may serve as a collective notion 
under which we bring what alone of art is real: works and artists. Even if the word art is to 
signify more than a collective notion, what is meant by the word could only be based on the 
reality of works and artists. Or are matters the other way round? Do work and artist exist only 
insofar as art exists, exists, indeed, as their origin?


The artificial and the given. How are we to see the strife between Heidegger and Nietzsche in this? 
The agency of the will of humans seems to be at work. The fact in the older sense means such an 
agent. In English this older meaning only survives in a few odd phrases such as the legal term 
“accessory after the fact”. There the fact is the criminal act. Fact was said in opposition to nature, 
it individuated. One sees by nature, one has the family one has and the country of one’s birth. 
The fact, in contradistinction to this, was the intelligence at work through the will. A willful act. 
In the polemic between Hobbes and Boyle over the vacuum, and with the Royal Society more 
largely, the meaning of fact which is now taken for granted was crafted. Fact was a name for 
the empirical description of experiment. It was said disparagingly by Hobbes, who upheld the 
necessity of the principle, distrusting empirics and induction. Such was the so-called origin of the 
fact. The fact is not a word, but it is an ergon. It is what apperception moves in as the crow solves 
difficult problems, not instinctively, or only with the body and the body's knowing, but, not as 
with what is available to free art. As what is there in the way it is as it is what it is. In the way 
the hammer is ready to get purchase on the nails, and take it from the wall. Not in the way the 
hammer is what is raw material for a fire and to be melted down and made into this or that 
metal ware. Or to be studied under the discipline of chemistry. 

Nietzsche, who did not speak English, knew nothing of facts. He spoke of appearances, and of truth. 
All the same he died under a monstrous mound of scientific texts. He knew, well enough, what the 
fact was as a technical notion, but he did not move in the region of its atmospheres, indeed, he did 
not move in its art. Only we move in this art. We who have known no searching in the fact for what 
is to be thought in this fact, we who live in this art, that of the sciences and their repeatability of 
isolated bits of the world, of established and checkable facts. The artist has long since become 
the important one, the one who matters, the patron no longer hires the artist to make what is 
needed, but buys the work without question. The artist, Hobbes, did not commit an “ignoble fact”, 
to use the old phrase, when he brought the fact. For he did not see it coming. Does the artist see 
what is coming? Who is this artist? The human being? This notion of the human as actor is waning.  
Phusis, the blind act, the crime and the knowing mind of man, art, and what is out ahead of itself. 
Do any of these still stand? Why do we ask about Nietzsche's notion of art? Why did Heidegger 
search it? What strange art guides us? What is irreducible in the art is its being what is. This can never be 
explained through historical study into its empirical, its factual, coming to be. Yet, origin? What does 
that say? Where is the origin here? 


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