Tuesday, June 26, 2018


A Kindergarten (as Fire?) of Thinking 


Everyone is familiar with artworks. One finds works of architecture and sculpture erected in public places, 
in churches, and in private homes. Artworks from the most diverse ages and peoples are housed in 
collections and exhibitions. If we regard works in their pristine reality and do not deceive ourselves, 
the following becomes evident: works are as naturally present as things. The picture hangs on the wall 
like a hunting weapon or a hat. A painting - for example van Gogh's portrayal of a pair of peasant shoes 
- travels from one exhibition to another. Works are shipped like coal from Ruhr or logs from 
the Black Forest. During the war Holderlin's hymns were packed in the soldier's knapsack along 
with cleaning equipment. Beethoven's quartets lie in the publisher's storeroom like potatoes in a cellar.


Nietzsche's Zarathustra, too, the pages of which whisperingly leapt under the soldier's hardened 
fingers which leafed through them, lay within knapsacks during the first war, supplied by an edict of 
the general command. Science, what requires the ears of the soul, i.e., the logos. Art, what can be 
taught, as can shoemaking. Life, spontaneous formation, as of herds. Nietzsche teaches: Science 
from art, and art from life. Out of the soil the rude beasts that in certain cases, with good breeding, 
become Frenchmen, and from Frenchmen Jesuits, and from Jesuits the intricate machinations of a 
forensic casuistry, the science of applying general rules to the particular cases according to conscience. 
Why does hearing the text lead us towards the ultimate dominion of art? 

Nietzsche spoke of moral phenomena and truth (Wahrheit), the notion of a fact, after the style of 
scientific method established by the Royal Society, and now everywhere in power, was not wholly 
alien to him, for he died swimming in scientific texts, yet he regarded this as an interpretation: the 
moral phenomenon as neutral fact. Neutral means here not disinterested, but rather technical. It is 
part of the regnant science, which is Science of Nature. So long as nature comes first, there is only 
scientific knowledge of nature, but Science of Nature means the world as such is Science, and nature 
is what is said of this science, i.e., reality is the a priori interpretation of the whole as geometrical solid, 
everywhere real so far as it is quantifiable. Since science proceeds nature one is likely no longer 
to see even the sense of the word life in Nietzsche. Life is already thought as following form and laws 
according to this reality, i.e., that of the Science of Nature. Science as technology, understood as 
power, in the sense of the stock of possibilities, for instance the possibility of knowing the stress 
loads capable of various never produced materials, the stock of beings as what is stored in 
Science as Nature, is the utter obstruction of any future, as the constant apperception, in the 
Leibnizian sense of a knowing which is nonetheless “on rails”, as it were, the already knowing 
how to manipulate what is there for the being in for-grasping, i.e., reliable forecasting in thought, 
and action, i.e., external motion, is the essence of technology as art.  

Here we have the difficulty of the direction of being. In the genuine past (that which stands before 
one, that which the face faces)—which the prophetic ear harks to—the primordial is still speaking. 
Arendt here lets Faulkner speak for a secularized prophetic spirit: “The past isn’t dead. It isn’t even past”. 
Judith Butler here makes Benjamin speak without challenging what is secular sufficiently, the word of 
Benjamin: “I rather prefer remembrance”. And yet who would not walk along the 
banks of the Lethe would be first to obstruct the future. Ergo, would not challenge Science as Nature, 
that which is the regnant art ("challenge" only because, something remains before one in the nihilism). 
(Seen the other way) who does not challenge the prophetic utterly 
forgets pessimism, which is the supreme dominion of creativity—nihilism itself—standing 
before us (nihilism walks backward issuing genuine future, but in being known as nihilism, 
it stands before in genuine obstruction) revealing itself in undying light. This is said in order to say: that Orthodoxy, which is 
abstraction from what is let to unfold in the art, in Science as Nature, does not exercise its ear rightly.

In what follows we are listening to hear what art says, because what art says is already being 
heard as the essence of being, so far as the group of thinkings referred to as Heidegger attempts 
to think art, art itself, what is already there, but which we speak to Heidegger about.  

Monday, June 11, 2018


The question of the overcoming of the decomposition of “spirituality”, as a failure to overcome,  
as an Aristotelian disintegration according to Eugene Ionesco.


In order to discover the nature of art that really holds sway in the work let us approach the actual work 
and ask it what and how it is.

The assumed approach of the questioning already knows that it is questioning: i.e., posing the question 
pertaining to the artwork. In fact this knowing is already truth. Which is to say, one sees something, and 
what is seen is understood to be an artwork, e.g., a copy of Ionesco’s La Le├žon. One determines that the 
book is there, i.e., one’s intelligence comes alive to the place of the book which is the work of art. The 
book, the artwork, is there on the table is a true statement. The truth is already known and yet we still 
approach in order to question. We know perfectly well that what is said is correct, that the artwork is 
there, on the table, but this correct knowing of what is true is the very place where the region of 
questioning is sought. This seeking, unlike other seeking, in that it seeks indifferently in the sense 
that its subject matter is indifferent, it seeks only to open the region of the question.  

What does “actual” say here? We already are in the Aristotelian way of thinking when we speak 
of the actual as what is determined against the potential (we move in the horizon of the disputation 
with the Megarians, i.e. the refusal of the thinking of dunamis as power. Dunamis which is already 
stretching uneasily towards the historial, what?, possibility of its unfolding in Hobbes? 
Hobbes = the human being is the animal that is proud because it has possibilities, 
which is to say, power). This holding sway of the essence, of energia, is never a subsatntive, 
such that the noun “artwork” looks for its underlying unity in the mere accident of the appearance 
of the qualities, of the rectilinear character of the book, of the glint of the morning light on the 
glossy cover, of the colors given off and the script on the cover which themselves, if we emphasize
them, begin to dominate and speak against the book as a whole. The Aristotelian determination 
of actuality, however, threatens us with the abstraction of the object which is not placed in life, 
because the result of the potential is never simply the actual, but the actual in the concretion 
of its surrounding, on a table, in the study of someone with a history, in a specific surrounds 
and swimming in the horizon of the knowing proper to an age, to the time now lived in. 
The concretion of the object is never realized in the actualization of a standing possibility, 
but it remains trapped in a search for knowledge of the teleological cause or meaning of the thing.

What one can not do here, if he would remain with the path opened up by the thinking:

1. Think the break down of the substance, into the qualities, through to its conclusion in a 
homogeneous field of tiny things. Such that “meaning” (meaning as it stands in connection 
to the question about teleology, the leading question of Greek, European and Western 
world until the death of Nietzsche, not as meaning speaks vaguely out of language and 
everydayness) is eradicated in a kind of patternless and inchoate anti-meaning. Questioning is 
then perpetually set aside in the continuance of meaning as the shadowy underflow of a non-meaning.

2. Treat the vagueness of the saying of what is true as a failure to reach what Strauss called 
“the highest things”, those about which the smallest insight is worth more than the greatest 
insight concerning the lower things. Which is to say, to look stealthily and in the hidden motions 
of the heart towards a repair and a sustainment of the tradition and its noble searching.

3. To treat the word “holds sway” as if it meant essencing in the sense of understanding the 
thing there according to the psuke, or soul (or intelligence), rather than as a saying of what 
shines forth from the surrounding world in its announcing and being announced. Which is to say, 
however, that in thinking the holding sway in a Greek way, one superimposes the seeking of the 
region of the question onto the Greek thought as it is us who are its history as the truth of being.   

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

How the Circling Circles in each Thought of this Ergon


What art is we should be able to gather from the work. What the work is we can only find out from 
the nature of art. It is easy to see that we are moving in a circle. The usual understanding demands 
that this circle be avoided as an offense against logic. It is said that what art is may be gathered 
from a comparative study of available artworks. But how can we be certain that such a study is 
really based on artworks unless we know beforehand what art is? Yet the nature of art can as little 
be derived from higher concepts as from a collection of characteristics of existing artworks. 
For such a derivation, too, already has in view just those determinations which are sufficient 
to ensure that what we are offering as works of art are what we already take to be such. The 
collecting of characteristics from what exists, however, and the derivation from fundamental 
principles are impossible in exactly the same way and, where practiced, are a self-delusion.


“Art” as ergon, what is it? If we claim that it is poiesis, a more subtle difficulty arises.  

Ergon does not name the “work”, if work is what hangs on the wall or what is placed on a music 
stand to free the hands to play an instrument. The one who is “praised” by the work, Stockhausen 
or Mishima, is not the ergon. If they were then the ergon could not be found long after their death, 
at work in the work; music when it is played or sculpture when it is placed in the outer courtyard of 
a place where art is in demand by those who never can rest from their demand for more of it. 
But the one who made it produced it, they made it, and this making according to a way of making 
is poiesis. Way-of-making means that something remains in the work that is of the artist, even in 
the case of a Richter, where the life blood moves across many faces and expressions of style. The 
style can always be imitated or “appropriated”, by the peculiar spirit of the decision in the poiesis 
makes one wonder about the mechanical reproduction. However, to be sure, here one is not 
altogether sure that anything remains of the ergon that is not there in what is “positive”, in the 
technique which is ever more animated and coloured, and ever more entraps and varies within its 
own unpatterned patterning. And yet, what is reproduced in the mechanization of the poesis of 
this or that master artist, it is that which is “praised” by the work. 

We move in the same circle so long as we speak in the terms of the Christian philosophy which 
appropriates Aristotle to understand phusis as guided by the highest poiesis, actus purus. Actus purus 
is the actuality of the power behind the laws of nature. The potentia ordinata is thought as the 
“fire behind the equations” (Hawking), when one takes the observation of a system as what with 
regularity fits the mathematical representation as a thing in itself. This is almost inevitable. 
One only looks out of this thinking in the sense that becoming aware one always thinks in this 
manner of phusis as what has a way of regularly coming forward, one could also think otherwise. 
We must think backwards and not presume a knowledge of the Greek phusis. Today, nature is 
human, it is always regularity, i.e., what is already, and in principle, perfectly grasped by the 
Galilean science. Which is Science of Nature, i.e., what knows in advance. On the other hand one 
can see in these descriptions of what happens, the way a certain mass moves in the medium one 
has long called water, in what outside physics one has long been used to calling air, through the 
thinnest mediums, recording and generalizing one makes laws. Theses laws must be thought as 
regular for the formulas of math for the reason that the abstractions of post-Galilean physics are 
not externally empirical, but a priori. However, because the world of daily life is left over, and, indeed, 
it is the place of the mathematical thinking of the regularity, it is still possible to think the actuality 
of the potential as referring to the human things, stones, the sky, the crowns of the redwoods as they 
lose themselves in the infinite dark of the night. This thinking of the moral, as the coming to the 
practical essence of the beings, is the old way of reason, as the weighing of speeches depended 
on the competence of a well-ordered soul, of a human being. Nietzsche says here, words judged 
by one soul push down the scales, and by another reveal levity and let the scale rise. 
The well-ordered soul that is the judge of the premises, and of the rationality, falls prey 
to the radical power to form souls out of what is “positive”. Everyone knows that the 
‘washing of the brain’ is ever more a ready technique amidst the positivity of what no longer 
looks to the lawlike of the rational, and, even, uses the lawlike of the regularity only as operative 
fiction concerning the ever tacitly thought, but not “positive” actuality of the power of the 
becoming of the system of nature (,here it is apt to attempt to think what is still 
worthy of thought in the unthought word of Nietzsche: life-giving-lie, i.e., the 
power as what is positive is this lie, and thus not power as Will to Power. This will to power is not egotism, 
as a willing forth of the difficult, but the will to will is the Kama of the Rausch as "instinct" 
where the scare quotes indicate the difficulty of thinking a drive which is not thought biologically or positively
[as it still is in Freud = with certain difficulties, the "later Freud", etc.].)

The thinking of art, when it is set off against equipment, what is operative, and against the 
surrounding purposelessness of the leaf that falls from the tree and the ice that hangs from 
the primeval forest branch, that which is strictly by chance, Vortuna as what is pitted against 
the human being in the human struggle for its place, move in the space of art when art is thought 
as what is a noble purposelessness. 

1.Chance, as coming forth of what comes of itself.

2.Regularity, as the human who forces nature to reveal its secrets in order to give man pleasure.

3.Art as what is choice-worthy in the purposeless flow of what shines forth of itself.

In this motion we do not yet reach art as what the ergon of Heidegger would have us think. 
The looking at the path (not only phenomonologicaly, but as radical opening that seeks the end of 
seeking in the region of the question) which is thinking as what is determined against knowing, rather than in the older sense of thinking 
rather than action (cf. Kant). Since art must lose its memory, its conscious which learns from what it has done to pollute itself 
(see: the Euthydemus, miasma). Instead art, here, in seeking the concrete, in the whole or 
fullness of the thing that shines forth, is already thinking of the “radical dispensation of fate” 
which is the “letting be” of the coming forth of being, as setting aside the human desire that 
the flowing forth should avial for the human. Insofar as philosophy no longer appeals to 
what would help humans, what avials, it thinks Historialy, i.e., it throws off Greek thinking, 
in finding the moment of being which is now said in a tonality scarcely available even to the 
Early Greek thinking. However, because this way of saying being is said, it is not the being as 
what the ergon of Heidegger seeks in this path of seeking, which so far as it seeks fails to find 
the essence of questioning. Everything hangs on abandoning the seeking in the region 
where questioning senses the opening of what is left unsaid be the Greeks, and by the 
history of thinking, concerning being. Being is said in many ways, and there remains a way 
it can not be said, but sensed. In this Heidegger speaks of the rigour which is at the same 
time more demanding and more free than was philosophy which is ended.