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.  

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