Technology restated out of the German world through a passage of Robert Musil’s “The Man Without Qualities” in attempt to come to its definition so as to see into it its decision
Philosophy is the name for what helps human beings, or else it would be something else. Whatever helps is a caput mortuum, according to The Heidegger, a worthlessness κατ’ ἐξοχήν. Stated more ambiguously, but, also, say, more truthfully, and in polemic with the times, with information and facts, with newspaper time and manipulation which sees the newspaper time as claiming us, as political claim over the duty of our pride, as what we must follow to be men, philosophy stands against all this as the attempt to demonstrate the impossibility of a trivial life. The thing that is eminently salutary, health itself, seems to help. Political sense, in contradistinction to science, as the base out of which science claims, and makes its claim, to ascend, knows what health is, but in its ascent it no longer can know. Health becomes a technical issue. It’s not only that David Sinclair, by controlling the nucleus of the human cell, can change all the accidental forms of health, but health as such may suffer a qualitative change in its genus.
Socrates was compelled to face up to the “City of Pigs,” the mere pleasure lovers, because Kallipolis, the most noble city, is the question: What life would be most noble? Kalon means what makes the most pious man want to worship through its beauty. The genius of Socrates finds most beautiful the improvement of human beings. His claim is that the ugliest understanding of justice is brute piggish power (cf. Strauss on tyranny and the life of actual tyrants in their self-claimed misery), and the political standard is contract and property. In the noble city we are physicians who claim human beings in order to lead them to the total exposition of the perfect human order. The first three Articles of the US Constitution are an ordering of state. What comes after is law. Kallipolis is not a city of laws. But, rather, of what one gets down on one's knees in the impulse to reverence, namely the highest vision of justice which brings audacity to the citizens and is the spontaneous support of their beings. Yet, this god, justice as sensed by the genius of Socrates, no longer claims human beings. However, today there is a god called techne. And it is no mean god, nor is its power less than the gods of all times.
In a certain sense, this god is greater than the older gods. Surely, it is no nihilism. Only the overcoming of all gods would be that. However, now let us merely read a passage of Musil in order to grasp the definition in our own ways while considering it in the wintery light of Decision and Event (which is Ereignis) since, up until know, this has been something that just happened, and not what was decided by laying claim on this peculiar pattern of our time:
“The lady and her companion had also approached and, peering over heads and bent backs, contemplated the victim. Then they stepped back and stood hesitating. The lady had a queasy sensation in the pit of her stomach, which she credited to compassion, though she chiefly felt irresolute and helpless. The gentleman, after some silence, said to her: “The breaks on these heavy trucks have too long of a braking-distance.” This datum gave the lady some relief, and she thanked him with an appreciative glance. She did not really understand, or care to understand, the technology involved, as long as his explanation helped put this ghastly incident into perspective by reducing it into technicality of no direct personal concern to her.”
In all literature what matters is verisimilitude. But, that the engineer can imagine an engine and picturing it so work out various problems, such as the design of a better carburetor in his fuel injection system, also means that the knowledge he has in the intuition or prediction of the acts of the phenomena of heat and chemical actions come into the picturesque mirror. So far as literature and imagination remains a set of beings that does not struggle to overcome extrospective being it reminds of a metaphor that merely transfers meaning, but does not yet grasp that it first opens meaning. And this was the difficulty which caused Mishima to finally capitulate and relinquish literature.
According to the god of techne, for the feminine and the political, always fearing the expert and seeking what is to be trusted, the nets of technology bring relief: This datum gave the lady some relief, and she thanked him with an appreciative glance. She learns of the title: Breaking-distance. The masculine spirit, to be sure, too learns of this, and here it would need to become intelligent, and learn the intelligence of breaking-distance. Which, to be sure, is no Greek or Latin text of philosophy or science (the two being the same named twice in the tradition until now). So far as Greek and Latin were the entrance requirement for the universities of the past, they have now to step aside for the new intelligence of this man. Now, the irresolute feeling flies. With the datum. According to The Heidegger there is such a thing, too, of anxiety. Though, true, it is not thought as mere anxiety at a car wreck. Yet, it is banished!
The feminine spirit, the popular, the political man, but Nietzsche says, this too names the scientists themselves these days, since they are universal laymen and infantizing and obscurantist of themselves, except in the narrow niche of their specialization and its corresponding intelligence, in the compartment of braking-distances for instance, She did not really understand, or care to understand, the technology involved, as long as his explanation helped put this ghastly incident into perspective by reducing it into technicality of no direct personal concern to her.” Everyone who is happily a layman will accept the popular account, and having learned some names with the greatest complacency go about rehearsing them to each other and themselves. This means most off all the so-called scientists themselves, who are their own popular audience, and talk baby-talk even to themselves.
Was this ever a decision? According to The Heidegger Event or Ereignis (others proscribe the translation) is a decision. It has nothing to do with newspapers, even if it infects the political, or what Leo Strauss says, in our own time, comes to stand for common sense as against scientific sense. But, what common sense is, is a small god in itself. It guides the ego arbiter in its deliberations within and with each other. And it too undergoes qualitative changes and one notes that once upon a time it was non-existent. Decision is somewhere in the god of techne, but what is this dawn for science or for politics? For philosophy and science on the one hand, and politics and common sense on the other? One would like to say, according to The Heidegger, and, also, the truth. How can we think the "according to the truth" given that The Heidegger tells us, if we listen, that the essence of truth is a decision or Event? The thrill of the removal from the newspaper time, with its demand to keep up with the latest incremental transformations on the road to the top of reality, would jolt through bodily to our fingertips when they found themselves moving in the untimeliness of this decision. This man and woman, in Musil, let us say, have lived in the newspaper, and not in decision. they are no nihilists, thus they can never create truth. Yet, The Heidegger does not aim at creating truth: rather at being claimed by Ereignis or Event, by the decision. Yet, is it this decision, that of that resplendent Techne in the eyes of political man, who is also these days scientific man, himself a popular man, speaking to his lack of science, to his mere techne, of the god of forces and laws of “nature,” of the unitary nature rather than the nature of the myriad individual beings, a decision to techne?
To be sure the Event is like a paideia which lets one move forward in a situation of timelessness. But, this timelessness is not eternal in the sense of a store of ideas or possibilities, that of ivory, that of triangles, that of hippopotamuses and of a Marina Abramovic who asserts that a woman who has children can never be a great artist, but it is thought in the atmosphere of a polemic with the newspaper, which itself has the consideration of the progress of the “worker.” Because the “soldier” was damned with his “peace is a dream and not even a beautiful dream,” with his sacrifice and morality, and the selfishness of the “worker” with his, these are not one of ourselves and we may kill them for our benefit, since it all serves progress, since all “work” is in the service of the newspaper and the political, and makes for more information and most of all keeps us in contact with the “datum” which is in the place of decision.
However, we must study the being of imagination and verisimilitude under the possibility of stealing towards the genuine definition of Decision which must be seen and not only talked of. This describes our current task.