Posted on: Mon, 2014-06-09 18:55   By: glue


To recover an original experience of Being recorded at the beginnings of literacy in Classical Greece, Heidegger turned to the Pre-Socratic philosophers such as Anaximander to find clues  regarding Phusis prior to Idea and Concept.  We are taking up Heidegger's promotion of this other beginning as a guide for the design of an electrate metaphysics.  Heidegger acknowledges that his is still a method, hence is using literacy to bootstrap into this other "way" (and he means for us to hear an association with Asian Tao, as the family of his Event [Ereignis]--event replacing object in his new ontology).  Literate conceptual thinking reduces everything to "calculation," whereas thinking event is like following a path, even what Heidegger calls "Holzwege" or forest paths, often overgrown, that come to an abrupt stop or dead end.  The path may (or not) connect one location with another, not without errancy or wandering.  The "forest" in Holzweg as a figure of method refers to any craft, such as the craft of poetry, and the "path" refers to the internal relationships and affordances of the material and practices that a craftsman learns and uses in making.  What Heidegger wants to learn from poets is how to receive from language and the formal conventions of art direction for the creation of sense and significance.  Calculation produced our superb contemporary GPS systems.  The task of electracy is to supplement GPS with EPS--existential positioning system--capable of wayfinding relevant to Holzwege as electrate logic.

                  Heidegger's "path" repeats Anaximander's own move in the invention of Philosophy, which was to find an equivalent in the new apparatus of alphabetic writing for the craft-work of well-made objects (craft as Analogy).  The decision that sent literacy on its way into Idea and Category is recorded in the drama of Socrates, who began his career as gadfly in the city when the Oracle at Delphi declared that no one was wiser than Socrates.  Refusing to accept this assertion, Socrates set out to question craftsmen of every sort, experts in all the important specializations of the day, from shipbuilders to generals.  As the dialogues demonstrate, he found that however seasoned in their craft, none of his interlocutors possessed wisdom (knowledge of universal principles, the true nature of reality). They lacked this kind of knowledge, of course, because it was only then being invented.  Heidegger returns to the Pre-Socratics whose cosmology records precisely what he wants to understand--the emergence of Being, not the qualities of extant beings.  Anaximander is himself a transitional figure (just as was Socrates after him), being also a craftsman.  The "emergence" in question is that of order and its measure of beings (the elements) out of chaos, their ebb and flow, coming and going, upsurge and destruction, through time.

                  The truth that Anaximander expressed in his written text he also modeled with three inventions, three daidala, representations of cosmos relevant to the work or craft of theory (Theoria).  Theoria involved travel, journeys both literal and figurative, undertaking investigation and speculation.  In support of this work Anaximander designed the first celestial sphere, a map of the world, and a gnomon (as sundial to track time) (Indra Kagis McEwen, Socrates' Ancestor: An Essay on Architectural Beginnings, MIT, 1993: 17).   Well-made crafts (an excellent ship or poem) had a double function:  they physically gathered and arranged material into function and service, and through the beauty of the well-made object order showed itself and appeared.  This production of cosmos through making applies to every dimension, not only objects but also moral ethos, the city as place and as political order (Justice).  Adornment reveals nature, cosmetics show beauty of face, and revelation through craft is what Heidegger took as his point of departure for the other beginning leading to our digital metaphysics.

                  The legendary figure most associated with cosmological craft is Daedalus, who fled Athens (went into exile) to the court of King Minos in Crete.  The emergence of order that models our instructions is expressed in this legend, whose terms are clarified by their usage in Homer's epics, especially the Odyssey (hence the connection with the cleverness of Odysseus/Ulysses). The ambiguity or double nature of emergence is documented in the daidala credited to Daedalus:  both Labyrinth and Choros (dance floor).  In craft, dead-end wandering transforms into dance, just as cosmos emerges from chaos. "Diodorus Siculus uses the same adjective, apeiros, to describe the tortuous dead-end passages of Daedalus' Labyrinth, for apeiros means not only boundless but also, like aporia, without escape, which is also to say unmeasured, or immeasurable. It is the measure of Ariadne's dance, the confused regularity of the 'moving maze' traced by the passage of 'well-taught feet,' which spins the thread that leads out of the Labyrinth, and goes on to weave another.  In the still-living imagery of Minoan murals, slim Cretan youths leap over the horns of death-dealing bulls in order to dance with them.  For the early Greeks, the dangers of aporia were not problems to be solved but the basic precondition for artifice" (59).   We are reminded by this vocabulary of the novel Gradiva, that Freud adopted as allegory of psychoanalytic pedagogy, including the peculiar gait that identified the historical, mythological, and actual women for the protagonist.  "The feet of the dancers in Ariadne's dance are epistamenoisi, knowing feet, and one cannot claim to have knowledge of dancing until one can, in fact, dance" (126).  The fundamental difference between literate idea and the other beginning is this role of experience, the participation in the craft, as distinct from pure knowledge, of having seen what is already given.  The separation of the virtues of capability into knowing, doing, and making, characteristic of literacy is reversed in theopraxesis: the dancer, dance, and dance floor that make cosmos appear.

                  Here is our question, what calls for thinking in electracy, a new opportunity, taking up in our turn in our apparatus the confrontation between human power (virtue, capacity) and Deinon, leaving techne to literacy.  We understand that it is a certain kind of relation, a jointure to create order, limit, well-being against violent disaster in the breach opened by humankind.  Literacy took the way of Idea and conceptual logic with which we are familiar, with extraordinary results certainly.  And yet today Deinon reigns.  Our assignment is to develop for and through post-medium arts a new operating logic, another way of dis/joining, different from the analogy of the line, the allegory of the cave, the ratio of proportion structuring Plato's metaphysics (and Western thought after him).  It is important to note, in this context, that Heidegger's Open (Breach), the gap of dis/joining, explicitly refers to one of Plato's most important innoavations, offered in Timaeus (a companion dialogue with the Republic).  Plato took up in turn the gap or joint broached in the Pre-Socratics. To solve the problem of how Being and Becoming (the Intelligible and the Sensible) interacted (how pure eternal forms somehow direct the changing transcience of matter), Plato introduced a third dimension that he called "chora," borrowing from ordinary Greek the term for region, space, receptacle, and evoking the legendary daidala such as choros (dance floor) and chorus (in tragedy).

                  In Timaeus there is a first attempt to account for cosmos (joining into relation) strictly through Intelligible Form (Idea), but the account breaks off and its inadequacy acknowledged. A second account begins, that introduces between Being and Becoming, on the cusp or threshold of passage between the two kinds (the location of hinge or joint), this event of inmixing, jointure, emergence: Chora. Since Chora is neither intelligible nor sensible, it may only be discussed in poetic allusive terms (muthos, the mythology that Plato had hoped to avoid).  The Theory (Pythagoras) directing Plato's invention held that world order emerges from chaos, disorder, obscurity.  Chora is how Plato includes the event of emergence in his metaphysics, and Heidegger's aletheia and jointure return to it, privilege it as an augmentation of the other beginning, neglected by the tradition. Choragraphy names the designing of relations, of jointure or ratio of what is fitting, appropriation. Scholars have demonstrated the interdependence of Idea and Receptacle throughout the Western tradition, with Kant's third critique assigning to imagination the functioning of Chora, bridge between Pure and Practical Reason, Necessity and Freedom.  The larger implications of this genealogy become clear when we recognize the Unconsious as the most recent treatment of the primordial gap.