Our entry into electracy (to the design of metaphysics for a digital apparatus) is through an updating of Justice. Our models so far are of the artists Jana Sterbak and Joseph Brodsky in Venice during the winter season of high water. We extrapolate to our own case, Ulmer in Gainesville, Florida, Holmevik in Clemson, South Carolina, you in your place. The instruction is theopraxesis. Martin Heidegger is a resource for learning how to undertake this correlation of philosophy with poetry and politics, in the transition from literacy to electracy. The challenge is to design a practice that is the digital equivalent of an alphabetic logic. The project is focused through proposing an alternative and supplement to Justice as concept. Heidegger undertakes a "destruction" (or deconstruction) of the tradition of Western philosophy, a return back to the beginning and inception of philosophy, to the Greek invention of literacy. The first instruction to note is: reoccupy tradition. His goal is to recover the original experience of Being at the origins of writing. His insight is that Plato in the Academy made a decision, picking up on one possibility modeled in the life of Socrates, relative to the affordances of alphabetic writing and the institutional requirements of school. There was, however, another possibility also available in pre-Socratic writing, another beginning, that was neglected and then forgotten. A new metaphysics takes this other beginning as its point of departure.
The original experience at the origins of Western literacy Heidegger recovered in the Greek word for "truth"--aletheia (provoked initially by its German translation)--noting "lethe," such that an (invented) etymology hears "unconcealment." "Truth" is a disclosive concealment: beings or ontic things appear here and now (space and time) in an opening cleared by a withdrawal of presencing, the happening of appearance (a double process). The original meaning of Being is rooted in Sanskrit asti: is, of itself, maintaining itself, an act in which a thing holds itself erect. It is as well a radiant thrust of life that the Greeks termed Phusis (Nature), that which emerges or arises, the act of coming forth into the light, as happens with seeds, eggs, a fetus. The invention of literate metaphysics is traced in a certain genealogy of terms, beginning with Phusis, noticed in a declarative--that it is, this!--recorded in the Pre-Socratic writings. The fateful decision, Heidegger explains, happened when Plato took the path into the concept by asking "this what?" crafting the Idea (from the word Eidos, shape). The showing of what is, is not so much a matter of the eye, vision or sight only, but of coming out of the dark and obscure into the light, a gleam of sun shining on a surface, the Gestalt of light and shade. Eidos or Idea happens in three ways: Phusis (standing in the light); Non-being, a mere aspect or accident of what appears; Glory, celebrity,, regard (esteem), appearing with respect to praise or blame in a community.
Heidegger's deconstruction returns to the academic concern with logos, to statements addressing Being as Idea in its visible aspect or properties, to point out that this analysis of what appears in being forgets about the opening or unconcealment, the Being itself of beings. The academic tradition unfolded with the invention of several more terms to name the inventions of literacy, taken up in Aristotle's categories (as noted previously). From Nature and Idea followed Form (Morphe, arranging the parts of matter), Entelechy (Being immanent in matter, such that a thing becomes what it already is through growth); Substance (the primary category establishing the unity of a thing); Soul (Psyche, the dynamic causal principle of life); First Cause (the Prime Mover, God, intelligence at work). These terms set Western metaphysics on its way, by means of a particular manner of gathering (logos), bringing order out of chaos by means of conceptual logic. Heidegger's project of deconstruction of this tradition is to return to the very beginnings of the evolution, to the first experience of Being as Phusis, the registration of life emerging into appearance, the clearing or opening that shows, and to find another path from this opening, other than the way of Idea and concept taken in alphabetic writing invented in the Academy. This way is modeled in poetry, and Heidegger devoted much of his later career to extracting from the art of a few exemplary poets (as well as from other arts such as painting and architecture) a new practice of thinking that is a relay for our design of electracy. We are following Heidegger's lead, proposing to learn from Brodsky in Venice an electrate (post-conceptual) manner of gathering into order.