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Presence, Ereignis and artificial horizons

Been into Heidegger's 1950s texts partly because of my course on Heidegger, Levinas and Derrida.

Between the Bremen conferences and On time and being there is a rehearsal of a thinking about presence that is fruitful in many directions. Derrida's criticism of the metaphysics of presence and his grammatology - including the central idea of supplement - springs from the idea that there should be something underneath presence and therefore a difference underneath the history of metaphysics. But the attention to the idea that throughout Western philosophy being has been presence opens also the idea that there is something - a destination, an emission, a gift - that seals the metaphysical idea that presence can be reverse engineered so that the very intelligibility of its coming about is extracted. Heidegger distinguished, in the Bremen lectures, two modes of presencing, one that is tied to the concernful approach of physis and another, associated to thesis, that extracts its intelligence and makes it available. The former has to do with proximity, something presents itself with care and concern while in the latter presence takes place as a consequence of a request. The presence through Ge-Stell - the latter - is one where the happening of one's presentation (Ereignis) is already under control as in a standing reserve. Heidegger implicitly favors the other mode of presence and preached for a Kehre, for a turn where we find a way to preserve the right of things to present themselves of their own accord. But he also envisages that presence itself - being as presence - has the seed of the current epoch in the history of being. Once presence is considered to be what being is, it is as if its intelligence can be eventually extracted and there is no alternative for what makes things present than to run away in danger. The turn has to be the turn away from presence because only away from presence this intelligibility cannot be extracted and being can cease to be in danger. It is, and Heidegger realizes, a much bigger turn that would be in order. It is as if the idea that there is a horizon where things appear is already what makes it conceivable that the horizon can be fully understood and its intelligence extracted. The horizon itself can be put in standing reserve, it can be turn into a dispositive that brings about something on request. Nihilism would then have started by the very idea that there is a source from which presence comes from - a horizon that can be eventually be replaced by something artificial (and in then, we haven't seen anything yet as far as the road of metaphysics is concerned).


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