Heidegger, Deconstruction, Addition, the Self

“Understanding of being is itself a determination of being of Da-sein”
                                   –Martin Heidegger, Being and Time

Who is Martin Heidegger? 20th century German philosopher who questioned what ‘being’ meant–what are the exact parameters?– instead of assuming it as a natural function in philosophical debate. Wrote Being and Time to try and figure some of these things out in 1953. Parts I and II (found: here) of the introduction are important to understanding his concepts of the being beyond being (Da-sein) and the particular states of being that make up our being within the being of Da-sein (our consciousness and perceptions of events/the web around us, our place in it).

And what is Da-sein? As far as I can tell, it is being that produces the being of self-reflexive quality that produces sciences, philosophy, questions about being and questions about existence—the background being of all of us, individually …the (biological? evolutionary? freak?) programming that creates a being that forces us to try and understand the structures of our lives and the structures of texts (or, other people’s lives). What is it in being that makes us question being? (As an aside, it seems that if we were to access this being behind the being, physical existence would no longer be important—unless physicality is our vehicle for tracing the being-lineage back on down the line…)

Derrida’s Of Gerontology mentions Heidegger in the introduction in conjunction with other philosophers working towards origination (of one form or the other) and claims that these thinkers have always found truth in the “logos” (the origin and order of the universe,”the word“)—within the structures that they have bound themselves in.
Such a concept is similar to the behavior of Arocena, the spying code-breaker of Piglia’s Artificial Respiration who keeps working at finding codes in relatively normal letters between an ex-senator and his correspondents. He finds codes because he believes that he will find codes (“…he understood two things. First: that the code could not be hidden in the titles of those [mentioned] books or in the books themselves: that would be too obvious. Second: that they [ex-senator Ossorio and (maybe) his son in law] were trying to distract him with [the] story. The code was somewhere else…”  (98)). Once Arocena has deciphered one code, he eventually finds codes in the codes, based upon equations that affirm his own brilliance as a code cracker. 

I don’t necessarily agree with Derrida that Heidegger is doing this (although I haven’t read all of Being and Time). Instead, he seems to be grappling with the same problem Derrida is: how can we get around the usage of language and the structures it is based upon when those structures are A) seemingly necessary for the dissemination of ideas—effective (in whatever sense this is possible) communication; and B) formed before our birth and constituting all of our education? Furthermore, how is it possible to find the essential being behind the words on the page? How is it possible to find both the perception of the writing (the point of view, the existenz of the work—how it depicts interaction with our being-world) and the source of the writing itself within the text (the author functioning as a sort of proxy Da-sein, although it seems that functioning as the proxy is only a characteristic of being of Da-sein)  when not only the connotations of the individual words but the text’s machinations as a whole are functioning to mislead, symbolize, describe, explain sans any markers between? 

This is where the problem of allegorical/political/historical/lyrical analysis comes into play. Barthe, in Image-Music-Text is trying to simplify all writing structurally, based upon the co-active play of each word in the text (even alluding to the possibilities of spelling and grammar playing a part in meaning (obviously…but to work out that math would take a long time–and lose a lot of generality in the process)) to (I guess) access the Da-sein outside of the written text. To figure out: What is this perspective saying about being? What is this being saying about perspective?

We should be careful though; at the same time, this analysis, despite its creativity and ingenuity (combining 3 current modes of analysis into some huge super-nalysis) seems to undercut the general project: searching for the being. Perspective is a mode of being—with each perspective and perception giving a potential value (as in the sense that x=y instead of good or bad) to existence and allowing the reader to understand his/her own perception better because of it. But (as much as I don’t like to say it) this reasoning is flawed: comparison of perspectives doesn’t result in being—being results in comparison of perspectives, and as a result, even if Barthe’s (and Derrida’s concepts of combinatory media through) equations take us to another place from which to view text, they still present us with a particular place from which to view text. To me, it seems the same as trying to tell someone what a building’s impact on a community will be by listing each of the parts and explaining that A fits into B which is stacked on C etc.

Yes, there is a structure, and we may be getting more information by looking at the list of correlates than looking at a pictograph, but the correlates are only one half of the perspective. To perceive a building one must needs know the space, function, materials, physics, use, design… We need to find a way to fuze these perspectives, to see all sides of the text-building at once—but in order to do this it is difficult to resolve the problem of ‘effective’ communication, based solely on the esoteric nature of information stacking in the human mind. To effectively write the subconscious, or as I paraphrase Piglia, the thinking that happens while we’re thinking about something else, access to innumerable information sets is needed to keep the reader up to speed. 

This is where hypertext comes in, but as far as I have seen, the modes of usage have functioned mainly to obfuscate the self (My Body anyone?), alienate the reader and leave more covered in weighty, ambiguous symbology (ahem 12 Blue) than is actually revealed, even though the potential to access a seemingly infinite source of information is present in these hyperlinks. This tends to make matters more complicated…is there a reason for this hidden-ness and what does it mean that I find it abrasive?

Our being is not systematized, but I can see nothing else.
What does Barthe say?–Everything fits into a genre. 



~ by hobodreams on February 8, 2010.

%d bloggers like this: