Why Heidegger never gets to the point

I have always considered Heidegger as a master of intellectual suspense. In this, his book What is Called Thinking? is no different from Being and Time: they belong to the genre of the philosophical whodunit. The reader can’t help thinking at every page: “So, when is he getting to the point? Come on, lay your egg, Heidi! Tell us what you think!”

In figurative English, when someone “lays an egg”, it means to perform poorly. Heidegger was a good performer as a lecturer. He was performing the truth, in the performative sense of truthing. As he writes or speaks, he does not know where he is going, but he does know from where he is speaking, because he is being taken, he is being conducted by his care to remain in the act of being-thinking.

The form of Heidegger’s book answers the question What is Thinking? Thinking is a calling that takes much courage to keep following. You need to listen to the voice of your care for thinking, not apply logistical grids, not make experiments and run statistics, not interview one hundred people and then analyse an average profile.

Heidegger does refer to Parmenides’ saying that to think and to be is the same. This week I decided to re-read Heidi’s book because I realised my imperative to “Think Creal” was indeed a performative act, a being in the Heideggerian sense of a transitive verb. When you think in a certain manner, you be the world, so to speak. If you think in a logistical manner, under the tyranny of capitalism and realism, you will end up transforming the world into a binary memory of disposable/available objects. If you Think Creal, you make yourself available to hearing-practicing the immanent music of creation, the pulse of the earth. This will also affect reality, but with more fecundity than capitalistic technoscience.

Heidegger’s absolute is this poetic be-ing. I prefer to call it Creal, or perhaps should I call it crealing. To be fair, I did not fully appreciate what I heard in the second part of the book: there is too much emphasis, I felt, on the idea of presence and “what lies before us, there.” I believe Creal is a feeling, an emotion first and foremost, not something in front of me. Of course Heidegger, when he thinks that something lies before us, thinks that at the same time “we make it appear”. This is, he writes, the essence of logos or legein.

How does this relate to what I have called crealectics, the logos of the Creal? One answer is to consider what Heidegger calls, with Parmenides, “the taking-to-heart”. Thinking is, as I already mentioned, about caring.

Think of it as a secretion.

The care of Creal is a secretion. It is a secretion of the real that is not realistic. What lies before me is not reality as we know it, it is the unknown, the non-real, the real as non-really real even if real-able.

Hence the idea with which I started this note: suspense. For the sake of security, material profit, and their will to (ideologic and epistemic) power, the crazy positivists, naturalists, scientists, and financialists, are all trying to predict-produce the world to a level of near certitude, in a sort of Laplacian nightmare. They might get closer to an illusion of success with the help of artificial intelligence. But this would be a nightmare in which, to answer the question What is Thinking?, we would simply run an algorithm more or less based on crowdsourcing (or altogether eliminating all human input), which would produce a one line answer (or the number 42 as in Douglas Adams’ ironical Guide), thus saving us the time to read a book like Heidegger’s, which never seems to get to the point.

Thus we would miss the meaning of life and Creal, which is to never get to the point.

Biosemiotics and Politics

Sharing an interesting paper by Cannizzaro and Cobley (2015)

Biosemiotics, politics and Th.A. Sebeok’s move from linguistics to semiotics. In: Biosemiotic Perspectives on Language and Linguistic. Biosemiotics . Springer, pp. 207-222.

Abstract This paper will focus on the political implications for the language sciences of Sebeok’s move from linguistics to a global semiotic perspective, a move that ultimately resulted in biosemiotics. The paper will seek to make more explicit the political bearing of a biosemiotic perspective in the language sciences and the human sciences in general. In particular, it will discuss the definition of language inherent in Sebeok’s project and the fundamental re-drawing of the grounds of linguistic debate heralded by Sebeok’s embrace of the concept of modelling. Thus far, the political co-ordinates of the biosemiotic project have not really been made explicit. This paper will therefore seek to outline
1. how biosemiotics enables us to reconfigure our understanding of the role of language in culture;
2. how exaptation is central to the evolution of language and communication, rather than adaptation;
3. how communication is the key issue in biosphere, rather than language, not just because communication includes language but because the language sciences often refer to language as if it were mere “chatter”, “tropes” and “figures of speech”;
4. how biosemiotics, despite its seeming “neutrality” arising from its transdisciplinarity, is thoroughly political;
5. how the failure to see the implications of the move from linguistics to semiotics arises from the fact that biosemiotics is devoid of old style politics, which is based on representation (devoid of experience) and “construction of [everything] in discourse” (which is grounded in linguistics, not communication study).
In contrast to the post-“linguistic turn” idea that the world is “constructed in discourse”, we will argue that biosemiotics entails a reconfiguration of the polis and, in particular, offers the chance to completely reconceptualise ideology.

The article can be accessed here.