Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Metafísica, dialectos, desorientação, etc...

A ver se alguns aspirantes a Aristóteles, académicos incorrigíveis que andam por aí a querer escrever a "poética do blogue" e a vociferar lugares comuns sem utilidade nenhuma, conseguem entender um pouco melhor o que se passa e o que lhes está a acontecer:

Nietzsche showed the image of reality as a well founded rational order (the perennial metaphysical image of the world) to be only the ‘reassuring’ myth of a still primitive and barbaric humanity. Metaphysics is a violent response to a situation that is itself fraught with danger and violence. It seeks to master reality at a stroke, grasping (or so it thinks) the first principle on which all things depend (and thus giving itself an empty guarantee of power over events). Following Nietzsche in this respect, Heidegger showed that to think of being as foundation, and reality as a rational system of causes and effects, is simply to extend the model of 'scientific' objectivity to the totality of being. All things are reduced to the level of pure presences that can be measured, manipulated, replaced and therefore easily dominated and organized and in the end man, his interiority and historicity are all reduced to the same level.

If the proliferation of images of the world entails that we lose our 'sense of reality', as the saying goes, perhaps it's not such a great loss after all. By a perverse kind of internal logic, the world of objects measured and manipulated by techno science (the world of the real, according to metaphysics) has become the world of merchandise and images, the phantasmagoria of the mass media. Should we counterpose to this world the nostalgia for a solid, unitary, stable and 'authoritative' reality? In its effort to reconstruct the world of our infancy, where familial authority was both a threat and a comfort, such nostalgia is in continual danger of turning into neurosis.

But what exactly might this loss of reality, this genuine erosion of the principle of reality, mean for emancipation and liberation? Emancipation, here, consists in disorientation, which is at the same time also the liberation of 'differences, of local elements, of what could generally be called dialect. With the demise of the idea of a central rationality of history, the world of generalized communication explodes like a multiplicity of 'local' rationalities - ethnic, sexual, religious, cultural or aesthetic minorities - that finally speak up for themselves. They are no longer repressed and cowed into silence by the idea of a single true form of humanity that must be realized irrespective of particularity and individual finitude, transience and contingency. Incidentally, the liberation of differences does not necessarily mean the surrender of every rule or the manifestation of brute immediacy. Dialects have grammar and syntax too, and indeed only discover them when they become visible and acquire a dignity of their own. With the liberation of diversity, they 'find their voice’, present themselves and so 'get into shape' for recognition; this is anything but a manifestation of brute immediacy.

The emancipatory effect of the liberation of local rationalities is not confined to guaranteeing everyone the possibility of greater recognition and 'authenticity', as if emancipation meant finally showing what everyone - black, woman, homosexual, Protestant, etc. - 'really' is (to use terms that are still metaphysical, Spinozan).

The emancipatory significance of the liberation of differences and dialects consists rather in the general disorientation accompanying their initial identification. If, in a world of dialects, I speak my own dialect, I shall be conscious that it is not the only 'language', but that it is precisely one amongst many. If, in this multicultural world, I set out my system of religious, aesthetic, political and ethnic values, I shall be acutely conscious of the historicity, contingency and finiteness of these systems, starting with my own.

Gianni Vattimo, The Transparent Society, translated by David
Webb, The John Hoppkins University Press, Baltimore, 1992

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