03 February 2014

Being, time and Derrida's grammé

Liddell & Scott give as significations of Gk. _ousia_: ‘[I] that which is one's own, one's substance, property, Hdt., Eur.; [II] = _tò einai_, being, existence, Plat.;  [III] the being, essence, nature of a thing, Plat., etc."
Heidegger, of course, was perfectly aware of these multiple significations of _ousia_, and he goes further than Liddell & Scott in providing a phenomenological interpretation of _ousia_ as German ‘Anwesen’, which means not only ‘presencing’, but also ‘estate’, ‘Hab und Gut’. This connection is (just) one way of making the link between _ousia_ as being-ness (_ousa_ is the feminine present participle of _einai_) and Anwesen as beständiger Anwesenheit (enduring presence or better: standing presence), since an estate is property that stands enduringly at the owner's disposal. The _idea_ or _eidos_ as the 'look' a present (i.e. 'occurrent') presents of itself is also a 'standing presence' in the sense of standing within its well-defined limits that allow it to show itself AS what (or who) it is.
It is not without irony that Heidegger as the thinker who copiously worked out the metaphysical nature of metaphysical thinking, showing that its conception of being is implicitly a restricted, tunnel-vision understanding of time in which only the present instant, and especially the sensuously present instant, properly exists, is himself accused of merely continuing metaphysical thinking by those who don’t even get his path-breaking recasting of time as 3D ecstatic time (e.g. Derrida’s ‘Ousia and grammé’). Heidegger, namely, is the thinker who draws attention to and works out that the two modes of absence are precisely modes of presence — something metaphysical thinking never saw. He notes e.g. in the Contributions to Philosophy that in the First Beginning with the Greeks: 

"... 'time' itself and time as the truth of being are not at all appraised as being worthy of questioning and experiencing. And just as little is it asked why time as presence and not also as past and future come into play for the truth of being" (...'die Zeit' selbst und sie als die Wahrheit des Seins gar nicht des Fragens und Erfahrens gewürdigt werden. Und ebensowenig wird gefragt, warum die Zeit als Gegenwart und nicht auch als Vergangenheit und Zukunft für die Wahrheit des Seins ins Spiel kommt. GA65:189).  

Not even today’s super-advanced metaphysical quantum gravity theory is up to speed on this, struggling vainly as it is, at this late stage of the First Beginning, to come to terms with the phenomenon of time from within the mathematized age-old metaphysical straight-jacket of linear, real time, t. Cf. my Digital Cast of Being. With Derrida, linear time is reduced merely to the _gramma_, the line, so that all temporal meaning is lost, disappearing into the timeless text.

For further critique of Derrida see 

8. Derrida's obliteration of the phenomenon of temporality through writing

in my Time of History

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