Monday, 31 October 2011

Heidegger on The Thing

Recently I read the transcript of a talk given in 1950 by Heidegger entitled The Thing.  
This is my understanding of it:

The essences of that which is made are very important (essences being intrinsic or indispensible properties) ('it is no coincidence that he chooses a handcrafted pot as his example, rather than (say) a plastic bowl' Adamson, 2010, in the introduction to the transcript)

"The jug is not a vessel because it was made; rather, the jug had to be made because it is this holding vessel.  The making, it is true, lets the jug come into its own.  But that which in the jug's nature is its own is never brought about by its making.  Now released from the making process, the self-supporting jug has to gather itself for the task of containing.  In the process of its making, of course, the jug must first show its outward appearance to the maker.  But what shows itself here, the aspect (the eidos, the idea), characterizes the jug solely in the respect in which the vessel stands over the maker as something to be made"  (Heidegger, 1950)
The idea/need brings about the making.  the making brings about the object.  The object may (or may not) bring about the thingness.
The need/object/idea acts as an instruction to the maker (in this case a practical need for a pouring vessel)
making as the product(ion) of the idea
idea as the product(ion) of the making

stuff + maker = plain object
materials + production = (independent?) self supporting object
independences of object (materials/self supporting etc) + object as perceived  thingness

What is not there/made (the space/void/nothing of the object/surrounding/being) is as important in defining the object as what is there/made

Using (filling) the object (jug) shows us the use of the being and the nothing, helps define the thingness
"The vessel's thingness does not lie at all in the material of which it consists, but in the void that it holds" (Heidegger, 1950)

Object - as that which stands before us, just is
Thing (ly) (ness) - not necessarily representative of the object
- not the (base) object (as it stands before us)

Functional - made up of that which it is + made that which it isn't + given purpose + actual behaviours/skills
(= personality of object?)

Can the maker imbue the made object with thingness?  Is thingness embodied by the object in personal/one-to-one ways?  Can the object gain/lose its thingness depending on the circumstances?

void inside
upright/self supporting
walls & base
shape, height, physicality

perceived/given necessities
form  (chosen by maker/influenced by tradition etc)

1 comment:

  1. Hi Bridget. Found your blog via Clarabella and really pleased to have found it. I very much like BHthinks. I discovered the same Heidegger talk recently; a thought-provoking talk.