• Number2018
    245
    There was no apparent debate between Simondon and Heidegger. Yet, both philosophers developed different philosophies of technology and its implications; the critique of Aristotelian hylomorphism has become the central theme of their accounts of technology. For Heidegger, the traditional concept of hylomorphism (a thing is a formed substance) should be applied just for artesian products (Zeugen), but neither for spontaneous things of nature (Dingen) nor for the works of art (Werken). In spite of criticizing the theory of the artesian production, Heidegger embraces the four traditional causes of the product
    (a chalice) as grounded and united by a more fundamental generating principal: “The modes of occasioning, the four causes, are at play, then, within bringing-forth. Through bringing-forth, the growing things of nature as well as whatever is completed through the crafts and the arts come at any given time to their appearance. Occasioning has to do with the presencing [Anwesen] of that which at any given time comes to appearance in bringing-forth”.

    Further, while considering modern technology, Heidegger asserts that similarly to his analysis of the artisan production, “Technology is, therefore no mere means. Technology is a way of revealing. “ But, the difference is in a special mode of revealing: “the revealing that holds sway throughout modern technology does not unfold into a bringing-forth in the sense of poiesis. The revealing that rules throughout modern technology has the character of a setting-upon, in the sense of a challenging forth. What kind of unconcealment is it, then, that is peculiar to that which comes to stand forth through this setting-upon that challenges? Everywhere everything is ordered to stand by, to be immediately at hand, indeed to stand there just so that it may be on call for a further ordering. Whatever is ordered about in
    this way has its own standing. We call it the standing-reserve (Gestell)… An airliner that stands on the runway is surely an object. Certainly. We can represent the machine so. But then it conceals itself as to what and how it is. Revealed, it stands on the taxi strip only as standing-reserve, inasmuch as it is ordered to ensure the possibility of transportation. For this, it must be in its the whole structure and in every one of its constituent parts, on call for duty, i.e., ready for takeoff.”

    Heidegger intended to show that Gestell is neither about a functional mode of the use of the technical object nor about its essence. Gestell is the singular event, generating an ultimate and absolute meaning of contemporary technology. Yet, it's bright light – isn’t it the result of the operation of the separation between technology and the Heideggerian insights? Gestell has been designed with the pretension to become a universal matrix of the ongoing becoming, whereas technical objects themselves have been taken as finished and completed, deprived of becoming and poiesis. Heidegger’s primary examples – an airliner, Rein, industries – are merely illustrations of his fundamental truth. Further, his totality of useful things -"Strictly speaking, there "is" no such thing as a useful thing. There always belongs to the being of a useful thing a totality of useful things in which this useful thing can be what it is” is no more than a cyclic hermeneutic referral that has nothing in common with contemporary technology. As already known and accomplished hermeneutic product, placed on the same plain with its particular objects, Gestell may reproduce the scheme of the traditional hylomorphic relation between a thing and its essence.

    Similarly to Heidegger, Simondon points out that hylomorphism is not a universal explaining principle. Its origin should be found in a technical operation that had been reduced to work and then had been taken to philosophy as a universal paradigm of the genesis of being. Further, considering a traditional relation between form and matter, he discovered a radically new mode of their interaction.
    There is no imposition of an external form (mold) upon a passive matter (clay), of the active form impressing the passive matter. Clay is not just any random, inert material (it is already given its own preliminary forms), as well as the mold is not an abstract form, but a material frame, a result of a variety of assembling operations. There is no imposition of a form, but its reciprocal assumption, continuous and temporal molding. The frame of the mold and the material modulate, enter into a common system, an associated milieu.

    Between form and matter appear zones of the singularities that are the start of individuals in the operation of individuation (clay becomes a brick) through modulation (continuous and temporal molding through an exchange of information). The technical operation happens when two half-chains of transformations meet at a certain point when the two heterogenic domains encounter each other. The initiative of the genesis of substance returns neither to the raw material as passive nor to the form as pure: it is the complete system that generates, and it generates because it is a system of actualization of potential energy, joining together in an active mediation two realities, of different orders of magnitude, in an intermediate order. The hylemorphic model represents only the ends from these two half-chains that the technical operation elaborates; the complex dynamics of the operation itself has been ignored.

    The substitution of the individuating operation for the principle of individuation - “one would attempt to grasp the ontogenesis in the entire progression of its reality, and to know the individual through the individuation, rather than the individuation through the individual” allowed Simondon to formulate a new perspective of a technical object: “A contemporary transatlantic liner is a fake floating city rather than an instrument of travel. The proliferation of the inessential already takes hold of the commercial airplane. But the essential lies in this: in order for an object to allow for the development of the technical mentality and to be chosen by it, the object itself needs to be of a reticular structure, it should take part in a regime of networking and a permanent exchange; it is the unity of two layers of reality: a layer that is as stable and permanent as possible, which adheres to the user and is made to last; and a layer that can be perpetually replaced, changed, renewed, because it is made up of elements that are all similar, impersonal, mass-produced by industry and distributed by all the networks of exchange. It is through participation to this network that the technical object always remains contemporary to its use.”

    Due to Simondon, it has become clear that there is neither essence of a technical object nor a transcendental condition of its existence. To exist, an airplane does not need to be a part of the Gestell’s constellation. Any technical entity refers to an associated social and technological assemblage that maintains the operative conditions of its functioning.
  • Number2018
    245
    In spite of the apparent divergence of their accounts of technology, Heidegger and Simondon reveal the affinity of their understandings of an event, whereas Simondon’s notion of Transindividual is quite close to Heidegger’s Being. Heidegger: "the manner in which the matter of thinking-Being-comports itself, remains a unique state of affairs. The inauthentic modes of the ready-to-hand, the present-to-hand, average everydayness, authentic Being, Ereignis all mark different factical experiences. Yet what is common to all possible modes of Being is certain radical mobility”.
    Muriel Combes writes in her book about Simondon: "the domain of psychological individuality has no proper space; it exists
    as something superimposed upon the physical and biological domains."
    (IPC, 152; IL, 278). Psychological individuality is constituted as a relation
    to the physical world and biological world, as a "relation to the world and to
    self," because it is turned as a whole toward the collective: we must thus
    understand that a separate "psychological world" does not exist, but only,
    and always already, a "transindividual universe" (IPC, 153; IL, 279). As such,
    psychological individuality appears to be essentially transitional in nature,
    covering an ensemble of specific processes organizing the passage from the
    level due to physical and biological individuation, populated with physical
    and living individuals, to the level of the collective resulting”.
    Further, formally, it is possible to show that the Simondon’s individualizing operation grounds the genesis of being similarly as the Heideggerian radical mobility does. (“Within and beyond states, forms and structures, lies a universe of barely self-exceeding accents, modulations, aspects, variations, ways of working”). Yet, there are fundamental differences in the Simondon vs. Heidegger ways of working, of operating.
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