Tuesday, December 8, 2009
What is a question? Not why do we question, but ultimately what is it that a question is? Is it an object? Does it have properties? Linguistically we can say they do, right? Or do questions exist as a form of translation? When we question someone or something what are we doing? Are we looking for information? Are we critiquing their points or egging them on? Are we attempting to invoke ideas, thoughts, differences, or affects? Or, are all questions doing just the same thing – waiting for a response? If so, who responds? Why do they respond? Is there a felt sense of duty to respond – a respons-ibility? Or are we asking questions in order to answer previous questions? If so, whose? Yours? Mine? Or, perhaps, Heidegger’s? Wasn’t Heidegger fascinated by questions? But, what were Heidegger’s questions? Wasn’t one of them the question of the meaning of Being? Wasn’t another the fundamental question of metaphysics, or why is there something instead of nothing? Didn’t he also ask, “What is a thing?” Are we now asking these same questions? Do we still not know what a thing is? Or was that the point of Heidegger’s question – to get at knowledge? Is that our point of asking the same question? Or do we have another question? What are the questions we are searching for in this new object-oriented way of thinking? Are we actually worried about things? If so, what are we worried about? Are we worried that objects can’t or won’t present themselves? Or are we determined to dethrone the human subject from its place in philosophy by focusing on things? Yet what happens if we are simply worried about things? Is there an ethics in dealing with things – even if this “dealing with” is a letting-be? In other words, what do we do with things? Can we, humans, even discuss things? What if Heidegger was correct when he said inherent in human Dasein is an incessant violence – that we find humans the uncanniest of the uncanny because of this reciprocal tension between dike and techne (Intro to Metaphysics)? Did he mean that humanity is the violent one, the one who oversteps his bounds in everything it does? Or did he mean that humanity, in its need to separate itself from the all encompassing, gathering-together of being, this real that is real for everything, is always battling for a place of its own, a unique clearing? And is not one way of clearing, of disclosing that is characteristic of the human, to ask questions? So, again, I have to ask: What question(s) are we asking in object-oriented philosophy?