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Graham Harman (2002:§1) – utensílio [Zeug]

quinta-feira 22 de fevereiro de 2024, por Cardoso de Castro


Em todo o caso, o resultado fundamental da análise de Heidegger sobre o utensílio não é o fato de "o equipamento se tornar invisível quando serve objetivos humanos remotos", uma afirmação pouco inspirada e trivial. Já deveria ser evidente que a percepção crucial não tem nada a ver com o manuseamento humano de utensílios; em vez disso, a transformação ocorre do lado dos utensílios. O equipamento não é eficaz "porque as pessoas o usam"; pelo contrário, só pode ser usado porque é capaz de produzir um efeito, de infligir algum tipo de golpe na realidade. Em suma, o utensílio não é "usado" - ele é. Em cada instante, os entes formam uma paisagem determinada que oferece um leque específico de possibilidades e obstáculos. Os entes em si mesmos estão prontos para serem usados, não no sentido derivado de "manipuláveis", mas no sentido primário de "em ação". O utensílio é uma função ou um efeito real, um sol invisível que irradia as suas energias para o mundo antes de ser visto. Deste modo, o mundo é uma infraestrutura de equipamento já em funcionamento, de entes-utensílios que desencadeiam as suas forças sobre nós de forma tão selvagem ou flirtante como duelam entre si. Na medida em que a grande maioria destes utensílios permanece desconhecida para nós, e não foi certamente inventada por nós (por exemplo, o nosso cérebro e as nossas células sanguíneas), dificilmente se pode dizer que as "usamos" no sentido estrito do termo. Uma afirmação mais exata seria a de que confiamos silenciosamente neles, tomando-os como um dado adquirido, como uma paisagem ingênua sobre a qual se desenrolam até os nossos esquemas mais cínicos e cansados. A análise de Heidegger não conduz, de modo algum, a uma "filosofia prática". Quando muito, poderíamos falar de uma filosofia pragmática: não um pragmatismo, mas uma teoria relativa aos pragmata  , os próprios utensílios.


In any event, the key result of Heidegger’s analysis of tools is not   that “equipment becomes invisible when serving remote human purposes,” an uninspired and trivial claim. It should already be evident that the crucial insight has nothing to do with the human handling of tools; instead, the transformation takes place on the side of the tools. Equipment is not effective “because people use it”; on the contrary, it can only be used because it is capable of an effect, of inflicting some kind of blow on reality. In short, the tool isn’t “used”—it is. In each instant, entities form a determinate landscape that offers a specific range of possibilities and obstacles. Beings in themselves are ready-to-hand  , not in the derivative sense of “manipulable,” but in the primary sense of “in action.” The tool is a real function or effect, an invisible sun radiating its energies into the world before ever coming to view. In this way, the world is an infrastructure of equipment already at work, of tool-beings unleashing their forces upon us just as savagely or flirtatiously as they duel with one another. Insofar as the vast majority of these tools remain unknown to us, and were certainly not invented by us (for example, our brains and our blood cells), it can hardly be said that we “use” them in the strict sense of the term. A more accurate statement would be that we silently rely upon them, taking them for granted as that naive landscape on which even our most jaded and cynical schemes unfold. Heidegger’s analysis by no means leads to a “practical philosophy.” At most, we might speak of a pragmatic philosophy: not a pragmatism, but a theory concerning the pragmata, the tools themselves.

The entire theme of this book is nothing but these tools themselves. Heidegger teaches that equipment is not to be understood as a solid material bulk, as an atom lying before us in obvious presence. In order to examine the alternative, we can abandon the stale example of the hammer and consider a basic piece of infrastructure: a bridge. The reality of the bridge is not to be found in its amalgam of asphalt and cable, but in the geographic fact of “traversable gorge.” The bridge is a bridge-effect; the tool is a force that generates a world, one in which the canyon is no longer an obstacle. It is crucial to note that this is not restricted to tools of human origin: there are also dependable earth-formations that provide useful caravan routes or hold back the sea. At each moment, the world is a geography of objects, whether these objects are made of the latest plastics or were born at the dawn of time.

This is the true scenario of Heidegger’s tool-being: equipment as an agent thoroughly deployed in reality, as an impact irreducible to any list of properties that might be tabulated by an observer. Advancing rapidly into this subject matter, we can isolate several distinct features of equipment. Heidegger has shown that its first notable trait is invisibility. As a rule, the more efficiently the tool performs its function, the more it tends to recede from view: “The peculiarity of what is proximally ready-to-hand is that, in its readiness-to-hand, it must, as it were, withdraw [zurückziehen] in order to be ready-to-hand quite authentically.” But this familiar point is rarely grasped in a sufficiently rigorous way. It is not just that equipment is generally invisible as long as it is working properly. Such a notion can never surpass the level of empirical anecdote, and only invites free-wheeling attempts at contradiction (“but then we noticed that it worked a lot better if you stared right at the damn thing”). The truth is far more radical than this. In the first instance, there is an eternal chasm between equipment and its tool-being. The wrench as reality and the visible or tactile wrench are incommensurable kingdoms, solitary planes without hope of intersection. The function or action of the tool, its tool-being, is absolutely invisible—even if the hammer never leaves my sight. Neither gazing at an object nor theorizing about it is enough to lure its being from concealment.

Someone might object that the tool is always invisible “only in a certain respect” rather than absolutely. And sure enough, a table obviously does not vanish into the ether once it begins to function as a support for plates or apples. But this complaint once again presupposes the idea   of the table as a natural object, portions of its reality momentarily visible and others unseen. On the contrary, it is not the chance fluctuations of human attention that determine whether the ready-to-hand is invisible or not. To say that the tool is unseen “for the most part” is ultimately superfluous, even incorrect. Whatever is visible of the table in any given instant can never be its tool-being, never its readiness-to-hand. However deeply we meditate on the table’s act of supporting solid weights, however tenaciously we monitor its presence, any insight that is yielded will always be something quite distinct from this act itself.

A tool exists in the manner of enacting itself; only derivatively can it be discussed or otherwise mulled over. Try as hard as we might to capture the hidden execution of equipment, we will always lag behind. There is no gaze capable of seizing it, despite Heidegger’s claims to the contrary. Insofar as any aspect of the table is represented to us, it is already present-at-hand , loitering in the very dimension of surface-apparitions that the analysis of tools was born to undermine. Thus, we find that there are two separate facets to equipment: (1) its irreducibly veiled activity, and (2) its sensible and explorable profile. In more familiar Heideggerian terms, there is the tool viewed “ontologically” and the same tool viewed “ontically.” For the moment, we have no way of bringing these worlds into communion, other than to say that one is primary and the other not primary. Soon, I will examine the way in which Heidegger attempts to relate these two dimensions by means of the as-structure. For now, it remains preferable to develop the two moments in isolation from one another.

Ver online : Graham Harman

HARMAN, Graham. Tool-Being. Heidegger and the Metaphysics of Objects. Chicago: Open Court, 2002