Re: To Thing or not to Thing

You wrote:

> I'm currently attending a course at Berkeley with Hubert
Dreyfus on
>Later Heidegger & Foucault and I find the good professor's analysis of
>things thinging a little unclear. I'm hoping the group can assist me.
> According to Dreyfus, the thing thinging is a mode of being
>Heidegger justaposes with the technological mode of being. Although I
>recognize there are shortcommings with this analysis, I have imagined a
>continuum in which things thinging is anchored at one end and
>enframing or ordering is anchored at the other and artwork working
>somewhere in between. This characterization suggests that the gathering
>the fourfold that is associated with things thinging is a 'natural'
>(which is to say, it is not an ordering which man has imposed on the
>whereas technological ordering involves a forceful challenging in which
>nature is ordered such that everything is, in some sense, ready to
> One obvious objection to this scheme is that Heidegger's
example of
>The Thing is a jug or a bridge or the autobaun, none of which seems to
>any affinity with a natural ordering at all. However, in class, one way
>Dreyfus exemplified things thinging with the experience of encountering
>deer on the streets of Berkeley. He suggested one could either
>that phenomenon as a gift which gathers the scene in front of you or as
>obstuction which is impeding your ability to efficiently drive up the
>to your destination. That illustration seems to align with the
continuum I
> According to this model, artwork working is the gathering that
>accompanies the focusing of interpretation of being of a particular
>On the one hand, artwork is not a gift in the sense that it presents
>to us without our assistance, e.g. the deer scene. On the other hand,
it is
>not the forceful challenging of nature we find in technology where the
>is entirely absent. This is why I have situated artwork in the center
of the
> As I indicated above, this is more a matter of groping for
>understanding than an attempt to advance a positive interpretation of
>thinging. Anyone who has the patience to guide my hand will find me
>Hagen Finley
>Berkeley, CA
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You write about two "things" to come to understand the "thinging" of

A continuum model whereby different "things" (thinging,art,technigue)
are there.

And the second "thing" is the model of difference, although you don't
call it that, whereby the specific differences of the the different
things are differed among themselves (gift,interpretation,manufacture).

Although quite powerful and beautiful, and as ancient and venerable as
genus-species relations are, they never get to the "thinging" of the
thing, but merely(!) to the thing.

In these terms, I find a "quantum" as opposed to a continuum model to be
of help.

That is, I mean to say a "quantum" model in this sense. There is in
mathmatics a very old split between those who have considered the being
of the basic geometrical objects of point, line, plane and solid whether
they are such as to capable of being generated one from the other, as
by moving a point to trace a line, by moving the line to trace a plane
and a plane a solid, or whether these basic objects are such that they
are there for themselves in such way that only by already knowing, eg,
the solid, _can_ the plane be moved to trace that very thing.

In the same sense, there is a dispute about the nature of the whole
numbers, can they be generated one from the other by successive addition
of a "unit" (continuum model) or must they be already there all
toghether (quantum model). (Some call for both, but that is not here

The "quantum" model by analogy to the way that one glimpses that the
geometricals and numbers are "there" gives the clue to how to think the
"thinging" of things.

One can even grasp with this "quantum" model something of how the
analogy of the divided line on the noetic side of "sun analogy" of Book
VI of the _Republic_ may be interpreted. There too the talk is of the
relation of the mathmaticals to purely noetic objects (like thinging,
art, technigue).

So if one tries the quantum vs the continuum model out, the question
becomes how to think the specific differences if they can no longer be
generated from each as you do (gift, interpretation, production) when
you say that production is not gift and art stands therebetween in that
it has a little of both gift and production (being neither pure gift nor
pure production).

Here the philosophy gets very tricky, for glimpsing that numbers are
discrete in their nature gives the clue that nubmber is there only as
the infinite manifold of numbers so that in the same way we can say that
the fourfold is there only as the manifold of gift, interpretation, and

Just as number numbers so the fourfold is manifold as gift,
interpretation, production--the things thing.

Such then are my thoughts.

Albert Peter Durigon

Cambridge, Massachusetts

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