Being and Wagner

Stagecraft can be a problem, as the case of Wagner shows. That problem is nihilism.

It is the perception of time however which poses the greatest danger to ontology. The late Heidegger called on this “Technik” or technology, which “is not equivalent to the essence of technology”. This seems benign and is no more than a formalized statement: A <> A(E). Why would Heidegger go back in time and make these Aristotelian distinctions?

Technology is not its own essence. This is immediately apparent when I use it, when I am being practical about it in time. Google Maps show me the way, but the way is intrinsically meaningless outside of technology. As soon as the App disappears into thin air, I am left alone in the world to face certain death in time. Death is the essence of technology.

Heidegger, who was painfully aware that essential German culture got obliterated in WWII, blames it all on America. Google’s headquarters is in America, in Mountain View. That is in California, but did you know this without googleing it?

Death to America it is then. Logic dictates that. I swear by the spilled blood of my ancestors to solve the ontological dilemma between essence and existence, today. I will destroy the American culture and resurrect the European Subject, with my bare hands.

Then the first Act of Wagner’s “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg” was over and everybody in the opera house started clapping. My mind had certainly drifted off, essentially lost in the perception of time. Now, I started clapping too. “This went by really fast” I remarked to a lady next to me. She agreed. But I had enough of opera and headed for home.