From: "Rafael Capurro, Professor" <CAPURRO@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 28 Oct 1997 01:43:48 -0100
thank you for your comments, particularly with regard to Quakers etc.
I understand now better (thanks to your words!) your somehow
'violent' comments to my posting on silence. I was 'just' trying to
think aloud about a difficult matter. Probably our misunderstandings
are based on my ignorance about the specific (ontic) situation in
which you place the phenomenon of silence. We should better take the
ontic/ontological distinction when discussing further about this.
Otherwise it would be like on the one hand talking about, say,
logics, while on the other hand someone is talking about all kinds of
linguistic mess around us...
Only a being capable of 'logos' can understand silence 'as' silence.
Do you agree? In order to hear what the other is saying you have to
be - silent. Silence in this sense (!) is a highly 'active' behavior
and it is by no one way a 'non-disclosure', on the contrary!
Verbosity can be much more 'non-disclosuring', don't you think so?
I think Hitler was completely unable to be silent... His extremely
loud verbosity (have you heard one of his 'speeches'?) is intolerable
Our Western Socratic tradition is a tradition of 'logos'. You
remember the place in the 'Philebos' (and the comments by Derrida on
it) about the soul as a book (a writer and a painter within us) and
the question about the soul talking silently (!) to itself (which is
'doxa') until (!) it expresses its thinking through 'logos'. There is
a movement of criticism on the side of philosophy with regard to the
mystic silence (this tension is particularly clear in the 'Symposion'
with regard to 'the conservatives'). There is an interesting book (in
German) written by Kaette Trettin: Die Logik und das Schweigen, where
she shows the (in your terminology) 'violent' omission of silence in
Western Logic. I was thinking on this book as I wrote my posting...
So both silence and speech can be violent to each other.
With regard to Heidegger: I think his thinking on the relationship
betwenn language (Rede) and silence in 'Being and Time' (there are
some few passages on it) is quite different from his later writings
on this. There is an interesting word used by the late Heidegger,
which is not used in everyday German, it is 'Erschweigen', the
preposition 'Er' means usually: making something more intensively (I
need help from Michael Eldred now! my English is very poor...), and
is different, for instance, from 'Verschweigen' (that means: keeping
something for yourself that you should have said) and it is different
from 'just' 'schweigen' (not talking). So 'erschweigen' takes place
in a dialogue, such as the one between Heidegger and the japanese,
where both talk to each other 'on' something without making an
'object' of it. In this dialogue Heidegger makes a difference between
talking 'about' (ueber) and talking from (von). Language, not being
an object, can only be approached if we talk 'from' it. This is a
distintion you can find in Wittgenstein in his famous dictum:
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darueber muss man schweigen.
in this case he was talking from (!) it, but he was being silent
instead of talking 'over' it.
Absendedatum: Sat, 25 Oct 1997 18:28:31 -0400 (EDT)
Von: TMB <tblan@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Betreff: Re: Heidegger's helping
Antworten an: heidegger@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
On Sat, 25 Oct 1997, Rafael Capurro, Professor wrote:
> dear TMB,
> why this 'agression'?
> both silence and speech are 'ambiguous' phenomena, I am not
> glorifying silence. On the other hand, we have a 'science of logos'
> that has not thematized silence.
> What do you mean by 'degradation'?
> You write:
> 'speach has a certain priviledge over silence'
> What kind of privilege is this?
> remember: 'en arche en ho logos', but remember also the silence of
> the Creator at the Beginning...
> Again: why this 'agression'?
> There are 'silent marches' against 'degradation' and many other kinds
> of situations in which silence can be (!) a form of protest. As there
> are of course, situations, in which is a sign of cowardy, shame etc.
> Can animals be silent? As you say, there is an intimate relationship
> between silence and logos.
> Of course is Heidegger's silence about the Holocaust a key point.
> Derrida made some good remarks on it.
> On the other hand, we can denigrate (or 'degradate') the horrors of
> mankind by continuously talking about them and exposing them in the
> media. What degradation is in its being is thus probably obscured...
> Why this agression?
Obviously it's something I feel very strongly about, which is no excuse
for violence, though aggression might necessarily be violent.
Anyhow, you are missing something. While a marker may occasionally need to
be brought out to remind us of *silence as such*, never the less, in most
cases, what I am seeing is that silence is latched on to as a way of
avoiding the "work" of being. Who said that "continuously talking about
the horrors of mankind and exposing them in the media" is the *inevitable*
direciton to which speech leads? And what is *essentially* involved in
such a case? The *essence* of such a matter is *erring*,
*self-indulgence*, *capitalizing*, etc., not *speech as such*. I contend,
and maintain, that the "agression" is itself found already in silence. As
for "the creator", I don't really have anything to say about that, other
than that any simple notion of "creation" won't do, either for "man" or
As for "silent marches", they make take place, true enough, but the
*esence* of progress and amelioration of violence has its own internal
integrity. Just as often, perhaps most often, real amelioration does
indeed require *world disclosure* and the *disclosure* of the condition of
others who are submitted to violence. Silencing *leans* towards
*non-disclosure*. Speech, too, can occupy and push aside disclosure, but
again, such a pushing aside is really just that: essentially a pushing
aside that can occur in silence and in speech.
And yet: for Heidegger, *language is world disclosive*, and, *being
speaks, in language, always and everywhere* (not a direct quote). This is
the "certian priviledge" of language, which must never the less heed being
and remain in its element. It is a certian priviledge of language and
being, an intimacy.
During this current time, in the US, a prison atrocity has already gotten
underway. I won't bother disclosing that atrocity. But what has the
greatest promise of actually *ameliorating* that violence is *disclosure*
of the victim to the criminal in a certian manner accomplished in what is
called "restorative justice" and "victim offender mediation". Buth are
highly interactive and language based. Language is required as a ground,
though language as such is not enough, of course. Yet, closing off
language is a dreadful mistake. Such closing off, however, has often been
associated with the penal situation. In the 1800's, the Quakers,
outstanding silentists, devised solitary confinement, entailing sealing
criminals in solitary rooms, cloaing them with hoods when the were moved
aroudn the building, and giving them one book (guess what book...) Charles
Dickens visited this institution and was appalled. It had the highest
psychosis rate of any prison in the United States.
Silence already permeates speech and *what is spoken about*. When things
are degraded, this is not attributable primarly to *language* and
*speech*/*writing* as such, but to degradation in the ways it fits
whatever is degraded.
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