Sunday, May 04, 2008

Destruktion - Why Heidegger & I Were Both Wrong About Abbau

I have said before that Abbau (Destruktion) - to unbuild or deconstruction (pre-Derrida) in English - requires or demands a sort of rebuilding. Today, I finally realized that it doesn't. Let's talk of Heidegger for a moment. I wrote this in a paper:

In The Basic Problems of Phenomenology, Heidegger explains that Phenomenology is a method of studying, or of doing, Philosophy: "These three basic components of phenomenological metho — reduction, construction, destruktion — belong together in their content and must receive grounding in their mutual pertinence." He identifies destruktion as the term Abbau, German for "to unbuild." Whatever the implications of Abbau, Heidegger is careful to not leave it at taking apart, or disassembling, saying instead that one cannot simply destroy "traditional horizons and traditional angles of approach," but that the destruction requires a building of a new angle of approach. This implies, or proves, that the destruction is valid, or necessary in the first place.

I realize now that it is much more primordial than that. Destruction, destruktion, or deconstruction do not require a rebuilding, they are a rebuilding. Just thinking about this cursorily it seems to make sense. If we had nuked our homeboys in the CCCP, the world would be different. That is common sense. So is destruction then just another form of building? Heraclitus of Ephesus, the enigmatic Greek philosopher, stated in fragment 98, "Opposition brings concord. Out of discord comes the fairest harmony." I am slowly understanding this fragment more and more, and I think Heidegger was wrong about Abbau. He assumed that humanity had to make a second effort to create, but really, that first effort is all we need. If I destroy a building, I have created a new environment. The second effort - perhaps collecting the pieces and purposefully building another home - is not necessary. Creation has already happened and that second effort is another cycle of destruction and creation. So yes, destruction and building are the same.

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