Yuk Hui’s latest essay, “For a Planetary Thinking” is now published in the new issue of e-flux (Issue #114) edited by Bruno Latour, Ping Lin and Martin Guinard.
§1. The Planetary Condition
If philosophy was brought to an end by technological planetarization (as Heidegger proclaimed in his time), or more recently by a historical turn driven by planetary computerization (as many enthusiastic authors have proclaimed in our time), then it remains our task to reflect on its nature and its future, or in Heidegger’s own words, the “other beginning” (anderer Anfang).1 In this other beginning that Heidegger was looking for, human Dasein acquires a new relationship with Being and a free relationship with technology. Heidegger repositions thinking by returning to the Greeks, which may seem, at first glance, reactionary: Is this step back sufficient to confront the planetary situation that he himself describes? Doubtful. For Heidegger, writing in the 1930s, this planetarization implies a planetary lack of sense-making (Besinnungslosigkeit), which is not limited to Europe but is also, for example, applicable to the US and Japan.2 This lack of sense-making is even more obvious today. Even if European philosophy completely reinvents itself, disruptive technologies will continue apace throughout the globe. Any proposal to return to Being may appear embarrassing, if not ridiculous.3 This is not because Europe is too late, but because it arrived too early, and no longer has control of the planetary situation that it started. This situation recalls what Heidegger said about the other meaning of the end of philosophy: “the beginning of the world-civilization based upon Western European thinking.”