WHAT ARE WE ACCOMPLISHING?

accomplishment

According to Heidegger, the essence of all action is accomplishment, and this is defined as an unfolding of something into the fullness of its essence.[1]

If we can agree with this then shouldn’t we asks ourselves what steps we have made, as Homo sapiens sapiens, towards achieving the fullness of our essence? Of course this can only be contemplated once we have agreed on what the fullness of our essence might be. And the problem now is: can it be possible in a world of individualistic minds to ever answer this? Or, in other words, is the idea of real human accomplishment impossible?

And yet, perhaps the answer is staring us right in the face, for who are we when we ask this question?

We are the Homo sapiens sapiens: the double sapiens, the double knowing; knowing that we can know; that we can know where we are (in the world) and knowing that the world is in our knowledge of it; that the world is known in us. Our essence and definition has to be that of knowing. Our essence lies in our knowing, but also in our being known, for all knowing implies a being known. Being is being known: the fulfilment of existence has to pass through intelligence, for only an intelligence can know.

From this we can see that human accomplishment has to come from the labour to create the fullness of knowing. A tremendous but impossible task, like Borges’ Biblioteca de Babel, forever unfolding and opening new doors and new possibilities for newer discoveries and the renewed uncoverings of the deepest wells of our past and that which is long forgotten. But in the futility of such an enterprise lies its strongest positivism: it is an eternal task, a destiny of ever-becoming.

Perhaps we can say that this idea is nothing new, after all how very much have we accomplished so far. And yet, how little we try. How much accomplishment has been frustrated by the unfocused structures of societies that measure themselves not by their wisdom and acquisition of knowledge but through their power to accumulate and separate by wealth comparison? How much anti-sapience is embedded in our market-orientated society of consumerism?

The essence of all action may be accomplishment and the unfolding into a fullness, but we have forgotten about the necessity of funnelling all action into the unfolding of that which is the most essential – the fulfilment of our knowing.

With humanity itself diverted away from its essence, the feeling of alienation will increase, as will the need for substitute essences, gods and idols, clubs, hobbies, sports – but these are mere distractions designed to fill the void of not-knowing. A not-knowing fuelled by distraction and maintained by nurtured forgetting. A process that teaches us to forget that we need to know, and once that is forgotten then likewise we become ignorant of any need to ask again what it is that we need to know.

Humanity’s greatest mistake was to unconditionally trust in its own techni,[2] its own amazing giftedness at inventing things – especially reasons and ideas. But without the consciousness that the ecstasy derived from this gift was tugging them away from the real essence of humanity, its ability to know.

This tugging away has been our most anti-human experience – the division of castes and hierarchies, the separation and privatisation of knowledge: the idea of the patent; of the profit to be made by sharing the result but not the means of reproducing it ourselves. The discovery of the power that knowledge provides – and knowledge is the key to all power.

For any democracy to be able to be truly considered real, it must bring knowledge back to the people in an authentic way. Knowledge must become a holistic concept, the common property of all of humanity. Intellectual property is the first abuse of knowledge, the intellectual patent – the most brutal crime against human nature.

In the democracy of knowledge as the most integral human right lies an unbounded freedom, but also a communism, an ideology of the common, human property of all knowledge. Knowledge as something sacred, for the sacred can never be the economic privilege of a minority. As sacred its purity must be preserved and the transformation of knowledge into a commodity that can be owned and sold is a perversion of that sanctity.

In order for Sapiens’ accomplishment to take place the battle for the demonetarising of knowledge and techni has to be the first to be won. The labour of unfolding knowledge and creating new techni from that unfolding has to be disassociated from the economic system of production of commodities for consumption and elevated into the field of production for accomplishment. Accomplishment therefore becomes an alternative force to consumption. Instead of working in order to make money so that we can buy consumer goods, we can labour in order to accomplish important things, work in order to unfold knowledge. Only in this way will the essence of the Sapiens’ nature be able to be fulfilled. Of course we are talking about a re-structuring of the capitalist system, which, despite all its claims to progress, is anti-accomplishment.


[1] Heidegger, LETTERS ON HUMANISM, PATHMARKS, CUP, 1998, p. 239

[2] We are using the Greek term techni to combine the concepts of both art and technology

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4 thoughts on “WHAT ARE WE ACCOMPLISHING?

  1. The labour of unfolding knowledge and creating new techni from that unfolding has to be disassociated from the economic system of production of commodities for consumption and elevated into the field of production for accomplishment. Accomplishment therefore becomes an alternative force to consumption. Instead of working in order to make money so that we can buy consumer goods, we can labour in order to accomplish important things, work in order to unfold knowledge.

    [end quote]

    I take it the practical action to be taken is something like the “open source” technology movement.

    I am sympathetic to the idea that we should be prosumers, not consumers.

    In practical terms, I tend to see the first battle in terms of physical products – food, electronics, fuel. Is that your perspective also?

  2. Yes, in practical terms the first battle should be in terms of food and fuel, electronics (perhaps, in a more complicated way) and.. I would add, health, housing and transportation. If we think of moving these services out of the money market all together, it would solve very many of the deep planetary problems that are looming. But in order to manage such a revolution we have to firstly change consciousnesses and create a grass roots that can look beyond the current money-orientated power-driven paradigm.

  3. Pingback: LANGUAGE IS THE HOUSE OF BEING | pauladkin

  4. Pingback: IF YOU’RE HUMAN AND YOU KNOW IT, USE YOUR MIND | pauladkin

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