The complex social structures and apparatuses of domination that are availed to the technological mode are revealed by Luce Irigaray to have been inadequately demonstrated by Heidegger. Irigaray reveals a narrow masculine awareness in Heidegger and a forgetting of the obscure powers of language. Irigaray states that language is necessary and determinative in the continued project of humanity, in measuring the task of thinking. Language also carries the ambiguous dangers of becoming technocratic; leading to a destiny paved by reason to technological enframing. The tool to this end is not the Heideggerian ‘hand’ of building structural projects, but the tongue; the tool of language which has in its power to evade the ‘still silent mystery’ of humanity’s being. The tongue is one instance of bodies being “Gestell” in Irigaray’s estimation and so too is language. Again, while enframing, language is necessary: “Being is not, except as an effect of that Gestell, language, and of what falls from it in separated form.”[1] Heidegger’s Letter on Humanism is clearly in the background of Irigaray’s treatment of technology and language; Heidegger’s “Language is the house of Being…Those who think and those who create with words are the guardians of this home…Man is the shepherd of Being”[2] remains otiose to Irigaray without examining the social dominations resident in the apparatus of language. She writes of the ‘syllogistic resources’ and the tendency towards homogeneity and “a single language, the one he has already appropriated, and that he reappropriates for himself endlessly”[3] to the forfeit of complexity. While the “heart of the difference and deferral [differend] that is buried in the depths of language [la langue]”[4] remains ever present, the real dangers of language’s future subjugation of others need only keep the past in perview; as Irigaray writes: “What is the power of speech over another life? Over another living being? Hasn’t this power been exercised to this day on the model of an inveigling appropriation rather than on that of an exchange—and (of an exchange) of life?”[5] Heidegger’s Idle Talk, seen through Irigaray can testify to the apparatuses that build the socio-ethical milieu; largely though the effort to control language and tame Being into a ‘tautological circle’ of sameness.


[1] Irigaray, Luce. The Forgetting of Air in Martin Heidegger (Austin: University of Texas Press. 1999),          156.

[2] Heidegger, Martin. Basic Writings David Farrell Krell. ed. (New York: Harper Collins. 1993), 217, 234.

 

[3] Irigaray, Luce. The Forgetting of Air in Martin Heidegger (Austin: University of Texas Press. 1999), 37.

[4] Irigaray, Luce. The Forgetting of Air in Martin Heidegger (Austin: University of Texas Press. 1999),          146.

[5] Irigaray, Luce. The Forgetting of Air in Martin Heidegger (Austin: University of Texas Press. 1999),          159.

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