Harassed Unrest

In my thesis, I have made much of Heidegger’s idea of modern existence being a form of harassed unrest. Being-in-the-world that is revealed through a technological mode of revealing is termed a “harassed unrest” (Heidegger 2008: 247) in which thinking and dwelling are made impossible by the need to realise the insatiable demand of using things and entities as ever unfolding resources. I’m increasingly feeling like I’m being milked like a resource, and these things that I’ve written are really coming to life. Unfortunately, they are coming to life for me.

I’m feeling it Jello

I’ll explain with reference to my own thesis. Heidegger argued, “to be a human being means to be on the earth as a mortal. It means to dwell” (Heidegger 2008: 325). The very core of human existence is to dwell then, but this needs more unpacking. Human being is human being. This is explicitly Heidegger’s use of being, the being for whom being is itself a question. To be this being, we need to dwell, or to be situated in a particular manner in the world that allows us to be in a way that questions on being can be genuine questions for being (that is confusing as hell, I know). Heidegger argues that the technological mode of revealing (the modern world; all things are used as resources to realise the needs of other resources) hides this dwelling, obscuring the character of the things in the world that make dwelling possible. These things would be things that gather the world for being, and allow for a kind of resonance that is a thinking about being (much more on this in my these, not much more here). Contemporary man is therefore homeless in that the ordinary, everyday dwelling (as opposed to essential dwelling, which necessarily belongs to all men through the facticity of being-in-the-world), which is what we want to achieve, is ignored through technological revealing, and hence the nature of the world itself is not properly understood (Young, 2000: 190).

A technological mode of revealing entails a covering-up of things that as those things extend beyond the technological frame. For example, a field extends beyond the use of the field as a site for the harvesting of a crop; it is a habitat, an inspiration for an artist and a field in its own right. In a technological mode of revealing this is what is hidden, and what is revealed is the pure resource. Only when we dwell – when we are in place in a  kind of attunement or mood that allows for a revealing that is not technological but instead allows for being to be questioned – can the further revealings of the field emerge. The disclosure of things as-such still occurs in a technological mode of revealing, but this disclosure is not satisfactory as the being of entities is obscured in that all things are revealed as resource or standing-reserve rather than being revealed as entities. Dwelling, therefore, is the structure of the world that “gives room” for things to stand in the world; for Dasein to stand in relation to those things and have an understanding of the world (Malpas 2000: 207).

The referential totality of the world (how all things fit together to create the meaning of place through the inter-relationships between those things) is, therefore, not understood in this technological mode of revealing, as man cannot dwell in the world in a state of harassed unrest where all things are revealed as endless resource, rather than meaningful as part of the structure of a dwelling. Dwelling properly is therefore essential to disclosure as-such, and without an authentic or proper dwelling in the world, things in the world cannot stand in relation to Dasein that will allow for revealing as-such.

I’m surrounded by human being that does not dwell. I’m a resource. My own dwelling is being seriously undermined. I’m in a brutal state of harassed unrest. I’m of the opinion that such a state is not good too. Not good at all. This is not some emo rant, this is being in a place where people are resources to be used, and that infuses the attitude of others there to take that world view as the objective reality. It is totalising; there is no alternative.

I am not a resource.


About Leighton Evans

I completed my PhD in the Philosophy of Technology at Swansea University. Interested in the remediation of place and surfacing of the possibility of placehood through mobile technologies and social gazetteers. Now interested in media ecologies, digital media cultures and the use of digital media in understanding the world in everyday contexts. Decidedly Heideggerian. Swansea City F.C. fan, and this blog is a collection of my own thoughts and not indicative of any institutional affiliations. So there.
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