Rückwärtsgewandt der Zukunft entgegen
Our concept of time is biologically determined by the physique of the human body; our eyes and feet only face what is in front of us. Still, we cannot see into the future but only look back at our past. Time’s eye leaves open the back door. There is an uncanny resemblance to those deep sea fish whose eyes go blind the moment they reach the deep sea gloom. Per definition, the transformed creature is a creature without a past. Frozen, turned into a pillar of salt. Nietzsche said of the last man mockingly: “Formerly all the world was insane, – say the subtlest of them, and blink thereby.” Those who imitate the self-proclaimed trend analysts and “future outcome experts” keep themselves from re-examining the past, and yet they do not see into the future, for all they can look at are their own feet, their prognosis is a mere extrapolation of the present. There is a medieval saying: “We are but dwarfs on the shoulders of giants.” Meaning: Today’s predictions might be more accurate than those of previous generations, but only because our expertise is based on these generations’ accumulated knowledge. This demands an exercise in humility, however, not diminishing our faith in progress. But the reverse motto, the mutant motto, could also read: We are giants on the shoulders of dwarfs. We cannot see further ahead, we only swell up. Why should we care for the dead beneath our feet? They have nothing to say about a completely new reality.
Frenchman and German-speaking essayist and philosopher, has worked and lived in Berlin since 1992.
He is co-founder of Glückliche Arbeitslose, a demotivation trainer, former in-house philosopher at Centraltheater Leipzig and author of several books, most recently: Die lange Nacht der Metamorphose. Über die Gentrifizierung der Kultur (Berlin 2017) and Soziale Gelbsucht (Berlin 2019).
The lecture will be held in German.