An oriental philosopher reads the “clearing”

19 May

Byung Chul-Han is a Korean-German philosopher who migrated to the West and does an odd reading of Western literature, in particular the context of networks and new media, studied in his doctorate Heidegger and with this his “clearing”.

He explains what the clearing is in a simple way: “Heidegger’s ‘truth’ loves to hide. It is not simply available. It must first be ‘taken off’ from its ‘veiling’. The negativity of ´veiling´ actually inhabits as its ´heart´ ”(Han, 2018, p. 74) and in this excerpt he quotes Heidegger´s work:“ On the question of thinking ”.

It penetrates what information means, the great input of the current veiled Being, “the information is lacking, on the other hand, the interior space, the interiority that would allow to withdraw or to be veiled. It doesn’t beat, Heidegger would say, no heart ”(Han, 2018, p. 74).

This absence of counterpart, is what Chul Han calls negativity, it is good to explain it well, “a pure positivity, a pure exteriority characterizes the information”, so is the reflection.

As the information of negativity would then be, in the sense of reflection, it is the “selective and additive information, while the truth is exclusive and selective. Unlike information, it does not produce any pile [Haufen] ”(Han, 2018, p. 74).

Thus, there are no “masses of truth” but “masses of information”, it is the “massification of the positive” (Han, 2018, p. 75), so information is distinguished from knowledge, and this is not “simply available”, I would say neither simply because it is complex nor available because it is hidden.

However, the philosopher confuses it with life experience, when he affirms: “not infrequently, a long experience precedes it” (page 75), and affirms only one side of the information: “the information is explicit, while knowledge often takes a implicitly.”.

Clarifying these two confused points, first the question of experience, the philosopher Plato was the first to announce that wisdom, as knowledge of the truth is not the result of age, if it were only in old age people would deserve to be heard, the other question is about tacit information, it exists as tacit knowledge, Michael Polanyi (1958), was one of the first theory, and Collins in the seventies returned to the concept in the scope of scientific communication. For this tacit information, Chul Han also points this out, “silence” is needed.

The deepest clearing the philosopher describes quoting Michel Butor, who gave an interview to Die Ziet on 07/12/2012, which points to the real cause: “The cause [of this] is a communication crisis. The new means of communication are worthy of admiration, but they cause a hellish noise ”(Butor apud Han, 2018, p. 42).


POLANYI, M. (1958) Personal knowledge – towards a post-critical Philosophy. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

COLLINS, H. M. (1974) The TEA set: tacit knowledge and scientific networks. Science Studies, v.4, p.165-186.

HAN, B. C. (2018) No enxame: perspectivas do digital. No Enxame: perspectivas do digital (in portuguese). Trad. Lucas Machado. São Paulo: Editora Vozes.


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