chapter  Chapter Nine
62 Pages

The Alchemy of History

WithWolfgang Giegerich

Every child knows today that a car that will be built tomorrow is already historical today, inasmuch as it is already certain that it will be superseded by next year’s models. Every visit to a museum, every tourist sightseeing trip confirms us ever again in our historical consciousness. The historicity of all being has been promoted to the rank of a metaphysical principle that has taken the place of the principle of eternal nature. For more and more, the “eternal” laws of nature begin to dissolve into the history of the theories of physics. Every act of viewing history becomes a triumph of a free-floating consciousness, which in each act of hermeneutic understanding has ever anew conquered for itself its freedom from the reigning power of the phenomenon’s claims on itself and thus, edifying itself, has come truly into its own.