Thoughtlessness is defined by the characteristics of lacking thought for the others. A thoughtless person is identified as inconsiderate or careless human being. The postmodern era, which had been started in middle of the 20th century, carried the essence of thoughtlessness in its destructive activities like atomic bombardment or war (Docherty).
The aim of this essay is to focus on the Martin Heidegger’s “Memorial Address” and Robert Musil’s “On Monuments” and identify that the thoughtlessness is just as a big threat facing the today’s world, as it was when they wrote their pieces.
Heidegger’s and Musil’s Thoughts on Thoughtlessness
As Heidegger’s and Musil’s had shown in their texts that new ways of thinking has replaced the old way of thinking, thus, it will be shown that the two ways of thinking are not the real thinking at all.
Martin Heidegger had stated about the Calculative Thinking on his essay “Memorial Address”. The calculative thinking consists with planning, researching and organizing ways of thinking and always reckons with the given conditions (Polt). The calculative thinking serves specific purposes and produce definite results. However, Heidegger has differentiated calculative thinking from meditative thinking, which shows the negative characteristics of then contemporary man who were in flight from thinking. The calculative thinking is associated with thinking, which have planning and investigating parts and it is related to computing procedure ().
Calculative Thinking is similar to Musil’s Everyday Thinking. Robert Musil has stated about the Everyday Thinking in his essay “On Monuments”. Everyday thinking is limited to the everyday’s causality. Everyday thinking is not related to conscious thinking. The spirit of thinking is dried up in the process of thinking (Robertson). However, what we think on daily basis should have a specific purpose to serve and it produces particular results. The everyday thinking is closely related to the concept of Calculative Thinking as both have purposeful thinking and not identified with meditative thinking.
It can be stated from these two essays that both ways of thinking are not real ways of thinking at all. The real ways of thinking help the humanity to reach in a meditative state and encompasses the entire concerning issues of humanity. In the twenty-first century, a meditative ways of thinking is necessary as this century is a transforming century and there is no exact ideology or political oneness in this time. The meditative ways of thinking would help the humanity to reach in a deep and calm state of mind from where the humanity can perceive things in broader ways.
The Two Ways of Thinking and its Effect on Humanity
Both the scholars have argued that if this particular ways of thinking were not heeded at proper time it would have dire and catastrophic consequences. The Musil’s notion of monuments has a numbing effect that levels all meaning and undercuts the important event of life as anything, which endures over time leaves its ability to create an impression (Musil).
However, the calculative thinking has destructive capabilities that lead to the rise of nuclear power. According to Heidegger, the calculative thinking is thoughtless thinking, which modern man has chosen. It is not related to root of the human self and has selfish or self-centered purposes. Thoughtlessness has threatened the humanity from its core, thus it consists with destructive capabilities (Wood). As the autochthony and repetitive threatening are the major characteristics of twentieth century, the time had seen the rise of the destructive power of nuclear and atomic energy. However, the world is now open to for attacking with calculative thinking, which eventually has helped in rise the destructive power.
The contemporary world is now going through numbness of thinking or calculative thinking. However, inattention would show negligence to them and give them chance to grow in the psyche of the human being. Thus, it is an important step to follow the meditative way of thinking for rescuing the world (Lash).
It can be concluded by stating that the Heidegger’s and Musil’s thought has shown the path of thoughtlessness, which the contemporary world is facing. The essay has elaborated the problems of the contemporary world and its relation to the thoughts of Heidegger and Musil.
Docherty, Thomas. Postmodernism: A reader. Routledge, 2016.
Lash, Scott. Sociology of postmodernism. Routledge, 2014.
Musil, Robert. Posthumous papers of a living author. Vol. 1. Archipelago, 2012.
Polt, Richard. Heidegger: an introduction. Routledge, 2013.
Robertson, Ritchie. "Everyday transcendence? Robert Musil, William James, and mysticism." History of European Ideas 43.3 (2017): 262-272.
Wood, Robert E. "The heart in Heidegger’s thought." Continental Philosophy Review 48.4 (2015): 445-462.