Rediscovering the kairòs

production and digital dimension, for the column Digital Aristotle, back of a smartphone cover with the picture of an ancient marble bust of a bearded man

Digital is by its nature kairetic. What is Kairòs? Better, who is the Kairòs? It is the personification of opportunity.
The ancient Greeks represented it as a naked young ephebe being about to get up from a stool and run with wings on its feet. He had long hair, which, instead of going backwards, led him pushed by the wind in the same direction.

He had the cleric so as not to get caught by the hair and carried a scalpel in one hand and a balance in the other. He measured life.

Well, Kairòs is not predictable and tells us of the right measure, adequacy, exact aim, the right way. It is not only the propitious occasion but also the critical moment that opens up opportunities.

To describe the difference (today very significant) between the Chinese world and ancient Greece, the sinologist François Jullien comments: “The occasion is the very small crack which appears in the course of things and in which the action is inserted to “cling” to the world.

It is the narrow window that opens unexpectedly within the opacity of a course, assuming for a minimum time the function of “ridge” conducive to the intervention. Through the occasion, the agent is in phase with the world. The Chinese have never abandoned the Kairòs “.

It is known that Greek thought began developping the theme of occasion even before the birth of philosophy. Among the Gnomic poets, in Pindar and the Tragedians, we find written that the occasion, kairòs, is the guide of the world, on it ultimately depends victories and defeats.

But then something happened, and we thought and wanted the world to be predictable in itself in order to make it “ours”.

We had metaphysics. We first had philosophy (enemy of art) and then science (enemy of art, too) and for this reason we forgot about the Kairòs (only art has preserved its memory, but only memory).

Where do we find the kairòs in our time? First, in digital; also, in cybernetics that always operates in feedback (in the eternal return of the always the same and the always different). We still find it in physics and genetics. It is not true that everything is predictable. However, where everything is predictable, there is no freedom.

Let’s welcome the Kairòs.