posted by January 18 at 12:13 PMon
We know that the most famous German philosopher of the 20th century, Martin Heidegger, did not like “idle chatter.” For him, it was a fallen form of human communication; a type of speech that suffocated poetry, the language of being dead serious. In 2003, the Italian philosopher Paulo Virno reversed Heidegger’s judgment and declared that chatter was important for its “significant variances, unusual modulations, sudden articulations…” Why the strong disagreement? And was it entirely a philosophical issue? I found the answer in the streets of Rome. The chatter (background human noise) in the that Mediterranean city is not the same as the chatter in, say, Frankfurt. In short, Italian chatter sounds much better than German chatter. Heidegger would not have thought so poorly of chatter if he had been Italian.