For Vilém Flusser, the ontological meaning of being lies within the tension between the opposing terms “reality” and “fiction,” as indicated in this quotation: “What do I mean by asking: Is fiction reality? It is a contradiction. The meaning of fiction is nonreality; the meaning of reality is nonfiction, and the relationship between these two meanings is the subject of the theory of be- ing: ontology.” (“Da Ficção,” in: O Diário, August 26, 1966, n.p.; translated from the Portuguese) According to this idea, fiction is the only reality in which the specific linguistic plurality of the author is expressed: “If I say fiction is reality, I declare relativity and equivalence of all points of view.” (ibid.; translated from the Portuguese) Thus language becomes the expression and creator of what is real, as well as the symbolic expression of multiple “points of view” with which the world presents itself – the world being exactly that which it presents itself to be, as advocated by antiessentialism, also typical of Flusser’s ontology.
If it were possible to leave aside all possible points of view regarding a certain object, or, to put it differently, if we were to look for the essence of an object via an intentional phenomenology, what would we find? The answer is clear: “Reality is the coinciding aspect between different fictions. And if we eliminate these fictions on a phenomenological level, as layers of an onion, we would find the same thing that would remain in the onion: nothing.” (ibid.; translated from the Portuguese) Language is a reality in the very broadest sense, according to Flusser. His own linguistic plurality, seen ontologically, becomes a fruitful starting point to ponder the many aspects of relationships that constitute the world. The attentive reader is certainly aware that no other conclusion is possible from the language of ontology developed by Flusser, especially in Língua e Realidade [Language and Reality] (1963).
Original article by Ivo Assad Ibri