Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Some musing over the question: What is Being and Time?

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The Text on Leibnitz' discovery of Reason, as the combination of phusis and ousia, recommences with these words pertaining to what we are calling the German thought, by which we mean the period roughly from Brentano to Strauss, and should be understood as an epoch distinguished from the Kantian and the World-British epochs:

In the still cruder and more awkward language of the treatise Being and Time (1927) this means that the basic trait of Dasein, which is human being, is determined by the understanding of being. Here understanding of being never means that humans as subjects possess a subjective representation and that being is a mere representation. Nicolai Hartmann and many contemporaries understood, in their own way, the point of departure of Being and Time in this sense.


Basically, the separation between the empiric and the scientist, someone who sees a chair, and someone who makes laws about homogeneous matter which has no essence, i.e., which is not a chair, is a double movement which brings the objective and subjective to its sharpest opposition without destroying the one or the other. At this point Being and Time comes in to take up the position without the ‘legal’ split. Kant speaks of ‘legislating’ to oneself the laws of nature. Nature is understood by the science of the essential one, of the human being as the source of freedom, or spontaneity of will. This freedom, however, in Kant, becomes nugatory since it is supposed to be identical to God as the source of the Moral Law. Thus it is free only in its necessity to be what it is, essentially, i.e., the Good. All the essentialness is for the being of the human being, and nature is all the un-essentialness. Man becomes “Nature’s God” (which is still the concealed view behind scientism, and such movements as ‘The Brights’). Following Leibniz Heidegger takes the view, not of the essential or the anti-essential, but of what understands both and is prior to the split. 

Olive trees and Redwoods are dissimilar in appearance, the former has a pale blue leaf which is rather rounded, and it sits close to the ground and clumps itself up into a canopy. According to the Greek thinking, which one has inherited, this is the given fact of the data. It is what phusis brings forth, to the eyes of those beings who have raised their heads to see what is present in their world. The Redwood, unlike the olive tree, has a furry bark and green leaves made of small fingers or bristles. They are very dissimilar to the eye, especially since the redwood towers, whilst the olive sticks close to the earth. Nous is conceived as the ability to bring, in a concrete way, real things before ourselves so that they are there, or present, as the same thing. Nous is not a matter of convention, or subjective. But, in Kant nous becomes the legislator of the looks of things. Due to the topsy turvy happenings of modernity, where subjectivity, as substance, changes place with the object, as what appears to us, and becomes only what is made by us, wherase the appearance becomes the substance but is renamed the object. Amidst this confusing congeries of concomitant madness, there came this understanding to its upmost telos. It is the Fate that throughout the Western Historial World, ascends to the ‘legislation’ of laws, through the presentation, Vorstellung, as what conforms to the empiric and the scientific. It “conforms” because it becomes a rule or law that can be applied, a general science, that is applicable in empiric detail. So that science ceases to concern, and come from man, in the science of raising opinion to Truth, and becomes wholly outside man in the objectified object which leaves over the essential being of man as the spontaneity of the subject in its authenticity or autonomy. The fact of the concrete thinking of the general idea or of the look of a specific thing, as being indifferently, to use the medieval term for the presence of the universal, in this one and that one still obtains to experience of daily life is passed off as an illusion or state of the folk mind by the devotees of the objectified object. Whilst, contrary to this, the civil law tradition, the Roman Law, still struggling by statute to say out of the essence of the things what the meaning in the highest sense, of human life, is.

Just as the Roman law can go on making forever adjustments to its discovery of principles adequate to the law, the science of the objectified object can forever discover new laws of nature. For no Truth is ever arrived at, neither in the one nor the other. When it was shown that the air could be removed to form a vacuum, gravity as understood by Aristotle, gave way to new laws. But remained essentially correct. Any additional discovery will leave the current laws unseated and no longer a limit on what is physically the case. Reasoning too undergoes its rough vicissitudes, such that the principle of one epoch, can not hold in another. Since even what is dearest to Law would be overthrown if Law itself were obviated or cast into opprobrious scorn. Both Theoria and theory as what can be applied point to different notions of Truth. Truth must have a ground in a split between what is temporizing, and what always is. What is most true in Being and Time is the transcendental, as the “understanding of being”. This understanding does not ascend towards anything but the infinite, under the thinking called Heidegger. It ascends towards the infinite, but can never arrive, or, as Cassier put it “break the sphere”. This thinking is then in a chamber where it can concentrate its efforts on a pursuit which is not like the older pursuits of theoria and theory as what can be applied. From within the lebens-raum, the lived-space, as what is a world spielraum or gestalt formation. The subject matter of the world is the same as what is understood as being, by Reason. But this Reason is no longer a grund for the theoria, or a ratio for the applied science. Those become the seriousness of going forever into the infinite, but never sensing the play of the ground from which those pursuits stem. 

What is given itself, as what comes of itself, does not come to some being, but is already as much in that being. When something stands before one it is already understood as what it is, but only in the vague sense of being what it looks like, and not an illusion, a dream, or a reflection in a mirror. Language is what speaks of its own, but not to one, but in one as one. Whatever comes forward to the understanding, a doorway that is left open, is cognized according to this speaking forth of what is to be reckoned with. Presence in the state of captivation comes into being when spoken in the state understanding. This is all meant to be prior to reflection, what Heisenberg says elucidates what “reflection” means:

In the more precise terms of our own day, we might even say that the word “rest” is defined by the statement that the earth is at rest, and that we call every body at rest that no longer moves relative to the earth. If the word “rest” is understood in this fashion—and it generally is so understood—then Ptolemy was right and Copernicus was wrong. Only if we reflect upon the concepts of “motion” and “rest,” and realize that motion implies a statement about the relationship between at least two bodies, can we reverse the relationship, making the sun the still center of the planetary system, and thereby obtaining a far simpler and more unified picture of the solar system, whose explanatory power was later fully recognized by Newton.  

The archaic language that speaks itself stretches out of shape as it becomes intellectualized in the reflection. Archaic Language should be able to speak the Element, in its presence. Then presence would not mean ousia, as the ontic, over and against physis as the wild and uncultivated. It would be World itself as a basic spielraum. World is more basic than any category, since it is like the container or receptacle concept in Plato, a Elemental consideration. It would be wrong not to think world as concrete, since the gestalt is the same as wherever one is now. In a room of  a particular building, or on a lawn beside trees of various dull and withered colours suffering from drought. One understands all this, without ascending to theoria or theory as what can be applied. The order is not comprehended, but one stands exposed to it not wholly without resource, and manages to spirit away a bit of elbow room from the forces which hang over one, impendingly. 

Q: Is ideology, the arbitrary sortie into reasoned instructions overcome even in phenomenology? Even in Existential Questioning? In Phenomenology there must be a series of instructions about how to get to an arena where arguments are obviated by the pure exposition of observations. Much is presupposed, above all, the way in which it all remains the same, and so comparable as a science. In Existential Questioning, too, there is the presupposition of the Historial Thesis, of the existence of the Historial. The evolution of what can not be grasped, but is to be sensed, of what is forever an anomaly, offers the path to a new science, more basic, but does it escape the Thought of Nietzsche?

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