How Transformational Insight Gets Leveled Down to Mere Conceptual knowing Which Makes No Difference
When distinctions fall from being disclosive openings to being mere descriptive characteristics or theoretical speculation their disclosive power is diminished. They become something which merely gets passed along in retelling.
In short: being clever instead of being responsible.
How this happens: The stand one is, as possibility, as the future one is living into, determines what one sees, how the world occurs. We tolerate the faulty interpretation that the full essence of “what one sees”, the situation in the moment, can be simply “re-contextualized” as a mere opinion or story added to an “objective fact” of what is merely there, or could be there with nothing added. The knowing that something can be “re-contextualized”, or “re-framed”, or thought of differently. But even the successful “re-contextualization”, re-framing and rethinking do not alter what one already sees. Only owning that one himself projects the horizon upon which what shows up, shows up makes a difference. Being responsible in the sense that: who one is as source of how the world occurs is the key element that gets dropped out.
Reading transformational writing is difficult work. The act of getting what is said confronts and challenges our deeply held superstitions about how being in the world actually works for us. This confronting of our superstitions makes us aware of them – and begins to de-world them, disrupting their automatic action. We are comfortable in our superstitions, and disturbing them is distressing and uncomfortable. This distress often shows up with the commentary “What is he talking about? That couldn’t be true!”.
Fully experiencing the automatic action, the impact on our being-in-the-world breaks the previously unseen connections that hold these superstitions in place, and frees us from their impact. This process of confrontation makes the unseen action and impact of the superstitions apparent. Becoming aware of them eliminates the barriers that our superstitions bind us to. This process can be gradual or dramatic but it is always to some degree discomforting and distressing.
It is this distress and discomfort that we avoid.
For what that I got will the stars move?
I’m not saying what I am telling you is true. I’m talking about climbing out on top of what I say, and looking out to see whatever there is to look out to – that’s how I dare say anything at all. – Werner Erhard, Heart of the Matter
I kill off who I really am by talking in a manner deliberately calculated not to disturb others. It’s not what I say, but how I say it. I often talk in anodynes, and it is killing me.
I am afraid others, including you, my friend, will “get upset” if I say what there is for me to say, that is, if I just say what I see. When I’m afraid, I stop communicating, or sell out by using anodynes, or other kinds of wishy-washy language.
Phenomenologically, the situation that this area is for me, as an area of an occurring world, a seeming that the world is, what it is, how it is, and who I am in the situation is an imagining.
Paradoxically, the access to freedom, power and self expression in this area is in listening. Continue reading
Interpretation is taking something as something else. Interpretations are the “micro structure” of understanding. Being-in-the-world as understanding is constituted by a dynamic network of interpretations.
For most of us, most of the time, everything shows up as already pre-interpreted by the “they”. Stuff shows up for us as equipment for living. For example if you are inside now the big stuff around you shows up as furniture. This condition is unavoidable, but we can be responsible for it. To be responsible, one step is to acknowledge how interpretation works at the level of knowing and being.
Knowing and Being. There are interpretations (LEC: distinctions) that we can use when the appropriate occasion arises. This “knowing” is the ability to explain and apply interpretations. There is also a level of interpreting that we consistently and reliably apply. (LEC: “being used by a distinction” in contrast to “using a distinction”).
Regarding the set of interpretations that you are. We could view human beings as a relatively persistent network of interpretations. Our understanding operates as being-in-the-world by constantly interpreting, adding meaning to, the already meaning filled stuff in the world. One could loosely say that who we are is a set of interpretations that defines a worldview in which we operate. This persistent worldview gives us a sense of predictability and certainty about how the world is for us and even who we are. And since this interpreting operates before we pay explicit attention to our circumstances, our worldview is rarely challenged. Only rarely do we rigorously analyze our own worldviews. The world is already showing up as we know it is.
If we look in finer detail, an interpretation provides a set of signs, signals and directives that orients our being-in-the-world. An interpretation presents us with a path to follow, activities to perform. (LEC: openings for action) In Heidegger jargon, it orients our concernful circumspection (how one gets around amidst the stuff of the world), as well as the solicitous considerateness and forbearance we exercise in being-with other human beings. An interpretation provides a specific access for us to care for our being the world; it gives us access to existence as human being.
The “There” / the Clearing
The “there” is the disclosedness of being-in. Every way of comporting ourselves toward the world: being toward things in the world, having a world, acting in the world, is an instance of the fundamental existentiale of being-in. The ways of being-in we are, determines the clearing we are. Our primary issue is our being the “there”.
“The being which is an issue for human beings in our very being, is to be our ‘there’.” [H133] Continue reading
We have a skill for being, an ability-to-be, one might say a power-of-being. Heidegger’s word for this is Seinskönnen. Understanding is the existential being of this skill for being. Understanding is the showing up of this skill for being, how this power exists for us.
Everything shows up for us in understanding, and as such, understanding is one of the two ways-of-being we are that makes up the clearing (mood is the other). Understanding is our competence to manage being, including existing as being-in the world. It is a basic mode of our being or what we call an existentiale. Continue reading
Moods are real and observable. Mood is also an important ontological phenomenon. If we ignore moods or treat them as mere psychological emotions or physiological sensations we miss the profound impact they have for human existence. Continue reading
In Talk, what-is-said-in-the-talk is drawn from what-the-talk-is-about. Idle talk is talk that has lost, or is remote from, its actual basis in what-the-talk-is-about.
This is commentary on Being and Time §35.
Talk is the ability to enunciate distinctions. Talk is one of the three existential components of the ‘there’. The others are understanding and mood (disposedness.) Talk is the articulation of intelligibility. The intelligibility of being-in-the-world expresses itself as talk.
Talk is an articulation or enunciating, that shows, tells, or names the ‘carved-up-ness’ of the world. Non-human animals also carve up the world in some kind of understanding. But as far as we are certain, only higher primates tell/name/talk the carved up pieces, and retain the telling as a regular practice [retain as keep access to things in language] We are beginning to find out that crows, and some other birds also have particular calls when specific kinds of food is found. Continue reading