Hermeneutic & Phenomenological Tradition (dr. casey, part II)


For those who will be making use of phenomenology in its purer form, read Giorgi Psychology as a Human Science. He attempted to operationalize Husserl for research. Read C. Moustakas Phenomenological Research Methods which focuses more on phenomenology rather than heuristics.

It is preconscious the way we take in the world without actually objectifying or naming it (thematizing it). Merleau Ponty says the most difficult thing is to see the world the way it really is, that is, not just as it parades before us in discreet objects, but rather as demi-objects, as it were, that pass in between. They are actually in the field of vision to see, and it is not metaphysical or, at least, it is rarely noted.  I wrote on a book on mere glancing in this regard.[TB1] 

So we have an hour and a half left and the first half will be spent on what I am calling the second method and the rest on the third method. The second is called eidetic reduction. It sounds like way of losing philosophical weight.  The second step of the second method is to look intensely into the field of consciousness that has been cleared of dogmatic belief to see what adheres, but not just another psychical fact (that is a danger, second order factualism where I am noting the stream of consciousness, which IS progress but that is not good enough). The second level is to get to the essence of what appears, and the question is irky as to the kind of essence we are talking about but it is fascinating nevertheless. First, you trust your intuition as to what matters most in the phenomenon. Take your first hunch (notice the parallel of free association). Trust your hunch that for you cat means…whatever it means to you. That is the first step to the essence and then take clarifying steps, and that means getting clear about that hunch, getting more analytical. Then you ask yourself more questions about the quality of being, and then actually perform a complex operation among all the cats you know to see the essence that flows through them. This is not easy, but a cat lover will be able to pick out what it is about that fur that belongs to the essence of cats. It is a post-descriptive account, and we don’t care about the evolution or explanatory reasons, but can I get hold of the thread that runs through all of the different objects to get down to the essence (this is hard work). One of the most interesting things that appears in clarification is that certain kinds of beings will never have a perfectly clear, essential structure and part of their being is to be unclear and Husserl calls that morphological essence, but it isn’t all that difficult to understand. He means there are certain ways that beings present themselves that will be forever vague. It is not like natural science where we might feel we totally failed if the objects were vague, that would be considered defeat. How can we recognize and honor this moment?

We can always bring the data nearer to us, and Husserl calls this nearing, even in the zone of your closest apprehension, even in the zone of obscure apprehension. It will come close to us in its own peculiar way. Instead of refusing the phantom at the door, you have to welcome it, something which would never pass muster in the scientific paradigm. Even if numinous, vague, unclear and then respect it even for its obscurity. This is where Husserl joins William James, who was an MD like Freud who felt he had to reach farther as well, the great American thinker who on his own discovered many of the same truths. James said we must restore the value of the vague to mental life. He was responding to laboratory experimental results of the previous two decades. You must respect the fact certain phenomenon carry their own intrinsic vagueness and to try to dissolve it into the perfectly clear, the naturalistic parameters, is to fail the phenomenon even if scientifically true. And then you have gained a naturalistic explanation but you have lost the natural phenomenon. T.S. Eliot said it was like we had the experience but we missed the meaning.

Plato proposes formal essences from The Republic which are those kind of essences that yield a definition to the question, ‘what is x?’ Socrates was always asking the haunting questions which is looking for the formal essence of the phenomenon. Formal essences are those structures that allow us to be certain that now and forever this virtue will be ‘x’. And Plato’s great quest is still alive, we are not abandoning that but Husserl adds to this some other searches. What Husserl adds are material essences in addition to the formal. Material essence is the region to which an object belongs and applies to all the things that co-inhabit a given region (this is relevant to eco-psychology). These essences are shared by co-residents of a given circumstance. Each student at Pacifica constitutes a region and you can trace out the material conditions of being a student at this institution. It is not a definition but shared traits. This is in contrast to Aristotle’s essences which are IN the things, no ideas but in the things themselves.  Meanwhile, material essences are interesting because they allow for the overlapping and sharing. As the region changes, then the essence changes to reflect the life of the region.

We could just ask ‘what is the utility of x’ to get the functional essence. Material doesn’t mean ‘matter’ it is actually a German word that means it holds itself to a relationship in a field (so we are back to field here). It is how the residents of a field are able to be aware of each other. I don’t describe the feelings of objects in the field in order to say there is a significant relationship going on between itself and me. (Fields change, regions change.)

There are other forms of essence but these are the main ones. There is no single kind of essence but there is a polyphony[TB2]  of essences. For example, Heidegger has a heretical view that the essence of dasein lies in its existence, one of the greatest sentences of the 20th century. (existential essence?) So no longer are we worried about the formal or material essence or the functionality of human beings, forget it, but what about essence lying in our existence? In other words, what about the ability to redefine and change ourselves over the course of our lives? We co-create as human beings with each other in a given society to alter our essences together. This is a really radical thought which has to be added to the list of essential structures. We can also add  to the list of essences ‘bodily essence’ as in the work of Merleau Ponty, in other words, the way humans are their bodies or exist their bodies, as it is sometimes said, that is very peculiar and which we can pick out. It won’t be just one way but a whole set of distinctive ways that specify the human creature. That is bodily essence. You live out your essence in your body, non-cognitively, moving pre-conciously with your body. I think you understand the peculiar way we live our bodies idiosyncratically but also as members of genders, etc. We will be discussing that tomorrow. Suffice it to say, the whole idea of essence has become complicated in a very good way by Husserl that opens things up so that we no longer look at phenomenon from a classical Greek paradigm, looking for formal essences, and we no longer look at phenomenon from a natural scientific perspective of aim, function, telos, etc.

It may sound abstract because Plato’s beard is still shadowing over the West, so we are implicit Platonists but this is not so under Husserl’s assessment: we just have to get there and describe it. It is very relevant to fieldwork. You are trying to discern what was happening essentially, basically, what was really going on here. It is not giving a vast array of detail as in fieldwork notes. That would not be enough to say that you understand what that group is up to. You have to move to the eidetic level. What we call drawing conclusions is often getting to the heart of the matter. All of these locutaion which may not use essence are about essence “getting to the core” i.e., “to the thing itself” but things are essences…that is, the things that matter or the things that count. The last word on this is that it is helpful to think of essences as something that structures phenomenon as a grid or skeleton that forms things from within. That is an essence. The language does not matter, but we can say the task of description is to get at something indispensable to that thing, such that, if it were missing, that thing would be something else.

You can also imagine the phenomenon. The last step for Husserl is to say that it is not a collection of actual objects that is necessary for this kind of research. That you can do very well by imagining something of a given type. This is perfectly valid field data. We should not privilege actuality or factuality over our own imaginative powers. If our experience do not extend that far we have to imagine or borrow from others who did know the phenomenon. We are not stuck with our own personal experiences. All of this is a critique of autobiographical self-enclosure. This issue is how to get out of myself and into the phenomenon so that my personal takes are only hunches and intuitions but never the last, otherwise I just go around as a supreme egotist and subjectify the world according to my own wish and will. The issue is how to get out of egology and into the phenomenon. Imagine your way out of the box. The last technique is imaginative variation. Free variation in imagination is the technical term.

Husserl says that in our daily lives we count on external perceptions for steadiness and consistency. Something in our lives has to stay more or less the same from day to day. Kafka’s thought experiment is so brilliant because he has a human body wake up as another body one day. In reality, things persist and we count on them being the same, including your body. In contrast, imagination is the power to leave that body and those externally perceived bodies in the world towards free-fancy and which I call it ‘pure possibility’ in that I am no longer bound to perception and I am able to move into a domain that is not a reiteration or combination of perception but could be genuinely new, that I have never encountered before. Here previous experience may not matter at all. I am really zoning out here and going into the domain of eidetic possibilities[TB3]  . This is within all of our powers but we think of it as just diversion or mere reverie Phenomenologically it is very powerful because we are not bound to our experience. As it is, we have not moved into the larger world except that we can spin ourselves out into different worlds through imagination. If we can’t get there, we can go to others who have been there, whom Husserl calls historians and poets. From traced things at the edge of perception and into fancy we have perfect freedom to arbitrarily recast what we are seeing in order to re-create. Pull in your power of imagination…the Germans said ‘to form one free image of something’ is the creative power. Notice Husserl says that however good we may be at imagining, we can also draw extraordinary profit from what history offers us, notably art and poetry.  These are fruits of imagination but in respect of originality of new formations that greatly excels the performances of our own fancy and we are given to understand they pass through the suggestive power of media with special ease into fancies. This only means that when we go to a Shakespearian play we are drawn into a world that articulates things we may not have actually experienced but his language takes us right there into its essential structure. Harold Bloom[TB4]  has a book called Shakespeare and the Creation of the Human. Shakespeare’s genius was psychological for picking out human traits that no-one had yet put into words. I call this phenomenological as he was able to articulate the obscure structures of being human better than most.

We can valorize the uses of literature and poetry in that they are not diversionary things but they tell us the essential possibilities of inter-humanity that we would not have known otherwise. Imagination does not mean ‘dis-embodied’…you can feel it in your body. We have to be careful because it does not mean ‘unreal’ or ‘surreal’. Amazing that this guy who was trained as a scientist is recommending poetry as a guide, “fiction is the source whence the knowledge of eternal truths draw its sustenances.” Once the day is done, can I get to essence by freely varying the complexity of the phenomena that I have been observing to see how I can find out what is really going on by the experiment of variation itself? I have a collection of data that I have brought back from my fieldwork. Husserl suggests we spin off variants fairly similar but significantly different, thus altering that data. For example, I actively imagine a linguistic difference. Then I spin off another variation (data 3), and I imagine away the customary way they expressed themselves. I go through this a number of times and then stand back. Then I ask myself ‘what is it that runs through at the edges of these datasets that allows the edges to cohere? I am looking for congruencies at the edges of the overlap. Then I only need to name the nature of the overlap itself and that is the congruency that repeats itself across the varying data and THAT is the essence. Kind of a nifty trick and I don’t know anyone other than Husserl who thought this out. This is a way of getting to essential structure by the sheer use of imagination. Western culture would have stopped with the first set of data. And then would have related that data to an explanatory structure or theory to reduce the data to an anatomical anomaly or whatever. Merleau Ponty commented on Husserls method, called ‘regression,’ which reduces the phenomenon. Regressive methods reach an essence that I never realized before until I did this active imagination that allowed me to rise above the data itself but in a way that is reflective of that data. The task is to see the data as arising from the deeper phenomenon. The real task is to go beyond the data or through the data. We are circling back to where we were before and the direction is convergent with Heidegger. And this leads us to Heidegger, who says when you get to the late point of the experience the phenomenon will present itself after I do this hard work of collecting data and imaginatively varying them and looking for overlaps and the I can pause and let the structure come through, let it arise, let it be. That is a very special sense of trusting your own procedure. Part of what we are talking about is something you can do yourself pretty quickly, and then trust that what you do with it is going somewhere that other methods would not quite reach. The word method means ‘on the way’, that is what it really means. It gets you on the road to insight. For a phenomenologist, the most important thing is to be on the road, result are nice and good but more important is to be on the way.

Q & A: Susan asked about feelings and Casey said it depends on what you mean by feeling. He replied that focusing makes use of feeling in a way that reaches out into structures that are not just mine. It is not subjective feeling in Husserl, rather it is ‘self-evidence’. If I am in front of an essence that I have been in search of for a long time, I not only feel it is there, but I know it. I have a sense of certainty that I cannot claim in any prior stage because at prior stages I am only assembling the factors that will help me. At this later stage I am the witness of the self-evidence of the truth of what is happening. That is why the very last part of our reading is called the ‘phenomenology of reason’ which is a fancy way of saying that self-evidence is the experience of seeing into the essential[TB5]  structure of what I am investigating. The German is translated as “seeing into” or insight. I see ‘into the way things are’ so I would rather put it that way than to say “I feel”. I am just a little worried about subjective pitfalls. Thank you. We will meet tomorrow at 9:00 a.m.

04_Casey II_004_01 Heidegger and “Being in Time”

I meant to say yesterday that there is one major work by Herbert Spielberg called Phenomenology, Psychology and Psychiatry that is out of print, so I could not request it for this class. He also wrote another text called The Phenomenological Movement, which is desktop published and less expensive. It mentions Plessner and others we have discussed. Spiegleberg was a man I knew well, an émigré who ended up at Washington U. at St. Louis and he sponsored a number of workshops that I attended when quite young. He was the first and only one to practice phenomenology in a circle like this. He had a private library with all the great texts that he would lock in the morning and open in the afternoon and evening so that no-one could refer to these books so that people had to do phenomenology and ride it out. It forced you to get into the writing of it directly. Everyone was poised to do phenomenology and not just discuss it. Belatedly, there are occasional workshops at Esalen and some interesting revivals of that idea ever so often but none have worked out as well as those five summers he did it. The proof is in the doing itself. I much encourage you to project the use of just one concept that we have discussed as it will affect, by pure projection, your fieldwork for the summer. I don’t want you to feel you have to do this in complete isolation long after we have met, so now is a good time to do it.  It could be the basis of your paper. This is an alternative…to do a descriptive discussion of something that interests you in the spirit (not the letter) of anyone that we have been reading.

One thing about phenomenology is that it can either be an armchair occupation, recall Leibniz had a thinking chair that went everywhere with him in his carriage. He was not wealthy but he insisted on it as part of his baggage. They would hoist it into the carriage and he would write great thoughts. Or, we can go into the field and it is not like one thing is better than the other. There is implicit encouragement to go out into the field and it is why phenomenology had such a large impact on anthropology called ethnography. This has been one of the interdisciplinary fruits of phenomenology. For example, the philosophers that we have been studying had an effect on Basso as he was working with the Apaches.

What is the essence of a book? First we try to identify what a book cannot be without, thus narrowing down to the indispensable core. We can hold an imaginary conversation between these authors all night to see where we get to.  On the other hand, we could expand outward and proliferate the example across cultures. We would have a very wide sample and only afterwards would we ask for the hidden thread that was congruent across all the cultures. Phenomenology can ask us to get out of our chairs and go into the field. You have to go out with tabula rasa, bracketing previous cultural assumption about what a book is in the western sense, suspend it and put it out of action so that you could be more open-minded to something new.  Something that in that culture some kind of writing or transmission serves as a book, and it might allow you to see which traits are more indispensable.

One of the questions we want to ask today is ‘what kind of a Being is dasein” or what kind of a being is Being…is Being like God in that it can be without entities, and can we be by ourselves without reference to other daseins or not? A misinterpretation of existentialism in its early American assimilation is the idea that you can be free by yourself. That us the popular form.  Existentialism Is a Humanism[TB6]  by Jean Paul Sartre.

He wrote it in about twenty minutes at a café and it became a sensation. It proclaims that to be human is to be your own being, you make yourself, but strictly speaking when Sartre is careful he said just the opposite, and Heidegger says too that you can’t be human without being with others even if you choose to live alone in solitude you are still with others. Heidegger calls this Being with Others. You may live a deficient modality and not enact the full blooded form of being with others, but even as you retreat you are definitely taking those others with you, to prison, or wherever, it does not matter. The interdependence of human beings is insisted upon in Heidegger as in Spinoza. Spinoza just has a broader net in that he says all things are interdependent.

Heidegger got off the track during the Nazi period and lost it. He had become rector of his university because he thought he could turn the University in a good direction but he didn’t realize he was being a puppet of the Nazi government and resigned after two when he realized he could do nothing. At the insistence of his wife, who was a very committed Nazi, and to save the marriage we guess, she wanted him to remain a card carrying member through the end of the war for which he paid very dearly and was suspended from teaching for several years and led him to the verge of suicide. He went to see, in a suicidal phase in 1947-1948, an existential psychoanalyst named Boss in Zurich. Heidegger credited him with saving his life, and they corresponded and did seminars in Boss’ place which continued for many years. This was a very interesting gathering of psychologists, phenomenologists, and psychiatrists which has just been published under the heading of “Four Seminars”[TB7] .  That part of his thinking, easier to read and more accessible, did not have the impact upon our field of depth psychology. (See end of this lecture for copy of introduction).  It was Being and Time that had the impact, and that is a little bit strange. In the four seminars we begin to see the influence of his later thought on psychology. But it never happened with the power and force that this text has. When he returned to teaching he could only teach for three years because the German system forces you to retire at 65 but he continued to write. In the mid-30’s he was really lost in Nazism.

Let’s get into Being and Time. This is a book that changed the philosophical world and others as well. It was originally meant to have a sequel but it was burned, of the history of ontology. In that second part that the world never saw we would have had a re-doing of the history of philosophy. He would have deconstructed the history of thought. The word he uses is destruction of the history of ontology. Derrida knew this passage and coined the word ‘deconstruction’ as a deliberate variation since he did not want the connotation of violence. All we have is three divisions of part I and hints about a third part. The fragmentary third part became a great essay called “Time and Being” and I recommend it as a good example of where Heidegger went in his later thinking. It contains thoughts that are much different.  (See end of this lecture for copy).

Overall, his thought has two phases and we are immersed in the first phase of existential or phenomenological ontology (he calls it both) and then somewhere around 1929 or 1930 two years after he wrote this book he began to think about what he could do differently. He took a turn in mid-life (his early 40’s) and that became phase II. For the rest of his life in phase II he was not doing what we could call phenomenological ontology and he refused all labels and just called it ‘my way’ that had many forest paths to truth as he liked to call them.

Husserl is retiring in 1927, forced by the Nazi Party, and it was perfectly evident that Heidegger was the other most brilliant person around in Germany at that time.  He was heir apparent and was told by the State that there was a formal requirement for this lifetime position, so he had to produce some goods. He only had a few articles written during the first WW, and he was not writing anything although teaching up a storm in the 20’s. He didn’t write a thing until 1914 or 1915 and that was not an impressive profile.  It was like someone in the Defense Department said that some teacher at Pacifica had to write a book. They gave him a deadline and in a very short time he wrote this book, maybe six months, it is hard to say. Boy, what a deadline can do for you. He produced it on time!

This is the only book that Heidegger ever wrote although many lecture courses were published but he never wrote a whole book. This is an exceptional utterance and the most prolonged worked out thinking he ever did, usually his best form length is the essay. Jim Hillman said the issue in writing is how to find the right length of your writing. That is not a trivial question. You have to decide early on what your proper expressive length is (essay vs. book). Heidegger’s excellent shape was the essay. Read Poetry, Language, and Thought where he gives a nice set of essays.  Nevertheless, we have to struggle with this book here.

One innovation is to slow down the larger framework, more generous and capacious that Husserl, and he calls it ‘fundamental ontology’ which is the matrix in which phenomenon was practiced. Now phenomenology keeps a privileged place, he says, because only as phenomenology is ontology possible. He pursued fundamental ontology through phenomenological description, and he conceives Husserl as a pioneer.  However, he says that higher than actuality stands possibility.  This is a cryptic statement that means whatever Husserl has achieved in actuality, this book points to the possibility that exceeds whatever the founder of the field thought, in other words Heidegger accomplished it. Without being disrespectful to his mentor he said we are moving into something new. That other thing is, of course, Being; ‘Ontos” or “Be-ing”. What is the “-ing” if it can be spoken of?

Now Being has been lost or repressed, he says.  “We, in our time, have an answer to the question of what we mean by the word Being.” He will revive it not as an abstract term because as a universal term, it remains empty. We must think of Being as always of some entity. It is not in an ontological heaven. Being is not a quasi –theological entity like God or some ultimate substance. I would rather call it a dimension of an entity. Entity is a neutral term that also means being (small b). 

The world is made up of entities or beings.  And as he says, these are things we can handle, see, touch, and experience as ordinary items.  And when we regard ourselves as objectified or ‘met ‘with’ we join entities of many kinds as no different from them.  There is no reason why human beings can claim anything special about themselves.  If we can be totalized, studied, summated like chairs, then, for example, we are no different than chairs. But a human being has about it a trait that makes it distinctively different. It is not reason, language, or symbolism, although that is much debated. Acording to Heidegger, human beings have an intonation of Being.  That is, a pre-ontological understanding, like pre-conscious awareness. As we live in this world, we sense there is another dimension, not beyond this world, but in this world hovering at the horizon and that is Being.  Being is something like un-articulated, nascent consciousness. Heidegger calls it “pre-ontological understanding of being”, which he takes from the poets, and because of this, dasein, the human being, is ontically distinguished among all entities. To say that dasein is ontic is another way of talking about small “b” beings. Dasein stands out among ordinary beings in that it has a pre-ontological understanding of Being.  So, that is the only thing that distinguishes a human being if Heidegger is right. There is something at work in human experience more than mere acquaintance or knowledge of certain entities, which would fall short of awareness of being. 

Being is not like a single object that we are all approaching as a separate, more superior object. Not at all! The reason being that in fundamental ontology, there is no method. No method! We have taken a different turn and are in a different ballpark. Instead, there is an intensification of a layer of our life that already exists and its subtle transformation into a greater awareness or level of being.  This is not measurable, and there is no method that could say we have made progress. We can talk about it but we cannot quantify it. In this case, it would be very difficult to say a person is clearly better at their understanding of being. There are just experiences in our lives that bring us closer to a fuller understanding of Being. That is all. Some of these you see. Some of these are given to us. You cannot plan out a course of action that would allow to you get closer to Being. For the most part, you have to just appreciate and savor what life has given you and try to understand it as a revelation of Being in your life, coming from within on its own terms and not like a theological system. So people misunderstand Heidegger and think he is moving towards a new form of religion, but no, he himself is not. Religion is not his concern, but he is trying to capture the roots of what would become religion, or art, or science. He wants those moments just previous to specialization, you know, all that, were he going to “capture” dasein.

Fiona asks a question about depth psychology being a bridge between the unconscious and Being, as re-paraphrased by Dr. Casey. He said, yes, he believes so. He is calling the bridge “the pre-conscious” (that is his thing these days) but he said you could imagine how we are aware in depth psychology of the collective unconscious or the personal unconscious functions in a similar way. They are always there and often forgotten. So there is a deep parallel between fundamental ontology and depth psychology, even if the terms are different. All of the language here is the study of Being in contrast to depth psychology. Ontology means the study of Being. Ontology is to be distinguished from metaphysics, which is the effort to classify and to pin down levels of approach to Being. Metaphysics is a dangerous enterprise. Heidegger has little truck with it. You get entangled in metaphysics and you lose your way in niceties and formalities. He attempts to move around metaphysics, which he thinks is the great western enterprise for the most part, and says we are caught up in the snare of onto-theology, which means to try and figure out who is the highest being…God, Nature, Humans…he doesn’t want to play that game…no being is really superior. All you can say is that humans have a little distinctive edge, an intimation in their lives that does not make them superior or better than other beings.

We exist between being and Being…and we are hooked in this middle position to the extent in which we interpret our lives in terms of mere being, thereby categorizing our lives. Heidegger calls these categories “ready at hand” or “present at hand” and both are ways that entities can be regarded as useful or instrumental (and we are all that some of the time, and this is not degrading but from where we start). We start with an inauthentic manipulation of each other, and then we misunderstand each other as we categorize other human beings as mere beings, as when we fill out forms. These are present-at-hand and presumptively objective, but they can be blown out of the water.

The Hiedegger project has a research power although there is no method, fifty or sixty years later it does not matter, to apply this way of thinking now to issues we take for granted, such as gender and difference. There is something to the way we categorize unthinkingly and the issue is what we do with those categories.

At that level there is nothing wrong with that, we need the security of it. The issue is can you modulate it to move into another realm where you will be more in touch with Being in which there are very few assurances or guard rails. So there we move into the clearing of Being, but it does not appear as an object. You are not going to have a revelation of Being, as such, or it would turn into a ready-at-hand thing and you would not have gotten to where you need to be. 

A brief note about soul: there is a rare passage about soul in Heidegger. He quotes Aristotle on page 34…to sum up things on page 32 first…Dasein is an entity which does not just occur among other entities, rather it is ontically distinguished by the fact that in its very being, that being matters (is an issue for it). Dasein has a relationship towards Being, and Being is not a separate term. The relationship to Being is already a matter of being. That is another way saying that you are not trying to seek a supreme Being but that you are on the way at all times, and this means further that in some way dasein understands itself. Understanding of Being is a characteristic of dasein’s being. I have it, I may not know it, I may not have the words for it, and this does not matter for we have this tacit understanding. And here is the passage I wanted to read:

Dasein is ontically distinct in that it is ontological. Being is captured in the verb “is”. The first person singular is the great verb of western thought. The ‘is’ is something we can examine, it is under our scrutiny. Anytime we say is something, we are making a being statement at the ontic level. Predicates like beautiful or good are ontic predicates. Dasein itself is not grasped in its ontological structure, until now, at least, ‘man’s soul is in a certain way all entities’. The soul reaches out through feeling and the other is thinking, and so there are two ways we attach ourselves to the world around us. Heidegger is saying Aristotle was right, and we don’t need the notion of soul, but we can call it “being in the world”. We are already sensing the world around us, we are not self-enclosed, and Aristotle was onto this. The idea of soul as out there feeling the world, thinking the world, was an early Greek premonition that dasein is self-transcending at all times. Notice that this re-inscribes intentionality which is a matter of consciousness for Brentano and Husserl and to give it ontological weight. Remember my mind is directed towards things. Now we say our whole way of being in the world is outside of ourselves, ahead of ourselves at all times. So then it becomes exceptional, and not exemplary, to take solitary states are paradigmatic. That would be wrong, because they would be deficient modes of our true being in the world, which is to beyond ourselves in the things with people in a project. Human beings are the only things that are only rarely, or pathologically, self absorbed. That becomes an exceptional state for Heidegger which reverses the whole tradition from Augustine, who said Go within, truth dwells in the inner man. Husserl quotes Augustine, that sentence, and he is still caught up in that idea of examining my own consciousness in order to understand the world. He is still involved in an elegant, transcendental subjectivism. Heidegger is making a radical break with his teacher by saying there is no truth within. The whole idea of a private mind is a fabrication or construct that the west has imposed upon us to keep us down and inside our own narcissistic skin, taking satisfaction in scrutinizing our lives autobiographically. Heidegger says our true being is on the street, as Sartre puts it. The whole question of mind as self-inscribed is seriously questioned by Heidegger. That was the ontological phase.

Now we move to phase two: the existential phase. Dasein is outside itself because it exists, but that means more than merely alive in space and time. Heidegger means to stand outside of yourself. We have a power from within to stand without, and that is called existence. Not only at the level of understanding but in my very actions I am out there. I am committed to this larger world through projects which I have chosen for myself, even pre-consciously. Human beings are activists long before they become activists in the narrow sense of social activism. Remember Pascal saying that human beings are those creatures who cannot stay for more than 24 hours alone in a room? What we call ‘stir crazy’ is here being discussed at another level. We need to go without or move on, and not out of a sense of hyper-activitiy or freneticism. You can think beyond yourself and stay in your armchair, the point is my existing has to do with my existential possibilities and choosing some futures over others. When we make those choices of possible ways to be, we are living out existence thoroughly. It can be as subtle as tuning in and out of this conversation. You are making yourself available for that listening even if it is not a conscious decision. Nevertheless, you are modeling your future in that action.  It would be part of a larger existential projection of your life as a student at Pacifica, and your future after Pacifica. Our lives are heading somewhere other than our most immediate goal. Human existing is about being ahead of ourselves…he thinks animals have determinate goals like seeking food, shelter and we have those animal needs but we have other possibilities, it may even be deprivation for another goal.

Dasein has a preconscious awareness of being, and it exists in such a way that it is always choosing its own future whether it wants to or not.

This idea of making choices at all times is something you feel in your capillaries. It is what it means to be responsible for your life, this matter of future projection. The responsibility for your future goes way down deep, not just in the obvious things like your possessions or your mate, but about the subtle choices you make all the time. I am choosing which way to go at any given point in time. We are all navigating towards a certain kind of day or experience, even if we are not being reflective about it. In the spontaneity of the moment, in the immersion of everyday life, we are our own pilots, so to speak. We are choosing the way our lives are being lived existentially even though the shape may not be known for decades. We may never know what we are choosing ultimately, but we are choosing nonetheless.

Page 67: If you could understand just this page you would understand the entire book of Being and Time. It is good to read it out loud to hear the rhetoric and poetry even if the meaning is elusive, and that is why I am going to read it out loud. ‘We are ourselves entities to be analyzed. (I pause because this is an incredible truth about dissertation work. I think I am analyzing those people who I am observing. But actually, since we are all human beings, I am equally observing myself. This is a very profound utterance. Let’s not displace the responsibility, let’s not pretend otherwise. This is another twist on active participation.) The being of any such entity is in each case mine (he just means I have to own up to my own fieldwork, my own writing.) These entities in their being comport themselves toward their Being (this is what we call ‘being ahead of ourselves’) they are delivered over to their being (that is another way of saying ‘not caught up in your own subjectivity.)… There is never a moment when you have not already delivered yourself to a place that is beyond your current description. (That is a very interesting way of describing being delivered over)…the essence of this entity lies in its ‘to be’. (Not just what it is or was.) It is being what it is and must be conceived in terms of its being. But here our ontological task is to show that when we choose to designate the being of this entity as existence (that’s the word Kierkegaard chose) (it is word that occurs for the first time) This term ‘existencia’ (meaning being ‘present-at-hand’) is essentially inappropriate to dasein’s character, and so we shall use the interpretively ‘presence-at-hand’ (by presence at hand he means merely existing in space and time) for the term existencia, which is not the sense of existing that we are interested in. In the positive sense, existence as a designation of being will be allotted solely to dasein (human being). The essence of dasein lies in its existence.”

I said yesterday this is the revolutionary undoing of Husserl’s project. He is saying you can’t detach existence from essence…it is not our ‘whatness’ but the ‘howness’ of our lives, how we live our lives that is the issue. ‘Whatness’ is the task of scientists like biologists, geneologists, geneticists, but it is not the work that we as existing individuals need to do.

Hermeneutics is inseparable from phenomenology.  The meaning of phenomenological method lies in interpretation. There is no mere thing as description so that when I am describing I am already interpreting. A responsible fieldwork project would have to be descriptively accurate and also authentically own up to the interpretive factor that I as field worker introduce into that description myself. I am aware of that interpretive network that I am bringing. Here are the seeds for Gadamer’s thought that philosophy and psychology are hermeneutical enterprises.

Bottom of 67…let’s continue reading…  that human beings are instances of spiritual being is a claim that Heidegger would be very dubious about since we should not think of ourselves as tokens of the entity or type called spiritual beings, because it confuses what is special about human beings. Angels’ way of being in the world is radically different, so you cannot assimilate these modes of beings as if they would all fit under a convenient genus type called spiritual being.  Heidegger is trying to be very clear that if we are going to be spiritual we are going to do it in a very existential human way of being spiritual.

Another great theme of this book is our radical finitude and not being tempted into believing we have powers way beyond what we actually possess. Our lives are lived within strict limits which are set not by theological entities but by our own impending deaths. So our ultimate limit is being toward death. We are all making choices in view of that, albeit pre-consciously. Every choice is within the shadow of the valley of death, even though it may be the furthest thought from our minds.  It does not make it any less powerful ontologically to be pre-determinative of how we live.  We are living our lives in view of a death which is certain but indefinite.

Sharon asks a question. 1927. Great period of creativity in German life before the great crashes. Freud wrote or published the Future of an Illusion and then wrote Civil. Of Discontents (written during these years but published in 1930) in which he expresses a concern with merely living out of the oceanic oneness in a way that does not reflect the complexity of civilized life. He considers anything less to be idolatry. Each was saying what you need to do is make the most of your own life in spite of the rewards or comforts religion might offer. So the real task is existential, and it all goes back to Kierkegaard and Heidegger. Make the most of what you are given within its very limits. It is a version of a truth, since a deep truth is true of all of us which is not to say that there are not other deep truths which can also tunnel alongside these deep truths. Both of these thinkers became resolutely agnostic without a doubt, and they felt this was the ethical task which does not mean there is not another parallel path (spiritual, religious, or psychological).

Page 68…dasein is mine to be in one way or another…in each case dasein is its possibility because it can choose itself and it can also lose itself. Or only seem to do either, but only insofar as it is essentially authentic. Take full responsibility for yourself. Freud said that each of us in the end arranges our own destiny (1920). This is close to Heidegger’s existential process. The issue is how we transform those influences including trauma into the subsequent life that we live. All of this is under the heading of existence. This approach is related to the idea of being authentic. The more you can own up to your own existentiality, and this may take a lifetime and we may never know it, but it is basic and we have chosen it, as yourself as the source of the project your life represents, it is then an authentic life. Yes, these influences are real and deep, but the issue with existence is that in spite of that, choices are made which would otherwise be predictable outcomes. Dasein makes the crucial difference between a linear life and one that is self-modulating. We may not change the tune, but we can change the key.

Binswanger’s “Dream and Existence” [TB8]  his first actual writing in existential psychoanalysis is a great essay. It is in the syllabus but may not have made it into docutek. I mention this because this essay contains a tiny fact I think is fascinating. Binswanger was Jung’s assistant and he began to talk to Jung about Heidegger and his importance. And then at the same time, ironically, Jung introduced Binswanger to Freud which led to a lifelong friendship with Freud.  There was a whole interesting nexus of three forces of depth psychology (Jung, Freud, Binswanger). Briefly put, Heidegger’s argument is that one important aspect of dasein which is the exact converse of what we have been discussing so far is the fact that dasein is continually falling into a morass of difficulties in life. So we are never not falling into a mass of indifference, trouble, lossness, and finally, the anonymous ‘they’ (people around us). Binswanger picks up on that and says, you know dreams of flying and falling which are fairly common, these are dreams of existential falleness in the world and those dreams have to do with the vertical dimension of falling/rising which is the inner armature of our existential lives. How we deal with the falleness of our condition. I asked you to read the essay on upright posture because of the fact we are standing and walking beings which has deep psychological significance. Strauss said, that’s true but the psychology of being upright is more interesting than the mere fact of it. Dream life has to do with the verticality of being in the world and our falleness or how we deal with standing up, or taking a stand, or failing to be resolute, sinking down…the myth of progress is a combination of standing up resolutely and moving toward a future goal (vertical and horizontal). This all came from Sharon’s question as to what was happening in the late 1920’s. I am saying a lot was happening…there may have been an influence on the concept individuation but I don’t know about a counter-influence from Jung upon Heidegger, who may not have admitted that. I see cosmic entities in Heidegger’s later work that are archetypal in character when he says the world is composed of gods, people, sky, and earth (which is suggestive of the Jungian quaternian, which Jung loved to use as it could be used to represent a deep balancing harmony). After Jung, Heidegger came up with his own quaternian that has a cosmic or archetypal significance. The sensibility is there, not so much the direct influence.

Heidegger says dasein is actually very primordial. He is aware of that dimension (it is not new). There would be a lot to say about this. Freud and Jung own up to it much more completely. The phrase Freud used is that he had a ‘predilection for the historic’ and he loved the archeology of knowledge. Jung loved the ancient in his way. Heidegger, on the surface, is much more future-oriented and therefore progressive, but still here and there he indicates dasein has an ancient history. It is in the bones of all of us and he calls it our ‘having been-ness’ and we have to bring this into our every presence at all times.

Casey II_005

Here is the passage that I mentioned yesterday (on Page 76) about primitive dasein, that ‘everydayness does not coincide with primitiveness, but it rather a mode of dasein’s being…’ and he goes on, but here we have three levels: the primitive, and the everyday, and the dasein that is cultivating the everyday. Primitive dasein has possibilities of being that are not of the everyday kind and not to be reduced to our late modern everydayness, but with an everydayness of its own. Primitive phenomena are less concealed and complicated…those species in primordial absorption in phenomenon are less inclined to explain away the experience. Such a ‘person’ would not seek to validate and affirm the immersion in the phenomenal realm itself. For us in late modernity, we have to work to get back to the phenomenon. We have lost it.

Primitive culture has never lost the dasein and does not need a method for retrieving it. Perhaps other species are in a comparable situation of being in touch with their phenomenal world in such a way as to not to have to suffer the loss of the phenomenon in those worlds and so they are, in that sense, at an advantage in contrast to us who have fallen (i.e., our contact with being in the world of phenomenon). An alternative positive path would be through ethnography (that is, not phenomenology nor Being in Time) which would be comparable to doing phenomenology. Lucien Levy Bruhl[TB9] ’ work on how primitives think is good for those of you have an inkling for ethnography. Most interesting of all are his notebooks, and they give the sense of a rich understanding of other cultures. I recommend it for fieldwork purposes. When you go to psychological types of Jung, you see Levi Bruhl all over the place. An interesting figure who plays into this rich period and gave to Heidegger and Jung a sense of a liberating way of being in touch with other people. He was quite important and is still interesting to us. Heidegger, is he had another life to live, might have been an ethnographer and studied dasein in other cultures. It would have been a case of free variation across cultures.

Heidegger is not altogether stuck in one analogy, he is saying it is true for our era but may not be true for other cultures or eras. It is a dawning euro-centric consciousness. Gadamer is more universalistic about hermeneutical consciousness and broadened his scope beyond Heidegger’s. He is very ambitious in trying to capture what it means to have a tradition anywhere at anytime. In contrast, Heidegger is speaking out of a crisis situation in western culture and in rising to the occasion he addresses it. And, because we are in crisis also, it is pertinent to contemporary life.

 I want to pick up those aspects in Heidegger that I think are pertinent to depth psychology. The structure of being in the world is the first wholeness of dasein. The issue of dasein is how to be a whole, how not to fall apart and disintegrate, how not to regress into constituents that are unhealthy, atomistic, deficient modes. So the issue is how to draw your life together in the right way and the right time, called “Being-a-Whole”. The first way to do this is to realize that all of the time and everywhere we are in a world. That world totalizes everything we are doing. We don’t need to make a totality ourselves, because the world we are in has a certain coherence that we need to trust. Being in the world consists of 1) the special character of it, i.e., the world of Pacifica; 2) the inhabitants or dasein of that world; and 3) how we actively dwell in that world. Dwelling is a crucial term for Heidegger. He says that the word to dwell means being accustomed to, being alongside things familiar to us, fitting suitably into that world as our shared world, being able to be absorbed in that world. This is the way in which we begin to have the kind of grasping of a sense of a whole that leads to knowledge. In subsequent sections after page 80 Heidegger builds on this base. Being is not founded from above downward as we are accustomed to but is founded on dwelling or really living in a given world.

We come to know from being familiar which is a basic principle of fieldwork. You have to reside for awhile, you have to tarry alongside the subject matter of your fieldwork so you can be said to dwell there, or it will be literally superficial. This has serious consequences. Dwell first, knowledge later. You have to take your whole existence into that world and be there for a significant time, we will not say how long, you will know how long you will have to reside in order for a particular kind of knowledge to arise. It is not to be confused with the environment. Heidegger has very rich discussion of the natural environment, which is not the same as being in the world but it is only a dimension of being in the world. The environment cuts across our being in the world, and in subsequent pages 80 through the 90’s we have a very interesting discussion of nature as something that is always already continuous with a human being in the world. The great danger is to turn nature into an object of use or into an object of scientific knowledge rather than let it come forth in its own voice. He implies that the poet is better equipped to capture the way the natural world impinges on our lives. That is the way I take the paragraph on page 100 to be saying.

Unless you can bracket, the nature which assails us as landscape remains hidden. The deeper nature will not come forward in the outer world otherwise. The poet can get closer to the natural world than the scientist ever can. This is a tribute to poetry by Heidegger. The great essay, ‘what are poets for’ is recommended. Poets give ontological insight that is ahead of the rest of us in the fallen everyday world of ordinary work and concern. The poet liberates herself from that ordinary world to have an insight of Being.

Belief and disbelief are both ‘doxic’ modalities as in orthodoxy or belief structures. Bracketing is not only of objects but of our own beliefs about objects. Beliefs have to be examined, transformed, modified, or all of those things. The suspension of disbelief is still feeding off a natural attitude that something is not real…you have to suspend skepticism in order to enter into the phenomenal presence of dramatic action.  And somewhere in our reading the word drama begins to come forward. It is very important not in a technical or theatrical sense, but in a deep performative sense. Drama is really the Greek word for action in order for drama to come forward and in that sense our whole lives are enactments or performance. This is where Merleau Ponty will take us. The body being guarantees that we are in fact actors on the common stage of humanity, and never not-acting in the superficial way as in persona non grata, but really enacting our lives. In this regard, read Erving Goffman [TB10] to understand how he examines our everyday relations.

So the environment needs to be re-appreciated and freed from our tendencies to turn it into something useful. The issue is how to let the natural world find its own voice in our lives again. Primitive dasein would have the advantage of not ever having to pass through this travail that we call modernization. We have to work hard to suspend that and to get back to a sense of what the natural really can be in our lives. So that is part of Heidegger’s project in a way, it has consequences for environmental thought (and many environmentalists have been inspired by Heidegger).

Now part of being in the world is not just dwelling there or being in touch with nature but understanding the peculiar specialty we have as human beings. In dasein lies and essential tendency to closeness (p. 140). This is interesting. You might think the human tendency is to put a distance in between things in the spatial world to maintain a sense of integrity, to retreat to a safe place but Heidegger is saying that on the contrary we, daseins’ in our existential beings, wish to be ever closer. This is the deep tendency and that notion of proximity of ever increasing nearness is a very basic theme of Heidegger and in later writings he goes further to say that telecommunications only achieve the facsimile of nearness. Is talking on the telephone nearness? Is it not just the reduction of distance that can be measured. Clearly for him it is interesting and fascinating but not enough to achieve genuine closeness. To achieve that, I have to be in the presence of another dasein. I have to be in the actual occasion of sharing something with that other person. The real task of dasein’s existence is how to achieve the right closeness to other members of species, to other species, to works of art, etc.

In dasein also lies deseverance which simply means to undercut whatever distance is already affecting our lives…take away requirements that my culture has imposed between myself and others by desevering or disconnect the distance. I don’t agree with the translator in using the word desevering.

Dasein also means to recognize that I am always directed or oriented in one way or another. It means to be wholly oriented, and there is no such thing as being neutral. To be in the world spatially is to be there in ways that can be mapped eventually but to be in it in a way that can be felt essentially.

Now this last part of being directional is most dramatically displayed in the next structure called being-with-others, in other words sociology or interpersonal relations. It is not just part of our ontic life, but we are always finding ways of being with others. This is a key term in the middle of the book and one of the most reductive terms for psychology and psychiatry. Heidegger has become important in the training of nurses because of this section of the book. It represents the way that human beings care for each other in the most effective way. In the middle of page 158, he refers to solicitude as a positive mode. You can leap into the other, which means to take over for the other that with which he is to concern himself (a problem or a burden and we are intervening now to de-burden the other). I substitute myself for the other until the other is able to assume the work again for him or herself or dismiss it. I have done the hard work for the other. In such solicitude, the other can become one who is dominated and dependent even if this domination is a tacit one and remains hidden. That is tacit paternalism. That kind of solicitude, which leaps in and takes away care, is to a large extent the determinant for being with another. It pertains, for the most part, to our concern with the ready-at-hand. Here, Heidegger suggests, we have something more appropriate to tool work than to the human work. Fixing something that has gone awry does call for our active intervention to re-tool it. In that case we do leap in to the emergency. There is also the possibility of a kind solicitude that does not so much leap in for the other but to leap ahead of the other not in order to take away his or her care but rather to give back to that other the care that was felt to be burdensome…this kind of solicitude pertains to authentic care of the existence of the other…helps the other become transparent to himself in his care and to become free for it. There is a lot more we could say, but lets pause and think about this critique on how sometimes we become overly solicitous…we help a little too much. This is not enabling in the addictive sense but is on the edge of it. We are in it for the other and doing the hard work, helping them to feel better momentarily or to solve a problem but only because we have substituted ourselves for that other’s own care which needs to be experienced from the position of the other as other. So the real task of caring is not to de-problematize the others existence or to de-burden them but to clear the space so they can stand back and come to terms with the problem or burden him or herself on their own terms. I leap ahead to clear the space so the work can be done more effectively by the other. It seems to have many implications, not only for therapy, but for pedagogy or raising children if you think about it. How many parents are ‘too much’ leaping in for their children as opposed to leaping ahead? This kind of caring for others is a way by which we can achieve authenticity. And now we move on to that structure called authenticity.

Page 168 says that authentic being does not rest upon our exceptionality and our privilege, that is not the sense of authenticity that counts ethically. In order to become authentic you do not rise above the inauthentic or claim that you have left behind something else and you are now somewhere else beyond it. The real work is how to modify the inauthenticity of the everyday self from that everydayness itself. And then you move effectively towards being authentic. This is not instant salvation or a quick fix. This is a very slow disentanglement and you cannot expect to become authentic quickly or forever because it will always reclaim you. It is adhesive and absorptive, so tempting and is lying in wait for us even with our best most valiant efforts. This is a daily struggle to wriggle free, to fall free from falling itself. It is about how to find your way out of the thicket. These are the pages I wanted you to look at. There is some very powerful stuff in here. On the one hand we have the notion of the dictatorship of the day, this is the anonymous voice of the masses that tells us what to do at any given time. That is what de Toqueville[TB11]  predicted, did he not? He predicted that in democracy that totalitarian consciousness would be the great American problem.

Heidegger could be talking about America although he is talking about Europe. The everyday public self (the way in which we are all one) is composed of three components: 1) alienation, or taking a distance from each other; 2) averageness of conduct or normativities, and 3) leveling down tastes and standards. The most important of these is leveling down which means to take what has originality or primordiality and fail to recognize it…and clip its wings. 

Publicness is composed of distanciality, the converse of closeness where we keep pushing others away from us. Then averageness or the statistical average and the whittling down action we take to achieve the two previous components of the public self.. In leveling down I don’t allow exceptions, I don’t give eccentrics space, I don’t allow space for people not to be leveled down as they do in England. We are the great levelers. This is a pretty powerful social critique and from here we can go a long way. There is a lot in these five pages that has a lot to do with the practice of psychotherapy and the practice of psychology. This is just the bare bones.

Jeff asks if there is a sense in which Heidegger mistakenly thought that Nazism offered an alternative to Americanism and Communism? Yes, read the Introduction to Metaphysics for a passage that says that America and Russia are at these extremes and Europe is squeezed in between these power hungry countries. Russian and America are the great levelers (today we would add China). Heidegger is very worried about this and even an older culture would have to fight the temptation to level it is just that there would be more resources for dealing with this than in younger cultures. You never overcome it altogether, there is no utopian culture nor is there any phase of anyone’s life that could be said to escape the temptation of everyday life which is not to be confused with pacifism. It would be an illusion to think that we could resolve this type of utopian thinking. Stay in the muck of the embroilment of the everyday and wriggle free sufficiently to make a free decision and do a creative action. These are rare moments. The very next we will be swept back into the everydayness and all the questions will return. It is grimly realistic, and that is why Heideggers existentialism is how to find a way within the very throes of everyday life. So even declaring your experience of Being is something that would only happen very rarely, on rare occasions, you should not expect it to happen on a consistent basis. You would be lucky to have it once or twice in a lifetime, and it is an ecstatic moment worth waiting for. He would be suspicious of schemes to get our lives so well-tuned that we would be in touch with Being all the time.

Before the break I want us to think about the basic concept call equiprimordiality on page 170. It means that the existential features of dasein cannot be put into a hierarchy unlike the Greek model that we are still living by. The structures of dasein are equally basic. And so we don’t have to rank order these basic features of our lives, each is completely revelatory for being in the world. We don’t have to choose between intellectual cognition and being artistic, or being a political activist or being a political theorist. These are false choices. The issue is really how to honor each of our basic powers at all times. This is a very different sense of what it means to be human, like a democracy of our faculties. In that spirit, Heidegger undertakes a brilliant set of analyses that are amazing.

One of them is (unfortunately) translated as a “State of mind” and the other is translated as “Understanding”. State of mind should be re-translated as how your find yourself disposed on any given day. How you feel, mood-wise, at any given moment of that day. “State of mind” is very British. This has more to do with emotions or moods that are not our feelings about a particular person or predicament, but the way we are thrown into the world or the way we are cast into the world at any given moment. Moods precede us as ways of dealing with the there-ness of our existence, of our being there in any situation. Moods are the registration and reflections of our being delivered over to there-ness in a spatial or social field. They are much less particular and personal and are ontological ways of sensing how the world strikes us on any given day. So we don’t need to pay attention to their source in our personal autobiography but rather how they takes us into the peculiarities of our immediate being in the world. That is why they are enormously valuable as clues and indications of our deep investment in the life world. Attitudes and dispositions are to be respected in Heidegger’s analysis. You remember when we talked about being delivered over? Then it was in the context of being delivered over to our Being. Now Heidegger is being more specific and speaks of being delivered over to our moods. We are caught up in them, and we should respect that and not attempt to cure, reduce or flee from them too soon. Ask yourself what they are telling you about the situation you are in, not your personal anthropology. Try to understand it with ontological patience. It is very un-American to be able to hang in with the mood yet very similar to Hillman’s early work on depression. See what it teaches you about your way of being in the world.

So, this is very crucial and we need to savor this. It is exactly opposite of reduction or leveling down. He would be very skeptical of psychopharmacology, but nevertheless he would wonder about how it is being used massively and unthinkingly. And, commensurately, Heidegger’s way of understanding experimental psychology or cognition goes in another direction. It has nothing to do with abstract thought or clarity of thought but has to do with understanding our entire potentiality for being in the world. Cognition has to do with our deeper ways of being in the world more authentically and so what we really understand is not the immediacy of the moment or the structure of our lives or a given object, but understanding what might be coming in our lives. It is the understanding of what is to be somewhere just over the horizon. It is never wholly a matter of thought and has its own mood. Understanding penetrates mood itself (affect or emotion and cognition are dovetailed by Heidegger). This is very different way of understanding psyche, the overlap matters more than the autonomay. The specificity of given faculties that opens the door to a whole way of thinking to re-think any number of psychical tendencies we might wish to analyze including language, which fits in with understanding and mood. In short, what we call language has little to do with wording, lexicons, vocabularies but rather our articulation of being in the world that is intelligible to other human beings, and could even be gestures. It doesn’t have to reach fully syntaxical forms and it is here that hermeneutics takes off. At this level, our understanding precedes itself and language is the interpretive articulation of that deep understanding that has not yet found expression. This is the basis of hermeneutical understanding. This has to be interpreted as being of a particular sort on a particular occasion and when we begin to specify it by interpretation, which is called by Heidegger the explicitation of understanding, then we are doing hermeneutics. Hermeneutics is the turning into the explicit the implicit understanding of ourselves in the world, which is a different sense of hermeneutics than we usually hear about although it became an influence of the hermeneutics that became the methodology of depth psychology. This is the source. I shall try to show tomorrow how Heidegger is the bridge that makes this more intelligible and accessible.

Heidegger says in his later work that language is the house of being.  Being finds its own voice in language, and he really meant verbal language. So, there was a convergence going on here which brings the spoken and written language a very special power and valence which had not been seen by previous philosophers. The makings are here in Being and Time. It took decades of work on Heidegger’s part and in other fields by others thinkers but is where hermeneutics found its telos. And Gadamer was the great figure who opened up that prospect and made it all possible.

 [TB1]The World at a Glance (Indiana, 2007).


 [TB2]Main Entry: po·lyph·o·ny  Function: noun Etymology: Greek polyphōnia variety of tones, from polyphōnos having many tones or voices, from poly- + phōnē voice Date:circa 1864

: a style of musical composition employing two or more simultaneous but relatively independent melodic lines

 [TB3]science fiction or creative fiction (?)


On the study of Shakespeare… “We have to read Shakespeare, and we have to study Shakespeare. We have to study Dante. We have to read Chaucer. We have to read Cervantes. We have to read the Bible, at least the King James Bible. We have to read certain authors…They provide an intellectual, I dare say, a spiritual value which has nothing to do with organized religion or the history of institutional belief. They remind us in every sense of re-minding us. They not only tell us things that we have forgotten, but they tell us things we couldn’t possibly know without them, and they reform our minds. They make our minds stronger. They make us more vital. They make us alive…Shakespeare is universal. Shakespeare is the true multicultural author. He exists in all languages. He is put on the stage everywhere. Everyone feels that they are represented by him on the stage…I don’t know who Shakespeare was. He has hidden himself behind all of these extraordinary men and women…One cares about wisdom, and in the end one wants to be judged by wisdom. If one hasn’t got it, one has to ask the biblical question “Where shall wisdom be found?’ And I suppose, for me, the answer is: wisdom is to be found in Shakespeare, provided you get at it in the right way.”  Excerpted from “Harold Bloom Interviewed by Eleanor Wachtel” Queen’s Quarterly v102, #3 (Fall 1995) PAGES 609-19.

“Shakespeare will not make us better, and he will not make us worse, but he may teach us how to overhear ourselves when we talk to ourselves…he may teach us how to accept change in ourselves as in others, and perhaps even the final form of change.” Excerpted from “Choice interviews: Harold Bloom interviewed by Terry Farish” Choice v32, #6 (Feb, 1995): PAGES 899 – 901.

On Freud…
“My interest in Freud comes from the increasing realization that Freud is a kind of codifier or abstractor of William Shakespeare. In fact, it is Shakespeare who gives us the map of the mind. It is Shakespeare who invents Freudian Psychology. Freud finds ways of translating it into supposedly analytical vocabulary…I think Freud is about contamination, but I think that is something he learned from Shakespeare, because Shakespeare is about nothing but contamination, you might say. The Roman stage trope of contamination has to do with taking characters, with the names they have had in other plays and in history, and giving them the same names but making them wholly different characters. It is the way we live, it is the way we write, it is the way we read. It is, alas, the way we love: we are always taking the names of the dead or past characters and applying them to others.” Excerpted from “An Interview with Harold Bloom” by Irme Salusinzky Scripsi v4, #1 July,1986 PAGES 69-88.

On psychoanalysis…
“I take it that a successful therapy is an oxymoron. I do not know anyone who has ever benefited from Freudian or any other mode of analysis, except for being, to use the popular trope, so badly shrunk, that they become quite dried out. That is to say, all passion spent. Perhaps they become better people, but they also become stale and uninteresting people with very few exceptions. Like dried-out cheese, or wilted flowers.” Excerpted from “Harold Bloom : The Art of Criticism I” Interview by Antonio Weiss. Paris Review v33, #118 (Spring, 1991) PAGES 178 – 232.

 [TB5]What about seeing into the “existential” structure? I like that better.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hLwMOL_yjY. Existence preceeds essence.  We are what we make of ourselves.

 [TB7]In Four Seminars, Heidegger reviews the entire trajectory of his thought and offers unique perspectives and comments upon fundamental aspects of his work. First published in French in 1976, these seminars were translated…on Google Books

 [TB8]Ludwig Binswanger (April 13, 1881February 5, 1966) was a Swiss psychiatrist and pioneer in the field of existential psychology. His grandfather (also named Ludwig Binswanger) was the founder of the “Bellevue Sanatorium” in Kreuzlingen, and his uncle Otto Binswanger was a professor of psychiatry at the University of Jena.

In 1907 Binswanger received his medical degree from the University of Zurich and as a young man worked and studied under some of the greatest psychologists of the era, such as Carl Jung, Eugen Bleuler and Sigmund Freud. Although he had differences with Freud regarding psychiatric theory, Binswanger remained friends with him until Freud’s death in 1939.

From 1911 to 1956, Binswanger was medical director of the santatorium in Kreuzlingen. He was greatly influenced by existential philosophy and the works of philosophers such as Martin Heidegger, Edmund Husserl, and Martin Buber. Binswanger is considered the first physician to combine psychotherapy with existentialism, a theory he expounds in his 1943 book; Grundformen und Erkenntnis menschlichen Daseins. In his study of existentialism, his most famous subject was Ellen West, a deeply troubled anorexia nervosa patient.

Binswanger’s Dream and Existence was translated from German into French by Michel Foucault, who added a substantial essay-introduction.

 [TB9]Lucien Lévy-Brühl (18571939) was a French scholar trained in philosophy, but who made contributions to the budding fields of sociology, and ethnology. His primary field of study involved primitive mentality.

Lévy-Brühl was the first anthropologist to address comparative cognition. In his work How Natives Think (1910), Lévy-Brühl speculated about what he posited as the two basic mindsets of mankind, “primitive” and “Western.” The primitive mind does not differentiate the supernatural from reality, but rather uses “mystical participation” to manipulate the world. According to Lévy-Brühl, moreover, the primitive mind doesn’t address contradictions. The Western mind, by contrast, uses speculation and logic. Like many theorists of his time, Lévy-Brühl believed in a historical and evolutionary teleology leading from the primitive mind to the Western mind.

 [TB10]Erving Goffman (June 11, 1922November 19, 1982), was a Canadian sociologist and writer. The 73rd president of American Sociological Association, Goffman’s greatest contribution to social theory is his study of symbolic interaction in the form of dramaturgical perspective that began with his 1959 book The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life and was developed throughout his life expanding to the topics of deference and demeanor. For Goffman, society is not a homogeneous creature. We must act differently in different settings. The context we have to judge is not society at large, but the specific context. Goffman suggests that life is a theatre, but we also need a parking lot and a cloak room: there is a wider context lying beyond the face-to-face symbolic interaction.

Author of the seminal text Asylums, for which he gathered information at the National Institute of Mental Health in Washington, D.C., he describes “institutionalization” as a response by patients to the bureaucratic structures and mortification processes of total institutions such as mental hospitals, prisons and concentration camps. He always considered himself a social scientist, and did not use phenomenology or postmodernism as his major epistemological approach. He was a sociologist who emphasized that “society always comes first”.

 [TB11]Alexis-Charles-Henri Clérel de Tocqueville (July 29, 1805April 16, 1859) was a French political thinker and historian best known for his Democracy in America (appearing in two volumes: 1835 and 1840) and The Old Regime and the Revolution (1856). In both of these works, he explored the effects of the rising equality of social conditions on the individual and the state in western societies.

Democracy in America (1835), his major work, published after his travels in the United States, is today considered an early work of sociology and political science. An eminent representative of the liberal political tradition, Tocqueville was an active participant in French politics, first under the July Monarchy (1830–1848) and then during the Second Republic (1849–1851) which succeeded to the February 1848 Revolution. He retired from political life after Louis Napoléon Bonaparte‘s December 2, 1851 coup, and thereafter began work on The Old Regime and the Revolution, Volume I. After obtaining a law degree, Alexis de Tocqueville was named auditor-magistrate at the court of Versailles. There, he met Gustave de Beaumont, a prosecutor substitute, who collaborated with him on various literary works. Both were sent to the United States to study the penitentiary system. During this trip, they wrote Du système pénitentiaire aux Etats-Unis et de son application (1832). Back in France, Tocqueville became a lawyer. He met the English economist Nassau William Senior in 1833, and they became good friends and corresponded for many years.[1] He published his master-work, De la démocratie en Amérique, in 1835. The success of this work, an early model for the science that would become known as sociology, led him to be named chevalier de la Légion d’honneur (Knight of the Legion of Honour) in 1837, and to be elected the next year to the Académie des sciences morales et politiques. In 1841 he was elected to the Académie française.