Reading Heidegger - Part 3

Reply Sat 13 Nov, 2010 03:29 pm
What follows is a response to a post from a guy named Travis (on another site). I call it "Reading Heidegger - Part 3"


Ask yourself this question. “Could it be possible that what I am saying doesn't fit into the thinking that you are?” It's a legitimate question, not an attack.

I'll be 62 in February 2011, and I have been where you are up until about a month ago.

Bear with me while I fill you in on a little history.

In 1995 I bought a copy of Martin Heidegger's “Being & Time” from my local bookstore and took it home to read. I made myself some tea, sat down at my desk, and opened the book. After about a page and a half I closed the book, mumbled “what the hell . . .”, and put it on the shelf.

After a week or so I picked it up again. After reading 2 or 3 pages I was absolutely sure I was out of my league. I closed the book and put it back on the shelf.

The black dust cover with the white lettering beckoned me every time I walked past the bookshelf. After several more failed attempts at understanding I told myself not to worry about understanding and just read the damn book. When I reached the end of the 488 pages something had happened but I didn’t know what it was, so I read it again, and again, and again.

Since 1995 I have read “Being & Time” almost 74 times. Early on, about the 2nd or 3rd reading, I found that I was reading his book as if I already knew what he was talking about. It was a great way to find out that I didn’t know that I didn’t know what the hell he was talking about. To force myself to slow down I decided to type the book. Over the next 6 or 7 months I typed all 488 pages on my computer.

Around the 50th or 60th reading, I realized that I was no longer 'having' a conversation with Heidegger. Instead I discovered that I was 'Be-ing' the conversation, i.e., I am the conversation.

One morning, around the 72nd or 73rd reading, I arose from my bed knowing that I had made a “leap” of faith into Be-ing. Let me explain to the best of my ability. I awoke with the experience of knowing that I had spent almost 62 years of my life standing on the edge of the abyss using measurability, definability, and concepts to determine the answer to the question “Who Am I?” While standing on the 'edge' I spent a lot of time representing my 'self' to everybody else standing on the 'edge'. Everything I had to say about what was on the other side of the abyss was theory and speculation. Everything anybody else had to say about what was on the other side was more theory and speculation. When you are standing on that side of the abyss everything is theory, conjecture, and speculation and you don't know because you haven't made the leap to the other side of the abyss.

After having made the 'leap' I stand on "different ground' (bear with me) and I can now see the other side where I used to stand and I now know that I didn't know what I was talking about. I now 'know' (intimately) what everybody on the other side is talking about and I can tell you that it is not the same as you represent it. Being that I am clearly (to me) standing on different ground, I have found that I can't really tell you anything, I can only offer 'hints', knowing that the people on the 'other side' will only turn what I say into theory, conjecture, and speculation and ask for me to explain. The only way to 'know' is to have made the 'leap' for your 'self'. Once you make the 'leap' you'll know. I won't have to tell you anything.

How do you make the 'leap'. I don't know. All I know is that for 62 years I have been making the distinction between 'Be-ing and being (and not knowing that's what I was doing). After-the-fact I can tell you that Heidegger's “Being and Time” was on the way to my Be-ing, but I can't give you a formula on how to make the 'leap'.

All I can do is 'point' you toward 'Be-ing' and deal with the theories, the conjecture, and the speculation whether you're aware that's what you're doing or not.

If all you get from this that I perceive my 'self' to be better than you, don't, that's just you putting something in the way of you're thinking/Be-ing.
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Reply Sat 13 Nov, 2010 05:26 pm
BEST post I've ever read on A2K.

BTW - I am JPLosman0711.
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Fil Albuquerque
Reply Sat 13 Nov, 2010 08:36 pm
Want another great book in your shelf ? Read Book of Disquiet from Fernando Pessoa and let me know if it did "change" your life once more, because it is one kind of a book I assure you...I read it for 20 years now and I keep returning to it...

Reply Sat 13 Nov, 2010 08:38 pm
@Fil Albuquerque,
I know I certaintly will Fil, I've read some of your other posts and must say I have great respect for you and the way you portray your ideas. Taking your word on this one, I'm confident I'll enjoy the read.

Thank you.
Fil Albuquerque
Reply Sat 13 Nov, 2010 09:03 pm
@Fil Albuquerque,
By Alvaro de Campos one of Fernando Pessoa many "heteronyms"...

Tobacco Shop

I am nothing.
Never I'll be anything.
I cannot wish to be anything.
Aside from this, I have within me all the dreams of the world.

Windows of my bedroom,
Of my bedroom of one of the world's millions nobody knows who is
(And if they knew who is, what would they know?)
Give access to the mystery of a street constantly crossed by people.
To a street inaccessible to all of thoughts,
Real, impossibly real, certain, unknowingly certain,
With the mystery of things beneath the stones and beings,
With death putting dampness in the walls and men's white hairs,
With Destiny driving the wagon of everything through the road of nothing.

Today I am defeated, as if I knew the truth.
Today I am lucid, as if I were about to die
And had no more brotherhood with things
Than a goodbye, becoming this house and this streetside
A row of train wagons, and a whistled departure
From inside my head,
And a jolt of my nerves and a grind of bones on the going.

Today I am perplexed, as one who wondered and found and forgot.
Today I am divided between the loyalty I owe
To the Tobacco Shop on the other side of the street, as external real thing,
And to the feeling that everything is a dream, as inward real thing.

I have failed in everything.
And since I had no purposes, maybe everything was nothing.
The learning they gave me,
I go down from this by the window at the back of the house.
I went to the open country with grand purposes.
But there I found only grass and trees,
And when there were people, they were just as other.
I move away from the window, I sit in a chair. What shall I think about ?

What know I about what I will be, I who don't know what I am?
To be hat I think? But I think to be many things!
And there are many people thinking they are the same thing then
cannot be possible there are many!
Genius? At this moment

Hundred thousand brains conceive themselves in dream as geniuses like me,
And the History won't mark, who knows?, not even one,
No, I don't believe in myself.
In all of madhouses there are madpersons insanes with so many sureties!
I, who I have not any surety, am more sure or less sure?
No, not even in myself...

In how much garrets and no-garrets of the world
At this moment are there geniuses-for-themselves dreaming?
How much high and noble and lucid aspirations -
Yes, truly high and noble and lucid -,
And who knows if realizable,
Never they will see the real sun's light nor will find people's ears?
The world is for the one who that is born to conquest it
And not for the one who dreams might can conquest it, even
the one have reason.

I have dreamed more than Napoleon did.
I have held tight to the hypothetical chest more humanities than Christ,
I have secretly created philosophies which no Kant has ever written.
But I am, and maybe always should be, the one from the garret
Although I don't live in it;
I shall always be the one not born for this;
I shall always be the one who just had qualities;
I shall always be the one who has waited for a gate to open to him
near a doorless wall

And sang the ballad of the Infinite in a poultry yard,
And heard God's voice in a covered well.
Believe in myself? No, nor in anything.
May Nature be spilled on my feverish head
Her sun, her rain, the wind that finds my hair,
And the rest, let it come if it must, or not come.
Heartly slaves to the stars,
We have conquered the whole world before leaving our beds;
But we were awakened and it was opaque,
We rose and it was indifferent,
We left the house and it was the whole earth,
Moreover the Solar System, the Milky Way and the Indefinite.

(Eat chocolates, little one;
Eat chocolates!
Know there are no metaphysics in the world but chocolates.
Know that all religions don't teach more than confectionery.
Eat, dirty little one, eat!
If only I could eat chocolates with the same truth as you do!
But I think and, when I lift the silver paper of a tin-foil leaf,
I let everything fall to the ground, as I have lost to my life.)

But, at least, remains from the bitterness of what I will never be.
The speedy calligraphy of these verses,
Broken portico to the Impossible.
But, at least, I devote to myself a despisal without tears,
Noble, at least, in this wide gesture with I throw
The dirty clothes that I am, without roll, to the course of things,
And I stay in home without shirt.
(You, who consoles, not exists and so console,
Or greek goddess, conceived as a living statue,
Or roman patrician, impossibly noble and nefast,
Or princess of minstrels, very gentil and colorful,
Or marquess of eighteenth century, décolleté and very so far,
Or famous cocote of the time od our fathers,
Or modern thing I not know – I not know what -
all of this, be what will be, what you are, if you can inspire then inspire!
My heart is a poured out bucket.
As that ones invocating spirits invocate spirits I invocate
Myself and I find nothing.
I come close to the window and I see the street with a absolute clearness.
I see the shops, I see the sidewalks, I see the passing cars,
I see the dressed living ones crossing by themselves,
I see the dogs also existing,
And all of this is foreign, as everything. )

I lived, studied, loved, and even believed,
And today there is no beggar whom I not envy just for he is not me.
I look at everyone the rags and the sores and the lie,
And I think: maybe never I had lived nor studied nor loved nor believed
(For is possible to make the reality of all of this without making nothing about this)
Maybe existed just as lizard which the tail they had cut
And the tail besides the lizard at movement.
I had made with myself what I never knew,
And what I could make with me I did not.
The domino which I dressed was wrong.
They knew me soon as who I am not and I not deny and lost myself.
When I want draw out the mask,
It was glued to the face.
When I drew out and saw myself at the mirror,
Already I had aged.
I was drunk, already I not knew how dress the domino I had not drawn out.
I threw away the mask and I slept in the cloakroom
As a dog tolerated by the manager
Because it is harmless
And I will write this history to prove I am sublime.
Musical essence of my useless verses,
If I could find you as something I had made
And not stay always in front of the Tabacco Shop in front,
Treading underfoot the consciousness of be existing,
As a carpet where a drunkard stumbles on
Or a door-mat stolen by gypsies and it worths nothing.

But the Tobacco Shop owner has come to the door and is standing there.
I look at him with the discomfort of an half-turned head
And the discomfort of a soul understanding a bit.
He shall die and I shall die.
He shall leave his signboard and I shall leave my verses.
His sign will die, and so will my verses.
And after any moment will die too the street where the signboard is,
And so will the language in which the verses are written.
And so will die the whirling planet where all of this happened.
On other satellites of other systems something like people
Will go on making something like verses and living under things like signboards,

Always one thing in front of the other,
Always one thing as useless as the other,
Always the impossible as stupid as the real,
Always the mystery of the bottom as sure as the sleep of mystery of the top.
Always this or always some other thing, or neither one nor the other,

But a man has entered the Tobacco Shop (to buy tobacco?),
And the plausible reality suddenly falls upon me.
I half rouse myself, energetic, convinced, human,
And I will try to write these verses in which I say the opposite.

I light a cigarette as I think about writing them.
And I taste in the cigarette the liberation from all thoughts.
I follow the smoke as if it were a particular course,
And enjoy, in a sensitive and competent moment,
The liberation of all the speculations
And the conscience that metaphysics is a consequence of bad disposition.

After I lie down on the chair
And continue smoking.
While Destiny allows to me, I will keep smoking.

(If I married my washwoman's daughter
Maybe I should be happy.)
Then, I rise. I go to the window.

The man has come out from the Tobacco Shop (putting change in the pocket of trousers?).
Ah, I know him: he is Esteves without metaphysics.
(The Tobacco Shop owner has come to the door.)
As if by a divine instinct, Esteves turned around and saw me.
He waved goodbye, I greet him "goodbye oh Esteves!", and the universe
Reconstructed itself for me, without ideal nor hope, and the Tobacco Shop owner smiled.


Trad. livre by Leonardo de Magalhaens

Fil Albuquerque
Reply Sat 13 Nov, 2010 09:05 pm
Check this poem (right above) and you will get what I mean...its poorly translated but still good enough to get a strong impression on the power of Fernando´s writing...

Reply Sat 13 Nov, 2010 09:17 pm
@Fil Albuquerque,
0 Replies
Reply Sat 13 Nov, 2010 09:18 pm
@Fil Albuquerque,
I almost cried reading it, thank you!
0 Replies
Fil Albuquerque
Reply Sat 13 Nov, 2010 09:24 pm
Yeah...once we read Fernando´s work we always end up getting back to he´s writings...he is often considered one of the best if not the best of twenty century writers...glad you enjoy it !

See you around ! Wink
Reply Sat 13 Nov, 2010 09:25 pm
@Fil Albuquerque,
Indeed my friend.
0 Replies
Reply Sun 14 Nov, 2010 10:31 am
@Fil Albuquerque,

I understand completely. I suggest that the relationship you have had with Fernando Pessoa is about the same as the 15-year relationship I have had with “Being and Time”.

When I started reading “Being and Time” I resisted it and still do, in some places. However, I do notice that I have 'gotten my head' around most of it. Anyway, I resisted “Being and Time” because 'somewhere' I already knew what it was saying and didn't want to 'own' it. ”Being and Time” is the conversation you have with your 'self'. It is the 'conversation' that you are. I spent 15 years in the process of looking for a way out of knowing what I know only to discover there is no 'way out' of Be-ing who you are. Having made the 'leap' (research my other posts for an explanation) I now know that I wasn't looking for a way out, I was looking for a way 'in'.

As I read the book, I remember having expectations of what I was going to achieve as a result of my “serious, systematic study", however, the only expectation I can remember is that I expected to be able to 'prove' to the 'others residing in the world' what I found out.

What I know, what you know, and what everybody in the world knows is not part of the world we 'live in' and can't be proven using measurability and definability, which is the standard of 'proof' for the world.

Somewhere, you know and everybody in the world knows that the quest for proof is the quest for Be-ing, it is what Heidegger calls “the anticipation of death”. As you question the 'thingdom' of the world you will literally 'pick apart' the 'fabric' of the world and uncover the fact that there is no measurable, definable proof of your existence. You do that long enough and you will reach a point in living that you will have more 'proof of no proof' and when that happens you will 'leap' into Be-ing your 'self'. The whole process is what Heidegger calls “anticipatory resoluteness” “the possibility of the impossibility of your existence” and the “anticipation of death”. Death, in this case is not a physical event that happens to your body, the death he refers to happens in Be-ing.

Filipe, I suggest to you that the reason you have the 20-year relationship with Fernando Pessoa and that you keep going back to the ”Book of Disquiet” is because he is one of the authors you read who are capable of showing you your way to “death”.

I know this because when I read Heidegger many 'things' (concepts, theories, and definitions of who I am) die and I uncover/reveal Be-ing. This is what Heidegger calls “running towards death”. That this happens to us all is the only proof you need that 'Be-ing' and 'the world' are not the same.

What I have described is what we already do, every moment of our lives. All I have done is identify the 'sticking point'. We get 'stuck' when we represent our 'self' as a thing. That's all there is to it.

Live long and prosper.
Reply Sun 14 Nov, 2010 11:22 am
Your posts are both refreshing ang correct, thank you for allowing me to read them. Everytime I do I'm always glad.

Reply Tue 16 Nov, 2010 08:49 am

A little humor for you. Given who you are, I I think you'll understand and giggle.

In Internet Explorer you can set up a 'Favorites' toolbar for quick access to favorite sites. I just changed the name of the 'Philosophy Forum' link to 'Plato's Cave' to remind me to think before I click.
Reply Tue 16 Nov, 2010 10:33 am
I don't get it, but I can't help but question as to why you would need to be "reminded" to think........is not your thinking/be-ing YOU in the first place?

Very Happy
Reply Tue 16 Nov, 2010 11:10 am
I'm making an assertion to induce a giggle.

You're over-thinking it. Lighten-up.

BTW, I am posting my response to a guy named Mark (in another discussion) so thet you would be able to read it.
0 Replies
Reply Tue 16 Nov, 2010 11:16 am

You said;
"You are correct. We do see the whole room. We just have to change our interpretation of what is registering in order to call it "seeing".

I am using the word 'see' in 2 separate contexts. Yes, there is the physical activity of 'seeing' and then there is 'taking in' (seeing). When you first step into the room you 'take in' (see) the whole room. Then you focus in (see) on a particular feature of the room, let's say the wallpaper, and you 'take in' the whole wallpaper. Then you focus in (see) on the the individual patterns and make a note (see) how they come together to make up the whole.

Re: Billy Bob and the table.

You said:
"If you and your buddy Billy Bob were standing beside a table, and you throw a tablecloth over it, ask him if he still sees a table. Of course, he will say yes. But he doesn't, does he....really. What he sees is a tablecloth shaped like the table it's covering. His mind can't cope with the possibility the table is no longer there because he can't see it, so his mind rationalizes it's continued existence by saying it has given the tablecloth the attributes it requires to exist in the form he sees it."

I suggest to you that you've got the whole thing upside-down.

I suggest that what really happens is the following. Let's put the table (with nothing on it) in the kitchen and bring Billy Bob into the room. If you ask him what it is he will answer 'table'. Upon further discussion or after several visits, it could become the kitchen table.

Let's move the table into the dining room and ask Billy Bob what it is, he will say 'table'. Again, with further discussion or visits it will become the dining room table.

Ok, on to your scenario. Let's cover the table with a tablecloth (doesn't matter what room it's in) and ask Bill Bob what it is. Most likely he will say 'table'. He doesn't see a tablecloth shaped like a table, he sees a 'table' and then he will recognize 'tablecloth'. Let's go one step further. Let's add flowers to the table and ask Billy Bob what he 'sees' he will tell you that he 'sees' a table . . . wait for it, with flowers and a tablecloth on it. If you add dishes, silverware, place mats, or whatever it will always be a table with that stuff on it.

Your logical interpretation of what happens in the Billy Bob scenario is a construct. It is not what really happens. Like the 'room scenario' above, Billy Bob 'takes in' the 'whole' table, with or without objects on it. Then he isolates the tablecloth, dishes, silverware, and place mats. Even after isolating the tablecloth, dishes, silverware, and place mats, if you brought Billy Bob back into the room and asked him what he 'saw' he would and you would (if you were in the same situation) still say 'table'. 'Table' is the whole regardless of what's on the table.

In other example, you can only 'see' car engine outside of the car and you can only 'see' piston outside of the car engine. "Car is the whole and car engine is the whole outside of the car.

What is the practical data you should get from all of this talk about tables and rooms? Well, it's this. We Be-ing always 'take in' the whole before we isolate the tablecloth, dishes, silverware, and place mats.

What you described is a 'construct' called perception. The individual components of the construct 'perception' can be isolated only after you've 'taken in the whole'. They are part of the whole but they don't make up the whole.

Before the components of 'perception' can be isolated, there has to 'Be' someone there to do the 'isolating'. 'Be-ing' is prior to perception. You are not 'perception', you are Be-ing. You are the 'whole' and not a sum of the parts.
Reply Tue 16 Nov, 2010 12:11 pm
Very interesting. Good read, it sort of made me think of alot of thoughts I've had before about how MANY things seem to be nothing more than human abstracts, or 'constructs' as you put it. It also makes me think about "what's really there", you know what I mean? If many things, or our perceptions are nothing more than our own abstractions, what's really there?
Reply Tue 16 Nov, 2010 01:50 pm
Have read any Wittgenstein, or Derrida ?
0 Replies
Reply Tue 16 Nov, 2010 05:44 pm
There you go, man.
Keep as cool as you can.
Face piles of trials with smiles
It riles them to believe that
you perceive the web they weave
And,keep on thinking free
The Moody Blues, 1967
Reply Tue 16 Nov, 2010 07:07 pm
Love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So true! Wish I could meet you man!
0 Replies

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