On Being in Heidegger and Aristotle

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Reply Wed 14 Oct, 2009 08:36 pm
Meditatcones del Quijote of 1914, by Philip W. Silver, entitled Ortega as Phenomenologist: the Genesis of Meditations on Quixote (Columbia University Press, 1978), pp. 101-102:

Quote:
In essence, Ortega's criticism of Heidegger is that he has not, in 1927, reexamined the idea of Being from the ground up. Instead, he went no deeper than the Scholastics, who in fact had less of Aristotle to work from than Heidegger. As for specifics, Ortega taxes Heidegger with having accepted "the popular opinion that the Greeks did not understand Being in any other way than as 'that which is,' as that which man finds before him." But to assert this about the Greeks is neither correct nor completely honest, in Ortega's view. Of course, he writes:

The Greek conception of being . . . has a static aspect which derives not so much from being oriented according as the objects are there before him and appear to him as aspects or "spectacles," but because of the fixity or "crystallization" that concepts impose on them. The concept, in effect, is immutable (identical with itself); it does not vary, exert itself, or liveεχestarla ejecutando). This aspect of Being, as opposed to its static side, is authoritatively formulated in the Aristotelian idea of Being as actuality: ένεργείαν () the operative Ens. "Be-ing" is the more primordial and authentic operation. "Be-ing a horse" is not only presenting man with the visible form "horse" but being it from within

[The passage quoted is from Ortega's later work, The Idea of Principle in Leibnitz and the Evolution of Deductive Theory, written in 1947, but not published until after his death. "(VIII, 278)" refers to the volume and page of his Obras Completas ("Complete Works")]

This passage revealed to me not only the difference between Heidegger's and Aristotle's understanding of Being, but also an awareness of the origin of Ortega's emphasis on the need for a shift from Being to Be-ing, from a static noun to and active verb. The operative Ens, , is an active verb, "actualizing."

What this passage also triggered in me is the connection of Be-ing with the idea of "sustainability," for which I have been trying to make a metaphysical analysis. "Be-ing" would be the same as "Sustain-ing in Being." And, with the massive extinction of species going on and the destruction of entire ecosystems, we now understand more fully what Ortega meant by animals and plants, as well as ourselves, "being in jeopardy."

If you notice the expression of Ortega's "making or supporting its 'horseness'." The word "supporting" is Silver's translation of Ortega's word "sosteniendo" in the original Spanish work, which is exactly equivalent to the English word "sustaining," although "supporting" is certainly one of its meanings. Ortega uses the idea of, if not the word, "sustainability" throughout his work as a key concept in his thinking. for instance. at the beginning of his essay, "History as a System," from 1935 he says:
[Quote]The most trivial and at the same time the most important note in human life is that man has no choice but to be always doing something to sustain himself in existence.[/Quote]
And in another essay from 1940, entitled "Ideas and Beliefs" he says:
[Quote]"In effect, . . .we hold and sustain an occurrence [i.e., an idea]. But a belief is what holds us and sustains us."[/Quote]
Now if the "physical world" as physicists currently understand it, and every thing in it, is made up of energy, then we must hearken back to the Heraclitean idea of "flux" to represent that world, and the question for metaphysicians, as they understand the current work of physicists, chemists, biologists and ecologists, becomes: "How are 'physical things' 'sustained in being'?" For the physicist it's "balancing forces;" for the chemist it's "forming bonds;" for the biologist it's "maintaining homeostasis;" and for the ecologist it's "sustaining ecosystems." What I am proposing is that "sustainability" can be the generic term for all of these processes, and that "sustain-ing" is the new "be-ing." "Sustain-ology" instead of "Ont-ology?"

"The Rockies are tumbling, Gibraltar is crumbling, but . . ." Is our life, let alone our love, "here to stay"?
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Thu 15 Oct, 2009 03:39 am
@longknowledge,
In this passage, there is the idea of 'be-ing' as a dynamic state or relationship rather than as a given object or static entity; so 'being-as-becoming'. I am reading a text at the moment which posits life as a complex of relationships on the border between stasis and chaos; it is the interweaving of these two aspects or poles which creates the 'woof and warp' of our existence; stasis, on the one hand, in which nothing ever changes, and chaos, on the other, where nothing is ever the same. Of course in reality we find order in chaos, and on the other side, chaos continually threatening order. Of course, neither can win. I am reminded again of Heraclitus 'Strife is the father of all things' and of the emblematic Ying/Yang of the Tao (richrf where are you).

I am reading History as a System. One of the first ideas in it is the exuberance of creation; the idea that life itself effortlessly give rise to an infinity of forms:

Quote:
..the first and original activity of life is always spontaneous, effusive, overflowing, a liberal expression of pre-existing energies....Life is the free occurrence...


The word that springs to mind is the pleroma.


The 'static aspect', by contrast, may indeed be that very tendency in Greek thought which gave rise to the wretched idea of Substance, which was to become, of course, Matter. Aha! So there is the culprit.
 
Whoever
 
Reply Thu 15 Oct, 2009 05:07 am
@longknowledge,
It may be relevent to note that on reading Zen master Dr. Suzuki, Heidegger commented, 'If I understand Dr. Suzuki correctly, this is what I have been trying to say in all my writings.'
 
jgweed
 
Reply Thu 15 Oct, 2009 02:31 pm
@longknowledge,
In many of Heidegger's later works, he returns to the Pre-Sokratics for a "closer" approach to being, a word which for him has become an empty word that carries the baggage of too much philosophical tradition. For example, in What is Called Thinking? (lectures from 1951 and 1952 that Ortega would not have known about) he provides an translation and interpretation of Parmenides saying "One should both say and think that Being is." Nor was he aware of Heidegger's Introduction to Metaphysics (lectures from 1935, published in 1953, first translated into English in 1959).
 
Dasein
 
Reply Thu 15 Oct, 2009 05:47 pm
@longknowledge,
Longknowledge;

This is fascinating!



Only man has the ability to, as Shakespeare said, "To be or not to be . . ." Humans are capable doing the job of carpentering and be a carpenter without be-ing who they are. "Going through the motions" is not be-ing. You have witnessed people not "be-ing present" in your dealings with them.

When you are not be-ing who you are, you have the possibility of observing the "difference between Heidegger's and Aristotle's understanding of Being."

When you are not be-ing who you are, the sustainability of be-ing is an issue.

When you are be-ing, you know you are be-ing. There is only be-ing. There is no-thing to sustain.

"Be-ing" is the more primordial and authentic operation" is just that, a guess. If he had made the "leap" he wouldn't be describing it that way. Be-ing would not be a "more primordial and authentic operation," it would be more like "When you are be-ing, you know you are be-ing. There is only be-ing" and nothing else.

Dasein
 
rhinogrey
 
Reply Thu 15 Oct, 2009 05:48 pm
@longknowledge,
I mean this is an interesting point but as a critique on Heidegger it fails hard.
 
longknowledge
 
Reply Thu 15 Oct, 2009 10:55 pm
@longknowledge,
Dasein;97775 wrote:

When you are not be-ing who you are, the sustainability of be-ing is an issue.

When you are be-ing, you know you are be-ing. There is only be-ing. There is no-thing to sustain.

"When you are not be-ing who you are" you are "be-ing an-other." In the first chapter of his sociological treatise, Man and People (Norton, 1957) Ortega talks about "" ("being beside one's self," literally "otheration", from the Latin alter, "another") and "ensimismamiento" ("being inside one's self," literally "within-oneself-ness"):

Quote:
To say, then, that the animal lives not from itself but from what is other than itself, pulled and pushed and tyrannized by that other, is equivalent to saying that the animal is always estranged from itself, beside itself, that its life is essentially otherotherensimismarse ["be inside himself"]. (pp. 17-18)

Notice that Ortega does not say that man always lives inside himself, but only from time to time. Of course we philosophers can "hand up our jackets," go into our "philosophy study," and pretend that the "outside world" does not exist. But, from time to time, we hear (or feel) that "outside world" calling, whether it be "partner," "refrigerator," or "bathroom." So when we are "be-ing inside ourselves," in our "study" or even in the "outside world," we are still "be-ing sustained" by the things or people "outside ourselves": the plumbing we use, the food we eat, and the love of our partner "be(d)side" us. Sustainability is all around us!
 
longknowledge
 
Reply Fri 16 Oct, 2009 07:20 am
@jgweed,
jgweed;97726 wrote:
In many of Heidegger's later works, he returns to the Pre-Sokratics for a "closer" approach to being, a word which for him has become an empty word that carries the baggage of too much philosophical tradition. For example, in What is Called Thinking? (lectures from 1951 and 1952 that Ortega would not have known about) he provides an translation and interpretation of Parmenides saying "One should both say and think that Being is." Nor was he aware of Heidegger's Introduction to Metaphysics (lectures from 1935, published in 1953, first translated into English in 1959).


Are you saying that in either or both of these works Heidegger revises his view "that the Greeks did not understand Being in any other way than 'that which is'"?

---------- Post added 10-16-2009 at 09:28 AM ----------

Whoever;97622 wrote:
It may be relevent to note that on reading Zen master Dr. Suzuki, Heidegger commented, 'If I understand Dr. Suzuki correctly, this is what I have been trying to say in all my writings.'


I wonder if Dr. Suzuki would have said that upon reading Heidegger?
 
Whoever
 
Reply Fri 16 Oct, 2009 07:59 am
@longknowledge,
Quote:
I wonder if Dr. Suzuki would have said that upon reading Heidegger?

Hmm. Not very likely, I'd say, but I'm sure he would have seen why H said it.
 
Dasein
 
Reply Fri 16 Oct, 2009 08:45 am
@longknowledge,
Longknowledge;

[QUOTE]
Notice that Ortega does not say that man always lives inside himself, but only from time to time. Of course we philosophers can "hand up our jackets," go into our "philosophy study," and pretend that the "outside world" does not exist. But, from time to time, we hear (or feel) that "outside world" calling, whether it be "partner," "refrigerator," or "bathroom." So when we are "be-ing inside ourselves," in our "study" or even in the "outside world," we are still "be-ing sustained" by the things or people "outside ourselves": the plumbing we use, the food we eat, and the love of our partner "be(d)side" us. Sustainability is all around us!
[/QUOTE]

What I am saying has nothing to do with the "inside world" or the "outside world." The "inside world" IS the "outside world". There is no "inside", "outside", or "pretending." There is only be-ing.

Humans have the capacity to "show up," to be present, but they don't have the ability because their "false god" is the "Subject-Object" mis(sed)-representation of life. The "subject-object" is only a representation, a semblance, IT IS NOT LIFE! You can spend a lifetime dredging up mountains of evidence to substantiate the existence of the "subject-object" relationship and the people around you can do the same thing and the "subject-object" will still only be a semblance, a real semblance but still a semblance.

Until you make the "leap of faith" into be-ing what I am saying will only be a hint, something that will gnaw at you and show up as "there must be "more" to life."

Dasein
 
longknowledge
 
Reply Fri 16 Oct, 2009 09:42 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;97610 wrote:
In this passage, there is the idea of 'be-ing' as a dynamic state or relationship rather than as a given object or static entity; so 'being-as-becoming'. I am reading a text at the moment which posits life as a complex of relationships on the border between stasis and chaos; it is the interweaving of these two aspects or poles which creates the 'woof and warp' of our existence; stasis, on the one hand, in which nothing ever changes, and chaos, on the other, where nothing is ever the same. Of course in reality we find order in chaos, and on the other side, chaos continually threatening order. Of course, neither can win. I am reminded again of Heraclitus 'Strife is the father of all things' and of the emblematic Ying/Yang of the Tao (richrf where are you).

I am reading History as a System. One of the first ideas in it is the exuberance of creation; the idea that life itself effortlessly give rise to an infinity of forms:

The word that springs to mind is the pleroma.

The 'static aspect', by contrast, may indeed be that very tendency in Greek thought which gave rise to the wretched idea of Substance, which was to become, of course, Matter. Aha! So there is the culprit.


As you've probably read by now in History as a System (Norton, 1961), on page 203:

Quote:
In order to speak, then, of man's being we must first elaborate a non-Elatic concept of being, as others have elaborated a non-Euclidean geometry. The time has come for the seed sown by Heraclitus to bring forth its mighty harvest.


As you know, Parmenides was the founder of the so-called Eleatic School of philosophy, because he was from the city of Elea in Asia Minor. There is quite a long chapter on "The Attitude of Heraclitus and Parmenides" in Ortega's The Origin of Philosophy (Norton, 1967), written in 1943-1945, while he was in exile in Lisbon.

I found a "plethora" of references on "pleroma", and I'm still wading through them. I'll have to get back to you on that.

By the way, you forgot that other culprit, the magnificent, but in its way equally wretched, idea of Idea.

---------- Post added 10-16-2009 at 11:46 AM ----------

rhinogrey;97776 wrote:
I mean this is an interesting point but as a critique on Heidegger it fails hard.


Please tell me how?
 
Whoever
 
Reply Fri 16 Oct, 2009 01:52 pm
@Dasein,

Hi Dasein

I know what you meant, but I don't think you can actually 'spend a lifetime dredging up mountains of evidence to substantiate the existence of the "subject-object" relationship...'. If it's an misconception then there isn't any evidence to substantiate it.

---------- Post added 10-16-2009 at 09:07 PM ----------

Quote:
In order to speak, then, of man's being we must first elaborate a non-Eleatic concept of being, as others have elaborated a non-Euclidean geometry. The time has come for the seed sown by Heraclitus to bring forth its mighty harvest.


Jeeprs - thanks. I hadn't thought of it that way before. But I have a doubt. Could it be that the Being of Parnenides and Zeno is already non-Euclidean, as it were, and that it is neo-Eleatic philosophy, a later dumbed-down interpretation, that is at fault. I've never thought there was any disagrement between Heraclitus and Parmenides.
 
Dasein
 
Reply Fri 16 Oct, 2009 03:01 pm
@Whoever,
Whoever;

I haven't bumped into many people who don't spend a lifetime "dredging up the evidence".

Most people I've met in almost 61 years on the planet don't know who they are.

Dasein
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Fri 16 Oct, 2009 03:59 pm
@longknowledge,
Whoever - that quote you attributed to Jeeprs wasn't actually by me - thanks anyway. I am going to read some more on this question but will continue to follow this thread.
 
Whoever
 
Reply Mon 19 Oct, 2009 04:13 pm
@jeeprs,
Oh yes. Sorry. I wonder who said it.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Mon 19 Oct, 2009 05:11 pm
@longknowledge,
longknowledge;97895 wrote:
By the way, you forgot that other culprit, the magnificent, but in its way equally wretched, idea of Idea.


I don't know about that. I am still thinking about the Platonic notion of the Idea but I am unwilling to dismiss it. I have a lot more work to do on it, but I think the Idea is often misrepresented as a kind of 'cookie-cutter', a basic form of cat, horse, person, that gives rise to the material manifestation in the ordinary world. The thought that is occuring to me, however, is that the Idea, and also the Pythagorean 'ratio', is embedded (or instantiated) in the Universe at the instant of creation which gives rise to the regularity of forms and the lawfulness of events. The source of such regularity and lawfulness (which underlies the whole idea of 'intelligibility') cannot, therefore, be identified or known, because it precedes intelligence itself (it is prior to thought because it must exist for thought to operate). Ergo the Forms and Ideas do not need to exist; 'things' do the hard work of existing, but they constantly arise and pass away, whereas their physical forms are greater or lesser expressions of an original Idea (which may never actually be realized). This is probably part of neo-platonism.

I think metaphysics came to grief with the very idea of 'substance'. This was the precursor to 'matter'. I suppose it has had very great utility in terms of our ability to manipuate stuff but it is fundamentally delusory in important respects.
 
longknowledge
 
Reply Mon 19 Oct, 2009 06:52 pm
@Dasein,
Dasein;97884 wrote:
Longknowledge;

What I am saying has nothing to do with the "inside world" or the "outside world." The "inside world" IS the "outside world". There is no "inside", "outside", or "pretending." There is only be-ing.

Humans have the capacity to "show up," to be present, but they don't have the ability because their "false god" is the "Subject-Object" mis(sed)-representation of life. The "subject-object" is only a representation, a semblance, IT IS NOT LIFE! You can spend a lifetime dredging up mountains of evidence to substantiate the existence of the "subject-object" relationship and the people around you can do the same thing and the "subject-object" will still only be a semblance, a real semblance but still a semblance.

Until you make the "leap of faith" into be-ing what I am saying will only be a hint, something that will gnaw at you and show up as "there must be "more" to life."

Dasein



Hi Dasein,

The strange thing is that your position is very close to that of Ortega. What he proposes is that what you call "be-ing" he would call "liv-ing". You seem to agree with this when you mention the "mis(ed)representation of life," and you say "IT IS NOT LIFE!" and even "there must be "more" to life." There is! Ortega's philosophy is not a philosophy of "being" in any abstract, static, traditional sense, not an an "ontology," but rather a philosophy of "be-ing" in a concrete, dynamic sense; that is, it a philosophy of life or "liv-ing!" At one point he says that he would rather have called it "biology" (from the Greek bios, life), had that term not already been taken to refer to the "science of life," that is of all living beings.

I will not get into the "subject-object representation," since it is not part of his philosophy. Instead he proposes the "I am I and my circumstance" relationship. This famous formula first appeared in his first book, Meditations on Quixote, in 1914. As he explains in his later work, the first "I" represents "My Life", the life of each individual human being. He posits that this first "I", or "My Life", is the "radical reality", in the sense that all other realities appear or are "rooted" in it ("radical" comes from the Latin radix, root). The second "I" represents the sensing, feeing, thinking, deciding person that we are, and "my circumstance" represents everything other than the second "I", including the sensations, feelings, thoughts that occur to the second "I" or person that we are, both "be-ing" or "co-existing" within the radical reality that is "My Life." Both the second "I", me, the person that I am, and "my circumstance," what occurs to me, co-exist in the radical reality that is the first "I", or "My Life". Many times he just uses the term "life" or "living" when he is referring to "my life" meaning the "life" or "liv-ing" of each individual human being. This has been referred to as a "unitary-dualism" that is at the same time a "pluralism", in the sense that each individual person co-exists with their individual circumstance within their individual reality or life, and that therefore, there is a plurality of individual realities. However, only my individual, "radical reality", or "My Life", is directly accessible to me.
 
Dasein
 
Reply Tue 20 Oct, 2009 10:22 am
@longknowledge,
Longknowledge;

I have been sitting here for almost an hour, reading your response to my posting. I have attempted to address your response from at least 8 to 10 different angles and have finally realized that what I am talking about won't fit into your thinking.

I have been a member of Philosophy Forum since the beginning of September. During that time I have been actively posting to a blog and responding to postings like yours. My purpose for joining the forum was to make a contribution. I have been attempting to make that contribution by having people on the forum "understand" me. That's all very logical, isn't it?

During my 61 years on the planet I have found that most people live in something like a goldfish bowl. There's the marbles or sand. There are plants or not. There is the water and then the bowl. You eat when somebody drops food into the bowl and when you are done eating you spend your time "swimming" in the water looking out on the world through the glass bowl. After awhile you notice your reflection in the glass . . . . (That's a whole other story).

One day somebody sets another goldfish bowl down next to you. Your first response could be "What's that?", "Who are you?", or "What are you looking at?" Eventually you speak with each other and compare notes. The two of you discover there are things in your notes you agree upon and there are things you don't agree on.

As time goes on more and more goldfish bowls show up in the room you are in. You all take a vote and call the collection of goldfish bowls "world".

What I have been saying in all of my posts and in my blog doesn't exist in the goldfish bowl! You have to "leap" out of the goldfish bowl and invent new "ground" to stand on. My blog and my post are an invitation. They are an invitation for you to realize that when somebody says "Think outside of the box," that there is no box.

If you "get" what I'm saying, do the work necessary for you to make the leap. On the other hand, if you "get" what I'm saying and want to spend the rest of your life in the "goldfish bowl," be my guest. May I suggest that if the second choice is the one you make, it will be easier for you if you write me off with some demeaning term like, "idiot", "jerk", or something a little more colorful. You can also find something wrong with what I am saying or use a whole phrase like "Dasein didn't go to college, he doesn't know what he's talking about." I know they work because I've used them in the past.

It's your life, do as you want with it.

Dasein
 
longknowledge
 
Reply Tue 20 Oct, 2009 04:53 pm
@Dasein,
But I live in a goldfish bowl that's shaped like a box. Some people call it an aquarium. So should I leap out of my aquarium and land on the "ground" or realize that there is no box and let the water drain out?

But seriously, I'll look at all your posts and your blog and get back to you. Thanks for your attention.
 
longknowledge
 
Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 07:42 pm
@longknowledge,
Look for my new thread: Ortega y Gasset on "Being" in Aristotle as "Sustaining in Existence
 
 

 
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