This reminds me that experience is a universal phenomenon by which all realities of the universe are inter-related. The concept of location in the universe is established by the finite set of realities with which each finite conscious being is able to interact.
The reality is the interaction!
So I see Ortega talking about the person within the body, the body itself, and the extended set of other bodies with which that body is bonded by its experiences of them and their experiences of it. That is to say, our identity is not wrapped within our skin; it goes far beyond our bodies to our relationships with everything in our world (within the confines of our finite range of experience). And as you say, our experiences include thinking, feeling, perceiving, deciding, and I'll add desiring, imagining, remembering, etc.
Those additions are included as well.
I wonder what he means by "saving"? How is it that we are to save ourselves and our circumstances? And why?
What? And give away the ending? [Truth is, I haven't researched it fully yet! We'll get to it bye and bye.]
The next passage is from Man and People
, a set of lectures Ortega gave, beginning in 1939, in Buenos Aires, Madrid, Munich and Hamburg, on the principles of a new sociology. They were in the process of being revised and prepared for publication at the time of Ortega's death in 1955. Here we have a contrast between the thought of Ortega and that of the "existentialists," with which it has been compared. In this translation, the Spanish word "radical
" is translated directly as "radical," as in the first paragraph [Ortega's italics
; my emphasis
"Let us set out, then, to discover, in unimpeachable and unmistakable form, facts of such a characteristic complexion that no other denomination than that of "social phenomena" in the strict sense will seem to us to fit them. There is only one way to accomplish this most rigorous and decisive operation of finding that a type of facts is a reality or phenomenon that is definitely and determinedly different beyond any possible doubt or error, and hence is irreducible to any other type of facts. We must go back to an order of Ultimate reality, to an order or area of reality which because it is radical
(that is, of the root) admits of no other reality beneath it, or rather, on which all others must necessarily appear because it is the basic reality.
This radical reality
, on the strict contemplation of which we must finally found and assure all our knowledge of anything, is our life, human life.
Whenever and wherever I speak of "human life," unless I make a special exception, you must avoid thinking of somebody else's life; each one of you should refer it to your own life and try to make that present to you. Human life as radical reality
is only the life of each person, is only my life. In deference to idiom, I shall sometimes call it "our life," but you must always understand that by this expression I refer to the life of each individual and not to the life of other people nor to a supposed plural and common life. What we call "other people's lives"-the life of one's friend, of one's sweetheart-is something that appears in the scenario that is my life
, the life of each, and hence supposes that life. The life of another, even of one nearest and dearest, is for me mere spectacle, like the tree or the cliff or the wandering cloud. I see it, but I am
not it, that is, I do not live it. If the other has a toothache, his face, the shape taken by his contracted muscles, are patent to me, I see the spectacle of someone suffering pain, but his toothache does not pain me, and what I have of it in no way resembles what I have when my own teeth ache. Strictly, my neighbor's toothache is in the last analysis a supposition, hypothesis, or presumption of my own, it is a presumed pain. My pain, on the contrary, is unquestionable. Properly speaking, we can never be sure that the friend who presents himself us as suffering from [a] toothache is really suffering from [a] toothache. All that is patent to us of his pain is certain external signs, which are not pain but muscular contraction, wandering gaze, the hand to the cheek-that gesture which is so incongruous with what provokes it, for it looks exactly as if the toothache were a bird and we were putting our hand over it to keep it from flying away. Another's pain is not radical reality
, but reality in a sense that is already secondary, derivative, and dubious. What we have of his pain with radical reality
is only its aspect, its appearance, the spectacle of it, its signs. This is all of it that is actually patent and unquestionable to us. But the relation between a sign and the thing signified, between an appearance and that which appears in it or simulates it, between an aspect and the thing manifested or "aspected" in it, is always finally questionable and ambiguous. There are those who to gain some private end feign the
of a toothache to perfection without suffering it. But we shall see that, on the contrary, our own individual life does not tolerate fictions, because when we feign something to ourselves we of course know that we are feigning. And so our intimate fiction never succeeds in fully establishing itself, for being at bottom aware that it is not genuine, we do not succeed in completely deceiving ourselves, we see through the fraud. This inexorable genuineness of our life, the life, I repeat, of each one of us, this genuineness that is evident, indubitable, unquestionable to itself, is my first reason for calling our life "radical reality
But there is a second reason. Calling it "radical reality
" does not mean that it is the only reality, nor even the highest, worthiest or most sublime, nor yet the supreme reality, but simply that it is the root of all other realities, in the sense that they-any of them-in order to be reality to us must in some way make themselves present, or at least announce themselves, within the shaken confines of our own life. Hence this radical reality
-is so little "egoistic," so far from "solipsistic," that in essence it is the open area, the waiting stage, on which any other reality may manifest itself and celebrate it Pentecost. God himself, to be God to us, must somehow or other proclaim his existence to us, and that is why he thunders on Sinai, lashes the money-changers in the temple court, and sails on the three-masted frigate of Golgotha.
It follows that no knowledge of anything is sufficient-that is, sufficiently profound or radical-if it does not begin by searching the sphere that is our life to discover and define where and how that thing makes its appearance it, looms, springs up, arises, in short exists in it. For this is the proper meaning of the word exist
-a word that originally, I take it, had strong connotations of struggle and belligerence, for it designates the vital situation in which suddenly, as though spring from the ground, an enemy appears among us, shows himself or makes himself apparent energetically blocking our way, that is, resisting us and at the some time affirming himself, making himself firm, before us and against us. Existing includes resisting; so it includes that fact that anything that has existence will affirm itself if we try to suppress it, annihilate it, or consider it unreal. Hence, whatever has existence or arises before us is reality, since reality is everything that, like it or not, we have to reckon with, because, like it or not, it is there
, it ex-ists, re-sists. A terminological wrongheadedness that verges on the intolerable has for the past few years seen fit to use the words "exist" and "existence" in an abstruse and unverifiable sense precisely the opposite of that which the age-old word bears and expresses in itself.
Today some writers [longknowledge
: i.e., the existentialists] attempt to make the term designate man's mode of being. But man who is always "I"-that I that each of us is-is the only being that does not exist, but lives
or is alive. Precisely all the other things that are not man, not "I," are the things that exist
, because they appear, arise, spring up, resist me, assert themselves in the ambit that is my life
. Be this said in passing and in all haste."
[From: Man and People
. Translated by Willard R. Trask. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1957, pp. 38-41.]
Nexr: The "Consistency" of "My Life"