"I" as Executant

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longknowledge
 
Reply Fri 11 Dec, 2009 06:41 pm
@pagan,
Before I respond to other posts in this thread I want to share with you an experience I had that will bridge the gap between this thread and the next one on Ortega's Doctrine of "Point of View":

[CENTER]My "Point of View" - An Anecdote[/CENTER]

My experience several years ago with a cataract in my right eye can serve as another example to illustrate the concept of "point of view." I had been diagnosed as having the beginnings of a cataract in my right eye during a routine examination for new eyeglasses. The ophthalmologist indicated that the lens in the eye had lost its flexibility and that no change in corrective lenses would enable me to have that eye in focus for any position except six inches away. He said that it would gradually obscure the vision in that eye to the point where it would interfere with the vision with my left, which it eventually did.

At first I learned to ignore my right eye and use my left eye for all purposes: reading, driving and using the computer. But then I noticed that the blurring in my right eye was interfering with my reading and computer use, and causing, while driving at night, a blurring of oncoming headlights that was distracting. I then decided to go ahead with cataract surgery.

The cataract surgery involved removing the original rigid lens and replacing it with a clear and more flexible plastic one. It was done in a hospital and required my eye to be bandaged overnight. By the next day, the patch was removed in the doctor's office and he determined that I had 20-40 vision at a distance, which was better than that of my left eye without correction. He indicated that I could remove the right lens from my glasses and replace it with a clear glass lens, if I wished. He did say that I might need a corrective lens for reading, if the eye could not fully adjust to close vision, but that that would be determined after a few weeks. 

As I began to adjust to my new situation, I found that, with my right eyeglass lens removed, if I looked at any object at a distance, I could see two clear images, side by side, and at times one slightly higher than the other. With a certain amount of effort I could force my eyes to focus so that the images coincided for a time, but the images kept splitting apart. Gradually, I was able to keep them together so as to form one image, but it took a few days.

Now the interesting thing to me philosophically about this experience was that at the time I was aware of two images simultaneously, both images were equally "real" to me. If, for instance, I looked at a traffic light, I could see two "lights." I could focus on one or the other separately, or "see" both simultaneously. If I rapidly blinked my eyes alternately left and right, I noticed that the "light" shifted position on my "mental screen" and that the whole background and foreground shifted accordingly. Similarly, when I looked down a long corridor and tried to focus on the end, I would at first see two "corridors," although in this case it was much easier to bring them together.

After a few weeks, my vision returned to normal, except for the following phenomenon which persists to this day. If I turn my head to the left, I reach a point where the image of anything I'm looking at, especially the image of a program on the television, separates into two images, and the left image seems to "move" to the left and slightly lower than the right image, to the point where they do not overlap. There is also a difference in quality between the two images and I can shift my attention from one to the other at will, but it's also possible to "see'" both images at the same time.
I visited a specialist in eye problems who told me that what may be happening is that one of the muscles in my left eye ceases to function at a certain point as it attempts to adjust for the fact that I am rotating my head to the left. She said that it might be possible to correct this with eye surgery, but it is a complicated operation, and that if I could live with it it should not cause a problem in normal situations, such as driving.

Now many of you may recall the childhood experience of "focusing" your eyes on a finger that you hold in front of you while "noticing" the image(s) of an object in the background, such as a tree. If you haven't tried it recently, do so, and you will experience a similar phenomenon.
And so, in Orteguian terminology, I was executively "seeing" simultaneously two lights, or two corridors, or two TV programs, both of them co-existing within the "radical reality" of "my life," and both of them "seen" from the single "point of view" of my "intimate I." All of this "occurred" before any "interpretation" of the experience.

A scientist who observed me looking at the light, or down the corridor, or at the TV program, might say that "objectively" there was only one "real" light or corridor or TV program, and that what I was experiencing was an "optical illusion," caused by the two separate "points of view" generated by each eye, but his explanation would not change the "reality" of my experience. [One type of question I would like to ask the scientist is whether s/he would say that I was experiencing a "real" optical illusion or an "imaginary" one! Another question would be which one of the images is the "real" one.]

Although I have not yet traced out any other philosophical implications of my experience, I present it to you for your "re-view" and will report any further "in-sights" I have about it as they "oc-cur" to me.

In the next thread, I will "focus" on Ortega's Doctrine of "Point of View".
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Fri 11 Dec, 2009 10:01 pm
@longknowledge,
longknowledge;110356 wrote:


A scientist who observed me looking at the light, or down the corridor, or at the TV program, might say that "objectively" there was only one "real" light or corridor or TV program, and that what I was experiencing was an "optical illusion," caused by the two separate "points of view" generated by each eye, but his explanation would not change the "reality" of my experience. [One type of question I would like to ask the scientist is whether s/he would say that I was experiencing a "real" optical illusion or an "imaginary" one! Another question would be which one of the images is the "real" one.]


Is objectivity anything more than a mental-model inspired by overlapping subjectivity? This is not to deny the world but rather a popular dualism. All that is experienced is real. Would you agree? We then divide this experience into private (mental) and "public" (objective) experience. Any thoughts?
 
longknowledge
 
Reply Fri 11 Dec, 2009 11:45 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;109359 wrote:
This reminds me of what Hegel would call "pure subjectivity." I think the Eastern mystics also spoke of it.

If we zoom out as far as possible, behind our mental-models of self, we can imagine pure consciousness. As if consciousness were a light that discloses all beings.

Our idea of our personality is just a mental-object, and cannot be consciousness itself. And our mental model of consciousness cannot be consciousness itself.

Is this why Heidegger crossed out the word Being, because the word/concept is not the thing itself?

Indeterminate being sounds like nothingness. It's light that isn't visible until it bounces off something particular. It's the sound of one hand clapping. The first hand is consciousness/Being/existence/light as metaphor. The other hand is beings, the particular objects of consciousness, including self-image/personality. Neither makes sense without the other.


Hegel represents an extreme of the Idealist position, which Ortega critiqued and tried to overcome. Husserl apparently was influenced by Hegel with his notion of "pure consciousness."

About the rest, I have no comment, except to refer your question about Heidegger and Being to Dasein.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Fri 11 Dec, 2009 11:56 pm
@longknowledge,
longknowledge;110452 wrote:
Hegel represents an extreme of the Idealist position, which Ortega critiqued and tried to overcome. Husserl apparently was influenced by Hegel with his notion of "pure consciousness."

About the rest, I have no comment, except to refer your question about Heidegger and Being to Dasein.


From my reading, Hegel rejected both what he called dogmatic realism and dogmatic idealism. While he was certainly an idealist in once sense, as his system is often called Absolute Idealism, he took history and politics quite quite seriously. In this sense he was very much a realist. I think you are right about Husserl for to my knowledge Hegel invented phenomenology, and would have set the stage for the lot of them.

Hegel called phenomenon the appearance of reality, implying that reality does show up for the party. ...
 
longknowledge
 
Reply Sat 12 Dec, 2009 10:19 am
@pagan,
pagan;109367 wrote:
yeh hi reconstructo

The idea (or is it circumstance) that life is the root of reality. That life is the interaction between I and circumstance ....... is mystically attractive.

I understand that you have some question about whether an idea is included in what Ortega calls circumstance. This is a tricky area because for the most part Ortega refers to circumstance as being the physical phenomena we encounter, including, however, not only plants and animals, but also other people and our body, Then from time to time he will mention ideas as circumstance, in the sense that the ideas are present already in the circumstance in the form of beliefs of the culture that the person learns, as well as the ideas that "occur" to a person as they live. For the most part, however, Ortega focuses on the role that ideas play as responses of the individual to situations involving physical circumstances.

Quote:
Its a bit like all is mind. The conciousness of and the sense of me behind it.

The idea that all is mind is a central feature of the Idealism that reigned from about 1650 to about 1900, which Ortega (and others) have called the period of Modern Philosophy. We have been in a period that might be called post-Modern, in the sense that the Idealism of Modern Philosophy has been challenged and several alternative philosophies, including Ortega's have been proposed as replacing it. as to "consciousness of," Ortega accepts the distinction that Husserl makes between what he calls "primary consciousness" and "consciousness of" or "pure consciousness," but rejects Husserl's favoring or what is now call "privileging" the latter over the former. When I am "seeing," according to Husserl, this is an act of "primary consciousness." there is just the 'I" and the thing "seen." However, if I "reflect" or think about my act of "seeing," then Husserl considers this to be an act of what he calls "pure conscousness," or "consciousness of."

Quote:
But what is the self? Is that also a circumstance in this scheme? If not (to avoid contradiction?) then all ideas of the self are circumstance. So what makes this scheme any different to another world scheme by its own categorization of circumstance? Its consistency as an idea is the same as any other world view....... so presumably its worth comes from more accurately recognising reality, I and circumstance. If so in what way?

According to Ortega, "My Self" is another way of referring to "I" or "My I," the perceiving, thinking, desiring, loving person that I am as distinct from "My Circumstance" that is everything Other than "My I." Both of them co-exist in or within what he calls "My Life," which he further characterizes as the "Radical Reality" in the sense that all other realities are "rooted" in it. (The word "radical" comes from the Latin radix meaning "root.") Idealism had come to its most extreme form in Fichte during the 19th Century, when he stated "All is I." This is what Ortega was rejecting when he formulated what you call his "world scheme" of the "I" and "My Circumstance" being equally real within the "radical reality" of "My Life." In this sense, as you point out, this scheme's worth is in "more accurately recognizing" the reality of "My Circumstance" as well as of the "I" or "My Self."

Quote:
I can't figure out the being. Is it I. Is it a collection of I's. My life is presumably not just the I of being but also the circumstance. But the 'My life' implies a self? But at this 'my life' level in the scheme the self is everything since it includes I and circumstance and the interaction between the two? Which level is the self (my life or i executant) and what is it?

In Ortega's formulation, the ancient, static notion of "being" in the sense that you refer to it as "the being," in other words as a noun, should be replaced with an active notion of "being," in other words as a gerund. Therefore, in place of "being" he suggests we use "becoming," or more accurately, "living" in the place of "being." "My Life" or "Living" is a dynamic interaction between "My Self" and "My Circumstance." So "I" or "My Self" is at the "level" of the "I executant" along with "My Circumstance" within the "higher level" of "My Life."

Quote:
The other bit i don't get is memory. This seems to me to be like seeing and thinking and walking, so to remember is I executant and the memories are circumstance? If so then 'My life' seems to be a circumstance of primary i executant remembering........ and thus reverses the whole scheme.

"Remembering" is a form of "thinking," if you think about it, and therefore a form of "living.". Memories are one type of ideas that "occur" to the "I executant" and are therefore part of "My Circumstance." We need to replace the static noun "memory" with the more dynamic gerund "remembering." :My Life" is not a "circumstance" but rather a dynamic process of an "I executant" "living, " again a gerund.

Quote:
But also this scheme is an idea, so therefore it is a circumstance, including the concept of my life? Thus again the scheme is reversed from overarching 'my life' to my life as a circumstance idea?

You are right that the "scheme" as you call it is "an idea," an idea about reality. It is only a part of "My Circumstance" when I am thinking it. In this sense, it is "my idea" even though I was not the person who thought it originally. By My I executant" thinking about it, I have made it "mine," if only for the time that I am thinking it. Jist as in the case of "seeing," when I am thinking about "My I executant seeing," I am no longer "seeing" but rather "thinking." You seem to be confusing "My Life" as an idea within the broader "scheme" of reality that Ortega is formulating, with the realities "My Life" that both you and I are "Living."

Quote:
I suppose one could say why should 'my life' be logically consistent? But if not, then why use logic to persuade others to adopt this scheme?

The idea "My Life" should be logically consistent within the idea or "scheme" that Ortega is proposing. He is not proposing that the reality "My Life" that he is representing by means of the "idea of My Life" is "logically consistent." "Logically consistent" is an attribute of ideas, not of all realities.
 
pagan
 
Reply Sun 13 Dec, 2009 01:42 pm
@longknowledge,
longknowledge

Quote:
........for the most part Ortega refers to circumstance as being the physical phenomena we encounter, including, however, not only plants and animals, but also other people and our body, Then from time to time he will mention ideas as circumstance, in the sense that the ideas are present already in the circumstance in the form of beliefs of the culture that the person learns, as well as the ideas that "occur" to a person as they live. For the most part, however, Ortega focuses on the role that ideas play as responses of the individual to situations involving physical circumstances.
yes this is where i was surprised because i didn't realise that ortega was 'naive' in the keep it simple and physical sense (not derogatory). Thus his idea/scheme is cultural and circumstantial for you now, and in doing so personal too. I was trying to understand his 'my life' idea too abstractly and too mystically.

I have to say i personally can't buy the relationship to the physical and then turn a blind eye to the recursive application of it to 'my life'. However, i do like the full on abstraction! Smile it fits in well with the post modern perspective re narratives. Thus 'my life' for me is an attractive narrative in the mix ........ and when taken beyond the physical relationship (though inclusive of the physical and interesting) it becomes for me a meta narrative and mystical.
 
longknowledge
 
Reply Sun 13 Dec, 2009 11:14 pm
@pagan,
pagan;109848 wrote:
hmmm ..... thanks for your replies longknowledge. Yes i am still playing catch up.

There is bound to be it seems a kind of struggle and therefore debate of language with regard to Ortega Smile His scheme of being and world reversing certain well established 'objectifications' within analytical western culture. All established cultural forms get into the language they use to communicate in this world.

At first i was surprised by your reply here and the distinction you made. But then i read on about the horse and i thought well "i agree with that", so the other is just a semantic detail. But upon further reflection i am not sure again .....

there seems to me to be 3 possibilities.

1 the act of being a thing

2 the act of being a thing that observes another act of being a thing.

3 the act of being a thing that observes its own act of being a thing.

'The act of being a thing' i meant as 1 but you interpreted it as 3? When you reworded it to "the act of being [of] a thing" i think of 3, while you mean 1?

So 1 is only half the story in a sense. It is a thing acting out its being. eg a horse prancing. But a thing acting out its being with no consequense (circumstance) has no life, since life is the conjunction of the two. (executant and circumstance) Even if the only circumstance is a sense of resistance upon the feet, it is a life. Prancing about without any knowledge or resistance is not a life.


Yes, you're correct, except for the wording, according to Ortega's model.

Let's first deal with the notion of "being." As I've said elsewhere, Ortega proposes to substitute the word "being" with "becoming" or, as he says, "more accurately" with "Living." This gives a more dynamic aspect to the relation of the "I Executant" to "Its Circumstance. So every act of "Living" involves an "I Executant," executing an action with respect to "Its Circumstance." And then, by analogy, he proposes that every "Living" thing can be viewed "from within" as an "I Executant" executing "Actions" with respect to "Its Circumstance." Therefore, animals and plants can be viewed "from within," as "I Executants" executing "Actions" with respect to "Their Circumstance." And furthermore he states, again by analogy, that in this sense even rocks and mountains can be viewed "from within" as "Living," although their "Actions" are much more limited, except in the case of an avalanche.

Now each case, according to this model, in the act of "Living" an "I Executant" is executing "Actions" with respect to "Its Circumstance" and "Its Circumstance" consists of other entities that at the same time are "I Executants" executing "Actions" on "Me" and other entities that form part of "Their Circumstance." In this way, each "I Executant" is "Inter-Acting" with "Its Circumstance."

Now as humans, we can determine whether or not this model is an accurate description of "Our Lives," or "Our Living," which for each of us, as Ortega claims, is the "Radical Reality," in the sense that all other realities appear or are "rooted" within it. So "My Life" consists of "My I Executant" executing "Actions" with regard to "My Circumstance."

In each act of "Living", "My Circumstance" may serve as a "facility" or "difficulty" in the execution of the "Actions" of "My I Executant." In addition, "My Circumstance," since it consists of other "I Executants" that are executing "Actions" with regard to "Their Circumstance," may be executing those "Actions" with regard to "Me," and the "Actions" of "My I Executant" may serve as "facilities" or "difficulties" for the actions of "Their I Executant." This phenomenon has been studied by biologists in the case of animals where "Their Circumstance" or "Environment," as the biologists refer to it, is interpreted as providing what they call "affordances," which is the same idea as what Ortega calls "facilities." So far as I know, they don't have a name for "difficulties" or "Obstacles," as Ortega also calls them.

Next let's look at the act of "Thinking," that is a peculiar type of act of "Living." In this case, a "Thought" may "Occur" to us. It doesn't matter, for the purpose of this discussion, what the explanation of how or why the "Thought" "Occurs" to us, but once it has "Occurred" to us, we can continue "Thinking" the "Thought" by focusing our attention on it for a period of time, and by doing so we continue to keep the "Thought" in "Our Life." This phenomenon is sometimes described as "Having a Thought" and then "Holding a Thought in Mind."

Now in terms of Ortega's model, the "Having a Thought" is not something that we do, i.e., it's not an action executed by "My I Executant," but rather it's an action that "Happens" or "Occurs" to "My I." But the act of "Holding a Thought" or "Keeping that Thought in Mind" is an action executed by "My I Executant."

So when we "Think," first the "Thought" "Occurs" to us; it's as if Our Circumstance was "speaking" to us, but I won't get into that. However, second, we may continue to focus our attention on it. This continuing to focus attention on it is an "Executant" act in "Our Living"; it is an "I Executant" executing the action of "holding or "Keeping a Thought in mind.," and I won't go there either.

Then, another "Thought" may "Occur" to us which we may associate with the first "Thought" and a third "Thought" may "Occur" to us that links the first two "Thoughts," or we may go on to have other "Thoughts" that "Occur" to us that are not related at all to the first two "Thoughts." But only when we continue to focus on any "Thought," does the Thought become an "Action" of "My I Executant."

Now, let's look at your rewording:

A the act of being

B the act of being a thing that interacts with another act of being

C the act of being a thing that interacts with its own act of being[/QUOTE]
Here's my version using Ortega's model:

A. "My Living" or "My Life" is the "Radical Reality"

B. "My Living" consists of "Happenings" or "Occurrences."

C. "My Living" consists of the Inter-Actions between "My I" and My Circumstance"

D. "My Living" consists of "What I Do" and "What Happens to Me," i.e., of Actions "My I" "Executes" which "Occur" to "My Circumstance," and of Actions "My Circumstance" "Executes" that "Occur" to "My I."

E. "My Living" may consist of the "Occurring" of a "Thought" which, at that moment, is an Action of "My Circumstance" that "Occurs" to "My I."

F. "My Living" may consist of "My I" Executing an Action of "Thinking" the "Thought" that "Occurred" to "My I," i.e., focusing my attention on the "thought" for a period of time.

G. "My Living" may consist of the action of "Thinking About" the "Thought" that "Occurred" to "My I," i.e., the action of letting other Thoughts" that may be related to the first "Thought" "Occur" and then "Thinking" or focusing my attention on them.

H. One of the "Thoughts" that may "Occur" to "My I" is the "Thought" of a "Thought" having "Occurred" to "My I" and "My I" having executed the action of focusing on that "Thought" or "Thinking" it.

I. "My I" can then decide to focus its attention on that "Thought" or on other 'thoughts" that may "occur" to "My I" "About" that "Thought."

So much for my rewording, or is it reworking, of your original 3 statements.

Does it "work" for you?

This was not all of your posting, but again, I promise to be not so wordy for the rest of it.

To be continued. . . .
 
pagan
 
Reply Mon 14 Dec, 2009 12:45 pm
@longknowledge,
ok

Quote:

E. "My Living" may consist of the "Occurring" of a "Thought" which, at that moment, is an Action of "My Circumstance" that "Occurs" to "My I."
i was surprised by that. and as i have said before i realised that i was trying to understand ortega differently, so my original attempts i assumed to be wrong. but then ....

Quote:

longknowledge - Yes, you're correct, except for the wording, according to Ortega's model.
lol

anyways ....
Quote:

F. "My Living" may consist of "My I" Executing an Action of "Thinking" the "Thought" that "Occurred" to "My I," i.e., focusing my attention on the "thought" for a period of time.

G. "My Living" may consist of the action of "Thinking About" the "Thought" that "Occurred" to "My I," i.e., the action of letting other Thoughts" that may be related to the first "Thought" "Occur" and then "Thinking" or focusing my attention on them.

so now i see that a thought occuring may be an action of my circumstance to the I or the action of the I to my circumstance. Thats fine especially if the thought has been created in my circumstance by another I executant (this is how my circumstance generally acts upon me since in effect it is a super collection of other i executants? eg rocks, writing, animals ....), most normally seen as by another living person with respect to thoughts.

But also thoughts created by my 'own' subconscious?

By 'created' i mean (if restricted to materialism), the reaarangement of physical reality to convey the action of the thought into mine and others circumstance. eg sound, writing, diagram etc. (With regard to the subconscious i am not sure if that is inner I executant or outer my circumstance.) Nevertheless if a thought can be a circumstance then like a rock it can be an i executant in a very primitive limited way. This would presumably distinguish it from a rock without writing on it to one that has.

eg there is the possibility of coming across one of our own old diaries (now circumstance) and rediscovering, holding and focussing and then thinking(acting) from a thought that we had created in the past and forgotten. A diary is as physical as a rock, but its possible actions are very different.

I have to say that i am straining to hold this now because of the materialism (thought as material arrangement) and classic space (inside/outside) and time(history/now) scheme, which is applied to the whole 'My Life' thought. It feels like a simplistic prison of my own construction when i try to think it in these less abstract terms. I need more room! lol

Quote:
longknowledge....It doesn't matter, for the purpose of this discussion, what the explanation of how or why the "Thought" "Occurs" to us....

.....So when we "Think," first the "Thought" "Occurs" to us; it's as if Our Circumstance was "speaking" to us, but I won't get into that.
yeh this is what is important to the way i build up an understanding of any scheme. But i am happy to wait.

But yes thanks again for explaining Ortega's scheme, i have already taken something from it. I am also quite happy to try and keep quiet and let you carry on with your project without my interruptions Smile i am also keen for you to get past the understandably tricky use of language to the pay off! You know, the philosophical, spiritual, social and intellectual consequences.
 
 

 
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