Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Three more thesis statements... that makes nine, and I still have two to go... enjoy! :biggrin:

7. Heidegger believes that truth is preceeded by "something" far more fundamental, the open region (Lichtung) that has been left unthought in metaphysics. In the open region, the Being of beings, which "itself" is not a being, unconceals and discloses itself. This disclosure and unconcealment occurs in temporality. We call this Aletheia.

Heidegger believes in truth as something being preceeded by “something” far more fundamental. In this, he sees that each truth comes from a more basic truth, and we can go on in this cycle ad continuum until we manage to come to the most fundamental, an open region wherein truth is given the free space to reveal itself. This open region is what we know as Lichtung (Not the iced tea, and not the Pokemon. :laughs: ). Here, the light can come into play, and this light, or illumination, is what can manifest truth to us. It is obvious even in the physical sciences that illumination cannot happen without any space for illumination to come. It cannot happen in a vacuum. What is the point of an illumination without the open space? It is as good as non-existent, hence the adage that says “A tree that falls in the middle of the forest with nobody to hear it does not make a sound.”

This open region has been left unthought of in metaphysics, as those who adhere to it seem to focus their attention more on the ideas of perfection and the noemena, rather than the very place where these ideas can come into play. In the open region, we then see the Being of beings, which “itself” is not a being, and how it unconceals and discloses itself. What is interesting to note about this Being of beings is the fact that “it” may seem to represent something so unitary and authoritative, but it does not necessarily mean to adhere to the idea of The One. Yes, the Being of beings may indeed sound as unitary, but this very Being of beings reveals “itself” in the many different permutations (Supporting the idea of The Many) of being. It reveals itself in temporality.

This very disclosure, one that occurs in temporality, is what we call as Aletheia (Unconcealment.). With Aletheia, we manage to appreciate the fullness of being in that everything that has been, is, and will be are all manifestations of the Being of beings. It is no longer otherworldly, and in fact, goes against the World of Ideas in this respect, for it is a celebration of dynamism and change, not of the eternity and immutability that comes with the world of ideas. In fact, Heidegger views thinking as the very antithesis of conceptualizing, for in conceptualizing, we get an immutable concept, whilst in Heidegerrian thinking, we are shown an unconcealment in temporality that belies immutability for we are, as beings-in-the-world, are ruled by true time, a single stretched moment that is temporality. Without temporality, we can never count from one to ten, for there is no progression. This flowing of temporality is what must be regarded as good, whereas stuckness (Refer back to despair.) is actually evil (*So one should recite in Philo when one has something to say, because not to do so is evil?*).

While Aletheia is not in itself truth (As when Rica Peralejo unconceals, what one sees is obviously not truth. But it is still unconcealment.), it is, so to speak, a prerequisite of truth. Truth must be unconcealed. And in truth’s unconcealment, it must happen within temporality. Hence, Aletheia also surpasses truth, since it also considers temporality, and other things that may be unconcealed, yet bereft of one who can pass judgment upon it, which also shows why not everything unconcealed is truth. Thus, all things revealed to us may seem to contradict one another, but because they are respective manifestations of the Being of beings, they are still true, even if they seem to be contradictory to one another. Every single thought, for instance, regarding what the human being is, from that of one as being a rational animal, to the notion of the human being as In-der-Welt-sein. All these are ways and means by which the Being of beings unfolds “itself” to us, and this does not take anything away from the veracity of each of the respective points on what can be said regarding the human being (* This leads us to thesis statement eight…*).

Unconcealment, as likened in Red Alert, shows us that the more we reveal of the terrain, the more concealed terrain we have our hands filled with. Even the fog of war in the game is taken into consideration. Though we may think that we have truly managed to uncover the entirety of the map, within the things we uncover, other discoveries still lie hidden (i.e. An enemy scout who wasn’t in your troop’s line of vision, for instance.). This process of unconcealing, therefore, is something that continues throughout temporality; with no beginning (Recalling that prior to the Big Bang, if the theory is to be believed, there was no time and space.), and endless.

8. Aletheia encompasses both objectivism and subjectivism. This is why we claim that (1) truth is relative, but not "relativistic", and (2) truth is absolute, but not "absolutistic". For truth is both historical and transhistorical; it is "absolute" yet "unfinished". Its criterion, therefore, is its fruitfulness.

Aletheia is powerful in that it is the disclosure of the Being of beings in the open space called Lichtung. It encompasses both objectivism and subjectivism, though both may seem as contraindicatory towards one another. This disclosure in temporality simply shows us how truth is indeed dynamic and ever-changing, while still indisputable, to some extent. What needs to be seen here is how Aletheia, by its very nature, reconciles the gap that exists between those who adhere to the One (Ethnocentrism) and those who adhere to the Many (Cultural Relativism)

Aletheia is the gateway to truth. There is no truth without Aletheia. This unconcealedness that leads to truth is possible only when one has broken through and transcended thinglike beings in himself or herself. We speak of unconcealedness as an illumination, and the human is a certain “light” for himself or herself. It is a light which is one’s own essence. The light of one’s subjectivity. This light, moreover is a light in existence, which means that at one point in history, it comes-into-presence, and at another point, it comes-to-pass. Others, still, are yet-to-come-into-presence. This is why temporality is such an important idea for Aletheia: it is something that is required for human intelligibility, such that we can only get to know something within temporality. One cannot know whether or not Katya Santos was fibbing about her fourteen love scenes by looking at the case of her VCD. One can only find out by watching the film, and spending time in doing so (Uhh… there were only seven love scenes… she was lying.). This is the same for all of mankind, as the Being of beings still continually unfolds itself to us, as it has, and as it certainly will.

Returning to the gap between the One and the Many, it can be resolved by realizing the twofold nature of Aletheia. By saying it encompasses both subjectivism and objectivism, we can then say two things about truth (Since it has Aletheia as a prerequisite.). Firstly, truth is relative, which agrees with the adherents to the Many. Despite this fact, truth may indeed be relative but it is not so in a relativistic manner. This is because truth does relate to a person, but this does not mean that what is true for one is automatically untrue for another.

Truth, in this case, is relative because truth is an event. When an event occurs, that event relates itself to those who are witness to it, and truth is communicated in this respect. Truth, after all, is anthropocentric (People-centered.), and if this is the case, we cannot expect something to be true (In our milieu.), but has yet to occur in that of another’s milieu to be likewise true for them. This does not take away anything from the truth that relates to either society, nonetheless. If, theoretically, the Philippines were closed off from other nations, only the Philippines would believe that a bloodless revolution (That of EDSA) is possible.

On the flipside, we can say that truth is absolute, but not so in an absolutistic manner. Truth cannot be absolutistic in a Platonic sense, because truth is a never-finished event. If truth were absolutistic, then truth is already fixed, immutable, and finished for all time (A complete contradiction to the notion that truth is never-finished.). This absolutistic notion conforms to the idea of the World of Eidos, an idea that goes against the grain of unconcealment, since unconcealment works in temporality. If truth were absolutistic, what is the need to unconceal anything? It is already immutably true to begin with, from past, present, to future.

Truth is an absolute moment, as for when one person speaks a truth, that person is then bound to that truth, and for all of history, the fact that this thing is indeed true cannot be repudiated (So long as it conformed with the state-of-affairs.). This is because when one stands before an unconcealedness, then this unconcealedness is irrefutable. At the point in history that this truth is born, it acquires a transhistoric value, in that its veracity will carry over time . That is, tomorrow, it will still be true that The Rock has captured the WWE Title an unrivaled seven times. It is absolute in this sense, but what if the Rock wins the title again? It is still true, in spite of this, that The Rock, for a time, was a seven-time champion.

Therefore, truth is historical. Truth is born out of a specific event in time, a specific event in history. Likewise, truth is a never-finished event, simply because what is true today can be built upon to form the truth of tomorrow. This explains the progression of how man has been defined, or how professional wrestling has gone from their non-scripted, shoot-style matches to today’s era of “Ruthless Agression”, where shock value and crash storylines are all the rage, giving little emphasis to in-ring action. Truth is also historical in that it is possible only in a particular phase of the knowing subject’s personal history and in a particular phase of the collective history of mankind’s pursuit of truth, consisting of every personal history. For instance, in the 1980’s, American video game players did not appreciate Legend of Zelda, a relatively complex game the Nintendo Entertainment System was coming out with at the time in contrast to Super Mario Brothers. At the same time, Japanese players, advanced by half a decade of gaming in comparison, were more inclined towards them. After five years of gaming experience, the games were then screen tested for a second time among American gamers, and their approval of Legend of Zelda shot up.

The recognition of truth as historical, however, does not justify historicity: the belief that what is true today, is the truth for today, but tomorrow, it will not be so. If one were to adhere to this as true today, will it still be true tomorrow? This interesting notion means that the proposition of historicity is self-contradictory. Seeing that historic truth is not in congruence with historicity, we can say that truth is transhistoric, in that the things we see as true today lead us further down the road of unconcealment, carrying what we have already unconcealed, thus far. Transhistoricity explains the absoluteness of truth, in that it is an absolute moment of truth, and its veracity as an absolute moment carries over in time. The transhistoricity of truth also shows how an event, which may have not directly happend in a particular society, can be passed on to them, to the point that it also becomes a common experience with them, such as now, the whole world knows that there is such a thing as a bloodless revolution by hearing about EDSA. This goes against the grain of idealism and realism.

Idealism does not accept that “genuine” knowledge contains darkness. Idealism adheres to the Platonic notions of complete transparency and fixedness, in that “genuine” knowledge is an answer that no longer leads to any further questions. The idealist notion of absolute truth is actually absolutistic, for it is the denial of the relationship to history, and even the denial of every relativity, since it speaks of a single, unitary truth. This “One Truth” denies the relativity of truth to the subject-as-cogito. Realism, on the other hand, is focused merely on meaning, and throws away the significance of the encounter that brought about the meaning itself. How then, can we say that truth relates to a subject, if the encounter is discarded?

The rebuttal to idealism and realism leads us to differentiate Aletheia from the World of Eidos. The former speaks of an immutable, final, and perfect “otherworld”, from which the physical world draws its existence by participating as imperfect copies of perfection. The former, on the other hand, sees a Being of beings that unfolds “itself” in all of being in temporality. The Being of beings will give unto all beings, but what becomes of these beings contributes back to the Being of beings, so that more can be said about “it”. Unlike the latter, Aletheia is a two-way process.

Gathering from the fact that truth should be both historic and transhistoric, we should then evaluate truth for its fruitfulness. We realize that by fruitfulness, when we unconceal truth, it leads us to what has been left unsaid in the elucidation we have provided. We do believe that what we see is truth, but we have to be able to establish fruitfulness as a criterion by which we can distinguish truth from fantasy or hallucinations. On one level, fruitfulness is when the “truth” (Enclosed in quotation marks as it is not yet certainly true.) being spoken of is fruitful to reality (In the idea’s congruence with reality. This is somewhat utilitarian.).

On a deeper, less utilitarian level, truth makes it possible to continue the dialogue, as it leads somewhere. Truth is not made, it simply is. This distinguishes from untruth, since untruths are “dead ends”, are made, and are not fruitful. One can keep on saying Bruce Lee will beat Jackie Chan in a sparring match for the rest of eternity, but when we find a way to pit the two together in reality, whether by cloning or the like, if Bruce Lee beats Jackie Chan, then the dialogue continues. If Jackie Chan wins, the one who adheres to Bruce Lee will have to stop talking hypothetically, barring any instances of cheating or the like. When an answer leads us to ask more questions, then we can say that this answer (Truth, in this case.) is indeed fruitful.

9. The "essence" of the human being comes-to-presence in temporality on a personal as well as a collective level. This is best understood in the interhuman realm, where one's self, as truth, emerges as a progression and evolution. Thus, the authentic interhuman encounter- or genuine dialogue- resists seeming, speechifying (reduction), and imposition.

It’s quite haunting to recall Simon and Garfunkel’s song, “The Sound of Silence”. We seem to be immersed in an age where people are “talking without speaking”, and “hearing without listening”. While most attribute this to the beginning of the internet, one can relate it to a more basic plane of life, in the human being’s dealing with other human beings. When one talks about the “essence” of a human being, one uses the term loosely, deviating from the fixed and immutable Platonic image, and aligning itself more with an essence similar to Theology’s “Fundamental Option”: what your fundamental option is affects what you do. What you do affects your fundamental option. Thus, the human essence emanates in one’s actions, and one’s actions lead to the further dynamism of one’s essence.

This essence “comes-to-presence” in temporality, which means this essence is being unconcealed as truth. The essence of the human being manifests itself personally, as when a man reveals his essence to another in genuine dialogue; or collectively, as can be seen when a peace treaty produces not just good diplomatic relations, but friendship among nations. Taking it even further, these two nations now attempt to know and aid each other more. To further understand this manifestation of the human being’s “essence”, we must turn to the realm of the interhuman, which Martin Buber differentiates from social phenomena. Buber believes that social phenomena do not always imply an intersubjective encounter, or a personal relationship in that when one is involved in social phenomena, each personal existence is enclosed and contained in a group experience. There are no bonds that tie them together, save common and shared experiences.

In the case of intersubjectivity, as what Luijpen spoke about last semester, we see that this intersubjectivity can happen from at least two people who manage to be present to one another in a temporal moment. Being two subjects relating to one another, they are not Cartesian machines, for Cartesian machines imply no true relation between two human persons.

In the realm of the interhuman, one’s being can emerge in a progressive and evolutionary manner, such that we can never truly know a person in fullness even with a lifetime of interhuman, genuine dialogue (A mystery stops being one when it is fully grasped. More on this later.), much less from a solitary conversation. Hence, one’s being develops in the realm of the interhuman just as Aletheia works (For Aletheia is unconcealment, and here, we are unconcealing the human being.). While of course, it is possible intra-human, the human being, by nature, is not a closed consciousness, and hence is better off unconcealing himself or herself in the presence of others.

Genuine dialogue is integral to the interhuman. The components of genuine dialogue are: being, personal-making-present, and allowing-to-presence, also known as unfolding. On the first level, genuine dialogue requires being in order for those who are in dialogue to be more capable of seeing the truth about the other. This is why seeming should be avoided, as it clouds the truth about a person that should be made manifest to another. Imagine, if you will, a human being speaking to a ghost, and neither knows which is which. This will provide a lot of confusion as one knows not who is alive, and in this respect, both may very well pretend to be what they are not. Mr. Jon Bulaong seems to be John Estrada from afar, but is he? Being shows that he is not. Genuine seeming happens when one pretends to be someone or something to the point of validity. When one pretends to be a superhero, and by doing so, becomes heroic, then this is a step over mere seeming. Genuine seeming can very well evolve into being, and unlike superficial seeming, is not deceitful.

On the second level, genuine dialogue requires that a person involved in a dialogue is being made present. One should acknowledge the fact that one is indeed, in genuine dialogue, speaking to a person, and not speaking at or beyond a person. When one speaks to another, it is in attempt of speaking to a fellow human being, different in some ways, but the same in others. One must go beyond speechifying or reduction, in that when one speaks to another, one should be aware of the “other” being spoken to. This should go against analyzing and reducing the other, as well as deriving a general concept in relating to the other. The total of a human being is not the sum of his parts. Refer back to Gabriel Marcel’s explicitations on the definite and non-definite somebody. Even the best psychoanalyst, the most renowned detective, and the greatest behavioral scientist together would be unable to fully define who or what any specific human being is, simply because they all account merely for what is accountable in a human being; the definite self. They do not take into account the intangible non-definite self. In personal making present, we avoid doing these reductive acts, and view the human being we engage in dialogue with as a genuine human being: a mystery (Which is not to say that nothing can be said about him or her.).

(*This isn’t part of Marcelle’s actual spiel, but is necessary to point out.*) Sa ating pagkilala ng pagkatao ng taong kaugnay natin sa makabuluhang dayalogo, hindi natin siya dapat ikahon, at sa halip ay dapat natin siyang tanawin bilang isang misteryo. Nararapat nating kilalin ang namamalas natin sa pagkatao niya, bilang isa lamang na bahagi ng kabuuan ng kanyang pagmemeron, at hindi ang kabuuan na mismo ng pagkatao niya.. Translated, we should not reduce the mystery of a person, and instead realize that a mystery is simply irreducible. We should recognize that what we see as manifestations of his or her humanity in the realm of humanity are merely facets of the fullness of his or her essence and existence.

On the third level, genuine dialogue requires that a person involved in a dialogue should allow the other to come to presence, or give enough room for that person to unfold himself or herself. There is a fine line between being a guide and a tyrant, and crossing this line results in imposition, wherein one imposes his or her ideals upon another, to even the point where the other believes it was his or her own ideal to begin with. The one who imposes does not believe in the power of actualizing forces to push forward his or her cause. In fact, his or her lack of faith in the cause is evident in his lobbying for it. When you deserve a raise, and your bosses happen to be considerate people, you will need not ask for it. The one who allows the other to come to presence will simply “throw ideas in the air”, avoiding value judgments indicatory of imposition, and give enough space for the seed that has been planted to grow.

The imposing person believes in homogeneity, and attempts to neglect individuality, as it is more of a burden for him or her, in that it impedes the progress of the cause he or she is pushing for, since he or she must take these differences into consideration. The allowing-to-presence person allows the other the space to let the actualizing forces act, because he or she believes in the cause and the power of these forces. He or she also believes in the other’s individuality, in that everything right in man is established in a single, uniquely personal matter, and any imposition on his or her part will frustrate this boon from reaching fruition within the other.

For instance, one might say that George Bush is imposing his ideals of what good leadership and governance is upon Iraq. He will hammer it through by bombing the country, in attempts of showing them the ideals that the United States feels it should “benevolently” spread to everyone they could. They do not believe that their cause can actually be heard on its own merit, perhaps because Saddam Hussein himself is imposing a contrary ideal to the people of Iraq. In contrast, Mr. Jon Bulaong never had to tell Marcelle to consider teaching Philosophy. Mr. Bulaong merely opened that possibility in Marcelle’s mind, and now, Marcelle is actively considering this possibility. Perhaps. We can never can tell, as Joseph Estrada would say.

In line with these three elements, and the fact that truth should be an agreement between the judgment of the state of affairs, it is inevitable that what we must avoid creeps into dialogue, but this does not mean that genuine dialogue is impossible. One need not even speak to participate in genuine dialogue, if one’s being, for one, would be unveiled in his or her maintaining his or her silence.

Returning to the statement on “Sound Of Silence”, the promise of Buber’s article, “Elements of the Interhuman”, is hope for genuine human dialogue despite the dearth of it. All the more should we treasure genuine human dialogue, not merely for its rarity in today’s world as envisioned by Simon and Garfunkel, but in the merit of genuine human dialogue in uplifting the profundity of our lives in our higher respect for the goods and the value of our own humanity and that of the other. No longer may we see ourselves and others as mere statistics, but as genuine persons who are being, who are making one another present, and are allowing one another to come to presence.

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