Saturday, February 28, 2009
Friday, February 27, 2009
One beautiful April morning, on a narrow side street in Tokyo's fashionable Harujuku neighborhood, I walked past the 100% perfect girl.
Tell you the truth, she's not that good-looking. She doesn't stand out in any way. Her clothes are nothing special. The back of her hair is still bent out of shape from sleep. She isn't young, either - must be near thirty, not even close to a "girl," properly speaking. But still, I know from fifty yards away: She's the 100% perfect girl for me. The moment I see her, there's a rumbling in my chest, and my mouth is as dry as a desert.
Maybe you have your own particular favorite type of girl - one with slim ankles, say, or big eyes, or graceful fingers, or you're drawn for no good reason to girls who take their time with every meal. I have my own preferences, of course. Sometimes in a restaurant I'll catch myself staring at the girl at the next table to mine because I like the shape of her nose.
But no one can insist that his 100% perfect girl correspond to some preconceived type. Much as I like noses, I can't recall the shape of hers - or even if she had one. All I can remember for sure is that she was no great beauty. It's weird.
"Yesterday on the street I passed the 100% girl," I tell someone.
"Yeah?" he says. "Good-looking?"
"Your favorite type, then?"
"I don't know. I can't seem to remember anything about her - the shape of her eyes or the size of her breasts."
"So anyhow," he says, already bored, "what did you do? Talk to her? Follow her?"
"Nah. Just passed her on the street."
She's walking east to west, and I west to east. It's a really nice April morning.
Wish I could talk to her. Half an hour would be plenty: just ask her about herself, tell her about myself, and - what I'd really like to do - explain to her the complexities of fate that have led to our passing each other on a side street in Harajuku on a beautiful April morning in 1981. This was something sure to be crammed full of warm secrets, like an antique clock build when peace filled the world.
After talking, we'd have lunch somewhere, maybe see a Woody Allen movie, stop by a hotel bar for cocktails. With any kind of luck, we might end up in bed.
Potentiality knocks on the door of my heart.
Now the distance between us has narrowed to fifteen yards.
How can I approach her? What should I say?
"Good morning, miss. Do you think you could spare half an hour for a little conversation?"
Ridiculous. I'd sound like an insurance salesman.
"Pardon me, but would you happen to know if there is an all-night cleaners in the neighborhood?"
No, this is just as ridiculous. I'm not carrying any laundry, for one thing. Who's going to buy a line like that?
Maybe the simple truth would do. "Good morning. You are the 100% perfect girl for me."
No, she wouldn't believe it. Or even if she did, she might not want to talk to me. Sorry, she could say, I might be the 100% perfect girl for you, but you're not the 100% boy for me. It could happen. And if I found myself in that situation, I'd probably go to pieces. I'd never recover from the shock. I'm thirty-two, and that's what growing older is all about.
We pass in front of a flower shop. A small, warm air mass touches my skin. The asphalt is damp, and I catch the scent of roses. I can't bring myself to speak to her. She wears a white sweater, and in her right hand she holds a crisp white envelope lacking only a stamp. So: She's written somebody a letter, maybe spent the whole night writing, to judge from the sleepy look in her eyes. The envelope could contain every secret she's ever had.
I take a few more strides and turn: She's lost in the crowd.
Now, of course, I know exactly what I should have said to her. It would have been a long speech, though, far too long for me to have delivered it properly. The ideas I come up with are never very practical.
Oh, well. It would have started "Once upon a time" and ended "A sad story, don't you think?"
Once upon a time, there lived a boy and a girl. The boy was eighteen and the girl sixteen. He was not unusually handsome, and she was not especially beautiful. They were just an ordinary lonely boy and an ordinary lonely girl, like all the others. But they believed with their whole hearts that somewhere in the world there lived the 100% perfect boy and the 100% perfect girl for them. Yes, they believed in a miracle. And that miracle actually happened.
One day the two came upon each other on the corner of a street.
"This is amazing," he said. "I've been looking for you all my life. You may not believe this, but you're the 100% perfect girl for me."
"And you," she said to him, "are the 100% perfect boy for me, exactly as I'd pictured you in every detail. It's like a dream."
They sat on a park bench, held hands, and told each other their stories hour after hour. They were not lonely anymore. They had found and been found by their 100% perfect other. What a wonderful thing it is to find and be found by your 100% perfect other. It's a miracle, a cosmic miracle.
As they sat and talked, however, a tiny, tiny sliver of doubt took root in their hearts: Was it really all right for one's dreams to come true so easily?
And so, when there came a momentary lull in their conversation, the boy said to the girl, "Let's test ourselves - just once. If we really are each other's 100% perfect lovers, then sometime, somewhere, we will meet again without fail. And when that happens, and we know that we are the 100% perfect ones, we'll marry then and there. What do you think?"
"Yes," she said, "that is exactly what we should do."
And so they parted, she to the east, and he to the west.
The test they had agreed upon, however, was utterly unnecessary. They should never have undertaken it, because they really and truly were each other's 100% perfect lovers, and it was a miracle that they had ever met. But it was impossible for them to know this, young as they were. The cold, indifferent waves of fate proceeded to toss them unmercifully.
One winter, both the boy and the girl came down with the season's terrible inluenza, and after drifting for weeks between life and death they lost all memory of their earlier years. When they awoke, their heads were as empty as the young D. H. Lawrence's piggy bank.
They were two bright, determined young people, however, and through their unremitting efforts they were able to acquire once again the knowledge and feeling that qualified them to return as full-fledged members of society. Heaven be praised, they became truly upstanding citizens who knew how to transfer from one subway line to another, who were fully capable of sending a special-delivery letter at the post office. Indeed, they even experienced love again, sometimes as much as 75% or even 85% love.
Time passed with shocking swiftness, and soon the boy was thirty-two, the girl thirty.
One beautiful April morning, in search of a cup of coffee to start the day, the boy was walking from west to east, while the girl, intending to send a special-delivery letter, was walking from east to west, but along the same narrow street in the Harajuku neighborhood of Tokyo. They passed each other in the very center of the street. The faintest gleam of their lost memories glimmered for the briefest moment in their hearts. Each felt a rumbling in their chest. And they knew:
She is the 100% perfect girl for me.
He is the 100% perfect boy for me.
But the glow of their memories was far too weak, and their thoughts no longer had the clarity of fouteen years earlier. Without a word, they passed each other, disappearing into the crowd. Forever.
A sad story, don't you think?
Yes, that's it, that is what I should have said to her.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
.:A Review Of Wittgenstein:.
There are two eras for Wittgenstein: the Trachtatus era to the Philosophical Investigation era. From a philosophy of being, Wittgenstein wishes to move towards a philosophy of language. We are, after all, immersed in language. We cannot directly contemplate being. We can only reflect on it through the mediation of language.
The first Wittgenstein saw language as picture theory. The second Wittgenstein saw it as a language game or language according to use, or even ordinary language philosophy.
The first Wittgenstein understands language to be understandable only when broken down into elementary statements. This is because early Wittgenstein believed that language can form logical pictures of the world which are verifiable as true or false. In effect, this is a logical atomism. That these atoms may be constant in number is, as such, only varied by the positions of such atoms, allowing for the verifiability of the veracity of a particular proposed position.
Soon after this, Wittgenstein realized that this viewpoint was far too simplistic. Not everything boils down to a question of veracity. One concatenation of atoms can hold various meanings, depending on what language game is at work. At this point, Wittgenstein found his earlier picture theory to only be one type of language.
Each language has its own rules that expresss its own form of life. Each language is autonomous. There is always a community that acknowledges this language. This language ultimately requires participation. Scientific language holds no special place among other languages. Each language sets its own rules, and its verification is not in directly observing reality, but in its conformity to the rules and all the norms that follow in the language game at work. All these languages are performative, not descriptive, as counterintuitive as this realization as it may seem.
For Wittgenstein, philosophy is not a language in itself. It points to a way of life, but is itself not a way of life. As such, philosophy, for Wittgenstein, is empty as a way of life because it creates a false problem in using one language to critique another language, when they should instead be autonomous.
As disturbing as this may seem, we know that the first Greek philosophers came from their slow but gradual departure from mythical religion. Realizing this is not wisdom, they sought true wisdom. From the point of view of Christianity, Greek philosophy was the religion of the day. As such, given this, would it not make sense to consequently discard Greek philosophy?
.:Husserl and Wittgenstein Converge In The Community:.
Both thinkers agree that you don't go directly into being. As part of the Lebensweldt, Husserl emphasizes the importance of the community. We are never in the realm of being, but always in the realm of meaning.
“Back then, before Bobby Guev, before Fr. Dacanay, the theology department had lousy teachers compared to the philosophy department.”
- Dr. Reyes, major burn on Fr. Roche
I met Piolo Pascual and Marian Rivera!!! I'll write more next time... lol.
Aside from that, I wanted to talk about...
1. My show last Valentine's Day.
2. My show for Jewel and Robert at their wedding.
3. The Pope's rehabilitation of a Holocaust denier.
4. Something for tomorrow's Philo exam.
5. That stupid STOYA thing.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Jill, when I tried to help you out a few months back, I feel I didn't think it over too well if speaking to you would help you or make things worse. Given the way the situation unfolded, a lot of things got lost in translation, and you ended up getting the wrong idea because I didn't take into account how you felt at the time. Instead of making you feel better, I think I only ended up making you feel worse, and I sincerely apologize for that.
Ranulf, I don't even know where to begin, because when you get down to it, I owe you more than I can ever hope to repay, and what I did definitely didn't go in the way of trying to repay you for your kindness. I should've known better than to take only half an equation as a whole, and simply asked you the minute I heard about this. It was a mistake, and I can't even begin to imagine how frustrating it must've been for you to have to deal with a rumor whose origins you can't even begin to understand.
So yeah, if anyone has heard a nasty thing or two about Ranulf in recent months, let me be the first to tell you that ultimately, the rumor spawned from what I will patently categorize to be a lie. At this point, I don't care why one would lie about something like that, but I refuse to continue being a party to this unfair rumor, and I wish to categorically say that any rumors you hear about Ranulf and his alleged serious involvement with a certain lady are false, and if I mentioned anything regarding this to anyone, I am retracting my statements and assumptions regarding this. In the end, Ranulf was the innocent victim of a very degrading rumor, and the least I can do is to set the record straight on my part. I will not further talk about this rumor with anyone, lest it continues to linger in the minds of people.
For the undue stress this may have caused especially Ranulf, I cannot apologize to him enough. I hope that this gesture would go towards rectifying this serious issue.
Friday, February 20, 2009
Thursday, February 19, 2009
.:A Review Of Husserl:.
Phenomenology tackles man as conscious being experiencing not just himself, but experiencing everything else. The difference between the study of being and being conscious of being is that the consciousness is not entirely passive or entirely active, but rather, one that mediates the encounter between itself and the given. This mediated encounter is what we come to understand as meaning.
For the phenomenologist, man is self-awareness, man is temporality. For the scientist, man is the only animal that has opposable thumbs, wears jewelry, buries their own dead. While there is conflict in them, the phenomenologist emphasizes that despite the lack of empirical data, any human being will find these experiences in him.
.:The Limited Description:.
Man has a concept of time. Time is a succession of moment after moment, albeit strictly speaking, time is a slice of time-space. In science, the only moment that exists is the moment in the “now”. The past is obliterated, the future has yet to exist.
In contrast, the phenomenological time is concerned with the “now”. While we say that this is the present, it does not correspond to the present we understand in the scientific perception. Phenomenologically, the “now” is partly determined by the past. The present is also affected by an anticipation of the future as well, and it moves towards it. Implied in this is a sense of the self. After all, the only reason man has a sense of past and future is because it has a sense of the self, a self that is continuously there. This is why we feel guilt because of our reference to the past, and we feel hope in our reference to the future.
“What the hell is the Solvay Process?”
- Dr. Reyes
“A cat buries its own $4!7, but it doesn't bury its own dead.”
- Dr. Reyes
.:Scientific Language Is Only One Type Of Language:.
It is like a net that filters out a lot. While something cannot be empirically viable, it could have perhaps poetic or religious worth.
.: More On The Nature Of Language:.
Though experiences are inalienable, this does not preclude them from being communicable. A sneeze is a personal sneeze, but you will be able to understand what it means when another person sneezes. The language makes sense because it is a shared language. It is shared because standard within the language exist to allow it to persist.
As such, each language is an autonomous language, insofar as each language has its own rules which will not necessarily correspond to the rules of another language. As such, a priest cannot impose his standard as a religious authority upon who he believes his parishioners ought to vote for during the elections. Insofar as a language is autonomous, it means we preclude ourselves from having our say in it if we do not participate in the language, which means that it is not appropriate for a person completely uninitiated to sports to attempt to speak about sports since that is not a language they find themselves privy to.
Language is not just a question of making empirical sense or not, but rather, of the ability to follow the rules set within the language it finds itself in. Philosophy is not about moving beyond language and approaching the infinite truth. The function of philosophy becomes mostly therapeutic rather than eschatological. It makes man aware that there are multiple languages, and one must not attempt to mix these varied languages. This is why Wittgenstein believes one should not stay in Philosophy but rather, to participate in the many other languages philosophy opens us up to. Philosophy doesn't offer you any new insight, per se, but merely awareness about these insights as well.
This is the story of a Swiss doctor who found a cure for impotence in men. He takes the fetus of a baby elephant, takes the trunk, and implants it on the man. A man enters the clinic and asks the doctor to perform the procedure on him. So they go ahead with it, and the doctor tells him to come back one month.
A month later, the man comes back. The doctor asks him, “how was the operation?”
“Oh, excellent! Excellent performance! There's only one problem, though...”
“What is it?”
“Everytime I'm at a cocktail, it likes to go out of my pants to reach for some peanuts...”
- Dr. Reyes's joke
Everything stems from the ambit of language. Upon gazing at being, you already find yourself in the trappings of language. Insofar as he wishes to be able to determine the veracity of statements by breaking them down into elementary propositions until each elementary proposition can be properly evaluated, as it were.
Philosophical problems, to Wittgenstein seem to be false problems. These are problems that cannot be properly responded to, and do not seem to affect how one carries out his life, either way.
.:The Color Scheme:.
Aside from the realization that the language in Trachtatus is solely descriptive language and other types of language certainly exist, Wittgenstein understood the color scheme to also be a weakness of his initial ideas.
While the sun can shine or not shine, colors don't seem to follow the same logic. Something that is not blue is not necessarily a particular color, after all. The same with measurements. “Not 4 meters” could be “4 miles” or “4 inches” or whatever other possible value.
At this point, Wittgenstein slowly forms a new viewpoint on language. Here, he writes the book “Philosophical Investigation”.
Wittgenstein shifts his thesis to language as use instead of language merely as picture theory. Language, specifically, ordinary language is likened to a game, as such. In contrast, descriptive language is rather contrived.
A game is governed by rules, just like language. A game is also autonomous. What determines what is good in a game is its internal system, not an outside authority. The game is also communal, in that you cannot play the game if you cannot agree upon the rules of the game. The rules have to be shared by all players involved. The game also requires participation, as you are not wholly fit to critique something you are not a part of.
Each language is an expression of a form of life. Whether humorous language, or dramatic language, or whatever else, they all follow their own boundaries.
.:An Introduction To Wittgenstein:.
Wittgenstein's philosophy is a gradual progression from a philosophy of being to one of language.
Language is made up of elementary propositions. These are statements that do not need to be broken down into various parts the way complex propositions would be. It is composed of a name and a relation to another name. “I (name) put (relation) the chalk (name) on the table.” It follows a certain rule of grammar, for starters. Each name will correspond to a simple object. If the state of affairs is possible, then you can analyze it closely enough to determine whether or not it is true or false.
Complex propositions involve the like of “Philippines is a poor country”. Who is Philippines? Where is the country? What is the sample size that is sufficient? What does it mean to be poor?
Thus, the problem with Philosophy is that many statements are too ambiguous with their propositions. The stand of the Trachtatus is to simply break down complex propositions into elementary ones.
“And yet, there are some statements which seem to be non-sensical, yet admittedly, are useful.”
1.Religious statements: “I believe God exists” may seem non-sensical in that “God” cannot be determined, insofar as the conventional way we determine God to exist. But this is useful in that an affirmation of God is not an affirmation of a fact or an event that comes to pass. It implies that in taking consideration of the totality of the world, somehow, one can believe that God exists. This is not a statement on a possible state of affairs, but a stand in view of the totality of the world, as it were.
2.Aesthetic statements: “It is beautiful” again takes the totality of something into consideration, and it has a certain effect, where one can see beauty.
3.Moral statements: “Killing is immoral” is a bold statement as it cannot be determined without looking at the totality of things in the world whether or not something is immoral.
4.Philosophical statements: Language has been established by Wittgenstein to be the vehicle by which we can represent a possible state of affairs, as well as its veracity. In contrast, philosophical language is a metalanguage. It is not a possible state of affairs but a view into the nature of language itself.
Such statements are simply therapeutic. There are certain ways of using language which does not make sense, but at a certain point, we come to certain problems of language. Once these problems are solved, philosophy is meant to be abandoned. This is why Wittgenstein doesn't want his students to stay as philosophers.
These exceptions explain precisely why Wittgenstein is *not* a logical positivist.
.:Perhaps He Was Wrong?:.
Wittgenstein had doubts about the completeness of his work because of various reasons. For one, he realized that some words do not represent simple objects. A number is not merely a simple object, but an activity. He discovered the existence of performatives.
As such, when you are commanded to do something, it cannot be a “true” or “false” statement. While some language is descriptive, but other language is performative.
“Philosophy is like a ladder. Once you get to where you need to, you can kick off the ladder. Philosophers instead stay on the ladder, and insist on asking, 'what does it mean to be a ladder?'”
- Dr. Reyes
.:In Depth: The Lebensweldt:.
Consciousness is not solipsistic. It is in connection with other consciousnesses, and as such, these various consciousnesses inevitably impact each other. They are in a common world, and are co-constitutive of common meanings.
Sometimes, we see ourselves in our own world, watching the world as the hustle and bustle of banality around us. We find ourselves completely unaware of the fact that these other consciousnesses are just as perceptive as we see ourselves to be. That in the end, we are just another part of this hoi poloi that we see from seemingly detached eyes.
This network of consciousnesses includes an indefinite community of mankind. Though you may not see the face of each and every man, this network exists and encompasses all. You become one of many, and no longer a solitary being perceiving everything else. Thus, the mode of communication is no longer introspection, but dialogue. None of the insights we come to came from solitary introspection, but in dialogue. As such, these ideas we arrive at are not derived from a vacuum, but in reality, a co-constitutive effort by the lifeworld.
As such, we have a dialogical and hermeneutical kind of consciousness. Husserl calls the initial individual consciousness as the result of an eidetic (essential) reduction. Compare this to the way meaning is generated and regenerated by the network of consciousness. These are the fruits of a cultural community. As such, the meanings are already in place before we even begin to employ phenomenology. This means that you are in contact with primordial meanings: meanings that did not originate from you.
Even though meanings may be formed by co-constitution, phenomenology's role might be in explaining the gaps that may exist in a commonly held meaning, not in an eternal, immutable form, but more likely in an experiential, and still dialogical manner.
.:Quotable Quotes:..:Part Of That World:.
In the Disney film, “The Little Mermaid”, we discover precisely what it means to be a “fish out of water” for someone like Ariel. She was part of a particular world-view, and was very much as capable of being as solipsistic as can be the minute she had legs and could walk.
Despite that, isn't it a wonder how she, in time, manages to be a part of the world of meanings that is formed by the world that she initially is not a part of? Is this underscored integration of Ariel not the very essence of what it means to be a part of a particular lifeworld?
When we look at how she wanted to be a “part of that world”, the kind of awestruck wonder she saw in things we surface-dwellers take for granted and banal, isn't this a fresh look at the routines that we often no longer give meaning to?
.:The Limited Description:.
While everything starts from consciousness, this is not to say that this is purely a Cartesian system. Rather, this is a transcendental consciousness.
There is no being-in-itself. There is only conscious being. Man, as being, is conscious of the self, conscious of the other, and conscious of the world. Despite this, one can see that there is more than a merely material difference between an object and another person. If anything, there is a phenomenological difference that is inextricable to any man who honestly attempts to look at the difference.
The Phenomenological approach finds a lot of strength in that it is grounded in experience rather than mere theory. Despite that, at some point, theorizing becomes a necessity, for instance, in the case of explaining the phenomenology of death. At this point, one realizes that it does not begin with the consciousness, but with the consciousness of the other.
Thus, the world we form is not a world we constitute through our ego, but one that we co-constitute, in reality. It is a historical, cultural consciousness.
As a lifeworld, phenomenological experience is not merely a solipsistic endeavor, but instead, dialogical, and even hermeneutical.
As such, phenomenology is, at best, a cultural critique of a phenomenon that is already in place.
“Some men have stared at me, as if divesting me of my clothes.”
- Dr. Reyes, much more fun when quoted without context
.:The Gran Torino?:.
If you've seen the film known as “Gran Torino”, you would understand what it means to have a “consciousness of the other”, vis-a-vis being trapped in your own Cartesian world of solipsism. I'd wax on and on about this some more, but I just suggest you watch the film so I don't spoil anything for you.
.:Husserl's Technical Terms:.
Intentionality – There is no consciousness except in relation to the given. There is no given except in relation to the consciousness.
Constitution – The given does not merely imprint upon a passive consciousness what it is. This interaction is what is called constitution.
Natural Attitude – Our attitude in daily life that is mainly concerned with mere practicality.
Epoche – A break from man's natural attitude.
Phenomenon – The meaning that we find after observing the thing while in epoche. Whatever it is that appears to consciousness. It is something that can be experienced.
Eidetic – When you have gone into the epoche and honestly looked through your own experience, you will be able to find things such as the sense of the self. These realizations are not purely subjective.
Noesis-Noema – Noesis is an attitude that corresponds to a particular meaning called Noema. For instance, when you look at a painting, you use a particular noesis of aesthetic valuation and the noema you derive is affected accordingly.
Transcendental Ego – This ego is *not* divine. There will always be a consciousness that subtends every single state, for even asking about the existence of anything before even man existed, it still presupposes a consciousness that is posing this question. It is that which is at the bottom of any experience, saying, even being itself, that cannot but be presupposed.
Consciousness – As such, the consciousness can be broken up into various phenomenon, such as the self, “I am my body”, in relation to the world, in relation to the Thou, in relation to the social, in relation to time, and to history.
As such, Husserl has systematized phenomenology such that at the bottom of everything is consciousness. It is not absolute in that it is divine. It is absolute in that it encompasses everything.
.:Metaphysics vs. Meaning:.
Metaphysical conclusions are a product of logical inference. Meaning is present and can be experienced, even if it is not objectively there. For example, the sense of the human dignity. Is not the middle finger merely an upraised finger among five? Yet it carries with it an insult upon a human person.
Any human person who is honest to himself will find deep in his heart the absolute, and a longing for meaning.
For Aquinas, there are certain universal attributes that are present in every particular instance of a specific class or genius. For instance, all human persons have, say, a sense of humor. There are, however, certain attributes not just in some class or other, but in every being. These are called transcendental attributes: one, true, good, etc.
For Kant, on the other hand, speaks of consciousness, but when Kant says this, he does not pertain to the Cartesian consciousness that closes upon itself, certain only of its own existence, but not much else. Kant's idea of consciousness is open to anything and everything, one that determines or constitutes categories on top of the sense data. In that my consciousness transcends my limitations, then we can say that my consciousness is transcendental. As such, the transcendental consciousness is that which is always presupposed in the human experience. You simply cannot do without it.
“Pare, you're smalling me.”
- Dr. Reyes
“When husband and wife argue, and maybe I'm saying it from experience, one of the worst things in the woman's armament is that they will pretend that you don't exist and completely ignore you.”
- Dr. Reyes
.:The Hermeneutics Of Suspicion:.
Hermeneutics is precisely what colors an entire phenomenon that one experiences, if only for the fact that the same event can be give different interpretations each time it is perceived. This is the nature of hermeneutics, and as such, one can say that there is a certain trend at times we have come to know as the hermeneutics of suspicion.
Think about two of our previous thinkers, Marx and Nietzsche, who are regarded as two of the three “master of suspicion”. Their philosophy is precisely a particular interpretation of the world around them, and their response to the call of the times they find themselves involved in.
We may say this is exactly what it means to have a “hermeneutics of suspicion” in that they viewed everything with wariness. Religion was either thought to be an “opium for the masses”, or an outright fraud, the intentions of people were taken to be not without ulterior motives, and so forth. It is a thinking fraught with second-guessing, doubt, and paranoia, though not entirely unfounded.
Have you ever given any thought to the dangers of a hermeneutics of suspicion? If you were to view anything and everything around you with the kind of contempt and apprehension these men have, how do you think the rest of the world would respond to you in turn?
Think about it.
.:Let's Return To Basics:.
Consciousness is everything. It concerns itself with the psychological act, with the sign, the meaning, and the signified. Because of the focus on the referential object, we lose sight of the fact that the human plane of existence is not exclusively on the level of the referential object. More often than not, it is on the level of meaning.
For Husserl, the real human existence takes place in meaning. Meaning is what we learn to fight for. Meaning is what we put stock in.
.:Consciousness And Hyle:.
In any human situation, you find consciousness, and perhaps the given, or the matter of the situation. These two are inextricable from each other. You cannot have matter in relation to consciousness, and you cannot have consciousness that is not conscious of something. This is called “intentionality”. There is no such thing as consciousness in and by itself, or matter in and by itself. Each element is meant to relate to the other.
A dominance of matter is realism. The consciousness in realism is merely incidental as a passive register for the matter.
A dominance of consciousness is idealism. Consciousness is given utmost importance, and matter is merely a projection of consciousness.
The meeting point of consciousness and matter is precisely meaning. Meaning is a result of the constitution of the encounter of consciousness and matter. You cannot reduce one in favor of the other.
To prove this, Husserl's disciples attempt to use a pseudoscope that makes everything upside down according to our eyes. Despite this, consciousness will, against the law of optics, correct this image upon encountering a human face, and slowly, everything else corrects itself.
Optical illusions also seem to be a sign that consciousness is not merely passive, but certainly interpretative.
.:Breaking From The Natural Attitude:.
Due to our being used to science, we seem to only be concerned about the referential objects, devoid of meaning. As habit, everything is about the bottomline. Be it money, food, or the like, this is what matters to the natural attitude. It's practical, it's commonsensical, so to speak.
Meaning will not bring you food. But it will certainly matter. Justice, truth, human dignity, and so forth, are things we may not objectively find, but they are things that we cannot ignore because this is precisely the ambit of meaning.
To break away from this natural attitude, one has to engage himself in an epoche. It requires a metanoia: a change of consciousness. At this point, the world ceases becoming a mere massive chemical or physical progression, but an actual world of meaning.
At this point, we find what he means to be a phenomenon: that which appears. After we embark in an epoche, we return to the objects for us to experience their meaning.
“Philosophy is that without which, everything remains the same.”
- Cynical Italian Saying
“Jewish skin make for good lampshades.”
- Nazi Account
“When I hear the word 'musk', I am reminded of goats. Does this mean some women are attracted to goats?”
- Dr. Reyes
“I have committed the sin of bad thoughts”
“Did you entertain them?”
“Well, Father, I found them entertaining.”
- Dr. Reyes's High School Classmate and his confessor
.:The Meaning Found In Graduation?:.
When you boil it down to its basics, graduation is merely a gathering of people who recognize you as someone who has finished your years in your chosen program, and that you are ready to move on, as it were.
While of course, graduating is a big deal, the ceremony itself can be broken down into merely a sweat-inducing, long, torturous affair that doesn't seem to really do anything other than acknowledge what is already a fact: you have graduated.
That's what I've been told when I discovered that I will graduate this coming summer, more likely than not without the marching and all that. I'm not going to graduate with my friends, who are all graduating in March, and I felt terribly disappointed by it, to be honest.
One of my former teachers, Dr. Kaelin, put it this way...
“I understand that graduating in a group - especially the way it is staged in Ateneo - has a value in itself. However, I never got graduated in such a way. For my highschool degree, I got a certificate sent to me a couple of weeks later, for my BA, I could pick it up at the secretary. Only for my MA there was something like a graduation, but it wasnt that special after all (especially as it was like 3 months after finishing all my stuff, so it did not feel like being that close).
As an alternative you can always take some Foucault/HardtNegri perspective and see in this graduation ceremony a way in which the system reproduces itself - which cements traditionally hierarchies and relations of exploitation, etc. Don't know whether that helps.”
When you attempt to break down the graduation ceremony, it seems about right to call it just a “stuck-up affair that only vestigially recognizes what the records will say you've already accomplished anyways.” I understand that. It is, on the surface, psychologically one that causes a lot of stress at times, a signifier of a reality that exists.
But as people who have studied Husserl, we understand that we don't exist solely in these modes of understanding. We understand that there is a meaning behind this ceremony, as intangible as that may be to the empirical or even Marxist mind. When you look deep down, particularly when you think of the memories you've shared with the people you would've graduated with, it does feel like you're missing out on something.
Can you ever truly measure this loss? No, you can't. It is not an objective reality.
But you know, deep down, you feel, that it's there.
And that's why I feel it sucks I'm not graduating this March. Thanks, Husserl!
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Monday, February 16, 2009
The past couple of days has really taken a lot out of me, to say the least. I guess one can say that this is par for the course and all, but I just have to keep on keeping on.
This is my first attempt at bringing the songs I record to YouTube instead of just putting them on Supload or something. I hope you like it.
Sa wari ko'y, hindi pa lumilipas ang kadiliman ng araw. Ngunit tuloy pa rin ang awit ng buhay ko.
Friday, February 13, 2009
If you missed it last night, well you missed a whole lot! From Fuse to Zelle to Pupil to Giniling Festival to Urbandub to 6Cycle Mind to GRIN DEPARTMENT, it was an amazing night of music and fun. All for the price of 90 bucks! What more could I have possibly asked for?
U.P. knows how to throw a celebration, all right!
.:Allow Me To Cater To Those Who Despise This Day...:.
I rarely share my own recordings, but I think it's appropriate for today...
I refer to it as Single Awareness Day, because let's face it, they are the aggrieved parties every February 14, and while I can't quite count myself as one of them, I still commiserate.
There are certain songs that always stand out to me whenever I think about this day, and allow me to share them to you. This is an exercise in self-humiliation, and I readily recognize that. Heh.
Recalling the awesome concert last night at UP called "Rambol", allow me to share one of the best songs of the night, courtesy of Grin Department... Iskin.
For the more forlorn out there, how about trying Trina Belamide on for size? Happy Valentine's Day, anyone?
May tomorrow be a day we can go through without really putting much stock in the existence of an occasion that gives us an excuse to not love anyone enough for the remaining 364 days of the year.
It's Single Awareness Day. Happy SAD to everyone, I guess.
It's hard to find the energy to be so happy about tomorrow, really. Even if I had a Valentine, it's not like I can go out with her... =(
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Well, one-half of Kel 'n Jay, yours truly, will be performing this Saturday at Holy Spirit in Mendiola for their fair in a show entitled "Mind Bogglers", around 3PM or so. It will, as always, be a fun blend of laughs and gasps as you've come to expect from me and my partner Jay.
Tickets are a very affordable 20 pesos each, so here's hoping that I catch some of you guys, as I perform what ought to be one of my most high-profile shows so far this year. Here's to seeing you guys out there!
P.S. Wait... or is it "Mind Bloggers"? Well, you can ask Corinne Evangelista for more details, if ever.
Monday, February 09, 2009
Sunday, February 08, 2009
.:More On Husserl:.
A concatenation of concepts = a chain of concepts. When the metaphysical approach is taken, after an initial experience, there is a concatenation of concepts which are logically constructed and logically progressive, but not necessarily verified.
The scientific approach, on the other hand, is concerned with the atomic particles that make up matter. However, even these are merely models and hypothetical constructs, not necessarily reality per se. Strictly speaking, we do not experience atoms, particles, and waves. It is merely assumed because it makes sense and it works. That it enables us to anticipate the forces of nature does not mean it is truly a reflection of reality.
Nazism was the horrible result of an atomistic view of reality. Because man is merely a chemical marvel, the chemicals become more important than the dignity of the being the chemicals make up.
As such, Husserl longs to return to the things unto themselves. The things as they are experienced. Husserl believes that in every human person's consciousness is the capacity to understand reality as it truly is, not merely as a metaphysical or scientific pursuit. Phenomenology is purely descriptive.
.:The Four Stages Of Phenomenology:.
The pre-phenomenological phase pertains to the structure of signification. Whenever we say something is something, we are signifying something. This is made up of four components: the psychological act, the sign, the meaning, and the referential object. The psychological act is involved in the act of signification when you focus on a particular thing you intend to signify (you look at the keys). It is situated in time and space. The sign is the term we use to signify something, be it a symbol or a word (k-e-y-s). This is also situated in time and space. The meaning (that this is a bunch of metal pieces that unlock doors) is not in time and space. It is in consciousness. Plato might say it is in the world of Eidos. The referential object would be the physical keys itself. Obviously, this is also (often) situated in time and space.
An animal who looks at the same referential object will not find meaning in the referential object, compared to a human. This is what sets the meaning apart from the other steps in the structure of signification.
Take for example, the number 13. If I psychologically focus on the number 13, I may think of the number 13, and perhaps my superstitious associations with the number. The sign could be “13”, “thirteen”, or “xiii”, or “1111110”. The meaning of the number is clearly not found in time and space, since any person knows that thirteen is one ten and three ones, for example. The referential object is in place as the number thirteen itself. However, it is debatable if it is indeed a referential object, insofar as it is not a material object, a purely conceptual object.
2. Phenomenology as Limited Description
3. Transcendental Ego as Absolute
4. Der Lebenswelt (The Lifeworld)
“By a logical process, I can now conclude that this is... $4!7.”
- Dr. Reyes
“I love my wife, but there are some moments where I don't want to see her. Thus, the psychological action is set in time and space, depending on how I feel at the moment. As such, in the event I, knock on wood, break up with my wife, the meaning, given my current relationship to her would change, but the referential object would remain physically the same.”
- Dr. Reyes
... and I named it "Magicians for Magicians".
When you shorten that, it's "M4M".
I dunno about you, but maybe I should've thought that one over a bit more...
Thursday, February 05, 2009
Who knew grumpy old men can be so bad-@$$?
The spirit of Dirty Harry lives on in this film as Clint Eastwood stars as Walt Kowalski, a Pollock war veteran just trying to live out the last of his days in peace when he discovers that there's a lot more to life than he ever considered.
The film begins with the death of Walt's life, and he clearly bristles at the shallow sermon by the priest, who attempts to bond with Walt and force him to go to confession, in fulfillment of his promise to Walt's late wife. Old, jaded, and surly, Walt doesn't take too kindly to this, and the seeming dominance of immigrants in his neighborhood.
Despite his tough, hardened exterior, over time, he develops a bond with his Hmong neighbors, particularly Su Val and Thao, the latter the person who attempted to steal Walt's treasured possession, a vintage Ford Gran Torino. This in turn leads to tension with a Hmong gang, headed by Su Val's and Thao's cousin, who wanted Thao to join his gang.
The resolution of this conflict is precisely what makes this film genius. It's not a happy ending, by any means. But it's a coming of age for a man, 78 years of age, coming to terms with the fact that despite his long life, though he knew so much about death, he knew so little about life, and only when he has learned enough about it, did he put his affairs into order and sacrifice himself to rid his newfound friends of the horrors of the gang.
The film manages to make you laugh, then wrench at you when it gets to the end. Stark imagery, from Su Val's battered visage as she returned after being abducted, to the lighter in Walt's hand as he lay dead from automatic gunfire at the hands of the gang, and the Hmong's breaking of their cultural code of silence when they witnessed this crime all stood out as very powerful images that betray the sheer heart in the movie. The film's plot was stellar, and in spite of all the racial slurs hurled left and right, showed that deep down, there is so much good to be found in people, the kind of good that is represented by the Gran Torino: something that isn't for the taking but is given to the deserving, much to the chagrin of Walt's granddaughter, who was expecting to inherit the car.
“Gran Torino” is a heavily character-driven story. Character development is arguably its strongest point, as both Walt and the Hmongs slowly evolve from being antagonistic of each other to being closer than Walt is to his immediate family. Racial tensions were played both ways to underscore that in the end, the relationship between them was far more important than whatever stereotypes they may have of each other in turn.
Unlike most of the other movies I heartily recommend, this is a movie that could very well help you find the deeper meaning of life. I strongly urge you to give this film a shot. You won't regret it.
Fun Evaluation: A-
Critical Evaluation: A+
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
... but boy, this little wonder really has me going. Heh.
I'm figuring out the different nooks and crannies involved in the device, but it's definitely a pleasure to handle, to say the least.
.:In Preparation For A New Job, Perhaps?:.
I'm lined up to start training for Chun Dahng this Monday, although I'm still holding out for other possible offers in the horizon. Nonetheless, training is training, and I'll go for it in the meantime, but I'd definitely want to look into my other options soon enough...
.:Delays... =( :.
I'm not graduating this March, unfortunately. Due to thesis delays, I have to graduate this coming summer. Nonetheless, I guess that's something I can live with, at the end of the day.
I was just meaning to graduate with my friends, really. I was hoping for that.
.:Not Yet The End...:.
I'll always love you. Always.
Monday, February 02, 2009
I'm back in the thick of things for Magic: The Gathering, which is my current time sink at the moment.
Here's hoping that I do well come next tournament, since I've kinda done a lot of work and put a lot of thought into what I'm going to be doing come February 21 already...