Ep. 46 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - Conclusion and the Prophets of the Meaning Crisis | Transcription

Transcription for the video titled "Ep. 46 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - Conclusion and the Prophets of the Meaning Crisis".

1970-01-01T07:50:56.000Z

Note: This transcription is split and grouped by topics and subtopics. You can navigate through the Table of Contents on the left. It's interactive. All paragraphs are timed to the original video. Click on the time (e.g., 01:53) to jump to the specific portion of the video.


Introduction

Intro (02:22)

Understanding is missing, transformational experience, is transformative experience is missing, aspiration is missing, gnosis is missing. So all of these things need to be deeply integrated together. I tried to give you an account of what I think, sorry, that's too grandiose. I tried to suggest the beginnings of an account of how we turn basic understanding which is to grasp the relevance of our knowledge into profound understanding by integrating the account of understanding with the account of plausibility so that profound understanding is the generation of plausibility by having convergence onto a contextually sensitive optimal grip that is transformatively transferable in a highly effective manner in problem finding in many different, problem finding, formulating and solving in many different domains. I also brought out the idea that in addition to inspiration, this is a term I'm giving for more sudden insight, insight laden, transformative experience. You can have, ask what Calard calls aspiration, that's more incremental, it still can't be solved in an inferential decision theoretic fashion. She agrees with Paul on that. She does argue though, and I agree with this argument that aspiration must be considered a form of rationality which he calls proleptic rationality because you're going to get into a performative contradiction. If my aspiration for rationality and my love of wisdom are not themselves rational processes, I'm kind of in trouble in my model of rationality. Then given all of that philosophy, what's missing as I argued is an extensive psychology of aspiration. I know one of my colleagues, Jensen Kim is working on exactly that problem, and he's of course doing it in connection with a psychology of wisdom. I did suggest to you that we could see one of Calard's ideas of how we do this by, right, we create something that's double faced. I argued ultimately symbolic, having aspects of narcissism that allows us to make the jump, the leap, even if it's an incremental one, right, from who we are now and what we value now to the place where I've acquired some new thing that I value for its own sake. We use the example of music appreciation, et cetera, right? But unlike Calard, I see that as inherently relying on our symbolic capacity or capacity for enacted symbolic behavior, what I call "nossus," serious play. And because, I mean, in serious play, it's always like when I'm playing with something, I'm treating it as, for example, a sword, but it's actually a piece of plastic, that kind of serious play, that symbolic ability, especially the inactive one that gives me anagoguet and anologia, that's really important. I would also argue for aspiration, at least for the placeholders that do important work within aspiration. I also argued that aspiration also probably has an affective component to it, and I suggested that wonder, and we saw how central wonder is to the cultivation of wisdom, that wonder is the affective state that's most conducive to aspirational progress, because of the way it opens up our identity in our world, triggers the transjective relationship and puts it into, right, that participatory knowing, puts it into a developmental trajectory. So all of that needs to be integrated together into an account of wisdom. And then I suggested to you drawing it all together, is that wisdom is an ecology of psychotechnologies slash cognitive styles, right, that dynamically, and that means, reciprocal optimisation, that dynamically enhances the relevance of realization that's central to inference, to insight and intuition, to internalising, especially internalising the sage, to understanding and gnosis and related to gnosis, to the relevance realisation at work within transformative, within transformative experience and aspiration. And then I already noted to you that that enhancement, that way in which I'm talking about wisdom, that dynamic system, that ecology is already overlapping, and as it should, it is overlapping with the account we gave of enlightenment, where a crucial element of enlightenment was to create a counteractive dynamical system that counteracts parasitic processing. And I'm showing you that I think of wisdom, I'm arguing that wisdom is a kind of dynamical system that is counteractive for overcoming self-deception and therefore would be counteractive for overcoming parasitic processing and foolishness. This is a processing account.


Exploration Of Wisdom Across Different Perspectives

Wisdom in Buddhism (07:29)

You can see, I think, given what I've just said, how it would ameliorate foolishness, we've already talked about how it might enhance flourishing by, and we did that in connection with Sternberg, how it's going to help you be better connected to yourself, to other people and to the world. But I would argue that, especially where it's overlapping with enlightenment, that what wisdom is doing in order to enhance meaning in life is it's enhancing religio. So we've got wisdom here, right, and I'm sort of saying there's a significant overlap with enlightenment. And one of the things that wisdom is doing that's also really important, right, is it's enhancing religio. That's a way in which it can powerfully, and we saw already the connection, remember our dealt, the connection to agape, right.


Wisdom, religio, and sacredness? (08:29)

It's enhancing religio, and I would say that the enhancement of religio is already, and remember the role of wonder, potentially even awe here, it's taking us into sacredness, the notion of sacredness that I already have argued and articulated for. So given this connection, right, so this is how it's enhancing meaning in life, and of course this is also an enhancement. These are all connected, is what I'm saying, it's enhancing sacredness. I think it's plausible therefore to argue, not to conclude decisively, but to argue that I've shown, I've explicated and explained the deep connections between wisdom, enlightenment, the enhancement of religio, and thereby the relationship to sacredness. I want to draw that all together, right, in this notion of the wise cultivation of enlightenment. The wise cultivation of enlightenment, where that carries with it, of course the enhancement of religio, the encountering with the sacred, the enhancement of meaning in life, etc. The wise cultivation of enlightenment.


Wisdom, cognitive science & wisdom wiki (09:57)

I think if the wise cultivation of enlightenment is situated within two things. If it's situated within a worldview that affords worldview attunement, if it's situated within a worldview, and I've tried to do that, but throughout consistently, I believe at least, making this account consistent with a scientific worldview by running it all off the machinery of relevance, realization that can ultimately be given a naturalistic explanation. Right, so, and we've already argued how four-eke cognitive science, third generation cognitive science can give us this worldview, and notice how much the discussion of wisdom was invoking a lot of the theoretical machinery that we got from third generation four-eke cognitive science was all through it. Okay, so that is situated into basically an enabling and encouraging worldview, and that is also situated within some of the things I suggested, where we have a co-op network of communities of practice. Let me make good. I've already talked about what that is, and that is in a reflective equilibrium, dynamic ongoing one, with a wisdom wiki, and this has both the top down, like there's researchers, like the researchers in wisdom that I've talked about here, and then drawn from here, of course, is, right, we want to talk about the practitioners. All right, people are practicing, and of course, this is a bottom up top down relationship. So, we have the practitioners, we have the researchers top down bottom up relationship, and they are in that fashion contributing to the wisdom wiki. The wisdom wiki is acting as a, it's taking on a credal function, right, but it's always in service of religio, and therefore, it's being created in a large part by these communities of practice. Now, I think if you put this all together, here it is. This is how I think we can awaken from the meaning crisis. I think that we can draw all of the machinery to gather for overcoming the perennial problems dealing with the historical issues, how to connect, right, how to connect wisdom and enlightenment together in a comprehensive fashion, and to connect that with enhancing and meaning in life, and overcoming self-deception, et cetera, all of that machinery, and then situating it within this kind of socio-cultural framework, I think that's how we can, individually and collectively awaken from the meaning crisis. And why I want to one more time, and that's what's part of this emphasize, that all of this has been explained and can be engineered from within a secular scientific worldview. It's not a view that is in any way, I think hostile to religion, I am genuinely sincerely respectful throughout, but it is a way that is not dependent on religion, nor is it dependent on a political ideology. A lot of this, this part of it, is already nascent.


The crisis of meaning; impact of science (14:27)

It's already coming into existence. We have some existing examples of this that are being developed. We can apply it. I've tried to give you an account of this, and I've tried to give you an account of how the cognitive science resituates us within a scientific worldview. What I now want to do is to put this into, I hope, a constructive dialogue with other responders to the meaning crisis. I would even call them prophets in the Old Testament sense of people that were telling forth the meaning crisis, trying to awaken us to it, and trying to galvanize us in response to it. So what I want to do is take everything that I've done, it's not summarized by this schema, I hope it's not oversimplified by the schema. It's summarized, and I want to put this into dialogue, I hope, like I said, constructive dialogue with some of the central prophets of the meaning crisis, especially in the 20th and 21st century. Now inevitably, I cannot do everybody, your favorite philosopher might not make it here. Both for lack of time and lack of expertise, I'm not going to talk, for example, very much about Wittgenstein, although I think he's important. I've taken a lot of undergraduate courses, graduate courses, read a lot in Wittgenstein. Wittgenstein has deeply influenced me, the notion of a cultural cognitive grammar is Wittgenstein through and through in important ways. But trying to connect Wittgenstein to the meaning crisis is not something that I feel I have the requisite expertise. Whitehead is a philosopher, I am currently again trying to understand. He is somebody who is wrestling very deeply with the meaning crisis and trying to come up with a way of recituating us within a scientific worldview. I've read quite a bit, I'm reading quite a bit, I'm not confident yet about that. Whitehead, of course, has been terrifically relevant to process theology and some of the new theological innovations in the 20th century. And part of that can be, I think, I could argue, I think many people could argue, is a way of, that theological innovation is designed to respond to the meaning crisis. There's other people, those are just two clear examples. But what I want to offer is, instead, I've chosen the people I've chosen for two reasons. I've chosen them because I think I have some relevant knowledge, relevant expertise to bring to bear. And secondly, because they form a network. I don't need to present them in a piecemeal fashion. They have relations of contrast, connection, causal influence with each other. So there's a network of people I want to talk about that in a sense, harbingers of the meaning crisis. But again, in that prophetic sense, they're trying to awaken us and to rouse us to respond. So what I want to do is, first of all, put up what that network is going to look like to give you an overarching road map of where we're going, an overarching road map of where we're going, and then what I'm going to be doing throughout is presenting that material, and then, as I said, trying to put it into constructive dialogue with the argument I have made. My attempt is not to sort of say that they are all -- my account is better, or they're all just saying what I was saying.


Heidegger, ontological happenings, (18:10)

But what I want to show is that the account I've made can be -- I can argue that it is deeply responsive and responsible to the work of these prophets of the meaning crisis. So the figure that -- and he's a controversial figure, and I think it's fair to say my philosophical attitude towards him is one of ambivalence. But sort of a pivotal figure in this is Heidegger. So I want to take a look at Heidegger. Right now I'm not going into discussing these people. I want to draw out some important connections. We'll have to go behind Heidegger a little bit and talk about Husserl and phenomenology. That's important. Heidegger is, I would argue, also deeply influenced by sort of the gnausus underground running through Germany, especially in the 20th century and especially like between the wars. And that comes through at least explicitly -- you can see this in John Caputo's book on the mystical element in Heidegger's thought. This comes through the Rhineland mystic of Meister Eckhart has a huge impact on Heidegger. So those are definitely important aspects, important influences. Another, of course, tittanically important because he just influences everybody is Kant. And behind Kant, of course, is Descartes. So many of these people I'm not going to talk about at length because I've already talked. But I'm trying to map this out because I'm trying to show you what I'm going to invoke and then what I'm going to discuss in order to try and draw this all together. So another really important figure -- and you've heard me mention them several times -- and he directly gets into that connection with theology. But he's one of the, I think, one of the great writers about the meaning crisis is, of course, Paul Tillic. And his masterpiece, The Courage to Be, is all about, you know, a prophetic announcement of the meaning crisis and an attempt to seriously revise, you know, theology to take that into account. And there's also -- and it's, I think, both this way and it's not clear if it's also independently, but there are Gnostic element, deeply Gnostic elements. So I'll put that as sort of a dotted line in Tillic. That Tillic famously argues that we need to get to the God beyond the God of Theism, which is about a Gnostic statement as you can possibly make.


Corbin, distal awareness, indeterminism (21:20)

So Heidegger also has a lot of influence on somebody you've heard me mention, especially with ideas of transjectivity, but he has a lot to say about symbolism and the meaning crisis. And this is Corbin. And so I'm going to have to talk a lot about Corbin because I haven't discussed him at length, but his work is, again, very pivotal in trying to respond to the meaning crisis and the work that Chatham has done in his trilogy of books, or maybe there's four books, maybe. But I've read three. But I've read two and I'm currently reading the third. Books on Corbin really help to make a good case for how important it is. Many people don't know about, for example, the deep connections between somebody else that we're going to talk about, Corbin and Jung. And of course, Jung is directly influenced by the Gnostics and directly influenced by Caught. This allows me to bring out another important connection, which is the work of Dortley, because what he does, which is really impressive, is he shows the deep similarities between Tillic and Jung. No doubt because of their sharing, well, I'm arguing the sharing of the Gnosis background. I would also argue that both Tillic and Jung are an important sense, non-theists, and we'll talk about what non-theism is as we get into that. But one of the core shared ideas, and this is actually the title of one of Dortley's book, is The Psyche as Sacrament. Both Tillic and Jung view the psyche in a sacramental fashion, and that is part of the way in which they attempt to respond to the meaning crisis. Both of them have profound things to say about symbols and the relationship to the spiritual life, broadly construed. So we're going to talk about Jung. Now, somebody that's also here, directly influenced by Gnosis, influenced by Caught through the Romantics, which we've talked about, at least the early German Romantics, people like Schlegel, for example, and therefore through Coolridge, right, and the person I'm drawing in here, this is going to be Barfield. And you've heard me mention him a couple times, and Barfield's notions of participation have a lot to say. You see how there's sort of a network here, and then there's another one that, of course, we need to talk about. And this is the connection between Heidegger and what's been sort of, I don't like this term, but, and people abuse it, postmodernism, as if everybody who's a postmodernist were saying the same thing. We should more carefully look at individual thinkers and their individual arguments. One potential connection here is, we'll take a look at it, Derrida. Now, whether or not we should call these two other people postmodern is not clear. They're deeply responding to postmodernism, and that's Graham Harmon, and the terrific work, Timothy Morton, are also doing, and this is what's known as speculative realism. It's also known as Harmon's particular version of it, is known as Triple O, this stands for object-oriented ontology.


Object-oriented ontology (Triple-O) (25:31)

This is the attempt to deeply bring back a profound kind of realism and contact with reality. Another person that's influenced by is Han, a current philosopher and cultural critic, we'll talk a little bit about, I can't give all of these people equal work. I'm going to talk about Barfield, Young, Corbin, and Tillic, and Heidegger, quite extensively, Harmon, not as much, Han not as much, Derrida not as much, but I'll at least touch upon them. Okay. Because I want to do this as a way of trying to connect the meaning crisis to what's been called postmodernity, broadly, very broadly construed, and offer an alternative response to postmodernism to both sort of wholesale adoption of it or the wholesale demonization of it. I think these are both overreactions that we should have a much more nuanced and careful response to. Now Heidegger has a huge influence in an area many people don't know about, and part of this influence is also James, and part of this influence is also Buddhism. And you've heard me mention this, and this is the Kyoto School, and they are deeply about responding to the meaning crisis, and especially the work of Nishita, who really is the pivotal figure in founding this, and then the person who I think wrote one of the masterpieces on responding to the meaning crisis, and this is Nishitani, his book Religion and Nothingness, I've read that book twice, I would put that book in the top five books of responding to the meaning crisis. It is not an easy book. That's why I've not yet put it into the Twitter book recommendations, I've recommended the Kyoto School, and some of Robert Carter's excellent work introducing you to these people. Directly reading this, Nishitani, is very difficult. You need to know Heidegger, well, James, well, Buddhism, well, all right, and then the Kyoto School people, and I won't talk about like Maso Abe, they put this into dialogue with people like Tillik and Whitehead.


James, Eckhart & the Kyoto School of Buddhist Philosophy (27:43)

So, this is what I want to try and address. Again, I will be giving some of these people much more priority, I only have four lectures left after this, so, right, four hours. So, I'll be giving some people much more priority than others. Obviously Heidegger is taking a central role here, but we'll be spending quite a bit of time with Barfield, Young, Corbin, and Tillik, and with Nishitani. So, those are the ones that I'm going to give priority to. These other people, I'll try to do my best to represent them. But I will have to prioritize. I want to keep my commitment to you that I finish this in the 50 episodes, and I also do not want to drag my video crew through some kind of video version of a death march until they are exhausted beyond all recognition. So, where to start on here? Well, I'm going to start at the center. So, this is very complicated, and this is not meant to be an explanatory schema.


Phenomenology, Secondary Conceptual Intuition, and the Meaning Crisis (29:21)

This is meant to be a roadmap to show you where I'm going, how are things connected. You can take this down, and like I said, then you can use this to retrace the connections as I try to explicate and explain them. All right. So, before we get to Heidegger, we have to talk about, I don't have to talk about Eckhart and the Rhineland Mystics, because I've already done that, or Gnosis, because I've already done that quite extensively, or Kant, because I've done that. But a person that I haven't discussed, but his Titanic influence on Heidegger is Husserl, Edmund Husserl. Husserl, of course, is famous for founding a whole philosophical movement called Phenomenology. Existentialism comes out of phenomenology via Heidegger, by the way. That's how you get existentialism. Heidegger does something too phenomenology, and it leads to existentialism, but it also leads to deconstructionism, post-modernism, blah, blah, blah. Now, again, you need an entire course to get clear about what phenomenology is. I really recommend the Introduction to Phenomenology by Sokka Lauski. Sokka Lauski. And the book Experimental Phenomenology by Don Heide. This sort of gives you an idea of what phenomenology is. Very good, very clear. And this gives you sort of ways of practicing some phenomenological techniques to get a more inside feel of what phenomenology is like. Now, phenomenology, Husserl even writes a book where he invokes the word "crisis" and "crisis" in European sciences. Phenomenology was Husserl's attempt to try, and I would argue, the following thing. It's an attempt to try and get us back to a contact epistemology. And that's why you can see people who are deeply influenced by the phenomenological tradition, like Dreyfus and Taylor, talking about the loss of a contact epistemology, because they're aware of the idea of a contact epistemology, I would argue, from their phenomenological heritage. Husserl famously argued about getting back to things, getting back to the things that we had gotten so abstracted and removed. We had lost contact with the world. We were out of touch in a profound way. And that's why phenomenology has had such a big influence on those aspects of cognitive science that are trying to show how deeply embedded, embodied, and connected we are to the world. So the attempt to get back to contact epistemology was really central. And one way of understanding that contact, and to put it into dialogue with the language we've been using in this course, is that you get this contact by, see, phenomenology shouldn't be confused with merely introspecting. That's the everyday or common sense stance. The phenomenological attitude is not the same thing as your common senseical everyday introspection. Instead, phenomenology is a much more disciplined practice in which you're trying to pay reflective and, following ID, kind of an experimental attention, this probative attention to the way in which we are in contact with the world. So, let's say that what I'm doing in phenomenology is I'm doing this reflective experimental exploratory probative attention to contact. And then how can we understand contact? Well, what's the result emphasized? Emphasized intentionality, right? That's one pole of this relation. Okay, now I've got to explain this. Normally when we use this word, it's correct, but it's a species of the broader sense of intentionality. When we say you do something intentionally, it means you're doing it on purpose. Intentionality here in phenomenology and philosophy in general is much more broader. It means any mental directiveness, any mental directiveness. So when my perceptions are of the bottle, or my actions are towards the book, right? Or I'm thinking about Paris. Those are all intentionality in that I have a mental directiveness. So there's the intentionality and it's in this reciprocal relationship with the way in which a world is disclosed. Where a world doesn't mean a planet. It means something that we've been talking about throughout, right? It means a meaningfully structured environment. A meaningfully structured environment. But I've tried to often capture by this notion of an arena. This is kind of a core kind of agency. This is at least mental agency. This mental directiveness. So, and this is important. This is how you can use the word "nouasis" here for this.


Hőlstërlin Phenomenology (35:28)

And the "nouima" is here. And there's of course all kinds of debates about what this does this refler to just something in my consciousness or something in the world that we're going to come back to some of this. I'm going to come back to it when in order to get to Harmon and we're going to look at Sparrow's Critica Phenomenology because he's going to argue that the very goal of phenomenology which was to get back into contact with reality. And therefore to be a kind of realism is thwarted by this setup. So he's going to argue that phenomenology ultimately fails as a form of realism. And that it's ultimately a kind of idealism and therefore doesn't give us what it purported to do. We'll come back to that. That's just for warning. What I would argue using this is what phenomenology, using what I mean by this is the language and some of the conceptual vocabulary and theoretical grammar we've developed together. Using that I would describe phenomenology as this reflective experimental exporter, a probative attention on the transjective relationship. And the fact that he's invoking this term, remember noisas, this is perspectival knowing. So putting it together, it's this reflective meaning all of these. It's this reflective attention paid to your perspectival knowing of the transjective relationship. And in that sense it's deeply consonant with, and that's no coincidence, this is how a huge influence on me and my thinking. And many of the people in third generation, Kog-Sai for e-cog-cog-cognoscience have been deeply influenced by this because they're trying to understand meaning in this transjective way, making sense. Now, as I said, we're going to come back to criticize that, but right now in order to make the bridge to Harmon, but what I want to do now and to speculative realism, what I want to do now is what did Heidegger do with this? Well, one way of putting this that I think draws together two of his criticisms is to, well, no, maybe in a better way, let's do the two criticisms and then draw them together. One of Heidegger's main criticisms is that Hülstelswerk, and this is going to be developed by Sparrow and the speculative realist, is that Hülstelswerk had not really given us contact. Now, one way I would put it is because it had not really developed an account of participatory knowing. It had not really developed an account of how the agent and the arena were fundamentally related together so that this perspectival relationship could unfold. Now, I don't think that's the case for all of phenomenology. I would make the case that Marlow Ponte's, and we talked about this, Marlow Ponte's ideas about embodiment and embeddedness are trying to get at the connection between the perspectival knowing of Hülsterellian phenomenology and the participatory knowing. Nevertheless, what Heidegger was innovating, and this is how he was bringing in an existential aspect, he was trying to point out that the modal relationship between the agent and the arena, using our terms, was not properly accounted for within the Hülsterellian framework. So participatory knowing was deeply missing, and that's sort of our fundamental way in which we're connected in contact with being. And then in connection with that, that participatory knowing had not been set within an ontology, that this needed to be set within participatory knowing, existential modes, right, existentialism comes out of Heidegger.


Hølster cin in harmon (40:10)

And that in turn needed to be set into a proper ontology, a proper account of the structure of being, to use our language, how does the transjective relationship sit within an overall account of the structure of being itself. And if we don't have that, then we don't have a con, we have not really got contact back, because we're still out of touch with our being and through our being of being itself. We're out of touch with our being and through our being of being itself. This is Heidegger's main criticism, a related criticism that is pervasive, although for a long time implicit, and I don't like the way Heidegger eventually turned on Hülsterell for despicable reasons. But one of the criticisms Heidegger's making is Heidegger's Hülsterell was still trapped within the Cartesian cultural cognitive grammar. Hülsterell is deeply Cartesian, he entitles one of his books, Cartesian Meditations. So in that sense, Heidegger feels that Hülsterell is still bound within the Cartesian grammar, and he sees that that Cartesian cultural cognitive grammar for ways we've articulated radically cuts us off from the world. And this is of course a way of saying that we're still sort of trapped within our subjectivity, and in that sense, we'll see what Hülsterell means by Hülsterellian phenomenology is maybe still understandable as a kind of idealism which doesn't get us back to realism as much as the phenomenologist claim and wanted it to do so. So how do we get to this deeper contact? In an organized fashion, how do we do those two things? How do we open up participatory knowing, situate it within an ontology and break free from the Cartesian, ultimately he would say platonic, I think that's incorrect, maybe Aristotelian. But how do we escape the restrictions of the Cartesian cultural cognitive grammar that keep us out of contact with reality? So what we need to do is phenomenologically, not just theoretically but phenomenologically within participatory knowing by transforming it in a reflective experimental exploratory, probatory way, our attention, directing our attention in this fashion, opening up our perspectival knowing. So we're going to phenomenologically realize, but we're going to direct that phenomenological realization towards something important. We're going to direct it towards our being. Who and what we are.


Lets clarify what participatory knowing is about. (43:28)

That's how we're going to connect to the participatory knowing. What's that going to do? What we're going to have a phenomenological realization, which of course is then going to become an existential realization, that we are the beings whose being is in question. We are the beings whose being is in question. Now if you heard the word being and you think, well, you're a homo sapiens and you've got DNA, that's not what's being meant here. So be patient because it's what's grounding this that is our being. I'm not talking about a biological phenomenon at least in any direct sense, although I think it's ultimately grounded biologically. We're talking about what grounds this Hossolian framework in a participatory knowing. What does it mean to say we are the being whose being is in question? Well, you can even get a sense of this from the term existentialism. Remember we talked about this. That existentialism says human beings don't have an essence. Like other creatures, other things. So, you know, a gazelle is born. It is a gazelle. Its identity is set. It's going to develop into a gazelle. But for us, at least in so far I would argue as we are persons, are who and what we are, whether or not it makes sense to call it our essence because essence should be a widely shared property, but our being then, maybe that's a better word to use right now, who and what I am as the person, John Riveg, that has been in question. I existed before, right, before who and what I am has come into being. And in fact, it's still unclear to me who and what I am. And that's also the case for you are in question. You exist before you have an essence, before you have who and what you are. That's what existentialism ultimately points to, that your existence precedes your essence. That's one of the things existentialism takes out of Heidegger. But the key idea is that you, this thing's being is not in question to it or even ultimately to us. I mean we can sort of do philosophy on it, but there's from within phenomenology, from within a phenomenological perspective, I'm sorry, phenomenological stance is perhaps a better word. We are in question to ourselves, who am I, what am I, what is it to be a person, what kind of person am I. And you see why this is relevant? This question goes fundamentally, it's bound up with this question. What is the meaning of my life? What is it's meaning? Notice, and we've already talked about Heidegger's connection to this. Heidegger is trying to get you into something like an aporia and he's trying to get you to remember the being mode.


Philosophical Perspectives Of Existential Crisis

What aporia is. (47:09)

The mode in which you're not trying to manipulate even yourself and solve problems, you're stepping back and confronting mystery because you're engaged not with controlling things and satisfying your having needs. You're engaged in a process of development, of becoming. And so you're confronting mystery because you're going through transformative experience. You are the being whose being is in question and he's trying to wake you up, not theoretically, phenomenologically, he's wanting to get you to phenomenologically realize that you are the being whose being is in question. That's what we all are. So instead of referring to us as persons or human beings or things like that, he crashed this new word. Heidegger's famous for neologisms and part of what he's trying to do with the neologisms is break us out of the familiar terms and thereby break us out of the Cartesian grammar. He comes up with his word, dazine, which means being there. It has to do with, you know, I exist being there, being there. I'm sort of thrown into the world, thrown into existence and my being is in question, the dazine being there. So what's interesting is my participatory knowing, the way in which I try to connect to how I'm situated in being has an operatic element to it, aporia, in which I realize that central to me, according to Heidegger, is that my being is in question.


How do we bridge the gap between ontology and phenomenology? (48:58)

Now, if my being, that's my participatory knowing, my groundedness in being is in question. That is how I can link participatory knowing to ontology itself. Do you see? Because, and this is why it's participatory knowing, my self-knowledge will also get me into my knowledge of ontology because by knowing myself as the being whose being in question, I can put ontology itself into question. I can put, sorry, no, sorry, I can frame an ontological question of putting being itself into question. I know myself as a being whose being is in question and knowing myself that way is also to put being into question. Right? And so I've got this deep participation in the, the co-determining mysteries of who I am and what being is. So, by phenomenologically exploring that being, the being of Dazin, we can simultaneously come into contact with our modal existence. We can remember the being mode. We can be open up to the wonder of our own being that we are ultimately self defining, at least in some important aspect, we're ultimately self defining, self making things. But of course we don't do that egotistically or egocentricly because we're bound to the world for reasons I've already given you multiple times. So by phenomenologically exploring the being of Dazin, we can simultaneously come into contact with our own modal existence and the mystery of being itself. So this is starting to take us right into the core of how Heidegger is trying to deepen what he thinks was missing the, ultimately the contact with ourselves, right, but not with our autobiographical ego, but with our being. The contact, our participatory knowing of our self, the connectedness to being. And he's found this, I mean that's why He's Heidegger, this brilliant insight that because we are the being whose beings in question, we can deepen the contact by phenomenologically exploring this.


Heideggers vision of a path of return to the genuinely human. (51:29)

So that's really central to what Heidegger is trying to do. Reading Heidegger is very hard because it's filled with all this neologism, it's filled with all of this constant, right, qualifying, this constant self criticism, which of course is good. This constant refinement, but also this constant acknowledgement statement that it's not quite getting it, we're not getting the answer. So it's like going on the walk through a really gnarled forest with somebody, this is a metaphor that Heidegger himself would use, and you get a sense of progress, but it's not clear if you're actually making progress, you come into clearings and you get openings and insight, but then there's also, but yeah, we haven't arrived, we haven't arrived until you go on again, and so there's this long process. So what I want to do instead with you is instead of trying to do something audacious, try to summarize, I want to try and go in and get some, I'm going to do some exposition with you, I want to read some key quotes from Heidegger, and what I then want to do is try and unpack them, following this idea of how he's trying to deepen contact, trying to put into dialogue with the very tremendous help of Dreyfus with the machinery, the theoretical machinery we have developed, and that will also afford me a critical response to Heidegger. I'm not going to start those quotes now because we're almost out of time. What I want to do is just foreshadow what Heidegger is going to argue, Heidegger is going to argue that the history of metaphysics, that whole philosophical history coming out of the axial revolution is actually the history of nihilism. This is why He has a prophet of the meaning crisis, that whole historical development, that framework, that cultural cognitive grammar that we've inherited from the axial revolution, that whole metaphysical framework has developed inexorably towards nihilism.


Historical Perspective On Nihilism

Aristotle claimed that nihilism (the rejection of all beliefs) accompanied the decline of the ancient world. (53:46)

It has driven us into the meaning crisis, and of course that's already deeply resonant with the historical analysis that we pursued in the first half of this course. So if we can understand that cultural cognitive grammar of metaphysics, that's a pejorative term for Heidegger, we can link it to this project of the phenomenological investigation of Dazin and break free from that grammar and deeply re-establish, and this is not just theoretically, this is phenomenologically existentially our contact with being, and that deep participatory knowing, and remembering of being, and the realization of being, and how it's not a being, not a particular being, and our status with respect to being, that's the response. Heidegger is recommending to the meaning crisis, and next time what I would like to do with you is explore what his thinking is by going through the quotes, unpack it more, link it to the argument that the history of metaphysics is the history of nihilism, see what we can glean in a cooperative dialogue between this course and Heidegger, about responding to the meaning crisis and draw what important or at least relevant conclusions we can from that. Thank you very much for your time and attention.


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