Ep. 47 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - Heidegger | Transcription

Transcription for the video titled "Ep. 47 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - Heidegger".


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Intro (00:00)

Welcome back to Awakening from the Meaning Crisis. Last time I finished the discussion of wisdom and connected it to enlightenment and argued for the wise cultivation of enlightenment as our deepest kind of existential response to the Meaning Crisis, a way in which we can awaken from the Meaning Crisis. I then wanted to put that scientific model of spirituality, or, like I'll have a better phrase, into discourse with some of the central prophets of the Meaning Crisis. I'm using the word "profit" of course as it's used in the Old Testament sense. I'm talking about individuals who were crucial for articulating the advent and helping to propose or promise a response to the Meaning Crisis. I put a diagram on the board, I'm not going to re-put that diagram on the board in which Heidegger played a central role. There's many connections in there that I will not be able to fully address. I'll point out, and because some of the people are there in so far as they help us articulate their response, not to be examined for their own sake. A couple of major pointers I want to make out. First on apology, I misspelled because of my dysgraphia, and I didn't realize it. There was something bothering me the whole time about the diagram. I misspelled Heidegger, I won't make that mistake again. I mentioned the work of Nishita and Nishita in the Kyoto School. I will talk briefly about Nishita here, but I won't be able to go into that in depth. I do intend to pursue this later in another series. I am putting together a couple of series to follow this one. I would like to do a series that will include work on the Kyoto School series that I'm entitling, The God Beyond God, in which we look at all of these great non-theistic thinkers within both Eastern and Western traditions and things like the Kyoto School that tried to bridge between them. I will have to neglect to some degree the Kyoto School in this series, but I promise to follow it up more deeply in another series.

Analysis Of Philosophical Ideas And Theories

Derrida (02:39)

I also mentioned Derrida, and I will not be able to talk very much, but maybe not even at all about Derrida and deconstructionism. I will also address this again when I return in the other series, The God Beyond God, especially when I'm going to talk about the relationship between Derrida and what's called negative theology. So, many of you will be perhaps disappointed that I don't talk too much about Derrida or the Kyoto School. I do promise to return to that in another series that I am currently working on. So, what I did, I tried to give a quick background to Haida Gurb. I talked about the importance of Husserl and phenomenology, and I pointed you to the work of Sokoloski as a great introduction, and this slogan of back to the things. Husserl, and he does write a book with the word crisis in its title, the crisis, I think, in European science. We talked, and this is basically, he is pointing to the loss of contact epistemology, and he's trying to get that contact back. And this is done through a reflective experience, not just introspection, but through a reflective experiential attention, paid to the structures and processes within our experience. And I pointed out how there's two components in this, there's the intentional mental directedness, noesus, and then there's the world disclosure, there's a deep correlation between them. This is the noema, the noesus, and notice that that's the term I've used also to describe perspectival knowing, right? And the correlation between the noesus and the noema is very much right, like the agent arena relationship. Now, we took a look at Heidegger's main criticism of Husserl's work, and Heidegger's main criticism is that Husserl's work had not really given us back the missing contact. I would say that, I'm in agreement with this, I think Heidegger's pointing to something very important in the critique of phenomenology that Sparrow has picked up in his wonderful book, The End of Phenomenology. Anyways, Husserl's work had not given us a contact, but it has not really developed adequately participatory knowing. Now, I do think that Marlow Ponte went a long way towards addressing this, he's after Heidegger, with his notion of embodiment. And I think I've tried to explain how much this notion of embodiment has been taken up into cognitive science, and how intimately it is connected with the return to contact epistemology. In fact, I would argue that there is no return to a contact epistemology without a deep existential and theoretical recognition of embodiment. So, Heidegger's critiquing both the lack of participatory knowing, and perhaps that's addressed by Marlow Ponte, but there's a further thing that I think Marlow Ponte does not address that is also lacking from the lack of embodiment. So, I think that's a very important thing to do with the lack of embodiment. And I think that the lack of embodiment is not set within a deeper understanding of being and how we come into contact with being. Being as realness, in the sense of the ground-digness, without which grounds truth seems to be something that Heidegger feels that was lacking in Husserl's work. Heidegger thought that Husserl was still trapped within the Cartesian cultural cognitive grammar. Husserl was still trapped within subjectivity. And this is the main thing that Sparrow criticized his throughout his entire book. There's also a YouTube video by him that you can watch on his critique of phenomenology. That phenomenology is driven by the goal of returning to the things, but because of its approach, it actually can ever return to the things. It is still locked into a kind of subjectivity or a hidden kind of idealism that what is really needed to get to being is this aspect of Heidegger that I'm going to talk about shortly, which is to pay attention to the independence of being from our experience of it, which is something that a lot of people do not tend to emphasize in Heidegger. That's largely because I think while it's president Heidegger, it's not made explicit and foregrounded enough from him, but I think the work of speculative realists like Harmon and others, Morton, for example, brings this aspect out and why they see their work as transcending phenomenology. So now to return to Heidegger, how do we get to this deeper contact? Well, it's really interesting. He's still within phenomenology, but he's trying to get it to drive towards ontology, get us back in touch with the world. And he's trying to get you to do this through a specific kind of questioning. You have to think of this questioning as taking place not in the having mode in which we're trying to get an answer, trying to control the situation. You have to think of it much more as within the being mode, a being mode that is experienced as wonder. In fact, perhaps a better word is not questioning, but questing. You're trying to go on a quest with this questioning. You're not trying to have a propositional answer. You're trying to engage in a participatory transformation. Now, this brings us to the central thing for Heidegger in some ways. And this is Heidegger's notion of Dazin being there. This is our being. And notice how this is an inheritance from the Christian tradition that we're in the image of God. Somehow, by Heidegger's taking this up and somehow by paying attention, by wondering into, questing into our being, we will get a deeper understanding of being. Why is that? Because for Heidegger, our being is the being, right? Whose being is in question? We are the type of being who actually question who and what we are in a way that makes a difference to who and what we are. This is the core idea of existentialism. Existentialism is that we are fundamentally, right, without an essence and that we are, right, our essence, if you want to put it that way, is to have no essence. And therefore, we are continually defining ourselves by how we question our being and respond to that questioning questing. So the idea by phenomenologically exploring that being, our Dazin, the way we are the being who is being as in question, we can simultaneously come into contact with our modal existence, come into the being mode, and come into contact with the mystery of being. Now, coming into contact with this is central to Heidegger. And Heidegger is deeply responding to the meaning crisis. One of Heidegger's most famous, or perhaps infamous, theses, the one that runs as a constant thread throughout his work is this idea. That the history of metaphysics, which Heidegger tends to use in a pejorative term, the history of philosophical existential and perhaps also religious responses to Dazin to the kind of being we have, the history of that response is metaphysics, and for Heidegger, that history is the history of nihilism.

(Trad Pluralism) Meaning Crisis as Result of Nihilism (11:02)

Heidegger sees that whole project as fundamentally misconstrued to use our language, the whole project is a fundamental misframing of our relationship to being. And because of that, that has produced this deep loss of contact with our being and therefore simultaneously with being itself. And that for Heidegger is the meaning crisis. So this whole history that we saw, for example, in the first half of this series is the history of nihilism. You can see, I hope, if you remember that argument, that there's a lot of great truth in what Heidegger has to say about how the unfolding of the history of that metaphysical project has led us into the meaning crisis.

Heideggers Critique of Metaphysics (12:06)

Heidegger does not use the word ontology in a pejorative way, the way he uses the word metaphysics. Most people don't have this distinction as clearly as Heidegger stipulates it to be. So when we're talking about Heidegger, metaphysics is a pejorative term. It is a misframing of the ontological project. The ontological project is the project of understanding our being and thereby understanding our relation to being and thereby understanding being itself. So, I mean Heidegger is voluminous, who's incredibly prolific. He's also famously difficult to read. His works have an apparitic structure to them. They often fail to come to any clear conclusion. Part of that, I think, is legitimate. Part of that is him wrestling with trying to break out of the cultural cognitive grammar. But I also think, and this is part of my criticism of Heidegger, part of it is self-promotional. By constantly being the person announcing these deep mysteries, he also, and how difficult it is to think about them and how he's exemplifying that difficulty. He was also, and I think it's pretty clear this is part of what he's doing. He was also, you can see this from some of those who knew him more intimately, he was also building a mystique around himself. So you have to take that into account. So all of that makes it difficult to sort of point to, here's where I'm going to point to the core of Heidegger. But I do think there's something for me and for many other people, and I hope for you, there is a particular place where I think we can zero in on what Heidegger is doing. And this is his important essay of Audeisen der Vahreheit, which is on the essence of truth. And I think this is important because it will tie into many of the themes we have discussed. I want to read an extended quote from this, and then I'll comment on it. So this is the quote from Heidegger. I'll obviously translate it into English, which is a difficult task I've been told. You have to read a lot of Heidegger before you read Heidegger well, because you will misread Heidegger for a long time. And part of why He makes His writing so torturous is to sort of tear you out of the mistaken ways you will misunderstand Him. Okay, so here is the translation. A statement is invested with its correctness. So this is a sense of true when we say that statement is true and we mean it's correct. A statement is invested with its correctness by the openness of comportment. So I'm going to try and unpack all of this for you. The openness of comportment, how you were comported towards things. For only through the latter, the openness of comportment, and I'll try and explain to you what that means. Can what is opened up? Right, what is opened up really become the standard for the presentatative correspondence. Okay, so let's stop here. So here's the idea of truth as correspondence, a standard notion of truth. So the idea here is this is how truth works. Here's a statement. And what makes it correct is that it corresponds in some important way to reality. What's in the statement and what's in reality? All right, correspond. That's what makes it correct. That's what it is to be true. Now, of course, famously philosophers have argued for a long time and many different ways about what this correspondence is. But what Heidegger is trying to say is that debate about the correspondence has missed something and here's part of the misframing. It's missed that this corresponding relationship is grounded, is depended on, and is sustained by a deeper relationship. All right. Open comportment must let itself be assigned the standard. So this lower relationship, this open comportment is an affordance of an ability to set up correspondence between statements and reality such that we find them true. Now, start to think about what this means. It must mean that in making the statement, the person is directed and connected. It also means that, right, the statement is picking up on some aspect of reality that is disclosed and there's some kind of connection there. So he's trying to point towards those. This means that it must take over a pre-given standard for all presentation. This belongs to the openness of comportment. So the normative standard, what we normally call truth, truth as correctness as correspondence between statement and reality, is ultimately grounded dependence on how this deeper relationship, which we haven't quite articulated yet, affords and makes possible this. But you can see something here to use some of our language. You can see how the agent and the arena have to be shaped to each other such that what the agent does or says is meaningful in that arena.

Attunement and Relevance Realization (17:42)

So the agent and arena relationship makes possible and affords this correctness. But of course, what Heidegger is pointing to is, yes, but what grounds this agent and arena relationship? Now, I've tried to argue that it's ultimately the process of relevance realization. We're going to come back to that. Heidegger is going to, I'm going to argue that this is relevance, I've argued this is relevance realization. Heidegger talks about this in terms of attunement. He uses attunement, which is very nice because it picks up on musicality. So here's another quote by Heidegger specifically mentioned this. "However, being attuned, attunement can never be understood as experience." Notice what He's saying here. "Attunement can never be understood as experience and feeling." He is rejecting any subjective interpretation of attunement. Why? Because, to continue, it is thereby simply deprived of its essence. You have lost the essence of attunement if you understand it subjectively. It is not an experience. It is something that makes meaningful experience possible. And I argue that that, of course, was the case for relevance realization. Let's continue with quote. "Being attuned, that is what He calls 'eck-zistent' standing out, 'exposiveness.' So this standing out, He takes the word 'existence' and does, it's sort of, he plays with words a lot. This is standing out, which of course is analogous to how, what the word 'sailient' means, standing out. This 'existant' exposedness, how things write, exposedness to being, this is us, right? As a whole can be experienced and felt, and he puts both of those words in sort of scare quotes to question them, only because the man who experiences, again in question, because he's challenging this whole natural way of thinking and talking. That's what he's putting it all in these scare quotes, right? Without being aware of the essence of attunement is always engaged in being entuned in a way that discloses beings as a whole, right? So attunement is not subjective. Any subjective feeling or experience of it is actually grounded in the attuning relationship that precedes and grounds our cognitive appraisal or appropriation within the agent-arena relationship. Okay? So because we have got locked up here, what I would call the propositional level, we have forgotten this.

Ignorance of the Attunement Relationship (20:55)

We have forgotten the attunement relationship, which for Heidegger is the essence of truth because it's what makes correctness of statements possible for us. Because of this forgetfulness, there's another quote, "Man clings to what is readily available and controllable ever while even," sorry, "Man clings to what is readily available and controllable even where ultimate matters are concerned." Remember that word ultimate when we come back to Tillik, please. So what happens is we get trapped into the halving of propositions. We get trapped into the halving mode, right? What is readily available and controllable? There's a deep, modal confusion at this deep existential level.

Halving Propositions: The Love of Victory (21:44)

The forgetting of the grounding attunement also traps us within propositional processing and it traps us in the halving mode. The halving of correct propositions. And this goes right back, right? This goes right back to Plato. I don't think Heidegger would like me doing this. His attitude towards Plato is very ambivalent. Plato consistently makes a distinction between Philo, Philia Sophia, the love of wisdom and Philia, Nakia, right? The love of victory. The love of victory. The halving of the correct answer that defeats the opponent. And when Plato's ongoing points is, this is the deepest kind of bullshitting because this looks like we're arguing. This looks like we're reasoning, right? But what we're doing is manipulating propositions, right? And trying to assert correctness but we're forgetting all of this and we're forgetting the pursuit of wisdom, the transformative existential project that Socrates advanced for us. This is why I continually criticize people who I suspect present themselves as if they're doing this but are often doing this. This is why I am so critical of people who want to debunk, demolish and debate to the point of victory, their opponents. People who really are incapable of getting out of modal confusion, they cannot remember the beating mode because, right? They can't listen. Look, this is how somebody's listening. They will say, I did not know that. I have just learned something from you or I was wrong. I was mistaken about this. Those are the marks of Phylia Sophia. Heidegger is trying to get us to remember Phylia Sophia. And he definitely sees the history of metaphysics as becoming more and more bound up with Phylia Nakia, the pursuit of victory, the ultimate theory that crushes all opposition. So, we have to wake up, according to Heidegger. And again, this is why his language is so torturous because we are in a state of deprogatefulness, deep modal confusion, and if we read his text, we are deeply tempted to read them from that forgetfulness and that modal confusion and thereby fundamentally misunderstand them. So, his texts are deliberately socratic and they are constantly trying to undermine that cognitive cultural grammar that we have britchely bring to things. So, he wants us to remember Sati, the forgotten mystery of Dazan.

Heidegger's Response to Truth as a Limit (24:50)

So, he says this, "Whenever the concealment of being as whole is conceded only as a limit that occasionally announces itself, concealing as a fundamental occurrence has sunk into forgetfulness. If we only sort of acknowledge the way beings transcend our framing of them, sort of at the limit, yes, yes, yes. Their reality is combinatorial explosive, yes, yes, yes, yes. And we turn that and we wave our hands and then we go back to, yes, but within this, within my framework, blah, blah, blah, blah." And what Heidegger says is, when you only acknowledge it as a limit, you have actually deeply forgotten it. That relationship to the combinatorial explosive nature of things has to be an ongoing feature of your thinking. Now, I try to argue for this within the Relevance Realization Framework, which I'm going to show you is deeply appropriate to Heidegger in terms of this idea of sacredness as an acted, enacted participatory, right, resonance to the mournness, the inexhaustableness of reality.

Harman and Object Oriented Ontology (26:06)

In order to pick this up, I want to briefly, because as I said, I can't go into this in great deal. I hope to go into this again later in another series. But I want to briefly talk about the work of Harmon and what's called Object-Oriented Ontology, or what's also known as speculative realism. And this is the position from which Sparrow and Harmon and others have critiqued phenomenology as being inadequate. So, what's, again, trying to summarize all of this, which is like some of the most exciting work that's recently being done in ontology. And I respect people who say we need to talk about ontology more, but if you want to talk about ontology, just don't do old talk about ontology. Pay attention to the insightful, inventive new work being done on ontology with speculative realism. So, again, I won't even claim this as a summary. I'm just picking up one important threat of speculative realism as a way of trying to develop this important idea of Heidegger, because we're going to need it when we talk about other people like Tillic and Young and Barfield. So, the core of this is not the Kantian picture of the thing in itself veiled by subjectivity. So, remember that Kantian picture? Our subjectivity completely veils the thing in itself and makes it ultimately inaccessible to us. So, what Harmon is speaking up on is that this transjective attunement, and we'll come back to see that there's a difficulty with limiting ontology to what they call correlation, just our experience of ontology. But, nevertheless, let's start here. This transjective attunement makes both the subject and the object possible in experience, right, in phenomenological experience. So, what does that mean? Well, there's a different way about thinking about how you encounter objects, right? Instead of the Kantian thing in itself that is veiled from us by our subjectivity, instead, think about two things happening simultaneously. This is picking up on what Heidegger is talking about. Think about the thing shining into subjectivity, and that's what phenomenology originally means. How did it picks up on that the Greek term phenomenon actually means to shine forth? So, simultaneously, the thing is shining into my subjectivity, but that is interpenetrated, inter afforded with, it is simultaneously withdrawing from my framing. It is always beyond my framing as well. And that beyondness is not something in my phenomenology, but it contributes to the sense of the realness of my phenomenological experience. Think about how in virtual reality, if you get a sense that the world is closed, if you can drain it dry with your activity, it loses its realness. But only, and here's now the openness that Heidegger is talking about, the comportment, but only if there's a realness, a way in which the world withdraws beyond you continually. So, there's always a horizon of your experience. A horizon is something you always move towards, but you can never reach. So, as long as that world constantly withdraws, as it also shines into your experience, then it is real to you. Now, the moreness is not something in your experience. It's not an object of your experience. But it's a feature. The withdrawal is as much a contributor to the realness of things as they're shining into your subjectivity. This is, I think, a profound way in which Harmon and others have explicated Heidegger's idea and then gone beyond it. Now, the way I want to put it and the way I've argued it, right, earlier, is this, I think this lines up with what I've tried to argue, that our framing, which is transjective in nature, about attunement, simultaneously discloses and conceals. So, I want to replace the Kantian term, the thing in itself, with another way, another term, the thing beyond itself. Everything is both shining into our subjectivity and withdrawing beyond our framing of it. And those are interaffording.

The Thing Beyond Itself and Lathe (31:04)

They're interpenetrating. They co-contribute to the realness of the object for us. And it's precisely the withdrawing, according to Harmon and others, that was missed by phenomenology. Because of the way it was still bound within a Cartesian subjective framework. Whether or not that is completely fair to phenomenology is another question, and I'm not trying to get into that theoretical debate right here. My main focus here is trying to understand what's going on. But I think we can take from speculative realism this idea, this term I've coined, the thing beyond itself. It's clearly a central idea in Harmon's idea of the object, the thing beyond itself. Okay, so this takes us to now a new understanding of truth. How do we get an attunement that discloses things as things beyond themselves, things that are simultaneously shining in and into our subjectivity, but also withdrawing into their objectivity, where this no longer means an object of thought. It means a depth beyond our framing, an independence beyond our experience, and how those are transjectively interpenetrating for us in the sense of realness. What does it mean to be connected to things in this way? And this is Heidegger's famous notion of truth as "alathea". So, "lathe" means to cover or to forget in Greek mythology the underworld, you passed through the river "lathea" and it made you forget all of your previous life as you went into the underworld. And this is of course a negation of it, so it means sort of a deep remembering, sati and a deep disclosure. So, always remember these two poles, it's a deep remembering, you have to motally remember, not just like a normal sense of remembering, like sati, you have to remember the being mode and this discloses this aspect of reality that it is simultaneously shining and withdrawing. So, truth as "alathea" is this attuning to the mutual disclosure fittedness within the mystery of being. So, you're getting attuned to things, you're deeply remembering things, and again, not just cognitive memory, existential memory, you're remembering things, this is to be in contact with them when you're attuned to how they are simultaneously appearing, shining, and withdrawing. Now, I've been throughout using the language of relevance realization that I've argued for to talk about Heidegger, and some of you may be a little bit sort of like, "I don't like that." You know, Heidegger is, you know, "I like the Heidegger talk and it's all ontological and I don't want this scientific talk and you might have a deeper point there because the scientific talk for Heidegger is at a higher level than ontology." Nevertheless, I want to continue to make this argument, and I want to make it because there's an explicit and important history, and this is the connection that has had a profound impact on my work and the argument that you have seen between Heidegger, Herbert Dreyfus, and third generation, third gen 4e, and the other side of the question, "Cockside that I have articulated and exemplified to you."

Dreyfus' relevance (optimal) grip (34:52)

Dreyfus is an important interpreter of Heidegger, but he's also one of the founding figures of this version of cognitive science. He's trying to formulate, or is continuing to formulate, important aspects of third generation for e-cognitive science as a way of trying to articulate the importance of Heidegger for understanding the nature of mind, the nature of cognition, the nature of consciousness, etc. So there's a book he wrote on Heidegger's most central work, Being in Time, and Dreyfus' book is called Being in the World, and I want to read you a quote for that. And the quote is exemplary. It's not a unique isolated moment in Dreyfus' work. It's something that is exemplary of a theme running throughout Dreyfus. Here's the quote from that book on Heidegger. "Facts and rules are by themselves meaninglessness. To capture what Heidegger calls significance or involvement, they must be assigned relevance. And those two terms are emphasized in the original. My emphasis of them is just reporting the emphasis that He gave them. They must be assigned relevance. But the predicates that must be added to define relevance are just more meaningless facts. You can't capture it with a definition. And paradoxically, the more facts the computers are given, sorry, the more facts the computer is given. Notice how he immediately links Heidegger to a computational psychology and a deep critique of it. The more facts the computer is given, the harder it is to compute what is relevant to the current situation. You get into a combinatorial explosion, if you stay at the propositional computational level, and you lose your ability to fit yourself to the current situation, to cope with the current situation. This is why Dreyfus, because of Heidegger, was one of the founding and remains one of the ongoing critics of a purely computational Cartesian approach to cognitive science, to AI, to artificial intelligence. He literally wrote the book entitled "What Computers Can't Do" that founded this whole criticism of computational psychology. It's considered the discovery of the frame problem within cognitive science. He later updated it with a later book called "What Computers Still Can't Do". This has been an ongoing thing. He sees Heidegger as the deep forerunner of the criticism that we should understand the mind only in propositional computational terms. This is why Dreyfus went on to pick up and work from Marluponti, which I referenced, and helped to develop this notion of optimal grip that I've discussed at length. This is a process that is doing this relevance realization, and it is something that is deeper than propositional knowing. I'm trying to show you that my attempts to connect Heidegger, who is a prophet of the meaning crisis, to the machinery of relevance realization and participatory knowing and optimal gripping, is not misplaced. Dreyfus is not a single figure. There are other figures like this. See the work by Dreyfus and Charles Taylor, retrieving realism about how we can get back to really be in contact by making use of these ideas. I'm going to keep doing that. I'm going to keep showing you, because what I'm trying to show you is that the framework we have built allows us to enter into deep dialogue with the central prophets of the meaning crisis in a way that I think insightfully discloses aspects of their own theorizing and affords potentially synoptically integrating them together into a more comprehensive response to the meaning crisis. This is the final part of the argument I'm making.

Evans and participatory knowing (39:48)

I want to continue on, do a little bit more about Heidegger and leading into the other thinkers we want to examine. So, Evans, in his wonderful book, The New Gnosis in which he talks about Heidegger, Corbin Young Hillman. It's a book in which he links Heidegger to Corbin and to Young. And he puts it this way when he's discussing Heidegger's thought. Here's a quote, again, picks up on something we've already been talking about. Here's the quote, "A questioning that involves the questionnaire in the matter of thought so deeply he becomes, in a sense, one with it. At this point, knowing is no longer divorced from being. We know the way we are and we are the way we know. In the Platonic tradition, this is expressed in the axiom, "Light can only be known by like." He is pointing directly, and this is not something you get in Heidegger, but that's why I turn to Evans. He's pointing to how Heidegger's actually bringing back this deeply in the Neoplatonic idea of participatory knowing as a deep kind of con-deformity between you and the world. And this is a participatory knowing that is a dynamic coupling. Now, Evans immediately points and connects this kind of participatory knowing, this dynamic coupling, like known by like, and reality is dynamic, so you have to be dynamic and dynamically coupled to it. He immediately points from Heidegger to Corbin. Corbin is deeply influenced by Heidegger. Corbin was one of the first important translators of Heidegger into French. His translation of Introduction to Metaphysics was seminal for how Heidegger was spread into France, for example. But Corbin explicitly calls this participatory knowing that is a dynamical coupling, a dynamical con-formity. He explicitly calls this "nossis," in turn we've already examined. "Nossis," for Corbin, this is quote, is a "salvational redemptive knowledge" because it has the virtue of bringing about the inner transformation of man, sorry for the sexist language on his part. It is knowing that quote, "changes and transforms the knowing subject." You see, it's that dynamical coupling in which you know by being coupled to something and it's participatory knowing because you know it insofar as you are changed and you're knowing of yourself and you're knowing of the object are coupled together. But that is what you need to respond appropriately to design. Look, you are the being who's being questioned and by questing into that you quest into being. You are only going to get a response to that quest when you add something that simultaneously in an inter-penetrative, inter-affording fashion is both knowing yourself, not your autobiographical knowing, knowing the depths of your being, knowing yourself and knowing the world, coupled together, mutually affording each other. This is what Corbin is calling "Nossis" and this is what he's saying he's getting from Heidegger. Now, let's take a look at what we've done so far. I want to show you how these two things are not irrelevant. They're deeply relevant to each other. You've got Dreyfus over here and the whole aspect of relevance realization and Dreyfus is clearly pointing out that this is non-propositional coming from Heidegger, non-computational in the sense where computation is the inferential. Manipulation of propositions to draw out implication relations. And then over here you have Corbin and he's calling all of this "Nossis", this participatory mutually self and world transformative kind of knowing. But what Corbin is doing with the "Nossis" that isn't apparent in Dreyfus is that he's pointing out how this is redemptive, how it saves us. Remember the Gnostics are trying to free us, to liberate us from existential entrapment. So Corbin is pointing out that how this, Corbin is making explicit that this machinery that we're talking about here is a way of responding to the modal confusion. It is a way of responding to the forgetfulness of being. It is a way of awakening from the meaning crisis. So let's try and do this again a little bit more carefully.

Forgetfulness and modal confusion (45:18)

Let's try to do this a little bit more carefully. What is this forgetfulness, this modal confusion? So on one hand we have the being mode. And remember from ultimately gets this from Heidegger as does Stephen Bachelor, the having mode. Do you see what I'm trying to do though? I'm trying to show you how seamlessly you can interleave this language from Heidegger with the language we've been developing in the second half of this series. Okay, so the being mode. So what's going on in the being mode? The being mode is the transformative participation in the mystery of being. Okay, that transformative participation in the mystery of being. This leads of course to Alathea, which I've discussed. And there's two components to this that we've discussed. There's the attunement. But there's also the independence of being. I think the attunement clearly points to relevance. I've already argued that repeatedly. I hope I don't have to argue it anymore. But this independence of being. This is independent of the correlation between us and being. That being always transcends how it is being known and being experienced by us. This is the morness, the withdrawal that is simultaneously... I almost made a mistake. Sorry about that. The morness is simultaneously with the presence of the shining. This I think is what Harmon and others would argue ultimately gives things... I don't want to say all of their realness, but an important poll of their realness that we have neglected. So you can see what I'm trying to point to... I mean the word I would... It might seem natural to put here of the independence of being. It's truth. But that's not quite right, because we've seen that truth belongs up here in the discussion of Alathea, or even higher up in the correctness of our propositions based on Alathea. So this is relevance. Why am I stopping here? Because remember, we don't want to confuse relevance and we don't want to disconnect relevance from truth or realness. I want to put to something deeper here that the relevance must always be open to. And not just as an acknowledgement of a limit. It has to be an ongoing constraint. The relevance has to have an ongoing constraint in its connectedness to a sense of the morness, the inexhaustableness of the thing beyond itself. So what would be going on over here in the having mode, and where we're getting the modal confusion? So now we think of an object, we think of its being in terms of how it can be manipulated by us. Not just physically, conceptually. Remember, this is the quintessential point of the having mode. We have control. We can grasp it. We can manipulate it. We can use it. We can't confront the miseries. We're solving problems. And so what happens when we get into the having mode, into conceptual manipulation and the having of propositions, and we forget the being mode and all of this over here? What can happen to us?

Exploration Of Modal Confusion

Well, and this is one of Heidegger's main critiques. We start to misunderstand in a modal sense. But to misunderstand being as a particular being, we misunderstand being as a being. So I'm using being with a capital B to being where I'm using a little B to mean a particular being, like this marker or this eraser or this body. And then we misunderstand the attempt to try and get back to this by positing it within, this is a modal confusion. We try to capture something's wrong, just thinking we're not quite getting being with a big B when we look at this being or think of being as a particular being. We've got to do something more. And so what we'll do is we'll put it to the limit. Remember what Heidegger says? That's insufficient. We'll understand being as the supreme being, the highest being, the highest subject perhaps, the highest person, the highest force, the highest thing. And for Heidegger, this is the ultimate modal confusion. For this is to try to turn being into a problem that can be solved by the conceptual manipulation of a propositionally defined object. And of course, what's being alluded to here is classical theisms, sort of traditional presentation of God. Now whether or not this is going to be fair to how many people have written about God. We're going to come back to that when we talk about Tilick and Barfield. Heidegger is certainly right that there is a long standing tradition within metaphysics understood in a pejorative sense in which God is understood in this limit sense. God is understood within the having mode. God is understood as the supreme being that somehow grounds and makes all other beings. And this is a fundamental mistake for Heidegger. There's a fundamental misunderstanding. It's a fundamental problem.

The problem of ontotheology (52:30)

So this is known as the problem of onto theology where we try to understand being theologically in terms of a supreme being. And for Heidegger, that, and this may strike many of you who come from a religious framework as almost bordering on offensive. I'm trying to present it in a way that I think is more accessible to you. That's not the case. But what Heidegger is saying, sorry, it's not the case that I spoke there. It's not the case that you should simply, I'm stating something where I should be requesting something. That's why I'm stumbling. I'm requesting of you that you are not simply offended, that you try and understand what Heidegger is trying to articulate here. Because he's going to make this claim. And here's the claim that you might find offensive. That there's a deep connection between the understanding of being in terms of the supreme being, God, onto theology, and nihilism. This is Heidegger trying to articulate Nietzsche. And Nietzsche's another big influence on Heidegger. Understanding being, or the ground of being as a supreme being on onto theology is the deep forgetfulness that just has us existentially, right, adrift in modal confusion and fundamentally misframing our relationship to being.

Discussion On Ontotheology And Idolatry

Edmund Tillich: idolatry and the critique of ontotheology (54:02)

And therefore, being subject to a disconnectedness from realness, which is at the heart of the meaning crisis. So, Tillek is going to pick this up. It's going to be deeply influenced by Heidegger. But also, I think I prefer Tillek to Heidegger. And there's also personal reasons for that. Tillek was the first non-Jewish academic to be basically persecuted by the Nazis because he, from the very beginning, opposed them and resisted them. He had to leave Germany because of that. Unlike Heidegger, and this is not something you should dismiss, like some people do. And I want to return to it, discuss it later. Heidegger joins the Nazi Party and becomes an official member, an official, within the Nazi Party. And that is something to pay attention to. And it's fair to bring this up because Heidegger presents his entire position as an existential one, not just a theoretical one. And if you try to dismiss his participation in the Nazis by just saying, "Oh, but that has nothing to do with his theory," you have sort of fundamentally missed how he is involved with the very presentation of his own theory. Now, Tillek is going to take up nevertheless Heidegger's critique of onto theology, but he's going to do something very interesting with it. He's going to use this as a way of bringing back the very traditional religious notion of idolatry. And what is wrong with idolatry? So, next time what I would like to explore with you as a way of developing further what Corbin is talking about with Gnosis and Gnosis as serious play, I want to try to finish up what would it be like to have the Gnosis to remember being through Alathea? What would it be like to be remembering being through Alathea? What would that be like? How would we be? How would the world be to us? And this is a way of trying to say what it would be like to experience the remembering that is a way of awakening from the meaning crisis. Thank you very much for your time and attention.

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