My own particular brand of bleak
is firm, and unambiguous enough
to recognise our dark as a basic truth:
the world-rending fire of the human soul
is fearsome, yet only another face of the
death seeded so deeply within us.

But bleak is neither black nor white,
only barren — and what is barrenness
but testament to another aspect of all-
extant life?
child, richness, burgeoning and love
are never-not, always
drawing changes toward
fullness and bursting and
birth ~

If you are a realist in
any real way, these things cannot
completely escape you
except by prejudice, ignorance
or despair.

Future is not future, per se,
it does not fix,
or justify,
or do-it-better-this-time-around;
it belongs to none
today, but only to itself, for who
can live in it, truly?

Future is Faith,
no more,
no less.

c. Kate Gough



Heidegger Journal #5

Journal # 5 (2/27/04)

Heidegger addresses those who make objections to environmental experience based on its presupposition of the reality of the external world by explaining why they are precisely missing the point. At first it would seem that there are exactly two options: either reality is, or it isn’t. We must either accept the presupposition of reality as the ground from which we work, or else “declare it a fiction” (p.66). But Heidegger exposes this as being fundamentally theoretically minded, producing a need for an approach to a problem that is shown to be absurd in the sphere of environmental experience. “Certainly the entire fullness of environmental experience is heavily laden with presuppositions,” he admits, the acknowledgment of which creates this ‘burning question’ about reality that demands to be solved (p.65). But Heidegger in turn questions the very need for that question in the contexture of the environmental sphere. The question “inhibits every step forward,” he says, “because it is constantly there in its appeal to the critical consciousness,” essentially inviting the theoretical attitude to captain a ship it doesn’t know how to sail (p.65-66). Once we take up the epistemological problem of the existence of external reality, the theoretical attitude has slipped in the back door unnoticed, as we are now “presupposing epistemology and its way of questioning” (p.66). We find, in fact, that “in order to strip away the presuppositions of environmental experience… we make other assumptions” (p.66). The theoretical approach simply buries itself trying to get to the bottom of things; there is only ever more dirt. Once we “devote ourselves purely to our own sphere [the sphere of experiences],” however, “the former anxious avoidance of any kind of ‘presuppositions’ ceases. Precisely at this stage, where we are steering towards the centre of the problematic, it is not at all a matter of making ‘presuppositions’” Because it is not “in its nature a theoretical posit,” environmental experience can never be a presupposition”(p.67, 79).

The theoretical attitude hangs upon the lived experience of the personal, historical ‘I’; this lived experience is its contexture, from which certain things are focused upon, taken out and examined, or objectified. If the entire context of all our cognition were the theoretical attitude, a line would be nothing but a series of dots, a symphony nothing but a collection of notes. When Heidegger looks at the lectern, he sees not just “a sensation of brown, as a moment of [his] psychic processes. [He] sees something brown, but in a unified context of signification in connection with the lectern” (p.71). But he can objectify ‘brown’ itself by “brushing away everything until [he] arrive[s] at the simple sensation of brown” (p.71). The theoretical attitude must reside within something in order to function properly, otherwise it is stuck trying to “explain one being by another, [and] the more critical it becomes, the more incoherent it is” (p.73). That something is environmental, lived-experience. It is this lived experience which gives our cognitions dimension. The theoretical destructs (in Heidegger’s sense of the term) this dimension, lifting a now-designated-‘thing’ out of lived experience. Heidegger calls this ‘de-vivification’ [Ent-leben] and states that “reality… lies in the essence of thingliness. It is a specifically theoretical characteristic… Experience of the environment is de-vivified into the residue of recognizing something as real [and] the historical ‘I’ is dehistoricized into the residue of a specific ‘I-ness’ as the correlate of thingliness” (p.75, emphasis added). Therefore it is easy to see why the question of the reality of the external world is precisely the wrong question to be asking, according to Heidegger. This question de-vivifies the environmental experience of the personal, historical I, lifting ‘things’ out of its surroundings and reducing that I to ‘a specific… correlate of’ those things (p. 75). The dependence of the theoretical attitude upon the environmental or lived experience of this I is clear as well, as we see that it has no material with which to work without the I’s surrounding world. It needs the environmental experience to lift things out of!

The infringement of the theoretical attitude upon the environing world begins at the stage where the still historical I apprehends a ‘given’. This is the point at which the “authentic meaning of the environmental… in its signifying character [is] taken out,” and it is, as something given, “diluted to a mere thing” (p.75). The stage before this pivotal moment, the pre-theoretical environmental experience, is a not-yet intentional intuition that Heidegger characterizes as hermeneutical. Hermeneutical intuition is the understanding intuition “from which all theoretical objectification… falls out,” an “empowering experiencing of lived experience that takes itself along” (p.99, emphasis added). The motion is important here; the I must be moving, always ‘taking itself along’ in order to remain “primordially living and experiential” in the pre-theoretical sphere (p.98).

c. Mary Kathryn Gough, university paper
details: Katie Huffman (married, Gough) // Philosophy 340 // Professor Halteman

an abandoned subversion

… watching Fellowship of the Ring — thinking that we desperately need to keep alive certain fictions in our lives. The ones which invigorate our hearts to defy what is for the sake of what can be. . . Mythic culture is anti-realist, and yet it is the most true to Realism’s heart (don’t tell me that Realism was not spurred by something in the heart. the heart against fiction is the heart categorically against itself: disintegrated.) The reason mythic culture is the most true to Realism’s heart is because its purpose is to push us + give us the tools to truly meet reality as our ever-dynamic selves –> it’s very evolution in cherished existential re-telling + growth is the only real/true way to grapple with Reality while refusing to exclude our very Real Imaginations, Imaginations which are the only constructive (as opposed to recycled) way to humanly meet + respond to the solemn weight of what is laid out by the Realist agenda. There are fictions and there are Fictions. Some we need to let go of, and some we truly cannot afford to forget, lest we forget our very selves.

c. Mary Kathryn Gough, feb 27th 2009 teaCosy / a journal entry as written


A Strategem for Sound Realism

For each one of us, the proffered fascade of the ‘Real’ must be apprehended as a substantive, solid box, accepted, and then entered into subversively in order to be appropriated truly as one’s own.  What can be touched and immediately sensed surrounds us, but it is an entirely Other realm in which we piece and sew and fuse and react with and upon these things. We are floating about inside a ‘Real’ box made up of our experiences, continuously entering it from one point and another and another and another — and it is a different substance entirely that surrounds us here — truly another realm. We seek, some of us more and some less, to find our way back to the center of the inside of our experiences in the ‘Real’ as those experiences multiply, the box itself expands, and our carefully measured longitude and latitude for returning to our point of origin seems to change exponentially hour by hour. But those realms of mind and soul are not commonly acknowledged to be any more than a fluke of natural selection. We are either the sperm whale or the pot of petunias, but in the end it is neither meaningful nor helpful to know what is in this realm of discovery or, conjointly, to find peace and familiarity with the central point of all our experience. Our deep desire to know is counted towards us as ridicule-worthy.

But how can this desire be so utterly useless as it has been painted by so many generations of flat-planed Realists? How can their own opinions be held by them in such high regard as to rise up against another’s precious beliefs? They must, I think, believe in more than they propose to, otherwise our very existence in this world is more than meaningless; it is an impossibly tense, beautiful and tragic outrage and whatever mind(s) exists when we expire should heave a sigh of relief. Each of us is somehow morally inferior for having presumed ourselves here in the first place. We are awkward things, doomed to destruction, and destroying ignorantly in plethora along our way while trying to ‘make up for it’ by trying to destroy ignorance. Any ultimate goal appears lost and without anchor. We are to make the best of this for little reason at all and wish the Real world and our descendants well for when we are gone. . . again, for little reason beyond the longterm existence of a happenstance species. Like trying to pin down an autumn leaf when, for good or ill, we have no right whatsoever, no passion, no love, no source for an ethical framework at all. What is the purpose of survival? One feels that nihilists have been on the right track, and that maybe the only ‘enlightened’ (for lack of a better word) beings on the planet are those we dope up to act like we-with-purpose-and-happiness… Awkward that science is so committed to lengthening the human lifespan and increasing health and vitality. You’ve got to ask yourself, like the Vogons who run the universe in Hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy upon being Marvin-rayed, “Whassa point?” *Who wants to live forever?*

Is psychic weight denser than physical? Is supernatural substance more causal than natural? We’ve often seen instances of the so-called miraculous where the laws of physics in our experience-based reality were defied unbelievably, and some still cannot be explained. The premiere scientists of our day are still discomfited by them, struggling to simplify and codify them according to patterns we know already. Many have experienced mania that physically changes this purportedly solid, experience-based reality of ours. Others have witnessed the physical world truly changing mysteriously. We’ve well-documented instances of people praying together for Yahweh to come to them, and by all accounts He has shaken the earth, sent lightening, spoken to people, and raised the dead to let them know of His mighty presence. Still others have experienced in one form or another the effect of calling on the dead or on demons in seances and rituals of varying kinds. The results of these things are inexplicable, no matter how many chemicals we measure, personality tests we administer, or videotapes we attempt to make. The very tolerant world of today is on the brink of accepting the authority of insanity because we cannot expand our flat-planed, ‘Realist’ minds to humanely describe the complexity of a multi-dimensional experience. Because we refuse to acknowledge its mystery any longer, or the power of an all-embracing, spherical journey rather than a limiting A to B to C collection of ‘been-there-done-that-have-a-prescription-for-it’s. Our conception of identity has been gypped by a lie.

Like classical music, realism has the capability of structuring our brains and preparing them to receive and translate more weight into physical conveyance upon further exploration of modes — however, it is not to be accepted as the peak of civilization’s career in any sense. One cannot experience the real without appropriating it according to one’s own unique fingerprint, and this entails a subversion of the raw material of the real into self and then acting upon/communicating out of the result. There is no other way to have integrity in this world, or a healthy self image.

Every pleasure or pain has a sort of rivet with which it fastens the soul to the body and pins it down and makes it corporeal, accepting as true whatever the body certifies.
{Socrates (469–399 B.C.), Greek philosopher. Quoted in Phaedo, sct. 81, Plato.}

Next: need to address dimensions, physical/chemical trauma, mental instability and A Beautiful Mind, the value of seeing what ‘isn’t there’, the value of community/relationships/accountability following on from and overlaying that, and the equal insanities of getting stoppered up in single dimensions.

Also following on to:





Family Pride + Love