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Re: [Sartre] Re: "Language is also Flesh."

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  • Jud Evans
    Message 1 of 11 , May 22, 2001
      ----- Original Message ----- From: "John Foster"
      <borealis@... To: <Sartre@yahoogroups.com Sent: Tuesday, May
      22, 2001 7: 20 AM Subject: Re: [Sartre] Re: "Language is also Flesh. "

      Dear John,
      A baby is born into the world. Yes, we know that it lay in its mothers womb
      changing into various states and stages of its corporeal existence as it
      grew - sprouting tiny digits from its finger-buds - its internal organs
      swelling and developing
      - its growing form supplied with blood and nutriments and essential oxygen
      from its mother's body via the umbilical cord.

      Yes, the great day finally arrives and the baby appears in the world as an
      independent entity separate from its mamma, yet still totally reliant on
      her maternal care. It now exists in its own right, discrete and distinct in
      its separateness.. The child is here in the world - present in our world -
      rather than absent from our world - the child is a tiny figure in the cot,
      where before the existence of the nurseling the cot was empty. Philosophers
      [and linguists] call this state of being in the world 'simple existence.' I
      suppose it could also be described as 'pure phenomenological presence.'

      Now there is a lot of philosophical food for thought in the passage I have
      just written, which contains some key words for those like you who have
      difficulty in understanding the difference between existing and being
      something or in a certain state or states. First, let us deal with the 'is'
      word - the word that Heidegger confessed he was ignorant of its meaning. in
      the sentence above: "The child is here in the world." Heidegger's mistake
      was in believing that the word 'is' stands as a verb of simple existence -
      that it refers to the fact of the child's simple occurrence in the world.
      This was his greatest mistake and the mistake which was carried over into
      Being and Time which subsequently influenced Sartre to imitate him with his
      work Being and Nothingness, for the 'is' of the statement: "The child is
      here in our world. " refers NOT to the fact of the existence of the child's
      presence in the cosmos - its simple existence - but to its present
      existential MODALITY and LOCATION as being located here on earth and not
      for example orbiting the moon in a space station. Likewise in the
      statement: "John Foster is a member of the Sartre list. " the "is" does not
      refer to John Foster's simple existence on this planet, but indicates, one
      of the modes or ways that he spends his time during his existence on this
      planet, which is being a member of the Sartre list. Here - if you look at
      the two 'to be' words under discussion, the "is" regarding the baby's
      modality of existential location on Earth, and the "being" as a mode of
      John's simple existence in the world as a member of the Sartre list.

      I refer to 'being' as that which indicates ephemeral moods of existence
      because most of the existential states or modes of simple existence that we
      experience are ephemeral, transient and fugacious - we board a bus, we comb
      our hair, we kiss somebody, we subscribe to an e-mail list - we unsubscribe
      from an e-mail list - we become a student - we leave university - all these
      modes of existence are fleeting - some last longer than others and the mode
      of existence that lasts longest is the mode of being alive. When we die our
      bodies change to another mode of existence which also goes through the
      multiplicity of changes of simple existence. Our flesh rots, our bones
      crumble into dust. The molecules and atoms which now remain as the mode of
      existence of what was once a conglomeration of matter that enjoyed the
      modality of being a human body/person is now available for use in the
      formation of new entities. And so the Terpsichorean dance of matter goes on
      for infinity.

      If there is a real presence of simple existence, then what is it? Pray tell?
      I have read of distinctions between 'simple truth' and 'real truth' but this
      concept regarding 'simple existence' has some potential. How is the 'simple'
      compared to the 'complex'?
      But what has really got my curiosity is your reference to "the real McCoy
      presence of simple existence"?

      The real McCoy? The real McCoy in this connection is the fact of simple
      existence - elementary presence in the universe as a material/energy
      entity, rather than the confused theo-neologism 'Being,' which is simply a
      distortion of the use of the present continuous tense of the verb 'to be'
      which is concerned with existential modality and not simple existence.
      So now John you know the difference between simple existence and the
      complexity of existential modality.

      I thought that you did not believe in these invented by monkish men with
      lots of time on their hands? Maybe Socrates wife was correct.

      "Simple existence an empty abstract concept?' Try banging your head against
      a brick wall John - you'll soon discover if it is
      an 'empty abstract concept.' But don't worry after your 'enlightenment'
      you can stop - for the head banging is only an ephemeral activity of your
      existential modality. :-)

      I guess I will have to get out the Real McCoy existential metaphysics soon
      and blow some socks off. . . . but I will not show off.

      I look forward to the existential mode of having my socks blown off -
      meanwhile I don't mind you enjoying the ephemeral experience of showing
      off - while you still can. :-)
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