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Fw: Authenticity as Authority and Being-With

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  • Gary C Moore
    ... From: Gary C Moore To: heidegger-dialognet@egroups.com Cc: ontologica@egroups.com Sent: Wednesday, May 24, 2000 5:02 PM Subject: Authenticity as Authority
    Message 1 of 1 , May 24, 2000
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Wednesday, May 24, 2000 5:02 PM
      Subject: Authenticity as Authority and Being-With

      To Thomas Mayer:
           In your letter of May 7, you stated, "Authenticity is the absence of roles or names, the absence of patterns and therefore ruled by the ever-present and essentially subjective dynamic of the moment." The first part of the statement I think is expressed very well and makes me think. Authenticity is the response to the call of conscience, which is the realization that you do not want to be where you are, thrown into a context that impresses on you what is important, fallen in the sense that the way things are is insufficient as in the state of profound boredom where the whole universe including yourself is intrinsically useless, i.e., presented by the everyday 'They' self as meaningful but experienced only as a pointless circle of, "This is done for the sake of that, that is done for the sake of another thing, etc. etc.,"where the justification of one item or act is in another item or act that also needs the justification by another item or act never coming to a conclusion that justifies the whole.
      >>     In the state of profound boredom, not only does the everyday value of this come crashing down, but there is also a wonderful sense of release when the necessary effort on your part to maintain this circle can simply be shrugged off your shoulders and completely dropped away. But on the other hand in authenticity, you are beyond the standards of the everyday, good and evil are judgements in the everyday world  where one has made choices of one's possibilities, excluding all others,and have done so without any standard of value from out of authenticity. I would say that this logically would justify Sartre's concept of "bad faith" where one must make a choice but the choice is made not just on insufficient grounds but in actuality arbitrary ones, or worse yet self-deceitfully based on old inauthentic standards that still cling like old sores.
      >> In other words in authenticity, one is in a 'pristine state of clarity' presented with infinite possibilities without a valid reason to choose any one of them. I would say this is ereignis, the moment of vision and enowning. But it is far from that simple as your statement brings out: "ruled by the ever-present and essentially subjective dynamic of the moment." I would disagree with "subjective" since in authenticity one would be in a situation of extreme objectivity where everything is leveled down to the same, as in the state of profound boredom, as in the situation of infinite possibilities without a cause or impulse or reason to choose. But there are cracks in that 'pristine state of clarity' because even authentic dasein is in time, and is still thrown irrevocably into the the everyday world even though all concepts of the self, since they are all created from the 'They' self, have been dropped as images of dasein, they are still your irrevocable history, tied to your basic passions. And just as you cannot escape the everyday world, you cannot escape your own history, most of which you do not explicitly remember but has formed every single word and phrase of the language-world you have formed. In other words, your language is fundamentally not only inauthentic and everyday, but has been completely formed by the 'They' self. So when you speak of authenticity "ruled by the ever present dynamic of the moment", you have brought out a basic crux in the concept of authenticity: it is completely other to every being, to beings as such since they all are manifested to you primordially not just as a world, but specifically, absolutely, and only as the everyday world of the 'They' self and there is no other to appeal to whatsoever. So not only is any choice one makes necessarily inauthentic, every word spoken and concept thought--at best--struggles with the awareness of its inauthentic history. Which then makes the freedom of authenticity, and authenticity itself, absolute detachment, total objectivity as Shankara's unperceived perceiver and Sartre's pre-reflective cogito.
      >>    Therefore I would say there are severe reasons to suspect any sort of authenticity in "inter-human communication, discourse"--to begin with. However, your next statement is extremely well designed: "To speak authentically then means to fully involve oneself as the author of a statement without taking refuge in a 'third authority' such as general reason, or common-sense, or any other expression of the 'man'" But to take your own statement through its rational implications also means that, when you read Yeats' poem on the Easter Rebellion, not only are you 'there' at that event in understanding the poem, but the reading of the poem is not a mere processing of letters on a page like a machine, the poem only exists in you literally, and surely you must acknowledge this right off in its existence as a poem, as what a poem as a poem is: it is your experience alone in solitude, it is your situation that is ontologically unsharable as part of your dasein in any way. Yeats is only a tag, a history in a book that may be ontically useful. You have taken on the realization and responsibility of the poem's existence and therefore logically to attribute the experiential situation of the poem to Yeats would be an act of self-rape and violent disassociation. You have come to an ontological abyss not only between you and any other 'author' who is the owner/creator of their works, but also one between you and me. To speak with any sort or kind of authority is a descent into the everyday world and the 'They' self and total loss of detachment since your authority is authoritative only if other people hear it, take it on and hold it in respect as authoritative. Your authority is dependent not only on their hearing but their acceptance. Within authentic detachment, the only 'thing' of moment is the existential situation which is what 'you are, except 'self' itself is simply a reflection of the 'They' self intrinsically, and even the passions that move time itself toward . . . whatever . . . are still the passions of that self/'They' self.
           "Only if one risks to speak authentically, real inter-subjective communication is possible." Maybe if all you want to say is, "Your coffee cup is over there," while pointing. And then, if the coffee cup is not there, you have demonstrated the other fundamental property of logos--even in deception you must demonstrate something as if true, point something out as being. When Heidegger talks about the almost total failure of transposition in understanding from one person to another in The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics, he sets up an irony, not accidentally but quite deliberately, because he leaves clues scattered everywhere and in relation to every concept in that text. What he seems to what to say at first is that the animal is completely different from man because the animal cannot use language to confront beings as such or form the world in which it is necessary to confront them in. The different at first is logos, ratio, reason. He says the animal is bound to its ring of experience by captivation whereas man has the free comportment of language to beings as beings. But then he says, no that's wrong, there is a more primordial experience than world formation by logos. It is the pre-logical manifestation of beings in dasein's projection in "holding the binding character of things toward oneself, completion, and the unveiling of the being of beings" (Fundamental Concepts, pg. 350). And then the distinction between animal and man grows very fuzzy because that definition, when applied to the presence at hand ordinary understanding of everyday man in the 'They' self, is captivation just as in the animal's ring of experience, and the only valid distinction left os that of authentic dasein's projection into "possibilities". Therefore, when he also says, as if contradicting what he said about the failure of transposition from one human being into another, that we always already have transposed into all other living beings, animals and humans alike, what he is saying is simply . . . we share the everyday world of average indifference within the 'They' self without the detached freedom of possibilities of authentic dasein.
           Being-with is not an authentic existential. When he comes down to the nuts and bolts of that concept in contrast to the absolutely unique ownmost of dasein being-with dissolves into the everyday association with "others", not other daseins, but just . . . others (see B&T, Ger. 118-119/Stambaugh 111-112/ M & R 153-155, also my letter to Anthony Crifasi entitled "FWD: Fw: Re:" dated Sunday, April 30, approx to Heidegger-dialognet about 12:48 PM which goes into this in more explicit detail). There is no such 'thing' as a plurality of authenticities as Tom Rockmore would have it or of daseins.
      Therefore being-with applies only to the everyday world of the 'They' self. And that statement is even more emphatically grounded in Heidegger's statement in B&T (Ger. 226/ Stambaugh 208/ M & R 269), "Constituted by disclosedness Da-sein is essentially in the truth. Disclosedness is an essential kind of being of Da-sein. "There is" ["gibt es'] truth only insofar as Da-sein is and as long as it is. Beings are discovered only when Da-sein is, and only as long as Da-sein is are they disclosed. Newton's laws, the law of contradiction, and any truth whatsoever, are true only as long as Da-sein is. Before there was any Da-sein, there was no truth; nor will there be any after Da-sein is no more." Combined with, "The world always already from the outset is my own," (B&T, 118/111/153) pretty well lands 'us' in the solipsistic aporia I discuss in the letter to Thom Whitby entitled, "RE: EVERYDAY WITS REDEUX," Saturday, April 29, 2:33 PM approx for Heidegger-dialognet. On the one hand, dasein, even authentic dasein is fundamentally tied to the everyday world of the 'They' self through the ownmost of dasein's own history and language. On the other hand, in the absolute detachment of authenticity, you--or me-are the world, the universe, all the history in the libraries that only comes to life when you read it, all the poetry of Shakespeare that only exists when you appropriate it, all of philosophy from beginning to end only insofar as you, Thomas Mayer, comprehend it--because 'I' am only a goddamn computer writing at you. And nothing, absolutely nothing more. When you die, everything dies.
      Yours truly, Gary C. Moore, gottlos75@..., gottlos45@..., Box 5081, Midland TX 79704
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