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Re: [Sartre]Three Cups of Being and a Ball of Time [Catweasle]

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  • Gary C Moore
    ... From: Catweasle To: Sartre@egroups.com Sent: Friday, July 21, 2000 6:56 AM Subject: Re: [Sartre]Three Cups of Being and a Ball of Time Hello Mr. Catweasle,
    Message 1 of 3 , Jul 30, 2000
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      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Catweasle
      Sent: Friday, July 21, 2000 6:56 AM
      Subject: Re: [Sartre]Three Cups of Being and a Ball of Time
      Hello Mr. Catweasle,
           Welcome to Sartre@egroups.com from Gary C. Moore! I had hoped to hear more from you here. I think the conclusions you make here are a good reason to come here. You're perfectly right time is being, and not an abstract time either. The ground of temporality is the facticity of my fingers pounding at this keyboard through this unique thematic moment. It is the movement of MY fingers and arm (I'm a one finger typist really). Time is lived, and common sense says if I talk about time being lived it is MY life I'm refering to into which the object which you are to me, analogically living your time, fits into mine. This is just to Say the lack of word mysticism in Sartre is terribly refreshing even though it can still be tortured. BUT IT ALWAYS HAS A CLEAR CUT REFERENT!
          I have been intensely reading BEING AND NOTHINGNESS and finding, even though I thought I had read it before, that it is a brilliant commentary and critique on BEING AND TIME. He does what many Heideggerians think is disturbing and downright nasty, explicitely spells out exactly what Heidegger is talking about. Being is definitively not in ANY traditional way or fashion God. However, Merleau-Ponty MAY have found God somehow even in Sartrean ontology. But that is something I know next to nothing about. One member on the Sartre list, if I understand him right, thought Sartre sought to disprove the existence of God by showing God's definition must be being-for-itself-in-itself (look familiar? Sartre follows Heidegger VERY closely). In Sartrean ontology this is a logical contradiction, but Sartre did not mean it as some sort of absurd 'disproof'. He was making a very detailed point that, in his definition that "God is man's project", the desire to BE God is an ontological fundamental in the definition of -- "man" -- so that the same contradictory definition also applies to "man". Why do I put "man" in quotes? Because the listmember actually brought up a good point, especially if he had carried it out all the way, i.e., if your fundemental definition is a contradition, and a contradition in definition 'disprooves' the existence of the object so defined, then in this context "man" does not exist, a theme present in Heidegger, Foucault, and Derrida. 
            And it points out one of the foibles in Sartre himself, in his POLITICAL programs of humanism and Communism. He does a great job of fundamentally destroying any reality to the idea of mankind as a real entity in BEING AND NOTHINGNESS. He deals realistically with how the for-itself (close to "dasein" but not exactly) lives with "other people", a much more dramatically and fundamentally negative view of Heidegger's 'They' self in as much as 'They' live you and lead you to WANT to make yourself into an object FOR them. Language, so holy in Heidegger, is the primary method by which this deceit is perpetrated for Sartre. Maybe this explains why Sartre dislikes poetry as much as Heidegger worships poetry. Language, esentially for Sartre, is an ontological lie then, in the sense 'its' purposes are taught to you NOT to be yours but to transfer on to you the values of those who control your life. 
           However, in the midst of one of these destructive analyses, he suddenly bursts out "I affirm man!" with no rational explanation or justification. His brilliant demonstration of the ontological and metaphysical grounds for his statement (like all his bon mots, something philosophically well worked out) "Other people are Hell" would hardly go along well with the necessary ground of brotherly love within the solidarity of the proletariant where one as an individual is expected to give all and receive less than nothing. Sarte's Communism is as ludicrous, superficially at least, as Heidegger's Nazism.
           An important point for anyone reading: Did Sartre ever explicitely and FORMALLY (in other words, not just an offhand remark) denounced Heidegger for his Nazism? I do not remember ever reading of any kind of criticism on Sartre's part. However, that would be perfectly in accord with Sartre's philosophy. He talks a great deal about "freedom", and makes it very important for the "for-itself", but also makes it very clear the ONLY necessary 'value' of the for-self is the desire to live, that's all, and also any choice of a value system would be a binding on freedom, a limitation, that, though it is absolutely necessary to choose SOME kind of value system simply to be ablr to live with other people who are, in fact, Hell, it does not mean or support or in any way validate as true and right ANY value system. Again, just like Heidegger. See his critique of sincerity as bad-faith and note his numerous statements that existentialism cannot be serious or that "man is a futile passion" or a "failed project" AS A STATEMENT OF MAN'S NATURE. The logical conclusion is that no value system is successful in its ultimate goal, whatever that may be, and as an ultimate goal -- gets rather fuzzy and mystical and you have to resort to God again, maybe under the name of "dialectical materialism".  They are not just bon mots. They are meant as rationally justified conclusions. Essentially, then, a 'valuation' of freedom per se, similiar to Heidegger's authenticity where one is free to choose from infinite possibilities but has no valid reason to choose any one of them except the factical necessity one must choose something. But then, remember, he 'disproved' the existence of "man".
           My point is to you Catweasle that Sartre does demonstrate the validity of much of Heidegger's thinking but by grounding it thoroughly in everyday reality lived by me and maybe by you. I know I have stated much of this very badly, but it is intended to get you to reading and criticising Sartre like you did Heidegger while retaining common sense and rationality. That's another thing, both Sartre and Merleau-Ponty demonstrate there is much more to DesCartes than just "Cogito ergo sum", and that he is a philosopher well worth the attention that Husserl gave to him.
           Hope to hear from you soon.
           With Sincerity,
           Gary C. Moore
      Like the fairground entertainment the clues for the more discerning lie
      thickly scattered around but go unnoticed or ignored, while a whole
      philosophy of falsehood is enacted on the doctrinal mesa.
      The fact that Being 'is' Time in disguise, has not occurred to the seekers
      after enlightenment who frequent the pages of Heidegger's 1927 work,  'Being
      and Time.'  It is not known by most punters that the verb 'to be' is simply
      a device to acknowledge chronological verisimilitude on objects and events
      throughout the cosmos.
      The language of human grammar is a harsh and unremitting one, and when
      Heidegger in his search for the meaning of Being is confronted with the
      inexorable inflexibility of its unassailable laws of logic he is forced into
      the academic equivalent of fairground chicanery.

      Let us look at some examples and sympathise with Heidegger as he tries to
      grapple with the entailment of Being and is unable to circumlocute and
      circumvent the barrier of the 'is' and the 'be' word.

      Consider the following verbs:

      He played - he plays or he is playing.
      It flew - it flies or it is flying.
      She was - she is or she is being.

      Note that we can only enter into a discussion of the nature and meaning of
      'playing' if we utilise and incorporate the concept of a player or players.
      So too, we may only talk about the concept of flying on the basis of the
      possibility of a flyer - a bird, a kite or a snowflake.

      Heidegger to his chagrin rapidly realises that he cannot proceed with an
      investigation of Being unless he has a 'was-er' or a  'be-er,' or an 'is-er,
      ' so he is forced to make one up - to create an ersatz exemplar of a
      Beinger.
      Why is this and how does Heidegger reconcile this most unprofessional and
      illogical and plainly illegitimate philosophical device with his standing as
      a respected member of the German academic establishment? How on earth did he
      get away with it?
      It is simple - he ruthlessly rejects the logicality of the scientific
      method. He ignores the bounty of human developmental and historical
      experience and understanding of the nature of being as expressed in the
      linguistic mechanisms of the conciousness.

      "The first philosophical step in an understanding of the problem of being,"
      he says,  "consists in avoiding the mython tina diegeisthai - in not telling
      a story - i.e. in not detailing beings as beings by tracing them back to
      their origins - to another being as if Being had a character of a possible
      being."

      In other words, says Heidegger, forget about your mother and father - how
      you got here - your genetic history and the known science of your genesis -
      forget that the small stone in your hand was hacked from a larger rock in
      that quarry in the woods - Being is to be found in the "there is," [es
      gibt.]
      So how does Heidegger get around this linguistic impasse - it is easy - this
      is the point when Heidegger makes his historic decision or fateful error and
      invents a 'was-er' and a  'be-er and an 'is-er' all of his own - he calls
      his mythic construct 'Dasein' - a manufactured circuitous tautology. He
      simply uses the three cup trick of Dasein, for Dasein with its contrived
      pleonastic illegality can help thwart the impenetrable verbal logic of the
      historic conciousness and by-pass the established neural pathways of
      linguistic and semantic  order.

      In answer to critics who accuse him of circuitry, he arrogantly dismisses
      them as sterile  - because they hinder penetration into the field of
      investigation.
      It is a fait accompli unnoticed by the bemused observers - the three cups of
      rhetoric, sophistry and illogicality whiz around so fast that the readers
      mind is in a whirl.  A moment later and the forged Daseinic key of
      philosophical falsity lies on the table before their very eyes accepted by
      all as a genuine fairground prize.

      It is upon this false ground and the passive acceptance of this fantastical
      world of Dasein that the fictive logos bifurcates into what becomes the
      complicated tautological fantasy-universe of existentialism with its
      plenitude of phantasmagorial and risible verbiage that it drags in its
      preposterous train.
      This, FALSEIN (Falsely Attributed Linguistic Simile Inserted Non-legally,)
      perhaps forms the same function as 'faith' does in religious dogma - it
      offers a passkey or actuator to gain entry to a metaphysical macrocosm, to
      construct and explore exciting contrastive dimensions of the human
      conciousness.
      We who remain on the outside of these fantasy worlds can at least take some
      gratification in our understanding of how the trick is accomplished - though
      most of us cannot point to the right cup we understand roughly how the trick
      works in its amazing simplicity.
      Time is the hidden secret of the *is-word* and the *being-word* and the
      interval between any two chronological nodes that you care to select
      circumscribes your experience of being or existence for that historical
      period.  For me, I can select a slice of my Being between 2pm and 4pm this
      afternoon, you on the other hand are free to contemplate the interval
      between January the 14th 1963 and September the 4th 2042 which may be the
      total span of your portion of Being - the complete duration of your BEING
      AND TIME.



      Catweasel.


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    • Catweasle
      ... From: Gary C Moore Sent: Sunday, July 30, 2000 12:22 PM Subject: Re: [Sartre]Three Cups of Being and a Ball of Time. Hello Mr. Catweasle, Welcome to
      Message 2 of 3 , Aug 3, 2000
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        ----- Original Message -----
        From: Gary C Moore
        Sent: Sunday, July 30, 2000 12:22 PM
        Subject: Re: [Sartre]Three Cups of Being and a Ball of Time.
         
        Hello Mr. Catweasle,
         
        Welcome to Sartre@egroups.com from Gary C. Moore!
        I had hoped to hear more from you here.
         

        Catweasel:
         
        Thank you for the warm welcome Gary -  it’s good to be among friends.  I still remember that message you posted to the other group – I’ll not forget it!
         
        Sorry for the slight delay in responding, but we’ve been away visiting my wife’s parents in the south of England for the last five days.
         
        Gary:
         
        I think the conclusions you make here are a good reason to come here. You're perfectly right time is being, and not an abstract time either. The ground of temporality is the facticity of my fingers pounding at this keyboard through this unique thematic moment. It is the movement of MY fingers and arm (I'm a one finger typist really). Time is lived, and common sense says if I talk about time being lived it is MY life I'm referring to into which the object which you are to me, analogically living your time, fits into mine. This is just to Say the lack of word mysticism in Sartre is terribly refreshing even though it can still be tortured. BUT IT ALWAYS HAS A CLEAR CUT REFERENT!
         
        Catweasel:
         
        Eliot describes the immediacy of time beautifully in the section of ‘The Wasteland,’ called ‘Burnt Norton,’ (a village near Cambridge.) Forgive me if I quote the poem at length.
         
        Burnt Norton.
         
        Time present and time past
         
        Are both perhaps present in time future
         
        And time future contained in time past.
         
        If all time is eternally present
         
        all time is unredeemable
         
        Remaining a perpetual possibility
         
        Only in a world of speculation.
         
        What might have been and what has been
         
        point to one end, which is always present.
         
        Footfalls echo in the memory
         
        Down the passage we did not take
         
        Towards the door we never opened
         
        Into the rose garden.  My words echo
         
        Thus, in your mind
         
        But to what purpose
         
        Disturbing the dust on a bowl of rose-leaves
         
        I do not know.
         
         
         
        Other echoes
         
        Inhabit the garden.  Shall we follow?
         
        Quick, said the bird, find them, find them,
         
        Round the corner, through the first gate,
         
        Into our first world, shall we follow
         
        The deception of the thrush?  Into our first world,
         
        There they were, dignified ,invisible,
         
        Moving without pressure, over the dead leaves,
         
        And the bird called, in response to
         
         
         
        The unheard music hidden in the shrubbery.
         
        And the unseen eyebeam crossed, for the roses
         
        Had the look of flowers that are looked at.
         
        There they were as our guests, accepted and accepting,
         
        So we moved, and they, in formal pattern,
         
        Along the empty alley into the box circle,
         
        to look down into the drained pool.
         
        Dry the pool, dry concrete, brown edged,
         
        And the pool was filled with water out of sunlight,
         
        And the lotus rose, quietly, quietly,
         
        And the surface glittered out of heart of light,
         
        And they were behind us, reflected in the pool.
         
        Then a cloud past, and the pool was empty.
         
        Go, said the bird, for the leaves were full of children,
         
        Hidden excitedly, containing laughter.
         
        Go, go, go, said the bird: human kind
         
        Cannot bear very much reality.
         
        Time past and time future
         
        What might have been and what has been
         
        Point to one end, which is always present.
         
        As a young man of nineteen, this poem had a most abstruse effect upon my thinking, my development, my general attitude towards the world, and the people in my life.  For me the poem captures the divine chaos of history.  It deflates all the high-flown, fly-blown, over-estimation of the self.  It brings one down to earth with a bump.  The realisation dawns that our lives are merely a bagatelle, random sparks in the brief firework display of human existence.  We are simply will o’ the wisps - insignificant non-entities that people history’s narrative burlesque. 
        However much we proclaim that we are in control of our lives, we are nevertheless subject to the vagaries of chance.    Our roles merely puppets in some unrehearsed, random, unmanaged theatre of chaos. Our existence is full of unfathomable, unanswered, never-to-be-realised possibilities.
        The right fork in the road we never took, the offer turned down, the decision to leave a party early, the career choice, the choice of clothes on a certain night, the hairstyle, the holiday destination, this taxi instead of that taxi, and this girl instead of that girl.  So we play the mysterious game of tombola as we pass through our lives.  In the poem, Eliot ruminates on the role that chance plays in our shadow-play of self-management.  That capricious function of happenstance that we know as our serial consciousness.
         
        Gary:
         
        I have been intensely reading BEING AND NOTHINGNESS and finding, even though I thought I had read it before, that it is a brilliant commentary and critique on BEING AND TIME. He does what many Heideggerians think is disturbing and downright nasty, explicitly spells out exactly what Heidegger is talking about.
         
        Catweasel:
        The spoon-benders among the Heideggerians just don’t want to face the truth that the whole edifice is built on shifting sands. When I launched into a critique of the veracity of the Grundbegriffe on the basis of my audit of the verb *to be,*  and pointed out that the creation of Dasein was an attempt to circumlocute *piggyback being* or *parrot-presence.* I have always explained this apparent double, (sometimes treble,) *to be* anomaly to myself by thinking that the word *is*  stands  a  syntactical doorway as an enchiridion, (in the past I have described it as an icon,)which points  to a further description of the subject -  if more information is required - for the expositional presence of *being* is already intrinsical within the subject at the moment of utterance. For example:
         
        If I say:  “Gary.” The intrinsical presence of Gary is already assumed – which is number 1 *is* in the bank account of presence.
         
        If I say: “Gary is...” that’s number 2 *is* in the bank account of presence.
         
        If I say: “Gary is being…” that number 3 *is* in the bank account of presence.
         
        As you so succinctly put it:
         
        “Time is lived, and common sense says if I talk about time being lived it is MY life I'm referring to.”
         
        Gary:
         
        Being is definitively not in ANY traditional way or fashion God. However, Merleau-Ponty MAY have found God somehow even in Sartrean ontology. But that is something I know next to nothing about. One member on the Sartre list, if I understand him right, thought Sartre sought to disprove the existence of God by showing God's definition must be being-for-itself-in-itself (look familiar?
         

        Catweasel:
         
        I must confess that the hairs on my neck stand on end at the very mention of this ridiculous contrived and meaningless hyphenated *being-as-this-and-being-as-that * bullshit. In fact I satirise this ideolect  in the next chapter of the mock Swiftian argosy that I’m writing over on the Heidegger List.  It's  about the voyage of the good ship ‘Spirit of Ontology.’  They’ve arrived at the Isle of Chiaroscuro to find that all the inhabitants talk in this existentialist gobble-de-gook even when they address others in ordinary conversation.
         
        For example instead of a guy saying:
         
        “Switch the light on please.” He will say something like:
         
        “Lightning abruptly lays before us in an instant everything present in the light of its presencing.  The lightning switch to which I point steers the 'ordering principle' of all existents ... the bringing…the switching... is the constitutive act, par excellence, Let your hand bring all things forward to their designated essential place in the clearing of illumination.”
         
        Everybody on Chiaroscuro talks like this, bartenders, bootblacks and bawds.
         

        Gary:
         
        Sartre follows Heidegger VERY closely. In Sartrean ontology this is a logical contradiction, but Sartre did not mean it as some sort of absurd 'disproof'. He was making a very detailed point that, in his definition that "God is man's project", the desire to BE God is an ontological fundamental in the definition of -- "man" -- so that the same contradictory definition also applies to "man".
         

        Catweasel:
         
        Some may wish to be God, but most cling to Godly attitudes out of fear and ignorance.  In the past, (and to a lesser extent today,) when no sensible explanation for the more frightening manifestations of natural phenomena could be given, (thunder, earthquakes etc,) it was natural for a cowering, whimpering mortal to seek comfort in on-the-make metaphysical explanations of sweaty priests and to prostrate themselves at the feet of the hundreds of thousands of Gods that mankind has dreamed up, prayed to, fought for, sacrificed to, and degraded himself to over the aeons. 
        My friend Arthur Hamilton once visited the ruins of Carthage, once a mighty city founded originally as a trading post by that great maritime race the Phoenicians on the north African coast.   As his party was being conducted round the ancient site, he noticed a lot of small waste-paper bins chiselled from solid rock dotted all over the place.
         
        "Why did they go to so much trouble to hand-carve those tiny rubbish - boxes from solid rock?
         
        Arthur asked the guide.   
         
        "They aren't garbage bins sir," replied the escort,
         
        "They're the coffins of the 1000 babies that the Carthaginians used to sacrifice to their Gods every year!"
         
         
        Gary:
         
        Why do I put "man" in quotes? Because the listmember actually brought up a good point, especially if he had carried it out all the way, i.e., if your fundamental definition is a contradiction, and a contradiction in definition 'disproves' the existence of the object so defined, then in this context "man" does not exist, a theme present in Heidegger, Foucault, and Derrida.
         
        And it points out one of the foibles in Sartre himself, in his POLITICAL programs of humanism and Communism. He does a great job of fundamentally destroying any reality to the idea of mankind as a real entity in BEING AND NOTHINGNESS. He deals realistically with how the for-itself (close to "dasein" but not exactly) lives with "other people", a much more dramatically and fundamentally negative view of Heidegger's 'They' self in as much as 'They' live you and lead you to WANT to make yourself into an object FOR them. Language, so holy in Heidegger, is the primary method by which this deceit is perpetrated for Sartre. Maybe this explains why Sartre dislikes poetry as much as Heidegger worships poetry. Language, essentially for Sartre, is an ontological lie then, in the sense 'its' purposes are taught to you NOT to be yours but to transfer on to you the values of those who control your life.
         
        However, in the midst of one of these destructive analyses, he suddenly bursts out "I affirm man!" with no rational explanation or justification. His brilliant demonstration of the ontological and metaphysical grounds for his statement (like all his bon mots, something philosophically well worked out) "Other people are Hell" would hardly go along well with the necessary ground of brotherly love within the solidarity of the proletariat where one as an individual is expected to give all and receive less than nothing. Sartre’s Communism is as ludicrous, superficially at least, as Heidegger's Nazism.
         
        An important point for anyone reading: Did Sartre ever explicitly and FORMALLY (in other words, not just an offhand remark) denounced Heidegger for his Nazism? I do not remember ever reading of any kind of criticism on Sartre's part. However, that would be perfectly in accord with Sartre's philosophy. He talks a great deal about "freedom", and makes it very important for the "for-itself", but also makes it very clear the ONLY necessary 'value' of the for-self is the desire to live, that's all, and also any choice of a value system would be a binding on freedom, a limitation, that, though it is absolutely necessary to choose SOME kind of value system simply to be able to live with other people who are, in fact, Hell, it does not mean or support or in any way validate as true and right ANY value system. Again, just like Heidegger. See his critique of sincerity as bad-faith and note his numerous statements that existentialism cannot be serious or that "man is a futile passion" or a "failed project" AS A STATEMENT OF MAN'S NATURE. The logical conclusion is that no value system is successful in its ultimate goal, whatever that may be, and as an ultimate goal -- gets rather fuzzy and mystical and you have to resort to God again, maybe under the name of "dialectical materialism".  They are not just bon mots. They are meant as rationally justified conclusions. Essentially, then, a 'valuation' of freedom per se, similar to Heidegger's authenticity where one is free to choose from infinite possibilities but has no valid reason to choose any one of them except the factical necessity one must choose something. But then, remember, he 'disproved' the existence of "man".
         
        My point is to you Catweasle that Sartre does demonstrate the validity of much of Heidegger's thinking but by grounding it thoroughly in everyday reality lived by me and maybe by you. I know I have stated much of this very badly, but it is intended to get you to reading and criticising Sartre like you did Heidegger while retaining common sense and rationality. That's another thing, both Sartre and Merleau-Ponty demonstrate there is much more to DesCartes than just "Cogito ergo sum", and that he is a philosopher well worth the attention that Husserl gave to him.
         
        Hope to hear from you soon.
         
        With Sincerity, Gary C. Moore
         
         
        Catweasel:
         
        You write very well Gary and your above introduction to Sartre is quite magisterial.  I admire your clarity and economy of style. (A failing in my writing,) I look forward to many more discussions about Sartre and other matters.
         
        Your sincerity is reciprocated.
         
        The best to you and yours,
         
        Catweasel.
      • Gary C Moore
        ... From: Catweasle To: Sartre@egroups.com Sent: Thursday, August 03, 2000 8:08 AM Subject: Re: [Sartre]Three Cups of Being and a Ball of Time [Catweasle]
        Message 3 of 3 , Aug 3, 2000
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          ----- Original Message -----
          From: Catweasle
          Sent: Thursday, August 03, 2000 8:08 AM
          Subject: Re: [Sartre]Three Cups of Being and a Ball of Time [Catweasle]

          RECEIVED BLANK 
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
          ----- Original Message -----
          From: Gary C Moore
          Sent: Sunday, July 30, 2000 12:22 PM
          Subject: Re: [Sartre]Three Cups of Being and a Ball of Time.
           
          Hello Mr. Catweasle,
           
          Welcome to Sartre@egroups.com from Gary C. Moore!
          I had hoped to hear more from you here.
           

          Catweasel:
           
          Thank you for the warm welcome Gary -  it’s good to be among friends.  I still remember that message you posted to the other group – I’ll not forget it!
           
          Sorry for the slight delay in responding, but we’ve been away visiting my wife’s parents in the south of England for the last five days.
           
          Gary:
           
          I think the conclusions you make here are a good reason to come here. You're perfectly right time is being, and not an abstract time either. The ground of temporality is the facticity of my fingers pounding at this keyboard through this unique thematic moment. It is the movement of MY fingers and arm (I'm a one finger typist really). Time is lived, and common sense says if I talk about time being lived it is MY life I'm referring to into which the object which you are to me, analogically living your time, fits into mine. This is just to Say the lack of word mysticism in Sartre is terribly refreshing even though it can still be tortured. BUT IT ALWAYS HAS A CLEAR CUT REFERENT!
           
          Catweasel:
           
          Eliot describes the immediacy of time beautifully in the section of ‘The Wasteland,’ called ‘Burnt Norton,’ (a village near Cambridge.) Forgive me if I quote the poem at length.
           
          Burnt Norton.
           
          Time present and time past
           
          Are both perhaps present in time future
           
          And time future contained in time past.
           
          If all time is eternally present
           
          all time is unredeemable
           
          Remaining a perpetual possibility
           
          Only in a world of speculation.
           
          What might have been and what has been
           
          point to one end, which is always present.
           
          Footfalls echo in the memory
           
          Down the passage we did not take
           
          Towards the door we never opened
           
          Into the rose garden.  My words echo
           
          Thus, in your mind
           
          But to what purpose
           
          Disturbing the dust on a bowl of rose-leaves
           
          I do not know.
           
           
           
          Other echoes
           
          Inhabit the garden.  Shall we follow?
           
          Quick, said the bird, find them, find them,
           
          Round the corner, through the first gate,
           
          Into our first world, shall we follow
           
          The deception of the thrush?  Into our first world,
           
          There they were, dignified ,invisible,
           
          Moving without pressure, over the dead leaves,
           
          And the bird called, in response to
           
           
           
          The unheard music hidden in the shrubbery.
           
          And the unseen eyebeam crossed, for the roses
           
          Had the look of flowers that are looked at.
           
          There they were as our guests, accepted and accepting,
           
          So we moved, and they, in formal pattern,
           
          Along the empty alley into the box circle,
           
          to look down into the drained pool.
           
          Dry the pool, dry concrete, brown edged,
           
          And the pool was filled with water out of sunlight,
           
          And the lotus rose, quietly, quietly,
           
          And the surface glittered out of heart of light,
           
          And they were behind us, reflected in the pool.
           
          Then a cloud past, and the pool was empty.
           
          Go, said the bird, for the leaves were full of children,
           
          Hidden excitedly, containing laughter.
           
          Go, go, go, said the bird: human kind
           
          Cannot bear very much reality.
           
          Time past and time future
           
          What might have been and what has been
           
          Point to one end, which is always present.
           
          As a young man of nineteen, this poem had a most abstruse effect upon my thinking, my development, my general attitude towards the world, and the people in my life.  For me the poem captures the divine chaos of history.  It deflates all the high-flown, fly-blown, over-estimation of the self.  It brings one down to earth with a bump.  The realisation dawns that our lives are merely a bagatelle, random sparks in the brief firework display of human existence.  We are simply will o’ the wisps - insignificant non-entities that people history’s narrative burlesque. 
          However much we proclaim that we are in control of our lives, we are nevertheless subject to the vagaries of chance.    Our roles merely puppets in some unrehearsed, random, unmanaged theatre of chaos. Our existence is full of unfathomable, unanswered, never-to-be-realised possibilities.
          The right fork in the road we never took, the offer turned down, the decision to leave a party early, the career choice, the choice of clothes on a certain night, the hairstyle, the holiday destination, this taxi instead of that taxi, and this girl instead of that girl.  So we play the mysterious game of tombola as we pass through our lives.  In the poem, Eliot ruminates on the role that chance plays in our shadow-play of self-management.  That capricious function of happenstance that we know as our serial consciousness.
           
          Gary:
           
          I have been intensely reading BEING AND NOTHINGNESS and finding, even though I thought I had read it before, that it is a brilliant commentary and critique on BEING AND TIME. He does what many Heideggerians think is disturbing and downright nasty, explicitly spells out exactly what Heidegger is talking about.
           
          Catweasel:
          The spoon-benders among the Heideggerians just don’t want to face the truth that the whole edifice is built on shifting sands. When I launched into a critique of the veracity of the Grundbegriffe on the basis of my audit of the verb *to be,*  and pointed out that the creation of Dasein was an attempt to circumlocute *piggyback being* or *parrot-presence.* I have always explained this apparent double, (sometimes treble,) *to be* anomaly to myself by thinking that the word *is*  stands  a  syntactical doorway as an enchiridion, (in the past I have described it as an icon,)which points  to a further description of the subject -  if more information is required - for the expositional presence of *being* is already intrinsical within the subject at the moment of utterance. For example:
           
          If I say:  “Gary.” The intrinsical presence of Gary is already assumed – which is number 1 *is* in the bank account of presence.
           
          If I say: “Gary is...” that’s number 2 *is* in the bank account of presence.
           
          If I say: “Gary is being…” that number 3 *is* in the bank account of presence.
           
          As you so succinctly put it:
           
          “Time is lived, and common sense says if I talk about time being lived it is MY life I'm referring to.”
           
          Gary:
           
          Being is definitively not in ANY traditional way or fashion God. However, Merleau-Ponty MAY have found God somehow even in Sartrean ontology. But that is something I know next to nothing about. One member on the Sartre list, if I understand him right, thought Sartre sought to disprove the existence of God by showing God's definition must be being-for-itself-in-itself (look familiar?
           

          Catweasel:
           
          I must confess that the hairs on my neck stand on end at the very mention of this ridiculous contrived and meaningless hyphenated *being-as-this-and-being-as-that * bullshit. In fact I satirise this ideolect  in the next chapter of the mock Swiftian argosy that I’m writing over on the Heidegger List.  It's  about the voyage of the good ship ‘Spirit of Ontology.’  They’ve arrived at the Isle of Chiaroscuro to find that all the inhabitants talk in this existentialist gobble-de-gook even when they address others in ordinary conversation.
           
          For example instead of a guy saying:
           
          “Switch the light on please.” He will say something like:
           
          “Lightning abruptly lays before us in an instant everything present in the light of its presencing.  The lightning switch to which I point steers the 'ordering principle' of all existents ... the bringing…the switching... is the constitutive act, par excellence, Let your hand bring all things forward to their designated essential place in the clearing of illumination.”
           
          Everybody on Chiaroscuro talks like this, bartenders, bootblacks and bawds.
           

          Gary:
           
          Sartre follows Heidegger VERY closely. In Sartrean ontology this is a logical contradiction, but Sartre did not mean it as some sort of absurd 'disproof'. He was making a very detailed point that, in his definition that "God is man's project", the desire to BE God is an ontological fundamental in the definition of -- "man" -- so that the same contradictory definition also applies to "man".
           

          Catweasel:
           
          Some may wish to be God, but most cling to Godly attitudes out of fear and ignorance.  In the past, (and to a lesser extent today,) when no sensible explanation for the more frightening manifestations of natural phenomena could be given, (thunder, earthquakes etc,) it was natural for a cowering, whimpering mortal to seek comfort in on-the-make metaphysical explanations of sweaty priests and to prostrate themselves at the feet of the hundreds of thousands of Gods that mankind has dreamed up, prayed to, fought for, sacrificed to, and degraded himself to over the aeons. 
          My friend Arthur Hamilton once visited the ruins of Carthage, once a mighty city founded originally as a trading post by that great maritime race the Phoenicians on the north African coast.   As his party was being conducted round the ancient site, he noticed a lot of small waste-paper bins chiselled from solid rock dotted all over the place.
           
          "Why did they go to so much trouble to hand-carve those tiny rubbish - boxes from solid rock?
           
          Arthur asked the guide.   
           
          "They aren't garbage bins sir," replied the escort,
           
          "They're the coffins of the 1000 babies that the Carthaginians used to sacrifice to their Gods every year!"
           
           
          Gary:
           
          Why do I put "man" in quotes? Because the listmember actually brought up a good point, especially if he had carried it out all the way, i.e., if your fundamental definition is a contradiction, and a contradiction in definition 'disproves' the existence of the object so defined, then in this context "man" does not exist, a theme present in Heidegger, Foucault, and Derrida.
           
          And it points out one of the foibles in Sartre himself, in his POLITICAL programs of humanism and Communism. He does a great job of fundamentally destroying any reality to the idea of mankind as a real entity in BEING AND NOTHINGNESS. He deals realistically with how the for-itself (close to "dasein" but not exactly) lives with "other people", a much more dramatically and fundamentally negative view of Heidegger's 'They' self in as much as 'They' live you and lead you to WANT to make yourself into an object FOR them. Language, so holy in Heidegger, is the primary method by which this deceit is perpetrated for Sartre. Maybe this explains why Sartre dislikes poetry as much as Heidegger worships poetry. Language, essentially for Sartre, is an ontological lie then, in the sense 'its' purposes are taught to you NOT to be yours but to transfer on to you the values of those who control your life.
           
          However, in the midst of one of these destructive analyses, he suddenly bursts out "I affirm man!" with no rational explanation or justification. His brilliant demonstration of the ontological and metaphysical grounds for his statement (like all his bon mots, something philosophically well worked out) "Other people are Hell" would hardly go along well with the necessary ground of brotherly love within the solidarity of the proletariat where one as an individual is expected to give all and receive less than nothing. Sartre’s Communism is as ludicrous, superficially at least, as Heidegger's Nazism.
           
          An important point for anyone reading: Did Sartre ever explicitly and FORMALLY (in other words, not just an offhand remark) denounced Heidegger for his Nazism? I do not remember ever reading of any kind of criticism on Sartre's part. However, that would be perfectly in accord with Sartre's philosophy. He talks a great deal about "freedom", and makes it very important for the "for-itself", but also makes it very clear the ONLY necessary 'value' of the for-self is the desire to live, that's all, and also any choice of a value system would be a binding on freedom, a limitation, that, though it is absolutely necessary to choose SOME kind of value system simply to be able to live with other people who are, in fact, Hell, it does not mean or support or in any way validate as true and right ANY value system. Again, just like Heidegger. See his critique of sincerity as bad-faith and note his numerous statements that existentialism cannot be serious or that "man is a futile passion" or a "failed project" AS A STATEMENT OF MAN'S NATURE. The logical conclusion is that no value system is successful in its ultimate goal, whatever that may be, and as an ultimate goal -- gets rather fuzzy and mystical and you have to resort to God again, maybe under the name of "dialectical materialism".  They are not just bon mots. They are meant as rationally justified conclusions. Essentially, then, a 'valuation' of freedom per se, similar to Heidegger's authenticity where one is free to choose from infinite possibilities but has no valid reason to choose any one of them except the factical necessity one must choose something. But then, remember, he 'disproved' the existence of "man".
           
          My point is to you Catweasle that Sartre does demonstrate the validity of much of Heidegger's thinking but by grounding it thoroughly in everyday reality lived by me and maybe by you. I know I have stated much of this very badly, but it is intended to get you to reading and criticising Sartre like you did Heidegger while retaining common sense and rationality. That's another thing, both Sartre and Merleau-Ponty demonstrate there is much more to DesCartes than just "Cogito ergo sum", and that he is a philosopher well worth the attention that Husserl gave to him.
           
          Hope to hear from you soon.
           
          With Sincerity, Gary C. Moore
           
           
          Catweasel:
           
          You write very well Gary and your above introduction to Sartre is quite magisterial.  I admire your clarity and economy of style. (A failing in my writing,) I look forward to many more discussions about Sartre and other matters.
           
          Your sincerity is reciprocated.
           
          The best to you and yours,
           
          Catweasel.
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