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Re: The Decisive Mutation (third post)

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  • Will Brown
    Yo, Ricket, you got the ticket. I see that you have been a busy bee. Three posts to whet the appetite of response. I ll begin with the third and work my way
    Message 1 of 3 , May 17, 2005
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      Yo, Ricket, you got the ticket. I see that you have been a busy bee.
      Three posts to whet the appetite of response. I'll begin with the
      third and work my way back because I find this one the most appealing.
      I find here the why of your scheme all laid out like a rug to be
      trampled upon, so why not? First, I must address Jim's point.

      I must confess that my criticism of the professor in a particular
      instance was more to stir the waters of the discussion a bit that Jim
      and I had going. In the large cast of the professor's essay, I would
      not quibble with her intent, which she states in closing, because I
      saw her intent as a way of bringing the esthetic reading of the leap
      into a single focus. The existential is missing because what you call
      the scheme is not addressed, either from your view or my view.

      One example before I shift to your scheme. She makes the following
      statement in CCTK (note: /italics/ is a neat way of indicating italics
      in a format that does not allow italics): "The qualitative transition
      is a shift in perspective, a new way of seeing, and such shifts, as I
      suggested earlier in relation to /Gestalt/ shifts, need not be the
      result of direct and deliberate volition." (227)

      The possibility that the self /is/ the perspective, as you and the
      Consortium would have it, and that a shift in perspective is the
      disjunctive aspect of the transition is not broached. If the self /is/
      the perspective, then all SK says about transparency, including his
      definition of in Works of Love and Purity, falls in line with the
      absolute quality of the transition. Anyway, since the distinction
      between a change in the reflection that is the self and a change in
      the reflection of that self is not addressed, it may be said that the
      existential aspect of the leap has not been addressed. That difference
      within the reflection itself engendered by the difference between its
      possible reflection upon itself, as either transparent or as separated
      into the one doing the reflecting and its reflection, is the stuff
      from which schemes are made.

      On your scheme, what you are telling me is that your shift from the
      literal mind to the figurative mind was so delayed that your took the
      existence spheres literally. Well, I would guess that if you exorcised
      the figurative interpretation of SK, all that would be left would be
      qualitative disjunction. If that were the case of it, I would say that
      your first reading of SK was already from the outside, or the
      comprehensive view, and, as such, no reflection upon it as speaking to
      you was possible. If appropriation /is/ necessary, then it is possible
      that you are describing yourself as some sort of Parsifal.

      Not that I do not believe your little tale of redemption, but is more
      probable that you are playing a didactical game here by placing
      yourself outside the Consortium as a way of infiltrating the
      anti-Consortium to sew the seeds of the Consortium. If that is the
      case, I am nothing but a tool to your ends. The question here is one
      of just how much reflection you are capable of, if you see what I
      mean. And no, I did not just fall off that turnip truck. WB Esq.

      --- In kierkegaardians@yahoogroups.com, "hakoohaj" <hakoohaj@y...>
      > Messieurs Stuart & Brown,
      > The infamous quote has more spin than politics. I repeat it here for
      > the flavor it imparts.
      > "Here as everywhere the different spheres must be kept clearly
      > distinct, and the qualitative dialectic, with its decisive mutation
      > that changes everything so that what was highest in one sphere is
      > rendered in another sphere absolutely inadmissible, must be
      > As for the religious, it is an essential requirement that it should
      > have passed through the ethical." (CUP, Lowrie, p. 347)
      > Back by popular demand for a third bite at the apple. I chose this
      > from Jim's post as the last one because it leads us back into the
      > of the professor. It also allows me to say something about the
      > I find in Kierkegaard.
      > {I see my own interpretation of SK on these matters as pretty much
      > line with Ms Ferreira's. So let me comment on your criticism of her:
      > "I see SK as just having said something /extraordinarily/ specific
      > the nature of the transition; namely, that the qualitative dialectic
      > /is/ controlling and that the absolute difference between the
      > derives from the nature of the transition itself: that difference
      > the difference and to neglect that difference is to provide the
      > possibility of allowing a continuity to appear between the spheres.
      > This is what I see Professor Ferreira having done in her essay by
      > reducing the separation to the rhetorical, eliminating the
      > existential, where she can speak to a 'before the leap' conditioning
      > the leap, and by inference, using that conditioning to bridge the
      > gap."
      > I don't see Ferreira as "reducing the separation to the rhetorical,
      > eliminating the existential". All I read her as saying is that what
      > the individual does pre-transition, in terms of spiritual
      > and spiritual striving, can precipitate, or at least make possible,
      > transition to a higher sphere.}
      > This is the insight I had the first time I was introduced to
      > Kierkegaard and his existence spheres by my teacher. It was in a
      > History of Ideas class and the idea was Kierkegaard generally and
      > specifically the existence spheres. It was logical then and it is
      > logical now. I began with an immediate assumption that the existence
      > spheres had something to do with existence. I took it literally.
      > Existence is black and white. One exists or one does not. If someone
      > goes from the first sphere through the second sphere and into the
      > third sphere and they are existence spheres how can anyone get
      > through? That was my first question when I was told about those
      > 'existence' spheres. That question stayed with me. If a person can
      > move through them and still be who they are why call them existence
      > spheres? When I began reading what Kierkegaard had to say in his
      > I could see why he called them existence spheres. Why? Because that
      > separation is what he was talking about. Short story. I was reading
      > verify what I thought he was saying and I saw him saying what I
      > thought he was saying. that disjunction was everywhere.
      > If I go through the door from the first room to the second room I am
      > no longer me. I am someone else. I can't know what that means
      unless I
      > have gone through that door. It doesn't matter to me if there is or
      > isn't such a door. Kierkegaard thinks there is or he is blowing
      > In either case, that is what he is talking about. If I am no longer
      > then all of my me-related terms are going to change. With all three
      > rooms I see him talking about a change from and a return to where
      > returned to is also new. Repetition. That's it in a nutshell.
      > That's the scheme I see Kierkegaard outlining in all of his works. I
      > don't need to have gone through the door to see that. Kierkegaard
      > that one must have gone through that door to understand the language
      > of appropriation. The Consortium carries the same flag. However, I
      > agree with the Consortium that the professor does not speak
      > scheme-eze. I think willyb is correct in his assessment of the
      > professor. Otherwise she would be talking about the difference
      > the two views of the transition instead of trying to connect the
      > disconnected. I see Jim doing precisely what the professor does and
      > that could possible explain why he agrees with her and disagrees
      > willyb.
      > Cheers,
      > Rick
    • Jim Stuart
      Hi Rick, Thank you for your clear summary of your own interpretation of Kierkegaard. Correct me if I am wrong, but your interpretation can be summarised in
      Message 2 of 3 , May 18, 2005
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        Hi Rick,

        Thank you for your clear summary of your own interpretation of Kierkegaard. Correct me if I am wrong, but your interpretation can be summarised in this way:

        Every time an individual ascends from a lower sphere to a higher sphere, the pre-transition individual (or self) is annihilated, and a new individual (the post-transition individual) is created.

        Thus, if a human being ascends from the aesthetic sphere to the ethical sphere, then from the ethical sphere to the sphere of religiousness A, then from the sphere of religiousness A to the sphere of religiousness B, four selves have existed at different times in the same human body. Here is how you put it, as an analogy:

        "If I go through the door from the first room to the second room I am no longer me. I am someone else."

        In the posting you give the following argument for your interpretation:

        "If a person can move through them and still be who they are why call them existence spheres?"

        From what Willy has written to this forum, I suspect his interpretation of SK is slightly different to yours. For example, what he said recently with regard to the transition from the sphere of religiousness A to the sphere of religiousness B suggests that an individual making this transition just acquires a new belief (that Jesus Christ is God incarnate), and there is no old-self-annihilation / new-self-creation. Willy has also talked about the old self being annihilated without any new self being created, rather the subject-object dichotomy is supposed to go out of the window in the higher spheres.

        I can think of a number of reasons to reject your four-selves-in-one-human-life interpretation of SK:

        First, SK was a fairly traditional Christian, and your view is clearly contrary to Christian doctrine. In particular, Christian doctrine holds that an individual is responsible for all the sins he commits in his life. Forgiveness of sins would cover all the person's historical sins and not just those of the currently existing self.

        Second, I don't myself see how the talk of 'spheres of existence' entails the idea that a (numerically) different self must exist in each sphere. Can't the same self just have a different mode of existence in each sphere?

        Third, I don't think your door analogy helps your cause. I often go through doors from one room to another, but its the same old self who enters the new room as left the old room.

        Fourth, presumably the new post-transition self has all the memories of the (sadly no more) pre-transition self. Have you got a mechanism of how the memories are transferred from the old self to the new self? I can't recall SK addressing this problem.

        Finally, your four-selves view is very much a claim to objective metaphysical truth. This sort of truth is not the sort of truth SK was concerned about. For SK, subjective truth was all that mattered.



        P.S. Hopefully, unlike our exchanges on the first two Decisive Mutation posts, this time we can really disagree with each other, rather than just agreeing to the same form of words, but claiming that they mean different things to each of us.

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Jim Stuart
        Hi Rick, Given what you say, I think I have misunderstood your view. As you claim not to hold to the four-selves interpretation of Kierkegaard, I must
        Message 3 of 3 , May 20, 2005
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          Hi Rick,

          Given what you say, I think I have misunderstood your view. As you claim not to hold to the "four-selves" interpretation of Kierkegaard, I must withdraw my various criticisms of your position.

          Further, if you want to characterise your position as involving four "senses of self", one for each of the four spheres of existence, then I can agree with your position. You also emphasize the notions of "return" and "repetition", and I need to reflect on these notions - perhaps my own "linear progression" view of the spheres is too simplistic.

          I agree with you that the subjectivity of the ethical individual is different to the subjectivity of the aesthetic individual, so again, as we dig deeper, our views seem to be closer together than we first supposed.

          On this note of harmony, I'm going to take my leave for a bit. I feel I have been talking too much recently, and a period of silence should help me to develop fresh ideas and develop fresh ways of expressing my old ideas.



          P.S. Note to Willy: I have found what you have said in your last two postings on the self and the self's sense of future very interesting and thought provoking. I agree that for Kierkegaard it is not the case that "the self has a problem", but rather that "the self is the problem" for the occupant of the lower sphere(s). I agree strongly that how we conceive of our futures is central to our sense of self, and that the wrong way of conceiving the future indicates a dysfunctional, disharmonious self. Hopefully, we can delve into these matters at some future time.

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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