Friday, August 17, 2007


I've been playing fast and loose with thrownness. What exactly do I mean by existential thrownness? It's a way we find ourselves being in the world. But what has been thrown into what? Kojima (Monad and Thou) asks us to think of thrownness in terms of an ontological distinction between the whole of a monad and its naked core. Here is a longish excerpt which starts from a problem of monadological empathy:

[T]he appresentation of the other bodily-fleshly subject already has an ontological foundation in my somatic ego as the naked core of the monad. Through the separation from the monadic totality itself and the acceptance of the objectifiable body, the Being of its core (my somatic ego) is thrown into groundlessness and suffers an inner self-negation that brings forth ontological relativization and scattering (pluralizing) of the absolute Here into outside Theres. In other words, the absolute Here becomes the relative Here and recognizes the same relative Hereness in every There as potentiality. To call this phenomenon "empathy" in the usual sense is not appropriate, because this is not a one-sided projection of my absolute Being into others. On the contrary, my ego itself is already passively relativized and altered. Therefore there is already no longer an absolute Here surrounded by Theres, but rather a relative Here (Here = There) surrounded by equally relative Heres (Here = Theres). Thus my somatic ego deprived of the monad always already anticipates in primal belief the Being of others outside it. I do not introject my absolute Being into other bodies, but rather I rediscover an already anticipated alter ego in other bodies. Thus the analogical apprehension of the alter ego introduced by Husserl is only the occasional concretion and reconfirmation of this ontological anticipation.

Through this ontologico-analogical capacity of the naked core of the monad the existence of another core (somatic alter ego) is originally given to it. We are always already living together upon interperspectival, decentered, common ground as naked cores. The other monad (ego) as a totality is never given in such a way, however, for the absolute Hereness of a monad does not lie in its naked core, which is only the already half-relativized Here. What distinguishes the absolute Here from Here = There is the inner totality of the monad, the monadic spatio-temporal continuum. Without this total structure, the human exists as alienated monad like the nucleus of an atom that has been robbed of its electron shell. It exists there as distorted, as spontaneous indeed, but restricted in its freedom. Heidegger called just this way of being "thrownness."

(pp. 91-92)

Kojima designates the (co-)being of the core of the monad as real, and the being of the whole of the monad as potential, or, more specifically, the "potential Being of images" (p. 96). From his analysis of mood, it is clear that Kojima associates ownness (Jemeinigkeit) only with the monad as a whole and not with its naked core.

I have a couple of problems with this approach to thrownness, which goes to show that my existentialism is not at all sophisticated. I don't think of thrownness as debilitating, robbed, inauthentic or anything like that. And since I'm prone to wonder where the monad would be without its core, I have a hard time accepting that this core too isn't my own unswappable being, and that the continuum doesn't somehow derive its ownness from the ownness of its core.

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posted by Fido the Yak at 3:54 PM.


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