Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Incomprehensible Freedom

Nancy says that "freedom remains incomprehensible as long as it exposes its necessity to the core of a thought that orders it to an infinite necessity of being, and not as a finitude for which being is not the foundation" (The Experience of Freedom, p. 37). I don't quite comprehend his meaning. Does he mean that the necessity of freedom should be thought as a finitude for which being is not the foundation? He adds, "It is not so much that freedom would become 'comprehensible' in the 'more originary thinking,' but the question of freedom would certainly no longer be posed in these terms–unless it were necessary, in order to gain distance from a problematic of 'comprehensibility,' also to gain distance from 'freedom' itself" (ibidem). As far as I can make sense of it, Nancy's reading of Heidegger in this chapter invites us to abandon a metaphysical concept of freedom as a capacity to be a cause of and by oneself. He says "causality belongs to beingness [√©tantit√©], not to existence" (p. 38). Now would I want to abandon metaphysical freedom for existential freedom for the sake of comprehensibility, or do I need to gain distance from "comprehensibility" and "freedom"? When I think finititude I don't rush to a conclusion about any kind of abyss of nothingness. Death is less than nothing to me. Am I thus not thinking death, and is freedom therefore incomprehensible to me? Can existence have a hither side without a yon? Is freedom more comprehensible if we grasp existence at the limit between hither and yon? Should freedom be comprehensible?

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posted by Fido the Yak at 4:40 PM.


Anonymous John said...

Fido. Is that you talking when you say death means nothing to me?

By contrast my favourite philosopher points out that the very essence of being an ego over and against everything "else" is fear, or hell deep fear of death.

He also points out that all of our life strategies from the most mundane to the "highest" cultural pusuits, are used as hedges around this core of fear. Hedges to prevent that fear from arising.

Plus some writings comparing the Eastern & Western responses to the fear based "problem" ofexistence.

1. www.adidam.in/eastwest.asp

October 03, 2007 2:42 AM  
Blogger Fido the Yak said...

"Death is nothing to me" is an Epicurean slogan. I think the actual quote may be "death is nothing to us" (from Epicurus' letter to Menoeceus), though perhaps some other Epicurean figure has said "death is nothing to me."

My words, "Death is less than nothing to me," mean that I don't take annihilation for a thing, not even a no-thing. I simply don't know what death is.

Fear of death is probably a bad thing, and yet some care for self-preservation seems perfectly reasonable. I don't think people eat for instance out of a fear of death, and I think there is a difference between not fearing death and being suicidal.

Regarding the ego, I don't bear it any special animus. Sometimes it seems like a philosophical problem to me. If you are pursuing an egoless existence, I wish you the best of luck.

October 03, 2007 9:13 AM  

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