Monday, June 22, 2009

A Philosophy of Nothingness. . .

"A philosophy of nothingness," Barbaras writes (Being, p. 121), "is still not realized as long as it defines nothingness as pure nothingness. Nothingness is genuinely nothingness only if it is not nothingness through and through." What is it about nothingness that's not like itself, adulterated through and through? Say that silence is a way of experiencing nothingness. Has there ever been in your experience a moment of unadulterated silence? What would you want to say about it?

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posted by Fido the Yak at 1:54 PM.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

nothing

June 24, 2009 12:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

of course I wouldn't even say that...(smile)

June 24, 2009 12:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm, I can't post an 'empty' comment...

Does Spinoza have a place for individual cadacualtic psyches...

'comment should not be empty'!

June 24, 2009 12:30 AM  
Blogger Fido the Yak said...

June 24, 2009 1:17 AM  
Blogger Fido the Yak said...

I guess you have to say it emphatically! Nice to see you.

June 24, 2009 1:18 AM  
Blogger Dylan Trigg said...

I wasn't aware of this passage in Barbaras. (Would have been good to have read this a few years ago!). My question would be: is nothingness "pure" if we catch sight of it indirectly, either as a reflection or as a reverberation? I'm wondering if the reflection would constitute a representation of nothingness rather than the means of its expression. Marion says: "Nothing arises that is not given." And he includes nothingness within this category. I'm not sure. I think silence is a privileged phenomenon here, as you know. But silence is not homogeneous, as your "unadulterated" remark indicates. We need a topography of different silences! And even then, we'd need to ask whether some-thing that becomes present through receding from presence marks an experience of an expression of nothingness.

How do you experience this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HprBnBCfc1E

June 24, 2009 2:22 AM  
Blogger Fido the Yak said...

I experience Mourned by the Wind as beautiful. The dynamic contrasts are wonderfully expressive and often bring me, the listener, to the verge of silence. I can imagine the work as a tapestry of silences. The silences of the winds. . . .

You ask, "is nothingness 'pure' if we catch sight of it indirectly, either as a reflection or as a reverberation?" I'm not sure. I'd say we don't know enough to make a determination, but since you put "pure" in quotes, it makes me think about whether we think absolute thoughts or experience anything resembling absolute consciousness. Of course the easy answer is no, we shouldn't be able to catch sight of a pure nothingness. But we catch sight of a lot of things indirectly, like the existence of whole planets. A planet is no less a "pure" planet if we only "see" it by reading a perturbation, by radial velocity observations. But how does a modern astronomer think of a planet? Pluto?

"I'm wondering if the reflection would constitute a representation of nothingness rather than the means of its expression." Okay. Do you find that representations are distorting? Just to ask.

June 24, 2009 4:09 PM  
Blogger Dylan Trigg said...

Are representations distorting? To some extent, although not to a Platonic extent (I would stop at Schopenhauer where representation occurs). But shouldn't we distinguish indirection from impurity? True, a thing is no less pure because we see it partially, if we take "pure" to mean a direct experience. Nothing is comprised because we only see the house from the front, as Merleau-Ponty has it. The object retains its unity. But I'm taking the experience/representation of nothingness as a special problem, which is quite apart from planets and houses, I think. It is a question, perhaps, of whether the representation of nothingness coincides with a distortion.

This is why I point to the Kancheli, because there nothingness itself seems to co-exist with silence. It is not that silence represents nothingness, but that silence reveals the structure of nothingness - and this is a structure that is discernable in terms of what is left behind when presences is withdrawn. Can a trace be a representation? I don't even think this is a case of "aesthetic experience" offering us a privileged overview, but just that this hybrid of silence and nothingness fortuitously emerges in Kancheli.

June 26, 2009 9:31 AM  

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