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Theatre + intensionality + throwness + Back Wall + social animal + simplicator + radical individualism

September 22, 2008 2 comments

[here are some weak notes from last week’s Metaphysics class:]

In order to present an image for the structure of human experience, we use the image of a “Theatre.” We are the person in the audience, always watching, not passive. We go to the Theatre to see with “intensionality.” Not “intentionality” (with deliberation), but with “intensionality,” – a basic movement or dynamism in our relationship (like Augustine’s “restless heart“). It is a “throwness,” where our experience of being thrown into that dynamism in engaging and not passive, like a picture camera (Naïve Realism).

Procrastination is, therefore, the art of trying not to be human, hanging on to and not moving … repeating the same thing to the point of distracting us from thinking, avoiding “intensionality.”

Also in the Theatre, we watch Actors that don’t move, but are identifiable to their purpose. Behind them are changeable “Backdrops” that we may see as an outdoor picnic scene or an indoor house scene that we can easily identify. These Backdrops are our presuppositions. We have “thematic” presuppositions that are explicit and fully conscious of. We also have “non-thematic” presuppositions that are implicit and ingrained in us that we must learn to identify. In order to come to real “truth,” we must identify what our “natural standpoint” is, that becomes our reference point, pull of presuppositions, to discover the universals of truth for our lives. These universal are the “Back Wall” of the theatre. The “Back Wall” behind the “Backdrops” is “being” that we seek.

———–

Man is essentially a social animal, as Aristotle said. Modernity, however, does something unique. Through Radical Individualism, the slate is wiped clean making man the only being of importance. This was best expressed by Locke … Man is essentially an individual. It is later on that he organizes itself as a society. This is portrayed in our society with icons like the “Marlboro Man” who’s a cowboy living independent very self-confident without the need of others. This idealized character, however, is not real and used to sell cigarettes.

This Radical Individualism cannot be true. We are born into a family that necessitates society to “raise” a human being, at minimum, a man and woman to conceive a human being. One of the first acts of God, as seen in Genesis, is to create a society: “It is not good for Adam to be alone.” Locke is wrong. Aristotle is right. We ARE social animals.

———-

With Naïve Realism, we have “Simplicators” that see things as “it is the way it is.” We must abandon the “Simplicitor.” We strive for Hermeneutical Realism, in which what man encounters is real … not imagined or invented.

Animals, just as man, has sensation that allows them to experience hot, cold, wet, blue, hungry, etc. Animals respond to their environment, but only as stimuli to their sensation. It is a “pseudo-perception.” Human beings, however, have true perception, whereby they can make discoveries and rationalize their sensations to, ultimately, make references using language. When we describe the world, we relate our presuppositions (“Backdrops”). All human experiences are mediated by language. Language is the beginning. We take it for granted. Man is the only being that is intrinsically dynamic, that has awareness that he “IS” (“Who I am?”). No other being is aware of it’s being.

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Snow White is true?

September 15, 2008 Leave a comment

[here’s a weak summary of last week’s Metaphysic class:]

We begin our discovering of truth as young children.  We slowly “unveil” reality through the use of language (from our parents).  We are imbedded in a world that is linguistic always a part of the mystery, filled with presuppositions.

Young Billy starts with purely expressive sounds reacting to the environment around him.  They become discoveries (alitheia) that first identifies each object as a proper noun (ie. Mom, Dad, Spot, Skippy, Lassie, Pluto, etc.).  Over time and experience, the use of metaphors makes common relations to universals (parents, dog, etc.).

The use of stories is also a means of discovering truths.  As in the story of “Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs,” the character, actions and reaction in the narrative give insights into universal truths.  The Queen is obsessed with her beauty, is vain, and has much pride.  Her true beauty is represented as a witch.  On the other hand, Snow White is not concerned with pride or vanity, whereby her virtue causes others to love her, like the “humble” little people (dwarfs).  The story reveals that evil cannot kill virtue.  Love is more powerful that hate, while showing the roles of vice, virtue, love.

We hear stories, read them in books, and see them in movies.  Thru stories, we are transported in understanding to something that cannot be seen with the physical eye.  Understanding is a the combination of rationality and good will.  (Augustine calls this understanding the “Inner Teacher.”)

Is the story true?  An adult’s first reaction may be No, because it didn’t happen, at the surface level, with those particular characters in that particular place in that particular way.  But, the story is true, as a narrative medium that has deeper meaning revealing “truth.”  Children who haven’t been told stories when they’re little may have a difficult time reading the Bible.  We learn to discover truth through stories.

All art, at the surface level, is false.  But it allows you to look beyond the surface to discover a deeper truth.  Rhetoric is the use of knowledge (with eloquency) for a moment of insight.  All of these means of story telling, literature, rhetoric, art and music shows how language guides us into truth, through revealing insights, discovery of meanings and universals.

Silence is a moment of pause in language, used to reflect on and understand insight.  We must allow silence to guide us to discover of meanings.

How do we know history?  Through parents, teachers, books, stories, etc.  The past no longer exists, but we reflect on memory and recollection to remember its truths.  Our recollections bring presuppositions that we must learn to identify and remove in order for universal truths to be revealed.  We have “thematic” presuppositions that are explicit and fully conscious of.  We also have “non-thematic” presuppositions that are implicit and ingrained in us that we must learn to identify.  In order to come to real “truth,” we must identify what our “natural standpoint” is, that becomes our reference point, pull of presuppositions, to discover the universals of truth for our lives.

in media res + unveilment of being + no language, no world

September 8, 2008 Leave a comment

[here’s a weak summary of class notes for Metaphysics:]

We are “in media res” (in the middle of) the world, language and Being.  To be in the world is to be in the mixture of language and reality (being).  In the philosophical approach, we don’t go beyond it.  We simple recognize it.  We can take the theoretical approach for limited subjects, like sciences do.  Since we are not “theos,” we cannot objectify everything.  Heidegger says “language is the house of being.”  Truth is the unveilment of Being.  Being is that which cannot not be. 

In the theoretical approach, we use correspondence (apophansis), as in the sciences.  In the hermeneutical approach, we use unveilment of being (aletheia), as in the arts, philosophy and theology. The theoretical is grounded in the hermeneutical approach.  In philosophy, we need understanding, unveilment of truth.  In theology, we use revelation as authority.  Theology is not irrational.  Theology is transrational.

Revelation is the unveilment that we understand is from God that demands faith and invites us into creation, just as the creator has entered into his creation (incarnation).  Revelation is found in Scripture and Tradition. 

Philosophy and theology overlap in the preamble of faith: (1) God exists, (2) man is free, and (3) man’s life goes beyond life.

We are constantly “in” language, like a fish in water.  No language, no world.  As children, we begin our use of language referential unveiling Being.  We start with our identification as unique beings with proper nouns (ie. Mama, Papa, Spot, Lassie).  Metaphorically, we eventually make universal references (ie. parents, dog).

learning to hear

September 1, 2008 Leave a comment

[here is a weak summary of last week’s Metaphysics classes:]

In the first 2 classes, we reviewed the syllabus and direction of the class.

How do we study philosophy?
 
Many sciences (chemistry, physics, math, etc.) have an approach that is a “theoretical imposition” (objective observation).  This is a result of “modernity” (about the last 300 years).

Philosophy studies man, world and god.  Since we are a part of the subject, we cannot fully objectify our observations.  This does not mean we cannot see the entire pictures.  It involves and should embrace the mystery.  We must, therefore, listen to the “conversation” that we are a part of (subjective).

We begin our discovering as young children.  We slowly “unveil” reality through the use of language (from our parents).  We are imbedded in a world that is linguistic always a part of the mystery, filled with presuppositions.

What came first … language or the world (chicken or the egg)?  Language is the medium by which “being” manifests & reveals itself.  The Bible echoes this idea at the beginning of creation in Genesis where God breathed life into man.  Also seen in the beginning of the Gospel of John, where “in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”