vineri, 30 septembrie 2011

About Historical Facts

We did not know how we can come close to the things, but there is an easier task to point to the ways that move us farther from them.

One of this ways is the appeal to historical facts for explaining actual state of facts.

For instance, if we have to explain an ever actual fact as death and we take into account the views of death supported by ancient peoples, then, in spite of the necessity of such an account, we risk to abandon it as a current issue. First of all, for the death becomes the object of a discourse. Seeing that others interpreted it, we just follow them as new interpreters, but we forget to see it as something that is closer than any object of interpretation.

And if we conceive ourselves as interpreters of a fact, then we feel that our task related to the fact is that of speaking about it.

Even if there is not possible a tabula rasa from which there would be erased any past interpretations of the things we meet at present, one norm for advancing closer to things should be that of not appeal to historical facts as arguments for our actual beliefs. And it does not matter if those facts are refuted, or gathered for supporting our beliefs.

joi, 29 septembrie 2011

The Man and his Image

If we want to know the man through an image, we have to add to his figure the surrounding background.

In the case of a painted portrait, the personage stays in the front of the image. But only the landscape surrounding him can measure his movement or his lack of change in the moment he brings himself to the state of being caught in the picture.

We cannot establish a definite surrounding background for any individual person, or maybe there is not such a stable background for no one. All we can do is to circumscribe those kinds of realities that make possible to view if someone moves or stays in the same place.

A common measure of someone’s movement is his spatial distance from definite points represented by durable things: certain places, houses, pieces of furniture, different objects, etc. One’s change can be counted starting from the things closed to him. If he resists longer time than his clothes, then he proves that his bodily existence endures less change than what covers it. However, what covers it subsists longer than one’s body, so that we have in our nearby some persistent things that make us to fell as in front of eternity. It is no more difficult to explain eternity than to give an account of the fact that the things moved by us have a longer existence, one that we cannot know. Accordingly, the naked body in a bare landscape, or viewed without noticing what surrounds it, seems lacked by any motion or change. If there is viewed by a lover, we have a reason for agree with the saying „love is stronger than death”.

The continuous assail of things that require to measure our movement and change makes us to search for an escape. The common practice is to talk about the things surrounding us, as if we could separate ourselves from them. They are deemed to be essentially subdued to us, or able to be taken into possession. So conceived, the things cease to be the criteria according to which we count our change, and cease to be a menace for our everyday overlooking of the continuous change.

Nonetheless, the inappropriate state of being isolated from any background composed by things causes a return to the practice of counting. The things are substituted by other persons, and again some of them follow the fate of the things that come to be subdued. The persons that share with someone the same position or can surround him are those able to make him to forget his impossibility to cope with his permanent change. The tension resulted from the confrontation with things that appraise our change and are frequently taken into possession is still present in the relations with others, but allows to be carried on because such tension takes the value of a game. It is the game of keeping together persons who also attempt the same thing with us. Every game supposes an unexpected development of the things involved, and so does an individual in the small communities of human beings.

The best player can diminish the pure chance of the game. But in the case of human relations, this equates with someone’s retreat in the midst of his own things and works, with the end of being measured by them. Their pressure becomes smaller as long we do not deny that we are separated from them or greater than them. Therefore, we should recognize the absence of any definite split between us and them, so that they will seem to be parts of our world, not of an external one.

joi, 8 septembrie 2011

Wittgenstein: The Meaning of Life

To pray is to think about the meaning of life
L. Wittgenstein

What could be understood about the act of praying? First of all, that it is an act of thinking, though a long tradition of separating religion from philosophy or science would say the contrary.

The same tradition and the religious view itself would say that to pray means to dedicate yourself to an invocation of a supreme being called God. But this explanation is the outcome of a clash between two sorts of language. The description of a communicational statement as the meeting between a speaker and his audience is inappropriate for approaching the prayer that it was not intended to be heard by a person like all of those we are accustomed to interact in our lives.

Moreover, to question farther if the person we pray to is real or not only continues the inadequacy between the common communicational language and the language used by prayers.

The language of prayers only incidentally supposed the representational images of the god they address to. Primarily, they represent the act of praying itself. The position took by the body in the act of praying weights on the representational power of the prayer, even if it is spoken without any specific gesture.

 It is the bent of the body that supplies the first representational movement of the language used in prayers. To qualify this position as a humiliating one is also a secondary aspect of a prayer. It is deduced from what primary is revealed by the life of the body. The always extending life of the body is brought to itself in a way that ceases to say something about the body itself. On the contrary, many prayers are meant to place the man outside of any thought about his body.

It seems the life of the body can show itself only by a concrete retreat from what it is in its daily manifestation. And such retreat could be equated to the act of thinking, because any speculation about the meaning of thought should inquire in the fields where it is not there, as the field of language, of personal creeds, or the great domains of natural objects. In spite of the custom of consecrating a definite place to thought in the analysis of human behavior, it is always reached through a former detachment from a concrete object or behavior.

The prayer rests as an act of the prayer upon the life of the body. As a consequence of the uncommon position of the body, it is not exactly focused on the life of the body, but on the life embodied.

The prayer does not transmit something to another person, but all the images, words, and gestures expose the restless thought about life. On its turn, the restless thought purports all the images, words or gestures to some precise standpoints that can be counted as the forms of tackling the meaning of life. They are standpoints for the uninterrupted exercise of prayer (since there is prescribed the endless prayer), exactly what it needs for be accomplished as an act of language who never has a really final point as an informative statement has.

duminică, 4 septembrie 2011

The Invisibility: Things, Persons, Notions

The invisibility is commonly attributed to abstract notions. The invisibility seems the simplest thing to be said about them and, accordingly, these notions shows themselves as the simplest objects of knowledge when we point out to their invisibility (for instance, the simplicity of numbers, the moral and esthetical concepts, etc.). However, as long as they are not put aside by claiming their invisibility, such property proves to be, on the contrary, one means for enhancing the complexity of the abstract notions.

First of all, for the most visible objects possess also the property of being simple, simpler than abstract and invisible ones. Though we always see the objects in a landscape or among other things, they can easily be detached from the rest. Moreover, the multiplicity of visible objects stops any profound inquiry in their nature: we just see that tree, and not the other. The emphasis lays on the difference of a visible thing from other visible things, not on the thing itself, in order to reveal its complex set of peculiarities.

An unseen object has not the same possibility of being accepted with the easiness met when we observe visible objects. This fact may be elucidated as long we regard to the unseen aspects of the concrete objects. A thing that conceals some of its sides is recomposed in its entirety by an appeal to our memories about the similar things viewed before (such explanation was offered in ancient medical writings). Of course, the act of recomposing means an implicit admission of its complex nature.

The case of an unseen person brings on more details about the complexity of invisible objects. When we do not see a person, we do not consider her as totally inexistent or as possessing a simple existence as any other object put aside from our sight. An unseen person is thought of as existing in a complex manner, as being caught in her activities, places, or things possessed. When we hardly can imagine such complexity, we tend to fill the gaps with general considerations supposed to be adequate to that person, too. Thus, we may suppose that the unseen person does what other persons do in the same conditions, for instance, if someone is a fisherman, he is pictured as fishing, and if someone caused an injury to other people, he is thought of as doing all the wrong deeds we generally attribute to a so-called evil person.

In short, the unseen persons involve for our thoughts about them the two tendencies of placing them in complex states of facts and also to include them in general classes.

The complex discourses and relations generally associated to abstract notions and the operations of classifying them prove that the above mentioned tendencies are followed in their case, too. Nonetheless, the appeal to memory for building abstract notions is a common manner of dealing with them, as much as we do this regarding partially unseen objects.

When we appeal to memory for knowing the unseen sides of a thing, we are far from it or we won’t to make the effort to see it completely. An unseen person imagined in the midst of a lot of things is usually one we want dispersed and lost in those things in order to not bother ourselves with the sober matters of thinking about what means the absence of others. Moreover, her inclusion in categories provides us the means to forget her as an individuality.

Surely, all the above considerations about the unseen objects and persons may be also identified in the mental processes involving abstract notions.