Monthly Archives: September 2007

Helplessness and the Passing Under

mitda in her current blogpiece talks about an experience we shared on Friday.  She had been rendered helpless in a play session completely, and suddenly “something” came over us.  I put something in scare quotes because it didn’t have attributes or anything one could describe, it was just presencing pure and passing over, with a simultaneous (for me) passing under.  I have had this experience before but under very different circumstances.  I felt from it a huge sense of refusal, refusal of worship, refusal of description, refusal of communication.  It seems to be a rare occurrence, and one that one needs to be partially prepared for, but the preparation can never be enough, and it remains the most overwhelming, the definition of overwhelming itself.  The Abyssal.


Vorhanden, Zuhanden, and Dasein, three modes of being

Vorhanden – Abstract Presence

The concept of vorhanden is translated ‘present-at-hand in BT. This is one mode of being in which being lies in the fact that something is, and is as it is in reality, which provides the mode of vorhanden for that entity (BT, 26). Awareness of the vorhanden character of an entity has a temporal structure because awareness is an event, which is necessarily tied to time and cannot be eternal. Thus, the awareness of vorhanden is a making-present of the entity (BT, 48), and thus brings the entity to a state in which it can become the object of some kind of relation to that which is aware of it, Dasein. The process of appearing that results in entities of the mode vorhanden being known is not a showing of themselves, but rather that they are evidenced by something else (BT, 52). These attributes of that which is vorhanden demonstrate that the word ‘what’, rather than ‘who’, is properly associated with the concept of vorhanden (BT, 71). Another characteristic of the vorhanden mode of being is that it is ‘in-the-world’ where ‘in’ means “sharing the same space as” (BT, 79).

The consequence of ‘being-in’ is that all entities that ‘be-in’ have a mode of being that can be reduced to vorhanden, but any such reduction of a view of the entity to merely vorhanden results in a denial of the higher modes of being that properly belong to the entity through the abstraction necessary to regard the entity as vorhanden. In contrast to things that are ‘in-the-world’ hut have a higher mode of being than is expressed in vorhanden, entities that only exist with the vorhanden mode of being are ‘belonging-to-the-world’ and so are a part of the world (BT, 93). The effect of being a part of the world is  that such entities become a part of the context o0f which Dasein is aware and with which Dasein interacts. 

Zuhanden –  Tool-Being

Heidegger identified zuhanden, ready-to-hand, as a mode of being that contrasts with vorhanden. He argues that entities become accessible when we concern ourselves with them in some way, that is, when we care about them (BT, 96). To care for entities is to become interested in them in some way so that the entity is no longer a mere object at a distance from us, as something observed and analysed, as described in the vorhanden mode of being, but rather to come into some interested relation to the entity. The fact of care makes the entity of
the kind described  ‘equipment’, zeug, that which is useful for something, and so to have a mode of being zuhanden (BT, 96).

Heidegger argues that strictly there is no such thing as ‘an equipment’ where ‘equipment’ means ‘something-in-order-to’. The ‘in-order-to’ character of the zuhanden mode implies a reference of something to something (BT, 97). That is, in the mode of being zuhanden the equipment is always linked to something else as an entity that has the purpose of effecting something other than itself for something other than itself. That which is zuhanden is known
in its relational nature as equipment for a purpose, but is not known as what it is in itself because when we use something our awareness is of its purpose rather than of it in and of itself, that is, its mode of being vorhanden (BT, 98). Thus, in order to be zuhanden the  vorhanden character must withdraw to release Dasein to perceive the entity as for a purpose.

This relation of vorhanden and zuhanden follows because when equipment is used the awareness of the user concerning the purpose of the entity rather than awareness of the entity in and of itself (BT, 99). Now, work involves using something for achieving something, whether the purpose is public or private, and thus is dependant on use of equipment (BT,  100).  However, that which is zuhanden must also be reducible to vorhanden, since there can be no
equipment where that equipment does not tangible exist as something that can be apprehended and analysed if one is able to penetrate beyond the perception of that entity as equipment (BT, 101). Consequently, that which is to be useful, has a mode of being of zuhanden and must have a mode of being vorhanden, and the difficulty in perceiving the  vorhanden character arises because it is obscured by the zuhanden character that is most immediately perceived by Dasein.

Should an entity normally perceived according to its zuhanden character be broken then it is perceived in its not useful vorhanden mode of being (BT, 103). In addition, should an item perceived by one as zuhanden be apprehended by another, who due to a lack of appropriate  experience or knowledge, is unable to perceive it as that particular zuhanden the latter may perceive it as a different zuhanden, that is as for a different purpose, or possibly as purposeless, and thus only as vorhanden.  All uses of that which has a mode of being of zuhanden relate somehow to serving one or more purposes of Dasein (BT, 116). Thus the generation of the zuhanden mode of being is dependent on Dasein generating it as an additional mode of being for an entity that is first of all vorhanden. However, having effected this transformation of vorhanden to zuhanden Dasein then primarily perceives the entity as zuhanden, and only with difficulty, if at all, as
vorhanden.  Heidegger also suggests that there may be some entities known as zuhanden that may not be encounterable and thus not knowable as objective entities that could be analysed, and their vorhanden character cannot be separated from their zuhanden character (BT, 122).

Heidegger does not posit examples of zuhanden that cannot be encountered as vorhanden. It may be worth contemplating whether such entities as knowledge or inter-personal relationships may be such unencounterables, and thus only perceivable as zuhanden because we are unable to remove the interpretative overlays of the underlying vorhanden entity in order to be able to encounter and perceive that vorhanden entity in an of itself. If this is so it would provide a foundation for our difficulty in understanding such entities.

Dasein

Heidegger uses Dasein to name and describe the mode of being experienced by humans in their own existence (BT, 32). However, Heidegger does not definitively limit Dasein to humans, and so it is possible, or plausible, that there is some other non-human entity that may also have the Dasein mode of being, but Heidegger does notdiscuss this perspective on the issue either. The distinguishing characteristic of Dasein is that Dasein is aware of Dasein’s
existence, and is aware of the question of existence, and anything that is not Dasein is not so aware (BT, 32,33). Since Dasein is aware of its being and understands the question of being, one of the pursuits of Dasein has been to pursue and explore the nature of Dasein’s being seeking the authentic meaning of being (BT, 62). This pursuit contrasts with the other pursuit that Dasein conducts in parallel, which is shared in various ways by other entities, of seeking
to support its material being. That is, in parallel with pursuit of questions of the nature of being Dasein also pursues the mundane matters of life that enable physical support of the body in a desirable manner. Dasein pursues these mundane matters in a more sophisticated manner than other entities, but the other entities do pursue the mundane in some way, as their primary activity.
Dasein is not of the mode of vorhanden because it is not something that we ‘come across’ as we go about (BT, 69), but rather it is close to us, and is well known because it is inseparable from ourselves, but it is little understood in everyday experience because it is very close to us (BT, 69). In addition, Dasein is not zuhanden because it exists but is not for the purpose of effecting something.

The traditional view of people has been as rational animals,  through
rationalist concepts such as Decartes’ “I think therefore I am”, cogito ergo sum, but this yields Hiedegger with the problem that ____ is of a vorhanden kind and _____ is of an unclear kind of being, resulting in a person, viewed in this way having an indeterminate kind of existence (BT, 74).

At this point Heidegger departs from Ancient Greek and Christian anthropology, which both  define man as essentially an entity (BT, 75). Heidegger introduces the idea of ‘mineness’ as a quality that belongs to Dasein, as being that which is the true nature of Dasein, which results  in the possibility of Dasein living either authentically or inauthentically, depending on the way of life lived by Dasein (BT, 78).
Now Dasein experiences ‘being-in-the-world’ as sharing in the space of the world, but not as being a part of the world (BT, 79). Thus Dasein lives in the world as it is, and interacts with the world, but is of a different kind to the other entities in the world. A result is that it is possible to say Dasein is of vorhanden kind, but this either is a wilful disregarding of the ‘being in’ state of Dasein or an unintentional not seeing of that ‘being-in’ state (BT, 82). The possibility of seeing Dasein as either vorhanden or zuhanden results from the fact that in ‘being-in-the-world’ Dasein is constructed of stuff like the world and could be mistaken.   Such a mistaking of Dasein for one of the other kinds of being would result in inappropriate relations and behaviour because it would reduce people to being either equipment or mere objects. That Dasein can be ‘being-in-the-world’, Heidegger’s defining concept of Dasein, is the consequence of Dasein being able to know and to conduct I-thou relations, which are entities that cannot be known as of vorhanden kind. The view of Dasein as ‘being-in-the-world’ contrasts with the vorhanden which are, ‘in-the-world’ or ‘belonging-to-the-world’ and so parts of the world (BT, 93).
Previous western views of humanity regarded people as either bipartite, body and soul, or tripartite, body, soul and spirit, and lead to the assumption that a person is a synthesis of the parts, but in Heidegger’s view Dasein is existence, not a synthesis of separately existing parts (BT, 153). Thus, Heidegger argues for regarding Dasein as a complete and indivisible being that enters into relations and intrinsically is a complete, unified, entity. There are multiple Dasein, which necessarily have some kind of relation to each other, whether warm and        friendly or hermitic or otherwise, and these relations are characterized by Heidegger as ‘Being-with’.

Zuhanden  – Slave-Being  

In a sense then with slave-being we do take the slave as zuhanden, ready-to-hand, useful, a tool for use.  In consensual slavery the slave agrees, wants, needs to be taken this way.  As dasein he/she is still being-in-the-world but in this case, the world is not his/her world, but her Master’s world.  The slave is never merely an object, and in fact all ‘objectification’ of the slave is in reality de-subjectification, because the slave remains at the same time dasein and equipment, a tool and a being with its own sense of being, but the sense of being a tool in the equipmental totality of the Master’s world.


Slave-Being 1 – Tool-Being

Slave-Being 1

Tool- Being


(1) entities do not manifest themselves as things (Latin:
[i]res[/i])

(2) the entities with which we deal with manifest
themselves as ‘tools’ in the wide sense of the Greek “pragmata”

The question now becomes ‘what is the Being of this pragmata’?
This is the present task.

The clue for answering this
question lies in our understanding ‘tools’ as equipment (Zeug),
in our understanding “equipmentality.”

Understanding
the structure of equipment:

[list]

(1) there can be no such expression as ‘an’ equipment — a piece
of equipment is place within a totality, it is bound to an equipmental totality.

(2) Equipment is essentially
‘something in order to…’ e.g., a hammer is used in order to hammer
a nail, this, in turn, in order to build a shed — in order to
provide shelter etc.

This indicates that 3) Equipment is involved in references and
assignments
i.e., it is always involved in certain contexts:
e.g., a pen is involved in the context of ink-wells, pads, a desk,
lamp, being near a window etc.[Note that in our dealings with this equipmental totality our
primary relation is one of use [using equipment ‘in order
to…’]

And this provides the key for understanding the Being
of entities in this context —

They (entities as tools)
manifest themselves as ready-to-hand.

This is the
primary ontological category ascribed to entities dealt
with in the everyday world of our environment: Zuhandenheit
(readiness-to-hand).

****

Heidegger notes that
our peculiar manner in which we deal with these entities is
circumspection  and with this he indicates that
Dasein’s active comportment to this categorical structure is one of circumspective concern (more of this later).

****

Heidegger
then proceeds to look further into this way in which we deal with
things ready-to-hand.

The Analysis deals with the notion of
work.

A reflection on the sense of “work” fills out
the notion of environment and the ‘in order to…’

(1) The
‘towards which’ indicates the work to be produced e.g., a shoe, a
shed, etc. This, in turn, points beyond the immediate work
environment to the larger context of materials — this, in turn,
involves the ‘wider’ environment of animals (and those who raise
them) and nature etc.

Also,

(2) the ‘where of’: the
purpose of the work (e.g., the purpose of making a shoe, a traffic
sign etc.)

This, in turn, points beyond the immediate work
environment to the user of the product and its material — whether it
be one’s own Dasein, or other Daseins, or the public world (a road
sign, etc.). Again, these notions tend to expand and make clear the
sense of the environment (Umwelt).

All of this goes to make
up the Unwelt — and in this is located our relation to entities
which Heidegger has characterized as our dealings with things in
circumspective concern —

And the Being (i.e., the
ontological-categorical structure) of entities so involved is termed
readiness-to-hand..

****

But this has yet to become
explicit: For when we are caught up in our dealings, e.g., in using a
pen in order to write a paper for the purpose of giving a lecture,
one is not aware of the ontological structures underlying this work.


Vorhanden, Zuhanden, and Dasein, three modes of being

Vorhanden – Abstract Presence

The concept of vorhanden is translated ‘present-at-hand in BT. This is one mode of being in which being lies in the fact that something is, and is as it is in reality, which provides the mode of vorhanden for that entity (BT, 26). Awareness of the vorhanden character of an entity has a temporal structure because awareness is an event, which is necessarily tied to time and cannot be eternal. Thus, the awareness of vorhanden is a making-present of the entity (BT, 48), and thus brings the entity to a state in which it can become the object of some kind of relation to that which is aware of it, Dasein. The process of appearing that results in entities of the mode vorhanden being known is not a showing of themselves, but rather that they are evidenced by something else (BT, 52). These attributes of that which is vorhanden demonstrate that the word ‘what’, rather than ‘who’, is properly associated with the concept of vorhanden (BT, 71). Another characteristic of the vorhanden mode of being is that it is ‘in-the-world’ where ‘in’ means “sharing the same space as” (BT, 79).

The consequence of ‘being-in’ is that all entities that ‘be-in’ have a mode of being that can be reduced to vorhanden, but any such reduction of a view of the entity to merely vorhanden results in a denial of the higher modes of being that properly belong to the entity through the abstraction necessary to regard the entity as vorhanden. In contrast to things that are ‘in-the-world’ hut have a higher mode of being than is expressed in vorhanden, entities that only exist with the vorhanden mode of being are ‘belonging-to-the-world’ and so are a part of the world (BT, 93). The effect of being a part of the world is  that such entities become a part of the context o0f which Dasein is aware and with which Dasein interacts. 

Zuhanden –  Tool-Being

Heidegger identified zuhanden, ready-to-hand, as a mode of being that contrasts with vorhanden. He argues that entities become accessible when we concern ourselves with them in some way, that is, when we care about them (BT, 96). To care for entities is to become interested in them in some way so that the entity is no longer a mere object at a distance from us, as something observed and analysed, as described in the vorhanden mode of being, but rather to come into some interested relation to the entity. The fact of care makes the entity of
the kind described  ‘equipment’, zeug, that which is useful for something, and so to have a mode of being zuhanden (BT, 96).

Heidegger argues that strictly there is no such thing as ‘an equipment’ where ‘equipment’ means ‘something-in-order-to’. The ‘in-order-to’ character of the zuhanden mode implies a reference of something to something (BT, 97). That is, in the mode of being zuhanden the equipment is always linked to something else as an entity that has the purpose of effecting something other than itself for something other than itself. That which is zuhanden is known
in its relational nature as equipment for a purpose, but is not known as what it is in itself because when we use something our awareness is of its purpose rather than of it in and of itself, that is, its mode of being vorhanden (BT, 98). Thus, in order to be zuhanden the  vorhanden character must withdraw to release Dasein to perceive the entity as for a purpose.

This relation of vorhanden and zuhanden follows because when equipment is used the awareness of the user concerning the purpose of the entity rather than awareness of the entity in and of itself (BT, 99). Now, work involves using something for achieving something, whether the purpose is public or private, and thus is dependant on use of equipment (BT,  100).  However, that which is zuhanden must also be reducible to vorhanden, since there can be no
equipment where that equipment does not tangible exist as something that can be apprehended and analysed if one is able to penetrate beyond the perception of that entity as equipment (BT, 101). Consequently, that which is to be useful, has a mode of being of zuhanden and must have a mode of being vorhanden, and the difficulty in perceiving the  vorhanden character arises because it is obscured by the zuhanden character that is most immediately perceived by Dasein.

Should an entity normally perceived according to its zuhanden character be broken then it is perceived in its not useful vorhanden mode of being (BT, 103). In addition, should an item perceived by one as zuhanden be apprehended by another, who due to a lack of appropriate  experience or knowledge, is unable to perceive it as that particular zuhanden the latter may perceive it as a different zuhanden, that is as for a different purpose, or possibly as purposeless, and thus only as vorhanden.  All uses of that which has a mode of being of zuhanden relate somehow to serving one or more purposes of Dasein (BT, 116). Thus the generation of the zuhanden mode of being is dependent on Dasein generating it as an additional mode of being for an entity that is first of all vorhanden. However, having effected this transformation of vorhanden to zuhanden Dasein then primarily perceives the entity as zuhanden, and only with difficulty, if at all, as
vorhanden.  Heidegger also suggests that there may be some entities known as zuhanden that may not be encounterable and thus not knowable as objective entities that could be analysed, and their vorhanden character cannot be separated from their zuhanden character (BT, 122).

Heidegger does not posit examples of zuhanden that cannot be encountered as vorhanden. It may be worth contemplating whether such entities as knowledge or inter-personal relationships may be such unencounterables, and thus only perceivable as zuhanden because we are unable to remove the interpretative overlays of the underlying vorhanden entity in order to be able to encounter and perceive that vorhanden entity in an of itself. If this is so it would provide a foundation for our difficulty in understanding such entities.

Dasein

Heidegger uses Dasein to name and describe the mode of being experienced by humans in their own existence (BT, 32). However, Heidegger does not definitively limit Dasein to humans, and so it is possible, or plausible, that there is some other non-human entity that may also have the Dasein mode of being, but Heidegger does notdiscuss this perspective on the issue either. The distinguishing characteristic of Dasein is that Dasein is aware of Dasein’s
existence, and is aware of the question of existence, and anything that is not Dasein is not so aware (BT, 32,33). Since Dasein is aware of its being and understands the question of being, one of the pursuits of Dasein has been to pursue and explore the nature of Dasein’s being seeking the authentic meaning of being (BT, 62). This pursuit contrasts with the other pursuit that Dasein conducts in parallel, which is shared in various ways by other entities, of seeking
to support its material being. That is, in parallel with pursuit of questions of the nature of being Dasein also pursues the mundane matters of life that enable physical support of the body in a desirable manner. Dasein pursues these mundane matters in a more sophisticated manner than other entities, but the other entities do pursue the mundane in some way, as their primary activity.
Dasein is not of the mode of vorhanden because it is not something that we ‘come across’ as we go about (BT, 69), but rather it is close to us, and is well known because it is inseparable from ourselves, but it is little understood in everyday experience because it is very close to us (BT, 69). In addition, Dasein is not zuhanden because it exists but is not for the purpose of effecting something.

The traditional view of people has been as rational animals,  through
rationalist concepts such as Decartes’ “I think therefore I am”, cogito ergo sum, but this yields Hiedegger with the problem that ____ is of a vorhanden kind and _____ is of an unclear kind of being, resulting in a person, viewed in this way having an indeterminate kind of existence (BT, 74).

At this point Heidegger departs from Ancient Greek and Christian anthropology, which both  define man as essentially an entity (BT, 75). Heidegger introduces the idea of ‘mineness’ as a quality that belongs to Dasein, as being that which is the true nature of Dasein, which results  in the possibility of Dasein living either authentically or inauthentically, depending on the way of life lived by Dasein (BT, 78).
Now Dasein experiences ‘being-in-the-world’ as sharing in the space of the world, but not as being a part of the world (BT, 79). Thus Dasein lives in the world as it is, and interacts with the world, but is of a different kind to the other entities in the world. A result is that it is possible to say Dasein is of vorhanden kind, but this either is a wilful disregarding of the ‘being in’ state of Dasein or an unintentional not seeing of that ‘being-in’ state (BT, 82). The possibility of seeing Dasein as either vorhanden or zuhanden results from the fact that in ‘being-in-the-world’ Dasein is constructed of stuff like the world and could be mistaken.   Such a mistaking of Dasein for one of the other kinds of being would result in inappropriate relations and behaviour because it would reduce people to being either equipment or mere objects. That Dasein can be ‘being-in-the-world’, Heidegger’s defining concept of Dasein, is the consequence of Dasein being able to know and to conduct I-thou relations, which are entities that cannot be known as of vorhanden kind. The view of Dasein as ‘being-in-the-world’ contrasts with the vorhanden which are, ‘in-the-world’ or ‘belonging-to-the-world’ and so parts of the world (BT, 93).
Previous western views of humanity regarded people as either bipartite, body and soul, or tripartite, body, soul and spirit, and lead to the assumption that a person is a synthesis of the parts, but in Heidegger’s view Dasein is existence, not a synthesis of separately existing parts (BT, 153). Thus, Heidegger argues for regarding Dasein as a complete and indivisible being that enters into relations and intrinsically is a complete, unified, entity. There are multiple Dasein, which necessarily have some kind of relation to each other, whether warm and        friendly or hermitic or otherwise, and these relations are characterized by Heidegger as ‘Being-with’.

Zuhanden  – Slave-Being  

In a sense then with slave-being we do take the slave as zuhanden, ready-to-hand, useful, a tool for use.  In consensual slavery the slave agrees, wants, needs to be taken this way.  As dasein he/she is still being-in-the-world but in this case, the world is not his/her world, but her Master’s world.  The slave is never merely an object, and in fact all ‘objectification’ of the slave is in reality de-subjectification, because the slave remains at the same time dasein and equipment, a tool and a being with its own sense of being, but the sense of being a tool in the equipmental totality of the Master’s world.


Slave-Being 1 – Tool-Being

Slave-Being 1

Tool- Being


(1) entities do not manifest themselves as things (Latin:
[i]res[/i])

(2) the entities with which we deal with manifest
themselves as ‘tools’ in the wide sense of the Greek “pragmata”

The question now becomes ‘what is the Being of this pragmata’?
This is the present task.

The clue for answering this
question lies in our understanding ‘tools’ as equipment (Zeug),
in our understanding “equipmentality.”

Understanding
the structure of equipment:

[list]

(1) there can be no such expression as ‘an’ equipment — a piece
of equipment is place within a totality, it is bound to an equipmental totality.

(2) Equipment is essentially
‘something in order to…’ e.g., a hammer is used in order to hammer
a nail, this, in turn, in order to build a shed — in order to
provide shelter etc.

This indicates that 3) Equipment is involved in references and
assignments
i.e., it is always involved in certain contexts:
e.g., a pen is involved in the context of ink-wells, pads, a desk,
lamp, being near a window etc.[Note that in our dealings with this equipmental totality our
primary relation is one of use [using equipment ‘in order
to…’]

And this provides the key for understanding the Being
of entities in this context —

They (entities as tools)
manifest themselves as ready-to-hand.

This is the
primary ontological category ascribed to entities dealt
with in the everyday world of our environment: Zuhandenheit
(readiness-to-hand).

****

Heidegger notes that
our peculiar manner in which we deal with these entities is
circumspection  and with this he indicates that
Dasein’s active comportment to this categorical structure is one of circumspective concern (more of this later).

****

Heidegger
then proceeds to look further into this way in which we deal with
things ready-to-hand.

The Analysis deals with the notion of
work.

A reflection on the sense of “work” fills out
the notion of environment and the ‘in order to…’

(1) The
‘towards which’ indicates the work to be produced e.g., a shoe, a
shed, etc. This, in turn, points beyond the immediate work
environment to the larger context of materials — this, in turn,
involves the ‘wider’ environment of animals (and those who raise
them) and nature etc.

Also,

(2) the ‘where of’: the
purpose of the work (e.g., the purpose of making a shoe, a traffic
sign etc.)

This, in turn, points beyond the immediate work
environment to the user of the product and its material — whether it
be one’s own Dasein, or other Daseins, or the public world (a road
sign, etc.). Again, these notions tend to expand and make clear the
sense of the environment (Umwelt).

All of this goes to make
up the Unwelt — and in this is located our relation to entities
which Heidegger has characterized as our dealings with things in
circumspective concern —

And the Being (i.e., the
ontological-categorical structure) of entities so involved is termed
readiness-to-hand..

****

But this has yet to become
explicit: For when we are caught up in our dealings, e.g., in using a
pen in order to write a paper for the purpose of giving a lecture,
one is not aware of the ontological structures underlying this work.


Situations and Limit Situations

Situations

When we do this we discover immediately that people are always connected to the world in a number of concrete ways. Heidegger (1927) in this context spoke of our ‘thrownness’. He said that we are always thrown into a world that is already there to start with and into which we simply get
…amounts to the disclosedness of the fact that Dasein exists as thrown being towards its end. (Heidegger 1927:251)

In other words: death is part of me and to accept my living towards this end gives my life back to me in a new way.

Jaspers (1951, 1971) spoke of limit situations as those situations which define our humanity. Sooner or later we inevitably come up against guilt, death, pain, suffering and failure. The philosophical take on this is that it is more helpful to encourage people to come to terms with some of the inevitable conflicts and problems of living than to help them cover them up. Limit situations are what bring us in confrontation with ourselves in a decisive and fundamentally disturbing way. They evoke anxiety and therefore release us from our tendency to be untrue and evasive about ourselves and our lives.

inserted. It is important to recognize the factual situations that we are confronted with. We are part of a certain culture, a certain environment with a particular climate and history, a certain society and a specific situation. It is only within the givens of that situation that we can exercise our own choices. Sartre (1943) called this our facticity and he recognized that we can never release ourselves from this, even though we can choose our position in relation to it. In terms of psychotherapy it also means that it may be necessary to look at people’s problems in a structural way. Instead of seeing everything as the person’s psychological, emotional or internal problem, difficulties can be seen as part of an overall situation. Context is crucial and has to be taken into account.

Limit situations

Of all the situations in which we can find ourselves there are certain ones that are irrevocable. These situations have to be accepted and worked with. We cannot avoid them or overcome them: we have to learn to live with them. Heidegger emphasised the importance of death as a marker of our finite nature. Death in this sense is not to be taken as something happening to us at some point later, but as something that is relevant to us right now. The realities of our mortality and of our incompleteness have to be faced for us to become aware of and true to our nature, which is to be finite. Heidegger considered that the reality of our death is that it completes us. The recognition of the inevitability of death gives us a certainty that nothing else can give us. The fear in the face of death allows us to claim back our individuality, our authentic being, as we are inevitably alone in death and find ourselves much sobered and humbled by the knowledge of our mortality. Death, according to Heidegger:

…amounts to the disclosedness of the fact that Dasein exists as thrown being towards its end. (Heidegger 1927:251)

In other words: death is part of me and to accept my living towards this end gives my life back to me in a new way.

Jaspers (1951, 1971) spoke of limit situations as those situations which define our humanity. Sooner or later we inevitably come up against guilt, death, pain, suffering and failure. The philosophical take on this is that it is more helpful to encourage people to come to terms with some of the inevitable conflicts and problems of living than to help them cover them up. Limit situations are what bring us in confrontation with ourselves in a decisive and fundamentally disturbing way. They evoke anxiety and therefore release us from our tendency to be untrue and evasive about ourselves and our lives.


Situations and Limit Situations

Situations

When we do this we discover immediately that people are always connected to the world in a number of concrete ways. Heidegger (1927) in this context spoke of our ‘thrownness’. He said that we are always thrown into a world that is already there to start with and into which we simply get
…amounts to the disclosedness of the fact that Dasein exists as thrown being towards its end. (Heidegger 1927:251)

In other words: death is part of me and to accept my living towards this end gives my life back to me in a new way.

Jaspers (1951, 1971) spoke of limit situations as those situations which define our humanity. Sooner or later we inevitably come up against guilt, death, pain, suffering and failure. The philosophical take on this is that it is more helpful to encourage people to come to terms with some of the inevitable conflicts and problems of living than to help them cover them up. Limit situations are what bring us in confrontation with ourselves in a decisive and fundamentally disturbing way. They evoke anxiety and therefore release us from our tendency to be untrue and evasive about ourselves and our lives.

inserted. It is important to recognize the factual situations that we are confronted with. We are part of a certain culture, a certain environment with a particular climate and history, a certain society and a specific situation. It is only within the givens of that situation that we can exercise our own choices. Sartre (1943) called this our facticity and he recognized that we can never release ourselves from this, even though we can choose our position in relation to it. In terms of psychotherapy it also means that it may be necessary to look at people’s problems in a structural way. Instead of seeing everything as the person’s psychological, emotional or internal problem, difficulties can be seen as part of an overall situation. Context is crucial and has to be taken into account.

Limit situations

Of all the situations in which we can find ourselves there are certain ones that are irrevocable. These situations have to be accepted and worked with. We cannot avoid them or overcome them: we have to learn to live with them. Heidegger emphasised the importance of death as a marker of our finite nature. Death in this sense is not to be taken as something happening to us at some point later, but as something that is relevant to us right now. The realities of our mortality and of our incompleteness have to be faced for us to become aware of and true to our nature, which is to be finite. Heidegger considered that the reality of our death is that it completes us. The recognition of the inevitability of death gives us a certainty that nothing else can give us. The fear in the face of death allows us to claim back our individuality, our authentic being, as we are inevitably alone in death and find ourselves much sobered and humbled by the knowledge of our mortality. Death, according to Heidegger:

…amounts to the disclosedness of the fact that Dasein exists as thrown being towards its end. (Heidegger 1927:251)

In other words: death is part of me and to accept my living towards this end gives my life back to me in a new way.

Jaspers (1951, 1971) spoke of limit situations as those situations which define our humanity. Sooner or later we inevitably come up against guilt, death, pain, suffering and failure. The philosophical take on this is that it is more helpful to encourage people to come to terms with some of the inevitable conflicts and problems of living than to help them cover them up. Limit situations are what bring us in confrontation with ourselves in a decisive and fundamentally disturbing way. They evoke anxiety and therefore release us from our tendency to be untrue and evasive about ourselves and our lives.


Googlewhack

After mitda discovered the concept of googlewhacks I proceeded to see if I could find one. A googlewhack is a pair of words that, typed into google, produces only 1 result. After a few tried (got 21 hits on one phrase) I came up with a googlewhack. “disempowering peameal”. Of course once Google indexes this page it will no longer be a googlewhack, as there will be two entries.

The other entry was found on the http://www.visualthesaurus.com.


Googlewhack

After mitda discovered the concept of googlewhacks I proceeded to see if I could find one. A googlewhack is a pair of words that, typed into google, produces only 1 result. After a few tried (got 21 hits on one phrase) I came up with a googlewhack. “disempowering peameal”. Of course once Google indexes this page it will no longer be a googlewhack, as there will be two entries.

The other entry was found on the http://www.visualthesaurus.com.


On a day when …

… my back is killing me, I’m working from home and not getting much accomplished … the girls are out at the doctor/drug store/market … and wev else, I’m thinking about the issue of Mentally Interesting persons involved in D/s type relationships.

I had someone (a submissive) yesterday telling me why their husband couldn’t dominate them them (whisper: he is bipolar). Ahem. So am I. In discussing it with her, though, it came out that he also has BPD. This is a very different matter as BPD’s have emotional and not just mood issues. Let me clarify a bit as to what I mean by this.

Mood is defined by a philosopher of note to me as the self-disclosure of the current “how” of one’s being. This is as much as to say, that when one asks how one “is”, i.e. the question about the how of one’s being, one is really asking about mood. Which is, in fact, pretty accurate. Emotions are different than moods from the get-go, because we have emotions in reaction to things, events, people, that are in-the-world.

Someone with emotional issues, then, is reactive to the world (and to him/herself) in a problematic way. This is not good for a Dominant. In terms of dominating someone one first has to be in control of one’s reactions, and to a greater degree than most, because one’s own actions and those of one’s submissives will both tend to push one’s buttons, assuming one has buttons to push.

There can be issues with having a bipolar Master, to be sure, such as inconsistency in different moods, and a tendency to be extreme and to expect extremes from one’s submissives. But these issues can be dealt with, particularly if the submissives involved know mood extremes themselves and have similar tendencies. BPD is problematic, though, and I would expect that a BPD would have to have explored themselves to a very high degree, and probably in specific form have had very successful dialectical therapy, before one would wish to submit to their overly reactive personalities.