Heidigger’s Lost Novel
“To be is to be perceived”
This is the 3rd NYC 2010 drawing. It’s looking out of a hotel room window at the building across the way. The scene is pretty much the way I remember it, Yes, there was a naked man looking out his window, New York, New York. And the shadow of the building I was in, darkening the one I was looking at. As I remember, except for the naked woman. I added the woman because A—…
Being, Dasein, en-soi and pour-soi even the Welts (um-, mit- and eigen-). I can’t explain these terms even if I did understand them. So I’ll not try. They swirl in my head constantly with but few moments of clarity. I think I get it, then It’s gone. Summarize! I can’t explain “Existentialism” in this text, I’ll just try to relate it to the art.
An “I,” me for example, is a point, in a geometric metaphor has no dimensions, it is nothing, yet it is aware of itself, amazing, yes? But scary too, as it (“I”) knows it is nothing. More geometry: two points and you have a line, three, a plane, and four, a volume. I am aware of this space around me, first as I extent into it, through memories of past actions and imaginaries of possible ones (not that these are wholly distinct) I take possession of or try to control some of this space around me, with varying degrees of success. Hoping not to fall. A paradox, it is; a nothingness aware of itself.
Then, second, I encounter (a) you, another point, another “I.” Can I now leap instead of fall?
…and B—Back to reality, back from NYC. I’m in my house looking at my computer, writing about a drawing I made of what I saw from 12 floors up looking out a window. The drawing has an actually-seen man and an invented woman. A non-couple. I say non-couple because she’s an imaginary and he’s a memory. They live on different floors of my brain. He, as in a mirror, she as in a frame, art. Self and other.
I’ll call them “Eve and Adam,” playing the biblical “fall (into nothingness, becoming nothing)” against the existential “leap (across nothingness, from something to something.)” I put them on separate floors. They know nothing about each other. More questions; nothings now somethings by the fact of each other, 0 + 0 = 0? and how can a mere name make some thing something? Philosophers have been thinking about that since Genesis.
Do they know nothing of each other? if they share an elevator car, they may share a gaze (“I” contact, since any sense organ counts) and then they, according to multiple existentialists, are forever bound. As I think the philosophers see it, it’s not a line between the “I and Thou” but a fuzzy, shifting space that both of the contacting souls possess and are possessed in.
Then there is the third party, the little gray man on the sidewalk, casting a shadow like a building. What is he carrying as if it were his portfolio; a window, a frame, or a mirror?
And “Existence precedes essence”
Those crazy Existentialists, most of them who knew they were called such denied being so, and a lot of them were dead before the term came up.
There is no god, never was one to be killed, but the concept of there being a god, can be denied, or ignored. Folks first said a god still exists but he doesn’t care any more, yes he made the rules, but its up to us to figure them out. Hedging their bets, a philosophers wager.
There are two kinds of rules: of nature that enforce themselves and those of man, that we must do the enforcing. Religion (human run i.e. incorporated, but a non-corporal god as C.E.O.) used to handle both kinds of rules, then Science and Government came along to deal with rules of nature and man respectively. There are still a lot of folks around, evangelizing fundamentalists of all persuasions, that don’t like this.
Funny though, that Science is run like Religion. One believes in quantum mechanics, one sees things, from cancer cures to smart phones, as miracles as these are beyond most folks understanding. Funny, too, well maybe not so funny, that Government is run like Religion too. Its pompous (inspiring?) ritual and arbitrary (useful?) rules are in its prevue.
Where was I? I notice my Self first and I begin from there. I notice others and they notice me, then I notice them noticing me and so on. We make rules—it’s been a couple of centuries since we hedged that bet. Those rules are generally based on a balance between A—if its fun/keeps me alive, do it and B—do it only if it can be done by everyone. There is some times a C left over from the middle ages, a believe in a higher power, an organizing principle, some times personified in shape or intent, that is thought to run the show as opposed to us or me.
Proto-Existentialist 1: First A, then B, then a leap of faith to a bet-hedging C.
Proto-Existentialist 2: Yes I notice myself and I notice others, but they don’t want me to do A they want me to be like they say they are (they talk B and C, but act A) meek and inheriting the earth, I don’t buy it I’m going to make myself better than that, if I don’t go insane first.
Proto-Existentialist 3: one does not notice all of ones self. most of what you do is unconscious, you thinking self is just along for the ride. but lets talk about it.