Tuesday, June 29, 2010

1-Dimensional; Ideas 1 Part 3

"If I only could see the back of this chair, I wouldn't be thinking about not seeing the back of this chair"

Slowly and meticulously, Husserl gets to the ideas of phenomenology. This is in distinction from him spending 100 pages criticizing every method before him that tries to establish an a priori science either pyschologistically or metaphysically. So this post will deal neither with the crossing out of one's existence when doing phenomenology, nor the criticism of empiricism and idealism explored in the last post. Instead, this post will go into insights into phenomenology. Still these insights into phenomenology aren't phenomenology itself, as a pure descriptive process of what happens in phenomena. In a certain sense, these are still precautions and an elaborations of the method of phenomenological research. Insights though go beyond criticisms of method, and it's here that we will first start to understand Husserl's method of understanding the experience of consciousness. We will see how articulate he is in his analysis of consciousness that places firmly in distinction to the "phenomenology" of Heidegger for example. This isn't to criticize Heidegger and all that extra-important insights he brought into 20th century philosophy. I think if anything, it's to distinguish phenomenology from ontology. This has always been an instinct that I have when reflecting on Book 1 of Being and Time in regards to Husserl's practice. It truly is the case that Being and Time operates as an existential analytic. It categorizes beings in the most general way (E.G. "Looking around for something to do") which of course changes the way anyone looks at philosophy. But this project is different from Husserl's project. The existential is parenthesized out of the development. This will be elaborated on in this post. Hopefully by the end of it, a distinction will be made between the thought of Husserl and Heidegger and how it's simply justifiable to see Heidegger as an ontologist (concerned with the beingness of Dasein) and Husserl as a phenomenologist (concerned with the possibilities required for there to be such thing as a Dasein). What is about to be explored is not explored by Heidegger, and what Heidegger explores in what Husserl terms as a "sociology" (somewhat pejoratively) is not explored by Husserl. So lets make this distinction, with the motivation of of distinguishing two modes of thought, rather than having them under the general rubric of what the Northwestern University Press would like to have them.

"The perception of a physical thing involves a certain inadequacy. Of necessity a physical thing can be given only "one-sidedly"; and that signifies, not just incompletely or imperfectly in some sense or other, but precisely what presentation by adumbration's prescribes". Husserl here delimits our immediate perception to the idea that you only see 1 side of something when you're gazing over it. I'm not able to see the object in it's entirety. I would be secondary, and probably even more eyes to see every single part of an object that would all have to be appropriated in consciousness as the entire object. But this is not how consciousness works for Husserl. What one-sidedness signifies, is an imperfectability. I can see one side of an object, but I can't see a whole object, therefore making the object imperfectly seen. Of course if we were to analyze this further independent from the thought of Husserl, we can say that his conception of perfectibility is an ideal, an idea that he's imposing to consciousness that consciousness can't fulfill. But Husserl addresses this by saying that it's not within consciousnesses jurisdiction to give perfected appearances of an object. He adds at the end of the quote that imperfectability signifies "what presentation by adumbration prescribes". As a warning, if you don't know what "adumbration" means in the most basic sense, and then eventually in the Husserlian sense, that one can get lost easily in the labyrinth of Husserl. An adumbration is a sketch, a rough outline of something. What then is Husserl saying in this statement? He's saying that seeing an object imperfectly is because consciousness prescribes an adumbration of the presentation. In other words, consciousness first gives a sketchy, rough outline of what it perceives. Consciousness is a process of adumbration. It gives things in a sketchy manner which don't ("at first") encapsulate the entirety of the object, and for Husserl, when an object is not it's totality (an impossibility), it's imperfect, which is precisely the mode of consciousness; to give imprecise "visions" of an object by way of adumbration's (sketches that serve to give you some idea of the object. Not the entire idea). So what do we get from this? Operating consciousness gives an imperfect idea of an object outside of itself, an object which it constitutes for itself imperfectly. However, consciousness has time (Internal Time Consciousness), so while for one time, consciousness only sees one side of an object, this won't be the case the more times consciousness is able to see an object, and here is where time because an essential structure to consciousness. "The indeterminateness necessarily signifies a determinableness which has a rigorously prescribed style. It points ahead to possible perceptual multiplicities which, merging continuously into one another, join together to make up the unity of one perception in which the continuously enduring physical thing is always showing some new "sides" in a new series of adumbration's). While the object can be seen in some ostensible entirety at first, time will allow consciousness to expatiate on the object it's focused on. While consciousness at one time had an object with a load of indeterminate qualities that it wasn't grasping, it will eventually (temporality) become more determined over time. While at one time I can only see one side of the chair, at another time I can see another side of the chair, at more times I can see other "perceptual multiplicities" which merge into one another as an idea as the object. The object becomes more idealized the more points of view are being seen in it; the more consciousness has these data of sensation (Husserl's verbiage). The physical thing is always showing new sides besides the 1-dimensional side it showed at first. These new sides though are adumbration's themselves, which means sketchy outlines themselves. So we have a lot of sketchy outlines of an object that "join together" to make something that is more ideal. You can see the motivation of Husserl to see an object never becoming fulfilled by his use of the word "adumbration". He want's to make sure that whatever is visible, is only visible as a sketchy outline. Inferred in this concept is that it's not perfect. From my reading of Husserl, I can't claim that this was ever Husserl's goal; to come up with a theory that would be able to realize what a perfectly ideal object is. Instead I think it was more of his goal to see that an object goes through a process of objectivation where adumbrated sedimentation's are slowly building on previous perceptions to create something more than what was originally perceived as 1-sided. Husserl establishes his goal independent from my statement that he's seeking a "clear" object when he states "To be in infinitum imperfect in this manner is part of the unanullable essence of the correlation between 'physical thing' and perception of physical thing". It's an essence. It's independent of "reality" or a "fact". What the "Physical Thing" is I can never know of independent of my consciousness of that correlative experience of something called a "thing". In this sense, I can never have a "pure" in-itself experience of the object because everything perception belongs to consciousness which is a process of 1-sided adumbration's that concatenate with other eventual perceptions, that never get the whole of the "physical thing", if we are certain that consciousness is an adumbrative process, meaning that it only gives an outline to what's outside of itself and is not what an object would be "all to itself". In this formal sense, there is no such thing as the in-itself. Kant would conjecture that the in-itself is unknowable, but inferred in this statement is that is existed and that we as subjective consciousnesses could not grasp what this ever was. Husserl though explains the fact that consciousness is what comes up with the idea of a physical thing, and comes up with the idea of this physical thing having an ostensible perfect understanding to itself, as if the chair were able to think for itself on what it exactly is. All these mental processes are just that, mental processes; predication by the ego in order to grasp an "essence" of something outside of itself. This is an eidetic truth. But an inference is not needed into what the in-itself of the object holding some "purity" to it independent of consciousness would be. (Heidegger would try to subtly criticize Western Metaphysics by saying that all objects are there for us, "ready-to-hand", meaning they are there for us to use independent of the existence of themselves, and so gives credence to the idea of an in-itself that Man has just not been able to grasp or touch. Heidegger would then turn in his later philosophy to the poetical form and "careful use of language" to be able to see the "essence" of an object independent of the subjectivity placed upon it by subjects. In this sense, to say that Heidegger had a nostalgia to some primitive mind is an understatement. In a sense it wouldn't be inappropriate to call him a naive idealist). The in-itself is simply a correlation of an ego that receives mental processes that concatenate experience. And when this joining-together by concatenation happens, the ego will go on it's way towards thinking about something called the "in-itself", the perfectibility it want's to posit. But this perfectibility is dependent on consciousness coming up with the idea itself. If anything is perfect, it's not an object that is able to be the semblance of "all-sides", it's consciousness that is able to posit all these impossible possibilities in the first place. "Necessarily there always remains horizon of determinable indeterminateness, no matter how far we go in our experience, no matter how extensive the continua of actual perception of the same thing may be through which we have passed". Lets flesh out this idea of "determinable indeterminateness". It's determinable, it's certain that there are things that we just can't know. This is a horizon of experience; We have things that we can't know, yet by a 1-sided perception of an object, we have some sort of grasp of something outside of consciousness. And by other adumbrative grasps of this thing outside of ourselves, we are shown new sides. What was once indeterminate because of a 1-sidedness, becomes more determined. They become more clearly given, but never so much as to take away consciousness's process from giving adumbrations of what's outside of itself, to essentially never give to itself some sort of "perfect clarity", but will build on ("Sedimentation" is the choice word used in Experience and Judgment) the original 1-sidedness with new forms of adumbration's pertaining to the "object" that's outside of consciousness. Let us note that this is in regards to the perception and reflection of a physical object. Later on, Husserl will go into the presentation of a mental process, or how it's never presented, but only "seen" in reflection. Mental processes don't get adumbrated. They don't have sides. They aren't spatial. There's intensities but there is not thing as a "perfected outside object" in a mental processes precisely because a mental process is immanent, meaning in consciousness. Of course, we can fantasize of the "flying centaur" (one of Husserl's peculiar examples of what one daydreams about), but when "objectifying" the mental process it's absolute as an act (E.G. reflection). So this post was limited to consciousness's 1-sided perception of something outside of itself (in classical terms, an object) which would then point ahead to other multiplicities that make up this outside in a more clarity, albeit, a never perfect clarity, which is not the task of Phenomenology, because of understanding it's counterscensical nature based on the fact that consciousness first conceives that possibility of perfection, and so, the idea of perfection, can either be seen as a motivation of a later ego that want's to posit things in an exactitude for it's own purposes, or a fantasy within consciousness that will always want more to the point of something called perfection (these two possibilities are somewhat similar. The former is a psychoanalytical description of the ego in general, and the later is a psychoanalytical description of a "surplus operation". In this sense, the motivation of the ego, is one of surplus). At the very least a distinction is made between Husserl and Heidegger. Husserl operates in a very immanent sense of the world, while Heidegger operates in an existential analytic of being (a theoretical description of what being does in the most general sense possible). Husserl doesn't get to the existential being, and will criticize this as ever being a science in his Crises, while Heidegger will find the primary grounding of the world precisely not in the immediate logico-phenomenological perception that Husserl hypothetically (metaphorically) writes on. The "ecstatic" experience first grounds being, not the fact that being (before recognizing themselves as being) is only seeing 1 side of an object. A further elaboration of this distinction will be made in a later post, with a tendentious regard for how being first happens. Of course, it must be remembered from the lessons of Derrida and Mearleau-Ponty's The Visible and The Invisible, that all these terms (consciousness, perception, being, ect.) are being used with a knowing being already "at-hand". In this sense, this author will be taking the luxury of hypothetical existence for grounding being, knowing fully well it's dependency on language, which will have to be explained along with the hypothetical existence. Still, we will see, that language can find a way of tricking itself into showing the subject that something happened to the subject independent of the direct meaning of the language being read. This is where Phenomenology will become most insightful.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Interpretation of Lacan's Cigar Win

"I want to speak, but I just can't get it up"

I asked my brother what he thought of Lacan's cigars the other day, not Lacan himself, but just his cigars, and this is what he emailed me back,

"looks like a limp penis sticking out of his mouth for which his unconscious displays his impotence, castration from the Other but in his mouth so a verbal impotence. Lacan said that he would often go into lectures w/o planned speech, this signifying a verbal impotence of sorts. But limp or not its still a phallus and will press ahead despite its impotence"

Amazing. Certain interpretation Win.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Invented Feelings; Ideas 1 Part 2

"I don't have to explain reality. I just feel it" (This post is at the expense of Ken Wilber)

Standard practice in a Husserlian text is to first criticize every method ever known to man in terms of reality being the object of the method. Most of his criticism goes to empiricism which he spends much time on in the Crises and almost as much time on in Ideas 1. At first though, Husserl does admire the original impulse of empiricism as springing from "praise worthy motives", and from it's abstention from "powers of tradition and superstition". Nonetheless, he gets to the point where he finds empiricism countersensical when it finds it's grounds in criticizing metaphysics and scholasticism as elaborating on the spectres of "ideas" and "essences". This post will not be about Husserl's perennial admiration and criticism of empiricism though. To be brief though, his criticism is based on the fact that an eidetic insight is needed to first establish anything called "experience". For an empirical statement to be made, I must have an original presentive intuition which makes immediately valid judgments, these judgments that first establish what any experience is in the first place. It's here where a thinker would firmly place in the the field of "idealism", and to some extent there are many analogies between him and German idealism (especially if we consider Kant an "idealist"). But just as there are analogies between Husserl and the earlier German tradition, there are as much analogies to his deferring to a real-time experience that envelops a theory of empiricism. That being said, Husserl exists in-between both modes of thinking. This we will see in later posts. In this post though, I want to emphasize the importance of Husserl's criticism of Idealism so he can't simply be lumped in with that mode of thought, as something that is absolutely opposite of logical positivism for example (and anyone who has read Husserl will know how much concern he placed in logic, albeit a logic to experience). As Husserl spent much of his time elaborating on the problems with empiricism's method, he wasn't so outspoken (in his published work) in his criticism of Idealism. Husserl knew that empiricism had a strong hold on not just the philosophical world, but the world in general as a theory of experience, which I would think made him spend as much time as he did showing the lack of grounding in the empirical author. In Ideas I though, he makes a striking criticism of idealism; I think enough so to fully keep him out of ever being considered an idealist. It's not just the logical substance in his criticism but the tone in which he approaches idealism that conveys to me how strongly he felt about dispensing with idealist proclivities, even more so than his thoughts towards empiricism (because Husserl saw the a rigorous admirable motivation at Empiricism's inception). This post then will elaborate on his criticism of idealism, so that Husserl can be distinguished from everything that he criticizes in that mode of thinking.

While Husserl considers Empiricism to be lacking in a thorough elaboration of experience, he sees idealism as simply "obscure". "To be sure, they speak of evidence; but instead of bringing it, as an act of seeing, into essential relations with ordinary seeing, they speak of a 'feeling of evidence' which, as a mystic index veri , bestows an emotional coloring of judgments". When addressing this "pure" idealist then, the idealist relies on an immediate "feeling of evidence". For Husserl, obviously this is a huge problem, not just philosophically, but personally. The lack of rigor in the "thinker" who relies on immediate feelings brings obscurity to the field of general science that requires rigorous methods and analysis. These "feelings of evidence" are mystic truth indexes according to Husserl (index veri). In other words, the starting off for any theory of reality in the idealist is from a Mystic starting point. It allows it's "feelings of evidence" to come from a Mystic starting point which it has no hopes for trying to understand, not wanting to understand. How easy it is to stop trying to understand when one doesn't really want to understand. This last statement is made in order to turn poorly-motivated-spirituality on it's head. This mystical starting point (index) bestows an emotional coloring of judgments for the idealist. Judgments then are not the affair-complexes in need of being elaborated on, but simply being understood with a "color" that is predicated to them by the idealist. "I feel it this way", "I feel that this the case". In a strong sense, the idealist wouldn't even know they are proposing anything in general. Would they even know they are idealists when attributing their colored-feeling-statements about reality? They would simply rely on a priori thinking without knowing anything besides the fact that it came before. This coming before would even be pushing it. It may just be the case for this "thinker" that there is some prior originariness without taking the time to possibly criticism this idea (metaphysics of presence). All that's required is that a judgment (any statement in general) has a certain color to it that gives an emotional sway to the thinker. We are going to have to give this idealist some credit though because they do think about what an evidence would look like. They reflectively see evidence as the product of an emotional coloring, whatever that may be (which we will soon go into). For Husserl, in the statement above, we see a more appropriate phenomenology of evidence. Firstly for Husserl, there is an "act of seeing". This "act of seeing" is brought into essential relations with ordinary seeing. Ordinary seeing is the one in which we speak of as naive empiricists; the kind of seeing that allows us the predication of "I see that chair". This ordinary seeing just doesn't happen on it's own though. It has a relation, an essential relation (it absolutely has to be the case), to an act of seeing. So there isn't just the indubitable de facto situation of "I see that chair", but a process in which this de facto and predicated situation has a relation to an "act of seeing". Broadly speaking, there is an act before predication that has a relationship to ordinary seeing. Of course we can think of this act as something as something that had to happen before it being spoken about. We went into this "empty" possibility in the first post when trying to understand the idea of eidetic intuition. The act can only be seen as an empty variable (an eidetic intuition), because it's an act that is not yet brought to elaboration. Not only does this variable exist though, but there is a process, a relationship between this act and what we normally call "ordinary seeing", the ordinary seeing that established empiricism's claim of objectivity that would try to "Occam's razor" scholastic thinking (see? Scholasticism was not simply an abstract discipline on "origins") and Aristotelian metaphysics. In other words, for Husserl, there is an elaborating that needs to be done between the act and ordinariness. This elaboration of relationships would be the project of phenomenology and will be explored in later posts in regards to Ideas 1. To simply posit experience as something like a "colored feeling" and privileging this colored feeling to a mystic transcendence is deeply problematic for understanding in general. "Such conceptions are possible only as long as one has not learned to analyze kinds of consciousness in pure observations and eidetically instead of theorizing about them from on high". This statement speaks for itself. Without understanding any method of understanding consciousness, in a pure observation where the subject, the ego was abstained from, then they would continue "theorizing about them from on high". I don't know how much "theorizing" would be going on if this idealist in this manner was deferring it's understanding from what comes from on the high; in other words, that mystic index that gave one magical and colored feelings that would be constitute experience for them. In other words, simply being able to say "I feel that this is the way" in a tone where it seems like the subject is speaking from some disingenuous "transcendental" sphere. In a formal sense, as was stated before, one would have to wonder whether this idealist really cared anyways (and this was the reason why Husserl spent time exploring the problems of empiricism, because it was a theory that took itself intellectually seriously, at the very least). "These alleged feelings of evidence, of intellectual necessity or whatever else they may be called, are no more than theoretically invented feelings". When someone says with any certainty that their certainty about experience comes from "the way they feel", because it has such and such a coloring to it, then it subsumed into an invention. Lets push this further. Husserl here isn't saying that "Feelings don't exist". He's not trying to admonish people from "feeling" (although in some sense he's trying to admonish the scientific thinker from allowing feelings in general from influencing their thought) but admonishing the idea that evidence of experience and reality can be based on a vague feeling. Vague, because it's merely described in a coloring without any need of the further phenomenological elaboration of the act of seeing and it's essential relation to ordinary seeing. He elaborates on this somewhat poetically (ironic in its poeticism) in the Crises when trying to reestablish the basis of Science, not on technology, but the nobility of thinking (Hegel's conception of Philosophy as Science). While Husserl doesn't want strong feelings influencing his phenomenology, one can't help but see how strong his feelings are towards a rigourous philosophy. What Husserl is establishing here is very simple. If one wants to try to understanding consciousness, they will need a theory. This theory will need to be elaborate and will not be constituted by a simple feeling. I can't say for example that the state of affairs that "This chair is here" is the case because I have a distinct feeling that this is the case. At this point, I'm just making up a theoretical feeling (without knowing that I'm establishing any theory in general, because no theory is really being established) that is so simplistic that it really is "too good to be true". It's not an intellectual necessity that I have these "feelings" first before I have the evidence of the world, because I simply made them up on the spot in order to establish why something is the way it is for one reason or another (maybe someone asked me about it). The intellectual necessity is involved in logical relationships between acts and intentions on their way towards ordinary seeing (objectivity), phenomenologically. Husserl footnotes these theoretical invented feelings and refers to Elsenhans Textbook of Psychology where he states that these descriptions (invented feelings) are "psychological fictions without the least foundation in the phenomena". In other words, the mental processes that Husserl elaborates on so acutely here in Ideas 1 are simply given fictional feeling ideas in the Textbook of Psychology. What Husserl says next is I think the of the greatest importance to his criticism of idealism. "an upper stratum, that of an identical stating, as a mere significational expressing, on the one occasion conforms step by step to a 'clearly seeing' intuition of an affair complex, whereas on the other occasion a wholly different phenomenon, a non-intuitive, perhaps a wholly confused and unarticulated consciousness of an affair-complex functions as the lower stratum. With the same justice in the sphere of experience one could conceive the difference between the clear and faithful judgment of perception and any vague judgment of the same affair-complex as consisting merely of the former being endowed with a 'feeling of clarity,' while the latter is not". The expression of a "feeling" about experience that would like to be experience's "explanation" is just that, an explanation, for Husserl, a mere mode of sense (Experience and Judgment). The colored judgment that operates with the liberty of being a "clearly seeing intuition" is different from phenomenological phenomena which essentially is not colored, not immediate, and as we will see in posts after this, actually not "intuition", if we understand "intuition" in the classical sense of something being presented to someone immediately in which they are able to express what they are experiencing within a sentence as what experience "is". This other non-immediate intuition of experience is perhaps confused, and if it's not immediate, if it's not the naive disposition circumscribed in the empiricist and the idealist (here is where empiricism and idealism find something in common) , then it doesn't have the ease of being easily clarified, and for a certain time is unarticulated. Even if the articulation is going on in the unarticulated, it will be confusing at first, and Husserl will eventually warn the reader of how different Phenomenology is and how one is always a beginner, not just for the sake of wanting the reader to operate always at a null-zero point, but for the sake of keeping the reader away from the dogmatism's of empiricism and idealism that could easily be the case based on the way thought has happened to man, the way in which man thinks (which can be otherwise). The "clear and faithful" ("faithful" here is being criticized as dogmatic) judgment of perception, the relying on "feelings" to explain experience, is endowed with a feeling of clarity. Everything is just crystal clear for the idealist. Whatever they feel, is what experience is (which leads to nauseating 20th century platitudes like "do what you feel") . This is brought into distinction from experience not being clear, not being endowed (luxury) with with a "feeling of clarity", but at first and maybe always confused and unarticulable. Phenomenology will enter into this non-intuitive, at-first-confused unarticulated consciousness that grounds experience in it's absolute emptiness, it's eidetic necessities, and ultimately it's lack of clarity, or at the very least, it's lack of "intuition" understood in the classical dogmatic sense. In this sense, by not relying on what's dogmatic "clear", we are undoubtedly beginners in phenomenology. We are beginners at understanding experience and consciousness. We are beginners until we throw away the shackles of "clear feelings" defining what experience is. We may always be beginners in an infinite description, but we won't be shackled to the fictions of idealism.

Yeah, this post was a right hook to New Age "thinking".

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Husserl Win!

"Fuck you Kulpe"

I can't stress enough how important footnotes are. Sometimes they're more important than a text itself. Sometimes, they're a glimpse into the minds of thinkers who don't want their personality's shown in the "official" text. Husserl is a great candidate for these types of footnotes based on the fact that his entire enterprise depends on the abstraction of his own existence, and his readers. So when you get a glimpse into some of his personality outside of a text (in this case, footnotes of a text) it can be extraordinarily funny. I can read this next footnote from Ideas I forever and not stop laughing every time I read it.

"How hard it is in our day for psychological investigators to appropriate this simple and quite fundamental insight is shown in an exemplary manner by Oswald Kulpe's surprising polemic against my doctrine of categorical intuition in his work The Positing of Realities. Foundations of the Sciences of Reality which has just reached my hands. I regret being misunderstood by the distinguished scholar. A critical reply becomes impossible, however, when the misunderstanding is so perfect that nothing remains of the sense of one's own assertions"

Husserl can't respond to the "distinguished scholar" because his misunderstanding is so perfect that nothing remains of Husserl's original intention! It's not just a misunderstanding, it's a perfect misunderstanding. There is no way for Husserl's concept of categorical intuition to be understood by Kulpe because of how perfectly wrong it is! Kulpe had to be onto something misinterpreting something that well. Husserl though takes the win here for saying in the same passage that a "distinguished scholar" can perfectly misunderstand something.
Academia domination...pampered dipshits.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Positing existence independent of yourself; Ideas 1 Part 1

Blue background, white text, this shit's serious.

Every time you finish a book, you feel guilty for not having read another book which makes you read eternally. In this case, I'm guilty of having not read Husserl's Ideas I when I claim to come from the school of Husserl's thought. I really don't claim this for myself, by I talk about him incessantly and reference him in just about every piece of writing that I do. Nonetheless, the most "formal" work I've done is on Husserl and because of this I have recently been castigated by 2 professors for not reading his Ideas I while giving myself the liberties of being able to reference Husserl in sometimes over-generalized ways. I admit this myself. The only defense I have is that I have closely read every other of his published works which has given me a strong sense of the thought of Husserl. It's never an "official" understanding though until you've read every published piece of work by the author. I can take this a step further and say that one never really reads an author because it's easily possible to have 1 bad reading of a text, making one's reading of an author forever "unofficial". Regardless of my caustic response in defending my readings, I always knew that I was going to read Ideas I. I just haven't gotten to it yet! Tout le monde se détendre!

I am in the great position of "having a lot of Husserl on my side" when reading this text, which is considered one of his most important texts. I'm fairly certain that most of the themes expressed in this text I've come across through one of his other texts. If anything, this will be a good reminder of a primary text from Husserl which I haven't visited for about 7 months now. Let us now throw ourselves into the peculiar world of Husserlian Phenomenology done by the man himself.

At the beginning of this behemoth of a text is Husserl's perennial task at creating a method where the "subject" is able to have a sense of existence independent of the subject actually positing anything about it; the extension of Descartes Meditations and/or The Phenomenological Epoche. Always trying to avoid a psychological interpretation of consciousness (pyschologism), Husserl takes great pains to bracket out his existence along with the readers existence during his texts. One of the first Ideas conveyed in Ideas I is the differentiation between "Matters of Fact" and "Eidetic Intuition" which we will go into later in a much more precise manner (specifically, what an "Eidetic Intuition" actually is; What an "Eidetic Science" would be). To be able to do this though, one has to distinguish themselves from themselves which means operate without anything external to them but "purely" within the cogito, the thinking substance that is without ego, the ego that is need of being bracketed out that will always and already want to posit an "objective" existence. "The unrestricted universality of natural laws must not be mistaken for eidetic universality. To be sure, the proposition, 'All bodies are heavy,' posits no definite physical affair as factually existing within the totality of Nature. Still it does not have the unconditional universality of eidetically universal propositions because, according to its sense as a law of Nature, it carries with it a positing of factual existence, that is to say, of Nature itself, of spatiotemporal actuality". The proposition "All bodies are heavy" is a statement of fact. It includes "All bodies". We already have a conception of what a "body" is and are giving it an attribute of heaviness. As a "Law of Nature" for Husserl, it is in the "region" of a "fact". We are attributing bodies to nature. We are attributing a fact. This proposition being stated and belonging to nature make it positing of an attribute. It's something an ego would say based on the fact that there is a totality to nature and things can be said about it. What then is the distinction that will be so crucial for Husserl when he speaks of "eidetic" validity (In Greek, Eidetic means "form". Husserl want's to use the term as a sort of Genus for a fact, meaning he wants to privilege the form of validity over any specific instance of validity in existence. In other words he wants to show the logic of validity independent of humans even existing at all). The answer may be surprising at first because of how similar the look of this statement is in comparison to the "matter of fact" statement. "The proposition, 'All material things are extended,' has eidetic validity and can be understood as a purely eidetic proposition provided that the positing of factual existence, carried out on the side of the subject is suspended. It states something that is grounded purely in the essence of a material thing and in the essence of extension and that we can make evident as having 'unconditional' universal validity'. So the statement "All material things are extended" has a privileged sense over "All bodies are heavy". The former being an eidetic truth and the later being a matter of fact. But a proposition is still being made by a subject. If this is the case, then the grasping of an eidetic will fail. This is where positing on behalf of a subject will be suspended. So we have to think of not stating a proposition while at the same time reading graphematic writing that was posited by Husserl himself. This is not very easy to understand and Husserl never found it necessary to explain some of these complications. The complication is in how he read each statement. If the reader doesn't read the statements like he read them, then you would see both as simply being matters of fact. Lets think about these two propositions for a moment. "All bodies are heavy" is qualified by measuring "weight". "A body" is qualified by the fact that there is a structure of things that make up a whole (set theory overlaps big time here. Pun!). In this proposition about nature, that we want to attribute to nature, we are given the facts of "Body" and "Weight" that are able to make this fact, a fact. On the contrary, "All materials are extended" has a different sense to it for Husserl, an eidetic sense to it. A "material" isn't a fact. It can be "anything whatsoever" for Husserl including anything that one imagines. In this sense, it doesn't have to operate in "real-time". A material is literally anything. On the same line we have the concept of "extension". For Husserl, this would be the case independent of an ego being able to make the statement of extensionality. Anything, whatsoever, are extensions. Anything, can't be nothing. It has to be extended somewhere. It doesn't have to be weight though, nor does it have to be what we call a body. Still, the differentiation is hard to make. Extension is still a property of material, and a material is still a positing by a subject. For Husserl though, he can imagine in his head the idea of an extended material, but he can't imagine a heavy body as fact. He knows for sure that something takes up space and that something, is something. He doesn't know if that something (anything whatsoever) is a "body" nor if that body has some type of quality called "heaviness". The heart of all this is Husserl's idealism or imagination that is able to think of these invariant possibilities that for him show eidetic essences. "We do this by making the essence of the material thing something given originarily (perhaps on the basis of a free phantasying of a material thing) in order, then, in this presentive consciousness, to perform the steps of thinking which the 'insight,' the originary giveness of the predicatively formed eidetic affair-complex explicitly set down by that proposition." A couple things happen here. Firstly, "the material thing is given originarily". Husserl will privilege "material" over the concept of "bodies" because "materials" come to a "subject" (who's not yet a "subject) by "insight", not by a predicated statement regardless of the fact that the subject only knows about this "insight" after the fact of the subject stating it. Husserl gives himself the luxury of being able to use a term that is used as a completely random variable that comes by way of insight and so earns a status of being eidetic. Husserl even says "We do this by making..". We have the option to make something "original". We can do this by freely fantasizing (imagining) about the material thing, rather than seeing it in "real existence". Materials "present" themselves to consciousness, and then we gain an "insight" during this presentation. What is this insight? That we have something that was from somewhere. And here is an eidetic necessity, that something came from somewhere. Husserl though slightly oversteps the tight boundaries he wants to make for an eidetic science by saying that this material will come "originally" rather just from "somewhere". If he wanted to establish the idea of an eidetic science, he would have been better off not to posit an ostensibly "original" place in time. The variable concept of "somewhere" can belong to an eidetic science, but the absolute concept of "originality" only belongs in one place, making it very much a fact. Still we can imagine a material, a random variable coming to something called "consciousness" in which we then are "enlightened" (insight) by the material that comes to us. For any proposition to occur, there must be somewhere that throws something to something called consciousness. As a note, there is a big problem with using the word "consciousness" here. We don't know what he's talking about. We can only infer that it's a machine that takes something from somewhere, much like Freud's psychic apparatus. We aren't giving a metaphor like Freud will give his readers in his writing/psyche analogy. For Husserl, these are things that have to happen for anything to happen in the first place. These are eidetic necessities. Certainly the proposition had to be made for us to realize this eidetic necessity, but an eidetic necessity doesn't require an "us", a subject, an ego, for the necessity of its happen. It's always and already the case that this insight will come to something at one time not understood or called a "subject" before the subject is able to make a proposition based on this eidetic necessity, that the subject will call an eidetic necessity. Basically, Husserl is saying that just because we have words and expression in general to elaborate on what at one time wasn't expressed, doesn't mean that this invalidates the phenomenology. We can borrow words from Being and put it to Nothingness, but this doesn't taking away from the operation of nothing. For Husserl, if we are only subjects independent of ourselves can we understand this. This is the Husserlian leap of faith; to be able to believe that you are nothing in order to do phenomenological science. It is no doubt a leap of faith to borrow signifiers from being in the presence of language and attribute them to a place where there was no signifiers. It's something that Merleau-Ponty elaborated on at the end of the The Visible and The Invisible; the intertwining effect of each which essentially would make any "pure" phenomenology impossible. However, we know this at the very least, that something happens to us, and then somewhere we gain an insight and have a compulsion to represent this empty variable of something happening in loaded heavy-handed concepts (a sure amount of irony here). These are eidetic necessities though independent of expression for Husserl. "That something actual in space corresponds to truths of that sort is not a mere fact; instead, it is an eidetic necessity as a particularization of eidetic laws. Only the actual thing itself, to which the application is made, is matter of fact here". Something Actual is an eidetic necessity, not a matter of fact. It's a fact that there is "something actual". Something Actual is what eidetically grounds a matter of fact. Of course, another eidetic necessity is space and here again, like "materials" and "extension" (which to be fair is basically synonymous with "space") "space" is given a privileged from as an eidetic necessity, as long as the "subject is suspended", in other words, as long as you suspend yourself in making the assertion. It's a law, not a fact, that "Something Actual" has to first be the case for a fact to be established. We can conceive this surely. For me the problems lies in using concepts beyond the concepts that earn their emptiness-status like "anything", "something" "whatsoever" and so on. In this sense, the heart of Heidegger's Being and Time is somewhat more faithful to eidetic necessities because it never allows itself to go beyond ontological categories into a geometrical space, a geometrical space that Husserl to be sure privileged since his first work on the Philosophy of Arithmetic. There was always "pure" Euclidean geometrical space for Husserl. I'm not going to make a criticism of it here because Derrida already did it in his Introduction to Husserl's Origin's of Geometry which I do an analysis of in prior posts in this writing space. Still if we ignore the fact of Husserl equating geometry with ontology, we gain the insight needed into what an eidetic insight is by the deconstructed subject operating only within the ontological category of "something actual" for example. What is a matter of fact is the actual thing itself. The actual thing in space that corresponds to a truth, for example, a ball, a tone, a "cultural fact", are matters of fact. The eidetic necessity that there is "something actual" first for a subject before the subject realizes itself as a subject is privlidged over the signified object temporally, hence the imposed "originality" placed on eidetic necessity. If anything, eidetic necessity is a temporal concept; A first in the line of a series that will end up getting to a matter of fact. I suspect that this will come up later in Ideas I as all of Husserl's text's always end up addressing temporality as the function of the ideality that he is searching out, in this case in the name of "eidetic necessities". But to which this "something actual" is applied, where this application is made, is where a matter of fact happens. Eidetic necessities makes matters of facts then. It's operation is an application to a fact. A transcription from one place to another. Sound familiar to the prior posts on Freud's picture of the Mystic Writing Machine where the psyche was first thought of as being in a place in waiting to be written on? The key to this post though and the beginning of this text by Husserl though is the fact that we are able to use language and expression to posit existence "independent" of the fact that we are using language and expression to posit existence. We can imagine to ourselves by Husserl's "free imaginative variation technique" that something like we just described by the proposition of "material things being extended" happened independent of us having to express it. We can imagine it. Was it the same thing in this type of a-priori consciousness? I doubt it. But can we imagine something being presented to something called "consciousness" that will then "perform the steps of thinking" that will lead to the "insight" which in turn gives us the desire to set it down by proposition? Certainly. For all this to happen, there has to be a place where something is able to happen; something actual. A place where something is able to happen: an eidetic necessity. What we propose as something that has to happen for us to be able to say that this very exact thing has happened.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Origin of Repression; Part 5 of The Scene of Writing

If Writing is the origin of memory and all it's machinery (apparatuses), the writing that writes onto the Mystic Pad, or the psyche, then there is also a place of non-writing. We can speak of this space of non-writing phenomenologically as a happening between point A and point B where a "subject" is doing something without any regard for the points or awareness of their "natural inclination". Still even without consciousness, writing finds a way to write something onto what is called "consciousness", essentially in it's passive nature, that is still active. According to Husserl, an "Active Passivity". With this being said, as we learned earlier, there are gaps in-between periods, in-between periodicity that form the trace. The whole structure of gaps and periods within something called the psych, Derrida will refer to as the arche-trace, but he signifies that the concept of the arche-trace is not a concept because it isn't simply the static phenomenology of gaps and periods within the "memory", but the process of gaping and memory, and within this present participle, the concept always eludes itself beyond the fact of an "imaginative variation" of a linerar sequence of it happening. One lesson learned from Husserlian phenomenology though is the idea that there are somethings entering into consciousness that aren't perfected, in other words, are not idealized into "objectivities". From the last post though we saw that writing was always and already writing perception before being acted on. That writing is always writing it's own history, it's own empirical-historical history, it's own scientific history of perception, does not mean however that the writing mechanism inside something called a "subject" can be not writing at times, and is this not exactly what the gap in-between periods is? If we are to find an analogy for this theoretical attitude in something more understandable by the guidance of the praxis of empiricism, it can be found in the psychoanalytical idea of repression. And make no doubt about it, it's influence it's extreme; more specifically, Freud's influence has been extreme. "Thus perhaps argued, in the Freudian breakthrough, a beyond and a beneath of the closure we might term "Platonic". In that moment of world history 'subsumed' by the name Freud, by means of an unbelievable mythology...a relationship to itself of the historico-transcendental stage of writing was spoken without being said, thought without being though..it was represented". The mythology of psychoanalysis had an abrupt strike in the stage of transcendental history as a breakthrough and difference from classical metaphysics. That breakthrough we went into as writing as a metaphor of psychical writing, the more primary writing that couldn't be read in terms of a simple code (refer to dream interpretation essay). The influence of Freud through his concept of repression has lead man to unequivocally privileged whatever is called "the unconscious" as the code to ones soul, much like Plato, except the breakthrough that analysis could be done in regards to this unconscious repression, unlike Platonism which saw the "unconscious" as already written, not in a state of tabula rasa. With the simple idea of repression, that we all know and that we all use to criticize others when they are appearably "not acting honest", there is a grounds to it that dives beyond the idea of some concept of "free will" being able to awaken this repression, to be free from it's state of at one time being repressed. By grounding repression in somewhat transcendental terms, the fate of repression is sealed as something that is always and already the situation. "This erasure is death itself, and it is within its horizon that we must conceive not only the 'present', but also what Freud doubtless believed to be the indelibility of certain traces in the unconscious, where 'nothing ends', nothing happens, nothing is forgotten'". Here is where an analogy between Husserl and Freud can be posed, or rather a simple similarity in their theoretical/hypothetical conceptions of the psyche. Very simply, the idea that Writing is not catching anything in a process, and for Husserl, the idea that consciousness has it's times of respites where it's not catching anything that would be exterior to it, usually called a "perception". The erasure is the metaphor of not-catching. Certain traces within the unconscious don't end, which mean they don't become idealized as objectivities in Husserlian terms, and in this sense nothing happens to us even though in the unconscious something happens. If it doesn't fully catch an idealized intention of the unconscious, nothing happens to me. Here at least is further proof for how ambiguous the nature of the unconscious is and a further repudiation of simple dream-coding. Because nothing ends and nothing happens, nothing is forgotten. I can't forget something that at first didn't come to me. I need to have what is called an "object" or concept or notion first to be able to forget that idealized objectivity. If I don't the possibility of it being forgotten is impossible. That being said, Freud still attributes an indelible trace to this process. Not just a trace, but an indelible trace: Something that happens to us that can't be erased but we will never have any idea of. Husserl explained this perfectly in his Analysis concerning Passive and Active Synthesis as "perceptions" not becoming "perfected". Hypothetically, it's still the case that the trace or memory has made an impression on me, it's just also the fact that at the same time I have no idea on it, and would have to erase the concept of an impression being made upon "me" in this case. To put it simply, this indelible trace is erased from unconsciousness because it hypothetically never gets to consciousness. "This erasure of the trace is not only an accident that can occur here or there, nor is it even the necessary structure of a determined censorship threatening a given presence; it is the very structure which makes possible, as movement of temporalization and pure auto-affection, something that can be called repression in general, the original synthesis of original repression and secondary repression, repression 'itself'". There are a ton of keys to this quote. Erasing in general is not censorship. Erasing is not something to be censored itself as being a threat to something that is "present" and the logos of some intention. Erasure instead, makes repression possible. Erasure in the abstract, meaning the fact that an indelible trace can sometimes never be realized in consciousness because of it never being thrown into or "intended" into consciousness creates the possibility for repression before any empirical fact of ones existence would be able to define their own repression, their ownership of their repression, their subtle delight in the things that they are "not Ok with". It's always the case that traces are being written to consciousness, or the Mystic Pad, but it's also the case that these traces (that are nonetheless "indelible") are where nothing happens and where nothing is forgotten. This original repression of not fullfillying what writing wants to fulfill, by writing itself into the historico-transcendental stage, firstly grounds the idea of repression in general before it's modern weight it gains in empiricism, and more noticeably, in ones existentiality (basically repression as a product of an individual ego). To further solidify this idea, Derrida defers an authority to phenomenology by explaining the operation of repression as a "movement of temporalization and pure auto-affection". This is what repression is in general. The movement of temporalization: the idea that a trace needs to happen under a certain amount of time, it has to be temporalized, a trace can't be repressed unless it's given the space of time to sink into nothingness, where certainly, it could have been much more than nothingness, according to Derridean verbiage, it could have developed into the death of itself as representation. After this basic phenomenology of temporality, it is also because of "pure" auto-affection that repression can happen. I can't repress something unless I write it to myself, no matter how much a trace according to Freud can have characteristics to it that resemble nothing; "where nothing ends, nothing happens and nothing is forgotten". By the space of time and the automatic affectation of the pysche, I write down something that is outside of myself. I write it down to my psyche slab, my Mystic Pad. So I'm always writing within the psyche, writing something that is outside of myself, and sometimes what I'm writing down becomes remembered, and sometimes it doesn't even exist except for postulating the hypothesis of traces that never become perfected, but are still indelible in the sense that they are absolutely happening; They are just not happening to "me" because "me" here is being equated with consciousness and unconsciousness is being equated with absence, or nothingness. An indelible mark within nothingness: A definition for the unconscious? "Such a radicalization of the thought of the trace (a thought because it escapes binarism and makes binarism possible on the basis of nothing)". Once thought gets laid out, for example, the thought of consciousness, it finds it's binary opposition in unconsciousness. But the radicalization of this thought of the trace, essentially as one that is completely empty, is nothing, in the sense that nothing can be said about it except by positing it hypothetically, grounds binarism, and in this sense grounds the classical psychoanalytical and existential concept of repression. For classical pyschology, dogmatic pyschology if you will, one is always being analyzed into a place where what needs to be "brought up from the depths of your unconsciousness" is something wholly opposite to what you're speaking about; "to let out your inner demons". To speak badly about your mother, means you really have an infatuation with your father. To speak badly about your father, means you really have a strong affection about them. Both the figures of the paternal figures and the concept of "speaking badly" refer to their binary oppositions of the opposite paternal figure and affection respectively. But the origins of repression don't happen from "experience", if "experience" means a person who enters into the world with a blank-slate consciousness who then experiences things they dislike and then subsumes them into their unconsciousness. On the contrary, the origins of repression start from the fact that one has the capacity for indelible traces where nothing happens and nothing is forgotten. Essentially, the psyche writing it's own history and erasing a part of that history before it even enters into your though process (consciousness). Already at work is a psychical apparatus that is distinguishing, sublimating, and repressing traces. That some of these traces are realized in consciousness is the case. That these realized traces (memories) are realized and then repressed is just a function of a much more fundamental operation of the psyche to want to erase things in general for unknown reasons because they operate from nowhere. The operation of repression is always the case. The existential neurosis for "solving" repression is a misplaced "task" of modern psychology because of 1. not being able to see that when one thing is "awakened" in a repression more will pop up because of the fundamental work of the psyche to write things it may want to erase in the first place and 2. not being able to see this ground work of the psyche as operating in a process of Freud's Mystic Writing Machine where at the same time something is written, something is erased with some marks on it that can be recognized. Without a theoretical attitude towards the psyche, psychology can operate under a really misguided teleology of "solving peoples problems". That classical and modern psychology would need to operate under the idea of the trace (or memory) whose structure allows for something to be repressed in the first place would give new grounds to psychology. First and foremost, to not think that the patient is some sort of static identity where all the analyst would have to do is "solve their problem" by bringing out a repression as if other repressions wouldn't manifest once this one repression was "brought up". A change in thinking would have to occur, and that change would be the indefinite repressions with the human psyche. Would this be of consolation to "the patient"? Maybe not in the moment. Would it make them think afterwards about the indefinite state of imbalance that envelops their existence? Maybe so. Either way, psychology without a theoretical foundation of how memory works is strange, strange not just because it's lacking in explanation, but strange because of how popularized the science has become without really needing to know anything about itself.
As a final note to this text on Derrida, I wanted to elaborate on the fields that Derrida sees that could be opened up by psychoanalysis that haven't been opened up yet.
1. A pyschopathology of everyday life. Not simply interpreting lapsus calami (The Freudian Slip, or more literally, The Slip of the Pen) in it's specific encounter, but how it's possible for a slip to happen. If the traces of memory are able to be nothing which constitute a primal repression, then a slip perhaps has a theoretical space in the unconsciousness; perhaps where traces are being allowed into the consciousness not by some empirical-existential slip, but by a slip where what was once an "indelible trace of nothing" slipped into "becoming something". Beyond this, Freud doesn't address responsibility for the slip. In an existential sense, when the slip happens, what is the responsibility of the one who makes the slip, and what is even the responsibility of the receiver of this slip? It must be said though, that Freud, as a person, was probably not the person to concern himself with these ethical issues between "others" where slips manifested into issues of guilt and responsibility.
2. A history of writing: A history of writing that is not empirical, that is not of the speculation of Rousseau works on what possibly was natural man, in his romantic sense of it, and one senses, his thoughts on it that were manifested from an opulent surrounding. Only the most opulent surroundings produce thinkers who "champion nature in it's purity", and the same would go for writing. The history of writing not as some innocuous process that was at once "pure", but maybe always sedimented by a non-altruistic motivation which Derrida takes to task with Claude Levi-Strauss later on in Writing and Difference in the text "Structure, Sign, and Play
in the Discourse of the Human Sciences". A history of writing that follow the unconscious factors in the reading would be the task.
3. A becoming literary of the literal: The task of psychoanalysis to not focus so much on the signified concept as the transcendental object for thinking, but the play of signifiers which constitute the signified itself. In Zizek's terms, "the fictions that create reality". A focus on the literary signifier, the signs that point towards something, where whatever was being pointed to, the intentional object was being bracketed out itself. While Husserl would bracket out his existentiality to find a pure intentionality leading to something called an "objectivity", this objectivity (the intentional object) would be braketed out for how signifiers operate independent of their ostensible teleology to the direct object, or the signified, or the intended substance. As Derrida states "the history of literary forms was destined precisely to authorize this disdain of the signifier".
4. Finally, a psychoanalysis of the "forms of gestures, movements, letters, lines, points, the elements of the writing apparatus (instrument, surface, substance, ect.)" For example, The Role of the School in the Libindinal Development of the Child where analysis would happen not just by analyzing "adult disorders", but would follow how school brings about force to a child. What is education doing for a child that allow them to be themselves or not be themselves, essentially as libindinal beings, as beings with drives, often insatiable drives that an educator would either curtail or accentuate in the school. Also, Strachey's Some Unconscious Factors in Reading. What is happening in reading? What are parts that are being forgotten and remembered and why? Why at a very early stage are certain things of no interest to a reader and others are? When reading, what does the writing of the unconscious want to grab onto? And how does it influence the entire interpretation of the text that leads to all the multivariant interpretations of texts in general? By laying out these unconscious factors, it would certain ground ambiguity in some possibly invariant structures of how reading happens in general. Psychoanalytically, what is that man wants from reading? In Numbers, with the parched woman drinking the inky dust of the law, what is the motivation for the drinking of the law, and how does this communicate with the writing of the law as an excrement of writing? Writing being excreted as law to be swallowed by a woman who feels parched...by not having a law in their life.
Psychoanalysis has an enormous amount of avenues it can traverse to not only flesh out its own theory, but to flesh out the ontological state of being in general.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Writing as the Origin of Memory; Part 4 of Freud and the Scene of Writing

Towards the end of Derrida's text on Freud we come to the thrust of the substance. It's the interplay between Writing and Memory. In the classical sense, writing is always a technique subservient to memory, an "external, auxiliary technique of psychical memory which is not memory itself". Freud considers writing as such in an analogy between writing and memory. To full bear the weight of this analog, let's state Freud's analogy.
"If I distrust my memory-neurotics, as we know, do so to a remarkable extent, but normal people have every reason for doing do as well-I am able to supplement and guarantee its working by making a note in writing. In that case the surface upon which the trace is preserved, the pocket-book or sheet of paper, is as it were a materialized portion of my mnemic apparatus, the rest of which I carry about with me invisible. I have only to bear in the mind the place where this "memory" has been deposited and I can then "reproduce" it at any time I like, with the certainty that it will have remained unaltered and so have escaped the possible distortions to which it might have been subjected in my actual memory"
This is one of Freud's more simple phrases in his theoretical work. I can remember what I want by making a note of it. What is in my memory is possible because of a surface, a slab, which can be imposed upon so a memory is not lost. Firstly, a trace, working as a memory, would not want to be forgotten which would lead to it's archivization. In this case we are working with a "sheet of paper", a material, which is a portion of the mnemic apparatus. This is an interesting qualification on Freud's part. The "sheet of paper", and eventually, it's analogy in the mind (whatever that may be), is a portion of an apparatus. The place for inscription whether it be material or psychical is only one part of the apparatus where the "mnemic apparatus" happens. The rest I carry about with me in an invisible way. Nothing can be said for the apparatus besides the fact that it's written. Everything that works in memory is invisible except for the material in which in which the mnemic substance is written on. It's even unnecessary to know about these invisible aspects of the apparatus. For the intention of memory is to remember something and in order to remember something, I only have to bear in mind where I wrote down what it was that I thought was important in order to go back to it. Because of the "sheet of paper", because of the material slab, I can go back to it when I want being certain that it hasn't change since I felt the compulsion to write down whatever it was that I thought was in need of having to be remembered. According to Freud, if I don't do this, then if I wanted to recall a memory, it may be distorted from the presence I'm trying to retain for it unlike what would happen if I was to revist the piece of paper where I wrote down what I felt needed to be remembered. I have a trust that in that past-present, I wrote something down in fidelity to my instinct to write something down. I wouldn't have this trust if I relied on the pysche to remember this. It would be different in the sense that I would be going back to the memory with the present activity of a memory rather than going back to a memory with the present activity on relying on a past-present. The distinction here is crucial; that is between the present and the past-present, and in this analogy, the idea of the past-present is privileged over the present as a technique for memory. Actually this is very phenomenological and the parallels between Freud's theoretical work and Phenomenology is something worth examining. However, Derrida makes the crucial point that everything can't be remembered bursting the bubble from the metaphor of the psychic apparatus as something that is able to "indefinitely preserve" while having the capacity for an "unlimited capacity for reception". Here is where Derrida separates himself from Freud whether he knows it or not in a very conspicuous way. It's not in the "indefinite preservation", but Derrida's insistence, the project of his lifetime, in showing the finitude in thought, in this case as the impossibility for an "unlimited capacity for reception". "A sheet of paper preserves indefinitely but is quickly saturated. A slate, whose virginity may always be reconstituted by erasing the imprints on it, does not conserve its traces". This is Derrida the thinker here. A sheet of paper, a memory, if we are to follow the analogy faithfully is able to preserve something indefinitely, but it's not close to the "whole" of whatever it was that is trying to be preserved. It's is very Derridean to say "but is quickly saturated". Why is it very Derridean? The thought of receiving a memory and having it come to memory by remembrance is enough for Freud and even Husserl, but this memory that comes to you is not what happened in some present time, and it's not enough to say that something can back to you. For Derrida, what actually happened in the content of a memory is not what actually happened because it doesn't fully and "purely" fulfill what this "present" would be. It's here that we realize that Derrida doesn't operate in probabilities, but instinctively in "purity" and "nothingness". Any accusation thrown at him for his apparent relativistic attitude is at his burden of bearing "purity" on the weight of his shoulders. You can think to yourself how quickly a piece of paper was written on by Derrida during his readings, to the point where he had no other place to write. You can think to yourself of Derrida being out somewhere and something coming to his head and seeing him trying to write down everything he possibly can on a small notepad and not having enough room from his thoughts. What we can go back to indefinitely can never hold everything that could possibly be held from that time. Or maybe, for some of us it can, but for Derrida it can't. Or maybe, for us it can't and Derrida is letting us know it can't even though we are satisfied in our unfilled memories, because we don't recognize that they aren't unfulfilled. We don't recognize them as not telling the whole story. Maybe, Derrida has a problem with us being satisfied in not remembering the whole story. The pretension for going back to memories as some sort of essence to existence maybe tacky to him. A slate, a piece of paper which may always lose its virginity by erasing imprints on it. Not only can a piece of paper become quickly saturated, but the piece of paper can have its inscriptions erased by an eraser. So not only can we not detail an entire past-presence because of the enormity of the task, but whatever is even written on the writing pad, on the slab, can always be erased leaving erasure marks on the pad. If there's something in the memory that I wrote down that I wanted to remember, but for one reason or another, I don't want to remember it anymore, I can erase what was written. See the analogy? Just as we can erase something written on a paper with an eraser because we don't like what was written, we can erase something on the mystic writing pad of the psyche by erasing it because we don't like parts of what we remember. What is the "lesson" here? You have no "pure" recollection of the past because, just like writing, we will erase whatever we don't want to see. Anything that bothers us will be erased from our mystic writing pad just like how I will erase anything from this post that I don't want to be seen. Writing, tells us that much...everything that's not written. And it's not just "things I no longer want to be seen", but things that simply aren't essential the recalling of a memory. Just as I will find it impossible to tell you everything that I want to tell you now, it will be impossible to recollect everything that happened in some past-present. In some past-present, because by the purity that Derrida wants to give this hypothetical situation, it will always remain impossible. Derrida tries to write down everything on a piece of paper but it soon becomes saturated. Unsatisfied in not being able to tell the story he wants to tell, the whole story, he can erase it out of discomfort of not being able to tell the story with all of the details that are involved. Derrida's insecurity is not our insecurity. I find it rare to come across people who are dissatisfied in telling stories because they can't tell all the details. Other people are secure in not knowing that they are not telling a whole story. They are OK with it, because they don't know about it. But Derrida is letting us know in a sense, that it's not Ok to think of a present that really can't be accounted for. The traces of a memory are not conserved if they can so easily be erased from memory, if they can so easily be erased by a paper, if they can so easily be erased by Freud's description of the Mystic Writing Pad that at the same time can transcribe something to the slab and can "destroy what has been written..by raising the double covering-sheet from the wax slab by a light pull". By a light pull. How easy it is to forget. How easy it is to erase. How impossible is it for their ever to be a present that could possibly be recollected. According to Freud, "If we lift the entire sheet, the writing vanishes, and, as I have already remarked, does not re-appear again. The surface of the Mystic Pad is clear of writing and once more capable of receiving impressions. But it is easy to discover that the permanent trace of what was written is retained upon the wax slab itself and is legible in suitable lights". Writing can be cleared out by an eraser, but even with an eraser, we still see something "under suitable lights" where something happened. We can still see the eraser marks on a paper and we can still see the eraser marks of the memory. Something has been erased and is not so easily defined anymore, but something did happen, something that we can't recognize anymore, but we know where something happened. Even if this is the case though, "we possess a system which receives perceptions but retains no permanent trace of them, so that it can react like a clean sheet to every new perception". The psyche system can only allow a certain amount of excitations in it's trace. And these excitations are always be erased by new excitations. What was once the semblance of an erase marked "under suitable lights" will quickly be gone when fresh perceptions enter into the perception-consciousness system. No "permanent traces" are stored in the perceptual system that is able to remember, no present is stored in this system, all that can be said is that "inexplicable phenomena of consciousness arises". In other words, the idea, the description, that something is being written onto consciousness which will be erased for new writings...on and on. Something is already being written before it's being remembered. Consciousness is already preparing itself for being written upon before anything is even received. The psychical apparatus performs the perceptual function, not the other way around. Perception doesn't come to me. I make sure that there is perception for my writing. I am a writing being. I want things transposed to me. Empiricism doesn't accidentally happen to me. If anything, writing accidentally happens to me. For Freud, "The layer which received stimuli-the system of perception-consciousness, forms no permanent traces; the foundations of memory come about in other, supplementary, systems". Any system that receives perception, any physiological, organic system, doesn't form memory. It has to come through a "supplementary system". And by this, we don't just mean another system past the perception-consciousness system, but this other system as the supplementary system itself; An otherness that adds on. An otherness that is always writing regardless of some empirical conception of a perception. If it wasn't writing perception onto itself, it would be writing something else to itself. For Derrida, "Writing supplements perception before perception even appears to itself [is conscious of itself]. 'Memory' or writing is the opening of that process of appearance itself. The 'perceived' may be read only in the past, beneath perception and after it." I'm not aware of myself until I write myself. Perception doesn't hold a privileged place of presence where something happens independent of being written. If there was no writing, if there was no transcription onto something called "memory", I would have no perception. I would not have this originality that I seek after, this "purity" that can't speak for itself but must always be in silence, or elaborated on phenomenologically speaking by language as a "mere mode of sense". An "appearance" doesn't come to me. I write it to myself. Only after writing writes perception can I read the "perceived". Memory comes about not because of some external "reality" that is imposing itself on me which is forcing me to remember things, but because there is a system in me that likes to be additional in general. Within me, there is something that would like to write something and this manifold system of writing is imposing itself on me to find something to write about. That it happens to find something called "perception", is the work of Writing; the Writing that takes something in order to be remembered as a trace, that will be spaced for another trace that it's actively seeking, to eventually forget any idea of an "original" trace that it never had. An operation, never a founding.