Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Neutrality Modifcation; Ideas I Part 7

Heaven. Hell. How come there's no love for Purgatory?

As we continue on Ideas I in the noetic-noematic description of phenomena, we come across what I think to be one of the most interesting ideas of Husserl's, and that's his description of mental phenomena under the heading "neutrality modification." From the past post, we saw the different levels that consciousness can happen under the mode of reflection. We saw that these levels could happen ad infinitum. We also discovered eidetic truths such as hierarchization and the "pure" sense of causality that was established when one remembering would refer back to a previous one and spawn a remembering there after. In all the characterizations we made, we were always positers. We were always operating in "doxic" (belief) forms of consciousness in which an act of consciousness is always grounded in a primal-belief (proto-doxa); simply put, our intentions were getting to new levels even if that new level was a reference back to a past level. We found many different ways in which consciousness could happen, and how it was always making sense by the noemata of conscious acts. But what if the inherent belief act in every positing (on it's way to reason) was neutralized? What would the sense of a mental phenomena be if it was neutralized in it's own possibility of being anything in general? What would the perceived as perceived "look like" if a perception wasn't happening as a perception? Husserl addresses this in this most substantial part of the book. I could see this as a part of the book that's overlooked if a reader is trying to get to reason too quickly. It's for this reason that I wanted to address this topic. The hope is that phenomenology can explain something that is not yet at reason, a place where there's no belief in whatever is happening in one's mind, but something is still happening. What is a happening in a mind independent of the idea that anything is always grounded in a shift (belief) towards something else? What is a mind without this shift? Lets try to find how Husserl addresses the neutrality modification to see what consciousness would look like when it isn't always and already positing (primal-belief) something.

"It is a matter, now, of a modification which, in a certain way, completely annuls, completely renders powerless every doxic modality to which it is related-but is a modification in a totally different sense than that of a negation which, moreover, as we saw, its positive effect in the negatum: a non-being which is itself again a being." Let's start off with this statement from Husserl to begin an elaboration on neutral consciousness. We here have a state of consciousness that "renders powerless" every act of positing. The act of positing as the fundamental mode (intentionality) of consciousness gets "parenthesized" here. What is happening immanently, is not happening to us whereby happening for us means an intentionality structure between noetic and noematic consciousness, between "pure" mental processes, and their meaning, their sense. What's most important about this statement though is how this neutrality modification is not negation. We understand negation as the opposition to a position (positing, positivism). It's a judgment against something for example. But we learned from Husserl's criticism of empiricism that any negation, any skepticism towards conscious understanding independent of "experience" is grounded in a position, this position being negation. When I negate, I affirm, I affirm something that's not. This distinction is crucial for what neutrality consciousness is. What the sense of something is isn't being negated as something "not happening" itself (which is a position), but is "existing" independent of any position whatsoever. The positing consciousness gets bracketed out here. Instead of denying something, I'm denying my denial (because it is a position), and in essence am denying doxic (belief-positing) consciousness. To be sure, consciousness is still happening independent of belief, or is it? We will have to read further. For now though we see that negation is a positing in the form of non-being which is a position. All negation is a position, an affirmation in the most primal sense of what believing in anything in general is; to posit without recognizing that positing is happening (proto-doxa). Lets try to "characterize" this further by way of Husserl insistence's. "It is included in every abstaining-from-producing something, putting-something-out-of-action, 'parenthesizing-' it, 'leaving-something-undecided' and then having an-'undecided'- something, being-'immersed'-in-the-producing, or 'merely conceiving' the something producing without 'doing anything with it'". This is a load of inverted commas and compound verbs by way of hyphens. Lets analyze what's going on here. Understanding this phrase is a key to understanding the idea of neutrality modification. When I abstain from producing, this is because of consciousness being able to abstain from a judgment (predication, positing) . This being-able-to of consciousness is the neutrality modification just as much as consciousness is able to posit something independent of it's own mode of positing for sense. When we put something out of action, we parenthesize the sense of a conscious act, we learned that the texture of the sense doesn't become negated. We are still very aware of it. For writing purposes, if we are to establish sense linguistically and by way of graphematic writing, we can cross out, bracket, and parenthesize any sense-intention. This doesn't mean that the sense still doesn't exist. It means that the sense exists in a modified matter, a neutrality modification. We look at the sense of this "tree." By our inverted commas we signify that the tree is not to be understood directly but as sort of hovering over us as the pure sense of the intentionality. Still the "tree" isn't negated. It's just modified into seeing it's sense independent of that fact that a "tree" was posited in the first place. We leave this sense undecided in the inverted commas (quotations). We can see that the word "tree" is written down and we may even have an image of it, but what the quotation does is not make a theme out the image of it, the emphasis on it as logos or the written word. The inverted commas, the quotation emphasizes the fact that there is something. It's not posited, it's not doxic (it's not a belief). Husserl further elaborates that we leave something undecided and have an undecided-something with it. This leaving something undecided and still having something with it is the neutrality modification. I'm personally tempted to use the adjective "ambivalent" here but warn against using it in fear of readers grabbing onto the idea of ambivalence as a personal idealization for their own being. The thrust of Husserl's emphasis here has nothing to do with a persons personal being, but with how it's possible that consciousness can have something in it where nothing is to be posited. He's not trying to idealize ambivalence as some sort of psuedo-spiritual stance. He's working purely within phenomenology here; not ontology nor existentialism. The tricky part of the above quotation is his final sentence; "'merely conceiving' the something producing without 'doing anything with it'". This is where is takes extra effort of mental creativity and work to understand what's being said. What is it to 'merely conceive' something without "doing anything with it". Well lets sort of psychoanalyze this statement. Husserl has very much in mind the fact that there's a possibility that what is conceived can have something done with it, hence the "doing anything with it", and for our purposes we can understand that this "doing" is the expression and predication of what is always and already making sense in consciousness; i.e. an ascent to reason which Husserl is ultimately trying to justify which I think is at the disservice to phenomenology if it want's to operate independent of any teleological presuppositions, these teleological presuppositions that Husserl so carefully marked out as not pertaining to the method of phenomenology or task of phenomenology ("Task" understood as not getting to something called "enlightenment" or "reason". Really a pure descriptive science). We "merely conceive" without it getting to reason or any of the other correlates of productive consciousness. We have a conception and we are doing nothing with it. Lets be honest, how close is this to the modern concept of "zoning-out"? To merely conceive without doing anything with it. I can wake up in the morning and just happen to be zoning off staring into the clock. In this sense I'm "merely conceiving" without doing anything with it. I'm not saying, "that's a clock", nor am I thinking "that's a clock". I'm attentively regarded to something that has an authoritarian rule over my perception. As someone who wakes up, I'm not thinking conceptually, but in more of a zoning out consciousness. Is this what Husserl means by the neutrality modification? The possibility of being able to zone out? Lets test this idea of "zoning out" again with what Husserl will say later on. "It is a 'neutralized' believing, deeming likely, negating, or the like, the correlates of which repeat those of the unmodified mental processes but in a radically modified way: the being simplicity, the being possible, the being probably, likewise the non-being and each of the other negata and affrimata- all that is consciously there although not in the manner of something 'actually' thought of but instead as something 'merely thought of.' as 'mere thought.' Perhaps our example of zoning out was somewhat haphazard. We were dealing specifically with perception of a clock. We didn't go into the neutrality modification pertaining to "believing, deeming like, and negating for example". The correlate of a neutralized believing consciousness is an unmodified mental processes. This is key. As a believer in something, if I neutralize my belief, the correlate of it is an unmodified mental processes. What the neutrality modification does is say that nothing is actually being believed as if what I were to believe in were to give sense to my pure intention of belief. This would be a noematic modification whereby my judgment would be given sense in the belief of "that dog running towards me" as "that dog running towards me". I would be given the sense of something like a dog running towards me. Afterwords (after the experience) I can say "that dog was running towards me". But in neutralized consciousness there is no sense that has the mode of "asing" the judgement,perception,judging (noesis). There is no sense to those pure mental processes, hence I'm brought back to unmodified consciousness. But the idea of "unmodified consciousness" takes up a different determination in the sense that belief returns back to unmodified consciousness. Lets take the example of "being-possible" and "being-probable". In neutralized consciousness I'm not simply refereed back to whatever is unmodified consciousness (which is a great description serving as an index for neutralization modification). Within unmodified consciousness, I "have" being-possible and being-probable for example. I "have" something in unmodified consciousness, and for Husserl, we are going to have to say that unmodified consciousness is able to have something which is different from modification. Having something is not modification. This is the essence to the idea of the neutralized consciousness. This being-possible and being-probable is not "actually" thought about and here is the key. It's "merely thought of" as "mere thought". Ok, what is the distinction here between an "actual" thought and a "mere thought. An actual thought is something that exists. It's a doxic thought. It exists for us. We think to ourselves "It is possible I can sell my computer for $600.00?" This is an actual thought. What is a "merely thought of"? What's the distinction between "actual" thought and "mere" thought? An actual thought exists for me. It takes on existential significance. A "mere thought" is something that's not existentially significant, hence without the "actuality" of existence, it's just a thought that hovers inside of oneself without ever finding it's "existence." For example, I can look at my computer I want to sell and something can come across my mind that has the texture of selling it. But nothing happens after it. It was just a mere thought without existence. It was something that happened to me immanently without me necessarily being aware of it. In this sense the idea of zoning out (based on perception) has a parallel to the being-possible as a mere thought. While I perceptively zone out at the clock, I'm in a mere thought that's not actual. When I am thinking in the "being-possible" I'm in a certain sense zoning out by the fact that the thought never comes to fruition. There's no commitment in that thought being towards something beyond itself. In a certain sense my "mere thought" is idle. It simply hovers there. Consciousness is being modified into a neutralization here. One can imagine that this happens often. Things come to mind in which one isn't aware and they will never be aware. A glimpse of something can bring up thoughts that are never recognized, are never actual, but are nonetheless thoughts. These thoughts are neutral because they don't posit existence, they don't posit anything. They simply happen to me immanently and this is all I can possible say of them. All in all, what we have is the being simpliciter by which we mean something that could never be expressed. We conjectured into experiences where thoughts and perceptions happened without ever being posited and certified that these things happen to human consciousness regardless of our phenomenological description of them.

This is just the beginning of the neutrality modification. I suspect that I will have to spend another post elaborating on this modification within consciousness in regards to its connection with reason, its relation to fantasy consciousness, its relation to a foreground theme in distinction to a background theme whereby the foreground theme received the attentive ray of the Ego while the background theme is a neutralized consciousness since it's hovering before us without it being expressed, predicated, focused on, basically not having any meaning at all but nonetheless still existing in unmodified consciousness, an unmodified consciousness which has these "noemata" which are nonetheless without their sense and are not "actual" but "mere thoughts" in which we basically described as being simpliciter. A question will come up whether even this neutralized consciousness is grounded in the proto-doxa, meaning a "mere thought" is a belief itself. For example my unrecognized glance at a clock in which nothing is happening consciously, in which this unmodified consciousness characteristic will fade away in which I will never have a regard for it. My ego will never run an attentive ray to the thought that I never knew when something grabbed my attention. Is this thought in unmodified consciousness a correlate of primal belief? The fact that I'm caught by anything (even if I don't formally recognize it), does this not constitute a primal belief in general, a belief though that is under the guidance of pure mental processes; essentially mental processes that is analogous to belief, not simply belief as a causality of pure mental processes, but the idea of pure mental processes being analogous to what is called "belief." These are important questions for understanding a coherent theory of consciousness under the auspices of Phenomenology. We are not there yet. It will take some more time. The more we invest into the project though, the more we gain clarity on issues and also confusions which bring up new questions. The process though is giving credence and clarity to something that was never accounted for; the going without saying of consciousness. The idea alone of the neutrality modification gives an understanding to something that happens to all consciousness no matter how unrecognized it is. These experiences happen to us regardless of the fact that as phenomenologists, we describe these happenings. Phenomenologists are just there to say "Hey, this is happening to you whether you know it or not. Even if we have to use language to tell you this, these things are happening to you regardless of us telling you about it." Eventually the question will be posed psychoanalytically on where the desire comes from to give an account to everything that goes without saying in consciousness.

I leave for Nova Scotia tomorrow. No post(s) for next week. Maybe some pictures on the picture page when I come back. Until then, I'm open to comments and emails regarding what Husserl could possibly be talking about to his daughter in this video. I think he's explaining what the consciousness of a video recorder is. I'm sure she's interested.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Dresden Gallery example; Ideas 1 Part 6

I'm not looking at the Dresden Gallery. I'm not looking at its pictures. I'm looking at the idea that I'm looking at something. I'm out of my my mind.

The last post dealt with the division between the Noetic "really inherent" part of the mental composition and the "Noematic" side as a correlate of the mental processes of the Noetic, as that which is the sense for us. The Noematic was not just the intentional object though. It was the "asing" of an intention. It was the sense of the intention. It was the perceived as the perceived. It wasn't just the apple tree for example, but the fact that something called an "apple tree" is being perceived. The emphasis lied in this "is-being-perceived". If the emphasis lied just in whatever the intentional object was (Ingarden) then this would fail to satisfy the sense that really lies nowhere for Husserl in an intentional act of any sort. With this distinction established it was stated that this wasn't close to the phenomenological explanation that was to be done in regards to conscious experience. A mental phenomena is not simply mental processes with a pointing-towards the sense of it's intention. There are divisions amongst the Noetic and Noematic division itself. In particular there are levels which Husserl elaborates on after making the initial distinction between the Noesis and Noema. "All types of objectivation-modifications previously dealt with are always accessible for always newer hierarchical formations of such a kind that the intentionalities in the noesis and noema are hierarchically built up on one another or, rather, in a unique way, encased in one another". There are different levels in the way in which what was called raw "Hyletic" data becomes modified (by objectivation). For example, "There are presentiations simpliciter, modifications simpliciter of perceptions. But there are also presentiations of a second, third and, essentially, of any level whatever. Remembering 'in' rememberings will serve as an example." The phenomenology of "Remembering in rememberings" is what we will address today by Husserl's example of The Dresden Gallery and a childhood experience. These examples I think are necessary to make sense of what Husserl wants to make sense of. Husserl gives his examples in a very casual style as if the examples weren't needed. Without these examples though, his theory would be more impenetrable than it already is to any "beginner" of phenomenology. For me, the idea of elucidating phenomenological experience rests on easy-to-understand examples. As was said in the post regarding the experience of rejoicing, his examples are far and few in-between. As a reader of Husserl, it's crucial to catch the examples he gives and mediate on them for a long time. His theory is more understandable with examples given first and then the theory given second. This is not how he proceeds and I do find the methodological value in not proceeding this way because it can easily give too much of an existential connotation to phenomenology that wants to operate independent of existential experience in something called "pure reason". Nonetheless I will try to make sure that the theory independent of the examples lives in the examples that are first presented. With that being said, lets move into the levels of the noesis and the noemata by way of theory and example.

Lets go back to what Husserl stated when he said "Rememberings as rememberings will serve as an example". What does this mean? When we are presently remembering something, we can modify this remembering by remembering something in the memory itself. While being in the remembering we "effect" a series of mental processes in the "mode of presentiation". First off, everything that's being remembered is a presentation. We are being presented something. It's not as if nothing is happening. We are being presented something. Secondly, rememberings can occur as "rememberings having been lived". We can direct ourselves to this second level of remembering. Here is where an example will give us clarity on the issue. As promised in the introduction to this post, I said I would give examples for theory rather than the other way around and will start with the example of The Dresden Gallery. Husserl states "A name reminds us of the Dresden Gallery and of our last visit there: we walk through the halls and stand before a picture by Teniers which represents a picture a gallery (The painting that Husserl is referring to I put as the picture of this post). Lets flow into the phenomenological example from the start. A name comes to mind, "Dresden Gallery" comes to mind in which I put in inverted commas in order to establish the sense of the concept independent of it's actual picture seen (rather, we are thinking of the Noema "Dresden Gallery" here). In the memory is the us walking through the halls in which we stand before a specific picture by Teniers which not so ironically is a painting of a picture gallery. Within this memory, there are different levels in which the noema of "The Dresden Gallery" occurs. We can remain at one level. We can simply remain in the remebering of "The Dresden Gallery" with it's walk through the Gallery of Dresden. In this first level of remembering we have a memory simpliciter. We were given the simple memory of the Noema "us walking through Dresden Gallery." This just came to us and nothing else is attached to it at this first level. But this spontaneous memory need not stop. It can operate at different levels. "We can, again within memory, live in the observations of pictures and find ourselves in the world of pictures". Lets stop for a moment. We first (at one level) remembered something immediately and spontaneously. Now, we are again using this spontaneous memory to "consciously" recollect further into the spontaneous memory. Maybe there was something pleasurable about the memory in which makes us want to think more about the spontaneous memory. We are now in a world of pictures. We are consciously recollecting back to all the pictures in the gallery. The is a second level of the Noema. A third level can exist also. "We look at the paintings themselves". In this third level, we are not just in the picture gallery consciously after the initial memory, but are looking at a specific picture in the gallery in which we were just consciously walking in. In all these memories we were "just" doing something. This "justness" is a temporality "function". What happened was something that just happened and now is something different and hence is established as another level of remembering. The sense of these statements are very simple. We have the option to take our initial memory, our noema, and throw it into different directions. We can take the initial noema and judge it, recollect on it, make a predicated statement about it, ect. We can do many things with the noema. The noema then operates on many different levels. It doesn't have to be as simple as we are stating it right now either. Husserl throws in this sort of funny idea of even "reflecting hierarchically upon the noeses". Not only can we reflect upon The Dresden Gallery and all it's particular significations that represent different levels of the noema, but we can reflect (which we are doing right now) on the levels of rememberings that are occurring in all these reflections. We can number them and this is a reflection of another level. We have a level of the noema where we aren't looking at anything specific but simply numbering the amount of times we have different memories of the first level and all the modifications that are "correlates" of that first level. To take this a step further, I can even reflect on the reflection of numbering the amount of times that this noema is taking on different levels. I can do all this ad infinitum. "This multiplicity of possible directions of the regard essentially belongs to the multiplicity of intentionalities related to and founded in one another; and wherever we find analogous founding relationships-and in what follows we will become acquainted with many different kinds-analogous possibilities of changing reflection are brought out." All of the descriptions we gave above are intentionalities founded in and related to an original noema. Does each level represent it's own noema? Each level is it's noema in which it may find another noema but it does come from a spontaneous noema of a memory in this example. In each case in this example, we find a seeminly infinite amount of possibilities of changing reflections from what we currently have our mind on. This almost has to be the case because of time. Can I stand still in the Dresden Gallery in one noema? Can I stay put in the noema of "walking in the Dresden Gallery" without focusing on a specific picture in the Dresden Gallery (a second level). Can I stay put in this initial memory without thinking of how I got to this first noema in the first place? It seems that the temporality of the mind would make this possibility of no no-possibilities impossible. This is going to be a crucial issue that will have to be addressed; the temporality of consciousness. For now though, we have endless possibilities of changing reflections about something present. We have different levels of what's happening. This is part of the noetic-noematic character; to have levels of experiencing, to have levels of mental processes, to have levels of regards of where these mental processes take us.

Lets give a second example to fully clarify these levels or stages that characterize Reflections that allow us to give the eidetic insight that consciousness in general is hierarchical. "If we recall how yesterday we remembered a childhood experience, then the noema, 'childhood experience,' in itself has a characterization as something remembered at the second level". Lets take a close look at this example. At one time we remembered a childhood experience. We didn't think of it as a "childhood experience". It just came to us. It was a spontaneous memory. Now today, we remember how yesterday we had a memory of a "childhood experience". This second level memory attains the noema of "childhood experience." We remember the memory as being about "Childhood Experience". It could have been the case that when we first remembered it we were simply "in it", without any direction to give it another level. We could have just drifted away from that spontaneous thought to nothing. In this case, we don't know that what we were in was a "childhood experience." Something may have been pleasant about that memory though. Today we think back to the memory of that experience and like it. We consciously think about it rather than be in it like we were in the first remembering. At this second level we are elaborating on the first level memory. We are thinking more of the "childhood experience" specifically as "the childhood experience". We can verbally or non-verbally say to ourselves "That childhood experience I had yesterday was amazing. Walking through trees, hiding behind stumps, running away from my friends while we were playing an amazing game of Capture the Flag". This "analytical" memory is a second level since it's remembering a remembering. We are actively pursuing it's original "train/picture of thought". Of course, a third level comes into play here. I can look at the fact that I had an original memory, and a consciously "analytical" reflection on that memory, making two memories (two levels). I can say to myself verbally or non-verbally that "I had two memories about the same thing. In one instance something came to me spontaneously. The next day I thought about that memory to myself. I thought about all the details in it that were fun". We are reflecting on pure hierarchy here. This is a third level. There's a seperation here. I can keep thinking of object-predicates that further define the experience, and I can think of the logico-phenomenological process that is allowing this noetic-noematic process to happen. I can reflect on the actual pictures of the scene and elaborate further in detail or I can elaborate on the numbers, sets, hierarchies (the phenomeno-logic) that constitute the possibilities of these processes. Lets focus on the logic of the phenomena here that can be elaborated here since we are working within phenomenology as a discipline for consciousness. "To every level belong possible reflections at that level, so that e.g., with respect to remembered things at the second level of remembering, there are reflections on perceivings of just these belonging to the same level". The ideas here are fleshed out really well by Husserl. He distinguishes between perceivings and and reflections. We can reflect on our perceptions and give them a logical place such as a place in a numbered order or a place in a manifold of sets. Another eidetic insight is made by Husserl when he states "each noematic level is an 'objectivation' 'of' the data of the following level". Each noematic level has it's own characteristic which sets itself as the index for its level, in which other noemas can "spring" from them, and other noemas from the past can be refered to by this index character of the noema. A noema can "spring" to another noema in which the data of the previous noema was its "springboard". It takes a past noema and does something with it, it changes it. Each noema is it's own level, has its own characteristic which defines it as an index, and can be referenced back to a past noema, and changed into another noema. These are eidetic truths. What's eidetic here is the purity of hierarchy, referential-processes (Derrida's concept of the trace becomes enormously helpful here which I wish I had more time to go into now), flux/change by way of intentionality, and the taking of something into something else for example (which was our first eidetic insight when we entered into this text).

The Dresden Gallery and the childhood experience are things we can remember that are not simply things we remember and this is the point of phenomenology; to explain everything else that happens beyond what is the "dead" concept in just "remembering". There are levels, characterizations of each level which make each level it's own index for previous and future levels. These things do happen to us immanently. The fact that there are a seemingly infinite amount of possibilities that can happen in the noetic-noematic consciousness gives credence to the possibility of a science of phenomenology, as a descriptive science like what we just wrote about above. It's not the case that everything above had to be written about. It could have been the case that everything written about above happened without us expressing it linguistically, in word or writing, but we are writers and thinkers. As writers and thinkers, we have the possibility for elaborating on what goes without saying. This going without saying that escapes both the "hard" and "soft" sciences alike is precisely what grounds any science in general. The scope of phenomenology is to work within the possibility given to us as writers, readers, and thinkers on elaborating on what always goes without saying for thinking being to happen. It's not within phenomenology's jurisdiction to answer "why" we are given over to "thinking being" in which we are given the possibility to elaborate on how "thinking being" happens. The teleological presupposition that one could place on phenomenology would be it's dependence on writing as a form, and it's psychological desire for elaboration, maybe even it's sadistic desire for creating complexity, ect. There may be something to these psychoanalytical/deconstructive explanations. But however this "desire" would determine phenomenology, it wouldn't take away from the fact that the experiences that we elaborated on above with the the Dresden Gallery and the childhood experience actually happened independent of the phenomenologists desires. All the possibilities that we laid out are just that, real possibilities independent of anyone who wanted to write on them. With that being said, it's obvious how large the field phenomenology is and can be. As a descriptive science it has endless possibilities relative to the endless possibilities exhibited by and happening in human consciousness.

new Coral single. Ridic.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Noetic-Noematic Division; Ideas I Part 5

Diagrams are made when concepts are just too difficult to put into words alone.

In the last post we went into a general example of a phenomenological description with Husserl's example of rejoicing. Now with his first example in tow, we move onto the substance of phenomenology and easily the most difficult part of Ideas I. As a warning to readers, don't read further if you're not ready for the precision in which Husserl details experience. What will be written about next is the first depths of phenomenological examination. It's a reduction and a dividing of what experience normally was (naively understood). The phenomenological reduction done by Husserl has lead to this point where experience gets dispersed into parts. It's here where experience isn't seen as holistic but surrounded by differences, modifications, multiple descriptions on each modification, and detailed analysis in general. This detailed analysis is phenomenological analysis. At once what was thought of as "going without saying" for phenomenology now becomes something different from what was "going without saying". It's here where we learn that what we find is different from what "immediate intuition" would like to present (immediate intuition understood in the naive empirical sense). We are given concepts about immediate experience that aren't realized in immediate experience. We are given an immediate experience that is not understood quickly but is incessantly detailed. The first division will happen with Husserl's concepts of Noesis and Noema. Before going into these concepts first though, lets take a look a more general view of the detailed description he is about to go into.

The general view of a phenomenological experience is given by the terms "sensuous" and "intentive". A sensation content is the actual data of say a "color". "Color" here needs to be put into inverted commas to signify that something is being talked about that nonetheless we are trying to abstract to get at the pure mental phenomena of an act. There is data being taken in when one is under a "tactile" sensation also for example. These data are not to be "confused with appearing moments of physical things-coloredness, roughness, etc." The data of these after-the-moment sensuous distinctions are independent from the appearance of a color or how something feels for a time (The question of temporality needs to be addressed in these distinctions. Are they to be understood as causal?). Now, "sensuous data" present themselves as stuffs for intentive formings, or sense-bestowings, belonging to different levels". This data, this stuff which Husserl will also call "hyletic" (raw data), is to be formed for an intention. This stuff is to be given a sense which is not simply a sense, but has its own multiple levels of explanation. There is something that forms this stuff into intentive mental processes. Pure mental forms (cogitationes) create intentive mental processes of anything whatever. From stuff moments come the objective moment. These appear in the apprehension of stuff moments. These are "physical color, shape, and the like". This most general description will serve us as a sketch for what will happen in the Noetic-Noematic divide. At its core, there are stuff moments where data is "perceived" which is then modified to objective moments which are the actual recognition of color, shapes, "and the like", that still need not be expressed. Keep in mind, everything is not to be expressed under the phenomenological reduction. There is unexpressed hyletic data that is apprehended into the objective moment for consciousness. This description though is too vague. It's too open ended and this is where phenomenology comes in; to try to close the openings and gaps that are testified in any theory of experience. These gaps will be filled in the description of the Noetic and Noematic components of experience.

All that we will be investigating now are "really inherent" moments pertaining to mental processes. First is the noetic moments. These are "directions of the regard of the pure Ego to the objects 'meant'". These noetic moments seize upon an object, hold it fast while the regard adverts to other objects which appear in the "meaning". Noetic moments take hold upon "stuff moments" and produce "explicatings, relatings, comprisings, multiple position-takings of believings, valuings, and so forth". "All these are to be found in the mental processes in question, no matter how differently structured and varied they are". Every mental process will have an aspect to it where it will do something with raw hyletic data. What will it do with this data? It will take it into noetic mental processes whereby they will be modified into various intentionalities. Stuff can be explicated on. Stuff can be related to... (can't finish sentence yet). Stuff can be valued and so forth. Stuff's modification is on it's way towards being something other than what it is by these noetic mental processes. All these possibilities represent inherent moments of consciousness but "nevertheless also refer to what is not really inherent, namely by means of the heading of sense". This is where sense becomes a pure abstraction. Sense is not a mental process nor does it appear outside in some world with intentional objects (physical objects). Instead, sense is given the noematic moment; A mediating space where the really inherent noetic mental processes are given sense. "Perception for example has its noema, most basically its perceptual sense, i.e. the perceived as perceived". This is where the difficulty lies, in the noematic differentiation. We can understand the noetic distinction as that which are mental processes that make up the intentionality sphere without sense and without direct object, meaning the inherent mental processes that produces its believings, valuings, judgings, and so forth. But the noetic is differentiated into a part of the whole structure of an experienced moment. It's without its sense and without its object. Husserl is considering it in the abstract as these intentionalities independent of the idea that they are 1. intentional and 2. have an object into which they are intended to. The noematic distinction however is where sense happens independent of mental processes. Sense comes to us not in a mental process (although caused by it. Again the question of causality comes up.) but after it, if after can be used at all in any temporal sense (The problem of temporality will need to be addressed and will be in a later post. In general, questions with this theory that are not yet explained are the relation of the Noetic-Noematic division in regards to temporality and causality). For the noema though, this outside sense that gives sense to us, what is the perceived as perceived for example? What would it be like to faithfully describe the "appearing as appearing" in complete evidence and description? What is a noematic description? How can we make a statement about this sense? Husserl states "We find the perceived as perceived, to be expressed as a 'material thing', 'plant, 'tree', 'blossoming' and so forth". The key here is that we find it in it's expression. Classically speaking the noemata by Greek definition is simply the object of one's mental process (the mental process being the noetic), but for Husserl it's much more detailed than this "dead-concept" of perception-object. To bring back alive the moment of experience the details of the noemata will be necessary. So then, the noemata in an experience can't simply be the direct object as "tree" for example which we place under inverted commas in order to signify both the fact that we have something in view, but that this having-something-in-view is not yet expressed. Husserl goes on to an insightful statement where he says "The tree simpliciter can burn up, be resolved into chemical elements. But the sense of this perception, something belonging necessarily to its essence- cannot burn up; it has no chemical elements, no forces, no real proprieties". It's here where we see that sense has no external existence. It's not made of any properties. Regardless, we have a sense of a "tree" even though the "tree" may no longer be there. We can be in front of a "tree" and it can vanish right before us, but we still had a sense that something was before us. Afterwords we can describe what was once before us as a "tree" but at first it's a sense independent of expression and this is proved by the fact that one can experience something that then vanishes but this experiencing of this vanished thing is not vanished itself. If the tree were to burn, my sense of the tree won't burn. The sense of the "tree" doesn't have the properties necessary to make it flammable. It doesn't exist in the classical conception of existence. "The perceived as sense includes nothing of itself other than what "actually appears" in the mode of giveness in which it is precisely something intended to in the perception". This actual appearance for us is nothing expressible or idealized. It's an absolute zero-point where something is appearing to me in which I have no idea of what it is. This is not that difficult to understand. Any time I space out, I have a perception right in front of me of something. This actually appears but nothing is going in my mind that's focusing on the appearing and modifying it into an idealization, an expression such as the "tree". I may not even be "spacing out". I may just be walking by something where my attention is directed to it, and that is all. So this is the noema. It's the percieved AS percieved. It's the remembered AS remembered. It's not the expressed perception of "tree" although this expressed perception is a correlate of it. It's the idea that the tree is something percieved. Again, to reiterate, in any moment I can be walking by a "tree" and not recognize it. If an outside observer was watching me he may see me turn towards a "tree". Chances are, I'm not saying to myself "That's a tree". Chances are I'm given a perception of something absolutely in general. This is what it means to put the emphasis on the fact that the unexpressed direct object is a perception, a judging, a valuing, a believing, ect. It doesn't matter what I'm valuing, the sense of the valuing doesn't come from the "signified" or the direct object. The sense of the valuing comes from what valuing actually is, essentially what the definition of "valuing" is, which generally speaking is to place a judgment. The noematic moment includes both the expressed "material thing" AND the idea of the perceived as the perceived for example. The noematic content at one time is the tree simpliciter (and it can't be stressed enough how important it is to see the tree as simpliciter which is essentially seeing something that's not understood at all as a "tree", but you're facing something like a "tree". The evidence of the experience could be corroborated by a third party. Essentially someone following you around asking you if the third "tree" on the right you ran by and happened to turn to made you think of a "tree". If you are able to say "I didn't even recognize it", then you had a noematic moment independent of the expressible object. Now, the idea of the noema is a concept that is of contention within phenomenology (so it's OK for it to be difficult to understand at first). Roman Ingarden saw it simply as the direct object of anything whatsoever that was intended in an experience. In this sense he had a "classical" interpretation of noemata, simply as the object of ones mental experience (which could also include a fantasized object for example) . Robert Sokolowski on the other hand in his Introduction to Phenomenology maintains that the noema is the percieved as perceived for example. It is exactly that. It's not the object of perception, but the fact that in one instance I can see a chair by perception. It's this phenomenological moment that is stressed by Sokolowski and I think is faithful to the Husserlian project; essentially to detail the fact that an object of a mental process is not just an object that can forever be elaborated on by language, but a phenomenological moment of perception when something, whatever it is, is a perception-sense, and when enough perception beyond the 1-sideness that is now happening, happens, then it becomes idealized into lingustic formulation. But I think it's helpful for Husserl to stress that the noematic moment is expressed as a "meterial thing" E.G. a "tree", but at the same time the noematic emphasis is on the fact that is was a perception-sense in the first place, not an expressible concept. Nonetheless I would personally combine both Ingarden and Sokolowski's views here based on the fact that Husserl referred to the noema both as being something expressed and as something of the intentional act soley as its sense. It must be said though that he absolutely stresses the fact of the noema being the object of the noetic intention (E.G. perception). In this case Husserl's emphasis is on the perceived as perceived. The actual linguistic object isn't the sense. The lingustic object is the dead represented term that will be immediately meaningful based on definitions. The sense though for the noema is the absolute simplicity of being able to see something NOT as something, but simply "as". This "asing" in the noema is the pure representation operation that's is on it's way to represent something, to give its something its sense by representing it, judging it, perceiving it, etc.

Husserl appropriately expands the concept of the noema into negating the idea of it being some sort of "Cartesian theater". Two realities aren't given. We don't have a reality that is happening outside ourselves and then one which the noema represents as an "internal image". "No internal image is given. Only the tree simpliciter". The noema is an operation of "asing" an intentional process into something else, maybe a "semblance to what was prior to the intention, but this is beyond our scope and pure speculation which is not the work of phenomenology. While phenomenology may always be at the limits of possible reason in terms of human experience it won't conjecture into whatever a raw hyletic data is (except for an empty variable). Basically, when I see a "tree" without recognizing it as a "tree", it's not a "tree", its a tree simpliciter meaning I have no sense of it other than it's something that's being perceived. It's object is my intentional perception of "it", and this is an example of the noema. Now, with all these quotations being made about a perceived "tree" that can't really be perceived, and even the "perceived as the perceived" that can't be understood in it's simpliciter sense, we are left to thinking if we can understand anything at all regarding Husserl's claims to phenomenological elucidation. He answers this though in a sort of "welp-that's-true" kind of way. He states "The parenthesis undergone by perception prevent any judgment about perceived actuality. But it does not prevent the judgment about the fact that perception is consciousness of an actuality and doesn't prevent it from appearing 'actually' in the particular ways intended to E.G. one-sidedly". Here we are given eidetic truths. Husserl won't allow us to understand something we can't understand. But what we can know is that what was parenthesized in order to show that the concept under parentheses can't be understood in it's "perceived actuality" nonetheless shows that something actual is being perceived even if we know nothing about it's actuality and can never know anything about it. We can even know that we see something one-sidedly. We can know that when we are running past a tree unknowing that what we see is a "tree", that we are only seeing one side of it, until we run a little further and see another side of it. None of this we know in the presence but we can logically infer this is the case. We can apply deductive logic to phenomenology. If a tree has an infinite amount of parts (or possible perceptions) to it and I run by some parts of it, then it's not the case that I see an infinite amount of parts to it. From this deductive logic, we can infer that we only see some parts of the "tree" even though we were never aware of it in the presence of the "tree".

Every post after this will be further elaborations on the Noetic-Noematic divide. This post certainly tried to flesh out the idea of the noema in regards to Husserl's conception of it. As beginners, I made a basic diagram at the top of this post in order to flesh out the Noetic-Noematic divide. It may be an over simplification for now but nonetheless will acquaint one with the idea of what Husserl is trying to convey (Please bear with the terrible penmanship. I whipped it up in 10 minutes) . What is missing is a detailed analysis of the Noetic-Noematic division (in the diagram). This detailed analysis will be done in further posts. There will possibly be more diagrams. I have a feeling at this point though that it will simply be loads and loads of descriptions in regards to the relationship between the noetic and nomatic components of mental phenomena.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Lepomp Shames

When courage and strength puts fear aside,
Commitment elates in a hero to hide.
A knight not seen in daylight's repeat,
A form that's taken, a secret to keep.

When love's not shaken by glitter and prize,
A life stands tall to nothing outside.
A kings last taste to nothing forsaken,
Onwards to show, the heartless awakens.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The 1st Phenomenological Example; Ideas 1 Part 4

This shorty's really into me staring at me like this...Damn, it was a mannequin

After a good 175 pages of method bashing and abstraction supplying, Husserl finally gets to his first phenomenological example. After all this time, the skepticism of empiricism, the naivete of idealism, and the identity of ones psychological self all have been sublimated under the what was to come next; Phenomenology as a descriptive science. Husserl was always at a loss for examples relative to how "modern" reading occurs with mounds of examples supplemented to a text in order to understand a theory. Husserl however operated like a philosopher, meaning he thought that his readers should just know what he was talking about without giving specific examples along the way. When you do find the examples, they are a big deal because they certainly illuminate all the theory that will come before and after. If there ever was an example of phenomenological temporality, it would be in what Husserl calls "the pure tone" (an issue which we will go into in another post; temporality). The payoff usually comes in the middle of one his works after he does these big setups, which to be fair, seemed very necessary to Husserl. Before getting into the concrete example he gives, we have to first see what consciousness is first able to do so that he can provide his example. This primary function of consciousness is reflection. "Among the most universal essential peculiarities of the sphere of pure mental processes we shall deal with reflection first. We shall do so because of its universal methodological function: the phenomenological method operates exclusively in acts of reflection". The method of Phenomenology revolves around reflection. Anything we can understand about experience will be because of the capacity of reflection. Without the possibility of looking-back (even an unaware looking-back) there can be no theory of experience. Without the possibility of an object being regarded independent from a "pure" regard, there can be no theory of experience in any field. Any theory of experience operates teleologically, I.E. trying to understand something called "experience" (It's here where linguistic deconstruction has so much to say regarding the subject of Phenomenology, not to mention the idea of "Speculative Realism" as starting from a non-philosophical point. Both these discussions we can't go into now but will have to be addressed in further posts). Husserl will give a description of the mental process of reflection. We are not yet at the specific example though that this post will address.
"When the mental process which, at any particular time, is actually being lived comes into reflective regard it becomes given as actually being lived, as existing 'Now'. But not only that: it becomes given as having just now been and, in so far as it was unregarded, precisely as having been unregarded, as not having been reflected on. In the natural attitude, without our thinking about it, we take for granted that mental processes do not exist only when we advert to them and seize upon them in an experience of something immanent; and we also take it for granted that they actually existed and, indeed, were actually lived by us if they are still, in reflection on something immanent, within retention ("primary" memory) as having been 'just now,' still intended to.'"
Here we have a phenomenological description of reflection as the primary method of phenomenological method. To truly understand this thought process though, we will have to elaborate on what Husserl is saying in his emphasis on the reflective act. At any time, one can be reflective. One can operate outside of the "pure" spectrum of perception which Husserl simply calls "the lived". This "lived" can come into your reflective regard meaning that what ever has happened to you can be reflected on. This reflection though is not some mere abstraction away from "the lived" though, but is a way of living itself. As much as a "pure perception" independent of reflection lives in subjectivity, reflection lives in subjectivity in its own way. They both live. The reflection lives in the "Now" as much as what is called a "primal impression" (which can be described because its primal non-understood nature) lives in the "Now". An idealist hypothesis would privilege a "Nowness" independent of reflection, but both are living. For better terms, both are happening. Beyond this though, this reflection on an object can be regarded itself as just-having-been. Not only does an object and a reflection live, but a reflection on the reflection lives too. The original object of reflection, in this case a mental process, was also unregarded at one point. The mental process happened without any reflection on it. This was an aspect to consciousness; to let something happen to it without conscious regard for its happening, until a possibility of it being reflected upon. We take this for granted. As an empiricist, we take for granted the mental processes happening in the "Natural Attitude". Let's be more clear. What do we take for granted? We take for granted the fact that when we say "There was nothing happening when I wasn't thinking of anything", that we are positing something happening as nothing; a nothing that's obviously still something, in this case, a conjecture about a past time-happening in its most empty form. We make a skeptical conjecture that at the same time affirms the existence of what was at once at the idea of the skepticism (the general criticism of Empiricism's skepticism of immanency). This nothingness that we conjecture was actually lived by us, IF, we ask about it, or think about it (again, a question is raised within the new field of "Speculative Realism" which ostensibly doesn't ask ontological questions or think about them. Instead these are seen as specifically "philosophical gestures", meaning the idea of questioning itself is relative to something called "philosophy", in which outside of it, there is no question to ask about these ideas). We can reflect on this immanency (I.E. a mental process), and if we know about the immanency it is because of reflection. We take for granted that this at-once primary-now happened even if we reflect on it because of the biased theoretical nature of the naive attitude, the Natural Attitude. But if we don't take it for granted, we see that something was given to us in which we were able to reflect upon it. This given was retention; the grasping of something in "pure" experience which may or may not be the object for being remembered. It's important to distinguish retention from remembering here. A remembering takes something that's already been retained and makes a theme out of it, no doubt that it's a difference from the "primal impression" of a "Now", but derivation or not, is still a taking into something else (a metaphor for reflection which bears some semblance to what it at first took, but is logically not the same because of the difference of space.) Retention is the act of primary memory. Without this act of primary memory, (the act that retains a primary), reflection would not be possible because it would be working with no data, specifically, no data of sensation.
With reflection being described, what is the 1st phenomenological example that Husserl gives that will establish the field of Phenomenology as the descriptive discipline of essences (eidetic truths)? His example is that of rejoicing. "For example, in a living intuition (which even may be imaginary) we put ourselves into the effecting of some act or other, perhaps into a rejoicing at a course of theoretical thought which goes on freely and fruitfully). At our disposal is the liberty of being able to enjoy ourselves, and for Husserl (funnily enough), it's the rejoicing at a theoretical thought. Yes, theoretical thoughts make some men happy. By all the reductions we came to through the past posts and readings on Husserl we can elaborate on what happens with rejoicing based on the primary method of phenomenology; reflection. We can reflect on what is essentially happening in rejoicing. In a reflection, we are first brought to the idea that we are rejoicing. This is essential. We can say for ourselves, "We are rejoicing". While we are undergoing a "pleasing course of thoughts", a reflective regard becomes adverted (attention-turned-t0) to the rejoicing. "The latter becomes a mental process regarded and perceived as something immanent, fluctuating and fading away thus and so as it is regarded reflectively". Rejoicing becomes the object of our reflection. No longer is the immediate rejoicing what it was in its "pure" immediacy, but is now the object of reflection; a thought on what was at once immediate. It is a derivation, a duplication, a supplement in the most logical sense possible (There's no need for us now, or maybe ever, to make an existential matter out of this which would always be on its way towards defining oneself as not being a duplicate by phenomenologically explaining derivation and difference. We are limited to a logic of space here, not to personal answers that rejoice in telling others). The rejoicing as remembered rejoicing has a process whereby it's immanent, meaning it's happening in our heads (after all, we are reflecting), fluctuating, meaning it's taking on a different signification every second it's being thought about, and fading away, meaning that as time goes by the reflection on the rejoicing fades away to not be the object of an active remembrance anymore. This reflected rejoicing then is in our head, changing it's significations every second, and will slowly fade away to the point where it's no longer on our minds. Now, the case for rejoicing was a prime example for Husserl in being able to establish phenomenology. This pertains to the picture at the top of this post which so far has been unexplained, the picture of the mannequin (further established in Experience and Judgment). As somewhat of a dense post this already is, and as dense as Husserl's example of rejoicing as the phenomenological example (of reflection) is, I thought it would be fun to go into the anecdotal example of Husserl's actual encounter with a mannequin rather than his theoretical reflection on it. As the story goes (according to his students. Gadamer among one of them), Husserl was teaching a class in his solipsistic style when he went on to elaborate on the misperception of something outside oneself. Husserl told the story of how he was once going up the stairs of a museum when he saw a beautiful woman at the top of the stairs who was ready to greet him (in more-than a greeting way. Oh la la!). Husserl became happy as he awaited this unexpected stranger. At last he got to the top of the stairs ready to greet this beautiful woman when it became apparent to him that it was not a person, but a "mere wax figure" in which he sighed when he said "mere wax figure". Poor Husserl (Was he married before or after this incident?). His perception had misled him, which eventually would turn into one of his primary examples of misperception. Rejoicing here had took it's course in a ton of mental processes. There was expectation, a logically infinite amount of "Now's" between his expectation and his let down, and the let down itself. And then, there was the reflection of the experience itself which was not the mental processes as they were happening in the "Now's" of experience but the reflective regard of the ego toward the ostensible mental processes. What at once was rejoiceful and dejecting in it's most "pure" state to Husserl had now become modified by reflection. "The freedom of the course of thought suffers; we are now conscious of it in a modified manner; the pleasingness belonging to its continuance is also affected essentially-that too we can observe by adverting our reflective regard in yet other directions". The freedom which accompanied the mental processes that weren't thoughts (reflections) takes on a suffering, a negation. The negation is the thought on what was called an "original experience" here. Literally, the idealization of the experience; the transcription from "originary excitations" (Freud) to the written word of these excitations is a suffering. In a more logical manner it's a modification, and it's somewhat peculiar that Husserl would use the past tense verb of "suffering" here (I would think this belongs more to the existential analytical proclivities of Heidegger's ontology). We are conscious in a modified manner. We are no longer in "pure" being but in reflective being. When one is reflecting, they are in a modification from an originality. The one time pleasingness is affected by reflection. Reflection can go off in many directions. It can reflect on the reflection itself. It can reflect on the immediate perception of the mannequin. It can also reflect on how the original pleasingness was affected not just because of the reflection of the woman being seen as a mannequin, but because of reflection itself on the situation which modifies even the pleasingness that was originally pleasing into a modified pleasingness, essentially what "pleasing" would be when we are in the process of reflecting on this pleasingness. One can imagine that there is more "pure" thought in the reflection than pleasingness. Further along in the phenomenological reflection of this experience, is the reflection on not reflecting on the rejoicing. We can "seize upon the lack of regard adverted to it in the phenomenon that has run its course". We can see how unlimited and in how many directions reflection can go. We can reflect on any "moment" of experience, and even reflect on there being no reflection in the course of the mental processes accompanying an experience. Even this non-reflection though is a reflection. All this points to "all the possibilities of mental-process moments" that phenomenology would like to elaborate on in "systematic completeness". Phenomenology for Husserl can elaborate on the "mode of consciousness as not modified reflectionally" (meaning pure mental processes) and also all the ways in which consciousness can reflect on these pure mental processes. Reflection though can show us these pure mental processes such as the "was-perceived" and the "will-be-perceived", in name only (always the problem and criticism of Phenomenology). We will continue to learn more about how reflection can gain insights into these eidetic (essential) moments of mental processes by always slightly modifying reflection as a method. For example, using the reflective method to give vague references to mental processes rather than specific aspects that ostensibly were happening in mental processes. In a strong sense, the more vague the insights of reflection, the more close to a "pure" mental processes we will be. It will be less idealized, and somewhat more confusing which we saw is not a problem for phenomenology in the past post. I don't think it would be incorrect to say that a phenomenological elaboration on a mental process will be more "impressionistic". Broadly speaking, it's not Phenomenology's problem if it creates a new language on it's own when understanding eidetic experience. But the more closely "references to mental processes" are addressed, the more these one-time-obscurities (confusions) will become more clear, and will become somewhat of a new language. This clarity will be addressed in the next posts.
This much is clear, reflection will be our (first) method for understanding what is happening within consciousness (mental processes), and what one can reflect on is immense. Reflection opens up a seemingly infinite field on what had happened prior to reflection. Imagination and reflection have their analogies here for better or worse. In the same token, it will be important to distinguish between reflection and imagination so the method of reflection doesn't fall into the hazards of idealism written about in a prior post; basically making things up about something that never happened. This is a tricky tight-rope walk. The phenomenologist will have to be scrupulous and meticulous in their description of consciousness. If this rigor is followed through, Phenomenology will be at worst a hypothesis of experience. At best, Phenomenology will be a good hypothesis of experience, in other words, it will always be a metaphor. The question is whether it will be a good metaphor or a bad metaphor for an experience that happened independent of metaphorization (transcription). And whenever this question is "decided", if it's ever something that could be "decided", a question will then arise regarding the status of the metaphor. In other words, a "pure" phenomenology of transcription.