Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Our Lack of Freedom in Being determinate beings; Ideas I Part 9

I always know what this thing is in front of me. Fuck it, no I don't. Damn, I already said I did. It was always and already a shitty songwriter.

In Ideas I we see that we are dealing with absolute truths (eidetic truths). In the last post we saw how an object could forever be determined. The eternal determination was due to eternal possibility of anything being seen from an infinite amount of places. No matter how much we are fulfilled in the idea, there will forever be a phenomenological lack in the perspectives that had given us ideal clarity on that object. To be more precise, there will always be a lack of phenomenological description. We made the distinction between the idea as fulfillment and phenomenological description as a descriptive science whereby description never ended because the seeing always being inadequate. This theme of inadequacy finds a different sense in the idea of always being determinate beings. While it's an eidetic truth that we can never "fully know" an object, we can just as much say that it's an eidetic truth that we are always determining this never-fully-realizable object. The imperfection of the object understood and determination of this object understood are always the case regardless of whether we want it to be or not, meaning it's beyond our volition for us to not be determinate beings, and to always be in a place where we are inadequately seeing things. Of course, this "problem" is solved when the idea is understood as the fulfillment of a temporal process happening in space, or the self recognizing itself (Hegelian verbiage), but as was stated before, we are operating as phenomenologists meaning we are operating independent of Being fullfilled beings. We are "owed" this much by our Cartesian meditations and phenomenological epoches whereby we are no longer subjects in the work, "but transcendental egos" (pure observations of phenomena). In the rigor of our work and the understanding of what happens to us regardless of our mere modes of intentionality, we are owed the place where we don't exist as subjects in the work. What then is the other sense-side of imperfection in perennial determination? In this post we will see through Husserl that in Being determinate beings, we precisely lack what is classically called "freedom" in the most understood sense. We will see another sense of the way in which we occur regardless of the fact that we want to occur like this or not.

Husserl introduces us to "regional ontologies" whereby "an object determined by the regional genus has, as object, in so far as it is actual, its a priori predesignated modes of being perceivable, somehow objectvatable clearly or obscurely, conceivable, demonstrable." A regional ontology is this "always and already" (Derridean verbiage) of consciousness whereby thing always happen to it regardless of anything possible getting in the way of it. We are given over to predesignated modes of making things into objects. We are in a region. We are being in a region. Husserl takes the "Material Thing" as his example of a region. The region of being determines something called "Material Thing." The "Material Thing" is our regional example that consciousness grasps. What is involved in the constitution of this region of the "Material Thing?" "What is involved is the following: the idea of the physical thing, to remain with this region, if we speak of it now, is represented in the manner peculiar to consciousness by the conceptual thought, 'physical thing,' with a certain noematic composition. To every noema there essentially corresponds an ideally closed group of possible noemata which have their unity by being capable of a synthetical unification by coincidence." The physical thing has a certain noematic composition, meaning there's a way in which the physical thing makes sense to us. As we saw in a prior post, the noema was the sense of the object independent of the object understood as the index for our attempts at understanding the sense-happening that happens when we conceive an object. What is the composition of us making sense into an object? Whatever this is (which is a further task of Phenomenology beyond the initial description given by Husserl pertaining to "levels of the noema") is what's called the "noematic composition." Working with the levels that Husserl addressed before, he states that the physical thing has certain different senses that eventually make up (synthesis) the noema of the object. The one sense of the object (the harmonious sense Husserl calls it) is enveloped by noemata which synthesize into it's one mode of sense. These noemata are ideally closed meaning they are off-limits to us in being able to change them into anyway which we want. They combine by coincidence whereby we have no choice in this synthesis of coincidence. This may seem complicated but upon closer inspection is very simple. The parts they combine to make up the whole of the sense happening happen by coincidence. We can't make a coincidence happen. We can't make a coincidence of consciousness happen or not happen. We are always making a synthesis out of sense-parts into one noema that represents the harmonious sense of everything that happened before it. Even in this harmonious noema though we don't have freedom to effect this harmony into something other that what it is. The noemata happen by coincidence so this is by far at a distance from our practicing egos of volition. The noema itself happens in it's harmony at a distance too from our practicing egos of volition. We are already in the process of making sense of something without us being aware of it. I see somebody or something and am already ahead of myself in understanding what it is even without calling it by a name. Husserl elaborates on this idea further when he states "If the noema, as here, is a harmonious one, then intuitive and especially originarily presentive noemata are found in the group--noemata in which all other sorts of noemata of the group are fulfilled in the identifying coincidence, drawing from them the confirmation, the fullness of the power of reason in the case of positionality." The noema is the harmony of the sense-making that has a group of noemata that leads up to its fulfillment. The noemata are fulfilled in the noema. The workings of sense-happenings is fulfilled in sense-happening itself. A work becomes fulfilled. Noemata find their way into coincidentally identifying. They move onto confirmation of an object. They move onto a fulfilling intuition. Noemata have a teleological character in getting to a position-place where something is confirmed. It's easy to understand the sheer amount of levels one can conceive in this specific phenomenological project. These occurrences happen independent of us though. The fullness in which reason understands itself is something that we never chose for but was always going to happen. Husserl explains the harmonious noema and the group noemata more clearly when he states "We can make the noema or the physical thing-sense adequately give to us; but the multiple physical thing-senses, even taking in their fullness, do not contain the regional essence, 'physical thing,' as an originarily-intuitive composition immanent in them." We can think of the object as the object and when we do this we have something called the noema of the object. In this sense we are giving ourselves the thing-sense "adequately." The things (noemata) that make up the sense though don't contain something called the "physical thing." They are on their way towards something they "know nothing about." The regional essence called the "physical thing" happens at the level of noema, i.e, where the noemata coincidentally form a noema. What is original and intuitive to us is the idea of us being in an absolute present mode of sense-being-made. The regional essence happens by accident of noemata, not because of them. The individual essence of a physical thing is something that happens by accident of a process that we can never really know about. When we are making sense though, we can understand this as the noema of whatever is the object of our senses desires. On the a priori level that Husserl allows himself to speak of (and we as phenomenologists accept) we have no freedom in the operation of noemata, nor do we have freedom in the sense-happening in real time understood as the noema concept. This lack of freedom is taken even a step further when Husserl states "what remains undetermined and open in the first place can be made determinate and intuitive in free fantasy. In the continuation of this always more perfect intuitional, more precisely determining process of fantasy, we are in a wide measure free; indeed, at random we can intuitionally ascribe to the fantasied centaur more precisely determining properties and changes in properties; but we are not completely free provided we ought to progress in the sense of a harmonious course of intuition in which the subject to be determined is identically the same and can always remain harmoniously determinable." Husserl eludes to the free-fantasied centaur again as an example of something we can completely change at will allowing us the freedom of morphology, but because we have this freedom doesn't mean we are free in the freedom of morphology. In the process of morphing anything we want in our imaginations into a difference from it's original we are on a course that we aren't aware of that is happening harmoniously. Every time I morph the centaur into what I want, say a centaur with wings that's flying with a hard-cover book on its head, this process of morphology is predetermined by the sense and eidetic truth of determination and development. The centaur as original idea to me is being further determined in my ostensible "freedom." Certainly I seem free to ascribe any determinations I want to it, but why am I determining it in any other way at all? Even in fantasy, I am not free because I am a determining being even in free floating consciousness. I'm adding, subtracting (positing/negating) at will. All these modes of morphology are predefined by the situation of determining anything whatsoever any way I please. Freedom's lack of freedom lies precisely in the fact of Being a determinate being. Freedom is limited to determination. In all freedom of morphology, the "X" stays the same. The centaur is always the centaur no matter what I do to it in my imagination. This centaur always remains the same as the original object of my morphological desire. Whatever I add or subtract to it is a difference from the original, but the index of my free-fantasy always stays the same. This is always the case and whatever I change it to is always by way of determination and not something else that is other than determination. Even in the imagination, being is being, as Being-determinate. Husserl gives space the privileged place of this region of the physical thing. "We are, e.g., bound by a law-conforming space as a frame prescribed for us by the idea of any possible physical thing whatever. How arbitrarily we may deform what is fantasied, spatial forms are always again converted into spatial forms." Space forms the irreducibility of determinate experience. No matter what we do to the object in our mind, in ours and Husserl's example, the centaur, it will always turn into something else that's spatial. The ontological region of the "physical thing" is condemned to space. What would be a free-fantasy and determination of a physical thing if there was no space? Even if I demolish the idea of the centaur completely from my mind, what's left is space, maybe a background for instance, and if I take away the background, I have black. I have a background with no foreground thus making the background the foreground. I have something determined at all times. This is an eidetic truth of consciousness. Any perception can be endlessly amplified without losing the notion of the original "X." In all cases to this last sentence I am determining. In the amplification, I am determining, in having an original notion that would be made for my morphology, I am determining. Determination is the eidetic truth of consciousness, that can just as easily be called "intentionality," but each have their different sense.

In this post we found three different ways in which we are not free as conscious beings. 1. The noemata which make up the noema of experience happen to us independent of volition. 2. The noema happens to us independent of volition. 3. Even when I put myself into making a free-fantasy out of an "X," I am always first determining the "X as "X" (the noematic sense), and afterwords changing the "X" into a difference that goes along a harmonious process of morphing. My active changing is something that happens without myself being aware of the process in "the middle of" doing the changing. In this formal sense, I have "freedom" only by way of deciding to change something that's already been given to me. I can place a book on the centaurs head. That's my freedom in absolute free fantasy. I choose another predefined characteristic to an originally predefined idea to show my freedom. Everything that happens independent of this choice will always and already be the case. Am I even free in my free-fantasizing characterizations? In this post I "found it necessary" to describe (by way of Husserl) how determinate the Being of being is (Being= a presence that can't be described but nonetheless we try to understand, i.e., the a priori / being= Heidegger's concept of dasein that is characterized as being-there). How much volition was there in "finding it necessary." At this point though we are way beyond where we should lie as phenomenologists. The concept of "freedom" has been addressed too aggressively as an existential theme rather than a phenomenological residue of phenomena. If this should stand as an example of how easy phenomenology can inappropriately enter into existential themes, then so be it. I take responsibility for these human all to human instincts, but nonetheless keep the aggressive existentiality in the post to serve as a sign for what phenomenology doesn't do; make a theme out of loaded concepts. The focus of this post was to show three different ways in which being is always a determinate being. At the very least it showed how Husserl saw the operation of free-fantasy as always a harmonious one that we don't ever recognize in the process. As a final aggrandized statement to this post, we saw how coincidence (by way of the noemata) acted harmoniously in the noema. We saw that coincidence's correlate for consciousness was in harmony in the declaration and affirmation of a state of affairs. Both of these aspects of consciousness (coincidence and harmony) are not available to ego-volition. Volition happens after the fact of an operation.

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