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Sunday, January 4, 2015

Phenomenology Kitten—Implications of Presence (and Absence)

Click here for the "Celebrity Commentary" Resource Center—(all posts available)  
Click here for the introduction to the Round and Square series "Celebrity Commentary" (coming soon) 
This is a "small" (小) post—click here for an explanation of Round and Square post lengths.
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On this date on Round and Square's History 
7 November 2012—Displays of Authenticity: Clearing
7 November 2011—Editorials à la fleur: Introduction
[a] Appearing to consciousness RF
Our attainment of enlightenment is something like the reflection of the
moon in water. The moon does not get wet, nor is the water cleft apart...
The whole moon and the whole sky find room enough in a single dewdrop...
                             —Dōgen, Conversations

Yesterday we thought about presence and absence. Even my wonder-filled (wonderful) eyes can't take in every dimension of what I (think I) see. And yet...I "experience" it. Professor Sokolowski continues on this trajectory. Let's listen.

All experience involves a blend of presence and absence, and in some cases drawing our attention to the mixture can be philosophically illuminating. 
[b] All angles covered? RF

When we listen to a sentence being uttered by a speaker, for example, our listening involves a presence of one part of the sentence, flanked by the absence of that parts that have already been pronounced and those that are to come. The sentence itself, as a whole, stands out against the silence, the noise, and the other sentences that precede, follow, or accompany it.

The blend of presence and absence in our experience of a sentence is different from that involved in the perception of a cube, but in both cases there is a blend of presence and absence, of filled and empty intendings. Other kinds of objects would have still other kinds of blends, but all of them would be mixtures of presence and absence.[1] 

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This is all beginning to sound a lot like "life." I am continually in the presence of absence, and the absence of presence. If I have this even remotely right, that means that every bit of human history, politics, love, learning, and competition is a combination of presence and absence. 

Wow—that might just change the way I think about, well, everything.

And that is why they call me "Phenomenology Kitten" (all is wonder)...

[c] Perspective RF
[1] Robert Sokolowski, Introduction to Phenomenology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 18. Italics mine.

Sokolowski, Robert. Introduction to Phenomenology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

[Originally posted on January 4, 2015]

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