Book Reviews, philosophy, Review, Writing

“Being and Time” by Martin Heidegger

The following is an exploration into the question: How does thinking relate to saying? It is a philosophical essay I had written in the past about Martin Heidegger’s thoughts in his book Being and Time. I don’t remember which book I used to get the quotes from so I am unsure if the page numbers coincide directly with every version of his book. Alternatively, if you are having trouble finding the quotes in your version of the book, I would suggest copy and pasting a section of the quotes I used into Google and looking up which sections correspond to which quote. This article by James Fieser has some of the quotes I use with the sections cited with them, along with other notes.

41QXF2u4fZL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_
Image from Amazon

 

How does thinking relate to saying?

Saying is the verbal manifestation of thinking. Thinking is primarily concerned in the subconscious, while saying is in the realm of conscious effort as it takes reflection and deliberate intention in order to communicate what one says. Heidegger references Dasein, or “there-being”, where all modes of thinking originate and exist. Dasein requires world-relation in order to exist, as its relationship and interaction with the world is what colors all its worldview. Dasein seeks to understand and comes to understanding through an introspective reflection on the subjects at hand, continually and ceaselessly rearranging its own contents. A conscious being not only thinks about things to come to an understanding of it, but also expresses its understanding externally in order to communicate its own knowledge and engage in discourse for more knowledge. Heidegger expresses this in the following passage: “[…] Understanding in itself has the existential structure which we call project[ion]. […] The project[ive] character of understanding constitutes [Dasein’s] being-in-the-world with regard to the disclosedness of its there as the there of a [possible being]. And, as thrown, Dasein is thrown into the [way] of being of projecting. Projecting has nothing to do with [relating oneself] to a plan thought out, according to which Dasein arranges its being, but [rather], as Dasein, it has always already projected itself and is, as long as it is, projecting. As long as it is, Dasein has understood itself and will understand itself in terms of possibilities” (Heidegger 136). Understanding is in the realm of possibility, where there will be no complete or infinitely objective Truth as Dasein has sense-perceptive, cognitive, situational, and time-constricted limitations that affect understanding.

Phenomenology is the only way to approach the ontological questions; the questions about fundamental being. This is a nod to traditional metaphysics while also trying to deconstruct the tradition itself, re-contextualizing the information to come to a deeper understanding of it. I acknowledge that the purpose of Heidegger’s phenomenology is to approach the ontological questions in an attempt to deconstruct and revitalize the claim, however I critique that there is no need to do this when it comes to thinking and saying.

By consciously thinking something into being, Dasein has already interacted with “saying” as it says to itself what it thinks. Dasein also already “says” about a subject when it thinks about it, as Dasein is constantly relating to whatever is at hand: ““Understanding is the existential being of Dasein’s own[most] possible being, [such that] this being discloses in itself what its [very] being is about” (Heidegger 135). Any public discourse that stems from the individualized thinking, or in other words, any external “saying” that happens between two individuals, is presupposed by the individuals’ subjective thinking. Therefore, saying is permanently tied to thinking in the sense that one must think a subject in order to have anything to say about it. It’s hard to argue against this, but I also see no reason to question or differentiate between the two. Why posit that saying is in a different realm from thinking? It is interesting to dissect the importance of thinking in what one says, but to say that thinking is different than saying or work in separate ways is to say that an almond is not a nut, or is different than a nut. One is a subsection of another, encompassed in the mode of being that is Dasein.

Finally, Heidegger makes interesting points to listening as an integral existential part of Dasein: “Listening to … is the existential being-open of Dasein as being-with for the other” (Heidegger 153). By listening to what another individual is saying, there is an exchange of understanding of each other’s being. It is primarily through saying what one thinks to another individual, and having that individual listen to the content of what is being said, that defines its understanding of being-in-the-world. As we have already established that the act of relating is imperative to Dasein’s existence, the act of listening is imperative in relating. It is through an open inquiry of the other’s words and self-reflection of what is being said that Dasein maintains its own sense of authenticity in the world: “Hearing even constitutes the primary and authentic openness of Dasein for its ownmost [possible being], as in hearing the voice of the friend whom every Dasein carries with it. Dasein hears because it understands. As [understanding] being-in-the-world [with others], it ‘listens to’ [and is bound to, hörig] itself and to Mitdasein [being-there with], and in this listening [being bound] belongs to these” (Heidegger 153).

Book Reviews, philosophy, Review, Writing

“Philosophical Investigations” by Ludwig Wittgenstein

The following is an exploration into Ludwig Wittgenstein’s “Philosophical Investigations“. This was an explanation I had presented as an essay to my philosophy class, “Language, Meaning, and Understanding”. Hopefully this provides some sort of insight into this work. In particular, I explore the question: How does meaning relate to use?

 

51BufpEuGvL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_
Image from Amazon

Wittgenstein claims in his “Philosophical Investigations” that meaning is how a word is “use[d] in language” (Wittgenstein 20). Meaning is contingent on usage, as it is grounded in the reality or ideality in which the word is used. Usage is imperative to meaning, as sense-perception is how one comes into contact with the context of a phrase. There is the tendency to problematize the relationship between knowledge of a word and usage; however, it is necessary that there is the acknowledgement of something referenced in order for a word to be created in the first place: “What I really see must surely be what is produced in me by the influence of the object..a sort of a copy, something that in its turn can be looked at, can be before one; almost something like a materialisation …” (Wittgenstein 199). It is not an argument of whether or not the subjects are, in the present moment, coming into physical sensory contact with a word. It is an argument towards what a word means in the context of the reality it is being used. In order to determine meaning, there are several foundations upon which it must be established; a normative linguistic stage, and an exchange between a receiver of the information and the giver of the information.

The normative linguistic stage this paper refers to is described by Wittgenstein as the rules of interpretation. He claims that all that is said and communicated “is, on some interpretation, in accord with the rule” and that “interpretation still hangs in the air along with what it interprets” (Wittgenstein 80). The main rule of interpretation has to do with how a word is societally accepted and established, and also serves as the foundation for how meaning is created.

A word’s meaning is inherently embedded in usage within a society. Words in it of themselves are tools in language to express ideas and interpretations to other folks who are on the same normative linguistic stage. This stage is determined by the culture of the society in which the individuals interact: “Certainly. From time to time he gives [them] the right tip.—This is what ‘learning’ and ‘teaching’ are like here.—What one acquires here is not a technique; one learns correct judgements. There are also rules, but they do not form a system, and only experienced people can apply them right,” (Wittgenstein 227). The two characters on either end of the bridge, the giver of information on one end and the receiver of information on the other, play on this normative linguistic stage. Play or word usage is not completely open-ended, it relies on already-established and societally subconscious rules of interpretation. Words serve as the bridge in which one crosses over to meaning, always on a journey forward towards closer levels of understanding with the other. It is important to note in this metaphor that both characters must be on the same bridge in order to interact: “What happens when we make an effort—say in writing a letter—to find the right expression for our thoughts?—This phrase compares the process to one of translating or describing: the thoughts are already there (perhaps were there in advance) and we merely look for their expression” (Wittgenstein 108). There are many instances of miscommunication based off of not starting from the same place; there is a humorous image of two characters on two different bridges crossing two separate streams, where both assume that they are getting closer to the other, but aren’t even close to getting across the same bridge.

Both the giver and the receiver of the information must be clear on their intent on interpretation in order to be playing the same game and understanding the same rules of word usage. Without these things, meaning cannot be completely transferred from either party. Both must make it clear where there is any disconnect in their own subjective usage or meaning of a word. It is impossible to use the correct string of words to perfectly communicate one’s own ideas, as the mind already abstracts itself in the process of conferring a phrase to say. In understanding how a word is being used and under what context, general meaning is easier to discern.

Life, Tarot

Tarot: 12/15/18

Here is my daily tarot reading for 12/15/18. If you want to find out more about this daily tarot reading routine, check out this article: Tarot Readings.

  1. Morning: 9 of Pentacles
    “A bird perches on the hand of a woman standing in the midst of her garden. Bright sunflowers bloom all around her. Grape vines are heavy with fruit. In the distance is a large, elegant house. The bird represents spirit, which the woman values most of all, in spite of her material gain. she has accomplished much because she has listened to her spirit and followed her heart.
    This card represents the achievement of good things. Not only have you prospered, but you’ve done so in a way that you feel good about. You appreciate and cultivate the best of everything life has to offer, physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. This card can also indicate the enjoyment of simple but decadent physical pleasures and treats.
    If reversed, this card still indicates achievement, but it may not be as fulfilling. Either the means to the end was not satisfying, or you find yourself alone and lonely, with no one to share your material gains.”
  2. Afternoon: 10 of Swords
    “A woman crouches on a stony beach, ten swords stabbed into her back all along her spine. She looks like she is trying to get up or just unwilling to fall all the way to the ground. Sunlight shines through the clouds over a still and peaceful ocean, symbolizing a calmness of emotions that seems at odds with the destruction on the beach.
    This card says in no uncertain terms that, finally, it’s over. You have fought and worked at it, but you cannot change the situation; there is no fixing it. You may want to try one last time, but you will have to accept that this time you are beaten. It’s a strange moment because you thought you’d feel a lot more pain and distress, but actually you feel calm and peaceful. Deep down, you are relieved you don’t have to fight it anymore.If reversed, this card indicates that although the situation is over, you refuse to accept that fact and are continuing to fight and cause yourself more pain than necessary.”
  3. Night: The Hierophant
    “Seated casually between two pillars and two burning candles is the Hierophant. His resemblance to the High Priestess is striking. They are both interested in knowledge. However, while her knowledge is secret and esoteric, he is concerned with bringing divine wisdom down to earth. He does have a connection to the divine and otherworldly wisdom, as evidenced by the two ravens in attendance. However, his role is to speak that wisdom with a human voice, without being oblique or mysterious. This is symbolized by the orbs, representing the moon, lying on the floor at the base of the pillars. His hand is raised in a combination of blessing and beckoning, as if inviting students to come near. The cross behind him and the one next to him represent the intersecting of the divine and the worldly, the subconscious and conscious.
    This card indicates a perfect balance of belief with practice. It is a good omen if you are facing a problem, as it indicates that you know the solution, but you need to find a way to put it into practice. If you are being asked to teach, this card reminds you to be a goo teacher, always seeking to make wisdom clear to any students. It can also indicate that you should seek a teacher for yourself, perhaps a formal or semi-formal course of study. Maybe the Hierophant is asking you to imagine what your life would be like if you lived by what you believe.
    If reversed, this card suggests stubborn bullheadedness, particularly in areas of beliefs and their application in day-to-day life. You may be in a rut, unable to see new things or find useful ways to apply your beliefs in the real world. Consider giving up some routines and trying something new.”

From “The Dreamer’s Journal” by Barbara Moore”

 

Commentary on the readings:
Today the only things I have planned are to spend time with my family. We are thinking about going to go get breakfast somewhere in the Bay Area, and then we’ll try and find some activities to do throughout the day. I think it’ll be a great day spending time with my family and exploring the Bay Area before we leave.

Movie Reviews, Review

Movie Critique: Roma

p15849821_v_v8_aa

Yesterday my friends and I went to watch “Roma” in Berkeley. Set in the 1970s in Mexico City, this film follows the story of a maid who works for a middle-class family. It was written and directed by Alfonso Cuarón. I don’t want to reveal too much about the film, as you can watch it in theaters, (soon) on Netflix, and you can look up the plot online.

All in all, this film was pretty great. The cinematography was beautiful and I was thoroughly impressed by the filmmakers’ attention to detail. One of the things I loved the most about this movie is their use of long, sustained, one-take shots. In several of the scenes that played in the movie, the directors decided to film all the action of the scene in one long shot without any interruptions or cuts. What resulted were these beautiful vignettes that captured the life of the characters.

The movie is shot in black and white, which I appreciated. The choice to shoot in black and white placed the emphasis on the characters and their actions, as opposed to what was happening visually. It was still a visually compelling film, but the choice to make it black and white caused me to take in the scenery of the scenes more passively and focus more on what was going on.

I think the length and the pace of the film was alright. It might have been my own restlessness, but in some parts of the film I felt like the pace was so slow that it made me antsy. The filmmakers chose to include a lot of long, slow, sustained shots throughout the movie, which had benefits and drawbacks. Since there weren’t a lot of quick shots that propelled the movie’s actions, it felt a little long in some scenes. However, I think that some scenes in particular benefitted from how long and sustained and slow the shots were, as it increased the immersion into the film and built a lot of emotional depth.

If you’re planning on going to watch this movie, I should warn you that there is a lot of triggering content in the film. I don’t want to ruin the movie for anyone, but if you have unpleasant experiences with children’s deaths or gun violence, I’d recommend that you hold off on watching this.

Life, Tarot

Tarot: 12/14/18

Here is my daily tarot reading for 12/14/18. If you want to find out more about this daily tarot reading routine, check out this article: Tarot Readings.

  1. Morning: 4 of Pentacles
    A woman sits on the ground in front of a beach, clutching a pentacle tightly to her chest, indicating that this is something she holds very dear. A pentacle is behind her adorning the bench while two statues stand on either side. She has a bench but refuses to sit on it, suggesting that she won’t use what she has. Two warped pentacles lay before her, symbolizing her twisted attitude toward them.
    This card represents a miser. You may have plenty, but you are afraid to use it, share it, or enjoy it. Something is threatening you, whether your own fears or someone trying to take what is yours. You are so afraid of losing what you have that you hold it too close. Your attitude toward your gifts, whether it is your money, your belongings, your time, or your health, has become twisted, controlling, and unhealthy.
    If reversed, this card suggests the opposite. You are giving away too freely, spending too much, or overindulging in other ways. It could also mean you are trying to take something that isn’t yours, causing someone else to hold tightly to it.”
  2. Afternoon: Justice
    “At the base of stone stairs, between two pillars, Justice stands, holding a gleaming sword, its point resting on the ground. In her other hand, she holds a set of scales before her. The sword with its point on the ground indicates that Justice grounds her decisions with proper discrimination and consciousness. The pillars represent the conscious and subconscious, meaning that our actions and our intentions are considered as Justice makes her decisions. The scales weight our decisions and the outcome use to determine our future. This is the role of Justice, also known as Karma, for she is universal justice. Her judgements and her application of justice maintain the fairness and justness of the universe. Our choices and our actions have consequences, and Justice determines exactly what those will be.
    This card represents the importance of your choices. Whatever decision or decisions you make now will have significant consequences in your future, so choose carefully. Rely on logic and reason to make the decision, rather than emotion. If you are experiencing food fortune, this card can be letting you know that your past actions made the good fortune possible. It could represent a legal situation that will be resolved in your favor. This card is also a reminder to balance your physical concerns with spiritual growth.
    If reversed, this card suggests that you are experiencing less than good fortune because of your decisions in the past or that you are in the process of making an unjust decision or one based on emotion rather than logic. It can also point to a legal situation not in your favor”
  3. Night: 10 of Swords
    “A woman crouches on a stony beach, ten swords stabbed into her back all along her spine. She looks like she is trying to get up or just unwilling to fall all the way to the ground. Sunlight shines through the clouds over a still and peaceful ocean, symbolizing a calmness of emotions that seems at odds with the destruction on the beach.
    This card says in no uncertain terms that, finally, it’s over. You have fought and worked at it, but you cannot change the situation; there is no fixing it. You may want to try one last time, but you will have to accept that this time you are beaten. It’s a strange moment because you thought you’d feel a lot more pain and distress, but actually you feel calm and peaceful. Deep down, you are relieved you don’t have to fight it anymore.
    If reversed, this card indicates that although the situation is over, you refuse to accept that fact and are continuing to fight and cause yourself more pain than necessary”

From “The Dreamer’s Journal” by Barbara Moore

 

Commentary on the reading:
This morning I’m in the middle of updating and preparing to post some blog posts. I haven’t been consistent with posting this whole time I’ve had the blog, and was thinking earlier about how I didn’t know if it’d matter to post anything or keep this updated. When I drew the 4 of Pentacles card, I immediately thought that I should keep pushing to post here, even if no one reads it. I’m not sure what the Justice card implies for my afternoon. I don’t really have anything planned, other than working on assignments, packing, and waiting for my family to fly in for the graduation celebration tonight. I’m not sure what the choices the Justice card refers to. Tonight I am going to be celebrating my graduation with my family who is flying in from Washington. I’m assuming the 10 of Swords card is referring to that, as it implies things are “over” and that I’ll feel relieved about it. I guess this makes sense, as I’ve had some anxiety around graduating and what I’m going to be doing with my life once school is over.

End of the day Commentary:
The decisions I had to make in the afternoon ended up being whether or not I should join my housemates in going off campus to a reuse center and grocery shopping. I decided to not go with them and gave my housemate money and a list of groceries for myself, as I needed to get ready for the graduation ceremony later in the evening. The graduation ceremony was great, and I received an ornament and a rose for attending. My parents and younger brother were very proud, and we ended up getting sushi at Yojimbo in Alameda (which is one of my favorite sushi spots that I’ll review sometime later) and ice cream as a celebration last night.

Life, Tarot

Tarot: 12/13/18

Here is my daily tarot reading for 12/13/18. If you want to find out more about this daily tarot reading routine, check out this article: Tarot Readings.

I forgot to post this tarot reading for yesterday but here it is:

  1. Morning: The Lovers
    “A man and a woman cling together as they float above the earth. Between them is a chalice with a sword in it and nearby is a rose. The rose and chalice represent the couple’s love, but the sword has separated them. Behind them are two trees. One tree has twelve flames indicating the twelve signs of the zodiac. The other tree is none other than the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. A huge moon rises over the scene, representing a kind of guardian spirit. It’s a touching scene, but more representative than literal, for while this card may be about lovers, it can also be about other things. This card is mainly about choices. The man represents the conscious mind; the woman, the subconscious; and the moon, our higher self. We can choose with our mind or with our heart. Is it possible to choose with both or are they forever separated by the sword?
    This card represents a choice to be made. More importantly, it represents different ways to make decisions. When this card comes up in a reading, you are being asked to consider carefully how you make the important decision before you. Do you follow your heart? Do you do what makes sense? This card suggests that there is a way to marry the head and heart so that wise, balanced decisions can be made.
    If reversed, this card warns of making an unwise or unbalanced decision”
  2. Afternoon: 9 of Swords
    “A woman sits up in bed, hugging her knees and burying her head against them, clearly tormented by her thoughts, represented by the swords floating above her head. She is not covered, showing how vulnerable she is at this time. A white teddy bear and a box are hidden under the bed.
    This card is about those worries that keep you up all night or wake you suddenly in the early morning hours. Thoughts, worries, guilt, or concerns fill your mind and create havoc. You seem unable to settle your mind. The lack of sleep adds to the situation, making you feel even more vulnerable.
    If reversed, this card suggests the possibility of full-blown insomnia or the use, and perhaps abuse, of sleep-inducing drugs.”
  3. Night: 2 of Cups
    “Standing in a lush, vibrant landscape, a couple gaze into one another’s eyes as they toast each other and their relationship. This is a happy picture of a loving relationship. Above them floats a caduceus, indicating that together they form something that is stronger than the sum of their individual selves.
    This card promises a strong and passionate relationship. Such a relationship brings beauty and power to life. While this can be a romantic relationship, it can also mean any such union of people, groups, ideas, or talent. The key here is the coming together of two things that creates a third thing that is in and of itself, powerful, beautiful, and passionate.
    If reversed, this card can indicate a union or partnership that in theory or on paper should be amazing, but the reality is that there is just no emotional connection”

From “The Dreamer’s Journal” by Barbara Moore

 

Commentary on the reading:
The Lovers card I drew for the morning was interesting as I was coming home from visiting a close friend who I had to say goodbye to – I’m not sure what choice was to be made in this instance. The 9 of Swords card I drew for the afternoon was pretty spot-on, I was pretty anxious all afternoon and kept having intrusive thoughts play throughout my head. I went to return a camera I had borrowed from a friend yesterday, and I was unable to enjoy their company because I kept having intrusive thoughts about my anxiety with food. When I get anxious I get exhausted afterwards, so I took a nap and ended up sleeping through the time I had planned to go to the gym (the gym on my campus is only open this week from 4-8pm, and I slept until 8). In the evening when I woke up, I was invited by my roommates to go watch a movie, Roma, which I’ve reviewed in another post. It was nice to go out with them and spend time with them before I left.

Life, Tarot

Tarot: 12/12/18

Here is my daily tarot reading for 12/12/18. If you want to find out more about this daily tarot reading routine, check out this article: Tarot Readings.

image1

  1. Morning: 7 of Pentacles
    “A woman stands before a bush heavy with pentacles. She holds a hoe and stands as if waiting; it is nearly time for her harvest. She uses this moment to reflect on her efforts, assessing whether the energy she put in is worth the results she’ll get.
    This card tells you to take a break. You’ve done all you can do for now. Just like this farmer who has planted, weeded, and watered, you must wait for time to do the rest. Neither you nor the farmer can force that. This card indicates that your careful efforts, planning, resourcefulness, and research will pay off. When the harvest comes, it will be a good one.
    If reversed, this card indicated that you’ve moved too soon and hence the harvest will not be all that it could have been. It can also mean that, despite all your best efforts and timing, the harvest will not be successful”
  2. Afternoon: 2 of Pentacles
    “A woman stands on a shore juggling two pentacles, symbolizing multiple tasks that require attention. Two ships are tossed on stormy seas, showing that things are rough, but if handled skillfully, everything will turn out fine – after the bad weather passes. The blue sky on the horizon indicates that the storm will end.
    This card promises busy times ahead. You will have a lot going on and multiple things, such as projects, financial concerns, or health issues, to juggle. It suggests that being flexible and going with the flow will help you keep all the balls in the air. It may be dangerous or challenging, but this is a temporary situation. Maintain your focus and it’ll be over soon enough.
    If reversed, this card suggests that too much is going on for you to handle it all well. You may drop a ball or something might fall through the cracks.”
  3. Night: 8 of Cups
    “A woman carrying a violin and a lantern turns her back on eight cups. Either the moon or the lighthouse is beckoning her, compelling her to leave her past behind and strike out on a new journey. The image has a feeling of melancholy; there is sadness that she is leaving, but it seems like it is inevitable.
    This card represents a very small but powerful moment in time. You’ve decided you need to leave something comfortable behind and you have come to terms with that. You’ve decided what dream you’re moving toward. This moment, the one where you finally turn your back forever and before you take the first step, is the Eight of Cups. It can be such a conflicted moment, filled with sadness over leaving, yet knowing you are doing the right thing.
    If reversed, this card suggests that you’ve given up the dream and decided to stay put, whether you are fulfilled and satisfied or not”

From “The Dreamer’s Journal” by Barbara Moore

 

Commentary on the reading:
This morning I was struck with the inspiration to begin my blog again and start writing. I also just finished my last assignments for the semester. Perhaps the 7 of Pentacles card is telling me that I should rest and enjoy the fruits of my labor this morning. This afternoon I didn’t really have much planned, I was just going to go to the gym and finish some chores I need to do before I move out. I’m not sure what else I’ll have to balance doing in the middle of my day, but maybe I have more tasks to do than I realize according to the 2 of Pentacles card. This evening I’m going to visit a friend in San Leandro. I’ll have to say goodbye to this friend soon, as I’m moving indefinitely back to Portland after graduation. The 8 of Cups card that I drew reminded me of this, having to say my goodbyes to the people I’ve met in the Bay Area to begin a new journey somewhere else.