These are imagined - as Erich Fromm imagined - as the two poles of possibility, here, in the above phrase, represented as alternatives in living.
To have or to be, Erich Fromm's great book, however, fails to capture the physiological reality and ontological phenomena that impinge upon this sort
Can I be, If having - such as knowledge - is taken as unimportant by others? Watch how quickly you change state and experience what your physiology,
searching for the symmetry that should be there, generates an affective state termed "resentment" when another person forgets or ignores what you just
told them. Having, in other words, is necessary.
I resent you, because, for instance, I sense you ignoring past information - knowledge - which my biology expects you to have.
Why does Fromm
ignore this as he romantically describes the purity of a society that lives for being
, as opposed to having?
The dichotomy, the ultimatum, is not taken by Fromm as "iron-clad" - he does make room for a sort of "existential having", which somehow fails to be
much explained or explored, perhaps because it would undermine the whole poetic dichotomy to begin with. To have or To Be sounds right.
poetic impulse and the narcissistic impulse are sometimes indistinguishable.
But take the mere act of "re-membering" what someone said. The devaluation of having goes along with the devaluation of time - as if time were a mere
nuisance; indeed, Fromm surprises me with the histrionic usage of "the defeat of time". Really? How do you expect to be,
if Human minds don't
live in all 3 senses of time - the past, present and future? Ideally, of course - and this is something I've only seen appreciated in the work of
Charles Dickens "A Christmas Carol" - the present is the opening, the central point - but time, the past, and the future, are not, should not, and
cannot be related to with the sort of sensational feeling that Fromm succumbs to - seeing in it "all that's wrong" with todays world, and so assuming
an overly rigid and polarized relation to something that is intrinsic to animal life.
Perhaps, also, as a philosopher who wrote during a day and age where systems theory was hardly appreciated, a person from the perspective of 2017 -
with Damasio, Thompson, Varela, Lakhoff, Maturana, Deacon, Morowitz, etc etc, contributing to a philosophical/scientific approach that makes real
Alfred North Whiteheads process-philosophy.
From todays perspective - that is, from the perspective of the neurosciences, based in turn on systems biology and quantum mechanics - opposing
concepts must be understand as emergent properties of mentation
, formulated within and through a system that works through the principles
symmetry, which means, through the principles of "order" (symmetry states) and "disorder" (the absence of such states). Physics bridges biology into
psychology through the basic metaphorical continuity between the ideal of an organisms teleodynamism (generative ordering processes i.e. symmetry) and
the language that has self-organized within the human mind-brain.
When I say "To have", yes, the alternative concept or alternative mode of being is "to be". To have and to be. Think about it: to have is to reduce
The very movement towards "I want", is "I need". The affective thrust that leads to this mode of relating is a deficiency cognition, and
so, a state of entropy - or "disorder". Problem is - narratives can dissociate from affects. Human thinking - or the human self, inasmuch as it is
literally a virtual-property of the forebrains predictions of the environment, is neither "inside me" nor outside me - but sort of "out-there", in
between the Other and myself. This feeling is what makes mind so real - this sense which underlies everything we mean by "existential", affords life
its realism. To have or To be, even emerges from dichotomy because Humans are not understanding what language is.
Not getting it, some will
claim its everything (Chomsky, Pinker, Abrahamic religions), while others will claim its nothing (Lacan, Gnostics etc). The whole notion of
"attunement", of its Both - you need to understand the particular configuration! is lost, because humans cannot tolerate uncertainty, much preferring
the hypocritical "certainty" of claiming that either knowing or not knowing is the truth.
Surprisingly, a true leader and a man who is worthy of regarding himself as intelligent is the Dalai Lama. No belief of Buddhism is too sacred for
this man to challenge - and its beautiful. But at the same time, he doesn't denigrate his tradition or what he means to millions of Tibetan Buddhists.
The man is open - sitting "on the seam", as if were, and in doing so, inspiring others by his modelling to pay attention to what happens in the now -
but don't let yourself be taken into polarized views about "time is not real", or its opposite "only time is real". This either/or nonsense is
scientifically wrong. This view is an inevitable function of understanding how opposing conceptual states are system-coordinates within our
neurological/psychological processing. The only things we represent - or know - derives from some existential need. I need to know, as a narrating
self, that this negative state of conditions (an angry face) is ill conducive to wellbeing, and so, the language I use Is fundamentally about
representing those states of affairs within my brain/mind and the external physical relationships my brain-mind connects with. My thinking/words are
just the most external element of a very "deep" evolutionary process, that begins within my cells, and just before it reaches my linguistic,
symbolizing mind, "speaks its knowledge" through the feelings I feel. A whole biosemiotic history lies to be explored here - why Humans feel as they
feel and how their feelings are reactions to interactive-processes of recognition - or, more basically, the presence or absence of one self knowing
the experience of another self, and being empathic in that understanding as a function of a realistic admission to ones own similar dependency on the
So no. To have, such as a certain knowledge, is something that needs to be "re-membered" within a potential interlocutors mind, if human feelings are
to be respected, known, and realistic dealt with. The human lives in all three tenses, with the past and future as opposing poles along a spectrum
that presents the world to us in the "present". Time is a gift - but its also true to recognize that there is a timeless source to our consciousness.
To hate this world, or time, is to be in a state of hate, in a state of antagonistic relation to that which even gives you moments for thought,
cognition, feeling, and connection. Time is a remarkable gift - a beautiful treat to be cherished.
I always feel bothered when people talk negatively about time, or for that matter, whenever a single state within a system of polarities is related to
in a rigid and unsystematic fashion.
A system that does not recognize that it is a system is likely to think in unrealistic ways.
edit on 4-6-2017 by Astrocyte because: (no reason given)