reply to post by m0n9u21
The difference between "acting without observing" and "acting with observing" can also be understood in a Sartrean sense of the "being in-itself" and
the "being for-itself". I'm not the biggest fan of Sartre, but I think the language is well defined within the philosophical community.
I'm not acquainted with Satre. I've sort of 'avoided' him, although I do intend to get to him some day. Right now I am racked with other
As for being-for-itself versus being-in-itself. Frankl noted that a pathological neurosis develops when an individual becomes overly focused on being
"for" something; he doesn't just be-in-itself, free from the critical eye of self reflection, but rather, before he does something he 'aims' for a
picture he wants to achieve.
A good example is the stutterer. The more he 'aims' for speaking good, the more he will stutter. His hyper-intention involves the corollary of hyper
attention; thus, he becomes 'absorbed' in a very tense cycle of intending and attending to his malady.. When you aim to do the thing opposite to that
which you fear, the aiming brings the thing you fear; and, you obsessively watch as you stumble your way through.
It's a grueling issue for anyone who has dealt with anticipatory anxiety, such as in OCD or social anxiety disorder.
However, I suspect being 'for' yourself is meant in the good sense, of taking responsibility for your every action. In which case, the being aware and
conscious reflects the facts of reality upon the descrying conscience. This is undoubtedly good. However, one cannot 'live' in this sense.
It's interesting to note that Eve in Hebrew, Cheva, means to live. It is this impulse towards living - towards living without conscious reflection -
which leads towards the sin of trusting the deceptive serpent of our lower passions. Thus, there's a major danger in just 'living' in a total self
transcendent state (such as described in Nietzsches 'the birth of tragedy') detached from external developments. Rather, in my opinion, it entails a
balance between responding and letting things 'be'. One is definitely subject to ones conscience, and should, I believe, respond accordingly (though i
don't agree with the somewhat sanguine view that there is any 'imperative' to acting morally. An imperative does not secure fulfillment, as we can see
in our morbid society)' however, it is important not to be pernickety about things. There's an ease, and a relaxation, and a need to let things 'flow'
without the restrictive affects of self consciousness on the acting body.
However, because these great minds have attempted to describe what exactly the human condition is
That is truly what makes existential philosophy so compelling. So far, the replies to this thread have shown how difficult it is for some people to
look at reality from a truly existential perspective. Some have mentioned eastern techniques of 'watching' and 'observing'. As interesting and as
spiritually useful as sch practices can be, they are unrelated to the questions of this thread. It's as if they couldn't drop that perspective for a
moment and address some basic facts of human experience.
The 'other' - being lost in the other, absorbed in some property of thought, is truly what defines the human experience. Being 'lost', forgetting
ourselves, is intrinsic. Also intrinsic is the concept of relationship, since being subsumed by the 'other' implies a fundamental dualism between the
self and the non-self. Therefore, relationship, and it's ethical byproduct, responsibility (to yourself, and to society) These are basic features of
our experience. Its rather amazing that more religious traditions didn't ensconce such existential insights in their philosophical systems. The only
one I can think of that approaches such a purview is the Hebrew Bible (if, of course, you take it as metaphor, allegory, containing the metaphysical,
theological and philosophical beliefs of the ancient Hebrews). No surprise than that Frankl saw a confirmation of his spiritual tradition in the
writings of Heidegger, etc
edit on 1-11-2012 by dontreally because: (no reason given)