From: "Catweasle" <Jud@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 7 Jul 2000 10:52:58 +0100
The Heideggerian Error and the Verb To Be.
To understand communication, it is essential to understand that each person
uses each word differently, both from each other and on each occasion of
We use the words primarily to point at 'objects' in the real world. Words
are similar to sticks with which we might choose to point.
The use of the verb 'to be,' has a high propensity to confuse, (as it did
in Heidegger's case,) the word with the object at which we might point.
*That is a house* we might say, when what we mean is, *I wish you to direct
your attention to that house over there.* The thing to which we point is
not a *house*. It is an arrangement of real matter in which some may well
choose to live. And once again that sneaky word *is* creeps in to our
conversation. What is *really* meant is that I call that object over there a
*house* and wish to discuss that object with you.
The introduction of the word *is* and it continuous state *BEING* has a
considerable ability to confuse the mind of the philosophers who spend so
much of their focus of attention upon words. For sanity, the focus must be
on the real material of nature, not upon the words that describe. One must
always attend to observing the 'objects' to which the words point.
The human child is conditioned to think in words as if those words are the
reasonable objects of thought. Humans learn to 'think' in words rather than
merely acting impulsively in the world. While this brings great benefits, it
also brings great confusions and dangers, particularly when situations
The real world does not sit quietly with our pre-arranged words. The world
is in constant flux and change. If we learn to think in words, that process
has the undesirable side effect of inclining us to think with in the limited
and confused categories we have imbibed through language. Thus language
limits our flexibility of thought. True thinking is silent.
Words going around and 'around in the head' are destructive of sanity. If
this happens to you, you need to learn to refuse words every time they enter
your head/'thinking'. To achieve this, it is an assist to concentrate on
looking at and feeling some real world object of your choice, such as a leaf
or your favourite photograph of Heidegger.
Words are for communicating; they will be there when you need them.
The following is my recent experiment in thinking without words.
I've been thinking more about this subtle process between thinking and
verbalising. I say 'subtle,' because thoughts seem to coalesce into words
unbidden and with apparent alacrity. Now I realise that I am trying to
describe this process using very 'unscientific' words, but then I'm rapidly
coming to the conclusion, that in many cases it is precisely the use of
these 'phoney scientific words,' which causes most of the difficulty in
communication. The inference or perhaps intention is that in using these
'scientific' words it somehow invests the status of a 'science' on a field
of human activity, which is highly hypothetical and speculative and is not
susceptible to the usual investigative criteria of the 'hard' sciences.
Having said that, having made my justification as it were for my deliberate
choice of 'ordinary' words to describe the processes, which I apprehend to
be taking place within my head - I will proceed.
Sit at your keyboard and fix your eye on any object near to you. Decide
before you do so however that you will not allow the 'word' that is the name
of this object to impinge itself onto your conciousness. You will find that
this demands concentration, for you have been trained since childhood to
name things. From your earliest years you were provided with books
containing pictures of objects with the name of the commodity below, and
from then on your development to maturity has been one long squirreling of
nouns into your expanding word store.
Back to the keyboard and the object you have selected. See how long you can
look at it before its name insinuates itself into your mind. It takes effort
and concentration to resist this default mental formatting. As an aside, I
have been speculating about whether a more intelligent person finds it
easier to fend off word intrusion, or whether a less intelligent person is
more capable of negating the lexical symbolisation process. I have a feeling
that it would be a rich field of investigation for educationalists and
psychiatrists. If I only had time!
With practice you will find it possible to leave your computer desk and walk
around the house experiencing (seeing,) objects without naming them.
Now at this stage you are merely an observer, a perambulating brain glancing
at various unnamed objects - the next stage is to practice active
cogitation - stringing meaningful ideas together, without switching them
into the superimposed, imperfect short-circuitry of words.
Say to yourself, WITHOUT USING WORDS; 'I will now open the cupboard door
and pick up my right black shoe.' You will find this very difficult, but it
may well be even more difficult to isolate and 'freeze-out' the adjective
word 'right.' The adjective 'black' is also difficult, but it's a bit easier
to screed over this word with your mental trowel.
When you reach this stage you are inhabiting a non Heideggerian materialist
world of 'little currents in the brain.' You have escaped the sophist bonds
of the Heideggerian word-slave. You are in world of ideas alone - a
wordless continent of impressions much like it must have been to primitive
man. This quiet unvoiced condition is not a 'Silent voicing of Beings in
the mind,' for we are not using words in the mind. The words have been
ruthlessly and deliberately banished - sent packing - given their marching
orders. There is no equivocation involved and it is not, 'just as easy to
call them words,' for there ARE no 'words' to call.
Now as you wander self-dumbed and verbally gagged through your home, the
time has come to allow a word - just one word - to be washed ashore on the
beach of your conciousness - just one word dried out on the mental sand as
the tidewater of ideation ebbs.
Fix your eye on any object near to you. This time decide before you do so
however, that you will NOT allow any other word but THE word that is the
name of THIS object to impinge itself onto your conciousness.
The word will slip into your mind with an accompanying sigh of relief - your
whole being will relax as the strain is removed. Whew! Why is it such a
strain NOT to name things? Does the solitary person feel the same
compunction to label things?
What happens in the brain when I allow the symbol $ on my keyboard to
transmogrify from a printed configuration of two lines, into a sign with a
multiplicity of available meanings?
Crudely put, does not a cerebral software programme simply modify the
ideative coding into a different format? Is not a word simply a mental
bitmap representation of the given concept radically remodelled into a
'ready to send' mode?
I know that many people are uneasy about the 'computer/brain analogy', but
for me the evidence for such a comparison is overwhelming and grows daily.
It is not necessary to accept the Chomskian generative grammar model to
conceive of the brain as a super-computer. 'An idea can be a word.' Where
many go wrong is thinking that an idea can be an idea and a word AT THE SAME
TIME, or that an idea can be an idea and a symbol CONCURRENTLY. For me -
and I try to think things out for myself rather than rush to text books for
answers - words are a coded form of ideas packaged into a different
imperfect, attenuated format for the conveyance of thoughts from one brain
to another. The ideas DO NOT have some sort of Heideggerian Being outside of
We play wordgames, but usually, (unless we have a hidden agenda,) we are
unwilling participants in the frolic. The reason why discussion of these
things sometimes appears like a game of textual ducks and drakes, is that
for the most part, we are dealing not with 'science,' but with speculation,
were one man, (me,) thinks that he often experiences an inner world of
wordless ideas, and another thinks that his inner life is a continuously
chattering textual ticker-tape machine.
' No idea can ever be a word.' - Ideas are 'little currents in the brain.'
For me, a word is something that ONCE was 'a current in the brain,' that has
been swapped into MESSAGE-FORM in order to transmit a representation of that
'current in the brain,' to another person's brain in order to generate
similar 'little currents in the brain.' Unfortunately for us, a lot is
lost in the version formatting so that the 'little currents in the brains,'
of the participants end up as non - invariant error messaging.
No idea can be a symbol which is a physical object that can be put on a
spacecraft and shot out of the solar system.
But an inferior, alternatively formatted version of my idea: 'We come in
peace,' can be shot into space, as indeed it was some years ago.
Words can be outside the human body, (Films and gramophone records, music,
books...) Words are what are on your monitor right now, not what is in your
Repeat silently after me, inside your head without visualising the actual
shape and appearance of a book in your mind. 'Book, book, book, book, book.
Examine the form of the word in your mind not a picture of a book: 'Book,
book, book, book, book. Look at the curves of the 'B' - the roundness of
the 'O' - 'Book, book, book, book, book.' Close your eyes and see the word
its letters starkly black against a white background: 'Book, book, book,
What you have just done is to have created an IDEA of the word book in your
mind. Now say 'book' out loud or write it on a piece of paper. You have at
last created the word 'book.'
----- Original Message -----
From: Catweasle <Jud@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Thursday, July 06, 2000 7:31 PM
Subject: Re: The Isle of Chiaroscuro
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Calypso <calypso_1001_2000@xxxxxxxxxxx>
> To: <heidegger@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> Sent: Thursday, July 06, 2000 8:43 AM
> Subject: Re: The Isle of Chiaroscuro
> Hallo Catweasel, I've been following the writing of your fiction.
> And though I am certainly enjoying it, I am curious as to whether the
> fictional threat to the west (democracy? or vested capitalist interests?)
> imposed by your fictional phenomenological cult figures also figures in
> actual philosophical views. It would seem, given your recent mailings to
> this list, that perhaps this is the case. Can you elaborate?
> Is this list normally as thin as this? Have many members gone on holiday
> Hello Calypso!
> My stance is apolitical. My philosophy is hardcore materialist and
> anti-bullshit. I do not trust organised religion, which is my bete noire.
> Structured religion has caused more death, torture, assassinations,
> humiliation, wars, subjugation, crime, defamation, mental anguish, sexual
> suppression, attacks on women, attacks on family life, attacks on other
> cults, attacks on other races, attacks on freedom, attacks on the self
> through suicide born of despair - friction between parents and children,
> clerical sexual perversion and child molestation, hypocrisy, lies,
> manipulation, theft of ideas, suspension of scientific progress, (index
> librororum prohibitorum,) burnings, beheadings, amputations, hate
> and general unhappiness for the whole of humanity - than all of the
> Khans, Tambourlanes, Hitler's, Stalins and Pinochets put together.
> Having said all that many Christians, Jews, Moslems etc as individuals -
> are wonderful human beings. Michael is a good example :-)
> The Isle of Chiaroscuro is written as a satiric melodrama, an extravagant
> comedy in which action is more conspicuous than characterization.
> The long prologue was a necessary mechanism to set the scene for the
> philosophical meaty bits, which come next now that the Spirit of Ontology
> has finally reached its destination. As you will discover in the chapters
> that follow which will be the most difficult to write, I postulate the
> suggestion that the whole of the phenomenologist output from its seeding
> Brentano and from Husserl's early work *Ideen* of 1913, which was the
> work to give a full and systematic presentation of phenomenology onwards -
> has been a perverted and malign influence on our culture.
> This unhealthy mentality of viewing the world from the Spion Kop of the
> has been carried forward by a plethora of plagiarisers, developers and
> modifiers, right up to the present day chaos of the post modernists etc.
> I see existentialism not as a cosy and somewhat romantic springboard from
> whence sophisticated Argonauts dive, twist and twirl in free-style
> metaphysical aerobatics before plunging into a limpid pool of perpetual
> personal possibility, but rather as a philosophical cancer - a malignant
> growth of selfishness, where man imprisoned, reaches out through the
> cognitive bars of his self-constructed death row to try and clutch the
> of other self-absorbed philistines as they unconcernedly pass by. Among
> characteristics is an aberrant and subjective psychotic belief in a
> supra-material antidromic reality. It is a cultural HIV omniphage,
> is bingeing away at the animus sanitas of the west.
> It distorts and depreciates and delays the progress of science, and
> individual self-regard, egocentrism, greed and intellectual turpitude as
> desirable behaviour. The lack of clarity, absence of moral architecture,
> disintegration and distortion of literary orientation, the acquiescence in
> and the turning of a blind eye towards mounting obscurantism, and emphasis
> on the selfish inner subjective world of the private person, has diverted
> and de-railed humanity from what should be its major concern as we enter
> twenty-first millenium- the elimination of religion and its concomitant
> Husserl, Heidegger and their morally corrupt liegemen have constructed an
> illusionist world of pseudo-philosophical ectoplasm and false
> Grundbegriffe - a cloying, viscous, spiritualistic effluxion which they
> have spewed into a world of non-existent conjecture delineated by an
> invented nomenclature of obscurant jiggery-pokery.
> Best Wishes,
> Re-reading this piece, I think I'll incorporate it into the story
> and save a bit of time. :-)
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