The Personalist Project

Comments (9)

Jules van Schaijik

#1, Jan 14, 2012 8:39am

Heidegger says that we cannot "be" unless we project ourselves ever into the future.

I don't know Heidegger very well, but is this idea related to the notion that all consciousness can be reduced to intentionality (consciousness of an object)? Or, in other words, that there is no such thing as subjectivity in the sense in which Crosby explains here?

Gregory Borse

#2, Jan 14, 2012 11:58am

I think it might be, Jules--but I don't mean it that way.  It's a point of departure, for me.  In the example of the woman who walks into the fountain because she's texting as she walks:  she's lost all sense of some orientation in the world because she is lost in her own (false?) subjectivity.  It is not that she cannot project herself someplace else, but it is rather like having a "probability engine" (ala "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy") and engaging it without knowing where you are right now.  The woman is so used to bi-locating that she's lost a sense of being present in one place at a time.  The map has replaced the landscape and reality becomes a kind of empty projection.  It's as if we have become the cave in which we are trapped--all the while moving as if we are free . . .

Katie van Schaijik

#3, Jan 15, 2012 9:35am

Gregory Borse, Jan. 14 at 11:58am

 the woman who walks into the fountain because she's texting as she walks:

That must have been completely hilarious to witness. :)

But I wonder whether bi-location is the right word.  What about "semi-location" or "split-location" or something like that?

I mean, the bi-location of the saints is understood to be a kind of super-abundance of personal presence, not a lack, isn't it?  By a special grace related to their exceptional holiness, they are fully present, as persons, in two places at once.

The case you describe is more like a case of being divided in our personal presence.

It's putting me in mind of Gabriel Marcel's term "availability", which I was just reading about in our new essay, here.  The woman was physically present, but not available to the reality around her.

Gregory Borse

#4, Jan 15, 2012 2:00pm

I like your more precise description, Katie.  Indeed, I am talking about a lack and not an abundence of "being there."  In a world in which we are increasingly encouraged to assent to the notion that there is no "there there," it seems quite "natural" (for lack of a better term) that we are habituated to not being very much anywhere most of the time.  The woman-in-the-fountain, you are right, is floating restlessly through a landscape with which she increasingly has no real relation.  She is increasingly trapped in an abstract grid--one whose relations to the world are increasingly nebulous.  Faulkner's "Light in August," in some sense, is a novel that examines the consequences of this place-less-ness, especially for individual identity and very much in terms of the authentic subjectivity that Jules mentioned in terms of Prof. Crosby's contemplation.  Joe Christmas feels trapped as if in a grid and so has no place to go; Lena Grove, by contrast, lives and breathes her existence within a very real landscape--on in which she is not only present, but through which she travels as a body, barefoot  and real.

Katie van Schaijik

#5, Jan 15, 2012 2:28pm

Gregory, you make me wish I did much more reading.  I don't believe I've read a single thing of Faulkner's except one stream-of-consciousness story that repelled me.  Maybe I wasn't mature enough at the time to get it.

Gregory Borse

#6, Jan 15, 2012 5:47pm

Faulkner is definately not to everyone's taste.  But if you want to give him another chance, read "Barn Burning," "The Tall Men," "Mule in the Yard," "The Bear," and/or "Wild Ponies" (all short stories, though the last two were incorporated into novels).  "Light in August" is not exactly a "fun" novel (Joe Christmas story is brutal and tragic).  The "Snopes Trilogy" is, to my mind, a delight--as is Faulkner's final novel "The Reivers."  Happy Reading!


Gregory Borse

#7, Jan 16, 2012 8:21pm

"The Reivers," by the way, is my favorite because its plot entails a man who "borrows" the very first automobile to make its appearance in town to go visit a brothel in Memphis (to which he has saved his money and travelled yearly for a decade or so, to see one woman).  A 10 year old boy stows away in the vehicle and the story is told from his point of view.  Upon realizing what a brothel is and what the woman does for a living, the boy gets into a fight with her nephew to defend her honor.  Late that night, the boy awakens to find the woman, Everbe Corinthea, kneeling next to him crying.  She says, "No one ever did that for me before.  Fought for my honor.  Well.  I know what I'm going to do.  I quit."  And so the guy that stole the car to see her doesn't get any, um, satisfaction, because she's serious.  So, after a bunch of delightful plot twists, he marries her. Why?  Because it's all he can do.  It's truly beautiful.

Katie van Schaijik

#8, Jan 16, 2012 8:24pm

Thanks, Gregory.  Internet has been bad for my book-reading habit.  But I will see if I can manage some of these.

Gregory Borse

#9, Jan 16, 2012 8:29pm

Most welcome~!

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