Monday, May 21, 2012

Performative Slurs: The Cruel Binding Power Of Language

A priest that pronounces a couple “husband and wife” can be said to be involved in two activities: the simple uttering of words, and actually binding two people into marriage. If the best man were to shove the priest aside and utter the same words, he is considered to be involved only with the simple uttering of words, but not the marrying of the bride and groom. What is it that gives the priest's words binding power? There are various instances of social convention in which words have binding power, and as Judith Butler notes,1 certain utterances bind a person to shame. I will present an analysis of Butler's view, and I'll attempt to show that while she offers a good theory of how certain utterances by authoritative figures acquire binding power, there is little explanation as to how non-authoritative citizens seem to execute the same kind of binding power as it pertains to slurs and derogatory remarks. Examining Butler's position will help to establish the authoritative aspect of performative utterances, and I will turn to Nietzsche to provide a hypothesis of how non-authoritative citizens also exhibit binding power.
Performative Speech Acts
Austin defines performatives as those utterances that when stated one is not describing what one is doing, nor is one simply stating what one is doing, rather, one is performing said action; it is to do it.2 When a priest states “I pronounce you...”, the utterance is neither a description, nor is it stating what it is the priest is doing, but the given phrase is to bind a couple in marriage. The success of a performative act depends on whether the act proceeds under certain circumstances: there must exist an accepted conventional procedure (certain persons uttering certain words in a certain context), the given procedure is executed correctly and completely, and the appropriate thoughts and feelings must accompany the act as well as the appropriate subsequent behavior.
Citation Of the Law
Butler is not adhering to all of the circumstances of performativity as she does not seem to express concern of whether the appropriate thoughts and feelings accompany a performative act for it to be successful. On the contrary, she seeks to dispense with the notion that a subject is what construes the power of performativity. This is not to say that thoughts and feelings aren't involved, but that a performative does not achieve success through a self-contemplative process in which a judge, for example, considers the situation, and by an instance of will, pronounces someone to be guilty or innocent: it is not a subject that establishes that a judge's words confer a sentence onto a guilty party. Austin's first condition states that there must exist an accepted conventional procedure for a performative to work, and in the case of a judge's sentence, Butler thinks that what the judge utters has binding power only if the judge cites the law. In addition to this, it must be the case that prior to the current trial, there must be a conventional legacy by which current “activity” emerges in the context of a chain of binding conventions: a trial cannot proceed in its contemporary fashion unless trials have successfully proceeded as such in the past, and the current trial mimics, or reiterates former trials.
We'll return to the idea of dispensing with the subject later. Sticking with citation, particular statements a judge utters acquire a binding force from previous discourse in the practices of law where other such successful performative acts were performed. Citing serves as an invocation of convention—a discursive practice that appeals to prior authoritative sets of practices, to a conventional legacy. If not for these prior, particular, law oriented linguistic activities concerning matters of authority and lawful citizenship, then a judge would be in no position for his utterances to have any binding power over the affairs of people in court.
Given that certain performatives have been repeated by certain persons on numerous occasions in the past, they have accumulated a force of authority and normativity over time. Whether it be the verdict of a judge, or the vows in marriage, either, as a performative act, gets its force due to an appeal to prior exercises that have been repeated on numerous occasions. Seeing as the best man in a wedding has not been the one to utter vows in the past, his butting in seems uncanny, and no one takes him seriously. Another of Austin's conditions of success is that the appropriate subsequent behavior compliments the performative. It is the string of successful performatives over time that constitutes conventional legacy; the best man has had no such success in the past, so he is condemned to being a bored spectator rather than the one doing the binding.
Femininity Is Not a Choice
Remaining with the wedding example, the best man cannot will it that his utterances having binding power because there is no historical force to support him, due to which his attempt will not be followed by the appropriate subsequent behavior. Instead, he will become the victim of ridicule for disrupting the ceremony. There are ways to fail in the face of conventional legacy, acts that are thought to disrupt, or not coincide with, the chain. In the case of the marriage ceremony, Butler thinks that the performative nature of the ceremony to bind two people together also establishes that the performatives involved succeed only if the players are of a particular sort. A priest cannot marry anyone, it must be the case that it be a bride and groom. Butler explains how this sense of performative success regarding marriage ceremonies also establishes taboo activity, acts that do not meet the conditions of performative success. In this instance it's the sex of the two persons to be wed. The performative nature of the marriage ceremony, then, establishes a heterosexualization of social bonds between people.
The conventional legacy of heterosexual marriage establishes a shaming taboo that “queers” all those who contradict the convention. “Queer”, then, serves as an insult, and similar to how a judge or priest cites prior authoritative practices in order for their utterances to have binding force, the insulting nature of “queer” gets its performative force by referencing historical operation: how it has been used to indicate contradiction to convention in the past. A part of the conventionality of the marriage ceremony is that it harmonizes two people in such a way that it produces jubilant feelings amongst attendees. Anyone who is seen as disruptive to such conventionality is outcast and ridiculed, and thus “queering” has developed as an instance of shame.
In a certain sense, one can infer that the past determines the future, and that all present conduct is the result of conventional legacy. There are those who oppose such an inference, and believe that one can create oneself in the moment, free from history and surpassing convention. Language, by this standard, appeals to a “will” or “choice”, and does not constitute a history of discourse. Sartre is a proponent of such a notion, and in his existentialism asserts that “existence precedes essence,” from which we are meant to understand that one creates who one is in each moment of one's life by means of choice.3 Sartre thought that if there is one truth to man it is that he is a conscience subject capable of overcoming history by conscientiously considering alternative actions. Butler believes this to be erroneous in that identity categories do not surpass historical discourse. There is no term, or statement, that can function performatively without a preceding historical force—no binding can occur without there being past instances for one to cite. In order to identify as some gender, that is, to be able to be bound to what one utters, there has to have been instances in the past where doing so bound others to respective identities.
Identity terms such as “I”, work in the same way, the successful use of which are predicated on a history of discourse. “I” is preceded by discourse—language has to have been designed in such a manner that allows for talk of subjectivity. It is in this sense that gender roles, such a femininity, are not a choice as Sartre conceives them to be. Instead, a history of discourse comes to form the subject. In the present day, “queer” has taken a more positive tone of performativity, one less confined to shame. However, Butler argues that one is mistaken in holding the idea that one identities as “queer” in an “out of the blue” fashion. It is because “queer” has existed as a mark of conventional contradiction that one is able to take it up at all—even in aiming to change the meaning of a term, one does so by reiterating the conventional use of it.
Our examples have been instances of authority executing performatives. How is it that those who are non-authoritative are able to cite for the sake of binding force? This question can be held to any and all instances in which the common person means to commit successful performatives. Is this to say that the common citizen is unable to self-identity if an authority figure is not present to bind one to a gender personality? Butler does not offer much in answer to these questions, and given “queer” seems to have been shamefully bound to particular individuals over time that we now look to challenge it today, it might assist us by having some sense of how performative success occurs in non-authoritative social circles.
Nietzsche: the Creditor/Debtor Relationship
I will focus primarily on the second essay of Genealogy Of Morals, in which Nietzsche discusses how it is we come to bind people to shame and punishment. Nietzsche's account does not depend on whether a person is authoritative or not, rather, his view offers the idea that the more distant one is from authority in the social chain of command, the more binding one's utterances become.
Nietzsche's theory refers to a certain type of relationship between creditor and debtor in which the memory of one's debts to another is what binds one to the performative utterances of others. In this relationship, an individual, or a group, confers something to another, and the latter fails to fulfill on what is conferred. Nietzsche also dispenses with the subject, and thinks that each of us is born into, and subjected to, a world that has started without us. A conventional legacy is already in place in that the language of the legacy immediately administers performatives onto a newborn: a “doctor” in a “hospital” utters one's “sex”—each of the elements in the equation successfully emerge through language in being a reiteration of how, by whom, and where similar activity has occurred in the past. As Butler points out, a doctor pronounces “It's a girl!” and from that point forward one is committed to “girling”, much like how a criminal is sentenced to jail by a judge, and how one is committed to “queering” if one deviates from normative social bond; the doctor's utterance is successfully performative. Due to the vulnerability of youth, one grows up absorbing the language of what constitutes “girling”, as well as “queering”, that latter being an indication of punishment should one deviate from the former. Any measure one takes against “girling” will be in the language of “girling”, as discussed above, as will any talk of subjectivity depend on the language of which being designed prior to such deliberation.
Given that the initial utterance by the doctor commits one to “girling”, Nietzsche imposes that this aligns one with particular promises pertaining to the conventional legacy—one has vowed to reiterate a particular discourse within society. Doing this allows for one to partake in all the advantages society can offer. In this manner Nietzsche thinks that the self has made itself calculable: one looks to the future by reiterating the past. Calculability is a human measure for ensuring knowledge about our fellow humans, and this is largely constitutive of creditor/debtor relations. Our memory of our initial vow, serves as a promise to others that there will be no surprises. In the case of a “no surprises” society, the advantages alluded to before emerge—change has been conquered, reason can flourish! Marriage ceremonies will continue to proceed as they always have, ensuring the jubilation mentioned before for all eternity. Those that impose calculability fulfill the creditor aspect of the relationship, and it's the promise of gender normativity that one owes to all participants of a conventional legacy: one agrees to be another link in the chain.
Nietzsche describes this relationship as being a “social straightjacket”, a set of fixed ideas that is conferred to serve as reminder of one's promises. Fixed ideas come in the shape of “memories”, in particular, those that refer to instances of punishment made upon those who broke their promises—pain serves as the great memory inducer. Similar to how one is bound to “queering” when disrupting the heterosexual social bond, one is entitled to cruelty if one does not continuously reiterate normative mannerisms pertaining to “girling”. The creditor/debtor marks the origin of punishment as the creditor feels obligated to invoke injury on those who fail to fulfill on their debts.
I hope it to be no mystery that each of us serves as a debtor in one way or another, or in every possible way (slave morality), but who exactly are these creditors? One simple answer may be that they are authority figures, for it is their words that have binding power, as convention has it. However, given the formality of the various trades each of these authorities are involved in, it is not often that we hear authorities pronouncing one to “queering”. The priest pronounces a couple to be married, and indirectly establishes homosexual taboos in that we react in a manner that predicates its success. What of when we are not directly in the presence of authorities? How is it we are adamantly inclined to performatives? Nietzsche thinks our inclination to uphold our promises is empowered by fixed ideas of punishment, and because our attachment to the promise is strong, one thinks of oneself as deserving of shame and cruelty if one opposes convention (a Nietzschian example would be a Christian flogging of oneself). The authority may not be directly present, but fixed memory allows one to privately echo performatives. This is how we develop “bad conscience”, an illness that causes one to turn against oneself—one becomes one's own menacing authority figure. Nietzsche considers this an illness because, returning to our example, one believes that it is still the doctor who is binding one to the commitments of “girling”, while it is really oneself, and it is successful! In this manner it is not only authority figures who utter successful performatives, but also those who are ill.
The above instance shows how one serves as creditor turned against oneself. Seeing as anyone can serve as a creditor, it should not be thought it is done always in bad conscience, but anyone can invoke the right of creditor upon others. For those of us with “good memory”, adhering to this social straightjacket comes without question, but Nietzsche thinks that instinct still draws one to power. Those with good memory who are non-authoritative are reduced to having to exhibit their instinct from within the confines of the straightjacket. This means that one still plays along with the game that performatives are what have binding force between people in society. However, non-authoritative citizens do not match up with the all the qualifications for a successful performatives, such as being a certain person in a certain place, but only seem to meet up with the appropriate thoughts and feelings accompanying the act and the appropriate subsequent behavior (the latter covered by bad conscience). Nietzsche feels this gives non-authoritative performatives more power in that one has to put in extra effort to “get the point across,” and rather than being able to invoke convention, one commits another to “queering” by vicious insults and physical force—one should be ashamed of not being calculable, especially when the rest of us are doing our best to be so! The more removed one is from authority, the more inclined one is to resort to cruelty in order to instantiate binding power, and this type of tactic has an unforgettable affect, a memory made salient by the terror inflicted to produce it. The cruel performatives of non-authorities cause one to be far more inclined to the promises made not to “queer”, or to continue “girling”.
The power of language to bind each other to particular values, and manners of living, will play to the fate of each of us. While authorities act by reiterating the law, riding the comfortable wave of “justification”, common folk follow at their heels and aspire to be in the “right of masters”, to partake in administrative binding and to get a sense of what it's like to have people to look down on. I made mention before of how in one way or another each of us is a debtor, but which of us are creditors? A criticism can be made against those who punish due to lack of hindsight about the true nature of their promises, but this requires a particular kind of discourse in which the criticism is turned against oneself: in what ways do I bind people to my words?

1Judith Butler, “Critically Queer,” GLQ: A Journal Of Lesbian and Gay Studies
2J.L. Austin, How To Do Things With Words (Harvard University Press, 1975), 13-16
3Jean-Paul Sartre, “Existentialism Is a Humanism”

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Artistic Intuition and the World Of Utility

In a society governed by capitalism, there is no room for any personal endeavor that does not yield to some sort of financial utility—it must make sense for one to participate in any enterprise. It is by no means a contemporary feature of convention that art also serves as a utility of survival, as artists have composed works for the sake of financial security for centuries. The term “artist” is one that should be brought to question, as contemporary society conceives of the status of which as a profession, a job, and like any job, one is more driven by economic demands than by passion. Is art just another item of utility, an object that one uses for personal gain on some level or another (for either artist or audiences)? Is the artist simply another professional seeking to scrape out a dollar? My intention is to explore Nietzsche's notion of artistic intuition, and how it conflicts with the popular conceptions of art. In the process, I will examine his idea of Apollonian, as well as Dionysian, values in art. From my analysis I hope to indicate a sense of artistry that eludes the language of utility, and support a type of creative expression that is not isolated in subjectivity and rational discourse.
What Do We Mean By “Art”?
The most I can offer concerning a general meaning of the term artist is simply a personal interpretation as I have come to know the term growing up, or a dictionary definition. I am sure that many people have various understandings of the term, but as it pertains to my endeavor of challenging the popular conception, some sense of “art” as such should be provided. As a child, whenever I engaged, or at least attempted, in activity that seemed somewhat fanciful to adults, I was called “artistic”, or “creative”. The two terms seemed to accompany each other so often that I came to equate the two, using them interchangeably. Let it be said then that my childhood definition is that an “artist” is a creative person. Nauseatingly vague, yes, but no less so than the definition acquired from a digital dictionary: a person who produces works in any of the arts that are primarily subject to aesthetic criteria.1 So it is one who produces a particular type of object, and by object I mean anything available to any one of our senses. What is this object, and how does it qualify as art?
At this point I depart from usage of textbook definitions, and return to personal interpretations. Art is a certain kind of object in which we bear a particular relationship to, and we apply the term “art” to set it apart from those objects that do not meet the qualifying standards. It is often thought that art objects are those that are different from those Heidegger describes as “ready-to-hand”.2 These kinds of entities in the world are those we use by looking past them: when one operates a hammer, one does not theorize about it, nor does one take much notice of the hammer insofar as it is functioning properly in order to fulfill some end. Those objects that we do take notice of, but do not appear to be of any immediate use are “present-at-hand”. It's because we take notice of these objects that one is in a position to theorize about them. Art, it would seem, walks a fine line between the two types, as it an entity in the world available to the senses, and thus in a position to be theorized over. Also, art seems to serve as a utility for both creators and audiences in that it is argued that art assists in providing some sort of psychological end. Art may be cathartic for the artist, as well as pleasurable to audiences. It's this tightrope walk between both types of states that art is understood as being different from both present-at-hand, and ready-to-hand.
Walking a line between these two states is not unique, however, in that a hammer motions between both at various times over the course of its existence; I imagine that no one walks about with a hammer in hand all the time ready to smash in protruding nails. It's still unclear as to what makes something an art object as opposed to being simply ready-to-hand, or present-at-hand. Another argument in favor of differentiation may be that art is unique in being simultaneous both. I feel no need to enter into details here in that this suggestion is outright confusing given multiple simultaneous perspectives. While for one who uses a hammer, it is ready-to-hand, but for any onlooker who is not involved in the other's endeavor, it's present-at-hand.
It seems as though we are looking for a conception of art, an understanding that allows for one to cover all cases of possible experience. Nietzsche's analysis of this is favorably noted, by myself, in his example of “leaf”.3 At some point in the very distant past, some creature or another that was capable of uttering sounds in some fashion came across a leaf and uttered “leaf”. This experience, which was unique to this particular creature, becomes the experience for us all in that we take his single utterance as the conceptualization of anything we might come to experience in the world that resembles that single instance. Nietzsche thought this to be the construction of concepts, the “equation of the dissimilar”, in which the application of a term is believed to cover the essence of an experience in all possible cases. Reaching an understanding of “art” appears to be making the same appeal in that we wish for the term to symbolize a concept that is the universal understanding for any given experience.
Returning to our conundrum of figuring out what quality, possessed by art, sets it apart from mundane, everyday objects, it does not do that any conclusion we might reach on the matter is ephemeral. In our current day and age it seems that if knowledge it to be reached, its object must be one that exists for all cases—our knowledge must be of something eternal and unchanging. If this were not the case, then of what use would knowledge be? Plato's “Divided Line” supplies us with a metaphysics that aligns knowledge with objects that surpass change and time, objects referred to as “The Forms”.4 Any type of disposition we may have regarding physical objects, things that change, switching between being ready-to-hand and present-at-hand (let's say), will be marked by belief or opinion. This type of disposition falls short of knowledge, and if the latter is to be accomplished, our sights must be set on objects that transcend the physical world. It should be noted that Plato placed art on the lowest of possible sections on his line, claiming that art is twice removed from truth, serving as a copy of a copy. While most of us are prone to agree with his idea of an object of knowledge, we are not commonly disposed to view art as being removed from truth. As such, there seems to be a desire to place art in the Forms, as something we can have knowledge of so as to set it apart from everyday objects, and to help us get ever closer to The Good. Reducing our epistemological relationship to art as one of opinion offers us no support on the matter.
Placing art in the Forms results in its conceptualization. As we tend to agree that art exists, and “art” is meant to signify a differentiation between objects so that there are things we would not phrase as such, art as a concept must function in a manner that transcends all experience in that it makes it possible for any one of us to understand any given experience, even those had by others. This understanding enables us to think that when a friend tells us “I went to look at some art,” that she did not go wandering about a hardware store. One may argue that our friend is a tool enthusiast, and from her perspective such hardware is art. A Platonic response may be that our friend is under the opinion that tools qualify as art, but for us we exhibit an understanding of concepts, and we are in a very good position to say that our friend is mistaken—those who exhibit understanding are in a far better place to speak of experience than one who is partaking in the experience.
Art As Utility
While there is still no exact understanding of what qualifies as art, we do have some sense of what we expect from an understanding of the concept of art. Although we are not eager to instantiate art as being ready-to-hand, our analysis so far seems to consistently align art with utility: that it is used to serve some rational end, or to fulfill a purpose. Perhaps art can be conceived as assisting us to understand Beauty, as it resides in the Forms, or to reach The Good. This is one such use, as I'm sure there are many that can be conceived. The point is not in establishing a proper use, rather that an understanding of art is commonly thought to coincide with utility. Other such possible uses of art have been alluded to: financial gain, and psychic health. Art seems to be predicated on economics, epistemology/metaphysics, and science.5
Economic stress is what I take to be the heaviest impression on artistic engagement. Survival is pressed upon us as one of the most demanding aspects of our nature, given that in high school it is endlessly emphasized that life cannot proceed without a job (parents tend to contribute to the same pressure). If this is the case, then any youth aspiring to be an artist will be thinking in terms of a professional living, one that provides financial security—one does art to the extent that there's money in it. Sometimes it may be the case that one passionately desires to make art, and it just so happens that there is a job market out there for such a passion. This type of person we will return to later, as the kind who is on the right track toward “creative acts”. For the time being we shall remain focused on those who are confined to reactivity. Nietzsche describes this state as one in which persons restrict themselves to acting in regards to, or in correspondence with, historical discourse. Reactivity, in a sense, is practical in that it allows for one to partake in all the advantages that society has to offer, and seeing as money is the particular advantage one acquires by the conduct under question, art is one's segue into the market place.
The scientific understanding of art can take many view points, depending on the exact study one is disposed to. The one in question here is a concern of psychological well-being. This tends to be complimented by observations regarding the disposition toward survival discussed above. If one confesses to having artistic ambitions, whether or not one seeks financial gain through them or not, the ability to exercise such ambition is not always readily available due to economic demands. Someone who wishes to practice dance may not always be able to if one must attend to work in order to have access to the market place. In this event, science may “observe” that artistic practices serve as cathartic expression—a manner in which to combat psychological repression. Art then serves the purpose of promoting better health by scientific standards. This too is understood as “practical”, and that it is “reasonable” for one to pursue art. The language of science and economics may both wonder: “If it were not the case, then why would one do it?”
The Intuitive Drive
Camus' idea of the absurd consists of the scenario in which the rational man meets the irrational world.6 The absurd is not something that is contained in the world, instead it is what emerges from our desire to become calculable, to have insight into all ends—we create absurdity. What of the irrational man? We have thus far discussed those of us who are led by the notion that all meaningful activity in art must be predicated by utility, a reasonable purpose. These insights constitute a good portion of Nietzsche's idea of Apollonian values in art. We'll return to this notion later, but prior to our current point, we made mention of a person who has a passion for art, and by chance, happens to find a market for his expression. We might ask, what if the market had not happened to be in the artist's favor? Would she have “turned back”, and resorted to bagging groceries at your local supermarket? This would make sense, would it not, to keep one's eye on the practical prize?
Like Camus, Nietzsche also establishes a conflict: when the rational man meets the intuitive man.7 While Camus' battle results in the absurd, Nietzsche's ends up with tragedy. This consequence will be elaborated on once we reach the Apollonian/Dionysian values, until then we should examine what Nietzsche means by the intuitions. In the same text where Nietzsche discusses the formation of concepts, he also talks about how the function of language is not to serve as a literal description of the world and events. Instead, language is metaphorical, enabling one to interpret one's experiences rather than describe them. It's in this way that our current conventions are merely someone else's art. In the case of “leaf” it was someone in the past who made such a noise at an experience, and this initially was a creative act. However, from then forward we have been in the position of copying someone else's act—we have been reactive to a language. We have also been reactive to an understanding of language, to its literal functioning as being able to make sense of the world. In this way our current reasonable discourse is a less an instance of subjective will, and more a matter of reiteration.
What is it then to be intuitive? This can be viewed as a simple antithesis of the rational man, but this isn't completely accurate. To be involved in the everyday play of metaphors is, in some sense, to be an everyday poet. The routine discourse is one that imprisons us in that we seek to implore word as a literal description of how things are. Looking back at our notions of art, the conceptualization of “art” is a means of solidifying our experiences in order to think that one single experience grants us access to the understanding—we express a drive to be calculable. Nietzsche does not think this “rational” drive is the only one we have, there is one that is still held to reiteration, and yet aspires to make new provinces of discourse. This sort of person is not disillusioned, she exists in the conceptual prison like anyone else does, and a history of concepts is what she has to work with. Rather than fit herself to the concepts as they are reiterated by others, she listens to her drive to actively engage concepts. Similar to how a lighthouse listens for the horn of a ship encased in heavy fog in the night, someone who hears the call of the intuitions puts up no resistance to the oncoming force. Think of a child given a puzzle to put together: the child did not create the pieces, they are simply what have been given to her. Adults look down at her and expect her to piece together a particular image, to follow the manner in which things have been conceived to fit together. The child's intuitive drive compels her to put things together in whatever manner she feels like. The end result is probably something that makes little sense to those who operate off of mere reiteration: when has a landscape been pieced together is such a way that a mountain stands upside-down?! Where is the sense in putting things together in a way so that the common man is confused?
Looking back at my childhood, when adults referred to me “artistic”, this is not because I was reacting to a historical discourse, rather, I was involved in senseless activity—it was of little concern to me what practical basis there was for putting the pieces together as they have fit before: I fancied the idea of coloring the sky purple, or making a mustache for myself by gluing macaroni noodles to my face. None of these features bore much utility, except under the eyes of the psychologist who diagnoses my irrationality as healthy, but the doctor is merely someone on the outside looking in—the party is a mystery unless you're in on it.
Apollonian/Dionysian Values
This outlook of conceptualization, and utility already provides us with some insight into the Apollonian sense of art. The alternate sense of art that Nietzsche highlights is the Dionysian.8 To each sense he assigns specific styles of art: sculpture, and perhaps painting, pertain to the Apollonian, while music and dance belong to the Dionysian. The point of the latter is that the art contained therein is “non-imagistic”, while the former seeks to produce imagery, or form, in one way or another. One may wonder what the point is of differentiating styles of art in this way, is this not also to conceptualize? I can imagine various interpretations of Nietzsche that may yield equally plausible responses. I tend to refer back to what was said about the intuitions, and how one is not disillusioned from conceptual imprisonment, but what this dichotomy seeks to establish is the manner in which we engage historical discourse. The child can either put the puzzle together in a way that makes sense, or she can make a different picture—it may not necessarily be new, but it does not adhere to the language of utility.
Each of the values pertain to a different type of involvement: the Apollonian deals in dreams, while the Dionysian engages by intoxication. This relationship is very much in resemblance of the rational man against the intuitions, as the Apollonian is very much like the rational man. The appeal to dreams is similar to how we resort to conceptualization, as dream, as conceived for our purposes, seeks to elude individual experiences. Our encounters with the physical realm is saturated with change and instability, a horrific landscape for the rational soul. Focusing on dreams is to turn our heads upward toward Mount Olympus, to the gods that transcend a world in flux. Here we find not only Forms, but form, as mathematical precision is also available to knowledge. Sculpture fits just fine here in that one endeavors to mimic things as they appear; the better a work resembles mathematical precision, or shapes, the more sensible it is in the eye of society. In this manner of art, we are disposed to what is intelligible, to entities that surpass change and position themselves in such a way so as to be available to the intellect. The Apollonian artist, then is one who partakes in images that spring with life eternal, a practice that places one apart from others. The language of subjective contemplation reigns as one considers oneself as tapping into something by means of a rational dialectic, searching for combinations of imagery that are useful for reaching Beauty—one must imagine the pieces of the puzzle fitting together so as to be perceived as Beautiful, for it is the beautiful work that succeeds in capitalistic landscape. This subjectivity is beyond individual experiences so as to avoid the horrific deceptions of opinion and belief, and this refuge from the terror of the world also separates one from other people—after all, “hell is other people.”9 It's in this way that the task of conceptualization is made easier in that we do not consider the imprisoning factor of our poetry.
Dionysus serves as the antagonizing brother to Apollo, the kin the latter wishes would not show up for holidays. Endeavors in Dionysian art are not imagistic, they are not concerned with producing a product that aligns itself with some concept. While music and dance were mentioned as being practices that emerge from Dionysian art, one may argue that each of these two styles lend themselves to both the present-at-hand, and ready-to-hand in that “music” and “dance” indicate a conceptualization, and both can be conceived as being involved in sensible enterprise. This kind of criticism, however, is still encased in the tradition of utility and the understanding, and so there is still much effort in framing all events and activities in a rational network of purposes and usefulness. The language of utility will not be able to comprehend Dionysian art without becoming queasy and fearful. Thinking back to our artist who just happens to find a market for her practice, this economic gain shares more with luck that with rational purpose, for the artist would have continued with her passions regardless if there was a market for her to take comfort in. “What nonsense,” exclaims the survivalist as well as the epistemologist, while the psychologist proclaims “it's still useful as it concerns one's health!” Such shouting touches a deaf ear to the artist who seeks not to react to historical discourse, but to be actively engaged in one's passions. Both of the reactions to the artist are in vain in that they are still predicated on the notion of sensible utility—each residing in the tongues of rational purpose as a means to The Good. Each disposition is housed in a place where the literal function of language is constitutive of concepts, and it's because of this that dream is even more enticing in that each is unaware that they are dreaming.
Even though Nietzsche places great emphasis on music, my bias as a dancer will be toward dance. My area of practice is in breakdance, an activity I find to be an exquisite example of intoxication. One of the unique features to this style of dance is that is has very few foundational moves, and being involved in it usually entails that one expresses great skills of improvisation. Because of this, rational onlooker are usually given a headache at the sight of the unpredictable movements, and someone spinning on their head—heads were made for thinking! Breakdance is still young in its age, and quite far from possessing any sort of professional stability, but this does not prevent practitioners from partaking in it. Returning to the criticism mentioned above, is it not the case that even in dance one is orchestrating a product for audiences to conceptualize? Maybe so, if we're to remain in that sort of language, but the important feature to grasp in Dionysian art is its notion of intoxication. This mode of living is not like dreams, where in the latter one lives amongst images that appear to purport Beauty. Instead, a dancer is not one who is a spectator to art, a dancer is art. Being intoxicated is to be so infused with one's activities that the thoughts and language of product and utility fall flat in the dirt: one does not subjectively experience oneself as being a rational agent that molds things together so as to create a product, set apart from appearances and experiences. In Dionysian art one returns to the forefront of hell, and meets with other people again, becomes friends with flux and terror. In breakdance, with little foundation to play off of, the moves one exhibits are temporal, and one acquires great excitement at the notion that one's efforts are ephemeral, and financially futile (and for a good portion of the time physically hazardous). Convention emphasizes that it's a terrible thing for one to be conducting oneself in a manner that is insensible, to abandon all sense of future comfort, but after partaking in the ecstasy of dance, calculability appears to be nothing but a boring refuge. The Dionysian is not completely blind to Apollonian aspiration, as when the two meet, tragedy is what emerges: the intoxicated artist can no longer take the rational man seriously. Conceptualization and utility operate as a great cane to walk us through life, but if the daredevil intuitions call to us, if we feel driven to putting the pieces together in way that is shocking, even to the artist, this gives us a taste of creative activity: making new linguistic/symbolic provinces that do not match up with reiterated conduct. There is no sense of planning one's movements in breakdance, nor does the practice involve any logical discourse in providing a product for the sake of some benefit, one just hears and succumbs to the call of intuitions.
This analysis is not meant to be a judgment. For those who practice art, whatever this term might mean to one, I am not disputing that it can be a practice that one can simultaneous enjoy and have it be an economic resource. My position is simply to put ideas on the table for contemplation, or spite, if you will. If anything, I mean to take notice of the popular trend in our society that everything we do is done under the scope of utility, that passion is restricted to calculated planning—subjective discourses reigns supreme. To gain sight into an arena of discourse that is not limited to utility is difficult in that it will be done through concepts and the language of the original creature. I advocate that we don't lose sight of the child, the horn in the night, and that art can partake in practices that are both terrifying and temporary, and do so without restraint.
2Heidegger, Being and Time
3Nietzsche, “On Truth and Lying In An Extra-Moral Sense”
4Plato, The Rebuplic
5I'm aware that psychology is arguably a science, but for the sake of this discussion I'm addressing psychic health as such seeing as certain scientific discourse asserts that artistic expression is psychologically beneficial as fact. Given this, it's argued that it's practical to pursue art because of its scientific benefits.
6Camus, The Myth Of Sisyphus
7Nietzsche, “On Truth and Lying In An Extra-Moral Sense”
8Nietzsche, The Birth Of Tragedy
9Sartre, “No Exit”

Thursday, May 10, 2012

To the "Do-Nothings"

It is small group of whom I'm acquainted with to which I speak--there is a whole world of unknowns that I speak to more directly. We have been in the midst of an age where handshakes have been forgone, where hugs are cliche'. Physical presence has become secondary to what we can type to each other. Do not be fooled! The body is just as much present to the computer as we used to be to each other on the street. However, it would be lunacy to equate the two. Have I come to a time in which I high-five a screen? My hand has never felt so cold. We mistake our typing for interaction all too easily. We see our posts and believe "I have come in touch with the world!" What a marvelous age we live in: inertia is the new movement! What need do I have to meet my companions on the street? I can speak with their digital representative from the comfort of my own home. Comfort? What a boring notion this has turned out to be, to have one's spot all figured out. Never would I have thought of youth so eager to become calculable. What ever happened to the spontaneity of the heart? Where are the passionate souls, those in whom each of its three parts is eager to will creative acts; to dance in illusions? We have grown out of our dancing phase and turn to stare at matters as they appear before us, and what our eyes seemed glued to is avatars. Much in how we come to label and command an object, we have turned to do the same to each other as the new form of "friendship"--the post serves just as good as any to indicate what a person is. While we can meet each other in person, this task is far too disruptive, so we make up for our absence by typing our thoughts and disposition. It is in this sense that a lack is a presence. We inform each other what it is that intrigues one, what has caught my fancy for today. These messages are tiny enough not to discomfort us; there is nothing in the post that commits us to our passions. What we offer each other in return is a post reading "x was here." And where would that be? Where is the world of the post? We say it resides in a digital landscape, and this much I can agree with, but what a spiteful sense of irony to refer to such a place as a "landscape". Our chairs have never felt so loved, for the landscape is nowhere past the seat of our rooms. We are fooled to believe that we touch each other through this terrain--this is what it is to hug someone in comfort, in places so far removed from each other that it should no longer come as mystery as to how Lucifer could reach into the hearts of men from worlds beyond. Are not these souls fooled to think they have been touched by the devil--are we not fools?
A wise lunatic once said "Where one can no longer love, there one should pass by!" We do well to take this advice, but not so well that we are unaware of having taken it. We remain ghosts to each other, and much like the ghost in our rooms, we pass each other by without the slightest hesitation. The people we encounter in the digital landscape are not people at all--to whom is my speech directed when aimed at a picture? We have not the time, nor the passion to meet each other face to face, but we cannot let it pass that we have discarded friendship. Something must be done to recover our lost companions. This answer appears simple to the coward--let me type to them, as though there were any guarantee that my text is actually reaching an audience (especially the audience of which one thinks). It can be argued that this predicament is no different than the letter writing of old, that one has no reason to believe that one's letter will reach it's destination, nor is one inclined to suppose that a letter in return is from the original party. In this I seek not to establish a hierarchy of practice, rather to assert a notion of effort. For while the skepticism spans across the board, the letter writer, regardless of the lack of rational positivity, still puts in the effort. It is in this sense that one provides fuel to hope. Letter writing does not confine itself to realm of comfort that the post provides, instead it turns its heels and walks a longer path of methodical discourse, editing, corrective measures, all such efforts are rendered absurd by the lack of rational confidence contained within the situation of a message to meet its party. This then is not to pass someone by in the slightest, this is to confront a wall and shout with all your might so that if there is that special someone on the other side, they may chance to hear you. This risk is love. It is in this sense that we seek each other out if we must remain at great physical distance, consumed by the capitalist demand of our age. Do not mistake this post-messaging as the same thing. It is through this digital landscape that we pass each other by. We take that there is someone on the other side of the wall for granted, and by doing so we rest comfortably back into our seats, back in front of our computers. There's no need to shout, no need to afford great effort--the post reaches the world, and what do you know, the world posts back! Ghosts! We have come to know ghosts! While people are on the street, there are those who speak to the screen as though it speaks back. Comfort is for the "do-nothings", those of us who reside in type and suppose oneself to be active in a world of people. It is in this way that we pass by--a noble value, but from which it should be clear who it is that one does not love.
Do not be mistaken to think that what I write to you is a simple post. With this I give you my effort. In this I shout and scream--who is on the other side?

Monday, May 7, 2012

A Lack Thereof

The sidewalk scratches the bottom of Seuss' foot and he looks under his shoe. There's a hole in the middle of the sole. He finds it disgusting that his sock is more ragged than the rubber. A young couple passes by, jolly in conversation. The woman laughs at the man's witty remarks. Seuss focuses on their mouths as they disperse words for the other to hear. Seuss looks at his own lips in the reflection of a shop window next to him. They're neutral, in contact only with the cold air surrounding him. The street light above goes dim. He moves on, taking his hole with him.
Seuss arrives at his studio apartment. There's a pile of posters in one corner of the room. They're all face down in a heap. His white walls are bare except for small strips of tape, some with torn paper corners attached, and a vivid painting of a snowy mountain landscape above his bed. The bold green trees stand out from the pure white terrain and the light blue sky gives Seuss the feeling that he's breathing in the crisp mountain air again. Ashley, he thinks, we were there. His eyes drift from the art and survey his room. He spots various things: tables, a bookshelf, a stereo, clothes, a dresser, but not a single portion of Ashley. Seuss turns to the wall nearest to him and bashes his head into it. He staggers backward for a minute, and then stumbles onto the floor.

"It's none of your business where I am." Ashley spoke into her cell phone from inside the cabin. Her irritated tone prompted Seuss to wait outside on the porch. He sat and flipped through the pages of her sketchbook. The lead she had scratched across the pages left lines harmonized into shapes, figures and faces. Seuss looked at his own hands, unable to keep them steady for even a second. He wondered how a hand could create the shapes she did with such precision. He thought that if he had taken to drawing years ago, as she did, he might've had her skill.
"Everything's been said… no… I'm not, you are. That's the thing, you see your problem as mine… okay, I'm done. Don't call again." Ashley walked out onto the porch and sat in the seat beside Seuss.
"Everything okay?" Seuss asked.
"No, he won't let it be." Ashley wiped her eyes and then turned her face away.
"Who else?"
"Is he still trying to- "
"I don't want to talk about it." Ashley took up a brush, dipped it into a cup of green paint, and continued her painting. She had most of the snowy mountain landscape completed. She was finishing work on a tree. "Every other boyfriend I've had knew when we were through and let it be, but Fred can't. He drags on about how he'll be different."
"Men can't be different. It's their genetic flaw."
"God made them all in his image, and he curses Eve for fucking things up. How typical."
Seuss looked out at the huge white slope of Show Low, Arizona. The forest surrounded Seuss and Ashley and seemed to recede into eternity. The sun shining off the snow's surface blinded him, but he refrained from putting on a pair of shades. He wanted to take in the scene's natural light without obstructions. There were a few cabins nearby, the inhabitants of which came out occasionally to smoke or chat. The cold air filled his lungs and expanded them granting him a chilly sensation of great freedom. Seuss' grandmother peeked her head out from inside.
"We're heading into town in an hour. There's an art shop we can take you to if you need supplies."
"Sure," Ashley responded. Grandma ducked back inside.
Seuss leaned over and looked at her work. "It's coming out really good. The greens are amazing."
"Thank you."
"It's more captivating than the real thing."
"I doubt that." Ashley said this with a chuckle.
"Thank you for coming, by the way. It's always impossible for me to get anyone to join me when I visit my grandparents."
"I'm glad I came. This is definitely a relief from the crap of the city."
Seuss took care to watch Ashley from the corner of his eye. He followed her hands as they seemed to glide over the painting with ease. Her long skinny fingers embraced the brush, and kept it steady to permit it to dash blotches of organized radiance onto the surface of the board.
"I wish I could do that," Seuss said.
"What's stopping you?"
"I haven't the skill."
"Nobody starts with the skill. I would doodle when I was younger and over time I got better."
"It's a little too late for me. I figure if you're going to succeed as an artist you need the talent down by your twenties."
"Bullshit. Start now, get some work going, and keep practicing. You can be selling art by your thirties."
"But the money to get that kind of schooling…"
Ashley stopped and turned to face him. "Would you get out of your own way?"
Seuss rested in her blue eyes before he glanced down at her small pink lips. Ashley resumed her work. A few hours later they went into the city. Show Low was a small and quiet town. Most of its inhabitants were elderly and took much comfort in their elderly companions. Seuss had lived here with his grandparents when he was much younger. Silence had been his most common companion. The trees and snow never talked much, and neither did the dirt pile that he was lord of in his grandparent's backyard. They crumbled his kingdom of one and barked at him to be more like the surroundings: quiet and complacent. He had spent most of his weekends with them at the local Wal-Mart. They found it dazzling and exciting to obtain new objects to compliment their lives. Seuss could never take comfort in things. The art supply store had survived beside the huge market monolith for years. His grandparents had restricted him from going inside to prevent the growth of any ideas that might make a mess.
Seuss stepped inside the art shop for the first time with Ashley. She was quick to get what she needed, but they took the time to stroll down the aisles. Seuss marveled at the items, all of which he couldn't use, each with the capability of being more than a mere object, but a tool used toward something beyond things: creation, art, becoming. They went to check out. Seuss observed Ashley's one empty hand hanging freely at her side. Seuss frowned.
That night, Seuss and Ashley enjoyed a meal with Seuss' grandparents and afterwards, watched a movie by themselves. The wind had picked up and brushed against the windows of the cabin. Ashley shivered and abruptly turned off the television.
"What's wrong?"
"Could we start a fire?" She nodded at the fireplace beside them.
Seuss complied and they sat on the floor watching the tips of the flames weave a sporadic dance. Seuss glanced over and saw Ashley's watery eyes.
"He couldn't leave me alone. He couldn't accept that I was away doing something without him. Instead he had to call and make his presence known. When I first met Fred, he said such charming things and was a completely different guy. Then his words changed."
Seuss had not a word to offer. Ashley sat Indian style and Seuss placed his hand on her bare foot that poked out from under her leg.
"I'm here," Seuss said.
"And I'm afraid for you." She kept her head down and looked at his hand caressing her foot. "I'm tired." She got up. "I'll take the couch tonight."
"No, you sleep in the bedroom."
"I thought we were going to trade off."
"It's all right, I can- "
"You know the bed can fit us both, and I don't bite, too hard."
Seuss' heart began taking extra beats. Moments later he laid in the guest bed. Ashley entered the room and slid over to him. She turned her back to him and pulled his hand over her stomach. "You don't mind cuddling do you?"
"I fear for my life if I say no." He answered. He brought himself as close to her as he could. Her skin would've been as white as the snow if it weren't for a pink hue that was delicately mixed in.
"I would too if I were in your shoes."
Midway through the night, Seuss was awakened when Ashley turned around toward him. Her face rested comfortably in the pillow, and she didn't react at all when he shifted around slightly to take his arm off of her. He let his hand hover so close to her face that he could feel the warmth from her cheek. Just as his fingertips were about to touch her skin, she opened her eyes. Seuss stopped breathing as though something had clenched his heart. She grabbed the back of his head and pulled him into a kiss. They sat up, their lips still locked and their arms around each other. Ashley slipped off her shirt under which there was no bra. Seuss rolled his tongue around her nipple then moved his kisses down her stomach and then down further. They each moaned, and at the end of their last gasps fell into each other.

Seuss awakes to the sound of pounding at his studio door. His legs fail him at first and he reaches for a chair nearby. He pulls himself up and sits for a moment, running his hand through his thick black hair. The pounding continues.
"I'll be right there," he shouts. He feels a wet spot on his head, then looks up and sees the hole in his wall. There's a small puddle of blood on the floor in front of him. He rushes over and grabs a couple of posters from the corner of his room and lays them over the red pool. He opens to the door. Ashley's waiting outside.
"Took long enough," she says, walking past him. She stops just before the two posters covering his blood. "Wow, your walls are so white without posters, kinda like a madhouse."
"You ever been to a madhouse?"
"Then you wouldn't know what its like."
"We've all been in the madhouse so to speak."
"My pictures were making me sick. There's too much of me in them."
"Why's that one still up?" She points to her painting of the mountain.
"It's not me, its not even my world, it’s yours and I was never a part of it." Ashley lets out a long sigh. "So, what brings you here, finally?"
"Nobody's heard from you in weeks. I got scared when someone joked that you might've died. Your friends say they've called but you don't pick up your phone. Where have you been?"
He shrugs, "I've been here." He sits down at the end of his bed.
"You are a part of my world, but you're mistaken if you think you're the only one." A line of blood trails down from his head. She stops, "Shit, Seuss, you're bleeding!" She picks up some napkins on the table next to her and sits beside him. She looks through his hair. "You have a cut up here. Did you hit your head on something?"
He looks away, "Not that I can remember."
Ashley moves closer to wipe the blood from his forehead. He notices her blue jeans sparkling in some spots. Her leg is pressing against his.
"I like your pants."
"Thanks, although you have seen me in them about a couple hundred times." She discards a napkin and replaces it. Her lips are nearly at the tips of his eyelashes. In one quick motion he leans over and kisses her. She lets her eyelids drop and for a second the tips of their tongues touch, but she pulls away.
"Fred's waiting outside." She looks at him for a second before blinking away. Seuss simply stares at her.
"Why," he asks.
"You know why. I told him I was letting you borrow something and asked if we could stop by before heading home."
"Does he- "
Seuss shoves off the mattress and walks to the window next to the head of his bed. He sees Fred sitting inside his green Cadillac.
"I told him I'd only be a second, so…" she stands up and looks at him, her eyes trail away with her words.
"So I guess he's charming again?"
"Some people deserve a second chance."
"Don't I deserve a first?"
"I care for you, Seuss, just not in the way you want me to."
"Then why- "
"I was distraught and I'm sorry it happened. Besides you had to have known we were going to get back together. Everybody else did."
"How could I have known? Were you choosing him while kissing me? You were so angry with him on the phone, you sounded so adamant about being done with him, and then you changed face. You're right, this is a madhouse, and I'm in it because of you."
"Nobody forced you to think they way you do about me. You look and see me however you want and I don't really have any control over that. But whatever you might see the truth is I love Fred. I'm not sure if you know, but it's not easy to walk away from somebody you love. Especially when deep down inside you know you don't want to."
Seuss' eyes catch a group of people leaving a coffee shop across the street. He follows them as they speak jovially and turn the corner. They're happy. He's not among them. In the shop there is life. He isn't there. He looks up at the wall and stares at her painting.
"I can't be the object of your world. I've made my choice and I have many more to make. I can't deal with being your problem."
"You're not. I am. I thought we really shared something." Seuss removes her painting from the wall and hands it to her. "But I guess we didn't."
"What are you doing," she asks. "I gave this to you. It's yours."
"No it's not. You should display it in a gallery. It's an amazing painting." Seuss puts his coat on. "I've got to take care of my head."
They walk downstairs and stop just before Fred's car parked in front of the liquor store under Seuss' studio.
"You sure you don't want a ride to the hospital?" Ashley asks. He looks at Fred in the driver's seat.
"Yeah," Seuss says. "It's only a few blocks down. I can manage."
She stares at him for a moment before she leans forward and kisses his forehead. "Take care."
He nods his head yes. Ashley gets into the car and the Cadillac pulls away. Seuss watches it for a second and then starts in the opposite direction. Every few steps he gets dizzy, but he presses forward. It's midnight in the city of angels. All the shops along the sidewalk are dark inside, and a few bums are wandering about. After a few blocks, he spots a glow coming from a taller building. He turns into it and passes under a sign reading "hospital".

Friday, May 4, 2012

Being Apart From the Crowd: Authentic Solicitude Towards Others

Chapters 1-3 in the first division of Heidegger's, Being and Time, pertain mostly to the existential examination of Dasein as Being-in-the-world, the worldhood of the world, and the entities contained therein. The manner in which those entities exist within the world, and Dasein's relationship to those entities as an entity itself was explained as such:

"That wherein Dasein understands itself beforehand in the mode of assigning itself is that for which it has let entities be encountered beforehand. The “wherein” of an act of understanding which assigns or refers itself, is that for which one lets entities be encountered in the kind of Being that belongs to involvements; and this “wherein” is the phenomenon of the world. And the structure of that to which Dasein assigns itself is what makes up the worldhood of the world." (119)

 In the midst of Being-in-the-world, Dasein encounters many entities, some of which are objects that qualify as equipment for a goal or end (ready-to-hand) that signify involvements, others are merely objects (present-at-hand). Dasein is different from either in that Dasein is an entity whose Being is an issue for itself, but Dasein isn't simply alone in a world of things, it is accompanied by entities who also have Being as an issue for itself. It was Sartre, in his story, No Exit, who said that “Hell is other people,” and seeing as the world is papered with people, each of whom is an instance of Dasein, it seems as though we can't involve ourselves in the world without being involved with Hell. Despite people being a troublesome sort, they're entities that we are most concerned with, due mostly to their capacity for well-being. For those who are morally affluent, the well-being of people is of great concern to the degree that such a sort can agree that a world with less unnecessary suffering is far better than a world with more unnecessary suffering. I aim to show that in being consumed by what Heidegger called the “they”, we are allowing the temptation to live routinely override our moral obligation towards others.

Being-Alone As a Deficient Mode Of Being-With
I'll begin with Heidegger's initial concern in chapter 4 of the first division of Being and Time, and that is with the “who” of everyday Dasein. Dasein's concern with the world, as Being-in-the-world, is with the circumspection of its environment. In the midst of those things that are equipment, with others that are simply there, Dasein is attempting to accomplish certain ends by means of the former. If I wish to hang a picture up on my wall there are certain things that I require that will serve as equipment for my particular end. As long as the affair is running smoothly, I don't even notice my using hammer, instead I look right past it towards my goal. If my hammer should break by some means, or if the nail should bend before being inserted into the wall, suddenly I'm looking right at them instead of past them. Their existence has become all too apparent to me and seeing as it's due to their failure to serve their purpose, which is really my purpose, their existence has become rather irritating. For the purposes of this demonstration I shall portray myself as the impatient type who is prone to anger, and with all the might I can muster I slam the hammer to the ground hoping that it has learned its lesson not to fail my ends.

Humorous as this example may be, it only remains so if my object of abuse is exactly that: a thing. It would be a mistake to think that Dasein is an entity all alone in a world of things. There are other entities in this world that to whom such a fit of anger, as with the hammer, would cause great harm, as it would be just as harmful to look past them. One way Dasein is made aware of this is through the ready-to-hand. In the instance of someone who works at a grocery store, there is much toil that goes into the store's presentation, much of which involves ordering things in a manner that will enable such things to better serve as equipment for oneself, and others. From the way in which the items for sale are displayed and the height of the shelves on which they are placed, to the organization of shopping carts for the sake of availability, to the very cash registers themselves is Dasein made wise to the fact that these items that serve as ready-to-hand for it also serve as ready-to-hand for others, some, if not all, the mentioned items serve the purpose of serving others. Dasein, whose world frees things as to be exposed as items of involvement, also does the same for those entities whose Being is distinct from the ready-to-hand and the present-at-hand. These entities have the Being that is like that of Dasein, and as such, Being is an issue for them. Simply put, we are speaking of other instances of Dasein apart from the ontic “I”.

To be clear on what is meant by “I”, it shouldn't immediately be thought of as a given to the answer to the question of the “who”: “This definition indicates an ontologically constitutive state, but it does no more than indicate it.” (150) As “I” is constitutive in this manner, it ontically sets apart the Dasein that is in each case I myself from Others. In this way “I” functions as a formal indicator. Heidegger didn't see it as phenomenally adequate to take the “I” as a given in regards to the problem of the “who”, seeing as when it comes to Being-in-the-world, “a bare subject without a world never “is” proximally, nor is it even given.” (152) It was mentioned before that Dasein's world “frees” things, that is, it has the kind of Being that allows for things to be encountered as ready-to-hand. It is in this manner that Dasein discloses itself to itself, but this wouldn't be the case if Dasein didn't have this kind of Being. The ontic “I” as given does not help to indicate the “who” of Dasein seeing as simply stating “I am this entity” does not necessarily disclose Dasein in its everydayness. In this respect, Heidegger thought that one could make the claim “I am this entity” and have it be a false claim. Seeing as it was mentioned that Dasein is an entity which is in each case I myself, this may appear to be a contradiction, but “I” is false in this sense only as a formal indicator:

"Perhaps when Dasein addresses itself in the way which is closest to itself, it always says “I am this entity”, and in the long run says this loudest when it is 'not' this entity." (151)

Heidegger states something similar later when discussing the authentic 'I':

"The they-self keeps on saying “I” most loudly and most frequently because at bottom it is not authentically itself, and evades its authentic potentiality-for-Being." (369)

Seeing as “I” can be false as such, i.e., reveal itself as its opposite in some phenomenal context of Being, it's best not to take it as a given for the problem of the “who”. It is by this understanding that “not-I” is not an instance of an entity that lacks “I-hood”, but rather the kind of Being which Dasein possess in this sense is one of having-lost-itself. This sense of “I” is important to keep in mind as it will be crucial to my case, given that this sense of “I” is the most commonly appealed to amongst the they as an appeal to the “who”.

It may seem that refusing to take the “I” as given as an adequate starting point for the investigation of the “who” of everyday Dasein leaves us with nothing and nowhere to go. This line of thought in-itself is a misunderstanding of the they-self attempting to interpret the Being of Dasein from within the confines of everydayness. Before we can see the nature of this problem of interpreting, it first must be made clear the “who” of everyday Dasein from an existential perspective, one that involves taking into account a phenomenal context in regards to “what maintains itself as something identical throughout changes in its Experience and ways of behaviour, and which relates itself to this changing multiplicity in so doing.” (150) Returning to the consideration of Dasein's Being-in as revealing a totality of involvements within-the-world, having goals that consist of utilizing things that are endowed with purpose by my Being-in and being concerned, we see that things aren't the only entities to be revealed by Being-in, but other Daseins are encountered within the context of the ready-to-hand (this cash register is to serve me serve others). The cash register seen in isolation would make as little sense as would seeing Dasein in isolation. Given this type of co-determination, Heidegger felt the best place of departure ought to be from Being-in-the-world. It was an entity whose Being is like that of Dasein that is revealed to Dasein as Being-in, and this other entity is 'in' the world at the same time as those things that Being-in discloses as within-the-world; this entity is 'in' by way of Being-in-the-world. This other entity, can be understood as the Other. By “Other”, Heidegger doesn't mean to consider such an entity as one who is “apart from me”, from whom the “I” stands out. On the contrary, we are to understand the Other as from whom one doesn't distinguish oneself, as those to whom the Self is to considered as being on common ground with; those among whom one is too. Being-in-the-world is a state which one shares with Others as with-world, as such, Dasein as Being-in is Being-with Others. The Other, then, is “in your shoes” as also Being-in, and can be addressed as the Dasein-with of Others.

As we begin to approach our understanding of Hell (which should be understood simply as an address of a tumultuous situation and not of some terrestrial sinister presence), the misunderstanding that one can have in considering any portion of Dasein's existence as Being-alone ought to be addressed. Much like the Dasein that is in each case I myself, Dasein is not to be grasped as something present-at-hand seeing as Being is something that 'I' take issue with. Given that the Other is among whom one is too, the Dasein-with of Others is an entity whose Being is an issue for itself. When looking back at the hammer, a thing whose Being is not that of Dasein or Dasein-with, my anger with the instrument holds no consequence to the instrument itself. One may protest, just to annoy me, and say that if I were to break the hammer then its state may change to simply present-at-hand, and thus I have brought about a consequence for the hammer. We should see, however, that this consequence is in light of the Other's protest, that the item that was once ready-to-hand, and now is no longer, provides a consequence to someone else who may have wanted to use it. Its Being is an issue for Dasein, not itself. Within that context it should be easy to see that my actions, which don't have consequence for things in the world, will have consequence for the Other. Those who may read this might think “of course” as though such a notion is obvious to all, but there are those to whom such an idea is not obvious, and there are even those to whom it is obvious to, but they believe this knowledge serves as good reason to forget it. These two discourses will be examined further when we get to Singer's “Pond Dilemma”, and some mentioning of Haugeland's interpretation of Heidegger and “juggling roles”. In the mean time its important to note that any conception of Dasein as Being-alone is not a justified state that Dasein can have other than it being simply a deficient mode of Being-with:

Being-with is an existential characteristic of Dasein even when factically no Other is present-at-hand or perceived. Even Dasein's Being-alone is Being-with in the world. (156-157)

As Dasein is understood as Being-in, and Being-in is Being-with, one can't be alone without Being-in-the-world, and thus Being-alone is Being-with; Dasein-with is existentially constitutive for Being-in-the-world. One may refer to examples of a “lonely night” in which one is either wandering dark empty streets, or is alone in one's room left only to one's thoughts. Are not these examples of Being-alone? No.

In an instance of a lonely night, one may feel as though there is no world apart from their melancholy, but this is not so. In either case, it seems as though one wants to imagine that in being alone with my thoughts is Being-alone. But the mind never seems to turn off as it regards its dealings with the environment, to the extent that most of the time it doesn't even realize its turned on. Being-in-the-world puts Dasein in a position of revealing to itself a totality of involvements with the things around it. As the ready-to-hand is present insofar as Dasein is Being-in, then things are there with us, as the mode of Dasein-with also reveals the Dasein of Others to itself. Being-with is in every case a characteristic of Dasein, and when considered as such, my involvement in the world is dependent on Others, and reflectively as much as my Being is determinative of the Other. This co-dependence is critical when we consider that one is as one does, and what one does will not be in isolation. This co-dependence I also problematic to the enigma of “who” see as so long as one understands oneself in terms of the with-world, one is in subjection to the Other and is not itself.

The They-Self
As the Other is an entity among whom one is too, and one is as one does, the same can be said of the Others: they are as they do. We are correct in understanding the Other as an entity whom one does not distinguish from oneself, but our everyday Being-with-one-another is in a position of subjection, and this is understood existentially as distantiality. In Being-in-the-world, our circumspection with the ready-to-hand must be interpreted in terms of care, the existential formula for which is “ahead-of-itself-Being-already-in (a world) as Being-alongside (entities encountered within-the-world)”. The details of this structure are complex and require a great amount of detail beyond the parameters of the they-self, but we have received some hints at this structure from the state of Being-in. For this study, all one need know is that Being-in-the-world is essentially care, and the Being of Dasein is to generally be defined as care. As Dasein-with, there is constant care toward the way in which one differs from the Others, and this concern can either be due to lagging behind and desiring to catch up with Others, or being ahead of them and being able to keep them suppressed, both relations to Others is said to be distantiality. Concern over distantiality places Dasein as everyday Being-with in subjection to Others. When the “I” was being sorted out before, and it was pointed out how one could claim “I” while Dasein is not itself, we have arrived at that case.

Subjection to Others has taken Being away from Dasein and Dasein is none the wiser. Being-with as such doesn't get us any closer to the “who”, but instead has placed Dasein within the grasp of the “they”.

"The “who” is not this one, not that one, not oneself, not some people, and not the sum of them all. The 'who' is the neuter, the “they”." (164)

Returning to the grocery store, in utilizing the carts, registers, walking in designated aisles, following signs, exchanging cash, and other such mannerism that are involved with shopping, one's own Dasein is being dissolved into the Other. My ability to discern the Dasein that is in each case I myself vanishes as one is subjected to Others. As distantiality brings about subjection, distantiality is grounded with one's concern with averageness, an existential characteristic of the they. In desiring to either catching up with, or mastering, the Other, Dasein is giving up its claim to Self, it is seeing itself in light of the they, as prescribed by the they (we do as they do).

In the article, Heidegger On Being a Person, Haugeland addresses the conformity that seems to take place in regards to the they. As Heidegger doesn't make it exactly clear in which instance is conformity positive, and when it's negative, conformity in the former sense is as such because it is by this partaking in the everydayness of worldhood that Dasein as Being-with comes to an understanding. This understanding is exhibited by Dasein's involvement as “normal” as it concerns the they; Dasein is using things and composing itself correctly. It's in the same context that conformity is also negative as the they has stripped Dasein of its Being and obscured its potentiality-for-Being from being disclosed to itself. The positive aspect of conformity is what Haugeland described as “[a] tendency to see that one's neighbors do likewise, and to suppress variation.” Again, this is meant to indicate that Dasein acquires intelligibility by means of a totality of involvements, the ready-to-hand that indicate the Other. Apart from this we will concern ourselves primarily with the negative aspects.

Towards the beginning of Haugeland's article, he describes the conformity implied in Being and Time as “systematic peer pressure”. Haugeland's analysis of the they starts by likening the kind of Being of everydayness that the they prescribes to that of a herd of cattle. He too distinguishes our study from an ontical environmental position of entities as he claims that it is not the herd itself that comes together when beckoned, rather, it's behavioral norms. Haugeland interprets the cluster of the herd as such because the herd's behavior is generated and maintained by censoriousness. Looking back at Heidegger, we can see censoriousness as “leveling-down”. In averageness, the they determines what can and can't be done, what is acceptable and what isn't, and any nail that sticks out above the rest is hammered down. Seeing as care is what compels Dasein toward averageness, an essential tendency of Dasein is revealed as leveling-down. Similar to the “hammering down” analogy, leveling-down hammers in all possibilities of Being for Dasein so as to make them level, and as such, unnoticeable. Haugeland understood this as keeping “out-of-step behavior” in check, to consider anything atypical and abnormal as what one is “not supposed to do”. It is by Dasein's leveling-down that averageness is maintained, and the desires and goals of the they become the desires and goals of the one.

The three ways of Being for the they thus far are distantiality, averageness, and leveling-down. Each constitute what Heidegger calls “publicness”. It is by publicness that the they has dominance over Dasein. Norms are no longer something that one sees, but rather, much like the hammer when fulfilling its purpose, they're transparent and in effect. Dasein is not itself while consumed by publicness, instead it is dancing to the beat of another drummer, and it is doing so while being none the wiser to it. As mentioned before, Dasein's everyday participation in the they obscures the notion that Dasein is in each case I myself.

"Everyone is the other, and no one is himself. The “they”, which supplies the answer to the question of the “who” of everyday Dasein, is the “nobody” to whom every Dasein has already surrendered itself in Being-among-one-other." (166)

 As it is care that inclines us to distantiality that in turn puts us in subjection, Dasein is comfortable in the grip of the they. One may think of not-Being-oneself as easier and simpler than Being-oneself, and, as it was mentioned before, the “I” that one says the most loudly is misunderstood as the “who”, but while in the grip of the they, our misunderstanding is one we have in ignorance. After all, any instance that may seem out of sorts for publicness is leveled-down, and a recognition of the error of “I” would be such an instance. This is definitely a case in which ignorance can be said to be bliss, given that, as Heidegger continues forward in his text, one's discovering the Self is a complex and a difficult task, and it seems to be far easier to be wrong and just shout “I”.

The comfort that the they seems to provide is progressed further by disburdenment and accommodation. When Dasein is disburdened, it is relieved of agency, as “Everyone is the other, and no one is himself...”. In surrendering to the they, Dasein has been relieved of accountability seeing as it can invoke the they to be answerable for its activities. It's in this sense of being invoked that the they accommodates Dasein by disburdening it from accountability. This accommodation is a comfortable position for one to be in as one is enabled to always “pass the buck”, and, seemingly, be justified in concluding that one's actions aren't one's own. It is by these measures, including leveling-down, that Sartre was inspired to bring forth his notion of “Bad Faith”, in which he criticized such behavior as being self-deceptive. Sartre's stance was one of absolute free will: “Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.” (Being and Nothingness) Sartre's own investigation into the meaning of Being saw instances of Bad Faith as a problem, given that free will is an absolute, one commits oneself to accommodation and disburdenment freely, i.e., one chooses not to choose. Although Sartre's total account of Being doesn't exactly line up with Heidegger's, both envision that Dasein (or in the case of Sartre, the “For-itself”) has the capacity to phenomenally escape the clutches of the they, and to authentically take account of oneself.

How Dasein Steps In: Solicitude
The interpretation of the “they-self” as a way of Being-with that Heidegger presents gets back to his question of the “who” only in regards to the everydayness of Being-with-one-another. It is in the everyday sense that the question is answered. The scope of this essay is to keep to the analysis of the they-self, but as mentioned above, Heidegger believed that one can escape the they and take hold of oneself, to authentically Be-one's-Self, a mode of Being that he thought to be an existentell modification of the they. Haugeland considers such a state to be like that of “juggling competing properties”, and that when Dasein succeeds in doing so, it is in the mode of confronting conflicts and resolving them. Haugeland saw this mode as being a higher-level disposition of self-criticism, a mode considered to be on the complete opposite side of the spectrum from disburdenment and accommodation. On the side of the latter we simply “slide,” to take the path of least resistance, and concern ourselves with only those most immediate of issues. We forget, or level-down, those that are not immediate, out of one's ontic proximity, and temporarily out of sight. While on the side of self-criticism we don't let some dispositions override others, instead we resolutely alter or eliminate dispositions. It is in this sense that Haugeland interpreted authenticity as self-ownedness, i.e., getting one's act together.

While Haugelands interpretation of Heidegger gives a nice glimpse into the implications of Authenticity, the particulars of which require far more detail than what can be allowed here. However, there is a state of Dasein's Being that is bound up with its authentic Being towards itself, and that is solicitude. We are to understand “solicitude” as corresponding to “concern”, for they are both interpreted in terms of care, the difference being that concern is a character-of-Being that Being-with can't have as it own. What concern has in its sights are objects, and thus is involved with things ready-to-hand, while solicitude is a character-of-Being through which Dasein as Being-with comports itself as towards those entities whose Being is like that of Dasein. In other words, solicitude is a state of Dasein's Being whose issue is with the Being of Others.
Heidegger introduces us to solicitude by its modes of deficiency. Such states include Being for, against, or without one another, passing one another by, and not “mattering” to one another. Each of these different ways of solicitude, which are understood as deficient and indifferent modes, characterizes everyday Being-with-one-another. In this sense, the Dasein-with of Others is barely, if at all, distinguishable from the ready-to-hand. If we are to take the Dasein-with of Others as something ready-to-hand, as a piece of equipment, then my angry-at-hammer scenario would hold as little consequence to the hammer as it would to a person whom I may decide to pick up and throw against the ground because he didn't assist fulfilling my ends. Is this not the same dilemma that we face in the work place, when bosses and managers, who are concerned solely with profits, look past those “things” that are serving their ends so long as they are functioning? What is the usual response that such management has to those “things” that interrupt their goal? They're fired of course, and it is not the ready-to-hand that a boss fires, but a Dasein-with of Others that has been mistaken for something ready-to-hand.

Deficiency implies the adequate, and as it concerns the adequate mode of solicitude, there are two possibilities. The first of which can be said to be a leaping in, in which Dasein jumps in for the Other and takes over that which he or she may be concerned with. This may have the appearance of help, but it is in fact a way in which the Other whom one leaps in for is dominated. Care is taken away in this form of solicitude, and the Other can either step back and watch as you take care of something for him, or the Other can simply disburden himself from the task at hand. Since the Other is in a state of concern regarding the ready-to-hand, and is also in the position of disburdening a thing or event from itself, the Other in this sense is most likely in the thralls of the they, and thus is in a very vulnerable position to be leapt in for.

The other mode of solicitude is to leap ahead of the Other in its existentiell potentiality-for-Being. In this mode Dasein is not taking care away from the Other, rather, it is to give it back to the Other so as to make him aware of his potentiality-for-Being. To distinguish this from leaping-in, leaping-ahead can be seen as a master and student type of relationship. The master isn't so much molding the student to be a particular way that might not be of the student's choosing, instead the master, who is wise to many ways of life, is helping the student's disposition to be open to various possibilities, each of which the student in turn will choose for himself. This sort of solicitude pertains to authentic care, and it assists the Other in a way that allows him “to become transparent to himself in his care and to become free for it.” (159)

“The Pond Dilemma” and the Belief Of Well-Being
Given what has been presented in regards to the they-self, and authentic solicitude, I will briefly present two ethical views, one of which originally presented by Peter Singer, the other by Mylan Engel, Jr. Both should exhibit how being consumed by the they, and appealing back to the they endangers our ethical standards and beliefs.

In his article,”Famine, Affluence, and Morality,” Singer describes a situation in which he is going about his business, headed to lecture to be exact, when he notices a small child has fallen into a pond and is in danger of drowning. Would anyone deny that he ought to wade in and pull the child out? Apart from saving the child, the consequences of his rescue are simply that his routine is disrupted. As it may be imagined, any instance in which the they is disrupted from everydayness, usually by something uncanny or abnormal, in this case a drowning child in a pond, the Dasein-with whose Being is care comports itself toward averageness, and in order to acquire or maintain average everydayness, Dasein-with has the essential tendency to level-down. This implies that the pond dilemma, as disruption to his lecture, will be evened out among a variety of norms so that the possibility of attempting rescue gets obscured in the mix of activities that the they prescribes in order to better retain its dominion. Dasein, whose being has been taken away by the they, does not have it potentiality-for-Being disclosed to itself, but rather it it is prone to disburdenment. The they, which constantly accommodates, will hold Dasein in a position in which it will rescue the kid only in the instance that rescuing is advocated as a norm by the they. If the latter be the case, then it may seem as though the they-self may still be able to achieve some ethical ends, but it does so in the absence of authentic solicitude. As it said before, the they answers the “who” of everyday Being-with-one-another, not of authentic Being-one's-Self.

One may wonder what the problem is, so long as the kid was saved what does it matter if it was the they-self that instigated it, or authentic Dasein? With the former, as Dasein has surrendered to the they, it is disburdened from accountability and can always invoke the they to be accountable for one's agency. In this particular instance we can imagine that it is a social norm to save a child from drowning in a pond as decided by the they, but what if the they had prescribed things differently? The problem here is that nothing changes in Dasein's compliance; conformity as compliance is accommodating for Dasein. We can't get upset at the bloke who didn't rescue the child, and due to the accommodating they, we can't get upset at anyone for the incident seeing as the “who” of everyday Being-with-one-another is answered as “nobody”; Dasein as “nobody” is not accountable for its actions. Of course we can say ontically that there was someone present to the child as he was drowning, but if the entirety of the this scenario is understood within the grip of the they, not only is it that “nobody” doesn't rescue the kid, but there is also “nobody” to criticize the indifference. When I suppose that “we can't get upset,” the “we” that I'm presuming is from an authentic state of solicitude, in which we understand the well-being of the Other as a potentiality-for-Being. This solicitude is vacant in the they, seeing as potentiality-for-Being is an authentic state-of-Being for Dasein, a state in which it understands itself in light of its possibilities. In the instance of leveling-down we're left to ask what possibilities?

As it is the they that decides the fate of the drowning child, we can only hope that the they have prescribed matters to be in the child's favor. The problem of the pond dilemma as taken to be an incident contained within the confines of the they is that one can only do as they do. I should hope that the scope of this problem will be taken into account as such that we can imagine many like scenarios in which the well-being of the Dasein that is in each case I myself, or the Dasein of another, may be threaten, and its well-being is taken into account only if the they prescribes it as acceptable to do so. If the they should prescribe indifference towards the child, then our dismay can only come from being extracted from the they, a state that is achievable as prescribed by Heidegger, Sartre, and Haugeland. Th latter offers self-criticism as a glimpse of Heidegger's notions of Authenticity, and by Sartre's doctrine of Bad Faith we are given a proposition that places Dasein in a condemned state of accountability.

As the pond problem was interpreted in regards to everyday Being-with-one-another, the point of departure for Engel's proposition is one that is extracted from the they, but the problem here is the appeal back to everydayness. In his article, “Hunger, Duty, and Ecology,” Engel refers back to Singer's pond example, but more for the use of drawing out a belief that those who are morally affluent are likely to oblige. The belief is simply that a world with less unnecessary suffering is better than a world with more unnecessary suffering. He interprets most moral arguments as being troublesome for people because they usually impose onto them things that they don't want to do, an example of this is animal rights arguments. Arguments advocating that animal welfare ought to be considered troubles most seeing as it imposing that one do something that one may not want to do, e.g., not eat meat. Engel's position is different, however, in that he does not seek to impose any of his beliefs onto you, instead he seeks to show that it is your very own beliefs that commits you to certain moral obligations. His argument strings together a collection of beliefs that one may have regarding the well-being of others, and if one agrees to believing in the collective whole, then one is committed to the “moral obligatoriness” of one's own beliefs.

The string of beliefs is long and I will not recite them all here, but one of which was stated earlier regarding our tendency to advocate less unnecessary suffering over more unnecessary suffering. He notes that one is obliged toward this belief in a manner that is of no great detriment to oneself. Being as such, if one is poor, and barely has the funds to feed oneself, then it would be irrational to believe that he ought to donate towards famine relief (Engel's aim). As it pertains to those of us that are actually able to donate a small portion of our salary at no great cost to one's own well-being, then there is really nothing obstructing one from committing to one's own belief. However, it's quite possible that the knowledge of Others suffering elsewhere may come as a major inconvenience as it concerns one's daily routine. I'm sure nobody wants their latte purchase to be interrupted with the consideration that one could abandon their purchase and instead donate the $4 to a famine relief organization. As we are conceiving of Dasein's Being-with in this instance as initially one of authentic solicitude, the problem occurs when knowledge of those suffering elsewhere comes as an inconvenience, and seeing as it is one's very own beliefs on the matter that is making one's potentiality-for-Being apparent to oneself, Dasein may find the they's constant accommodating as all too tempting. Dasein in this instance may feel overwhelmed with its very own potentiality, and as such, may resort to an appeal to publicness. Much like the pond, Dasein may become alleviated from its own beliefs if it chooses to duck for cover within the they-self where it will be met with the graces of disburdenment and accommodation. As Dasein has made it imperative to appeal to the they in this instance, it does so not only to obscure its potentiality-for-Being from itself, but also as to run from its ability to consider the well-being of Others, to run from authentic solicitude. As such, the truth of the belief regarding the well-being of Others is not in question, but rather confirmed, and this gives Dasein all the more reason to run as it is not willing to incur interruption onto its everydayness.

Self-Criticism As a Way To Account For Well-Being
Going back to Haugeland's self-criticism, he thought that when Dasein is in the position of “juggling competing properties,” it has the option to either slide into the path of least resistance (everyday Being-with-one-another), or to confront conflicts and resolve them (authentic potentiality-for-Being). As we did not go into the details of authenticity as Heidegger understood it, we viewed Haugeland's brief interpretation of authenticity under the state-of-Being that is Self-criticism. Looking at Engel's proposition of “moral obligatoriness”, we have a scenario in which Dasein, who observed the belief with dismay by means of authentic solicitude, may feel tempted to fall back into the they seeing as solicitude in this way is the most difficult to sustain. This is greatly due to such solicitude is carried out apart from the they, and as such, one is completely accountable for one's involvements, no appeal can be made to the they as to whether an interruption to the routine should be addressed or not. If one should choose not to address it, Dasein as authentic Being-one's-Self is answerable to what has been nullified in its potentiality-for-Being, and Dasein is Guitly! of said nullity.

In the juggling alluded to by Haugeland, Dasein has two roles to consider, two potential ways of Being. The first of which is to be the one who “enjoys one's lattes on a daily basis”, the other to be one who “gives up at least one latte to donate to famine relief”. We do not have to consider either role as better than the other, but what Haugeland suggests with juggling is a higher-level disposition of self-criticism that entails the Dasein does not simply let some ways of Being override others, but instead to resolutely alter its ways of Being or eliminate them. Either way, Dasein in this regard is self-owned, and as such, frees itself to better consider the well-being of Others.