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Fragment 179, word count: 621.

Tags: caring, knowledge, learning, sensibility, phenomenology, sensation, time, representation, evidence, Edmund Husserl.

Caring is more important than sensation in the perception of anything, and caring is personal. Knowledge is always dependent on and derived from someone’s caring. It is always an elaboration, specification, and development of caring. Knowing is a personal effect and consequence of caring. That means that perception, as a means of coming to know, is also an application of caring, a personal act of anchoring care in certain particular actualities presenting as phenomena. Caring and what it is that cares are not adequately presented by a description of the most immediate actualities to which this caring is anchored. You can’t get anywhere near understanding the richness of a moment of personal caring (the living moment of a sensibility/ intentionality*) by mapping the most evident actualities it is conscious of. Phenomena don’t count as anything without being identified within the context of a perceiving sensibility. Larger dramatic vectors of personal caring are necessarily involved. Not only is the gaze of consciousness a gaze into nature from a particularly embodied drama, it is also a creative act in the drama, a move forward motivated by personal drama, and meaningful because of the essentially dramatic integration of knowledge and personally intended interventions. A perceiving and learning gaze is a personal drama in the act of building and playing out, of extending itself by going on living in the world.

Since Edmund Husserl (1858-1938), a definitive move of philosophical Phenomenology is to remove any suggestion of deriving from perception any knowledge of a Kantian “thing in itself” as absolute reality, so, bracketing off the question: does this experienced appearance represent something that is completely independent of being perceived?. What is bracketed off is the question of the representation of phenomena, the question of whether or not they represent, depict, or disclose some existent object which is independent in its reality of being perceived or not being perceived, being cared about or not. In this context, phenomena are technical objects of consciousness definable with maps of sensations, positioned quanta of sensory stimuli with specific qualities. They are impersonal arrangements of appearances (sense data) that may suggest an internal integrity. “To the things!” declare Husserl’s phenomenologists.

However, instead of putting attention on what might or might not be on the ‘far side’ of phenomena as given in sensations, it is decisively more important to deal with what is on the ‘near side’ of phenomena, the source of caring that is reaching future-ward through its sensory display. No matter what uncertainty there might be about sensory appearances as true depictions of impersonal actualities that lie beyond, there can be no doubt that the shape of caring in phenomena truly represents a personal sensibility and intentionality*.

Fragment 123, February 8, 2018, Brentano’s Gift (word count: 999)

Fragment 165, July 5, 2020, The Genius of Ephemerality (word count: 595)

In spite of the fact that the technical definition of phenomena excludes the personal, there is a sense in which actual phenomena must always represent a person, by a kind of backward representation. A personal ideality is always the matrix of phenomena. Whatever definitions might be imposed on phenomena, they are primordially experiences, and experiences are always acts of an experiencing sensibility, a person living a particularly embodied life. The most important representation by phenomena is a person, what it is that cares and brings caring to this existence. Caring is personal, a complex personal vector of drama within a willful sensibility. It isn’t possible to reveal what it is that cares and constructs a life of dramatic movements of caring by using descriptions of phenomena that bracket off the desperate ephemerality of what is personal. Although what-it-is-that-cares is never a phenomenon, the existence of phenomena is necessarily the existence of a unique dramatic ideality that is expressing its caring in its engagement with these phenomena.

  • ‘Intentionality’ in the sense of a pre-conceiving of future interventions in actuality for specific purposes, a poise within the anticipatory ideation of agency.

Copyright © 2021 Sandy MacDonald.