to counter my unproductive reading habits, i carry around with me, Being and Nothingness. i read it while i am trying to forget my worries. it is easy to get lost in sartre and feel like something else matters. i am not far into this piece of grandiloquence work. i think i have reached the fiftieth page and turned back twenty pages to reread. for the last four years. when reading heavy philosophical texts, i still underline and highlight like a college student.
here are a collection of lines that i think i may comprehend.
“being is. being is in-itself. being is what it is.”(page 29)
as sartre sets out to exhaustively iterate consciousness, it seems rather endless and undefinable because of consciousness’ necessary coupling with being. to begin, sartre states: “all consciousness is consciousness of something.”(page 21) this statement can be sorted out by comparing it to similar statements, ‘all smelling is the smelling of something,” or ‘all seeing is seeing of something’, since, nothingness has no flavor, odor or visual object-hood to taste, smell, or hear, there must be it’s opposite, something, to have these sensible characteristics. (note: using any ownership on nothingness [or ‘it’s’] is logically impossible but the nothingness i am referring to here is representation of the lack of somethingness.) i suppose further one might add that the somethingness that consciousness could have a vagueness to it. does this statement imply that by having consciousness, other things exist? perhaps, but sartre only implies clearly that being is objective. being cannot be subject because subjective truths already imply that something exists. sartre is trying to state that being is objective to us because we are always already thrown into being as such. further, being is a phenomena, it presents itself to being and in this way also presupposes its own existence. “it is that which escapes, that which by definition will never be given, that which offers itself only in fleeting and successive profiles,"(page 22) sartre states, a statement which reeks of sartres’ phenomenological predecessors, like husserl, who postulated that very idea in Being and Time. (my little piece on the application of phenomenology to video games )
“consciousness is a being whose existence posits its essence,”(page 24)
a thing cannot lose its essence without ceasing to exist, and the essential nature of a natural kind, such as water or gold, is that property without which there is no instance of the kind.” the concept of subject that has consciousness is interdependently connected to the concept of its essence. they are inseparable.
“the primary characteristic of the being of an existent is never to reveal itself completely”(page 24) another way to think of this is by placing something as close to your eye as you can, without touching your eye; the eye or mind cannot evaluate what it is in front of it. or, if you were to blast a note from a trumpet directly into an ear; although you might recognize the first note of Taps if it were not so close to your ear, the note would feel more like pain and less like a B note. when things are too close to our senses they cannot be revealed entirely. the essence of being is something that one can never experience, since it is inseparable from consciousness, and to begin with, one cannot separate themselves from their consciousness.
“any judgment about being already implies being,” to which Sartre replies, “it is not necessary to pass beyond the being of this meaning toward its meaning.”(page 25) this line of reasoning reminds me of the skeptical cartesian cogito. by using the faculty of judgment one is already engaged in an act of being. the reply that sartre offers is confusing but here is my understanding:
being as two statements: BEING FOR ITSELF
BEING IN ITSELF
“it knows no otherness; it never posits itself as other-than-another-being." (page 28)