This is it

As the time is not other than appearing, appearing is the arrival of time. What is it that appears? Appearing appears.

— Dogen, ‘Ocean Mudra Samadhi’ (Tanahashi 2010, 381)

5 thoughts on “This is it”

  1. GF in TS: “We might even say, with Peirce, that there is only one phenomenon, one continuous appearing, which he called the phaneron.”

    But for us the ‘appearing’ has a context which is our history, and this is very deep.

    It appears that my dear friend of many decades, Layna, is in a coma after an aneurysm in the brain, and will not recover. Her husband, Nick, will have to decide if/when to “pull the plug.” At the hospital yesterday seeing her with with tubes in her mouth, nose, forehead, her face covered in a clear plastic mask, this beautiful, good , kind, generous, loving woman who is one of my best friends for decades now, began a grieving in me which I have been hard put to control.

    My philosophical point: appearance is laden with existential meaning (all three Peircean cateories represented in that sentence, I think).

    1. Gary, my heart goes out to you and Nick and Layna.
      It seems that the appearances that affect us most deeply are the discontinuities of the phaneron, the ruptures in the web of life-experience.

  2. Thank you. The continuity of a relationship involves a history and future, and the history, and even the meaning of that history projecting towards a future is very deep (why I earlier wrote: “the ‘appearing’ has a context which is our history, and this is very deep”). The phaneron, as broadly as one may conceive of it, can in no way be seen as equivalent to that continuity. In my understanding it cannot be, almost by definition, even the ‘site’ of discontinuity in Peirce’s theory of the tripartite moment (vs the abstract, mathematical instant). In a word, as I understand Peirce, there is no Reality without all three categories being involved, and time is required for depth of, for example, feeling. The phaneron is, apart from 2ns and 3ns, nothing in itself.

    1. Yes – Not only is there no Reality, there is no *phenomenon* without all three categories being involved. But it’s the Secondness, the unexpected interruption (like Layna’s aneurism), that strikes us with the *force* of Reality. Everything that can appear at all, real or not, is included in the phaneron, of course, but we often pay no attention to it when it’s only a possibility or a continuous presence. But as Peirce said, reality is compulsive.

  3. Yes, it is the existential force that more noticeably than anything else breaks the continuity–Layna’s aneurysm, for example. But then the whole of the relationship–the 40 years of it–the history of it is brought equally forcefully to mind and feeling, and the future sense of the loss of that relationship, awareness of her husband’s suffering, etc.

    All that 1ns, feeling, and 3ns, thought is, as I see it, as significant as the 2ns, which is shocking enough for sure. Yes, Peirce wrote “reality is compulsive,” but he also wrote that reality is principally a matter of 3ns which, I take him to mean, it is a matter of all the categories as 2ns and 1ns are involved in 3ns.

    It is possible that we often tend to be too caught up in 2ns as such, existence as such, that we can at times almost reduce reality to 2ns, something Peirce sometimes seemingly does, but mainly avoids doing. For me–and as I see it, for Peirce–this notion that reality is principally a matter of 3ns–is a religious matter (not so much “thinking about reality” but seeing it in a vast evolutionary context).

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