The term phenomenology was used for the first time by J.H. Lambert in 1764, and later by Kant, Hegel and Husserl. As we understand it today, phenomenon is what appears, what we see as we see it and we can faithfully describe, without judging it before we can see it precisely as it is. To pre-judge means to express a judgment on things before seeing them; in other words, it means to subject ourselves to a prejudice. That is why it has been said that phenomenology is a return to "the things themselves." It is also a return to the subject, to the cogitonot to the subject as an artificial category, but to the [real] subject proper, in the first person: to that subject which each one of us is, which is neither an abstract category nor pure thought. In order to accomplish this, it is necessary to suspend any knowledge, and any judgment made before experiencing acts and facts as they are lived; in other words, it is necessary to undertake the exercise of suspension which the Greek skeptics called epoché. It is necessary not to repeat abstract notions or categories, but to begin all over again and always to carry out the operations which found any knowledge and any science. A science which is based on the inheritance of results already acquired and not re-lived, is a science which enters a state of crisis in the sense described by Husserl in The Crisis of the European Sciences. We must not think that Husserl is against sciencethat would obviously be a very naive position. Husserl criticizes that science which is not founded on operations and thus posits the problem of foundations. Even Galileo's science, like contemporary science, can always forget its own discoveries, and thus rediscover itself. Husserl not only defends the concrete operations on which science is founded, but, in Logical Investigations, he analyzes the linguistic and semantic terms essential to science, and his ideal is that of philosophy as rigorous science. The final idea is truth, and it is truth which gives a rational structure to the world and to history. Truth is not static being, but a lived meaning, to be found over and over again in the exercise of epoché, in the acts, always renewed in time, which each of us performs, yet often forgets. What do we really do, how do we really live every day? This very question allows us to understand how, in a particular sense, phenomenology can make a diary possible, a diary in a new sense, where abstract words tend to disappear in order to make room for what words indicate but are not. A diary is not yet a phenomenology, but can be the introduction to phenomenology, and to this end I have picked my own diary, from 1956 to 1961, which may allow the scholar, or the reader who wishes to form an idea of phenomenology, to understand how one can arrive at it, and how I arrived to it. Those who wish to understand the path I followed can read, after the Diary, Tempo e verità nella fenomenologia di Husserl [Time and truth in Husserl's phenomenology] (Laterza, Bari, 1963) and Funzione delle scienze e significato dell'uomo (Il Saggiatore, Milan, 1963) [The Function of the Sciences and the Meaning of Man, Evanston, Northwestern University Press, 1972]. These works will be followed by Idee per una enciclopedia fenomenologica [Ideas for a phenomenological encyclopedia], which is about to be published by Bompiani, Milan.
At some point it occurred to me that phenomenology could be brought close to Marxism, and the Diary documents it.
The first hint of such a rapprochement can be found in the essay Fenomenologia e obiettivazione [Phenomenology and objectification], published in "Giornale Critico della filosofia italiana", II, 1961. Later, I talked about it at a conference held in Prague on October 24, 1962, and published in "Aut Aut", n.73, 1963. The words used in the debate between phenomenology and Marxism are varied. I notice that "objectification" is meant in the sense of "reduction of man to a thing," in the sense of man exploited, alienated and negated as an acting, working subject. This appears also in the Diary, but in 1961 alienation, a theme which has since been much discussed within and without Italy, was addressed only incidentally. As far as I am concerned, this debate was also encouraged by the Spanish and English translations of Funzione delle Scienze. The goal of phenomenology, its telos, becomes a society in which no subject, no concrete man, exploits another man. It is not just a question of humanistic Marxism, but of a new synthesis, of a new totalization, as Sartre would say, of a new encyclopedia, as I say. Encyclopedia is not just a relationship among the sciences, but the totality and the fullness of man and his actions.
I spoke of phenomenology for the first time in Principi di una filosofia dell'essere [Principles of a philosophy of being], Guanda, Modena, 1939. It was then a question of a dialectical, antinomic being, like the one Plato discusses in Parmenides. But all too often being is understood dogmatically, as something fixed, immobile and, at the same time, generic. My philosophy is different, it is not a theory of static totality, it is not an ontology, but a philosophy of concrete things and of men, and being, as meaning and truth, becomes a rational direction, the sense of all "morality," of all the subjects. The word being is to be interpreted rather as existence and truth of existencethis is how phenomenology founds existentialism, but when existentialism becomes ontology and forgets truth, rationality, logic, then phenomenology reclaims its rights ("the meaning of truth") even as it does not forget the concreteness of existence. That is why I speak of time and truth, and not, like Heidegger, of time and being. These are the terms where all the currents of contemporary philosophy meet. I realize that the terminology is subtle, but it is the reflection of a situation. And this happens on many levels: for example, the term being is usable also in the sense of reality, as against idealism, and there is no doubt that there is also a reality of the rational and of the logical. If the Diary has been widely read, it is also because it replaces a subtle discourse, such as the one we are engaged here, with daily experience.
Above all, in the Diary there appears the sense of time, the incarnation of philosophical truth in daily life. "Subject" and "transcendental" are words used by idealism. But the phenomenological subject is not the idealistic subject, if only because it has a live body of its own, and for phenomenology "transcendental" is a thought which can never be detached from experience. Certainly phenomenology is not positivistic, in the sense that it is "critical," that it does not accept any prejudices, not even those of "naturalism." With regard to logical positivism, its crisis and development place its problems close to the crisis and development of phenomenology: phenomenology too in fact is in a crisis, because it did not stop and its applications and its encounters present it always with new horizons.
The "subject" is the term which has stirred the greatest suspicion among those who insist on considering Husserl's position as that of a phenomenological idealism. I must insist that for me the subject is a mode of relations and an experience lived in the first person. Again: we can only start from what we ourselves experience. The subject therefore is a fundamental experience; not only, but each one of us is an experience for itself [for himself ?] and must recognize that there are also the others, who are for themselves too. Only in this way, if there exist relationships among multiple subjects, is every man's experience of the others constituted in all of its modalities. In other words, the subject is not a substance, but resolves itself always into centers of relationships. If we then analyze it, we find that it is a temporal and spatial moment, a historical moment, in the sense both of the physical sciences and of the human sciences. For this reason my phenomenology inherits the problems of contemporary science as well as those of existentialism and relationism. I take therefore the liberty to refer the reader to my book Dall'esistenzialismo al relazionismo [From existentialism to relationism], D'Anna, Firenze-Messina, 1937. One can say that relationism is the critique of the dogmatic and idealistic subject, and its replacement with the irreversible moments of time: it is because of this critique of idealism that phenomenology can speak again, and in a new way, of subjects. Each subject has in itself the structures of the world: thus phenomenology does not even exclude the objective requirements of structuralism, just as it does not exclude those of linguistics, to which the early Husserl made substantial contributions. A new linguistics, which will have its own future and which will find again, in a new form, the themes of the late Husserl, especially the theme of the crisis which must be considered as the crisis of the entire human civilization. Phenomenology is not contemplation, but ascesis, in the etymological sense of exercise. It is a transformation of society, which contains within itself the premises of its own destruction, but also of its own salvation. A diary is a personal way of living the crisis, of finding the directions of the dialectic. It is a critique of community, but [also] a critique of each individual, as Sartre demonstrates with his return to Flaubert. It is a lived reflection, with its own limits, which seeks however an encounter and intends to realize life concretely.
Pavia, March 14, 1956
Piazza Leonardo da Vinci, isolated, almost enclosed. The rough-textured, reddish medieval towers. Swallows surround them. Centuries of silence. I sit on a lonely bench, after my lectures at the University. I feel I must begin again, I have been wrong, I have not pursued clearly, resolutely, deeply what I was searching for. It's true: in every fact, in every isolated thing, there appear connections with all the things, with all the other facts. In time, in the time of nature and of history. And each fact is individuated, even if it has the form of all the other facts of its type. Individuation? What can it possibly mean? The individual is unique, yet he is everything. Philosophy begins when this one-single discovers it has within itself typical, essential relationships with everything else. No fact is merely individual, no fact is merely universal. Such necessary mediation of the fact is not a thing nor an idea, just as man is neither beast nor angel. Each reality is something more than abstract universality and something less than absolute realitysingular or total. I, the subject, am the first fact. Not the subject of idealism, not the absolute, but the concrete encounter of finite and infinite, of light and shadow. I, as a man, as man, who has within himself the world, even the world he does not know. Man: "dignum omni admiratione animal," "medium mundi." Neither celestial nor earthly, he can re-enter darkness or rise to the truth. Not by himselfbut with all the others, living and deadin a relationship with everyone else, with all the subjects. He can choose reason, life, or he can choose death, atomic self-destruction. But he is "dignum omni admiratione" because he carries within himself truth, because he has within himself the evidence of truth, because to be able to speak of evil he must have within himself good, good's life [?], a life he can not negate because it is his own intentional life in the first person, his being subject, his emerging as subject. But this is Husserl, and it is the contrary of the absolutization of the I because it is the relational mediation, the self-recognition of the truth which man carries within himself and which must be realized in history, in time, in the world. Individuation as the meaning of truth. Truth which becomes task, which negates the pre-constituted world in order to constitute it, to make it alive. A radical transformation for man: to become man as he has never been yet. But isn't this Husserl's return to the cogito? Will my relationism be possible without a revival of phenomenology? Existentialism is a sort of situation of factual doubt. It was correct to show that negativity is not even conceivable without the positivity of the truth we carry within ourselves, even if we fail to recognize it. We live in our own historical period, and within us there struggle its contradictions. its truths, its errors. We must begin all over again, with resolve and with patience, take up again our search, correct ourselves, burn away the "impure consciousness [?]" in order to re-discover in ourselves the sense of truth, the world's telos. As soon as we reflect on the path we have followed, we are brutally faced with the narrowness of our incapacity: we sense that error, darkness, vanity, superficiality, are in us, that we carry them within ourselves. But within ourselves there are [also] truth and life. The Greek world. Pericles. Athen's mistake. The conversation with the Apple-Trees in Thucydides. Sophocles feels madness' presence. Euripides seeks refuge in Thrace. Better stay with foreigners, if Athens becomes foreign to herself.
Machiavelli questions the ancients, and "they reply with their humanity [?]." A new Renaissance? A Renaissance for all mankind?
April 2, 1956
The towers. The past. To sense their meaning, their reason. Their history in the world in which they have lived and [continue to] live, in the relationships which constitute them and which constitute me. To allow them to become documents, to allow their silence to ripen into a name. To awaken them, to awaken us.
April 10, 1956
These ancient medieval towers, this solid past. The hard and impenetrable alterity of the object. Are they unresolvable into [in?] my subjectivity? But nature and history are not separate from us. We are asleep, objectified in them. Wewho await to be awakened.
Milan, April 12, 1956
We and things are linked by a mysterious pleasure, "ce plaisir special" Proust talks about with regards to the steeples of Martinville. "En constatant, en notant la forme de leur flèche, le déplacement de leurs lignes, l'ensoleillement de leur surface, je sentais que je n'allais pas au bout de mon impression, que quelque chose était derrière ce mouvement, derrière cette clarté, quelque chose qu'ils semblaient contenir et dérober à la fois."
Not something "behind," but something which has been concealed or which has sedimented, and which now must be unconcealed, in the present, for the future. Our entire life, as evident presence, is the reawakening, the clearing of the pastit is temps retrouvé. The truth, which was asleep, is transformed, becomes typical truth, essential figure. But, as it awakens, it continues to seek itself, to correct itself in the mutual relationships which constitute it, to seek fulfillment, a telos.
April 13, 1956
At each instant we perceive, because at each instant we live that which for the intellect is a paradox: the consumption of our life, which is new life. But, precisely because we perceive it, it is necessary for the past that we consume, like the coal produced by the amalgamation of the forests of the Paleozoic era, to be a reality; for that past, which formed them and gave rise to them, consumed them and killed them, and finally transformed them into coal, to have been a reality. And it is in fact this very reality which we perceive: the perception of the heat that today warms me is also the perception of the reality of those forests which lived before me, about three hundred million years before man appeared on earth. And if I do not dogmatize my perception into an abstract discourse, I feel, even when I do not know what it was, that there has been an existence on earth before man, an existence before what we usually call life, an existence which has always been preceded by another existence. Another existence before mine, before man's life, before the existence of the earth, of the solar system, of the galaxies. Perhaps because of this, today I can feel as mine the existence of what is other than I.
April 14, 1956
The horizon I see is limited by my gaze and fades away from the center towards the periphery of my eye, but this does not mean I doubt the existence of other horizons, those I know I could see by turning or looking from other vantage points. Horizons which are always present in the very perception of that horizon which I see now, and without which this horizon would not be what it is; horizons which not only can I and will I be able to reach, but also I can no longer or will never be able to reach. In what now I perceive, other times and irretrievable pasts are grafted, which make the present as it opens to the future. The present lives because of the past that dies, and can only cause a past to die if that past did really exist.
April 15, 1956
Everything is linked to a cosmic perspective. The universe emerges in me as a need, as a project, as a life within which it can proceed and within which, in that focal point with which man constitutes tension and intentionality, it engages the whole of itself. Man, who recognizes himself as invested with the meaning of the cosmos, who feels his own responsibility toward the sense of the universal process, recognizes the dignity of all perspectives and all forms, of minerals, of vegetables, of animals, of things and of persons. This is the pietas toward intentionality, the acceptance of that mysterious pleasure which links us with things, in which the search for being, for continuing correction, for harmony is always vibrating.
April 26, 1956
The life process, the emergence of intentionality continues in technology. The error of modern civilization is to have separated technology from life by not responding to the peremptory request for justice and harmony that life poses precisely through technology. An error which implies the other error of separating functions and of breaking life's intentional synthesis , as if tools could really perform their function when removed from their reciprocal relationships, and as if functions, taken by themselves, were really self-sufficient, not functions of the world, of man, of society. Man becomes he who inhabits a house, and the house must only serve the function of a dwelling, of a "machine à habiter." But it is I who inhabit the house and the house must become the extension of my body in the world that surrounds it, in its Umwelt. Man becomes he who must perform a certain job and must translate himself into the acts by which such job is performed. He becomes a specialist in a certain field and must ignore everything which does not concern his specialization. He must ignore the totality, open yet concrete, only in terms of which functions have a meaning. The unnatural use of technology divides men into castes of specialists in the name of a unity which must not be reached, but which is nevertheless as threateningly present as the tribunal in Kafka's universe. The separation between workers and the owners of the instruments of labor is the most typical expression of a general unnatural use of technology. These instrumentsprecisely because of the agreement[?] between labor and nature and between sense and logical order, between sensibility and category, an agreement they require in order to be constructed; precisely because they too are the expression of the hidden art of nature of which Kant spoke with regard to transcendental schematismrequire a non-contradictory behavior with regard to the rational sense of life expressed in them and, above all, a behavior which does not consider them merely as means and abstract and separate functions, a human behavior which does not lower the life of the others, the real "subjectivity" of other men, to the level of mere means. By negating such "subjectivity," human society falls into a contradiction with its own means of production, isolates technology in a formal universe, concluded in itself and autonomous. With the pretense of using the instrument without realizing a behavior grounded in social relation and rationality, which it requires in order to be truly positive, with the rejection of the agreement with the intentionality of history, man in fact ends up using the instrument against himself.
May 2, 1956
The illusion of the return, of the victory over irreversibility, is the magical incantation with which the eyes of the serpent, which like the Maya serpents incarnates the temporal cosmic cycle, fascinate us. We wish to return to the primordial mother, to the darkness and the peace of the maternal womb. But, since it is impossible to go back, and we proceed in any case toward the future, it is the future that becomes primordial peace, negation of life's labor, of the "discontent of civilization" [disagio della civiltà], as Freud said. This future, lived in this way, is self-destruction. It is suicide raised, as with the Mayas, to divine deed.
The forest, in Amazonia. Its magic. "Stay here" [Resa=Resta?], it says. And it devours you. The absurd of Recife's equatorial climate. The city's bustle against a background that wants to convince you that everything is useless, that each step forward toward truth is also a step backward toward error.
May 4, 1956
Valéry: "Notre esprit est fait d'un désordre plus un besoin de mettre en ordre." The struggle against disorder, obscurity, oblivion, fetishism, injustice, evil, incomprehensibility. There is something in the universe which seems to resist, which opposes awakening. A deep sleep. To side with the awakened consciousness, with the intentionality of truth, with reason, which always goes beyond itself. But reason is not a word or a set of unconscious, mechanical operations. It is life itself, it is logos. Intentionality is the living logos. In a non-abstract sense, it is logic. The danger of killing the life of logic with formalization, with logicism. Logos as continuation of life, beyond everything, despite everything. Once again Valéry: "Continuer, pour suivre quelque chose, c'est contre tout. L'univers fait tout ce qu'il peut pour empêcher une malheureuse idée d'arriver à son terme."
June 13, 1956
I read once more the Critique of Pure Reason (dialectic). Antinomies. The first antinomy. Thesis and antithesis, says Kant, are not abstract and formal, "legalistic", but depend on "the nature of the thing." Space and time are not "objects." The synthesis can not be completed. Infinity. Transcendental infinity. Dialectic therefore is not an abstract construct. Reasonthe plane of dialecticshould therefore, against intellect, be located on the plane of sensibility. Kant did not see this substantive commonality between sensibility and reason. Man feels reason. He feels the past that precedes him as infinite. He feels that before him there has been a history of the earth and of the universe. He feels that he can not bear infinity, the undetermined, the apeiron; that in it he could lose his own existence. He reacts. In the same feeling of the apeiron there is the feeling of the limit, of the peras (relationships with the "sublime" in the Critique of Judgment). He feels that the implication of the finite and of the infinite is not static, but has a temporal and intentional direction. All this applies to a phenomenology of perception.
June 14, 1956
Against infinity, which would ultimately be total indetermination, non-existence, what exists stands as permanence, rhythm, beat, temporal becoming which turns into figure. Scansion. Figurative structure. Rhythm eschews identity, remaining within analogy. Gradual variations. Birth, gradual duration. Maturation. Gradual dissolution. Intersection, conjunction, resonance, harmony. This is true of all that we perceive, of a phenomenology of the givenness of things, of their way of being phenomena. Rhythm, the rhythm in things, arranges itself both in different times and in different spaces. The shifting of rhythm. Kinesthetic analyses in Husserl. Figures, geometric figures in motion. Topology. Spatial resonances and analogies. Proportions. Fullness and emptiness. Volumes. Masses. All this is on the plane of the Lebenswelt, not of theoretical abstraction. Idealization in order to arrive at geometry as science, and also to constructive technology.
July 5, 1956
Perspectivity of nature. Nature, in the web of its relationships, contains both the forms which in it will emerge in the eyes of an insect, and those which will emerge in the eyes of man. Structure and rhythm can be translated into many languages, into many emergent forms. The problem of the translatability of the Gestalt. Between permanence and emergence there is a dialectical jump which makes "no man's land" possible. What Mereleau-Ponty says in his essay on Cézanne reminds us of Kirkegaard's Fear and Trembling.
July 23, 1956
To sleep. Thought seems to agree with the body: it does not emerge from the body. While asleep, do I live only as subject? Not only as dream, in any case. I am in deep touch with a kind of anonymous corporeity. While awake I begin to look, to move. My body becomes one of my expressions. While asleep such expression is disincarnate, is not realized in real movement but in a phantasm. Only in wakefulness is there a kinesthetic expression, a gesture which is actually performed. Language itself has its origin in gesture, in the life of the body. Gestural language.
Senigallia, August 8, 1956
On the Rocca dei Della Rovere . "Piazza del Duca." When I was three and a half, I used to live in a house on this square. From my window I could see the towers, the moat, the drawbridge.
On the same square, the palace which today belongs to the Baviera. The palace in which Valentino had Vitellozzo Vitelli and the others assassinated.
The city bastions. I am thinking of the morning when Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta, whose effigy Pius II had ordered burned a few months before, discovered to his amazement that Federico di Montefeltro's army was encamped around the town. Federico's troops had covered forty-five kilometers in one night. Sigismondo's defeat near the Cesano, shortly before the final defeat following the fall of Fano.
The Cesano is a stream with a very wide bed. If I cross it and climb toward the interior I find the town where I was born. After the Cesano, the Metauro, and after the Metauro, Urbino.
Urbino is the capital of the hills, of all the Marche's hills, to which the full meaning of this line applies: "The shimmering shoreline, from afar." Urbino was not a marine town and did not worry Venice. It always managed to play its cards well with the Pope. Towns that lived on, like thatalways somewhat teetering, as if in a gamble, without a proper civitas. There remain, beyond violence, the symbolic dreams: Malatesta's Temple, Federico's Castle.
Milan, September 22, 1956
To place between brackets, to reduce to subjectivity, is an act required by life, by a life which wants to be meaningful, which wants to choose its own meaning, the meaning of the others, the meaning of the world. To live is always to live beyond, to project oneself into transcendental figures, figures which are typical, essential forms of meaningful life, of true life (which are, for Husserl, the essences, the eide).
Reflection. Reflection lives in time and projects itself ahead of itself, with an intentionality aimed at something beyond itself. What it discovers is truth, a truth which was in me, but asleep, forgotten. The gaze, projected into the future, is the same gaze which re-awakens the past and discovers the sense of the reality of the present.
November 6, 1956
I experience things as hard, impenetrable. Space constricts me, limits my freedom. So does time. It seems obvious that I can not go back, that I am not allowed to experience irreversibility. I am not speaking of the technical concept of irreversibility, but of a lived, preconceptual, precategorical experience, of the impossibility of a return. For years I have been insisting on this point, but [some] pretend to believe that I mean to speak of the second principle of thermodynamics, in the sense that physicists use. I am speaking instead of an experience which precedes physics as a science, of an experience of the life-world, of the Lebenswelt. Irreversibility is one of the fundamental structures of the Lebenswelt, just like economic need, which does not wait for economics as a science in order to exist: in fact economics would not exist if there were no "economic structure" (Marx, [A Contribution to] The Critique of Political Economy). Husserl did not see this point except in relation to individuality, when he notes that the individual does not repeat himself and exists only once.
February 8, 1957
Myth, like the word, is the most dangerous of gifts. It can reveal the horrendous world of indistinction, the lack of difference between truth and error, between life and death. Such indifference [?], in Dostoevsky's The Devils appears as the foundation of the demonic. But myth reveals to us that we can not not detach ourselves, that we must detach ourselves from the nostalgia of the mother's womb. Since it is not possible to go back, the pain for the loss of the mother appears as need, as eros, as direction toward truth, as intentionality. Life as logos and faith, faith in the possibility of harmony. Tension of the senses and of the psyche toward truth, the daily labor needed to realize it. Those who had been initiated in the mysteries must have felt something similar to this faith, when the cut ear of wheat was shown to them, in silence.
April 14, 1957
If we really think about what we say to many persons with whom we speak every dayand who perhaps call themselves friendsit may seem we live in a desert. It is almost always clear what they want, what they wish you to say or do. It is especially clear when they believe it is not. We ourselves are like that to the others. An authentic encounter is a rare event. When it happens it is as if the root of the world had been reacheda solid, yet fragile, root which allows the world to make sense. Communication is sensing, consenting, reciprocal sensing (Einfülung). It is not a theory of communication. Philosophers of communication often do not make it possible. For the most part of men, for each one of usbecause we are such partlife is diplomacy.
April 16, 1957
The word detached from the body and from its history does not exist. The written word does not exist: by reading it we bring it back to its original incarnation, to ours, if we fail to imagine the living person who wrote it. The disincarnate word, if it were possible, would have no meaning. That is why sometimes we realize that a person who is speaking to us, if we look at him, if we see the play of his physiognomy, if we make present in us, in our body, the rhythm of his discourse, and the pauses, the stresses, the sudden suspensions, the silence, is pretending.
April 18, 1957
An encounter does not have a purpose only for one and the other. The purpose transcends those who meet. It is in the sense of the relationship. Both live for the meaning. They are themselves, and truly themselves, if neither is only himself.
The gaze (Sartre). The other's gaze. I live in his gaze, and I know it. He sees me, he listens to me. Reciprocal incarnation in the sexual act. Both closing in, each one in himself, or each one losing himself in the otherboth becoming, once again, solitude.
April 22, 1957
His entire person is expression. His body: a way of living the feeling. Language which becomes physiognomy, gesture, communion of Leib and Seele.
There is a style, a music which remains always the same in life. Even while waiting for the unexpected, which is present, in fact, precisely in the waiting.
April 30, 1957
Saint-Exupéry. A man who did not want to analyze but to realize himself. The dangerousness of his need for challenge. He wants to risk his life because for the joy of finding himself alive again. It is clear in Pilote de guerre. It is striking that he describes an action in which he managed to save himself, when we can presume that he lived a very similar adventure in the 1944 action in which he died. He seems to have described his own end.
Rome, May 1, 1957
Saint-Exupéry's Citadelle irritates me for its moralistic attitude and for its sententious, artificial style. In order to have a sense of himself, Saint-Exupéry had to reach the limit of risk. Do we have a better sense of ourselves when we are in danger? Is the sense of our subjectivity more intense? Two years ago, after the car accident, it was precisely as I was recovering my memory that there grew in me the fear of having lost it, of not having been there [?]. But that I had not been there I learned it later, when I could remember. The terror of losing one's presence is possible only in the presence. I remember very clearly that I could not give up analyzing myself. What does it mean to realize now that in a previous time we were not conscious, that we did not feel? Presence of non-perception within perception.
Milan, May 8, 1957
Reality and dream. It is not so easy to distinguish between them on the factual plane or on the logical plane. Will the distinction be in terms of the various degrees and ways of feeling that toward which we tend, that toward which we go beyond ourselves, thus in terms of the degrees and ways of intentionality?
Turin, May 15, 1957
On the Milan-Turin expressway, in full sun. The plain left the green in the background; its presence was in the yellow, overly harsh patches. Light which bends shapes and lines. Excessively strong presence of perception. Is abstraction a defense?
Milan, May 18, 1957
It's three thirty in the morning. I look out of the window. Faraway rumble of trucks. Houses are incomprehensible. It seems impossible to me that they remain there, indifferent, with so much human life enclosed within their walls. A drunk man walks by. Screams.
The philosopher: not only does he think the world always anew, but he lives it, he perceives it always anew with all of his senses, as an incumbent problem. Words and screams which demand an impossible solution? Then silence arrives. A full, vibrant silence. A background against which things are drawn as if they were virgin, just born now, in this moment. And they acquire a meaning, they become translucid, they allow a glimpse of their sense of truth. Be calm, therefore. Don't force things. Let them introduce themselves. You are not their owner.
May 20, 1957
The truth of the body, in the body. The idea of a deeper understanding of the phenomenology of Leib all the way to the problem of Einfülung among different types of humanity.
Memory of the Brazilian forest and the days spent in Bahia. The sense of a nature that penetrated me? My wake in front of the ocean? A black man singing in that solitude, playing a string instrument unknown to me.
A song that made me think of long years of suffering and slaveryor of the land of the ancestors, of the ancestors transported in chains, of a land that black man had never known.
May 21, 1957
The black man. Africa's awakening. It offers us a face of our humanity that until now we did not want to recognize. I feel he disturbs me deeply. Einfühlung: if I feel in him, in the black man, then something of myself is revealed to me which otherwise might have remained hidden forever. As man, therefore, I am also black, even though I never knew it. At first this frightens me, it makes me lose the sense of my life-ground, of the history which has sedimented in me. The discovery of the logos in Greece. But this logos, in order to be real logos, must not be just Greek. It can not renounce itself, but in order to be itself it must feel itself as part of an alterity which it had not yet recognized. A wider and wider, deeper and deeper, more and more difficult constitution of human intersubjectivity.
There is an African civilization, an African thought. There is an Indian civilization, an Indian thought. There is a Chinese civilization, a Chinese thought. And our Greek thought, in order to be itself, must discover itself in the other thoughts. To renew itself, to become other, in order to remain, to become logos again.
May 22, 1957
Is black man primitive? And what does "primitive" mean? Durkheim, Lévy-Bruhl. Husserl's unpublished K III 7 and his interest in Lévy-Bruhl. From a certain point of view (but it is only one of the many points of view), what is "primitive" is "precategorical", and in this sense it is not made obsolete or negated by "civilization," but continues in "civilization." I put "civilization" between quotation marks. In fact it is precisely to the extent that our categorical civilization is abstract that it is in a crisis. It has "concealed" its own origins, because it no longer knows how its concepts have been formed, it no longer knows what their purpose is, their meaning. Our concepts are valid in this or that field, but we no longer know if they are valid for man, for the subject who operates in all fields.
Yet, in some sense, it is true that primitive man is "barbarous;" like us however, like us Europeans of the two world wars. If primitive man must free himself from his barbarism, from sado-masochistic relationships, from aggressivity, if this is true, to the extent that it is true, then we too must free ourselves from barbarism. If primitive man is abnormal, if his way of feeling is pathological, then we too are pathological. The sense of the cult of Asklepiades in Sophocles: mankind is ill, like Philoctetes, and Sophocles knows that even illness, if recognized, can have a positive function. But we Europeanshave we recognized our illness? We, the children of Hellashave we understood what Sophocles had understood?
We all. white, black and yellow, are faced with the task of a radical transformation. The radical transformation, which on the static plane appears in Husserl as the return to the cogito and as constitutive intersubjectivity, on the genetic and historical plane presents itself as a revolution, as the task of establishing a rational humanity, of constituting man in his human essence. The task is the same, for us and for the so-called primitive man. There is a rational entelechy of humanity, as Husserl puts it, which is yet to be established. There is therefore no distinction between the barbarous, primitive man and the civilized European. Despite the accomplishments of science and technology, European man must recognize his own barbarity, sometimes tamed, but often erupting (Freud). Primitive man discovers that his own world, the precategorical, non-abstract world, is more than ever necessary to European man, who has lost it, because he has lost what Lévy-Bruhl called participation, that is the universal correlation, the relational life, the connection of our thought with the body, with lived nature, with the "secret art of nature" (the inexhaustible fecundity of "transcendental schematism"). Thus the valorization of the primitive is not the return to the barbaric and the irrational. That is what European man, who considers himself definitely civilized, thinks.
Both, European man and primitive man, must find a deeper rational essence of man. To discover the "primitive world" is to discover the rooting of logos in matter, in nature, in corporeity, in the concrete precategorical operations from which scientific categories originate (the value of rhythm: all that we indicate abstractly, primitive man lives). It means to discover the life of reason, relational reason rooted in concrete relationships, constituted by concrete operations. It means to keep life concretely lived in logic and to understand logic as the expression of real operations. European man is in a crisis because he no longer knows how to find in himself what is valid in primitive man, in the "total" world in which primitive man lives. And, in turn, primitive man must arrive at logic, at science, not fetishized science, but that science of sciences according to which mankind must realize itself (the science of history? phenomenology?). We must teach primitive man our science, if we do not fetishize it, and our technology, if we free ourselves from our barbarism, from our irrationality. Primitive man can teach us his own way of feeling and of living in participation, in relationship, in communion, if he frees himself from his barbarism, from his irrationality. But it is a question of mere reciprocity. Primitive man has become aware that his view of life is necessary to European man, much as in Hegel the servant becomes aware that without his own labor the master can not live ("servile consciousness" [?]). To the extent that European man does not understand primitive man, he does not understand himself, and the revolt of primitive man is the self-alienation of European man, the self-destruction of European "civilization." The black man disturbs me because my barbarism is projected onto him; he disturbs me because I have lost myself as man; because I have not yet become man; because I find myself still in the prehistory of mankind.
May 23, 1957
African man to whom [Richard] Wright dedicates Black Power: A Record of Reactions in a Land of Pathos [New York, HarperPerennial, 1995 ?]. African man considered as a "thing" to buy, fetishized, objectified. Not considered as a subject, as my alter ego. He is the African man who, "isolated in the forests of Western Africa, created a conception of life terrifying in its great simplicity, yet irreducibly human. [check!]"
Object. For Husserl society is human and rational insofar as it is a society of subjects. Wright quotes Husserl (in the English translation of Ideen I). It is clear why he quotes him, even though it is better to read the quotation in the German text (cf. Ideen I, Husserliana 3, edited by Walter Biemel. The Hague, Netherlands: Martinas Nijhoff Publishers, 1950, p.110) [check!]. Wright understood that it is possible to think, to imagine a world in which perception, as world lived and felt in the first person, with "participation," as Lévy-Bruhl would say, by the subjects (in Durkheim's "social life"), is the world as always given, the vorgegebene Welt, a world not reduced to the abstract categories assumed to be concrete. One may think, says Husserl, that things, as they are given to us in perception, can not be reduced to mere physico-mathematical concepts. Even if the latter. according to Husserl, originate precisely from the precategorical, from the complete fullness of experience. The problems of paragraph 47 in Ideen I are taken up again and clarified in Krisis. What is incredible is that Wright was able to see and foresee in it precisely what Husserl will say later. It is significant that a black intellectual can teach us how to read Husserl. Remember in Lévy-Bruhl and in Durkheim the relationship between the primitive and mythical world and the problem of the origins of categories. Durkheim's entire work could be reassessed if we could see in his "society" the ideal of an intersubjective society, of an intentional society.
May 24. 1957
Remember in Durkheim the "social" origin of categories, that is, in phenomenological language, the origin of categories from intersubjective, precategorical life. It is because they derive from intersubjective perception that for Durkheim categories are founded on "the nature of things." Durkheim's idea that the totem is the presence of the specific in the individual. The totem, in phenomenological language, is the eidos of a group, of a clan. And it is true that it is the projection of the links which unite the clan, namely [the projection] of the operations of the same type, of the typical-social operations immanent in each individual. The relationship, in Husserl, between eidos and the operations, Leistungen, typical of the subject and of the subjects.
Cult of animals in the Egyptian religion. The hypothesis that Egyptians saw in animals the lack of individuality, the lingering of a specific essence (as in angels), the eidos.
May 25, 1957
Husserl between static phenomenology and genetic phenomenology. In the former the original is the actual subject. In the latter the genesis of the subject. In the former it is intersubjectivity that reflects upon itself; in the latter it is the rediscovery, in reflection, of the genesis that has allowed us to arrive at reflection. Discovery and re-presentification of the childhood I have in me. Discovery of the primitive life I have in me, of that life which I must re-presentify in order to understand the meaning of the present. All this is grounded on the phenomenology of time.
Since the subject lives in the body, since subjects are animate[d] beings and live in their own natural, cultural worlds (Umwelten), genetic phenomenology is a phenomenology of the genesis of concrete men, and in this sense it is anthropology. Husserl's letter to Lévy-Bruhl (March 11, 1935). Einfühlung of our society with another society. To comprehend its world in ours and to feel ours in its world. Can we presentify Lévy-Bruhl's primitive life? Is it a life which is only pure flowing presence, nur strömende Gegenwart? In us too there is sometimes a pure flow of life which does not retain anything (absence of retention; in a certain sense: unconsciousness). Pause of consciousness in the time of our life. These pauses (like sleep) divide us into many I's: we ourselves, unique, are intersubjectivity. That is why intersubjectivity is possible in time, and in time we find ourselves, as actual humanity, with another humanity divided from us by the pauses of awareness. I believe this is one of the most important aspects of Husserl's thought. We must meet ourselvesfor [?] the sense of concordance [?] of our lifeand [but?] we have forgotten ourselves, this and that time of our life and of our history. Thus mankind must find itself by feeling that it is also primitive mankind or black mankind. Otherwise it loses its own sense of concordance [?], its own meaning. Did Husserl really think this way? I am reconstructing [it?] using my intuition and attempting a new development...But the problem is the very same one which in Krisis presents itself as the problem of the encounter between men of different eras (history, historiography).
May 27, 1957
[Lao (Lie) Tzu?] Lie: "Can we say emptiness, can we say peace?" This emptiness and this peace have been known... Then we wanted to take and give them [?]. They have been replaced with abstractions, like "goodness" and "equity." But the peace which "had always existed" is not behind us. It is before us. The danger of Taoism. The profound sense of its dialectic: not to lose oneself in the words that replace things. Meaning is hidden in things and expresses itself in words. But it is also after, in that which words indicate, in that which must be done so that words may not remain words.
May 28, 1957
Karma as "life impulse" [Bergson's élan vital ?] seems ruled by a law which causes each impulse and each manifestation to tend to exhaust themselves. Stcherbatzsky (The Conception of Buddhist Nirvana, Leningrad 1927) compares karma's law to irreversibility and entropy. For Rosenberg (Probleme der Buddhistisch Philosophie, Heidelberg 1924) karma is will but also the product of the will. Karma is what remains of what precedes. It is the fact that there is always a future. If time continues it is because of the universal correlation. Two crossed conceptions of time: 1) time as residue of the past and thus as non-ineliminability of the future; 2) time always consumes itself, always dies. Continuous becoming, dhava. Relationality in the open totality, sarvam. Is nirvana the attempt to suppress the world? Of the world or of the mundane? Of the mundane as objectification, perhaps as a chain of objectifications. Nirvana must not be the will of the negation of the world but, precisely because it must not be artificial will, it must discover in the world something which is world without being mundane. That is why Gautama ends up condemning ascesis as will that fights the body (the seven years preceding the Sermon of Benares). Nirvana should lead to non-will, that is to spontaneity, to the spontaneous life of the body. The paradox is that only by not seeking the mundane is it possible to discover in ourselves the spontaneity (the subjectivity) of the life of the world. Time must then become continuous deliverance, perennial presentification, infinite becoming of presence.
May 29, 1957
The effort of rethinking Buddhism. The attempt to appropriate remote experiences.
The profound affinity of relationsim with Jainism (Mahâvîra Vardhamâna). Reality is not constituted by substantiality but by the modalities of attributes, of relations. No existence or, better, no "situation" is in itself independent of environmental relations. A situation resolves itself in the modes of its possibilities (syâdvâda). Each thing which exists, or does not exist, which exists and does not exist, is in a relationship with something other than itself.
May 30, 1957
Glory has no meaning, power has no meaning, your personal success has no meaning. Vanity. That vanity which Husserl always fought. And he was sincere. He did indeed love truth and live for truth. Glory is the mundane, and the meaning of life reveals itself only in the negation of the mundane, in operating within the world without being prisoner of the world. I firmly believe it.
It is not a renunciation to operate in the world, to live in the world: it is the desire for those actions whose meaning is truth. We must be capable of this, we must want to live thus, we must try to live thus.
Tolstoy: "Looking into Napoleon's eyes, prince Andrea was thinking of the vanity of greatness, the vanity of life, whose meaning nobody was able to understand. and of the even deeper vanity of death, whose meaning nobody alive was able to understand or explain." [check!] It is precisely because of this acknowledged incomprehensibility of the mundane, of this renunciation, of this refusal to accept it, that in the end Andrea discovers "an undetermined, unconceivable force which can not be expressed in words," "something incomprehensible and more important than anything else." [check!] But it is not a question of some thing, or of some being or of nothing. And it is not a question of some inexpressible thing, but of the root itself of expression, of the fansis of each phenomenon, of the logos which wants to live and re-awaken and which can not re-awaken if it is prisoner of the will for power, the will for domination, of the thirst for glory and vanity, of fetishization, of objectification. The logos which always lives in us, in us as subjects in the first person, human beings evident to themselves, in a truth so close, so ours, that we ignore it because it is so close, so much here, now, clear, evident, present.
Rome, June 11, 1957
How few things we know how to say, how little we know how to write that is worth being written. For those who really count, humble but authentic, anguished but unable to express themselves with the word anguish, defeated but truly the only salt of the earth, even if we do not know their names. Perhaps there is something in the universe such that real suffering or acts of authentic truth are never lost. Perhaps these are stronger than the power of atoms. To be able to live thus, to incarnate ourselves in this conviction, to feel really that everything mundane is vanity, to feel finally that even the desire of nothingas Gautama said so wonderfullyis impure desire. Will we succeed some day in understanding that it is the simplest things which give us the meaning of life? We must believe that this is our path, that mankind's path, often so terrible, is toward this, that life is life for this, that things, stones, flowers, animals, men are there because of the meaning of truth which awaits to be revealed, because of intentional truth.
June 12, 1957
Villa Borghese. Instead of preparing for the conference on Mann, I am thinking of Proust. Sedimentation. Past which constitutes itself, makes itself, condenses and then reveals itself in a gesture of the present. It is not merely a time lost and found. It is a time that was ripening and now blooms in a music which has become visible, corporeal. One can hug it, in the surprise of finding it over and over again, of feeling it precisely as it is, in the happiness of its presence.
What is sedimentation? Sleeping meanings which are waiting, meanings imprisoned, yet ready, intent on a call that will awaken them, renew them. How often the occasions of our life are not lost. They are imprisoned. By chance, by a word, by a telephone number, by a train's delay. Imprisoned by a spell, like the souls in the Celtic myth Proust talks about. "Captives...dans une chose inanimée, perdues en effect pour nous jusqu'au jour...où nous nous trouvons...entrer en possession de l'object qui est leur prison."
Sedimentation is in the object, but it is not the loss of meaning: it is rather the preservation of meaning. It is not therefore objectification. Husserl speaks at length of sedimentation and assigns to it enormous importance. But it is a theme that needs to be explored further, to be taken up again.
We encounter objects. That is, objects gives themselves to us in a very special way when within them they contain sedimentation. We then discover that there are imprisoned in them occasions which still want to offer a possibility, want to be expressed, to be realized, to live. They are prisoner of the objects as if they were really, forever lost. It is a singular form of objectification which may throw some light on the entire problem of objectification. The imprisoned occasions, "tressaillent, nous appellent et sitôt que nous les avons reconnues, l'enchantement est brisé. Délivrées par nous, elles ont vancu la mort et reviennent vivre avec nous."
The sense organs are the deposits of sedimentations, and the places and times of our living enclose the occasions. They retain the present of the past, they ripen it for the future. for its possible future. All things are deposits of a new possible life and of a new encounter. This is a particular function of the sense organs and of things, a function linked to matter, which seems to enclose in itself a future life, a life that is yet to bloom.
Milan, June 14, 1957
Lulli is dancing. A dress with green and amaranth stripes drapes her, as she moves, with colored phantasms (phantasms in Husserl's sense). Her happiness is entirely in the rhythm. I live in her, I feel myself in her movements, in the body she animates, in the whole environment which in her becomes present and hers. The world is no longer incomprehensible. We feel it in our body and in the reciprocal feeling of our bodies. It is a world which moves from within, which expresses itself. And the more within the more it expresses itself, the more it is alive in exteriority.
July 22, 1957
Today Banfi died. They called me suddenly. At the clinic I found his other friends. I thought of all of usof all of us before this death. It will be difficult to take it in. His entire work, from now on, acquires a different meaning and I feel it requires a new assessment.
In these last few months I often talked with him. He lived as if he were not ill. And one could not speak to him about his illness. The last authors he mentioned: Galileo, Husserl, Simmel. And all this was resolved in his communism. With his attitude he wanted to say, to the very end: life is more important than death (Husserl: Ohne Leben kein Tod).
July 31, 1957
It is to Banfi himself that I apply what he wrote on Galileo: "Such is Galileo's exuberant nature, his curiosity for each actual, concrete problem, his thirst for a pleasant and free life..." Galileo's telescope is not only a scientific instrument but the symbol of a new philosophical orientation, of the defense of common experience, "despite all philosophical claims about its subjectivity and relativity." The eye, made sharper, discovers in experience "an infinity of new elements and structures." Experience "no longer appears as mere illusion" but as "a field of progressive, infinite riches, in the development of which the forms, the relations, the very concepts normally established reveal themselves as provisional." For "vision," for what Banfi, drawing from Husserl, calls the visual, "eidetic" dimension, the relation between experience and reason is possible.
"What Galileo, first among all men, saw was the schema, mysterious in its remoteness, of a lunar dawn: the splendor of the sun on the peaks high over the shade and the spreading of light through the valleys and planes open to the serene clarity, while behind the mountains, against the light, their shadows are outlinedas if their luminosity had faded ever so slightly."
For Banfi, Galileo's experience was above all the dynamic synthesis between sensibility and reason and, at the same time, the translation of "the thing" into rational structure. Demonstrations for Galileo are not didactic exercises, but interpretations of experience which, under the appearances, reveals its universally objective structure or, to use a common phrase, the "reality of things." The "reality of things" or "the things themselves" of Husserl.
Segni, August 4, 1957
In the phenomenological stance there is a continuous intertwinement of philosophical reflection with everyday life, with the life of the body, with communication, with the renewal of the vantage point from which one considers living experience, with the past which dissolves and coalesces again: profound, intentional immanence in time of philosophical reflection.
The world of esthetics: the world of pain and of pleasure, of liberation from pain and of hedonistic intentionality. The world of needs: the need which endows an essence with intentionality and turns it into a vision of satisfaction: empiricist, sensualistic origin of essence.
Dialectic in the Cartesian Meditations. The emergence of self-consciousness and intersubjectivity. The intentionalization of essences can also appear as dialectic of sensible temporality, as dialectic of need and of satisfaction, of pain and pleasure.
Empirically, factually, the negation of the mundane stems from the sense of the absence, which contains in itself the direction toward the liberation from what is missing, toward satisfaction and communication. Negation is incarnated in Eros, the son of Penia [*]: in need, in pain. Direction: from pain toward pleasure, from the negative toward the positive, from absence toward presence. Immanent direction in the absence of time, in the emptiness that temporality opens, in irreversibility, in consumption. It is precisely from that which is consumed that eros is born: it indicates an intentionality, an esthetic, eidetic direction. Hence the positive value of satisfaction: elementary ethical sense of man's simple life and of the humility of his needs.
[*] "The personification of Poverty, she has only one myth, and that comes from Socrates, reporting the words of Diotima, priestess of Mantinea, in the Symposium: after a feast among the gods Penia married Poros and by him gave birth to Eros." From Pierre Grimal, The Dictionary of Classical Mythology. Blackwell Publishers, Oxford, 1996. (Translator's Note)
August 8, 1957
The teleological vision that Husserl offers in the Krisis is also a synopsis, never definitive, of knowledge: an eidetic and, at the same time, transcendental horizon. The sense of eidetic intuition causes a re-birth, under a new form, of Platonism, the value of rational clarity as the ideal goal, as the sense of history and civilization. The vision of an organic knowledge, of an intentionality that opens up a horizon of culture forever new, is correlated with the continuous reconquest of the Lebenswelt. Precisely because it opens us up to a new horizon, phenomenological reduction allows us to live in the concreteness of experience. Experience and rational vision are infinite, just as the past is infinite, and infinite is the future: infinity surrounds us but is actualized in the concreteness of time.
Milan, September 15, 1957
The sense of living history does not allow the reduction of history to historiography. Historical narrative must not substitute for historical life. The schemata of historiography must not be badly [?] concretized and assumed as real historical things. In order to reach historical life, it is therefore necessary to apply the epoché to the historiographic "things," to free ourselves from historical-ideological fetishization, from the abstractions of the grand general schemata. In daily labor, in the contact with nature, we thus recover Husserl's "thing itself" as concrete human life. We recover and live again the sense of simple life, the value of humility. Whitehead: true historical life is "in the real, individual feelings of quiet people who live on secondary roads and in country towns" (Essays, 1948, p.18) [check!].
October 20, 1957
Valéry in Léonard et les philosophes: "Peindre, pour Léonard est une opération qui requiert toutes les connaissances et presque toutes les techniques...Il se meut en quelque sort à partir des apparences des objects..." The "appearances" are Husserl's phenomena, and Leonardo's attitude is thus a phenomenological attitude.
To paint is to see phenomena. The painterly vision, even the vision of what is not normally visible, is precious for knowledge. There is thus a kind of reciprocity between the vision of the phenomenon and science, between the action which realizes vision in technology, and knowledge. Valéry again: "Cette réciprocité remarquable entre la fabrication et le savoirpar quoi la première est garantie du secondest caractéristique de Léonard, s'oppose à la science purement verbale, et a fini pour dominer dans l'ère actuelle, au gran détriment de la philosophie, qui apparaît chose incomplète, parole sans action." Vision affords therefore a correction of philosophical verbosity: the word becomes action. In reality the active word is the natural technology, the extension of nature into technology.
We must study Leonardo again in order to insist on the visual, eidetic value of painting. Painting contains both the "forms which are" and "those which are not in nature." "His drawings are so excellent that they explore not only the works of nature, but infinitely more than the works of nature." Leonardo always has a sense of the vision of "possible forms." And when he talks about experience as mediation, "the interpreter between industrious nature and the human species," he is thinking of visual experience, which is the model on which any other experience is based. Painting realizes form physically: in painting there is a proof of the possibility of a synthesis between the sensible and the ideal. Leonardo is sure that reason and ideas operate within nature because they are infused in her. Man "sees" them and can reduce them to abstract reasoning. But their operation is possible because reasoning, before being such, is vision, and before being vision is natural relation (in Kant it is the secret art of schematism that lives in nature). The necessity of natural operation is the necessity of the relation among ideas: nature operates as reason teaches to operate, and reason teaches to operate according to natural necessity. Schematism is here the actualization of the rational in the work. The mediating experience reveals to us that nature "operates under necessity, and can not operate otherwise than as reason, her steering force, teaches her."
November 18, 1957
Phenomenology, relationsim, moral problem. The importance of the fact that in any perception it is possible to see a type, an essence. Essences are always related and "social." New aspect of Husserl's discourse on solipsism. It is precisely in solipsism that the I finds essential structures that link him to the others. To know means to discover, in the individual, models, types, norms.
December 15, 1957
Sparse drops of rain are falling on the smooth surface of the pavement, free of ridges, of relief, of traces. Cars are driving by, secure and anonymous. The return of night. The garage and its neon lights, the wait for tomorrow's labor. Everyday struggle for the idols. I go and have a glass of wine with a guy I don't recognize, but with whom I feel perfectly fine.
January 8, 1958
The cobbled pavement on which I am walking...The hardness, the compactness, the impenetrability of things. To the philosopher, to the man who lives in the philosopher, all this may become enigmatic, becomes enigmatic. Everything: the city, his own home, the table at which he works. And all the events in which he lives, and the people. They are there. But in some way I negate the events and the people and the things. This negation is fundamental. I can not negate what is there, I can not negate the world in which I live. Yet, I say no. I do not accept the impenetrability, the opacity of things. To say no is, phenomenologically, "to put between brackets," to exercise the epoché, the suspension of one's judgment.
When I bracket the world, I find myself in a strange situation. It is still as it was, but I look at it, I feel it, I "experience" it in a different way. The world? Not the world, but the particular aspects of the world that I touch, that I see, that I hear. I am at the center of an infinity of perspectives, I am a point in which an infinity of lines cross, through me, disappearing everywhere in the infinity. I, the subject, am the center of an infinity of relations. Yet all these lines, all these relations, all that I touch, that I look at, that I hear, every thing, and the living beings, the plants, the animals, the people, are as if suspended, waiting. I sense them, I look at them, with infinite amazement. Not only as if I were seeing them for the first time. It is a stronger, deeper experience. The tree does not live any longer in the air, it has crystallized, and with the tree everything else. It is waiting. It exists in this waiting. It no longer has an obvious, everyday meaning. I must give it its meaning. I, the subject, am he from whom the world is awaiting its sense, its meaning, its purpose. I am the instrument by which the world can become true, can transform itself into truth. I must see it therefore as it appears to me, I must describe it, turn it into revelation, phenomenon.
The world is there: it was created, as they said. The world is there and until now I thought it was natural, that its being there was obvious. Now I know that its being there is obscure, enigmatic, hidden. My no is the no to a world without a meaning for me, even if it has had a meaning for others, even if its soil carries the traces of other steps and is loaded with the sediments of the innumerable meanings it has had for the others. But these meanings are crystallized, are sleeping. I must awaken them. To awaken them I must say no to everything which is asleep, which is obscure, concealed. I must awaken myself, become awake as I have never been until now. To find again in me and in the world which springs from me, the source of all meanings. The world is born in me, is born in me for the first time, because for the first time I find it meaningful. I am alive in the awakened life, in the Wachleben, as Husserl says. From now on, in me, and in the others who are awake with me, who operate with me, the world will be transformed into a true world. This truth reaches beyond me, it appears to me as an infinite idea which I keep trying to approach. Thus I have made a revolution. What was there, the world that was already there, is now in front of me: it is no longer a world already made, but to be made. It has become a task, a goal which gives meaning to life, to my life and that of the others. The epoché has allowed me to discover a life which goes beyond what I have already lived, a life which keeps reaching beyond itself, which always transcends itself by transforming what has already been done into a task, into meaning of truth. This life in which I really live is intentional life. Intentionality continuously resolves the obscure and the impenetrable into a clear vision, into a meaningful horizon, into an essential form of truth. What phenomenology aims for is not therefore the search for being, of a being which would be behind things. Its goal is the truth which is not behind us but in front of us. and which is already present in the already made things of the world, but asleep. To awaken things, to become ourselves this awakening in which everything awakens, is to return to the authentic life of the I, to its continuous self-transcending, to the paradox of intentionality. To return to the subject, to ourselves, to myself. To awaken continuously in the amazement at the landscape of the world.
February 5, 1958
Today Father Van Breda arrived. Rognoni and I went to pick him up at the station. In our conversations a slow approach to Husserlian problems, especially through the French interpretations. News about the "Archives."
February 8, 1958
Father Van Breda's lectures: in Milan on the 6th
January 12, 1959
Continuing study of Husserl's texts. Lectures. I write down the lectures to transform them later into essays which one day I may collect, together with those already written, in a book. The theme always remains that of the relation between time and truth.
Padua, March 12, 1959
Husserlian Days. Important discussions with Garin, who gave a historical presentation of the problem of phenomenology. We feel it is not very likely we can succeed in explaining ourselves to a public for which phenomenology is nothing but an occasion for polemically stating once again our own convictions. Garin's, Prini's and my lectures may be published under the title: Bilancio della fenomenologia e dell'esistenzialismo.
Milan, April 10, 1959
Aron Gurwitch was here in Milan for a conference on Husserl. Of Lithuanian origin, he was later a disciple of Husserl in Germany. He has contributed more than we think to the diffusion of phenomenology in France, where he lived from 1933 to 1940. Later in the United States, at Harvard, and now at Brandeis. Gurwitch was happy to talk about Husserl with young people. He recalled the difficulties phenomenology has encountered everywhere. In France, he says, there was nothing. His personal memories of Husserl.
May 6, 1959
The word "life" as it is used by phenomenology. The non-phenomenologist is ready to hear its "vitalistic" tone. If you explain to him that it is a question of the meaning of life, of its intentional sense, of its essential truth, he will say that phenomenology is idealism. If you explain to him that in Husserl the subject does not create anything and that, in general, phenomenology does not build anything and therefore that the verb "to live" means to experience how each one of us "lives" the world in the modalities of perceptions, because each one of us is his own psyche and body, he will likely say that phenomenology is psychologism. If he is told that the subject is not a mythological invention but the real subject, in flesh and bones, he will say that it is realism. Now, what characterizes phenomenology is that it appropriates the problems of idealism, of psychologism, of realism, but one can never claim that it is reducible to these formulas or their sum total.
June 4, 1959
Not life, not life simply endured, life before reduction, but the meaning of life. Every day this meaning is lost and must be recovered. It is not lost only because of the lack of attention and reflection. It is lost amid the lesser tasks which we believe to be decisive, in stupid struggles, in compromise, in "bad faith." Continuous redemption. There is a sort of ardor in wanting to burn error. A sense of rebellion prompted by hypocrisy, against everyday illusions, against the need to possess things, ideas. Boredom, fatigue. If the intentional sense of truth does not vivify our gestures, fatigue consumes them. Ambitions, in their true nature, are boring. The sky is indifferent, trees become approximate figures, everything loses its expression. Then there comes the sense of refusal, the need for an act that may allow new colors to spring forth, that may allow things to live, transforming them in true sensations, in true perceptions, in expressions of the logos.
July 3, 1959
As the first "nucleus" of inter-monadic society, the Paarung is constituted when the maternal thou is replaced by the other person. Proust replaces the mother with Gilberte, Oriane and Albertine, and finally, going beyond the idolatry of the other person, with the literary work. At the bottom there is always, finally, a relation which, by lasting and emerging from the past, becomes the I-you and then the us relation, a relation in which objective nature and society are constituted for every one (in Proust the literary work, which, as art, is valid for all).
If I can speak in the first person it is because I am always thinking of a second person or the second person that I am myself, of the thou that I am, in time, for the I. From this relational nucleus the other persons are born: the he, the we, the you. The problem of the "persons" is fundamental also for logic. Logic speaks in the third person and thus forgets its own genesis from the Lebenswelt: it is for this reason that Husserl posed the problem of the genealogy of logic, that is the problem of Experience and judgment to which, incidentally, Formal and Trascendental Logic was intended to be just an introduction.
I-you, as Paarung, as the true overcoming of both atomism and idealism without relations. Evidence is presence in time, but presence, in turn, would be alone, and thus presence of nothing, if it were not linked to the past and the future, to memory and waiting. The continuity of my I in time is a relation that stems from a past Paarung and tends to a future and teleological Paarung, which then has a sense not only for my history and the history of the other person, but for the history of the community, of humanity. Thus the problem of the Paarung becomes fundamental also for the sense of history, not "fetishized" history, but non-alienated history, which always rediscovers, at the origin of facts, the living persons.
October 8, 1959
Today I delivered to Il Saggiatore the essays which will be part of the volume Omaggio a Husserl. A first act of trust in the rebirth of phenomenology in Italy. There will be translations of Ich, Welt und Zeit by Brand, and of the Krisis. But it will be difficult to make those who love only ready-made phrases and formulas, understand Husserl.
November 12, 1959
What I live, what I "experience," are the lived things, the Erlebnisse. Erlebnis is that of which I have evident experience in the first person: it is, in fact, my having experiences. My living the visions, my touching, my hearing, and so on. The protagonists of Joyces's Ulisses are the Erlebnisse. They are the life of his characters-character, of Joyce as writer, of me as reader. They are in Joyce's internal stream of consciousness of time, in the consciousness stream expressed in his characters, in my consciousness stream. The Stream of Consciousness (James), the Erlebnissstrom (Husserl) flows in me continuously. I live everything in the stream of consciousness. I do not live casually the sensations, the perceptions of which I am aware (in me there live also those which are not consciousimplied in those which are conscious, but in a second, third plane that ends up in the background which is the sleeping world of matter). They are one inside the other, one next to the other, one after the other. They are in a temporal order of their own, and not in a different one. Past perceptions have their own "places," just like the present ones, which are about to pass. They happen in such a way as to happen only once. Husserl says they have their own Einmaligkeit. They do not repeat themselves. They are individuated because they are irreversible (necessary connection between individual and temporality). I hear an A on the piano. There is a necessary time for me to be able to hear it. The A resounds once. It is individuated as A. Pause. Other notes. I hear the A again. The same note is repeated, I say. In reality it is another A, not the one I had already heard. But it is also the A that resounds a second time. The second A is also individuated. I realize that the two have a common essence. The first had it even before I heard the second. How strange: the individual, in what characterizes it (its being an A), in its individual essence, is such as to share that essence with another individual. That is why I speak of common essence. More precisely, I should say: typical essence.
The individual remains individual in its irreversible position in time. The earlier A is the earlier one, not the current one. But in each irreversible position, in each Einmaligkeit, there is present a typical essence common to the individual and to all the individuals of its species. Phenomenology is the survey, the description of each typical, individual essence. The essences of all the individuals are connected, even if the individuals have different essences. Not only the A has an essence, but also the white of the key. And the white is linked, as a color, to the surface, and this to the solid, and so on. In each individual, therefore, there is immanent the universal correlation of the essences, precisely because the individual is such, that is because it has its own unrepeatable (or "absolute," as Husserl said sometimes) place in time. Thus the flow of Erlebnisstrom makes both the individual and the essential possible, in a necessary connection.
January 21, 1960
Intentional meaning, sense of truth, in every field, even in art, even in painting (this is the "rationality" of art). Epoché in Cézanne: "We must render the image of what we see, forgetting everything that has been there before us" [check!] (Letter to E. Bernard, October 23, 1905). Constitution of the world. In Cézanne's language: construction. True construction, possible only if "everything that has been there before" is bracketed. Until the end of life. Nine days before his death, he writes to his son: "Only oil painting brings me relief. I must work, keep going. I must paint sketches and canvases...: if I painted them, they could only be constructed from life" [check!] (October 13, 1906). This truth is not the reality of the world in the mundane sense. Cézanne has "forgotten" the world in this sense. For him, a painter, the truth of the world is not something to be reproduced, to be imitated. His world is the one he experiences phenomenologically, the one that constitutes itself in him. He draws this worldhis own world, because of the phenomenological principle according to which in the individual there is always the typicalfrom the typical, "scientific" structure of the Lebenswelt. The radical will of his epoché allows him to capture the essence, the logos, a truth which will be valid for all those who have the courage to accept his gift.
For a phenomenological esthetics: the eidos in art. Not only visual, but tactile, auditory, kinesthetic eidos. Variations of the image and perceptions. Phantasms and real things. Presumption and realization. Esthetic Erfüllung. Transcendental esthetics.
February 4, 1960
In the biblical covenant between God and man there is a fundamental clause: "Let it be clear," says God, "that I am the only creator. Inot youcreated you. In this matter, I am a jealous God." Where can a thought such as this have originated from? In terms of a phenomenological analysis I see two ways. The first is the projection of the father unto God. The child, in order to be man, must rebel against the father. It is the way of the oedipal complex, Freud's way. Obviously the projection appears as prohibition and as jealousy precisely because the prohibition must be overcome. Man becomes "virile" by violating the prohibition. If the father is God, man reaches the maximum of human virility, and thus becomes God. This position is naive. In fact the father is always divinized. The replacement of the father is heroic: the child becomes either God or the Devil. Man's maturity as man is reached precisely when the divinization of the father ceases. If the father becomes man, the child too becomes man. Usually this happens when the child, in fact, becomes the father of a new child, and so on. Confronted with his own child, the childhaving become a fathermakes peace with his own father: now he can. It is his turn now to be divinized.
The second way. In the procreant sexual act I do not engage in it in order to have a child. In the experience of myself in the first person and of the other in the sexual act I do not feel I am procreating, I do not have the experience in the first person of "causing birth." Sexual evidence is the evidence of the other in me and of myself in the other. It can not be the evidence of the child who is not there yet. I will know only later if the consequences are procreative, observes Husserl. But I can ask myself this: "How does it happen?" Phenomenologically, this "how" must be experienced by the subject. But the subject is the subject who begins his own birth following fertilization. It is not I, it is my child, or it is I, but in the act of my own birth. There is a separation here. The separation which begins immediately, as soon as the sexual act is concluded. The woman too estranges herself from me. What she has of me in herself is still mine, but it is not I.
In love, at the beginning, I projected myself unto her: she has become "my life." Precisely because of this I must possess her: in order to "recover my life." But "my life," instead of being returned to me, becomes concretely another life. That is how we become parents, by becoming another subject. But this is how we are children: we start, genetically, our own history, the history of our own subjectivity. To procreate and to be born are two operations which are mine, mine as a subject, yet which elude me. The first eludes me in the separation that follows the sexual act from which procreation indeed originates. The second operation, to be born, eludes me because only others can tell me it is mine. It is not in the first person. I can not remember my intrauterine life and my birth. The two operations, which elude me, are projected unto God, who becomes the only creator.
There is an implication: the scientific study of procreation and birth, and finally genetics. As a phenomenological science this falls, in some way, within the purview of anthropology, as well as of psychology and somatology, because its problem is posited as the study of the modalities and the meaning of genesis, experienced subjectively, and thus phenomenologically. One of the consequences of the scientific implication is the following: the scientific study of genesis, the objective scientific study may appear as a substitute for the sexual act.
A scientist may realize, perhaps [too ?] late, that scientific knowledge has replaced, for him, "knowledge" in the biblical sense, namely the sexual act. This can happen to the philosopher as a researcher of the genesis of the world. Or to the historian: genesis is history.
Fetishism is fascinating because it replaces the creative sexual act. From this point of view, technology can exert a magical attraction. Technology can replace the sexual act and, in cybernetics, failed procreation. The technician will want to build his child as a homunculus in the unconscious desire to replace men with machines. Goethe's homunculus is the symbol of what Husserl denounces as the "crisis of the sciences."
Paris, March 30, 1960
I met Ricoeur at the Gare de Lyon. We had not seen each other for fifteen years. He had left Wietzendorf suddenly. I had been asleep. He had not wanted to wake me up and had left a loaf of bread on my bed.
He was a professor in Strasbourg, and I in Pavia. Later in Paris, and I in Milan. Fifteen years ago he was translating Husserl's Ideen I, and if today I meet him again it is because I have resumed studying Husserl.
April 2, 1960
Conversation with Merleau-Ponty after my lecture at the Sorbonne. He is not prepared to give a decisive importance to the problem of time. He mentions a book of his where, among other things, he will try to do for biology what he did for psychology in Structure du comportement and in Phénomenologie de la perception. I insist on the fact that only a phenomenological approach to time can clarify the conception, for me too labile, of "ambiguity." We end up talking about Husserl's unpublished works on time and the problem concerning them.
Ricoeur is particularly preoccupied with the problem of evil. He is looking for a philosophy of yes, not only for a philosophy of no. Phenomenologyhe thinksdiscovers the negative concealed in us, but can not dissolve evil in a theoretical explanation of evil.
April 3, 1960
Strolling in the Bois de Boulogne with Ricoeur.
He is not convinced by my way of reconstituting phenomenology. A different reading of Ideen II in Merleau-Ponty and in Ricoeur. Ricoeur seems to be too closely tied to Ideen I. He has great admiration and great respect for Sartre, but he certainly does not love Sartre's ontology (if it is a question of the first part of Être et le néant, we agree). Speculations on what will be in Critique de la raison dialectique.
The problem of evidence. Sensible evidence. Ricoeur reminds me of this sentence of Nietzsche: "It is impossible to confute a sound." [check!]
Brussels, April 5, 1960
The copy of Pensiero, esistenza e valore which Ricoeur has kept and which I had given him as a present at Wietzendorf, has restarted my thoughts concerning what I thought of Husserl in 1936. At that time I saw in Husserl three problems: subjectivity, eidetic intuition, intersubjectivity. It seemed to me then that Husserl had not solved the last problem. Now I think the opposite. Ricoeur does not believe, instead, that Husserl manages to clarify satisfactorily the relation among subjects: yet, intersubjectivity is precisely the center of phenomenology. It is a guarantee [of ?] that the problem of intersubjectivity is difficult. By its own essence it does not admit of easy solutions.
Leuven, April 7, 1960
In Husserl perception is never a purely cognitive fact in the narrow sense of the word. In each perception there is an interest, a degree of interest, a minimum and a maximum of interest. Practical situation. Changes in our interests and changes in our Umwelt (Manuscript D 1, 1937). The very experience of what for us is more or less real depends on [our] interest.
Predictable lack of understanding of Husserl's praxis on the part of scholars. Knowing itself is praxis insofar as it is constituted by operations, of Leistungen which in their operations tend to meaning, to truth. Praxis, operation, constitution, things themselves insofar as they are the result of operations, have various horizons. They stretch toward the future, and already now are constituted by their future horizon, by the meaning they will have in the future. Not only: horizon of memories, horizon of oblivion, horizon of the reconquest of what has been forgotten. All these horizons consist of our present life and give it a figure and a form: they give a form and a figure to everything we experience (Koexistenzform, Konfigurationsform: also in D 1, p. 16). The forms of the world we live are woven through time and space. The ground structure is spatio-temporality. Every thing is surrounded by the others, and these constitute its external horizon, and every thing has its internal horizon as its center. Continuous relations between the thing and the surrounding things, multiple relations of cause and effect (not the causality of physics, but the causality prior to the categories of cause, precategorical). This is the way nature, before the operations of science, as it is really seen, experienced, describable in its phenomenal structure. gives itself to us. Nature is the domain (territorium) of my humanity. In its totality, nature should be the synthesis of all possible worlds, and not only of the earthly world. But this synthesis is infinite and, insofar as it is in time, it is an infinite history. Things, worlds, their forms, are modes of relations, finite centers of infinity, presence of the finite in the infinite. Therefore a thing is never a substance (p. 19): each reality is a point in which the infinite is centered. Infinity is present in each of its parts. These are some of Husserl's perspectives in the first Manuscript of group D. In D 17 and D 18 such perspectives are taken up and condensed in the amazing critique of Copernicanism. We can say that the entire group D is about transcendental esthetics. I had come here to Leuven to read group C, but I felt compelled to read also some of the manuscripts of group D. I read too quickly. Nevertheless I manage to take down many notes. I am completely taken by the élan of Husserl's analysis. Things change in my very hands, the world reveals new faces, never seen before. I myself am transformed, become somebody else. Yet, there is in all this something I can not control: a deep affinity, an Einfühlung between me and these Manuscripts, which is finally the Einfühlung between me and Husserl, who returns alive, in a way that amazes me, and also frightens me a little.
April 8, 1960
What makes me happy but at the same time cautious, doubtful, perplexed, is to find in Husserl analyses which I believed to be only mine. Sometimes they are identical. Sometimes the difference seems minimal, yet essential, and I realize that I would have pursued an unfruitful pathto say the least. But Husserl himself tries different ways. He abandons some. Many converge. Others still seem contradictoryeven when it later appears they are not. All intersect and in each way there is at least a note which belongs with the others of the same type, or perhaps with groups of ways remote from the "thematized" one. The theme, announced as central, often does not end up as such: the secondary theme imposes itself and pushes aside, in the non-thematized background, the initial theme. A complex symphonic structure. The abandoned themes are not always silent. They continue, muted, or are briefly evoked within the orchestration of the current theme by two or three notes which, even as they are part of such theme, also belong to the theme that seemed to have been abandoned.
The constitution of things. The things felt, perceived, lived by all our sensory organs and by our body. which is the organ of the sensory organs. Our body is a living body, Leib. But it can appear as a thing among things, as Ursache. A thing surrounded by the others ("circumstantiality:" the precategorical type of relation between cause and effect). All things are involved in these reciprocal causal relations, and that is why they are things. But is the thing which is there, which I see, and which from here is only a vision, a vision which reveals it to me as much smaller than it really is, real? No, it is a vision, a phantasm. The rich analysis, which Husserl develops in Manuscripts D with regard to the relations between real things and phantasms, is incredible. Things live in circumstantiality, in the perceived, lived causal relations: causality, originally, before being a category, is a modality of perception. The reality of the thing is characterized by its concrete, structural causality. The phantasm, as such, is not involved in causal relations, or it is so only in relation to the thing of which it is a phantasm. This is one of the ways tried by Husserl. Analysis of phantasms, of things, of the constitution of touch in relation to the constitution of sight, of the thing as instrument, as object of use, as Gebrauchsobjekt (in 1910). And, from 1917 to 1921, all the problems of time, of the stratifications of time, of finite periods (the problem, old for Husserl, of birth and death), of individuation. But there is more, much more!
And then? Does the distinction between phantasm and real thing not indicate Husserl's preoccupation with "reality"? To be surewhat is described is the essence, unreal in itself. But what is such essence if not the revelation (the phenomenon) of reality as such? Of reality which I know as reality precisely and only because it reveals itself to me?
How remote are the Platonic interpretations of the Göttingen disciples! I am writing these lines, before going to bed, after a full day's work. It would take months, perhaps years to write about all the problems which reveal themselves to me and which I intuit.
Milan, April 28, 1960
Lecture by Ricoeur in Milan. Ricoeur summarizes for me the contents of the second volume of Philosophie de la volonté which is about to be published. The second volume will have the general title Finitude et culpabilité and will be divided into two tomes: L'homme faillible and La symbolique du mal.
Ricoeur is looking for an anthropology. On this we agree. If phenomenology becomes a "new science" in Vico's sense, it contains within itself an anthropology. But this anthropology can not be that of Scheler's nor that of Heidegger's. Likewise, it can not reduce itself to mere palaeontology and ethnology. The problem is analogous to that of the relations between phenomenology and psychology, and in the end, between phenomenology and the sciences.
Another point of agreement: interpretation of phenomenology according to the dialectic between finite and infinite. When Ricoeur thinks of man as mediation between finite and infinite, and for such mediation he avails himself of Kant's transcendental schematism, while he reaffirms the meaning of myth while using even Kirkegaard, I seem to find in him the titles of my own problems (not my own solutions).
Ricoeur believes that these problems do not exist in Husserl, while I believe that Husserl locates them in the implication between man and transcendental I. If anthropology is grounded in the principle of the non-adequation of man to himself, then I would say that it is grounded in intentional difference.
By reaffirming myth, Ricoeur reaffirms in his own way the precategorical dimension. The "pathetic of misery" [?] reveals itself in a pre-philosophical dimension. With philosophy there is no absolute beginning: it is preceded by the language of myth and of symbol. For me, Italian, all this is Vico and Croce. And it is Vico again, if in this connection there appears the problem of evil, the ingens sylva of barbarism, always possible.
May 10, 1960
Evil is not explained rationally, says Ricoeur. To explain it is in some way to fail to recognize it, to conceal it. Hence the function of myth, which indicates evil, without rationalizing it. Perhaps, however, the myth too may conceal evil, and knowledge of evil is not necessarily a failure to recognize evil. The problem of individuation becomes unavoidable here. The subjects of anthropology are individuated men and groups. They are finite with respect to infinity: what is their dialectic?
Ricoeur likes to criticize phenomenology because for phenomenology the "thing" is only given through "profiles," through "parts." never in its wholeness. Yet, if we follow the finite-infinite dialectic faithfully, we must say that in each finite part there is the infinity. Something similar can be found in Cantor's concept of "set" and in Anaxagoras' homoeomery (1956-57 lectures on the pre-Socratics in Pavia, and 1958-59 lectures on the Cartesian Meditations in Milan).
If the part and the whole were separate, there would not be things, there would not be men. Likewise, if they coincided. But the part has in itself the whole, of which it is part, even though it is not the whole. The totality that lives in the parts, thus conceived, is not a real totality, but an intentional totality. The origin of evil lies in the assumption of the part as identical with the totality. It lies in believing ourselves perfect and not fallible, to use one of Ricoeur's terms.
The idea of man situated between finite and infinite is clear not only in Plato, but in the Renaissance (Pico della Mirandola). I think it had a strong effect on Husserl, as a mathematical-philosophical idea, since the times at Halle, probably through his direct contacts with Cantor. It was Brentano who introduced Cantor to Husserl, who in any case had been interested in the problem of infinity also when he was studying Bolzano. That Cantor, in his own way, may have influenced Husserl is difficult to deny. To say the least, Cantor helped him to formulate clearly the concept of "infinite set." This is also, after all, the opinion of A. Fraenkel, Cantor's editor (cf. Briefwechsel Cantor-Dedekind, Paris 1922, p.5).
Paris, September 23, 1960
Royaumont's arguments on dialectic have convinced me of two things: the necessity of studying again Marx and the fact that in France they are not at all aware of the importance of Sartre's work. The Critique de la raison dialectique has not been understood. It is clear that in this work Sartre the existentialist is fading away more and more, and that Sartre the Marxist and the phenomenologist moves to the foreground. The concept of "practical set" has, in my opinion, a decisive importance. To what extent did Sartre think of Cantor? The set is the dynamical solution of the problem of the relations between individual and society, and between part and whole (the "de-totalized totality").
Science and dialectic of nature. A re-evaluation of the dialectic of nature is certainly possible, but only if we do not pretend to deduce the dialectic of nature from science and from a philosophical construction (phenomenology is not a "construction").
Leuven, September 25, 1960
This time I am reading only manuscripts in group K, which relate directly to the Krisis, for the Commento I am preparing. I also spend many hours in Husserl's library. I write down long notes. Here only a few remarks.
In the manuscripts I find innumerable passages on the concept of "concreteness" of the Lebenswelt. It is a real world, and the science of the Lebenswelt is the study of the structure of the world of realities (Struktur der Realitätenwelt). True ontology is the study of such structure (K III 32: one of the last manuscripts, since it is dated April, 1937). The Realitätenwelt is analyzed in connection with subjectivity, logic and intersubjectivity.
September 26, 1960
As I always thought, Husserl assigns a decisive importance to genetic phenomenology. In the past I could have doubts about the fact that he might indeed seek a phenomenology of concrete genesis. Not any more. The constitution of the other, empathy ["entropatia", see Glossary in The Function of the Sciences. Transaltor's note.], the Einfühlung, is linked to the reconstitution of the history of the monad, of man, since birth. The primitive way in which I experience the other (the first Einfühlung for the child) is the relationship with the mother (K III 11, July 1935). It is therefore linked to birth, which is introduced here, generically, as Ursprung. The other sense of the original, from which the philosopher must always begin through reflection, is the actual evidence of the subject. But such evidence is always one and other, and constitutes an association such that the subject is he himself and, at the same time, the other. This happens both at birth and in living presence, in the lebendige Gegenwart. To translate it into concrete language it would be necessary to refer to the sexual act, where pairing is unity and duality, and from which the child is born, as other from the duality.
Phenomenology of the child. The problem of the constitution of the external world (for Husserl it must occur after the constitution of the other, so that, if the Einfühlung with the mother or with the person who replaces her were missing, the constitution of the external world would be missing). Through the constitution of the other and of the external world, the constitution of things and, therefore of the names of things, is possible. Phenomenology of language. Analysis of the formation of language in terms of the kinesthetic motions of the mother. The child forms his own space and his own time and thus, says Husserl, "he enters history."
September 27, 1960
An important point, for me, in manuscript K III 4 (1934-1935), in which the theme of genesis is connected to that of universal teleology (group-E manuscripts). Normality and abnormality. Normal Lebenswelt is teleological and its time is teleological time. Living organisms: presence of totality in their intentional life and in their teleologische Zeitlichkeit (p. 45-49). The totality mentioned here is, as Sartre would say, a "de-totalized totality." Teleology is a law, but not a scientific law in the usual sense: it applies only to the plane of the science of the Lebenswelt, not to the exact sciences (this is so also for the "laws" in Ideen II). Sketch of a phenomenology of animal species: problems of classification, of development, of inheritance. The first part of the unpublished work (to p. 60) was written between the 8
January 16, 1961
Analysis of what I perceive as passivity, as impenetrability, as hardness, as resistance. Phenomenology of passivity. Of that which requires effort and labor. In me, as individual, there is the world. There is also, and above all, something "external" which I experience, "live" as "external," as "contraposed." My actions, my kinesthesis, here are praxis and technology. Fetishized technology fails to recognize labor as my labor, as labor of the subject in the first person. The I is "I do", "I can"as Husserl puts it. We must add: "I work." The problem of matter, of the modalities through which I experience matter and I act in it, acquire thus a fundamental importance. Technology is an extension of myself in the world: it causes matter to become mine, my product, extension of my work. Hence value. To strip technology of subjectivity means to objectify, to alienate the meaning of life.
January 18, 1961
Phenomenology of matter. It is not an accident that it is the most difficult, and that it must struggle against the most serious concealment. Tight connection between phenomenology of matter and phenomenology of labor. It is clear that it is not sufficient to speak of mutual insertion of the subject into the object and of idealism into realism (Merleau-Ponty: ambiguity). The materialistic dimension is missing. Point out how this absence ends up provoking "spiritualism."
Materialism is not obvious, as it has been believed until now. Phenomenologically, it is linked to the Erlebnis of the external, to the modalities by which I live the external. I never own things without labor, for free, I never own them entirely: this means that I must constitute them by penetrating them with that particular participation, or Einfühlung, which is established between me and matter in work and in technical operations. Hence the possibility of a phenomenology of technology, beyond objectification and fetishization.
Technology as mediation, as Kantian transcendental schema which becomes extension of man in work, and in which man is man and nature, and truly appropriates nature. If he does not fetishize it, and if he is not used as object by another man, who makes him a slave by means of technology, he rediscovers nature within himself. Labor, technology, "interiorization" of nature. Each instance of interiorization, in the sense of Sartre's dialectic between interiorization and exteriorization, is an operation which has a meaning, which has not lost intentionality. Capitalism, in its various forms, can also be interpreted as the loss of the intentionality of labor, of the sense of labor, of its teleological meaning.
February 6, 1961
Hegel's "servile self-consciousness [?]." The servant claims for himself, against the master, the "faculty," the possibility of giving meaning to work. Self-consciousness frees the servant from feeling as an "object," an instrument. The sense of labor, with which, for the servant, death is defeated, is the sense of life, the irreversibility transformed into sense of life and meaning of history (that is, into intentional truth).
Lectures on the relations between psychology and phenomenology. I already know where they will lead: to the attempt of positing the problem of anthropology in a new form.
March 6, 1961
I am re-reading Ulysses in the Italian translation. The beach. All right, Joyce quotes Aristotle (I don't wish to dwell on the problems of this quotation). Rather, what comes a bit later, on the same page, is indeed a true phenomenological analysis of kinesthesis. In fact, it implies the entirety of transcendental esthetics. Joyce could not have known the D-manuscripts. But, did he know Ideen I? "Stephen closed his eyes to hear his boots crush crackling wrack and shells. You are walking through it howsomever. [Student's Edition. The Corrected Text...Penguin 1986, p. 31]" To walk through: analysis of what the I can perceive, in movements, as something which can or can not be traversed. It is the I indeed. The Erlebnis of the I, the I's modalities of "living." It is the concrete I, the concrete monad, the monad which is also "corps propre," real body, Leib. The I, with its own real body, constitutes the world by means of the sense organs, and then by means of kinesthesis: "I am , a stride at a time. A very short space of time through very short times of space. [ibidem]." Husserl's spatio-temporal structure of the Lebenswelt, with regard to kinesthesis.
Stephen counts: "Five, six: the Nacheinender. [ibidem]." Where did Joyce get such a Husserlian term? (a bit later: Nebeneinander). Stephen, his eyes closed, listens to the sound of his own steps. He thinks about the modalities by which the corporeal I senses the world; about the concordance of the sense organs in that organ of organs, as Husserl puts it, which is the body. But I can open or close my eyes. I do not see the world, yet it is present, it is there, I am ineluctably linked to its Boden. In the unpublished manuscripts D 17 and D 18 man is linked to planet Earth, like to himself, like to his own body. Joyce's irony. But it is possible in any case to read the entire Ulysses in a phenomenological key.
March 28, 1961
Eliot's The Waste Land (1922) and Joyce's Ulysses (1922, written between '14 and '21).
"Tonality" which can be found also in The Waste Land: "Did you see anything of your artist brother Stephen lately? No? Sure he's not down in Strasbourg terrace with his aunt Sally?" [ibidem p. 32] "M. Drumont, famous journalist, Drumont..." [ibidem p. 36] Hints. But a bit later "death by water" [see also Eliot, "iv. Death by Water", p. 41. Translator's note] "A drowning man. His human eyes scream to me out of horror of his death. I...With him together down...I could not save her. Waters: bitter death: lost." [ibidem p. 38]
The dog: "Their dog ambled about a bank of dwindling sand, trotting, sniffing on all sides. Looking for something lost in a past life." [ibidem p. 38] "His hindpaws then scattered the sand: then his forepaws dabbled and delved. Something he buried there, his grandmother." [ibidem p. 39]
The dog is "vulturing the dead." [ibidem p. 39]
Joice's texture is complex, and in the phenomenological Erlebnis that distinguishes him, he reveals themes which are very close to those of The Waste Land. Metamorphosis, metempsychosis, ineluctable return of life (in the spring, in April, in "the cruellest month" [Eliot p. 29]). In Eliot: is the dog a friend or an enemy of man? He has the habit of grubbing, of unearthing corpses. In The Waste Land what is buried is also the seed of violence, of life as violence, which sprouts again inexorably according to the cycle of karma. If the dog unearths the seed, in April the plant will not grow and the cycle will be broken. In this case the dog is a friend of man, provided man understands the value of renunciation (of the voice of thunder: da. Namely: datta, dayadhvam, damyata [Eliot p. 45]: give, be compassionate, refrain).
Is the dog, when he does not allow the corpse-seed to bloom, a friend because he breaks the cycle of karma, of violence and pain, or a friend because he can not bear that the body be buried, that the man be dead, and would like, by unearthing him, to make him alive again? The hypocrite lecteur, since he does not want to understand the voice of thunder, will opt for the latter solution.
The ambiguity may seem even more complex: it is possible to negate life only with an act of violence. That is why Buddha condemned the will to live, but also the will against life, for himself and for the others (namely, both masochism and sadism). The problem is this: to live in the world, but not in the mundane. Hence: not in fetishism and in the fall of meaning, but in intentional meaning.
April 11, 1961
It was a true joy to be with Sartre here, in Milan. We had breakfast with many friends.
His insistence on the importance of the problem of subjectivity. He is perfectly aware of the relation of his concept of "set" to that of mathematicians, although he obviously uses it in a differentI would say "phenomenological"sense. He sees with pleasure a phenomenological reading of the Critique.
With regard to the problems of the dialectic between interiorization and exteriorization, we begin a conversation which attempts to illuminate the relation between the non-interiorized external [exterior?] and the unconscious. It seems to me possible to discover in this way a very significant connection between what we call "unconscious" and the exteriority of things, of the world, of history. At a certain point our conversation ceases to refer to the Critique and develops along different directions. Sartre's fascination lies in his continuous capacity to be present and to go beyond himself. He burns himself in an uninterrupted intentional movement. He insists on the fact that interiorization is labor, is praxis. I feel a confirmation of my hypothesis of searching to what extent the unconscious may also be a mode of being of the material world in us. A mode of being which is not aware until we make it ours. Even if we are not conscious of it, we are rooted in the matter which is in us. With labor, with the various types of praxis, "interiorization" becomes then one of the fundamental modalities of subjectivity.
May 4, 1961
Merleau-Ponty died yesterday. "La tradition est oubli des origines, disait le dernier Husserl. Justement si nous lui devon beaucoup, nous sommes hors d'état de voir au juste ce qui est à lui." With these words he opens his beautiful essay Le philosophe et son ombre. I did not know I would read them thinking, in such a concrete and direct situation, of the communication between the living and the dead, of the "dialog with the dead" Husserl speaks of. I had organized a series of lectures in Italy for Merleau-Ponty, and I was about to inform him of the fine details of his trip.
Despite the differences among the various interpretations of phenomenology, there is in every philosopher who refers back to Husserl a fundamental agreement, and sometimes there surface the same preoccupations. "À l'égard d'un philosophe dont l'entreprise a éveillé tant d'échos, et apparemment si loin du point où il se tenait lui-même, toute commémoration est aussi trahison, soit que nous lui fassions l'hommage très superflu de nos pensées, comme pour leur trouver un garant auquel elles n'ont pas droit,--soit qu'au contraire, avec un respect qui n'est pas sans distance, nous le réduisons trop strictement à ce qu'il a lui-même voulu et dit...Mais ces difficultés, qui sont celles de la communication entre les 'ego,' Husserl justement les connaisait bien, et il ne nous laisse pas sans ressource en face d'elles." In every philosopher there is a horizon of thought which implies a background which has not been made explicit, a shadow. We too must resort to the implicit background in Merleau-Ponty's philosophical horizon. It is the sleepy background which always remains in the world of wakefulness, of explicit reason. The continuity of the egos allows for pauses, for interruptions. The pauses of sleep, the pauses of death. To understand Husserl, says Merleau-Ponty, is to make him alive again in us today: "Husserl délivré de sa vie, rendu à l'entretien avec ses pairs et à son audace omnitemporelle." In Husserl, in Merleau-Ponty, in us, a continuous correction.
June 10, 1961
Father Van Breda arrived on May 29 and has remained in Italy since. He remarked that in Italy, since February 1958, the last time he was here, phenomenology has made much progress. In his lecture in Milan, and in a very special way in the one he gave in Turin, Van Breda was very happy to underline the importance of genetic phenomenology. Although many of my younger friends were away from Milan, and some from Italy, a remarkable number of people attended the lectures and the receptions.
Van Breda's insistence is always on the fundamental problem of the ens qua verum, of meaning. This is indeed a key concept for Husserl, easy to state, difficult to understand.
Perhaps, according to my interpretation, it is even more difficult to grasp the fact that in Husserl the esse of the philosophical tradition resolves itself in verum: the opposite of traditional metaphysics. It is striking to think about the enormous labor that awaits all those who have approached the problems of phenomenology. Encounters with the various scholars are more and more necessary. What is important is that such encounters happen spontaneously, free from prejudices and pre-constituted positions.
June 16, 1961
For a phenomenology of technology. To try once again the analysis of the real body, of the Leib. The body as presentation, coordinated in me, of all the sense organs, and as certainty of being able to act through its coherence, its form, its whole "schema." Use of my hand. Use of the instrument.
Automatism. Its negative and positive functions. My relationship with the instrument becomes "unconscious." In the sense that my Leib uses the instrument as its own. All this leads me to think about a tight relationship of technology with the life of our body which lives organically-automatically.
In technology and automatism are incarnated operations which from abstract become concrete. The body, in order to learn, must forget abstraction, the abstractive effort of attentionformalism. Categories must become corporeal and automatic. In fact, categories derive from corporeity, from the body joined with nature, from the "secret art of nature." In order to arrive at constructing an instrument I must avail myself, at a high level, of artificial categories. Thus I find myself, temporarily, on the abstract plane. The categories exist only in my head, my body does not know them yet. The instrument will function, for me, when the categories are learned from the body, when the body transforms them from potential to actual. When the body expands its own subjectivity and its own operational capabilities. I must learn to steer, to "govern" (intentional cybernetics) the instrument as I steer and govern my body. Governed technology becomes subjective and intersubjective. To use technology not as objectification, but as enrichment of the human subject and of his autonomy, of its ability to self-govern. That is, to eliminate objectified, fetishized technology, which contributes to the fetishism of man. And to eliminate that which makes fetishism necessary, by making also the negative side of automatism necessary.
June 19, 1961
Schönberg's Moses und Aron at La Scala. I had never seen this opera on the stage. The effect was striking even if, naturally, one can always argue about the interpretation. I spoke with Frau Gertrud Schönberg, and also with Nuria Nono Schönberg, about Schönberg's interest in the religious problem and the Kabbala. Nuria was born in 1932, in Barcellona, at the very time her father had completed Moses und Aron. We talked until very late, with Rognoni, Nono, Castiglioni, Pestalozza, and everybody else. Listening again to the opera I convinced myself that it is the musical expression (at the highest level, particularly in the first act) of an unresolved crisis. Hence its pathos. Is Schönberg's God fetishized from the very beginning? I am afraid it is. If so, it is unavoidable that the story may end in the orgy around the golden calf. Moses' law is already expression, and if expression, instead of being meaning, is considered objectification, fetishism and idolatry, the law is idolatry (Aron).
"One, eternal, omnipotentinvisible and unrepresentable God." But the invisible, the non-representable, can not be expressed. This concerns music itself as expression. Schönberg has remained prisoner of the riddle. If his opera is a great opera, it is nevertheless so precisely because it expresses Schönberg's drama when faced with the riddle. The opera allows itself to be defined, paradoxically, as the expression of a negated expression.
What is the meaning of expression? Schönberg did not give an answer, perhaps he could not answer this question. He would have been forced to say that God is not the being who dictates the law. What matters is the life of the law, the life of the meaning of truth: an intentional truth, a limit-truth and, in this sense, never objectified, never reducible to being, never conquered and never representable as conquered. The initial error is to attribute being to God, to posit God as static source of truth and expression, while what was sought in God was the meaning of expression and of its life. Something similar can be drawn, if one were so inclined, from the Kabbala itself.
The law, as life of truth, is not in the formulation, in the letter, but in the intentional life of man, of the subject, and in the intentional life of intersubjectivity. It is a question not of receiving it as a dictate, but of finding it in each one of us, and in all for each of us, if it is indeed in each of us. Authentic law is infinite norm which is before us, not behind us. It is telos, not letter nor sign which absorbs in itself its own meaning. It is therefore meaning of life and intersubjective life which tends to an ideal, perfect intersubjectivity, and which, on the other hand, condemns itself, if it believes it has reached it. Any idolatry derives necessarily from the pretense of having received or to have conquered a definitive truth, a truth which is, has been and will always be being itself. Intentional life always tends beyond the being we are, and beyond that categorical being itself which we construct abstractly. It tends to an infinite meaning of man. And true expression is this tension. Expression which is not possession of anybody, and which is potentially meaningful to each one and to all.
There is a premonition of all this in the Kabbala. The true Torah can not be written. It is oral. It is lived, in the living presence, by man, by all men. But then it is the meaning of man's life and it is in this sense that it is expression. The struggle against idolatry, against the vanity of seeking one's salvation or one's condemnation in the judgment of a tribunal (Kafka), is the struggle against objectification and fetishism. It is thus, as Husserl wanted, a return to that subjectivity which, if it is truly such, is intentional life for truth, namely life that lives, by always going beyond itself, in the idea of a perfect intersubjectivity, life that lives on this idea and that can, for this reason, express itself. Not in a sign but in the meaning which always transcends the sign, meaning that finally is logos. Because the logical meaning is an expression: "Logische Bedeutung ist ein Ausdruck" (Ideen I, p. 305).
June 22, 1961
A stroll. A rhythm that was waiting and now is present. Music of life. My I constituted itself, as Husserl puts it, in a history. But history is a complex web of stories, of motifs, of themes. While I was living a theme, or several themes, in the foreground, other themes were formed and woven through other themes in the backgroundI did not know it, but now I do. Better: now I know that I knew it without knowing it (Husserl: one always knows more than one knows). The themes in the background were readying themselves for a sudden, and forever anticipated, revelation. They were in the dressing room, applying the makeup. Very seriously, yet playfully. They wanted to come to the foreground with a solemn apparition. Solemn and festive (but where had they disappeared? In Asia, in Africa?). Festive and somewhat ironic. As if to demonstrate that there is not only toil, preoccupation, Sorge, but the slow maturation of a happiness which is waiting for its moment, its presence. Now happiness is here, on the stage. It carries a bit of waiting. Does it "retain" waiting in presence? Is it afraid of not being so beautiful as in absence? No, it know it is more beautiful precisely because of the waiting it carries within. It moves, it walks. Dance step, rhythmic and almost mechanical step of the mime. It expresses love, joybut it does not take itself too seriously. A ballet in which one encounters humor and passionwithout losing any of the reality of things, which in their contradictions are no longer contradictory. A stroll. There is something similar in Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition. The Great Gate of Kiev, the final section. Things are the way they are. The roads are roads. But everything is new. Like when from afar one arrives for the first time in a city which reveals of itself that which it will never reveal again.
June 30, 1961
Janheinz Jahn (Muntu: An Outline of the New African Culture. Translated by Marjorie Grene. New York, Grove Press, 1991) clarifies why the black man is not "prepared to serve simply as material for the technological civilization of the world" [check!]. "African intellectuals want to preserve and insert in the present reality what to them seems valid in the African tradition. Their ideal is not either the traditional African nor the black European, but the modern African. And this means to take up the European elements in a tradition rationally examined, renewed and now conscious of its own values." [check!] The necessary program therefore is to examine tradition "rationally." If the African intellectual proclaims himself irrationalist, as Fanon writes (Peau noire, masques blancs. Paris 1952), it is because the European imposes upon him a conception of reason in terms of which he is forced to consider himself "primitive," a human being without history. Black man has tried to understand what "primitive" meant and has found African civilization. A civilization which is civilization of reason and of body, not only of disembodied reason. A civilization which is a philosophy in the sense that it has meaning. Jahn: "The vivification of existence...which makes a new denomination of the meaning of the world possible: that is what Africa's contribution to tomorrow's universal civilization could be." And again: "If western civilization examines itself, precisely because of the fact that it finds itself in the era of the machine, it can not wish the destruction of African civilization, on the contrary: nothing would be more necessary than a style in which, instead of the simple practical end or of absolute uselessness...what is sense and meaning is once again emphasized." [check!]
To discover the sense of scientific categories in their precategorical and corporeal origin, for example in rhythm, means to discover that, if there is rhythm, there is a corporeal, empirical, origin of logic, and there becomes possible the ideal of a rational and scientific life, of a "new science" of humanity, in which technology becomes amplification of intersubjective life. White man, if he finds in himself the authentic meaning of black civilization, also recovers the authentic meaning of European civilization. This is "rationalism," rationalism which does not objectify subjects and bodies, rationalism of meaning. The uneasiness of the white man lies in the fact that his lack of understanding of the black man is a lack of understanding of himself as man.