Chasing moths going in and out of existence (or in and out of sight?)

April 30, 2015

Chasing the moth in the bath room, looking together (my wife and I) at a moth flying here and then suddenly there, and when I point it out, its gone again and then suddenly, there it is, at the very edge of the door (what views I have of this world!); wrong for it’s gone again, but there it is, just at the mirror flying at itself (a certain view or way of looking at and considering the moth), here it is now, suddenly gone that way, now out of sight, and now there it is, etc. A few hectic moments trying to locate and kill the moth. And during this frantic search to keep up with the moth we agree, my wife and I, on certain positions and movements of the moth but not on all. Where I see it and point it out clearly, she sometimes doesn’t see it, and then suddenly she declares that can see it, but it was over here not there where you said it was. Etc. Finally we were able to swat the moth and stop all this shouting and frantic looking and following of the moth.

Kant steps in and declares to us that what we are describing to each other is not the moth as a physical insect, but only of our take on the moth, our view of the moth, how we see the moth as separate on-lookers.

And then Kant, trying to get to the bottom of all this, realized that the original notion here of a moth as a single moth (and not as a bunch of different similar things, like a red A and a green A or like me and my older brother) is nothing more than the way that we view things, i.e., we look at things in that way, we view things in space and in time, as here and there and now and then (none of which is in the object or even in the relationship between objects, but solely in one’s looking and viewing). So this is something that we as understanding beings bring to consciousness: the myriad of impressions made up of a lot of stuff which sort of blurs or blends vaguely together (and sometimes even vanishes from sight*), i.e., successive appearances bombarding our brainariums.** So then in order to stop all this craziness, we conceive of a something in contrast to which we can unify our own views as appearances of that something and not as real things existing like that. Where could we ever have gotten such an idea of such a something from the myriad appearances which constantly flood our souls? A real thing such that what we see are not real things, but only representations of real things, and entirely within us. We could not have gotten any such idea from the looking, for the looking gives us only appearances. We can only have dreamed it up in response to the clamoring of our connective understanding, looking for fodder to combine into “real things” of which we get glimpses and have views, but only as appearances, and where we never come directly to sight and see any so-called “real thing” in opposition to the appearances.

* How can we justify declaring that the moth went out of sight as opposed to going out of existence? Only by realizing that the moth we spy is not a moth as a real thing on its own, but only the appearance of a moth.

** Light strikes the moth, for example, and some light is reflected and some absorbed by the moth. Some of the reflected light enters my eye and is converted into impulses which lead to the brain and there within the brain a vista unfolds which includes that moth. That vista or panorama is the brainarium.

What validates this presumption of ours as understanding beings to just dream up a so-called real thing is our ensuing realization that what we see are not real things but only appearances of real things and thus are representations within our brainariums.

See an earlier blog on the theoretics of all this. See also Anschauung.

Author contact: pmr#$, replacing #$ with @

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