Lecture 10

Lecture 10

How others speak about me in what I am good for is my reputation, my social being in the medium of the logos. They address me as somewho by my unique proper name, in which they call me to presence, and they call me to presence for others (second-person being merged into third-person being) by referring to me by my proper name. My reputation is thus a structured phenomenon consisting of both my proper name and my vocational abilities by which I am called.

To stand in estimation with others, I must make a name for myself as someone who is capable of doing such-and-such. My proper name is linked with my vocation, and it is through this link that I make a name for myself in being circulated by the logos in what people say about me "” my reputation. Making a name for myself can be regarded as my self-production in the sense of me bringing myself forth as a name that is circulated in the public sphere. Making a name for myself means bringing myself into public presence as a well-defined, recognizable name connected with a certain aura of reputation regarding my vocational abilities.

Persona and encounter with the world as uplifting or downcasting

As a defined look, my reputation is also my persona, my mask which defines my public, social being, my being-exposed to the openness of being held to be someone by others. Who I am vocationally is a matter of understanding which also has continuity and defines me over time in my social life within the defining standingness of being. When others call me and address me as someone with abilities of such-and-such a kind, they call me to a stand in being, they define me in a way in which both they understand me and I understand myself. But I am also myself in the way I find my self, mich befinde, in each moment, in each particular situation, in my momentary mood or Befindlichkeit. As a self who finds my self in each situation, I am exposed to the mood swings which accompany my bodily fluctuating being-in-the-world. As open to the world, also in a bodily, physical way, I am also affected by it in any given situation, and experience this bodily affectedness as mood, i.e. as my momentary mode of being in the world as a corporeal being. I also display my mood, my upliftedness or dejectedness, in how I present myself bodily to the world, e.g. in my posture and facial expression. Such moods are the pa/qh which Aristotle analyzes. As the word pa/qoj says (from the verb pa/sxein), it is a mode not only of suffering the world, but of suffering it openly in self-awareness as Sichbefinden. Mood is a mode of openness to the world parallel to and equally originary with understanding, for which the world presents its defined, delimited face. My reputation as my definite, defined persona provides a stand as who and thus a support against the continual buffeting of changing moods in momentary situations, depending in part simply on physical well-being (e.g. whether I have just woken up or have indigestion).

What relation does my being-as-who have to my moodedness as the affected-affective mode of being-in-the-world? The world is encountered either in the mode of h(du/ or luphro/n, of uplifting or downcasting, elating or dejecting, sweet or bitter, which casts me all at once (kata/stasin a)qro/an Rhet. A 11 1369b33 cf. Heidegger GA18:48, 245) into either an uplifted or downcast, an elated or depressed, an up or a down mood, in short, into feeling good or feeling bad. As already pointed out with regard to the mood of fear, moods in general can arise out of nothing, causelessly. A cause is something to which something else owes its existence, on which it can 'blame' (ai)/tioj) its existence, but in the case of moodedness as the mode in which world has an impact on human being in its openness to the world, moods and their changes "all at once" can be without cause, i.e. without any being being able to be discerned on which to 'blame' the mood change and thus explain it.

Against this continually fluctuating background of mood as the temporal mode of being-in-the-world, a stand as a manly being in the world as somewho is provided by my calling, my vocation. Both such an understanding of myself through my vocational understanding, and also being held to be who I am in the estimation of others in the first place through my vocation, provide a foothold and a standpoint against the ever-rising and ever-ebbing waves of mood. Such momentary, temporal situatedness of human being in mundane moodedness is fluctuating even with respect to the time of day and whether I am in an upright bodily posture or lying down, as if the way I momentarily found myself were also a matter simply of blood pressure.

The lo/goj lends definition to whoness by linking my proper name to vocation, by which others can call me. Such definition constitutes the stand adopted and enjoyed in quotidian life with others and provides the bulwark against temporal lack of definition in mood. For Aristotle, human beings and animals share the openness to world in moodedness; both encounter the world on the scale of h(du/ through to luphro/n, of high through to low, but only human being is able to further define and delimit this mooded mode of openness in understanding, namely, in the dimension of su/mferon through to blabero/n (Pol. A 2 1253a12 cf. GA18:46), from beneficial through to harmful, from useful, profitable, expedient, suitable, good, etc. through to their opposites. For Aristole, understanding through the lo/goj has the task of assessing how the world is encountered as either uplifting or dejecting and guiding thus the direction of approach toward or flight from the world, which is the same task which Plato's thinking accorded to a)ndrei/a or manliness, i.e. that the passions of approach to or flight from come under the control of understanding, which defines and assesses the situation.

To be continued...

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