Imagine I was to travel to Berlin for the 20th anniversary celebration of the fall of the Wall on 9 November 2009. I have been considering it and have even looked on the internet earlier today for an inexpensive fare.
Coming from Copenhagen, I can go by bus, train, car or plane. It takes me 7 hours by bus and about the same time going by train. I prefer one of these options since you need more than just your camera with you. You also need to bring your soul. Slow travel works for me!
The landscape is beautiful even at this time of the year, and you get to get off at the ferry connecting the bottom of Denmark to the top of Germany. I greatly enjoy this trip since discovering about 2 years ago that Berlin was part of the world . I arranged an international photo session there:- The Contax G Summit. I later became President of that forum with the privilege to do all the work. It is all great fun.
I don’t know why but I am more impressed by Berlin than I would ever have thought I would have been for any part of Germany. I live in the same modern hotel every time, and know my way around pretty well, by now. I am particularly impressed that the Germans want to rebuild the Berlin Castle, Berlin Schloss, in the middle of town in its old location.. Every time I visit I see progress.. There is something Carl Zeiss Glass about this ambition. Impressive.
This time I will be joined by Hilary Clinton, Anders Fogh Rasmussen (Head of Nato) and many more celebrities flown in from all over the world to celebrate the wall that is no more. “Tear that wall down”, Ronald Reagan said to his fiend Mr. Gorbachev. A few years later it came down.
I arrive by bus. Or by train.
Barenboim will be there to conduct the Berlin Symphony Orchestra. The French and the Russian Presidents will both be there, and of course the grand old man Mikhail Gorbachev. Gordon Brown will be there too.
However, for the moment I am still sitting behind my Imac. It is darker outside now so I have lit the desk lamp.
Why this story?
All the incidents mentioned: seeing my iMac, visualizing Berlin Schloss, speculating about if, when and how to go there have one thing in common: They are modes of intentionality. Remember the statement that consciousness is always consciousness of something, and intentionality as the barest bone of all the barebones? If you have forgotten then go look it up.
Here is the point: within the general frame of intentionality there are different sorts of special intentionalities. No doubt that my Imac is present for me, and no doubt that the Berlin Schloss and Mr. Gorbachev both are absent. So too are the recollections of my earlier visits to Berlin present.
It is here that one start talking about presence and absence. This is one of phenomenology’s most important contributions. With phenomenology absence get presence in science and in philosophy. And by implication in communication as well. The last thing is of interest for barebones.
It is necessary that you distinguish between filled and empty intentions. I have a filled intention in what I am doing right now. I am writing on my Mac. Visual attention is shifting from the keyboard to the screen in front of me. When, while writing, I am thinking of the train for Berlin I deal with an empty intention. When I, hopefully, mount the train in two weeks from now and show my ticket to the train staff, the train staff will be my filled intention, and my Mac back at home will be the empty intention. Or one of them.
If I go to see the progress of the construction of The Berliner Schloss, that site will be my filled intention at that moment, other things will have moved into emptiness.
Having an empty intention does not mean that that intention is gone. Not so at all. It only means that it is not in the first focus of my attention. Obviously, while I am writing these words, the empty intentions of the train and the schloss are very important to me, since if I do not plan the next steps towards traveling to Berlin, how on earth will I ever get around to the very practical job of ordering the tickets?
The movement from empty intention to filled intention is one of fulfillment. There are two ways to fulfillment. There is graded or cumulative fulfillment, and there is additive fulfillment. Robert Sokolowski on graded or cumulative fulfillment: “The one leads through many intermediaries, of different kinds, and finally reaches intuition”. On additive fulfillment: “It is simply additive, providing more and more profiles on the thing in question”.
What’s in it for communication?
To be continued …
Quotations from Robert Sokolowski: Introduction to Phenomenology”, Cambridge University Press 2000, New York.
Here is yet another cluster of notions that needs to be mentioned as important for phenomenological understanding and activity. Since I am still in front of my imac, I will continue describing it. No reason to make this more complicated.
What do I see? Well, as of right now I see the front of the screen, the display or whatever you may choose to call it. The window of the imac.
Further more: The imac is placed on the top of a table in front of a window. It blocks some of the light from entering the room. If I crawl under the table and look up I will not see anything of my imac, apart from cables attached to it. It does not really matter because I know it is there. If I, however, get up on the table and look down on the screen from above, I can see it, but this time from another perspective than when I was sitting a little while ago. As I gaze on it from above it looks like a thin piece of metal. I cannot see the glass in front, but I make a note that the metal frame is about 2,5 cm thick. The imacs carry no rucksack these days. And no suitcase either.
I can look at the screen from all the sides of it, and I can image that it looks “the same” from beneath. I am pretty sure about this.
I make a summary note here: My imac screen has 6 different sides. But these sides differs as I view them. They do not look the same from above, from the sides of the screen, from in front, from the back. As I move around I get different aspects of the screen. While the sides are 6 in number, the aspects cannot be numbered. There are simply too many.
Then again: When I, at any moment, view a particular side of the screen though an aspect of it, I get the screen’s profile. The profile is what I have in view here and now, in this very moment. I am now back on my chair writing, and what is see is the screen in profile. In fact everything that I see (not only the imac) , and observe, is always a profile of the thing, the subject, the theme in question. This is the way the world works for me, and so does is work for you. No escaping here.
Phenomenology then, works with three layers of content in viewing my screen : 1) the sides of it, 2) the aspects involved in viewing, and the profile that is the actual here end now grasp of it.
Remember that we talked about pieces and moments in a recent post? Sides, aspects and profiles, what are they? Hardly pieces because they cannot be taken apart: They are moments, you are quite right. They are nonindependent parts.
What’s in it for communication?
I will ask the same questions as in the recent post. What’s in it for communication? What’s in it for barebones? What’s in it for advertising, for instance? What’s in it for photography? You don’t want to do the mistake of treating a side for an aspect or for a profile when you address people, do you? Or vice versa, do you?
Before, however, we get to know the full implications of this, let us gather a bit more Geld. Small Coins. We don’t want to spend the money yet.
Stay tuned for more change to come your way.
It is extremely important that you get this. You need to know of, and be able to distinguish between, pieces and moments.
Let’s take look at my iMac since it is right in front of me. It is my machine for writing and viewing at this very moment. As it is every moment that I sit here at my desk.
I perceive my Mac as a whole. My Mac is the screen, the mouse, the cable connectiong the mouse to the keyboard, the internal and external hard drives, the USB ports on the back of the screen and the ports at both ends of the keyboard, the cable that connects the keyboard to the USB port at the back of the screen. All of this and many more things are what I refer to as my Mac.
I could go one.
It is not hard for me recognize that what I call my Mac is s composite of many different things. Some can be split up and taken apart and others cannot. For instance I can unplug the keyboard, take it onto another room and study the keyboard for it own sake. I can do the same with the Mac mouse. They are still parts of my Mac even when split.
When I take the screen with me and study it another room that piece becomes a new whole and takes on a life of its own. Parts of the screen are now the screen itself, the foot that is stands on, the glass that I look at, et cetera. Parts are the cable ports on the back side.
Parts, however, does not only come as pieces like the a screen, the mouse, the cable, the USB port and the like. Parts can also come as moments, and moments are of a different breed than pieces. A moment is the color of the keyboard, or its extension, or its weight, or its feel, or its temperature, or its mass.
If pieces have the ability to take on a life of their own not so with moments. You don’t take the color away from the mac mouse to study it in another room. The mouse comes with. So does temperature and mass.
It is necessary that you distinguish first and foremost between wholes and parts. And you need recognize that parts can be or two sorts: pieces and moments. The former can be dismantled and becomes themselves then wholes consisting of parts. The latter cannot be dismantled and will never become wholes for and in themselves.
Pieces are independent parts. Moments are nonindependent parts. That is the phrases Robert Sokolowski uses about them. Read more.
The difference is huge and of major importance.
I hear you say: Why are you telling me this? I have known this all along. Everyone knows the difference between pieces and moments even if they might have other words for it. And I will tend to agree with you. If this is what phenomenology has offer that is not much, is it?
First of all it is not what phenomenology has to offer, it is only part of what it has to offer. I tiny little part. Don’t forget we are doing kleingeld stuff in the posts. Not the big bills.
But I will say this: we have forgotten to live by this. And so has science and so has modern life. One of science’s biggest problems is how to connect man and world. We have, some say, the consciousness inside our body and we have the world outside our body, how do they connect? Big, big problem for many clever people, but only if you start our wrongly. If you consider consciousness and world as pieces you will have problems connecting them. If you consider them as moments, you don’t. Consciousness never left the world.
When I reflect, it is not something inside that tries to connect to something outside. The two poles are already part of the reflection process. When I dream, it is not something inside that tries to connect to something outside. The two poles are already part of the dream process. When I speak, it is not something inside that tries to connect to something outside. The two poles are already part of the speaking process. And so forth.
What’s in it for communication?
What’s in it for communication? What’s in it for barebones? What’s in it for advertising, for instance? What’s in it for photography? Well, you don’t want to do the mistake of treating a piece as a moment, or a moment as a piece when you address people, do you? Before, however, we get to know the full implications of this, let us gather a bit more Geld. Small Coins. Change, if you must.
Here are a couple of questions that you may consider in the mean time: Are pieces and moments so different that we need to speak of them, treat them, in different languages? With the use of a different words, symbols or pictures, for instance? Please think about it.
Pieces and moment are not a pieces of phenomenology, they are moments of it. Now you know.
It has been my idea, for some time now, to take a closed look at phenomenology. I suggested that in a post loaded not so long ago. I called that post Phenomenology: The Larger Picture. There I promised a post on presence and absence, as that pair is one of the fundamentals of phenomenology. That post will come in this section.
I have hereby suggested that I am starting a new barebones section.
I have no idea at the moment of how many posts there will go to conclude this section. As I indicated, in a former post, we are breaking new ground here so we will have to see how much kleingeld we will be able to gather along the way.
Why kleingeld? I am sure that you wonder about this strange German word now in the caption of a post written in English (well, I do my best). Klein means small, and Geld means money or coins. So what we have here then is SmallMoney or SmallCoins Phenomenology.
And that is just what it is: SmallCoins Phenomenology, or KleinGeld Phenomenology. The phrase actually stems from Edmund Husserl (remember the father of phenomenology). I think it is from his Göttingen period (I will have to look that up). He was greeted by his students by the large scale and the large view of his emerging phenomenology, responding to them with the following remark. “Not so fast gentlemen, KleinGeld, KleinGeld”. Like in eating elephants: you need to take one bite at the time. So that is how this section is going to proceed: one bite at the time.
I let you in on what sources that I going to use. I have already told you how impressed I am with Robert Sokolowski’s “Introduction to Phenomenology” first published in 2000. It is in terms of actuality way beyond what I have ever seen in this area. In fact it is very Husserlian, not written like a phone book but as a letter of introduction. I like that. Go get that book.
I am going to use that book as inspiration. And I am going to use his Sokolowski’s “Husserlian Meditations” from 1974 as well (yes that old). The last one is a much heavier work to get through. But it links me to the original passages in Hussel’s original texts.
I will tag posts in this section properly so that it is easy for you to find the posts later. Tags will be “KleinGeld Phenomenology” and/or “SmallCoins Phenomenology”.
Most important for those who work within the communication areas is that “I will shadow” the genuine KleinGeld subjects to the communication area. I will make suggestions of how to use the small coins experiences when doing and undoing pieces of communication. You being an advertiser, text writer, visual designer, copywriter, elephant eater, photographer, Visit Denmark Employee (remember the Danish mother seeking …) or other.
Oh, one last thing. This KleinGeld Section will probably be the most important and original on this blog. It is going change your way of thinking and of working with communication. Simple as that.
Only left to say then this Saturday in Copenhagen, Denmark: Welcome to the section KleinGeld Phenomenology. No, I have not forgotten Thandie Part II.
Have a good day.
Page pointing to all the posts in this section.