Being and nothingness an essay on phenomenological ontology summary

Through my encounter with the Other, I discover that the Other can see me just as I can see him. Thus the Other has to be more than a mere object. The Other is a peculiar object that can make himself into a subject who sees me. I am always ‘looked at’. Hence, a subject sees me and because of the ontological split, of which I spoke earlier, can never see me as I am (can I anyways?). The Other sees me as the author of this article. By saying: “Christine is the author of the article on Being and Nothingness ”, the Other objectifies me, essentializes my being. However, because I am free and because I never fully correspond to my actual being which is in the making, this statement does not correspond to who I am and yet someone believes it to be the truth about me. Thus my existence is one thing for me and another for the Other: “Beyond any knowledge which I can have, I am this self whom another knows. And this self which I am – this I am in a world which the Other has made alien to me, for the Other’s look embraces my being and correlatively the walls, the door, the keyhole.” () Thus, it is more than just my being, which is alienated through the gaze of the Other, it is also the world.

The understanding of 'nothing' varies widely between cultures, especially between Western and Eastern cultures and philosophical traditions. For instance, Śūnyatā (emptiness), unlike "nothingness", is considered to be a state of mind in some forms of Buddhism (see Nirvana , mu , and Bodhi ). Achieving 'nothing' as a state of mind in this tradition allows one to be totally focused on a thought or activity at a level of intensity that they would not be able to achieve if they were consciously thinking. A classic example of this is an archer attempting to erase the mind and clear the thoughts to better focus on the shot. Some authors have pointed to similarities between the Buddhist conception of nothingness and the ideas of Martin Heidegger and existentialists like Sartre, [18] [19] although this connection has not been explicitly made by the philosophers themselves.

Being and nothingness an essay on phenomenological ontology summary

being and nothingness an essay on phenomenological ontology summary

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