Vorhandenheit und Zuhandenheit
Not Rival Voices
February 19, 2020
4Chan, Heidegger, and the Embodiment of Self-Improvement
4channers have the hypertrophied intuition of damaged men: they mix being absolutely retarded on the personal level with sociological takes from the year 3020. They have the keenest of observation powers, but they far exceed their theory.
Let’s discuss the macro in question.
The author has correctly latched onto the difference between people who merely ‘flow’ through life and people who feel the need, and follow through that need in attempting to, explicitly self-improve.
He – and you know damn well it’s a he – is pointing at a real distinction, which tracks a distinction made by Heidegger before him: that between something present-at-hand and being ready-to-hand.
Heidegger, as he was an author, was also an excellent observer. Also, much like today’s 4channers, he was a terminology innovator. Study the following slides explaining this distinction of his, I’ll wait.
Heidegger’s idea is the following: while you use an object, if everything goes right, you’ll forget that “you” are “using” an “object“. There is, during the use, no you, no using, no object. Just doing, just acting, just being.
If something fails, however, maybe because the hammer breaks, maybe because you hammer your finger, you quickly come back to the present. Much like being brought out of a Flow State. Back to perceiving yourself as your self and to perceiving the object that was being used as an object.
That is, this present-at-hand event, this explicit reflective mode is what happens when something goes wrong. Read it again because it’s what I’m trying to get through: the explicit reflective mode is what happens when something goes wrong.
Now, to tie this back to the original image: deliberate self-improvement is definitely both explicit and reflective. Is there something going wrong here that is causing it? Yes. And what is going wrong? What is going wrong is that the self-improver, and that means you, my dear reader, aren’t ready-to-hand to yourself. That is, you are – to yourself – an object. Not unlike the hammer. But worse than the hammer too: because you are broken, to yourself.
And thus, logically, following the same logic, you try to fix yourself the way you’d fix any broken object. But the whole problem, the causa prima of your predicament, is that you treat yourself as an object in the first place and explicit self-improvement only reinforces this view.
Again: the causa prima of your predicament, is that you treat yourself as an object in the first place and explicit self-improvement only reinforces this view
Why? I don’t know. A long time ago something went deeply wrong with your deep models of how to be in the world. Of how to relate to yourself, to others, to reality. You will never just pre-reflectively do the right things the way that the jock in the macro does that would, in a relatively effortless way, get you the things you want.
It’s unlikely that it’s genetics. This is another point of theory failure. Not only that, it’s a point of prioritization failure: what caused it doesn’t matter. The endless pursuit for the actual causa prima, what actually went wrong, who, when, what, where — that’s narcissistic masturbation archeology. It’s only purpose is to keep you distracted from actually enacting something that would cause a change when YouTube, Twitch, and Netflix have run their course. “Guess I should try to figure this out” — guess what, you’re not actually trying. The only thing that matters is that there is a solution and that you know in your heart of hearts what it looks like: you must once again become an embodied being (not object) among other embodied beings. Even if that means the annihilation of your current self. The current arrangement is not sustainable, that’s why you have a death wish.
This is the kind of thing that responds to hundreds of hours of excellent therapy or emotional processing or hardcore meditation.
So, ironically, the great boon of self-improvement communities is the community itself as it force-pushes you to re-embody. But you decided a long time to self-improve by yourself — go alone to go fast, right?
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