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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? 


You can follow our dear author on Twitter @NoSilverV

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  • “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.”

    FUCKING LOL! That thesis statement is so brilliant.

  • fek

    Haha very good and concise.

  • Cormacmacart

    “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.”

    Well.. we must remember Nietzche was also a damaged man.  He had lots of problem with women as well as many physical frailties.  My favorite proto-4Chan nihilist/Incel, the Marquis de Sade, was stuck in prison for most of his life.  If these 4Channers could sit down, educate themselves, reflect (yes–meditate) they would indeed realize they had many relatable (loose) precursors in the arc of history.

    “The current arrangement is not sustainable, that’s why you have a death wish.”

    This is critical.  It also echoes the desolate nature Sades final will. He had a death wish, even if he couldn’t admit it:

    “When the grave has been filled in, it will be sown with acorns so that eventually all trace of my tomb may disappear from the surface of the earth, just as I like to think that my memory will be effaced from the minds of men….”

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous 02/25/20(Tue)23:11:16 No.14785288
    >4channer
    I believe the word he is looking for is “fags”

  • The same exact thoughts struck me – that yes, some people, I would argue all people in the beginning, start out in a flow state. If they are not disrupted during their formative years, they really lock into their psyche and identity and things flow. If they are encouraged and raised in a nurturing environment, they settle into themselves, develop comfort, and fortify their psyche. Those that receive the most self-assurance and reinforcement flow faster – if you guessed there’s a danger for delusion here, you’re correct – see the “self-esteem movement”.

    Others have something traumatic happen to them – could be bullying, insecurity, drugs – that causes them to dissociate slightly and separate from themselves, to feel bad about themselves, self-view critically. I think bullying, cruelty, and social hierarchy games growing up play a huge role. We understand this on a core level – it’s why cruel people call others ugly names when they wish to hurt them: they are intentionally trying to corrupt that person’s view of themselves and cause self-doubt to develop, which is essentially what “treating yourself as an object” is.

    The 4chan author reveals his own blinding hatred – perhaps even for himself – when he starts railing against “genetic dead-enders”. It doesn’t even make sense on a logical level. Perhaps hating oneself’s genetics – which cannot be changed – is more comforting than the endless tedium and despair of trying and failing to escape the disembodiment of personality dissociation. Perhaps the dogmatic certainty of blaming it all on genes is more psychologically reassuring than the uncertainty of hoping things can get better.

    Really interesting stuff about Heidegger – I’d conceptualized these ideas for a while, but didn’t know anyone had written about them. I don’t really understand your prescription at the end for how one “re-embodies” themselves – perhaps you could elucidate on that in a future post.

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