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Some Priniciples of Phenomenological Hermeneutics (13) July 17, 2006

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13. That which constitutes our reality, our symbolic world, has a limit, or ‘horizon’, beyond which we cannot ‘see’. The text itself as an intention symbolic structure, has its own horizons, its own set of knowledges of the world in view of which it was written. This difference of horizons becomes a focus for the problem of historical and cultural interpretation.

So you jinx it because you are lazy and other things come up or your weren’t listening and, no sir, you do not want to share it with the rest of the class.

Some people, aye? i saw a man today with a can of beer – like a wrong time of the day can of beer – and it’s in one of those can coolers. And i tried to think what that made me think, and all i came up with was – can a man not enjoy a cold can of beer without some nosey bitch trying to work out how it effects her reality concept?

Do those things really keep your beer any cooler? Like, if it’s single figures out, do they make a difference? i think it all might be down to hand temperature.

They remind me of Australia – well, my forethought Australia, where it is always stinking hot and there is always a barbeque and some Jimmy Barnes on the transistor. Red dust. There should be some red dust kind of blowing on a hot, hot breeze, sticking to the white bread they are wrapping their sauages in.

Some Priniciples of Phenomenological Hermeneutics (12) July 12, 2006

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12. Following on point 10 above, one reads with a wholeness of presence, as one’s foreunderstanding is a wholeness of presence: reading is not a ‘rational’ process, but an investment of the range of meaning practices As one reads, one continually revises one’s foreunderstanding and one’s sense of one’s situation vis a vis the text.

Caddy smells like trees. i always think of them living in a big house. Bigger than anything around here. That you have to walk up to. Under a tree with no leaves, a stony path all the way under my feet. There’s a porch swing with worn edging. In a cliche it would swaying in the wind.

But not in this.

Some Priniciples of Phenomenological Hermeneutics (11) July 11, 2006

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11. Similarly one can only know the world through fore-under standing, but the world, as it is concrete and exceeds our signification of it, forces us to revise our foreunderstandings. The hermeneutic experience, the encounter with an other, the contextual, linguistic, historical, fusion of horizons is, although linguistic, what allows us to escape the prison-house of language. (Copyright John Lye 1996)

Strawberry oil. She made small cloth strawberries. i am imagining them being fashioned from felt, with small yellow stitches for the seeds and light long stitch to show where the veins of the leaves might be if they were real. The strawberries. When they were finished the small girls, lead by some sort of Brown Owl (i am imagining), added two drops of strawberry oil.

There must be an edible equivalent.

Rose water, daisy chain, chamomile lawn.

Violet, Lilly and Ivy.

Some Priniciples of Phenomenological Hermeneutics (10) July 10, 2006

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10. In order to ‘understand’ one must ‘foreunderstand’, have a stance, an anticipation and a contextualization. This is what is known as the “hermeneutic circle”: one can only know what one is prepared to know, in the terms that one is prepared to know. The hermeneutic circle can be taken to be an innately limiting, self-blinding process in which one only knows what one is prepared to know. According to phenomenological hermeneutic theory the hermeneutic circle does not close off, however, but opens up, because of the symbolic and self-reflective nature of our being.

Gadamer, in explaining Heidegger in Truth and Method, puts the issue of foreknowledge in the encounter with texts this way: we can only read a text with particular expectations, that is, with a fore-project; we must, however, constantly revise our fore-projects in terms of what is there before us. Every revision of the fore-project is capable of setting before itself a new project of meaning. Rival projects can emerge side by side until it becomes clearer what the unity of meaning is, how symbols and the world can cohere.

This constant process of new projection is the movement of understanding and interpretation. The interpreter must, to achieve understanding as fully as possible, not only engage in this dialogue with the text but examine explicitly the origin and validity of the fore-meaning present within him. “The recognition that all understanding inevitably involves some prejudice [i.e. fore-meaning],” he writes, “gives the hermeneutical problem its real thrust.” (Gadamer points out, by the way, that the enlightenment goal of eliminating all prejudices is a prejudice; it is a prejudice which cloaks our radical historicity and our finitude from us. (Copyright John Lye 1996)

i am jealous.

If i try to say i’m angry or it’s not fair or he doesn’t deserve it? i’m lying.

When i say i’m over it or i know people get what they deserve or i have faith that the things happen for a reason? i’m making conversation that i hope will convince you i’m not.


i’m not jealous of the man that wrote “Primer” i am just in awe.

Some Priniciples of Phenomenological Hermeneutics (9) July 4, 2006

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9. Self-understanding is a cultural act, and culture is a personal act. Paul Ricoeur puts it this way:

    On the one hand, self-understanding passes through the detour of understanding the cultural signs in which the self documents and forms itself. On the other hand, understanding the text is not an end in itself; it mediates the relation to himself of a subject who, in the short-circuit of immediate reflection, does not find the meaning of his own life. Thus it must be said, with equal force, that reflection is nothing without the mediation of signs and works, and that explanation is nothing if it is not incorporated as an intermediary state in the process of self-understanding. In short, in hermeneutical reflection — or in reflective hermeneutics — the constitution of the self is contemporaneous with the constitution of meaning. [from “What is a Text?”]

On the relation of culture to self Gadamer says,

    Long before we understand ourselves through the process of self-examination, we understand ourselves in a self-evident way in the family, society and state in which we Live. The focus of subjectivity is a distorting mirror. The self-awareness of the individual is only a flickering in the closed circuits of historical life. That is why the prejudices of the individual, far more than his judgments, constitute the historical reality of his being. (Copyright 1996 by John Lye)

i walk into town a lot.


When i walk into town i see a lot of people and sometimes it feels a bit like i am in a Film Festival movie.


Or The Truman Show.


That’s what everyone says aye? “I feel like I’m in The Truman Show.”


My friend used to say “Sometimes I feel like whoever is running my life has run out of extras.” That was before The Truman Show. I think it was in the days when the alternative stations played guitar music and the commercial stations played electronic music. Not like today.


So far i have missed Sigur Ros, The Arctic Monkeys, a good play, Mandalay, and countless other things i don’t know about. Soon i will miss DJ Shadow and the Film Festival. Still, i have my walks into town. Well, when it’s not pissing down with sleet and hail.




i am pretty sure it can’t ‘piss’ down with sleet and hail. The nature of hail and sleet makes it pretty near impossible for it to travel in a piss-like way.

Some Priniciples of Phenomenological Hermeneutics (8) April 28, 2006

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8. As self-consciousness as well as other consciousness is intentional, this means that at the heart of being there is distance: this distance might be said to be signification, the making of experience. (Copyright 1996 by John Lye)

You can't put an advertisement for alcohol on television until 8.30pm at night. 50 000 underage drinkers drink every week for the express purpose of "getting drunk". Some people think these two things are connected. Hospitals and restaurant kitchens are generally filthy. Health workers and chefs (see Hells Kitchen) tend to be mean and rude (especially dentists, see Little Shop If Horrors). The City Council is proposing terminating the mobile library service. They are taking submissions. Some people like the mobile library. Pauinui is one of the richest resort towns in New Zealand. Due to flooding thousands of people travelling to a classic car rally in Wangamata are stuck in Pauinui. If you can't get a holiday house at Pauinui, Wangamata will probably do. Optimism was challenged by a massacre in Tasmania ten years ago. Police believe the bus that almost crashed and killed the children it was carrying had a mechanical fault with its brakes or steering.

(Actually don't see Hells Kitchen it sucks)

Some Priniciples of Phenomenological Hermeneutics (7) April 25, 2006

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7. All consciousness of. Consciousness "intends," has an object, is towards something. Intentionality is at the heart of knowing. We live in meaning, and we live "towards," oriented to experience. Consequently there is an intentional structure in textuality and expression, in self-knowledge and in knowledge of others. This intentionality is also a distance: consciousness is not identical with its objects, but is intended consciousness. ( Copyright 1996 by John Lye)

You know how, toward the end, Hal goes to that large house, with lots of rooms? Last night i was watching The Sopranos and i am sure Tony Soprano went to that house. It had the driveway and the trees and the door and yeah, i am pretty sure it was the same house.

Yesterday was ANZAC Day. Someone died at a dawn parade in Auckland. Heart attack. Tony Soprano nearly died – that was what he was doing at that house, that Hal went to, toward the end. At RSAs they serve beer in really small glasses. i think they only hold about an ounce. They are very cheap. After a dawn parade there is usually a large breakfast, and beer. Well, more beer. In my experience soldiers tend to drink a lot before dawn parades. They do it for us. It rained all day yesterday, which i think people like, on an ANZAC Day. It adds to the romance i think. Grey day, grey statues, the mighty dead, the colour you go when you have a heart attack. Like, all day. i thought it stopped at about 3pm so i went for a walk, but i was wrong, it was still raining. That kind of mist that gets you really wet but in the way sinking into a bath gets you wet. My jacket has a small hood. i have to make a choice between getting a wet head and seeing anything. If i move my head too much my hood falls off. It's a freedom really. 

Some Principles of Phenomenological Hermeneutics (6) April 22, 2006

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6. In phenomenology, it might be said that speech (the particular signifying act) precedes writing (the field of signifying possibility); there is always a self-presence before there is signification, and there is always something of our being-in-the-world beyond its signification. This is opposed to structural and deconstructionist senses that writing (the 'system' of meaning, which is also the operation of difference), precedes speech, or self-presence. In the structural/deconstruction tradition, the surplus of meaning is in the play of signs, not in the surplus of being. (Copyright 1996 by John Lye)

i am not sure how strawberry flavour works. Strawberry flavour doesn't taste like strawberries. It tastes like strawberry flavour. It always tastes like strawberry flavour, at least it always has. i've had strawberry flavoured yoghurt, soya milk, cows milk, hard candy, breakfast cereal, soft candy, fruit drink and it has always tasted like strawberry flavour. i have never been able to buy strawberry flavour. i can buy strawberry flavoured things but i have never seen, for sale, strawberry flavour so that i can bake something strawberry flavoured. i am not sure if things that are not red taste like strawberry flavour. i have never tried un-coloured strawberry flavoured cordial – i have seen it for sale.

You can replace the word 'strawberry' for 'lime' i think. Or orange, or raspberry. Although i haven't eaten a whole lot of raspberries so may be wrong.

Some Principles of Phenomenological Hermeneutics (5) April 22, 2006

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5. While experience is present to us through signification, experience is not just language, or signifying systems generally; experience pre-exists signification at the same time as signification brings it into meaning. While signification makes experience become itself, there is an excess meaning to being, what phenomenology calls the 'noema', which excess escapes articulation even as it is shaped by it, and so there is always an almost-said, a demand for metaphor, image, narrative, nuance, polysemy. We are 'being-in-the-world" as Heidegger said; this is a complex and many-faceted phenomenon, but the world is always 'left over', not exhausted by its symbolisation. This surplus of meaning may remind one of the surplus of meaning one finds in deconstruction, but phenomenological hermeneutics tends to locate more richness of surplus meaning in self-presence or being-in-the-world then in signs, although is not wholly comprehensible in itself. (Copyright 1996 by John Lye)

In 1968 Mick Jagger sang "cause summer's here and the time is right for for fighting in the streets". It's the second line of Street Fighting Man. i heard it on the radio yesterday. The Rolling Stones are playing in Auckland this weekend.

i quite like Street Fighting Man. It is nice to be reminded that The Rolling Stones were a dangerous band. When i heard the line yesterday i thought maybe i had mis-heard it but when i had a look around i found more than one person had noticed that this line is a take-off on Martha and the Vandella's Dancing in the Streets. Mick Jagger covered Dancing in the Streets with David Bowie in 1985. An event which prompted the hissing disrespect of youth in me for both Jagger and Bowie. "Fools" i thought "Old Fools". Irony was not big in 1985. At least not with me. i was fifteen years old, just driving, just about to leave school, just too smart for my own good.

i don't think Mick Jagger has regained much in my opinion (they have just played a Rolling Stones' song from the album they released last year) but like i say, it is nice to be reminded The Rolling Stones were a dangerous band and that maybe he knew more than i did when i was fifteen and he was … older.

Some Principles of Phenomenological Hermeneutics (4) April 22, 2006

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4. Our symbolic world is not separate from our beings, especially in regard to language: we 'are' language, in that what distinguishes us as persons is that we are beings who are conscious of themselves, that is, can know themselves symbolically and self-reflexively. As Heidegger remarked, "Language speaks man." We are not beings who 'use' symbols, but beings who are constituted by their use. It follows that all experience is articulatable in principle; although it is not reducilble to its articulation, it is brought into being for us through its symbolic representation. As Paul Ricoeur remarks in "Phenomenology and Hermeneutics", "To bring [experience] into language is not to change it into something else, but, in articulating and developing it, to make it become itself." It also follows that being and meaning are taken, by humans, to be as good as the same, although signification does not exhaust expereine (see next point). (Copyright 1996 by John Lye)

The Ministry of Fisheries suggest drowning crabs and lobsters in fresh water before cooking them. The Ministry of Fisheries' primary purpose is "to ensure that fisheries are sustainably used within a healthy aquatic ecosystem". What this means is they are responsible for conserving the resource they are promoting the exploitation of. So drown your lobsters in fresh water before you cook them.

i have several lemonade ice blocks in my freezer. i think about four. i bought them in a box of maybe ten. i am pretty sure i have only eaten three of them but selling anything in a box of seven seems a bit unlikely. Although it is Holy Week. Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday. Part of me thinks maybe i should save the rest of the lemonade ice blocks until Sunday but i think i will probably eat one this afternoon. It is possible that someone else ate some of them, but it seems unlikely that someone else would have eaten three. Three is kind of a lot but not spread over a few days, like a week or so, that wouldn't be that many. i will write five cards this afternoon congratulating ten people for giving birth to children and eat one of the lemonade ice blocks, and maybe check the box to see how the numbers are playing out.