Thursday, May 29, 2008

Spring, Week 7 Meeting -- Part III

Anticipatory Resoluteness

To get clear on anticipatory resoluteness, we looked at its concrete manifestation in the example of Plenty Coups – particularly as contrasted to Sitting Bull. (We did, however, entertain the possibility that Plenty Coups does not strictly count as authentic, since he is a transitional figure who makes possible a fully authentic 'Crow poet'). We compared Plenty Coups's anticipation of death with Sitting Bull's inauthentic awaiting of an external, worldly event. We noticed that in his awaiting, Sitting Bull did not authentically retrieve or repeat the past of his tradition by appropriating a possibility from it that would be appropriate to new circumstances (as Plenty Coups did), but simply took over, and clung to, the Ghost Dance. (It was not clear, however, how this fits with Heidegger's characterisation of the inauthentic past as forgetting). Sitting Bull's awaiting was thus not passive in the ordinary sense, but involved a lot of activity. (Recall that when Heidegger introduced inauthenticity, he insisted that it is not inactive, but can go along precisely with busy-ness in the world of concern). This led us to wonder about the authentic way of making-present. Heidegger describes the authentic present in terms of both the Situation (which involves resolute taking action) and the Moment of Vision (in which nothing happens). We suggested that Plenty Coups's dream vision can be understood as a Moment of Vision, because it is much like the limit-experience of Angst, and involves the far-reaching sighting of possibilities (for Crow subjectivity) characteristic of resolute, anticipatory understanding.

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