William J. Richardson on the onto-conscious self.
At a given point in the argument of the essay On the Essence of Ground, he remarks, almost unobstrusively, “If one characterizes all comportment with beings as intentional, then intenrionality is possible only on the basis of transcendence, but it is neither identical with this basis, nor even the inverse possibility of transcendence.” [P. 106] The remark, innocuous as it appears, yields the following inferences: First of all, the intentionaiity of consciousness as Husserl describes it (whether this intentionality be explicitly thematized, or remain unthematic and functional) is a relationship between beings, i.e., between a being as intentional consciousness and a being as intended as the immanent term of the conscious act. In other words, it is a comportment on the ontic-existentiell level. Secondly, the text suggests that this ontic-existentiell comportment with beings is first made possible by the ontological dimension of Dasein, by reason of which Dasein is open to the Being of these beings and thus can comport itself with them as beings. Thirdly, the text suggests that to conceive of man in Husserlian fashion as merely a being who is the subject of conscious (or, for that matter, unconscious) acts is to forget the true dimension that gives man his primacy among beings, namely, his comprehension of Being itself (in other words, it is another sign of the forgetfulness of Being). Fourthly, the text suggests that this com-prehension of Being characterizes Dasein’s structure as a being, and when, as a being, Dasein enters into comportment with other beings, thus becoming a conscious subject, it is Dasein’s ontological structure that lets it be a subject and lets it be conscious , but as structure is not conscious at all. Finally the text suggests that Dasein, as Heidegger conceives it, is a self, to be sure, but not a conscious subject. It is a pre-subjective, onto-conscious self. Let us formulate then, the following hypothesis: the place where unconscious processes may be situated in Heidegger’s thought seems to be in the existential-ontological dimension of this onto-conscious self.