Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Eric D. Meyer on the form of emptiness.
Although the Mahayana Bhuddhist, Taoist or Zen concept of "emptiness" or "voidness" (sunyata) is arguably to some extent antithetical and inimical to Western metaphysical (onto-theological) thought, Martin Heidegger perhaps points to a certain compatibility between Bhuddhist philosophy and Early Greek thought in his contemplative musings and philosophical meditations on the "thing-ness" (Dinglichkeit) of a pitcher or vase (Krug) in "The Thing" ("Das Ding"). In Martin Heidegger's "The Thing," the thing (. . . a vase . . .) is considered, not so much as a Kantian or Husserlian ding-an-sich or a Cartesian "object" per se; but as a sentient thing (. . .--A being? . . .) existing prior to or beyond its scientifically materialized measurement and objectifying cognition by the Cartesian cognitive ego or the Western metaphysical subject:
. . . What is the "thingness" (das Dingliche) of a thing? what is the thing-in-itself (ding-an-sich)? . . . All representations (Vorstellen) of the present thing (a vase) in the sense of its immediate placement and its objectivity still don't suffice to reach the thing as thing [i.e. the vase as thing]. The "thingness" of the vase rests in the fact that it is a vessel ( Gefäß). . . When we fill the vase full the draught flows from fullness into the empty vase. The emptiness (die Leere) is the content (das Fassende) of the vessel (des Gefäßes). The emptiness, this nothingness (Nichts) in the vase is what the vase as containing vessel (die fassende Gefäß) is . . . (Einblick, 6-8)
But Martin Heidegger himself neglects or fails to notice the further speculative dialectical reversal or figure/ground inversion (. . . vase or face? . . .) that can be made between the vase as a "thing" whose "emptiness" or "nothing-ness" is contained in/as the "form" of its "content" (. . . i.e., "emptiness" or "nothingness" . . .). . .--And the vase as a "thing" whose "being" is emptied in the "emptiness" or "nothingness" of the cosmic spacetime that contains it, as the "content" of its "form" (. . . i.e., "emptiness" or "nothingness" . . .). . .--Which is, perhaps, the "meaning" of the "meaning" (. . . in Western metaphysical terms . . .) of the Zen koan: "Emptiness is form, form is emptiness". . .
Pp. 53-4
Sorry whoever that was--but the meaning of that line in the sutra is precisely the opposite. Emptiness is found precisely in form. There is a jug. There is a baseball. There is reality.
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