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  primacy of person-al being

gary e. davis
April 22, 2024

One can divide all presence into two fundamental kinds: alive and non-alive.

But that’s quite an abstraction from the manifoldness of one’s day, especially relative to the complex (yet smoothly normal) life of one’s world, and one’s lifecycality.

But note: Being non-alive is different from being not alive, because things are themselves (or “deserve” to be), not there relative to being alive (as not so). Things having their own integrity (a keynote of visual art), not relative to what’s alive.

However, for us way back (before the complex individuation which we each “simply” are each day), infants’ first horizon is what’s alive to satisfy inarticulable need for care. And, as s/he learns the horizonal difference between parent-defined aliveness and what’s non-parental, s/he regards anything which moves as being alive (baby having no concept of being battery-operated, of course).

For adults in mythical times, the wind is alive with “spirit,” because all that moves does so like parental “gods”: by intent—just as plants are alive by vitality which moves all which is, not only in a literal sense (physical movement), but also—for us—in an affected, even awing sense of the power of “Nature,” which “must” be intending, because “we” (those mythics) “know” that all movement is by intention, because we are moved by intention—then by words letting one create meaningful time, for others and for domesticating The Mysteries.

Thus so, there were gods, sustaining and merciless, mirrored by Nature’s sustaining power and unpredictable mercilessness.

We may divide live presence into two fundamental kinds: person-al and non-person-al; and a non-person may be [a] alive (animal, plant), [b] no longer alive, or [c] never having been alive (some thing, made by physical result or craft).

Physics entails the possibility of meta-physics (because we can frame and ab-
stract). But there is never intentionality in physics. Intentionality emerges from life, intelligent life. And infants’ first inarticulable awareness of there being intent is parental love.

In the beginning, experience is either of who or of what, i.e., person-al or non-person-al. Yet, before there is any “what,” inarticulable being of care precedes
any differentiation of inarticulable “me” from there being the satisfier of need.

Inarticulable distinguishing of oneself from anything else is firstly distinguishing the self-presencing of [another] person from experiencing. It’s not yet a differ-
entiation of [a] oneself as represented experiencer distinct from [b] another [satisfier] because baby is not yet distinguishing I-ness (or being) as “me” (being) distinct from experiencing, thus not yet “me” distinctly with another. It’s firstly there being another of experience, distinguishable from other experiences—and the satisfier (caring) distinguished from whatever else which moves.

Developing a sense of presences as objects (unmoving among so many moving presences) is after caring persons are distinguished from others, and after moving presences have been distinguished from persons, such that non-moving presences are interesting.

Also, quite an abstraction from basic experience is a distinction between [a] experience which is subject to a perceiver’s preceding interest in perceiving (curious about someone or something) and [b] experience which is subject to who is perceived (the satisfier) because who is perceived prevails over other interest; or the physicality of the thing dominates attention.

Thus, a primal distinction for person-al individuation is [a] experience following self-enhancive interest (curiosity) and [b] subjected experience (which, by the way, originated the historical legacy of conceiving oneSelf as subjectivity).

Most primal, though, is the difference between being a person and being other-
wise. In the beginning, all experience is “ontogenically” relative to interest in the difference between being a person and otherwise—being person-al or being non-person-al.

A couple of years ago, I dwelled in some detail with the notion of being person-al.

next—> phenomenality: personified, enlivened


  Be fair. © 2024, gary e. davis