Experiential Language

Today a question draws my attention. Yet I have not raised this question to any friend, colleague, or lover, since I can only imagine the trouble it might bring along with it. Consequently, I do not know if this is a question of my own, or something easily relatable. My question regards facts. This is a question of knowledge, answered not by asking who or what, or even how?—but instead, why? My inquiry should not be mistaken. I am neither doubtful of the accuracy nor of my certainty of any particular fact.

I have found the question so fundamental that it comes to me in both trivial matters and those of serious concern. However, I must emphasize that in these matters just now spoken of I do not take caution with this question. Instead, I proceed having replaced this caution with a commitment—on the surface, one might be tempted to call this a commitment of ignorance. However, I do not theme it so shallowly.

This commitment has manifested in style throughout the preparatory writing of Terminus Mechanicae and it has also manifested in procedure. When citing a translation, the translator and translated work take priority in the citation. This procedure has been adopted since I cannot presume that the same family of thoughts which are stimulated from German or Latin texts resemble those which are stimulated in the reader of an English translation. I doubt neither the accuracy of the translation nor doubt the translator’s ability or trustworthiness. To be honest, I remain indifferent to these issues. My ability—and not only that, but my desire—causes me to respond to that which is stimulated from the English text.

Furthermore, a translation cited should not be considered a mere degeneration from some more original work, but instead an original source itself—in as much as that source is an origin of this work. And since the remarks and reflections of Terminus Mechanicae are a reaction to the interpretations of those translators, my commitment demands that I make no definite statement about what any translated author originally claims. Despite this, I hope to not be mistaken. I do not feel any shame in renouncing a debt to Friedrich Nietzsche or Martin Heidegger. Rather, I am humble in acknowledging Walter Kaufmann and Hubert Dreyfus.

Following all that I have said about my commitment and the application in a procedure, the first question must be: what does inquiry into the source tell us about the facts themselves—if not to satisfy skepticism of the absolute truth?

Consider if, in the course of this document, I quoted the following,

The world as presentation…arises to be sure with the opening of the first eye…time is indeed standing there too with the first case of cognition, with its entire infinitude in both directions…

These words, as present in my text, carry along with them meaning which a reader who came across them elsewhere would not find. First, my reader would know I have read a translation of Arthor Schopenhauer’s The World as Will and Presentation. They might also know that I have interpreted that translation and they may guess that I have positioned myself to that translation in such-and-such a way.

So, to inquire into the source of a fact is to inquire into the history of the fact. This means that by interrogating the source, the question does not ask who or what or how?—but rather why is this a fact? And I can answer, “Because I have read, heard, felt, etc…” And when one says to another, “This is a fact”, what has one learned? Well, my commitment has me assume that one has learned that another has said, “This is a fact.” And this may or may not have consequence to the fact itself.

Perhaps now, with the challenge presented, the question which draws my attention may be appreciated and my commitment in personal and private matters, among any friend, colleague, or lover, may not seem so unusually difficult or inhuman.