Skip to main content

Without Why (The Rose)



For her
who
in the winter could not wait

for love to bloom
in spring


Should the highest principle contain the highest paradox in its taste? Being a principle that allows absolutely no peace, that always attacks and repels, that always anew would become unintelligible as soon as one had understood it? That ceaselessly stirs up our activity -- without ever exhausting it, without ever becoming familiar?
Novalis

____________

Just remember in the winter
far beneath the bitter snows
lies the seed that with the sun's love
in the spring
becomes the rose

"The Rose"





In his Theoria motus abstracti, Leibniz first makes public mention of the principium rationis or the principle of reason: Nihil est sine ratione or "Nothing is without reason." While unknown to him (and to many), this principle which is used here for a rather esoteric and abstract work (an investigation on the conditions of the possibility of motion), this 'mighty' (grande) and 'noble' (nobilissimum) principle would have articulated a principle (grund) that has held ground for centuries since Plato and would continue to govern the way human beings think and act in our times.

The principle of reason says: Nothing is without reason. Inversely, this says that everything has a reason. Every being that exists, that
is, would have a reason for its being, for its existing. To have a reason means to have a ground for its being, that is, to have a why. Played out in the human milieu, every action necessitates a reason for its enactment, a because of this or that. These two key words, why and because, point to the two formulations of the principle of reason which Leibniz saw.

In the
Principle of Reason, Heidegger notes the two formulations as thus: the 'strict formulation' being the principium reddendae rationis or "the fundamental principle of rendering reasons" (the demand to answer the question 'why?') and the 'vulgar formulation' being nihil fit sine causa or "Nothing happens, that means, nothing becomes a being without a cause" (the inquiry in the question "because of what?") (Lecture 4, The Principle of Reason, 26). Both formulations point to a radical demand for reasons to be rendered or given so that anything and everything -- a statement, an action, an event, a being, the divine, etc. -- be intelligible and reasonable, that is, be accounted for. And when reasons and causes are rendered under the holding-sway of the 'powerful' principle, or when answers are given to the questions "why?" and "because?", the principle will then show its power, that is, it would then be proven that nothing indeed is without reason.

Heidegger notes this power:
the principle of reason is the Principle that pervasively bepowers everything insofar as reason, according to the strict formulation of the the fundamental principle, insists that each thing is, is a consequence of. . ., which is to say, by virtue of the express complete fulfillment of the demand of reason (Ibid., 28).

And this power is also played out in our cognition or in the way we know the world as well:
...cognition is on the lookout for reasons to render. This happens inasmuch as cognition asks: Why does what is cognized exist, and why it is the way it is? In the "why?" we ask for reasons. The strict formulation of the principle of reason -- "Nothing is without rendering reasons" -- can be formulated this: Nothing is without a why" (Lecture 5, 34-35)
In a word, as Heidegger suggests, nothing -- no being that is -- is 'without a why.'

***

Yet does this mighty and powerful principle hold absolutely over every 'thing'? What if what we are dealing with is not a being, has no being or cannot be pinned down to be merely a being . Would the ground-principle then still hold?

Does the child that plays in the sandbox have a ground for its playing ? Has the Triune God need of any cause to be Three? Does the lover need of any why to love the beloved?


To be
continued.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Fields of Amorsolo

The first National Artist in Philippine history, referred to warmly as the “Grand Old Man of Philippine Art,” Fernando Amorsolo (1892–1972) still stands today as a looming figure in Philippine art responsible for being one of the artists who helped define what we up to now visually imagine as essentially Filipino. The images of rural life, of golden fields below clear blue, blue skies; the smiles of farmers which diminish their weariness as they plant, harvest, and winnow rice;most especially the iconic figure of the Filipina maiden working in the fields—the beloved dalagang bukid--; these, I believe, even after generations of Filipino painters since Amorsolo, have remained in our hearts and memory. Amorsolo did what great masters do for their country: bestow upon it its own icons, represent its native beauty, that is, to give its people and lands an identity and a face. There are, however, as many intentions for art as there are works of art. And these intentions will always remain in…

Without Why (The Rose) II

Lifetime is a child at play; moving pieces in a game.
Kingship belongs to the child.

Heraclitus, Fragment 52


The child at play never asks itself why it plays. The child just plays; and if it could, it will play as long as possible, it will play throughout its life. See its delight and witness its smile.

If it would never go hungry or if the sun would never set it too will never leave its playmates and playthings. Time flies at play because it stops or suspends time. Time -- as we grownups only know too well -- is the culprit for order, schedules and priorities; yet for the child, there is no time, there is only bottomless play. It is we who impose that this or that should be done at this or that time. We stop the absurd and supposedly endless play ("He does nothing but play") because we insist that discipline, order and priorities be instilled in the child at an early age ("He needs to learn other things beside playing"). So that the child will become like us one da…

A Love Sooner than Later

BROWN PENNY William Butler YeatsI whispered, 'I am too young,' And then, 'I am old enough'; Wherefore I threw a penny To find out if I might love. 'Go and love, go and love, young man, If the lady be young and fair.' Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny, I am looped in the loops of her hair. O love is the crooked thing, There is nobody wise enough To find out all that is in it, For he would be thinking of love Till the stars had run away And the shadows eaten the moon. Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny, One cannot begin it too soon.

*
One cannot begin to love too soon--conversely, one should not love too late or in life's demise. That waiting for the "right time," or the "right person" to love, what are these but the cries or sighs of an unready, even tired, heart? One becomes ready only when one begins to understand love slowly (or again), and one understands love progressively when one, simply, performs the act of love. Love, like mos…