The Excess Expanded

In order to get a clearer view of what is striven for in this striving Socrates asks Theaetetus:

“[There is contained in authentic striving] being-similar and being-dissimilar, being the same and being-different?”
“Yes”
“And what about being-beautiful and being-ugly, being-good and being-bad?”
“It [the soul] also appears to view the being of these, especially in their relation to one another, reckoning within and for itself, upon the past and present in relation to the future.” (157)

Here the characteristics of being, that which the soul strives for, are expanded to include “being-beautiful and being-ugly, being-good and being bad.” These new being-characteristics bring things closer to us as what they are for us, they account for how things make us feel, whether they elevate or depress us. We are attuned in advance to the delight and non-delight of beings, which is “part of the region of perceivability that surrounds us.” (159)

It is in this region of perceivability that the relationship between the soul and what it strives for, being, is maintained in a form of seeing that is similarly striving. This is the scopic a “goal-directed seeing” that looks towards the object of seeing, the skopos with a preformed intention. What is looked at is not viewed in order to see it, but in order to authorise the stance, the comportment we take towards what is before us.

Whether we see them as good, bad or indifferent, this scopic seeing of the many understandings of being we have in the excess is always seen for something. Returning to the meadow that Heidegger placed us in earlier, in order to perceive the blue of the sky and song of the lark; these are experienced in their togetherness. The soul in its scopic seeing goes back and forth between these connections, from what is there to what it is for; in this case “delight.” “We delight in the natural blue-existing sky and in the singing-existing bird.” (136) In this sense the soul’s striving has a further character, that of the analogical, “ana” to go back and forth, and “logos,” to gather, to collect something in its connections.

In the background of this activity is temporality, the soul’s striving relationship to being is “intrinsically a relationship to time.” (162)

Next Post: The Excess Reversed       Previous post: Striving for the Excess

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