Sunyata—Self Emptiness–Being What Is Not While Not Being What Is

 

 

 

Existentialism And Mysticism continued
Purgatory Of Sartre’s Self
Jan. ‘78

The cogito of Sartre, says Nishitani, does not lead us down the path of inner subjectivity because sunyata—absolute emptiness—is not the ground of the subject. Antipodal negativity or the opposite of existence, takes us nowhere. “It is not that the self is empty,” says Nishitani, “but that emptiness is self; not that things are empty, but that emptiness is things…On the field of sunyata, each thing is itself in not being itself, and is not itself in being itself.” In the end, sunyata fills the gap between subject and object, between man and God, and between God and creation. Sunyata reaches across into the ground of all other things by gathering all things together in relationship with one another, and, as such, fills the chasm at the root of being. Sunyata,
in this sense, says Nishitani, is not just absolute emptiness; it is
the “Great Affirmation.”

The rest of my book report deals with the “hows,” “whys,” and
“wherefores” of the following statement: For Kierkegaard the inner
journey into subjectivity ended with a person discovering his or her
“nothingness before God.” In a like manner, for Heidegger, the journey ended with the appropriation of a similar nothingness–the discovery of Being-in-the-world, or the condition for any “knowing” whatsoever. In Nietzsche, that nothingness, along with subjectivity itself, was affirmed. The positive results of faith, authenticity, and life
affirmation, respectively, are not found in Sartre. Rather, the
nothingness discovered by Sartre condemned humanity to a kind of
purgatory. “The self is free from all but self,” says Sartre. Here the
self is cut off from everything except from its own nothingness.

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About bwinwnbwi

About me: Marvin Gaye’s song, "What’s Going On" was playing on the jukebox when I went up to the counter and bought another cup of coffee. When I got back, the painting on the wall next to where I was sitting jumped out at me, the same way it had done many times before. On it was written a diatribe on creativity. It was the quote at the bottom, though, that brought me back to this seat time after time. The quote had to do with infinity; it went something like this: Think of yourself as being in that place where infinity comes together in a point; where the infinite past and the infinite future meet, where you are at right now. The quote was attributed to Hermann Hesse, but I didn’t remember reading it in any of the books that I had read by him, so I went out and bought Hesse’s last novel, Magister Ludi. I haven’t found the quote yet, but I haven't tired of looking for it either.
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One Response to Sunyata—Self Emptiness–Being What Is Not While Not Being What Is

  1. bwinwnbwi says:

    Because Sartre’s cogito is shut up within itself, says Nishitani, Sartre’s cogito is a dead end. But, if what connects God to humans also separates humans from “self” i.e., the b~b~bb structure, then the cogito of Sartre Does lead us down the path of inner subjectivity because the ~bb of b~b~bb (Sartre’s cogito) is a structural permutation of ~bb (life/death) which, in turn, is a structural permutation of ~~b (being what is not while not being what is) which, in turn, is the opposite of antipodal negativity—Because It Is The Great Affirmation—that reaches across into the ground of all other things by gathering all things together in relationship with one another, and, as such, fills the chasm at the root of being. Not only is b~b~bb, Sartre’s cogito (albeit two levels removed from ~~b), part of Sunyata, it expands the Great Affirmation as—the source of meaningful symbol creation, which, in turn, opened the door to the creation of language, myth, religion, art, theoretical knowledge, and the rest of the processes that we call civilization!

    “It is not that the self is empty,” says Nishitani, “but that emptiness is self; not that things are empty, but that emptiness is things…On the field of sunyata, each thing is itself in not being itself, and is not itself in being itself”—so to Sartre’s Cogito!

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