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Lecture 07 - The Wor(l)dliness of the World
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Lecture 07 - The Wor(l)dliness of the World


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Seventh lecture for my students in English 165EW, "Life After the End of the World," winter 2013 at UC Santa Barbara. …

Seventh lecture for my students in English 165EW, "Life After the End of the World," winter 2013 at UC Santa Barbara.

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  • 1. Lecture 7:The Wor(l)dliness of the World English 165EW Winter 2013 30 January 2013William Blake, The Great RedDragon and the Woman Clothed inSun (ca. 1808)
  • 2. The World: A Phenomenological Perspective“Equipment can genuinely show itself only in dealingscut to its own measure (hammering with a hammer,for example); but in such dealings an entity of this kindis not grasped thematically as an occurring Thing, noris the equipment-structure known as such even in theusing. […] In dealings such as this, where somethingis put to use, our concern subordinates itself to the ‘in-order-to’ which is constitutive for the equipment weare employing at the time; the less we just stare at thehammer-Thing, and the more we seize hold of it anduse it, […] the more unveiledly is it encountered asthat which it is—as equipment.” (Martin Heidegger,Being and Time [1929], tr. Macquarrie and Robinson,98 / 69)
  • 3. “The hammering itself uncovers the specific‘manipulability’ of the hammer. The kind of Beingwhich equipment possesses—in which it manifestsitself in its own right—we call ‘readiness-to-hand’.[…] No matter how sharply we just look at the‘outward appearance’ of Things in whatever formthis takes, we cannot discover anything ready-to-hand. If we look at Things just ‘theoretically’, wecan get along without understanding readiness-to-hand. But when we deal with them by using themand manipulating them, this activity is not a blindone; it has its own kind of sight, by which ourmanipulation is guided […]. Dealings withequipment subordinate themselves to the manifoldassignments of the ‘in-order-to.” (98 / 69)
  • 4. “If Being-in-the-world is a basic state of Dasein,and one in which Dasein operates not only ingeneral but pre-eminently in the mode ofeverydayness, then it must also be somethingwhich has always been experienced ontically.[…] But no sooner was the ‘phenomenon ofknowing the world’ grasped than it gotinterpreted in a ‘superficial’, formal manner. Theevidence for this is the procedure (stillcustomary today) of setting up knowing as a‘relation between subject and object’—aprocedure in which there lurks as much ‘truth’as vacuity. But subject and Object do notcoincide with Dasein and the world.” (87 / 60)
  • 5. “Being-in-the-world, according to ourInterpretation hitherto, amounts to a non-thematic circumspective absorption inreferences or assignments constitutive for thereadiness-to-hand of a totality of equipment.Any concern is already as it is, because ofsome familiarity with the world. In this familiarityDasein can lose itself in what it encounterswithin-the-world and be fascinated with it. Whatis it that Dasein is familiar with? Why can theworldly character of what is within the world belit up?” (107 / 76)
  • 6. “Motor cars are sometimes fitted up with anadjustable red arrow, whose position indicates thedirection the vehicle will take—at an intersection, forinstance. The position of the arrow is controlled bythe driver. This sign is an item of equipment which isready-to-hand for the driver in his concern withdriving, and not for him alone: those who are not nottravelling with him—and they in particular—alsomake use of it, either by giving way on the properside or by stopping. This sign is ready-to-handwithin-the-world in the whole equipment-context ofvehicles and traffic regulations. It is equipment forindicating, and as equipment, it is constituted byreference or assignment. It has the character of the‘in-order-to’, its own definite serviceability; it is forindicating.” (109 / 78)
  • 7. “Signs of the kind we have described let what isready-to-hand be encountered; more precisely,they let some context of it become accessible insuch a way that our concernful dealings take onan orientation and hold it secure. A sign is not aThing which stands to another Thing in therelationship of indicating; it is rather an item ofequipment which explicitly raises a totality ofequipment into our circumspection so thattogether with it the worldly character of theready-to-hand announces itself.” (110 / 79;emphasis in original.)
  • 8. “A sign to mark something indicates what one is‘at’ at any time. Signs always indicate primarily‘wherein’ one lives, where one’s concerndwells, what sort of involvement there is withsomething.” (111 / 80)“The ready-to-hand is encountered within-the-world. The Being of this entity, readiness-to-hand, thus stands in some ontologicalrelationship towards the world and towardsworldhood. In anything ready-to-hand the worldis always ‘there’. Whenever we counteranything, the world has already been previouslydiscovered, though not thematically. But it canalso be lit up in certain ways of dealing with ourenvironment.” (114 / 83)
  • 9. The Book of Genesis● The first book in both the Hebrew and Christian scriptures.● Traditionally, Moses is held to be the author, but … ● 20th- and 21st-century scholarship tends to see it as a compound work stitched together by an editor (in about the 6th century BCE) from two to four different original sources.● Is generally seen as divided into two primary thematic sections: ● A “primeval history” (chapters 1-11); and ● A cycle of Patriarchal stories (chapters 12-50).● For both Jews and Christians, emphasis is often seen as being on the establishment of a series of covenants between God and humans.
  • 10. The Covenant with Abraham“[T]he LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, ‘I amalmighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. /And I will make My covenant between Me and you,and will multiply you exceedingly.’” (17:1-2)“No longer shall your name be called Abram, but yourname shall be Abraham; for I have made you a fatherof many nations.” (17:5)“This is My covenant which you shall keep, betweenMe and you and your descendants after you: Everymale child among you shall be circumcised; […] andMy covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlastingcovenant.” (17:10,13)
  • 11. The destruction of Sodom● … is generally seen by (most) modern scholars as motivated by God’s anger at the violation of the rule of hospitality, despite the way in which the name has influenced contemporary vocabulary. “The men [i.e., the visiting angels] said to Lot … ‘[W]e will destroy this place, because the outcry against them has grown great before the face of the LORD, and the LORD has sent us to destroy it.” (19:12-13)
  • 12. So it came to pass, when they had brought themoutside, that he said, “Escape for your life! Do notlook behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain.”[…]The sun had risen upon the earth when Lot enteredZoar.Then the LORD rained brimstone and fire on Sodomand Gomorrah, from the LORD out of the heavens.So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all theinhabitants of the cities, and what grew on theground.But his wife looked back behind him, and shebecame a pillar of salt. (Genesis 19: 17, 23-26)
  • 13. The Book of Revelation● … is traditionally the last book of the Christian scriptures.● … was also the last book of the current canon to be accepted into it (no earlier than 397 CE).● … is often known as the “Revelation of John” or the “Apocalypse of John,” or by any number of other variants.● … was probably not, despite traditional ascriptions, written by the same John to whom the Gospel of John is attributed.● … was probably written some time between 68 and 95 CE.
  • 14. Perspectives on Revelation● Futurist: the belief that the Book of Revelation literally depicts future events as they will actually occur.● Historicist: the belief that Revelation allegorically (or otherwise symbolically) depicts a broad view of history.● Preterist: the belief that Revelation primarily depicts the events of the 1st-century Apostolic period of the early Christian church.● Idealist/symbolic: the belief that Revelation does not literally depict actual people or events, but rather is an allegory of the “spiritual path” or the “struggle of good against evil.”
  • 15. Then I saw in the right hand of Him who sat onthe throne a scroll written inside and on theback, sealed with seven seals.Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with aloud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scrolland to loose its seals?”And no one in heaven or on the earth or underthe earth was able to open the scroll, or to lookat it. (Revelation 5:1-3)
  • 16. And I saw still another mighty angel coming downfrom heaven, clothed with a cloud. And a rainbowwas on his head, his face was like the sun, and hisfeet like pillars of fire.And he had a little book open in his hand. And he sethis right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land,and cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roars.And when he cried out, seven thunders uttered theirvoices.Now when the seven thunders uttered their voices, Iwas about to write; but I heard a voice from heavensaying to me, “Seal up the things which the seventhunders uttered, and do not write them.” (Revelation 10:1-4)
  • 17. Media creditsThe title slide includes a representation ofWilliam Blake’s watercolor The Great RedDragon and the Woman Clothed in Sun, whichpainting is now out of copyright. Source: