A&O – BEING and BECOMING notes


Being and Becoming



what exactly is connected? Is anything not connected?

at what level is our “thing?” : micro? molar? how complex? consisting of different elements?

Things as eternal realities in themselves or Things as eternally becoming–in constant flux? This page is a sketch of some directions–free associations–connections between meaning and being and becoming. If I kept at this free-association thing, these thoughts could be a reasonable entry into ideas about the eternal and the transitory, and the experiences, intuitions, and arguments of great thinkers for thousands of years.  Everyone tries to tell the best story they can with the best information available.




The never-to-be-completed nature of Art & Organism* invited the epigraph on my home page by Schiller:

“Always becoming, never is.” 

as organisms experiencing perpetual development in a world and universe of apparent perpetual change, this intuition invites scrutiny by the scholars of “being and becoming”:    

BEING: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Being

  • “Being is a concept encompassing objective and subjective features of reality and existence.[2]
  • Dasein (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dasein) Heidegger’s ideas about being was informed by Hegel (who he “corrected” and Asian philosophy.  It was deeply concerned with the immediate world.
    • “Heidegger considered that language, everyday curiosity, logical systems, and common beliefs obscure Dasein’s nature from itself.[9] Authentic choice means turning away from the collective world of Them, to face Dasein, one’s individuality, one’s own limited life-span, one’s own being.[10] Heidegger thus intended the concept of Dasein to provide a stepping stone in the questioning of what it means to be—to have one’s own being, one’s own death, one’s own truth.[11]
  • Existenz, To Jaspers “dasein” represents objectivity and science and boundaries that science cannot transcend—he  extols Existenz—authentic existence… and requires a leap of faith toward what Jaspers calls “Transcendence” – Existenz and authenticity—no boundaries. ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dasein )


BECOMING: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Becoming_(philosophy)

  • “No man ever steps in the same river twice.”[1]  
    • “… the concept of becoming originated … with… Heraclitus of Ephesus, who in the sixth century BC, said that nothing in this world is constant except change and becoming (i.e., everything is impermanent).”
  • “What is—is”  
    • Parmenides Vs Heraclitus:  “Parmenides, … believed that the change or “becoming” we perceive with our senses is deceptive, and that there is a pure perfect and eternal being behind nature, which is the ultimate truth of being.”
  •  “Ever kindling itself and going out in regular measure”
    • “This universal order, which is the same for all, has not been made by any god or man, but it always has been, is, and will be an ever-living fire, kindling itself by regular measures and going out by regular measures.” (Plutarchus (De animae procreatione, 5 p. 1014 A) wrote concerning Heraclitus, cited in Wikipedia … and recalls Multiverse)
  • “Being is an empty fiction” — “… Friedrich Nietzsche wrote that Heraclitus “will remain eternally right with his assertion that being is an empty fiction”.[4] 


Process Philosophy

  • Being is dynamic.  “Process philosophy is based on the premise that being is dynamic and that the dynamic nature of being should be the primary focus of any comprehensive philosophical account of reality and our place within it.” (https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/process-philosophy/)
  • “Process philosophy is characterized by an attempt to reconcile the diverse intuitions found in human experience (such as religious, scientific, and aesthetic) into a coherent holistic scheme. Process philosophy seeks a return to a neo-classical realism that avoids subjectivism. This reconciliation of the intuitions of objectivity and subjectivity, with a concern for scientific findings, produces the explicitly metaphysical speculation that the world, at its most fundamental level, is made up of momentary events of experience rather than enduring material substances.” (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy)



*Is this never-to-be-completed nature of Art & Organism an outcome only of constraints? My experience and disposition?  My habits of scholarship, research, and teaching cultivated over decades of experience as enabled or constrained by funding agencies, my University, and my Academic Departments?   About teaching–I’ve found a formula that energizes keeps my interest alive:  I try to link the (necessary) abstractions of academic scholarship to the constantly changing nature of the students in the seminar: the uniqueness and shared interests of individual students converge in classroom, bringing new connections grounded in the authentic experiences of real individuals.  But there is self-interest:

See my “teaching philosophy” and how I try to reconcile my own interests with those of everyone around me, not least my host institution.