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in the Border Zone Edited by Viggo Rossvær and Andrei Sergeev FINLAND







Orkana Akademisk

Table of contents Introduction Philosophy in the Border Zone (through the Eyes of Russian and Norwegian Participants), Andrei Sergeev 7

Chapter 1 The Internal, the External and One’s Own: the Problem of Connection and Demarcation, Andrei Sergeev 21

Chapter 2 Mikhail Bakhtin’s ‘First Philosophy’, Ruslan Loshakov 43

Chapter 3 Philosophy of Language: Linguistic Diversity and Borders, Andrei Kopylov 59

Chapter 4 ‘The Living Dead’ as a Liminal Figure: through Outsidedness to Identity, Alexander Sautkin 77

Chapter 5 The Meta-Position of Philosophy: Smuggler, Cheat and Creator, Boris Sokolov 95

Chapter 6

Transcending as a Mode of Existence of the Agent of History, Andrei Vinogradov


Chapter 7 The Edge of Enlightenment. From Socrates to Kant and Bakthin and back again, Thomas Wallgren 127

Chapter 8 Paradigms and Thought Experiments, Peter Vedal Utnes 149

Chapter 9 Self-consciousness, Dialogue and Thought Experiment, Johan Arnt Myrstad


Chapter 10 Knut Hamsun, the Sami and the Border Zone, Andreas Lødemel 183

Chapter 11 The Boundaries of National Higher Education Systems and the Process of Internationalization, Inna Ryzhkova 197

Chapter 12 The Border Zone as an Arena for Exceeding Oneself, Jan Selmer Methi


Chapter 13 First Philosophy in the Border Zone, Viggo Rossvær 225

A postscript Philosophy in the Border Zone: A postscript, Viggo Rossvær


List of Contributors


Chapter 1 The Internal, the External and One’s Own: the Problem of Connection and Demarcation Andrei Sergeev

When you turn to the theme of what is your ‘own’, you run the risk of being misunderstood. This is due to a number of reasons, not least to the very way of posing the question about what is and what is not our own. Despite the fact that every one of us can, i.e. happens to be in a condition to, determine what has come to be, and is our own, there still remains the difficulty of passing that ‘knowledge’ on to other people. In other words, the difficulty does not primarily lie in one’s own or in its acceptance as such by every one of us, it is rather a problem of ‘integrating’ what is our own into the existing conceptual and terminological fields that serve the purposes of social communication. The matter is that ‘one’s own’ is ultimately connected with the existential, which makes it difficult to articulate or express it in categorial explications. In our view, there is some essential way in which ‘one’s own’ eludes an analytical consideration which would involve the use of traditional conceptual tools, such as the notions of the ‘individual’, ‘personal’ and ‘subjective’. In order to depict what is one’s own, one has to rely, as far as possible, on phenomenological description, and only then can one try, if one is lucky, to present an existential analytic. A convenient way of talking about ‘one’s own’ is by emphasising the human inner world, with every train of thought being connected not with the facticity of life, but rather with that of consciousness, i.e. with every train of thought receiving a marker of consciousness. One has to concede that due to the difficulty of such a conversation, the topic of one’s own is not infrequently replaced by other, more ‘palatable’ thematisations, built around time-honoured notions and concepts. It would 21

appear, however, that the seemingly greater ease of understanding one’s own in this case is no more than a temporary advantage. The author of this paper would like to share his reflections on the theme of ‘one’s own’, which have been at the centre of his interest for the past ten years or so (Sergeev 2004; Sergeev 2008; Sergeev 2009; Sergeev 2011; Sergeev 2013). In this context he has been working within conceptual horizons that make it possible to reveal the connection between, and define the limits of, what is and what is not one’s own. Let us begin by noting that man cannot but be bound to a sense of what he ought to do. He cannot but be guided by what ought to be the case. He must necessarily be, and it is his sense of what ought to be that determines his choices within what is. What ought to be is a criterion of participation in Being, whereas what ought not to be is an indication that we are in some way deviating and separating ourselves from Being and are getting into the strange meonic (from the Greek ‘µὴ ὄν’) continuums of semi-Being and quasi-Being. Man becomes aware of what is only after it has come to be, and he becomes aware of it proceeding from what ought to be. Thus, we are oriented towards what ought to be, in the belief that without our actions being connected with ‘ought’, life will cease to be meaningful. However, in our directedness to what ought to be, we can be oriented both towards ourselves and others. Therefore, different attitudes to ethics are possible, whereby ethical obligations addressed to man as such and to his inner self, may be replaced by social ethics – corporate, applied, group ethics. Man’s encounter with his own will – formerly unknown to him – does not always lead him to liberation. The problem is that, being ignorant of will and having for the first time encountered it, he wishes to feast on it and be sated, which means that he easily slips into self-will. He submits to what is carrying him along, and gets carried away. It is impossible to find either what is one’s own, or another’s, or alien in self-will (i.e. the arbitrariness of will): the particularity of an individual person is unnoticeable in self-will, and it is not noticed. It is only when penetrating the essence of freedom that man encounters what is his own and is able to distinguish between himself and others. Self-will is manifested in his breaking away from himself, when he loses his head and becomes oblivious of himself, as if he were going on a rampage. Being drawn into self-will, man loses himself and his own human shape. When in need of a pause in expending himself, he may begin to see self-will as a burden, but his ignorance of himself drives him to an external order with regard to himself. A person ignorant of himself or herself cannot do without the external imposition of an order which at different times may be personified by different people, powers or structures. It is noteworthy that 22

those living by what is their own do not engage in the struggle for power: the environment of their inner living is totally unlike the territory inhabited by those for whom such a struggle is indispensable. On the contrary, someone who has distanced himself from what is his own is in need of power, and even if he himself fails in the fight for power, he perceives the monuments to those who have succeeded as normative for his existence. Self-will exposes the absence or lack of fullness (plenitude) in those who are given to it. Trying to defeat his self-will, man tends to submit himself to an external force. In their turn, grounds given for relinquishing freedom, both with regard to oneself and to any other person, take the form of selfwill. Even coming face to face with freedom, those who are not free will believe that they have met with the self-will of others who are likewise not free, and therefore they will believe that they have met with only a demonstration and an imitation of freedom. Freedom fills man with itself: being himself, man experiences a condition in which he is able to do anything, no matter in what direction he might move, for the entire fullness of his presence would move along with him – in that direction. This is why freedom can only be used by someone who is already free in being what he is before being granted any right from the outside and before being set free by another. The right to freedom itself does not mean much; in fact, it can mean nothing at all, if before its introduction there is not yet a free person. Rather, if such a – free – person is not there, the granting of such a right can result in self-will and arbitrariness, generating chaos and preventing that person from concentrating on himself or herself. Thus, it is becoming a sign of the present time that man is relinquishing his life and his consciousness: both in life and in consciousness he is becoming accustomed to being guided by external logic, and is relying more and more on constructions that do not immediately pertain to him. This is why it is such a pressing task to enable man to return to himself. Against all the odds, even when it gets into a ‘lapse’ in itself and is entirely objectified, the individually personal dimension periodically reminds people of itself and its unresolved condition. Man’s individually personal dimension never disappears without a trace. Finding itself marginalised in both life and consciousness, it still makes us reckon with it, even coerces us to do so. Anyone of us can, in principle, turn in our own direction, i.e. in the direction of ourselves, if only we are prepared to pay for it by giving up the alien to some extent. In this case it is connected with giving ontological preferences to the inner and the individual, rather than to the external and the social. There are a large number of people who are always only preparing to live their lives, i.e. to live individually, but they usually die before they have a 23

chance to experience this. In fact, such people sometimes even force themselves to die not individually, but collectively. The entire strength of such a person – whose exclusive occupation is activity – is aimed at having life win a victory over consciousness: such people live and die in the midst of an unremitting struggle for life, but, having relinquished their consciousness, they fail to understand its connection with themselves. And if we proceed from the fact that man exists, that man is there, we thereby concede, in principle, that he has something that is his own, and that he is there due to there being this something of ‘his own’. Therefore, if man sometimes or somewhere fails to understand or accept himself, he encounters his limit, a border of himself. In a social context, human subjectivity is always structured in a definite way, viz. according to the likeness to, and similarity with other people, where the particular and unique traits of human individuality are connected with one’s ability to integrate oneself into social connections. In other words, subjectivity in this situation is determined not by individual persons themselves, but by a collective that sets the standard of their necessity and utility for society. In this case, one’s responsibility for oneself is replaced by social responsibility when one tries to find one’s own place and one’s own time in the context of obtaining one’s social role. As a result, one is less and less inclined to connect one’s consciousness with the individuality of one’s personality, losing at the same time the notion of one’s individual will, individual thought and individual fate. One is now being ‘carried along’ by social currents and movements, which are not only beyond one’s control, but which one is also unable to resist. Being ‘carried along’ by society, one easily gets ‘carried away’. In this context, one’s interest in oneself as an individuality constantly declines, and even if it does not disappear entirely, one is practically unaware of it. A situation arises where, showing no interest in oneself, one displays an interest in everything else, everything but oneself. Let it be noted in passing that people resort to telling lies when and where it is not directly relevant to themselves. Lying is connected with an effort to defend oneself in a confrontation with others, where one is trying, in fact, to find what is one’s own outside oneself. When I am ‘in’ myself and ‘for’ myself, there is simply no reason to tell lies. But if a person has not got the strength to be, the only thing that remains is to be at the expense of the Other; at the expense of that which is there, but which is outside him or her. In this sense, lying is always due to a lack of strength. One’s interest in oneself is limited by the sphere of developing those personal qualities that can be of use and can be helpful in a situation of integrating oneself into the social structures. A person like this, i.e. someone who has changed to the point of betrayal, of being unfaithful to oneself, 24

is prepared to speak of collective will, collective reason and collective fate. However, it is clear that our need of our own fate, our own will and our own reason does not disappear, but we remain unaware of it. Due to a clear domination of the social over the individual, these needs are not satisfied and are driven to manifest themselves in a marginal and counter-cultural way. It is important to note that in a situation of this kind the personal is connected not with man himself, but precisely with society, i.e. not only with the possibility for him to be part of a social organism, but also with that of being conscious of himself as such. Man gives up what is his own: if private life, private interests and private property can be to some extent tolerated, private thought, private judgments and private opinions can now be entirely ignored. When what is individual cannot be dealt with by means of social filtration, it is discredited. But the main change consists is that man himself, in his inner self, is prepared to relinquish himself. Being of no interest to himself, giving up his individual consciousness, he agrees to the social ‘processing’ of the individual, he easily lets the impersonal into himself and finds it possible to live by the impersonal, maintaining a close bond with it everywhere and all the time. In a purely social perspective of perception, the contours of the individual are either entirely lost or essentially distorted. The thing is that, not knowing oneself, one is also unable to come to know the Other: one is incapable of discriminating between one’s own and the Other’s, and cannot apprehend the distinction between oneself and the Other. For maintaining social feedback, numerous rules are established in the human consciousness that exert a levelling influence on different people. The way of ‘equalising’ people, which in fact means equalising their inner worlds, connected as it is with consciousness adopting certain living standards in the form of the standards of consumption and those of perceiving life and evaluating it, leaves a profound imprint both on man’s consciousness and on his attitude to consciousness. The most significant phenomenon in the process of levelling life, and imparting unidimensionality to it, is the intention to democratise literally all spheres of human activity. Democratisation, as a tendency of equalising everyone, not only affects the day-to-day functioning of modern society, but permeates even those regions of life, consciousness and language which comparatively recently still required a special attitude: science, education, the arts and the military. Accusations of being undemocratic are grounded with increasing consistency in an apologia of the unique. The particular continues to be preserved to some extent in the elitist consciousness in the form of artificially constructed spheres of activity, such as sport. However, it should be noted that the formation of any kind of elites, what25

ever they might be, is still connected with their social, rather than individual character: today, sport is closely integrated into the system of modern society. The reverse side of man giving up his individuality is his lack of responsibility for what is his own: the responsibility for his thoughts, his will and the manifestations of his emotions – or, rather, for his thoughtlessness, his lack of will and his emotional turpitude – is continuously shifted by man onto society. It is significant that man receives from society a kind of indulgence that allows him to avoid responsibility for himself in exchange for relinquishing self-sufficiency, i.e. for giving up what is his own. In a situation of being internally prepared to give up what is one’s own and what is particular and individual in favour of the universal and the typical, one becomes accustomed to perceiving oneself in a mediated way, mediated, above all, by society. One gradually grows used to treating both oneself and others as mediocrities, i.e. as something ‘generated’ by the means (‘media’) that human life has at its disposal, rather than by man himself. In principle, man is now prepared to assume practically any social role, if this enables him to become integrated into a social field. A paradoxical situation arises, in which man, without knowing himself as an individuality, is prepared to accept and know himself as an element of any social field, i.e. is prepared to ‘try on’ a variety of social concepts and constructions. He is prepared to relate to himself not directly, but in a mediated way: he cannot bear direct speech or a direct gaze, he avoids straightforward thoughts and straightforward emotions, he avoids situations connected with the necessity of performing an act. Let us also note that through the recourse to mediated speech or a mediated gaze, man keeps himself at a distance and in isolation from the Other: his ability to relate to anything or to anyone directly becomes atrophied. We feel the need to ‘have’ our own; to present it as ‘mine’. But this can only ‘work’ and be effective if we know our own, i.e. if we know our subjectivity; if we know that ‘our own’ which can be its ‘ownmost’ and can therefore be used. However, in order not to ‘get lost’ in the particular, one must resort to the procedures of exceeding and overcoming oneself. Thus, we cannot only occupy ourselves with taking care of something, but we can take care of ourselves and relate to ourselves as to someone, and, coming to know ourselves, remember about it. Then in this knowledge of oneself there will remain the presence of consciousness. One should not forget in this connection that presence is a single-act event. It is a single act in the sense that everyone is present independently of others, so that presence is closed on itself. But then co-presence is a collective image reflecting a certain state of affairs from without, not within. Due to the homelessness and timelessness of presence, getting into it is experienced as a ‘hole’ or a ‘pause’ in your 26

life, getting into that which is bottomless and akin to getting into an abyss. Being present, you won’t be able to notice anything else, let alone notice the presence of the Other and relate yourself to him or her. Collectedness requires relaxation, but if we become collected in ourselves gradually and unhurriedly, the speed of transition into the opposite state is far greater. Collecting oneself is a difficult thing to do, and it is a result of a large amount of work man does with respect to himself, whereas in the periods of relaxation man is capable of getting beside himself all at once, and of putting himself - into this ‘transition’ to the other – completely. A few more considerations should be added. For the sake of development it is necessary to go beyond the limits of what has been achieved, even if sporadically, even if from time to time. This - ecstatic and transcendental character of our being may be understood in different ways: as employing our abilities of transcending while perfecting them; as a means of performing our refusal with respect to what we have, to what we have earned, received or saved up. Staying within regularity brings about constant repetition, and repetition is something we find insufficient, something we always find insufficient. Therefore, the conditions for reproducing stability have to be periodically changed. Each and every one of us has to face the necessity of periodically exceeding the limits of our stable existence. In this context, the idea of disinterestedness can be ‘read’ in a new way. The thing is that by exceeding oneself and giving up what has been achieved one does no less than enter a circle of performing pure and disinterested actions that pose a direct threat to one’s existence. Among other things, this probably gives a hint that man cannot be confined exclusively to preserving and reasserting his existence. An individual cannot but be oriented towards the excessive, cannot do without it. This human directedness at the unconditional is highly revealing. And we have to acknowledge the ontological connection of our being with the ultimate, with the utmost limit. It turns out that the integrity of our existence must not only be preserved, but must also exceed itself. Otherwise, there is always the risk of a lapse into the limitless that – due to its being misunderstood – will be perceived as something negative in principle. In the context of what was said above, it may be a good idea to turn to the notion of act or deed (postupok in Russian) which is always situated in the present and is, in fact, the present. In this sense, an act (deed, postupok) is thoroughly ahistorical. Let us note that no ethics is required where everything acts of its own accord, i.e. automatically: ethics takes its very origin in the impossible, and there are no grounds for a deed in the sphere of the existent. Thus, a deed is an act of exceeding the existent, which is necessarily 27

connected with going beyond its limits and boundaries. In a deed, Being is connected with ‘becoming’ and ‘establishing’: here, there is only what has been established. A deed is essentially something that cannot be undone or put right. Ultimately, a deed is an inconjugable and irremediable, incorrigible and unrectifiable action. It cannot be abolished or reversed. And the very possibility of performing a deed is conditioned, if at all, only by the human ability to be oriented towards the whole and to interact with it. This very orientation towards the whole, manifested as it is in a deed, exerts a rectifying effect on the person performing the deed. The human choice realised in a deed makes it possible to connect different spheres of human life. But there is always a risk attached to it, for the transition itself across the rift between the two continuums is not secured by anything – except by the choice made by the person involved. And if such a connection in terms of content is found – after the deed has been performed – it is always of a purely hypothetical character. It is only our choice, and nothing else, that really joins the different continuums. Let us note, by the way, that causality is determined in what is already manifesting itself in some way (what has come into view and has spoken): before that point is reached, causality may very well fail to make itself apparent. Causality reigns where the present is gone, and one has encountered the past, when one is trying to join that which is with that which has already occurred. Performing a deed and making a choice, one is capable of leaving some continuums of one’s life and moving on to other continuums. In other words, we are able to determine ourselves what pertains to us and what does not. True, to do this, it is necessary to perform a deed. Choice and deed make it possible to conjoin different environments, because through them one can relate oneself to a certain principle, which secures the transition across the rift separating the environments. Being beyond the limits of situations, principles are not connected with their contents. This is exactly why one can sever one’s contensive connection with one environment and move to another environment. Thus, it may be the case that one has severed all one’s ties to one such area, and has not yet entered any kind of relationship with another. It is precisely due to this that it is impossible to discover any connection in terms of content between whatever has been correlated thanks to the choice made. It is always insufficient for man’s development to have one kind of content with which he is somehow connected: what is needed is to see a perspective for the development of this content. But this means that one ought to have a different angle for considering the situation, which becomes possible, if one is able to correlate oneself with a certain principle. In fact, a deed 28

is something that connects one to an unconditional principle. It has been noted that the need of the unconditional is a necessary condition for the development of an individual, and when it is not there, the individual’s being disintegrates. People and nations that had lost such a connection were unable to perform deeds and disappeared in the River Lethe. Without a connection with the unconditional – serving as a real test and standard of an individual’s possibilities – one loses one’s definiteness, which can no longer be helped by either analysis, or calculation, or control, or forecast, or projection. Seized by what is obviously overwhelming, one cannot but take a risk and ‘step over’ one’s individuality. By committing oneself to a principle, one, in fact, does the impossible, for one abandons oneself and burns all the ‘bridges’ to what has been achieved, no matter how much, in terms of constructing one’s identity, without knowing whether one will be able to regain oneself in a ‘leap’ beyond oneself and in relinquishing one’s former – successful – self. Risk becomes a form of human self-realisation, when one, oriented towards the impossible, makes an effort to overcome it. The reference to the impossible shows the emergence of what is different. This ‘different’ has no limit, it is, rather, its own limit, and any knowledge directed at establishing limits and controlling the utmost, can only partly interact with it. ‘One’s own’ is, in fact, characterised by spatial and temporal outsidedness, since, if one connects ‘one’s own’ with the specific places and times in one’s life, it is a question not of ‘one’s own’, but of one’s life, i.e. of identifying one’s own with the concrete contents of time and place. In the matter of sustaining such identifications it is important to pay attention to the attitude of one’s nearest and dearest who intentionally and not impartially connect one’s life with such – concrete – places and such – concrete – times, whereby one’s life is no longer perceived by either oneself or others without such a connection. It is interesting that consciousness is something that has no place and no time in such – life-bound – projections of consideration. Refusal to know oneself – while at the same time agreeing to apply to oneself practically any ‘external’ knowledge – is highly revealing and can be understood from different angles. One’s own non-presence becomes a basis for any kind of social identification, while one’s ignorance of one’s time and place presupposes a possibility of any social substitution for them, as well as giving an opportunity for any social pastime. When man does not live by what is his own, he is, in principle, closed, for the application to oneself of external – social – criteria connected with obtaining a social status and a position in society serves to solve problems 29

other than manifesting ‘one’s own’. Thus, the imperatives of ‘knowing your own mind’ or ‘keeping your feet planted firmly on the ground’ are in fact no more than rhetorical figures. The high frequency of expressions like “I told (answered, made it clear to) him (her, them)” in modern life shows that the sphere of self-consciousness is connected precisely with the domain of speech. It can be stated that in speech one cannot yet do without oneself, although social pressure is growing here, too, which can be felt in the substitution of structures with ‘we’ and ‘they’ for individual constructions, as well as in the increasing importance of performative constructions. It would seem that the only way to compromise man’s complete integration into the public sphere is by introducing the symbol of death1, whereby the mixture of actions and the corresponding ideologically-based awareness of these actions is broken down into separate components due to their being connected with man. Accepting death, man is able to become conscious of something as exclusively his own, distinguishing it from what has nothing to do with him, and is able to introduce a kind of order into his awareness, a kind of order which could now be introduced into life as well. As we encounter death we inevitably perform a certain reduction in the understanding of the dead person’s life, for we reduce all the events of his or her life to, and concentrate them in, the point of death as the end of their life. Unequivocality is practically impossible in life, which may be regarded as a sphere of the formation of different meanings, of their exchange and consumption; unequivocality can only arise in artificial and isolated environments, if at all. Unequivocality is an attribute of death: coming to an end, life reduces the plurality of meanings to a single one, that of being deceased. In this perspective, each and every event of life is ‘read’ from a different angle, because they are charged with the presence of this final point. Since the actions of life are tied together by a common ending, they are ‘read’ as interrelated ones, and life itself is understood as a completed process. Now that death has come and occurred, it becomes insufficient to understand the events of life exclusively in the dimension of life: these events lose their life-time independence and their phenomenal volume (solidity). An event of life is disembodied and is ‘transformed’ into a phenomenon that can be easily combined with other such phenomena, whereas earlier – before the event of death – the eventness of life used to be something to be reckoned with. The eventness of life is cancelled by the event of death through our awareness of it. 1


Much has been written on the understanding of the symbol of death, particularly important are M. Heidegger’s Being and Time and J.-P. Sartre’s Being and Nothingness. An Essay on Phenomenological Ontology. See also (Sergeev 2007).

It should probably be added at this point that a conscious penetration into the theme of death and into the classical texts about death that record an attitude to death from the position of consciousness rather than from that of life (The Tibetan Book of the Dead 1927), can help one to change the state of one’s consciousness, or rather – help with the transition from one state of consciousness to another. We are normally somewhat sluggish, but under the impact of having read a specific text we receive an impulse to change ourselves and even to change our consciousness. And it is the changed consciousness that enables us to acknowledge that the person who dies is not a ‘husband’, ‘son’, ‘carpenter’ or ‘public figure’, i.e. not any of the identities relevant to the different contexts of life, but rather a human being. Death focuses our attention on the entire human life in all its manifestations, on the whole as such. And if we take into consideration that at the moment of becoming aware, of gaining consciousness of things, man slips out of life, collecting himself outside it and within himself, then the image of death is a spring-board for becoming conscious of life. However, it should be mentioned specially that operating with the symbol of death with reference to the contents of one’s own life is something that few people are capable of. Not everyone can apply this symbol with a view to becoming conscious of their life: the thing is that, although death can be of considerable use to man in the matter of distinguishing between what is and what is not his own, it can never become his ‘own’. Let us state that for man it is the conditions of his life that are his ‘own’. Consciousness, on the other hand, is not his ‘own’: this is why it is impossible to prepare for it. When it occurs, it does so at once, and we can only state that it is there. Consciousness can only be regarded as one’s ‘own’ in the sense that it occurs, or happens, to us, as our own ‘affair’. At the same time, consciousness is its own affair. Besides, this occurrence of consciousness cannot become ‘their own’ to other people: with the appearance of another person’s facts of life and facts of consciousness, something else is bound to occur, something that can only schematically resemble my ‘own’ case. Facts of life and facts of conscience2 are different things. Situations can, of course, arise in which the facticity of consciousness overlaps with that of life, but, firstly, such situations are infrequent and, secondly, their partial 2

See (Mamardashvili, Piatigorsky 1997). Particularly important are A. M. Piatigorsky’s writings on Buddhism and the philosophy of mind (consciousness), see (Piatigorsky 2004; Piatigorsky 1984). No less important are A. M. Piatigorsky’s philosophical novels featuring different aspects of his understanding of the theme of consciousness (Piatigorsky 2011; Piatigorsky 2013). The novel Philosophy of a Lane is available in a German (Pjatigorski 1997) and Italian (Pjatigorskij 2004) translation. 31

coincidence is always discovered from another place, from a ‘third’, external point, external with respect to the place of consciousness and to that of life. For example, an author involved in the creative process may be at such a point, with the result that a text appears that conjoins consciousness and life. Besides, for the statement of the facts of life to coincide with that of the facts of consciousness, an observer (a spectator) is required who will record this ‘coincidence’. Coming back to the subject of the difference between facts of life and those of consciousness, another consideration should be added. What has become a fact of consciousness - to someone who is beginning to become conscious – cannot, in fact, be cancelled; at the most, it can be somewhat revised by another fact of consciousness, but never by a fact of life. Facts of consciousness correlate with each other, not with facts of life, and therefore the facticity of consciousness may be regarded as a kind of single environment or a kind of continuum within which there is neither time nor place for facts of life. The facticity of consciousness and that of life may be likened to separate parallel contensive horizons within which different kinds of logic operate. And what is significant to one horizon may be absolutely meaningless to the other. Man’s inner world is oriented by facts of consciousness, not by those of life; similarly, people’s everyday actions are conditioned by facts of life and not those of consciousness. Thus, if one is trying to come to terms with one’s own feelings or with those of another person, let alone discerning an event in a feeling that has just flared up, the only way to do it is to make it a fact of consciousness and stop treating it as a fact of life. People often give in to the flood of feelings and get drowned in it, whereas the really important thing to do is to ‘digest’ the feeling, so that it can become your own. Let us comment in passing that a person’s propensity for becoming sentimental is perceived as something inappropriate within the framework of the dominant rational attitudes. If we are really experiencing a passion, it is an objective fact of our life; however, within the limits of our expectations and in the dimension of our experience of it, this passion appears as a fact of our consciousness. And we cannot do without it. Being conscious of a feeling, just like being conscious of life or of death, is subjective, of course, but these are facts of consciousness, facts of the objectivity of consciousness, so that the strategy of getting into one’s own is connected with either our getting bogged down in the facts of life, or our managing to process them into the facts of conscious experience, which, in this form, are already understood by us as events of our life. 32

Another point is worth considering, too. When we discuss someone’s life, its facts are tied together precisely by our attitude to them, and while we ignore some of these facts, we focus our attention on some others. Proceeding from such a projection of understanding, a certain stability of our perception emerges which is already a substance, often identified at first with the understanding of the life under consideration, and later with the life of the person who is considering and trying to understand it. Incidentally, one of the principal functions of consciousness is, in fact, connected with singling things out: consciousness makes it possible to focus our attention on one thing without focusing it on another. And man associates the ‘singled out’ thing with himself, and nobody but himself. It is clear that in the course of life we single out different things, but always those that are relevant to us and that, consequently, engage our attention; always those that are nearest and most precious to us. These are the things with which we stand in the closest and, one might even say, the most intimate relations. For the observer himself the really important thing is his attitude to whatever is being observed, including another person. It is extremely important that this attitude explains a lot and invariably ‘works’, despite the fact that this ‘substance’ may comprise constructions quite obviously connected with myths and prejudices. However, beyond our attitude, in particular with respect to the attitude of the person under consideration to himself or herself, such a substance of perception is ineffective. With the support of consciousness, man is able to single something out as something special and separate it from everything else. But then the existence of such a ‘singled out’ place is secured by the human consciousness. For a fact of consciousness to be perceived, it must be ascertained: ascertained by the very act of paying attention to it and singling it out from the rest. What man has become conscious of is endowed with meaning that he can, at a later stage, extract and connect with himself, thereby understanding himself and imparting a meaning to his existence. The world is made in such a way that it always gives us a chance of understanding, of understanding the world and ourselves (Wittgenstein 1966; see also: Bibikhin 2005). When man acts, he is normally not inclined to observation: there are very few cases of people being able to act and to observe at the same time, placing themselves at a point of intersection of the sphere of life and that of consciousness. Such a situation is unusual, because it cannot but scatter man among the ‘various’, due both to the difference of the occupations involved and the difference of the ‘construction’ of these spheres. One always acts in the parameters of a certain localisation and chronology, whereas one observes proceeding from topology and inner time. And the one will invariably try to oust the other. 33

"Who is the other?" is the basic question that runs through all the chapters of this book. First presented at a seminar in Nikel, on the Russian side of the Norwegian/Russian border zone, in 2014, this anthology is a contribution to the facilitation of stronger cultural bonds between Western Europe and Russia. The book is the result of an ongoing cooperation between the Murmansk State Humanities University (MSHU) and the University of Nordland (UiN). The academic cooperation between the universities also includes the Joint Master in Borderology (border studies), located in the Childrens’ Art School in Nikel. The study consists of 12 courses in philosophy of science, ethics and political philosophy with lecturers from both universities. Like the Joint Master in Borderology, the present book is an invitation to measure Kant against Dostoevsky.

Orkana Akademisk ISBN 978-82-8104-268-1

Philosophy in the border zone  
Philosophy in the border zone