Husserl & Spatiality

In his essay Foundational Investigations of the Phenomenological Origin of the Spatiality of Nature, Edmund Husserl explores the conception of motion in relation to bodies. While an exhaustive summary and examination could be undertaken on the essay as a whole, I would like to begin with examining an excerpt that characterizes the essay’s foundational theme that establishes the origin of the spatiality of nature. After all, as Husserl stressed, it is the implicit formations of such parts that give rise to the unity in which we perceive the whole. 

“We must not forget the pregiveness and constitution belonging to the apodictic Ego or to me, to us, as the source of all actual and possible sense of being, of all possible broadening which can be further constructed in the already constituted world developing historically.

            Husserl is operating from the premised notion that unified conceptions of a whole, such as the earth constituted from separate parts, implicitly form from an intuitive basis derived from the ego. This is the source of the rooted basis that grounds our perceptions of all further experience. This notion constitutes a “world view” derived from a world-possibility that experience fundamentally adheres to.

            This brings Husserl to his formulation of the spatial occupation of place as it relates to rest and motion. The foundational basis of the ego emanates and pervades all perceptible parts so as to unify our experience. This unification of the world presents horizoned possibilities that are harmoniously fabricated within the frame of our designated experience. This possibility invites the cohesion of every perceptible experience.  From an earth basis, motion and rest are separately absolute and distinct perceptions that operate within our apperceptions. It is only when the earth basis is introduced to the open plurality of other surrounding bodies that motion and rest become relative.

            All demonstration of subjective experience has a departure point and is anchored in the Ego that does the demonstrating. As a result, a sense of the world is derived from this perceptual field, giving rise to “basis body” that maintains relativity between subject and object. This is similar to the plurality of the earth-basis with other surrounding bodies. The reversal that occurs between the Ego and the earth basis is an interchange in relativity that presents motion and rest according to the related basis body. But to what extent one can conceive of the entirety of a corporeal body is directly related to the acquaintance of individual pieces in rest and motion comparative to a “resting earth”.  The notion “resting earth” is a distinction made because a unitary earth basis cannot be experienced as a resting body. It cannot be a body that maintains a place while simultaneously remain an extension that is in motion and at rest in space. Husserl says, “The earth does not move- perhaps I may even say that it is at rest.”  The idea of the earth as a whole, consisting with separate corporeal parts, is incongruent with an earth as a body.

            A body, outside the earth basis, must maintain a ‘loci’ in an interminable range of places within space. Husserl posits that conceiving an exchange of bases is the only way an earth body could occupy these places. He presents a possibility of earth, void of a basis, as a whole of corporeal parts in motion. As such, we occupy these parts in motion on the earth basis. This motion can be extended to others basis, moving and stopping relative to surrounding immobile bases.

            Despite this, the earth remains as a basis and not a body. All motion and rest are relative to the basis that Ego identifies. Husserl asks the question, “Can I conceive basis and body moved in contrast to the basis as being exchanged or exchanged for the primitive place of my motion?”  The suggestion of a apperception transfer of earth-basis outside oneself is remedied by a mutual relationship that shares responsibility of the basis in a common space according to the other. The question of motion and rest between these two bodies inherits a transferred sense of the earth basis as beings in earth space.    In this sense the Earth is an ark, a vessel of flight hurling in the field of time.

            On the ground, Earth’s outermost spatial experience is a horizon of limits. This is experienced as a spatially open field that presents itself as points within reach as distant experiences. Each of these points, Husserl says, are home places in themselves where one can anchor a basis. This is the historical primitive basis in which people historically identified as home.

            Regarding stars as distant bodies, one conceives of Earth as a flying ark basis to the star. Although well beyond the grasp of experiencing, this notion gives rise to fantasies of extraterrestrial beings inhabiting these “space ships” or celestial bodies. The stars, however, only serve as secondary arks that inherit the earth basis world view and all accompanying problems. We easily employ our understandings of the Natural workings of the earth basis to conjure possible life scenarios. This fantasy, a product of our Ego-centric earth basis, is a naïve projection that overlooks the infinity that deep space time contributes to complexities that leave no room for prediction. However, it is this infinity of the totality of nature that offers the only mode of conceiving nature.

            As Husserl concludes his essay, he reaffirms the Ego as a central departing point for all demonstration and considering. It is the anchor in which we frame and unify and justify the relativity of all appreciative constitution that gives rise to basis. Ego is central, the beginning and end, the source of all sense of being as it historically develops. While the earth ark is the basis which makes all further motion and rest conceivable, it is mans being sense that gives rise to this genesis. “Only on that basis is everything conveyable concerning the constituted world to be determined,” says Husserl. Even in the face of dying, the ego maintains a unity with life and earth that takes primacy to connections of death. While we imagine the world as a ‘harmoniously homogenous’ world, Husserl says this does not leave open a potentiality for transcendental discussion.

            In the end, Husserl artfully illustrates the depth of the interrelation of primacies established by the Ego’s unification of the world. This allows the exploration of spatiality concerning the basis for all places and provides a respective consideration for the relative place of motion and rest.

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