Monday, August 3, 2015


Heidegger’s notion of fourfold (or fourfold figuration) is a conceptual scaffold that can have many analogs for conceptual prospecting—without ontologism or supernaturalization of conceptuality. He originated a flexibility of thinking that could have rigor without metaphysicalism (i.e., without concealing the historicality of metaphysics by ultimizing a metaphysics). His use of Hölderlin’s four (Earth, Sky, Mortality, Divinity) is symbolic of four dimensions of holism, quite apart from Hölderlin’s tropes, which I’ll exhibit.

Articulation of a version and/or working relative to a version can be aptly called fourfolding: applying or appropriating a sense of a tropical set to a given context (or relative to something).

Fourfolding seeks to enable engagement with holisms of thinking which things around us exemplify. The point is thinking wholly, potentially thinking Of originary Opening (what poets are for).

A fourfold can be figured in terms of “folding” inner/outer into higher/lower, just as a fourfold may result from “folding” self/world into abstract/concrete. A situation can be figured as a felt degree of outer substantiality; outer horizonality; inner depth; inner height, e.g., tangibility, validity, conceptuality, and value (which I'll apply below).

To generate understanding of things in terms of a fourfold is thinking of a fourfold through things. It’s to be appellantly educive for thinking (or thought-educive), not structural, i.e., not instantiating a convergence of relationships as a basis for anything beyond the generativity of the occasion for futural thinking. A site of interplay is engaged for the sake of what can become of it for futural thinking.

Consider this with an important 2-fold mapped into the 4-fold: the 2-fold of focus and horizon. Commonly, we urge focus on specific situations when attention has been too broad-brush; and we urge holistic perspective when attention has been too narrow. Taken together, active, apt balance between focus and horizon is deemed highly important. Fourfolding emplaces things in potentially-extensive horizonality:

Relative to tangibility, attention to all substantive relevance may span a scale from what’s local to its eco-sphere (“all things considered”).

Relative to validity, attention to what holds good (efficacity, reliability, action policies, sincerity) may span from action-specific instrumental relevance to greatly systemic relevance.

Relative to conceptuality, comprehension may span from token categoriality (e.g., token representation) through capabilities that are conceptually constitutive.

And relative to value, fidelity may span from importances “now” (this situation’s elements, goods, comprehensibility) to what’s important for one’s life, one’s community, or one’s era.

Extended enaction involves understanding how situation and horizon interplay in terms of understanding all that’s appropriately in play, all appropriate kinds of validity, all appropriate levels of comprehension, and all appropriate importances.

The conceptuality of this works like tropes in art. But that's not to ultimately poetize conceptual prospecting! Rather—to my mind—it’s appreciating a historizing potential of conceptual work. Conceptuality evolves (experienced as possible historizing of one's life historicity) in Our evolving (experienced as narrative historicality of reconstructive reflection).

But as poetizing goes, a metaphoricity of color delights me. All colors can be rendered as some degreed combination (percent) of four: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and “Key” (black)—the CMYK array. (Industry-standard Pantone colors are defined as percent of each of the four for a given color—hundreds of them, all a unique CMYK overlay). Now, I wouldn’t want to press this fun too far, but look: The ultimacy of the sky is black. We know from the Moon that the Earth is blue, like water reflecting the air—water, essential for life. Archetypally, medically, we are blooded or living perception. And the origin of a singular light of gods, a singular meta-god, is the Sun (archetypally rendered yellow because we must see it in derived rendering). You can see that the trope is a rather trivial stretch. But archetypal thinking is as old as humanity (and an established legacy of Literary inquiry). It’s fun.

Accordingly, any given thing or point or theme, etc. of a situation may be regarded as a colorful individuation of manifold emplacing, each aspect/fold partially scaled or relevant, some strongly/“near,” others faintly/“distant.” Nearing and horizoning in a colorful play of enacted things is efficacious, maybe insight-evincive, beautiful, even originary, awing.

So, one might understand twofold-in-fourfold as potential horizonality of auratic phenomena: inner-worldliness mirrored by the aura of there being depth of outer-worldly phenomenality to disclose; potential complexity (abstractness) mirrored by the aura of surface simplicity. Potential for there being generativity of presence may manifoldly enthrall. Achieved scale of interplay in 2-fouring, so to speak (proximally), nears primordial advancing: “regioning of that which regions.”

Where are we here? (in an ecology; Earth, appreciated to some degree) What are the boundaries of Our understanding? (all Time, evolution; cosmos, in a sense) Who are you here? (a particular life vision; mortality, Open) What’s most valued? (care, flourishing, lastingness,…as if divinely Of).

[to be continued]