wildhood welcome

Share what you have gathered wildly.

CHCB 467
Missoula, MT 59802

Wildhood is kinship of the wild in all people, places, and things.



Welcome the wild.


Mark Douglas

My aim is to understand interconstituent ecologies in light of divergent landscape meanings. This is premised by the notion that individuals constitute constituencies singularly and in groups. This means that people can be landscape constituents alone or together. The people have their own surrounding worlds (umwelten) and they share a world (mitworld or with-world) among the other people that make up their constituency. 

Also, the divergence in the way divergent constituencies may clarify their own um- and mitwelt means that there are likely gaps between the umwelten (with worlds) of different constituency groups. For example, Jay and Sara both enjoy being outdoors. Jay is outdoors being-in-the-world with his gear and Sara too. The different gear they are with in terms of the constitution of the referential totalities of gear means that their surrounding worlds (umwelten) have different webs of significance thereby manifesting different constellations of meaning. Jay and Sara surely have some things in common, though. In that regard there are likely to be both gaps and overlaps in the referential structures of their surrounding worlds. The worldhoods will be similar and different. The degree of difference stems from any number of influential factors. The way that Jay or Sara is differentially oriented towards their being-in-the-landscape may shed some light on the gaps in their worlds. It may also shine a light on possible opportunities of bridging their worlds in concordance. Time will tell. 

Before we work towards turning those worlds inside-out we need further clarification of their general ontological structures. We know that readiness-to-hand stands in an ontological relationship to worldhood. We know that assignment and reference support readiness-to-hand. In the beginning of Section 18 in Being and Time, Heidegger notes that the world "can also be lit up in certain ways of dealing [umgang] with our environment [umwelt]" (BT, p. 114). He goes on to say "that what we encounter within-the-world has, in its very being, been freed for our concernful circumspection, for taking account" (BT, p. 114). This means that what somebody is already familiar with is not particular entities, but rather a united surrounding world (umwelt). In the activity of dealing with gear in the ready-to-hand mode somebody "frees" that gear to stand out from the unity as the thing that it is in its relation to the unified umwelt.

Next we get the distinction between gear as entities having properties and gear as eliciting our attuned reaction to solicitations for skilled coping practices engaged through wielding the gear in the ready-to-hand mode. "Anything ready-to-hand is, at the worst, appropriate for some purposes and inappropriate for others; and its 'properties' are, as it were, still bound up in these ways in which it is appropriate or inappropriate" (BT, p. 115). This means that gear, such as trekking poles, could not have the aspect of being for hammering, that is, they could not be intelligible to somebody as for trekking unless it was already the case that somebody was familiar with and "at home with" (habituated towards) the appropriateness and inappropriateness that is relevant to the world of trekking in general. The term "aspect" here indicates that situationally characterized in-order-to characteristics of gear that are lit-up in circumstances of that standing out (existing) and unveiling understood in the un-ready-to-hand.

Recall that assignment or reference has to do in one sense with serviceability. Serviceability is not appropriateness. Serviceability is the condition of the possibility for gear to engage somebody in appropriateness. "[S]erviceability is a reference [verweisen]" (BT, p. 115).  "But what, then, is 'reference' or 'assignment' to mean? To say that the being of the ready-to-hand has the structure of assignment or reference means that it has in itself the character of having been assigned or referred  [Verwiesenheit ]" (BT, p. 115). We must read this, in our understanding, to mean that the structure of assignment or reference has the character of turning or revolving. Recall the twisting paths of reference illustrated in a previous post as the rotating sides of the triangle of referentiality. 

At this point in the text Heidegger introduces Bewenden with specificity. Macquarrie and Robinson translate the German word as "involvement". Earlier Heidegger shared it when discussing the effect of signs. "Signs always indicate primarily 'wherein' one lives, where one's concern dwells, what sort of involvement there is with something" (BT, p. 111). The relationship between assignment (Verweisen) as a turning and involvement (Bewenden) as a kind of winding is crucial. Take heed of the translators' footnote:

The terms 'Bewenden' and 'Bewandtnis' .... [t]heir root meaning has to do with the way something is already 'turning' when one lets it 'go its own way', 'run its course', follow it 'bent' or 'tendency', or finish 'what it is about', or 'what it is up to' or 'what it is involved in'....(The reader must bear in mind that the kiind of 'involvement' with which we are here concerned is always an involvement of equipment in 'what it is up to' or what it is 'doing', not a person's involvement in circumstances in which he is 'caught' or 'entangled.' " (BT, p. 115)

The unique quality of the ontological structure of the ready-to-hand is the character of that involved existence. The ontological structure of the ready-to-hand in light of assignment means that the "having been assigned" is the moment of withdrawal that is the "turning towards" whatever it is assigned to or turns towards. This means that the being of the ready-to-hand goes from being to having been turned. Gear turns.