...the question of how somebody as Dasein stands in light of wild places is an existential inquiry.
That's where I was left at the end of writing about Casey's interpretation of Heidegger and place. Now I've just read up to page 70 in Getting Back into Place (Casey, 2009). My investigation will be into the existential role of wilderness among constituencies. What are the modalities of standing for a wilderness area qua wild place?
Chapters one and two set up the problem and establish the primacy of place from Casey's perspective. Chapter three gets into the body-place dynamic. People think about time all the time. People don't consider place enough. As much as we wonder about the 'now', what about the 'here'? The 'here' is "that ubiquitous locative we continually engage in our experience" (p. 50). People instantiate the 'here' by embodying it. Place gets embodied 'here' for me at my desk in the office in the house at the foot of Mount Jumbo. Place is embodied in you (w)herever you are being. The important thing about 'here' is it's not there and vice versa.
Casey cites Husserl by saying that some-body has the power to situate subjectivity. When somebody is 'here' somebody is here altogether. He says that there are five modes of here-being.
1. Here in part. The body has different parts. This mode of here-being has to do with the differentiation of body parts. Somebody has arm-bodies, leg-bodies, torso-body, head-body etc. The body is itself a place.
2. Here of my body proper. The body is also a unitary entity. All-in-all, the body is the primary place for somebody. In the sense of taking a stand or standing for anything, "we stand with only our full body, not with part of it" (p. 53).
3. Here of my by-body. "my body as that by which I realize a certain action" and "a leeway of spontaneous action" (p. 53).
4. Regional here. both the present and possible places a body may effectively move. A region "is a concatenation of places that , taken together, constitutes a common and continuous here for the person who lives in or traverses them" (p. 53).
5. Interpersonal here. "what is there for me as the other's body is, for that other himself or herself, a here of self-presence….My own here remains mine, yet I am aware of another here precisely as another's here: a here that is conveyed to me only indirectly by the other's body as there in my perception" (p. 54).
"Any given singular here may be coupled with an indefinite plurality of actual and virtual theres (including theres that correspond to the five sorts of here just discussed" (p. 54).
That last bit is crucial to my investigation. If I am to examine the roles and modes of wildness and wilderness areas then I'll be focused on the 'there' of a wild place in relation to its embodiment in the here of somebody as a constituent.
The here-there relational structure
The relationship between here and there leaves nothing in between. Beings are strictly here or there. The here-there dichotomy in a given field of experience exhausts all entities in that field. An emplaced body stands here in relation to all there. The here-there relation has a tensional arc. "The here and the there are in such tension that they seem to break apart, even to repel each other" (p. 55). The key word is seem. The here and there seem to break apart, but because of the exhaustion of the experiential field, the presence of a being here makes it fundamentally specified in its aesthetic relations to all that there is. Thinking Harman, this tensional arc is between the real object and sensual qualities. It is the difference between my real place here and the sensual qualities of another place (there). Casey gives an example of the lessening of this tension by describing the readiness to hand experience of going right for the book on the shelf we want for involvement. The tension grows with the experience of the book being missing and we experience presence at hand with the absence of the book (qua gear) with which we want involvement.
Casey characterizes engaged dealings among the here and there as being in a com-place. "In a com-place here and there are in open interplay, a free exchange, as it were" (p. 56). This seems like a clear example of readiness to hand since "the special power of the com-place to bring here and there into an intimate embrace in which otherwise divisive differences of body and place are suspended" (p. 56). The here--there dyad is encompasses the extent of the body-place "plexus" and it is light of the here--there that I can investigate the role of wilderness in everyday life. As somebody is being-here-now, what is the relationship to that somebody being-there (Da-sein)?