Here is a tale about Noumenal and Phenomenal. It starts with a thing that is its own thing — and that’s not cant — and is distinct from a thing that is known through the senses.
Which serendipitously introduces Phenomenal.
And immediately the experience they could have shared is quickly handed over to a German philosopher whose will-to-life is misunderstood as pessimistic but is in fact lighthearted and absurdist.
Actually, I came across this philosophical tale lampooned to my sickly tree this morning. It was titled: “The Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason.”
Having insufficient reason and tenfold fingers, I tore it down and let my daughter colour it in. She returned a half a minute later with a masterpiece. It was titled: “Adequately Unreasonable Until I Reach the Age of Reason.”
Then I drove to work in a terrible fug of the Critique of Pure Reason. I almost hit a standing pedestrian because of it and cursed, “Out of my way! Don’t you understand the universe is not a thoroughly understandable place, and with you stepping out into the road like that it’s getting even more confusing.”
She fingered me. I threw her an elementary matter. She replied in kind with a flash of flesh. I fancied it. But then a subject-object distinction struck me that I might be going along with the German Idealists!
Had I just be molested by a Cartesian tradition?
I wasn’t sure. But I longed to get my hands on those mammary glands.
Then I had one of those perennial philosophical reflections when one discovers not only one’s own essence but also the essence of the universe as a whole. (And I was sure Morrissey had written that.)
But back to the girl. Now she was, viz., unity, plurality, totality, reality, negation, limitation, substance, causality, reciprocity, possibility, actuality, and necessity.
I had had enough.
I pressed on the gas and that hypothesizing thing-in-itself as the cause of our sensations and which amounts to a constitutive application suddenly made me stop.
I unlocked the doors. Invited the girl in with a gesture that is a shared reality but regarded from different perspectives. Which translates as she punched me. I punched her back. Vis-à-vis. Or because one punch dispersed throughout space and time causally relates to another punch. Or in layman’s terms: One damn bad seed deserves another. She smarted. I smarted. We both kissed.
And that, I believe, is what Schopenhauer describes as the principle of self-consciousness.
And here my tale ends