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Blattner (2006:76-84) – Humor/Disposição (Befindlichkeit)

sábado 9 de dezembro de 2023, por Cardoso de Castro


Assim, os estados de espírito [Befindlichkeit  ] (1) revelam importações, (2) funcionam como atmosferas, (3) revelam "como vamos levando", (4) são passivos, (5) têm objetos, e (6) co-constituem o conteúdo da experiência.


Assim, não só os estados de espírito e as emoções, mas também as sensibilidades e as virtudes (bem como os vícios), partilham algumas das características críticas em que Heidegger está interessado sob o título disposição e estado de espírito ou tonalidade afetiva. A função reveladora fundamental da disposição é dar o tom da experiência, servir como uma atmosfera na qual a importação de situações e objetos é revelada e através da qual somos informados sobre como "estamos dispostos". A descrição que Heidegger faz dos estados de espírito não é nítida e cristalina; não distingue corretamente os estados de espírito das emoções e algumas das suas análises parecem artificiais (como a estrutura tripla de um estado de espírito). No entanto, a sua ideia básica é suficientemente clara: uma das facetas básicas da revelação do mundo na nossa experiência é a nossa sintonia com o que se importa e com a forma como a gente se encontra.


Disposedness (Befindlichkeit — I’ll discuss the translation below) or mood is one of the basic facets of our familiarity with the world. Philosophical common sense regards moods as the very paradigm of the subjective. A mood is something “in me,” a feature of my psychology. Heidegger rejects this way of looking at moods on phenomenological grounds. “Having a mood is not   related to the psychical in the first instance, and is not itself an inner condition which then reaches forth in an enigmatical way and puts its mark on things and persons” (176/137). Now, this is a funny claim, is it not? What could be more psychical than a mood?

We do not experience moods as secluded inner experiences, encapsulated in the cabinet of consciousness. Heidegger writes: “A mood assails us. It comes neither from ‘outside’ nor from ‘inside,’ but arises out of being-in-the-world, as a way of such being” (176/136). Unfortunately, in Being and Time   he does not offer enough ground-level phenomenology to make his point clearly. He does a much better job in his 1929/1930 lecture series, The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics, §17. After commenting, as he did in Being and Time that a mood is “not at all ‘inside’ in some interiority, only to appeal in [76] the flash of an eye; but for this reason it is not at all outside either,” he continues on the next page:


Phenomenologically, moods are atmospheres in which we are steeped, not interior conditions.


According to Heidegger’s analysis, mood plays a multifaceted role in our experience. We have seen that our being is an issue for us. For our being to be an issue, it must matter to us. The ways in which our being matters are disclosed in mood. We, unlike tables, chairs, and rocks, can “feel like a failure” or be “riding high.” Our lives can be burdensome or easy, freed up or boxed-in, guilt-ridden or light. None of these “feelings” is an object in our experience, and none is merely our “internal disposition.” Rather, to be liberated or boxed in, to feel like a failure or to be riding high, are ways of carrying oneself in life.

As we saw in section (iii), moreover, we are “delivered over” to our [77] being. To be delivered over is passive; it is to be handed over to something, rather than to claim something. This too is an element of the disclosive work of mood (174/135)

We are thrown into life, which does not merely mean that by the time we become self-conscious, we are already leading a human life. This is true, but not Heidegger’s point. Rather, by “thrownness” Heidegger means that we are “subject to” life, that it “burdens” us in the sense that we cannot extricate ourselves from caring about it. Indeed, at any moment we are always already attuned to and disposed in the world. Even the “pallid, evenly balanced lack of mood, which is often persistent and which is not to be mistaken for a bad mood” is a mood (173/134). Business-like indifference is a way of caring about life.

Mood not only sets the tone of life, it also tunes us in to the differential imports of the things, persons, and events around us. An import is the way in which something matters to us. [1] […]

Thus, even serviceability or resistance are imports that pieces of equipment can bear. They are ways in which equipment matters to us in conducting our business. They are disclosed in the moods that characterize our everyday circumspection in the world.

Heidegger sums up his analysis by writing, “Existentially; disposedness implies a disclosive submission to the world, out of which we can encounter something that matters to us” (177/137-138). We are thrown into existence, subject to the world, delivered over to life. This is to say that we are entities who encounter the world in terms of how it matters to us. We are tuned in to the way things matter, and our tuning or temper is our mood. […] [79]

[…] It sounds odd to classify fear as a mood, however. How to draw the distinction between moods and emotions is itself a controverted issue, but one way in which moods and emotions are sometimes distinguished in contemporary literature is by looking at the range of responses and behavior-modifications that are elicited by affective states. Moods like depression and elation “are capable of influencing a broad array of potential responses, many of which seem quite unrelated to the mood-precipitatmg event.” If one is mistreated and then descends into depression, the subsequent depression will have an impact upon a wide range of activities and behaviors: one may not want to eat, or one may feel no desire to participate in one’s usually favorite activities, such as reading a book. These manifestations of the depression are thematically or topically unrelated to the mistreatment that triggers the depression. By contrast, if one, say, despises another person  , the effects of that despising are generally restricted to one’s interactions with that individual.

This way of distinguishing moods and emotions is clearly rough and ready, rather than precise, and undoubtedly reflects a continuum of phenomena, rather than two clearly disjoint sets. Nevertheless, the emphasis upon the pervasive impact of mood, the way in which mood sets a tone for the entire range of one’s activities, is consonant with Heidegger’s phenomenology of mood. Furthermore, the same psychologists who focus on the wider range of effects of mood-states also emphasize the way in which moods perform a “self-monitoring” function. [2] This self-monitoring function just is, I suggest, what Heidegger has in mind by “making manifest ‘how one is and how one is faring.’ ” That is, a mood discloses our general condition to us. This is almost certainly part of the reason that Heidegger chose to use the word “Befindlichkeit” in this connection.

[…] The about-which of a mood is always one oneself; the mood not only discloses an object as bearing an import, but also discloses something about oneself. […]

Thus, Heidegger does seem to have something very much like what many psychologists today call “moods” in mind in his analysis: moods disclose entire situations and do so pervasively, and they disclose to us how we are doing and faring. […]

Let us step back and survey Heidegger’s conception of mood and disposedness. First, moods are import-disclosive: they disclose the way things matter, that is, the imports entities bear. Second, moods are atmospheric: they function phenomenologically like atmospheres in which we are steeped, rather than interior private states. Third, moods are self-monitoring·, they reveal to us “how we are doing and how we are faring,” as Heidegger puts it (173/134). Fourth, moods are passive·, we are delivered over to moods. Heidegger also officially analyzes the threefold structure of a mood as having an “in-the-face-of-which,” “about-which,” and the mood itself. The in-the-face-of-which is best thought of under the heading of the import-disclosive character of moods, and the about-which is best-of thought of under the rubric of self-monitoring.

Further, mood does not “color” or “interpret” independently [81] given objects of cognition. […]

So, moods (1) disclose imports, (2) function as atmospheres, (3) reveal how we are faring, (4) are passive, (5) have objects, and (6) co-constitute the content of experience.

With these features in mind, we can identify phenomena closely related to mood. We have already explored emotion, which shares mood’s characteristics, except self-monitoring, and of which being atmospheric is less characteristic. Consider also sensibility, such as a snobbish sensibility or a connoisseur’s sensibility. A sensibility has [82] all of the features of a mood except self-monitoring, I believe. Think about what it is like to be with an “old money” person, as opposed to someone who is “middle middle class.” In the presence of an “old money” person, we middle-classers tend to feel as if we’re talking too loudly, as if we are shabbily dressed. Someone with an old money sensibility creates an atmosphere in which things show up as bearing a distinctive set of imports. Behavior is more likely to show up as either vulgar or refined, whereas in the presence of a middle-classer, this distinction is not salient. People of different social classes are tuned into different aspects of the world, see things differently. The contents of their experience, and the contents of the experiences of those who are steeped in their atmospheres, are shot through with content not available outside the atmosphere. Such sensibilities are slowly and passively acquired, typically early in life, rather than deliberately chosen. (Middle-classers who have done well financially and try to “move on up,” typically end up steeped in nouveau riche values and sensitivities, rather than those of genuine old money.) One’s sensibility does not monitor how one is faring, however, and that clearly distinguishes it from a mood.

Virtues also have some of the characteristics of a mood, but their atmospheric quality is diminished, if not absent altogether. As Aristotle   argued in his Nicomachean Ethics, and as his contemporary followers have insisted, a virtuous person experiences the world differently than one lacking virtue. A kind person is tuned in to those aspects of our social lives that call upon us to act with kindness toward others. A kind person does not just “see” the same neutral world that everyone else sees, but then draw different conclusions or arrive at different judgments. Like moods, emotions, and sensibilities, virtues can be cultivated, but they are not directly chosen, as courses of action are. They are in this way experientially passive. Virtues sometimes tune us in to aspects of how we and others are faring to which we might otherwise be blind. Virtues, moreover, are not usually atmospheric, though they can be. People whom we describe as “stoical” often do set up an atmosphere in which pain, for example, seems trivial, as honest people often set up an atmosphere in which cheating and stealing seem degrading. But virtue can sometimes be “quiet” and more “personal,” less like an atmosphere, and sometimes something one only discovers about a person late in the day.

So, not only moods and emotions, but also sensibilities and virtues [83] (as well as vices), share some of the critical characteristics in which Heidegger is interested under the heading disposedness and mood or attunement. The fundamental disclosive function of mood is to set the tone of experience, to serve as an atmosphere in which the imports of situations and objects are disclosed and through which we are keyed into how we are faring. Heidegger’s account of moods is not neat and clean; he does not properly distinguish moods from emotions, and some of his analysis seems artificial (such as the threefold structure of a mood). His basic thrust is clear enough, however: one of the basic facets of the disclosedness of the world in our experience is our attunement to what matters and how we are faring.

Ver online : William Blattner

BLATTNER, William. Heidegger’s Being and Time A Reader’s Guide. London: Continuum, 2006.

[1I take the term “import” from Taylor, “Interpretation and Sciences of Man.”

[2Moods “inform us about our general state of being” and “are thought to be involved in the instigation of self-regulatory processes” (ibid., pp. 2-3). See the literature cited by Morris.