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I am awake : Husserlian reflections on attention and wakefulness

Hanne Jacobs
p. 183-201

Notes de l’auteur

I would like to thank the director of the Husserl-Archives in Leuven, Prof. Dr. Ullrich Melle, for his kind permission to quote in the following from Husserl’s unpublished manuscripts.

Texte intégral

  • 1 William James, The Principles of Psychology, Volume I (New York : Dover Publications Inc., 1890), 4 (...)
  • 2 Ibid.

1In the chapter on attention in the Principles of Psychology, William James writes what on a first reflection might sound rather plausible : “Millions of items of the outward order are present to my senses which never properly enter into my experience. Why? Because they have no interest for me. My experience is what I agree to attend to.”1 That is, according to James here, what I experience is what receives my attention, attracts my gaze, or interests me and therefore becomes, is, or remains the object of my experience. If this were the case, experiencing would occur neither beyond nor apart from attentive interest. What currently falls beyond the scope of my attentive interest would not be experienced, nor would any experiencing continue when all interested occupation has ceded. In James’s words : “Only those items which I notice shape my mind – without selective interest, experience is an utter chaos. Interest alone gives accent and emphasis, light and shade, background and foreground – intelligible perspective, in a word. It varies in every creature, but without it the consciousness of every creature would be a gray chaotic indiscriminateness.”2

2If, as James would have it, to experience always involves attention or interest that makes discernment possible, then it seems that to experience amounts to being awake. That is, the dark and gray chaotic indiscriminateness of sleep, fainting spells, or other episodes in which one (temporarily) loses the capacity to differentiate and discern seems to preclude the attention or interest arising that, according to James, would make experience possible. However, this identification of experience and wakefulness as well as the neat delineation of wakefulness and sleep it entails is phenomenologically questionable.

  • 3 In his presentation, “The Merciful Arrangement” at the “Philosophy, Phenomenology, Sciences” confer (...)

3First, as is well known, from a phenomenological point of view, intentional awareness is broader than the specific mode of attentive or patent intentionality. That is, if wakefulness is to attend to something, even when awake we are never fully awake. If wakefulness is light and day, our wakefulness is actually always a wakefulness in an overarching night or dark of sleep that entails the intentional awareness of everything to which I do not attend, though of which I am nevertheless latently aware. Thus, if wakefulness amounts to attentive wakefulness, our waking life is suffused by sleep.3

  • 4 See Dan Zahavi, “Sleep, Self-Awareness and Dissociation,” Alter. Revue de phénoménologie, 5, 1997, (...)
  • 5 See Jan Linschoten, “On Falling Asleep,” in Joseph J. Kockelmans (ed.), Phenomenological Psychology (...)

4Second, there also seems to be wakefulness within genuine sleep. That is, even though we regularly fall asleep, some have wondered whether we are ever fully asleep.4 It seems that the very possibility of waking up presupposes that this is not the case. To be able to be awakened by the sun lighting up the room or an alarm going off seems to presuppose that one was still somehow experiencing the world before one again became (more) awake towards it. Consequently, even though asleep, we would still somehow experience and in this sense be awake, even if only minimally so.5

5Finally, isn’t the dreaming that occurs while we are asleep also a form of experiencing? Sleep, which seems to be characterized by a lack of attention and discernment, thus still allows for a specific kind of intentional experience to occur. So again, experience does not appear to be coextensive with attentive or wakeful experience. In the absence of all attention or interest, I frequently dream that I am attentive and interested, which is a form of intentional awareness, even if not a wakeful and attentive one.

6Thus, from a phenomenological point of view, one can in a certain sense speak of sleep within wakefulness as well as wakefulness within sleep. Attentive awareness cannot be equated with experience tout court since the sleep that pervades our wakeful lives as well as the sleep that dominates our lives at night does not preclude experience. Nevertheless, as I hope to show in the following, it is only a phenomenology of attention that can elucidate what actually characterizes wakefulness. More precisely, it is only a consideration of the phenomenon of affection and attention that can make clear in what sense we are never fully awake and how wakefulness and the sleep within wakefulness is different from genuine sleep. Finally, it is only by holding onto James’s intuition that (wakeful) experience entails attention that we can come to understand in what way the intentionality that occurs when genuinely asleep, such as dreaming, is radically different from any intentional awareness that occurs while awake.

  • 6 William James, Principles of Psychology, Volume I, 402-403.

7When phenomenologically exploring the relation between attention and wakefulness, one inevitably encounters the ego. As will be elaborated, it is the ego living in some acts and not in others while we are awake that introduces the difference that seems to be most characteristic of wakeful awareness, namely, the difference between foreground and background. James thus intuited correctly that attention or “interest alone gives accent and emphasis, light and shade, background and foreground.”6 In the following, I do not aim to provide an exhaustive account of the phenomena of sleep and dreaming. Rather, I hope to indicate how Husserl’s reflections on attentive or patent intentionality and on the differentiation between background and foreground that is brought about by attentive interest allows us to better understand the distinction between sleep within wakefulness and genuine sleep as well as the distinction between the intentionality that occurs while awake and when asleep. In this way it should also become more clear what wakefulness amounts to.

1. Wakefulness : Egoic or Patent Intentionality

  • 7 That our normal wakeful experience is interested and attentive is nicely expressed by Husserl in a (...)
  • 8 That being awake amounts to the ego being awake is implied in the following passage in Ideas II : “ (...)
  • 9 “Ein „waches Ich“ können wir als ein solches definieren, das innerhalb seines Erlebnisstromes konti (...)
  • 10 “Jedes „cogito“, jeder Akt in einem ausgezeichneten Sinne ist charakterisiert als Akt des Ich, er „ (...)

8Although, from a phenomenological point of view, experience as such cannot be equated with attentive or interested experience, our normal wakeful experience is in fact attentive or interested.7 According to Husserl, to be awake amounts to the ego being awake.8 That the ego is awake means nothing else than that there occurs a specific form of intentional awareness in the continuously unfolding stream of conscious awareness, namely conscious awareness of the form cogito. As Husserl writes in Ideas I : “We can define a waking ego as one which, within its stream of lived-experiences, continuously effects consciousness in the specific form of the cogito.9 To live in an intentional act of the specific mode cogito or, in other words, to live in a cogitatio, amounts for Husserl to being thematically aware of something, to grasping something (erfassen), or, in short, to attending to something. A phenomenological description of our conscious life readily shows that intentional acts come in a variety of forms such as perceiving, remembering, imagining, but also striving, valuing, and aesthetically appreciating. These intentional acts become a cogitatio as soon as I direct myself or become attentive to their intentional object, that is, the perceived object, the remembered object, the imagined object, the goal of my action, a valued object, or a beautiful object.10

  • 11 “Ziehen wir das Ich, und zwar nur als rezeptiv sich Betätigendes mit heran, so haben wir in genetis (...)

9While the language of “grasping” or “directing one’s attention” connotes activity and spontaneity, it is well-known, though not therefore insignificant, that Husserl characterizes the thematic intentionality of the form ego cogito in terms of “receptivity.” That is, Husserl makes sure to accentuate that my thematic occupation with something in the field of my awareness is an answer to an affection to which I am subjected.11 For example, when walking through a museum, my attention is attracted by one painting after another; however, I might also be distracted by the glimpse of an additional exhibition in an adjoining room, the conversations of others, my untied shoelace that I promptly tie again, or a sudden memory of an old friend awakened by the likeness of a stranger.

  • 12 An important consequence of the given that the ego does not just yield to what is qualitatively con (...)

10In each of these cases, my engagement is solicited by something that affects me, strikes me, and manages to attract my attention. While the ego is thus receptive and in this sense passive, its reaction in the form of attending to what affects it is, however, in no case an automated response to the most urgent or forceful impulse. I can turn away from the chatter and additional exhibition and move on to the next painting. Generally speaking, in addition to being affected, I am also interested in some things more than in others, which guides the way that I react to what affects me.12

  • 13 “Die Zahl der in einem gleichzeitigen Bemerken bemerkbaren Objekte ist bekanntlich sehr beschränkt (...)

11Moreover, a phenomenological reflection shows that it is essential to the structure of our wakeful awareness that I cannot attend to everything at once.13 For our present purposes, this has two important implications. First, to be awake is to be attentive to something and to be inattentive to everything else that is not within the scope of our attention. This phenomenological given motivates Husserl to speak of a kind of sleep within wakefulness. For example, in a manuscript from March 1931, Husserl writes :

  • 14 “[…] im Ich als in ihnen <den Erlebnissen> lebendes, in den Affektionen in Sonderheit gewecktes, in den Aktionen wac</den> (...)

the genuine wakefulness of wakeful ego-Dasein, ego-life consists in the ego living in the lived-experiences, being awakened by affections in particular, and being wakefully occupied in actions. Nevertheless, this genuine wakefulness is nothing for itself; it is what it is on the background of non-wakefulness (Unwacheit). In the concrete ego, there is a ground layer of “sleep.”14

  • 15 “Unter den allgemeinen Wesenseigentümlichkeiten des transzendental gereinigten Erlebnisgebietes geb (...)

12A second implication of the essential given that there is always more that affects us than what we can attend to concerns the ego. At a certain point in Ideas I, Husserl states that “among the universal essential peculiarities pertaining to the transcendentally purified realm of lived-experiences, the first place is due to the relationship of each lived-experience to the “pure” ego.”15 We should be more precise, however, and add that not every lived-experience actually has this relation to the pure ego, though all intentional lived-experiences can acquire such relation to it. If there is more that affects me than what I (can) attend to, this amounts to saying that at every moment there are intentional lived-experiences in which the ego does not live. These are the so-called passive or latent intentional lived-experiences that bring to awareness what is not at the center of my thematic occupation, but what embraces the theme of my attentive occupation as its horizon.

  • 16 Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, Paul Guyer & Allen Wood (trans.) (Cambridge : Cambridge Uni (...)

13Before spelling out the different modes of passive, implicit, or, if you wish, non-egoic intentionality, it should be recalled that it is Husserl’s conviction that every passive intentional lived-experience can become a patent intentional act or cogitatio. Correlatively, everything that I am implicitly aware of, but that does not affect enough to attract my attention, can in the next moment become the object of my attentive occupation. In this sense, Husserl gives a new spin to the Kantian idiom that “the I think must be able to accompany all my representations.”16 As Husserl writes in 1912 in the so-called pencil manuscript of Ideas II :

  • 17 “Das reine Ich muss alle meine „Vorstellungen begleiten können“, das hat einen guten Sinn, <wenn> a (...)

That “all my representations can be accompanied by the pure ego” makes good sense, even if not in the Kantian way, if we understand “representations” here as a dark consciousness or in terms of everything that can be considered as belonging to the conscious background. In principle, the pure ego can come to live in every unaccomplished (in a certain sense unconscious and unwakeful) intentional lived-experience as well as accomplish anew and bring to the light of wakeful consciousness intentional lived-experiences that are sunken back into the background or have entered the stage of not-any-more accomplished.17

  • 18 “Vermöge der Polarität, die zum Wesen des cogito gehört, ist das wache Ich aktuell bezogen auf die (...)

14Thus, each and every latent intentional awareness can take on an egoic or patent guise; in this way, the ego can become “awake” towards what it was previously asleep. Noematically speaking, all the objects that remain in the background (spatial or temporal) and are currently not the object of our focus can enter the scope of wakeful attentiveness. The background can consequently be characterized as the field of freedom of the ego out of which it can actualize at will and according to its interests.18

15From what has thus far been said, we can conclude that when Husserl describes our consciousness as egoic, he does so in order to point to the fact that while at any moment a whole spatio-temporal world is given to me and a multiplicity of things and other objectivities might affect me, I am always only thematically directed at some things or occupied with a limited set of themes, namely the ones that are the intentional correlate of the intentional act in which the ego lives. Thus, in Husserlian phenomenology, the ego differentiates between patent or explicit intentional awareness, on the one hand, and latent or implicit intentional awareness, on the other. Introducing the ego at the pre-reflective level is thus at least supported by the phenomenological evidence that the phenomenal field appears as structured with a thematic focus and an implicit background or horizon that leaves me indifferent. For as long as we are awake, there is always some act in which we are engaged, which differentiates this act as a cogito from the horizon of latent or non-egoic intentional lived-experiences. The ego being awake introduces the difference between theme and background (or correlatively, the difference between the actually accomplished intentional act and a horizon of potentially egoic acts) by living out certain interests and responding to certain affections while remaining deaf for others.

16In addition to providing phenomenological evidence for the ego, I would like to show that the distinction between egoic and non-egoic intentionality that characterizes wakefulness also furnishes us with the means to give a convincing phenomenological account of genuine sleep and of the difference between our wakeful intentional awareness and dreaming at night. Before I can further elaborate how so, it is important to understand in which way genuine sleep differs from the underground of sleep that carries any wakeful directedness. So, what are the different kinds of passive or non-egoic intentionality that Husserl sometimes analogically refers to as “sleep” and that necessarily accompany our egoic thematic directedness?

2. The Phenomenological Unconscious : Non-Egoic or Latent Intentionality

  • 19 For example in the following passage out of the so-called C-manuscripts, Husserl speaks of the unco (...)
  • 20 “Bewusstsein im allerweitesten Sinn, von dem sogar das „Null“ des Bewusstseins, das Unbewusstsein e (...)

17In Husserl’s writings, we can discern a genuine phenomenological concept of the unconscious. Generally stated, the unconscious is a passive, implicit, or latent mode of conscious awareness that accompanies our explicit awareness.19 This latent mode of intentionality should be contrasted with the attentive or patent intentionality that characterizes the cogitations since it is a form of intentionality in which the ego does not live (anymore). The unconscious is thus a specific mode of consciousness, namely an unconscious consciousness.20 The term “unconscious” does not mean that this implicit mode of consciousness would not entail self-awareness; rather, an act of consciousness is latent, passive, or unconscious when the intentional object of this act does not affect enough or does not affect anymore as to become or to be the theme of my attention. This unconscious or latent form of consciousness is not merely a construction and it is not just concluded to since its presence can be traced in the phenomena. In order to see how this is the case, I propose we take a look at three different forms of unconscious consciousness : background awareness, retentional awareness, and so-called secondary passivity.

  • 21 “1) das absolute Unbewusste, das absolute Null; 2) das „Unbeachtete“, obschon „Merkliche“, affizier (...)

18We have already differentiated between the theme of our explicit intentional awareness and its background. Within the spatial background itself, however, Husserl makes a further, threefold distinction : “(1) The complete unconscious or absolute zero; (2) what remains “unnoticed,” though could be “noticed,” what affects, but does not pierce through with its voice; and (3) that with which the ego is engaged, though not primarily, rather with which it is “still” engaged.”21

  • 22 “Car si je suis conscient de tout, je ne suis conscient de rien; pour qu’il y ait conscience de que (...)

19The so-called zero-horizon (Nullhorizont) of affection comprises whatever in the present field of awareness does not make an affective appeal on the ego or did not just do so. Nevertheless, this completely silent or dark background does contribute to what makes an appeal, did just make an appeal, and manages to attract our attention. The zero of affection is thus not to be understood in a merely privative way. This affective nothingness of the background is a condition for the possible occurrence of a receptive awareness of intentional objects such as perceptual objects in their different aspects as well as goals that one intends to realize in actions. That is to say, we hear and see what is in the foreground because the background remains, to a large extent, silent.22

  • 23 “Ich bin weiter nicht gerichtet auf den gegenständlichen Hintergrund, der in eins mit meinem erfass (...)

20While most of what remains in the spatial background does not affect, it does appear since the perceptual field is at every wakeful moment filled out in its entirety, even if it recedes in favor of what plays out in the foreground.23 To be precise, however, the spatial background or horizon transcends what appears within the perceptual field at any given moment. That is, there is more to the unconscious or implicit horizon of my intentional object of focus than what appears intuitively. What does not appear, but is co-intended or co-present, such as the backside of the object in focus or the invisible aspects of the objects in the background, as well as the invisible surroundings, belong to the horizon of the perceived object that is an up to a certain extent determined, prefigured, or at least determinable horizon.

  • 24 Of this retentional awareness, Husserl writes more specifically: “es „vergegenwärtigt“ nicht in der (...)

21Husserl’s threefold differentiation within the spatial background of my thematic directedness already indicates that the spatial background cannot be thought apart from the horizon in its temporal dimension. More precisely, that with which the ego was and is “still” engaged, though which is not anymore the focal point of its interest, is that which is retained along with everything else of which I was just previously impressionally aware. As is well known by phenomenologists, retention is a specific modification of our impressional awareness of the present now that by necessity accompanies every impressional awareness. Specifically, with every new impressional present, the previous impressional present is retained by means of a certain holding back of the past impressional awareness in the moment of the new impressional present.24 Due to this retentional modification, our awareness is one of objects that endure in time – identical objects that appear to us as identical throughout temporally distinct phases. Without retentional consciousness, we would be left with a mere succession of perceptions without ever perceiving succession or duration.

  • 25 “Unterscheidung zwischen der Sphäre aktueller Retention und der Sphäre des Sedimentierte, des im sp (...)
  • 26 On the distinction between near and far retention see Lanei Rodemeyer, Intersubjective Temporality. (...)

22Like in the case of the spatial horizon, Husserl introduces within the temporal horizon a distinction between the unconscious proper and that which still somehow exerts affection.25 The distinction is the one between so-called near and far retention.26 Near or living retentions that contribute to what appears in the temporally extended present can still claim some intuitiveness and delineation and cannot yet be called an unconscious mode of awareness. I am aware of what is retained in this living or fresh way if I still have a perceptual hold on the retained (perception being understood in a wide sense here). When listening to a lecture or a musical performance, with every new word or note, I am “still” aware of the preceding words and notes although more and more indeterminately and less and less clearly or intuitively.

  • 27 “Das Ende ist also völlige Unterschiedslosigkeit, Unterschiedslosigkeit aus völliger affektiver Kra (...)
  • 28 “Und doch, in der Kontinuität dieses Prozesses hat der Sinn sich identisch erhalten, er hat sich nu (...)
  • 29 “Weckung ist möglich, weil der konstituierte Sinn im Hintergrundsbewußtsein in der unlebendigen For (...)

23However, it is a consequence of the incessant upsurge of new impressions and the subsequent ongoing modification of the retained that at some point the retained will lose its living connection to the living present – the melody ends and the retained inevitably loses its affective force.27 This becoming unconscious of the speech or the melody necessarily goes hand in hand with a loss in both the intuitiveness (Anschaulichkeit or Klarheit) and distinctness (Abgehobenheit or Deutlichkeit) of the way in which the retained is given. Nevertheless, the completely empty and undifferentiated retention of the past is still a representation, even if an unconscious one.28 The reactivation of the past in a later present in the form of an explicit recollection bears witness to this implicit preservation of the past in the retentional awareness accompanying our impressional awareness.29

  • 30 “Das Urteil kann aber auch in seinem retentionalen Abklingen aus dem Griff gelassen werden. Es sink (...)

24It is not only our different modes of receptive intentional awareness that are subjected to the passage of time; our specifically spontaneous acts, such as judgments, practical decisions, and resolutions or wishes are as well. With regard to the sedimentation of our acts of judging, practically deciding, and desiring, Husserl speaks of “secondary passivity.”30 While these acts of spontaneous and rational activity sink back and make room for new acts like any act of perception or recollection would, their intentional accomplishment is sedimented in a peculiar way. That is, according to Husserl, when judging, evaluating, or deciding in favor of something, we take a stance (Stellungnahme). When this position-taking sinks into the background of the unconscious, however, the position-taking is not just retained; what was posited in the spontaneous act also retains its validity. That is, when I perform a spontaneous position-taking with regard to the being, value, or desirability of an object or person, I experience this object in the future as appearing with the posited validity, even after my position-takings as intentional lived-experiences have sunken back into the past.

  • 31 “Was ich positiv urteilend in Geltung setze, meine ich damit als für mich von nun ab feststehend, a (...)

25In addition to being retained in the way that any act of consciousness is, the position-taking endures by means of the enduring validity of its constitutive result. As Husserl writes : “When I posit something as valid in an affirmative and judicative manner, I mean by this that it is settled for me from now on, as established for the future, and in particular, as being in this way or that.”31 To be sure, not all validities originate in my own activity and most of what I believe to be the case, valuable, or worth striving for has originated in others. Because we experience and partake in the sedimentation of validities to which previous generations have contributed, we experience our world as a historical one, which frames any situation and event we encounter within this world.

26The three described complementary forms of implicit or unconscious consciousness contribute to what is experienced explicitly at present in such a way that we always perceive more than what is, strictly speaking, given at any moment because we experience it as informed by our past awareness and activity. Due to the constitutive contribution of the spatio-temporal historical horizon, we do not just perceive what occupies us at present, we perceive it within a world, even if at any moment only a segment of this world is given to us and we disregard the worldly horizon in favor of what attracts our attention within it.

  • 32 Anne Montavont distinguishes in another way between genuine sleep and the unconsciousness by distin (...)

27Thus, while awake to something within the world, we remain asleep with regard to the world or horizon in its spatial, temporal, and historical dimension. This sleeping or unconscious background-awareness accompanies our every wakeful attentiveness to what figures on the foreground. As I would like to show, genuine sleep, on the other hand, seems to be characterized by the disappearance of the distinction between foreground and background and by the disappearance of the ego.32

3. Genuine Sleep : The Absence of the Ego

  • 33 For a bibliography on sleep and dreams in the history of philosophy and Husserl’s phenomenology in (...)
  • 34 “Unser waches Bewusstsein kann abgelöst sein, kann streckenweise unterbrochen sein durch ein schlaf (...)
  • 35 “Das Eigentümliche des Einschlafens ist also die Universalität des Passivwerdens des Ich als Intere (...)
  • 36 “Es fehlt das Interesse; das soeben noch Geweckte aus noch fungierender Assoziation unter Interesse (...)
  • 37 Think of the much referred to phenomenon of waking up every hour the night before an important earl (...)
  • 38 “Traumloser Schlaf ist ein äußerster Limes, im Einschlafen sich vorzeichnend” (HuMa VIII, 337).

28Any philosophy of consciousness inevitably encounters some difficulty when attempting to account for the (non-) phenomenon of deep dreamless sleep.33 In general, Husserl thinks of sleep as a universal modification of conscious life, a modification that can be easily elucidated by considering the role of the ego. That is, when falling asleep, the differentiation between foreground and background disappears. Husserl writes : “Our wakeful consciousness can cede, it can be interrupted periodically by a sleeping, completely mute consciousness without distinction between the actual range of vision and a dark background. Everything is background, everything is dark.”34 In other words, when asleep, the ego does not perform explicit acts in the form of the ego cogito; nothing affects enough in order to attract attention, nothing is explicitly grasped. The ego is absent, which shows itself in the total lack of interest that characterizes the state of sleep. As Husserl writes : “What characterizes falling asleep is the universality of the becoming passive of the ego as the ego of interests.”35 My falling asleep is a letting go where I retire completely and lose all interest.36 If certain concerns do seem to endure while asleep,37 this can only be because the letting go of all interests that characterizes complete sleep is more of a limit-case than an actual state we fall into as soon as we fall asleep.38

29In the context of what has been said about the relation between foreground-awareness and background-awareness, we inevitably have to raise the following question : does the disappearance of any interest or intentional occupation mean that the background-awareness that normally accompanies our egoic intentionality now becomes all-encompassing? Or, on the contrary, does it only make sense to speak of a background in contrast and relation to what is conscious in the strict sense or attended to, that is, in relation to a foreground? In other words, is sleep like the partial sleep occurring within wakefulness, but without thematic awareness? From a phenomenological point of view, it seems that when falling asleep it is not only patent intentionality that cedes, but our latent intentional awareness as well. Moreover, as I aim to show in the final section, only an account that can make the distinction between sleep at night and the implicit horizonal consciousness that accompanies wakeful awareness in the strict sense can guarantee the distinction between wakeful intentionality and dreaming while asleep.

  • 39 “Im Dunkel verarmt der Bewusstseinsgehalt, dunkles Gesichtsfeld, im Bett verarmt der taktuelle Geha (...)

30At first sight, Husserl’s description of falling asleep seems strikingly similar to his descriptions of one of the three forms of unconsciousness discussed, namely retention. Of the retentional modification of every impressional awareness, Husserl frequently speaks in terms of “impoverishment” (Verarmung), “concealment” (Verhüllung), lack of differentiation, and diminution of affective force. The melody fades out and soon my lively awareness of it does as well. In the following passage, falling asleep is described by Husserl in similar terms : “In the dark, the content of consciousness is impoverished, a dark field of vision, in bed the tactile content is impoverished, an undifferentiated sensing […] the fields of sense become totally uniform.”39 Thus, retention and falling asleep are both characterized by an impoverishment of differentiation (uniformity) and intuitiveness (darkness) and therefore of affecting force.

31Nevertheless, falling asleep is significantly different from the described retentional awareness exactly because of its all-encompassing character. The universality of the impoverishment of affective relief and interest pertains not only to the retained but to what is given at present as well. That is, when falling asleep, I cease to be affected by and awake towards what is given in the impressional now; with my falling asleep towards what normally affects the most, namely the here and now, the potentiality or horizon of my becoming affected by what I am only implicitly or potentially aware of disappears as well. I am not aware of potential cogitationes as they are motivated by my current actual directedness; there is no such wakeful engagement and, consequently, there is also not a promise of any further engagement of the same or another kind. Even if one speaks of potentiality with regard to genuine sleep in the sense that I can wake up from sleep, while asleep, I am not aware of this potentiality. In other words, the potentiality of waking up is not motivated by sleep in the same way that, for example, the perception of the back of the object or the recollection of my past is motivated by my present awareness of the front of the object or of what awakens the retention.

  • 40 “Schwinden der Wahrnehmungsgegenwart für uns […] sondern der Weltgegenwart für uns, d.i. des Dasein (...)
  • 41 “Erwachend erwacht sozusagen mein Bett, mein Leib im Bett, das Schlafzimmer, und geweckt ist der Ho (...)

32The fundamental difference between sleep and latent intentional awareness also shows forth in the fact that one does not awaken sleep as one awakens an implicit awareness – one can only awaken from sleep. While my implicit awareness can at any moment take on the form of an explicit awareness, waking up is not a modification of an implicit consciousness into an explicit consciousness. When asleep, I am not only asleep with regard to specific objects, tasks, or events, but with regard to the world or horizon at large. As Husserl writes, falling asleep is not just a mere “fading out of the perceptual present for us […]; rather, it entails a fading out of the presence of the world for us, i.e. of the being of what is worldly in its total way of being a background and with regard to all temporal modes, thus also past and future.”40 Conversely, when waking up, the world awakens with me : “When waking up, my bed, so to say, also wakes up, my body in the bed, the bedroom and awakened is the horizon of the past.”41

  • 42 What is left open and unaccounted for is how, if one argues that genuine sleep consists in the cess (...)

33In the concluding section, I would like to show that the proposed account of genuine sleep as characterized by the absence of the ego and its horizon of possible cogitationes provides the basis on which to account for the difference between the consciousness of dreaming that occurs when asleep and any wakeful intentional awareness.42

4. Dreaming : Intentionality in Spite of a Waking Ego

  • 43 See the correspondence with Jean Hering in Edmund Husserl, Briefwechsel. Die Göttinger Schule, Elis (...)

34As some more and less recent phenomenological studies on dreaming have elaborated, Husserl explicitly addresses the issue of the nature of the experience of dreaming on at least one occasion in a letter to Jean Hering in reaction to Hering’s reflections on dreams.43 We can infer from Husserl’s response to Hering that Husserl thinks that dreaming is a kind of imagining that occurs when asleep. Like imagining, the experience of dreaming is characterized by a peculiar kind of intentional implication, namely the implication of a consciousness dreamt in the dreaming consciousness. That is, like imagining, to dream is to have a present dream-consciousness in which a perceptual experience (the experience dreamt) is reproduced.

  • 44 “Das Traumweltich träumt nicht, es nimmt wahr. Man darf nicht einwenden, dass doch bewusstseinsmäss (...)
  • 45 “Wesensgesetzlich sind alle Traumweltiche im Wachzustand. Schlaf kann nicht geträumt werden” (BW II (...)

35More technically, both when imagining and dreaming, I presentify (vergegenwärtige) a scene or event as if I were perceiving it. This peculiar structure of the presentifying consciousness also implies that the one dreaming must be distinguished from the one perceiving in the dream just as the one imagining must be distinguished from the one imaginatively perceiving a certain event.44 Further, it is clear that the perceptual experience that I reproduce in the as-if mode while dreaming is necessarily awake. Indeed, Husserl writes to Hering, “Sleep cannot be dreamt.”45 The dreaming consciousness, the enactment itself, however, occurs while asleep (in contrast to merely imagining or any other wakeful intentional act).

  • 46 “Aus dem dumpfen Träumen erwachend, können wir einen reflektierenden Blick zurücklenken, das soeben (...)

36Considering Husserl’s characterization of wakefulness in terms of the ego being awake, to say that we are not awake while we dream amounts to stating that the act of dreaming is not a cogitatio in which the ego lives. Indeed, Husserl at one point describes the state of dreaming as characterized by a certain “Ichverlassenheit.”46 How can this peculiar absence of the ego and what we have seen about wakeful consciousness help us to understand the difference between the consciousness of dreaming and other forms of presentification (Vergegenwärtigung) that occur when we are awake such as purely imagining something, recollecting something, or even day-dreaming and thereby help us to better understand in what wakefulness actually consists?

  • 47 That there is no awareness of a possible awareness beyond the dreaming seems also to be implied by (...)

37It seems that dreaming while asleep is not just characterized by the absence of the ego, but first and foremost by the lack of its freedom to direct itself elsewhere or to come to live in different acts than the act it is presently engaged in. That is, as we have seen, to be awake is not merely to be attentively directed at something within the world, but to have a whole range of other potential cogitationes directed at what appears or previously appeared within this world. That the dreaming consciousness is asleep entails that there is no horizon of other possible acts of consciousness besides the dreaming.47 Correlatively, while asleep, I am deaf for the affections of all worldly objectivities and I am delivered to the dream-world. On the other hand, when lost in day-dreaming or imagining, I am never unaffected by the world outside the dream and I will never be caught in a dream like I will be when I am asleep. Stated otherwise, while I might be sunken in a daydream, for as long as I am not asleep, the affecting surrounding world and the concomitant potentiality of directing oneself at what affects are always still given. It is, as the case of day-dreaming shows, not as much the absence of the ego as it is the absence of affection and the potentiality to become attentive to something beyond the dreaming that distinguishes dreaming at night from any wakeful presentifying intentionality.

  • 48 Hua XI, 306-309.
  • 49 “Unser seiner Gegenwart bewußtes Ich sendet nun den thematischen Blick in die Erinnerung, d.h. vom (...)

38Husserl himself at one point considers the phenomenon of day-dreaming in the form of one being absorbed in the recollection of a certain event and distinguishes this self-forgetful recollecting from a recollection in which I bring back to mind times past in a purposeful and directed manner.48 While in the latter case, I, in light of the present to which I am awake, recall a past event,49 the self-forgetful day-dreaming is, according to Husserl, characterized by a peculiar absence of the ego. When immersed in the reliving of a past episode of wakeful life, I am no longer awake for the present in which the recollection is enacted. Since the current present has lost all thematic interest for me, none of the current lived-experiences occurs in the form of egoic intentionality. There is nothing in the present surroundings towards which I am attentively awake; there is no ego out of which patent intentional rays of interested and attentive engagement radiate. Consequently, the recollecting occurring in such an ego-less present is also self-forgetful and egoless. As Husserl writes :

  • 50 “Ich lebe ganz versunken in Erinnerung, träumend, das heißt, mein gegenwärtiger Erlebnisstrom ist i (...)

I am totally absorbed in the recollection or dreaming, that is, my current stream of lived-experiencing is in a peculiar way ego-less, without actual egoic acts that from within the now, the perceptual present, are directed at something present and by means of a current presentification are directed at what is past; however lively the life that is absorbed in the recollection might be and even though this life is accomplished in present acts, the present is not a thematic present and the one lost in dreaming has no thematic present as he is not aware of this present and of himself.50

  • 51 “Jetzt haben wir die Traumverlorenheit in der besonderen Form der Erinnerungs-verlorenheit kennenge (...)

39This self-forgetful recollecting or day-dreaming is, however, not a form of consciousness that is genuinely asleep. That is, while the act of day-dreaming is like the act of genuine dreaming in the sense that it is egoless and there is only an ego insofar as the dreamt event is one that is perceived by a dreamt ego,51 it is in another respect very different from dreaming at night. That is, when absorbed in recollecting a certain event, I still have a latent intentional awareness of my present surroundings, even though I am absorbed in the recollected past. Even when immersed in a day-dream, the surrounding world still appears, even though it fails to affect me sufficiently as to effectively solicit an interested directedness. When asleep and dreaming, however, I do not have such latent intentional awareness of the presence of the world.

40Thus, when living the dreaming consciousness, I have no awareness of anything beyond this consciousness, no awareness of a horizon of other possible givenness than what is given in the act of dreaming. Because of the lack of an awareness of what is beyond what is being dreamt, no distance whatsoever can be taken towards what is experienced in the dream. Such a distance would imply a dreaming ego that could detach itself from the dreamt ego and what is dreamt simply by asserting its freedom and independence from the dreamt ego by performing an egoic act and in this way turning away from what is dreamt towards something else and thereby interrupting the dreaming. It is exactly this freedom that characterizes wakeful life and which makes it possible to interrupt at will any episode of self-forgetful daydreaming. When awake, I always have the freedom to redirect my gaze to what affects me within the present and to what I previously did not pay attention. When asleep, this freedom to actualize the horizon of my possible other forms of receptive awareness is lacking since, as I have tried to elaborate, during sleep the ego and, most importantly, the horizon of its potentiality disappear. Consequently, the one dreaming at night and still sound asleep is without awareness, even a latent one, of what is beyond what is dreamt.

Hanne Jacobs
Loyola University Chicago

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Notes

1 William James, The Principles of Psychology, Volume I (New York : Dover Publications Inc., 1890), 402-403.

2 Ibid.

3 In his presentation, “The Merciful Arrangement” at the “Philosophy, Phenomenology, Sciences” conference in 2009 in Leuven, Belgium, Nicolas de Warren developed how Husserl uses “sleep” in this metaphorical way. He also argued there for the careful distinction between genuine sleep and sleep as another term for the unconscious that this metaphor might obscure. Cf. also Section 2 of the following. I would like to thank the author, Nicolas de Warren, for sharing the text of this lecture with me.

4 See Dan Zahavi, “Sleep, Self-Awareness and Dissociation,” Alter. Revue de phénoménologie, 5, 1997, 137-151.

5 See Jan Linschoten, “On Falling Asleep,” in Joseph J. Kockelmans (ed.), Phenomenological Psychology. The Dutch School (Dordrecht : Martinus Nijhoff, 1987), 110; Anne Montavont, De la passivité dans la phénoménologie de Husserl (Paris : PUF, 1999), 68n3.

6 William James, Principles of Psychology, Volume I, 402-403.

7 That our normal wakeful experience is interested and attentive is nicely expressed by Husserl in a manuscript from 1930 where he writes : “Was ist das – Konzentration? Es ist ein Modus ichlichen Dabeiseins, des im weitesten Sinne Beschäftigtseins, ein Modus, der eine gewisse Gradualität bedeutet, deren höchste Stufe „Konzentration“, „konzentriert Beschäftigtsein“ (wahrnehmend, erinnernd, handelnd Tätigsein) heißen. Das wache Leben ist immerzu ein Beschäftigtsein, ein Das-und-jenes-Tun, ein Worauf-aus-Sein in einem Schon-Können […]” (Manuscript A VI 14 a/11a, my emphasis). In this section, I only address normal wakeful awareness and abstract from abnormal experiences, such as the experience of insomnia, obsession, and daydreaming. I return to the latter kind of experience in Section 4.

8 That being awake amounts to the ego being awake is implied in the following passage in Ideas II : “Keine Wesensnotwendigkeit spricht dagegen, daß ein Bewußtsein durchaus ein dumpfes sei. Andererseits gehört dann doch zu ihm, wie zu jedem Bewußtsein überhaupt, die unbedingte Wesensmöglichkeit, daß es zum wachen werden kann, daß ein aktueller Ichblick sich an einer beliebigen Stelle desselben etabliere in Form eines diesem Bewußtsein sich einfügenden oder vielmehr aus diesem hervorquellenden cogito, daß sich dieser Vorgang dann wiederhole usw.” (Edmund Husserl, Ideen zu einer reinen Phänomenologie und phänomenologischen Philosophie. Zweites Buch. Phänomenologische Untersuchungen zur Konstitution, Husserliana IV, Marly Biemel (ed.) (Den Haag : Martinus Nijhoff, 1952), 108). Henceforth Hua IV.

9 “Ein „waches Ich“ können wir als ein solches definieren, das innerhalb seines Erlebnisstromes kontinuierlich Bewusstsein in der spezifischen Form des cogito vollzieht” (Edmund Husserl, Ideen zu einer reinen Phänomenologie. Erstes Buch. Allgemeine Einführung in die reine Phänomenologie, Husserliana III/1, Karl Schuhmann (ed.) (Den Haag : Martinus Nijhoff, 1976), 63). Henceforth Hua III/1.

10 “Jedes „cogito“, jeder Akt in einem ausgezeichneten Sinne ist charakterisiert als Akt des Ich, er „geht aus dem Ich hervor“, es „lebt“ in ihm „aktuell“. […] Beobachtend nehme ich etwas wahr, in gleicher Weise bin ich in der Erinnerung öfters mit etwas „beschäftigt“, quasi beobachtend verfolge ich in der fingierenden Phantasie das Treiben in der phantasierten Welt. Oder ich denke nach, ich ziehe Schlüsse; ich nehme ein Urteil zurück, evtl. mich überhaupt des Urteils „enthaltend“. Ich vollziehe ein Gefallen oder Missfallen, ich freue mich oder bin betrübt, ich wünsche, oder ich will und tue; oder auch, ich „enthalte“ mich der Freude, des Wunsches, der Wollung und Handlung. Bei all solchen Akten bin ich dabei, aktuell dabei” (Hua III/1, 160).

11 “Ziehen wir das Ich, und zwar nur als rezeptiv sich Betätigendes mit heran, so haben wir in genetischer Analyse zu beachten, dass der rezipierenden Aktion vorangeht eine Affektion. Eine Hintergrundvorstellung, eine gerichtete, affiziert das Ich – darin liegt, es geht eine Tendenz auf das Ich – dieses reagiert mit der Zuwendung, die Vorstellung nimmt die Gestalt der erfassenden an, in der der Ichblick auf das Gegenständliche gerichtet ist” (Edmund Husserl, Analysen zur passiven Synthesis. Aus Vorlesungs- und Forschungsmanuskripten (1918-1926), Husserliana XI, Margot Fleischer (ed.), (Den Haag : Martinus Nijhoff, 1966), 84). Henceforth Hua XI. Also : “Aus der Passivität des Hintergrunds her gehen die Affektionen auf das Ich, sie sind Voraussetzungen der Zuwendung. Mit ihren Vollzug leistet das Ich der Affektion folge, es richtet sich auf das Affizierende hin” (Edmund Husserl, Aktive Synthesen : Aus der Vorlesung „Transzendentale Logik“ 1920/21. Ergänzungsband zu „Analysen zur passiven Synthesis“, Husserliana XXXI, Roland Breeur (ed.) (Dordrecht : Kluwer, 2000), 4).

12 An important consequence of the given that the ego does not just yield to what is qualitatively considered the most forceful or prominent is that a phenomenological analysis should distinguish between the qualitative relief of what appears and the affective relief it has for me. That is, even though things and events stand out by means of their qualitative features (a loud noise, a bright color), this need not entail that I am affected most by these object or events or automatically direct my gaze to what stands out the most (I might be submerged in reading). Conversely, the qualitatively diffuse and unremarkable might catch my attention. Accounting for this difference between a qualitative and affective relief, however, falls beyond the scope of this paper.

13 “Die Zahl der in einem gleichzeitigen Bemerken bemerkbaren Objekte ist bekanntlich sehr beschränkt (Enge des Bewusstseins oder der Aufmerksamkeit)” (Edmund Husserl, Wahrnehmung und Aufmerksamkeit. Texte aus dem Nachlass (1893-1912), Husserliana XXXVIII, Thomas Vongehr & Regula Giuliani (eds.) (Dordrecht : Kluwer, 2004), 98). Also : “der Erlebnisstrom kann nie aus lauter Aktualitäten bestehen” (Hua III/1, 63); “Zum Wesen des Erlebnisstromes eines wachen Ich gehört es aber nach dem oben Gesagten, daß die kontinuierliche fortlaufende Kette von cogitationes beständig von einem Medium der Inaktualität umgeben ist, diese immer bereit, in dem Modus der Aktualität überzugehen, wie umgekehrt die Aktualität in die Inaktualität” (Hua III/1, 64).

14 “[…] im Ich als in ihnen <den Erlebnissen> lebendes, in den Affektionen in Sonderheit gewecktes, in den Aktionen wachtätiges, liegt das eigentlich Wache im wachen Ich-Dasein und Ich-Leben. Aber dieses eigentliche Wache ist nichts für sich, es ist, was es ist, auf dem Untergrund der Unwachheit. Im konkreten Ich liegt eine Grundschicht des „Schlafes.“” (Edmund Husserl, Späte Texte über Zeitkonstitution (1929-1934) : Die C-Manuskripte, Husserliana Materialien VIII, Dieter Lohmar (ed.) (Dordrecht : Kluwer, 2006), 42). Henceforth HuMa VIII.

15 “Unter den allgemeinen Wesenseigentümlichkeiten des transzendental gereinigten Erlebnisgebietes gebührt eigentliche die erste Stelle der Beziehung jeder Erlebnisses auf das „reine“ Ich” (Hua III/1, 159-160).

16 Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, Paul Guyer & Allen Wood (trans.) (Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 1998), B 131.

17 “Das reine Ich muss alle meine „Vorstellungen begleiten können“, das hat einen guten Sinn, <wenn> auch nicht den Kantischen, wenn wir unter „Vorstellungen“ hier alles dunkle Bewusstsein, alles im Bewusstseinshintergrund Befindliche verstehen. Prinzipiell kann sich das reine Ich in alle unvollzogenen (in gewissem festen Sinn unbewussten, unerwachten) intentionalen Erlebnisse einleben oder die in den Hintergrund gesunkenen, in das Stadium des Nicht-mehr-Vollziehens getretenen zu neuem Vollzug und in das Licht des wachen Bewusstseins bringen” (Manuscript F III 1/5b). See also Hua IV, 108.

18 “Vermöge der Polarität, die zum Wesen des cogito gehört, ist das wache Ich aktuell bezogen auf die Gegenständlichkeiten der cogitationes, die es vollzieht. Sie sind seine Gegenstände, und zwar genau als diejenigen, die sie in den betreffenden cogitationes noematisch (vermeinte, gesetzte und quasi-gesetzte) sind. Potentiell gilt das aber von den Gegenständen der unvollzogenen Noesen, die im Hintergrund schlummern und die sozusagen das Feld der Freiheit des Ich ausmachen; und ihre Gegenstände bilden das Blickfeld des Ich” (Manuscript F III 1/244b); see also Hua IV, 109.

19 For example in the following passage out of the so-called C-manuscripts, Husserl speaks of the unconscious or, better, unconsciousness with regard to the latent awareness of the spatial background : “Das Thematische, das, wobei das Ich in verschiedenen Modis ist, womit es sich beschäftigt. Das Implizite im Thema – die impliziten affizierenden Momente (für die es kein Ohr hat), letztlich die impliziten Null-affektionen – das dem Ich „Unbewusste“. In der Totalität der strömenden Gegenwart eine Totalität von Nullaffektion, das totale Null : Hintergrund des Unbewussten. […] Es ist zu scheiden das in den jeweiligen Themen Implizite, Affektionslose, das aber doch eben im Thema implizite zu Worte kommt, andererseits außerhalb des Themas, <der> Hintergrund (Nacht des Unbewussten), aber ein Hintergrund, der doch affektiv werden kann. Wachbewusstsein immerzu, Bewusstsein im eigentlichen Sinn, immerzu ein thematischer Bereich (Tag). Das Thematische <hat> seinen inneren Nullhorizont und seinen äußeren” (HuMa VIII, 184). Similarly with regard to the temporal background or retained: “Die retentionale Abwandlung […] vom gegenständlichen Standpunkt […]: Vom selben wird immer weniger affektiv. Und wenn von verschiedenen Gegenständen nichts affektiv wird, so sind diese verschiedenen in eine einzige Nacht untergetaucht, im besonderen Sinn unbewußt geworden” (Hua XI, 172).

20 “Bewusstsein im allerweitesten Sinn, von dem sogar das „Null“ des Bewusstseins, das Unbewusstsein ein Modus ist” (HuMa VIII, 193). With regard to retention specifically, Husserl writes: “Hinsichtlich der Urgegenwart ist zu sagen, daß das „Unbewußtsein“ in ihr Bewußtsein ist; das unbewußte sinnliche Objekt ist mit allen anderen unbewußten sinnlichen Objekten in einem Nullbewußtsein ununterschieden „bewußt“” (Hua XI, 388).

21 “1) das absolute Unbewusste, das absolute Null; 2) das „Unbeachtete“, obschon „Merkliche“, affizierend, nicht mit seiner Stimme durchdringend; 3) das, womit das Ich zu tun hat, nicht primär, sondern nur „noch“ zu tun <hat>” (HuMa VIII, 184).

22 “Car si je suis conscient de tout, je ne suis conscient de rien; pour qu’il y ait conscience de quelque chose, il faut qu’il n’y ait pas conscience de tout” (Maurice Merleau-Ponty, L’institution de la passivité. Notes de cours au Collège du France (1954-1955), Dominique Darmaillacq, Claude Lefort, Stéphanie Ménasé (eds.) (Belin, 2003), 158).

23 “Ich bin weiter nicht gerichtet auf den gegenständlichen Hintergrund, der in eins mit meinem erfassten „Ding“ als Einheit des gegenwärtigen Wahrnehmungsfeld auch erscheint als Erscheinungseinheit” (Edmund Husserl, Die Lebenswelt. Auslegungen der vorgegebenen Welt und ihrer Konstitution. Texte aus dem Nachlass (1916-1937), Husserliana, XXXIX, Rochus Sowa (ed.) (Dordrecht: Springer, 2008), 13). Henceforth Hua XXXIX.

24 Of this retentional awareness, Husserl writes more specifically: “es „vergegenwärtigt“ nicht in der Weise einer Wiedererinnerung, aber es vergegenwärtigt oder hält zurück, was vorher in der Weise des Jetzt, in einer Urempfindung bewußt war, es hält es zurück in Form eines neuen und stetig aus dem Urempfinden hervorgehenden Modus. In gewisser Weise vergegenwärtigt es aber den früher im Modus des Jetzt bewußten Zeitpunkt dadurch, dass es die Urempfindung vorstellig macht” (Edmund Husserl, Zur Phänomenologie des inneren Zeitbewusstseins (1893-1917), Husserliana X, Rudolf Boehm (ed.) (Den Haag: Martinus Nijhoff, 1966), 376). Henceforth Hua X. There is still awareness of that which was just given as now, because the primal sensation or original impression is retained or reproduced. This reproduction of the original impression results in the retentional structure of consciousness having a double intentionality which makes clear how consciousness synthesizes itself through time: “Jede Bewusstseinsabschattung der Art „Retention“ hat, antworte ich, eine doppelte Intentionalität: einmal die für die Konstitution des immanenten Objekts, des Tones dienende, d.i. diejenige, die wir „Erinnerung“ an den (soeben empfundenen) Ton nennen; die andere ist die für die Einheit dieser primären Erinnerung im Fluss konstitutive, nämlich, die Retention ist in eins damit, dass sie Erinnerung an den Ton ist, Reproduktion der verflossenen Ton-Empfindung, genauer der Urempfindung” (Hua X, 379).

25 “Unterscheidung zwischen der Sphäre aktueller Retention und der Sphäre des Sedimentierte, des im spezifischen Sinne Unbewussten” (HuMa VI, 376).

26 On the distinction between near and far retention see Lanei Rodemeyer, Intersubjective Temporality. It’s About Time (Dordrecht: Springer, 2006), 86-92. See also Nicolas de Warren, The Promise of Time (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), 182.

27 “Das Ende ist also völlige Unterschiedslosigkeit, Unterschiedslosigkeit aus völliger affektiver Kraftlosigkeit” (Hua XI, 170). The retained is not alive anymore, it is sedimented in the reservoir of the “unbestimmten, ununterschiedenen, völlig dunklen Gesamtvergangenheit” (Hua XI, 388).

28 “Und doch, in der Kontinuität dieses Prozesses hat der Sinn sich identisch erhalten, er hat sich nur verhüllt, er ist aus explizitem Sinn zu einem impliziten geworden” (Hua XI, 174).

29 “Weckung ist möglich, weil der konstituierte Sinn im Hintergrundsbewußtsein in der unlebendigen Form, die da Unbewußtsein heißt, wirklich impliziert ist” (Hua XI, 179). More precisely, the awakening of the retained results from an association that radiates from the present (e.g. the stranger in front of me reminds me of somebody else), which, if carried out to full wakefulness, results in the fulfillment of the empty retention in the intuitive act of recollection (e.g. I recollect explicitly my old friend that this stranger reminds me of). This recollection can consequently be characterized as “bloße Reproduktion dessen, was schon im Unbewußten da ist” (Hua XI, 193).

30 “Das Urteil kann aber auch in seinem retentionalen Abklingen aus dem Griff gelassen werden. Es sinkt dann immer weiter zurück in den Hintergrund und wird in eins damit immer verschwommener; der Grad seiner Abgehobenheit wird stufenweise immer geringer, bis es schließlich ganz dem Bereich des aktuellen Bewußtseins entschwindet, „vergessen“ wird. Es ist nun dem passiven Hintergrund, dem „Unbewußten“ einverleibt, das kein totes Nichts, sondern ein Grenzmodus des Bewußtseins des Ich ist, und kann von daher wie eine andere Passivität wieder affizieren in Form von Einfällen, vorschwebenden Gedanken usw. Das Urteil ist in dieser Modifikation aber nicht eine ursprüngliche, sondern eine sekundäre Passivität, die wesensmäßig zurückweist auf ihren Ursprung aus einem aktuellen spontanen Erzeugen” (Edmund Husserl, Erfahrung und Urteil. Untersuchungen zur Genealogie der Logik, Ludwig Landgrebe (ed.) (Hamburg: Claassen & Goverts, 1948), 336).

31 “Was ich positiv urteilend in Geltung setze, meine ich damit als für mich von nun ab feststehend, als für die Zukunft festgestellt, und zwar als seiend oder so-seiend“ (Hua XI, 55).

32 Anne Montavont distinguishes in another way between genuine sleep and the unconsciousness by distinguishing between two kinds of unconsciousness, one before and beyond wakefulness and another within wakefulness (Anne Montavont, De la passivité dans la phénoménologie de Husserl, 174). It seems, however, that genuine (dreamless) sleep is better characterized as “Bewusstlosigkeit” (the absence of intentional consciousness) and that the term “Unbewusstsein” is better reserved for denoting the latent intentionality that accompanies our patent or wakeful awareness.

33 For a bibliography on sleep and dreams in the history of philosophy and Husserl’s phenomenology in particular see Alter. Revue de phénoménologie, 5, 1997, 155-164. For how accounting for (continuity through) sleep could present a challenge to phenomenology see also my “Towards a Phenomenological Account of Personal Identity,” in Philosophy, Phenomenology, Sciences: Essays in Commemoration of Edmund Husserl, C. Ierna, H. Jacobs, and F. Mattens (eds.) (Dordrecht: Springer, 2010).

34 “Unser waches Bewusstsein kann abgelöst sein, kann streckenweise unterbrochen sein durch ein schlafendes, völlig stummes, ohne Unterschied zwischen aktuellem Blickfeld und dunklen Hintergrund. Alles ist Hintergrund, alles ist Dunkel” (Manuscript F III 1/5a). See also Hua IV, 107.

35 “Das Eigentümliche des Einschlafens ist also die Universalität des Passivwerdens des Ich als Interessen-Ich” (Hua XXXIX, 591). Also Eugen Fink writes: “Aporetisch könnte man sagen: offenbar ist Schlaf kein „Erlebnis“, es fehlt ihm die „Ich-polarisierung“, es fehlt im Ganzen die noetisch-noematische Korrelation,” though he also warns “Daß Schlafen ein bestimmter Modus des Gegenwärtigens ist, daß ferner Ichlichkeit als Strukturpol der „Erlebnisse“ nur eine Eigenheit der wachen, d.h. der eigentlich konstituierenden Subjektivität ist und in welchem Sinne die Zeitlichkeit das ursprünglichste Wesen des transzendentalen Erlebnisstromes ausmacht, – das zu zeigen sind wir hier noch lange nicht zugerüstet” (Eugen Fink, Studien zur Phänomenologie. 1930-1939 (Den Haag: Martinus Nijhoff, 1966), 64).

36 “Es fehlt das Interesse; das soeben noch Geweckte aus noch fungierender Assoziation unter Interesse, das wirkt gar nicht mehr auf das Ich. Dieses nimmt keine Richtung darauf hin, es hat nun überhaupt keine Richtung mehr auf etwas hin, es ist eben ohne Interesse dafür, es ist ohne spezifisches „Bewusstsein-von“ (Intention), es schläft, es ist „bewusstlos“. Das bewusstlose Ich ist im Nirwana, sein Wille, sein Tun ist Ersterben des Interesses, es wird von nichts bewegt, d.i. als von nichts im Interesse Berührtes, als Interesseloses bewegt es sich nicht, tut es nichts, erfährt es nichts, es sieht nichts, hört nichts, handelt nichts etc.” (Manuscript A VI 14a/12a-b).

37 Think of the much referred to phenomenon of waking up every hour the night before an important early appointment or the examples of the mother who awakens on the slightest cry of her child and the greedy man who slept through everything but was awakened by a single coin being placed in his hand. See Jan Linschoten “On Falling Asleep,” 89; Dan Zahavi “Sleep, Self-Awareness and Dissociation.”

38 “Traumloser Schlaf ist ein äußerster Limes, im Einschlafen sich vorzeichnend” (HuMa VIII, 337).

39 “Im Dunkel verarmt der Bewusstseinsgehalt, dunkles Gesichtsfeld, im Bett verarmt der taktuelle Gehalt, ein gleichmäßiges Empfinden […] Die Sinnesfelder völlig einförmig” (Manuscript B II 2/6a).

40 “Schwinden der Wahrnehmungsgegenwart für uns […] sondern der Weltgegenwart für uns, d.i. des Daseins von Weltlichem für uns in seiner ganzen Hintergründlichkeit und nach allen Zeitmodis, also auch der Vergangenheit und Zukunft” (Manuscript A VI 14a/10a-b).

41 “Erwachend erwacht sozusagen mein Bett, mein Leib im Bett, das Schlafzimmer, und geweckt ist der Horizont der Vergangenheit” (Edmund Husserl, Die Krisis der europäischen Wissenschaften und die transzendentale Phänomenologie. Ergänzungsband. Texte aus dem Nachlass 1934-1937, Husserliana XXIX, R.N. Schmid (ed.) (Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1993), 335).

42 What is left open and unaccounted for is how, if one argues that genuine sleep consists in the cessation of both foreground-consciousness and background-consciousness, my retained past can be available to me again upon awakening. This seems to have to imply that the past continued to be retained during our sleep and that genuine sleep would after all not be that different from sleep within wakefulness. Nevertheless, it seems that the ongoing retention of our past during sleep cannot be called a latent form of intentionality, since while asleep it cannot be awakened or become patent since there is nothing that affects enough as to associate with the retained. For the question of retention during sleep, see Matthieu Mavridis, “Nuit Noire. Sommeil monadique et nudité de l’ego” in Alter. Revue de Phénoménologie, 5, 1997, 212.

43 See the correspondence with Jean Hering in Edmund Husserl, Briefwechsel. Die Göttinger Schule, Elisabeth & Karl Schuhmann (eds.) (Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1994). Henceforth BW III. These letters were translated into French and published in Alter. Revue de Phénoménologie, 5, 1997; see also Philippe Ducat, “Le sujet du rêve. Présentation de la correspondance Husserl/Héring,” Alter. Revue de phénoménologie, 5, 1997, 175-185. In the latter there is also a reference to Eugen Fink’s reflections on the consciousness of dreaming, see § 26 of Eugen Fink, “Vergegenwärtigung und Bild,” in Studien zur Phänomenologie. 1930-1939. In a recent work in progress, Nicolas de Warren has also developed a phenomenological account of the dreaming mind starting from Husserl’s few indications about dreaming in his letter to Hering.

44 “Das Traumweltich träumt nicht, es nimmt wahr. Man darf nicht einwenden, dass doch bewusstseinsmässig das erwachende Ich dasselbe ist, das in der Traumwelt das und das erlebt, getan etc. hat, also geträumtes; und nicht ein „anderer“. Es ist ähnlich wie wenn ich mir fingiere, ich wäre im Himmel und lebte dort wie der Herrgott in Frankreich, auch hier bin ich derselbe, nämlich kein zweiter Mensch, aber es ist auch da scharf zu unterschieden das wirkliche Ich mit seinen wirklichen Erlebnissen, Vermögen etc. und das fingierte Ich mit den fingierten” (BW III, 119).

45 “Wesensgesetzlich sind alle Traumweltiche im Wachzustand. Schlaf kann nicht geträumt werden” (BW III, 119). Fink agrees on this point with Husserl: “Während das träumende Ich schläft, ist das Traumweltich wesensmäßig immer ein waches Ich, das in seine „wirkliche Welt“ hineinlebt, hineinerfährt” (Fink, Studien zur Phänomenologie. 1930-1939, 65).

46 “Aus dem dumpfen Träumen erwachend, können wir einen reflektierenden Blick zurücklenken, das soeben Vergangene in seiner Dumpfheit und Ichverlassenheit erfassen, in seiner Verlassenheit von dem aktiven, zu fassenden, denkenden, wachend leidenden usw. Ich” (Manuscript F III 1/243b). See also Hua IV, 107.

47 That there is no awareness of a possible awareness beyond the dreaming seems also to be implied by what Fink says in the following passage: “Der Traum ist nach unserer These eine Vergegenwärtigung, die sich in der Gegenwärtigkeit des schlafenden und d.h. des träumenden Ich vollzieht. Wie immer diese Gegenwärtigkeit zu fassen sein mag, wesentlich ist für sie, daß sich in ihr keine anderen „Erlebnisse“ konstituieren können als eben nur Vergegenwärtigungen. Jedes andere gegenwärtigende Erlebnis hebt mindestens partiell den Schlaf auf” (Fink, Studien zur Phänomenologie. 1930-1939, 65).

48 Hua XI, 306-309.

49 “Unser seiner Gegenwart bewußtes Ich sendet nun den thematischen Blick in die Erinnerung, d.h. vom Hier und Jetzt auf das, was ihm im jetzigen wirklichen Erlebnis der Erinnerung vorschwebt, und das ist Erinnerung im zweiten Sinn: Ein ganzes Stück vergangenes Ichleben ist vergegenwärtigt mit dem, was damals als erfahrene Außenwelt, als Theater usw. gegenüberstand. Vom Jetzt aus blickt das wache Ich geradehin auf dies Ding oder vollzieht, immer im Rahmen der Vergegenwärtigung selbst, Reflexion auf die vergangenen Akte, Erscheinungen usw.” (Hua XI, 307).

50 “Ich lebe ganz versunken in Erinnerung, träumend, das heißt, mein gegenwärtiger Erlebnisstrom ist in eigener Weise ichlos, ohne wirkliche Ichakte, die vom Jetzt her, der wahrnehmungsmäßigen Gegenwart, auf Jetziges und durch bewußt jetzige Vergegenwärtigung hindurch auf Vergangenes zugehen; so lebensvoll das versunkene Leben in der Erinnerung ist und sosehr dieses Leben in gegenwärtigen Akten sich abspielt, so ist diese Gegenwart doch keine thematische Gegenwart, der Traumverlorene hat überhaupt keine thematische Gegenwart, er ist nicht wach für sie und für sich selbst. Erst mit dem Erwachen leuchtet im Bewusstseinsstrom die Sonne des zentralen Ich als Ausstrahlungszentrum wirklicher Akte, und nun erst verwandeln sich auch die Erinnerungserlebnisse in solche, die im aktuellen jetzigen Ich zentrierte sind, in wirkliche Akte des „ich erinnere mich” (Hua XI, 309).

51 “Jetzt haben wir die Traumverlorenheit in der besonderen Form der Erinnerungs-verlorenheit kennengelernt, die nicht ichlos ist, wie die Hintergrundphänomene, deren Ich aber, sosehr es wirklich mein Ich ist, nämlich bewußt ist als mein gestriges Ich, doch nur vergegenwärtigtes und nicht ein jetziges, aktuell tätiges Ich ist” (Hua XI, 308).

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Hanne Jacobs, « I am awake : Husserlian reflections on attention and wakefulness »Alter, 18 | 2010, 183-201.

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Hanne Jacobs, « I am awake : Husserlian reflections on attention and wakefulness »Alter [En ligne], 18 | 2010, mis en ligne le 01 juin 2020, consulté le 02 juillet 2020. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/alter/1676; DOI: https://doi.org/10.4000/alter.1676

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