The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

August 20, 2006

Horizon and Phenomenology

>From The Works of the People of Old, Na Hana a ka Po'e Kahiko, by Samuel
Manaiakalani Kamakau, 1869-70, translated by Mary Kawena Pukui, edited by
Dorothy B. Barrere, 1976


There are two kinds of _kukulu_ which are horizons - the visible and the
invisible. If a person stands on a height - a hill or a mountain - he sees
the "wall" (_paia_) of the sky, the meeting place of the dome of the sky
and the ocean and the puffy clouds at this meeting place. This is the
horizon, _hekukulu_; it is the visible horizon. An invisible horizon
"pushes out" (_pane'e_); its only boundary is where it adjoins the solid
walls of the sky.

Here are some terms for the horizons of the earth, the _kukulu o ka
hanua._ On the "sides" (_na 'ao'ao_) of the ocean, at the edge of the
ocean next to the base of the sky that lies around the platform of the
earth, the circle or band (_po'ai_) is called _kukulu o ka honua_
[variously translated as the borders, or the ends, or the pillars, of the
earth]. At the lower edge of the firmament, above the encircling horizon
of the earth (_ma ka huina aouli maluna a'e o ke kukulu po'ai honua_) the
circle is called _kukulu o ka lani_ [the borders, or pillars, of the sky].

The circle seen as the eye traverses land and sea to the firmament where
it meets the sea (_ka huina aouli_) is called Kahiki-moe, and all the
lands "below" (_malalo_: within) this circle are called _'aina o
Kahiki-moe,_ lands of Kahiki-moe.

The [first] band of the firmament where it ascends upward is called
Kahiki-ku. Its "back" stretches to the base of the sky (_a moe aku ma kona
kua a hiki i kumu lani_) and all the lands that might be found within this
circle are _'aina o Kahiki-ku,_ lands of Kahiki-ku. Places where the land
is large, or where there are many islands, are called _'apapanu'u_ (high
strata) and since there are many lands to be found in Kahiki-ku, it is
also called _'apapanu'u,_ or _'apapalani._

Heer are some terms for the _kukulu o ka lani,_ the "borders of the sky,"
or _kukulu o Kahiki,_ "borders of Kahiki." These are what _ka po'e kahiko_
called all the lands beyond the Hawaiian archipelago - the lands beyond
the circles of Kahiki-moe and Kahiki-ku. These lands were called the lands
of _kukulu o Kahiki_ or of _kukulu o ka lani,_ or of _na paia ku a lani,_
the standing walls of heaven or of _kumu lani._

The upper extremity of the _kujkulu o ka lani_ was called _lani,_
"heaven," and beyond (_ma ke kua aku_) this heaven was the _lani pa'a_
(fixed heaven) also called _lani kuaka'a_ (highest heaven), or _lani
kuakolu_ (triple heaven) - all names for Kapa'ailuna (The "solid" above).

In these ways _ka po'e kahiko_ designated the _kukulu_ - the directions
and horizons of the earth and of the skies. We of today can compare these
terms with those used now and see how much alike they are.


The highest stratum of space, _lewa,_ is the _lewa lani_; the place below
the _lewa lani_ - equidistant from the sky downward and the earth upward -
was called _ka ho'oku'i,_ the juncture, or _ka ho'ohalawai,_ the meeting;
this was named Kamaku'ialewa (The joining place of space). Below
Kamaku'ialewa, and close to the circle of air that surrounds the earth
[the atmosphere] is Keapoalewa (The ring of space). Below (_malalo o_)
Keapoalewa, in (_maloko o_) the atmosphere where birds fly, is the _lewa
nu'u._ The space in which a man's legs dangle as he holds onto a brach of
a tree is called the _haka-a-lewa_ (ladder to space). If a man stands
on the ground and lifts up one foot, leaving the other on the ground, this
is called _lewa ho'omakuo_ (a space established), because of the one foot
remaining on the ground.


...the absent body, air body, the virtual body, transparent body, body
swallowed by space, inundated body...
...body of sides and pillars, body of the indefinite, indefinite body...
...looking where ones is looking and seeing, looking where one is looking
and not seeing... foot, no jump, one foot...

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