Monday, December 04, 2006

The Nomadic Ego

I am abidingly the yak who thus and so yakked. There's no getting around it. But in what way am I the yak who wandered here and there? Abidingly? I used to imagine that the interesting thing about the nomadic way of life was transhumance. Now I'm not so sure. Still, I should not be surprised if, ultimately, there is no place for nomadism in any worldly egology. And yet what would life be like without wandering? I shudder to think.

Can newborn infants experience non-organization, a lack of relatedness between experiences? Stern replies emphatically in the negative (The Interpersonal World of the Infant, p. 46). The state of relative undifferentiation should not be hypostatized. When diverse experiences are in some way yoked, the infant can experience the emergence of organization. What then becomes of wandering? Is wandering the perpetual emergence of organization, or is it something more radically at a distance from the self?

Stern presents a four dimensional model of the infant self: emergent self, core self, subjective self, and verbal self. The model has two plain virtues: (1) it appears to be empirically warranted, and (2) the development of one sense of self does not obliterate the previously attained senses of self; all are available to experience throughout the course of life. In theory one should be able to introspectively identify one's emergent sense of self. So what about non-self? Is this available to introspection? Search me.

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posted by Fido the Yak at 8:19 PM.


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