Saturday, September 15, 2007

You are a Pupa, You are a Butterfly

Kojima's critical Buberism (Monad and Thou, Section IV) fails to consider an obvious counterpoint. If I am unable to encounter you immediately in your entirety, as Kojima maintains, it isn't because there must be some structure or mechanism of mediation between us; rather, the problem lies with believing that entirety has anything to do with you or me. If you are not given in your entirety because entirety doesn't pertain to you, then neither are you given partially. The idea of partial givenness, by which Buber characterizes relations to the third person, cannot characterize your giveness in any mode if you are not a whole that can be parceled out. This is a slightly different question than whether you can be given indirectly.

Are you given to me–or is it us to whom you are given–in adumbrations? There is a problem here in the tendency to think that there must be a you yourself behind your givenness. We don't need to make that leap. We can say instead that you are your adumbrating, and we can recognize your being your adumbrating because your givenness is structured according to a horizon. You are in fact given to me in a unique horizon of our encounter, in which we acts as a so to speak invisible dimension. A strict Buberism would dismiss this approach as thinking my relation to you as being of the same kind as my relation to things that appear. I don't think this is quite true, because our horizon makes all the difference.

Now Kojima and I both agree, I think, that you don't become it, and it doesn't become you. Buber's formula, "'It' is a pupa, Thou is a butterfly," is a little off. You become you, just as I become me, we become us, he becomes him and so on. When I considered Deleuze's metaphor of the larval subject, I suggested marking a difference between endless becoming and perpetual becoming. I'm not sure I would stand by that, but if I do for the sake of argument, then it might follow that you are given to me in one of your many becomings, and once again there might be a temptation to think of "one of many" as partial. I'm not sure of that. Do you ever actually become a butterfly? Perhaps the metaphor is a little misplaced, because it implies that the butterfly is the realization of a becoming, a being that no longer becomes. You don't need to be realized because you are already real. You are always already a butterfly. You are a thousand butterflies. You are given to me as precisely as many butterflies as it takes to make our world.

Labels: , , , , ,

posted by Fido the Yak at 11:04 AM.


Post a Comment

Fido the Yak front page